Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 16, 2019

Trump Administration Withholds Information That Could Debunk Russian Interference Claims

On Tuesday Russia's President Putin again rejected U.S. claims that his country interfered in the 2016 elections in the United States. Additional statements by Foreign Minister Lavrov provide that there is more information available about alleged Russian cyber issue during the election. He pointed to exchanges between the Russian and U.S. governments that Russia wants published but which the U.S. is withholding.

On Tuesday May 14 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Sochi to meet with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov and with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. It was Pompeo's first official visit to Russia. Pompeo's meeting with Lavrov was followed by a joined news conference. The statements from both sides touched on the election issue.

The State Department published a full transcript and video of the press conference in English language. The Russian Foreign Ministry provided an official English translation of only Lavrov's part.  Both translations differ only slightly.

Here are the relevant excerpts from the opening statements with regard to cyber issues.

Lavrov:

We agreed on the importance of restoring communications channels that have been suspended lately, which was due in no small part to the groundless accusations against Russia of trying to meddle in the US election. These allegations went as far as to suggest that we colluded in some way with high-ranking officials from the current US administration. It is clear that allegations of this kind are completely false. [...] I think that there is a fundamental understanding on this matter as discussed by our presidents during their meeting last year in Helsinki, as well as during a number of telephone conversations. So far these understandings have not been fully implemented.

Pompeo:

[W]e spoke, too, about the question of interference in our domestic affairs. I conveyed that there are things that Russia can do to demonstrate that these types of activities are a thing of the past and I hope that Russia will take advantage of those opportunities.

During the Q & A Shaun Tanron of AFP asked Pompeo about the election issue:

[I]f I could follow up on your statement about the election, you said that there are things that Russia could do to show that election interference is a thing of the past. What are those things? What do – what would you like Russia to do? Thank you very much.

Lavrov responded first to the question. He said that there is no evidence that shows any Russian interference in the U.S. elections. He continued:

Speaking about the most recent US presidential campaign in particular, we have had in place an information exchange channel about potential unintended risks arising in cyberspace since 2013. From October 2016 (when the US Democratic Administration first raised this issue) until January 2017 (before Donald Trump's inauguration), this channel was used to handle requests and responses. Not so long ago, when the attacks on Russia in connection with the alleged interference in the elections reached their high point, we proposed publishing this exchange of messages between these two entities, which engage in staving off cyberspace incidents. I reminded Mr Pompeo about this today. The administration, now led by President Trump, refused to do so. I’m not sure who was behind this decision, but the idea to publish this data was blocked by the United States. However, we believe that publishing it would remove many currently circulating fabrications. Of course, we will not unilaterally make these exchanges public, but I would still like to make this fact known.

The communication channel about cyber issues did indeed exist. In June 2013 the Presidents of the United States and Russia issued a Joint Statement about "Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs)". The parties agreed to establishing communication channels between each other computer emergency response teams, to use the direct communication link of the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers for cyber issue exchanges, and to have direct communication links between high-level officials in the White House and Kremlin for such matter. A Fact Sheet published by the Obama White House detailed the implementation of these three channels.

One inference from Lavrov's statement is that the "fundamental understanding on this matter"  between the two presidents that has "not been fully implemented" is the release of the communications about cyberspace incidents. The Russians clearly think that a release of the communications with the Obama administration would exculpate them. That would also exculpate Trump from any further collusion allegations. Why then does the Trump administration reject the release? Who is blocking it?

Pompeo did not respond to Lavrov's points. His next meeting that day was with President Putin.

Putin let him wait for three hours. Both sides issued short opening statements. The English translations of what Putin said differ. In the version provided by Russia Putin explicitely denies the alleged election interference:

For our part, we have said many times that we would also like to restore relations on a full scale. I hope that the necessary conditions for this are being created now since, despite the exotic character of Mr Mueller’s work, he should be given credit for conducting what is generally an objective inquiry. He reaffirmed the lack of any trace or collusion between Russia and the current administration, which we described as sheer nonsense from the very start. There was no, nor could there be any interference on our part in the US election at the government level. Nevertheless, regrettably, these allegations have served as a reason for the deterioration of our interstate ties.

The State Department version does not include the Russian denial of election interference but doubles the rejection of the collusion claim:

On our behalf, we have said it multiple times that we also would like to rebuild fully fledged relations, and I hope that right now a conducive environment is being built for that, because, though, however exotic the work of Special Counsel Mueller was, I have to say that on the whole he had a very objective investigation and he confirmed that there are no traces whatsoever of collusion between Russia and the incumbent administration, which we’ve said was absolutely fake. As we’ve said before, there was no collusion from our government officials and it could not be there. Still, that was – that was one of the reasons certainly breaking our (inaudible) ties.

An English language live translation of that paragraph (vid) by the Russian sponsored Ruptly does not include the word 'election' in the highlighted sentence, nor does a live translation (vid) by PBS.

It seem that the Kremlin later inserted the explicit denial of election interference into Putin's statement. It is quite possible that Putin, who did not read from a prepared paper, mangled the talking point that Lavrov had already made.

After the meeting Putin, Pompeo held a short press availability with the U.S. journalists accompanying him. There is no mentioning of Lavrov's point.

There were secret communications between the Obama administration and the Russian government about the alleged election interference and 'hacks' of the DNC and of Clinton's campaign manager Podesta. They are not mentioned in the Mueller report nor in any other open source. As Russia wants these communications released it might be possible to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to press for their publication. The Trump administration response to such a FOIA request could at least reveal the reasons why it is withholding them.

The allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 elections are partly based on the fact that a commercial Russian enterprise used fake characters on Facebook to sell advertisement. A review of the themes and ideological positions those fake characters provided demonstrates that they were not designed to influence the U.S. elections.

