Democrats’ McCarthyism Hits Greens’ Stein

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Democrats’ McCarthyism Hits Greens’ Stein

Postby admin » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:41 am

Democrats’ McCarthyism Hits Greens’ Stein
by Nat Parry
March 9, 2017

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Four months since the upset election of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, one of the primary scapegoats of the Democrats for its stunning electoral failure remains the Green Party and its 2016 presidential nominee, Jill Stein. Pointing to final vote tallies in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan that showed Trump’s margin of victory as being below the total vote count for Stein, Democrats have coalesced around the conventional wisdom that Stein voters flipped the election by failing to unite behind the Democratic nominee.

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Jill Stein attending a dinner marking the RT network’s 10-year anniversary in Moscow, December 2015, sitting at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As Matthew Rozsa explains the thinking at Salon, “if the Stein voters in those three states had all supported Clinton instead of Trump, the Republican candidate would have only received 260 electoral votes – 10 shy of the minimum necessary to become president.”

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If pigs could fly!


So there you have it. Stein spoiled the election. Case closed.

The problem with this analysis is its flawed logic that anyone’s votes actually “belong” to anyone else, and further, it rests on the false assumption that all of Stein’s voters would have naturally voted for Clinton had the Green Party not been competing in the election.

The fact is, many of these voters were turned off by Clinton’s hawkishness, perceived ethical lapses and close Wall Street ties, and would have never voted for her regardless of whether there was a third party alternative or not. Some would have stayed home, and others might have actually voted for Trump.

Early in 1984, a twenty-nine-year-old Arkansas trooper named Larry Douglass Brown was eagerly applying for work with the Central Intelligence Agency.

Brown was no ordinary state policeman or routine CIA applicant. Known at the mansion and the capitol -- and by CIA recruiters -- as Bill Clinton's "fair-haired boy," he was the governor's conspicuous favorite among the troopers assigned as his personal bodyguards. Ten years Brown's senior, Clinton treated the avid but less polished young man from Pine Bluff with an avuncular, patronizing warmth, urging on him books from his own collection and engaging in more substantive conversation than the small talk and ingratiating vulgarity he usually reserved for his state police escorts. Yet L.D., as his friends and colleagues knew him, was far more than a protege. His wife-to-be was Chelsea Clinton's nanny, his future mother-in-law the mansion's administrator. Guard and driver for many of the governor's trips out of state as well as around Arkansas, he was one of several troopers and other aides serving as procurer or cover in Clinton's ceaseless quest for extramarital sex -- and claiming what he called "residuals" among the women the governor wasn't interested in. He was also among those who saw evidence firsthand of the far more serious and sustained affair, dating from the mid-1980s, between Hillary Clinton and Rose partner Vince Foster.

As he told his story with impressive substantiation from other accounts a decade afterward, Brown had been privy to some of the Clintons' most personal liaisons, their biting relationship with each other, their behind-the-door bigotry toward "redneck" Arkansas, and other intimacies; he and a stoic Hillary had even talked earnestly about problems in their respective marriages. At one point in the early 1980s, Brown had come in contact with Vice President Bush during an official gathering. The "rather conservative" young officer, as one friend described him, had been impressed by Bush. Afterward Clinton had twitted him about his Republican "hero," though the two remained close. Regarded as among the better state police officers, Brown received some of the most sophisticated training that national law enforcement agencies offer regional police officers, including advanced courses provided by the DEA and Customs in intelligence gathering, drug importation, and conspiracy cases. Because of Brown's extensive training, Clinton handpicked him to serve on a state committee studying the drug epidemic to help develop educational programs in Arkansas, and Brown wrote several of the panel's position papers later cited as evidence of the state government's fight against narcotics.

Brown and the Clintons eventually had a falling-out when the governor reneged on a state job offer in 1985 and later on his half of a political bargain to raise the pay of the state police, whose association Brown headed. Brown gradually went from favorite to outcast, menaced with a prejudicial "investigation" of his work and smeared as a liar and incompetent by aides who not long before had been jealous of how much Clinton trusted and respected him. Yet the deeper break had begun in the autumn of 1984, when Brown had witnessed matters far more serious than the Clintons' personal excesses.

By Brown's repeated accounts, including hundreds of pages of testimony under oath and supporting documentation, the sum of the story was stark: The governor had clearly been aware of the crimes of Mena as early as 1984. He knew the Central Intelligence Agency was responsible, knew that there was major arms and drug running out of western Arkansas, believed the smuggling involved not only Barry Seal but also a cocaine dealer who was one of Clinton's most prominent backers, and seemed to know that approval of the Mena flights reached as high as Vice President Bush. Brown remembered how Bill Clinton had encouraged him to join in the operation -- "Clinton got me into this, the governor did," he would testify -- and how Clinton had then dismissed his repugnance at the evidence that Seal was trafficking cocaine under CIA auspices. The state policeman watched in "despair," his brother recalled, while the governor did nothing about the drug smuggling. Brown would still think a decade later that Bill Clinton "was surprised only in that I had found out about it."

Clinton had urged him to answer a newspaper ad for CIA employment that ran in the New York Times on April Fool's Day, 1984. "L.D., I've always told you you'd make a good spy," Clinton remarked to him when Brown showed him the paper and asked "if this is for real?" "Well, you know that's not his name," Clinton said of a personnel officer listed in the ad, "but you need to write him a letter." Brown did just that two days later. "Governor Clinton has been an inspiration for me to further my career in government service," he wrote, "and in particular to explore the possibilities of employment with your agency."

Clinton proceeded to show an avid interest in Brown's application. He urged Brown to study Russian for an intelligence career, and Brown characteristically took the advice to heart, practicing the foreign script in a copybook and artlessly, proudly informing the CIA of his "understanding of the Cyrillic alphabet." He and Clinton talked, too, of the role of an operations officer, with Clinton explaining the CIA's diplomatic cover abroad and the recruitment of informers. "It was strange, you know. He was into the fiction aspect of it and intrigue," Brown remembered.

At one point Clinton told him he would personally call the CIA on his behalf. "He, obviously, from all our conversations, knew somebody," Brown recounted in a sworn deposition. "I don't know who he called, but he said he would. He said he did. I made a note one day that he made a phone call for me." But in a private conversation Brown would go even further with the story of the call. Clinton, he said, had not bothered to go through any officeholder's liaison or other formal CIA channel in Washington but had simply telephoned someone directly at the agency, someone whom he knew on a first-name basis and with whom he talked for some time. As usual, Brown was impressed with his boss's knowledge and contacts. Early in the process the governor had begun to greet him whenever they met with a grinning question they both understood to refer to Brown's relationship with the CIA. "You having any fun yet?" Clinton would ask.

As part of his CIA application Brown was to submit a writing sample, and together he and Clinton chose as a topic the current foreign policy controversy over the wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador. "We decided that I would write a paper on Marxism in Central America. Governor Clinton and I." Typing in the troopers' guardhouse at the mansion because he had no typewriter at home, Brown wrote what he thought "a pretty decent essay," which he gave to Clinton to read. Some eight hundred words, it was a rough, largely unpunctuated, and simplistic rendition of the Reagan administration's own views, warning of the "growing threat of spreading Marxism south of this country's borders." Clinton made some word changes and suggested what he should "expound on," but the final essay remained, with Clinton's approval, very much "about defeating Marxism in Central America and aiding the Contras in the United States and the domino theory and all that," as Brown testified later.

At odds with more informed views of his own party in Congress and even in the Democratic foreign policy establishment, Clinton's response to Brown's essay is one of the few surviving marks of his opinions on the subject. To the extent that he agreed with what he left unaltered, it was obviously a reactionary, rightist approach to the raging controversy over Central America, accepting the myth that the leftist but fiercely independent Sandinistas were tools of Soviet expansion in the Western Hemisphere, implicitly viewing social revolution in the Americas as a sinister threat to US security. Whether conviction or calculation, the tone seemed well suited for CIA recruiters. Brown himself was never sure his essay reflected the governor's thinking, whatever Clinton's urgings to "expound." They had played the bureaucratic game. "To be quite frank, I think we both thought it was something they wanted to hear more or less," Brown testified in 1995.

