TBR News May 10, 2018

May 10 2018

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. May 10, 2018: “By his mindless support of Israel, manifested in the withdrawal by the US from agreements with Iran, President Trump has again badly shaken world confidence in his capability of leading the United States in world affairs. His perceived instability appears in the media on a regular basis and inside the Beltway, Trump is viewed as a menace to both domestic and foreign peace. And now we learn from Washington people that certain highly damaging letters written by Trump to a friend when he was in a military academy are circulating. I have read these when they were sent to me and if they are ever published, Trump will be finished as a reputable figure, not only in the United States but across the planet.”


Table of Contents

  • Arms and Influence
  • Trump’s rejection of Iran nuclear deal may be Israel’s dream moment
  • Syria’s Bashar Assad talks ‘world war,’ chemical weapons and political solution in new interview
  • Peter Thiel and Palantir Are at the Heart of the Iran Nuclear Deal
  • Lawsuit against U.S. border searches of phones can move forward: judge
  • The Rise of Russia and the ‘End of the World’


Arms and Influence

How the Saudis Took Donald Trump for a Ride

by Ben Freeman and William D. Hartung

Tom Dispatch

It’s another Trump affair — this time without the allegations of sexual harassment (and worse), the charges and counter-charges, the lawsuits, and all the rest. So it hasn’t gotten the sort of headlines that Stormy Daniels has garnered, but when it comes to influence, American foreign policy, and issues of peace and war, it couldn’t matter more or be a bigger story (or have more money or lobbyists involved in it). Think of it as the great love affair of the age of Trump, the one between The Donald and the Saudi royals. And if there’s any place to start laying out the story, it’s naturally at a wedding, in this case in a tragic ceremony that happened to take place in Yemen, not Washington.

On Sunday, April 22nd, planes from a Saudi Arabian-led coalition dropped two bombs on a wedding in Yemen. The groom was injured, the bride killed, along with at least 32 other civilians, many of them children.

In response, the Saudis didn’t admit fault or express condolences to the victim’s families. Instead, they emphasized that their “coalition continues to take all the precautionary and preventative measures” to avoid civilian casualties in Yemen. This disconnect between Saudi rhetoric and the realities on the ground isn’t an anomaly — it’s been the norm. For four years, the Saudis and their allies have been conducting airstrikes with reckless abandon there, contributing to a staggering civilian death toll that now reportedly tops 10,000.

The Saudis and their close ally, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have repeatedly reassured American policymakers that they’re doing everything imaginable to prevent civilian casualties, only to launch yet more airstrikes against civilian targets, including schools, hospitals, funerals, and marketplaces.

For example, last May when Donald Trump landed in Saudi Arabia on his first overseas visit as president, Saudi lobbyists distributed a “fact sheet” about the prodigious efforts of the country’s military to reduce civilian casualties in Yemen. Five days after Trump landed in Riyadh, however, an air strike killed 24 civilians at a Yemeni market. In December, such strikes killed more than 100 Yemeni civilians in 10 days. The Saudi response: condemning the United Nations for its criticisms of such attacks and then offering yet more empty promises.

Through all of this, President Trump has remained steadfast in his support, while the U.S. military continues to provide aerial refueling for Saudi air strikes as well as the bombs used to kill so many of those civilians. But why? In a word: Saudi Arabian and UAE money in prodigious amounts flowing into Trump’s world — to U.S. arms makers and to dozens of lobbyists, public-relations firms, and influential think tanks in Washington.

Trump’s Love Affair with the Saudi Regime

Saudi Arabia’s influence over Donald Trump hit an initial peak in his first presidential visit abroad, which began in Riyadh in May 2017. The Saudi royals, who had clearly grasped the nature of The Donald, offered him the one thing he seems to love most: flattery, flattery, and more flattery. The kingdom rolled out the red carpet big time. The fanfare included posting banners with photos of President Trump and Saudi King Salman along the roadside from the airport to Riyadh, projecting a five-story-high image of Trump onto the side of the hotel where he would stay, and hosting a male-invitees-only concert by country singer Toby Keith.

According to the Washington Post, “The Saudis hosted the Trumps and the Kushners at the family’s royal palace, ferried them around in golf carts, and celebrated Trump with a multimillion-dollar gala in his honor, complete with a throne-like seat for the president.” In addition, they presented him with the Abdul-Aziz al-Saud medal, a trinket named for Saudi Arabia’s first king, considered the highest honor the kingdom can bestow on a foreign leader.

The Saudis then gave Trump something he undoubtedly valued even more than all the fawning — a chance to pose as the world’s greatest deal maker. For the trip, Trump brought along a striking collection of CEOs from major American companies, including Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, and Stephen Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group. Big numbers on the potential value of future U.S.-Saudi business deals were tossed around, including $110 billion in arms sales and hundreds of billions more in investments in energy, petrochemicals, and infrastructure, involving projects in both countries.

The new president was anything but shy in claiming credit for such potential mega-deals. At a press conference, he crowed about “tremendous investments in the United States… and jobs, jobs, jobs.” On his return to the U.S., he promptly bragged at a cabinet meeting that his deal-making would “bring many thousands of jobs to our country… In fact, will bring millions of jobs ultimately.” Not surprisingly, no analysis was offered to back up such claims, but it’s already clear that some of these deals may never come to fruition and many of those that do are more likely to create jobs in Saudi Arabia than in the United States.

Still, President Trump’s love affair with that country’s royals only intensified, leading to a triumphant U.S. visit last month by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the power behind the throne in that nation. He is also the architect of its brutal Yemeni war, where, in addition to those thousands of civilians killed thanks to indiscriminate air strikes, millions have been put at risk of famine due to a Saudi-led blockade of the country. But neither of these activities that, Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu has noted, “look like war crimes” nor Saudi Arabia’s abysmal internal human rights record drew a discouraging word from Trump or anyone in his cabinet. First things first. There were business deals to be touted — and so they were.

Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the White House took place on the very day that the Senate was considering a bill to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s Yemeni bombing campaign. While senators debated the constitutional authority of Congress to declare war and the human-rights impact of U.S. support for the Saudi war effort, Trump was boasting yet again about all those jobs that arms sales to Saudi Arabia would create, adding — in a sign of the total success of the Saudi charm offensive — that the relationship between the two countries “is now probably as good as it’s really ever been” and “will probably only get better.”

The centerpiece of Trump’s meeting was a show-and-tell performance focused on how Saudi arms sales would boost American jobs. As he sang the praises of those Saudi purchases, he brandished a map of the United States with the legend “KSA [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] Deals Pending” above a red oval that said “40,000 U.S. jobs.” Prominent among them were jobs in the swing states that put Trump over the top in the 2016 elections: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Florida. Score another point for Saudi influence in the form of Trump’s firm belief that his relationship with that regime will bolster his future political prospects.

