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All U.S. Gov’t. Accusations Against Russia’s Gov’t. Are Lies

Because of what the U.S. regime did to Ukraine, Ukraine now has vastly higher debt, and also significantly reduced GDP from which to pay it. Nothing about this operation was at all democratic.

Eric Zuesse

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By Eric Zuesse (originally posted at The Saker)…


THE FIRST ACCUSATION, which is the source of the Magnitsky Act sanctions against Russia, was in 2012 under U.S. President Barack Obama, and it alleged that Sergei Magnitsky had been a whistleblower in Russia who was a lawyer who uncovered corruption in Russia’s Government and was imprisoned for that and beaten to death there for that. Magnitsky was, in fact, no whistleblower, and no lawyer, but the accountant of American billionaire Bill Browder, who had been charged by the Russian Government (and who then fled Russia) as having tax-defrauded the Russian Government of $230 million. And, Magnitsky’s death in prison was due to inadequate medical care of his pancreatitis by the medical personnel there, not (as Browder alleged) to any “beating.”

THE SECOND ACCUSATION, in 2014, is that “Russia stole Crimea.” This charge is the source of additional (and more severe) sanctions against Russis, and also of NATO’s massing of troops and weapons on and near Russia’s border, which are massed there allegedly to ‘protect’ European nations against ‘Russian aggression’ (such as ‘seizing Crimea’). It’s all founded on basic lies regarding Crimea and Ukraine. A fuller presentation of that case is here. But what constitutes the most remarkable evidence of all in this entire matter are two crucial phone-conversations. The first is the 27 January 2014 phone-conversation whereby the chief agent, Victoria Nuland, whom Obama had assigned to organize the coup to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically elected President Victor Yanukovych, gave the order as to whom Yanukovych’s replacement would be. This call is grossly misrepresented if not entirely ignored by the U.S. regime’s ‘journalists’ and ‘historians’. Nuland famously said there “Fuck the EU” (for the EU’s wanting a more moderate and less-nazi alternative to be selected). That much of the call was reported in the Western press (though with virtually no context as to what it meant and why she had said it), but the rest — the historically crucial part of it — wasn’t. This historically mega-important phone-call, which was posted to the internet a week later, on February 4th — three weeks before the man whom she named there received (just as she had instructed) the appointment to lead the post-coup Ukraine — isn’t even being denied by Washington. Instead, it’s either ignored by them, or else totally misrepresented, in the ‘historical’ accounts by the agents of the U.S. regime.

Especially remarkable about this phone-conversation, to select Ukraine’s new leader, is that it wasn’t between Ukrainians, but was instead between two Americans, selecting the person who would soon be appointed by the U.S. regime to rule Ukrainians; it actually obliterated Ukrainian national sovereignty. Nuland told Pyatt not to appoint the moderate Vitally Klitschko, the EU’s favorite, to become Ukraine’s new leader, but instead to appoint the rabidly anti-Russian Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Here, then, is the most crucial part of this historically crucial phone-conversation, the instruction she gave there that set “the New Cold War” — the movement toward World War III — overtly into motion (after its covert start on the night of 24 February 1990):

Nuland: … Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience the governing experience; he’s the… what he needs is Klitsch [the leading moderate] and Tiahnybok [an admirer of Hitler] on the outside; he [Yats] needs to be talking to them four times a week you know. I just think Klitch going in, he’s going to be, at that level, working for Yatsenyuk; it’s just not going to work.

Pyatt: Yeah [you’re right], no [I was wrong to think that Klitschko should become the new ruler], I think that’s right. Ok. Good.

Then, she referred, in the call, to her agent (just like she was Obama’s agent), Jeff Feltman, who had been assigned to persuade the U.N.’s Ban ki-Moon and his envoy handling Ukraine — who was Holland’s former Ambassador to Ukraine, the anti-Russian and pro-American Robert Serry — to go along with the U.S., in this context:

I talked to Jeff Feltman this morning; he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry; did I write you that this morning?

Pyatt: Yeah I saw that.

