CIA and FBI Are Corrupt, but What About Congress?

By Philip Giraldi

November 22/23, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – The developing story about how the US intelligence and national security agencies may have conspired to influence and possibly even reverse the results of the 2016 presidential election is compelling, even if one is disinclined to believe that such a plot would be possible to execute. Not surprisingly perhaps there have been considerable introspection among former and current officials who have worked in those and related government positions, many of whom would agree that there is urgent need for a considerable restructuring and reining in of the 17 government agencies that have some intelligence or law enforcement function. Most would also agree that much of the real damage that has been done has been the result of the unending global war on terror launched by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, which has showered the agencies with resources and money while also politicizing their leadership and freeing them from restraints on their behavior.

If the tens of billions of dollars lavished on the intelligence community together with a “gloves off” approach towards oversight that allowed them to run wild had produced good results, it might be possible to argue that it was all worth it. But the fact is that intelligence gathering has always been a bad investment even if it is demonstrably worse at the present. One might argue that the CIA’s notorious Soviet Estimate prolonged the Cold War and that the failure to connect dots and pay attention to what junior officers were observing allowed 9/11 to happen. And then there was the empowerment of al-Qaeda during the Soviet-Afghan war followed by failure to penetrate the group once it began to carry out operations.

More recently there have been Guantanamo, torture in black prisons, renditions of terror suspects to be tortured elsewhere, killing of US citizens by drone, turning Libya into a failed state and terrorist haven, arming militants in Syria, and, of course, the Iraqi alleged WMDs, the biggest foreign policy disaster in American history. And the bad stuff happened in bipartisan fashion, under Democrats and Republicans, with both neocons and liberal interventionists all playing leading roles. The only one punished for the war crimes was former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou, who exposed some of what was going on.

Colonel Pat Lang, a colleague and friend who directed the Defense Intelligence Agency HUMINT (human intelligence) program after years spent on the ground in special ops and foreign liaison, thinks that strong medicine is needed and has initiated a discussion based on the premise that the FBI and CIA are dysfunctional relics that should be dismantled, as he puts it “burned to the ground,” so that the federal government can start over again and come up with something better.

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Lang cites numerous examples of “incompetence and malfeasance in the leadership of the 17 agencies of the Intelligence Community and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” to include the examples cited above plus the failure to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union. On the domestic front, he cites his personal observation of efforts by the Department of Justice and the FBI to corruptly “frame” people tried in federal courts on national security issues as well as the intelligence/law enforcement community conspiracy to “get Trump.”

Colonel Lang asks “Tell me, pilgrims, why should we put up with such nonsense? Why should we pay the leaders of these agencies for the privilege of having them abuse us? We are free men and women. Let us send these swine to their just deserts in a world where they have to work hard for whatever money they earn.” He then recommends stripping CIA of its responsibility for being the lead agency in spying as well as in covert action, which is a legacy of the Cold War and the area in which it has demonstrated a particular incompetence. As for the FBI, it was created by J. Edgar Hoover to maintain dossiers on politicians and it is time that it be replaced by a body that operates in a fashion “more reflective of our collective nation[al] values.”

Others in the intelligence community understandably have different views. Many believe that the FBI and CIA have grown too large and have been asked to do too many things unrelated to national security, so there should be a major reduction-in-force (RIF) followed by the compulsory retirement of senior officers who have become too cozy with and obligated to politicians. The new-CIA should collect information, period, what it was founded to do in 1947, and not meddle in foreign elections or engage in regime change. The FBI should provide only police services that are national in nature and that are not covered by the state and local jurisdictions. And it should operate in as transparent a fashion as possible, not as a national secret police force.

But the fundamental problem may not be with the police and intelligence services themselves. There are a lot of idiots running around loose in Washington. Witness for example the impeachment hearings ludicrous fact free opening statement by House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (with my emphasis) “In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire.”

And the press is no better, note the following excerpt from The New York Times lead editorial on the hearings, including remarks of the two State Department officers who testified, on the following day: “They came across not as angry Democrats or Deep State conspirators, but as men who have devoted their lives to serving their country, and for whom defending Ukraine against Russian aggression is more important to the national interest than any partisan jockeying…

“At another point, Mr. Taylor said he had been critical of the Obama administration’s reluctance to supply Ukraine with anti-tank missiles and other lethal defensive weapons in its fight with Russia, and that he was pleased when the Trump administration agreed to do so

“What clearly concerned both witnesses wasn’t simply the abuse of power by the president, but the harm it inflicted on Ukraine, a critical ally under constant assault by Russian forces. ‘Even as we sit here today, the Russians are attacking Ukrainian soldiers in their own country and have been for the last four years…’ Mr. Taylor said.”

