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TBR News March 14, 2017

Mar 14 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. March 14, 2017: “”One of the coming releases of highly negative culled email finds is a truly disgusting compendium of top American political, business and social leaders’ downloading and participation in pedophilic pornography.

The viewers, and participants include: Two former Presidents, sixteen Senators, thirty five Congressmen, seventy seven top bureaucrats, fifty two bankers and other leading businessmen are topics of this file, a file replete with pictures of the perps that would be forbidden on XHamster, the Ukrainina pornographic site.

An advanced posting of this filth has been circulating, via the Deep Internet, to various interested people and when, not if, it goes public, it will put the Podesta papers to shame.

It will also put a number of the nations top leaders to even worse shame.

The outraged public might well end up displaying the perverts in trees.

A Washington wind chime!”

Table of Contents

  • Washington Post (aka Jeff Bezos’ Cat Box Liner) anti-Trump headlines, March 14.
  • US to deploy missile-capable drones across border from North Korea
  • Korea threatens ‘merciless’ strikes as US, S. Korea & Japan hold joint drills
  • Diplomatic row between Europe and Turkey escalates further
  • Dutch conservatives, nationalists big winners from Turkey row: poll
  • Netherlands Dispute Gives Turkey Perfect Election Fodder
  • WikiLeaks recruiting CIA interns?
  • When ‘Disinformation’ Is Truth
  • Western chicken hawks are going cold on Turkey
  • The Iranian Mystery Ship: Death from the Sea

 Washington Post (aka Jeff Bezos’ Cat Box Liner) anti-Trump headlines, March 14.

  • White supremacism is ready to roar
  • The Trump administration dons a tinfoil hat
  • Never Trump’ Republicans join call for select committee on Russia and Trump
  • Trump administration reviewing ways to make it easier to launch drone strikes
  • Indian Americans won’t be safe as long as the White House is inciting fearFederal workforce early target of Trump’s ‘deconstruction’ era
  • Here are the photos that show Obama’s inauguration crowd was bigger than Trump’s
  • White House budget director’s 4-Pinocchio claims about how lawmakers reviewed Obamacare

US to deploy missile-capable drones across border from North KoreaDeployment of Grey Eagle drones, designed to carry Hellfire missiles, in the South represents significant build-up of US military muscle

March 14, 2017

by Julian Borger

Rueters

Washington-The US has declared it will permanently station missile-capable drones in South Korea in the latest round of military escalation in north-eastern Asia.

The drone deployment comes a week after North Korea carried out a test salvo of four missiles that landed off the coast of Japan, and a day before the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, embarks on a tour of a region widely regarded as the most dangerous corner of the world.

The US military in South Korea took the unusual step of publicly announcing the deployment of a company of Grey Eagle drones, which it said would add “significant intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability” for American and South Korean forces.

Grey Eagles are designed to carry Hellfire missiles and together with the deployment of Thaad anti-ballistic missile defences in South Korea they represent a significant build-up of US military muscle in response to an accelerated programme of missile and nuclear testing by the North Korean regime.

Pyongyang claims it has mastered the challenge of making a nuclear warhead small enough to put on the tip of a missile, and is working on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the continental US.

“In addition to Thaad these [drones] are defensive measures that are a response to what we – and by ‘we’ I mean South Korea, the United States and Japan – view as a real and credible threat to our security,” said Mark Toner, the state department spokesman.

Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on the North Korean nuclear weapons programme, warned that unless the US military made it very clear that the new drones would not carry missiles in Korean skies, they could bring an already very dangerous situation closer to the brink of war.

“If they are not going to arm them, they need to say that. They need to make them absolutely clear,” said Lewis, the director of the east Asia nonproliferation programme at Middlebury Institute of International Affairs at Monterey in California.

“The thing the North Koreans are most afraid of is that we’re going to kill Kim Jong-un in a decapitating strike and … that will strengthen their incentives to make sure that low level commanders will have the ability to use nuclear weapons. It will make the North Koreans even more jumpy and have a way itchier trigger finger.”

Lewis believes the North Korean strategy is to use a nuclear first strike to deter an attack aimed at regime change, a posture which makes for a particularly unstable balance of forces, with the adversaries motivated to act preemptively.

“In a war they plan to use their weapons early,” Lewis said. “We plan to hit them before they do that, and the South Koreans plan to hit them before we have a chance to take too long to do that.”

The threat represented by North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile arsenal is the principal reason for Tillerson’s trip to the region. The former oil executive, who has so far been a muted presence as secretary of state, arrives in Tokyo on Wednesday, moves on Friday to Seoul, which is in the grip of a political crisis, and then travels the next day to Beijing to hold talks with President Xi Jinping and other officials.

“The idea is this trip will allow secretary Tillerson to engage allies and partners, not only on a range of bilateral issues, but also importantly to discuss and coordinate strategy to address the advancing nuclear missile threat from North Korea,” said Susan Thornton, the acting assistant secretary of state for east Asian and Pacific affairs.

Tillerson is taking on a looming problem that has defeated Washington’s best diplomatic efforts for more than two decades. The US and its allies insist that North Korea freeze its nuclear weapons development, but Kim Jong-un – who took over leadership after the death of his father Kim Jong-il in 2011 – has shown himself determined to develop a significant nuclear arsenal.