Nuland: Ok. He’s now gotten both Serry and Ban ki-Moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. That would be great, I think, to help glue this thing, and to have the UN help glue it, and, you know, fuck the EU.

Feltman chose Serry to become officially appointed on 5 March 2014 by Ban ki-Moon to “mediate the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.” (Whether Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ever knew that the U.N.’s  ‘mediator’ had been chosen by Obama’s people, is unknown; presumably, he knew of the Nuland-Pyatt phone-conversation; but certainly Russia’s U.N. Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, wasn’t comfortable about Serry’s representing the U.N. on this matter; and Crimeans also were outright hostile toward Serry.)

In other words: this was a set-up deal, set up in Washington, to create — and with the U.N.’s acceptance — a rabidly anti-Russian government, right on Russia’s doorstep, in adjoining Ukraine. Would the U.N. have accepted Russia’s replacing Mexico’s Government in a bloody coup and installing a rabidly anti-U.S. regime there? Did the U.S. in 1962 accept Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba, which is 100 miles away from the U.S.? Of course not. Why should Russia do that, in 2014 — or ever?

Then, in a phone-call on February 26th, occurred the second important item of evidence. The foreign-affairs chief of the European Union, Catherine Ashton, was confidentially informed by her investigator, Urmas Paet, that the new Government in Ukraine was not actually the result of what the democratically elected Government had done, but was instead a coup by “the new coalition” government that had just succeeded at overthrowing the elected Government. This is from the transcript:

What was quite disturbing, the same oligarch [Poroshenko — and so when he then became Ukraine’s President three months later, he already knew this] told that well, all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers, from both sides, among policemen and people from the streets, [this will shock Ashton, who thought that Yanukovych had masterminded the killings] that they were the same snipers, killing people from both sides [so, Poroshenko himself knows that his regime is based on a false-flag U.S.-controlled coup d’etat against his predecessor, Yanukovych — and he even said as much]

Well, that’s yes, …

So that and then she [Dr. Olga Bolgomets] also showed me some photos, she said that as medical doctor, she can, you know, say that it’s the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition that they don’t want to investigate, what exactly happened; so that now there is stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition. 

Notice here that Paet had tactfully avoided saying that Ashton’s assumption that it had been Yanukovych was false; instead, he totally ignored her having suggested that, and he here simply said that the evidence went totally in the opposite direction, the direction that Poroshenko himself knew to be true, that the guilty party was “the new coalition,” which Paet said nothing about, and Ashton asked him no questions about it or about what country had actually organized it. Ashton responded:

I think that we do want to investigate. 

That sentiment on her part lasted, however, only about one second.

I mean I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh? 

Ashton here seemed to have felt outright embarrassed, and she thus ended in a “Gosh” that was almost inaudible, as if a question, and then she immediately proceeded simply to ignore this crucial matter entirely. All of the evidence suggests that she was exceedingly reluctant to believe that in the overthrow, the bad guys had actually been on the anti-Yanukovych side. The overthrow of Yanukovych has since been called “the most blatant coup in history”.

On the day when the coup peaked, 20 February 2014, there was an event which turned the residents of Crimea even more against the overthrow-Yanukovych demonstrators than Crimeans already were (and Crimea had voted over 75% for Yanukovych, so they were strongly against this overthrow): it was “The Anti-Crimean Pogrom that Sparked Crimea’s Breakaway”.

Almost immediately after Yatsenyuk became the leader of Ukraine, he sacked the existing three Deputy Defense Ministers, on March 5th, and replaced them with three rabidly anti-Russian neo-Nazis, who were committed to his bombing-policy, to eliminate enough Yanukovych-voters so that the new Government, in future elections, would be able to be a continuation of Yatsenyuk’s instead of a restoration of the one that had preceded Yatsenyuk’s. The person who was made the Minister of Defense, Mikhail Koval, announced his intention to ethnically cleanse from southeastern Ukraine the “subhumans” who voted for Yanukovych, who will “be resettled in other regions,” meaning either Russia (if Russia accepts these Ukrainian refugees) or else concentration-camps inside Ukraine (and then perhaps death). “There will be a thorough filtration of people.” (That English translation has since been taken down; so, instead, try this and this.) Their property will be confiscated, and “Land parcels will be given out for free to the servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other military formations, as well as to the employees of Interior Ministry and the Security Service of Ukraine that are defending territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country in eastern and southeastern regions of Ukraine.” That’s the euphemism for the ethnic cleansing, and mass-theft, which followed. And here is more of that, and more, and more, of this U.S.-imposed nazism. In other words, Obama’s rulers of Ukraine were rewarding ethnic-cleansing, and were offering their soldiers the opportunity to grab legally the property of their victims.

