Deep Politics Forum

Full Version: USA under presidency of a know-nothing, neo-fascist, racist, sexist, mobbed-up narcissist!!
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
American Imperialism Leads the World Into Dante's Vision of Hell
By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould
"Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate. (Abandon all hope ye who enter here.)" Dante, "The Divine Comedy," Inferno (Part 1), Canto 3, Line 9
Before the Tomahawk missiles start flying between Moscow and New York, Americans had better educate themselves fast about the forces and the people who claim that Russia covered up a Syrian government gas attack on Syrians. Proof no longer seems to matter in the rush to further transform the world into Dante's vision of Hell. Accusations made by anonymous sources, spurious sources and outright frauds have become enough. Washington's paranoia and confusion bear an uncanny resemblance to the final days of the Third Reich, when the leadership in Berlin became completely unglued.
Tensions have been building since fall with accusations that Russian media interfered with our presidential election and is a growing threat to America's national security. The latest WikiLeaks release revealed the tools the CIA uses for hacking. One theory is that the CIA's own contract hackers were behind Hillary Clinton's email leaks and not Russians. The U.S. has a long reputation of accusing others of things they didn't do and planting fake news stories to back it up in order to provide a cause for war. The work of secret counterintelligence services is to misinform the public in order to shape opinion, and that's what this is.
The current U.S. government campaign to slander Russia over anything and everything it does bears all the earmarks of a classic disinformation campaign, but this time is even crazier. Considering that Washington has put Russia, China and Iran on its anti-globalist hit list from which no one is allowed to escape, drummed-up charges against them shouldn't come as a surprise. But accusing the Russians of undermining American democracy and interfering in an election is tantamount to an act of war, and that simply is not going to wash.
This time, the United States is not demonizing an ideological enemy (USSR) or a religious one (al-Qaida, ISIS, etc.). It's making this latest venture into the blackest of propaganda a race war, the way the Nazis made their invasion of Russia a race war in 1941, and that is not a war the United States can justify or win.
The level and shrillness of the latest disinformation campaign has been growing for some time. But the American public has lived in a culture of fake news (formerly known as propaganda) for so long many have grown to accept fake news as real news. George Orwell saw this coming, and here it is. As a big supporter of U.S. military intervention in Cuba and an avowed practitioner of "yellow journalism," in 1897, William Randolph Hearst admonished the illustrator he'd sent to Cuba who'd found no war to illustrate: "You furnish the pictures, and I'll furnish the war." Hearst eventually got his war, and America's experiment in imperialism was off and running.
Americans should know by now that their country's wars are fertile ground for biased, one-sided, xenophobic, fake news, and the United States has been in a permanent state of war since 1941. Although the targets have shifted over the years, the purpose of the propaganda hasn't. Most cultures are coerced, cajoled or simply threatened into accepting known falsehoods demonizing their enemies during wartime. But no matter how frequently repeated or cleverly told, no lie can hold if the war never ends. The legendary cold warrior, Time and Life magazines' Henry Luce, considered his personal fight against Communism to be "a declaration of private war." He'd even asked one of his executives whether or not the idea was probably "unlawful and probably mad." Nonetheless, despite his doubts about his own sanity, Luce allowed the CIA to use his Time/Life magazines as a cover for the agency's operations and to provide credentials to CIA personnel.
Luce was not alone in his service to the CIA's propaganda wars. Recently declassified documents reveal the CIA's propaganda extended to all the mainstream media outlets. Dozens of the most respected journalists and opinion makers during the Cold War considered it a privilege to keep American public opinion from straying away from CIA control.
Now that the new Cold War has turned hot, we are led to believe that the Russians have breached this wall of not-so-truthful journalists and rattled the foundation of everything we are supposed to hold dear about the purity of the U.S. election process and "freedom of the press" in America.
Black propaganda is all about lying. Authoritarian governments lie regularly. Totalitarian governments do it so often nobody believes them. A government based on democratic principles like the United States is supposed to speak the truth, but when the U.S. government's own documents reveal it has been lying over and over again for decades, the jig is up.
Empires have been down this road before, and it doesn't end well. Americans are now being told they should consider all Russian opinion as fake and ignore any information that challenges the mainstream media and U.S. government on what is truth and what is the lie. But for the first time in memory, Americans have become aware that the people Secretary of State Colin Powell once called "the crazies" have taken the country over the cliff.
The neoconservative hitmen and hit-ladies of Washington have a long list of targets that pass from generation to generation. Their influence on American
government has been catastrophic, yet it never seems to end. Sen. J. William Fulbright identified their irrational system for making endless war in Vietnam 45 years ago in a New Yorker article titled "Reflections in Thrall to Fear."
The truly remarkable thing about this Cold War psychology is the totally illogical transfer of the burden of proof from those who make charges to those who question them. … The Cold Warriors, instead of having to say how they knew that Vietnam was part of a plan for the Communization of the world, so manipulated the terms of the public discussion as to be able to demand that the skeptics prove that it was not. If the skeptics could not then the war must go onto end it would be recklessly risking the national security.
Fulbright realized that Washington's resident crazies had turned the world inside out and concluded, "We come to the ultimate illogic: war is the course of prudence and sobriety until the case for peace is proved under impossible rules of evidence [or never]or until the enemy surrenders. Rational men cannot deal with each other on this basis." But these were not rational men, and their need to further their irrational quest only increased with the loss of the Vietnam War.
Having long forgotten the lessons of Vietnam and after a tragic repeat in Iraq that the highly respected Gen. William Odom considered "equivalent to the Germans at Stalingrad," the crazies are at it again. With no one to stop them, they have kicked off an updated version of the Cold War against Russia as if nothing had changed since the last one ended in 1992. The original Cold War was immensely expensive to the United States and was conducted at the height of America's military and financial power. The United States is no longer that country. Since the Cold War was supposedly about the ideological "threat" of Communism, Americans need to ask before it's too late exactly what kind of threat does a capitalist/Christian Russia pose to the leader of the "Free World" this time?
Muddying the waters in a way not seen since Sen. Joe McCarthy and the height of the Red Scare in the 1950s, the "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" signed into law without fanfare by President Obama in December 2016 officially authorizes a government censorship bureaucracy comparable only to George Orwell's fictional Ministry of Truth in his novel "1984." Referred to as the Global Engagement Center, the official purpose of the new bureaucracy will be to "recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests."
But the real purpose of this totally Orwellian center will be to manage, eliminate or censor any dissenting views that challenge Washington's newly manufactured version of the truth and to intimidate, harass or jail anyone who tries. Criminalizing dissent is nothing new in time of war, but after 16 years of ceaseless warfare in Afghanistan, a Stalingradlike defeat in Iraq and with Henry Kissinger advising President Trump on foreign policy, the Global Engagement Center has already assumed the characteristics of a dangerous farce.
The brilliant American satirical songwriter of the 1950s and '60s Tom Lehrer once attributed his early retirement to Henry Kissinger, saying, "Political satire became obsolete [in 1973] when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize." Kissinger's duplicitous attempts at securing an "honorable peace" in America's war in Vietnam deserved at least ridicule. His long, drawn-out negotiations extended the war for four years at the cost of 22,000 American lives and countless Vietnamese. According to University of California researcher Larry Berman, author of 2001's "No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger, and Betrayal in Vietnam," the Paris Peace Accords negotiated by Kissinger were never even expected to work, but were only to serve as a justification for a brutal and permanent air war once they were violated. Berman writes, "Nixon recognized that winning the peace, like the war, would be impossible to achieve, but he planned for indefinite stalemate by using the B-52s to prop up the government of South Vietnam until the end of his presidency. … [But] Watergate derailed the plan."
The Vietnam War had broken the Eastern establishment's hold over foreign policy long before Nixon and Kissinger's entry onto the scene. Détente with the Soviet Union had come about during the Johnson administration in an effort to bring some order out of the chaos, and Kissinger had carried it through Nixon and Ford. But while dampening one crisis, détente created an even worse one by breaking open the longstanding internal-deep-state-struggle for control of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union. Vietnam represented more than just a strategic defeat; it represented a conceptual failure in the half-century battle to contain Soviet-style Communism. The Pentagon Papers revealed the extent of the U.S. government's deceit and incompetence, but rather than concede that defeat and chart a new course, its proponents fought back with a Machiavellian ideological campaign known as the "experiment in competitive analysis" or, for short, Team B.
Writing in the Los Angeles Times in August 2004 in an article titled "It's Time to Bench Team B,' " Lawrence J. Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and assistant secretary of defense from 1981 to 1985, came forward on what he knew to be the real tragedy represented by 9/11. "The reports of the Sept. 11 commission and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence missed the real problem facing the intelligence community, which is not organization or culture but something known as the Team B' concept. And the real villains are the hard-liners who created the concept out of an unwillingness to accept the unbiased and balanced judgments of intelligence professionals."
Most Americans outside Washington policy circles don't know about Team B, where it came from or what it did, nor are they aware of its roots in the Fourth International, the Trotskyist branch of the Communist International. Lawrence J. Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and assistant secretary of defense from 1981 to 1985, attributed the intelligence failure represented by 9/11 to Team B and had this to say about it in a 2004 article for the Los Angeles Times.
The roots of the problem go back to May 6, 1976, when the director of Central Intelligence, George H.W. Bush, created the first Team B to assess a report his agency had done on Soviet strategic objectives. The reporta National Intelligence Estimate, or NIE, completed the previous yeardid not endorse a worst-case scenario of Soviet capabilities and, as a result, some outsiders demanded access to the same classified intelligence used by the CIA in preparing it so that they could come to their own conclusions.
The concept of a "competitive analysis" of the data done by an alternative team had been opposed by William Colby, Bush's predecessor as CIA director and a career professional. But Bush caved in, under pressure from President Ford, who was facing a strong challenge from right-wing Republicans in that year's presidential primary, as well as from then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, which was trying to undermine support for Henry Kissinger's detente with the Soviet Union.
The outside experts on Team B were led by Harvard professor Richard Pipes and included such well-known Cold War hawks as Paul Nitze, William Van Cleave and Paul Wolfowitz. Not surprisingly, Team B concluded that the intelligence specialists had badly underestimated the threat by relying too heavily on hard data instead of extrapolating Soviet intentions from ideology.
The Team B report was enthusiastically received by conservative groups such as the Committee on the Present Danger. But the report turned out to be grossly inaccurate. … Team B was right about one thing. The CIA estimate was indeed flawed. But it was flawed in the other direction.

