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Clinton-Sanders Bow To Israel Lobby

It remains to be seen how much Bernie Sanders has given away in his deal-making with Hillary but it doesn’t look good for single-payer health care nor the anti-TPP lobby.

Despite the fine words uttered by the party’s leadership, there are worrying signs that Sanders has given his one-time opponent enough wriggle room to escape his grip on those issues.

One area which seemingly was utterly immovable for the Clinton camp was the question of Israel, or to put it crudely sucking up, as the Democrats have been doing for decades now, to the Israel lobby to stop Jewish money syphoning off to the Republicans. The Clintons have a track record in this regard going back a long way.

Mondoweiss, a brave and independent blog founded by young, anti-Zionist Jews, mostly from New York, has this revealing article demonstrating the power of the Israel lobby – in this case in the shape of multi-billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adleson – to influence and even dictate Democratic Party policy in the Middle East – and US government policy should Hillary win.

Here it is:

Neocons Cluster Around Hillary As Putin Blamed For DNC Email Dump….

This from The Intercept today, as DNC sources blame Putin’s Russia for the hacking of 20,000 party emails, some of which revealed an anti-Sanders favouritism:

As Hillary Clinton puts together what she hopes will be a winning coalition in November, many progressives remain wary — but she has the war-hawks firmly behind her.

“I would say all Republican foreign policy professionals are anti-Trump,” leading neoconservative Robert Kagan told a group gathered around him, groupie-style, at a “foreign policy professionals for Hillary” fundraiser I attended last week. “I would say that a majority of people in my circle will vote for Hillary.”

As the co-founder of the neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century, Kagan played a leading role in pushing for America’s unilateral invasion of Iraq, and insisted for years afterwards that it had turned out great.

Despite the catastrophic effects of that war, Kagan insisted at last week’s fundraiser that U.S. foreign policy over the last 25 years has been “an extraordinary success.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s know-nothing isolationism has led many neocons to flee the Republican ticket. And some, like Kagan, are actively helping Clinton, whose hawkishness in many ways resembles their own.

The event raised $25,000 for Clinton. Two rising stars in the Democratic foreign policy establishment, Amanda Sloat and Julianne Smith, also spoke.

The way they described Clinton’s foreign policy vision suggested that if elected president in November, she will escalate tensions with Russia, double down on military belligerence in the Middle East and generally ignore the American public’s growing hostility to intervention.

Sloat, the former deputy assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian affairs, boasted that Clinton will be “more interventionist and forward-leaning than Obama’s been” in Syria. She also applauded Clinton for doing intervention the right way, through coalitions instead of the unilateral aggression that defined the Bush years.

“Nothing that [Clinton] did was more clear than the NATO coalition that she built to defend civilians in Libya,” said Sloat, referencing the Obama administration’s overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. That policy, spearheaded by Clinton, has transformed a once stable state into a lawless haven for extremist groups from across the region, including ISIS.

Kagan has advocated for muscular American intervention in Syria; Clinton’s likely pick for Pentagon chief, Michelle Flourney, has similarly agitated for redirecting U.S. airstrikes in Syria toward ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Smith told the audience that unlike Trump, Clinton “understands the importance of deterring Russian aggression,” which is why “I’ll sleep better with her in the chair.” She is a former deputy national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden.

Smith left the government to become senior vice president of Beacon Global Strategies, a high-powered bipartisan consulting group founded by former high-ranking national security officials.

When Robbie Martin, a filmmaker who recently produced a three-part documentary on the neoconservative movement, asked how Clinton plans to deal with Ukraine, Kagan responded enthusiastically.

“I know Hillary cares more about Ukraine than the current president does,” Kagan replied. “[Obama] said to me [that he wouldn’t arm Ukraine because] he doesn’t want a nuclear war with Russia,” he added, rolling his eyes dismissively. “I don’t think Obama cares about Putin anymore at all. I think he’s hopeless.”

Kagan is married to Victoria Nuland, the Obama administration’s hardline assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland, who would likely serve in a senior position in a Clinton administration, supports shipping weapons to Ukraine despite major opposition from European countries and concerns about the neo-Nazi elements those weapons would empower.

Another thing neoconservatives and liberal hawks have in common is confidence that the foreign policy establishment is right, and the growing populist hostility to military intervention is naïve and uninformed.

Kagan complained that Americans are “so focused on the things that have gone wrong in recent years, they miss the sort of basic underlying, unusual quality of the international order that we’ve been living in.

“It’s not just Donald Trump,” Kagan said. “I think you can find in both parties a very strong sense that we don’t need to be out there anymore.”

“If, as I hope, Hillary Clinton is elected, she is going to immediately be confronting a country that is not where she is,” he said. “She is a believer in this world order. But a great section of the country is not and is going to require persuasion and education.”