In contrast to those Russian fakes other fake characters on Facebook, provided by an Israeli company and revealed today, were clearly designed to influence elections:

Facebook said Thursday it banned an Israeli company that ran an influence campaign aimed at disrupting elections in various countries and has canceled dozens of accounts engaged in spreading disinformation.
...
Many were linked to the Archimedes Group, a Tel Aviv-based political consulting and lobbying firm that boasts of its social media skills and ability to "change reality."
...
On its website, Archimedes presents itself as a consulting firm involved in campaigns for presidential elections.

Little information is available beyond its slogan, which is "winning campaigns worldwide," and a vague blurb about the group's "mass social media management" software, which it said enabled the operation of an "unlimited" number of online accounts.

Don't expect any protest from Washington DC about such obvious election interference in other countries.

---
Hat tip to Aaron Maté for pointing out Lavrov's statement

Posted by b on May 16, 2019 at 18:11 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Grieved @ 86

I'm usually very happy to read links, but on the interview transcript you linked, I have to disagree with the analysis
on why so many in the US were disappointed by the result of the Russiagate investigation. First, Professor Mate'
supposes that so many voted for Trump as a messiah, and that's how he won. Then he supposes that so many believe the
Russiagate claims because they are confused and want clarity:

"... I really believe that really this Russiagate narrative was, on the part of a lot of people, a sign of genuine upset at
something genuinely upsetting. "

To my mind, this isn't what was going on during the electoral process. It doesn't explain how Trump won to say 'folk
thought of him as a messiah'. He won because for people who were actively involved in analysis of the two main
candidates, he was the lesser evil.

What is problematic about the interview begins with that factor. And the real tragedy of so many people's 'genuine upset'
is that people still are influenced by what they read, see, and hear in the mainstream press of the US, which has become
a propaganda narrative toxic to normal consumption. One might overvalue one's ability to remain objective; I don't. I
know I would be influenced, were I to be watching, reading, absorbing any of it. For the same reason I stopped listening
to Obama once he became a warmonger - and I've stopped listening to Trump as well. I stopped calling them President,
because in my book they don't deserve the title.

We get, or don't get, our information from the mainstream press. Until we don't. And currently we don't, and we have
also to be careful of who says what online. It's a huge loss and it is very real in the United States today, this
century.

That's the 'something genuinely upsetting.' We have lost the Fourth Estate; it's corporate now, and it's powerful.

Posted by: juliania | May 17 2019 13:27 utc | 101

As to b's question about who and why the Putin request hasn't been responded to, I would remind folk of the occurrences during Ukraine's early upheavals. Russians had information on many western claims of who did what, and they published them. They didn't stand on protocol then but gave presentations of the information their satellites or radar or on the ground observations provided, because the world needed to know the truth.

I'm glad they are at least revealing that the information is out there on this issue. Those of us who have been able to follow links to Putin's speeches at various forums here know that he has more integrity than any of our US leaders this century. And Lavrov leaves Kissinger panting in the dust of his smooth passage into history; he's a great man.

Posted by: juliania | May 17 2019 13:51 utc | 102

And now this - - -
https://www.rt.com/news/459511-police-raid-venezuelan-embassy-dc/
Posted by: Mark2 | May 17, 2019 7:04:57 AM | 102

Sickening. I feel Venezuela needs to take action against the sovereignty of the US embassy in Caracas in response to this. Venezuela should enter and search the US embassy. The US needs to be shown forcefully that this is a road that cannot be followed with impunity - not just by Venezuela but by the world.

Diplomacy and the law on diplomacy is founded critically on the principle of reciprocity, without which it cannot exist. I feel sure that under international law Venezuela must be entitled to take extreme action against the US embassy in Caracas because the US action is an act of war. If the US were to invade Venezuela at its border that would be a violation of its territorial sovereignty and Venezuela would be legally entitled to invade the US. If its diplomatic sovereignty is violated it must also have rights of retribution.

This cannot be viewed in isolation - not long ago the US violated Russian diplomatic territory in the US, and more recently was quite obviously involved in the attack on the North Korean Embassy in Spain, as was declared by the Spanish judge. If the US so categorically displays its lack of respect for diplomatic law, perhaps it could be said that the diplomatic immunity of US diplomats under international law is invalid! Legal scholars around the world should look at such questions.

All countries in the world are under threat of US aggression against their diplomatic sovereignty, and the safety of their diplomats, and all assumptions regarding diplomatic status and protocols are seriously threatened. In particular, the presence of the UN headquarters in the US is a danger to all countries. Therefore all countries need to reject very forcefully this behavious of the US. If many countries were to make a mass coordinated expulsion of hundreds and hundreds of US diplomats around the world, that would be an appropriate action (but not of itself sufficient).

Russia, China (and Spain?) need to take action at the UN, both in the Security Council and in the General Assembly.

This is a grievous affront to diplomacy in its very essence, and needs to be treated as such. It is not just an issue of Venezuela.

Posted by: BM | May 17 2019 14:34 utc | 103

BM

Two wrongs don't make a right.

Venezuela, and those advising Venezuela, know that Venezuela must resist smartly or risk the full wrath of USA. That's why they haven't arrested Guido, who is now practically begging to be arrested by openly conspiring with US military.

It's better to let your enemies pound sand than to give them ammunition.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 17 2019 14:42 utc | 104

@83/86 grieved.. thanks..

