Trump Was Right: Latest Arrests Prove Threats to Jewish Centers in US Were False Flags

1 Israeli false flag hacker

21st Century Wire

For the last two months, the US media has continued to ramp-up the alleged ‘alarming trend’ of hate crimes against Jewish institutions and sites in America.

On March 13th, CNN ran the headline, “Jewish Center Bomb Threats Top 100; Kids Pulled from Schools.” Clearly, media outlets like CNN were pushing a sensational, fear-based narrative, and propagating the idea that there is a ‘crisis’.

TrumpInitially, Donald Trump expressed skepticism about the rather bizarre and completely spontaneous spike in reports of attacks and threats to Jewish facilities in the US, suggesting in late February that the threats were being done to “make others look bad,” inferring that this string of events might be a false flag. Predictably, Trump was roundly attacked for questioning the anti-Semitic narrative.

It turns out, that Trump was very likely correct. On Thursday, a 19 yr-old US-Israeli dual citizen was arrested by Israeli police – in conjunction with an ongoing FBI investigation into the supposed wave of threats made to Jewish communities and institutions in the United States, as well as in several other countries over the past few months. So far, the suspect is said to be behind the majority of the threats – and used cyber-camouflage software to conceal his identity while carrying out his erroneous false flag actions. 

Also, according to an Israeli government official, the suspect’s father has also been arrested on the same charges – indicating this was a coordinated, organized effort.

The Israeli father and son duo were not the only party in on this ‘trend’ either. Earlier this month we learned also that the FBI had arrested a former journalist, Juan Thompson, who the bureau say was behind at least eight cases. “Authorities described his menacing calls as part of his campaign to harass a woman,” said the Washington Post. The Williams case was almost invisible in the US mainstream media who seems to have collectively opted not to give this, or any other related revelations, a fraction of the oxygen which it originally gave the slew of alleged ‘hate crimes.’

1 church-mcclinton

If anyone should be skeptical of false flag hate crimes, it’s Trump. During, and after the US election, a string of faked ‘hate crimes’ were carried out and eventually exposed as fake incidents – all designed to discredit Donald Trump and his supporters. The worst of these was a fake “racist” attack on a church in Greenville, Mississippi which was burned down, with the words “Vote Trump” spray-painted on the wall. Pro-Clinton news outlets all loudly ran the story without questioning its merit or its timing. The media bought it, of course, but it was later revealed that the incident was a false flag – staged just days before the November election. The arsonist turned out to be an African-American and de facto Hillary Clinton supporter, Andrew McClinton of Leland, Mississippi.

In addition to the fake church attack, liberal and Democratic Party supporters and media operatives also promoted astring of fake hate crimes against Muslims, including a fabricated a story in Lafayette, Louisiana, where a Muslim woman lied to police about being attacked and having her hijab ripped off, and a similar fabricated story by another Muslim woman in New York who made up a fake ‘hate crime’ on subway. In both instances, the media, eager to use these dubious stories in order to inflict political damage against Trump, ran gleefully with the story.

One cannot calculate the real damage done to trust between communities and faith and ethnic relations, as a result of all of these fake hate crime stunts and their initial media coverage

Trump surrogate Anthony Scaramucci echoed the President’s suspicion of the sudden spate of threats to Jewish sites in the US:

It’s not yet clear who the offenders are. Don’t forget @TheDemocrats effort to incite violence at Trump rallies https://www.google.com/amp/www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/10/17/exclusive-okeefe-video-sting-exposes-bird-dogging-democrats-effort-to-incite-violence-at-trump-rallies/amp/ 

Photo published for O'Keefe Reveals 'Bird-Dogging' to Incite Violence at Trump Events

O’Keefe Reveals ‘Bird-Dogging’ to Incite Violence at Trump Events

Democrats have used trained provocateurs to instigate violence at Republican events nationwide through a tactic called “bird-dogging.”

breitbart.com

Like the President, his former advisor Scaramucci was castigated by a number of media outlets who had adopted the Jewish alarmist narrative of events. Not surprisingly, the pro-Israel, anti-Russian and unofficial NATO mouthpiece, The Daily Beast and its writer Gideon Resnik, helped advance accusations of anti-Semitism against the US President:

“After a slew of bomb threats forced evacuations at Jewish community centers and schools in 11 states on Monday, President Trump reportedly suggested that the threats may have been done to “make others look bad.”

“Unfortunately, this recent denial fits in with a clear pattern that we have seen from Trump, which includes dismissing Jewish reporters asking about violence, refusing to include a reference to Jews’ suffering in the White House’s official statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day, failing to denounce David Duke, tweeting Anti-Semitic imagery, and elevating white nationalist Steve Bannon as his top advisor,” DNC spokesperson Eric Walker said.

It wasn’t long before the notoriously reactionary Anti-Defamation League (ADL) weighed in:

“Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, responded by saying: “We are astonished by what the President reportedly said. It is incumbent upon the White House to immediately clarify these remarks.” 

This talking point reached a crescendo just in time for President Donald Trump’s March 14th speech to Congress, when The Lobby dispatched Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro to the White House to try and press Trump just two days after a Jewish cemetery was vandalized in Philadelphia, and a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was ransacked (in both cases, police had not made any arrests, so it is unknown who did these incidents, or why they did it).

In the hysterical atmosphere created in part by the media’s amplification of this alleged ‘hate trend’ and under direct pressure from The Lobby, it appeared that at the last minute Trump was made to inject the Jewish alarmist talking point at the beginning of his address to the Joint Session on national TV. Trump proclaimed the recent threats against Jewish community centers acts of “hate and evil,” but the insertion of this talking point seemed highly awkward.

So after all that spinning, it turns out the Donald Trump may be correct – and the media, the ADL, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anne Frank Center and every other mouthpiece for the Israeli Lobby – were all wrong on this issue. 

Regarding this week’s arrest of the 19 yr-old Israeli man, the Washington Post adds:

The FBI handed over the information to the Israel police after finding these threats had originated from Israel, Haaretz reported.

“The investigation began in several countries simultaneously after dozens of threatening calls were received at public places, events, synagogues and community buildings that caused panic and disrupted events and activities in various organizations,” the Israel police said in a statement.

“The result of the threats made by the suspect had caused damage to the communities and to their security and in one case when threats were made by the suspect, caused an airline to make an emergency landing.”

The Israel police said the suspect had used advanced camouflage technologies when contacting the institutions and making those threats. The youth’s computers were seized and he was brought in for arraignment before an Israeli court.

Maybe the media should be more careful before jumping to conclusions about WHO is responsible for events that suddenly appear in our news feeds. That includes jumping to conclusions about the ever popular talking point of “ISIS-inspired terror attacks in the US, UK, France, and Germany. More often than not, all is not what it seems.

Palestine: “There’s No Conflict, There’s An Illegal Occupation”

Interview With Dr. Asem Khalil

palestine-onu

Professor Doctor Asem Khalil, Ph.D. in Constitutional and International Law, Associate Professor of Law of Birzeit University, West Bank, speaks of ways to consolidate the Palestine State, and definitely end Israeli crimes against humanity in the Palestinian territories.