Korb went on to explain that a 1978 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence review concluded "that the selection of Team B members had yielded a flawed composition of political views and biases. And a 1989 review concluded that the Soviet threat had been substantially overestimated' in the CIA's annual intelligence estimates. Still, the failure of Team B in 1976 did not deter the hard-liners from challenging the CIA's judgments for the next three decades."
Now long forgotten, the origins of the Team B "problem" actually stretched back to the radical political views and biases of political theorist James Burnham, his association with the Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky and the creation of powerful Eastern establishment ad hoc groups: the Committee on the Present Danger and the American Security Council.
From the outset of the Cold War in the late 1940s, an odd coalition of ex-Trotskyist radicals and right-wing business associations had lobbied heavily for big military budgets, advanced weapons systems and aggressive action to confront Soviet Communism. Vietnam was intended to prove the brilliance of their theories, but as described by author Fred Kaplan in "The Wizards of Armageddon" (page 336): "Vietnam brought out the dark side of nearly everyone inside America's national security machine. And it exposed something seamy and disturbing about the very enterprise of the defense intellectuals. It revealed that the concept of force underlying all their formulations and scenarios was an abstraction, practically useless as a guide to action."
Kaplan ended by writing: "The disillusionment for some became nearly total." Vietnam represented more than just a strategic defeat for America's defense intellectuals; it represented a conceptual failure in the half-century battle to contain Soviet-style Communism, but for Team B, that disillusionment represented the opportunity of a lifetime.
Trotskyist Intellectuals Become the New York Intellectuals Become Defense Intellectuals

Developed by an inbred class of former Trotskyist intellectuals, the Team B approach represented a radical transformation of America's national security bureaucracy into a new kind of elitist cult. In the 1960s, Robert McNamara's numbers and statistics justified bad policy decisions. Now, personal agendas and ethnic grudges would turn American foreign policy into an ideological crusade. Today, those in control of that crusade fight desperately to maintain their grip, but only by de-encrypting the evolution of this secret "double government" can anyone understand America's unrelenting post-Vietnam drift into despotism over the last 40 years.
Rooted in what can only be described as cult thinking, the Team B experiment tore down what was left of the CIA's pre-Vietnam professional objectivity by subjecting it to politicization. Earlier in the decade, the CIA's Office of Strategic Research (OSR) had been pressured by Nixon and Kissinger to corrupt its analysis to justify increased defense spending, but the Team B's ideological focus and partisan makeup so exaggerated the threat that the process could never return to normal.
The campaign was driven by the Russophobic neoconservative cabal that included Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pipes, Richard Perle and a handful of old anti-Soviet hardliners such as Paul Nitze and Lt. Gen. Daniel Graham. It began with a 1974 article in The Wall Street Journal by famed nuclear strategist and former Trotskyist Albert Wohlstetter decrying America's supposed nuclear vulnerability. It ended two years later with a ritualistic bloodletting at the CIA, signaling that ideology and not fact-based analysis had gained an exclusive hold on America's bureaucracy.
The ideology referred to as neoconservatism can claim many godfathers, if not godmothers. Roberta Wohlstetter's reputation as one of the pre-eminent Cold Warriors of RAND Corp. was equal to her husband's. The couple's infamous parties at their Santa Monica home acted as a kind of initiation rite for the rising class of "defense intellectual."
But the title of founding father might best be applied to James Burnham. A convert from Trotsky's inner circle, Burnham championed the anti-democratic takeover then occurring in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in his 1941 "The Managerial Revolution" and his 1943 "The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom," while in his 1945 "Lenin's Heir," he switched his admiration, if only tongue in cheek, from Trotsky to Stalin.
George Orwell criticized Burnham's cynical elitist vision in his 1946 essay "Second Thoughts on James Burnham," writing: "What Burnham is mainly concerned to show [in "The Machiavellians"] is that a democratic society has never existed and, so far as we can see, never will exist. Society is of its nature oligarchical, and the power of the oligarchy always rests upon force and fraud. … Power can sometimes be won and maintained without violence, but never without fraud."
Orwell is said to have modeled his novel "1984" on Burnham's vision of the coming totalitarian state, which he described as "a new kind of society, neither capitalist nor Socialist, and probably based upon slavery."

As a Princeton- and Oxford-educated scholar (one of his professors at Balliol College was J.R.R. Tolkien), Burnham landed a position as a writer and an instructor in the philosophy department at New York University just in time for the 1929 Wall Street crash. Although initially uninterested in politics and hostile to Marxism, by 1931, Burnham was radicalized by the Great Depression and, alongside fellow NYU philosophy instructor Sidney Hook, was drawn to Marxism.
Burnham found Trotsky's use of "dialectical materialism" to explain the interplay between the human and the historical forces in his "History of the Russian Revolution" to be brilliant. His subsequent review of Trotsky's book would bring the two men together and begin for Burnham a six-year odyssey through America's Communist left that would, in this strange saga, ultimately transform him into the agent of its destruction.
As founder of the Red Army and a firebrand Marxist, Trotsky had dedicated his life to the spread of a worldwide Communist revolution. Stalin opposed Trotsky's views as being too ambitious, and the power struggle that followed Lenin's death splintered the party. By their very nature, the Trotskyists were expert at infighting, infiltration and disruption.
Burnham reveled in his role as a Trotskyist intellectual and in the endless debates over the fundamental principle of Communism (dialectical materialism) behind Trotsky's crusade. The "Communist Manifesto" approved the tactic of subverting larger and more populist political parties (entryism), and following Trotsky's expulsion from the Communist party in November 1927, his followers exploited it. The most well-known example of entryism was the so-called French turn, when in 1934 the French Trotskyists entered the much larger French Socialist Party (the SFIO) with the intention of winning over the more militant elements to their side.
That same year, the American followers of Trotsky in the Communist League of America (the CLA) did a French turn on the American Workers Party (the AWP) in a move that elevated the AWP's James Burnham into the role of a Trotsky lieutenant and chief adviser.
Burnham liked the toughness of the Bolsheviks and despised the weakness of the liberals. According to his biographer, Daniel Kelly: "He took great pride in what he saw as its hard-headed view of the world in contrast to philosophies rooted in dreams and illusions.' " Burnham also delighted in the tactics of infiltrating and subverting other leftist parties and in 1935 "fought tirelessly for the French turn" of a far larger Socialist Party (the SP), some 20,000 strong. The Trotskyists intended "to capture its left wing and its youth division, the Young People's Socialist League (YPSL)," Kelly wrote, "and take the converts with them when they left."
Burnham remained a "Trotskyist intellectual" from 1934 until 1940. But although he labored six years for the party, it was said of him that he was never of the party, and as the new decade began, he renounced both Trotsky and "the philosophy of Marxism' dialectical materialism" altogether. He summed up his feelings in a letter of resignation on May 21, 1940: "Of the most important beliefs, which have been associated with the Marxist Movement, whether in its reformist, Leninist, Stalinist or Trotskyist variants, there is virtually none which I accept in its traditional form. I regard these beliefs as either false or obsolete or meaningless; or in a few cases, as at best true only in a form so restricted and modified as no longer properly to be called Marxist."
In 1976, Burnham wrote to a legendary secret agent, identified by biographer Kelly as the British political analyst Brian Crozier, that he had never swallowed dialectical materialism or the ideology of Marxism but was merely being pragmatic given the rise of Hitler and the Depression.
But given the influential role Burnham would come to play in creating the new revolutionary class of neoconservatives, and their central role in using Trotsky's tactics to lobby against any relationship with the Soviet Union, it's hard to believe Burnham's involvement with Trotsky's Fourth International was only an intellectual exercise in pragmatism.
The odd, psychologically conflicted and politically divisive ideology referred to as neoconservatism can claim many godfathers. Irving Kristol (father of William Kristol), Albert Wohlstetter, Daniel Bell, Norman Podhoretz and Sidney Hook come to mind. And there are many others. But in both theory and practice, the title of founding father for the neoconservative agenda of endless warfare that rules the thinking of America's defense and foreign policies today might best be applied to James Burnham.
His writings in the 1930s provided a refined Oxford intellectual's gloss to the Socialist Workers Party, and as a close adviser to Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky and his Fourth International, he learned the tactics and strategies of infiltration and political subversion firsthand. Burnham reveled in his role as a "Trotskyist intellectual," pulling dirty tricks on his political foes in competing Marxist movements by turning their loyalties and looting their best talent.
Burnham renounced his allegiance to Trotsky and Marxism in all its forms in 1940, but he would take their tactics and strategies for infiltration and subversion with him and would turn their method of dialectical materialism against them. His 1941 book, "The Managerial Revolution," would bring him fame and fortune and establish him as an astute, if not exactly accurate, political prophet chronicling the rise of a new class of technocratic elite. His next book, "The Machiavellians," confirmed his movement away from Marxist idealism to a very cynical and often cruel realism with his belief in the inevitable failure of democracy and the rise of the oligarch. In 1943 he put it all to use in a memo for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (the OSS) in which his Trotskyist anti-Stalinism would find its way into the agency's thinking. And in his 1947 book, "The Struggle for the World," Burnham expanded his confrontational/adversarial dialectic toward the Soviet Union into a permanent, apocalyptic policy of endless war.
By 1947 James Burnham's transformation from Communist radical to New World Order American conservative was complete. His "Struggle for the World" had done a French Turn on Trotsky's permanent Communist revolution and turned it into a permanent battle plan for a global American empire. All that was needed to complete Burnham's dialectic was a permanent enemy, and that would require a sophisticated psychological campaign to keep the hatred of Russia alive for generations.
The Rise of the Machiavellians
In 1939 Sidney Hook, Burnham's colleague at New York University and fellow Marxist philosopher, had helped to found an anti-Stalinist Committee for Cultural Freedom as part of a campaign against Moscow. During the war Hook, too, had abandoned Marxism and, like Burnham, somehow found himself in the warm embrace of the right wing of America's intelligence community during and after World War II. Hook was viewed by the Communist Party as a traitor and "counter-revolutionary reptile" for his activities and by 1942 was informing on his fellow comrades to the FBI.
Selling impoverished and dispossessed European elites on the virtues of American culture was essential to building America's empire after the war, and Burnham's early writings proved the inspiration from which a new counterculture of "freedom" would be built. As veterans of internecine Trotskyist warfare, both Burnham and Hook were practiced at the arts of infiltration and subversion, and with Burnham's "The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom" as their blueprint, they set out to color anything the Soviets did or said with dark intent.
As Burnham articulated clearly in "The Machiavellians," his version of freedom meant anything but intellectual freedom or those freedoms defined by America's Constitution. What it really meant was conformity and submission. Burnham's freedom only applied to those intellectuals (the Machiavellians) willing to tell people the hard truth about the unpopular political realities they faced. These were the realities that would usher in a brave new world of the managerial class, who would set about denying Americans the very democracy they thought they already owned. As Orwell observed about Burnham's Machiavellian beliefs in his 1946 "Second Thoughts": "Power can sometimes be won or maintained without violence, but never without fraud, because it is necessary to use the masses."