@103 juliania.. thanks for your comments too... so, americans are genuinely upset and confused? your take is that the msm is largely responsible.. trump presented himself as the peace and reconciliation candidate.. i know people voted for him, thanks this.. clearly they were fooled.. i would be upset and confused too.. until something changes in the usa, people are going to continue to be genuinely upset and potentially confused.. what will it be? will the msm change its stripes? will a new leader appear that actually represents what the people want??

it seems to me no matter russiagate, or any other number of issues - it is an incredibly divisive atmosphere in the world today, perhaps more so in the usa, but definitely world wide at this point.. aside from the concern, or not for climate change, the increasing divide between those who have and those who don't, the constant talk of war, and etc. etc. etc. - all lend to people feeling very divided and out of joint with the world today.. when the leaders are unable to seek a solution to these outstanding issues which i think are shared by many, and not just myself - there is disillusionment over this..

for me, corporations are now calling the shots.. the leadership is beholden to corporations.. the disparity in wealth, disregard for the environment, use of war or financial sanctions to bully others, are more symptoms of this approach.. it isn't working and it can't work and yet there are no leaders in a position to address any of it.. clearly, the leadership must come from the bottom, as what we are being given at the top with individuals like trump, clinton, trudeau, macron and etc. etc. - isn't working...

it isn't just russiagate..russiangate is just another divisive distraction.. one could say it was taylor made for the msm and some political pundits that want to walk a dark cul de sac, to never return.. alternatively, it is also being used to divide people..

i think we are in a crescendo that is reaching it's peak.. i hope it is soon.. i don't know how the tension gets released, but there is a lot of it..

Posted by: james | May 17 2019 14:56 utc | 105

tailor, taylor.. oh well.. i really ought to use the preview window..

Posted by: james | May 17 2019 14:58 utc | 106

BM@105
I totally agree with all you say there ! And you put it so better than I could, thank you !
I would add to your list - - - u s pressuring and bribing Equidor with four billion dollars prior to gaining access’ to their London embassy re- Assange
Jackrabbit @ 106
Sorry but your totally totally wrong ! How did that strategy work with Hitler ? How many died! You could only redeem your concept by telling us just how to stop these world Domination nut-jobs.
Wait and see no longer cuts it !!

Posted by: Mark2 | May 17 2019 15:06 utc | 107

india is in the middle of an election.. it happens this weekend
Posted by: james | May 16, 2019 9:52:23 PM | 77

According to wikipedia the election in India is almost over! It occurs in 7 phases, and only the last 11% of constituencies will vote on the 19th May - the rest have voted already. So Modi's decision on Iran oil cannot significantly affect election results. The vote count is on 23rd May and the results are to be declared the same day. 900 million people are voting/have voted in over a million polling stations!

The vote is using nearly 4 million electronic voting machines (with - supposedly - paper printout) so Modi has a good opportunity to fabricate votes.

Posted by: BM | May 17 2019 15:25 utc | 108

It seem that the Kremlin later inserted the explicit denial of election interference into Putin's statement.

The exact Putin's words on the video were: "... никакого вмешательства с нашей стороны в выборы в США не было на государственном уровне, и быть не могло"
Translation: "... there was no interference of any kind from our side in the U.S. elections at the government level, and there could not be any"

Posted by: Belomor | May 17 2019 15:33 utc | 109

As Russia wants these communications released it might be possible to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to press for their publication. - b

A previous FOIA related to this matter, not about the R-US communications, it concerns the leaks and Seth Rich, was very broad. (All info is in the PDF, it was an interesting attempt.) It got nowhere, of course. So I wouldn’t put any hope into that kind of move..see rationales.

http://lawflog.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/2018.10.04-Letter-from-NSA.pdf

Imho, the Establishment, e.g. Mueller the Mega-Fixer, and his non-report, is simply busy hiding, supressing, with big payments, coercing etc. (or by using more dire and violent methods..), any and all info that would show that the DNC leaks, the published Podesta e-mails, and possible possession of (all or parts) of Killary’s private e-mail server (Weiner lap-top for ex?) are somehow to be laid at Russia’s door.

... Rather than to complete corruption and madness in the D apparatus, which has incorporated criminal spongers, profiteers, possibly blackmailers, and other extraction schemes and dark games, thereby pushing a few aghast individuals to ‘leak’.

(I still have trouble with Seth Rich as DNC leaker, but that is another story.)

Mueller did not find any evidence against Trump / entourage / Repubs. He tried to quash everything. Imho, the ‘stasis’ is held up by

a) if Trump was directly, seriously accused with or even without solid evidence (of what exactly is moot, etc.) he would publish a heap of incredibly damaging info on his adversaries, the Swamp

b) if the Dems (Obama, Clinton, their various team mates and lackeys) are shown to be total corrupt deviant scum-bags, they would retaliate blindly with other dirt, which would be very damaging (not Stormy Daniels sex stuff)

c) which would lead to the destruction of the present pol system, all the top enthroned actors would lose their glorious status and millions, so is to be avoided at all costs.

Imho, that is the reason for ‘Russia blaming’ - it provides ‘scape-goating’ of course (Dem loss of election - they didn’t blame Trump, or Cruz, Repubs, vote fraud, did they?) but goes further, it externalises and projects the conflict onto another party, creates fantastic muddle, thus completely obscuring what is really going on. Russia Russia screams distract. Plus, hyping outside threats guarantee funding for the MIC, who practically own the pol system, so that is always good to go.

Posted by: Noirette | May 17 2019 15:49 utc | 110

Peter AU 1 @99--

"How long has exceptional nation been part of US culture."

The term Manifest Destiny was coined in 1845, but its tenets have existed since the Mayflower landed at Plymouth. One can even read the beginnings of the concept in More's Utopia back in 1516. As is pointed out here, "French political scientist and historian Alexis de Tocqueville was the first writer to describe the country as 'exceptional' in 1831 and 1840," but to Stalin goes the credit of coining the term American Exceptionalism, which makes it somewhat recent. Wikipedia's discussion on Manifest Destiny is very good and shows how many additional factors/concepts are subsumed within it. I would say the Puritans of New England were the group that founded and pushed the idea the most. I should also note the existence of 5 outstanding paintings known as The Course of Empire, which are now displayed at New York's Gallery of Fine Arts. It's my understanding that the paintings were the motivation behind historian Bernard DeVoto's outstanding trilogy about the settlement and growth of the American Empire that he wrote during and after WW2: The Year of Decision, 1846 [1942]; Across the Wide Missouri [1947, Pulitzer Prize]; and The Course of Empire [1952, National Book Award]. DeVoto's prose style conveys what I'd call the Mysticalness of American Exceptionalism, and I must note the chronology is opposite from the publication dates--that the last book begins with Discovery and the first ends with the finalization of the Continental Empire. IMO, every family library within the Outlaw US Empire ought to contain his trilogy.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 17 2019 16:00 utc | 111