On 15 November 2017, two of the foreign mercenaries who had served as snipers in the Ukrainian coup confessed on Italian television and described how they had come to be hired for the job, by Mikheil Saakashvili (who is a U.S. Deep State asset).

The result of the U.S. regime’s takeover of Ukraine’s Government is this. And a generation of young Ukrainians are now being taught nazism, right on the border of Russia — Russia being the one country that in World War II had done the most to conquer the Nazis. The U.S. Government has flipped to pro-nazi. And time after time after time, the U.S. leads the three-or-fewer nations that vote at the U.N. against condemning nazism. That’s right: America, which under President FDR had fought against the Nazis and the other fascist regimes, now was and is itself the world’s leading racist-fascist, or ideologically nazi (but this time mainly against Russians, instead of mainly against Jews), regime, itself. (In fact, today’s America is allied with the ideologically racist-fascist, or nazi, anti-Palestinian, Israeli regime. And, it’s allied also with the nazi — but anti-Shiite — Saud regime, which was founded in 1744 on the basis of hating Shiites.)

Ukraine’s economy was destroyed by the U.S.-imposed Ukrainian regime. Until around 2013, Ukraine’s economy was fairly stable, but then the coup-operation, which had begun in Washington in 2011, for regime-change in both Ukraine and Syria, culminated successfully in Ukraine in February 2014. Ukraine’s national debt then nearly quadrupled, between 2013 and 2017, while Ukraine’s GDP simultaneously declined 39%:

https://www.statista.com/

Ukraine: National debt from 2012 to 2017 (in billion U.S. dollars)

2012=20.14

2013=22.67

2014=42.61

2015=60.24

2016=73.94

2017=83.96

https://www.statista.com/

Ukraine: GDP from 2012 to 2017

2012=175.71

2013=179.57

2014=132.34

2015=90.94

2016=93.26

2017=109.32

Because of what the U.S. regime did to Ukraine, Ukraine now has vastly higher debt, and also significantly reduced GDP from which to pay it. Nothing about this operation was at all democratic. The opposition to this operation was democratic. That’s not to say the crowd who had campaigned at the Maidan Square against Ukraine’s endemic corruption were anti-democratic, but that their leaders were — and so Ukraine is even more corrupt now than it was under Yanukovych. Four days before the Nuland-anointed Yatsenyuk left Ukraine’s Government, he tweeted on 10 April 2016, “I thank the colleagues who’ve acted honestly and selflessly. The last 2 Govs [his and Poroshenkos] were unique. They were the first manifestations of New Ukraine.” Look at the heap of contempt which his former followersheaped there upon that tweet. The pro-U.S.-regime site Euractive noted on that same day, that “his party’s approval rating has slumped to just two percent” and blamed it not on his ethnic-cleansing campaign and his sinking his country into hock to foreign investors in order to fund that war against the regions that had voted 90% for Yanukovych, but instead mainly “because of the painful transition away from a state-sustained economy” — not enough privatization, not enough graft for insider-investors to have been able to suck Ukrainians even drier than they’ve done.

All indications are that, right after the February 2014 coup, over 90% of Crimeans wanted to become Russians again, and that over 90% are happy today to be Russians again (which Crimea had been until 1954 when the Soviet dictator arbitrarily transferred Crimea from Russia to Ukraine). But the U.S. regime and its allies demand that Crimeans be taken over by the nazi racist anti-Russian and anti-Crimean regime the U.S. installed in Ukraine. The right of self-determination of peoples is honored (at least verbally) in The West for Spain’s Catalonians and for UK’s Scotts, but not at all for Crimeans, whom The West is instead determined to, essentially, destroy, by diktat (which is what the U.S.-imposed Ukrainian regime wants to do to Crimeans).

