Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Neoliberalism Consequences Come Home to Roost

Consequences of Neoliberalism

by Keiser Report - RT

July 17, 2018

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max and Stacy ask why it takes a British worker five days to produce the same economic value as a French worker produces in just four. Productivity has collapsed in the UK to the lowest since 1794.

In the second half, Max interviews Scottish businessman, Neil Mitchell, about his many years long battle for justice for UK victims of RBS, the taxpayer owned bank that was found to have forced viable businesses into bankruptcy. Mitchell suspects the bank may have also practiced such tactics in America and is taking his case across the Atlantic.

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RT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

Gaza Freedom Flotilla Includes Former Israeli Air Force "Refusenik"

From the Freedom Flotilla, Former Israeli Air Force Pilot Calls for Boycott of Israel


July 18, 2018

"We are still a minority of a minority. But there are activists in Israel who are calling for boycott, divestment, and sanctions because we believe it’s for the benefit of all people; Palestinian people, and Jewish people, and everyone living there and everyone in the world." 

Yonatan Shapira is a former rescue pilot in the Israeli Air Force. He’s also a founding member and prominent activist of the Israeli movement Boycott From Within.

Gaza Siege and Rumours of a New "War" Against Captured Enclave

Israel Suspends Fuel Deliveries to Gaza Strip as Tensions Continue to Mount

by Whitney Webb  - MintPress News

July 18, 2018

The restriction on fuel and gas deliveries is likely to hit Gaza particularly hard, given that Israel destroyed the Strip’s only power plant in 2014 and Israel’s ongoing naval blockade of Gaza has made rebuilding the plant impossible.
Amid speculation that Israel is set to target the Gaza Strip in yet another war, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has announced that Israel will suspend transfer of gas and fuel to Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing until next Sunday, but that transfers of food and medicine would continue on a “case-by-case basis.”

The Kerem Shalom crossing is the only checkpoint used to transfer goods across the Israel-Gaza border.

The Israeli government had previously announced in May that the crossing would remain closed until Israel had been reimbursed for damage to the border fence and surrounding areas following recent protests in Gaza against the blockade and during the Great Return March.

During those demonstrations, the Israel Defense Forces shot over 6,000 unarmed demonstrators and killed hundreds of demonstrators, as well as medics and journalists.

In addition, Lieberman, who recently asserted that there are “no innocent people” living Gaza, also stated that Israel would tighten its naval blockade of Gaza from six to three nautical miles off the Gazan coast, a move aimed at restricting the movements of Gazan fishermen. Lieberman stated that the new measures were in response to “continued attempts to carry out terror by the Hamas terror organization.” Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, after it won local elections.

Hamas slammed the restriction of fuel as a “crime against humanity,” while the UN and human rights groups criticized the move as a form of “collective punishment.”

The restriction on fuel and gas deliveries is likely to hit Gaza particularly hard, given that Israel destroyed the Strip’s only power plant in 2014 and Israel’s ongoing naval blockade of Gaza has made rebuilding the plant impossible. Since last July, electricity was available only between two and four hours each day. The suspension of gas and fuel imports from Israel will likely exacerbate the area’s chronic fuel and electricity shortage.

Lieberman’s announcement came after a weekend of Israeli airstrikes pounded the Gaza Strip in its most massive show of force since the 2014 war, killing two Palestinian teenagers and wounding several others. The Israeli airstrikes were allegedly in response to primitive mortars fired from Gaza, one of which wounded four Israelis in Sderot. Those, in turn, had been launched in response to prior Israeli airstrikes that wounded 30 Palestinians.

Another reason for the increasing tensions has been the “incendiary kites and balloons” that have floated over the Gaza-Israel border. Israel has recently warned that it will no longer tolerate the kites or balloons, an apparent signal that these objects – which Gazans view as legitimate resistance to protest the blockade – could well be the pretext for a future war.

Working up to another war?

Both Hamas and Israel have hinted over the past few months that a war between Gaza and Israel was highly likely. Reports have quoted Hamas officials as putting the chances of a new war with Israel in 2018 “at 95 percent.”

The high probability of a conflict was also mentioned by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, who stated that another Israeli invasion of Gaza was “likely” to occur this year.

Eizenkot ironically framed the imminent invasion as a way to “prevent a humanitarian collapse” in Gaza, suggesting that military action against Gazan civilians and infrastructure would somehow improve the daily lives of the Strip’s inhabitants.

However, growing concern from the international community regarding the humanitarian situation in Gaza has generated an unusual response from within Israel. For instance, the crisis in Gaza has recently been the subject of several articles from Israeli media outlets that assert that the grave situation in the Strip is a “hoax.”

This bizarre conspiracy theory, emerging earlier this year, blames the Israeli military for propagating this “malicious mantra” and asserts that the humanitarian crisis is being faked by Hamas as a means of receiving “free” amenities from Israel’s government, which seeks to avoid the Strip’s economic collapse and any ensuing violence that could result.

The circulation of such theories despite the clear evidence of Gaza’s precarious situation, as well as Israel’s move to tighten the blockade, suggests that Israel’s policies towards Gaza are unlikely to ease anytime soon and are instead likely to worsen.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile. 

Republish our stories! MintPress News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Robert Massoud, Yves Engler, Janine Bandcroft July 19, 2018

This Week on GR

by C. L. Cook -

July 19, 2018

These last years have been momentous ones in the Middle East. While wars and rumours of war abound and millions flee their homes, scattered to the winds in search of safe haven, the need for peace and reconciliation has never been greater.

In times of yore the olive branch was extended to ones enemy as a sign of good faith; and today, Palestine Peace Awareness Inc, the Canadian non-profit organization known colloquially as "Zatoun" is doing just that.

Zatoun hopes, they say, to transcend the abstract, geopolitical context of the Palestine-Israel situation, focusing instead on people and the ordinary, everyday lives they must lead.

Robert Massoud is a Palestinian-Canadian whose family immigrated to Canada when he was a child. He is the founder of Zatoun, an organization which imports fair trade Olive Oil from the West Bank to provide market opportunities for Palestinian goods, and a chance to bring to the outside world to humanize Palestinians and bring a more accurate representation of life in Palestine.

Robert Massoud in the first half.

And; last week Justin Trudeau announced more Canadian troops would be sent to war ravaged Iraq. This adds to a growing global Canadian military presence. Whether "training" missions in Ukraine, or participating in Joint Task Forces like the one in Iraq, Canadian Forces are no longer the Pearsonian Peacekeepers of old. Today there are myriad "operations" in theatres from Fiji to Latvia, and now too a return to Africa with Operation PRESENCE in Mali.

Yves Engler is a Montréal-based activist, essayist, and author. His articles appear at Dissident Voice, The Palestine Chronicle,, and Pacific Free Press among other places. Some of his nine book titles include: 'A Propaganda System—How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation', 'Canada in Africa — 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation', and 'The Ugly Canadian — Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy'.

Yves Engler in the second half.

