Another Turn As Justice Department Now Helping FBI Investigate Hillary

 

hillaryshock

Mrs Clinton in shock

 

The FBI agents investigating Hillary Clinton’s potential violations of the Espionage Act with her private email server were “angered” by President Obama’s attempt to defend her on national television, the New York Times reports.

“I don’t think it posed a national security problem,” Mr. Obama said Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” He said it was a mistake for Mrs. Clinton to use a private email account when she was secretary of state, but his conclusion was unmistakable: “This is not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered.”

Those statements angered F.B.I. agents who have been working for months to determine whether Ms. Clinton’s email setup had in fact put any of the nation’s secrets at risk, according to current and former law enforcement officials.

Investigators have not reached any conclusions about whether the information on the server had been compromised or whether to recommend charges, according to the law enforcement officials. But to investigators, it sounded as if Mr. Obama had already decided the answers to their questions and cleared anyone involved of wrongdoing.

The White House quickly backed off the president’s remarks and said Mr. Obama was not trying to influence the investigation. But his comments spread quickly, raising the ire of officials who saw an instance of the president trying to influence the outcome of a continuing investigation — and not for the first time.

If we weren’t so numb to lawlessness and politicized bureaucracy from seven years of Obama scandals, this would be a national outrage. The President just tried to influence the outcome of a criminal investigation, on behalf of a powerful Democrat politician.  Of course, he loves to insert himself into politically useful criminal matters, while having nothing to say about politically damaging ones, such as sanctuary-city murders by illegal aliens.

Outrage requires at least a pinch of surprise, and Obama has so numbed the American people to corruption and the lawless exercise of power that it’s not surprising to watch him influence an active FBI investigation. As the Times notes later in its article, Obama made similar thoughtless – and, as it turned out, incorrect – comments when former CIA director David Petraeus was under investigation. Petraeus did have to face the music, but Obama’s politicized Justice Department arranged a misdemeanor plea bargain for him… even though he demonstrably lied to FBI agents during the investigation.

Unfortunately for Clinton, Obama’s effort to tip the scales on her behalf doesn’t seem to be working well. The White House was obliged to issue an extraordinary retraction of the President’s remarks, and the FBI agents working the case seem to be more inspired than ever.

As former FBI official Ron Hosko told the New York Times, “Injecting politics into what is supposed to be a fact-finding inquiry leaves a foul taste in the F.B.I.’s mouth and makes them fear that no matter what they find, the Justice Department will take the president’s signal and not bring a case.”

Notice that in the White House walkback, spokesman Josh Earnest still tried to pump a little hot air into Clinton’s favorite narrative trial balloon, namely her contention that she knows more about what should be “classified” than everyone in the intelligence community combined, and was trying to correct the spy kids on their excessive zeal for securing documents.

“There’s a debate among national security experts, as part of their ongoing, independent review, about how or even whether to classify sections of those emails,” said Earnest. “But, as the president said, there is no evidence to indicate that the information in those emails endangered our national security.”

Earnest appears to have forgotten that one of the classification rules Clinton violated most promiscuously was an executive order signed by his boss, Barack Obama.

Also, classified documents are not defined as “something that will instantly destroy America if unauthorized people read it.” The standard for indictable violation of the Espionage Act does not require proof that the exposed information has been certified damaging to national security with 100 percent certainty by some secret tribunal.

One of the reasons violations of the classification system must be punished vigorously, without regard to the apparent significance of the documents years after the fact, is that people who handle such material must not get the idea they can make personal value judgments and disregard security markings they find excessive. No intelligence service can afford to send that signal. If Clinton gets away with it, the damage to national security in the future will be far worse than whatever Chinese and Russian hackers might have gotten by raiding her email server.

Fox News reports that a group of national security whistleblowers held a news conference on Thursday to denounce the double standard working for Clinton, and demand she be treated the same way they were. They noticed Obama’s effort to give her cover on 60 Minutes, too:

NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake was indicted in 2010 under the Espionage Act for sharing unclassified material with a Baltimore Sun reporter. Drake, who also went to Congress with his concerns about the NSA, said his goal was to expose government misconduct.

“This is the secretary of state, one of the most targeted individuals by other intelligence entities and agencies in the world using a private server to traffic highly sensitive information and no doubt including classified information and no doubt including info about sources and methods,”Drake said at Thursday’s event.

He added the whistleblowers’ treatment shows there is a law for the average citizen, and apparently a different set of rules for the powerful.

“But hey, I’m secretary of state,” Drake said in a sarcastic tone. ”Even Obama gave her cover.”

Another whisteblower, former Justice Department ethics adviser Jesselyn Radack, brought up the Petraeus case, recalling how he “gave away more secret information, classified at a much higher level, to his mistress and received a sweetheart plea deal for a minor misdemeanor,” consequences she described as a mere “slap on the wrist.”

Fox also suggests that in addition to possible Espionage Act violations, the FBI might be considering obstruction-of-justice charges:

A former FBI agent, who is not involved in the case, said the inconsistent release of emails, with new documents coming to light from outside accounts, such as that of adviser Sidney Blumenthal, could constitute obstruction. In addition, Clinton’s March statement that there was no classified material on her private server has proven false, after more than 400 emails containing classified information were documented.