Instead of “Putin seized Crimea,” the reality is: Obama seized Ukraine. Crimeans rejected his seizure. “Putin seized Crimea” is lie #2.

THE THIRD ACCUSATION is that Russia’s Government, if not Putin himself, surreptitiously disclosed through “hacks” supplied to Wikileaks, Hillary Clinton’s and her campaign’s emails, and that Russia otherwise also campaigned, via Facebook ads, to make Donald Trump win against Hillary Clinton. Wikileaks said that the emails actually arrived via leaks not hacks, and that the leaks were from inside the Democratic Party, not from anyone outside the United States. Regarding the Facebook ads, the New York Times on 20 September 2018, bannered a 9,700-word article, “The Plot to Subvert an Election: Unraveling the Russia Story So Far”, and buried 92% of the way through it, as merely a clause in a sentence, the crucial fact that “no public evidence has emerged showing that his [Trump’s] campaign conspired with Russia in the election interference or accepted Russian money.”  This startlingly anomalous declaration by their reporters was publicly noted to be anomalous, on the very same day as the article was published, when the “Moon of Alabama” blogger headlined “NYT Admits That Its ‘Mountain of Evidence’ For Russian Collusion Is Smaller Than A Molehill”. Then, on October 1st appeared, from the “Alternative Insight” blogger, “The New York Times Plots the 2016 Election”, opening:

The article starts with

ON AN OCTOBER AFTERNOON BEFORE THE 2016 ELECTION, a huge banner was unfurled from the Manhattan Bridge in New York City: Vladimir V. Putin against a Russian-flag background…”

The paragraph ends with

In November, shortly after Donald J. Trump eked out a victory that Moscow had worked to assist, an even bigger banner appeared.”

Note that before any facts are presented, the reader is confronted with a conclusion “Moscow had worked to assist” in Trump’s victory.

Police never identified who had hung the banners, but there were clues. The earliest promoters of the images on Twitter were American-sounding accounts, including @LeroyLovesUSA, later exposed as Russian fakes operated from St. Petersburg to influence American voters.”

Although described “as Russian fakes operated from St. Petersburg to influence American voters,” the banners had nothing to do with the election, and the second banner was unfurled after the election. Why conclude they are Russian fakes? Could not these individuals be operating similar to many persons who have Facebook accounts, hiding their real names when commenting on controversial issues?
These lines are followed by leaps into fantasy.
“The Kremlin, it appeared, had reached onto United States soil in New York and Washington. The banners may well have been intended as visual victory laps for the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history.”

How do a few unknown persons, supposedly living in St. Petersburg, suddenly morph into “The Kremlin?” How could, “The banners be intended as visual victory laps?” How is this, “the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history?” A succeeding paragraph proves the article is a bundle of unproven statements. Before presenting any facts, and using conjecture, other conclusions are impressed into the readers’ minds.

But to travel back to 2016 and trace the major plotlines of the Russian attack is to underscore what we now know with certainty: The Russians carried out a landmark intervention that will be examined for decades to come Acting on the personal animus of Mr. Putin, public and private instruments of Russian power moved with daring and skill to harness the currents of American politics. Well-connected Russians worked aggressively to recruit or influence people inside the Trump campaign.”

What are “the major plotlines,” of what “Russian attack,” that makes it certain that “The Russians carried out a landmark (ED: Why landmark?) intervention?”
Where has there been any evidence of “Acting on the personal animus of Mr. Putin?”