Sloat agreed, arguing that “it’s dangerous” for people to draw anti-interventionist lessons from Libya and Iraq.

The Clinton-neocon partnership was solidified by Trump becoming the Republican nominee. But their affinity for each other has grown steadily over time.

The neoconservative Weekly Standard celebrated Clinton’s 2008 appointment as Secretary of State as a victory for the right, hailing her transformation from “First Feminist” to “Warrior Queen, more Margaret Thatcher than Gloria Steinem.”

But the fundraiser was perhaps the most outward manifestation yet of the convergence between the Democratic foreign policy establishment and the neoconservative movement.

Hannah Morris of the liberal pro-Israel lobbying group J Street celebrated this bipartisanship as a “momentous occasion.”

“We could not be more proud to have [Kagan] here today,” she said.

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The post Robert Kagan and Other Neocons Are Backing Hillary Clinton appeared first on The Intercept.

Is Hillary’s Putin Claim A New Zinoviev Letter, Or The Real Thing?

I have no idea whether or not Putin-inspired hackers were behind the release of some 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails to Wikileaks which have revealed a disturbing, but not surprising level of anti-Sanders’ bias amongst the party’s leading bureaucrats.

But I am suspicious of the claims, not least because we have not been given any independent and convincing evidence. Instead reporters are quoting anonymous ‘researchers’ or ‘cyberspecialists’ as their authorities for the alleged Russian government plot. It has the look of a story which depends for its legs on the gullibility of the media.

Until someone with a name and face, and a reputation for honesty, comes forward to explain the what’s and why’s in language that the non-techy world can understand, then I shall reserve judgement while bearing in mind that a) Hillary distaste for Putin’s Russia and her neoconservative sympathies are well known and b) this is a convenient stick both to hit Donald Trump with while distracting attention from the core issue, the Democratic Party’s pro-Clinton partisanship and the antics of the truly repugnant Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

(The affair also conveniently links Wikileaks to Putin, who is also harbouring Edward Snowden.)

In that regard, bear in mind this story below, from The Guardian of February 1999. Plus ca change? We shall see…..

Zinoviev letter was dirty trick by MI6

The intelligence community was a ‘very, very incestuous circle, an elite network’

The Zinoviev letter – one of the greatest British political scandals of this century – was forged by a MI6 agent’s source and almost certainly leaked by MI6 or MI5 officers to the Conservative Party, according to an official report published today.New light on the scandal which triggered the fall of the first Labour government in 1924 is shed in a study by Gill Bennett, chief historian at the Foreign Office, commissioned by Robin Cook.

It points the finger at Desmond Morton, an MI6 officer and close friend of Churchill who appointed him personal assistant during the second world war, and at Major Joseph Ball, an MI5 officer who joined Conservative Central Office in 1926.

The exact route of the forged letter to the Daily Mail will never be known, Ms Bennett said yesterday. There were other possible conduits, including Stewart Menzies, a future head of MI6 who, according to MI6 files, admitted sending a copy to the Mail.

The letter, purported to be from Grigori Zinoviev, president of the Comintern, the internal communist organisation, called on British communists to mobilise “sympathetic forces” in the Labour Party to support an Anglo-Soviet treaty (including a loan to the Bolshevik government) and to encourage “agitation-propaganda” in the armed forces.

On October 25, 1924, four days before the election, the Mail splashed headlines across its front page claiming: Civil War Plot by Socialists’ Masters: Moscow Orders To Our Reds; Great Plot Disclosed. Labour lost by a landslide.

Ms Bennett said the letter “probably was leaked from SIS [the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6] by somebody to the Conservative Party Central Office”. She named Major Ball and Mr Morton, who was responsible for assessing agents’ reports.

“I have my doubts as to whether he thought it was genuine but [Morton] treated it as if it was,” she said. She described MI6 as being at the centre of the scandal, although it was impossible to say whether the head of MI6, Admiral Hugh Sinclair, was involved.

She said there was no evidence of a conspiracy in what she called “the institutional sense”. The security and intelligence community at the time consisted of a “very, very incestuous circle, an elite network” who went to school together. Their allegiances, she says in her report, “lay firmly in the Conservative camp”.

Ms Bennett had full access to secret files held by MI6 (some have been destroyed) and MI5. She also saw Soviet archives in Moscow before writing her 128-page study. The files show the forged Zinoviev letter was widely circulated, including to senior army officers, to inflict maximum damage on the Labour government.

She found no evidence to identify the name of the forger. She said the letter – sent to MI6 from one of its agents in the Latvian capital, Riga – was written as a result of a campaign orchestrated by White Russians who had good contacts in London who were strongly opposed to the Anglo-Soviet treaty.