And; Victoria-based activist and CFUV Radio broadcaster at-large, Janine Bandcroft will be here at the bottom of the hour with the Left Coast Events Bulletin highlighting some of the good things to be gotten up to in and around our town in the coming week. But first, Robert Massoud and olives for peace in Palestine.

Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Thursday between 11-Noon Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at:  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

Four Years After: Still Seeking Truth on MH17 Downing

July 17 is the Fourth Anniversary of the MH17 Attack – Time and Reason to Doubt the Allegations

by Eric van de Beek and Max van der Werff

via Dances with Bears

July 18, 2018

Amsterdam* - Max, a year ago we looked back extensively on three years of MH17. Which are for you the most important events and developments over the past year?

Without doubt, liability of the Russian Federation claimed by the Netherlands and Australia and the first firm denial by President Putin. The positions on what really happened can no longer be reconciled and neither party can go back.

Has your view on the disaster changed since last year? Are there any scenarios that you have ticked off? Or maybe there is a scenario that you want to defend?

Everyone seems to know exactly what has happened. But on the basis of what has been disclosed publicly as evidence, I still cannot draw any definitive conclusions. If you find that strange, first examine my article MH17 – 1448 Days before making any judgment.

Max van der Werff and his website, Kremlin Troll.

In that article I analyze all the evidence which the JIT [Joint Investigation Team] has presented, ranging from the first press conference on September 28, 2016 until present. I do not exclude the possibility that MH17 has been shot down by rebels with a BUK system supplied by Russia. But other scenarios than the one of the JIT are kept explicitly open by me as long as not everything is known about the exact cause and all relevant circumstances.

Like the possibility that the rebels have brought down MH17 with a weapon captured from the Ukrainian army. Or that an exercise by a brigade of Ukrainian air defenses got out of hand. The latter is a real possibility. Ukraine is capable of such a thing. In 2001, during a military exercise, a Russian charter aircraft was shot down over the Black Sea. Kiev initially denied being responsible.

On the rough radar images that Russia delivered in 2016 and 2017, no other aircraft can be seen in the vicinity of MH17. Would this be by now a reason to exclude the scenario that MH17 has been shot down by a fighter jet?

On the raw radar imagery supplied by Russia not only no other planes are seen, there is also no missile to be seen. It is certain for me that fighter aircraft have flown just before MH17 came down. There are just too many people who have seen that. That they flew low is probably the reason that they cannot be seen on radar images. I am not an expert and therefore do not make any statements about that. But I did speak with dozens of people in the disaster area who have seen or claim to have seen something. One of those persons is Lev Bulatov from Petropavlovka. Lev saw fighter jets flying over at low altitude. Not one, not two, but three. He was standing during the interview I did with him in the same spot where the wreckage of the Boeing fell into his garden.

How do you know if Lev Bulatov (right) speaks the truth?

Of course I am not sure if he is telling the truth, but he appears to me as being very credible.

He is willing to make a statement under oath and with a lie detector. But unfortunately to date the JIT has not interviewed him. If Lev speaks the truth and all those many others who have seen fighter planes just before or during the shot down of MH17, then of course it is not proven at all that a fighter plane is the murder weapon, but Kiev is lying about the fact that the air force that day was grounded.

And then you can ask yourself: why would Kiev lie about the Air Force remaining grounded on July 17th 2014 when fighter jets were not involved in the incident in any way, not even indirectly?

Russia blames Ukraine for knocking down MH17. Has Russia ever provided serious evidence for that claim, apart from the fact that Ukraine has kept the airspace open inside a war zone?

Russia has not presented a convincing scenario about what happened. Russian information management in the MH17 case is embarrassingly bad.

Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs has accused Russia in the UN Security Council of a lack of cooperation in the MH17 investigation. Is it clear to you what he meant by that?

It seems that Blok meant that Russia does not send the JIT any information which would confirm that Russia is guilty. I have asked the JIT about this lack of cooperation from Russia. The reaction I received showed that Russia is being accused of not admitting that Russia has deployed a BUK-Telar in the east of Ukraine and that it would have downed MH17.

Is that a justified accusation?

Minister Sergei Lavrov of Foreign Affairs states that Russia has responded to all legal aid requests from the JIT and the Dutch Safety Board. He stated that during a joint press conference with Minister Stef Blok in Moscow. Blok did not contradict that at the time.

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok meets Russian Foreign Minister 
Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on April 13, 2018.

On the Russian side, several objections have been raised that the JIT did not include any of the investigation data supplied by Russia. Is that right?

I think so. JIT head of investigation Fred Westerbeke pointed out in an interview that he did not include in the research the report from BUK manufacturer Almaz Antey. He literally said: “Their conclusion is the total opposite from our own conclusion. We do not agree with it. However, I am not going to judge whether their conclusions are wrong or right.” I found it rather disconcerting to read this, because Westerbeke is actually claiming the only information we want from Russia is information that would demonstrate their guilt, the remainder does not interest us and we will not be bothered to falsify any data when that would benefit Russia.

The Netherlands has held Russia liable for the demise of MH17. Do you have any idea why the Netherlands did not also hold Ukraine liable? After all, Ukraine has kept its airspace open after military planes had been shot down earlier.

According to Pieter Klein of RTL News, the government would have told the surviving relatives that holding Ukraine responsible for the open airspace might disrupt cooperation with Ukraine inside the JIT. That could in turn damage any investigation of the perpetrators. The word ‘blackmail’ comes to mind when I read that the Netherlands is afraid of offending Ukraine.

Malaysia and Belgium have not joined the claim of the Netherlands and Australia that Russia was guilty. Is that, you think, because they really think there is insufficient evidence, or is there something else at work?

The newly appointed Malaysian minister of transport Loke Siew Fook (right) said after the JIT press conference of 28 May 2018 that there is ‘no indisputable evidence’ for Russian responsibility for the taking down of MH17 and that Malaysia for that reason is not in line with the liability claim from the Netherlands and Australia. But of course there are different things going on as well. This has all to do with geopolitics.

The countries which are working together against Russia in the investigation into the MH17 disaster are the same ones which are working together in the case of the poisoning of the Skripals. I call these countries ‘the Yellow Team’, after the picture that the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs distributed displaying the countries that expelled Russian diplomats because of the poisoning of the Skripals.

These 26 countries like to call themselves ‘the international community’, but fact is that over 80 percent of the world’s population is not part of this.

Malaysia does not belong to this group of countries. And so can they afford to hold a different view in the MH17 investigation?

Certainly. Their interpretation of international law is also very different. What hardly anyone knows in the Yellow Team area is that a Malaysian court in 2011 convicted former US President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for war crimes and genocide committed in Iraq. Also do not forget that Malaysia was initially not admitted to the official investigation.

I can imagine how that must have been unpalatable for the Malaysians. Imagine that a plane from KLM with 43 Dutch on board was shot down above Burma and we were not allowed in the investigative team. How would that feel?

