Meet Clint Watts, Dubious Russia Meddling 'Expert' Lobbying U.S. Gov To 'Quell Information Rebellions'

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By Max Blumenthal for AlterNet – Nearly a year after the presidential election, the scandal over accusations of Russian political interference in the 2016 election has gone beyond Donald Trump and reached into the nebulous world of online media. On November 1, Congress held hearings on “Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online.” The proceedings saw executives from Facebook, Twitter and Youtube subjected to tongue-lashings from lawmakers like Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who howled about Russian online trolls “spread[ing] stories about abuse of black Americans by law enforcement.” In perhaps the most chilling moment of the hearings, and the most overlooked, Clint Watts, a former U.S. Army officer who had branded himself an expert on Russian meddling, appeared before a nearly empty Senate chamber. Watts conjured up a stark landscape of American carnage, with shadowy Russian operatives stage managing the chaos. “Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words,” he proclaimed. “America’s war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America.” Next, Watts suggested a government-imposed campaign of media censorship: “Stopping the false information artillery barrage landing on social media users comes only when those outlets distributing bogus stories are silenced: silence the guns and the barrage will end.”

South Korea Shifts Towards China

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By Alexander Mercouris for The Duran. The big news in Asia this week is not US President Trump’s grand but ultimately empty visit to China. It is the quiet steps China and South Korea have begun to take towards each other. In a recent article for The Duran I discussed how Russian foreign policy seemed to be edging towards a solution to the Korean crisis involving direct Chinese – Russian brokered talks between North and South Korea which would not involve the US. I also referred to the longstanding Russian projects to build railway lines and gas pipelines across North Korea to South Korea, providing South Korea via North Korea and Russia with a land bridge to Europe, whilst bringing the two Koreas together and binding them closer both economically and politically to the two Great Eurasian Powers ie. Russia and China. I also speculated that these Russian plans – which I said had unquestionably been worked out in collaboration with China – might also involve the two Koreas coming together in some form of confederation with each other.

Freedom Rider: Putin, Trump And Manafort

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By Margaret Kimberley for Black Agenda Report – The American propaganda campaign being waged against the Russian Federation and its president Vladimir Putin has reached a stage of perverse perfection. It is virtually impossible to put forth a dissenting opinion that will be accepted or considered worthy of consideration. The Democrats are leading the charge to silence and censor and they are getting buy-in from people who otherwise consider themselves to be progressive. This columnist has been interviewed on Radio Sputnik on two occasions. That fact should not be at all noteworthy but in the current atmosphere of Russophobia being pushed by the corporate media and Democratic politicians, it is a risky statement to make. Sputnik International is a Russian government entity, just as the BBC is “state run media” on behalf of the British government and the CBC for Canada. But anyone and anything connected to Russia gets the double standard treatment and is targeted for attack. Marcus Ferrell was until recently a campaign staffer for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. He resigned after the Atlanta Journal Constitution revealed that he had been a guest on the program By Any Means Necessary which is hosted by Sputnik. Ferrell didn’t discuss Russia at all.

Sorting Out The Russia Mess

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin wall, Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo by Robert Parry)

By Robert Parry for Consortium News – That’s in part because his credibility has already been undermined by his guilty plea for lying to the FBI and by the fact that he now has a motive to provide something the prosecutors might want in exchange for leniency. Plus, there is the hearsay and contested quality of Papadopoulos’s supposed information, some of which already has turned out to be false. According to the court documents, Papadopoulos got to know a professor of international relations who claimed to have “substantial connections with Russian government officials,” with the professor identified in press reports as Joseph Mifsud, a little-known academic associated with the University of Stirling in Scotland. The first contact supposedly occurred in mid-March 2016 in Italy, with a second meeting in London on March 24 when the professor purportedly introduced Papadopoulos to a Russian woman whom the young campaign aide believed to be Putin’s niece, an assertion that Mueller’s investigators determined wasn’t true. Trump, who then was under pressure for not having a foreign policy team, included Papadopoulos as part of a list drawn up to fill that gap, and Papadopoulos participated in a campaign meeting on March 31 in Washington at which he suggested a meeting between Trump and Putin, a prospect that other senior aides reportedly slapped down.

Assange “Has Absolute Proof” Russia Did Not Meddle In US Elections

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif. is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. Rohrabacher, who’s been consistent in rejecting the Russia collusion theory on Capitol Hill lashed out at the country’s critics as he prepared to meet with President Donald Trump, Tuesday, April 4, 2017 (AP/Paul Holston)

By Alex Christoforou for Mint Press News – “He’s the one guy that I think the American people and the people in the world need to hear, and he’s the one guy that now our intelligence agencies as well at the powers that be in Washington don’t want anybody to hear….” Last week The Duran reported that if there is one man on the planet that can settle the entire “Russia election meddling”, narrative spun by Hillary Clinton and John Podesta, that man is Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Assange is offering to prove without a shadow of a doubt that Russia did not meddle in the US elections, but for this information, Assange is asking for a pardon from POTUS Trump. The problem is that Trump is not being given this message by his White House team, and the Generals that control his Administration, specifically Chief of Staff General John Kelly. California Congressman, Dana Rohrabacher says he has seen the evidence that will disprove “Russia-Trump” collusion accusations once and for all, but he’s having a hard time getting his message through to the president. In an interview OAN, Rohrabacher was confident that the president will “get behind this” as soon he hears the message.