And, then, on November 2nd, appeared, from Gareth Porter, at Consortium News, a total mathematical disproof of the Times’s central allegation — of “The Times‘ claim last month that Russian Facebook posts reached nearly as many Americans as actually voted in the 2016 election.” He headlined “33 Trillion More Reasons Why The New York Times Gets it Wrong on Russia-gate” and displayed the mathematical impossibility of what the Facebook-ads hypothesis (which was accepted unquestioningly by the Times) asserts. He also exposed that the Facebook-ads hypothesis is based on misrepresenting what Facebook had actually asserted:

The newspaper said: “Even by the vertiginous standards of social media, the reach of their effort was impressive: 2,700 fake Facebook accounts, 80,000 posts, many of them elaborate images with catchy slogans, and an eventual audience of 126 million Americans on Facebook alone.” The paper argued that 126 million was “not far short of the 137 million people who would vote in the 2016 presidential election.” …

The newspaper failed to tell their readers that Facebook account holders in the United States had been “served” 33 trillion Facebook posts during that same period — 413 million times more than the 80,000 posts from the Russian company.

What Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 31, 2017 is a far cry from what the Times claims. “Our best estimate is that approximately 126,000 million people may have been served one of these [private Russian company, Internet Research Agency, ‘IRA’-generated] stories at some time during the two year period,” Stretch said.

Stretch was expressing a theoretical possibility rather than an established fact. He said an estimated 126 million Facebook members might have gotten at least one story from the IRA –- not over the ten week election period, but over 194 weeks during the two years 2015 through 2017—including a full year after the election.

That means only an estimated 29 million FB users may have gotten at least one story in their feed in two years. The 126 million figure is based only on an assumption that they shared it with others, according to Stretch.

Facebook didn’t even claim most of those 80,000 IRA posts were election–related. It offered no data on what proportion of the feeds to those 29 million people were.

In addition, Facebook’s Vice President for News Feed, Adam Moseri, acknowledged in 2016 that FB subscribers actually read only about 10 percent of the stories Facebook puts in their News Feed every day. The means that very few of the IRA stories that actually make it into a subscriber’s news feed on any given day are actually read.

And now, according to the further research, the odds that Americans saw any of these IRA ads—let alone were influenced by them—are even more astronomical. In his Oct. 2017 testimony, Stretch said that from 2015 to 2017, “Americans using Facebook were exposed to, or ‘served,’ a total of over 33 trillion stories in their News Feeds.”

To put the 33 trillion figure over two years in perspective, the 80,000 Russian-origin Facebook posts represented just .0000000024 of total Facebook content in that time.

Shane and Mazzetti did not report the 33 trillion number even though The New York Times’ own coverage of that 2017 Stretch testimony explicitly stated, “Facebook cautioned that the Russia-linked posts represented a minuscule amount of content compared with the billions of posts that flow through users’ News Feeds everyday.”

The Times‘ touting of the bogus 126 million out 137 million voters, while not reporting the 33 trillion figure, should vie in the annals of journalism as one of the most spectacularly misleading uses of statistics of all time.

The U.S. Government routinely interferes in elections all over the world, but builds mountains out of molehills of ‘evidence’ to charge that Russia’s Government is the global threat to democracy, and especially to America’s (fake) ‘democracy’. And that’s lie #3.

And, of course, the U.S. regime also had lied its way into invading Iraq in 2003, and lies today to allege that “Iran is the top state-sponsor of terrorism” and so much else; so that anyone who still trusts what the U.S. regime says, would have to be a fool. The New York Times (which participated so prominently in stenographically spreading the U.S. regime’s lies about Iraq in 2002 and 2003) is, no less now than it was then, an ongoing insult to the intelligence of its subscribers, but this time spreading lies especially against Russia. The newspaper’s subscribers didn’t cancel their subscriptions in revolt; that newspaper remains very successful, as if routinely lying to ‘justify’ invasion is okay.

The U.S. public believe the same ‘news’-media which had lied America into earlier invasions and mass-murders — wars and coups. it’s all of the U.S. major ‘news’-media, and most even of the ‘alternative’ ones (but certainly not the one you’re reading here). That’s why, when Trump’s U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley, on 5 April 2018, addressed students at Duke University, and said (at 46:50 in the video) “Russia’s never going to be our friend,” she wasn’t booed by anybody. And she continued, “You haven’t seen the end of what this administration will do to Russia.” In other words: she preached that hostility toward “Russia” is ‘good’. The students and the faculty seemed totally supportive of her nationalistic holier-than-thou lying pontifications. All of the questions, which were asked of her, presumed to be true all of the lies that she had stated against Russia, and against Bashar al-Assad and so much else. She easily fooled these people, because all of the major media already had fooled them, just like had been done about Iraq in 2002 and 2003. Fools never really learn, because they always already ‘know’ (the lies).