By 1949 the CIA was actively in the business of defrauding the masses by secretly supporting the so-called non-Communist left and behaving as if it was just a spontaneous outgrowth of a free society. By turning the left to the service of its expanding empire, the CIA was applying a French Turn of its own by picking the best and the brightest, and the creation of the National Security Act of 1947 institutionalized it. Assisted by Britain's Information Research Department (the IRD), the CIA recruited key former Soviet disinformation agents trained before the war who had managed non-Communist front groups for Moscow and put them to work. As Frances Stoner Saunders writes in her book "The Cultural Cold War," "these former propagandists for the Soviets were recycled, bleached of the stain of Communism, embraced by government strategists who saw in their conversion an irresistible opportunity to sabotage the Soviet propaganda machine which they had once oiled."
By its own admission, the CIA's strategy of promoting the non-Communist left would become the theoretical foundation of the agency's political operations against Communism for over the next two decades. But the no-holds-barred cultural war against Soviet Communism began in earnest in March 1949 when a group of 800 prominent literary and artistic figures gathered at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel for a Soviet-sponsored "Cultural and Scientific" conference that would sue for peace. Both Sidney Hook and James Burnham were already actively involved in enlisting recruits to counter the efforts of Moscow's Communist Information Bureau (Cominform) to influence Western opinion. But the Waldorf conference gave them an opportunity for dirty tricks they could only have prayed for.
Demonstrators organized by a right-wing coalition of Catholic groups and the American Legion heckled the guests as they arrived. Catholic nuns knelt in prayer for the souls of the Communist atheists in attendance. Gathered upstairs in a 10-floor bridal suite, a gang of ex-Trotskyists and Communists led by Hook intercepted the conference's mail, doctored official press releases and published pamphlets challenging speakers to admit their Communist past.
In the end the entire conference became a twisted theater of the absurd, and Hook and Burnham would use it to sell Frank Wisner at the CIA's Office of Policy Coordination on taking the show on the road.
The Congress for Cultural Freedom: By Hook or by Crook
Drawing on the untapped power of the Fourth International, the coming-out party came on June 26, 1950, at the Titania Palace in occupied Berlin. Named for Hook's 1939 concept for a cultural committee, The Congress for Cultural Freedom's 14-point "Freedom Manifesto" was to identify the West with freedom. And since everything about the West was said to be free, free, free, then it went without saying that everything about the Soviet Union wasn't.
Organized by Burnham and Hook, the American delegation represented a who's who of America's postwar intellectuals. Tickets to Berlin were paid for by Wisner's Office of Policy Coordination through front organizations and the Department of State, which helped arrange travel, expenses and publicity. According to CIA historian Michael Warner, the conference sponsors considered it money well spent, with one Defense Department representative calling it "unconventional warfare at its best."
Burnham functioned as a critical connection between Wisner's office and the intelligentsia moving from the extreme left to the extreme right with ease. Burnham found the congress to be a place to inveigh not just against Communism but against the non-communist left as well and left many wondering whether his views weren't as dangerous to liberal democracy as Communism. According to Frances Stoner Saunders, members of the British delegation found the rhetoric coming out of the congress to be a deeply troubling sign of things to come. "Hugh Trevor-Roper was appalled by the provocative tone. ... There was a speech by Franz Borkenau which was very violent and indeed almost hysterical. He spoke in German and I regret to say that as I listened and I heard the baying voices of approval from the huge audiences, I felt, well, these are the same people who seven years ago were probably baying in the same way to similar German denunciations of Communism coming from Dr. Goebbels in the Sports Palast. And I felt, well, what sort of people are we identifying with? That was the greatest shock to me. There was a moment during the Congress when I felt that we were being invited to summon up Beelzebub in order to defeat Stalin."
The Congress for Cultural Freedom didn't need Beelzebub. It already had him in the form of Burnham, Hook and Wisner, and by 1952, the party was just getting started. Burnham worked overtime for Wisner legitimizing the congress as a platform for the Machiavellians alongside ex-Communists and even Nazis, including SS Gen. Reinhard Gehlen and his German army intelligence unit, which had been brought into the CIA after the war intact. E. Howard Hunt, Watergate "plumber" and famous CIA dirty trickster, remembered Burnham in his memoirs: "Burnham was a consultant to OPC on virtually every subject of interest to our organization. ... He had extensive contacts in Europe and, by virtue of his Trotskyite background, was something of an authority on domestic and foreign Communist parties and front organizations."
In 1953 Burnham was called upon again by Wisner to reach beyond Communism to help overthrow the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in Tehran, Iran, apparently because Wisner thought the plan needed "a touch of Machiavelli." But Burnham's greatest contribution as a Machiavellian was yet to come. His book, "The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom," would become the CIA's manual for displacing Western culture with an alternative doctrine for endless conflict in a world of oligarchs. In the end, it opened the gates to an Inferno from which there would be no return.
The recent assertion by the Trump White House that Damascus and Moscow released "false narratives" to mislead the world about the April 4 sarin gas attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria, is a dangerous next step in the "fake news" propaganda war launched in the final days of the Obama administration. It is a step whose deep roots in Communist Trotsky's Fourth International must be understood before deciding whether American democracy can be reclaimed.
Muddying the waters of accountability in a way not seen since Sen. Joe McCarthy at the height of the Red Scare in the 1950s, the "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act" signed into law without fanfare by Obama in December 2016 officially authorized a government censorship bureaucracy comparable only to George Orwell's fictional Ministry of Truth in his novel "1984." Referred to as "the Global Engagement Center," the official purpose of this new bureaucracy is to "recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests." The real purpose of this Orwellian nightmare is to cook the books on anything that challenges Washington's neoconservative pro-war narrative and to intimidate, harass or jail anyone who tries. As has already been demonstrated by President Trump's firing of Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian government airbase, it is a recipe for a world war, and like it or not, that war has already begun.
This latest attack on Russia's supposed false narrative takes us right back to 1953 and the beginnings of the cultural war between East and West. Its roots are tied to the Congress for Cultural Freedom, to James Burnham's pivot from Trotsky's Fourth International to right-wing conservatism and to the rise of the neoconservative Machiavellians as a political force. As Burnham's "The Struggle for the World" stressed, the Third World War had already begun with the 1944 Communist-led Greek sailors' revolt. In Burnham's Manichean thinking, the West was under siege. George Kennan's Cold War policy of containment was no different than Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement. Détente with the Soviet Union amounted to surrender. Peace was only a disguise for war, and that war would be fought with politics, subversion, terrorism and psychological warfare. Soviet influence had to be rolled back wherever possible. That meant subverting the Soviet Union and its proxies and, when necessary, subverting Western democracies as well.
The true irony of today's late-stage efforts by Washington to monopolize "truth" and attack alternate narratives isn't just in its blatant contempt for genuine free speech. The real irony is that the entire "Freedom Manifesto" employed by the United States and Britain since World War II was never free at all, but a concoction of the CIA's Psychological Strategy Board's (PSB) comprehensive psychological warfare program waged on friend and foe alike.
The CIA would come to view the entire program, beginning with the 1950 Berlin conference, to be a landmark in the Cold War, not just for solidifying the CIA's control over the non-Communist left and the West's "free" intellectuals, but for enabling the CIA to secretly disenfranchise Europeans and Americans from their own political culture in such a way they would never really know it.
As historian Christopher Lasch wrote in 1969 of the CIA's cooptation of the American left, "The modern state … is an engine of propaganda, alternately manufacturing crises and claiming to be the only instrument that can effectively deal with them. This propaganda, in order to be successful, demands the cooperation of writers, teachers, and artists not as paid propagandists or state-censored time-servers but as free' intellectuals capable of policing their own jurisdictions and of enforcing acceptable standards of responsibility within the various intellectual professions."