It's becoming clear that Trump will counterattack against Obama Justice Department and FBI officials using material uncovered by Mueller. Hopefully, the net will finally catch Hillary and the Clinton Foundation and give them what they deserve. It's not Trump I favor in this action but the enforcement of The Law that's been sadly lacking due to massive corruption for way too long. It's in this one realm where Trump's MAGA might finally show some success.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 17 2019 16:24 utc | 112

James, it's been a few days since I watched the interview, but I believe Gabor Maté was speaking mainly about why Democrats cling to the idea of Russian meddling as the answer to why HRC lost and how everything is so messed up now. That they are horrified that someone like trump could be elected. Rather than blaming themselves and their cohort they look for blame elsewhere.

Remember him saying on several occasions that one must "own" a feeling of despond and reason it out.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | May 17 2019 16:28 utc | 113

juliania @103 said "One might overvalue one's ability to remain objective; I don't. I know I would be influenced, were I to be watching, reading, absorbing any of [the mainstream press of the US]."

This is wisdom that more people in the West need to fully embrace.

Do you imagine that America's stealth bombers, mini tactical nukes, atom-powered aircraft carriers and such are amazing technological achievements? They pale in comparison with what the empire has achieved in mass mind control.

Think about it: The empire is run by capitalist oligarchs. What is even more important to such an oligarch than military dominance? Dominating markets, of course. Military dominance is just one way to accomplish that. Another way is through manipulating the minds of consumers. Businesses spend more on marketing than on research and development of the products that they are marketing. In fact, all that mass media is in the West is a vehicle for marketing. All of it, as in 100% of western mass media, exists for the sole purpose of influencing media consumers into behavior that the capitalist oligarchs find beneficial (profitable). What's more, it is marketing that enables the capitalist oligarchs to capture control over governments and thus gain control over militaries. The very same kind of mind control that causes media consumers to thirst for particular flavors of carbonated sugar water also steers them towards voting for particular flavors of oligarch-vetted politicians. If a media consumer thinks they can just will their way free of that mind control they are a fool.

I'd like to buy the world a coke and keep it company that's the real thing I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony I'd like to buy the world a coke and keep it company that's the real thing

The marketing jingle plays in your head unbidden, at least if you are old enough to remember that particular one from 1971. (Aside: That Coca-Cola marketing campaign coincided with Coca-Cola employing CIA death squads in Latin America and Indonesia to murder thousands of union organizers and activists. That's the real thing). Newer marketing campaigns are more subtle, while at the same time more powerful... technology has improved in the last half century.

Most westerners are thoroughly addicted to corporate mass media, and that is by design. It is intended to be addictive. How many people do readers here know who can turn their TVs off for a whole year? Who can shut out capitalist mass media entirely? How many readers can do it themselves? Damn few, I'd wager. This is why even here, where people are exposed to a finer distillate of truth that can cut through nonsense, there are still those who insist upon regurgitating corporate media narrative points about the infallibility of the imperial establishment and the invincibility of the imperial military.

But it is possible to break free of the mind control. That mind control is very dependent upon making small daily adjustments to the media consumer's perceptions. Over the course of a number of days' adjustments they can transform staunchly anti-war demographics into pro-war ones.

So what happens if the media consumer misses some of their scheduled adjustments? What if they are somewhere that they cannot download their programming updates for a week or so? Then their perception of the world becomes "outdated". When they are next exposed to a TV program they will experience mild cognitive dissonance, and the discomfort of this cognitive dissonance will motivate them to quickly readjust their perspective so that they can be back in step with the rest of the population.

This gives the capitalist oligarchs' mind control a self-healing quality, but it also indicates a way out. If the media consumer skips enough program updates and upon return remembers that we have not always been at war with Eastasia, they have the option of trusting their own mind or working themselves back into the narrative lockstep of the rest of society. Do be aware, however, that it takes missing very large numbers of program updates to free one's mind. A year's worth is pretty close to the bare minimum, I would say, though spending that year immersed in an "alien" culture in which the local mass media narratives are tailored for populations with very different backgrounds than oneself very much secures the process of clearing one's head of the toxic narrative sludge. This, by the way, is part of why expatriots tend to see things more clearly than do couch-setter homebodies, and part of how people who travel incessantly like Pepe Escobar and Andre Vltchek seem to so effortlessly rise above the noise.

Quick check to see if your mind is free: Turn on the TV and tune to CNN if you consider yourself "left" or FOX if you consider yourself "right", then after ten minutes switch to the other. It doesn't matter what topic is being discussed on those channels at the moment. Did the corporate mass media that is tuned to the demographic that you identify with trigger cognitive dissonance? Did the media that was tuned to who you feel are your enemies trigger cognitive dissonance?

If you consider yourself "left" and you could comfortably watch CNN, but FOX upset you, or you consider yourself "right" and you were fine with FOX but disturbed by CNN, then that is inescapable absolute proof that your mind is being remote controlled by the empire. If, on the other hand, you consider yourself "left" but CNN triggered visceral revulsion; actual sensations of nausea, then you could possibly be free. It is a psychological version of how most former smokers react to the smell of cigarette smoke... your mind, finally free of the poison, is rejecting the poison. Once free you will, if you consider yourself "left", find that FOX is much easier to watch because you already expect it to be fake. The same is true for people who consider themselves "right"; they will find CNN easier to watch because they already mistrust it and expect it to be just lies.


Posted by: William Gruff | May 17 2019 16:43 utc | 114

@108 BM - thanks for the details on that.. will be interesting to see how it plays out..