He has tested missiles capable of reaching South Korea, Japan and US forces based there, and has plans to test an ICBM that could hit the US west coast, something Donald Trump declared in early January “won’t happen”. But it is unclear how the new president would enforce this.

“I believe Tillerson wants to achieve a greater unity of the US allies in front of the North Korean nuclear programme which is advancing faster than anybody has ever expected,” said Andrei Lankov, professor of Korean studies at Kookmin University in Seoul. “In Seoul and Tokyo he wants to gain support for more pressure, and perhaps he even hopes to get something from the Chinese, to persuade them that pressing North Korea hard is in China’s long-term interests.

“However, these efforts are not going to bear any significant results: sanctions do not have any noticeable impact on North Korea.”

Trump has suggested that Beijing could constrain Kim, but most experts on the region say it has limited sway over the regime in Pyongyang as the Chinese leadership is fearful of triggering a total collapse of its neighbour.

“China wants the denuclearisation of the north but its priorities continue to be different from ours,” Sue Mi Terry, a former deputy national intelligence officer for east Asia in the US National Intelligence Council, told a Council on Foreign Relations event. “Their priorities are no war, no instability, no nukes, in a descending order meaning they seek peace and stability and then denuclearisation – and that has not fundamentally shifted.”

Given the failure of sanctions, the Trump administration is reviewing other methods, including possible military options. The New York Times reported earlier this month that the Obama administration had tried cyber warfare to sabotage Korean missiles. That effort appears to have had some successes but last week’s missiles tests suggest it is not a lasting solution in the face of Pyongyang’s determination.

Mary Beth Long, an assistant secretary of defence in the Bush administration, said the US should consider carrying out air strikes to stop missile tests.

“China has made the decision to support North Korea,” Long said. “We can see if China is willing to change that, but we can’t have US policy held hostage to Chinese long-term and short-term decisions regarding North Korea.”

Others voices in Washington argue that any such “preventative” military action is likely to trigger heavy North Korean retaliation against US allies and forces in the region.

Korea threatens ‘merciless’ strikes as US, S. Korea & Japan hold joint drills

March 14, 2017

RT

North Korea has warned that it will launch “merciless” strikes if the US strike group that arrived for two days of trilateral drills with South Korea and Japan infringes on Pyongyang’s “sovereignty and dignity.”

“If they infringe on the DPRK’s [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s] sovereignty and dignity even a bit, its army will launch merciless ultra-precision strikes from ground, air, sea, and underwater,” said the North’s state news agency, KCNA, as cited by Reuters.

Pyongyang pointed out that “many enemy carrier-based aircraft flew along a course near territorial air and waters of the DPRK to stage drills of dropping bombs and making surprise attacks on the ground targets of its army.”

North Korea has been steadily pounding the South and the US with strong rhetoric. KCNA reported on Monday that “if even a single shell is fired into the territory in which the sovereignty of the DPRK is exercised, the bases of aggression and provocation will be reduced to such debris that no living thing can be found.”

“The US should properly understand that its slightest misjudgment about the DPRK will lead it to final doom,” the agency added.

The latest statement comes as, on Tuesday, US, Japanese, and South Korean Navy forces kicked off joint two-day drills to the east of the Korean peninsula and north of Japan with the participation of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) , South Korean Sejong the Great (DDG- 991), and Japanese Kirishima (DDG-174) missile destroyers.

The exercises are being billed as “promoting communications, interoperability, and partnership in the 7th Fleet area of operations.”

“The exercise will employ tactical data link systems to trade communications, intelligence and other data among the ships in the exercise. It will allow participants to enhance tactical capabilities, increase self-defense, strengthen partnerships, and improved situational awareness,” the US navy said in a statement.

Pyongyang launched four missiles to show their discontent with the war games on March 5.

Tensions with the North were also exacerbated when America’s ambassador to the UN said that the US’ new administration is reviewing its Korea strategy, stressing that “all options are on the table.

Diplomatic row between Europe and Turkey escalates further

Turkey has slammed the EU for siding with the Netherlands in a diplomatic dispute, after banning the Dutch ambassador from the country. Meanwhile, Angela Merkel rejected Ankara’s accusations of supporting terrorists.

March 14, 2017

DW

Despite Brussels warning Ankara to avoid “exacerbating” the situation over Turkey’s demands to hold political rallies in the EU, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hit out at the Netherlands on Tuesday, by holding them responsbile for Europe’s worst mass killing since World War II,

Referring to a Dutch battalion of United Nations peacekeepers who failed to halt the slaughter by Bosnian Serb forces of thousands of Muslim men and boys in eastern Bosnia in 1995, Erdogan said: “We know the Netherlands and the Dutch from the Srebrenica massacre. We know how rotten their character is from their massacre of 8,000 Bosnians there.”

Merkel ‘supporting terrorists’

Speaking at an event in Ankara, Erdogan also attacked German Chancellor Merkel for her public backing of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the ongoing diplomatic crisis with the Netherlands.