Edu Montesanti: Dear Professor Doctor Asem Khalil, thank you so very much for granting this interview. How do you evaluate the meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime-Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on February 15? “I’m looking at two-State and one-state” formulations, President Trump said during a White House news conference with Mr. Netanyahu. “I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one”. Your view, please.

Dr. Asem Khalil: The Palestinians always called for a One State; as a compromise they accepted to enter a peace process where two state solution is envisaged as a way to get peace. If by one state, we mean equal rights for all citizens,

I don’t see why Palestinians would reject that – if they were first to ask for it and accepted only as a compromise the call for two state solution where most of historic Palestine will be part of the now state of Israel.

I think the answer given by Trump wasn’t thought through enough, and I don’t think Israel would go for a one State where one person one vote anyway.

Edu Montesanti: Why cannot Israel and the Palestinians decide alone the question? Why do Palestinians need a third party to get an agreement?

Dr. Asem Khalil: Palestinians are under occupation. It is not their own responsibility to negotiate with the occupier; for sure, it is not part of any negotiation whether to maintain or end occupation – negotiation may be on the modalities on how to do that only.

So far, Palestinians are in a weak position. They are requested to chose pacific means to reach liberation and end occupation, while at the same time, they are asked to negotiate directly with an occupier who continues to confiscate land day on day out.

It is the responsibility of the international community to put an end to one of the last occupations in the world. It is the responsibility of all community of states to make sure that rights of Palestinians – which are erga omnes – are respected.

Edu Montesanti: The United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 voted on December 23 last year, condemning the Israeli settlements as a flagrant violation of international law and a major impediment to the achievement of a two-state solution, changes nothing on the ground between Israel and the Palestinians. UN member States “agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council”, according to the UN Charter. Human rights and the international community also condemns the Israeli settlements and military attacks against Palestinians. Journalist Daoud Kuttab observed in Al-Jazeera in February, in the article US and Israel join forces to bury Palestinian statehood: “Ever since the 1967 occupation, the United Nations Security Council has repeatedly expressed the illegality of the occupation, as in the preamble of Resolution 242 ‘emphasizing inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war’.” Why does nothing change year by year, massacre after massacre?

Dr. Asem Khalil: Change doesn’t come by UN resolutions. There are few cases like the one of Israel where the UN and the Security Council in particular showed how incompetent they are in dealing with Israel’s violations of Palestinians’ rights on their land and their right to self-determination.

Palestinian leadership, nonetheless, still think that such resolutions are important. They help maintain clear what is just and what is not.

What is acceptable and what is not. Changes in international relations and power relations between states may help in the future bring the change that is needed. Although it may be too late by then.

Edu Montesanti: What are the crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians?

Dr. Asem Khalil: There are various massacres that were committed by Israel against Palestinians surrounding the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 – causing and contributing to forced displacement and refugeehood of thousands of people.

Many other massacres were committed afterwards, either directly or indirectly. Bombings directed towards civilian areas and facilities continued in recent years when attacking Gaza.

Edu Montesanti: How is life in Gaza and in the West Bank?

Dr. Asem Khalil: Gaza is being qualified as a big prison – unqualified for human living because of lack of necessary civilian infrastructures and lack of jobs.

Most West Bank populated cities are living under Palestinian Authority rule – which coordinates with Israel in security and civil matters too.

Edu Montesanti: Professor Avi Shlaim observed days ago, in Al-Jazeera: “Sadly, the Palestinians are handicapped by weak leadership and by the internal rivalry between Fatah and Hamas.” Your view on the internal politics in Palestine, please, Professor Doctor Khalil.

Dr. Asem Khalil: He is right. This is part of the problem and why stagnation is in place. It is part of the story though.

The full picture is an Israeli occupation which separated Gaza from West Bank and maintained legal and political fragmentation since then; it is also in the way Oslo separated de facto the two areas and maintained a status quo where Palestinians are not dealt with by Israeli occupation – and contrary to the wordings of Oslo – as one political community and West Bank and Gaza Strip were not in reality considered or dealt with as one political entity.

Edu Montesanti: What could we expect from Arab leaders from now on?

Dr. Asem Khalil: We don’t have much expectations. We think the Arab region is now busy with their own problems.

They are now seeing the Palestinian issue as marginal and secondary. This is very problematic now.

Edu Montesanti: How do you see the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement?

Dr. Asem Khalil: The BDS movement can be the way ahead for peaceful resistance to occupation and apartheid in Palestine. Israel is aware of the historical precedence of South Africa and the boycott movement that ended up at the end in delegitimizing the apartheid regime in South Africa, and contributed to the entry of a new era there.

We hope similar thing happens now – not delegitimizing the state of Israel, but the apartheid regime in place.

Edu Montesanti: What is the solution to the conflict, Professor Doctor Asem Khalil?

Dr. Asem Khalil: There is no conflict. There is an occupation that needs to come to an end; a colonization project that needs to be aborted; an apartheid regime that needs to be dismantled; justice and equality to be restored.

If and when this is done, no need to think of mechanisms to end a conflict because it wouldn’t exist.

Is the US controlling Israel or is Israel controlling the US? Tell us what you think.

Who is Pulling Trump’s Strings in the US???

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1-Israel-ISIS

Who is pulling whose strings?  Obama or Netanyahu? Is the US controlling Israel or is Israel controlling the US? Tell us what you think.

How can we forget when Obama just started his first term in office in 2011, when he told the world he was going to take the Palestine borders back to 1967.

Israel has said endorsing the 1967 borders would prejudge negotiations. Obama also took pains to show respect for Israel’s views ahead of his meetings Friday with Netanyahu soon after.

Still, Mr. Obama’s tough stand could set the stage for a tense meeting Friday when Netanyahu goes to the White House.

In a statement following Mr. Obama’s remarks, Israeli Prime Minister rejected the president’s endorsement, and said a return to his country’s 1967 borders would spell disaster for the Jewish State.

Calling the 1967 lines “indefensible,” Netanyahu said such a withdrawal would jeopardize Israel’s security and leave major West Bank settlements outside Israeli borders.

Round one to Netanyahu, when Obama bows down to the wishes of Israel and one election promise out of the window.

Whatever Israel asks for Israel gets and we saw this in April 2014 when Obama signed away an additional $225 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

The U.S. has provided hundreds of millions of dollars for Iron Dome in the past. The new package is intended to replenish Israel’s capabilities.

beto_orourke

 

Congress approved the money last week before lawmakers left for their annual summer break. Obama signed the bill in the late afternoon in the Oval Office with a handful of photographers present.

Congressman O’Rourke was one of the few who voted against an aid package to Israel. Overwhelmed by the swift avalanche of Jewish criticism, the young man won’t ever make the same ‘mistake’ again.

It took only one wrong vote to teach a freshman Democrat from Texas how sensitive, and even wrathful, the Jewish community can be when it comes to Israel.

But the real story of what happened to Rep. Beto O’Rourke did not stop with the angry reaction he got when he cast one of only eight votes in Congress against special funding for Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system during the recent Gaza war.