The report says there is no hard evidence that MI6 agents in Riga were directly responsible – though it is known they had close contacts with White Russians – or that the letter was commissioned in response to British intelligence services’ “uneasiness about its prospects under a re-elected Labour government”.

However, if Ms Bennett is right in her suggestion that MI6 chiefs did not set up the forgery, her report makes clear that MI6 deceived the Foreign Office by asserting it did know who the source was – a deception it used to insist, wrongly, that the Zinoviev letter was genuine.

Ms Bennett says it is wrong to conclude the scandal brought down Ramsay Macdonald’s government which had already lost a confidence vote and Liberal support on which it depended was disappearing. The Labour vote in the election actually increased by a million.

“In electoral terms”, she says, “the impact of the Zinoviev letter on Labour was more psychological than measurable”.

The Zinoviev letter was not the only attempt by the security and intelligence services to destabilised a Labour government. Peter Wright, a former MI5 officer, showed in Spycatcher how elements in his agency worked against the Wilson government in the 1970s.

The U.S. Media And Hillary Clinton

It is really quite extraordinary and not a bit alarming how the mainstream media on either side of the Atlantic mirror each other, gravitating almost without any encouragement to the consensual center ground.

In electoral politics that means almost unashamed plugging of Hillary Clinton in the U.S. and ‘anyone but Corbyn’ in the UK; unfortunately it also results in uncritical cheerleading for wars like the disastrous adventure in Iraq, which the entire world is now paying for.

Careerism and class explain a lot of this but at the end of the day it really does come down to the absence of backbone. After all these people are not stupid. They know when they are peddling bullshit.

Hillary cartoon

Donald Trump And Hillary Clinton

Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. Below you can see Hillary & Bill Clinton attending Donald Trump’s third wedding, to a Slovenian-born plagiarist, at his estate – the strangely named Mar-a-Lago – in Florida in 2005.

Hillary attended both the wedding ceremony and the reception afterwards, Bill just the reception. Asked later why she had gone Hillary replied, according to this Daily Beast report:

I happened to be in Florida, and I thought it was going to be fun to go to this wedding, because it’s always entertaining. I didn’t know him that well, I mean, I knew him.

As the Daily Beast put it: ‘Pure Hillary’.

Donald explained:

Hillary Clinton, I said, ‘Be at my wedding,’ and she came to my wedding. She had no choice because I gave to [the Clinton] foundation.

The Daily Beast: ‘Pure Trump’.

Reports have put Trump’s contributions to the Clinton Foundation as high as $110,000.

So, who do you believe, dear reader? And what does this all say about the nature of politics in the US of A? Maybe Tweedledee and Tweedledum is an appropriate thought? And so, how seriously should we take the jousting between them that will fill our TV screens for the best part of the next three-and-a-half months?

wedding

Trump really does have stubby fingers or at least a stubby forefinger!

‘From Watchdog To Attackdog’ – The British Media and Jeremy Corbyn

What is described in this thorough piece of research carried out by the London School of Economics’ Department of Media and Communications represents nothing less than a major crisis for British media.

The study examined in detail the coverage of the Labour Party’s left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn by eight British newspapers and concluded that their reporting was characterised by deliberate vilification of Corbyn of a sort that went way beyond the normal limits of fair debate, that Corbyn himself was denied the right to respond and that he was treated with scorn and ridicule by both tabloid and so-called quality press unprecedented in a modern political leader.

The study rightly describes the Corbyn coverage as the moment when the British print media (and it should be said the BBC) morphed from watchdog to attackdog, a development made possible by the increasing corporatisation of media. The study bodes ill for the future. Today Corbyn, tomorrow…..? Thanks to LS for bringing it to my attention.

Turkey – A Military Coup You Can And Maybe Should Support

I don’t normally favour military takeovers of governments but I think one can make an exception in the case of the odious Erdogan regime in Turkey. Erdogan is a right-wing dictator in the making whose ambivalence to ISIS and Islamic extremism is tolerated by the West primarily because he is anti-Putin, The fact that he recently patched up relations with Israel is a plus for the US and NATO.

The Turkish military has a history of intervening in domestic politics but uniquely for military forces anywhere, has done so in the past for progressive reasons. The secular era of Attaturk survived because of the military’s support for his secular, anti-Islamic extremist policies. Erdogan has been in the vanguard of right-wing Islamic forces seeking to roll back Attaturk’s secularism.

In Irish terms imagine Attaturk is Ernie O’Malley and Erdogan is De Valera on steroids.

Fact, reliable facts, are hard to establish as I write this but it looks like a safe presumption that this military coup has been staged to remove Erdogan’s negative influence on Turkish life and to restore the country’s once unique, secular identity.

Had the EU admitted Turkey to membership years ago when it applied for membership Erdogan may never have attained power and this military coup, failed or successful, would not have been necessary.