By the end of the summer of 1984 -- four months after taking and passing a CIA entrance examination -- Brown had met with a CIA recruiter in Dallas, someone named Magruder, an "Ivy League-looking guy" who spoke "admiringly of Clinton," and whom Brown would later recognize in photographs and identify to congressional investigators in 1996 as a onetime member of Vice President Bush's staff. This was the man who asked him if he would be interested in "paramilitary" or "narcotics" work as well as "security." Brown said he wanted to be considered for such assignments and, in the course of the interview, duly signed a secrecy agreement. Somebody, he was told, would be giving him a call.

On September 5 he received formal notification of his nomination for employment. Scarcely a month later the expected CIA call came to his unlisted number at home. As Brown testified, the caller "talked to me about everything I had been through in the meeting in Dallas, . . . made me very aware that he knew everything there was to know." He asked Brown to meet him at Cajun's Wharf in Little Rock, a popular restaurant and bar off Cantrell Road in the Arkansas River bottoms just below the white heights. His name, he said, was Barry Seal.

At their meeting, the corpulent Seal was memorable for the athletic young state trooper. "Big guy. He had on one of those shirts that comes down ... outside your pants, big-guy kind of thing." Seal was cryptic but again seemed clearly to know details Brown had provided on his CIA application. "He knew about the essay and everything I had done, so absolutely there was no question in my mind," Brown testified. Seal also spoke vaguely about working for the CIA: "He'd been flying for the agency, that's all I knew." In conversations over the next few weeks, Seal referred casually to Clinton as "the guv" and "acted like he knew the governor," Brown recalled. He invited Brown to join him in an "operation" planned to begin at Mena's Intermountain Regional before sunrise on Tuesday, October 23, 1984.

Impressed with the gravity of it all, Brown told no one about the talk with Seal, except the governor, who seemed "excited" as usual at Brown's progress with the agency. Seal was nothing like the CIA Ivy Leaguer he had met in Dallas, Brown told Clinton. "El Gordo" Barry Seal "was kind of devil-may-care." Again Clinton seemed knowing, encouragingly nonchalant. "Don't sweat it, you can handle it," he told his bodyguard. "You'll have fun."

Arranging his shifts at the mansion to make time for the flight, Brown met Seal at the Mena airport in the predawn darkness and was surprised to find them boarding not a small private craft but a "huge military plane" painted a dark charcoal with only minimum tail markings, its engines roaring with a "thunderous noise," he remembered. "Scared the shit out of me just taking off."

Seal ordered him matter-of-factly to leave behind all personal identification, including his billfold, keys, and jewelry. Along with Seal at the controls sat a copilot whose name Brown never learned, and in the back of the aircraft sat two men, "beaners" or "kickers" the trooper called them. Though he did not know it, Brown was aboard the Fat Lady, and his later account marked the flight as one of Mena's routine gun-and-drug runs.

After a refueling stop in New Orleans and the flight to Central America, the C-123K dived below radar, then climbed and dipped again for the "kickers" to roll out on casters large tarp-covered palettes, which were swiftly parachuted over what Brown could see out the open cargo door was a tropical, mountainous terrain. Later Seal told Brown the loads were M-16s for the Contras. On the return they landed in Honduras, where Seal and the "kickers" picked up four dark green canvas duffel bags with shoulder straps, which Brown did not see again.

Back at Mena Seal handed Brown a manila envelope with $2,500 in small bills, presumably as payment for his time -- "used money just like you went out and spent," Brown recalled -- and said he would call him again about another "operation." As the ambitious young trooper testified later, he was diffident about this apparent audition with his CIA employers, reluctant to ask questions, even about the cash. "This guy [Seal] obviously knew what he was doing and had the blessing and was working for the agency and knew everything about me, so I wasn't going to be too inquisitive."

At the mansion on Brown's next shift following the run to Central America, Clinton greeted him with the usual "You having any fun yet?" though now with a pat on the back. With a "big smile" Brown answered, "Yeah, but this is scary stuff," describing "a big airplane" which he thought "kind of crazy." But Bill Clinton seemed unsurprised and unquestioning, casual as always about what Brown told him about the CIA, Seal, and Mena. "Oh, you can handle it," he said again. "Don't sweat it."

Brown was startled at the governor's obvious prior knowledge of the flight. "He knew before I said anything. He knew," Brown testified. Asked later under oath if he believed the Seal flight had been sanctioned by the governor, Brown would be unequivocal. "Well, he knew what I was doing. He was the one that furthered me along and shepherded me through this thing." Did he have any doubt that Clinton approved of the flight from Mena to Central America? "No," he testified. Did he believe the Seal run "a sanctioned and approved mission on behalf of the United States?" "Absolutely. I mean, there is no doubt."

Not long afterward, in the later fall of 1984, Seal called the trooper as promised, again inquiring about Clinton: "He always asked me first thing, how is the guv?" They talked about the first flight and Seal, ruminating on his service for the CIA, confirmed that they had dropped a load of contraband M-16s for the Contras. "That's all he talked about was flying and [the] CIA and how much work he had done for them, and that's all he did. That's all we would talk about," Brown recalled. They met again, this time at a Chinese restaurant near the Capitol, and arranged for Brown to go on another trip in late December.

On Christmas Eve, 1984, once more with the governor's encouragement, Brown again flew with Seal to Central America on what he still understood to be some kind of orientation mission for his CIA employment. Seal picked up two duffel bags on the return through Honduras, and just as before, back at Mena he offered Brown $2,500 in small bills. Yet this time Seal also brought one of the duffels to Brown's Datsun hatchback in the Intermountain Regional parking lot and proceeded to take out of it what the former narcotics investigator instantly recognized as a kilo of cocaine, a "waxene-wrapped package," as he called it, "a brick."

Alarmed and incensed, Brown quickly told Seal he "wanted no part of what was happening" and left, speeding back to Little Rock in mounting agitation, not least over the role of the state's chief executive. ''I'm just going nuts in my mind with all the possibilities," he would say. ''I'm thinking, well, this is, this is an official operation. Clinton got me into this, the governor did. It can't be as sinister as I think it is.... He knew about the airplane flights. He knew about it and initiated the conversation about it the first time I came back."

Returning to the guardhouse, Brown first called his "best friend," his brother Dwayne in Pine Bluff, who remembered his being "terribly upset" and later went to the mansion to see him when the Clintons were away. According to the two men, Brown told his brother part of what he had encountered, though without mentioning the CIA involvement. "Who's pushing this. Who is behind it?" his brother asked at one point. In reply, as each recalled clearly, Brown "nodded over towards the governor's mansion."

Brown decided to approach Clinton directly about what he had seen. When they were together soon after the second flight, a smiling Clinton seemed about to ask the usual question. But Brown was angry. He asked Clinton if he knew Barry Seal was smuggling narcotics. "Do you know what they're bringing back on that airplane?" he said to Clinton in fury. "Wait, whoa, whoa, what's going on?" the governor responded, and Brown answered, "Well, essentially they're bringing back coke." More than a decade later, Brown would testify to his dismay at Clinton's response: "And it wasn't like it was a surprise to him. It wasn't like -- he didn't try to say, what? ... He was surprised that I was mad because he thought we were going to have a cordial conversation, but he didn't try to deny it. He didn't try to deny that it wasn't coming back, that I wasn't telling the truth or that he didn't know anything about it."

In waving off Brown's questions about Mena, Clinton had made another remark as well, added as what seemed both justification and warning. "And your hero Bush knows about it," he told Brown. "And your buddy Bush knows about it."

Brown was chilled. ''I'm not going to have anything else to do with it ... I'm out of it," he told Clinton. "Stick a fork in me, I'm done," he added, an adolescent phrase from their shared Arkansas boyhood. The governor had tried to calm him: "Settle down. That's no problem." But Brown turned away, hurried to his car, and drove off, leaving behind his once-promising career. "I got out of there, and from then it was, you know, not good."