It was almost a textbook case of how the establishment pro-Israel lobby works its magic — and a story not yet completed in early September, when The New Yorker magazine took note of what had happened to O’Rourke.

In an in-depth report on the work of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the large Washington-based lobby, during the Gaza war, New Yorker writer Connie Bruck recounted the blasts that rained down on the El Paso congressman following his vote.

The reactions, as Bruck reported, included a mass email blast labeling O’Rourke as “an anti-Israel congressman” and denouncing his vote as “shameful.” Critical local press coverage included a public comment by one of his own Jewish donors to the El Paso Times that in voting as he did, O’Rourke “chooses to side with the rocket launchers and terror tunnel builders” of Hamas.

But since then, behind the scenes, what has followed is a long process of mutual outreach and hours of hashing out differences, until the final act, which is now in the works: an El Al flight to Tel Aviv on the pro-Israel lobby’s dime.

“He’s a good guy, but he didn’t know how the Jewish community would react,” said Daniel Cheifec, executive director of the Jewish Federation of El Paso. “Now he knows that this community is not going to be very happy if he screws up again.”

O’Rourke, in fact, had no prior record of criticizing or voting against Israel. He did not even oppose more funding for the Iron Dome system. He only opposed rushing through the large appropriation with no debate as members of Congress were hurrying home for the summer recess when a more considered vote to boost the program was coming in October.

Israel, which receives more than $3.6 billion per year in various forms of aid from Washington, is already the single largest recipient of American largesse. But the August 1 House vote appropriating $225 million to Israel above and beyond its usual aid was meant to allow the Jewish state to restock on Iron Dome interceptors that had proved effective in countering Hamas rocket attacks into the country.

Congressional leaders squeezed the vote into the legislative schedule just as members were packing up to leave for their summer recess. The overwhelming support of 395 representatives with only eight voting against was not unusual for a pro-Israel piece of legislation, especially one that deals with military assistance at a time of war.

“I really don’t understand how he makes his decision,” Rabbi Stephen Leon of Congregation B’Nai Zion, a local synagogue, told the El Paso Times even before The New Yorker piece picked up on the pushback. “It’s a great, great disappointment to the Jewish community here. We had meetings with him prior, to talk to him about the importance of Israel, and the way he voted makes very little sense.”

El Paso, a city with a 70% Hispanic majority, has a relatively small Jewish community, estimated at 4,000, amid a population of some 862,000. But Jews are well represented on O’Rourke’s donor list, with local businessman Stephen L. Feinberg among the top contributors to his campaign.

O’Rourke, in a Facebook posting, tried to explain his vote. “I could not in good conscience vote for borrowing $225 million more to send to Israel, without debate and without discussion, in the midst of a war that has cost more than a thousand civilian lives already, too many of them children,” he wrote. He also stressed that with an aid package for Israel up for a vote in two months, he felt no need to rush more spending without adequate debate when Congress was all but empty.

To members of the Jewish community who later spoke with him, O’Rourke also explained that he was one of the last to vote in the roll call, at a point at which it was clear the bill was cruising toward passage. He consequently felt free to cast a vote on principle, knowing it would not impact the final outcome. O’Rourke believes that every appropriation should be properly debated.

Veteran Democrat Jim Moran of Virginia, who is known for refusing to vote along the lines of the pro-Israel lobby, tried to warn O’Rourke. “I tried to find him on the floor, but I couldn’t,” he told The New Yorker. “I’m afraid he may have a tough race in November.”

At O’Rourke’s office, emails flooded his inbox. The El Paso Jewish federation sent out an alert to members, urging them to take action. It contained O’Rourke’s contact information and a suggested sample letter. Another email, for which no one will now take responsibility, circulated among Jewish activists urging supporters not to re-elect him.

This threat is all but empty, since O’Rourke faces no real challenge in his strongly Democratic district.

Beto (short for Robert) O’Rourke, 41, is a fourth-generation El Paso native who started off his career in a teenage rock band. He studied at Columbia University and returned to his hometown, where he ran for city council before moving on to the national scene. His political focus has been on immigration and veteran affairs, two key issues for a border town that hosts a large army base. But he won more recognition for his call to legalize marijuana, an uncommon voice in the state of Texas. Foreign policy has never been a top priority.

Hours after the controversial vote, O’Rourke launched a damage-control campaign that proved to be effective. He reached out to Jewish donors and friends who were more than happy to start the healing process.

Politicians are meant to be representing the people who have elected them, but in the US it seems that this is not the case. Unless you vote on what Israel wants you to vote for, you get the wrath of the Jews and Israel on you.

HOPELESS HAWKS: U.S. Congress Cheers Netanyahu’s Hatred of Iran

Now we have just witnessed Benjamin Netanyahu addressing Congress in the style of a State of the Union speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won 41 rounds of applause as U.S. lawmakers eagerly enlisted in the Israeli-Saudi conflict against Iran and its allies – an enthusiasm that may well entangle the U.S. military in more wars in the Middle East.

Netanyahu declared:

“In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow. So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations. We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.”

Netanyahu’s reference to “Iran’s aggression” was curious since Iran has not invaded another country for centuries. In 1980, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq – at the urging of Saudi Arabia – invaded Iran. During that bloody eight-year war, Israel – far from being an enemy of Iran – became Iran’s principal arms supplier. Israel drew in the Reagan administration, which approved some of the Israeli-brokered arms deals, leading to the Iran-Contra scandal in 1986.

In other words, Israel was aiding Iran after the Islamic Revolution overthrew the Shah in 1979 and during the time when Netanyahu blamed Iran for the attack on the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 and various acts of terrorism allegedly committed by Hezbollah, a Shiite militia in Lebanon. Israel only shifted toward hostility against Shiite-ruled Iran in the 1990s as Israel gradually developed a de facto alliance with Sunni-ruled and oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which views Iran as its chief regional rival.

Netanyahu’s choice of Arab cities supposedly conquered by Iran was strange, too. Baghdad is the capital of Iraq where the U.S. military invaded in 2003 to overthrow Saddam Hussein and his Sunni-dominated government — on Netanyahu’s recommendation. After the invasion, President George W. Bush installed a Shiite-dominated government. So, whatever influence Iran has in Baghdad is the result of a U.S. invasion that Netanyahu personally encouraged.

More recently, Iran has supported the embattled Iraqi government in its struggle against the murderous Islamic State militants who seized large swaths of Iraqi territory last summer. Indeed, Iraqi officials have credited Iran with playing a crucial role in blunting the Islamic State, the terrorists whom President Obama has identified as one of the top security threats facing the United States.

Netanyahu cited Damascus, too, where Iran has helped the Syrian government in its struggle against the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front. In other words, Iran is assisting the internationally recognized government of Syria hold off two major terrorist organizations. But Netanyahu portrays that as Iran “gobbling up” a nation.