So the public courtship of Trump by the Saudi royals is already paying large dividends, but public flattery and massive arms deals are just the better-known part of the picture. The president has been heavily courted privately as well, both through personal connections and through an expansive lobbying operation, which it’s important to map out, even if there’s no administration show-and-tell on the subject.

The Personal Courtship

As a start — as has been widely publicized — Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and officially anointed point man on Middle Eastern peace (an outcome he is uniquely ill-equipped to deliver), has struck up a beautiful friendship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Their relationship was solidified at a March 2017 lunch at the White House, followed by numerous phone calls and several Kushner visits to Saudi Arabia, including one shortly before the prince cracked down on his domestic rivals. Though that crackdown was publicly justified as an anti-corruption move, it conveniently targeted anyone who could conceivably have stood in the way of bin Salman’s consolidation of power. According to Michael Wolff in Fire and Fury, after bin Salman’s power play, Trump joyfully told Kushner, “We’ve put our man on top!” — an indication that Kushner had offered a Trump stamp of approval to the prince’s political maneuver during his trip to Riyadh.

The friendship has clearly paid off handsomely for the Saudis. Kushner was reportedly the main advocate for having Trump make his first foreign visit to that country — over the objections of Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who felt it would send the wrong signal to allies about Trump’s attitudes towards democracy and autocracy (as indeed it did). Kushner also strongly urged Trump to back a Saudi-UAE blockade and propaganda campaign against the Gulf state of Qatar, which Trump forcefully did with a tweet: “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to horror of terrorism!”

Trump later changed his mind on this issue — after learning that Qatar hosts the largest U.S. military air base in the Middle East and after Qatar launched a PR and lobbying offensive of its own. That small, ultra-wealthy state hired nine lobbying and public relations firms, including former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s, in the two months after the Saudi-UAE blockade began, according to filings under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Most notably, the Qataris agreed to spend $12 billion on U.S. combat aircraft just weeks after Trump’s tweet.

Wherever Trump ultimately ends up on the campaign against Qatar (driven in part by a Saudi belief that its emir hasn’t sufficiently toed a tough enough line on Iran), Kushner’s role in the affair gives new spin to the old phrase “The personal is the political.” According to a source who spoke to veteran reporter Dexter Filkins, Kushner’s antipathy toward Qatar may have been driven in part by anger over its unwillingness to bail his father out of a bad Manhattan real estate investment with a massive loan.

Another snapshot of the Saudi-UAE urge to get up close and personal with The Donald lies in the strange case of George Nader, a political operative and senior advisor to the UAE, and Elliott Broidy, who reportedly can get face time with President Trump as needed. Nader evidently successfully persuaded Broidy to privately press Trump to take positions ever more in line with Saudi and UAE interests on Qatar and in their urge to see Secretary of State Rex Tillerson head for the exit. Whether or not Broidy’s appeals were instrumental in Trump’s decisions, he can’t be faulted for lack of effort. His exploits underscore how far both countries are willing to go in their efforts to bend U.S. foreign policy to their needs and interests.

In his campaign to win over Broidy, Nader gave him a cool $2.7 million to fund an anti-Qatar conference sponsored by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a sum that was also followed by more than $600,000 in donations for Republican candidates.

The keynote speaker at that conference was House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, who then crafted a sanctions bill against Qatar and — miracle of miracles — shortly thereafter received a campaign contribution from Broidy. Wherever those funds came from, it strains credulity to believe that this was all coincidental. To sweeten the deal, Nader also dangled the prospect of major contracts for Broidy’s private security firm, Circinus. One deal with the UAE, for $200 million, has already been sealed, while a Saudi one is in the works. At this point, who knows whether any of this was illegal, but in the world of Washington influence peddling, what’s legal is often as scandalous as what’s not.

The Lobbying Courtship

If such deep connections between Saudi Arabia and the Trump administration sometimes seem to surface out of nowhere, they all too often stem from an extraordinarily influential, if largely unpublicized, Saudi lobbying and public relations campaign.

Following the November election, the Saudis wasted no time in adding more firepower to their already robust influence operation in this country. In the less than three months before Trump was sworn in as president in January 2017, the Saudis inked contracts with three new firms: a Republican-oriented one, the McKeon Group (whose namesake, Howard “Buck” McKeon, is the recently retired chairman of the House Armed Services Committee); the CGCN Group, a firm well connected to conservative Republicans whose clientele also includes Boeing, which sells bombs to Saudi Arabia; and an outfit associated with the Democrats, the Podesta Group, which later dissolved after revelations about its work with Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, and Russian banks under sanction.

Before Trump even made it to Riyadh that May, according to an analysis of Foreign Agents Registration Act records, the Saudis signed contracts with six more public relations firms and then added two more immediately after severing diplomatic ties with Qatar in early June. All told, in just the first year of the Trump administration, the Saudis spent more than a million dollars monthly on more than two dozen registered lobbying and public relations outfits. The UAE was not far behind, boasting 18 registered lobbying and public relations firms in 2017, including more than $10 million dollars that year alone that went to just one of them, the Camstoll Group.

All this lobbying firepower gave those two countries an unparalleled ability to steer U.S. foreign policy on the Middle East. Among other avenues of influence, their campaign included a steady stream of propaganda flowing to policymakers about the war in Yemen.

Large foreign lobbies of this sort also enjoy an even more direct path to influence through campaign contributions. While it’s illegal for foreign nationals to make such contributions in U.S. elections, there’s an easy workaround for that — just hire lobbyists to do it for you. Such firms and figures have, in the past, admitted to serving as middlemen in this fashion and are known to have sometimes given handsomely. For example, a study by Maplight and the International Business Times found that registered lobbyists working at just four firms hired by the Saudis gave more than half a million dollars to federal candidates in the 2016 elections.

Another important avenue of influence for the Saudis and Emiratis: their financial contributions to Washington’s think tanks. The full extent of their reach in this area is hard to grasp because think tanks and other non-profits aren’t required to disclose their donors and many choose not to do so. However, an eye-opening New York Times exposé in 2014 revealed an expansive list of think tanks that received money from the Saudis or Emiratis, including the Atlantic Council, the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Middle East Institute. In the age of Trump, it’s a reasonable bet that it has only gotten worse.

A War Alliance?

There is more at stake in Washington’s present web of ties to those two lands than just business. The uncritical embrace of such reckless, extreme, and undemocratic regimes by President Trump and many members of Congress has far-reaching implications for the future of American foreign policy in the Middle East. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has asserted that Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “makes Hitler look good” and has suggested military action against Iran on a number of occasions. Add to this the prince’s successful efforts to keep the Trump administration on board in supporting his war in Yemen, plus Riyadh’s political interference in Qatar and Lebanon, and there is a real danger that Trump’s uncritical embrace of the Saudi regime could spark a regional war. The indiscriminate killing of Yemenis by the Saudi coalition, with the help of U.S. weapons, has already contributed to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, while reportedly making the al-Qaeda franchise in Yemen “stronger than ever.”

