Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 26, 2019

Trump Tries To Undo North Korea Sanctions - Gets Sabotaged By His Own Staff

Last week saw some confusion within the Trump administration about sanctions against North Korea. A Trump tweet seemed to contradict his own administration's policies. The White House then thought up an implausible explanation for what Trump had done. The face saving measure worked, but new leaks now again undermine him.

U.S. media reported of the episode but missed a major point. The timeline below shows that the internal White House conflict was prompted by reactions from North Korea's side.

After bad weather and a strong sanctions regime against it, North Korea is running low on food. Last month its ambassador to the UN requested food assistance:

Kim, the ambassador to the U.N., said record-high temperatures, drought and flooding last year shaved more than 500,000 tons off of the 2018 harvest from the nearly 5 million tons produced in 2017.
Humanitarian assistance from the U.N. agencies is “terribly politicized,” he said, and sanctions against North Korea are “barbaric and inhuman.”

On Thursday the 21st the Treasury Department, ignoring the dire situation, issued new sanctions (pdf) against two Chinese shipping companies that are trading with North Korea. It also named more North Korean vessels that it suspects to be involved in sanction busting efforts.

National Security Advisor John Bolton tweeted:

John Bolton @AmbJohnBolton - 18:31 utc - 21 Mar 2019
John Bolton Retweeted Treasury Department

Important actions today from @USTreasury; the maritime industry must do more to stop North Korea’s illicit shipping practices. Everyone should take notice and review their own activities to ensure they are not involved in North Korea’s sanctions evasion.

The next day North Korea reacted to the move by pulling its officers from the liaison office with South Korea:

Matt Lee @APDiploWriter - 9:25 utc - 22 Mar 2019

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — #SouthKorea says #NorthKorea has withdrawn its staff from an inter-Korean liaison office in North Korea.

The move was unexpected:

Seoul's Unification Ministry said Friday that North Korea informed South Korea of its decision during a contact at the liaison office at the North Korean border town of Kaesong.

The ministry calls the North's decision "regrettable." It says the North didn't give a specific reason for its move.

The liaison office opened last September as part of a flurry of reconciliation steps.

The liaison office is one the few diplomatic contact points where talk between the two sides are still happening. The U.S. uses it to indirectly communicate with North Korea. Following the North Korean pull back there was likely a phone call from President Moon Jae-in of South Korea to U.S. President Donald Trump.

Ten hours after North Korea pulled back its liaison officers Trump contradicted his administrations position:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 17:22 utc - 22 Mar 2019

It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!

The New York Times reported of confusion:

President Trump undercut his own Treasury Department on Friday with a sudden announcement that he had rolled back newly imposed North Korea sanctions, appearing to overrule national security experts as a favor to Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader.

The move, announced on Twitter, was a remarkable display of dissension within the Trump administration. It created confusion at the highest levels of the federal government, just as the president’s aides were seeking to pressure North Korea into returning to negotiations over dismantling its nuclear weapons program.

The North Korea hawks were aghast. They wanted to keep the sanctions but could not contradict Trump. The White House needed to come up with an explanation:

It was initially believed that Mr. Trump had confused the day that the North Korea sanctions were announced, and officials said they were caught off guard by the president’s tweet. Asked for clarification, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, declined to give specifics.

“President Trump likes Chairman Kim, and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” she said.

Then, hours later, an official familiar with Mr. Trump’s thinking said the president was actually referring to additional North Korea sanctions that are under consideration but not yet formally issued.

That statement sought to soften the blow that Mr. Trump’s tweet had dealt to his most loyal aides. Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, personally signed off on the sanctions that were issued on Thursday and hailed the decision in a statement accompanying them.

The Washington Post noted:

The move to forestall future sanctions represents an attempt by the president to salvage his nuclear negotiations with North Korea in the face of efforts by national security adviser John Bolton and others to increase punitive economic measures against the regime of Kim Jong Un.

The explanation that Trump referred to future sanctions seemed implausible. Why would Trump need to publicly prevent future sanctions? It made no sense.

To me it seemed that Trump had tried to play the good guy by revoking the sanctions that were enacted the day before but was overruled by his staff. The issue was then presented in a way that made Trump still look good in the eyes of North Korea. It was a face saving measure. After the failed Hanoi summit between Chairman Kim Jong-un and Trump both sides emphasized their good personal relations. Trump wanted to keep the relation alive but the sanctions were kept up.

Luckily North Korea swallowed the additional sanctions and accepted the face saving explanation. On Monday it reacted to the happy spin:

Some North Korean officials returned to a liaison office with South Korea just days after Pyongyang withdrew from the facility that allowed the rivals to communicate around the clock.

The cut-off of the last face-to-face communication line was avoided.

But to some people in the White House that situation is not to their liking. They want to further undermine Trump's efforts to continue negotiations with North Korea.  They now leak that the "future sanction" explanation, which North Korea accepted, was indeed nonsense.

Bloomberg reports today:

President Donald Trump last week intended to reverse sanctions imposed on two Chinese shipping companies accused of violating North Korea trade prohibitions -- until officials in his administration persuaded him to back off and then devised a misleading explanation of his vague tweet announcing the move.
The president in fact intended to remove penalties Treasury had announced the day before against two Chinese shippers that had helped Pyongyang evade U.S. sanctions, according to four people familiar with the matter. It was unclear whether Trump knew about or signed off on the measures before they were issued, or what triggered his tweet the next day.
There were no additional North Korea sanctions in the works at the time, according to two people familiar with the matter.

It is quite obvious what "triggered" Trump's tweet. It was the North Korean pullback from the liaison office. But Bloomberg, like other U.S. outlets, ignores that quite obvious explanation. This constant ignorance of the action of the other side is one of the systemic problems U.S. media have.

New sanctions were announced to which North Korea reacted negatively. Trump, who wants to keep the door open for future negotiations,  took note and pulled back on the sanctions. But John Bolton intervened. The sanctions were kept. A well sounding but implausible explanation was found. North Korea accepted that and came back to the table.

The new leak now again aggravates the situation. It shows that Trump has little real say about his administration's policy. It shows that he was powerless when he tried to undo the sanctions that had worsened the situation in the first place. The leak undermines whatever trust Kim Jong-un still has in Trump's words.

How will North Korea react to this? Will it again pull back from the liaison office, a step the John Boltons of this world would see as a win?

Will it ignore the new leak?

Posted by b on March 26, 2019 at 17:46 UTC | Permalink


Does the dog wag its tail or does the tail wag the dog?
Personally I find it hard to believe that Trump doesn't have the bravado to fire those officials that are constantly seen as "undermining" his policies. The response to this is often "He has to please his mega- donors, who are neo-cons." I also find this unconvincing. Trump certainly was helped by those mega-donations, but his biggest boon has been and remains to be the never- ending attention with which the media slathers him. His bully pulpit, his Twitter perch. That's what his voters eat up, and its the voters who will vote. Contrary often to appearances, I believe Trump is smart enough to understand this.
In my opinion, this leaves us with two remaining options: he is intentionally playing good cop to the neocon's bad, with the hope this will leave him with 'a better deal'. Or he is utterly incompetent, and can't control his own appointees. As it's always a poor idea to ascribe stupidity to someone crafty enough to get elected president of the United States, I can't help but think this merely a song-and-dance.
What will the North do? They'll come back to the table long enough to get shafted again. The question in my mind is how many times will they get shafted before they look for other options? Or perhaps this is posturing on their part, too gain sympathy for when China and Russia fully stop giving a damn about the US and their sanctions?

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Mar 26 2019 18:31 utc | 1

At some point the world is not going to allow this non-sense to continue.

You live by the sword, you die by the sword. Natural law cannot be broken. All of these despicable actions will return home one day.

Very difficult times are coming to the US.

Posted by: Zack | Mar 26 2019 18:45 utc | 2

thanks b.. more ''palace intrigue''... the usa today reminds me of the vatican.. at some point in time all the excommunications that were visited on others became a joke historically... same deal here with the usa and it's sanction mentality..

i vote for john bolton as president of the usa... lets just cut to the quick.. as far as i'm concerned it all falls on trumps shoulders.. either he is a wimp and can't fire this nutbar, or he can and he isn't...

Posted by: james | Mar 26 2019 18:46 utc | 3

Trump picked his team. They’re uniformly evil. I don’t understand why or how anyone thinks Trump doesn’t “own” this administration’s actions and outcomes. What am I missing?

Posted by: oo goo gachoo | Mar 26 2019 18:59 utc | 4

How can a nation with a coastline be without food unless there is no one there to teach them how to fish, or access to the beach is blocked. I doubt that there are enough people in North Korea to block the hungry from getting to the beach. Kim would run out of RPGs...

Posted by: Vonu | Mar 26 2019 19:00 utc | 5

@4 Exactly. He could have sacked them long ago, but hasn't. He is complicit.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 26 2019 19:14 utc | 6

@4 oo go.. i don't know you are missing anything..