The Israeli prime minister also mentioned Beirut, Lebanon, and Sanaa, Yemen, but those were rather bizarre references, too, since Lebanon is governed by a multi-ethnic arrangement that includes a number of religious and political factions. Hezbollah is one and it has close ties to Iran, but it is stretching the truth to say that Iran “dominates” Beirut or Lebanon.

Similarly, in Sanaa, the Houthis, a Shiite-related sect, have taken control of Yemen’s capital and have reportedly received some help from Iran, but the Houthis deny those reports and are clearly far from under Iranian control. The Houthis also have vowed to work with the Americans to carry on the fight against Yemen’s Al-Qaeda affiliate [AQAP].

Leading the Battle

Indeed, Iran and these various Shiite-linked movements have been among the most effective in battling Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, while Israel’s Saudi friends have been repeatedly linked to funding and supporting these Sunni terrorist organizations. In effect, what Netanyahu asked the Congress to do – and apparently successfully – was to join Saudi Arabia and Israel in identifying Iran, not Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, as America’s chief enemy in the Middle East.

That would put the U.S.-Iranian cooperation in combating Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in jeopardy. It could lead to victories by these Sunni terrorists in Syria and possibly even Iraq, a situation that almost surely would force the U.S. military to return in force to the region. No U.S. president could politically accept Damascus or Baghdad in the hands of openly terrorist organizations vowing to carry the fight to Europe and the United States.

Yet, that was the logic — or lack thereof — in Netanyahu’s appeal to Congress. As he put it, “when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.” He also argued that Iran was a greater threat than the Islamic State, a position that Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren has expressed, too.

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime [in Syria] as the keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in a 2013 interview. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran” – even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.

In June 2014, then speaking as a former ambassador at an Aspen Institute conference, Oren expanded on his position, saying Israel would even prefer a victory by the brutal Islamic State over continuation of the Iranian-backed Assad in Syria. “From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,” Oren said.

Netanyahu made a similar point: “The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs.”

Of course, Iran has disavowed any interest in developing a nuclear bomb — and both the U.S. and Israeli intelligence communities agree that Iran has not been working on a bomb. Further, the negotiated agreement between Iran and leading world powers would impose strict oversight on Iran’s civilian nuclear program, leaving little opportunity to cheat.

Instead, Netanyahu wants the United States to lead an aggressive campaign to further strangle Iran’s economy with the goal of forcing some future “regime change.” The principal beneficiary of that strategy would likely be Saudi Arabia, which has served as the proselytizing center for the reactionary Wahabbi version of Sunni Islam, which inspired Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.

Elements of the Saudi royal family also have long been known to support Islamist militants, including forces associated with bin Laden. Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that convicted al-Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui identified leading members of the Saudi government as financiers of the terrorist network.

According to the story, Moussaoui said in a prison deposition that he was directed in 1998 or 1999 by Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan to create a digital database of the group’s donors and that the list included Prince Turki al-Faisal, then Saudi intelligence chief; Prince Bandar bin Sultan, longtime Saudi ambassador to the United States; Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent billionaire investor; and many leading clerics.

Moussaoui also said he discussed a plan to shoot down President George W. Bush’s Air Force One with a Stinger missile with a staff member at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, at a time when Bandar was the ambassador to the United States and considered so close to the Bush family that his nickname was “Bandar Bush.”

Moussaoui claimed, too, that he passed letters between Osama bin Laden and then Crown Prince Salman, who recently became king upon the death of his brother King Abdullah.

While the Saudi government denied Moussaoui’s accusations, Saudi and other Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms have been identified in recent years as financial backers of Sunni militants fighting in Syria to overthrow Assad’s largely secular regime, with al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front the major rebel force benefiting from this support.

Shared Israeli Interests

The Israelis also have found themselves on the side of these Sunni militants in Syria because the Israelis share the Saudi view that Iran and the so-called “Shiite crescent” – reaching from Tehran to Beirut – is the greatest threat to their interests.

That attitude of favoring Sunni militants over Assad has taken a tactical form with Israeli forces launching attacks inside Syria that benefit Nusra Front. For instance, on Jan. 18, 2015, Israel attacked Lebanese-Iranian advisers assisting Assad’s government in Syria, killing several members of Hezbollah and an Iranian general. These military advisers were engaged in operations against Nusra Front.

Meanwhile, Israel has refrained from attacking Nusra militants who have seized Syrian territory near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. One source familiar with U.S. intelligence information on Syria told me that Israel has a “non-aggression pact” with Nusra forces, who have even received medical treatment at Israeli hospitals.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have found themselves on the same side in other regional struggles, including support for the military’s ouster of the elected Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, but most importantly they have joined forces in their hostility toward Shiite-ruled Iran.

Now that all calls for the US to invade Syria fade away and the longer the war goes on, the more lies are surfacing and the call for war is getting more desperate. With Netanyahu calling for war in Iran and Syria and Obama reviving the Cold War with Russia.

Unless Europe wakes up to what Obama and Netanyahu are up to there are going to be more wars in Europe. When are the US taxpayers going revolt against their hard earned dollars going to Israel and wars. What is the point of having elected leaders, when they can only do what Israel tells them to.

Who is running the US and who is controlling your police? The biggest enemy of Obama isn’t Iran, it should be his own people, that he is continually lying to.

Netanyahu has just spoken to Congress, let’s see how long it takes for him to get exactly what he wants. WAR.

FoS

What if the U.S. Invaded Syria and Nobody Noticed? The media should be covering this more

U.S. forces in Iraq, March 7

While everyone was paying attention to the latest crazy Trump story, United States Marines deployed to Syria.

Did you hear about that? If you didn’t, it’s not your fault. The news has been all Trump all the time.

  • He can read a speech!
  • He accused the former president of illegal wiretaps with no evidence!
  • Travel ban 2.0!
  • His Attorney General falsely denied contact with the Russians despite not being asked about it!
  • He pretended not to know his first National Security Adviser did work for Turkey!

But constant ridiculousness is the new normal, and it’s going to be that way for a while. The media needs adjust so it can do its job, drawing attention to important events. Not Trump said, not Trump tweeted, but thing happened.

On March 9, hundreds of Marines arrived in Syria to operate heavy artillery in support of local forces assaulting ISIS’ capital of Raqqa.

At some level, this isn’t a big deal. The Marines will fire from distance, which means they won’t be advancing into prepared defenses, booby traps, or ambushes. The risk they’ll sustain casualties is low.

And American forces were already there. Not these Marines, but others, performing a similar role in Iraq, helping the attack on Mosul. By the end of 2016, the mission Barack Obama sold with “no boots on the ground” involved about 5,000 American ground troops. Most advise Iraqi forces or guide U.S. airstrikes. But advising sometimes requires embedding with combat forces, and they’ve sustained casualties.

Source: United States Department of Defense

With the deployment to Syria, the American ground force engaging ISIS is now closer to 6,000. It’s part of the same fight, and they’re doing something Marines were already doing, just in a different location. It’s not a dramatic change.

But it’s not an insignificant change either, and we should be paying attention.

Many Americans fighting in Iraq and Syria are Special Operations Forces, which fall into a gray area between regular troops and clandestine operatives. Under the 1973 War Powers Act, which is still in force, military deployments require congressional authorization after 90 days. CIA operations do not.