Another important factor and possible game changer is that the 92-year-old Mahathir bin Mohamad recently became prime minister of Malaysia. In 2015, when he was still in the opposition, he voiced strong criticism of the official investigation. It is not for nothing that the Netherlands and Australia only informed Malaysia at the last minute that they were going to hold Russia legally responsible. Malaysia is not being trusted. The Netherlands and Australia suspect Malaysia of leaking to Moscow.

Why did Belgium not join in holding Russia legally responsible?

RTL-News has submitted this question to the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but has received no answer. The role of Belgium is interesting. Because why is Belgium part of the JIT at all? The country lost four citizens. Just as many as Germany. Other countries which are not in the team, Indonesia and Great Britain, lost more citizens, twelve and ten respectively.

You have been researching the MH17 disaster for four years now. To what extent is it possible as a citizen to falsify any claims of the JIT? You cannot gain access to all the evidence they submit such as anonymous eyewitnesses and the remains of a BUK missile.

Falsifying is indeed difficult if you do not have access to the underlying data. But that the MH17 research is faulty remains clear to me. From the very start the suspicions went to Russia and the rebels. Just look at the composition of the JIT. There Ukraine is a member, but not Russia. Of the five countries included in the JIT, four belong to the Yellow Team. Add to this the fact that the JIT ignores evidence provided by Russia and that it does not make any statements about the liability of Ukraine in connection with the non-closure of the airspace.

Also revealing — all telephone taps which the JIT has presented as proof of the guilt of the rebels and the Russians come from the Ukrainian secret service SBU. No serious court will value any evidence provided by this organization.

The telephone taps delivered by the SBU to the JIT — have you been able to falsify those?

Immediately after MH17 was shot down, the Ukrainian secret service SBU released an audio tape in which rebels allegedly admitted to shooting down MH17. Virtually all media in the world presented the audio as authentic, without reservation. Analysis of the audio clearly shows that the voices have been tampered with and that there have been all kinds of cutting and pasting.

I have extensively covered this forgery in November 2015 in my article ‘MH17 – Lying for Justice‘. The SBU is not just the supplier of counterfeit tap calls. It is also the organization suspected of the robbery in the Westfries museum; they have spread fake news about an attack on former minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders and recently they have staged a murder scene with a journalist.

In a response to a broadcast from Zembla, the JIT has stated that two former SBU executives have never been involved in providing any evidence. How do you see that? Does the JIT indirectly disqualify the telephone taps supplied by the SBU?

I think so. The two former SBU top people are Valentyn Naleyvaichenko and Vasyl Vovk. They left the SBU in 2015. But in 2014, during the shoot-down of MH17, Naleyvaichenko was at the head of the SBU and Vovk was head of investigation. Because of that they were responsible for the evidence that was delivered to the JIT.

Left, Valentyn Naleyvaichenko; right, Vasyl Vovk.

Naleyvaichenko is the man who in August 2014 was lying about rebels in Eastern Ukraine having tried to shoot down a Russian passenger aircraft in order to provide Russia with a casus belli. The SBU removed that lie from its own website, but it has been archived and there is also a video from the press conference.

It would also be good to understand that the JIT does not want to be associated with Vovk, the former MH17 principal investigator of the SBU. He has said that Jews are not Ukrainians and that they must be destroyed. He also said that JIT researcher Wilbert Paulissen is a friend of his and that he stayed at his house.

His view of the disaster is also different. According to Vovk, MH17 may have been shot down with a BUK which the rebels had captured from the Ukrainian army. With the new SBU head, Vasyl Hrytsak, they will not be happy in the Netherlands either. That is the person responsible for the murder of a Russian journalist, which was staged with pig’s blood. And yet he was still present at the last press conference of the JIT. You can see him sitting to the right of leader of the investigation Fred Westerbeke.

I think the Netherlands made a big mistake when they became so close with Ukraine. People have underestimated how corrupt and criminal the current regime is. It now even appears that Kiev has spied on the Dutch MH17 mission.

The British investigative collective Bellingcat plays a remarkable role in the MH17 research. Many of their findings have been taken on board by the JIT. They have severely attacked you several times. You would be a “useful idiot” of Putin, you criticize only Western research but no Kremlin propaganda.

You forget the word truther. There is not really any Dutch equivalent, but it comes down to it that a truther rejects the official version of an event and distributes conspiracy theories instead. The word is mainly linked to people who question the official version of 9/11.

Eliot Higgins, founder of Bellingcat, recently still called me a truther and an idiot. That was because of my correspondence with the Russian representative at the United Nations. I asked [Russian UN representative Dmitry] Polyanskiy why Russia does not provide satellite data and other data to support its claim that Ukraine had BUK installations in the vicinity of the crash site.

Polyanskiy replied that Russia has done this and will add data, but that the JIT ignores it. Higgins then completely twists Polyanskiy’s words.

Higgins turns “delivering satellite data” into “Russia admits it submits MH17 Truther websites and blogs about #MH17 to the JIT as evidence.” And then he adds:

“Russia admits to supplying conspiracy blogs to the JIT as #MH17 evidence. If they have to resort to that then they really are totally fucked.”

When I challenge Higgins on this, he tweets: “I don’t deal with idiots like Max who still think MH17 was a false flag.” Here I still get away easy. “Suck my balls” is how Higgins addresses Russian diplomats. Shortly after the publication of an article about this vulgarity, Higgins quietly removed three tweets, but fortunately they were archived online.

Left: Dmitry Polyanskiy at the UN Security Council. Right: Eliot Higgins 
at the NATO government funded think-tank, Atlantic Council.

Obviously, the rough language of Eliot Higgins cannot be justified. But it was a reaction to an allegation from Polyanskiy. He said that Bellingcat and JIT base their claims on counterfeits. When Higgins asked him to prove this, he did not respond. That is not good, is it?

Not good indeed.

You have followed the route which, according to the JIT and Bellingcat, the Volvo low-loader with the BUK-system would have taken. You came to a place near a bridge, and you asked yourself if the low-loader would fit underneath. Does that demonstrate, or any other findings from you, that the route indicated by the JIT cannot be correct?

When in 2015 I drove the route H21 from Donetsk to Torez, I had serious doubts whether the combination Volvo trailer with Buk-Telar could fit under a certain bridge. Higgins reacted almost immediately. Again the slur truther, with the reprimand that the Buk could have driven via ‘the really obvious turn’ if it wouldn’t have fitted under the bridge.

After the tweet from Higgins I went back to the spot and made a video. This shows that the ‘really obvious exit’ cannot be used at all because of the concrete blocks which have been there for years.

The issue here is not whether the Buk fits under the bridge or not, because the Telar can be driven from the low-loader before the bridge, and after having passed the bridge back on it again. The issue here is that Higgins from his sofa claims something with absolute certainty, and that then the refutation of his claim by someone who does research on location does not lead to withdrawal.

It is typical of the Bellingcat process. And it is also worrying, given Bellingcat’s large influence on journalists who do not perform any investigation at all, not even into the financing of that group.