@5vonu... i live next to the ocean.. you'd be surprised at how over fished, or resource extracted the coastline can be.. i don't know the deal in north korea, but i would be curious..

Posted by: james | Mar 26 2019 19:17 utc | 7

@4 oo goo gachoo

Because Republicans refuse to hold him accountable for the actions of his administration. Trump hired these people, he is the President and the C in C. He needs to own this. But hey lets just blame this on crooked Hillary as well because that will play good with the base. To heck with actual policy, that is hard and gets in the way of a good game of golf.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Mar 26 2019 19:20 utc | 8

Americans love starving the people they say they're trying to help. If starving fails then the bombing begins. Been that way pretty much since the Southern Rebellion. Why,,, Who knows? First they throw sanctions which prohibit trade between the target nation then laugh because they're starving or experiencing internal problems,,, a al Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, Syria, et al.

A totalitarian government is one that can take you to war without consent of the citizens. With a Central Bank it doesn't have to depend on taxes and just prints (aka borrowing) what it needs. This slowly impoverishes the citizens forcing them onto gov handouts making them even more pliable concerning foreign affairs. Exporting production to foreign nations exacerbates the situation a thousand fold. Soon their talking UBI,,, the epitome of a completely government dependent society. This describes the USA, UK and the West in general and is the primary reason for the West's arrogance. This cannot be fixed by voting. Only a full blown economic collapse can/will stir the sheep,,, a la the USSR.

Until then,,, expect more of this hubris and arrogance by the power hungry fools running Western governments.

Posted by: ken | Mar 26 2019 19:26 utc | 9

More "good cop, bad cop" theater. Meanwhile, illegally imposed sanctions by the U$A around the globe kill thousands.

Posted by: ben | Mar 26 2019 19:33 utc | 10

We shouldn't be surprised by this by now. The "official" Washington won't allow anything positive or peaceful to emerge from Trump's fuzzy brain--but they will permit and applaud all warlike assertions and acts.

Trump is learning to obey, but occasionally he slips up and has a random brain tic of common sense, which of course is not allowed.

Imagine how difficult it would be to have a president who actually WANTED to do good things for people! Thankfully, the US electoral system is set up specifically to prevent that occurrence, thank goodness.

Posted by: worldblee | Mar 26 2019 19:41 utc | 11

IMO, how South Koreans understand this action is important for they need it made clear that the Duplicity of the Outlaw US Empire is the main hindrance to their unification--national--ideal, not the actions of Kim's government. IMO, President Moon and his advisors understand, but the entire populous needs that shared with them--and directly from Moon, not the media. Remaining steadfast while allowing Moon to make the disclosure, IMO, is the best response the North could provide--You see, we are at one with our goal of national unification, denuclearization and the removal of colonizers from Korea; and the continual tricks of the colonizers will not lessen our resolve--or words to that effect should be the North's statement after Moon's.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 26 2019 19:45 utc | 12

@ Don Wiscacho #1

Personally I find it hard to believe that Trump doesn't have the bravado to fire those officials that are constantly seen as "undermining" his policies. The response to this is often "He has to please his mega- donors, who are neo-cons." I also find this unconvincing.
So do I, for while Trump may not be wealthy by the standards of Amazon's Bezos, he has plenty of money. Besides that, I'm convinced Trump is as sick of politics as Clint Eastwood was after his 2-year stint as mayor of a small town.

At the risk of repeating myself, I believe Trump is stuck with his present crew of wreckers and looters for other reasons. The man doesn't have any core principles except possibly an extreme fondness of mirrors, but neither is he a cretin. If he is doing unbelievably crazy things, we have to consider it's because he feels he faces prison or poverty if he doesn't follow instructions from the XX crowd.

In a word, blackmail of some sort. That may not be what's happening, but it's the best explanation I have for now.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Mar 26 2019 19:52 utc | 13

To add to 12--

Showing a sold front to the Neocons is the best, most powerful, asset the Koreans could own if they applied it repeatedly. Their harmonized rhetoric would then be amplified by Russia and China, and other interested parties to the point where it becomes well beyond doubt that it's the Outlaw US Empire that's actively hindering the possibility of peace in Korea, which would flip the past 65 years of propaganda on its head. Most Korean-Americans I know want to see peace, reconciliation and eventual unification and would also amplify the Dual Korean rhetoric such that promoting Korean peace might become a 2020 campaign issue that would hinder Trump thanks to his Neocon crew.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 26 2019 19:58 utc | 14

Do you really think that a "full blown economic collapse" of the US would leave the rest of the world untouched? Do you remember 2008?

Posted by: mourning dove | Mar 26 2019 20:21 utc | 15

Yeah.. As you always said B: Bolton + Co are free to do what they want, and Trump even now publicly get humiliated without any consequences.
They only explanation besides that Trump is a coward is that IMHO the neocons are the price Trump pays for the billions of $ he got from the hardcore Zionists like Adelson.
The good thing is that now the true nature of American democracy (and neoliberal democracy in general) is becoming obvious to anyone who has half a brain left.
Money IS ruling us. And a single billionaire like Adelson has more power than the elected president of the most powerful nation on earth.
Let that sink in into the minds of the masses, and maybe then in some years or decades, we have a slight chance of true change.
Or maybe not..

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPropaganda | Mar 26 2019 20:23 utc | 16

I think that Ann Coulter's last few columns on the subject of Donald Trump have completely nailed it.

Trump is not a deliberate grifter like Obama (who fired his populist staff and replaced them with Wall Street flunkies even before being sworn in). Rather, Trump is a salesman, who will say whatever he needs to say to close the deal. He wasn't deliberately lying during the election when he said that he thought we should stop wasting trillions of dollars of pointless foreign wars and spend that money on ourselves, he was simply saying what a lot of Americans were desperate to hear. Once elected he wouldn't have minded if it had worked out that way, it's just that faced with massive pressure from the elites to maintain the status quo he wasn't interested in doing the heavy lighting of fighting back. So he still talks a bit like he did during the campaign, when it sounds good to him, but he's surrounded himself with status-quo advisors, and as the saying goes, in government personnel is policy.

Posted by: TG | Mar 26 2019 20:24 utc | 17


I linked to Caitlin Johnstone's latest on the Open Thread, but IMO it's too important to not be more widely shared. She picked up on the admission made by CNN that they're "not investigators" relative to Russiavape and places that into the context of the very major Psy-op that was Russiavape's purpose. And what she writes about is every bit as relevant to Korea as it is virtually everything spouted from within the Beltway regardless it be D or R.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 26 2019 20:36 utc | 18

Zachary Smith
I left a comment for you on the last open thread.

Posted by: mourning dove | Mar 26 2019 20:38 utc | 19

I'd like to learn of some plausible explanations as to how a "deep state" could control Trump, not that I don't think there are any, I just don't seem to have the capability to think what they are. I'm not a film maker.

A JFK assasination? There are a lot of implausibilities to that threat, like in this day and age, it might be very difficult to get away with. Would Trump at his age, nearer the end of his time, really be all that fearful for his life?

Ruin his reputation? What reputation has he? I suppose there might be threats to his family's well-being, but that sounds so mundane. I realize there are weighty pressures institutions can exert on employees, but I think someone with a thick skin, unconcerned for future financial well-being no matter what, with nothing to lose, could care less.

Posted by: Geoff | Mar 26 2019 20:38 utc | 20

The foreign minister of North Korea seems to confirm that Trump is not in control of his administration's policy.
(lengthy quote as the piece will soon by subscriber only):

Trump was open to temporary sanctions relief in Hanoi: Choe Son Hui
New details emerge from March 15 DPRK foreign ministry briefing on the American position at Hanoi

U.S. President Donald Trump was open to providing temporary sanctions relief to North Korea at last month’s Hanoi summit, a DPRK vice foreign minister told diplomats and reporters at a briefing on March 15, translated transcripts and notes seen by NK News indicates.

Trump’s alleged flexibility on sanctions relief was not reported by English language media attending the briefing at the time, despite it providing new light on the reasons why Pyongyang believed talks fell apart in Hanoi.

“During the summit, President Trump with a flexible gesture suggested to meet our requirements by adding one sentence to the declaration about (how) sanctions will be restored when DPRK resumes and restarts (its) nuclear activities,” a translated transcript seen by NK News reveals Choe Son Hui to have said.

Trump said sanctions “might be lifted” if Pyongyang continued refraining from testing nuclear devices and intercontinental ballistic missiles, a secondary summary of Choe’s Korean language remarks seen by NK News showed.

“However, State Secretary Pompeo and Chief Advisor John Bolton created an obstacle so that (the) summit could not conclude any meaningful result,” the transcript read.

The secondary summary said Pompeo and Bolton “uttered rude words,” which went “counter to the President’s intention.”

Choe’s remarks about Trump at the press conference, notably, appears consistent with information earlier gained by NK News regarding U.S. preparation for the Hanoi meeting with Kim Jong Un.