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

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Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

“Because of what the U.S. regime did to Ukraine, Ukraine now has vastly higher debt, and also significantly reduced GDP from which to pay it. Nothing about this operation was at all democratic”. All straight down the middle from the US foreign policy playbook. The purpose of landing other countries with vastly higher debt, while reducing their ability to pay, is obviously to get an opportunity to buy up those countries at fire-sale prices – or even completely free. As documented by Michael Hudson in a series of books (going back to “Superimperialism”). As for democracy, the US elite has… Read more »

Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

If Magnitsky’s death in prison was due to inadequate medical care, would that be something like this, then?

https://www.rt.com/russia/444727-us-jailed-russian-pilot/

Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

‘How is this, “the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history?”’

Of course, as everyone knows all too well, “the most effective foreign interference in an American election in history” has been by Israel, which has more or less controlled the US government since (at least) the 1960s.

How else could Israel have got the US President, Lyndon Johnson, to order a recall of the fighters that had already been scrambled to go and help the crew of the USS “Liberty”?

Shaun Ramewe
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Shaun Ramewe

Screw the ZioYanks’ pathetic and endless lies.

Gary Wells
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Gary Wells

“One way or another this darkness has got to give” – Robert Hunter
Excellent article.

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‘Home alone’: Trump tweets up storm during Christmas shutdown

Trump’s Christmas tweets included “Fake News” and the Democrats, the Federal Reserve, and praise for Saudi Arabia.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump’s Christmas tweetstorm:

Via RT


With the US government shut down due to the dispute over funding President Donald Trump’s border wall, and his family in Florida, the chief executive has chosen to spend the Christmas holiday taking potshots at critics on Twitter.

Funding for about a quarter of US government services ran out on Friday at midnight, as Senate Democrats refused to endorse a House funding bill that would’ve given Trump $5.7 billion for the border wall. Trump was supposed to celebrate Christmas at Mar-a-Lago with his family, but elected to stay in the White House instead, tweeting up a storm.

Trump tweeted twenty times on Thursday, as the shutdown loomed. He continued posting on Friday (ten), Saturday (seven) and Sunday (eight), then ramped up the schedule on Monday, with ten tweets by the early afternoon.

In addition to his usual complaints about “Fake News” and Democrats, Trump has also taken aim at the Federal Reserve, praised Saudi Arabia, and dismissed Washington’s envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition as an “Obama appointee” who gave Iran $1.8 billion “in CASH” as part of the “horrific” nuclear deal.

He also complained, tongue firmly in cheek, about being “all alone (poor me) in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come back and make a deal on desperately needed Border Security.”

Though Trump’s Twitter tirades usually trigger the trolls, that last one brought up a multitude of call-backs to the president’s cameo in 1992’s Christmas comedy ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.’

 

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Mattis is out, and Blackwater is back: ‘We are coming’

Is the war in Afghanistan – and possibly elsewhere – about to be privatized?

The Duran

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Authored by Tara Copp via MilitaryTimes.com:


Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is out.

Mattis’ resignation comes amid news that President Donald Trump has directed the drawdown of 2,000 U.S. forces in Syria, and 7,000 U.S. forces from Afghanistan, a U.S. official confirmed to Military Times, a story first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

This month, in the January/February print issue of the gun and hunting magazine “Recoil,” the former contractor security firm Blackwater USA published a full-page ad, in all black with a simple message: “We are coming.”

Is the war in Afghanistan – and possibly elsewhere – about to be privatized?

If Blackwater returns, it would be the return of a private security contractor that was banned from Iraq, but re-branded and never really went away. By 2016 Blackwater had been re-named and restructured several times, and was known at the time as Constellis Group, when it was purchased by the Apollo Holdings Group. Reuters reported earlier this year that Apollo had put Constellis up for sale, but in June the sale was put on hold.