The faked photograph of the Volvo Buk-carrier as originally  
published by Paris Match on July 23, 2014.

The bridge across Route H21, to the left of the photo frame, and to right, 
the concrete block barrier preventing access by the alleged Buk carrier. 

Bellingcat states that you have never faulted and corrected MH17 investigative results from the JIT and Bellingcat. What is your reaction to that?

This is a typical Bellingcat approach. They make the frame, and others are forced to respond. I am now setting my own frame for this: the Ukrainian intelligence service SBU is the main supplier of the evidence to the JIT, and Bellingcat acts as a conduit. I’m doing an article on this. Get ready.

[*]NOTE: This English translation is an edited version of the Dutch publication in; click to read the original.
Eric van de Beek studied journalism at Windesheim School of Applied Sciences and Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and worked as a journalist for the weekly magazine Elsevier.
Max van der Werff has been conducting independent research on the MH17 case through his website Kremlin Troll, and coordinating the case work of an international group of independent investigators, lawyers and a retired German prosecutor.
The latest detailed presentation of the evidence by van der Werff was published in Dutch on July 4. For the MH17 investigations archive, click to open. THE LIE THAT SHOT DOWN MH17 – THE TRUE STORY OF WHO DID is a book by Max van der Werff and John Helmer which no publisher in London, New York, Amsterdam and Frankfurt has agreed to publish. The publication this month by Manchester University Press is unprecedented and courageous: Kees van der Pijl, FLIGHT MH17, UKRAINE AND THE NEW COLD WAR.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Alberta NDP's "Orange Revolution" Adopts Ukraine Fascists

NDP Flirts with Anti-Russian Extreme Right

by Yves Engler

July 7, 2018
In response to Ukrainian Canadian Congress campaigning, two NDP MLAs recently convinced the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission to withdraw a brand of Russian vodka from its stores. 
Alberta MLAs Deron Bilous and Jessica Littlewood argued that a hammer and sickle logo on a bottle of vodka was “offensive“. Articulating a growing rightist effort to equate communism with Nazism in Eastern Europe, Ukrainian Canadian Congress Alberta chapter president, Olesia Luciw-Andryjowycz, told the Edmonton Journal that the hammer and sickle was akin to “having a swastika on a bottle of cognac.”

This is not the first attempt by a provincial NDP to ban Russian vodka. In response to the 2014 upheaval in the Ukraine, a minister in the NDP government in Manitoba discussed a provincial ban on Russian vodka. 
At the same time, NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo tabled a motion at the Ontario Legislature calling on government-run liquor stores to suspend sales of Russian Standard vodka.

DiNovo was one of the NDP representatives that flirted with Ukraine’s hard right. She attended a Ukrainian parade in Toronto where some marched behind a banner titled “Right Sector Canada”. Its parent organization in the Ukraine said it was “defending the values of white, Christian Europe against the loss of the nation and deregionalisation.” At another Toronto event NDP MP Peggy Nash shared a stage with a speaker from Ukraine’s Right Sector.

Over the past four years, the NDP has backed a coup in Kiev, war in eastern Ukraine and NATO military build-up in Eastern Europe. In 2014 the right-wing nationalist Euro-Maidan movement ousted Viktor Yanukovych who was oscillating between the European Union and Russia. 
The US-backed coup divided the Ukraine politically, geographically and linguistically (Russian is the mother tongue of 30% of Ukrainians). After Yanukovych’s ouster Russia reinforced its military presence — or “seized” — the southern area of Crimea and then organized a referendum on secession. Home to Moscow’s major Baltic naval base, Crimea had long been part of Russia and the bulk of the population preferred Moscow’s rule to the post-coup right wing nationalist government in Kiev.

The NDP echoed the US/Stephen Harper government position on Ukraine. The day after Yanukovych fled, NDP MP Olivia Chow told a Euro-Maidan Canada rally in Toronto, 
we must be vigilant, we must ensure our government, our Canadian government, continues to keep an eye on the Ukraine to make sure that the Russians do not interfere.”

But, the NDP MP wasn’t bothered by Canadian interference in that country. Eighteen months after the coup the Canadian Press reported that opposition protesters were camped in the Canadian Embassy for a week during the February 2014 rebellion against Yanukovych. 
Canada’s embassy in Kyiv was used as a haven for several days by anti-government protesters during the uprising that toppled the regime of former president Viktor Yanukovych,” the story noted.

Ottawa played a similar role during the “Orange Revolution” a decade earlier. In a story headlined “Agent Orange: Our secret role in Ukraine,” Globe and Mail reporter Mark MacKinnon detailed how Canada funded a leading civil society opposition group, promised Ukraine’s lead electoral commissioner Canadian citizenship if he did “the right thing” and paid for 500 Canadians of Ukrainian descent to observe the 2004-05 elections. 
[Canadian ambassador to the Ukraine, Andrew Robinson] began to organize secret monthly meetings of western ambassadors, presiding over what he called ‘donor coordination’ sessions among 20 countries interested in seeing Mr. [presidential candidate Viktor] Yushchenko succeed.
Eventually, he acted as the group’s spokesman and became a prominent critic of the Kuchma government’s heavy-handed media control. Canada also invested in a controversial exit poll, carried out on election day by Ukraine’s Razumkov Centre and other groups that contradicted the official results showing Mr. Yanukovych [winning].”

Indifferent to Canada’s interference in Ukrainian affairs, during the 2015 federal election leaders debate Mulcair said, 
with regard to Ukraine, yes, Putin is a danger. We stand firmly with Ukraine against the aggression by Russia.”

The NDP leader also reiterated the party’s call for harsher measures against Russian officials, naming two businessmen whom he said should be added to Canada’s list of Russians targeted for sanctions. In March 2014 NDP foreign critic Paul Dewar released a statement calling for “travel bans against certain Russian officials and suspending trade with Russia’s military sector.”
Five months later the NDP put out a press release under the headline “Conservatives shield Russian business elite from sanctions: Toothless sanctions are out of step with Canada’s closest allies.” 
In 2017 NDP foreign critic Hélène Laverdière applauded a bill modeled after the US Magnitsky Act that would further strain relations between Ottawa and Moscow by sanctioning Russian officials. NDP MPs voted for legislation Laverdière labelled an “important step to support the Global Magnitsky movement.”

In summer 2016 NDP defence critic Randall Garrison expressed support for Canada leading a NATO battle group to Latvia as part of a ratcheting up of tensions with Russia. Four hundred and fifty Canadian troops are currently leading a 1,000-strong NATO force in Latvia while the US, Britain and Germany head missions in Poland, Lithuania and Estonia. As vice-chair of Parliament’s Standing Committee on National Defence, Garrison endorsed a December report titled “Canada’s support to Ukraine in crisis and armed conflict.” It denounced Russia’s “war of aggression against Ukraine” and lauded Canada’s “support of Ukraine in its fight against Russia.”