A few days ago, the United States also deployed 100 Army Rangers to Manbij, a small Syrian city about 50 miles northeast of Aleppo and 25 miles south of the Turkish border. It’s more overt than most Special Operations missions, because their goal is to get between Syria (and their Russian backers), Turkey, and the American-supported force attacking Raqqa further east.

For better or worse, the United States has given the executive complete discretion about deploying Special Operations Forces. But the Marines are a branch of the regular military.

Additionally, while some Marines already operate in Iraq, the Iraqi government gave them permission. The Syrian government has not. Embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, flush from his victory over non-ISIS rebels in Aleppo, called the American forces “invaders.”

The deployment is an escalation, another in a long line of escalations following the first deployments in mid-2014. The Obama administration claimed legal authority under the post-9/11 Authorization of Military Force (AUMF), because it applies to the people responsible for the September 11th attacks and “associated forces,” which arguably includes ISIS.

The Trump administration presumably claims the same authority. I have to say “presumably” because they haven’t discussed it with the American people.

Placing the current anti-ISIS campaign under the 2001 AUMF is a stretch. But Congress abdicated responsibility, refusing to pass new authorization. If they vote for a new AUMF and things go bad, it would be a political liability, like the vote to invade Iraq. But if they authorize it and it goes well, the president will get the credit, not individual members of Congress.

The result is repeated escalations without clear legal authority. Given the thousands of Americans already deployed in Iraq and Syria, the public probably does not have a problem adding 400 Marines and 100 Army Rangers per se. But polling shows Americans split on sending ground troops — which is why Obama repeatedly promised not to put boots on the ground.

Source: CNN/ORC

Those numbers are from late 2015, and they’re the most recent I could find (another indication Trump and the election sucked up all attention, to the detriment of important issues). Approval increased after the Paris attacks of November 13, 2015, but it’s unclear if it’s still above 50%.

Either way, it’s safe to assume the public has mixed feelings about sending ground troops to Syria, with many wary of further escalations. At the very least, Congress and the media need to lead a public discussion about what we’re willing to commit to this fight.

The Strategy Problem

Sending the Marines makes sense from a military perspective. Raqqa and Mosul are ISIS’ two main cities. Without them, its claim to an Islamic State collapses. American-backed Iraqi forces have already captured eastern Mosul and are currently assaulting the ISIS-held western part. However, the local forces set to attack Raqqa — a combination of Syrian Kurds and Arabs — are less capable than the Iraqi Armed Forces. To take the city, they’ll need American help.

But taking Raqqa is only the first step. As I previously wrote, the problem is holding it.

Support from local Sunni Arabs helps explain why ISIS successfully took so much territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014. Both Assad and former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki governed as Shia sectarians. (Assad is an Alawite, an offshoot of Shia Islam, and both governments are friendly with Iran). The Sunni Arabs situated between Damascus and Baghdad felt oppressed, and many accepted ISIS — which adheres to a fundamentalist version of Sunni Islam — as a less bad alternative.

If the post-ISIS government in Raqqa lacks popular support, it will foment another Sunni Arab insurgency. Someone has to hold the territory, and do it in a way that provides security without alienating the people.

There’s no indication Syrian Sunni Arabs have the capacity to control the city. And if the Kurds try to do it, Turkey might attack.

Assad believes the territory is rightfully his, and will probably try to take it. If he ends up controlling Raqqa, he’ll oppress local Sunnis, especially since he holds Syria’s Sunni majority responsible for the country’s civil war. Should Assad’s forces advance, would the Americans get in their way? That might require fighting the Syrian military, and risks war with Russia.

Alternatively, if the United States can manage this diplomatically, and keep Syria, Russia, and Turkey out of it, there won’t be anyone with the capacity to provide post-ISIS security. The U.S. would have to assist local forces, and train them so they can eventually handle it themselves.

That sounds an awful lot like the occupation of Iraq. The scale would be smaller, but it would still take a long commitment. American forces would sustain casualties, and the effort could still fail.

While the American people may be okay with this latest escalation, and don’t seem to mind the legal issues of doing so under a stretched 2001 AUMF, they probably oppose a long occupation.

This latest escalation could easily lead to another. And another. Vietnam began with advisers and repeatedly escalated, and while I doubt the fight against ISIS ends up anywhere near that big a commitment, the public should still be talking about it. President Trump has not discussed his intentions in Syria with the American people, and the media should be demanding answers.

Instead, everyone’s fixated on So You Think You Can President, the world’s biggest reality show, while the country heads down an uncertain path, with no end in sight.

WikiLeaks, the CIA and the sad reality of our world

The release by WikiLeaks of Vault 7, a file with more than eight thousand documents detailing some of the techniques that the CIA uses to access information on iOS or Android devices, on our computers, as well as the use of smart TVs to listen to conversations and other equally chilling practices is undoubtedly worrying and revives tensions between technology companies and government spy agencies… but it is hardly surprising.

In reality, it is simply further evidence that spy agencies adapt to the surrounding ecosystem which now consists of devices permanently connected through networks. Today’s “spy kit” no longer consists of a magnifying glass, a flashlight, a pistol or a fake beard, but a computer and an internet connection.

The role of a government espionage agency is to spy. That this espionage is carried out to guarantee the security of a nation or to preserve a certain tyrannical regime is another question that depends on the concept of politics, liberties or ethics of the government of each country. In other words, being scandalized because there are spies or because the spies are engaged in spying is at best naive and at worst a sign of idiocy, and wondering why these spies adapt their methods to the times we live is absurd: Given that we are supposed to accept — although no one asked us — that governments have to have spies and that we have to pay for them with our taxpayers’ money, would we prefer them to continue using outdated tools and methods? Do you want to fight modern spies with sophisticated online tools from a foreign country with agents equipped with magnifying glasses and fake beards?

Obviously, the answer to that question is a very big “it depends”. In the first place, because we would obviously prefer a world without spies. But since since that isn’t going to happen, we will have to consider the different scenarios. If in a country we understand that spies are used to catch terrorists, drug traffickers, criminals or other threats, we will surely want these spies to have the best tools available, and to possess the expertise to invent any they need. If, on the contrary, we think that spies are used to control us, to detect protests or insurgency, to persecute those who think differently and to ignore our most basic human rights, the idea that these spies have the best tools is deeply worrying. It is not the same to live in a democracy where we expect spies to be able to detect a terrorist cell preparing an attack in the center of the city, as to be a homosexual in an Islamic country, or a pro-human rights activist living in a dictatorship, or a non-believer living in a theocracy.

The only thing that the latest WikiLeaks revelations show is that the world is as complex as it was twenty years ago, or probably even more. Twenty years ago government agencies were eavesdropping on our phones and our conversations with microphones, by reading our lips, our letters or tracking our trips: now they tap into our connected electronic devices, which will soon be all devices. As much as we may be concerned or outraged, this is the reality of our world. Things have moved on since the Cold War, and as technology companies strive to use ever more advanced technologies to protect their users, spies will, in turn, find more and better techniques to keep spying on them. Like it or not, spies gonna spy.