Schiff and the Times should get their facts straight. And so should the two American foreign service officers who were clearly seeing the situation only from the Ukrainian perspective, a malady prevalent among US diplomats often described as “going native.” They were pushing a particular agenda, i.e. possible war with Russia on behalf of Ukraine, in furtherance of a US national interest that they fail to define. One of them, George Kent, eulogized the Ukrainian militiamen fighting the Russians as the modern day equivalent of the Massachusetts Minutemen in 1776, not exactly a neutral assessment, and also euphemized Washington-provided lethal offensive weapons as “security assistance.”

Another former intelligence community friend Ray McGovern has constructed a time line of developments in Ukraine which demolishes the establishment view on display in Congress relating to the alleged Russian threat. First of all, Ukraine was no American ally in 2014 and is no “critical ally” today. Also, the Russian reaction to western supported rioting in Kiev, a vital interest, only came about after the United States spent $5 billion destabilizing and then replacing the pro-Kremlin government. Since that time Moscow has resumed control of the Crimea, which is historically part of Russia, and is active in the Donbas region which has a largely Russian population.

It should really be quite simple. The national security state should actually be engaged in national security. Its size and budget should be commensurate with what it actually does, nothing more. It should not be roaming the world looking for trouble and should instead only respond to actual threats. And it should operate with oversight. If Congress is afraid to do it, set up a separate body that is non-partisan and actually has the teeth to do the job. If the United States of America comes out of the process as something like a normal nation the entire world will be a much happier place.

Philip Giraldi is a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and a columnist and television commentator who is the Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

This article was originally published by “Strategic Culture Foundation ” – 

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Putin Dismantles American NATO “Protection” Racket

Putin: The United States will have to take some steps to change the quality of its relations with its European allies even in NATO. It is no longer enough to say: “We are protecting you, so pay us.” – “It’s simply nonsense, bull*hit”

Posted November 22, 2019

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The original source of this article is Information Clearing House

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Princeton Study: The U.S. Is Not ‘Losing’ Its Democracy, It’s Already Long Gone

By Richard Enos

The Facts: – A Princeton University study found that the United States operates much more as an Oligarchy than as a Democracy.

Reflect On: – Can the current system be fixed or do we need to walk away from it to get what we really want?

November 22/23, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  The notion that citizens of the United States don’t actually live in a democracy has been picking up steam for decades, with scars from economic, social and political decay inflicting themselves ever more deeply into our psyches as the years move on.

You would think that, with the rise of science and technology, we would have been able to build a far more prosperous nation. Instead, we have seen a vast reduction in our standard of living, and are being forced to work longer and harder in increasingly menial and unfulfilling jobs across the board. We are ever more being subjected to the control-hungry vicissitudes of mega-corporations that are swallowing up American entrepreneurship and prosperous self-employment.

The notion that we as individuals are failing ourselves as a nation, and somehow have earned the massive and growing national debt as a result of our own poor decisions and ineptitude, is only valid if you still believe that we are living in a democracy, where the majority of individuals directly make policy. If in fact the United States ever fully operated this way, the least we can say is that our democracy is currently broken.

Of course, if you are in the small coterie of economic elites at the top of the pyramid, you don’t feel that anything is broken. In fact, in the back rooms where all the important meetings take place, you likely spend part of the time congratulating each other because things are going exactly according to plan.

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Princeton Study

A study by two political scientists at Princeton and Northwestern, Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, analyzed 1,779 recent policy outcomes found that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” while average citizens “have little or no independent influence.”

The research had two parts: First, they measured the amount of political influence various groups have in America. Then, they checked this against some technical definitions of democracy, oligarchy, and other forms of government.

In our latest episode of The Collective Evolution Show on CETV, Joe Martino and I discuss this study and the broader notion of whether the system itself is simply broken and can be fixed, or if we should start thinking about how we can move away from it altogether. The opening clip is below, and for the full episode and hundreds of other inspiring shows and interviews, you can start a free 7-day trial on CETV today.

The Wealthy Have More Influence

The chart below shows how much political influence different groups have in America today. Not only do the wealthy have the most influence, ordinary voters have basically none.

To have “political influence” in this case means that Congress responds to you by passing the laws and policies you like. Low influence means you’re ignored — Congress passes laws that have no relationship to what you want.

Special interest groups also have sway over public policy. The researchers divided them into two types. “Mass” interest groups, which represent large groups of organized citizens, have a small amount of power. Business groups, like trade associations, have a moderate amount, likely because they can afford to spend more on lobbying and political donations.

None of this means that ordinary people never get what they want from Congress. Sometimes public opinion data matched up with things Congress actually did. However the vast majority were also outcomes favored by the wealthy and business interests. Statistically speaking, the government doesn’t care what 90% of Americans think.