The FBI agents working on Clinton’s case are obviously justified in fearing political involvement. Unfortunately, there isn’t much they can do about it.

FBI Director James B. Comey likes to boast that “if you know my folks, they don’t give a rip about politics.” Doubtless that is true, but their hyper-political superiors at the Justice Department most certainly do, and they’re not likely to allow anything but the most ironclad case derail the Democrat frontrunner for the 2016 presidential nomination… unless they get a thumbs-up from the White House.

There are many ways this particular lightning bolt of scandal could be grounded, most obviously including the use of a few select Clinton aides as lightning rods. On the other hand, the description recently offered of the Espionage Act investigation makes it seem like the charges would be difficult to pin on underlings, given Clinton’s overall responsibility for creating the email system. Downgrading the consequences to a misdemeanor “slap on the wrist,” as with Petraeus, might not contain the political fallout in this case. “Vote Hillary 2016: She Was Only Indicted For Misdemeanor Offenses” isn’t much of a campaign slogan.

If the FBI decides to float some charges against Clinton, they had better have battleship armor, or else the same DOJ that swept Operation Fast and Furious under the rug is going to sink them. What Obama said on 60 Minutes might not have been aimed at the FBI, but rather intended to prepare the media battlespace for a high-level torpedoing of whatever case the agents come up with.

Estimated war dead World War II

 

AXIS MILITARY CIVILIAN TOTAL
GERMANY

3,500,000

700,000 4,200,000
JAPAN 2,000,000 350,000 2,350,000
ROMANIA 300,000 160,000 460,000
HUNGARY 140,000 290,000 430,000
ITALY 330,000 80,000 410,000
AUSTRIA 230,000 104,000 334,000
FINLAND 82,000 2,000 84,000
AXIS TOTAL 6,582,000 1,686,000 8,268,000
ALLIED MILITARY CIVILIAN TOTAL
SOVIET UNION 10,000,000 10,000,000 * 20,000,000
CHINA 2,500,000 7,500,00 10,000,000
POLAND 100,00 5,700,000 5,800,000
YUGOSLAVIA 300,000 1,400,000 1,700,000
FRANCE 250,000 350,000 600,000
CZECHOSLOVAKIA 200,000 215,000 415,000
UNITED STATES 400,000 400,000
UNITED KINGDOM (ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, WALES, AND  NORTHERN IRELAND) 326,000 62,000 388,000
NETHERLANDS 12,000 198,000 210,000
GREECE 20,000 140,000 160,000
BELGIUM 12,000 76,000 88,000
CANADA 37,000 37,000
INDIA 24,000 13,000 37,000
AUSTRALIA 23,000 12,000 35,000
ALBANIA 28,000 2,000 30,000
BULGARIA 10,000 10,000 20,000
NEW ZEALAND 10,000 2,000 12,000
NORWAY 6,400 3,900 10,300
SOUTH AFRICA 7,000
ETHIOPIA 5,000 5,000
LUXEMBOURG 5,000 5,000
MALTA 2,000 2,000
DENMARK 400 1,000 1,400
BRAZIL 1,000 1,000
ALLIED TOTAL 14,276,800 25,686,900 39,963,700
EST. TOTAL 20,858,800 27,372,900 48,231,700

* The majority of Soviet Union civilian casualties were Ukrainian.

Sources

Gregory Frumkin, Population Changes in Europe Since 1939 (European estimates)

B. Urlanis, Wars and Population (Soviet Union and the Far East)

Singer and Small, Wages of War (the Americas and Ethiopia)

I.C.B. Dear, editor, The Oxford Companion to World War II (British Commonwealth)

Putin’s Blitz Leaves Washington Rankled and Confused

Posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal

Global Research, October 01, 2015
Mike Whitney, CounterPunch, 2015
Region: Middle East & North Africa, Russia and FSU, USA
Theme: US NATO War Agenda
In-depth Report: SYRIA: NATO’S NEXT WAR?

obama-putin-510x383-400x300On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a blistering critique of US foreign policy to the UN General Assembly.

On Tuesday, Barack Obama shoved a knife in Putin’s back. This is from Reuters:

“France will discuss with its partners in the coming days a proposal by Turkey and members of the Syrian opposition for a no-fly zone in northern Syria, French President Francois Hollande said on Monday…

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius “in the coming days will look at what the demarcation would be, how this zone could be secured and what our partners think,” Hollande told reporters on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly…

Hollande said such a proposal could eventually be rubber-stamped with a U.N. Security Council resolution that “would give international legitimacy to what’s happening in this zone.”…(France, partners to discuss northern Syria ‘safe zone’: Hollande, Reuters)

Hollande is a liar and a puppet. He knows the Security Council will never approve a no-fly zone. Russia and China have already said so. And they’ve explained why they are opposed to it, too. It’s because they don’t want another failed state on their hands like Libya, which is what happened last time the US and NATO imposed a no-fly zone.