Are these leaks good or evil? On the one hand, they lead us to a more transparent society, to understand much better what happens to our privacy and to our data, to put pressure on both the spies and the tech companies (thus leading to further innovation), and to help clarify if there were any wrongdoings (such as spying on innocent citizens without a warrant, as it clearly seems to be the case). On the other hand, they contribute to generate a collective state of psychosis that could collide with our freedom to do ordinary things, and could serve as an example, even a guide, to spies in less developed countries, with all the consequences to citizens in those countries that this possibility may entail. The leaks are not good or evil: they just happen. But if you ask me, I rather live in a world where WikiLeaks exists and plays a significant role in controlling certain behaviors.

Furthermore, we must appreciate the efforts of technology companies to fix the security holes that have allowed spies to spy, and try to be pragmatic and, above all, see things in perspective: most of us, average Joes or Janes who live in democracies, are probably not spied on. What’s more, despite of what was being implied or said yesterday, the CIA has not been able to crack Signal’s encryption, nor WhatsApp’s, or Telegram’s, nor many others. Instead, what they have found are methods to access the devices that originate or receive messages, which can allow them to read those messages at the point of origin or destination. So we don’t yet have to delete apps we thought were safe, and besides, most of us are using them for things that are of no interest whatsoever for the spies of our governments. If you are being spied on and haven’t done anything wrong, then be worried. But not about the spies… about your government! As ever, the problem lies not in technology, but in who uses it and why.


(En español, aquí)

#BoycottIsrael Murderers and Thieves

Israel to demolish Palestinian village in West Bank Israeli occupation wants to use the land of the village to build facilities serving illegal Israeli Jewish settlements in the nearby area Earlier, the villagers appealed against Israeli demolition orders, but the Israeli courts failed to prevent Israeli occupation from carrying out the demolitions. Israeli Civil Administration […]

via israel to demolish Palestinian village in West Bank — Uprootedpalestinians’s Blog

The fight for justice begins at home

Rather than focusing exclusively on Israel-Palestine, Western leftists should use the occupation as a starting point to examine their own role in oppression at home.

By Jakub Zahora

Activists hold mock sections of the Separation Wall during a protest against the occupation on the West Banks main Jerusalem-Hebron highway in full view of Israeli settlers, Beit Jala, West Bank, January 15, 2016. (Activestills.org)

In early October last year, dozens of activists staged a “Global Sukkot against Demolitions” demonstration in front of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) building in Jerusalem. I participated in the event, which involved a coalition of anti-occupation groups and Bedouin citizens of Israel protesting against JNF-led plans to demolish four Palestinian and Bedouin villages in the Negev and the West Bank.

The protest was purposefully organized during Sukkot in order to appeal to the Jewish values and historical experiences underpinning this holiday, which in addition to its agricultural elements, also commemorates Jewish wandering and plight after the Exodus. Indeed, Jewish and Palestinian activists explicitly evoked themes of homelessness and dispossession during the protest in order to show the parallels between historical Jewish experiences and the current treatment of non-Jews by the Israeli state. The demonstration ended with activists declaring, “Not in my name.”

To my surprise, the slogan left me somewhat uneasy. Indeed, the discriminatory policies we were protesting had never been conducted in my name: I am not Jewish. Thus, this occasion made a question that had been haunting me for a while even more pressing: what is my position and that of other non-Jewish researchers and activists in Israel and Palestine, and what can we contribute?

I came to the region in fall 2015 to conduct my doctoral research on so-called “quality of life” settlements. Over the course of the year I spent in Israel/Palestine doing interviews, making observations and analyzing documents, I became deeply conscious of my own position there. Without buying into the narrative that equates criticism of the State of Israel with anti-Semitism, I became critical of what I perceived as the Western Left’s excessive focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when compared to other instances of mass suffering and oppression around the world.

On the one hand, I am inclined to agree with opinions that single out Israel for its colonial policies, which stand in stark contrast to its self-proclaimed status of being “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Protesters demand that Airbnb stop renting properties in West Bank Israeli settlements, Dublin, June 3, 2016. (Courtesy of JVP)

On the other, I also became convinced that being strongly opinionated about, and actively involved in resistance against, the Israeli occupation has become a sort of identity politics on the part of those Westerners who are eager to be seen as progressive. It seemed to me that involvement in pro-Palestinian activism for a month or two served as a kind of rite of passage for mostly young, college-educated leftists.

What further bothered me was that this exceptionalizing perception of Israel/Palestine was often accompanied by a rather essentialist take on the situation in the region, that went beyond the Orientalist, xenophobic and patronizing attitudes towards Palestinians I had steeled myself for when beginning my research. Thus, an acquaintance’s remarks that the untidiness of “Arab” cities in the West clearly demonstrated Palestinians’ cultural inferiority vis-à-vis Israelis, did not really surprise me.

More disturbingly for me, I repeatedly came across simplified and even dehumanizing language from some foreigners when discussing Israelis, a pattern I had a hard time reconciling with the self-declared leftist views of these individuals. I vividly remember another researcher, whose project also involved interviewing settlers, referring to them as “imports.” As I objected to this perplexing language, she seemed surprised and retorted “So how would you call them? Immigrants?”

I very much agree that settlers are part of the Israeli occupying regime. Yet, as I reflect on my personal and national history, I am forced to question certain leftists’ hasty condemnations. My family owns a large cottage in a mountainous area in the northern part of the Czech Republic. Located near the top of a hill, it has a beautiful view over a picturesque village and the surrounding hilly areas.

Yet this peaceful scenery is in fact a sort of monument to massive ethnic cleansing: before World War II, the village had been predominantly German, its inhabitants deported by the Czechoslovakian authorities in late 1945. Overall, around 2.5 million Czechoslovakian citizens of German background were expelled in the aftermath of the war, and several thousand instances of murder and rape occurred. With this in mind, I can hardly see the situation in Israel/Palestine as unique.

Protest in front of JNF office in Jerusalem (photo: Max Schindler)

But most importantly, I found myself resentful of my own role in the research and activist industry focused on the region. I can understand the need of Jewish activists to protest and critically analyze Israeli policies, given that the State of Israel claims to represent them because of their religion/ethnicity.

But what am I to make of myself, an Eastern European gentile who has almost no personal connection to the region? Given that there is an abundance of racist policies and practices in my home country as well, how can I possibly justify my own research of the Israeli settlement project as opposed to, for instance, investigating the mistreatment of refugees by Czech authorities?

I do not have any definite answers to these questions, only tentative ideas. In terms of my research, I gradually started considering “quality of life” settlements as a somewhat extreme example of a wider phenomenon of how can people shut themselves away from violence that underpins their everyday lives.

Indeed, in my interviews with settlers the disturbing policies and practices of the Israeli rule that take place literally a hundred meters from them never came up. This perspective then helped me to see the power structures in the occupied Palestinian territories as less exceptional and more similar to other contexts, including the one I was born and brought up in.