America Is an Oligarchy

The authors defined four possible systems we might have: (1) democracy, (2) oligarchy, or semi-democratic systems dominated by (3) interest groups generally or (4) business groups especially. You can look at the chart below and judge for yourself: America in 2014 matches mostly with the oligarchy model — an oligarchy of wealthy individuals. In fact, the general public has even less influence than it does in a typical oligarchy model.

The problem here isn’t the existence of wealth, or that wealthy Americans have political opinions. It’s that the government is representing only 10% of the American people. Everyone else is living with something less than democracy.

The authors make the following observations: Organized groups regularly lobby and fraternize with public officials; move through revolving doors between public and private employment; provide self-serving information to officials; draft legislation; and spend a great deal of money on election campaigns.

At its heart, this is a problem of corruption – caused by money in our political system. Such corruption is fundamentally opposed to the ideals of our republic because “the public is likely to be a more certain guardian of its own interests than any feasible alternative.”

The Takeaway

While some might argue that introducing new campaign finance laws as well as anti-corruption legislation is the answer, we have to remember that the foxes remain in charge of the hen house, and there is always resistance from lawmakers to introduce, implement, and enforce legislation that will reduce their power and ultimately find them guilty of having obtained their power through corrupt means. More than likely this problem will only get solved when we amass the collective will to walk away from this system, and create one that is more aligned with our values and aspirations.

This article was originally published by “Collective Evolution” –   

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Can Bernie Sanders win the primary?

Ryan Cole, studied Ancient Greek and Roman Historians & Law

This is a subject I’ve been analyzing a lot lately — not necessarily as to whether he can win the primary, because arguably anything can happen (gander at the White House today if you will) but what exactly Bernie Sanders would have to do to push through the Democratic nomination. It’s best to start with the disadvantages the Senator has ahead of him.

  1. He is hated by lobbyists, corporate donors & neoliberal quarters.
    Now arguably, this was his biggest advantage going into 2016. The easy contrast of Sanders, reformist despised by the establishment and Hillary, successor coronated by that same corrupt establishment, was Bernie’s most effective weapon. It made polling unpredictable — it gave him swing conservative-leaning party voters, it won him the midwest in overwhelming numbers. It turned an obscure issues-based candidacy into a genuine hail mary for the nomination. But this time, he is not running against the single successor of the establishment — his competition is a very broad, very diverse field of candidates. This means that conservative voters who hated Clinton-era corruption have untainted centrists to choose from. Genuine leftists have a variety of ranges of “left” candidates to choose from. Which means Bernie is no longer the clear choice for many, which leads us to our next disadvantage…
  2. Because of this, mainstream cable & print news outlets throttle him.
    Just take a look at the headlines. While some candidates clearly receive favorable coverage — “Buttigieg in 4th, but a strong 4th” Bernie is typically spammed by rapid negative coverage and, very rarely, positive coverage toned with surprise to convey the general message that, “yes, this may be good for him, but it’s an outlier”. And this is provided that he gets any coverage at all. When Bernie had a heart attack, virtually every outlet in existence covered it and called for him to drop out instantly (before it was even confirmed as a heart attack) — but when Bernie had a record-breaking rally larger than any in the field and, in the same day, received some of the most coveted endorsements in politics? Hardly anything! And this is much more damaging to him than it was in 2016, because frankly, other closely-aligned leftist candidates are not receiving such stifling coverage and in some cases are being treated positively. This means that on policy alone, Warren’s agenda is featured heavily, whereas Bernie’s, though just as if not more comprehensive, is hardly ever covered by outlets. This makes Bernie appear to be the “words” candidate, while Warren looks like the “policy” candidate.
  3. A following “off-the-grid”.
    Bernie undoubtedly has a very large following. And while it’s abundantly clear that it is extremely dedicated, pushing him to the very top of the fundraising field through small dollar donations alone while some opponents take corporate and Super PAC bundles by the millions, polls do matter. Voters often select candidates strategically, and the overwhelming message of the year is “remove Trump from office” — the impeachment inquiry, which will fail, only solidifies that sentiment. Strategy voting is going to be a very strong factor this election. When polls come out showing Bernie in 3rd and 4th, it looks very bad, and it is very bad. But there is more to that low performance than meets the eye — Bernie sunk drastically in the polls when doing as much as 5 rallies a day in rural, downtrodden working class areas. While his small dollar donors went up, his polling went down. What gives? Bernie’s agenda appeals the most to infrequent voters, unlikely voters like the youth demographic, the minority youth demographic, the poor and the unemployed. Polls define outcomes by typical turnout, and so often ignore these demographics or hardly feature them because they don’t vote frequently. This means that Bernie’s campaign is certainly going to outperform the polls, but the question is how many strategic voters he will lose in the process.
  4. A contested convention.
    The dreaded “super-delegates” are inbound to make a return. The DNC, which had only partially removed super-delegates from the primary, snuck in some back-door rules which basically employs all super-delegates to the vote if a candidate doesn’t win the primary in a de-facto landslide. The first election will occur under the “First Ballot”, and if it’s contested (ie if it’s remotely close) the DNC will move to a “Second Ballot” which is given to super-delegates as the deciding vote. This means that Bernie doesn’t just need to win, he needs to win decisively, or else he loses it all — and worse, likely to a candidate that wasn’t voted in by a majority of Democratic voters. This means that Warren and Sanders both being in the race is made all the more devastating for hopes of a progressive nomination, because by challenging one another’s voter blocs, they could be very well giving the nomination to Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg, who is already courting super-delegates for this very possibility.
  5. A disloyal party.
    We return to the first disadvantage — the establishment despises him. And by raising candidates like Buttigieg strictly with the intention of preventing Sanders a decisive victory, they have shown they will stop at no means to prevent his administration. Already, top partisan officials have admitted that they may even support the Republican nominee over him — and this is coming from party officials. Imagine if someone like AOC, while in office, were to threaten to support Trump over Biden! They would be disavowed from the party instantly. Pelosi and Schumer’s tolerance of insubordination and threats towards Sanders is by all means silent encouragement, and a very ominous warning from the DNC. We can be certain that Democrat-leaning lobbyists and PACs will flood toward Trump if Bernie wins the nomination. We can then also be certain that they are doing everything in their power, today, to prevent him from winning the nomination. The DNC may well give up an election to hold Sanders from the White House, so legally employing super-delegates, directing the media and flooding the primary race to stop him isn’t so far-fetched as it once might have seemed.