A representative for Constellis told Military Times late Friday that while it had acquired the former Blackwater training center in the 2016 purchase, it has no affiliation with the former security firm. It did not retain Blackwater’s founder and former CEO Erik Prince and has no current connection to him, or the firm’s former management structure.

The Recoil ad suggests Blackwater is making a resurgence on its own, but it was not clear in what form. The public affairs firm that handles Prince’s media engagements told Military Times Friday that he would not be able to speak beyond what was in the media “at this stage.”

Prince has courted President Donald Trump’s administration since he took office with the idea that the now 17-year Afghan War will never be won by a traditional military campaign. Prince has also argued that the logistical footprint required to support that now multi-trillion dollar endeavor has become too burdensome. Over the summer and into this fall Prince has engaged heavily with the media to promote the privatization; particularly as the Trump administration’s new South Asia Strategy, which was crafted with Mattis, passed the one-year mark.

Constellis, which had maintained a footprint at Camp Integrity by the Kabul Airport through its previous iteration as “Academi.” The firm no longer trains there, the Constellis spokesman said.

The news of a leaning on a smaller number of privatized forces, instead of a larger U.S. military footprint — and contracted support for U.S. forces that knew few bounds and at times included coffee shops, base exchanges, restaurants, a hockey rink and local vendor shops — may be welcomed by current U.S. military leadership on the ground. That includes former Joint Special Operations Command chief Army Lt. Gen. Scott Miller, a source familiar with Miller’s approach told Military Times. Miller replaced Gen. John Nicholson as the head of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan in September.

In an previous exclusive interview with Military Times, Prince said he would scrap the NATO mission there and replace the estimated 23,000 forces in country with a force of 6,000 contracted personnel and 2,000 active-duty special forces.

The potential privatization of the Afghan War was previously dismissed by the White House, and roundly criticized by Mattis, who saw it as a risk to emplace the nation’s national security goals in the hands of contractors.

“When Americans put their nation’s credibility on the line, privatizing it is probably not a wise idea,” Mattis told reporters in August.

But Mattis is out now, one in a series of moves that has surprised most of the Pentagon.

Drastic change would “be more likely” now, one DOD official said.

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Trump Derangement International

American media has made it acceptable for foreign media to write fake articles about the US president.

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Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog:


Dirk Kurbjuweit, deputy editor-in-chief of Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine for the past 4 years, unwittingly put his foot a mile deep in his mouth this week when he reacted to a letter written by US Ambassador to Berlin Richard Grenell. His reaction presents perhaps the most perfect example of the downfall of news, journalism, the media in general, that we’ve seen so far. Most perfect among very stiff competition.

After Der Spiegel itself this week ‘outed’ its award-winning star reporter, Claas Relotius, as someone who had made up many of his lauded articles from scratch, Grenell suggested the magazine, and especially its editorial staff, shouldn’t think they can get away with putting all the blame on just this one guy. He tweeted:

We value policy criticism. We love a free press. But @Spiegel literally fabricated stories saying people (Americans) were racist & xenophobic. They made up events, details, & lies – and no editor checked the stories. Every real journalist should be outraged by this.

And he wrote a letter to Der Spiegel, albeit addressed at the ‘wrong’ editor, Steffen Klussman, who won’t be in the post until after Jan. 1:

The recent revelations of completely fabricated stories, completely fictional people and fraudulent details in Spiegel over the last seven years are very troubling to the US Embassy. These fake news stories largely focused on US policies and certain segments of the American people. It is clear we were targeted by institutional bias and we are troubled by the atmosphere that encouraged this recklessness.

While Spiegel’s anti-American narratives have expanded over the last years, the anti-American bias at the magazine has exploded since the election of President Trump. We are concerned that these narratives are pushed by Spiegel’s senior leadership and reporters are responding to what the leadership wants.