Key to turning these "free" intellectuals against their own interests was the CIA's doctrinal program for Western cultural transformation contained in the document PSB D-33/2. PSB D-33/2 foretells of a "long-term intellectual movement, to: break down world-wide doctrinaire thought patterns" while "creating confusion, doubt and loss of confidence" in order to "weaken objectively the intellectual appeal of neutralism and to predispose its adherents towards the spirit of the West." The goal was to "predispose local elites to the philosophy held by the planners," while employing local elites "would help to disguise the American origin of the effort so that it appears to be a native development."
While declaring itself as an antidote to Communist totalitarianism, one internal critic of the program, PSB officer Charles Burton Marshall, viewed PSB D-33/2 itself as frighteningly totalitarian, interposing "a wide doctrinal system" that "accepts uniformity as a substitute for diversity," embracing "all fields of human thoughtall fields of intellectual interests, from anthropology and artistic creations to sociology and scientific methodology." He concluded: "That is just about as totalitarian as one can get."
Burnham's Machiavellian elitism lurks in every shadow of the document. As recounted in Frances Stoner Saunder's "The Cultural Cold War," "Marshall also took issue with the PSB's reliance on non-rational social theories' which emphasized the role of an elite in the manner reminiscent of Pareto, Sorel, Mussolini and so on.' Weren't these the models used by James Burnham in his book the Machiavellians? Perhaps there was a copy usefully to hand when PSB D-33/2 was being drafted. More likely, James Burnham himself was usefully to hand."
Burnham was more than just at hand when it came to secretly implanting a fascist philosophy of extreme elitism into America's Cold War orthodoxy. With "The Machiavellians," Burnham had composed the manual that forged the old Trotskyist left together with a right-wing Anglo/American elite. The political offspring of that volatile union would be called neoconservatism, whose overt mission would be to roll back Russian/Soviet influence everywhere. Its covert mission would be to reassert a British cultural dominance over the emerging Anglo/American Empire and maintain it through propaganda.
Hard at work on that task since 1946 was the secret Information Research Department of the British and Commonwealth Foreign Office known as the IRD.
Rarely spoken of in the context of CIA-funded secret operations, the IRD served as a covert anti-Communist propaganda unit from 1946 until 1977. According to Paul Lashmar and James Oliver, authors of "Britain's Secret Propaganda War," "the vast IRD enterprise had one sole aim: To spread its ceaseless propaganda output (i.e. a mixture of outright lies and distorted facts) among top-ranking journalists who worked for major agencies and magazines, including Reuters and the BBC, as well as every other available channel. It worked abroad to discredit communist parties in Western Europe which might gain a share of power by entirely democratic means, and at home to discredit the British Left."

IRD was to become a self-fulfilling disinformation machine for the far-right wing of the international intelligence elite, at once offering fabricated and distorted information to "independent" news outlets and then using the laundered story as "proof" of the false story's validity. One such front enterprise established with CIA money was Forum World Features, operated at one time by Burnham acolyte Brian Rossiter Crozier. Described by Burnham's biographer Daniel Kelly as a "British political analyst," in reality, the legendary Brian Crozier functioned for over 50 years as one of Britain's top propagandists and secret agents.
If anyone today is shocked by the biased, one-sided, xenophobic rush to judgment alleging Russian influence over the 2016 presidential election, they need look no further than to Brian Crozier's closet for the blueprints. As we were told outright by an American military officer during the first war in Afghanistan in 1982, the U.S. didn't need "proof the Soviets used poison gas" and they don't need proof against Russia now. Crozier might best be described as a daydream believer, a dangerous imperialist who acts out his dreams with open eyes. From the beginning of the Cold War until his death in 2012, Crozier and his protégé Robert Moss propagandized on behalf of military dictators Francisco Franco and Augusto Pinochet, organized private intelligence organizations to destabilize governments in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa and worked to delegitimize politicians in Europe and Britain viewed as insufficiently anti-Communist.
The mandate of his Institute for the Study of Conflict (ISC) set up in 1970 was to expose the supposed KGB campaign of worldwide subversion and put out stories smearing anyone who questioned it as a dupe, a traitor or Communist spy. Crozier regarded "The Machiavellians" as a major formative influence in his own intellectual development, and wrote in 1976 "indeed it was this book above all others that first taught me how [emphasis Crozier] to think about politics." The key to Crozier's thinking was Burnham's distinction between the "formal" meaning of political speech and the "real," a concept which was, of course, grasped only by elites. In a 1976 article, Crozier marveled at how Burnham's understanding of politics had spanned 600 years and how the use of "the formal" to conceal "the real" was no different today than when used by Dante Alighieri's "presumably enlightened Medieval mind." "The point is as valid now as it was in ancient times and in the Florentine Middle Ages, or in 1943. Overwhelmingly, political writers and speakers still use Dante's method. Depending on the degree of obfuscation required (either by circumstances or the person's character), the divorce between formal and real meaning is more of less absolute."
But Crozier was more than just a strategic thinker. Crozier was a high-level covert political agent who put Burnham's talent for obfuscation and his Fourth International experience to use to undermine détente and set the stage for rolling back the Soviet Union.
In a secret meeting at a City of London bank in February 1977, he even patented a private-sector operational intelligence organization known at the Sixth International (6I) to pick up where Burnham left off: politicizing and privatizing many of the dirty tricks the CIA and other intelligence services could no longer be caught doing. As he explained in his memoir "Free Agent," the name 6I was chosen "because the Fourth International split. The Fourth International was the Trotskyist one, and when it split, this meant that, on paper, there were five Internationals. In the numbers game, we would constitute the Sixth International, or 6I.' "
Crozier's cooperation with numerous "able and diligent Congressional staffers" as well as "the remarkable General Vernon (Dick') Walters, recently retired as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence," cemented the rise of the neoconservatives. When Carter caved in to the Team B and his neoconservative National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski's plot to lure the Soviets into their own Vietnam in Afghanistan, it fulfilled Burnham's mission and delivered the world to the Machiavellians without anyone being the wiser. As George Orwell wrote in his "Second Thoughts on James Burnham": "What Burnham is mainly concerned to show [in The Machiavellians] is that a democratic society has never existed and, so far as we can see, never will exist. Society is of its nature oligarchical, and the power of the oligarchy always rests upon force and fraud. … Power can sometimes be won and maintained without violence, but never without fraud."
Today, Burnham's use of Dante's political treatise "De Monarchia" to explain his medieval understanding of politics might best be swapped for Dante's "Divine Comedy," a paranoid comedy of errors in which the door to Hell swings open to one and all, including the elites regardless of their status. Or as they say in Hell, "Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate." Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

A new report suggests that President Donald Trump is not above firing special counsel Robert Mueller III or at least leaving open the possibility that he could do so in order to put a stop to the investigation into his campaign's alleged collusion with the Russian government.
Trump purposely didn't answer a question by reporters on Tuesday about whether he supported Mueller, a choice that one source who spoke to the president said was made so that the pressure from being possibly fired would convince Mueller to publicly exonerate him, according to a report by The New York Times. The Times also reported that Trump seriously considered firing Mueller but was dissuaded by his staff, who believed that firing Mueller would have catastrophic political consequences.

That said, Trump still clearly believes that he would be fully within his rights to fire Mueller. As White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Tuesday, "the president has every right to" fire the special counsel, even though he currently doesn't plan on doing so.

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who would have to fire Mueller if Trump made that decision, told a Senate committee on Tuesday that he would not do so "without good cause."
He added, "I'm not going to follow any orders unless I believe those are lawful and appropriate orders."
If Trump ordered Rosenstein to fire Mueller, it would immediately call to mind the Saturday Night Massacre, an incident in 1973 during which President Richard Nixon ordered the firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox due to his pursuit of the Watergate investigation. Both Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned in protest rather than carry out Nixon's order, with Solicitor General Robert Bork ultimately carrying out that task.

IMO, Trump is a dictator - and nothing more than that. I think that he also thinks that since he's the POTUS, he can run the country like one of his businesses - it don't work that way!!!