@112 bart hansen.. thanks for jogging my memory on that.. i listened to the interview after b or whoever linked to it a week ago too, but i had forgotten the details.. when i saw a transcript was available, i thought some would enjoy it.. i found the volume quiet on gaber mates voice in the interview itself..

@113 william gruff... excellent commentary i hope everyone reads... i stopped watching tv when i left home over 40 years ago.. i do not do video-youtube and etc etc.. either.. i am typically a transcript type who likes reading what is written.. i was weaned off the '''happening''' newspapers a long time ago too, although occasionally i will look at the canucks national papers to see what they are discussing.. more recently i have gone to cbc news on the net and am embarrassed at how far out of touch they are with an independent view of reality.. thanks for your comments..

Posted by: james | May 17 2019 17:49 utc | 115

William Gruff @113--

As soon as I began your comment, Madison Avenue Man and Free Your Mind (loved the En Vogue video) popped into my active memory. 20 years ago I wrote something similar but within the confines of historiography: "The Quest For Objectivity" which enthralled my professor; and when married to a system of learning known as the Hexadigm, became the modus for my historical investigations and basis for teaching. Paraphrasing juliania, we all have our own filters through which we sift information that we must be aware of and guard against if we want to be objective. Same with emotions as they cloud judgement; knee-jerk reactions are seldom well thought. As for watching BigLie Media, I only watch sporting events (although I do watch important clips, usually interviews) and mute commercials as much as possible--even when listening to the radio while driving.

I must admit to being greatly amused by this item by Sputnik headlining: "US 'Sitting By the Phone' But Hasn't Heard From Iran Yet - Trump Admin. Official," to which I commented:

"People at the White House must be illiterate!! Iran's leadership has written and said quite often that it will NOT talk/negotiate with them, that the USA is the nation in violation of the JCPOA, and that nothing will occur until the USA rectifies its illegal moves by lifting its illegal sanctions and rejoining JCPOA. Only then will Iran entertain the possibility of negotiations. And if I know all of what I just wrote, then the idiots at the White House or at CIA must surely know it too!"

Posted by: karlof1 | May 17 2019 18:20 utc | 116

"muh Passer by" comments

Wow, i'm a star. Such an interesting person. Thanks for flattering me. Can we arrange an interview?


Zachary Smith | May 16, 2019 11:12:24 PM | 86

"Previous samples:"

Yes, these are my comments. This is how i think. I must be paid by Israel then.

Or i'm someone critical of popular alt media assessments about how weak the US is and how strong Russia or the emerging multipolar world is. Maybe someone who is worried about Russia's position in the world and the success of multipolarity. Maybe i'm too worried, who knows. Not everybody out there has the same thinking as you.

As for empowering zionists within the US in order to weaken the US, yes, i do believe that this is a viable strategy to weaken the US. It gets the US preoccupied in the Middle East, being hated by millions of muslims, instead of concentrating on Russia and China. It sounds like good strategy for weakening the US to me.

Don Bacon | May 16, 2019 10:46:30 PM | 83
"I was responding to misstated facts. They shouldn't be allowed to stand."

You did not respond to anything. There was no argument from your side, only "but MK did not approve of what India did". He did admit what happened, but he did not like it.

Does it matter if he likes what happened? Does it matter if i like what happened? Does it matter if you like what happened? No. What matters is what happened - namely that India betrayed Iran. And i'm right to call you an idiot. Because only an idiot would claim that India is currently shifting towards China and Russia. comment (May 12, 2019 10:39:00 AM | 6).


karlof1 | May 16, 2019 9:17:13 PM | 63

The homeless issue in the US could be partly caused by the continued migration of poor people from Central America to the US. They also concentrate in several specific states, mostly West Coast plus New York, which makes the issue more visible. Another cause is rising inequality in the US. But Gini shows also massive inequality in Russia and China, plus rising inequality in Europe. Incomes have been largely stagnant in the US and parts of the EU for the last 15 - 20 years. Stagnant incomes does not equal collapse, though.

As for the Saker article, first i would say that he was predicting a collapse of Ukraine in 2015 (it did not happen), then he claimed that the US is breathtakingly weak but it also put most of Latin America countries and Brazil under its control (he does not see his own contradiction).

Now he talks about the US being a hyperpower (but with microbrains). This is even bigger than a superpower, is he afraid of it? People were calling the US a hyperpower in the 90s, when it was far more powerful. Now he is calling it like that in 2019? Even i do not use the word hyperpower to describe the US.

Then he says Uncle Shmuel became the laughingstock of the planet. Why did Europe and India cave to the US on Iran and why did the US took over most all of Latin America with puppet regimes if they are just a laughingstock of the world? Why is BRICS Bolsonaro visiting the CIA and BRICS Modi kissing US behind? Why is Europe's INSTEX mechanism that was supposed to bypass the dollar not operational?

He calls US strategists dumb. But they did good moves too, for example igniting the conflict in Ukraine was a good move as it slowed down Russia and divided Europe and Russia. In the same way they are working to put India vs China, this is a good move
too. Divide and rule has always been a relevant strategy.

Otherwise i agree with some of the other things in his article. But i do not see a war with Iran happening anytime soon, it won't happen during the first term of Trump, as he wants to be reelected, and even if he somehow wins a second term, a large econimic crisis is coming and it should hit hard by 2020, thus making any larger war impossible for the next 5 years.

WJ | May 17, 2019 1:21:16 AM | 89

Well WJ, i would say you have good intuition. But i'm not that much of a sceptic though. Simply i think that good (or bad) outcomes in this life are not guaranteed. I don't celebrate until i see the the good thing happen. Overconfidence is a typical male trait (Psychology 101), and political forums are full of it, as they are mostly male driven. I decided that i will get closer to the truth if i'm aware of those shortcomings, and work on them, by being more critical, and more sceptical.