The trooper immediately called the CIA to withdraw his application, albeit discreetly. 'Just changed my mind," he recalled telling them. But he saw no recourse, no appeal to some higher level of government in a crime in which both the governor of the state and Washington were knowledgeable and thus complicit. "I mean if the governor knows about it ... and I work for the governor," he remembered thinking, "exactly who would I have gone to and told? I mean, the federal government knows that this guy is doing this ... I don't know what authority I would have gone to." More than a year later, as they were having drinks in Jonesboro, Brown would tell the commandant of the state police, Colonel Tommy Goodwin, but even then he acted out of a desire to confess his unwitting involvement rather than out of any expectation that Arkansas would move on the crimes. All the while, he was bothered by the role of his onetime hero at the mansion. "Number one," he would testify later of Bill Clinton, "he didn't deny it. I wanted him to tell me, oh, good gosh, that's terrible. We've got to report this. And I wanted him to deny knowing anything about it or to explain it away to me . . . they've got a big sting planned, and they're trying, you know, to make a case on such and such, but no. It was no surprise to him. He was surprised, I think -- this is what I think -- that Seal showed it to me. That's what I think to this day."

At the time, the bodyguard had been inconsolable. From the moment of the second flight on Christmas Eve, 1984, until L.D. left the governor's security detail in June 1985, his brother thought him at "a high level of despair." What the eager and patriotic young trooper had discovered about government, Dwayne Brown worried, had left him almost suicidal.

But perhaps what had most disturbed L. D. Brown was a direct reference by Clinton to a member of the governor's own inner circle. Clinton "throws up his hands" when Brown mentions the cocaine, as if a crucial, somehow rationalizing distinction should be made between the gunrunning and the drug trafficking.

"Oh, no," Clinton said, denying that the cocaine was related to the CIA Brown was hoping to join. "That's Lasater's deal."

***

Danny Ray Lasater would signify their most telling relationship of all -- the man Bill Clinton mentioned on impulse when he assured his security guard, "That's Lasater's deal."

Three years older than Clinton, Lasater was born in remote White County, Arkansas, not far from Jim McDougal's hometown and only miles from Whitewater. As a boy he had moved to Kokomo, Indiana, and after high school worked as assistant manager and manager of a local McDonald's. He was not yet twenty, he later told the FBI, when he became partners with his father-in-law, a former sheriff, and with a Kokomo car dealer in a fast-food restaurant. In a meteoric rise that others would later find remarkable, he and his partners would open their own chain of Ponderosa steakhouses, branching out into various states with a succession of investors. With someone else's ample capital, he would at twenty-three become part owner of a chain, and at twenty-nine a multimillionaire. Neither Lasater nor Ponderosa was ever charged with wrongdoing. But his quick fortune -- made in a largely cash industry that federal and state law enforcement saw increasingly exploited by organized crime and characterized by what one US attorney called the "skim and scam" of the cash profits by managers -- attracted the attention of investigators in several states.

Early in the 1970s Lasater took his company public, sold his shares, and invested his millions in thoroughbreds -- another industry rife with allegations of penetration by organized crime, drug-money laundering, and other corruption. With farms in Kentucky and Florida, Lasater would attract the top breeders, and his horses would be among the leading money winners. Along the way he developed a close relationship with Kentucky's Democratic governor, John Y. Brown, and other related figures, including Brown's old friend and partner Jimmy Lambert, whose links to the mob and conviction on drug charges in the mid-1980s would shake Kentucky and help shatter Brown's own presidential plans. The Lambert ties placed Lasater himself under investigation by the Kentucky State Police for his own relationship to organized crime. It was also "Jimmy," as Lasater told the FBI after Lambert's indictment, who gave him his "first" cocaine around 1978 at Lambert's Cincinnati and Lexington nightclubs. But by then Dan Lasater had moved back to Arkansas, first trying a new restaurant, then a more profitable Little Rock bond brokerage -- and, not least, acquiring a close relationship with another ambitious governor.

In Little Rock he became part of the drug scene, sniffing cocaine with the Clintons' friend Barrett Hamilton, Jr., and others in the white heights and holding raucous parties at his impressive home or his Quapaw Towers apartment, which happened to be ten floors above that of a local television reporter named Gennifer Flowers. In partnership with a state legislator, Lasater's "bond daddy" brokerage made a million dollars in profits by 1982 but was already infamous in local investment circles for its flow of cocaine as well as its shady financial practices. Lasater himself commonly snorted the drug at the office. "Cocaine was so pervasive in the investment banking community," a Lasater broker was reported to have confessed to a local judge, "that he feared it would be hard to stay away from the drug if he remained."

Like Red Bone's commodity brokerage in Springdale, Lasater's company received professional censure after censure -- in 1982 from the National Association of Securities Dealers for excessive markups and unlicensed sales, in 1983 for buying and selling bonds for a savings and loan without authority of the thrift's board, in 1984 for making more unauthorized trades, and over a period of time for violating multiple securities rules and regulations. The state securities commissioner under Frank White's governorship sanctioned the firm for "cheating customers" in 1982.

By 1983 Lasater had personally given thousands and had held fundraisers producing tens of thousands more for Clinton's gubernatorial campaigns, most crucially the 1982 comeback. As those most familiar with the governor's routine well knew, however, Danny Ray Lasater was never merely another big donor to be paid special deference but rather an extraordinary intimate whom Clinton visited regularly at his brokerage and who came to the mansion whenever he pleased, entering by the back gate and walking through the kitchen.

Entering through the domain of the mansion's commanding black cook, Elizabeth Ashley, was a privilege reserved only for family and the most senior staff. In the mid-1980s Lasater enjoyed it as no one else outside that circle. It was no wonder, as Clinton's closest aides knew, that the governor had turned to Lasater to give Roger Clinton a job or that the millionaire had loaned the governor's addicted half brother money to pay off a drug debt during Roger's 1983-84 crisis.

Lasater was given to "drop-ins," as trooper bodyguard Barry Spivey put it, "just kind of off-the-cuff. Day and night, weekends, all day, he just came when he wanted to." Spivey, who served at the mansion from 1979 to 1984, remembered that throughout his tour, "Dan never was shown in through the front door." Another trooper recalled that, "there is [sic] not many people that just drive through the back gate and their driver pulls them up and they go in the back door. . . . He was a fixture." Among the many ironies of the troopers' waving him through the back gate was that Lasater's chauffeur was not simply a "driver" but a convicted murderer who carried a gun and was widely known to deal drugs on the side.

The governor and the bond dealer saw each other frequently, and with the same familiarity, at Lasater's brokerage, where Clinton would stop for unscheduled visits, telling his state trooper escort to take him to Lasater's office if they happened to be in the vicinity. "A lot of times he would just be in the area and he would say run by Dan's or run by Lassiter's [sic] for a minute," Spivey testified. "We very seldom were in the area when he had any time on his hands that he didn't run in." Clinton's state police drivers would circle the block or simply sit and let the limousine idle while the governor and Lasater "would be upstairs and behind closed doors or something," as one remembered.

When Bill Clinton told L.D. Brown that the Seal cocaine smuggling was "Lasater's deal," he was not talking about someone he met from time to time or knew only in a limited context, but rather about the most intimate of friends and associates.

Beyond frequent private meetings at the mansion and Lasater and Company, there were extensive social contacts as well. Other troopers remembered accompanying Clinton to Lasater's large homes or his downtown apartment, to his private box at Hot Springs's Oaklawn track, where Lasater courted the governor's mother as well, or aboard his Lear jet. Some escorts, like Brown, were concerned about the cocaine spread so lavishly at Lasater's parties, extraordinary even amid what Brown called Little Rock's "real robust party atmosphere." At Lasater's apartment, one witness told the FBI in a handwritten statement, cocaine was given to high school girls in a special "graduation party," and on another occasion Lasater threw a party for a woman friend and impressed everyone with his extravagance by writing "Happy Birthday" in cocaine on the glass coffee table. At one typical gathering Brown tried to usher the governor out to avoid a scandal, though it was clear that Clinton knew about the rampant drugs. "There was a silver platter of what I thought was cocaine and I got the governor out of there. I said we need to go. Let's get out of here," the state trooper remembered. "He had to have seen it. There were a lot of people there, a lot of girls there. He had to have seen it. I mean, it was obvious. . . . He said something to Lasater and I got him out of there."

The millionaire would lend his plane to Clinton for campaign trips and, in 1985, for flying celebrities to a charity function organized by Hillary. In May 1983, less than five months after Clinton's triumphal return to the statehouse, trooper Barry Spivey would accompany Lasater and the Clintons on a flight to attend the Kentucky Derby, where they met the host governor, John Y. Brown, who was a friend of Clinton as well as Lasater but whose longtime positioning for the presidency was already beginning to be clouded by questionable associations. With Roger Clinton "running bets for Dan and Bill," as Spivey recalled, all of them made money on the winner, Sunny's Halo. But behind the gathering of smiling political notables was another reality as well.