There is much concern in official Washington about Trump’s seemingly cavalier attitude towards longstanding U.S. alliances, but in the case of Saudi Arabia, a major change of course would undoubtedly be advisable. The least we can do is help make sure that the people of Yemen don’t fear for their lives at their own weddings.


Trump’s rejection of Iran nuclear deal may be Israel’s dream moment

Israeli strikes on Iranian assets in Syria raise concerns the US and Israel are acting in concert

May 10, 2018

by Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor

The Guardian

Israel’s heaviest strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, in response to apparent missile attacks on the occupied Golan Heights, reveal how much has been uncorked by Donald Trump’s decision to quit the Iran nuclear deal this week. If confirmed, it is the first time Iranian forces have struck at Israeli positions from inside Syria and the response was the largest Israeli strike yet against Iranian positions

In the run-up to Trump’s decision, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, used an interview with Der Spiegel to advise the US president to think through the consequences. He said Trump would be “opening a Pandora’s box, which is tantamount to war. I don’t think Donald Trump wants war.”

Events since Trump’s announcement on Tuesday vindicate Macron’s warning. The lid on Pandora’s box has at least been opened. Inside appears to be the long-flagged direct war between Israel and Iran.

Macron’s concern for months has been that the Iranian crisis has to be seen as inextricably linked to the situation in Syria, and as a result the US and the west should not cede the Syrian peace process to an alliance of Russia, Iran and Turkey.

His concern was less that Bashar al-Assad might emerge the temporary military victor from the eight-year civil war, but that Iran might secure that victory on behalf of Assad, and so remained entrenched in Syria for the foreseeable future.

Israel would never accept an outcome to the civil war that left Iranian-backed forces – who number as many as 100,000, according to the Syrian political opposition – permanently encamped on Syria’s southern front and capable of hitting Israel.

Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal on the basis that Iran was cheating would hand Israel the casus belli it needed to intensify its assault.

In fact Trump went much further, and gave Israel every encouragement. He cited the Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent presentation on Iran’s alleged secret nuclear weapons programme as a prime example of why Iran could not be trusted. He also laid out new demands, including a requirement that Tehran end its quest to destroy Israel.

Netanyahu immediately accused Iran of deploying “very dangerous weapons” in neighbouring Syria. They were “for the specific purpose of our destruction”, he told reporters.

Trump’s emphatic rejection of the deal this week was Israel’s dream moment, according to one European diplomat.

The question now is whether Israel and the US are acting in concert, with Washington applying the economic pressure through sanctions and Israel the military pressure through airstrikes. Some diplomats hope these are mere skirmishes born of the tension in the region, and not part of a secret strategy.

The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, told MPs: “After closely interrogating everybody I could find in the White House, I would say that there is no enthusiasm in the United States for a military option, and there is no such plan.”

The British fear is more that there is no long-term plan, save to put pressure on Iran, a view borne out by a State Department official who briefed this week: “The goal is to prevent Iran from ever developing or acquiring a nuclear weapon and the detail beyond that is something we are going to have to flesh out.”

There is also a good deal of exasperation in Europe that the interagency incoherence that is always a feature in Washington is worse than normal. A visit to Europe by the new US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, is eagerly awaited to give Europeans a stronger sense of how far Washington is prepared to tolerate Israel’s military strikes.

Key newly installed figures in the Trump administration, such as the national security adviser, John Bolton, have been explicit in the past that they favour regime change in Tehran, and the twin leverage of of US economic and Israeli military firepower might hasten that moment.

Israel also knows that for the moment the disruption of Iran inside Syria has the implicit support of Saudi Arabia, most Gulf states and the Syrian political opposition.

There is little to restrain Israel from trying to hit all of the 14 chief Iranian bases in Syria. Macron, and indeed Vladimir Putin, can appeal for de-escalation, but the danger is that a build-up of large historical forces are being unleashed.

Iran has long seen itself encircled and has built what Tehran calls the “axis of resistance”, an alliance of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and, at times, Hamas against what it perceives as Israeli and US hegemony in the region. Syria has come to be seen as vital to that axis.

Unless diplomacy belatedly triumphs, the fear is that Syria’s long proxy war may about to become a direct war.


Syria’s Bashar Assad talks ‘world war,’ chemical weapons and political solution in new interview

Syria’s president believes his country is caught up in a much larger conflict than its own civil war. He warned that “things are going to be out of control” if superpowers engage in direct conflict.

May 10, 2018


In an exclusive interview with Greek newspaper Kathimerini, Syrian President Bashar Assad weighed in on major issues, including allegations of chemical weapons attacks, US troops in the country and his possible resignation for a political solution to the seven-year conflict.

Assad compared the fighting in Syria to a “world war,” saying “it’s something more than a cold war, but less than a full-blown war.”

Since the civil conflict emerged in 2011, it has transformed into a multi-faceted war, drawing in global superpowers, regional players and non-state actors, including the US, Russia, Iran and Israel.

“I hope we don’t see any direct conflict between these superpowers, because this is where things are going to be out of control for the rest of the world,” Assad said in the interview, which was aired on Thursday by DW partner, Greek broadcaster SKAI TV.

His comments came ahead of an Israeli retaliation against Iranian military assets in Syria. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said his country was responding to an Iranian assault on front-line military positions in the Golan Heights.

‘We don’t have any chemical arsenal’

On the question of chemical weapons, Assad said his country complied with UN resolutions and handed over its stockpiles to international authorities.

“We don’t have any chemical arsenal since we gave it up in 2013,” said Assad. “The (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) made investigations about this, and it’s clear that we don’t have them.”

In December 2014, OPCW investigators began dismantling Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile as part of a UN Security Council resolution passed the year before. But the United States and its European allies have accused Damascus of still using chemical weapons on civilians.

Last month, at least 49 people were killed and dozens more injured in an alleged chemical weapons attack. The US and other Western countries accused the Syrian regime of staging the assault.

But Assad refused to accept responsibility for the attack in rebel-held Douma, saying: “It’s a farce, it’s a play. It’s a very primitive play just to attack the Syrian army.”

One day ‘I have to leave’

The Syrian president also said he would step down under certain conditions, but rejected doing so as part of a political solution to the seven-year conflict.

“When I feel that the Syrian people do not want me to stay anymore, of course I have to leave, without hesitation,” Assad said.

However, he suggested that he has “the majority of the Syrian people’s support,” because without it, “how could I withstand for more than seven years now, with all this animosity by the strongest and richest countries?”