Posted by: Passer by | May 17 2019 18:34 utc | 117

A Passer of Gas tries to argue about how mighty the empire is, but if that were so then why the behavior from the empire that seems to be like that of a frightened and cornered animal?

To be certain, the empire has done damage to Brazil and India, and almost succeeded in wrecking South Africa. This is clearly to take down BRICS. The empire has installed imperial governors in Ecuador and Honduras and Argentina and many other countries as well. But how much control does the empire really have in those places? One would think that the empire has near absolute control of places like Brazil and Colombia now, but when the empire wanted invasions of Venezuela to be staged from those places the plans fell apart. BRICS has yet to be dissolved, despite that being a very urgent concern of the empire.

Why?

Because even though the empire can install their imperial governors in many places with little difficulty due to the ease with which neoliberal capitalist democracy can be subverted by money (by design... everything is a commodity in capitalism), the overall power dynamics within those countries remains largely as they were before Uncle Slaughter bought himself presidents there. In recent days there has been much discussion about how America's puppet that the CIA installed in Iran back in the 1950s began to turn nationalist. The argument from some is that the Shah must have turned against the empire and perhaps that therefore the Iranian Revolution must have been staged by the CIA to replace the Shah. This is a misreading of the power dynamics within Iran at the time. The Shah saw that he was losing control of Iran and was trying to buy off segments of the Iranian population to be his power base before the Iranian people killed him.

This basic problem repeats with regularity. No matter how loyal one of the empire's installed colonial governors promises to be, domestic power dynamics force them to try to balance the demands of the empire with what they need to do to avoid being strung up from a lamp post by angry locals. Bolsonaro, for instance, is walking a very fine line at the moment, even though he was just elected.

The point here is that the empire is not strong. The empire is just being more obvious about its attempts to cling to power. Rather to say, as the empire fails it has less strength and resources available to keep its evil deeds hidden. Some people simply misinterpret undisguised aggression as power, but it isn't. If the American empire were strong its aggression would be better hidden.

This is not a simple board game like Risk or something like that. Just because the empire installs a governor in charge of a country doesn't mean that country falls under imperial control.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 17 2019 20:09 utc | 118

Don Bacon 85
Starting wars -no argument. Exporting jobs though? IMHO the export of jobs was not the result of anything the US politicians did, it was a logical result of the laws of Capitalism. The first duty of the people running a capitalist enterprise is to make as much profit for the shareholders as they can, and if they can see an opportunity to make a bigger profit, it is their duty to take it. So when China offered them skilled workers at rock-bottom prices they had willy-nilly to export the jobs to China. What else could they have done?

Posted by: foolisholdman | May 17 2019 20:27 utc | 119

William Gruff | May 17, 2019 4:09:35 PM | 118

I don't need to try to argue how mighty the empire is, this is an exagaration. But i'm not underestimating it either.

As for the Empire having an absolute control over Brazil and Colombia, i would not say that, but i will say that their level of control is pretty high. I see Bolsonaro going often to the US, the CIA, having Mossad conections and being quite pro-Israel. This does not look good to me. Yes, BRICS has yet to be dissolved, but sabotage is already occuring, for example India recently blocked the Turkish entry in BRICS.

re domestic power dynamics i agree with that, yet the point is that recently Brazil and India turned into more pro-US direction. Things got worse in those countries. So if this is happening, the Empire must be strong enough to make it happen.

"If the American empire were strong its aggression would be better hidden."

I'm not sure about that at all. One could say that the Empire was sleeping. Or it was busy with useless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now the Empire woke up, i think that Crimea woke it up, and it will concentrate on its primary opponents.

Undisguised aggression was something normal in the past. This is how you got 2 world wars, a Cold War, and so on. You know what was happening in the 19th century too. The period of peace after 1990 was not normal, it was just the unipolar moment. It appears that the high levels of aggression in international politics are what is normal, at least judging by western history for the last 500 years. So it is possible that you are mistaking the "normal" aggression (that was happening for most of the last centuries) as desperation. That aggression is simply the new normal and it always existed.

That said, there is also an element of understanding that the Empire is declining, which causes it to double down.

Why the urgency? I think many forces are triggered by the decline of the US. Not only the Deep state, but also the Neocons, as well as the liberals. the universalists and all those who hope for universalism. The Empire is their tool to push their universalism on the World. This is why you will see liberal forces in the West becoming pro-empire (see the Guardian for ecample). Because their liberal universalism is the child of empire. It can not exist without it. Multipolarity means the end of the Global Liberal Order. It means different power centers with different cultures and developmental models. Which is the death of universal liberalism. This is why liberal forces in the West are extremely triggered by the prospect of multipolarity. This is causing mental craziness in all western universalists. All of whom hoped for the "End of History".

Also neocons are triggered because they rely on the US, ergo they want to prolong the US Empire.

They also have estimates at the CIA and Pentagon. I think one of the recent ones was called "A Call to Action". Their own estimates show that the US may well lose its superpower status. This estimate was about 2035. Hence a lot is needed to prevent that, to fight it, or at least to slow it down.

Here the question is not whether the US will decline, but by how much it will decline, and what will be their status by let's say 2050, as well as the overall status of the world at that point.

Posted by: Passer by | May 17 2019 20:44 utc | 120

karlof1 111

Thanks. I have now had time to go back and check your links to the Roosevelt speech from the previous thread. Although I did not read the entire transcript, what stood out for me was that even back then he was drumming in the believe of exceptionalism. And from what you have written @111, it goes back much further. Perhaps this is the aspect of US culture that I was trying to put my finger on.
This would allow the US population to think they were always fighting the good war.
Another aspect to this is the US belief that all they have to do is overthrow or destroy some eveil dictator and the people of the country they had just destroyed would welcome them with open arms and flower. The belief that other countries and peoples want to be just like Americans.
Patrick Armstrong, the Canadian diplomat has written in one of articles that in his dealings with american officials, they genuinely believed that all they had to do was destroy the evil dictator. The US always targeting just the leader of a target state is not simply propaganda that they know is bullshit, they actually believe this.
This may well have its roots in the US culture of exceptionalism.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 17 2019 21:01 utc | 121

karlof1@112

Watch as Russia-gate is absorbed and domesticated by the two party polarity--Republicans vs Democrats--it was designed to reinforce in the first place. Soon we'll be back to the comfortable party tribalism of the 90s! So the MIC, CIA, Wall Street financiers hope...