But that’s beside the point. The real reason the no-fly zone issue has resurfaced is because it was one of the concessions Obama made to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the use of Incirlik airbase. Washington has kept the terms of that deal secret, but Hollande has let the cat out of the bag.

So who put sock-puppet Hollande up to this no-fly zone nonsense?

Why the Obama administration, of course. Does anyone seriously believe that Hollande is conducting his own independent policy in Syria? Of course not. Hollande is just doing what he’s been told to do, just like he did when he was told to scotch the Mistral deal that cost France a whopping $1.2 billion. Washington and NATO didn’t like the idea that France was selling state-of-the-art helicopter carriers to arch-rival Putin, so they ordered Hollande to put the kibosh on the deal. Which he did, because that’s what puppets do; they obey their masters. Now he’s providing cover for Obama so the real details of the Incirlik agreement remain off the public’s radar. That’s why we say, Obama shoved a knife in Putin’s back, because, ultimately, the no-fly zone damages Russia’s interests in Syria.

The significance of the Reuters article cannot be overstated. It suggests that there was a quid pro quo for the use of Incirlik, and that Turkey’s demands were accepted. Why is that important?

Because Turkey had three demands:

1–Safe zones in north Syria (which means that Turkey would basically annex a good portion of Syrian sovereign territory.)
2–A no-fly zone (which would allow either Turkish troops, US Special Forces or US-backed jihadi militants to conduct their military operations with the support of US air cover.)
3–A commitment from the US that it will help Turkey remove Assad.

Did Obama agree to all three of these demands before Erdogan agreed to let the USAF use Incirlik?

Yes, at least I think he did, which is why I think we are at the beginning of Phase 2 of the US aggression against Syria. Incirlik changes everything. US bombers, drones and fighters can enter Syrian airspace in just 15 minutes instead of 3 to 4 hours from Bahrain. That means more sorties, more surveillance drones, and more air-cover for US-backed militias and Special Forces on the ground. It means the US can impose a de facto no-fly zone over most of Syria that will expose and weaken Syrian forces tipping the odds decisively in favor of Obama’s jihadi army. Incirlik is a game-changer, the cornerstone of US policy in Syria. With access to Incirlik, victory is within Washington’s reach. That’s how important Incirlik is.

And that’s why the normally-cautious Putin decided to deploy his warplanes, troops and weaponry so soon after the Incirlik deal was signed. He could see the handwriting on the wall. He knew he had to either act fast and turn the tide or accept the fact that the US and Turkey were going to topple Assad sometime after Turkey’s snap elections on November 1. That was his timeline for action. So he did the right thing and joined the fighting.

But what does Putin do now?

On Wednesday, just two days after Putin announced to the UN General Assembly: “We can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world,” Putin ordered the bombing of targets in Homs, an ISIS stronghold in West Syria. The attacks, which were unanimously approved by the Russian parliament earlier in the day, and which are entirely legal under international law (Putin was invited by Syria’s sitting president, Assad, to carry out the airstrikes), have put US policy in a tailspin. While the Russian military is maintaining an open channel to the Pentagon and reporting when-and-where it is carrying out its airstrikes, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the US plans to “continue to fly missions over Iraq and Syria” increasing the possibility of an unintended clash that could lead to a confrontation between the US and Russia.

Is that what Washington wants, a violent incident that pits one nuclear-armed adversary against the other?

Let’s consider one probable scenario: Let’s say an F-16 is shot down over Syria while providing air cover for Obama’s militants on the ground. Now that Russia is conducting air raids over Syria, there’s a good chance that Putin would be blamed for the incident like he was when the Malaysian airliner was downed over East Ukraine.

So what happens next?

Judging by similar incidents in the past, the media would swing into full-propaganda mode exhorting the administration to launch retaliatory attacks on Russian military sites while calling for a broader US-NATO mobilization. That, in turn, would force Putin to either fight back and up-the-ante or back-down and face disgrace. Either way, Putin loses and the US gets one step closer to its objective of toppling Bashar al Assad.

Putin knows all this. He understands the risks of military involvement which is why he has only reluctantly committed to the present campaign. That said; we should expect him to act in much the same way as he did when Georgian troops invaded South Ossetia in 2007. Putin immediately deployed the tanks to push the invading troops back over the border into Georgia and then quickly ended the hostilities. He was lambasted by critics on the right for not invading Georgia and removing their leader, Mikheil Saakashvili, in the Capital. But as it turned out, Putin’s restraint spared Russia the unnecessary hardship of occupation which can drain resources and erode public support. Putin was right and his critics were wrong.

Will his actions in Syria mirror those in South Ossetia?

It’s hard to say, but it’s clear that the Obama crew is thunderstruck by the speed of the intervention. Check this out from the UK Guardian: “Back at the White House, spokesperson Josh Earnest suggests that Vladimir Putin did not give Barack Obama warning about his intentions to begin air strikes in Syria.