If he can march through all of this, then he has a very firm chance at winning the nomination. It will be incredibly hard: the tools being utilized to stop him from gaining momentum are like an arsenal of the most despicable things about DC, all coalescing behind closed doors and targeting a single candidate. And really, Iowa will tell it all — if he outperforms the polls and wins Iowa in a way that forces the media to admit failure and shows the strategic base that he is, tactically speaking, the “Trump of the Democrats” — then it’s looking very, very good for Bernie 2020.

The impeachment crisis and American imperialism

By Patrick Martin

November 21, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  Wednesday’s public hearing on the impeachment of President Trump featured the US ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, who testified that, contrary to the White House narrative, there had been a “quid pro quo” in Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Trump, Sondland said, offered military aid and an invitation to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to visit the White House in return for an announcement by Zelensky of an investigation into the activities of the Democratic National Committee in Ukraine in 2016 and the role of Hunter Biden. Biden was paid $50,000 a month by a large Ukrainian gas company while his father, then the vice president, was point man for Ukrainian policy in the Obama administration.

Sondland’s appearance was trumpeted by the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee and most of the media as a “smoking gun” against Trump. Sondland was even compared to John Dean, the White House counsel whose testimony against Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandal paved the way to Nixon’s resignation to avoid certain impeachment.

The testimony of John Dean, however, was part of the uncovering of a major attack on the democratic rights of the American people. The break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex, carried out by ex-CIA agents working for Nixon, was the outcome of a protracted campaign of political spying and repression directed against Vietnam War protesters, the former military official Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, and other political opponents.

There are no such issues of democratic rights in the conflict between Trump and the Democrats, who are acting as the political front men for the CIA and other sections of the national security apparatus. The significance of Sondland’s testimony lies not in what he revealed about Trump, but in his account of the everyday relationship between American imperialism and Ukraine, a small, dependent nation that has been turned into a vassal state by successive administrations in Washington.

The president of Ukraine is told by American diplomats exactly what words he must use and what promises he must make to appease his overlord in Washington. When President Zelensky offers to have his chief prosecutor make a statement along the lines demanded by Trump, he is told that he himself must make the statement, and it must be televised so that he is on the record. He is told to jump, and exactly how high.

In that respect, there is no difference whatsoever between Trump’s conduct in 2019 and the actions of his Democratic nemesis, Vice President Biden, in 2016. Biden traveled to Ukraine and told its government that Washington was withholding $1 billion in promised aid until certain actions were taken, including the firing of a corrupt national prosecutor. Biden even boasted in a US television interview that within six hours of his delivering that ultimatum the Ukrainian president had sacked the official.

Apologists for the Democrats and Biden will insist that Biden was carrying out official US government policy, in the interests of US “national security,” whereas Trump was looking out for his personal interests, seeking dirt on a potential election rival. This argument is questionable even on its own terms, since the prosecutor whose firing Biden demanded had control over the corruption investigation into the gas company Burisma, which was lavishly paying Biden’s son.