The spat began when Holland refused to let Turkish ministers hold political rallies there ahead of a referendum in Turkey to be held on April 16. German authorities have also taken measures to limit such rallies but, to a lesser extent.

Erdogan accused Merkel on Tuesday of attacking Turkey the same way Dutch police used dogs and water cannon to Turkish disperse protesters outside the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam.

The Turkish President said Merkel was “no different from the Netherlands,” and urged emigre Turks to not vote for “the government and the racists” in upcoming European elections.

“Europe is too important a continent to be abandoned to the mercy of the bandit states,” Erdogan said.

Nazi slurs

Previously, Erdogan accused the German chancellor of “supporting terrorists,” after saying that both Germany and Netherlands acted like Nazis.

“Mrs Merkel, why are you hiding terrorists in your country? Why are you not doing anything?” Erdogan said in an interview, accusing her of refusing to respond to 4,500 dossiers sent by Ankara on terror suspects.

Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert meanwhile said that the accusations against her were clearly “absurd.”

“The chancellor has no intention of taking part in a game of provocation,” he added

The Turkish referendum

The Netherlands responded angrily to Erdogan’s repeated claims of Nazism over the referendum dispute. The country, Germany’s neighbor, was bombed and occupied by German forces during World War II.

“Nazism, we can call this Neo-nazism. A new Nazism tendency,” Erdogan said again on Monday.

His aggressive rhetoric comes with just one month to go to the referendum date. Expatriate Turkish voters could make all the difference in the plebiscite that, if passed, would greatly expand Erdogan’s powers.

Escalating conflict

The standoff with the Netherlands meanwhile led to a complete halt in the diplomatic relationship between the two nations. Turkey banned the Dutch ambassador from the country and stopped all high-level political discussions. The escalation came on the eve of general elections in the Netherlands.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim meanwhile also threatened to cancel the refugee deal struck between Turkey and the European Union one year ago, which has helped in keeping the number of migrants arriving in Germany and elsewhere in Europe at bay.

On Tuesday, Dutch Prime Minister Rutte said that the measures taken by Turkey so far were “not too bad.”

“On the other hand, I continue to find it bizarre that in Turkey they’re talking about sanctions when you see that we have reasons to be very angy about what happened this weekend,” he added.

Updated travel advisories

The German Foreign Ministry meanwhile updated its travel advisory on Turkey, saying that Germans there should be worried about “heightened political tensions and protests that could be directed at Germans.”

The revision also recommends that German visitors to Turkey “stay away from political gatherings and from larger groups of people in general.”

The Netherlands followed suit and also revised their travel advice for Turkey, urging Dutch citizens visiting Turkey to exercise caution.

“There have been diplomatic tensions between Turkey and the Netherlands,” the ministry wrote.

“Be alert and avoid large crowds.”

Dutch conservatives, nationalists big winners from Turkey row: poll

March 13, 2017

by Thomas Escritt

Reuters

AMSTERDAM-  Dutch conservative and nationalist parties could gain an extra five seats between them following the diplomatic row and weekend rioting over a Turkish minister’s attempt to hold a political rally in Rotterdam, a snap poll published on Monday showed.

With two days to go until the Dutch vote in a pivotal parliamentary election, pollster Maurice De Hond found that the spat between the Netherlands and Turkey, and Saturday’s night of rioting by ethnic Turks in Rotterdam, had benefited the two parties that have been most skeptical on immigration.

The poll showed Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s pro-business VVD party on track to win 27 seats in the 150-seat parliament with 18 percent of the vote, three more than in the pollster’s last survey, published on Sunday but taken before the weekend.

Geert Wilders’s anti-Muslim Freedom Party was in second place with 16 percent, or up two seats to 24.

In the latest Peilingwijzer poll of polls, the two parties are on 16.2 percent and 13.4 percent respectively.

President Recip Tayyip Erdogan’s dispatch of Turkish ministers to Western Europe to campaign for a referendum that will give him more power have the potential to upturn a Dutch campaign that was already dominated by questions of identity.

“It is quite clear that preferences have changed since Saturday,” De Hond wrote. Voters who had considered the VVD as just one option were now more likely to vote for the party, while likely PVV voters were stronger in their convictions.

Rutte and Wilders go head to head on Monday evening in a television debate that could prove decisive in shaping voters’ preferences before they go to the polls on Wednesday.

Erdogan, accused of authoritarianism, wants to win the support of the estimated 5 million Turkish citizens in Europe in the vote on granting him sweeping new powers that he says he needs to fight security threats his country faces.

The Dutch government barred Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from flying to Rotterdam to speak at a rally on Saturday and later stopped Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya from entering the Turkish consulate there. She was later escorted out of the country to Germany.

De Hond’s polling suggests voters approved of Rutte’s handling of the situation. Wilders, an opponent of Muslim immigration, said it was only the threat from his party that made Rutte take such a hard line.

Wilders has little chance of forming a government, since other parties have ruled out a coalition with a party they view as racist. A PVV win would nevertheless send shock waves across Europe.

The French presidential election begins next month, with far-right, anti-euro leader Marine Le Pen seen winning the first round but losing heavily in the run-off.