At least 350,000 people have been killed and more than half the population displaced since the conflict emerged in 2011, when government forces launched a brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters calling for the release of political prisoners and Assad to step down.

Despite numerous international attempts to negotiate a political solution to the conflict, peace remains elusive.


Peter Thiel and Palantir Are at the Heart of the Iran Nuclear Deal

  • IAEA relies on Thiel’s Palantir to help verify Iran compliance
  • Software may be used to assess Iran data Israel says it stole

May‎ ‎8‎, ‎2018‎

by Jonathan Tirone


‎Silicon Valley billionaire — and Donald Trump supporter — Peter Thiel has emerged as an unlikely player in the international debate over Iran’s nuclear deal with six world powers.

Thiel’s big-data engine, Palantir Technologies Inc., is at the heart of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s system for verifying Iran’s compliance with the landmark 2015 agreement, according to officials familiar with the program. The accord lifted years of punishing sanctions on the Islamic Republic in exchange for curbs on its ability to develop nuclear weapons.

Scrapping the accord, as Trump is threatening to do as early as Tuesday, would not only anger the other signatories — China, Russia, Germany, France and Britain — it would also hamstring the IAEA’s increasingly sophisticated ability to track the use of uranium in Iran and around the world, according to Ernest Moniz, who helped negotiate the deal as U.S. secretary of energy.

“We have a completely unique and unparalleled intrusive verification regime that was not there before the agreement,” Moniz said on PBS. If Trump kills the deal, “the No. 1 downside is that we lose this regime.”

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Trump not to scupper the accord during recent visits to Washington. Macron warned over the weekend that abrogation by the U.S. could lead to war.

Israeli Heist

Palantir has spent years modifying its predictive-policing software for inspectors at the Vienna-based IAEA, which was founded in 1957 to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The tool is at the analytical core of the agency’s new $50 million Mosaic platform, turning databases of classified information into maps that help inspectors visualize ties between the people, places and material involved in nuclear activities, IAEA documents show.

That sets up Palantir, which Thiel and his partners built with CIA funding, as the platform of choice for assessing the documents Israel claims to have detailing Iran’s secret efforts to build a bomb. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Iran’s arch foe, announced the trove just days before Trump’s May 12 deadline to either make good on pledges to scrap the deal or extend sanctions relief.

While experts say Netanyahu revealed little new, parties involved want the 55,000 files and 183 CDs he says Mossad agents stole in Tehran vetted through the IAEA. That could offer Trump a third option — reinstating penalties without officially abandoning the deal while the agency investigates, a process that could take years, according to Ali Vaez, a former Federation of American Scientists official who runs the International Crisis Group’s Iran Project.

Whatever Trump decides, the “dirty” or unstructured data obtained by Mossad, which prides itself on deception, could serve as a stress test for Palantir’s nuclear analytics. Even a small amount of false information could trigger a flurry of unnecessary snap inspections and derail an agreement that took years to reach, Vaez said.

“Turning the access issue into a gotcha exercise might very well be the ulterior motive,” Vaez said. “The more the issue appears as a fishing expedition, the harder it will be for Iran to open its doors to inspectors.”

Iran refuted Netanyahu’s allegations, calling his presentation, which was carried live by U.S. cable news networks, “cartoonish.” Trump’s issue with the deal isn’t compliance — the IAEA has certified Iran’s work 10 times — it’s that it doesn’t address the country’s missile program or regional actions.

Trump Dinner

Palantir’s role at the IAEA, which has access to information that governments don’t, has come under increasing scrutiny since the company revealed a worker’s misuse of Facebook Inc. data in March, according to diplomats and international officials. Also of concern for an international agency known for its independence are Thiel’s close personal ties to Trump, these people said.

Thiel, a PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor, dined at the White House with Trump and the Israeli-born co-chief executive officer of Oracle Corp., Safra Catz, just hours after the president spoke with Netanyahu about Iran on April 4.

A deputy White House press secretary, Lindsay Walters, declined to comment on what was discussed at the dinner. Palantir declined to comment. An IAEA spokesman said the agency’s data-mining program operates in “a secure environment” and within its “existing legal framework.”

Palantir’s software helps the IAEA plan and justify unscheduled probes, which have totaled 60 in Iran since the agreement came into force in 2016. The amount of information available to inspectors that Palantir can process has jumped 30-fold in three years to some 400 million “digital objects” around the world, including social media feeds and satellite photographs inside Iran.

These enhanced investigative abilities, which are inextricably linked with the Iran deal, have raised concern that the IAEA may overstep the boundary between nuclear monitoring and intelligence-gathering.

Chasing Shadows

Historically, IAEA inspectors have worked more like atomic accountants, tracking stockpiles of fissile material to ensure it isn’t diverted for weapons. But new methods of inspection — from Palantir’s analytics to mass spectrometry — have turned them into potential cyber sleuths.

Russia’s envoy for nonproliferation issues, Vladimir Yermakov, said last month that the growing powers of the IAEA are only justified “if the safeguards system remains objective, depoliticized, technically credible, clear to the member states and based on rights and obligations.”

Other countries are also starting to worry about the the agency’s expanding arsenal of surveillance tools. The Non-Aligned Group, which includes Brazil and India, said the agency’s “integrity and credibility” are at stake.

Of equal concern is the false data that “predictive-analysis” systems like Palantir’s can generate — either by accident or design, according to Andreas Persbo, who runs Vertic, a London-based company that advises governments on verification issues.

“You will generate a false return if you add a false assumption into the system without making the appropriate qualifier,” Persbo said. “You’ll end up convincing yourself that shadows are real.”


Lawsuit against U.S. border searches of phones can move forward: judge

May 10, 2018

by Nate Raymond


BOSTON (Reuters) – A federal judge on Thursday rejected the Trump administration’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s growing practice of conducting warrantless searches on phones and laptops of Americans stopped at the border.

U.S. District Judge Denise Capser in Boston ruled that the lawsuit by 11 travelers had raised a plausible claim that such border searches violate the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

While Casper described the law as unclear, she said the issue was not unlike a major privacy rights case the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 2014 in which it held police must obtain a warrant to search an arrested suspect’s cellphone.

The judge said that Supreme Court ruling “indicates that electronic devices implicate privacy interests in a fundamentally different manner than searches of typical containers or even searches of a person.”

“In sum, the Court is not persuaded that Plaintiffs have failed to state a plausible Fourth Amendment claim here,” Casper wrote.

She also rejected the government’s arguments that the plaintiffs, 10 U.S. citizens and one permanent resident, lacked standing to pursue the case.

The ruling was welcomed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the travelers, whose devices were searched by border officers as they re-entered the country.

“The court has rightly recognized the severity of the privacy violations that travelers face when the government conducts suspicionless border searches of electronics,” ACLU attorney Esha Bhandari said in a statement.