About a month ahead of the summit, NK News understood from an informed source that the U.S. was considering partial sanctions relief through a “snapback” mechanism which would see UN Security Council measures reverted to current levels in the event of non-compliance towards denuclearization by the DPRK.

Posted by: b | Mar 26 2019 20:40 utc | 21

There is no internal conflict between neocons and their supposed opponents. A grand bargain between all factions of the elite has been secured, as the headline in a hardcore local zio-rag demonstrates so clearly: 'Trump not guilty of colluding with Russia.' I'm afraid everyone is implicated in the scam and especially so-called alt media which now tells the most carefully crafted lies that move the unified oligarch/globalist agenda forward.

What we are moving towards is a new age of impunity for those who have power. The only sustainable fascist social system is India and so we will have a slightly more complicated version of their caste system implemented further over the next several decades.

Posted by: C I eh? | Mar 26 2019 20:48 utc | 22

Thanks for the additional info @21, b. It gives more weight to my thesis that to attain their goal, the Koreans must team up and act as one, which will in-turn gain them even more support from China and Russia initially, then most of the genuine International Community will follow serving to isolate the Neocons even more than they are already. Pragmatically, I don't see any other feasible choice unless neither North or South was genuine in their announced ideals to begin with, which I find very hard to believe.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 26 2019 20:59 utc | 23

is this another good cop, bad cop routine?

i am waiting for the trump tweet that says, 'i am not in control of the country'... until it happens, it is on him as glorious leader of the free world, LOLOL!

Posted by: james | Mar 26 2019 21:06 utc | 24

The 'sanctions' are acts of war/crimes against humanity

Posted by: paul | Mar 26 2019 21:09 utc | 25

Geoff @20--

Back around Christmas or perhaps earlier we had a discussion related to your question the logical conclusion being that Trump's an agent of the Deep State, not an actual member, primarily confirmed by the domestic program he's tried to implement. And given the manner he's performed in so far, he won't win another term, which will be just fine with him.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 26 2019 21:09 utc | 26

paul @25--

Unfortunately, the sanctions asked to be eased are UNSC sanctions and by definition cannot be "war/crimes against humanity." Unilateral thus illegal Outlaw US Empire sanctions on the other hand are "war/crimes against humanity," but they weren't asked to be eased.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 26 2019 21:15 utc | 27

karlof1 # 18

Thank you karlof1 that is a brilliant writing from Caitlin. She is always a delight to read.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 26 2019 21:15 utc | 28

#13 Zachary Smith

It is a possibility I, also, consider, when casting about for any explanation that makes sense - kompromat or threats or the usual post-presidential remunerations and rewards.

As to Trump's wealth, the value of real estate fluctuates significantly across time, and r.e. development requires carrying a high debt load. Not always long term loans, and your bankers can call in your loan, rather than renewing it. Not to mention that businesses, esp real estate, in the state of New York, frequently operate in grey legal areas, as well as the occasional slip into outright illegality.

As a minor example, there was that case in the 80s in NYC of the developer, who bought an old Manhattan building, which was legally protected under historic preservation restrictions. The developer's plans were not to be stopped. He simply brought in a demolition team at night, and one night the building collapsed. The developer paid a fine. It is a lesser example of the sorts of transactions that are sometimes necessary to protect a profit in a NYC real estate world.

So various ways that Trumps might be compromised. Or is it all just more kabuki theater for the proles and the world? Distractions from an unyielding, underlying agenda.

I'm convinced Trump is as sick of politics as Clint Eastwood was after his 2-year stint as mayor of a small town.

You could be right. Will the Republican Party expect him to run again, regardless? They do not seem to be developing alternative candidates at this point.

Posted by: smoke | Mar 26 2019 21:18 utc | 29

I hope when you all come around to my view that Trump was SELECTED and the 2016 Presidential election was RIGGED by the Deep State (no Russia) that I will at least get a footnote in history.

I hate to harp on this, but once again I see everyone with deer-in-headlights stares asking: how can this be? To summarize:

1) USA/AZ Empire were surprised by Russian resistance in Syria and Ukraine.

2) Kissinger sounded the alarm in August 2014 WSJ Op-Ed which called for a strenghten America that returns to its roots (MAGA).

3) 10 months later, Trump joins the Republican Primary as the only populist, basing his campaign on MAGA.

4) Hillary throws the race to Trump.

5) Trump breaks his first campaign promise by saying that he will not prosecute Hillary and over time he brings friends of his supposed enemies into his administration, including: VP Pence, Gina Haspel, John Bolton, Wm Barr.

6) Trump proceeds to reinvigorate the US armed forces: firing missiles; talking up patriotism; passing massive arms budgets; starting a space force; etc.

7) Russiagate, the new McCarthyism, turns American against Russia while Trump makes one last desperate attempt to bring Russia "on-side" culminating in the Helsinki Summit where Trump meets secretly with Putin. That fails because the AZ Empire hasn't fundamentally changed and the Russian-Chinese alliance is too far along.

DNC emails are leaked to Wikileaks by CIA/MI6/Mossad and USA calls Wikileaks an agent of Russia.

8) After failure of Helsinki Summit, a more agressive USA emerges: NK peace talks stall. USA threatens to bomb Syria if SAA+Russia attack Idlib. USA occupies northeastern Syria. USA attempts to overthrow Venezeula's Maduro. USA recognizes Golan Heights as Israel's.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 26 2019 21:48 utc | 30

Geoff @ 20:

The Russiagate allegations and the investigation by Robert Mueller into the supposed collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and the Kremlin were not one way of the Deep State controlling Trump's behaviour and decision-making by pushing him away from working with Russia on defeating ISIS and their allies in Syria?

There could be myriad ways the Deep State uses to control Trump. He could be controlled through his daughter Ivanka, her husband Jared Kushner and their personal and business connections. Other family members of his could also be used as pawns. For all his previous business connections with members of the Washington elite, Trump was still a political novice when he first arrived at the White House and his access to advice and the best advisors could have been controlled from the outset.

But perhaps the simplest explanation is that Trump is no more and no less than the equivalent of your typical wide-eyed idealist university / college graduate who joins an organisation with the wish to change it from within and make it more ethical or more caring. Within a few years of working there, that graduate has become as colourless and as hollow as the people s/he once sought to change. How does that come about? Organisations are like cults: once you join them, they start controlling your access to information, including information about them and information from the outside world.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 26 2019 22:00 utc | 31

Geoff at #20: Look into Jeffrey Epstein and interpret what you read in the context of an extensive blackmail operation being run by powerful Zionists. Then imagine what kinds of horrors might have taken place on a private island where underage sex slaves are known to have been trafficked, and maybe you could start to imagine how someone like Trump - or powerful or otherwise influential people in general - are controlled.

Posted by: SlapHappy | Mar 26 2019 22:19 utc | 32

Jen #31 But perhaps the simplest explanation is ...

The simplest explanation is that he was on the Deep State team right from the start.

Why would the Deep State take the risk of allowing a non-vetted person to hold the office of President? The power of the Imperial Presidency is just to great to allow that.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 26 2019 22:20 utc | 33

Geoff @20

Some have speculated that Trump flew on Epstein's "Lolita Express". IMO such "compromat" is not needed.

Politicians like Clinton, Obama, and Trump are social-climbing, money-seeking, narcissists. Their ethics are ... pliable. They willingly join team USA and do as their told.

They also have been well vetted via connections to the Deep State. Obama's grandfather is said to have worked for OSS/CIA and his mother is speculated to have done so too. Trump has a long term connection to the Clintons and hosted Felix Sater for the FBI/CIA (while Mueller was head of FBI).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 26 2019 22:30 utc | 34


Fishing doesn't work too well.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Mar 26 2019 22:35 utc | 35

Some people say: but Trump is already a billionaire! as a defense of Trump's independence.

But Trump's billionaire status has been questioned. Forbes estimated his wealth at no more than $2 billion. Others believe it may be only hundreds of millions.

What we know for sure is that Trump's outsized ego and insecurities cause him to constantly engage in dubious schemes to make money. They are now legendary business failures, like Trump Steaks and Trump University.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 26 2019 23:17 utc | 36

Jen #31 and jackrabbit #33

Jen, well stated. Though it is hard to imagine Trump as wide-eyed, he is definitely not a deep thinker. More of a leap first type.

Organisations are like cults...

That can be true about organisations. Controlling the president could be even simpler.

The White House is a gilded, whitewashed prison. All those guards and security, to protect the prez from unknown dangers, also make it easy to ensure that his access to people, information, anything is always controlled and scrutinized. And the press will report whatever the prez and staff do in whatever way suits their purpose. No wonder Trump is such a faithful user of Twitter.

Stories lingered in D.C., when I was young, about Harry Truman driving his security detail mad by disappearing, to walk a couple blocks to the drugstore and buy a toothbrush, or other everyday items. Walking unguarded on D.C. streets. The story made it sound like Truman was trying to keep his perceptions real.

The imperial presidency was only beginning in Truman's time. I doubt any president now could pull off such a stunt.