This is where Dirk Kurbjuweit’s foot enters his mouth, stage left, and starts its long journey down:

It is true that one of our reporters in large part fabricated articles, including reports from the United States. We apologize to all American citizens who were insulted or denigrated by these articles. We are very sorry. This never should have happened. In this case, our safeguarding and verification processes failed. We are working hard to clarify these issues and improve our procedures and standards.

I would, however, like to counter you on one point. When we criticize the American president, this does not amount to anti-American bias – it is criticism of the policies of the man currently in office in the White House. Anti-Americanism is deeply alien to me and I am absolutely aware of what Germany has the U.S to thank for: a whole lot. DER SPIEGEL harbors no institutional bias against the United States.

Of course, first of all, Grenell is right, if you let someone write fake stories for 7 years and your editors, which included Kurbjuweit himself, don’t catch one single lie, it looks like you’re letting the fabrications ‘slip through’ on purpose. As Grenell implies, it looks like the entire magazine is/was trying to fabricate the news, not report on it.

But that’s not where Kurbjuweit’s foot is in his mouth. That comes in the second paragraph . Where he effectively says that criticizing America and Americans, including through fully fabricated stories, does not constitute an anti-American bias. Instead, he says, Der Spiegel simply suffers from Trump Derangement Syndrome. In other words, not an anti-American bias, but an anti-Trump bias.

And that, in his view, is apparently fine. And though it is of course not, certainly for an editor of a magazine that has (make that had) a reputation to uphold, who can really blame him? In the American press, all he sees is Trump Derangement Syndrome all the time, in at least 90% of the media. So how can anyone blame a German editor for doing what the New York Times and CNN do 24/7?

The problem with all of this obviously is that all these news outlets are supposed to report the news, and none of them do anymore. They ‘report’ the opinions of their editors and ‘journalists’, and if these people don’t like whoever it is the American people elect as their president, it’s open season.

American media has made it acceptable for foreign media to write fake articles about the US president, which means ridicule of the Office of the President is fine too, and thereby the process by which he was elected. Re-read Kurbjuweit’s statement, that is what he says.

This is a sort of new normal that may well be the main legacy of 2018. It’s where the surge of social media and the internet in general have led us. In the process, they’ve swallowed the truth whole, and we may never see it again.

The truth is not a winning proposition. Fabricating stories and narratives and using them to string readers and viewers along like a modern version of the Pied Piper is a much bigger winner than the truth, and they’re all waking up to this new reality.

Der Spiegel’s response to being exposed as liars is to pretend to be open about it, but only by blaming one individual, while sparing the editors who let him roam free for 7 years.

The Guardian, which ran a fabricated story about meetings between Paul Manafort and Julian Assange in London’s Ecuadorian embassy a few weeks ago and was also exposed, has chosen a different approach: they attempt to smother the truth in silence. Both the writers of the story and editor-in-chief Kathy Viner, responsible for publishing blatant lies and fabrications are still on the payroll, there’s been no retraction and no apologies.

But there’s a flipside to this kind of thing. If you try to get away with murdering the truth the way Der Spiegel and the Guardian have done in these two instances, who’s going to read you next time around if they want to know what really happens, and take your words as true? No-one in their sound mind. So it’s necessarily a short term strategy.

Still, while it lasts, it’s profitable. And it’s mighty contagious too. If and when the foreign press no longer feels any qualms about admitting they suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome, that is because US media have paved that road for them. Before the internet fueled its (dis-)information explosion, this would have been impossible.

It makes you wonder where this will go in 2019. What’s already evident is that you can’t believe your trusted news sources anymore. And it’s not a matter of some articles being true and some not; nothing published by Der Spiegel and the Guardian can be taken for granted as true from here on in, both are done as reliable news sources. Because they’ve been exposed as having lied on purpose, and only once is enough.

Same goes for many of the formerly trusted US MSM. And that should really, really make you wonder where this will take us in 2019. Truth is eroding faster than you can keep up with, and it’s your once trusted voices that lead the erosion. Where are you going to get your news? What and who can you trust?

Here’s a thought: follow the Automatic Earth. And good thing is, you don’t have to like Trump to not like where this is going. We don’t particularly like him either. We just dislike lies and fake news a whole lot more.

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