Posted by: WJ | May 17 2019 21:41 utc | 122

WJ

With Russia-gate, I think the US has successfully defeated itself.
Kissinger and Nixon successfully split China and the Soviet Union. China was the lesser threat so it was taken onside as an ally against Soviet Union.
Now with the Rise of China and Russia, they need to be split again if US has any chance of remaining dominant. In this case Russia is the lesser threat and the Chinese economy is the greater threat. i believe Kissinger's meetings with Trump and traveling to Russia as trumps envoy, as he was for Nixon was aimed at splitting Russia from China and taking them in as an ally against China. This had no chance of succeeding as it did the first time, but even if Russia was susceptible to divide and conquer, Russia-gate ensured this could not happen.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 17 2019 21:58 utc | 123

The community should be more clear on what constitutes "interference" because there are many different events.
The Clinton server emails, the Podesta phishing, Wikileaks, Guccifer2, Facebook ads and several other instances are all separate.
Some are very likely not Russian government related, some could (and might) be. Overall - did the Russian government or one or more of its employees/members have absolutely nothing to do with any of the events?
Seems very unlikely.
Did the Russian government have a policy of interference? Seems clearly no.
But the real question is: did any of the events truly swing the election?
The answer is almost certainly not.

Posted by: c1ue | May 17 2019 22:51 utc | 124

Peter AU1 @ 123

I agree with you that the US appears no longer able to split the China-Russia dynamic duo of shared national interest. It is very odd--stupid?--that we are isolating Russia and China right into each other's arms. Either critics like the Saker are correct and the Empire has entered full-on moronic mode, or a decision has been made that for short term domestic policy reasons Russia needs to be scapegoated on the assumption that there is still time down the road to buy the Russians' favor against Chinese world dominance. Not sure that this is true. My sense is that everything in US foreign policy has become increasingly reactive and short-sighted (much like the US corporate world) and that long-term grand strategies are increasingly out of reach for a government that is at once beholden to Israel's every whim and the NATO-MIC complex controlled Pentagon Deep State. The US has not had a coherent foreign policy since perhaps 2001 and the wheels are close to coming off.. (Earlier foreign policies were not "rational" in the sense of in accord with reason--ie virtuous--but had at least a semblance of self-interest behind them.)

Posted by: WJ | May 18 2019 1:08 utc | 125

The Russian Hack has now been stitched into the Officialdom quilt. DOJ 'reformer' Bill Barr drew down the curtain on the Leak, in effect endorsing the Mueller-Weissmann rendition. This is why Assange was swept up when he was and is being fed psychotropic vitamins to create the Jose Padillo mind-as-putty effect. Poor Julian won't know a Hack from a Hole in the Wall by the time they are finished with him. He is after all the Leak narrative curator. Ugly. Evil.

Officialdom will now never budge from that elemental lie. It's in la-la-911-land now. Barr was the last guy who could have flipped the narrative. That's the signal his Deep State clean-up will be more Sound than Fury, though Trump's Patriot and White Male Christian Zionist base will oblige the administration to erect gallows for some mid-tier miscreants. But Hillary in a noose? Come on.

"The Swamp is a passive-aggressive, self-healing organism that bides its time and expropriates as opportunity allows. Unabashedness is not an endemic swamp feature. Barr cannot be Guy Fawkes. This is not even to accuse him of unshakable evil intent. The argument is more on the order of Adolf Eichmann: Barr’s institutional milieu, his administrative instincts, his very social circle, proscribes indiscriminate reformist fires. He cannot burn his own house down. What he can do is remove some of the bone-dry brush."

I remain a wakeful passenger the Trump Train. It's never about just selling a stock. You have to roll the proceeds into another investment vehicle. Two decisions, not one. Everything else is underwater. So spare me all the petulant absolutism (I'm addressing American voters, especially those initial pro-Trumpers who have subsequently flown into a Dump Trump funk, not for no good reason, granted. But again I ask, if not Trump, then who? Where did you roll your proceeds?

https://fullspectrumdominoes.wordpress.com/2019/04/29/trump-v-2/

https://fullspectrumdominoes.wordpress.com/2019/04/29/trump-v-2/

Posted by: Full Spectrum Domino | May 18 2019 4:21 utc | 126

@2 worldblee

Hopefully they leak it to Wikileaks.

Posted by: TJ | May 18 2019 11:12 utc | 127

...
The Russians clearly think that a release of the communications with the Obama administration would exculpate them. That would also exculpate Trump from any further collusion allegations. Why then does the Trump administration reject the release? Who is blocking it?
b.

Trump is (probably) blocking it.
There was some talk over at SST a few moons ago about the various levels of SECRET classification of documents over which POTUS has the power/authority to declassify. My recollection of that conversation is that there's very little that POTUS can't declassify.
SST's assertions about Presidential Powers are usually accurate.

If Trump is blocking the release, then he's got a reason He thinks is a good one. My guess is that he's setting up an ambush.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 18 2019 12:35 utc | 128

Unless you have inspected the DNC servers and established that Craig Murray, Julian Assange, and Larry Johnson are all lying--for they have all averred that the DNC and Podesta leaks were just that, and have done so on basis of first-hand (Murray, Assange) and second-hand (Johnson) knowledge of the leaks in question …. The fact remains that there is no evidentiary basis for the arguments claiming to show Russian interference. WJ @ 39

Adding to the list of those who claim knowledge of, or strong indications, etc. of the “DNC e-mails” being an insider leak:

Ed Butowsky

interview (long - see the first 5 mins.) https://youtu.be/7qtkKX5HflM

Joel and Mary Rich, Aaron Rich (if we believe E. B.)