Posted by: smoke | Mar 26 2019 23:19 utc | 37

karlof1@27 UNSC Resolution 2397 [2017] inter alia... Any item contributing to military capabilities excl. food or medicine,

Posted by: Harry Law | Mar 26 2019 23:21 utc | 38

Harry Law @38--

Yes, Harry, I do agree with you, just as the UNSC sanctions against Iraq were genocidal, but that doesn't automatically render them unlawful, which is the massive rub. And therein lies one of the problems related to the UNSC and its decisions--there's no Court of Appeal. Admittedly, the institution's imperfect, at times very deadly with its imperfections. Clearly, we need to build a better widget. Unfortunately, we have the experience of the previous widget that only ceased to exist due to World War out of which was born our current widget. It would be best not to have another World War to dissolve the current widget as the likelihood of there being enough survivors to formulate a third widget is doubtful. But in the current geopolitical climate, I don't see a new improved widget emerging anytime soon. Sanctioning North Korea at a time when it's the Outlaw US Empire that's the greatest law breaker of all time is a travesty I'll admit. Hopefully, the Chinese and Russians have learned from their miscalculation, and DPRK will be the last nation to suffer such sanctions.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 26 2019 23:59 utc | 39

Didn't the Pentagon just divert a lazy billion to help Trump build his Mexican wall? The people who want a wall vote. North Koreans don't. That much Trump does know.

Posted by: Hal Duell | Mar 27 2019 0:11 utc | 40

'What am I missing?" oo goo gachoo @ 4

What you are missing are the dozens of indications that the US government is riven by factions struggling for control over policies in every area.
Indications which long precede Trump's period in the White House.
And that is curious because one of the great strengths of this blog is that b has a nose for the subtleties indicating that, behind the bland wall of unanimity and the PR work of the spokespeople, these struggles are taking place. And that the current saga of talks with Korea is a prime example of what has also been happening, within recent memory, regarding Syria, Iraq, Turkey, NATO and just about everything else, Venezuela included, involving US Foreign Policy.
The remarkable thing is the number of explanations that are inevitably advanced to show that, contrary to appearances, everything is carefully plotted. It is all part of an incredibly complex plan to achieve objectives more speedily by feigning dissent and disunity, whereas in fact All Was Planned.
There are those who hold that the 2016 Election was precisely what the Deep State ordered and that all taking part in it, including Hillary and Trump were merely acting. And were well pleased with the results.
The sheer persistence of those who insist, some of them a dozen or so times a day, that "nothing surprises them" and that they "saw it all coming" attracts naturally sceptical minds to come up with "Good Cop-Bad Cop" explanations of their own.
The reality is that b's analysis is correct: there is a real struggle going on between those like Bolton who believe that thuggery is the answer to every question and more reasonable viewpoints, which in this matter include Trump himself, though, dummy that he is, he is not very confident in his common sense.
And there is nothing new about this. There have been raging disputes about foreign policy questions since Washington's first term, they are part of the system. Just as stupidity and arrogance are part of human nature.
The problem is that the belief in American Exceptionality and the inevitability of US victory is so deeply imbued in otherwise sensible people that everything the government does is greeted with wise nods and knowing looks as confirmation that it is, like Pearl Harbor, just as intended.
It is part of a political culture of hopelessness, to which the "Left" in the US has long been prone; elections are all fixed, most of them are bought and the rest of them finessed by the computer operators. There is no point in campaigning for a reformer because they are invariably assassinated or neutralised. No sooner does one get elected than the Left begins to prove that she will sell out soon and probably was always a fake. It is the only thing that saves the lives of the likes of Bernie and OAC.
It is the other side of the coin: one side tells us that, despite appearances, the ruling class is united around not only its objectives but the means to arrive at them. And the other side tells us that resistance is useless, the script was long ago finalised and no changes are possible now.
It's a form of Calvinism: political predestination. There are no free agents, just fools and actors pretending to be playing the parts.
Meanwhile in North Korea belts are being tightened again. Still the great advantage of being North Korean is that, hunger notwithstanding, they know that the US government is startlingly incompetent- they have been attacking them, subverting them, bombing them, lying about them, bullying their trading partners and food suppliers, stealing their shipping, blockading their coastlines to make them submit and, seventy years later, they are undefeated.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 27 2019 0:17 utc | 41

Yet more theatre - this time for the Washington Borg audience to convince them he is under their thumb. Not!

BTW, somewhere there is a back channel to Putin and/or Xi Jingpin. The attempt back during the presidential transition to create one outside regular chamnnels was just camouflage to persuade the CIA/FBI/NSA that there was no back channel. Meanwhile the "obstruction charge" will provide a distraction until the next scandal, for instance the much delayed release of his tax returns which will be very complex but show no illegal activity. The House Committee obtaining them will take about six months once they ask for them which they'll probably do in about six months and then the analysis will take another nine months by which time Trump is either retired or into his second term. Both the British and American versions of House of Cards have nothing on this.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Mar 27 2019 0:46 utc | 42

slightly OT

Spanish Court: Intruder at N. Korean Embassy in Spain Contacted FBI

Posted by: farm ecologist | Mar 27 2019 0:55 utc | 43

Smoke @ 37:

Here's one president who goes walking down the street with no security detail to his local supermarket:

You can see why Truman, Trump or any other US president (or even most Western leaders) wouldn't be allowed to do the same: yes, as you say, talking to people in the street might help to keep Trump grounded in reality.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 27 2019 0:59 utc | 44

This knee jerk resort to sanctions is a disgrace. Are not sanctions acts of war? I don't know but if they are it puts the lie to the constant US breast beating about the rule-based international order. The whole US war on Syria is unconstitutional and contrary to the UN Charter. Therefore it's a war crime as it's aggressive war.

Sanctions hurt no one except the people of NK. Why do we do this?

The arrogance and sanctimony of the US repulse me.

Posted by: Col. B. Bunny | Mar 27 2019 1:42 utc | 45

@4 - "Trump picked his team. They’re uniformly evil."

Makes more sense if you see it as "The Team" picked Trump.

He's just the front man for their "TV Reality Show".

Posted by: imo | Mar 27 2019 1:55 utc | 46

@ bevin #41

You write a lot of good things here. But quibble time...

There are those who hold that the 2016 Election was precisely what the Deep State ordered and that all taking part in it, including Hillary and Trump were merely acting. And were well pleased with the results.
What’s wrong with the proposition that the conspiracy nuts aren’t entirely wrong here? It’s obvious to me the “deep state” was shocked to the core with the 2016 results, and were not a bit pleased about them. But so far as I’m concerned, the part about Hillary and Trump “merely acting” can still be accurate. In a November 10 post-mortem Time mentioned in passing how Hillary flew back home to New York after a day’s work on the campaign trail ”rather than camping out in swing states.” Why not? A great many people believe Trump was himself “going through the motions” of running a campaign, and Hillary would have certainly known that. And more to the point, the Deep State would have surely known it as well. At any point a decision could have been made to turn the hackers loose to manipulate the non-verifiable touch-screen computer voting devices. But neither Hillary nor the Deep State saw any point of doing so. The polls said she was going to win. The Corporate Media said she was going to win. Anyhow, as part of Trump’s coming Crooked Hillary publicity rampage the voting would have come under close scrutiny, and unlike most candidates he had both motive and money to pursue the issue.
It is part of a political culture of hopelessness, to which the "Left" in the US has long been prone; elections are all fixed, most of them are bought and the rest of them finessed by the computer operators.
Not all of the elections are “fixed” because the Power Elites don’t give a damn who wins in some of them. Ditto for the “bought” part. But the point is that elections can be “fixed”, and in quite a number of ways. Everybody knows about “bigfooting” an election with unlimited money to buy non-stop publicity. Not as well known is the practice of making sure both the candidates are acceptable to the Elites. Blue Dog Democrat vs Republican? Those elites can smile and let Democracy take its unimpeded course.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has just rolled out a new version of keeping their quasi-Republican “Blue Dogs” safe.

DCCC’s new vendor policy kneecaps primary challengers

Never working for them again is a pretty darned heavy threat. And never forget that those electronic voting machines CAN be hacked, and without a trace. So the “Left” ought to be excused for their paranoia, even if they do get carried away sometimes.

Until I can vote using a pencil-marked paper ballot which will get counted in public, by hand, and by real people, I’m going to be part of that “resistance is useless” myself. When the wife of a local Republican big wig hands me a voting device with a removable memory card, I’m just pretending to vote. And they’re just pretending to count the votes.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Mar 27 2019 2:09 utc | 47

Zachary Smith @47: It’s obvious to me the “deep state” was shocked to the core with the 2016 results ...

Correction: the same MSM that promoted Trump made it clear that Hillary would win ... and then promoted bogus Russiagate suspicions.

"We Are Not Investigators": CNN's Jeff Zucker Unapologetic For Perpetual Russia-Hoax Coverage

Welcome to the rabbithole.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 27 2019 2:17 utc | 48

bevin @41: factions

LOL. Hasn't the 'factions' BS grown old by now?