Law enforcement agents would remember that 1983 Derby as one of the most heavily surveilled sporting events in history. State and federal plainclothes agents rubbed elbows with the celebrities and the crowd at Churchill Downs as part of a still incipient but widening probe of organized crime, money laundering, and other corruption in Kentucky and surrounding states. Lasater was among those being watched, though the FBI and other agents would not learn until later that Lasater had given a paper bag containing $300,000 in cash to Governor Brown by way of Jimmy Lambert. The Kentucky governor had asked Lasater for a million dollars, a Lasater partner told the FBI, but the broker had decided to give "only" $300,000. "I just took care of John Y's money problems," an associate recalled Lasater's telling him afterward....

Lasater enjoyed an impressive and ever-growing share of state business. Listed to underwrite state housing bonds in 1983, soon after Clinton was sworn in and only a year after the brokerage was formally established, Lasater and Company began to rake in management fees and still more in sales commissions. Despite being "the new boy," as a US attorney called him, Lasater suddenly ranked fifth in the established and competitive field of state housing bond underwriters, ahead of major concerns and longtime Clinton supporters such as Goldman, Sachs and Merrill Lynch. When, at Clinton's initiative, the Arkansas Development Finance Authority took over most of the lucrative state bond offerings in 1985 -- under legislation drafted in part by Webb Hubbell and with the governor and his political appointees to the ADFA board personally approving each issue -- Lasater and Company would continue to be a major beneficiary of the ubiquitous fees and commissions spread among Little Rock investment and law firms. In the brief period prior to the fall of 1986, ADFA would award it fourteen issues worth more than $600 million, and brokerage fees to Dan Lasater of $1.6 million.

At the same time, almost every Lasater public appearance in the mid-1980s would have its dark shadow. In Little Rock society the broker was a showy philanthropist for children's causes, but in private he was a relentless purveyor of cocaine.

In 1984 he purchased the fashionable Angel Fire ski resort in northern New Mexico for nearly $20 million and was given free rein to use Bill Clinton's name commercially to help promote the isolated development in the mountains east of Taos. Undercover law enforcement agents later found the resort a center for drug running, what a US Customs investigative report called "a large controlled-substance smuggling operation and large-scale money-laundering activity." While Lasater held "Arkansas Week" at the resort with Governor Clinton's endorsement and entertained politicians from Santa Fe as well as Little Rock, local New Mexico sheriffs and district attorneys were hearing reports from Angel Fire reminiscent of Mena -- strange nighttime traffic, sightings of parachute drops, even hikers' accounts of a "big black military-type cargo plane" seeming to come out of nowhere and swooping low and almost silently over a deserted mountain meadow near the remote ski area.

Over the same period, witnesses told investigators, Lasater was bragging about fixing horse races, "putting one in the boot," as he described it to an employee. He was also said to pay frequent visits to Las Vegas, where he allegedly laundered cash in the time-honored manner of the old mob-dominated casinos, losing money, according to an associate, and then winning it back, plus some.

-- Partners in POWER: The Clintons and Their America, by Roger Morris


The suggestion that smaller parties don’t have a right to compete is also deeply anti-democratic and flies in the face of international standards for free and fair elections. Although Democrats rarely come out and openly state their desire for the Green Party to cease to exist, they do pointedly take issue with Green candidates competing in close elections, with the Democratic establishment seeing the Greens’ challenge from the left as an affront that complicates their electoral strategies.

[Gregory Kafoury, Nader Campaign Organizer] Let me tell you, there were carrots and there were sticks. Nader was told, "If you don't run, we will lavish money on your organizations. We will lavish money anywhere you want it." Very extravagant sums of money were mentioned, and he was told face to face, "This is just the beginning."

[Ralph Nader] Oh, yes. I mean, I --through third parties, millions of dollars were offered for our programs and projects if I would drop out, or if I would not decide to run.

[Gregory Kafoury, Nader Campaign Organizer] And at the same time he was told, "If you do run, we will strangle your organizations. We will smother them. Your people will scream in pain at you for what we're gonna do to you."

-- AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel


Whether they acknowledge it or not, what Democrats seem to be suggesting is that people who do not identify with the candidates or positions of the Democratic Party simply should not have the option to vote for alternative candidates or to organize oppositional parties.

But according to an agreement signed by the United States in 1990 providing basic principles for democratic elections, individuals have the right “to establish, in full freedom, their own political parties or other political organizations” and governments must provide these parties the “necessary legal guarantees to enable them to compete with each other on a basis of equal treatment before the law and by the authorities.”

Doubling Down

Despite these international commitments, the Democrats have doubled down on their attacks against Stein in the months since the election, now claiming that not only did she spoil the election by siphoning votes from Clinton, but that she may have done so at the bidding of Russian President Vladimir Putin – never mind the fact that Greens have been running presidential candidates in every U.S. election since 1996.

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A wintery scene in Moscow, near Red Square. (Photo by Robert Parry)

Democratic Party operatives have spread salacious rumors suggesting that Stein is under Putin’s control, using a photo taken in late 2015 of Stein sitting at a table with the Russian leader as proof of possible disloyalty or perhaps even treason.

Viewed within the current context of the “new Cold War” and as part and parcel of the Russian election-meddling allegations, the photo of Stein is all the evidence needed by many Democrats predisposed to assume the worst about the Green Party and its nominee.

It should be kept in mind however that Stein has never attempted to conceal the fact that she attended this “controversial” dinner, which was marking the RT network’s 10-year anniversary, nor that she sat at a table with the Russian president.

In fact, following the dinner, her presidential campaign issued a press release which stated matter-of-factly, “Stein attended a dinner Thursday night, sitting at the table with Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

The press release described Stein’s speech at the dinner in which she admonished both the United States and Russia for pursuing militaristic policies and spending too much money on a pointless arms race
.

“The United States is now embarking on a $1 trillion program to update its nuclear weaponry while we are slashing programs to fight hunger, address homelessness, and provide economic security for our people,” Stein said. “In Russia also, money runs short for critical needs because of the heavy burden of military spending. Imagine how much better off the world would be if our two nations could lead the way for the major powers to reduce the size of our military establishments.”

Stein also posted on Facebook that she “was in Russia to speak at an RT conference along with many other people, including many fellow activists from the peace movement.” While there, she shared a video message on YouTube – recorded from Moscow’s Red Square – in which she called for an end to militarism, and for an international order based on respect for human rights and international law.

Neo-McCarthyism

Despite her openness about her participation in the dinner, in these neo-McCarthyite times of wild speculation, baseless innuendo and general anti-Russian hysteria, Democratic operatives and bloggers are raising questions about whether the dinner is proof that Stein is actually on the payroll of the Russian government. The insinuation is that her 2016 campaign for the presidency was intended to help throw the election in favor of Trump, acting at the behest of Putin.

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Lawyer Roy Cohn (right) with Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

Trolling Jill Stein’s Twitter account with these sorts of accusations has seemingly become second nature to many Democratic Party supporters, with every tweet by Stein responded to by dozens of hostile Democrats who continue to blame the Green Party for spoiling the election.

[James Ridgeway, Journalist] The Democrats just totally trashed the guy, and they have been trashing him for four years. They're the meanest bunch of motherfuckers I have ever run across.

-- AN unREASONABLE MAN, directed by Henriette Mantel


Typical is a response to a tweet Stein sent out on March 2 in support of ranked choice voting. “Democrats used a runoff vote for DNC chair, so why are they fighting runoff voting in places like CA & MN?,” Stein tweeted.

“Are you trying to take focus off of your Russian buddy?” replied a Democratic partisan going by the name of Trice. “Is Vlad paying your bills or are you using the recount $ you scammed?”

A blogger named Bill Palmer went even further in a Feb. 24 post at the “Palmer Report.” Pointing to a New York Daily News article which alleges that Michael Flynn was paid $40,000 to attend the dinner with Putin in Dec. 2015, Palmer notes that “this raises a serious question which Jill Stein must now answer: did the Kremlin also pay her to be at the dinner?”