In September, right-wing, euroskeptic party Alternative for Germany is likely to win seats for the first time in the German federal parliament.

Netherlands general election poll of pollshere#section/polls

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Catherine Evans)

 Netherlands Dispute Gives Turkey Perfect Election Fodder

Ankara is piling on in its dispute with the Netherlands after the country refused to allow key government members to hold political rallies in the country over the weekend. Turkey is calling for retaliation in the “harshest ways” and President Erdogan has found the perfect election issue.

March 13, 2016

by Maximilian Popp

Spiegel

Istanbul-Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it seemed, had run out of stories to tell. He had retold the legend of his rise from the very bottom of society to the political pinnacle, and of his energetic battle against his country’s enemies, so often that his referendum campaign had long felt like a repeat of earlier elections.

Turkish voters are slated to cast ballots on April 16 on the introduction of a presidential system that would transfer virtually all power in the country to the president. But Erdogan has had a tough time persuading voters of the need for these reforms.

Now, though, it is the Europeans, of all people who are feeding Erdogan the arguments he needs. The moves in recent days by politicians in Germany and the Netherlands to prevent Turkish politicians from making campaign appearances in those countries have once again lent relevance to Erdogan’s campaign. The dispute with Europe allows Erdogan to play his favorite role: that of a fearless outsider taking on the world’s powerful.

Merkel Deflects Criticism

In Germany, a number of cities in recent days banned events that had been planned with members of Erdogan’s government. Various pretexts were cited, from concerns about fire safety to an alleged lack of parking spaces. In response, Erdogan accused the German government of “Nazi practices.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded with cool reserve, deflecting the criticism in a way that made it appear the issue had been laid to rest.

But now the conflict has escalated again. On Saturday, the Netherlands revoked landing rights for Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu’s plane and then blocked Family Minister Beytül Kaya from entering the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam that night before forcing her to drive back to Germany, from whence she had come.

The Turkish government reacted with outrage. Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, lamented a “dark day for democracy in Europe” in a tweet. “Shame on the Dutch government for succumbing to anti-Islam racists and fascists,” he added in another. Turkish Finance Minister Naci Agbal said Europe was in the process of reestablishing National Socialism.

Erdogan Exploits the Dispute

In the Netherlands and in several Turkish cities, demonstrators took to the streets to protest against the event ban. In Istanbul, a man scaled the Netherlands Consulate and replaced the Dutch flag with the Turkish one. The government-aligned Yeni Akit newspaper even hinted at civil war, writing: “The Netherlands has 48,000 soldiers. There are 400,000 Turks living in the Netherlands.”

President Erdogan appears determined to exploit the commotion in the final month before the referendum. Family Minister Kaya appeared before the press in the Istanbul airport following her return flight on Sunday morning. Standing together with Erdogan’s step son, Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, who had received her, she accused the Dutch authorities of “ugly” and “inhumane” treatment. Erdogan himself said to the Dutch: “You will pay a price. We will teach them international diplomacy.”

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also threatened on Sunday morning to retaliate in the “harshest ways.” Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said an “apology was not enough” and that there “will be repercussions” for the Dutch actions. The Turkish government has no interest in resolving the conflict because it knows that it stands to profit from it.

Tuna Beklevic, the head of the “No” Party, a group opposing the proposed constitutional reforms, has described the events as the “perfect storm.” The dispute with Europe, he said, was precisely the kind of thing Erdogan had hoped for. Beklevic fears the scandal will mobilize nationalist voters. “It could provide Erdogan with exactly the 2 to 3 percentage points that will ultimately decide the referendum.”

WikiLeaks recruiting CIA interns?

WikiLeaks is apparently targeting CIA interns, retweeting an agency advertisement and stating the program might be a “[w]histleblowing opportunity.”

March 13, 2017

by Joe Uchill

The Hill

The WikiLeaks tweet hints at a different paradigm for leaking. Rather than taking a job in good faith and leaking information, it implies would-be leakers should apply for jobs with the purpose of leaking.

Wikileaks staff and supporters, including its head, Julian Assange, describe the site as a journalistic organization. According to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, the ethical way to conduct journalism is to “[a]void undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public.”

Aimlessly rooting around the CIA for documents to leak would be unethical, said Bernhard Debatin, a professor at Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

“The problem here is that there are very few situations [in which] undercover is justified. Sometimes those situations are only recognizable in hindsight,” he said. “Journalism depends on its being trustworthy, and being dishonest goes against that.”

Debatin notes that journalists can usually find other ways to get information, adding that interns, particularly at the CIA, would not handle the most sensitive information.

But according to the position description, the Directorate of Operations internships “perform duties typical of a Collection Management Officer (CMO) or Staff Operations Officer (SOO), teaming with knowledgeable professionals to facilitate the collection and dissemination of foreign intelligence used by US national security, defense, and foreign policy officials and intelligence analysts.” Both the CMO and SOO positions handle covert intelligence.

Interns must pass a polygraph test and background check, the CIA ad reads.