What 'faction' is anti-Zionist?

What 'faction' is anti-MIC/anti Cold War?

What 'faction' is anti-oligarch capitalism?

What 'faction' is anti-Militarizing Space?

What 'faction' is anti-Security State?

PS Freshman Congress critters don't count.

Welcome to the rabbithole

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 27 2019 2:26 utc | 49

DBEP @ 16 said;"Money IS ruling us. And a single billionaire like Adelson has more power than the elected president of the most powerful nation on earth.
Let that sink in into the minds of the masses, and maybe then in some years or decades, we have a slight chance of true change.
Or maybe not.."

A perfect description of who and what the so-called "Deep State" really is. A small cabal of malignant billionaires like Mr.
Adelson, who are "hoarders" of $ and power. They own Govts. around the globe, just like the U$A.

Adelson, and people like him, make the real decisions by virtue of their wealth, that buys sycophants by the bushel-basket.

Yes, it's that simple.

Posted by: ben | Mar 27 2019 2:28 utc | 50

P.S.-The "Jackrabbit" gets it.

Posted by: ben | Mar 27 2019 2:31 utc | 51

Morning Dove @15

[Do you really think that a "full blown economic collapse" of the US would leave the rest of the world untouched? Do you remember 2008?]

2008 wasn't a 'full blown economic collapse'. It was bad but they still managed it by what they called extraordinary means which means illegally,,, cooking the books,,, changing the rules,,, lying, and what have you.

A full blown economic collapse cannot be kicked down the road. The next one has a very good chance of being "the big one". Hard to tell as the Western economies are all criminal from the central banks to governments. They control the books, the currencies, and the airwaves.

Posted by: ken | Mar 27 2019 2:53 utc | 52

"More "good cop, bad cop" theater. Meanwhile, illegally imposed sanctions by the U$A around the globe kill thousands."

Truer words were never spoken.

Trump's regime embraces the zionists and neocons. Two of the most destructive, criminal organizations that have ever existed. These psychopaths murdered ~3000 of our people in the 9/11 false flag. They have murdered uncounted numbers of people world-wide since that crime spree. The pentagon and HUD have disappeared 21+ trillion dollars .... and now Trump is allowing these people to take the budgets "dark". Opaque budgets are a clearest example of a "government" gone criminally rogue.

Trump is not running this country. I would argue the the military-industrial-complex and the goddamn criminal CIA are running this country. When they collapse our economy, it's time to remove them from power. Period. Paragraph. Regardless of the cost.

Posted by: Ben | Mar 27 2019 3:42 utc | 53

I wasn't suggesting that 2008 was anything like a full blown economic collapse, but it demonstrated how far and how quickly an economic contagion can spread. My question was do you really think that a collapse like that would leave the rest of the world untouched? To me it means global chaos, misery, death, and destruction. I agree that something's got to give, but there just has to be a better way.

Posted by: mourning dove | Mar 27 2019 3:56 utc | 54

Trump is his own man. He also cares about his reputation. Reminds me of all the apologists for Obama claiming he was forced to red line Syria, in the face of evidence Assad did not do it, and only stopped when the US public stood and said no. Obama did the Iran deal, which the neocons hate with a passion, and other stuff that would have gotten him killed by the "deep state" but here he is walking around shooting off his mouth. I don't believe for one second Trump is controlled nor is he afraid of being assassinated. He's in control and like Obama he makes it look like it's his staff undermining a great guy. Trump is all about control and as soon as his backside hit the Oval Office chair MAGA went from fixing the US to continue the climb to put the US as the only top dog on the planet. Thus his picks of Bolton, Pompeo, Mnuchin, and wicked witch of the west Nikki Haley.

Contrary to one of the commenters above sanctions are not lawful when they are selectively applied. If applied fairly the US would be the most sanctioned country on the planet. Fairly applied there would be ZERO sanctions on Russia and a laundry list of them on Ukraine. Instead it's the other way around. Two people die in Venezuela and it's sanctions for human rights abuses. Thousands of innocent people die from US drones and Saudi bombs, with US help as long as they keep buying US arms, in Yemen where there is a genuine rights disaster and it's who cares. The US is part of the cabal that started the regime change operation in Syria which devastated the country and killed over a half million has gone on the record that it will severely sanction any country or person helping Syria to rebuild.

The people who say Trump is afraid to end up like JFK like to think disobey your masters and end up dead. Trump lets his staff take the heat on unpopular stuff he believes in but wants positive PR so he looks like a victim. As far as JFK there's a whole laundry list of people who wanted him dead from the military, the CIA, the Russians, the mob, to maybe a husband who didn't like JFK bedding his wife. Or in some quarters they wanted JFK and Bobbie gone to keep corrupt crooked old man Kennedy's influence out of the White House. My moneys on Lady Bird as she wanted her darling "let's make a deal" Lyndon in the White House so she could have the prestige of being First Lady.

Posted by: snedly arkus | Mar 27 2019 4:06 utc | 55

You've got some kind of mojo working b. I can't say enough how much I appreciate your ability to look at something that is so convoluted and then untangle it and strip it down to it's essence. It's a remarkable skill. Thank you so much, for all of this.

I also want to say how much I appreciate everyone who comments, even when I disagree. Who wants to live in an echo chamber anyway? All the info, views, and perspectives are priceless. Thank you to all.

Posted by: mourning dove | Mar 27 2019 4:07 utc | 56

ot - some interesting bullshit from the usa state dept on north korea embassy in spain, golan heights dynamic and etc. for anyone who has the stomach for it..

Posted by: james | Mar 27 2019 6:04 utc | 57

The new leak now again aggravates the situation. It shows that Trump has little real say about his administration's policy. It shows that he was powerless when he tried to undo the sanctions that had worsened the situation in the first place.

Lemme see now, Trump pulled funding from the Palestinians, the vast majority of whom live below the poverty line. Trump increased military aid to KSA to pound the Yemeni people out of existence,and protected MbinSaw tyrant butcher of Yemen. Trump tightened sanctions on Venezuela before he attempted a failed and abject coup. Today he again tightened sanctions on Iran that hurt mostly Iranians who suffered years of sanctions before the Iran deal put an end to those sanctions, the same deal that Trump tore up and replaced with even more sanctions!

This week he tried to reduce hurricane relief for devastated Puerto Ricans, the same people he threw toilet paper at, after the hurricane ripped apart their island and now he's trying to kill the entirety of the ACA Obamacare that contains protection for people with pre-exsting conditions, but ACCORDING TO YOUR GREAT INTUITION, Trump's a really good guy who always wants to be nice to people and do the right thing, who especially has a bleeding heart for North Koreans, and Bolton's the really bad guy who twists his arm not to be so good!

TDS - TRUMP DELUSION SYNDROME or just plain...bullshet. Every time I read Trump propaganda I feel like my intelligence has just been insulted. It's much more offensive when I read it here though, because somehow, stupid me, I come expecting the truth over Trump and a refuge from so much Ziomerican bullshet. My bad to expect so much.

Posted by: Circe | Mar 27 2019 6:25 utc | 58

It's almost certain that the news that info recovered by the FBI (wot? - well cia kills humans inside the usa so why shouldn't the feebs raid the North Korean embassy in Madrid?) had a lot to do with the collapse of the Hanoi talks and now the instigations of new layers to the siege of North Korea.
Factions is a bit of a misnomer. What we have in the US is the same as what happens in every administration from I dunno, the queen of Sheba's reign to Trump's circus of numbnuts & ninnies.
Everyone has a certain amount of power deriving from their bailiwick. They use it and a 'strong' administration is one where the bailiwicks have immutable shared priorities. Not Donny's which has every flavour of lamebrain squashed into the whitehouse joketank. Donny who however ambivalent he may have been rumoured to be about winning the prez gig, had a brief period of ruling off the top of his head before the reality of US political cycles had to be acknowledged. For Donny has a rather large ego and is now tied to winning once more so as not to be dismissed as a lame one term prez, a one hit wonder. That means he has had to cut deals to get the support he needs to win again.
One of his backers has insisted on Bolton for whatever reason, who knows why but it is prolly entirely unconnected with Korea, however that backer also has to put up with whatever mad cats are loose in Bolton's brain - whatever - now the hairdo has to put up with hawks winding up for wars. The hairdo is likely fucked on this as the other instigators of hatred for North Korea are the FBI and the 'do has to tread carefully round them lest the russiagate farce get serious once more it would have taken a lot to get that mess under the carpet in the first place. It doesn't matter what the truth is or isn't in these circumstances, what matters is what US opinion makers say the truth is.

It doesn't matter if scammers operating outta the DPRK are running a dope conduit or whiteslaving (dontcha just love that loaded term) rort out of the embassies or not - the feebs believe they are so for them that is an irrefutable truth. See this mess/lie can a worms

So the 'do must throw them a bone every now and again. That is how this game works as well as being why imagining things can change more than cosmetically when "the people have spoken" at an election is the biggest joke of all.