At the Daily Beast, Casey Michel also suggested that Stein is accepting bribes from the Russian government. Michel wrote on Jan. 13, “it remains unclear who paid for Stein’s trip to Moscow and her accommodations there.”

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has also promoted the Stein-as-Russian-agent conspiracy theory, implying recently that Stein’s relative silence on the Russian-hacking story implicates her as a Kremlin stooge.

“So everybody’s like, ‘Wow, how come this like super, super aggressive opposition that we saw from these third-party candidates – how come they haven’t said anything since this scandal has broken?’” Maddow said on Viceland’s Desus & Mero show on Feb. 15.

“I don’t know, Jill! I can’t pronounce it in Russian!” Maddow said mockingly. “Hope you’re really psyched about your Wisconsin vote totals!”


Useful Target

While it would certainly be interesting if Stein actually received money from the Russian government to appear at the RT dinner, it should be noted that in her video message from Red Square, Stein started off by thanking Green Party supporters “for making this wonderful and inspiring trip possible.” This is an indication from Stein that her grassroots campaign donors paid for the trip.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

It should also be pointed out that if Stein’s loyalty to America is being called into question for attending this dinner, it would only be fair to raise suspicions about the national loyalties of all the others who attended the event, a guest list that included international diplomats, journalists, a former mayor of London, and senior statesmen.

But of course, these are not the targets de jure of the Democratic Party, which has instead zeroed in on Stein and the Green Party. This gives the appearance of selective outrage, amounting to little more than a smear job by those growing desperate to hold on to voters and donors at a time when a majority of Americans are clamoring for alternatives and identifying not as Democrat or Republican but as independent.


A survey last year by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reported that a full 90 percent of voters lack confidence in the country’s political system while 70 percent said they feel frustrated about the 2016 presidential election and 55 percent reported feeling “helpless.” Forty percent said the two-party structure is “seriously broken.”

Another survey taken last summer found that 55 percent of Americans favored having an independent or third party presidential candidate to consider on the ballot, in addition to the two traditional party choices. Of those 29 years of age and younger, 91 percent expressed support for additional choices.

It is in this context of discontent that the current smears against the Green Party should be understood. The two dominant parties know that Americans are hungry for alternatives, so party operatives are working overtime to discredit the only viable alternatives that exist to the status quo.


It is an undemocratic strategy to sideline genuine competition, and is doubly irresponsible by claiming that a political figure is working at the behest of a foreign power – especially in these days of deepening division and a growing neo-McCarthyism.

As an added bonus, this undemocratic strategy does not appear to be helping the Democrats, and indeed, ever since the party decided some time last fall to zero in on the “Russian hacking” story as their primary line of attack, their poll numbers have plummeted. Their favorability rating has dropped from about 50 percent just before the election to a current low of about 39 percent. Their unfavorability rating is now 49 percent, the highest it’s been for three years.

In August 2016, Politico reported top Democrats held a conference call discussing damage control surrounding future releases from WikiLeaks, apparently deciding to collectively allege the leaks will include fabricated content. In a desperate and sloppy attempt to create a link between Russia and Donald Trump, Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald wrote an article titled “Dear Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, I am not Sidney Blumenthal.” The article claimed the publication Sputnik and Trump coordinated an attack on Hillary Clinton.

In reality, Sputnik news editor and Georgetown graduate Bill Moran rushed to publish a story about a WikiLeaks email in which Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal copy and pasted an Eichenwald article about Benghazi and sent it to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. Moran misidentified the writer of the piece as Blumenthal, and quickly wrote and published a story about it. Trump tweeted the article, and cited it during a speech at a rally in Pennsylvania.

Once Sputnik became aware the article had misinterpreted the email, they removed it. Eichenwald, without researching what had happened, claimed Trump citing the article was proof of a conspiracy between Trump and Russia. Eichenwald’s article was used by Clinton partisans as evidence WikiLeaks had released fake documents.

Moran attempted to reach out to Eichenwald to correct his story. Eichenwald blocked him on Twitter, and the two engaged in bizarre correspondence via email, which was later published by Paste Magazine and confirmed as legitimate by Eichenwald.

-- Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspiracy Theory Is Debunked. Pro-Clinton mainstream media remains convinced there must be nefarious, pro-Kremlin incentives for anyone opposing her, by Michael Sainato


If the Democrats hope to reverse some of these trends, they might try developing policy ideas that help Americans rather than attacking progressives for throwing their support behind alternative parties, and perhaps consider giving it a rest with the McCarthyite smears against those perceived to be “Russian sympathizers.”

Editor’s Note: In line with this new McCarthyism, a Jan. 6 report by the Director of National Intelligence on alleged Russian interference in U.S. politics included a seven-page appendix, dating from 2012, that accused RT of portraying “the US electoral process as undemocratic.”

The DNI’s “proof” included the accusation that RT had undermined Americans’ faith in the U.S. democratic process because “RT broadcast, hosted and advertised third-party candidate debates.”

Further, the DNI’s report complained, “The RT hosts asserted that the US two-party system does not represent the views of at least one-third of the population and is a ‘sham.’” The fact that these RT assertions are truthful apparently didn’t deter DNI James Clapper from seeing this recognition of reality as evidence of Russian perfidy.


The report also took RT to task for covering the Occupy Wall Street movement and for reporting on the environmental dangers from “fracking,” topics cited as further proof that the Russian government was using RT to weaken U.S. public support for Washington’s policies. [End Editor’s Note]

Nat Parry is co-author of Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush. [This story originally appeared at https://essentialopinion.wordpress.com/ ... een-party/ ]
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Re: Democrats’ McCarthyism Hits Greens’ Stein

Postby admin » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:37 am

Jill Stein spoiled the 2016 election for Hillary Clinton. Jill Stein's voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin helped Donald Trump win the White House
by Matthew Rozsa
December 2, 2016

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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Image
Jill Stein speaks during a rally outside the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 26, 2016. (Credit: Reuters/Dominick Reuter)

For those who worried that insufficient liberal support for Hillary Clinton would wind up electing Donald Trump, you were right.

According to a tweet from Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman on Thursday, the margin of difference separating the president-elect from his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in the three “Blue Wall” states — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — was less than the total number of votes received by Green Party nominee Jill Stein in each of those states:

Dave Wasserman ✔ @Redistrict
Jill Stein is now officially the Ralph Nader of 2016.

Stein votes/Trump margin:
MI: 51,463/10,704
PA: 49,678/46,765
WI: 31,006/22,177
12:29 PM - 1 Dec 2016


Although Trump won the election with 306 electoral votes, Pennsylvania has 20 electoral votes, Michigan has 16 electoral votes, and Wisconsin has 10 electoral votes. This means that, if the Stein voters in those three states had all supported Clinton instead of Trump, the Republican candidate would have only received 260 electoral votes — 10 shy of the minimum necessary to become president. According to Cook Political Report’s latest popular vote tally (last updated on Friday as of this article), Clinton received 65,250,267 votes (48.1 percent), while Trump received only 62,686,000 (46.2 percent).

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If pigs could fly!


Stein’s status as a “spoiler” is yet another parallel between the 2016 presidential election and the 2000 presidential election. On both occasions, a comparatively centrist Democrat with close ties to the popular Bill Clinton presidency won the popular vote while losing in the Electoral College. On both occasions, left-wing concerns about the establishment favorite’s centrism prompted a run by a left-wing challenger in the Democratic primaries (Bill Bradley in 2000, Bernie Sanders in 2016) and helped energize the Green Party candidate in the general election (Ralph Nader in 2000 and Jill Stein in 2016).

And although Stein only received roughly one-third of Nader’s share of the popular vote (roughly 3 percent for Nader compared with roughly 1 percent for Stein), both Green Party candidates managed to make up the difference between the victorious Republican and the defeated Democrat in enough swing states to theoretically decide the election (New Hampshire and Florida for Nader in 2000 and the three “Blue Wall” states in 2016).