God help us during the next four years!! :Blink:
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, at this pivotal moment in U.S.-Russia relations, we're joined now by the Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone, one of Hollywood's best-known directors. His films have included Platoon, JFK, Wall Street, Born on the Fourth of July. Over the past two years, Stone conducted more than 20 hours of interviews with Russian President Vladimir Putin, covering issues from NATO to the nuclear arms race, the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and the 2016 U.S. election. Showtime is airing a four-part special this week called The Putin Interviews. This is an excerpt.
OLIVER STONE: But you do realize how powerful your answer could be. If you said subtly that you prefer X candidate, he would go like that tomorrow. And if you say you didn't like Trump or somethingright?what would happen? He'd behe'd win, right? You have that amount of power in the U.S.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] Unlike many partners of ours, we never interfere with the domestic affairs of other countries. This is one of the principles we stick to in our work.
OLIVER STONE: Thank you, sir.
OLIVER STONE: We'll see you tomorrow, talk about some heavier stuff.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: Thank you, sir. [translated] Thank you.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: Thank you, sir. All the best. See you tomorrow.
AMY GOODMAN: That's an excerpt from Oliver Stone's new Showtime series The Putin Interviews. Oliver Stone is also releasing a companion book compiling the transcripts of his 20 hours of interviews with Vladimir Putin. Oliver Stone joins us here in studio for the rest of the hour.
Welcome back to Democracy Now!
OLIVER STONE: Thank you. Thank you, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: It's good to have you with us.
OLIVER STONE: Good to see you, Juan.
AMY GOODMAN: There is a lot to talk about here and a number of clips we want to play.
OLIVER STONE: Can I just say? That clip, by the way, is from before the election. It was shot on 2015. That was his attitude about theand he said things before the election also, very polite and never anything bad-mouthing any of the candidates. He's always beenand he made it very clear back then. I just want tobecause we come back to see him after the election, in the fourth chapter.
AMY GOODMAN: And that's very interesting. This series, the first two ran this week. They'll continue to run.
AMY GOODMAN: And then tonight the third, and tomorrow the fourth.
AMY GOODMAN: And it's in that fourth hour where you really get into, because you've returned February 2017, just a few months ago.
OLIVER STONE: That's correct.
AMY GOODMAN: It's after the election. It's after Donald Trump becomes president.
AMY GOODMAN: And you really move in on asking him about whether the Russian government hacked the 2016 election. Talk about his response.
OLIVER STONE: Oh, you want to cut right to that part of it, because it has to do with Washington today. Believe me, we didn't see this coming, and we never expected we'd have to go back for a fourth trip, because we all thought Ms. Clinton was going to win. So, I'm sure he did, too. I'm sure he did, too. I think he was as surprised as anybody, any one of us. But as he says in the fourth version, he says, "We'll work with anybody. We will work with anybody. It's not our policy to intervene, certainly not a country as big as America."
And, you know, it's not influenceable in that sense. I think money influences elections. You could say Mr. Koch, the Koch brothers, perhapsyou could say Sheldon Adelson, people like this, do add up. You could say all these lobbies add up. AIPAC adds up. But, you know, Russia's influenceI was wrong. You see, when I looked at that clip, I was thinkingyou know, I'm sayingI don't think he has that kind of influence. I think I was putting him on a bit and sayingI'm encouraging him to take a position. That's sort ofthat's what an interviewer does sometimes. You exaggerate. But I don't think he could make a difference if he said he hated Trump.
AMY GOODMAN: But you get into that issue of the elections and the hacking of the election.
AMY GOODMAN: Sure, all of the different forces
AMY GOODMAN: that you just described affect elections, but you drill down on this issue of did Putin, the Russian government, hack the elections.
OLIVER STONE: As I said, he denies it completely, I mean, without evenhe thinks it's a silly thing. It's an internal American political struggle. And he has a point.
I also went into, extensively, if you remember, right after that, into cyberwarfare, because cyberwarfare is a new form of it. We talked about this when I was here for Snowden, in depth actually. Snowden revealed cyberwarfare to us. So much is happening on that front. And one thing he did express very strongly is, we havethe Russians have proposed a treaty, a cyber treaty, to the United States. It's been inon the desk for about a year now, and he has no response from the U.S. He would like one. I think we need one. And we can talk about that, too, if you want. It's very dangerous, cyberwarfare, because of all the rumors and the easyeasy-to-mislead misinformation, fingerprints, thinthe thin evidence that's presented. It's very possible now, with the CIA and theyou know, Julian Assange, when hethe Vault 7 leaks a few weeks agoyou covered them, I believeit was clear that a company like the CIA could in fact forge the footprints of any country onto any hack and make it look like they planted the malware.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted to ask you if you've been surprised by the level of animosity toward this project of yours by some of the media? And I saw the Colbert segment that was really an attempt to really go after you in an uncharacteristic way, even for Colbert. But because there's a long history in the United States of journalists goingtrying to get interviews. I think of Barbara Walters with Fidel Castro. I think of, going back, even Edgar Snow, Red Star Over China
OLIVER STONE: Yeah, yeah.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: going behind the lines of Mao Zedong and providing positive assessments of what was going on in China. And Wilfred BurchettWilfred Burchett did many stories
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: behind the lines in the liberated areas of South Vietnam, interviewing the South Vietnamese leaders, because these journalists felt it was necessary for the American people to see the other side. So I'm wondering howwhy this one isthis time around, they've been really blasting you.
OLIVER STONE: Well, this islisten, you go back in American historywe did Untold History with you, too, and we talked about this bias against Russia since 1917. And we didn't even recognize Red Russia until 1933 with Roosevelt. He was the first one to build any kind ofand he was the besthe believed in an alliance, a grand alliance, after the war, with Russia, the U.S., England and China. That wasand if he had lived a few more months, I think it would have been a completely different framework for the world. I think Harry Truman had a more limited view. We talked about this, too.
But Russia, the bias against Russia, they did it. It goes to Ian Fleming novels, to James Bond, the feeling that SMERSH is behind it, orMr. Putin has been characterized in a cartoonish way as a Dr. No figure. You don't go there. And I'm surprised, because Americans should really, if theythey think of him as this threat to America. Our generals say they're the number one existential threat to the United States. If you believe that, then you should know more about them and whatwho their leader is and what they're actually saying, because they don't print that. I don't see him speaking to American people in our language. I mean, he's always interrupted with a dub, a bad dub, generally speaking, with a harsh voice, a football voice, or, sorry, a football coach's voice. This is a chance to hear him in his own language. I think the interpreter is very good. He speaks softly, firmly, softly.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, you don't put a translator over him. You have
AMY GOODMAN: You have subtitles, so that makes an enormous difference.
OLIVER STONE: I think there's a harmony there. And I think, afteryou know, I'm a filmmaker. I'm approaching it not a newsman. So I see it as a 4-hour project. And in those four hours, you will cover from 2000 all the way up to 2016'17.
AMY GOODMAN: How did youhow did you end up doing this?
OLIVER STONE: By accident, kind of. I was doing the Snowden movie in Germany, and we were communicating a lot with Ed. He lived in Moscow at the time, and we were going therestill is, I'm sorry, not "at the time." And we were going there, talking to him. And at one of those nine times I went over there, I met Mr. Putin for the first time. I knew Mr. Gorbachev and, you know, another world. I knew the old Russia, but I didn't know Mr. Putin. And he clarifiedI asked him about Snowden. And he wasas in the film, he clarified the Russian position on him.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, let's turn to anothera clip from The Putin Interviews, where you ask him about Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, who was given asylum nearly two [sic] years ago in Russia.
OLIVER STONE: Let me ask you, I'm sure you must haveas an ex-KGB agent, you must have hated what Snowden did with every fiber of your being.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] No, not at all. Snowden is not a traitor. He didn't betray the interests of his country, nor did he transfer any information to any other country which would have been pernicious to his own country or to his own people. The only thing Snowden does, he does publicly.
OLIVER STONE: Did you agree with what he did?
OLIVER STONE: Did you think the National Security Agency had gone too far in its eavesdropping?
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] Yes, certainly. In that matter, Snowden was right. But you asked me, and I gave you a direct answer. I think he shouldn't have done it. If he didn't like anything at his work, he should have simply resigned. But he went further. That's his right. But since you are asking me whether it's right or wrong, I think it's wrong.
OLIVER STONE: So, he's saying that he should not have whistleblown, and he should have resigned in principle, on the principle, like Mr. Putin did when he resigned from the KGB.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] Yes, I think so. I had not given it thought, but I think yes. I resigned because I didn't agree with the actions undertaken by the government.
OLIVER STONE: OK, so you do agree that the NSA went too far?
OLIVER STONE: And how do you feel about Russian intelligence activities in their surveillance?
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] I think they're working quite well. Our intelligence services always conform to the law. That's the first thing. And secondly, trying to spy on your allies, if you really consider them allies and not vassals, is just indecent, because it undermines trust. And it means that in the end it deals damage to your own national security.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was President Putin talking with you, Oliver, about the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who's actually been in Russia now for four years, not two, as I said earlier.