Posted by: Dept of Edumacation | Mar 27 2019 6:31 utc | 59

Thanks for covering and pulling all that together b.
I see US attempts for a peaceful occupation of Afghanistan are not going so well either.
"Washington’s relationship with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani appears increasingly at risk of permanent damage, the consequence of a U.S. policy shift that has so far excluded his government from talks with the Taliban..."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Mar 27 2019 9:34 utc | 60

Mourning Dove @ 56:

I'm sure I speak for many in saying we MoA barflies are honoured by your presence on the comments forums. We should be thanking you for your stimulating contributions!

Posted by: Jen | Mar 27 2019 10:26 utc | 61

@ imo 46

Agree that’s likely.

@ bevin 41

I agree with JR’s reply that the various “factions” are united on precisely the issues we’re discussing.

Either Trump picked the neocons or the neocons picked Trump, depending on who we think held or holds the power. But, either way, Trump is sticking with them. He decided to advance this faction’s agenda.

If he was actually trying to bring peace to any part of the world, he’d “go off-script” and do something like hire Chomsky to replace Bolton.

When Trump pays lip service to detente on any front, it’s just playing to the hopeful. His entire salesman life, Trump tells people what they want to hear regardless of his plan. I think anyone who believes those nicer sounding Trump pronouncements is being “played”.

Posted by: oo goo gachoo | Mar 27 2019 11:07 utc | 62

Can the Treasury Dept Issue New Sanctions without Trump approving it?

This kind of sounds like a big deal unless they are acting within some previous authorization.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Mar 27 2019 11:52 utc | 63

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Mar 27, 2019 7:52:13 AM | 63

That is certainly one of the critical questions at this point so far as Trump's true intentions are concerned.

However I agree with Karlof that most important is that NK and SK remain united in working together to achieve reunification regardless of US obstruction/destruction. In this respect it would be harmful for NK to take out US obstruction on NK-SK dialogue - i.e. pull out staff from the NK-SK coordination unit - unless that was a move agreed in concert with SK for Kabuki theatrical effect in order to achieve strategic goals wrt. the US, as I suspect may well be the case (i.e. to send an important message to the US).

It is also possible that Trump's moves and/or deception with regard to the sanctions was also involving Kabuki theatre directly and knowingly related to the NK Kabuki moves. Either way what matters most are the long term geostratregic moves made by NK and SK to attain their goals and to block/circumvent US obstruction, and Kim will be ready to sacrifice the odd pawn to achieve that. Sanctions relief matters, especially for the long suffering NK population, but I believe the NK people have shown themselves ready to make necessary sacrifices. Fortunately I have more confidence in the geostrategic planning of Kim than of Trump, and he certainly has far more brilliant strategists behind him in Putin and Xi et al than Trump has in the US.

It seems to me a bit like a Cold War dance between the US and the Soviet Union over some geostrategically important objective in a third country where both sides had conflicting interests, but neither side had free play; each side moves pieces that can be seen by the public, but the full significance of those moves is not publicly visible.

Posted by: BM | Mar 27 2019 12:44 utc | 64

OT - An important article from Tom Luongo on Macron and the Gilets Jaunes:

Globalism’s Last Disgrace: The Army vs. the Yellow Vests

... Because the real fear for Macron is not a violent demonstration that ends with protestors shot and killed. No, the real fear is the protests that are peaceful. ... So, while the people started this fight for the future of France it will be the military that ends it. And woe to Macron and the French political elite if the military on the ground sides with the people they were sent to shoot.

I think the probabilities that Macron will actually face criminal charges after he loses power - as he soon certainly will - are high and rising very fast.

The EU elections in France in May will be very interesting, if Macron lasts that long. Without question his support in the EU Parliament will be annihilated, the only question is who will be which way(s) most of the votes will go and in what proportion, especially between Le Pen and Melenchon. If I am wrong that Macron's support will be annihilated, that would certainly bode very badly for the thereby implied deep conflict between supporters of the Gilets Jaunes and supporters of Macron, but I very much doubt Macron has any existential support outside the elite themselves.

In these EU elections the EU is facing three diabolical and existential attacks - the Gilets Jaunes, Brexit, and the new government in Italy. Macron's actions against the Gilets Jaunes at this point will have a dramatic and pivotal effect on the British and Italian votes, and on sentiments throughout the whole of Europe. The conflicts with Hungary and other countries will also be important. Greece will also be affected. There could be an earthquake.

I think we can almost say that if the elites want any chance at all of saving Project Europe, they will have to urgently force Macron and his whole government to resign, and call nationwide elections at the same time as the EU elections. That option would itselft be virtual political suicide for the elites (and therefore they will not do it), but not to do it will be even more complete suicide for the elites.

Interesting times coming the next two months, as someone pointed out the other day.

Posted by: BM | Mar 27 2019 13:35 utc | 65

Oh, the comment about the Gilets Jaunes I just posted a moment ago seems to have been swallowed, maybe because it had (only one) link to an article by Tom Luongo. Hopefully it will be released soon.

For when it eventually appears, I want to add this: It would be highly prudent at this point if the French military will actively seek to promote a peaceful, non-threatening, amicable and jovial atmosphere with the protestors. One can only hope.

Posted by: BM | Mar 27 2019 13:43 utc | 66

C I eh? | Mar 26, 2019 4:48:59 PM | 22

The only sustainable fascist social system is India and so we will have a slightly more complicated version of their caste system implemented further over the next several decades.

Your comment made me spit my coffee. Good one!
You surely do not mince your words.
Unfortunately it really looks like they aim for a cast system as their end game globalist plan. I mean either side does. Add also to the equation that Indian religions/belief systems are full with symbology of the 'new physics' (which is really as old as the stars) globalists try to manipulate/immitate while they compete with each other and agaist us all. Nothing is new under the Sun. Pathetic reruns. Ohh its the jews this time! Uhh its the Americans! Oh maybe its the evil Chinese...
Its just our collective sins.

(posted also as an answer to SlapHappy)

Posted by: flux capacitor | Mar 27 2019 14:34 utc | 67

There are repeated posts here based on the premise that it's not the king, but his advisers who are responsible for the Bad Things happening. The one above is merely the latest. The principle is flawed.

I'm sorry, but when it comes to foreign policy the President is boss. The President even has a covert military directly reporting, the CIA. There is only one institution in US politics that can contest the president on foreign policy: The military. The military is never united, so anyone requiring a open, clear and coherent expression and execution of policy will forever be relieved that the goal posts are comfortably out of reach. But anyone who thinks Trump is not deliberately fostering even more military power hasn't paid attention to his budget. It wasn't an accident he tried putting so many military men in the administration, only to discover cut throat military politics doesn't ever stop, especially when a general is in the White House. Trump made his promises to the military during the campaign and has delivered on every item but one. He hasn't fired generals who can't do the job. The military knows that you do not give up territory until you've been defeated. South Korea will not go free.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Mar 27 2019 15:39 utc | 68

Mossad and IDF-'Unit 8200' Op. discovered:


Operations in 45 Countries
By Bill Marczak, John Scott-Railton, Sarah McKune, Bahr Abdul Razzak, and Ron Deibert September 18, 2018

In this post, we develop new Internet scanning techniques to identify 45 countries in which operators of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware may be conducting operations.

Key Findings
Between August 2016 and August 2018, we scanned the Internet for servers associated with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. We found 1,091 IP addresses that matched our fingerprint and 1,014 domain names that pointed to them. We developed and used Athena, a novel technique to cluster some of our matches into 36 distinct Pegasus systems, each one which appears to be run by a separate operator.
We designed and conducted a global DNS Cache Probing study on the matching domain names in order to identify in which countries each operator was spying. Our technique identified a total of 45 countries where Pegasus operators may be conducting surveillance operations. At least 10 Pegasus operators appear to be actively engaged in cross-border surveillance.
Our findings paint a bleak picture of the human rights risks of NSO’s global proliferation. At least six countries with significant Pegasus operations have previously been linked to abusive use of spyware to target civil society, including Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Pegasus also appears to be in use by...

citizelab article HIDE AND SEEK

Posted by: no snowden no problem | Mar 27 2019 15:45 utc | 69

@56 mourning dove..thanks! i 2nd @61 jens comment to you!

Posted by: james | Mar 27 2019 16:00 utc | 70

snedly arkus @55--

I've written about the illegality and unconstitutional nature of unilateral--"selective" in your parlance--sanctions, and repeatedly stated that the UNSC is the only lawfully authorized agency given the ability to levy sanctions on seemingly dozens of occasions on an almost daily basis. So, I can only surmise that you either neglect to read what I write, or that your comment is a one-timer.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 27 2019 16:15 utc | 71

@ Ben | Mar 26, 2019 11:42:04 PM | 53

I would argue the the military-industrial-complex and the goddamn criminal CIA are running this country.