I believe this attitude could be productive for others when approaching the conditions in Israel/Palestine. Perhaps it is not just about seeing parallels between the Israeli army’s daily harassment of Palestinians on the one hand, and mass incarceration of blacks in the U.S. or ghettoization of Roma citizens in the Czech Republic on the other. I came to the conclusion that we should also acknowledge how few differences there are between “economic” settlers commuting on Israeli-only roads in the West Bank, and us (non-settlers, non-Israelis, and in some cases non-Jews), in our comfortable gated communities and gentrified neighborhoods.

Adopting such a perspective thus does not call for refraining from criticism towards Israeli policies. Indeed, as racism and xenophobia once again become legitimate in Western public debates and political programs, practices that sustain the Israeli occupation of the West Bank should be seen as alarming examples of how easily violence against some segments of the population can become concealed, normalized and eventually accepted. Maybe, then, the case of Israel/Palestine can help us, Jews and non-Jews alike, to see more clearly our own daily compliance in oppression and dispossession in other contexts.

Jakub Zahora is a PhD student at the Department of International Relations at Charles University in Prague. In his dissertation he is looking into the politics of space and sight in large settlements in the West Bank.

The Deep State’s Hatred of Trump Is Not the Same as Yours

Posted on Mar 2, 2017

By Paul Street

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Last October, three weeks before the presidential election, I wrote an essay for left progressives titled “The Ruling Class’s Hatred of Trump is Different Than Yours.” People on the left, I noted, loathed the white-nationalist, quasi-fascist Donald Trump because of his sexism, racism, nativism, authoritarianism, militarism, “law and order” police-state-ism, anti-intellectualism, his regressive arch-plutocracy, fake populism, climate denialism and promise to “deregulate energy” and thereby escalate the petro-capitalist, greenhouse gassing-to-death of life on earth.

The establishment’s contempt for the orange-haired beast, I noted, was different. The nation’s unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money and empire were perfectly willing to live with most, if not all, of what the left hated about Trump. After all, I reasoned, they’d been backing or tolerating most or all of those terrible things under presidents from both major United States parties for decades.

Trump, I wrote, faced ruling-class disdain because he was considered bad for transnational capital and the American empire. For the most part, the “deep state” masters who backed Hillary Clinton did not appreciate The Donald’s blustering promises to roll back the neoliberal “free trade” agenda in the name of the forgotten working class. The foreign policy and “national security” establishment especially hated his criticism of Washington’s long march toward war with Russia.

They did not relish the related threat Trump posed to Brand America. It is longstanding, bipartisan, U.S. ruling-class doctrine that this country is the world’s great beacon and agent of democracy, human rights, justice and freedom. American reality has never matched the doctrine, but smart rulers knew that it would be especially difficult to align those claims with a president like Trump.

As a presidential candidate, Trump openly exhibited racist, nativist, sexist, arch-authoritarian, police-state-ist, Islamophobic, pro-torture, and even neofascist sentiments and values. “If our system of government is an oligarchy with a façade of democratic and constitutional process,” the veteran congressional staffer Mike Lofgren wrote last summer in the preface to his book “The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government,” “Trump would not only rip that façade away for the entire world to behold; he would take our system’s ugliest features and intensify them.” They also had policy differences with Trump’s “isolationist” and “anti-trade” rhetoric. That is why the nation’s economic and foreign-policy elites preferred Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio over Trump in the Republican primaries and Hillary Clinton in the general election.

Flash forward to the present. Horrified at the rise of an Insane Clown President who evokes chilling echoes of classic fascism, millions have taken to the streets. The issues that concern the swirling, record-setting crowds that have arisen from coast to coast are evident on their homemade signs.They include women’s and civil rights, climate change, social justice, racism, nativism, the police state, mass incarceration, plutocracy, authoritarianism, immigrant rights, low wages, economic inequality (the top tenth of the upper U.S. 1 percent now owns more wealth than the nation’s bottom 90 percent), hyper-militarism and the devaluation of science and education. The marches and protests are about the threats Trump poses to peace, social justice, the rule of law, livable ecology and democracy.

Meanwhile, the national corporate media and the U.S. intelligence community have been attacking Trump for a very different and strange reason. They have claimed, with no serious or credible evidence, that Trump is, for some bizarre reason, a tool of the Russian state. The charge is as wacky as anything Glenn Beck or, for that matter, Trump (former leader of the preposterous “birther movement”), used to say about President Obama. Citing vague and unsubstantiated CIA reports, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other forces in the establishment media want Americans to believe that, in Glenn Greenwald’s properly mocking words, “Donald Trump is some kind of an agent or a spy of Russia, or that he is being blackmailed by Russia and is going to pass secret information to the Kremlin and endanger American agents on purpose.”

Beneath the wild and unsubstantiated charge that Trump is some kind of Moscow-controlled Manchurian president is a determination to cripple and perhaps remove Trump because he wants to normalize U.S. relations with Russia. Why, you might ask, would smoothing things over between Washington and Moscow be a terrible thing? It wouldn’t be for everyday Americans who don’t want to see themselves, their children and their grandchildren blown up in a nuclear war over, say, Ukraine (where the Obama administration provocatively helped create a fascist, NATO-affiliated regime on Russia’s western border) or Crimea (where the vast majority of the population welcomed reversion to Russia).

The U.S. power elite—rooted in key deep-state institutions like the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Atlantic Council, the Brookings Institution, The Washington Post and The New York Times—thinks differently. As Mike Whitney recently explained on Counterpunch, Trump’s failure to grasp the necessity of the New Cold War with Russia “threat[ens] … Washington’s broader imperial strategy to control China’s growth, topple Putin, spread military bases across Central Asia, implement trade agreements that maintain the dominant role of western-owned mega-corporations, and derail attempts by Russia and China to link the wealthy EU to Asia by expanding the web of pipeline corridors and high-speed rail that will draw the continents closer together creating the largest and most populous free trade zone the world has ever seen. … The economic integration of Asia and Europe must be blocked to preserve Washington’s hegemonic grip on world power.”

This is CFR-led, U.S. “Open Door” Imperialism 101.

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Don’t be fooled by how much CNN’s anchors enjoy broadcasting images of mass anti-Trump popular protests. The U.S. imperial, financial and corporate establishment doesn’t care about the plight of the Standing Rock water and climate protectors, livable ecology, Muslim communities, Latino immigrants, Black Lives Matter activists, poor blacks, civil liberties, the working class (white and nonwhite) or Trump’s recent, insane, budget-busting call for a 10 percent increase in the U.S. military budget.

The Trump presidency is a problem for the American establishment for some very different reasons. He’s a public relations and marketing disaster for Brand USA. How do you sell the United States as a great model and agent of freedom, democracy and cultural diversity when its visible state is captained by vicious, white-nationalist authoritarians like the Twitter-addicted “thin-skinned megalomaniac” Trump and his quasi-fascist “alt-right” Svengali, Steve Bannon?

Trump is seen by many American elites as too stupid, narcissistic and crude to head the world’s most powerful nation. It’s an understandable concern. As The New York Times noted, Trump “spent the first 48 hours of his presidency bickering about the size of the inauguration crowd.”