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and his work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.
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Re: Democrats’ McCarthyism Hits Greens’ Stein

Postby admin » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:01 am

How Putin Played the Far Left. The Kremlin didn’t just rely on the alt-right to help Trump win. Bernie Bros, Greens, and ‘anti-imperialists’ got had, too.
by Casey Michel
Daily Beast
January 12, 2017

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In the aftermath of the U.S. intelligence community’s recent report on the Russian-directed hacking of the Democratic National Committee, it’s easy but misleading to conclude that the Russian government’s propaganda strategy lies solely in advancing the careers of conservative Republicans in the United States. Backing Donald Trump’s candidacy, via steady leaks of stolen communiques to organizations like WikiLeaks, was but one prong of the Kremlin’s assault on American liberal democracy.



Part of its campaign to vilify Hillary Clinton involved catering to her rivals on the far-left and pushing any number of crankish conspiracy theories that appeal as much to “anti-imperialists” as to neo-Nazis.

There’s nothing new in that, really.

Moscow’s attempts to cultivate America’s far-left long predate the presidency of Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin, according to available evidence, donated more funds per capita to the U.S. Communist Party than any other communist claque during the Soviet period, when Moscow’s intelligence operations against the “main adversary” involved recruiting agents of influence and spies of a progressive background who were sympathetic to the Soviet cause. But the past 18 months have seen a noted spike in information warfare aimed at gulling the Bernie Bros and Occupy-besotted alternative-media set, which saw Clinton as more of a political danger than it did Trump.

Perhaps the starkest case in point is Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and her constituency. In December 2015, the Kremlin feted Stein by inviting her to the gala celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Kremlin-funded propaganda network RT. Over a year later, it remains unclear who paid for Stein’s trip to Moscow and her accommodations there. Her campaign ignored multiple questions on this score. We do know, however, that Stein sat at the same table as both Putin and Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, Trump’s soon-to-be national security adviser. She further spoke at an RT-sponsored panel, using her presence to criticize the U.S.’s “disastrous militarism.” Afterward, straddling Moscow’s Red Square, Stein described the panel as “inspiring,” going on to claim that Putin, whom she painted as a political novice, told her he “agree[d]” with her “on many issues.”

[I]n her video message from Red Square, Stein started off by thanking Green Party supporters “for making this wonderful and inspiring trip possible.” This is an indication from Stein that her grassroots campaign donors paid for the trip.

-- Democrats’ McCarthyism Hits Greens’ Stein, by Nat Parry


Stein presents herself as a champion of the underclass and the environment, and an opponent of the surveillance state and corporate media, and yet she seemed to take pleasure in her marriage of true minds with a kleptocratic intelligence officer who levels forests and arrests or kills critical journalists and invades foreign countries. Their true commonality, of course, is that both Putin and Stein are dogged opponents of U.S. foreign policy.

Indeed, her pro-Kremlin stance wasn’t limited to merely praising Putin’s amicability. Stein joined the Russian president and Kazakhstani dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev in describing Ukraine’s 2014 EuroMaidan revolution as a “coup,” and claimed, bizarrely, that NATO is currently “fighting… enemies we invent to give the weapons industry a reason to sell more stuff.”

Japan interested in joining NATO missile consortium
By Tim Kelly and Nobuhiro Kubo
Reuters
Jul 10, 2015

Japan is interested in joining a NATO missile building consortium that would give Tokyo its first taste of a multinational defense project, a move the U.S. Navy is encouraging because it could pave the way for Japan to lead similar partnerships in Asia, sources said.

The 12-country NATO consortium oversees development and shares the costs of the SeaSparrow missile, an advanced ship-borne weapon designed to destroy anti-ship sea-skimming missiles and attack aircraft. The missile is made by U.S. weapons firms Raytheon (RTN.N) and General Dynamics (GD.N).

In May, Japanese naval officers traveled to a North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting in The Hague to learn more about the consortium, Japan's navy and a U.S. source familiar with the trip told Reuters.

Two Japanese sources familiar with the initiative said discussions in Tokyo were at an early stage, although joining the consortium would dovetail with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's more muscular security agenda, which included the lifting last year of a decades-old ban on arms exports.

The sources declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The consortium, established in 1968 by four countries including the United States, is set to develop an upgraded version of the SeaSparrow in the coming years.

Having Japan on board would spread the project's costs, but Washington also sees a role for Japan in leading multinational military industrial partnerships in Asia at a time when China's military modernization and assertiveness is alarming many countries in the region, said the U.S. source.

Such partnerships, which are rare in Asia, would create a network of security ties beyond formal military alliances that mostly involve Washington and its various regional allies.

"We think this project will allow Japan to lay the groundwork for further defense export programs in the future," the U.S. source said. "We would welcome this kind of security cooperation activity by Japan in the region."

Asked to comment, a spokesman for the Japanese navy said in an email: "The U.S. Navy is keeping us informed about the SeaSparrow project. With the aim of improving the procurement efficiency of our ship-based surface to air missiles we are gathering information to make the necessary choice."

The U.S. Navy said it was not immediately able to comment. NATO declined to comment.

TOKYO ALREADY BEEFING UP ASIA TIES

Japan has one of the most advanced military industrial bases in the world, but companies such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (7011.T) have long made weapons only for the Self Defense Forces because of the arms export ban.

Since lifting those curbs, Abe has begun boosting security cooperation across Southeast Asia, where several countries with tight budgets are worried by China's creation of man-made islands in the disputed South China Sea.

In June, Abe agreed with Philippine President Benigno Aquino on an exchange of military technology and hardware. Abe in May also agreed to start talks on transfers of defense equipment and technology with Malaysia.

And Australia is considering Japan as the possible builder of its next generation submarines, something U.S. naval commanders have publicly encouraged because doing so would deepen ties between two of Washington's closest allies in Asia.

None of these initiatives, however, are multinational.

SOME CONCERNS IN TOKYO

Japan's navy already uses the SeaSparrow missile, which is assembled locally by Mitsubishi Electric (6503.T) under a co-production agreement with NATO and the U.S. manufacturers.

That would make the transition to a full consortium partner easier, said the U.S. source.

One of the Japanese sources said some concerns had been raised in Tokyo over diminished control over production by being a member, even though sharing of costs would be welcomed.

"The concern is what it would mean to security by having to rely on other nations," the Japanese source said, referring to the possibility supplies of munitions and equipment from other countries could be disrupted more easily than those made at home, especially during any conflict.

It could also become a political issue since Japanese firms that supply parts for the SeaSparrow missiles made in Japan could miss out if Tokyo joined a consortium where work was spread among participating nations.

The U.S. Navy's desire to see Japan in the consortium comes after a proposal for Mitsubishi Heavy to join Lockheed Martin Corp's (LMT.N) F-35 stealth fighter program fizzled out last year.

Japanese defense bureaucrats had hoped working on the F-35 as a subcontractor to rear fuselage maker BAE Systems of Britain (BAES.L) would have given Mitsubishi Heavy exposure to global arms markets.

But it proved impossible for Mitsubishi Heavy to compete on pricing of components given the advantage enjoyed by contractors in the initial nine countries due to their governments' funding of specialized tooling for the program.

"Japan recognizes that it should join these international groups to help amortize purchases and make their industry more competitive," said a U.S. executive who works closely with the Japanese government and industry.

"You're going to see them engaged in more and more bilateral, trilateral and multilateral groups in coming years."

(Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal in WASHINGTON and Adrian Croft in BRUSSELS; Editing by Dean Yates)


For good measure, she also asserted in September that “Russia used to own Ukraine,” by way of defending its colonization. She even selected a vice-presidential candidate who, when asked whether the downing of Flight MH17—a massacre almost certainly caused by Russian-supplied separatists in eastern Ukraine—was a false flag, responded, “[T]hat’s exactly what has happened.”

Green Party officials across Europe slammed a “delusional” Stein for her views, with leading Russian environmental activists saying they were “deeply shocked” by her comments during her Moscow trip.

No matter. For her efforts in burnishing Kremlin conspiracy theories for American audiences, Stein was awarded not simply with an invitation to the 2015 RT gala, but RT even hosted her party’s 2016 presidential debate—a move Stein hailed as a “step towards real democracy.” RT also covered “live updates” from Stein’s reactions to the debates between Clinton and Trump, a decision Stein further praised. This mutual affection is, naturally, of a piece with RT’s broader modus operandi in the U.S.