“We have long said we would welcome constructive Russian coordination,” Earnest says, before qualifying that the talks between US and Russian militaries will be purely tactical: “to ensure that our military activities and the military activities of coalition partners would be safely conducted.” (The Guardian)

What does Earnest’s statement mean? It means the entire US political class was caught off-guard by Putin’s blitz and has not yet settled on an appropriate response. They know that Putin is undoing years of work by rolling up proxy-units that were supposed to achieve US objectives, but there is no agreement among ruling elites about what should be done. And making a decision of that magnitude could take time, which means that Putin should be able to obliterate a fair number of the terrorist hideouts and restore control of large parts of the country to Assad before the US ever agrees to a strategy. In fact, if he moves fast, he might even be able to force the US and their Gulf allies to the bargaining table where a political solution could be reached.

It’s a long-shot, but it’s a much better option than waiting around for the US to impose a no-fly zone that would collapse the central government and reduce Syria to Libya-type anarchy. There’s no future in that at all.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

Copyright © Mike Whitney, CounterPunch, 2015

The U.S. Is Destroying Europe

 

europe-usa-eu-flags-400x199In Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and other countries at the periphery or edges of Europe, U.S. President Barack Obama has been pursuing a policy of destabilization, and even of bombings and other military assistance, that drives millions of refugees out of those peripheral areas and into Europe, thereby adding fuel to the far-rightwing fires of anti-immigrant rejectionism, and of resultant political destabilization, throughout Europe, not only on its peripheries, but even as far away as in northern Europe.

Shamus Cooke at Off-Guardian headlines on 3 August 2015, “Obama’s ‘Safe Zone’ in Syria Intended to Turn It into New Libya,” and he reports that Obama has approved U.S. air support for Turkey’s previously unenfoceable no-fly zone over Syria. The U.S. will now shoot down all of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s planes that are targeting the extremist-Muslim groups, including ISIS, that have taken over huge swaths of Syrian territory.

Cooke reports:

Turkey has been demanding this no-fly zone from Obama since the Syrian war started. It’s been discussed throughout the conflict and even in recent months, though the intended goal was always the Syrian government. And suddenly the no-fly zone is happening — right where Turkey always wanted it — but it’s being labeled an ‘anti-ISIS’ safe zone, instead of its proper name: ‘Anti Kurdish and anti-Syrian government’ safe zone.

The New York Times reported on July 27th, that,

“the plan calls for relatively moderate Syrian insurgents to take the territory, with the help of American and possibly Turkish air support.”

However, the Times, stenographically reporting (as usual) from and for their U.S. Government sources (and so propagandizing for the U.S. Government), fails to define “relatively moderate,” but all of the “relatively moderate insurgent” groups in Syria cooperate with ISIS and help them to find and decapitate, or sometimes hold for ransoms, any non-Muslims there. Under Assad, Syria has been a non-clerical state, and has enjoyed freedom of religion, but all of the Syrian opposition to Assad’s rule is alien to that. The U.S. is now, even more clearly than before, anti-Assad, pro-Islamist.

Seymour Hersh reported in the London Review of Books on 17 April 2014, that the Obama Administration’s Libyan bombing campaign in 2011 was part of a broader program to bring sarin gas from Libya to the al-Nusra Front in Syria, in order to help produce a gas-attack upon civilians, which the U.S. Administration could then blame upon Assad, as being an excuse to bomb there just as Obama had already so successfully done in Libya. Both dictators, Gaddafi and Assad, were allied with Russia, and Assad especially has been important to Russia, as a transit-route for Russia’s gas supplies, and not for Qatar’s gas supplies — Qatar being the major potential threat to Russia’s status as the top supplier of gas into Europe.

Obama’s top goal in international relations, and throughout his military policies, has been to defeat Russia, to force a regime-change there that will make Russia part of the American empire, no longer the major nation that resists control from Washington.

Prior to the U.S. bombings of Libya in 2011, Libya was at peace and thriving. Per-capita GDP (income) in 2010 according to the IMF was $12,357.80, but it plunged to only $5,839.70 in 2011 — the year we bombed and destroyed the country. (Hillary Clinton famously bragged, “We came, we saw, he [Gaddafi] died!”) (And, unlike in U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, that per-capita GDP was remarkably evenly distributed, and both education and health care were socialized and available to everyone, even to the poor.)

More recently, on 15 February 2015, reporter Leila Fadel of NPR bannered “With Oil Fields Under Attack, Libya’s Economic Future Looks Bleak.” She announced: “The man in charge looks at production and knows the future is bleak. ‘We cannot produce. We are losing 80 percent of our production,’ says Mustapha Sanallah, the chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corporation.”

Under instructions from Washington, the IMF hasn’t been reliably reporting Libya’s GDP figures after 2011, but instead shows that things there were immediately restored to normal (even to better than normal: $13,580.55 per-capita GDP) in 2012, but everybody knows that it’s false; even NPR is, in effect, reporting that it’s not true. The CIA estimates that Libya’s per-capita GDP was a ridiculous $23,900 in 2012 (they give no figures for the years before that), and says Libya’s per-capita GDP has declined only slightly thereafter. None of the official estimates are at all trustworthy, though the Atlantic Council at least made an effort to explain things honestly, headlining in their latest systematic report about Libya’s economy, on 23 January 2014, “Libya: Facing Economic Collapse in 2014.”