Assange: Real Threat To US Is Not Russia But Israel

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By Staff of AWD – From his refuge in the Ecuador Embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed a press conference of his supporters in Berlin on Tuesday, amid speculation that he planned to reveal potentially threats to America. But early into his speech, Assange said that while more revelations were to come, he would not be making any major announcements, asserting that there would be no point in dropping making such revelations at a time when most Americans would be sleeping. “Russian actions on its own doorstep in Eastern Europe do not in fact threaten the United States or any actual vital interest. Nor does Moscow threaten the U.S. through its intervention on behalf of the Syrian government in the Middle East. That Russia is described incessantly as a threat in those areas is largely a contrivance arranged by the media, the Democratic and Republican National Committees and by the White House. Candidate Donald Trump appeared to recognize that fact before he began listening to Michael Flynn, who has a rather different view. Hopefully the old Trump will prevail,there is, however, another country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America’s legislative and executive branches.

Western Financial And Trade Hegemony Disappearing

The Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin: Did the Russians hack U.S. election databases? (Yahoo News photo illustration, photos: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters, Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters, AP, AP)

By Jon Hellevig for Russia Insider – On the eve of the BRICS Summit in China’s Xiamen in the Fujian Province, a defiant Putin hit back on the Western elite vowing to destroy the US-led Western global financial and trade hegemony. Putin says it plain and clear in an article he penned ahead of the of summit that starts September 4th. It is fitting that the master judoka Putin announced his Sun-Tzunian strategy in connection with the Chinese summit. A multitude of Sun Tzu quotes lend themselves to a description of Putin’s approach, but in this connection, we have this one in mind: “What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.” That’s precisely what Putin is about to do, by addressing the US strategy of absolute dominance of the global economy and by aiming to take down the prevailing unfair global financial and economic architecture. And, there is no shortage of able allies, now with the rise of the economies of the free world: BRICS and the other emerging countries. Of course, all those backed up with the military might of China and Russia.

More Misleading Russia-Gate Propaganda

The Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin: Did the Russians hack U.S. election databases? (Yahoo News photo illustration, photos: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters, Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters, AP, AP)

By Robert Parry for Consortium News – On Tuesday, for instance, the Times published a front-page article designed to advance the Russia-gate narrative, stating: “A business associate of President Trump promised in 2015 to engineer a real estate deal with the aid of the president of Russia, Vladimir V. Putin, that he said would help Mr. Trump win the presidency.” Wow, that sounds pretty devastating! The Times is finally tying together the loose and scattered threads of the Russia-influencing-the-U.S.-election story. Here you have a supposed business deal in which Putin was to help Trump both make money and get elected. That is surely how a casual reader or a Russia-gate true believer would read it – and was meant to read it. But the lede is misleading. The reality, as you would find out if you read further into the story, is that the boast from Felix Sater that somehow the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow would demonstrate Trump’s international business prowess and thus help his election was meaningless. What the incident really shows is that the Trump organization had little or no pull in Russia as Putin’s government apparently didn’t lift a finger to salvage this stillborn building project.

More Evidence Of Failing US Empire: Key Conflicts Are Really US V. China & Russia

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By Adam Garrie for The Duran – While some pundits continue to downplay the increasingly strong partnership between Russia and China, the reality is that as Russia’s economy continues to grow and as China’s geo-political pronouncements continue to become more wide reaching, the world is witnessing the final stage of a new geo-political alignment that has been many years in the making. China and Russia are now, not only on the same side of many global issues but they are speaking in a singular voice with a similarly loud volume. Three areas where this has manifested itself include of Venezuela, Afghanistan and North Korea. In each of these cases, both Russia and China are saying almost identical things at the same time and are doing so forcefully. By contrast, during the early stages of the Syrian conflict which started in 2011, while China was always supportive of the Syrian government in its battle against terrorists, Russia took a lead in the conflict both in respect of diplomatic announcements and after 2015, in respect of military assistance to the Syrian government.

Inflating The Russian Threat

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with U.S. President Donald Trump at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

By Jonathan Marshall for Consortium News – Readers of the New York Times have more to sweat about than hot summer weather in the Big Apple. The paper’s chief military correspondent, Michael Gordon — co-author of the infamous 2002 story about Saddam Hussein’s “quest for A-bomb parts” — has all but warned that war in Europe could break out at any minute with the mighty Russian army. Gordon and Schmitt added that this latest and greatest example of “Mr. Putin’s saber-rattling,” represents “the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union that so much offensive power has been concentrated in a single command.”“Russia is preparing to send as many as 100,000 troops to the eastern edge of NATO territory at the end of the summer,” he reported last month with Eric Schmitt. Sounding like speechwriters for Sen. John McCain, they called the long-planned military exercises with Belarus — known as “Zapad” (Russian for “west”) — “one of the biggest steps yet in the military buildup undertaken by President Vladimir V. Putin and an exercise in intimidation that recalls the most ominous days of the Cold War.”