Deploying Canadian troops to the Russian border and Alberta MLAs pushing to ban Russian vodka both empower rightists in Eastern Europe. They are part of a troubling game of brinksmanship with Russia.

Is this really in Canada’s interest? And why is the NDP enabling the agenda of extreme right forces?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Under the Lying Ice: An Arctic Pandora's Box of Toxins

Melting Arctic To Release Nuclear Waste, Arsenic, & Millions of Gallons of Mercury

by Eleanor Goldfield  - via Lee Camp


Edward Snowden said that his greatest fear with regards to revealing the largest government spying program in history was that “nothing will change.” When I interviewed John Kiriakou, he agreed.

When it comes to climate change, it often feels like I’m screaming “fire” at a bunch of people sitting around roasting marshmallows.

For so many, the issue of climate change has become normalized, even oddly comfortable.

In the film “This Changes Everything,” Naomi Klein laments the apathy she feels in seeing yet another polar bear caught on a melting piece of ice.

It’s an image we’ve seen so often, it just becomes another image – a passable piece of our reality – unfortunate but too big, too abstract, too difficult to change. In the film, likewise the book, Klein makes the point that while climate change is indeed a crisis, capitalism is what’s driving that crisis. At every turn, capitalism pushes the pedal, spewing more poison for pennies. It tells us, “profit is paramount – people and planet are disposable.”

Folks in environmental movements have previously found a shallow comfort in the hope that as climate change pushes back against this road-raging destruction, industries and governments would be forced to rethink their polluting ways, thereby shifting towards sustainable legislation and clean energy. After all, the price of oil is dropping. Natural gas is marked for export more often than not due to low prices and demand here in the US. Renewables make more economic sense – so how could the markets possibly reject a more sustainable future?

Well, because they’re capitalist. And shifting from fossil fuels – or mitigating hugely destructive mining operations – just isn’t in the capitalist paradigm. It’s about extraction, perpetual and personal growth and as little market (and paradigm) shift as possible. So, while renewables do have a place in the global market, so do the rapidly thawing cash crops of the Arctic.

A recent Reuters report covers an ongoing standoff between the Sami people and mining companies looking to cash in on new opportunities made possible by “climate change and technology.”

In northern Norway, some 72 million tons of copper lie nestled under the thawing ground. Arctic Minerals company Nussir already has permits. Now they’re just waiting for Norway’s green light.

In Jokkmokk, Sweden, Beowulf Mining is waiting for a decision from the Swedish government regarding their iron ore mine. In Finland, the Sami have fared a little better – keeping iron ore, copper and gold surveying at bay for the time being. Indigenous to areas now part of northern Norway, Sweden and Finland, many Sami people still live in traditional ways that include reindeer herding and fishing.

Needless to say, for people who literally live off the land and sea, a proposed mine dumping its tailings into the fjord would not only destroy land-based livelihoods but those that rely on the soon-to-be-toxic waters.

Still, as disgusting as these opportunistic battles are, they’re neither a new problem nor a distinctly Sami problem. In 2011, the ironically named Business for Social Responsibility organization released a report titled “Adapting to Climate Change: A Guide for the Mining Industry.”

Less of a guide and more of a long-winded and boring congratulatory letter, the report notes that warming temperatures will not only open up new mineral-rich areas for exploration (read: exploitation), but will save companies cash on heating costs while also keeping northern sea channels free of ice so as to allow for longer and easier shipping windows. I struggled to find the social responsibility portion of BSR’s name reflected in the report, but considering their client list includes Pepsi, Chevron, Wal-Mart, Gap, and Newmont Mining Corp, their name might as well be Bullshit Responsibility.

Similarly echoing this stomach turning excitement, a 2014 Arctic mining market trajectory suggested that “over the next 10 years, investment in the Arctic—led primarily by the oil and gas and mining industries—could exceed US$100 billion.”

Analyst Li Qing Tan highlights the economic power behind “unleashing the mining potential of the Arctic” for those companies willing to deal with some regulatory and infrastructure challenges.

Since the Arctic is largely undeveloped, roads and other access infrastructure will have to be built in order to connect the new mines to the global market. As we’ve seen elsewhere, you can’t just mine paradise, you gotta pave it too.

Unfortunately for the Arctic, someone’s always willing to.

That someone includes the second largest economy in the world. Between 2005-2017, China invested an estimated $1.4 trillion in the economies of the Arctic – with a focus on natural gas. Discoveries from as recently as April of this year project a boom in natural gas production, with one area in Russia expected to produce 360 billion cubic meters of gas.

And there’s plenty more where that came from. The USGS estimates that,

“[N]early one-quarter of the earth’s undiscovered, recoverable petroleum resources lie in the region: 13 percent of the oil; 30 percent of the natural gas; and 20 percent of the liquefied natural gas. More than 80 percent of these are thought to be offshore.” 

Of course, not all of the goods lie nestled under Russia’s jurisdiction. In fact, one of the most wealthy places in terms of natural resources is an economically poor colony. Indeed, while countries like Russia, Finland, Norway and Sweden play their hands from sovereign decks, Greenland is hoping to buy some autonomy in the Arctic game.

Officially still part of the Kingdom of Denmark, Greenland needs a stronger economy in order to fully break away from their colonial overlords who still issue annual grants to the island.

Back in 2009, Denmark ceded mineral and hydrocarbon rights to Greenland following a self-government referendum which passed in Greenland in 2008 with 75% approval.

Fast forward to 2013 and the pro-mining Siumut party beat out the anti-mining Inuit Ataqatigiit party in bitterly contested elections.

Soon after, Greenland’s parliament voted to lift a ban on radioactive materials – laying out a welcome mat for uranium and rare earth industries.

With uranium necessary for nuclear plants and rare earth minerals used in everything from mobile phones and flatscreen TVs to modern weaponry, Greenland didn’t have to wait long till companies came a-knockin’.

 As of 2016, six mining projects had either already broken ground or were at the most advanced stages of consideration. Interested parties span the globe – from Canada to Australia, and of course, China.

Since his election in 2014, Greenland’s prime minister Kim Kielsen has advanced business discussions with Chinese investors, and earlier this year even announced plans to possibly open a representation office in Beijing.

Considering China’s interest in not only mining but in “infrastructure planning, tourism, and scientific cooperation,”

Kielsen’s pro-business paradigm has found a natural partner in China. Still, there seems to be plenty to go around.

Beyond just rare earth minerals and uranium, Greenland also has stores of iron ore, nickel, copper and gold. Greenland’s leaders have also expressed interest in opening up their coastline for more oil drilling, having already invited Cairn Energy to drill off their western shores in 2010-11.

Jorn Skolv Nielsen, head of Greenland’s Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum even cited the retreat of sea ice as a major reason for opening up Greenland’s waters to drilling. In other news, now that my house has burnt down, I have more room to light fires.

In short, in an attempt to gain independence from Denmark, Greenland is selling its future to foreign industries, thereby becoming dependent on the well-slicked toxic smack of perpetual capitalist extraction and destruction.