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) declined to comment.

According to the ACLU, the number of electronic device searches at the border has been increasing since 2016 and has grown even more during Republican President Donald Trump’s administration.

According to fiscal year data from the CBP, searches of electronic devices climbed from about 8,500 in 2015 to about 19,000 in 2016 and 32,000 2017.

The lawsuit was filed in September by travelers including a military veteran, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration engineer, two journalists and a computer programmer. Several of the plaintiffs are Muslim or minorities.

Generally in the United States, law enforcement is required to obtain a warrant before it can search an American’s electronic devices.

But a so-called border search exception allows federal authorities to conduct searches within 100 miles (160 km) of a U.S. border without a warrant.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Cynthia Osterman


The Rise of Russia and the ‘End of the World

March 20, 2015

by Joe Quinn

“What the darkness cannot possess, it seeks to destroy”

You’ve probably read all sorts of theories that seek to explain the causes of the ‘new cold war’ in which we find ourselves. From the embarrassingly simplistic “Putin’s a Hitler” offered by the Western press to the more nuanced idea of an ‘energy war’ between US-Europe-Russia. The truth about why we are where we are right now, as a species, however, is actually fairly simple. But to understand it you’ll have to ditch the idea of a ‘new cold war’ and replace it with ‘the 120-year-old war that never ended’.

Over 100 years ago, in 1904, one of the founding fathers of both geopolitics and geostrategy, Oxford University graduate and co-founder of the London School of Economics, Sir Halford Mackinder, proposed a theory that expanded geopolitical analysis from the local or regional level to a global level. Geopolitics is the study (by people in positions of power) of the effects of geography (human and physical) on international politics and international relations. In layman’s terms, this means the study of how best to control as much of the world – its resources, human and natural – as possible. When you or I think about the world, we think of a big, complicated place with billions of people. When the ‘elite’ think of the world, they think of a globe, or a map, with nation states on it that can, and should, according to them, be shaped and changed en masse.

Mackinder separated the world into just a few regions.

The ‘world Island’, and area roughly comprising the interlinked continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The offshore islands, including the British Isles and the islands of Japan.

The outlying islands, including the continents of North America, South America, and Australia.

The most important of these, by far, was the ‘world island’ and in particular what he called the ‘heartland’, which basically means Russia. Mackinder said that whoever controls the ‘heartland’ (Russia) controls the ‘world island’ (Eurasia and Africa), and whoever controls that, controls the world. It’s a fairly self-evident analysis of the situation because the great majority of the world’s population and resources are on the Eurasian continent, and holding a vast northern position on that landmass – with your rearguard protected by an impassable frozen ocean – gives you the prime vantage point, or ‘higher ground’ if you will.

Mackinder’s geostrategic map of the world

Mackinder probably arrived at this conclusion as a result of the British experience of Empire. The British had a large empire on which ‘the sun never set’ (and the blood never dried), and while the British elite made a lot of money, and caused a lot of suffering, by expropriating the resources of other peoples, they were never able to truly ‘rule the world’ because the ‘heartland’ (Russia) was not conquered and made a subservient state of Western powers, largely due to its massive size and the fact that Russia had long since been an Empire itself.

In 1904, Mackinder’s ideas (shared by his contemporaries) were already common currency among the anglo-American elite of the day, who sought global domination by way of the prevention of any competitor to the United States. Russia was that natural potential competitor, again due its size, resources and imperial history. So even before the turn of the 20th century, the US elite, in league with their British co-ideologues, were busying themselves with the task of ‘neutralizing’ Russia as a threat to their plans for global hegemony. As Mackinder published his ideas, US and British political, industrialist and banker types had already embarked on the process of ‘regime change’ in Russia by way of one of the ‘offshore islands’, specifically, Japan.

In 1898, Russia had agreed a convention with China that leased the Chinese port of ‘Port Arthur’ to Russia. At the time this was Russia’s only warm water Pacific seaport (and it was as strategically important as Crimea is to Russia today). Both the British and Americans were concerned about the close relationship between Russia and Germany (Tsar Nicholas II and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany were cousins) and the possibility that France might join them in a triple anti-British alliance. To the British and Americans this was a clear “threat to the international order”.1 To thwart Russian intentions in Asia, in 1902 Great Britain and Japan signed the ‘Anglo-Japanese alliance’ which stipulated that if either Japan or Great Britain were attacked by more than one enemy they would support each other militarily. This was effectively a green light from the British for Japan to go to war with Russia if necessary, safe in the knowledge that neither France nor Germany (Russia’s allies) would intervene and risk war with Britain. From this point on, Japan effectively acted as a protector of British interests in East Asia.

From February 8th 1904 to September 5th 1905 the first ‘great war’ of the 20th century was fought between Japan and Tsarist Russia, largely over access to ‘Port Arthur’. The British government supplied the Japanese navy with war ships and during the war itself passed intelligence to the Japanese. Perhaps the most significant aid to the Japanese government came in the form of loans from British and American banks and financial institutions that totaled $5billion at today’s value, including a $200 million ‘loan’ from prominent Wall St. banker Jacob Schiff.2 During World War I, Schiff and other Wall Street bankers would also extend loans to the Central Powers, despite officially being enemies of their adopted homeland, the USA.

Russia fielded over one million soldiers and sailors against Japan’s 500,000, but Russia still lost the war, largely due to support from the British and the Americans. The decisive battle occurred on 27-28 May 1905 when the Russian and Japanese navies met at the Tsushima strait. Two thirds of the Russian fleet was destroyed. Russia’s defeat was underlined by the Treaty of Portsmouth, which confirmed Japan’s emergence as the pre-eminent power in East Asia and forced Russia to abandon its plans to develop the Siberia-Pacific region and launch Far East trade routes. Japan also became the sixth-most powerful naval force and the war costs dealt a significant blow to the Russian economy.

Even before the war officially ended, it was Russia’s dire financial straits, the defeat at Tsushima, and pressure from the British that led the Tsar to ultimately back away from the 1905 Treaty of Bjorko he had signed with Kaiser Wilhelm (and, by implication, France). As soon as the British government and their network of anglophiles in Russia found out about the secret deal signed on the Kaiser’s yacht in the Baltic sea – a deal that would have threatened ‘world order’ by aligning Russia with Germany – they threatened to cut off funding to Russia and marshaled the Russian press, which they apparently controlled, to launch an anti-German propaganda campaign. The Kaiser wrote to the Tsar: “The whole of your influential press, have since a fortnight become violently anti-German and pro-British. Partly they are bought by the heavy sums of British money, no doubt”.3

With Russia isolated and economically broken, and the threat of Eurasian integration removed, the next logical step was to get rid of the Tsar altogether and transform Russia into a controlled, retarded and ‘captive’ market for Western finance. But to achieve that goal, Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany would first have to be decisively dealt with, and that meant war. To prepare the ground for that war, the British signed the Anglo-Russian entente in 1907 and then later added France to the ‘triple entente’, allying the world’s most powerful militaries against Germany.