But there is a more fundamental issue: What was the “national security” interest that Biden was upholding? Why is the United States supplying vast quantities of military aid and weaponry to Ukraine? It is part of the effort by American imperialism, carried out over two decades, to turn Ukraine into an American puppet state directed against Russia.

For all the claims by the Democrats that they are shocked by Trump seeking “foreign interference” in the 2020 presidential election, every presidential election in Ukraine since 2004 has been characterized by massive foreign interference, particularly by the United States. One US official boasted in 2013 that Washington had expended more than $5 billion on its operations to install a pliable anti-Russian regime in Kiev.

Detaching Ukraine from Russia has been a key US foreign policy objective since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Ukraine and Russia were the two largest components of the USSR. They share a land border of more than 2,000 kilometers and economies that were once closely integrated. Thirty percent of the Ukrainian people speak Russian as their first language, including the vast majority of the population of Crimea and the eastern Ukrainian region now controlled by pro-Russian forces.

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In both World War I and World War II, German imperialism made the seizure of Ukraine, with its rich soil and proximity to the oilfields of the Caucasus, a key strategic objective. The largest number of Soviet Jews massacred as part of the Holocaust were killed in Ukraine, in atrocities such as Babi Yar, the ravine outside Kiev where 34,000 Jews were machine-gunned, and Odessa, where 50,000 Jews were slaughtered.

American imperialism is seeking to do what German imperialism failed twice to accomplish: use Ukraine as a launching pad for political subversion and military violence against Russia. Behind the backs of the American people, with little or no public discussion, the US government has been shipping large quantities of arms and other war materiel to Ukraine, in an operation that brings with it the increasing danger of a direct US military collision with Russia, a conflict between the two powers that between them deploy most of the world’s nuclear weapons.

The impeachment hearings have focused on anti-Trump witnesses who are themselves key participants in this reactionary foreign policy, and who speak in the Orwellian language of American imperialism. They define “democracy” in Ukraine in terms of the degree to which Ukraine’s government agrees to serve as an instrument of American foreign policy. They hail the so-called “Revolution of Dignity” in which an elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, was overthrown because he was viewed as an obstacle to the anti-Russia campaign. They salute fascistic figures like Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, sponsor of the notorious Azov Battalion, which marches under modified swastikas and celebrates the Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazis in World War II.

Nothing of this political reality is so much as hinted at in the coverage of the impeachment hearings by either the pro-Trump or anti-Trump corporate media. On the contrary, the presumption is that the foreign policy of the United States government is aimed at the promotion of freedom and democracy and opposed to Russia because Russian President Vladimir Putin is a tyrant.

The role of US imperialism in Ukraine, however, is only one example of the depredations of American imperialism throughout the world, in which countless tyrants and fascists—like Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Brazilian President Jair Bolsanaro—are aligned with the CIA, the Pentagon and the State Department.

Nor is the cavalier attitude of the US government to Ukrainian sovereignty an exception. There is no difference between Washington’s role in Ukraine in 2014, its intervention against the Rajapakse government in Sri Lanka in 2015, its backing for the abortive military coup in Turkey in 2016, or its support for the overthrow of Evo Morales in Bolivia today.

Weaker nations whose rulers get in the way of American imperialism will pay the price, and in some cases, as in Iraq, Venezuela, Syria and Libya—all countries where oil wealth is a major consideration—the result can be invasion, occupation, military coup or a combination of all three.

Washington has its hands around the throats of the Ukrainian people. The issue is not whether this stranglehold is being used for improper “personal” ends by Trump, as the Democrats allege, rather than for the purposes laid down by the national security establishment. The issue is the intervention of the American and international working class to free the Ukrainian people, and the population of the world, from the deadly grip of Wall Street and the Pentagon

This article was originally published by “WSWS” – 

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Elizabeth Warren endorses Trump’s war on Venezuela, soft-pedals far-right Bolivia coup

In a nauseating interview on Pod Save America, Elizabeth Warren endorsed suffocating US sanctions on Venezuela, backing Trump’s strategy to stop its “ability to have an economy” while parroting neocon regime-change myths. She then whitewashed the far-right military coup in Bolivia.

By Ben Norton

November 21, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  For the millions of Venezuelans suffering under a suffocating US blockade, there is no functional difference between Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren. In fact, the liberal Democratic presidential candidate has enthusiastically endorsed the far-right president’s strategy of relentless warfare against Venezuela and its nearly 30 million inhabitants.

After praising the US government’s sanctions on Venezuela, which violate international law and have led to the preventable deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, Warren went on whitewash the far-right military coup in Bolivia, where the Trump administration has helped put racist Christian extremists and actual fascists in power.