Libya has become Europe’s big problem. Millions of Libyans are fleeing the chaos there. Some of them are fleeing across the Mediterranean and ending up in refugee camps in southern Italy; and some are escaping to elsewhere in Europe.

And Syria is now yet another nation that’s being destroyed in order to conquer Russia. Even the reliably propagandistic New York Times is acknowledging, in its ‘news’ reporting, that, “both the Turks and the Syrian insurgents see defeating President Bashar al-Assad of Syria as their first priority.” So: U.S. bombers will be enforcing a no-fly-zone over parts of Syria in order to bring down Russia’s ally Bashar al-Assad and replace his secular government by an Islamic government — and the ‘anti-ISIS’ thing is just for show; it’s PR, propaganda. The public cares far more about defeating ISIS than about defeating Russia; but that’s not the way America’s aristocracy views things. Their objective is extending America’s empire — extending their own empire.

Similarly, Obama overthrew the neutralist government of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine in February 2014, but that was under the fake cover of ‘democracy’ demonstrations, instead of under the fake cover of ‘opposing Islamic terrorism’ or whatever other phrases that the U.S. Government uses to fool suckers about America’s installation of, and support to, a rabidly anti-Russia, racist-fascist, or nazi, government next door to Russia, in Ukraine. Just as Libya had been at peace before the U.S. invaded and destroyed it, and just as Syria had been at peace before the U.S and Turkey invaded and destroyed it, Ukraine too was at peace before the U.S. perpetrated its coup there and installed nazis and an ethnic cleansing campaign there, and destroyed Ukraine too.

Like with Libya before the overthrow of Gaddafi there, or Syria before the current effort to overthrow Assad there, or the more recent successful overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, it’s all aimed to defeat Russia.

The fact that all of Europe is sharing in the devastation that Obama and other American conservatives — imperialists, even — impose, is of little if any concern to the powers-that-be in Washington DC, but, if it matters at all to them, then perhaps it’s another appealing aspect of this broader operation: By weakening European nations, and not only nations in the Middle East, Obama’s war against Russia is yet further establishing America to be “the last man standing,” at the end of the chaos and destruction that America causes.

Consequently, for example, in terms of U.S. international strategy, the fact that the economic sanctions against Russia are enormously harming the economies of European nations is good, not bad.

There are two ways to win, at any game: One is by improving one’s own performance. The other is by weakening the performances by all of one’s competitors. The United States is now relying almost entirely upon the latter type of strategy.

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.

Obama Sidelines Kerry on Ukraine Policy

 

Eric Zuesse

On May 21st, I headlined “Secretary of State John Kerry v. His Subordinate Victoria Nuland, Regarding Ukraine,” and quoted John Kerry’s May 12th warning to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to cease his repeated threats to invade Crimea and re-invade Donbass, two former regions of Ukraine, which had refused to accept the legitimacy of the new regime that was imposed on Ukraine in violent clashes during February 2014. (These were regions that had voted overwhelmingly for the Ukrainian President who had just been overthrown. They didn’t like him being violently tossed out and replaced by his enemies.) Kerry said then that, regarding Poroshenko, “we would strongly urge him to think twice not to engage in that kind of activity, that that would put Minsk in serious jeopardy. And we would be very, very concerned about what the consequences of that kind of action at this time may be.” Also quoted there was Kerry’s subordinate, Victoria Nuland, three days later, saying the exact opposite, that we “reiterate our deep commitment to a single Ukrainian nation, including Crimea, and all the other regions of Ukraine.” I noted, then that, “The only person with the power to fire Nuland is actually U.S. President Barack Obama.” However, Obama instead has sided with Nuland on this.

Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, bannered, on June 5th, “Poroshenko: Ukraine Will ‘Do Everything’ To Retake Crimea’,” and reported that, “President Petro Poroshenko has vowed to seek Crimea’s return to Ukrainian rule. … Speaking at a news conference on June 5, … Poroshenko said that ‘every day and every moment, we will do everything to return Crimea to Ukraine.’” Poroshenko was also quoted there as saying, “It is important not to give Russia a chance to break the world’s pro-Ukrainian coalition,” which indirectly insulted Kerry for his having criticized Poroshenko’s warnings that he intended to invade Crimea and Donbass.

Right now, the Minsk II ceasefire has broken down and there are accusations on both sides that the other is to blame. What cannot be denied is that at least three times, on April 30th, then on May 11th, and then on June 5th, Poroshenko has repeatedly promised to invade Crimea, which wasn’t even mentioned in the Minsk II agreement; and that he was also promising to re-invade Donbass, something that is explicitly prohibited in this agreement. Furthermore, America’s President, Barack Obama, did not fire Kerry’s subordinate, Nuland, for her contradicting her boss on this important matter.

How will that be taken in European capitals? Kerry was reaffirming the position of Merkel and Hollande, the key shapers of the Minsk II agreement; and Nuland was nullifying them. Obama now has sided with Nuland on this; it’s a slap in the face to the EU: Poroshenko can continue ignoring Kerry and can blatantly ignore the Minsk II agreement; and Obama tacitly sides with Poroshenko and Nuland, against Kerry. 