We know from the work of Frances Stone Saunders that the CIA, immediately after being chartered by the Congress, began violating that charter by infiltrating the nation's major news outlets. We know from Mike Ruppert that, again in full violation of their charter, they infiltrated the Los Angeles Police Department, and there is no reason to suppose that they weren't doing that all over the country.

There is every reason to suspect that after all this time has passed, their agents have climbed to positions of authority within many of those entities (WaPo, anyone?), and it is also reasonable to suppose that they have taken over other agencies and other corporations as well.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Mar 27 2019 17:00 utc | 72


Frances Stonor Saunders . . .

Posted by: AntiSpin | Mar 27 2019 17:01 utc | 73

Jen and James
You are too kind, thank you.

Posted by: mourning dove | Mar 27 2019 17:08 utc | 74

AntiSpin @71--

Agree that the enemy within is the CIA and the governing faction who brought it into existence. IMO, its initial task was to undermine the UN Charter's ability to constrain US unilateralism since the UN Charter couldn't be repudiated for political reasons. And when you look deeply into its actions, that's precisely what its done.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 27 2019 17:08 utc | 75

Superbowl democracy : pick the red team or pick the blue, truly won't matter which you do, none of the wrestling is really true, just a sham of a showdown staged for you, a snare of a circus we're forced to view, where puppets pose and pretend to duel, and the House will always win...

The Big Game is starting, so come see the Show,
Winning or losing, naught else to know,
"The Good Guys are winning!", "The Good Guys are losing!",
But Good's only measured by the Team that you're choosing

Divide et impera, bid them wave flags, tatter their unity to internecine rags.
Mask your Dominion, diverging in twain, lead both sides affray while you buttress your reign.

Posted by: dhimero | Mar 27 2019 17:45 utc | 76

If we, the subjugated citizenry of global "democracies", have any chance to reclaim our autonomy from the Dominion of a ruling elite, it is imperative that we liberate our minds from the false "Us vs Them" political paradigm instituted by this Dominion to shatter our unity through a "Divide and Rule" control mechanism. Forced to select a team (Lib vs Con, Dem vs Rep,"Left" vs Right) from within a contrived set of co-opted choices, we surrender our sovereignty to a commandeered partisan organization which henceforward will inform us of our prescribed opinions and stances, and inculcate within us an obsessive urge to continuously but impotently wage war with our "enemies" from the other team -- the Big Game of dissipatory tribalism which conveniently removes the target from a Dominion which could otherwise be rightly dethroned had we retained just a remnant of our solidarity.

The primary instrument used to maintain this false paradigm which camouflages a ruling Dominion, is an unceasing policy of Plausible Opposibility, whereby the reigning entity seeks to deny its own agency (or even its existence) through constant disinfomative promotion of themes citing illusory "divisions" and "faction" amongst the upper echelons, themes which serve to reinforce credibility in the stage-managed partisan conflict of the Big Game, while flagrantly ignoring the undeniable Continuity of Policy that is advanced in lockstep across successive administrations. The duped partisans themselves --semi-lobotomized and rendered incapable of independent cognition by the propagandizing echo-chambers and controlled-media indoctrinations of their respective team apparati -- will be the most fervent defenders of this Paradigm which enslaves them and ironically neuters their political aspirations, mere puppets mouthing their assigned illogicalities, non-sequiturs and sophistry in spurious argumentation under the banner of Dominion Denial ("They don't exist!", "Its not so monolithic!", "They're not smart enough!", "Conspiracy theories!").

The soul-crushing cage created by the Big Game arena is so strong, and we so reduced... yet we must break its chains if we ever are to be free.

I'm hoping for a real Post-Partisan awakening before its too late,
Proud to be Not-a partisan, choose NOTA (none of the above)

Posted by: cassandro | Mar 27 2019 17:47 utc | 77

I find it derisive that you persist in excluding Trump from responsibility for his policies when everyday he's on camera and twitter proving you wrong and spewing his Neocon bullshet. Just today he addressed his Venezuela policy and his unilateral theft for Israel of Syrian land. You've lost all credibility in continuing with the narrative that he's caving to someone else. Trump has been playing games with North Korea from the start to get Kim to give up his nukes. He's pulling everything including pretending he was against more sanctions and pulling them to show his magnanimity. As I proved before he cares squat about little foreign people even faceless Americans with health issues and Americans on island American territory. He only cares about his billionare buddies especially if the are Zionist.

Posted by: Circe | Mar 27 2019 18:12 utc | 78

@41 bevin.. as you know i always enjoy reading your comments.. you are typically insightful and knowledgeable on a good many topics and i find myself learning something when i read your comments.. so, thanks for the ongoing comments here..

however, i am curious about a quote you have given and whether you think changes might have happened that are too late to take back? i am thinking of eisenhowers words about the military industrial complex applying to the cia-fbi at this point?

your quote "What you are missing are the dozens of indications that the US government is riven by factions struggling for control over policies in every area." what about the idea that the cia has the upper hand, or even if not the upper hand, a place at the table that is significant enough to manipulate a good number of the players? it seems to me the usa is one big shrouded in secrecy state at this point.. this is why people like julian assange, manning, snowden and etc, evoke the wrath of this same organization that wants to keep a lid on everything.. meanwhile the msm is feeding from this same polluted trough - the cia... as i see it the cia have an agenda.. they need to be done away with.. they are the equivalent of all secret service horror shows that have happened down thru history the past 75 or more years..

so, i suppose i am saying i tend to see it much like jackrabbit here.. you appear to imply it is wrong to come to this conclusion.. it is hard for me to see it differently at this point.. i suppose the question of what the agenda of the cia is here, and who are they working for, will distract this idea and make a joke of it.. it just seems like powerful forces are manipulating the public into a scenario where the only option is spending a zillion $ on war, preparation for war, and a clamp down on freedom of information and everything else that the concept of privacy relates to..

Posted by: james | Mar 27 2019 18:20 utc | 79

reply to Geoff 20
"..I suppose there might be threats to his family's well-being, but that sounds so mundane."
I think it is threats to his family, he clearly loves them and a death of anyone of them caused by his actions, however unwarranted, would devastate him.
He knows JFK and Jack was assassinated by the deep state and IMO JFK Jr was as well. He won't let that happen; so he will play along.
What would you do faced with the same situation? If he goes against them, they kill his family and then roll back whatever it was he changed.
His only way to win is to give the crazies enough rope to hang themselves and have the mob cry for their heads, might work, he has time as he will be reelected IMO

Posted by: frances | Mar 27 2019 18:47 utc | 80

reply to C I eh? 22 and flux capacitor 66

This is a bit off topic but the system the Globalists are going for is not Fascist; it is Feudal. Far, far worse IMO.
Look at the plans for UN 2050 and UN 2100, it is clear where this is headed and it has a great deal of wind in its sails.

Posted by: frances | Mar 27 2019 19:39 utc | 81

OT---to GS
I see that Trump is not taking up Putin's offer to save him from war--

Russia must get out of Venezuela, all options open - Trump

The US does not like picking wars with "enemies" that can fight back and Russia keeps showing up.

Posted by: arby | Mar 27 2019 20:08 utc | 82

Re 82,

If Putin really wants to avoid war with Washington, he has to reinforce -asap- the Russian
military contingents in Venezuela as this would show the resolve of the Russian Federation
in defending its interests in Venezuela. A few S300 and Pantsir batteries would be indicated.

Of course, if the Chinese were to send a few planes of military supplies and instructors
it would show that China is intent on safeguarding the 50plus billions it has invested in

Posted by: CarlD | Mar 27 2019 21:07 utc | 83

The USA "engages in war" (to wit: drop bmobs from drones and manned aircraft) exclusively upon defenseless nations. This is an historical fact.

Posted by: fast freddy | Mar 27 2019 21:09 utc | 84

@78 Circle

Right on. When someone who works for Trump defies him in plain sight, Trump is treated like a little toddler being pushed around. When some people went off the rails in the bowels of Langley in 2012, Obama was of course directly responsible for all of their actions.

Posted by: Schmoe | Mar 27 2019 22:49 utc | 85

Jackrabbit says:

I hope when you all come around to my view that Trump was SELECTED and the 2016 Presidential election was RIGGED by the Deep State (no Russia) that I will at least get a footnote in history

does this mean that by fortifying your patience with presumptuousness we're in for another two years (or more) of your peevish insistence?

hey, maybe you'll manage to defy Newton's third law of motion, in which case you'll no doubt garner all those accolades you seem to sorely want.

Posted by: john | Mar 28 2019 11:52 utc | 86

@41 bevin.. as you know i always enjoy reading your comments..

however, i am curious about a quote you have given and whether you think changes might have happened that are too late to take back? i am thinking of eisenhowers words about the military industrial complex applying to the cia-fbi at this point?

your quote "What you are missing are the dozens of indications that the US government is riven by factions struggling for control over policies in every area."