Trump’s ‘Military Option’ For Venezuela Provokes Russia Response

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By Brandon Turbeville for Activist Post. The United States has finally rattled its sabers loud enough against Venezuela that it has provoked a response from Russia. After imposing yet another round of sanctions upon an already economically embattled nation following a questionable Venezuelan move to reassemble the Western-backed opposition-dominated National Assembly, the U.S. is grandstanding yet again about “democracy,” “human rights,” and all the other things America tends to ignore except when it is able to use those concepts to justify foreign wars. Speaking at a New Jersey Golf Club where Trump had concluded a meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, the President reiterated the American hostility and aggression towards Venezuela and even openly stated that the United States is weighing a military option to enforce its own agenda of imperialism upon the country.

Berlin Calls For Retaliation Against ‘Illegal’ US Sanctions On Russia

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By Staff of RT – New penalties against Moscow proposed by US lawmakers violate international law and officials in Brussels should consider countermeasures, the German economy minister said on Monday. “We consider this as being against international law, plain and simple,”Brigitte Zypries told the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper chain. “Of course we don’t want a trade war. But it is important the European Commission now looks into countermeasures,” she added. According to the minister, “the Americans can not punish German companies because they operate economically in another country.” Last week, both chambers of the US Congress decided to impose new sanctions against Russia over its Crimea reunification and alleged meddling in US elections. The bill has still to be signed by US President Donald Trump. This is the first time Washington has made a move against Moscow without European consent. The bill appears to target Russia’s Nord Stream-2 pipeline that will deliver natural gas from Russia to Germany. The proposed expansion would double the existing pipeline’s capacity and make Germany EU’s main energy hub. The legislation seeks to introduce individual sanctions for contributing in Russian energy projects and targets major sectors of Russia’s economy, including defense, railway, and banking industries.

Newsletter: Policies For The People

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. Political economist C. J. Polychroniou recently interviewed David M. Kotz, author of “The Rise and Fall of Neoliberal Capitalism,” about the transition in the US from a regulated capitalism instituted under FDR that protected workers and the vulnerable to some extent to a financialized global neoliberal capitalism that started in the 1970s. Under neoliberalism, the rich got richer while protections for workers in the form of unions and and the vulnerable in the form of a social safety net were dismantled. In addition, the environmental impacts of industry and fossil fuels are barely considered despite the reality of climate change. Neoliberalism crashed in 2008 and has remained in a crisis state ever since with a stagnating economy, growing wealth divide and political turmoil. Crises are turning points.

Deep State, Riyad & Tel Aviv Sabotage Good Relations With Russia

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By Federico Pieraccini for Strategic Culture Foundation – After months of debate over the bad state of relations between the United States and Russia, the G20 offered the stage for the two leaders to meet and start discussing the various problems facing the two countries. In the days following the summit in Hamburg, the Kremlin and the White House revealed that Putin and Trump met three times in bilateral talks to discuss how to improve relations between the two nations. The ceasefire reached in southern Syria is therefore intended as the first step in a new direction set for Washington and Moscow. As was easy to foresee, the deep state did not like this prospect of cooperation, immediately unleashing the mainstream media on Trump, because repeated meetings with Putin at the G20 were apparently suggestive of some sort of collusion, as if the leaders of two nuclear powers cannot even speak with each other. Obviously uncomfortable with these meetings, the sabotaging of relations between Russia and the US has taken a new turn. The previous ceasefire in Syria, reached by Kerry and Lavrov during the previous administration a year ago, was sabotaged by the US Air Force’s bombing of Syrian troops at Deir ez-Zor, which killed and injured more than a hundred Syrian soldiers.

Pentagon, State Dept. Submit Proposals To Arm Ukraine Against Russia In New Provocation

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By Brandon Turbeville for Activist Post – As the Syrian military moves farther east and clinches yet more territory from America’s terrorists, the United States establishment is now moving to escalate its provocations in another part of the world – Ukraine. Of course, despite the fact that Russia has launched a massive military operation to protect its strategic interests in Syria, the U.S. terror establishment is attempting to provide more arms and equipment to fascists in Ukraine in a clear effort to push NATO literally up to the Russian border. It is currently being reported by numerous corporate outlets such as The New York Times that both the Pentagon and the State Department are proposing a plan to the White House that would see the U.S. supply Ukraine with anti-tank missiles and other arms. The transfer would also include antiaircraft systems described as “defensive weaponry.” Fighting between Ukrainian fascist forces allied with Ukraine proper and pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass region has escalated in recent days and the proposal comes amidst an atmosphere of tension between the U.S. and Russia, itself being escalated by a monstrous and telling sanctions bill passed by Congress and an order by Putin to reduce diplomatic staff with the United States as a response.