Really not sure that it’s worth it – particularly when Greenland’s ice sheet is what’s keeping our oceans from swallowing billions of people and hundreds of cities.

Indeed, as nature’s panache for irony would have it, Greenland stands to not only gain loads of cash thanks to Arctic thaw but also, complete obliteration. If and when Greenland’s ice sheet melts, global sea levels will rise by 20 feet.

Meanwhile, there are other issues associated with Arctic thaw, outside of cash crops, which make for an unbelievably bleak and terrifying future.

An oil spill on dry land is a nightmare. An oil spill in the ocean is a nightmare. An oil spill in the Arctic leaves them both behind.

As noted in a 2012 report in The Economist,

“[C]ontrolled oil spills in ice in and off Norway suggest that the oil would coat the pitted underside of the sea ice and more ice would form under it, making an ice-and-oil sandwich.

As the sea ice moves, this would be spread around the Arctic and gradually dispersed as the ice melts.

Shell, one of the most technologically advanced oil firms, admits it has no satisfactory answer but suggests it could track the frozen oil and burn it as it melts.”

Big oil’s only bright idea to save the Arctic in the event of an oil spill is to literally set it on fire. The Arctic. On fire. And while Shell pats itself on the back for frying up some ice oil sandwiches, the poisons lurking beneath the already fragile ice get that much closer to fresh-ish air.

In the Arctic, it’s not just about what’s to come, it’s also about what has already come to pass, coming back to bite us in the ass. For instance, frozen arsenic. Under Northern Canada, some 237,000 tons of arsenic lie frozen and forgotten by an underground mining project. The poisonous remnants from the aptly named Giant Mine have already contaminated surrounding waters and over 300,000 cubic meters of soil.

As Mischa Andrews wrote in an Arctic Resources and Communities article,

“The plan is for the remaining arsenic to remain frozen underground forever, yet ‘forever’ is a concept that transcends budgets and technology. It’s a time frame of myths…” 

And while this mythical time frame splinters along reality’s jagged edges, the Yellowknives Dene First Nations people are left with an abandoned mine, no industrial accountability and a rapidly warming homeland. Meanwhile, across the Arctic, 15 million gallons of mercury lie just beneath the permafrost.

 A U.S. Geological Survey study from February of this year notes that there’s roughly twice as much mercury in the Arctic’s permafrost than in all other soils, the ocean and the atmosphere combined. And as the permafrost thaws, this mother load of mercury will seep into the atmosphere, into all kinds of bodies of water via fluvial systems and of course ultimately, into the ocean.

But wait, it gets worse. 

There’s twice as much carbon dioxide in permafrost as there is in the earth’s atmosphere. There’s methane and anthrax; ancient bacteria and viruses – oh, and nuclear waste. Be it our own stupidity or the earth’s layer cake methodology, the Arctic is a pandora’s box of shit that can kill us; a sealed door that we are both literally and figuratively taking a blow torch to in the interest of short term greed.

The Arctic Council predicts that some 20% of the Arctic’s permafrost may thaw by 2040. Between what lies beneath coming up or being forced up, there’s really no way to sugar coat this issue.

The warming of the Arctic is not only evidence of our irreversible destruction but an opportunity for us to destroy more quicker. We need change now, yet the change we’re mostly seeing is but an adaptation to, if not an acceleration towards, our own suicide.

While there’s no silver lining, there is power and potential in knowledge. Know what we’re up against and know that market forces are hammering nails into coffins rather than digging us out. Build alternatives, plan outside the confines of the capitalist paradigm but know that climate catastrophe is here – and if the mouth watering over melted ice is any indication of our trajectory – that catastrophe is just getting warmed up (pun intended).

(If you think this article was important, please share it. Or become a sustaining member for as low as $5 a month – the same cost as two coffees. Two coffees per month.)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Khan al-Ahmar: Israel's Ethnic Cleansing by the Numbers

Forced Displacement, Again

by Carolyn Coe -

July 10, 2018

Voices' friend (and past delegate) Carolyn Coe writes from Khan al-Ahmar, "a Bedouin community near Jerusalem whose residents face the threat of forcible transfer to white metal housing containers on treeless, highway-sandwiched land."

Yousef and I have barely crossed the highway and climbed over the guardrail to approach Khan al-Ahmar when two Israeli police officers approach. 

They brandish papers in Hebrew and deny our entry into the village. An officer photographs our IDs and then we walk away from the village, along the highway, as we make plan B.

We flag down a ride with some Palestinian Authority (PA) employees who find another approach road.

Part of a caravan of a half dozen PA cars, we slowly snake our way down a dusty rocky road leading into a wadi. 

As we near Khan al-Ahmar, we once again climb the hillside to reach the village. This time, the police are nowhere in sight. 

Within a couple hours, 200+ Palestinian dignitaries and activists as well as foreigners join village men and some children in Khan al-Ahmar's tarped central gathering space.

The forcible transfer of the villagers has been delayed by court order for another six days, until July 16.

Abdul Khader, age 8, borrows my camera and roams the plastic-grass-floored space taking photographs. He takes a photo of village leaders sitting in a line of plastic chairs and one of the top of his spiky dark hair. Later, he takes me by the hand and guides me over to the school, whose walls are constructed out of mud-covered tires.


Villagers and the visiting governor of Jerusalem make speeches before a line of video cameras. Water bottles and small cups of coffee appear in timely waves. Circles form with men talking quietly beneath a tree, and other circles of people clapping and singing political songs. A group of argile smokers hang out in one corner, and boy scouts huddle in small clusters, their identifying scarfs tied around their necks.

Someone sets up a TV and a half circle forms with watchers of the France-Belgium World Cup match, the TV shut off temporarily during evening prayers.

After 11 p.m., a bus-load of activists from Hebron arrives chanting and waving Palestinian flags and the quieter energy of the evening re-transforms into exuberance. Men dance the Dabke with a village elder leading the line of dancers and twirling his cane.


Around 1 a.m., foam mattresses appear and I lie down. My eyes closed, someone drapes a fleece blanket over me. A few minutes later, I feel the weight of a second blanket. It must have been in the upper 90s but I take no action to remove the extra blanket. A pillow is pushed beside my head. Soon enough, someone re-appropriates the second blanket. When I find the pillow too big and push it aside, and someone takes that, too. During this bedding supply and removal process, I don't open my eyes, exhausted.

The next morning, some of us bag up the plastic bottles and paper coffee cups that litter the floor. Bread, falafel, and hard-boiled eggs appear along with coffee. By about 8 a.m., almost all have left the community except for the villagers.

Here's a link to Mazin Qumsiyeh's post about our previous Khan al-Ahmar visit on Sunday:

And to Jonathan Cook's article about the community:

After the Game: The Not So Beautiful Fate of Croatia's Footballers

The Woes of Luka Modrić: Croatia, Nationalism and Football

by Binoy Kampmark - Dissident Voice

July 14th, 2018  

Juraj Vrdoljak of Telesport was convinced.