We’ve never heard a U.S. president say anything as dangerously idiotic as what Trump proclaimed to the nation’s governors on Monday while calling for an over-the-top and dead-in-the-water increase in the Pentagon budget. “We have to start winning wars again. … We never win,” said the new commander in chief, who stands atop a giant nuclear stockpile (the U.S. owns more than 5,100 nuclear warheads) with the capacity to blow the world up many times over. “When I was young, in high school and in college,” the Vietnam-era draft dodger added, “everybody used to say we never lost a war. America never lost. Now, we never win a war.”

Talking so flippantly and childishly about wars and the nation’s need to “win” them—this without even referring to any purportedly legitimate war aims in the nuclear era—is beyond the ruling-class pale. It’s not that the establishment is pacifist or squeamish about killing people. Far from it. The American empire’s body count runs into the many millions over the last half-century alone. But Trump’s juvenile language makes the U.S. look all too transparently like a recklessly daft rogue state, not the wise and “indispensable nation” it has long been purported to be.

Recall Trump’s talk to the CIA on his first full day in office. In a rambling speech broadcast on CNN and other cable news outlets, he complained like a petulant junior high student about the media’s supposed underestimation of the number of people at his inauguration. Then he told stone-faced senior intelligence officials that the U.S. might get another chance to go into Iraq and “get the oil.”

The world shuddered two weeks ago when a U.S. Army officer posed for a photograph with a wealthy patron at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago golf resort while carrying the “nuclear football”—the suitcase that carries the launch codes for the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The new president is going to spend many of his presidential weekends at his opulent Mar-a-Lago resort, where the membership fee doubled to $200,000 after he was elected, and members now have new rules to follow.

George W. Bush also was over his head in the White House. Still, with his longstanding, ruling-class, establishment pedigree and his history as a graduate of Yale’s secret Skull and Bones society, he had the decency and, well, the class, to know his limits and place. He subjected himself to certain rules of conduct imposed by his vice president and other more competent and knowledgeable handlers.

The malignant narcissist and Twitter-addicted Trump is a different breed. He might be able to clean himself up enough to read a semicivilized and half-conciliatory speech to Congress (earning thereby a fantastic description as “presidential” from the noted sycophant Van Jones). Still, he seems unable to stop himself from doing and saying things that shred the veneer of a wise, far-seeing and benevolent American empire.

Then there’s been his related failure to grasp the necessity of focusing his dangerous imperial energies on Russia.

Has Trump and/or the people around him gotten the message on Russia? Perhaps. He agreed to get rid of his incompetent and insufficiently anti-Russian national security adviser, Michael Flynn, under establishment pressure. Flynn’s replacement is Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who views Russia as a “hostile revisionist power” that “annex(es) territory, intimidates our allies, develops nuclear weapons, and uses proxies under the cover of modernized conventional militaries.” Two weeks ago, the White House said Russia needs to return Crimea to Ukraine—a preposterous statement that may reflect a newfound willingness for play along with New Cold War rhetoric. In his first annual address to Congress on Tuesday, Trump signaled strong support for Russia’s great antagonist, NATO.

Still, don’t expect the Trump-as-a-tool-of-Russia talk to go away. It’s too irresistible for Democrats to drop. Besides working to delegitimize Trump (something Democrats hope to turn to their advantage in 2018 and 2020), the blame-the-Kremlin narrative helps New Cold Warriors atop both reigning parties keep the heat on Moscow. It helps them hedge in Trump’s lingering promise of rapprochement with Russia.

At the same time, the Russia card helps the corporatists atop the Democratic Party avoid responsibility for blowing the election. After defeating the progressive Democrat Bernie Sanders (who would have defeated Trump) in dubious ways, the neoliberal Democrats ran a hopelessly wooden, Wall Street-captive and corruption-tainted candidate (Hillary Clinton) who couldn’t mobilize enough working- and lower-class voters to defeat the hypernoxious and widely hated Trump. The “Moscow stole it” story line is a fancy version of “the dog ate my homework” for a dismal, dollar-drenched Democratic Party that abandoned the working class and the causes of peace, social justice and environmental sustainability long ago.

The moneyed masters in charge of the “inauthentic opposition” party (the late, left-liberal political scientist Sheldon Wolin’s all-too-accurate description of the Democrats nine years ago) would rather not take a long, hard and honest look at what that political organization has become. It does not want to concede anything to those who dream of turning it into an authentically progressive opposition party. The “Russia did it” imputation works for establishment Democrats hoping to stave off demands from more progressive and populist types (who recently came close to claiming the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee) in their own party. So much better to blame external others for the richly deserved near-collapse of their party at all levels.

The Russia card also has proved tempting to U.S. progressives who should and may know better. Their understandable passion for seeing Herr Trump humiliated and removed from office has led some of them down a disturbing path. As Gareth Porter has noted, “Many people who oppose Trump for other valid reasons have seized on the shaky Russian accusations because they represent the best possibility for ousting Trump from power.” It’s a big mistake. Porter reflects and warns:

But ignoring the motives and the dishonesty behind the campaign of leaks has far-reaching political implications. Not only does it help to establish a precedent for U.S. intelligence agencies to intervene in domestic politics, as happens in authoritarian regimes all over the world, it also strengthens the hand of the military and intelligence bureaucracies who are determined to maintain the New Cold War with Russia.

Those war bureaucracies view the conflict with Russia as key to the continuation of higher levels of military spending and the more aggressive NATO policy in Europe that has already generated a gusher of arms sales that benefits the Pentagon and its self-dealing officials.

Progressives in the anti-Trump movement are in danger of becoming an unwitting ally of those military and intelligence bureaucracies despite the fundamental conflict between their economic and political interests and the desires of people who care about peace, social justice and the environment.

Do serious progressives committed to democracy, peace and social justice really want to lie down in the same warmongering and pro-surveillance bed as the CIA and the Pentagon? Doing so is bad for their souls and moral integrity. It’s also bad for democracy and for peace to help empower and legitimize the imperial system’s unelected and infamously nefarious deep state “intelligence” bureaucracy, “maybe the only [Washington] faction worse than Donald Trump,” according to Greenwald. As Whitney wisely counsels, “Leftists should avoid the temptation of aligning themselves with groups and agencies that might help them achieve their short-term goal of removing Trump, but ultimately move them closer to a de facto 1984 lock-down police state. Misplaced support for the deep state Russophobes will only strengthen the national security state’s stranglehold on power. That’s not a path to victory, it’s a path to annihilation.”

Take to the streets (and highways, town plazas, fossil-fuel extraction sites, shop floors, assembly halls, airwaves and airports, etc.) against Trump, by all means. But also take to the streets against the grim neoliberal Democrats who opened the barn door for his dangerous presidency and against the unelected “deep state” interests working always to increase the ever-upward concentration of global capitalist wealth and power. We don’t want to bring Trump down just to help install an administration more properly suited to selling and otherwise advancing American empire, inequality and ecocide.