OLIVER STONE: Right, right.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But I wanted to ask you
AMY GOODMAN: And we should point out that he's driving.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yes. I wanted to say that, yeah. For those who are only listening on radio, the video is with him driving a car, and you, the passenger. Now, I have to assume that the security on the outside of the car, which the camera didn't show, must have been fantastic
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: to be able to have the president of Russia driving a car down a street.
OLIVER STONE: Yeah, people have noticed that, and they've asked me questions like "How come he doesn't crash, if heyou know, how does he concentrate like this?" But he likes driving. He likes to be in charge this way. And what president do you see driving around the streets? It getshe's a judoka. He's an athlete. He likes to get behind things, drive things, ski. He took up skating at the age of 62. He took up hockey, which is a rough sport. And we show you a hockey game. Very likehe likes competition. He likes the challenge. He was a master, apparently, at judo, still does it every morning. He's likehe works out seven days a week.
It's interesting, you know, what he says about KGB activity. And, you know, he talks about allies, and that was a big point of his. You know, you don't go after allies. He makes it again in another chapter, that they don't listen in on allies. It's quite normal, he says, to have the U.S. and Russia going at it, and China, but neverdon'tand I think that was a shock, if you remember, when Snowden's news came out, that we were doing this to Japan, that we were planting malware in Japanwe put that in the moviethat we were listening in on Angela Merkel or Dilma Rousseff in Brazil. It's pretty shocking stuff.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But what about the issue of his repression of Russian society, of protesters, of journalists?
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what was your sense of his response to those questions?
OLIVER STONE: We go there. We go thereI mean, probably not to your satisfaction, because he feels differently. I mean, one of the arguments he points out is democracy has been only really working in Russia since 1992, when the federation started with Yeltsin. It was a very bumpy start, if you remember. The United States business crowd moved in, and a lot of privatization went the wrong waya lot of theft, a lot of corruption. And Yeltsin had a very rocky second election in '96. His numbers were very low. It was the United States who supported Yeltsin, with an IMF loan and a lot of behind-the-scenes activity to get him in. And a lot of Russians don'tfeel he did not win the '96 election. So they had a rough start on democracy.
It was Putin that really actually stabilized the system, the society, and gave it this form that it has now, which we don't like, and we've been criticizing it. But he argues very strongly that there's laws in Russia, and there arethere's evidence of it. There's a Duma. There's people who get elected. There is a system. There are other parties. It may not meet our satisfaction. But you can be heard, unless you're calling for the overthrow of the state, you know, which is always
AMY GOODMAN: Or if you're a critical journalist, then you might be killed.
OLIVER STONE: Yeah, well, we don't know exactly whatas to evidences, we don't have any on that. There was the famous case of Anna Politkovskaya. And, frankly, from what I've been told by people who know a lot more about it than I do, is, you know, her family knowsher family as well as her editor don't believe that it was the administration that had anything to do with it. It was much more likely that it was Chechen terrorist leaders. She was writing very tough stuff about Chechnya.
AMY GOODMAN: On the issue of Edward Snowden, it's interesting he says he does not agree with him. Yes, they've granted political asylum. And it's important, just because it's repeated so often the other way, to say that Edward Snowden did not choose to live in Russia. He had his passport yanked by the U.S. when he was flying from Hong Kong, only transiting through Russia, so ended up there. And then Putin granted him political asylum. But interesting that President Putin actually does not agree with what Snowden did, as a former KGB guy.
OLIVER STONE: He says that very clearly. He says he should have gone through channels, that he should have resigned. I don't know that he understands fully our system and how difficult it is for a person to work inside that system and say anything. And, you know, in other words, PutinI know that Mr. Snowden did it for conscience and for his own conscience. I think that's one of the great stories. That's why I made the movie.
AMY GOODMAN: And you're talking about the feature film you did on Snowden
OLIVER STONE: Yeah, the feature film, yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: as opposed to thesethese four hours of interviews that are postingon Putin interviews.
OLIVER STONE: Well, this is him. I'm not making judgments here, and I'm not reallyI'm not arguing back. I'm not going to change his mind. What I'm going to do tohopefully, is show his mind to people who are interested in knowing what we're talking about, because he receives so much criticism here. You know, you have to balance it with something. You have to listen.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, I thought one of the most fascinating parts in the interviews was the understanding of his perspective of how, when Russia came outwhen the Soviet Union collapses, and the Gorbachev period and the Yeltsin period, that he felt that the predatory nature of the capitalism that first came into Russia was something that had to be opposed, and that, in essence, that he feltthat he basically told the capitalists, "Look, you guys are out of control. You know, the pension systems, the conditions of the people have gotten toothey cannot be sustained this way." And so he attempted, essentially, to curb the most rapacious form of capitalism.
OLIVER STONE: Absolutely true. That's why he's popular, because he did it. He not only put Russian economy back on its feet, he got income back to the people. He was, in a sense, a populist dictator at that point, becauseI wouldn't even say dictator, just he was an authoritarian. But he got that economy going. And they're thankful. Now, things change. It's been 16 years, off and on. He's been president three times, prime minister one time. But they reallythey like his resilience. And they feeleven Mr. Gorbachev, who was very critical of him early on, says that he's the man for now, because heeveryone in Russia understands the pressure the United States is bringing, and NATO is bringing, on the borders of Russia.
AMY GOODMAN: You have this conversation, right at that time after World War II, where he talks aboutwell, he refers to the United States as "our partners."
AMY GOODMAN: And he says he thinks that the Soviets made a mistake in forming twowhat does he say?polar camps.
OLIVER STONE: Yeah. I disagree with him. I understand, but I was surprised he said that.
AMY GOODMAN: But he seems to be critical of communism.
OLIVER STONE: Yes, yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: And you also ask him, are you
OLIVER STONE: I think he was more critical of it than I was. Yes, definitely. He wasn't
AMY GOODMAN: And heand you say to him, "Are you the richest man in the world, as some people say?"
OLIVER STONE: Later, yeah, yeah. I think he thinks that's a pretty silly question. I don'tyou know, let's put it this way: He may have some money that I don't know about. He may have been corrupt early on in some ways. Maybe he gotbut I didn't see evidence of it in the sense of his lifestyle or his thought process. He is a man who works 12 hours a day. And we had a long discussion about materialism. And he made it very clear that he lives by another standard. And I think it's a devotion to Russia, the national interests of Russia. And I think he has a strong dose of spirituality in him, the Russian Eastern Church very important to him. He wasn'tit wasn't he who led it back into its popularity. It was the people who took it up again, because there was a void after communism.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, in this clip from The Putin Interviews, Vladimir Putin
OLIVER STONE: The church?
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: talks about NATO. You mentioned NATO before.
OLIVER STONE: There's a funny clip when I'm in the church, and I say, "Where do you pray?" And he says, "You don't pray kneeling down in Russia."
AMY GOODMAN: So, let's go to that clip.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] Nowadays, NATO is a mere instrument of foreign policy of the U.S. It has no allies, it has only vassals. Once a country becomes a NATO member, it is hard to resist the pressures of the U.S. And all of the sudden any weapon system can be placed in this countryan anti-ballistic missile system, new military bases and, if need be, new offensive systems. And what are we supposed to do? In this case, we have to take countermeasures. We have to aim our missile systems at facilities that are threatening us. The situation becomes more tense.
Why are we so acutely responding to the expansion of NATO? Well, as a matter of fact, we understand the value, or lack thereof, and the threat of this organization. But what we're concerned about is the following. We are concerned by the practice of how decisions are made. I know how decisions are taken there. I remember one of our last meetings with President Clinton in Moscow. During the meeting, I said, "We would consider an option that Russia might join NATO." Clinton said, "Why not?" But the U.S. delegation got very nervous.
OLIVER STONE: Have you applied?
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: NATO, and your summation of that?
OLIVER STONE: Thirteen countries have joined NATO since Clinton made this, I think, rash decision to expand it to the east. That was not the promise made by Baker and the senior Bush to Gorbachev. Gorbachev swears to this. That was not put on paper. This is one of the reasons that Putin is upset with Gorbachev, as a practical man, as a politician. It should have been on paper, but it wasn't. So they see Gorbachev as acting out of weakness, and, as a result, the whole Soviet Union collapsed very quickly. And 25 million people, roughly, were left outside the old borders, withoutwith new countries, without the protection of the Soviet Union, their pensions and so forth not met. And then, of course, the internal system collapsed. So, it was an ugly time, and a second Chechen war broke out. You know, we talked about NATO, but NATO is a huge problem for them, not for us. And a lot of the people who are in NATO now are very anti-Russian, Eastern countries, and anything can happen. An accident like in Dr. Strangelove could happen very, very easily.
AMY GOODMAN: And we're going to get to his response to Dr. Strangelove in a minute.
AMY GOODMAN: He even says he'd like to join NATO.