Bill Binney (has stated such, => not just about download speeds)

https://youtu.be/mwUoE8UecC0

ctd in next post (cos links)

Posted by: Noirette | May 18 2019 13:25 utc | 129

Rod Wheeler (detective, Fox news)

https://youtu.be/CuRJDKEVxHY

Sy Hersh, chunk of audio recording

https://youtu.be/gYzB96_EK7s

Kim Dotcom. http://kim.com. Basically, Dotcom claims he helped Seth to get in touch with Wikileaks. (I’m not clear about his role.)

Posted by: Noirette | May 18 2019 13:28 utc | 130

Brilliant! This is more smoking gun proof of what I have been saying all along, that Trump and Co never were the targets of this psyop that began well before the election - in fact even before Trump even decided to run - and that Trump and Co have played scripted roles in this absurd theater, actively aiding and abetting it.

Why did Trump sit on his hands as the FBI - an executive branch agency - allowed a (presumably) rabidly partisan private corporation employed by the Clinton campaign during the election (Crowdstrike) to "examine" the DNC server, and accept their analysis at face value, rather than having their own experts examine it? Since when does the FBI not seize evidence in a criminal investigation, anyway? Why has this not been a MASSIVE media point of contention raised by Trump and his legal defense?

Why did Trump fire Comey right as the Senate intelligence committee announced that they had found no evidence of "collusion", just in time to create the impression that they were "obstructing justice" and were obviously trying to "hide" evidence of "collusion"?

Why did Flynn lie to the FBI about communicating with the Russian ambassador in the first place, when such communications with foreign ambassadors by incoming administrations had been completely routine and non controversial in the past? Why did he not point out the documented CONTENT of that communication with the Russian ambassador which actually proved the OPPOSITE of "collusion with Russia" - even as it proved collusion with ISRAEL (which of course is perfectly fine!)?

Here is more smoking gun proof that Russia - not Trump and Co - was the target of this psyop all along:

"Everything what we know now about the so-called “Kremlin trolls from the Internet Research Agency paid by Putin’s favorite chef,” came from one source, a group of CIA spies that used the mascot of Shaltay-Boltay, or Humpty-Dumpty, for their collective online persona.

...If we accept that the Shaltay-Boltay group was working to create and distribute documents they forged, claiming that those files were “hacked,” we would also understand a mysterious statement made by them to BuzzFeed.

“In email correspondence with BuzzFeed, a representative of the group claimed they were “not hackers in the classical sense.”

“We are trying to change reality. Reality has indeed begun to change as a result of the appearance of our information in public,” wrote the representative, whose email account is named Shaltai Boltai, which is the Russian for tragic nursery rhyme hero Humpty Dumpty.”

Buzzfeed also said back in 2014, that “The leak from the Internet Research Agency is the first time specific comments under news articles can be directly traced to a Russian campaign.”

...Going back to the CIA’s Humpty-Dumpty project that came online sometime in 2013. Why would anyone name their enterprise after such predictable failure, you might ask. Because, in the Russian iteration, Shalti-Boltai means “shake up and brag about it”...

...people behind the Internet Research Agency troll hoax are proved by the Russian court to be affiliated with the CIA, while people who have been acting as the “witnesses” to this Project are lawyers from Team 29, “human rights activists and also journalists from the Norwegian Bonnier AB owned Fontanka, Taiwan-based Novaya Gazeta, and the Latvia-based Meduza; these people are factually proven to be backed by Soros, a CIA financial branch...

...fake business entities known as “the Internet Research Agency,” and “the Internet Research” in the government electronic business registry... were treated as real companies by the system. Because of their inactivity on all of their bank accounts and because no one ever filed required forms, they were automatically liquidated by the electronic system.

The United Business Registry database in Russia works according to the Federal laws, so after twelve months of inactivity a business is simply liquidated. The Internet Research Agency was liquidated in December 2016 by the government system after it been inactive for twelve month. It’s inactivity implied that the company had no employees, no office, and no bank transactions for at least twelve months. The Internet Research company was liquidated on September 2, 2015 by merging with TEKA company. According to the federal business Registry TEKA was a construction retailer. I wasn’t able to find any indication, like an office, phone number, names of the managers or employees, anything at all that would indicate that this company existed. Just like the Internet Research Agency and the Internet Research, TEKA existed only in the federal registry and nowhere else."
https://thesaker.is/a-brief-history-of-the-kremlin-trolls/

Posted by: Stuart Davies | May 18 2019 14:25 utc | 131

At the risk of being called simple-minded, I think there is a very uncomplicated reason why Trump is not releasing this information: If he did he would be called "Putin's bitch" by every presstitute and neo-liberal politician in the country.

Posted by: Linda Hagge | May 18 2019 17:39 utc | 132

@312 linda - what does that tell you about the state of the msm today and how it controls the conversation??

Posted by: james | May 18 2019 17:45 utc | 133

The original Russian text is on kremlin.ru. "выборы" means "elections."

Никакого вмешательства с нашей стороны в выборы в США не было на государственном уровне и быть не могло.

translates pretty precisely as

"There was not any kind of interference by our side in elections in the USA on the governmental level, and there could not have been."

Posted by: Abe W | May 19 2019 7:58 utc | 134

Stuart Davis: Shaltai-Boltai means “shake up and brag about it”...

Actually, it is indeed very deprecative name, but the second word is familiar to me and means "prattle", i.e. talk with little sense, and when I checked the dictionary, shaltat' = шалтать is a synonym, upon more checking, Shaltai-boltai = Шалтай-болтай means Шалтай-болтай =пустая болтовня = "empty prattle".

OTOH, Twitter is a successful company... perhaps creators of Shaltai-Boltai had a genuine business concept...

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 19 2019 17:12 utc | 135

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