Between 1903 and 1914, the British public was gradually whipped into an anti-German frenzy and assaulted with countless newspaper articles, books and pamphlets (falsely) warning of Germany’s aggressive rearmament and intentions to invade Britain and take over the world. British newspaper and publishing magnate at the time Alfred Harmsworth, who was intricately linked with the British political and banking elite, exerted enormous influence over the British public through his newspapers. In an interview with the French newspaper Le Matin, Harmsworth said: “The Germans make themselves odious to the whole of Europe. I will not allow my paper to publish anything which might in any way hurt the feelings of the French, but I would not like to print anything which might be agreeable to the Germans”.3

The anti-German hysteria culminated in the passage of the UK’s Official Secrets Act of 1911, which effectively established the British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6. It is fitting that these agencies, tasked today with manufacturing terrorist threats to scare the British – and global – public into supporting war, had their foundation in a manufactured threat from Germany.

The chosen ‘flash point’ for an Anglo-American war to destroy Germany, weaken the European powers and make the whole of Europe subservient to Western banking interests was the Balkans. In November 1912, a telegram from the Russian ambassador in Bulgaria to the Russian foreign minister (Isvolsky) identified a representative of the British newspaper The Times who claimed that “very many people in England are working towards accentuating the complication in the Balkans to bring about the war that would result in the destruction of the German fleet and German trade”.4

This Times journalist was most likely James David Bourchier, a member of the English aristocracy who was deeply involved in the Balkan League, an organisation set up in 1912 by the Russian ambassador in Belgrade, Nicholas Hartwig, to lobby for the independence of Balkan states from the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires. Nicholas Hartwig was an agent of the English monarch, Edward VII, and, thereby, of the British elite5. Independence for the Balkan states was fully in line with the British elite’s aim of dismantling competing empires.

The assassination of arch-duke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 is recorded as the spark that ignited the First World War. But this is a distortion of the facts. As mentioned, British plans for war against Germany were at least a decade old by that point. In any case, assassinations of royalty and nobility were fairly common at that time in Europe, and the death of Ferdinand was not something that would necessarily have provoked a world war. Certainly, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was only interested in quieting the Serbs, and Germany, Austria-Hungary’s ally, was decidedly against the crisis spiraling out of control.

After the assassination, the British government deceptively announced to Austria-Hungary and Germany that they accepted Austria-Hungary’s right to compensation from Serbia. When Austria delivered its July Ultimatum on July 23rd to the Serbs – a series of demands that were intentionally made unacceptable – it expected a local war to result, but Russian foreign minister Sazonov (another British agent)6 responded by mobilizing Russian forces on July 28th against the wishes of the Tsar. The British also quietly mobilized their own troops in anticipation of a German move against Belgium, which occurred on August 4th.

What neither Germany nor Austria-Hungary realised was that the assassination – the casus belli – had been orchestrated by the Serbs with the encouragement of British agents in the Russian government. In the 1917 court case on the assassination, Serbian colonel Dragutin Dimitrijević confessed that he hired Ferdinand’s assassins and that the murder was planned with the knowledge and approval of the Russian ambassador in Belgrade – Nicholas Hartwig – and the Russian military attaché in Belgrade, Viktor Artamonov. Both Hartwig and Artamonov were effectively in the pay of the British government. If it had been widely revealed at the time that the Russians were directly involved in the assassination, the British government could not have justified the war to the British public, who held strong anti-Tsarist opinions, thanks to being systematically fed anti-Russian propaganda during the ‘Great Game’ of the 19th century. If anything, they would have called for war against Russia.

Even as the Russian and German armies were marching out of their barracks on July 1st, the Tsar and the Kaiser were exchanging telegrams in a futile attempt to avert disaster. In a note he wrote later that day, the Kaiser finally understood the depth of British perfidy: “I have no doubt about it: England, Russia and France have agreed among themselves to take the Austro-Serbian conflict for an excuse for waging a war of extermination against us… the stupidity and ineptitude of our ally is turned into a snare for us … the net has been suddenly thrown over our head, and England sneeringly reaps the most brilliant success of her persistently prosecuted purely anti-German world policy against which we have proved ourselves helpless. We are brought into a situation which offers England the desired pretext for annihilating us under the hypocritical cloak of justice.” 7 It should come as no surprise that during this ‘great’ war to protect the free world, British and American arms manufacturers, many with links to City of London and Wall Street banks, were arming all sides in the conflict. For just one example, the British-owned Armstrong-Pozzuoli Company, headquartered on the bay of Naples, employed 4,000 men and was the chief naval supplier to Britain’s enemy, Italy, and a high-level English naval officer, Rear Admiral Ottley, was a director!8 During the war, Labour MP Philip Snowden angrily told the House of Commons that “submarines and all the torpedoes used in the Austrian navy are made by the Whitehead Torpedo works in Hungary… they are making torpedoes with British capital in order to destroy British ships.”9 The same torpedoes were being used by German U-boats to sink British, and later American, ships.

Talk about a revolution

The disastrous effects to Russia of the British-inspired Russo-Japanese war provoked the 1905 Russian ‘revolution’ that lasted until 1907. That revolution paved the way for the overthrow of the Tsar and the coming to power of the nihilistic Bolsheviks in the October revolution of 1917. The event would define Russia’s history for the next 70 years. Far from being an impediment, the fact that Tsarist Russia was a British ally in the middle of WW1 appears, at the time, to have been seen by the British and American governments as an opportunity to stab the Tsar in the back when, and from where, he least expected it.

Like the first World War, the plan for the overthrow of the Tsar and revolution in Russia was years in the making. In fact, it seems that the 1905 Russo-Japanese war was used by the aforementioned Jacob Schiff and Co. to sow the seeds of that 1917 revolution 12 years in advance. In her book, ‘Jacob H. Schiff: A Study in American Jewish Leadership’, prolific Jewish-American author Naomi Wiener Cohen states: “The Russo-Japanese war allied Schiff with George Kennan in a venture to spread revolutionary propaganda among Russian prisoners of war held by Japan (Kennan had access to these). The operation was a carefully guarded secret and not until the revolution of March 1917 was it publicly disclosed by Kennan. He then told how he had secured Japanese permission to visit the camps and how the prisoners had asked him for something to read. Arranging for the ‘Friends of Russian Freedom’ to ship over a ton of revolutionary material, he secured Schiff’s financial backing. As Kennan told it, fifty thousand officers and men returned to Russia [as] ardent revolutionists. There they became fifty thousand “seeds of liberty” in one hundred regiments that contributed to the overthrow of the Tsar.” While Schiff was a strident opponent of the Russian Tsar for his treatment of Russian Jews, it’s difficult to tell if sympathy for his co-religionists in Russia was the motivation for Schiff, and other Jewish Wall Street bankers and industrialists, to finance the Bolshevik revolution. After all, they all also reaped massive financial rewards as a result.