“I think half the population didn’t show up to work on the morning after the win against England.”

The victory had inspired early shop closures, a feeling of rampant escapism.

“Croatia is a country with a deep economic crisis. Every day, life is really hard. It’s full of bad stories and tough times. There is lot of poverty. A lot of people are emigrating.”

Members of Croatia’s football team have become national talismans of endurance, the shock troops of resilience and hope. Ivan Rakitić, when he takes the field against France, will be playing his 71st match of the season, the most than any top-flight player this year. Luka Modrić remains unflinching in the midfield as the team’s general. Domagoj Vida has been granite in defensive solidity.

Football teams can be held up as mirrors of the nations they represent. This sociological gazing can always be taken too far, a scholar’s fruitless pondering, but Croatia’s national side is instructive. It was Dinamo Zagreb’s Zvonimir Boban who stirred matters with his heralded assault on a police officer engaged in a violent scuffle with fans in a match against Red Star Belgrade. Croatian football was fashioned as a vehicle of protest and dissent against what was seen as a Serb-dominated federation.

In time, football kicks became shells and bullets in the murderous dissolution of Yugoslavia. To this day, a legend stubbornly holds that the truculent Bad Blue Boys of Dinamo and the countering Deljie of Red Star precipitated the first shots of that war.

Starting with its current inspirational captain, the link between social ill and patriotic performance can be seamless. When he finishes the tournament in Russia, Modrić will have to turn his mind back to his relationship with mentor and former Dinamo Zagreb executive Zdravko Mamić, a towering figure who finds himself facing a six-and-a-half year prison sentence for corruption and fraud. From Bosnia and Herzegovina, he does battle with the authorities, attempting to avoid extradition after fleeing Croatia.

A bursting feature of the case mounted against Mamić involved claims of ill-gotten gains from transfers of Modrić from Dinamo Zagreb to Tottenham Hotspur in 2008 and Dejan Lovren to Lyon in 2010. Modrić, it seemed, was implicated in signing an annex to his Dinamo contract, suggesting a 50-50 split of any future transfer fee. What was significant was the timing – 2015 as opposed to any earlier dates. Through his tenure, suggestions that Mamić had conducted a “silent privatisation” of the club were rampant, producing inflated transfer prices and a cult of acquisitiveness.

Modrić, having been billed as a star witness who initially supplied anti-corruption investigators with gold dust on Mamić’s penchant for cooking the accounts, notably in terms of pocketing millions of euros of the transfer fee, froze in the dock. His memory, it seemed, had failed him; the contract annex was not signed, as he initially claimed, in 2015 but 2004. This testimony was effectively rendered worthless. Croatia’s captain now faces the prospect of a perjury charge that carries a possible sentence of five years in prison.

The Croatian Football association, in an official statement in March, was not having a bar of it, unsurprising given the powers that be within the country’s football hierarchy. The body insisted upon “the principle of innocence and considers every person innocent until proven otherwise.” It was also “deeply convinced of the correctness of Luka Modrić’s testimony before the court in Osijek, and especially because of Modrić’s behaviour since his first appearance for the Croatian U-15 team in March 2001 to date.”

While every inch the commander in the field, with his team keen to impress in their following, not all Croatian supporters are in the Modrić tent of fandom. The Bad Blue Boys have found themselves split in loyalties over the years, with some, such as Juraj Ćošić, forming a breakaway team, Futsal Dinamo. “Zdravko Mamić,” claims football sociologist Ben Perasović, “is a typical member of the new rich class.” It is a class that continues to afflict Croatian football with their depredations, a looting tendency that is only now being reined in with mixed success.

The other team members have also shown this side to be rather prickly. Vida, and the now sacked assistant coach Ognjen Vukojević, were caught on film making comments supportive of Ukrainian nationalists in the aftermath of the side’s defeat of Russia in the quarter-finals. FIFA’s benevolence prevailed, and the centre-back was permitted to play in the semi-final against England.

Such a background adds more than a touch of complexity, with all its discomforts, to the World Cup final against France. Croatia’s team will not merely be facing their opponents on the field in a battle of wits and tenacity. Off it, pens and knives are being readied and sharpened, with prosecutions being prepared.

Even now, the team is being written off by the smug pundits of football orthodoxy, though with less disdain than before. Three matches on the trot into extra-time suggest imminent exhaustion, a possible overrunning by a more refreshed French team. But desperation, in meeting talent, can be the most potent of elixirs. This Croatian team has pushed the sceptics to the edge, and threatens to leave them there. And with players like Modrić, adversity remains their closest companion.

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne and can be reached at:
Read other articles by Binoy.

Turning Putin: Middle East Alliance Isolating Iran

Can Trump, Israel, and Gulf Allies Get Putin to Turn On Iran?


July 14, 2018

Days after Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow, Trump will meet with Putin in Helsinki. But despite talk of a “grand bargain” that enlists Russia in helping the US-Israel-Saudi-UAE front against Iran, don’t expect it to happen, says professor and syndicated columnist Rami Khouri.

Rami Khouri is a syndicated columnist, professor of journalism at the American University of Beirut, and non-resident senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School. 

Just Call Me LeRoy: Mueller Trumps Due Process with Lettre de Cachet

Robert Mueller Replaces US Constitution with Royal Lettre de Cachet - Counter-Intelligence Operation As Due Process

by John Helmer - Dances with Bears

July 15, 2018

Moscow - Robert Mueller (lead image), the special US prosecutor of crimes of espionage between Moscow and Washington, picked July 13 to issue his indictment of twelve alleged Russian military intelligence officers for doing their jobs on evidence collected by US intelligence officers doing their jobs.

The Russian crime alleged by Mueller in Paragraph 1 of the indictment was “large-scale cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

The US crime, revealed by Mueller but unindicted so far by the Russian General Prosecutor, was large-scale cyber operations to interfere with Russian state security.

Mueller could not have picked a more auspicious date if he weren’t an ignoramus on the history of autocracy and democracy, European and American.

For it is one day later, on July 14, when every year France celebrates the start of the French Revolution. The reason for the celebration is the end of abuse of power by kings and pretenders to state authority, and their replacement by the democratic rule of law. That revolution, like the annual celebration, isn’t quite over.

What Mueller did this year was to issue what was called, before July 14, 1789, a lettre de cachet – a letter with the royal signet or seal. In the French practice, this was a combination of indictment, conviction, and order for arrest, confiscation of property, and punishment of an individual, who had no right in law to know the charge against him; prove the evidence; appeal the sentence.

The Mueller indictment of twelve officers of the Russian military intelligence agency, GRU (Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff) is a fresh US-Government style lettre de cachet. It names the men accused, their crimes, and the punishment.

The penalties include:

“upon conviction [the twelve] shall forfeit to the United States any property, real or personal, which constitutes or is derived from proceeds obtained directly or indirectly as a result of such violation, and any personal property that was used or intended to be used to commit or to facilitate the commission of such offense.”