As I helped catalog at the Columbia Journalism School, RT, rather than focus solely on puffing up GOP candidates, expends more effort in targeting America’s far-left fellow-travelers. There’s a reason, after all, that Kremlin-funded Sputnik hosts podcasts by Americans who claim “progressive” viewpoints—at least when it comes to altering the exclusively domestic landscape in America. Nor are these fake news outlets tilling fallow soil.

Consider one of the flagship magazines of the American left, which, for all its support of gay rights, government transparency, and voting rights as they pertain to U.S. society, has developed a notoriously soft spot for a regime that violently opposes all of the above.

The Nation’s coverage of Russian affairs is a national embarrassment. RT is a website that hosts neo-Nazis as “expert” commentators. Yet that does not stop The Nation from publishing whataboutist articles in defense of the propaganda channel; articles pushing the same argument, with the exact same headlines, as those found in white-nationalist publications.

The Nation’s crop of Russia watchers have lately busied themselves by lending credence to the “autonomy referendums” in eastern Ukraine, thus legitimizing illegal and neo-imperialist land-grabs, or notions that the entire Ukrainian crisis was “instigated by the West’s attempt… to smuggle [Ukraine] into NATO.”


That these views bizarrely mesh with those of Trump and his Breitbart-friendly advisers is perhaps another oddity of an age of ideological psychosis. Stephen Cohen, The Nation’s lead Russia analyst (and husband of the magazine’s editor in chief and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel), has even been endorsed by David Duke and the wife of white-nationalist Richard Spencer, the intellectual godfather of the pro-Trump “alt-right,” as a rare voice of sanity when it comes to U.S.-Russian relations.

At times, the substance and style of what has been dubbed the “alt-left” are indistinguishable from that of its counterpart on the other end of the political spectrum. And Moscow’s info-warriors appear to appreciate the resemblance, as the American arm of Sputnik exhorted supporters of Bernie Sanders to vote for Trump (as did Trump himself, repeatedly).

In years of researching Kremlin influence-peddling, I’ve discovered first-hand just how eerily similar far-left and far-right Putinists are to each other.

When I pointed out that one of The Nation’s contributing writers, former J.P. Morgan banker James Carden, now executive editor of the American Committee for East-West Accord—an organization partly funded by vanden Heuvel’s family—continues to contribute to Kremlin-funded Russia Direct, what I received was nothing short of a deranged ad hominem. Carden, who appeared on RT a few weeks ago to claim that The Washington Post is pursuing a “project of promoting a new Cold War with the Russian Federation,” sent me a note on LinkedIn calling me a “sniveling shit,” and vaguely (if unintentionally hilariously) threatening me with physical violence, demanding to see if I was “brave as BATMAN [sic]” in person. He later apologized.

Another Nation staple, contributing editor Doug Henwood, has maintained a professional relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, yet is apparently very tetchy about the collaboration, as I also discovered when I engaged him.


Henwood had planned to work with Assange on putting out a book about Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches—Henwood annotating, Assange writing the foreword—transcripts of which were of course originally hacked by Russian intelligence and disseminated through WikiLeaks, at least according to 17 different U.S. intelligence agencies, two of which concluded that this was done with the express purpose of helping Trump get elected. When I brought up this pending project, as detailed both on the book publisher’s website and in multiple articles, Henwood called me a “fucking idiot.” (Henwood’s publisher, when contacted for this story, noted that Henwood was no longer affiliated with the endeavor, saying that he had now grown “weary of chronicling Hillary Clinton’s boundless political shortcomings.”)

As Julian Assange has made crystal clear, the leaks did not come from the Russians. As I have explained countless times, they are not hacks, they are insider leaks – there is a major difference between the two.

-- The CIA’s Absence of Conviction, by Craig Murray


WikiLeaks is clearly the online epicenter of the 21st-century’s red-brown convergence. How else to account for how an Australian cyberanarchist has found common cause with a racist millionaire real-estate baron—apart, that is, from their apparent mutual regard for the opposite sex?

Prosecutors drop charges against Julian Assange
by Nick Gass
August 13, 2015

Swedish prosecutors on Thursday officially dropped their investigation into three cases surrounding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to a report from Agence France-Presse.

The charges being dropped involve one count of sexual assault and one count of unlawful coercion, according to reports. Swedish law stipulates that suspects must be questioned before the statute of limitations expires, otherwise they can no longer be charged for the crimes. Prosecutors had until Thursday to bring charges against Assange.

“I am extremely disappointed. There was no need for any of this. I am an innocent man. I haven’t even been charged,” Assange said in a statement shared by WikiLeaks’ Twitter account. “From the beginning I offered simple solutions. Come to the embassy to take my statement or promise not to send me to the United States. This Swedish official refused both. She even refused a written statement. Now she has manage to avoid hearing my side of the story entirely. This is beyond incompetence. I am strong but the cost to my family is unacceptable. Even though I have been improperly treated, I would like to thank the many people in Sweden and the UK who have been very understanding of the wrong which has been done to me and my family.”

The allegations arose from the leak of a 68-page confidential Swedish police report in late 2010 that revealed what Assange characterized as two consensual sexual relationships with two Swedish women, according to a New York Times report at the time.

The women alleged that while the sexual encounters started consensually, they became nonconsensual.

“She had wanted him to stand before the court and answer the accusations but it’s five years ago and she’s not interested in going to court now,” the lawyer of one of Assange’s accusers told the BBC. ”She wants to put it all behind her. It’s been a difficult time for her and she’s now trying to forget about it and move on with her life.”

One of Assange’s Swedish lawyers said the investigation’s end is long overdue.

“We are convinced that as soon as he has the opportunity to give his version of the circumstances, there’ll be no need to continue the investigation,” lawyer Thomas Olsson told the BBC.

Assange, who has resided in Ecuador’s London embassy since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, can still face prosecution for rape until 2020. That charge carries a 10-year statute of limitations.

As far as the rape allegation, lawyers for Assange told the BBC that he could overcome that accusation as well. Sweden is reportedly continuing to talk with Ecuador over the terms of Assange’s potential questioning over the rape allegation.


WikiLeaks, it is worth recalling, began as a seemingly noble “transparency” organization that sought to help shine a light on post-Soviet autocracies and their human-rights abuses. Yet somewhere along the way it saw fit to partner with anti-Semites who delivered leaked U.S. State Department cables to Belarus’s pro-Moscow dictatorship, which used these sensitive documents to chase down dissidents. Nor has this caused WikiLeaks or Assange any moral misgivings. As Vox’s Zack Beauchamp detailed, Assange refused to investigate WikiLeaks’s role in aiding the machinations of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Europe’s last dictator, whose secret police (still known by its Cold War acronym, the KGB) arrested activists and opposition figures.

A quick glimpse through WikiLeaks’s Twitter feed lately is enough to confirm the group’s disconcerting preference for siding with the Putinist narrative, and Kremlin interests, all in the name of anti-Americanism.

Assange has personally run a not-so-subtle rearguard defense for Trump, an overture that has been reciprocated by the president-elect, who now publicly defers to Assange’s analysis of the DNC hacks over that of the U.S. intelligence arms Trump is about to command in little over a week’s time. When not slamming last year’s Panama Papers leak as an “attack story on Putin,” WikiLeaks’s feed, long thought to be personally manned by Assange, has layered Kremlin-friendly conspiracy over everything from the Eurovision Song Contest to, like Stein’s candidacy, the destruction of MH17. (Little surprise, then, that Stein considers Assange a hero.) Or, as WikiLeaks tweeted on Ukraine, “Cable shows USA was already warned of #Russia’s concerns so it now looks like #Obama is the provocateur; not #Putin.”

Stein, The Nation, and WikiLeaks are hardly outliers on social media or insignificant in their political reach; to their respective audiences, they wield as much influence as Breitbart does with Trump loyalists.

In a few swing states, after all, Clinton lost to Trump by a margin smaller than Stein’s total statewide voter haul. The Nation has tens of thousands of subscribers and a venerable, 150-year-old pedigree for liberal advocacy. The WikiLeaked DNC and John Podesta emails, meanwhile, gradually released during and after the Democratic National Convention in August, did untold damage to Clinton’s campaign.

What remains of the internationalist wing of the Republican Party is understandably unnerved by how much of the American right has happily aligned with Putin’s spymasters and arms-length purveyors of “active measures” and provided cover for a foreign government’s interference in a U.S. election.