OLIVER STONE: Well, he was kind of joking, and he wasno, what was surprising about it was Clinton's quick response: "Why not?" You know, that's the way Clinton used to kind of act. And when the delegation heard that, their faces dropped. They didn't want Russia in NATO, because NATO would havethey'd have a veto. And none ofand he makes the point that none of these countries in NATO have ever said no to the United States' positions, never, which is, he says, vassals. They're not allies. They're vassals. It's interesting.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: One of the things that came across to me was also the command of detail and the thought processes that he goes through when you're asking questions. It's clear, as you mention at one point, that he reads the actual reports, not summaries.
OLIVER STONE: Yeah, yeah.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And you compare him to President Obama, who did the same thing, that he never got his intelligence summaries. He actually read the actual reports to make up his own mind.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: So there's really a hands-on approach to his governance of the country.
OLIVER STONE: He's a CEO who kicks the tires. He really works too hard. I was worried about his health, you know, 16 years of this. I said, "Why don't you act more like Reagan and have some fun, eat jelly beans and smile more? People would appreciate it." He understands the value of that, but it's not his style.
AMY GOODMAN: We're going to go to a break and then come back to more of The Putin Interviews. Our guest is the three-time Academy Award-winning director and screenwriter Oliver Stone. Stay with us.
AMY GOODMAN: "Stress" by Justice. This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I'm Amy Goodman, with Juan González.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, let's turn to another clip from The Putin Interviews, where the Russian president talks about how the Soviet Union entered the nuclear arms race.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] You remember how the nuclear project developed? When the United States created the nuclear bomb and the Soviet Union entered the race and started to actively develop the nuclear program. Russia had both Russian scientists working, foreign scientists, Germans primarily. But our intelligence also received a lot of information from the United States. Suffice it to remember the Rosenberg spouses, who were electrocuted. They didn't acquire that information. They were just transferring that information. But who acquired it? The scientists themselves, those who developed the atomic bomb. Why did they do that? Because they understood the dangers. They let the genie out of the bottle. And now the genie cannot be put back. And this international team of scientists, I think they were more intelligent than the politicians. They provided this information to the Soviet Union of their own volition to restore the nuclear balance in the world. And what are we doing right now? We're trying to destroy this balance. And that's a great mistake.
OLIVER STONE: So stop referring to them as partners, "our partners." You've said that too much.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] But the dialogue has to be pursued further.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Oliver Stone, his views on the nuclear arms race?
OLIVER STONE: He's a resilient negotiator. He comes back. He doesn't take no. He always talks and tries to keep it open. He's worried. I saw him more wary than ever. Listen, this thing is dangerous, because we put ABMs in Poland and Romania. You know that. It's a stated fact. ABMs are very dangerous. They can be shifted into offensive weapons overnight. They won't knowthe Russians won't know what's in the air, if it's offensive or defensive. And they're very close. So the timeit's not like Dr. Strangelove, where you have a little more time. In that movie, you had an hour or two hours or whatever it was. Now you're down to 15 minutes. So there's much more chance of an accident.
The problem is with parity and America committing again, under Obama, to another trillion-dollar program to remodernize all our nuclear weapons. It's a hopeless race, because you're going toeither we're going tothe Russian economy is not going to be able to keep up. They havethey spend one-tenth of our budget on military. And what's going to happen if we keep spending and blowing them out? We have awe want first-strike superiority. I believe we may have it. And when we have it, what are we going to do with it? With people like Mattis and the people in the Defense Department, you have to worry.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to your most recent interview with Vladimir Putin in February, so this is when Donald Trump is president, when you asked him about Senator John McCain, a well-known fierce critic of Vladimir Putin.
OLIVER STONE: And it seems we have Senator McCain, for example, today or yesterday, was proposing a veto, a Senate veto, of any lifting of sanctions from Trump, in advance.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] You know, unfortunately, there are many senators like that in the United States.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: Putin is a killer. There is no moral equivalent between the United States and Putin's Russia. I repeat, there is no moral equivalent between that butcher and thug and KGB colonel and the United States of America, the country that Ronald Reagan used to call a shining city on a hill.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] Well, honestly, I like Senator McCain, to a certain extent. And I'm not joking. I like him because of his patriotism. And I can relate to his consistency in fighting for the interests of his own country. You know, in ancient Rome there was Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder, who always finished all of his speeches using the same words: "Carthage must be destroyed."
OLIVER STONE: "Carthage must be destroyed."
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] People with such convictions, like the senator you mentioned, they still live in the old world, and they're reluctant to look into the future. They are unwilling to recognize how fast the world is changing. They do not see the real threat, and they cannot leave behind the past, which is always dragging them back.
On the other hand, we've been supporting the U.S. fight for independence. We were allies during World War I and War War II. Right now there are common threats we're both facing, like international terrorism. We've got to fight poverty across the world, the environmental deterioration, which is a real threat to all humanity. After all, we've piled up so many nuclear weapons that it has become a threat to the whole world, as well. And it would be good for us to give it some thought. There are many issues to address.
AMY GOODMAN: If you can respond to his response to McCain? Also, you actually are more critical of Putin when you're questioning him than here? I mean, you drill down a lot
AMY GOODMAN: whether you were talking about the Russian hacking of the elections, which, by the way, just recently, Putin said, talking about Russian hackers may havehaving to play a role, he suggested that that may well have been the case. And it's not just about hacking or getting into the spaces. A lot of countries do it
AMY GOODMAN: and especially the United States, as well. It's about weaponizing that and releasing that information. But you were quite critical when you were actually speaking to him.
OLIVER STONE: I was trying. You know, it'sI am digging. So peoplethere are things people say. You know, when you put a camera on somebody for four hours, there is a certain behavior, the eyes. There's a feeling about the person you get. You can't get that from reading the text. So, I think there's great value in a camera and the body language. His body language is fascinating, because it's not very overt. You don't see the Castro mannerisms or the Chávez ones, but you see little things.
AMY GOODMAN: Both of whom you've interviewed.
OLIVER STONE: And hisyeahand his eyes are very half-Asiatic. You know, they're almostthey're Russian eyes. But you seeI know the man much better after spending time watching him. I have to say, he likes patriotism. He's certainly a nationalist in that way, in the interest of Russia, not bellicose, but a wounded nationalism. He feels that patriotism is important in Russia, the idea of Russia, not a return to the old empire, but a continuation of a new empire that's capitalist with a market economy that would work in Europe.
AMY GOODMAN: Let's get to Putin discussing Fidel Castro, assassination attempts and his own personal security.
OLIVER STONE: And in 2012, you run for president, and you win by 63 percent?
OLIVER STONE: Three times president, five assassination attempts, I'm toldnot as much as Castro, who I've interviewed. I think he must have had 50. But there's a legitimate five I've heard about.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] Yes, I talked with Castro about that. And he said to me, "Do you know why I'm still alive?" And I asked him, "Why?" "Because I was always the one to deal with my security personally." I do my job, and the security officers do theirs. And they are still performing quite successfully.
OLIVER STONE: In other words, you trust your security, and they've done a great job.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] I trust them.
OLIVER STONE: Because always the first mode of assassination, you try to get inside the security of theof the presidency.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] I know that. Do you know what they say among the Russian people? They say that those who are destined to be hanged are not going to drown.
OLIVER STONE: What is your fate, sir? Have youdo you know?
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] Only God knows our destinyyours and mine.
OLIVER STONE: To die in bed maybe.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] One day this is going to happen to each and every one of us. The question is what we will have accomplished by then in this transient world and whether we'll have enjoyed our life.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was Putin philosophizing about life and death as a leader. Your sense of how he approaches the possibility of possible assassination?
OLIVER STONE: Yeah. Well, I think he has a very Russian philosophical view. I was kidding him about Dostoevsky. But, you know, when you've been the leader of avilified like you have, and you have Chechen terrorists trying to kill you, and, you know, Syrians now, it's not easy to run this whole thing. Every day, he doesn't know what's going to happen. The United States may do something again very provocative.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, he, like the U.S., is also killing Syrians. I think the U.S., now, -led coalition has surpassed Russia, but they have both been, to say the least, complicit.
OLIVER STONE: Well, I don't want to get off topic, but, basically, you know, the bombing, the Russian bombing, on the roads against the trucks really destroyed the foundation of the ISIS empire, which is money and oil, shipping through Turkey. He got to the base. Obama bombed for what? Three, four years, didn't achieve anything. He talks about running a hundred sorties a day. The Russians were intense. It seemed to stop the flow, the momentum. As to terrorism
AMY GOODMAN: Ten seconds.
OLIVER STONE: you know his feelings, because he comes from a background where there's been a lot of it in Russia.