Warren’s eagerness for economic war on Caracas earned her the recognition of right-wing news websites like The Federalist, which gleefully emphasized that “Elizabeth Warren Agrees With Trump’s Strategy In Venezuela.”

The Massachusetts senator wanted to show off her foreign policy bona fides in a softball interview with a former Barack Obama administration apparatchik on the podcast Pod Save America, which is known for its centrist politics and close links to Hillary Clinton.

Warren praised Trump’s strategy of appointing the deflated Venezuelan coup leader Juan Guaidó as president and declared, “I support economic sanctions.” She also described the country’s democratically elected President Nicolás Maduro as a “dictator.”

In the interview, the Democratic presidential candidate agreed wholeheartedly with her host Tommy Vietor, who previously served as a spokesperson for President Obama and the US National Security Council.

Both spread lie after lie about Venezuela, based on hyperbolic corporate media myths.

Although the interview was conducted back in February, video clips have recently resurfaced and gone viral on social media.

Warren: “I support economic sanctions” and coup leader Guaidó

Tommy Vietor, an implacable critic of Donald Trump and a prominent symbol of the liberal self-declared “Resistance,” kicked off the interview segment singing the praises of the far-right president’s strategy of economically and diplomatically strangling Venezuela.

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“The Trump administration has recognized the National Assembly president Juan Guaidó as the president, and encouraged a bunch of other countries to follow suit, in frankly what was a pretty impressive diplomatic play by them,” Vietor applauded — failing to mention that more than 80 percent of Venezuelans had never heard of Guaidó at the time Washington anointed him as the unelected head of state.

“Mm hmm,” Warren uttered in agreement, echoing Vietor’s endorsement of the Trump administration for attempting to install Guaidó through a coup.

Trump “also sanctioned Venezuela’s oil industry, which is a major step to cut off all their supply of dollars and their ability to have an economy,” Vietor continued.

Warren chimed in: “Start with the fact that Maduro is obviously a dictator; he’s terrible; he’s stolen this election; it’s a nightmare for the people of Venezuela.”

The Democratic presidential candidate, who portrays herself as a progressive, proceeded to endorse all of the major planks of the Trump administration’s hybrid war against Venezuela.

“This notion of using our diplomatic tools, I’m all for it,” she continued. “I think recognition [of Guaidó], I think getting our allies to do it; it’s a way to bring diplomatic pressure.”

“Economic sanctions? Yeah, I support economic sanctions,” Warren added. “But we have to offer humanitarian help at the same time.”

“We should be leading the international community to get help to those people,” she said of Venezuelan migrants. “That puts more pressure on Maduro,” Warren boasted.

The Democratic presidential candidate made it clear that she would continue the hybrid war on Venezuela, which has caused large numbers of Venezuelans to leave the country, while also incentivizing Venezuelans to leave the country with promises of aid on the other side of the border. In other words, Warren pledged to exacerbate Venezuela’s migration crisis, which is already at epidemic levels thanks to crushing US sanctions.

A study published in April by economists Jeffrey Sachs and Mark Weisbrot at the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that US sanctions on Venezuela, which are illegal under international law, caused at least 40,000 deaths from 2017 to 2018.

“The sanctions are depriving Venezuelans of lifesaving medicines, medical equipment, food, and other essential imports,” said Weisbrot.

Warren has promised to continue lethal sanctions, fueling more migration from Venezuela, but simultaneously boosting aid — just like liberal war hawks who supported the international proxy war on Syria, which created millions of refugees, while pledging to help those displaced people.

The only Trump tactic Warren disapproved of was his “saber-rattling,” referencing his belligerent tone. Instead of threatening direct military intervention, Warren argued, the United States should continue polices of hybrid and economic warfare to destabilize Venezuela’s leftist government.

And Washington should continue this hybrid warfare while “working with our allies,” she stressed, in a way “that increases the pressure on Maduro.”

While demonizing Venezuelan President Maduro, who was first elected in 2013 and then re-elected in 2018, host Tommy Vietor and Elizabeth Warren went on to praise German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is from a center-right religious party.

Critics pointed out that Merkel has been in power since 2005, but is not demonized as a dictator.

Warren reiterates her neoconservative policies against Venezuela

Elizabeth Warren repeated her support for regime change in Venezuela in an interview in September with the Council on Foreign Relations, a central gear in the machinery of the military-industrial complex.

“Maduro is a dictator and a crook who has wrecked his country’s economy, dismantled its democratic institutions, and profited while his people suffer,” Warren declared.

She referred to Maduro’s elected government as a “regime” and called for “supporting regional efforts to negotiate a political transition.”