The personalities here are important: On 4 February 2014, in the very same phone-conversation with Geoffrey Pyatt, America’s Ambassador in Ukraine, in which Nuland had instructed Pyatt to get “Yats” Yatsenyuk appointed to lead Ukraine after the coup (which then occured 18 days later), she also famously said “F—k  the EU!” Obama is now seconding that statement of hers.

In effect, Obama is telling the EU that they can get anything they want signed, but that he would still move forward with his own policy, regardless of whether or not they like it.

Kerry, for his part, now faces the decision as to whether to quit — which would force the EU’s hand regarding whether to continue with U.S. policy there — or else for Kerry to stay in office and be disrespected in all capitals for his staying on after having been so blatantly contradicted by his subordinate on a key issue of U.S. foreign policy. If he stays on while Nuland also does, then, in effect, Kerry is being cut out of policymaking on Europe and Asia (Nuland’s territory), altogether, and the EU needs to communicate directly with Obama on everything, or else to communicate with Nuland as if she and not Kerry were the actual U.S. Secretary of State. But if Kerry instead quits, then the pressure would be placed on EU officials: whether to continue with the U.S., or to reject U.S. anti-Russia policy, and to move forward by leaving NATO, and all that that entails?

If they then decide to stay with the U.S., after that “F—k the EU!” and then this; then, the European countries are clearly just U.S. colonies. This would be far more embarrassing to those leaders than John Kerry would be embarrassed by his simply resigning from the U.S. State Department. It might even turn the tide and force the Ukrainian Government to follow through with all of its commitments under the Minsk II accords.

It would be the most effective thing for Kerry to do at this stage. But, it would lose him his position as a (now merely nominal) member of Obama’s Cabinet.

The way this turns out will show a lot, about John Kerry. The nations of Europe already know everything they need to know about Barack Obama. If Kerry quits, he’ll have respect around the world. If he stays, he’ll be just another Colin Powell.

The ball is in Kerry’s court, and everyone will see how he plays it — and what type of man he is (and isn’t).

———-

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, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

Clinton Foundation: ‘We made mistakes’

 

150220_POL_Hillary.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge

Hillary Clinton running for president

 

 

There was Clinton (notably more at ease than during her first swing through Iowa a week earlier) in friendly New Hampshire last Monday and Tuesday, taking diligent caseworker notes as “everyday Americans” shared stories of economic anxiety. This is the empathetic, humble Hillary of the 2000 listening tour she took around New York state and her later, better primaries in 2008. (It’s not a subtle message: Every scheduling advisory issued by her fledgling 2016 campaign now ends with some version of this line, emailed to reporters this weekend in advance of Clinton’s next field trip: “The trip is the latest evidence that Hillary Clinton will work to earn every vote, run hard in the 2016 Nevada Caucus, and take nothing for granted.”)

But that effort is being undermined by a parallel storyline, and the well-executed New Hampshire trip was blown off basic cable by a barrage of stories Thursday documenting questionable practices by the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation — and illuminating once again what appeared to be the same old indifference to boundaries between charity, politics and wealth.

In the long term, the greatest beneficiary of Clinton’s struggles might be Marco Rubio, two decades her junior and hauling a much lighter baggage train than Clinton or Republican rival Jeb Bush. The 43-year-old first-term Florida senator surged (perhaps momentarily) to the head of the GOP pack a week after his entrance into the campaign, boosted by his capacity to run hard to the right without employing the polarizing hard-right language that scares off swing voters and big, mainstream donors. He’s new and knows how to play it up: The key line in his stump speech, borrowed from Obama ’08, is: “Yesterday is over, and we are never going back.”

It is precisely because most people don’t know enough about the young Florida Republican to ask whether there’s a less attractive Real Marco lurking behind that loquacious facade. That’s likely to change, especially when opponents begin highlighting his contortions on immigration reform, delving into his record as speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives and what the Tampa Bay Times described as a “pattern of blending personal and political spending” over the years in using state of Florida credit cards and political committee cash for travel and other expenses.

But the Clinton stories are a different order of magnitude, with no fewer than three big exposés breaking last Thursday alone: a New York Times investigation into a previously unreported Clinton family foundation donation by a Russian oligarch looking to get federal approval to expand U.S. operations (requiring Clinton State Department approval); a Reuters report that the foundation would have to refile years of tax returns because of errors and omissions; and a Washington Post story revealing that Bill Clinton earned $26 million in speaking fees from donors to the family’s foundation.

Most of the initial reports focused on her husband’s actions, and the Clinton campaign said there isn’t a “shred” of evidence she was involved, but no matter: Republicans sought to draw the clearest line possible to Hillary Clinton, whatever the paucity of public evidence. “There is every appearance that Hillary Clinton was bribed to grease the sale of, what, 20 percent of America’s uranium production to Russia? And then it was covered up by lying about a meeting at her home with the principals, and by erasing emails,” Mitt Romney told radio host Hugh Hewitt on the day the Times story appeared.