Russian General Arsene de Goulevitch, who witnessed the Bolshevik Revolution firsthand, stated: “The main purveyors of funds for the revolution were neither the crackpot Russian millionaires nor the armed bandits of Lenin. The ‘real’ money primarily came from certain British and American circles which for a long time past had lent their support to the Russian revolutionary cause… I have been told that over 21 million rubles were spent by Lord [Alfred] Milner in financing the Russian Revolution”.10 Milner was perhaps the preeminent agent of the British Empire at that time. As High Commissioner for Southern Africa, German-born Milner pioneered concentration camps and ethnic cleansing during the Boer War to expand British control of Africa. Milner was also the chief author of the Balfour Declaration, despite it being published in Arthur Balfour’s name. In his book on Milner, Edward Crankshaw summed up Milner’s ‘ideology’: “Some of the passages [in Milner’s books] on industry and society… are passages which any socialist would be proud to have written. But they were not written by a socialist. They were written by “the man who made the Boer War.” Some of the passages on Imperialism and the white man’s burden might have been written by a Tory diehard. They were written by the student of Karl Marx.” 11 Milner’s ideological bi-partisanship – and utter indifference to his German roots – mirrored that of the Wall Street bankers. Speaking to the League for Industrial Democracy in New York on 30th December 1924, Otto H. Kahn, who was Jacob Schiff and Felix Warburg’s partner in Kuhn, Loeb & Co. and director of American International Corp., said: “what you radicals, and we who hold opposing views differ about, is not so much the end as the means, not so much what should be brought about, as how it should, and can, be brought about”.

De Goulevitch cites reports from local observers and journalists in Petrograd in 1917 of British and American agents handing out 25-rouble notes to soldiers of the Pavlovski regiment just before they mutinied and joined the revolution.5 De Goulevitch also named Sir George Buchanan, the British Ambassador to Russia at the time, as one of the main players in financing what was effectively an early ‘color revolution’ in Russia.

As Jennings C. Wise has written, “Historians must never forget that Woodrow Wilson… made it possible for Leon Trotsky to enter Russia with an American passport.”12

With the Tsar gone and the Western-backed Bolsheviks in power, US and other Western governments and corporations had succeeded not only in destroying Russia’s economy and industry, but breaking off parts of the Russian empire.The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is a testament to the fecklessness of the Bolsheviks in that, in order to withdraw Russia from the war, they were forced cede territory to Germany and Austria-Hungary. The first round of negotiations stalled because the mad-cap revolutionaries believed that Germany and Austria-Hungary were on the brink of revolution themselves. When Lenin and Co. finally came to their senses, they were forced to sign an even more punitive agreement with the Central Powers. While Russia regained much of this lost territory after WWII, it lost it all again in 1991. In fact, Russia’s post-1991 western border bears a marked similarity to that imposed by the Brest-Litovsk treaty.

Under Lenin and Trotsky, the Bolshevik ‘revolution’ had effectively shut down the Russian economy and its industry, allowing Western bankers to step in to ‘rebuild’. Consider the words of American journalist, labor organizer, and publicist, Albert Rhys Williams, who was both a witness to – and participant in – the October revolution, as he testified at the Senate Overman Committee: Mr. Williams: […] it is probably true that under the Soviet government industrial life will perhaps be much slower in development than under the usual capitalistic system. But why should a great industrial country like America desire the creation and consequent competition of another great industrial rival? Are not the interests of America in this regard in line with the slow tempo of development which Soviet Russia projects for herself?

Senator Wolcott: So you are presenting an argument here which you think might appeal to the American people, your point being this; that if we recognize the Soviet government of Russia as it is constituted, we will be recognizing a government that cannot compete with us in industry for a great many years?

Mr. Williams: That is a fact.

Senator Wolcott: That is an argument that, under the Soviet government, Russia is in no position, for a great many years at least, to approach America industrially?

Mr. Williams: Absolutely. When the Bolsheviks started their first bank, Ruskombank, in 1922, one of its directors was Max May of Guaranty Trust. Guaranty Trust was a J.P. Morgan company. On joining Ruskombank, May stated: “The United States, being a rich country with well developed industries, does not need to import anything from foreign countries, but… it is greatly interested in exporting its products to other countries, and considers Russia the most suitable market for that purpose, taking into consideration the vast requirements of Russia in all lines of its economic life.”13 J.P. Morgan’s Guaranty Trust also raised loans for the German war effort while simultaneously funding the British and French against the Germans, and also the Russians, both under the Tsar against Germany, and then the Bolsheviks against the Tsar and for the “revolution”.14

Two world wars, courtesy of the anglo-American elite.

Via Wall Street bankers, the US government under Woodrow Wilson broke with international convention after WWI and refused to forgive debts from the massive war loans it pumped to its allies, primarily Britain and France.15 Germany was in an even worse position because of the reparations demanded by the extremely harsh Treaty of Versailles. None of these countries were in a position to pay back the money owed, so the ‘Dawes Plan’ was enacted whereby the US government would loan money to Germany so that it could pay reparations to France and Britain, who would then give the money back to the US to pay off their war debt. That’s how ‘funny money’ works. Nevertheless, World War I was a boon for the USA. It went from owing foreigners $4.5 billion in 1914 to being owed $25 billion by foreigners in 1928, including Europe’s war debt. As a result, much of Europe’s gold also ended up in Fort Knox. Professor of economics Michael Hudson claims that the motivation for massive US government financial claims on Europe was political rather than economic.

Germany paid off the final tranche of its debt to the US government in 2010. The UK is still paying. The debt to the US and allies from WWI was the primary cause of the collapse of the German economy in the early 1930s that gave rise to Hitler and the Nazis… who were also financed by the same cabal of Wall Street bankers.16

In 1925, a European theorist of imperialism, Gerhart Von Schulze-Gaevernitz, suggested that history would show that the most important result of World War I was not “the destruction of the royal dynasties that ruled Germany, Russia, Austria and Italy”, but the “shift in the world’s center of gravity from Europe, where it had existed since the days of Marathon, to America”. This new era of ‘superimperialism’, he said, had turned traditional imperialism on its head because now “finance capital mediates political power internationally to acquire monopolistic control and profits from natural resources, raw material and the power of labor, with the tendency towards autarky by controlling all regions, the entire world’s raw materials.”17

During the 1920s Russian industry was effectively rebuilt by US corporations, with several of Lenin’s five-year plans financed by Wall Street banks. The aim was to prepare Russia for WWII, where it effectively won the war for the allies but was largely ruined (again) in the process and, like the other European powers, incurred massive debt to Wall Street and London bankers. As revealed by Antony Sutton, the extent of Western influence and control inside Soviet Russia is exemplified by the fact that, during the Vietnam war, the military vehicles being used by the North Vietnamese military to fight American soldiers were produced in a Soviet factory, the Kama River Truck Plant, owned by the US Ford corporation.