When ‘Disinformation’ Is Truth

Democrats and liberals have climbed into bed with the neocons to push the “Russia-did-it” conspiracy theory as a way to “get Trump,” but this New McCarthyism has grave dangers

March 13, 2017

by Robert Parry

consortiumnews

The anti-Russian McCarthyism that has spread out from the United States to encompass the European Union, Canada and Australia has at its core an implicit recognition that neoliberal economics and neoconservative foreign policy have failed.

When I recently asked a European journalist why this anti-Russian hysteria had taken root among mainstream European political parties, he answered with a question: “Do you think they can run on their success in handling the recession and the refugees?”

In other words, European voters are angry about the painful economic conditions that followed the Wall Street crash of 2008 and the destabilizing surge of immigrants fleeing from Western “regime change” wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.

So, like the Democratic Party that doesn’t want to engage in a soul-searching self-examination about Donald Trump’s victory, the European “establishment” parties need a handy excuse to divert criticism – and that excuse is Russia, a blame-shifting that has allowed nearly every recent criticism of an establishment government official to be sloughed off as “Russian disinformation.”

It doesn’t even matter anymore that the criticism may be based on solid fact. Even truthful information is now deemed “Russian disinformation” or Russian-inspired “fake news.”

We saw that in the Canadian mainstream media’s denunciations of Consortiumnews.com for running an article that pointed out that Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland had misrepresented her family history to white-out her maternal grandfather’s role editing a Nazi newspaper in Poland that demonized Jews and justified the Holocaust.

Virtually every mainstream outlet in Canada rallied to Freeland’s side when she dismissed our article as Russian disinformation. Only later did a few newspapers grudgingly acknowledge that our story was true and that Freeland knew it was true. Still, the attacks on us continued. We were labeled “Russian disinformationists,” with no evidence needed to support the slander and no defense allowed.

Though arguably a small example, the Freeland story reflects what is happening across the Western mainstream news media. Almost every independent-minded news article that questions the establishment narratives on international affairs is dismissed as “Russian propaganda.” The few politicians, academics and journalists who don’t march in the establishment’s parade are “Moscow stooges” or “Putin apologists.”

The Russian Resistance

This anti-Russian hysteria began some years ago when Russian President Vladimir Putin made clear that Russia would no longer bow to dictates from Washington and Brussels. Russia bristled at the encroachment of NATO on its borders, rejected the neoconservative agenda of “regime change” wars in Muslim countries, and resisted the U.S.-backed putsch ousting Ukraine’s elected president in 2014.

But the anti-Russian frenzy gained unstoppable momentum with the U.S. election in 2016. The Democrats, liberals and neoconservatives were horrified at the shocking upset of their presidential choice, Hillary Clinton, by the boorish and buffoonish Donald Trump.

After this bitter defeat, the losers looked for scapegoats rather than order up a serious autopsy on how they lost to the “unelectable” Trump, i.e, by choosing a corporate candidate who was associated with neoliberal economics and neoconservative war policies. Blaming Russia became the easy excuse that could unify the various pro-Clinton camps.

So, the Obama administration – in an unprecedented step – sought to poison the well for its successor by having the U.S. intelligence community put out evidence-lacking allegations about Russian “meddling” in the U.S. election to elect Trump.

The promoters of this Russia-did-it narrative merged with the “#Resistance” movement to do whatever was necessary to push Trump out of office. It didn’t seem to matter that there was very little evidence that the Russians actually did meddle in the election.

The chief claim was that the Russians gave WikiLeaks the Democratic emails revealing the Democratic National Committee’s sabotage of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign and the emails of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta exposing the contents of Clinton’s hidden speeches to Wall Street and some pay-to-play features of the Clinton Foundation.

WikiLeaks denied getting the material from the Russians, but – more to the point – there was no evidence of collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign, as even Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman have acknowledged. (The WikiLeaks disclosures also were not a major factor in Clinton’s defeat, which she primarily blamed on FBI Director James Comey briefly reopening the investigation of her using a private email server while Secretary of State.)

Still, the absence of evidence has not deterred Democrats, liberals and neocons from spinning a vast Russian conspiracy theory that ties together Trump’s past business dealings in Russia with the notion that somehow Putin foresaw that Trump would become U.S. president, an eventuality that nearly every American pundit considered an impossibility as recently as last year.

But skeptics of the Trump/Russia conspiracy — if they dare note that Putin would have needed the world’s best Ouija board to foresee Trump’s victory — must then prove that they are not “Russian propaganda/disinformation agents” for having these doubts.

New McCarthyism and Maddow

Given the emergence of this New Cold War, I suppose it made sense that we would soon have a New McCarthyism, although it may have come as a surprise that this witch-hunting is being led by the liberals and the mainstream media, albeit with important assistance from the neoconservatives who have long engaged in smearing the patriotism of anyone who doubted their geopolitical genius.

Remember back in 1984 when U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick, an early neocon, denounced traitorous Americans who would “blame America first.”

But it appears now that many liberals and even progressives are so blinded by their hatred of Trump that they haven’t thought through the wisdom of their new alliance with the neocons — or the fairness of smearing fellow Americans as “Putin apologists.”

Meanwhile, mainstream news organizations have abandoned even the pretense of professional objectivity in their propagandistic approach toward anything related to Russia or Trump. For instance, I would defy anyone reading The New York Times’ coverage of Russia to assess it as fair and balanced when it is clearly snarky and sneering.