Echoing the rhetoric of neoconservatives in Washington, Warren called for “contain[ing]” the supposedly “damaging and destabilizing actions” of China, Russia, and Cuba.

The only point where Warren diverged with Trump was on her insistence that “there is no U.S. military option in Venezuela.”

Elizabeth Warren soft-pedals the far-right coup in Bolivia

While Warren endorsed Trump’s hybrid war on Venezuela, she more recently whitewashed the US-backed coup in Bolivia.

On November 10, the US government backed a far-right military coup against Bolivia’s democratically elected President Evo Morales, a leftist from the popular Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party and the first Indigenous head of state in a country where nearly two-thirds of the population is Native.

Warren refused to comment on the putsch for more than a week, even as the far-right military junta massacred dozens of protesters and systematically purged and detained elected left-wing politicians from MAS.

Finally, eight days after the coup, Warren broke her silence. In a short tweet, the putative progressive presidential candidate tepidly requested “free and fair elections” and calling on the “interim leadership” to prepare an “early, legitimate election.”

What Warren did not mention is that this “interim leadership” she helped legitimize is headed by an extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalist, the unelected “interim president” Jeanine Añez.

Añez has referred to Bolivia’s majority-Indigenous population as “satanic” and immediately moved to try to overturn the country’s progressive constitution, which had established an inclusive, secular, plurinational state after receiving an overwhelming democratic mandate in a 2009 referendum.

Añez’s ally in this coup regime’s interim leadership is Luis Fernando Camacho, a multi-millionaire who emerged out of neo-fascist groups and courted support from the United States and the far-right governments of Brazil and Colombia.

By granting legitimacy to Bolilvia’s ultra-conservative, unelected leadership, Warren rubber-stamped the far-right coup and the military junta’s attempt to stamp out Bolivia’s progressive democracy.

In other words, as The Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal put it, Liz’s Big Structural Bailey compliantly rolled over for Big IMF Structural Adjustment Program.

Ben Norton is a journalist, writer, and filmmaker. He is the assistant editor of The Grayzone, and the producer of the Moderate Rebels podcast, which he co-hosts with editor Max Blumenthal. His website is and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

This article was originally published by “The Grayzone” –  

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U.S. has wasted $6.4 trillion on wars since 2001, study says

The post-9/11 wars have expanded to more than 80 countries

What does this tell us about our culture?

November 21, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – American taxpayers have spent $6.4 trillion on post-9/11 wars and military action in the Middle East and Asia, according to a new study.

The report comes as the Trump administration works to withdraw the U.S. military presence from war-torn Syria.

The post-9/11 wars will continue to rise as the U.S. pays the on-going costs of veterans’ care and for interest on borrowing to pay for the wars,”

In March, the Pentagon estimated that the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have cost each taxpayer $7,623 through fiscal 2018.

The amount of money spent on these wars cannot fully convey their sheer wastefulness. Wars are always expensive, and they usually end up being much more expensive than anyone anticipates at the beginning, but when those wars are unnecessary and useless it makes the exorbitant cost that much more sickening. The money and resources expended on almost twenty years of failed wars could have been put to any number of more productive uses. Instead, that vast sum has been poured down the drain. As it is, the U.S. has little or nothing to show for the massive malinvestment that it has made in fighting these wars. These wars have not made the U.S. more secure, they have created more enemies than they destroyed, and they have set fires in their respective regions that will take years to burn out. As staggering as the $6.4 trillion figure is, it doesn’t capture how ruinous these wars have been. The U.S. will continue to pay for these wars long after they are over in more ways than one.

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A full reckoning of the costs of our wars has to include the millions killed, displaced, and the wreckage of multiple countries. These are the truly senseless losses that could have been avoided. The report details these costs as well:

The death and destruction that our wars inflict on the people living in these countries are rarely mentioned in our foreign policy debates, and these losses are almost never taken into consideration when thinking about the costs of these wars. That encourages U.S. politicians and policymakers to take a very cavalier approach to supporting the use of force in other parts of the world, and it allows them to escape accountability for the harm that these policies cause.

For the last twenty years, there has been no limit on what the U.S. would spend on foreign wars, and Congress and presidents of both parties have reliably thrown more money at the Pentagon to sustain these unwinnable wars. While there might be occasional griping about “waste, fraud, and abuse,” there has been no serious, consistent effort to rein in these wars or the military budget. There has been even less interest in grappling with the horrific human costs of our militarized foreign policy. That has to change, and it starts with demanding that the U.S. end its failed and open-ended wars abroad.