By imposing the Bolshevik Revolution on Russia, Wall Street ensured that it could not compete with the USA. For the next 70 years, the ‘managers of the world’ in the US and Western Europe expanded their global domination through the use of a bogus “Communist threat” (which they created). In the late 1980s, the Western banking elite decided that their global power was sufficient to allow them to pull back the ‘iron curtain’ and, once again, open Russia up, but this time for some ‘free market’, ‘open society’ neo-liberal plunder. All was going to plan for most of the 1990s until Vladimir Putin arrived on the scene and began to spoil the Western elites’ ‘we rule the world’ party.

So what’s the point of this little history lesson? I hope it serves to highlight two things. That over 100 years ago the Western banking/corporate/political elite – the type of people who think, and say, things like… “To think of these stars that you see overhead at night, these vast worlds which we can never reach. I would annexe the planets if I could; I often think of that. It makes me sad to see them so clear and yet so far.”

“I contend that we are the first race in the world, and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race.”

~ Cecil Rhodes …understood clearly that the only way they were going rule the world was to ensure that Russia never emerged as a competitor to their center of operations – London, and then the USA. From a practical perspective, to achieve that goal they were going to have to perpetually marginalize Russia on the Eurasian continent and prevent European nations, in particular Western European nations, from ever forming an alliance with Russia. That task began in earnest in the late 1890s. It continues to this day, but it is failing.

Since coming to power Putin has made moves to do to Russia precisely that which the Western banking elite spent over 100 years trying to prevent: make it a strong independent country, free (to the greatest extent possible) of the Western bankers’ toxic influence. Even worse, Putin’s plan does not seem to be limited merely to freeing Russia, but includes the idea of using Russia’s influence to establish a new ‘new world order’, based not on the hegemony of the few, but on multipolarity, real national sovereignty, mutual respect, and genuinely fair trade among nations. In their 15 short years at the helm in Russia, Putin and his friends have gone a long way towards achieving their goals. The response from the Western elite has been interesting to watch. From NATO’s attempts to encircle Russia in Eastern Europe, to economic sanctions imposed on the basis of trumped-up charges, to sabotaging Russia-EU economic relations, to staging a coup in Ukraine in 2014, to manipulating the price of oil and assassinating ‘opposition figures’ inside and outside Russia; the anglo-American elite are resorting to increasingly desperate and hysterical measures to maintain the global imbalance they worked so hard to achieve. But nothing they do seems to phase Russia or divert it from the path it has chosen.

So what can we expect next from the Western elites? Short of all-out nuclear war with Russia (which is not and never was an option, contrary to Cold War propaganda) what scurrilously duplicitous maneuvers are left to be made? Not many, to be sure. Perhaps the only weapon left in their arsenal is the one that, more than any other, has allowed them to dominate the globe for so long: the almighty US dollar, its position as the world’s reserve currency, and the ‘petrodollar’.

For decades, these two financial ‘instruments’ have forced all other countries to hold large reserves of the American currency, thereby providing the US economy with a ‘free ride’ and securing its position as the world’s largest economy. If the US dollar were, for some reason, to collapse, it would create massive panic in the world economic system, and result, quite possibly, in the collapse of governments around the world. This is likely the reason that both Russia and China are wasting no time in establishing the basis for a new economic order that is not dollar-based. If that initiative progresses far enough, there may come a time in the near future when the dollar can be safely ‘ditched’ and replaced with another reserve currency, or basket of currencies, thereby avoiding or mitigating the systemic threat to the global economy (if not the US economy) of a dollar collapse, and forcing the Western elite, with their base of operations in the USA, to accept a more humble and justified position among the nations.

Fat cat feeding time almost over?

Anyone who has investigated and understood the nature of these “elites” of which I speak, knows that they are not the type of people who simply accept defeat, even when it is staring them in the face. They’re like a highly narcissistic chess player who, seeing that ‘check mate’ is almost upon him, opts to knock all the pieces of the board (and maybe burn it… and the room) rather than suffer the ignominy of defeat. It can then be claimed, ‘see, you didn’t win, we’ll have to start again’. The chess analogy is appropriate given that one of the main exponents of Mackinder’s theories of Eurasian strategy is Zbigniew Brzezinski, author of The Grand Chessboard, where he wrote “it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America.”

With the US debt currently running at over 104% to GDP (and rising), and the US unable or unwilling to reduce that debt or to increase GDP, the USA is effectively insolvent, a ‘failed state’ in all but name. The only thing preventing its economic collapse is the dependency, for now, of so many other nations on the US not collapsing. Is it possible that, facing the almost certain end to their reign as rulers of the world, the Western psycho-elite will chose the ‘financial nuclear option’ of ‘doing an Enron’ and collapsing the American dollar in a last, insane and futile effort to avert defeat by bringing the whole house of cards down… so they can ‘rebuild’ from scratch?

As my opening quote asserts: “what the darkness cannot possess, it seeks to destroy.”




1 Chapman, John W. M. Russia, Germany and the Anglo-Japanese Intelligence Collaboration

2 Schiff organised the purchase by US investors of $200 million in Japanese bonds

3 Farrer, England Under Edward VII p. 143

4 Stieve, Isvolsky and the First World War p. 116

5 Durham, Twenty years of Balkan Tangle ch 19 pp 2-3 and Docherty and Macgregor, Hidden History: The secret origins of the First World war Ch.18

6 See; Docherty and Macgregor, Hidden History: The secret origins of the First World war Ch.16

7 Barnes, Genesis of the World War, pp. 268-9

8 Perris, The War Traders: an Exposure

9 Murray, Krupps and the International Armaments Ring: the scandal of modern civilization p.3

10 De Goulevitch,: Czarism and Revolution, Omni Publications, California, pp. 224, 230

11 Crankshaw, The Forsaken Idea: A Study of Viscount Milner (London: Longmans Green, 1952), p. 269.

12 Wise, Woodrow Wilson: Disciple of Revolution (New York: Paisley Press, 1938), p.45

13 Sutton, A. Wall Street and the Bolsheviks Ch. 4

14 ibid

15 Hudson, M. Super Imperialism: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance p. 50

16 Sutton, A. Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler

17 ibid









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