It also turns out that this New McCarthyism has become profitable for its leading practitioners. The New York Times reported on Monday that the ratings for MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow are soaring with her frequent anti-Russian rants.

“Now, rattled liberals are surging back [to network television], seeking catharsis, solidarity and relief,” the Times wrote, citing a Kentucky woman explaining why she has become a devotee of Maddow: “She’s always talking about the Russians!”

Frankly, for the past dozen years, I’ve wondered about Maddow. I first heard her on the radio in August 2005 when she was a summer fill-in at Air America reporting on President George W. Bush’s Katrina fiasco, which she partly blamed on the deployment of Louisiana National Guard units to Iraq, so they couldn’t help evacuate flooded New Orleans.

It was clear that Maddow was talented and her excoriation of the Iraq War was on point, although – by summer 2005 – it didn’t require a huge amount of journalistic courage to slam Bush over the Iraq War. As I watched her career rise through a regular Air America gig to her show on MSNBC and then to stardom as an anchor on the network’s election coverage, I always wondered whether she would put her lucrative corporate acceptance at risk and go against the grain at a tough journalistic moment.

Now, Maddow’s behavior in becoming a modern-day mainstream-media Joe McCarthy has put my doubts to rest. She is riding high in the ratings by keeping her whip hand coming down hard on the bash-Russia steed. She is putting her career or her politics ahead of journalism.

Like so many other Democrat/liberal/neocon activists, Maddow not only ignores the evidentiary gaps in the Russia-did-it conspiracy theory but she seems oblivious to the dangers of her opportunism. By stirring up this McCarthyistic frenzy, she and her “never-Trump” allies make a rational policy toward nuclear-armed Russia nearly impossible. Thus, she is contributing to the real risk of a hot war with Russia that could lead to the annihilation of life on the planet.

Thin-Skinned Trump

One of the bitter ironies here is that Trump’s critics correctly noted that his thin-skinned temperament made him unfit to possess the nuclear button, but they are now egging him into a mano-a-mano confrontation with Putin. If Trump doesn’t get the better of Putin in every situation, Trump will face renewed pummeling for “selling out” to the Russians.

Already, neocon Sen. Lindsey Graham has declared, “2017 is going to be a year of kicking Russia in the ass in Congress.” If Trump doesn’t go along, he will face battering from the likes of Maddow, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and pretty much every mainstream news outlet. So, Trump may have no political choice but to get tough. But what happens when Putin pushes back?

In the past when I’ve made this point about the recklessness of Russia-bashing, I’ve been told that I’m being alarmist, that “kicking Russia in the ass” and baiting Trump to join in the kicking won’t lead to a nuclear war, that the Russians aren’t that stupid.

While on the upside of this anti-Russia strategy, the anti-Trump activists insist it is the most promising route to get rid of Trump, which they view as justifying almost any action. It’s not for them to prove that Trump did conspire with Putin to rig the U.S. presidential election; it’s enough to raise the suspicion and use it to push for Trump’s impeachment.

As someone who has covered national security scandals since the 1980s, I am familiar with the kind of evidence that should be required for making serious allegations. For instance, when Brian Barger and I wrote the first story about Nicaraguan Contra drug trafficking in 1985 for The Associated Press, we had about two dozen sources, plus documents. Most of the sources were insiders – i.e., inside the Contra movement and inside the Reagan administration – who described how the operation was run. We had this evidence before we made any public accusation.

In the case of the Russia-Trump conspiracy theory, the U.S. intelligence community has presented almost no evidence of Russian “hacking” and admits that it has no evidence of Trump’s collusion with the Russians. As far as we know, there is no insider who has described how this alleged conspiracy occurred.

That is not to say that some evidence might not eventually surface that confirms the Russia-Trump suspicions, but that is true of all conspiracy theories. Who knows, maybe Joe McCarthy was right about all those Communists inside the U.S. government secretly working for the Kremlin? Maybe he did have a real list of names. But that is what “witch hunts” are all about – investigations designed to prove a point whether true or not.

In this current case, however, the downside is not “just” the destruction of people’s careers and a few imprisonments. The downside of playing chicken with nuclear-armed Russia is the end of life as we know it. At such a moment, journalists and politicians should demand the highest standards of proof, not no proof at all.

Sometimes, I envision the argument that I would hear as the mushroom clouds begin rising over U.S. and Russian cities. If not incinerated in the first moments of the cataclysm, the “smart” people of the mainstream U.S. media (and their liberal and neocon allies) would be insisting that it wasn’t their fault; it was someone else’s fault; blame-shifting to the end.

So, as the Democrats and liberals join with the neocons in launching this New McCarthyism over Russia – and with people like Rachel Maddow leading the charge – what is arguably the most depressing fact is that there appears to be no Edward R. Murrow, a mainstream journalist with a conscience, anywhere on the horizon.

Western chicken hawks are going cold on Turkey

March 13, 2017

by Neil Clark

RT

Where is the increasingly vituperative spat between Turkey and The Netherlands (and other EU countries) going to lead? Why is this political fall-out between fellow NATO members happening at this precise moment?