The Clinton people pointed out, rightly, that there’s not (yet) any paper trail linking any decision she made at Foggy Bottom to Bill Clinton’s machinations. But Romney wasn’t freelancing; he was capturing the Republican zeitgeist — and amplifying a GOP message (the Clintons are incorrigibly corrupt) — articulated to me by GOP operatives associated with three campaigns I talked with last week.

And several top Democrats told me they were worried, too, about the accumulation of stories — “at some point the weight just pulls everything down,” one told me. Then again, James Carville, who has spent decades fending off the kind of Clinton stories that popped up last week, thinks the recent stories fit into an old pattern of shoot-and-miss. “All of this is spaghetti journalism; throw some spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks,” he insists. “It’s always something that ends up with nothing.”

• • •

Hillary Clinton’s enemies, and more than a few of her friends, believe the story will resonate — if only because she has always been at the center of most of the family’s major financial decisions.

But that effort is being undermined by a parallel storyline, and the well-executed New Hampshire trip was blown off basic cable by a barrage of stories Thursday documenting questionable practices by the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation — and illuminating once again what appeared to be the same old indifference to boundaries between charity, politics and wealth.In the long term, the greatest beneficiary of Clinton’s struggles might be Marco Rubio, two decades her junior and hauling a much lighter baggage train than Clinton or Republican rival Jeb Bush. The 43-year-old first-term Florida senator surged (perhaps momentarily) to the head of the GOP pack a week after his entrance into the campaign, boosted by his capacity to run hard to the right without employing the polarizing hard-right language that scares off swing voters and big, mainstream donors. He’s new and knows how to play it up: The key line in his stump speech, borrowed from Obama ’08, is: “Yesterday is over, and we are never going back.”It is precisely because most people don’t know enough about the young Florida Republican to ask whether there’s a less attractive Real Marco lurking behind that loquacious facade. That’s likely to change, especially when opponents begin highlighting his contortions on immigration reform, delving into his record as speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives and what the Tampa Bay Times described as a “pattern of blending personal and political spending” over the years in using state of Florida credit cards and political committee cash for travel and other expenses.But the Clinton stories are a different order of magnitude, with no fewer than three big exposés breaking last Thursday alone: a New York Times investigation into a previously unreported Clinton family foundation donation by a Russian oligarch looking to get federal approval to expand U.S. operations (requiring Clinton State Department approval); a Reuters report that the foundation would have to refile years of tax returns because of errors and omissions; and a Washington Post story revealing that Bill Clinton earned $26 million in speaking fees from donors to the family’s foundation.Most of the initial reports focused on her husband’s actions, and the Clinton campaign said there isn’t a “shred” of evidence she was involved, but no matter: Republicans sought to draw the clearest line possible to Hillary Clinton, whatever the paucity of public evidence. “There is every appearance that Hillary Clinton was bribed to grease the sale of, what, 20 percent of America’s uranium production to Russia? And then it was covered up by lying about a meeting at her home with the principals, and by erasing emails,” Mitt Romney told radio host Hugh Hewitt on the day the Times story appeared.

The Clinton people pointed out, rightly, that there’s not (yet) any paper trail linking any decision she made at Foggy Bottom to Bill Clinton’s machinations. But Romney wasn’t freelancing; he was capturing the Republican zeitgeist — and amplifying a GOP message (the Clintons are incorrigibly corrupt) — articulated to me by GOP operatives associated with three campaigns I talked with last week.

And several top Democrats told me they were worried, too, about the accumulation of stories — “at some point the weight just pulls everything down,” one told me. Then again, James Carville, who has spent decades fending off the kind of Clinton stories that popped up last week, thinks the recent stories fit into an old pattern of shoot-and-miss. “All of this is spaghetti journalism; throw some spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks,” he insists. “It’s always something that ends up with nothing.”

Hillary Clinton’s enemies, and more than a few of her friends, believe the story will resonate — if only because she has always been at the center of most of the family’s major financial decisions.

 

Betrayal of the Public Trust: The Vince Foster Death Investigation Cover-Up

 

 

 

 

“Bill never gave a damn about money,” says Carl Bernstein, who penned a 2007 Hillary Clinton biography.

“From the start of her marriage … [Hillary] was the one worried about the money — they were not exactly living high on the hog in Arkansas. But there’s an apparent sense of entitlement there, too. They feel they have devoted their lives to public service, and they feel they had a right to [make money]. You saw it in Arkansas, but you also saw it when Chelsea was given $600,000 by NBC to be a reporter when she had absolutely no experience.”

Bernstein says he has never sought to psychoanalyze Clinton, but it’s hard not to read the first few chapters of his book, “A Woman in Charge,” without being struck by the value placed on saving money by her imperious, penny-pinching father, Hugh Rodham, who ran a small business in Chicago. One of the few times Hugh let his wife and daughter go on a shopping spree at a New York department store, he showed up 25 minutes before closing time to limit the damage — so Dorothy and Hillary Rodham took off their shoes to run through the store, collecting items as fast as they could.