The original source of this article is Information Clearing House & Agencies

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Ukrainian Indictment Claims $7.4 Billion Obama-Linked Laundering, Puts Biden Group Take At $16.5 Million

By Tyler Durden


Warning: Thanks to fellow blogger Jill, she brought to my attention that this disinfo is a HOAX! It was spread via rumour on social media and made it’s way onto Zerohedge’s site. This news story is not credible or based on proof.  *Warning*

November 20, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – An indictment drawn up by Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General against Burisma owner Nikolai Zlochevsky claims that Hunter Biden and his partners received $16.5 million for their ‘services’ – according to Ukrainian MP Alexander Dubinsky of the ruling Servant of the People Party.

Dubinsky made the claim in a Wednesday press conference, citing materials from an investigation into Zlochevsky and Burisma.

“Zlochevsky was charged with this new accusation by the Office of the Prosecutor General but the press ignored it,” said the MP. “It was issued on November 14.”

The son of Vice-President Joe Biden was receiving payment for his services, with money raised through criminal means and money laundering,” he then said, adding “Biden received money that did not come from the company’s successful operation but rather from money stolen from citizens.”

According to Dubinsky, Hunter Biden’s income from Burisma is a “link that reveals how money is siphoned [from Ukraine],” and how Biden is just one link in the chain of Zlochevsky’s money laundering operation which included politicians from the previous Yanukovich administration who continued their schemes under his successor, President Pyotr Poroshenko.

“We will reveal the information about the financial pyramid scheme that was created in Ukraine and developed by everyone beginning with Yanukovich and later by Poroshenko. This system is still working under the guidance of the current managerial board of the National Bank, ensuring that money flows in the interest of people who stole millions of dollars, took it offshore and bought Ukrainian public bonds turning them into the Ukrainian sovereign debt,” said Dubinsky, adding that “in both cases of Yanukovich and Poroshenko, Ms. Gontareva and companies she controls were investing the stolen funds.”

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Franklin Templeton named

According to Interfax-Ukraine, MP Andriy Derkach announced at the same press conference that deputies have received new materials from investigative journalists alleging that the ‘family’ of ex-President Yanukovych funneled $7.4 billion through American investment firm Franklin Templeton Investments, which they claim have connections to the US Democratic party.

“Last week, November 14, the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), unnoticed by the media, announced a new suspicion to the notorious owner of Burisma, ex-Ecology Minister Zlochevsky. According to the suspicion, the Yanukovych family is suspected, in particular, with legalizing (laundering) of criminally obtained income through Franklin Templeton Investments, an investment fund carrying out purchases of external government loan bonds totaling $7.4 billion,” said Derkach, adding that the money was criminally obtained and invested in the purchase of Ukrainian debt in 2013 – 2014.

The son of Templeton’s founder, John

Templeton Jr., was one of President Obama’s major campaign donors. Another fund-related character is Thomas Donilon. Managing Director of BlackRock Investment Institute, shareholder Franklin Templeton Investments, which has the largest share in the fund. It is noteworthy that he previously was Obama’s national security advisor,” Derkach added.

Derkach then demanded “President Zelensky must pick up the phone, dial Trump, ask for help and cooperation in the fight against corruption and fly to Washington. The issue of combating international corruption in Ukraine with the participation of citizens, businessmen and U.S. officials should become a key during the meeting of the two presidents.”


This article was originally published by “Zerohedge” –   

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Windows 10 fake update is nasty ransomware

Protect yourself now

A new malware campaign is under way: emails sent from a fake Microsoft address are pushing people to download a malicious Windows 10 “critical update”. Beware!

Spotted by computer security company Trustwave, the subject of the mail says “Install Latest Microsoft Update now!” or “Critical Microsoft Windows Update!” The mail contains one single line that says “Please install the latest critical update from Microsoft attached to this mail” and an attached file.

If you receive such an email, here are the steps you should take:

1. Delete the mail right away.

2. Write several post-it notes that say “Microsoft NEVER SENDS update notices via email” and place them around your home and loved ones’ computers.

How this malware works

The mail contains a jpg file that is actually not a picture but an executable .NET file that will infect your PC.

This executable will download a program called “bitcoingenerator.exe” which comes from misterbtc2020 — a GitHub account. But this bitcoin generator doesn’t generate any virtual riches: it’s a ransomware called Cyborg.

Cyborg will encrypt all your files, locking their contents and changing their extensions to 777. You will also find a text file on your desktop named “Cyborg_DECRYPT.txt”, containing instructions about how to recover your life — for a price.

According to Trustwave, there are four variants of this malicious software. Following the trail, they reached to Russia. Because, of course it was going to be Russia.

Trustwave says this is a real danger to businesses and individuals alike, with the capacity to be attached to other emails and evade any gateway controls.

With that in mind, it’s good to remember to always distrust any mails you get, even if you think they come from a trustworthy source, and never blindingly click on something you didn’t ask for — even if you have the best antivirus software installed. You never know when the next malware will hit.