Posted by: james | Mar 27, 2019 2:20:04 PM | 79

The point is James that yes, the CIA have such a large place at the table and in all the back rooms and related institutions that they can (almost) always manipulate things to get what they want, but the power and control that they have is (still, thus far) illegitimate, on the one hand, and intrinsicly corrupt, on the other. One of the most important takeaways of the Russiagate puppet show is that under Obama the CIA/Deep State was very close to closing the gap to total and immutable control, and even the "officialisation" of the CIA ultimate control. (By "CIA" here I don't just mean what is officially CIA as a legally constituted institution, but overlapping with an illegal construct that includes ex-CIA such as Brennan on the one hand, and Deep State billionaire string-pullers - here not meaning the whole of the Deep State as a whole entity though - on the other. If Clinton had won the election, some of the things that came out in Russiagate indicate that that gap would have soon been closed and the (unofficial side of the) CIA would then be in total and immutable control (that is, until the total collapse of the US which would then be totally predestined and not far off). Now, as things stand, they might still achieve that but several obstacles stand in the way, and the hand and leverage of the non-CIA-(plus) minority at the table of power has been increased.

Don't make the mistake of assuming that everything is united under one leadership - people are not made that way. Whatever the organisation or institution or government, it is always made up of people. There are a multitude of reasons why individual human beings join an organisation, remain in it, support it, defend it, show (for the time being at least) allegiance to it - yet those individuals may or may not be ethically at one with the leadership and overall actions of that institution. Take for example an arbitrary Army "X", such as one of the more brutal armies of Latin America at the time when Operation Condor was in full swing - that army was regularly committing massacres of indigenous peoples and protestors and "leftists", torturing opponents, etc. Now take an arbitrary member of that army, person "Y", who is a human being. Does the fact that he is a soldier in that army, and true to that army, necessarily mean that he is evil, that he is either guilty of human rights offences or he supports human rights offences? He may feel dedicated to Army X even while despising those in control of its leadership and actions, or he may have pure faith in the purity and actions of his beloved army and believe that all rumours of misdeeds are misinformation and propaganda. Or maybe he is an intrinsic part of those misdeeds ... or maybe a part of the misdeeds in limited ways and at the same time disbelieving of the major part ... etc. I believe there are some poor souls who join the CIA genuinely believing they are doing a noble service to the protection of the American People and their Country - some will later become corrupted by offers of personal gain, others will be corrupted by ignorance, hubris and foolishness, others will become critical and leave, others will become critical but keep quiet and submit out of fear, others will become critical but think they can be a force for good from within or just want to try to do what they can, others will become whistleblowers, still others will waver between several of these options.

The CIA was born out of its predecessor WWII organisation the OSS, which in turn was set up very specifically as a joint operation with organised crime, and specifically the US-Italian mafia bosses, with the intention to use the Italian mafia on the ground to assist in the military assault on Italy under Mussolini. Using the Italian mafia as a terrorist/proxy force, in today's jargon. The joint nature of the operation with Mafia criminals was explicit from the start, and major mafia bosses were released from jail in New York and Chicago for the purpose. In reality there was nothing ethically superior about the "intelligence" leadership of the OSS and the leadership of the criminal gangs they partnered with, and the core of the OSS - warts and all - became the core of the CIA at its inception. Therefore there was never any point at which it "became" a criminal organisation - it was a criminal organisation from the moment of the inception of the OSS and uninterruptedly thereafter.

As an intrinsically criminal organisation, many of its gang members are easily swayed by greed for criminal profits on the side - whether promise of career advancement for compliance, semi-legal inducements from the MIC, personal participation in drug dealing, assistance of theft of gold from Syria/Libya, inflated "expenses", or whatever. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the CIA is often ineffective and incompetent, carries out foolish projects that never had much chance of success and massive blunders, for such is the nature of greed and criminal enterprise. By the same token - given that all large administrative organisations are intrinsically amorphous masses of discrete human beings - there will always be countering positions motivated by ethical principles, countering factions based on greed and struggles for power between and within factions, and complex combinations of both.

Much the same basic considerations apply to the FBI, which also ever since it's inception under Edgar Allen Hoover was using large scale illegal surveillance to gain information to blackmail fellow political and bureaucratic operatives.

Don't be swayed by simplistic commenters who try to bludgeon their point of view by endless repetition, James - that is just an example of the cognitive capture and the Illusory Truth Effect discussed recently by Caitlin Johnstone.

As the Empire descends into its final collapse - like the fall of Rome - it's many criminal factions, driven by greed, foolishness, fear and lack of serious interest in real issues, compete amongst each other in a race to the bottom - competing for gains, competing for influence, competing for power, and trying to protect their own backs from charges of criminal malfeasance. At the same time different factions have different strategic viewpoints just as commenters on this board have different viewpoints. Historically the CIA and FBI have always used surveillance of politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen and everybody under the sun to gain information to blackmail their opponents so that they can control everything, and this is why they have a privileged place at the table. But ultimately, a criminal organisation will always be undermined by the fact that it is a criminal organisation. It's votes at the table will always be substandard votes, inferior votes, dishonest votes, even when it manages to get it's way through underhand manipulation. There will always be those who resent it's power, there will always be those who try to undermine it when opportunities present themselves. Thence the US Government being "riven by factions struggling for control over policies in every area" that you question.

Posted by: BM | Mar 28 2019 16:19 utc | 87

@87 BM... thanks.. i realize it is complex, or complicated.. i like how you articulate it here and it makes sense everything you say..

i also agree with your comment about ''the empire descending into its final collapse'', as that is what it looks and feels like to me here.. perhaps you would like to comment on the thought the cia could mess up as it appears they did in the nk embassy attack in madrid on feb 22nd, as outlined in b's latest post? various posters hold different views on the cia.. some think they are incapable of messing up.. others think they did this to show the power they have.. and etc. etc... it is all speculation and it is happening and about the cia on the latest thread - "Judge Identifies CIA Related Man Who Led The Raid On North Korea's Embassy In Spain"..

i was unware of the OSS and the history you outline.. thank you for that.. it makes sense, everything you reminds me of the saying about everyone can feel a part of the elephant, but no one person has a complete picture.. i have essentially bastardized the saying as i can't remember it properly, but hopefully you get the idea.. we all see something from our own unique vantage point.. as a consequence, no one person has the complete picture.. thanks for your comment here BM!

Posted by: james | Mar 28 2019 16:49 utc | 88

The more blatant, the less actual control.
I've been reading the Allen Dulles book: The Craft of Intelligence.
Interesting but more for what is not said than what is.
The book is clearly a spin job - for example, there is very little mention of the "Bay of Pigs" except several comments that all such operations must be approved by American civilian leadership because that's the American way... ignoring the fact that he was forced to resign after the Bay of Pigs.
In any case, one of the many interesting comments:
(Speaking of Russian forgeries - fake news)
"The denials and the pinpointing of the evidence of fabrication ride so far behind the initial publication that the forgeries have already made their impact in spreading deception. On the other hand, the technique of forgery is not so readily available to Western intelligence in peacetime, for, quite apart from ethical considerations, there is too much danger of deceiving and misleading our own people and our own free press."

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 28 2019 22:07 utc | 89

Whilst trump has been made busy with an incessant maher&co yiddish late night cacophony, the sigals have taken over at State and Treasury and are ruling the roost with a gefilte flavour.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 29 2019 12:56 utc | 90

As far as the CIA is concerned, people tend to forget who controls the CIA. To quote L. Fletcher Prouty:

It is not the President who instructs the CIA concerning what it will do. And in many cases it is not even the Director of Central Intelligence who instructs the CIA. The CIA is a great, monstrous machine with tremendous and terrible power. It can be set in motion from the outside like a programmer setting a computer in operation, and then it covers up what it is doing when men like Frank Hand -- the real movers -- put grease on the correct gears. And in a majority of cases, the power behind it all is big business, big banks, big law firms and big money. The agency exists to be used by them.

Posted by: David Hollander | Mar 29 2019 15:23 utc | 91

perhaps you would like to comment on the thought the cia could mess up as it appears they did in the nk embassy attack in madrid on feb 22nd, as outlined in b's latest post? various posters hold different views on the cia.. some think they are incapable of messing up
Posted by: james | Mar 28, 2019 12:49:23 PM | 88

The CIA are not incapable of messing things up - on the contrary they are virtually incapable of NOT messing up. In the unlikely case they will have success with something, it is usually thanks to several flukes that their bothching up did not lead to failure. The CIA is incompetent in everything they do. Whatever they manage to achieve is only through flukes, brute force, and fortuitously botching up wrongly. Compared to professional intelligence agencies of Russia, the former Soviet Union, and all the former Eastern European countries the CIA is nothing but crap. The Americans can do Sigint well, but are a catastrophic failure at humint. The Sigint in the US, however, is mainly the responsibility of the NSA not the CIA.

It is not really surprising that the CIA are such a failure, because they are a profoundly corrupt criminal enterprise. Everything they do is sullied by their corruption, and their greed for personal benefit. Clean professional intelligence work cannot exist in such an environment.

Posted by: BM | Mar 31 2019 14:56 utc | 92

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