Why Don't the U.S. Mainstream Media Report Vladimir Putin's Take on the Ukraine Crisis?

Posted on Jun 14, 2017
By Robert Parry / Consortiumnews
[Image: Vladimir_Putin_and_Oliver_Stone_590.jpg]
Oliver Stone, right, interviews Russian President Vladimir Putin for "The Putin Interview," a four-part series on Showtime. (Showtime)

A prime example of how today's mainstream media paradigm works in the U.S. is the case of Ukraine, where Americans have been shielded from evidence that the 2014 ouster of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych was a U.S.-supported coup d'etat spearheaded by violent neo-Nazi extremists.
As The New York Times has instructed us, there was no coup in Ukraine; there was no U.S. interference; and there weren't even that many neo-Nazis. And, the ensuing civil conflict wasn't a resistance among Yanukovych's supporters to his illegal ouster; no, it was "Russian aggression" or a "Russian invasion."
If you deviate from this groupthink if you point out how U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland talked about the U.S. spending $5 billion on Ukraine; if you mention her pre-coup intercepted phone call with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt discussing who the new leaders would be and how "to glue" or how "to "midwife this thing"; if you note how Nuland and Sen. John McCain urged on the violent anti-Yanukovych protesters; if you recognize that snipers firing from far-right-controlled buildings killed both police and protesters to provoke the climactic ouster of Yanukovych; and if you think all that indeed looks like a coup you obviously are the victim of "Russian propaganda and disinformation."
But most Americans probably haven't heard any of that evidence revealing a coup, thanks to the mainstream U.S. media, which has essentially banned those deviant facts from the public discourse. If they are mentioned at all, they are lumped together with "fake news" amid the reassuring hope that soon there will be algorithms to purge such troublesome information from the Internet.So, if Americans tune in to Part Three of Oliver Stone's "The Putin Interviews" on "Showtime" and hear Russian President Vladimir Putin explain his perspective on the Ukraine crisis, they may become alarmed that Putin, leader of a nuclear-armed country, is delusional.
A Nuanced Perspective
In reality, Putin's account of the Ukraine crisis is fairly nuanced. He notes that there was genuine popular anger over the corruption that came to dominate Ukraine after the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 and the selling off of the nation's assets to well-connected "oligarchs."
Putin recognizes that many Ukrainians felt that an association with the European Union could help solve their problems. But that created a problem for Russia because of the absence of tariffs between Russia and Ukraine and concerns about the future of bilateral trade that is especially important to Ukraine, which stood to lose some $160 billion.
When Yanukovych decided to postpone the E.U. agreement so he could iron out that problem, protests erupted, Putin said. But from that point on Putin's narrative deviates from what the U.S. government and mainstream media tell the American people.
"Our European and American partners managed to mount this horse of discontent of the people and instead of trying to find out what was really happening, they decided to support the coup d'etat," Putin said.
Contrary to the U.S. claims blaming Yanukovych for the violence in the Maidan protests, Putin said, "Yanukovych didn't give an order to use weapons against civilians. And incidentally, our Western partners, including the United States, asked us to influence him so that he did not give any orders to use weapons. They told us, We ask you to prevent President Yanukovych from using the armed forces.' And they promised … they were going to do everything for the opposition to clear the squares and the administrative buildings.
"We said, Very well, that is a good proposal. We are going to work on it.' And, as you know, President Yanukovych didn't resort to using the Armed Forces. And President Yanukovych said that he couldn't imagine any other way of dealing with this situation. He couldn't sign an order on the use of weapons."
Though Putin did not specifically finger blame for the sniper fire on Feb. 20, 2014, which killed more than a dozen police and scores of protesters, he said, "Well, who could have placed these snipers? Interested parties, parties who wanted to escalate the situation. … We have information available to us that armed groups were trained in the western parts of Ukraine itself, in Poland, and in a number of other places."
After the bloodshed of Feb. 20, Yanukovych and opposition leaders on Feb. 21 signed an accord, brokered and guaranteed by three European governments, for early elections and, in the meantime, a reduction of Yanukovych's powers.
Ignoring a Political Deal
But the opposition, led by neo-Nazi and other extreme nationalist street fighters, brushed aside the agreement and escalated their seizing of government buildings, although The New York Times and other U.S. accounts would have the American people believe that Yanukovych simply abandoned his office.
"That's the version used to justify the support granted to the coup," Putin said. "Once the President left for Kharkov, the second largest city in the country to attend an internal political event, armed men seized the Presidential Residence. Imagine something like that in the U.S., if the White House was seized, what would you call that? A coup d'etat? Or say that they just came to sweep the floors?
"The Prosecutor General was shot at, one of the security officers was wounded. And the motorcade of President Yanukovych himself was shot at. So it's nothing short of an armed seizure of power. Moreover, one day afterwards he used our support and relocated to Crimea (where he stayed for more than a week) thinking that there was still a chance that those who put their signatures on the (Feb. 21) agreement with the opposition would make an attempt to settle this conflict by civilized democratic legal means. But that never happened and it became clear that if he were taken he would be killed.
"Everything can be perverted and distorted, millions of people can be deceived, if you use the monopoly of the media. But in the end, I believe that for an impartial spectator it is clear what has happened a coup d'etat had taken place."
Putin noted how the new regime in Kiev immediately sought to limit use of the Russian language and allowed extreme nationalist elements to move against eastern provinces known as the Donbass where ethnic Russians were the vast majority of the population.
Putin continued, "First, there were attempts at arresting them [ethnic Russians] using the police, but the police defected to their side quite quickly. Then the central authorities started to use Special Forces and in the night, people were snatched and taken to prison. Certainly, people in Donbass, after that, they took up arms.
"But once this happened, hostilities started so instead of engaging in dialogue with people in the southeast part of Ukraine, they [Ukraine government officials] used Special Forces, and started to use weapons directly tanks and even military aircraft. There were strikes from multiple rocket launchers against residential neighborhoods. … We repeatedly appealed to this new leadership asking them to abstain from extreme actions."
However, the civil conflict only grew worse with thousands of people killed in some of the worst violence that Europe has seen since World War II. In the U.S. mainstream media, however, the crisis was blamed entirely on Putin and Russia.
The Crimea Case
As for the so-called "annexation" of Crimea, a peninsula in the Black Sea that was historically part of Russia and that even after the Soviet break-up hosted a major Russian naval base at Sevastopol, Putin's account also deviated sharply from what Americans have been told.
When Stone asked about the "annexation," Putin responded: "We were not the ones to annex Crimea. The citizens of Crimea decided to join Russia. The legitimate parliament of Crimea, which was elected based on the Ukrainian legislation, announced a referendum. The Parliament, by an overwhelming majority, voted to join Russia.
"The coup d'etat in Ukraine was accompanied by a surge in violence. And there was even the threat that violence would be perpetrated by nationalists against Crimea, against those who consider themselves to be Russian and who think Russian is their mother language. And people got concerned they were preoccupied by their own safety.
"According to the corresponding international agreement [with Ukraine], we had a right to have 20,000 people at our military base in the Crimea. We had to facilitate the work of the Parliament of Crimea, the representative government body, in order for this Parliament to be able to assemble and affect actions in accordance with the law.
"The people had to feel they were safe. Yes, we created conditions for people to go to polling stations, but we did not engage in any hostilities. More than 90 percent of the Crimean population turned out, they voted, and once the ballot was cast, the [Crimean] Parliament, based on the outcome of the referendum, addressed the Russian parliament, asking to incorporate it into the Russian Federation.
"Moreover, Ukraine lost the territory, not due to Russia's position, but due to the position assumed by those who are living in Crimea. These people didn't want to live under the banner of nationalists."
Stone challenged some of Putin's concerns that Ukraine might have turned the Russian naval base over to NATO. "Even if NATO made an agreement with Ukraine, I still don't see a threat to Russia with the new weaponry," Stone said.
Putin responded: "I see a threat. The threat consists in the fact that once NATO comes to this or that country, the political leadership of that country as a whole, along with its population, cannot influence the decisions NATO takes, including the decisions related to stationing the military infrastructure. Even very sensitive weapons systems can be deployed. I'm also talking about the anti-ballistic missile systems."
Putin also argued that the U.S. government exploited the situation in Ukraine to spread hostile propaganda against Russia, saying:
"Through initiating the crisis in Ukraine, they've [American officials] managed to stimulate such an attitude towards Russia, viewing Russia as an enemy, a possible potential aggressor. But very soon everyone is going to understand, that there is no threat whatsoever emanating from Russia, either to the Baltic countries, or to Eastern Europe, or to Western Europe."
A Dangerous Standoff
Putin shed light, too, on a little-noticed confrontation involving a U.S. destroyer, the USS Donald Cook, that steamed through the Black Sea toward Crimea in the middle of the crisis but turned back when Russian aircraft buzzed the ship and Russia activated its shoreline defense systems.
Stone compared the situation to the Cuban Missile Crisis when a Soviet ship turned back rather than challenge the blockade that President John Kennedy had established around the island. But Putin didn't see the confrontation with the U.S. destroyers as grave as that.
Putin said, "Once Crimea became a full-fledged part of the Russian Federation, our attitude toward this territory changed dramatically. If we see a threat to our territory, and Crimea is now part of Russia, just as any other country, we will have to protect our territory by all means at our disposal. …
"I wouldn't draw an analogy with the Cuban Missile Crisis, because back then the world was on the brink of a nuclear apocalypse. Luckily, the situation didn't go so far this time. Even though we did indeed deploy our most sophisticated, our cutting-edge systems for the coastal defense," known as the Bastion.
"Certainly against such missiles as the ones we've deployed in Crimea such a ship as the Destroyer Donald Cook is simply defenseless. … Our Commanders always have the authorization to use any means for the defense of the Russian Federation. … Yes , certainly it would have been very bad. What was the Donald Cook doing so close to our land? Who was trying to provoke whom? And we are determined to protect our territory. …
"Once the destroyer was located and detected, they [the U.S. crew] saw that there was a threat, and the ship itself saw that it was the target of the missile systems. I don't know who the Captain was, but he showed much restraint, I think he is a responsible man, and a courageous officer to boot. I think it was the right decision that he took. He decided not to escalate the situation. He decided not to proceed. It doesn't at all mean that it would have been attacked by our missiles, but we had to show them that our coast was protected by the missile systems.
"The Captain sees right away that his ship has become the target of missile systems he has special equipment to detect such kinds of situations. … But indeed we were brought to the brink, so to speak. … Yes, certainly. We had to respond somehow. Yes, we were open to positive dialogue. We did everything to achieve a political settlement. But they [U.S. officials] had to give their support to this unconstitutional seizure of power. I still wonder why they had to do that?"
It also remains a question why the U.S. mainstream media feels that it must protect the American people from alternative views even as the risks of nuclear confrontation escalate.
Regarding other issues discussed by Putin, click here. For more on Stone's style in interviewing Putin, click here.

Tony Trout Wrote:IMO, Trump is a dictator - and nothing more than that. I think that he also thinks that since he's the POTUS, he can run the country like one of his businesses - it don't work that way!!!

God help us during the next four years!! :Blink:

Tony, have you seen this video (shortened) of the of Trump's first full cabinet meeting? ::face.palm::

As yet unconfirmed report: Mueller has given blanket immunity to all the principle persons involved in his investigations, including Comey, McCabe, Hillary Clinton, etc. If this is so, they can say whatever they want. It will mean Trump will most likely be impeached since they can commit perjury without fear of reprisal.
Lauren Johnson Wrote:
Tony Trout Wrote:IMO, Trump is a dictator - and nothing more than that. I think that he also thinks that since he's the POTUS, he can run the country like one of his businesses - it don't work that way!!!

God help us during the next four years!! :Blink:

Tony, have you seen this video (shortened) of the of Trump's first full cabinet meeting? ::face.palm::

That Trumpaholics Anonymous meeting shown in the video clip was, I believe, just after the ass-kissing session held in the Rose Garden by the same bunch. A staging of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar was stopped recently because in the modern dress version of the play Caesar was an orange-haired suit wearing man, resembling Trump.

Quote:"Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you've given us to serve your agenda and the American people." Kissass:

Quote:"On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you've given us to serve your agenda and the American people. And we're continuing to work very hard every day to accomplish these goals." Kissass:
I'm sure everyone has by now heard of the supposed 'Bernie supporter' who fired a semi-automatic gun at a Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, VA shooting five, one critically - who happened to be the Republican Whip in the House of Representatives. I certainly do NOT condone this in any way - in fact I have long been against the rampant ownership of guns, generally and semi or fully automatic rifles completely. I believe neither the police nor civilians should have them - and the army only use them in DEFENSIVE actions - NEVER offensive. This was, however, likely to happen and to happen again - given the HIGHLY polarized political/social/financial situation in the USA and all the guns and the general insanity of the US population.

Quote:"Congressman Steve Scalise sustained a single rifle shot to the left hip. The bullet travelled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs, and causing severe bleeding. He was transported in shock to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a Level I Trauma Center. He underwent immediate surgery, and an additional procedure to stop bleeding. He has received multiple units of blood transfusion. His condition is critical, and he will require additional operations. We will provide periodic updates."

The deaths by firearms per thousand in the population is 33 times higher in the USA than in the Netherlands [which has 1/25th the number of guns per 100 population], 60 times higher than in Norway [which has 1/3 the number of guns per 100 population], for examples. INSANITY!...and rather ironic the Republicans more than the Democrats praise this endless right to bear arms and arm bears with assault weapons and huge ammo clips. What you sow, so shall ye reap! In Europe and much of the rest of the developed world, even if one is allowed to have a gun/rifle, one must keep it home if not on a permitted hunting trip. One can NOT bring them into buildings, into cities, carry them in your car without a special permit; few if any are semi- or fully automatic and clips are very limited, as are lethal bullets - such as hollow point or very large caliber munitions. We are exceptional - exceptionally violent, poorly educated, and stupid in the general sense as well as historically, ethically, morally.
Lauren Johnson Wrote:As yet unconfirmed report: Mueller has given blanket immunity to all the principle persons involved in his investigations, including Comey, McCabe, Hillary Clinton, etc. If this is so, they can say whatever they want. It will mean Trump will most likely be impeached since they can commit perjury without fear of reprisal.

Are you saying immunity to all persons involved in the investigation allows perjury by said persons when testifying under oath? If so, there is no need to be placed "under oath".

If it were me about to testify, if under oath, I would not want to commit perjury. I would have to consider legal advice that "they can commit perjury without fear of reprisal" simply because of certain "immunity".

In any event, my statement includes the phrase "if it were me", and is absolutely not an effort to offer legal advice.