During her husband’s years in government service, it was Hillary Clinton who paid most of the bills — initially as a partner in Little Rock’s Rose Law Firm — so many of the least flattering stories about the family’s finances featured her as the central player. Investigation after investigation proved the Clintons did nothing illegal in Whitewater, the complicated and doomed 1980s land deal that caused the first family so many pre-Monica Lewinsky headaches. But it was a sloppy affair, the result of Hillary Rodham’s push to supplement her husband’s meager government salary with a clever investment. The same held true for a questionable (and legal) $1,000 investment in cattle futures that yielded a 100-fold return.

Clinton invited ridicule last year when she said she and her husband were “dead broke” upon leaving the White House despite the fact that she had received an $8 million advance to write her first memoir, “Living History,” a month before her husband’s presidency ended. But that was, perhaps, the “realest Hillary,” expressing her persistent anxieties about money, however misplaced. And in fact, when Bill Clinton left the presidency, in debt to his lawyers after the Lewinsky impeachment and trial and all the sundry other investigations of his White House tenure, the couple found it so hard to get a loan for their new mansion in Chappaqua, New York, they had to prevail on buddy Terry McAuliffe for a bridge loan — prompting another bevy of negative headlines. Then there was the $190,000 in sundry household items the Clintons took from the White House in 2001 — $114,000 of which they later returned or reimbursed the government for.The slow-motion rollout of Peter Schweizer’s upcoming book “Clinton Cash,” from which some of the recent Clinton stories emanated, is excruciating for Clinton’s team, which has girded for its launch since March. It doesn’t prove a direct connection between Bill Clinton’s actions and his wife’s decisions as secretary of state, according to people who have reviewed the book. But it’s like an ever-present heckler — shouting down the campaign’s carefully planned Hillary-cares-about-all-of-us events.One top Clinton fundraiser, echoing sentiments inside the campaign, said he believes the “kill Hillary moment” will pass after Jeb Bush formally announces his candidacy — and the Republican candidates start savaging one another in debates. “We have to grit our teeth and get past this,” he said.

U.S. offers Ukraine $17.7 million in humanitarian aid: White House

Ukraine/EU/U.S. - In BAM with Trust

Ukraine/EU/U.S. – In BAM We Trust

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday about the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine and offered an additional $17.7 million in aid for essentials like food, shelter and water, the White House said.

Biden and Poroshenko discussed Ukraine’s reform efforts, the White House said in a statement.

“The vice president welcomed the appointment of a new head of the anti-corruption bureau and encouraged the further implementation of rule of law reforms, including anti-trust measures and judicial reform,” the White House said.

The White House says Vice President Joe Biden informed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko about the new assistance in a telephone call Monday.

The two men are welcoming efforts by the Organization for Security and Cooperation Europe to seek a permanent ceasefire in areas still experiencing fighting. Both are calling on Russia to abide by earlier agreements and stop moving troops along the Russia-Ukraine border.

The call came as U.S. and Ukraine troops kicked off joint training exercises intended to help bolster Ukraine’s defenses against incursions from the Russian-backed separatists in the east.

Ukraine says it aims to prevent Russian “attacks” at WW2 commemorations

This guy is an idiot. He was Nuland’s favorite for Prime Minister, and got the job. Chancellor Merkel adores him. He was stupid enough to accuse the USSR of having invaded Germany and Ukraine during WW2. Now, you figure it out why Ukraine has a Nazi government. Yes, NAZI.

KIEV(Reuters) – Ukraine is planning an operation involving tens of thousands of police to guard against any attack by separatists or Russian agents during World War Two commemorations next month, security chiefs said on Tuesday.

Tension is mounting in the capital and other cities amid an increase in rebel attacks in the east. Kiev said one Ukrainian serviceman had been killed in the past 24 hours, in an attack near the airport in Donetsk. The airport fell to the rebels earlier this year.

The killings in Kiev of two pro-Russian activists, a journalist, by what appeared to be professional hitmen, have further driven up tension in the run-up to May 8-9 celebrations of victory in 1945, which traditionally bring thousands of people on to the streets.

Ukraine, along with most European Union members and the United States, is boycotting festivities in Moscow marking 70 years since the allied victory over Nazi Germany, because of Moscow’s role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine in which more than 6,100 people have been killed.

But it will hold victory celebrations of its own in Kiev and other cities.

“We cannot trust the word of Russia and their terrorists at all. We must be ready to give a clear, appropriate and strong reply to protect people on the streets, provide warnings of terrorist attacks and bring those guilty of crimes to justice,” Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk told security chiefs.

Calling for heightened security measures, particularly in large cities, Yatseniuk said Russia was spending a lot of money on financing networks to stir up trouble.

“We are fighting a state which has planned dozens of terrorist acts and we must do all we can to head them off. Social, political and ideological detribalization — that’s the aim of Russia.” he said.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said 10,000 guards were ensuring security at 3,300 of the most sensitive facilities in the country, including nuclear power stations.

A total of 20,000 extra security and police would be drafted in for the May festivities. “We are ready to ensure calm,” he said.

Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak, speaking of the situation in the east, said “terrorist threats” were growing and protection of arms and military equipment arsenals and depots would be stepped up.

(Additional reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Richard Balmforth; Editing by Andrew Roche) –