First, a quick recap of the events.

At the weekend, two high-ranking Turkish officials were prevented from speaking at political rallies in The Netherlands. The Dutch authorities barred Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from landing in Rotterdam, while Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was prevented from entering the Turkish consulate, and was then deported.

Ankara’s reaction has been furious, with Turkish President Erdogan giving a stern warning to the Dutch while likening their actions to Nazism.

The Dutch will “pay the price” for its “shameless” treatment of Turkey’s minister, President Recep Tayip Erdogan said in a strongly-worded statement. He also urged international organizations to put sanctions on The Netherlands.

The Dutch hit back with PM Mark Rutte demanding Erdogan apologize. The Danes and the Germans have also weighed into the dispute. The Danish PM has postponed a planned meeting with his Turkish counterpart, while the German interior minister has said that “a Turkish campaign has no business being here in Germany.”

Europeans have cited security/public safety concerns as their main reason for banning or preventing pro-Erdogan rallies in their countries ahead of Turkey’s constitutional referendum of April 16th. There’s also been criticism of the government crackdown which followed the coup attempt of last July. If ‘Sultan’ Erdogan wins the vote next month, he’ll have sweeping new powers and could stay in power legally until 2029.

But are fears over security and democracy really the reason why EU leaders, have all of a sudden gone off their Turkey?

Whatever one thinks of Erdogan and his government (note carefully how it’s now referred to as a ‘regime’ by Western chick-hawks), the Dutch actions do appear to be in clear breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Also, if ‘democratic concerns’ are the issue, it seems a strange way to respond by banning people from addressing political rallies. And where, we might ask, were those “democratic concerns” when the Turkish authorities forcefully clamped down on protests in 2013? As I pointed out on RT at the time, leading Western political figures were as quiet as church mice.

It’s interesting to contrast today’s custard-pie slinging with how amicable EU-Turkish relations were only a short while ago. In October 2015, the ‘Queen of Europe’ aka Angela Merkel sat alongside ‘Sultan’ Erdogan on a golden chair in the Presidential palace in Ankara and gave out various promises regarding Turkey’s bid to join the EU.

The visit, just two weeks before Turkey’s general election, provided an undoubted boost to Erdogan’s campaign. It came shortly after Turkey’s leader and his wife Emine had been hosted to a banquet by ‘Their Majesties King Phillipus and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians’, in Brussels, on a trip in which Erdogan was also greeted warmly by EC President Donald Tusk.

Since then there’s been quite a bit of water under the bridge. Various respected commentators believe Turkey’s new rapprochement with Russia, particularly over Syria, is the main reason why the EU’s stance has changed so dramatically.

It’s certainly interesting to note how the Western party line on Erdogan seems to harden whenever Turkish and Russian leaders get together to discuss closer economic/military co-operation (as they did in Moscow only last week), and how, conversely, democratic concerns seem to evaporate when Ankara is at loggerheads with the Kremlin. Erdogan’s pledge to support Syria’s territorial integrity, and his opposition to the country being Balkanized would not have gone down well with those who want to see the Arab Republic cut up into little pieces.

Even though he doesn’t mention Turkey explicitly in his new book, ‘The New World Order in Action, Globalization, the Brexit Revolution and the Left,’ the Greek left-wing writer Takis Fotopoulos helps us to understand very clearly what’s going on. His thesis is that the transnational elite, which consists of a network of economic and political elites mainly based in the G7 countries and acting in the interest of transnational corporations and global capital, have as their aim the full integration of every country in the world into the neo-liberal New World Order. Any countries which resist this integration – e.g., Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, or Syria – are targeted for regime change or destruction.

Turkey is partially integrated, as a member of NATO, but is still something of a loose canon. The promise of EU membership, in return for other favors such as restricting the flow of refugees into Europe, is held out as a carrot to keep Ankara on the straight and narrow.

But there’s a snag that’s as large as one of the minarets of the Blue Mosque. The transnational elite support liberal immigration policies and ‘free movement’ of people in EU countries. That’s not because they’re peace-loving, Blue Mink-playing hippies, in favor of the international brotherhood of man, but because of the downward effect on wages (and the consequent upwards impact on profits) that large-scale immigration leads to in an era of weakened trade unions.

However, public opinion in countries ruled by the transnational elite has, at a time of austerity and considerable economic hardship, turned sharply against liberal immigration policies, with voters increasingly attracted to neo-nationalist parties of the populist right, some of whom espouse Islamophobic sentiments quite openly.

The bottom line is that political leaders/potential leaders backed by the transnational elite, such as Mark Rutte in The Netherlands, Merkel in Germany and Emmanuel Macron in France, face stiff challenges from the likes of Geert Wilders, the AfD party, and Marine Le Pen in 2017.

Consequently, they need to be seen, at least in the weeks before their country’s elections (the Dutch general election is March 15th) to be taking a more nationalistic stance, in particular over the Muslim presence in Europe and the ‘threat’ of Islam. So from their viewpoint what better issue to take a stand on than political rallies held in Europe for Turkey’s Islamist President, especially since he’s getting all friendly with the transnational elite’s number one bogeyman: Vladimir Putin.