Mueller has neither the power nor the intention of trying the accused, or the particulars of his lettre, in an American court of law. This is why on July 13 he intended to violate the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution, first introduced in Philadelphia on June 8, 1789, just a month before the lettre de cachet lost its power in Paris. The Fifth Amendment says noone shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

Read the 29-page indictment ending with Mueller’s sign here.

Instead of due process in the courtoom, retired US intelligence analysts, cyber warfare specialists, lawyers, and investigative journalists are examining the Mueller indictment point by point in the alternative media. Start here.

Suppose, however, the particulars of the indictment are true as alleged; that a US Government prosecutor has obtained from a grand jury a “true bill” revealing that a Russian intelligence agency was spying on the United States, according to evidence collected by the US intelligence services doing their reciprocal duty of spying on the Russians.

Consider the timeline recorded for the Russian espionage and the US counter-espionage following the start, on March 16, 2016, of the Wikileaks series of publications of emails from Hillary Clinton’s Secretary of State term; followed by emails from Democratic Party organizations released in June and July 2016; continuing through October (the John Podesta archive); and concluding on November 6, 2016, two days before Election Day.

At Paragraph 3, Mueller reveals that,

“starting in at least March 2016, the Conspirators [the GRU Twelve] used a variety of means to hack the email accounts of volunteers and employees of the U.S. presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton”. 

Then, according to Paragraph 4, “by in or around April 2016, the Conspirators also hacked into the computer networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).” The dates of the data thefts are given as March 19, 21, 25, 28, April 6, 7, 12, 14, 22.

It wasn’t long – no more than a month, perhaps days — before US counter-intelligence now says it discovered the Russian operation and broke into it, without revealing to the Russians that they were exposed. Paragraph 32:

“Despite the Conspirators efforts to hide their activity, beginning in or around May 2016, both the DCCC and DNC became aware that they had been hacked and hired a security company (Company 1) [this was CrowdStrike] to identify the extent of the intrusions. By in or around June 2016, Company 1 took steps to exclude intruders from the networks.” 

A month later, according to Paragraph 40, “on or about June 14, 2016, the DNC through Company 1 publicly announced that it had been hacked by Russian government actors”.

If the Russians didn’t get the message, Paragraph 33c reveals they kept trying:

“On or about June 20, 2016, after Company 1 had disabled X-Agent on the DCCC network, the Conspirators spent over seven hours unsuccessfully trying to connect to X-Agent.”

It is now certain, Mueller declares in his true bill, not only that the US and Russian agents knew they were on to each other, but that the US agents had been able to trace the Russian intrusion signals back to their sources, identifying the agents’ names, including patronymics; their ranks and unit assignments; their operating aliases; their GRU unit numbers; and the physical addresses of their offices at 20 Komsomolskiy Prospekt, inside the Moscow city limits, and at 22 Kirova Street, Khimki, a northern suburb.

The US counter-intelligence operation was able to record that a contact with the Trump presidential election campaign was approached by the Russians. This happened many weeks after Wikileaks had started publishing openly. The US operation reportedly failed to detect contact (collusion) with the Trump campaign.

Also, the contact, according to the US espionage record, was slow to notice, and unimpressed by the value of the information. At Paragraph 44:

“On or about August 15, 2016, the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, wrote to a person [Roger Stone] who was in regular contact with senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump,
‘thank u for writing back . . . do u find anyt[h]ing interesting in the docs i posted?’
On or about August 17, 2016, the Conspirators added,
‘please tell me if i can help u anyhow . . . it would be a great pleasure to me.’
On or about September 9, 2016, the Conspirators, again posing as Guccifer 2.0, referred to a stolen DCCC document posted online and asked the person,
‘what do u think of the info on the turnout model for the democrats entire presidential campaign.’
The person responded, ‘[p]retty standard.’”

Paragraph 47 reveals that both the Russian and American agents were closely monitoring the Wikileaks computer traffic, hacking and reading their emails, as well as providing click bait. On June 22, US agents discovered,

“Organization 1 [Wikileaks] sent a private message to Guccifer 2.0 to ‘[s]end any new material [stolen from the DNC] here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing.’”

This was ten days after June 12, when Julian Assange had publicly revealed Wikileaks was ready to release “upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton”. So the Mueller evidence implies the Russians were playing catch-up, with materials which, until that moment, Assange, other Wikileaks analysts and Roger Stone didn’t think much of. For analysis of what Mueller is admitting to here, read this.

“On or about June 27, 2016,” according to Paragraph 45b, “the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, contacted a U.S. reporter with an offer to provide stolen emails from Hillary Clintons staff.” 

Mueller reveals the US was monitoring Russian communications with a US journalist; by inference he also reveals that the journalist refused to publish anything from the materials offered. Which reporter and which American press outlet, its editors and management decided not to publish are not yet known. Nor the reason for the media coverup.

The Russian spies appear to have been undeterred by this rejection, and soldiered on at Wikileaks.

“On or about July 6, 2016, Organization 1 [Wikileaks] added,
if you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tweo [sic] days prefable [sic] because the DNC [Democratic National Convention] is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after.
The Conspirators responded,
ok . . . i see. Organization 1 explained, we think trump has only a 25% chance of winning against hillary . . . so conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting.

For details of what Assange subsequently offered to disclose about the sources of these contacts to Justice Department, FBI and CIA officials, read this. The only comment Wikileaks has made so far to the Mueller indictment refers to its timing, not its veracity.

Mueller reports at Paragraph 31 that,

“during the hacking of the DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] and DNC [Democratic National Committee] networks, the Conspirators covered their tracks by intentionally deleting logs and computer files.” 

Altogether, the indictment identifies four separate efforts at deletion of computer logs by the Russian agents — May 13, June 1, June 20, and a date in August. This appears to be a highly sensitive disclosure that US intelligence has the technical capability to defeat Russian methods of computer deletion, not only by detecting Russian deletion attempts when they happen, but by retrieving or reconstructing what the Russians think they have erased securely.

This is an exceptional achievement in US cyber warfare to have slipped out of its TOP SECRET NOFORN classification; it may be a signal that US cyber agents can fabricate Russian tracks to deceive other US cyber agents; Mueller too.

The sophistication, time and labour intensity of this type of warfare is expensive, at least on the US side. Mueller’s investigators report they are spending more than $750,000 per month – and this doesn’t count the cost of the National Security Agency and other cyber intelligence operations which have been provided to Mueller without charge to his budget.

His indictment reveals how much more cost-effective the Russian side is. With just twelve agents, and not counting what the US knows about their rouble paychecks, the indictment reveals at Paragraph 57:

“To facilitate the purchase of infrastructure used in their hacking activity—including hacking into the computers of U.S. persons and entities involved in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and releasing the stolen documents—the Defendants conspired to launder the equivalent of more than $95,000 through a web of transactions structured to capitalize on the perceived anonymity of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.”