Right on cue, the globalists’ favored French presidential candidate, the former investment banker and so-called “centrist,” Emmanuel Macron, has come out and called for France to support its European partners and “reject the Turkish government’s abuses,” which he said target “European values.”

However, this deeply cynical strategy of bashing Turkey to gain domestic electoral approval could easily backfire. If this were a game of whist, and clubs were trumps, then Erdogan is holding the ace and king, while the EU leaders, for all their new-found outspokenness, are only holding a seven and a five.

Erdogan’s ace is the threat to open Turkey’s borders to allow millions more refugees to enter Europe. He did, in fact, make that threat last November if the EU blocked membership talks.

A new big influx of migrants is likely to propel Marine Le Pen to the Elysees Palace and end Merkel’s reign in Germany.

Erdogan’s ‘king,’ as it were, would be to move even closer to Moscow and announce that he was planning to “review” Turkey’s membership of NATO. That would also cause panic in Western capitals.

In June last year, the Washington Post-owned Foreign Policy ran an article entitled ‘How do you solve a problem like Erdogan.’

Expect more of the same sort of pieces in neo-con publications in the weeks ahead. But remember, this, like ISIS/Al-Qaeda terrorism, is a ‘problem’ of the Transnational Elite’s own making.

The Iranian Mystery Ship: Death from the Sea 

March 14, 2017

by Harry von Johnston, PhD

On August 21st, 2008, the MV Iran Deyant, 44,458 dead weight bulk carrier was heading towards the Suez Canal. As it was passing the Horn of Africa, about 80 miles southeast of al-Makalla in Yemen, the ship was surrounded by speedboats filled with members of a gang of Somalia pirates who grab suitable commercial ships and hold them,, and their cargos and crews for ransom. The captain was defenseless against the 40 pirates armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades blocking his passage. He had little choice other than to turn his ship over to them. What the pirates were not banking on, however, was that this was no ordinary ship.

The MV Iran Deyanat is owned and operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) – a state-owned company run by the Iranian military that was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on September 10, shortly after the ship’s hijacking. According to the U.S. Government, the company regularly falsifies shipping documents in order to hide the identity of end users, uses generic terms to describe shipments to avoid the attention of shipping authorities, and employs the use of cover entities to circumvent United Nations sanctions to facilitate weapons proliferation for the Iranian Ministry of Defense.

The MV Iran Deyanat departed Nanjing, China, July 28,  and, according to its manifest, planned to sail to Rotterdam, where it would offload 42,500 tons of iron ore and “industrial products” purchased by an unidentified “ German client”. The ship has a crew of 29 men, including a Pakistani captain, an Iranian engineer, 13 other Iranians, 3 Indians, 2 Filipinos, and 10 Eastern Europeans, stated to be Albanians

The MV Iran Deyanat was brought to Eyl, a sleepy fishing village in northeastern Somalia, and was secured by a larger gang of pirates – 50 onboard and 50 onshore. The Somali pirates attempted to inspect the ship’s seven cargo containers but the containers were locked. The crew claimed that they did not have the “access codes” and could not open them. Pirates have stated they were unable to open the hold without causing extensive damage to the ship, and threatened to blow it up The Iranian ship’s captain   and the engineer were contactd by cell phone and demanded to disclose the actual nature of the mysterious “powdered cargo” but the captain and his officers were very evasive. Initially they said that the cargo contained “crude oil” but then claimed it contained “minerals.” Following this initial rebuff, the pirates broke open one of the containers and discovered it to be filled with packets of  what they said was “a powdery fine sandy soil”

Within a period of three days, those pirates who had boarded the ship and opened the cargo container with its gritty sand-like contents, all developed strange health complications, to include serious skin burns and loss of hair. And within two weeks, sixteen of the pirates subsequently died, either on the ship or on shore

The problem with this ship should be fairly obvious. She was carrying a container cargo that to all intents and purposes was at least partially full of highly radioactive material, obtained as waste from Chinese atomic facilities. The new, and rather clever, propaganda story is that it is true the ship was full of this material but actually, the evil Iranians  and, one planted story said, the Italian Mafia, planned to dump it illegally in Somali waters. Planted stories, put out by the DoD, state that various unspecified countries had been dumping tons of radioactive waste into the same area for “many years.” Given the terrible effects of such dumpings, it is not possible to believe that it ever happened. Not only would there be an immediately obvious die-off of huge numbers of fish, but the radioactivity in the water, and radioactivity is closely monitored by many countries, would attract world-wide notice.

One supposes that the next bit of creating writing will be that the radioactive material was really destined for Iranian evil purposes but the ship missed the turn into the Persian Gulf and somehow got lost hundreds of miles away.

In actuality, the ship was destined for the Mediterraeana Israel port of Haifa where the radioactive cargo containers would be offloaded and put in storage. The massive explosives hidden beneath the containers had devises to permit them to be triggered by a distant radio signal. The following blasts would project tons of highly radioactive materian into the air and down onto the peoples of Israel.

None of this will ever see the light of day because it might put ideas into the heads of others.

 

 

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