That Putin ordered Russian hacking of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s emails in order to help Trump win is now such consecrated orthodoxy that it’s barely acceptable in Decent Company to question it. But that obscures, by design, the rather important fact that the U.S. government, while repeatedly issuing new reports making these claims, has still never offered any actual evidence for them.

-- The New Yorker’s Big Cover Story Reveals Five Uncomfortable Truths About U.S. and Russia, by Glenn Greenwald


But the American left has just as much reason to take stock. Ideologically promiscuous and unbound by the orthodoxies of a single party or historical narrative, Putin has cultivated dupes, fellow travelers, and purblind fools among plenty of American progressives who, whether by accident or design, have facilitated the rise of the most extremist and reactionary president this country has ever elected.
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Re: Democrats’ McCarthyism Hits Greens’ Stein

Postby admin » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:34 am

Foreign Greens Think the US Green Party Needs to Ditch Jill Stein
by Mike Pearl
vice.com
November 7, 2016

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Green Party officials in Europe have achieved a lot more success than their American cousins—and they have some harsh words for the leader of the struggling US Green Party.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is not about to be elected president of the United States. She's the nominee of the fourth biggest political party in the US, and she's on the ballot in 44 states and DC in a year when people, especially young people, are looking for a non-Trump, non-Clinton option. But all that is only good for 2 or 3 percent in the most recent polls, a distant fourth behind Libertarian Gary Johnson.

It's almost as if—and I know this sounds crazy—Democrats and Republicans are the the only viable political parties in the US. But according to a poll from last year, 58 percent of Americans want to see a viable third party, so the Greens' poor showing might not be entirely the two-party systems' fault. Instead, it could be that Stein—like Johnson—is just kinda a lousy candidate. And that's not me talking. Important figures in international Green politics—a multifaceted leftist environmentalist movement—see a future for the American Green Party, but only if it ditches the likes of Stein.

"Some of the points that Jill Stein makes are delusional, I have to say," Balthasar Glättli, a Green Party member of the Swiss National Council, told me. If he were in the US, he said, "personally, I wouldn't vote Stein. I would vote Hillary."

Reinhard Bütikofer ✔ @bueti
It is not a lie, #Jill, that you argued Hillary was worse on nuclear weapons than Donald. THAT IS COMPLETELY ABSURD! https://twitter.com/DrJillStein/status/ ... 7220144128
7:15 AM - 2 Nov 2016




European Green Party member Reinhard Bütikofer, who serves on the European Parliament from Germany, told me some of Stein's remarks that Clinton would be more likely to start a nuclear war than Trump left him feeling "really astonished."

They went back to the White House. It was late. Bill went to bed and she went to the White House gym. She got into her white exercise outfit and was ready to do some yoga. And then there he was right there in the gym, also dressed in white with a black belt and lying in the corner doing some stretches. It was Vlad! How did he get in? She had long suspected that there were breaches of security, and she had grown ever more apprehensive since she had entered the Oval Office. And sure enough there, he was. Before he could make a move, she moved around him, thinking methodically, “Encircle, encircle.” Then she flew at him feet first, striking her soles deeply into his chest and shouting, “Encircle and break.” The blow appeared to knock Vlad unconscious; he was motionless. She touched the inert heap. It was lifeless, cold and wet, the sweat still on the corpse.

But she knew his presence meant that the country was under attack. Grabbing the red wall phone, she called for Bradford. In an instant he was there carrying the black briefcases with the presidential seal on the leather. How she loved those seals and the leather. “Look at that miserable dictator over there,” she yelled at Bradford, her words echoing in the gym. He was befuddled. “That is just a pile of wet towels, Ma’am.” She did not hear him. “We have been attacked,” she cried. “Open the briefcase.” Bradford looked like a truck had run over him – but he was trained for this and did as told. She looked in, her retina was quickly scanned and she turned the two keys. “Done,” she exclaimed triumphantly. “Nobody messes with the Indispensible Nation.” The bays to rocket silos all over the planet were rolling back minutes after she spoke. Bradford was sobbing now.

Sirens were wailing in the White House and throughout the Capital; panic was everywhere. Rockets from across the seas had now been launched and spotted. Bill appeared at the door of the gym. He saw the hysterical Bradford, collapsed on his knees, with the President standing over him, beaming triumphantly but silent. Bill pulled her to the emergency elevator and they plunged into the shelter deep, deep underground. Bill was also sobbing now. But not Hillary; she stood there, erect, adjusting her exercise outfit, with her back against the elevator wall, looking contentedly into the distance, a faint smile on her lips. Again she had prevailed. Hillary Clinton, unbending, defiant to the end.

-- The Secret Life of Hillary Clinton (With Apologies to Walter Mitty), by John V. Walsh


Bütikofer is a member of one of the parties that coordinate internationally with the US Greens via a loose affiliation known as the Global Greens, but he described an overall need for the American Green Party to get more sensible.

“… other WSF funders (or `partners’, as they are referred to in WSF terminology) included the Ford Foundation, — suffice it to say here that it has always operated in the closest collaboration with the US Central Intelligence Agency and US overall strategic interests; the Heinrich Boll Foundation, which is controlled by the German Greens party, a partner in the present [2003] German government and a supporter of the wars on Yugoslavia and Afghanistan (its leader Joschka Fischer is the [former] German foreign minister); and major funding agencies such as Oxfam (UK), Novib (Netherlands), ActionAid (UK), and so on.

-- “Manufacturing Dissent”: The Anti-globalization Movement is Funded by the Corporate Elites. The People's Movement has been Hijacked, by Prof Michel Chossudovsky


Glättli has a similar impression of US Greens, who are known more for picketing than for holding office or passing reforms into law. He said he sees them as "a rather do-it-yourself crop of people," whom he likens to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Having attended and organized similar protests—including Occupy events in his own country—Glättli knows what it's like to attend long, rambling meetings centered on tiny issues like whether or not to smoke at protests. "I spent hours in these kinds of meetings, but for me, a political party is something else," he said.

But Bütikofer acknowledges the temptation for members of marginal political parties to rattle cages for publicity. When he began as a member of the German Green Party in the 80s, he told me, "We were extremely confrontational and extremely controversial.

"We had to impress the general public with the very basic message that the issues that we were raising like antinuclear, climate change, environmental responsibility, social justice, gender issues, and so on were actually relevant," he continued. "At the time, when we advocated gender parity, for instance, people ridiculed us."

But eventually the German Greens, Bütikofer told me, "had to prove that we could not only raise issues that other people were ignoring, but that we could also contribute, in a practical sense to the solutions."

When the German Green party—a.k.a. Alliance 90—became a member of the ruling coalition in the mid 90s, contributing to practical solutions involved tough compromise. Joschka Fischer, who became foreign minister during 9/11 and the start of the war on terror, faced heavy criticism for involving Germany in the war in Afghanistan and cutting unemployment benefits.



But Alliance 90 has also won hard fights by sticking to its guns, Bütikofer insisted. "For instance, for over 35 years, we've been consistently fighting against nuclear. We've never said, 'Maybe some nuclear, or just certain nuclear technologies,'" he told me. And the Greens' hard-line stance eventually won out when Germany banned all nuclear power in 2011.

Such compromises are a long way off for Alliance 90's American counterparts. According to the list on its website, the Green Party has no officials at the national or even state levels—the most prominent Green elected official in the US is probably Cam Gordon, who sits on the Minneapolis City Council.

This summer, sex advice columnist and gay rights advocate Dan Savage declared that while he may be a lefty, he won't vote Green in a presidential election unless the Greens score some down-ballot victories first. "Where are the Green Party candidates for city councils? For county councils? For state legislatures? For state assessor? For state insurance commissioner? For governor? For fucking dogcatcher?" Savage said to a caller on his podcast. "I could see myself voting for a Green Party candidate for president in 25 years, after I've seen Green Party candidates getting elected to state legislatures, getting elected to governorships, getting elected to Congress."

Lessons from the 2004 Elections
By Peter Miguel Camejo
January 2005

The 2004 elections unmasked a great deal of the political realities of our nation. Most readers are aware the media is now under the control of a handful of large corporations all run by right-wing, generally Republican, worshippers of the market. Still it seems so peculiar how the most crucial issues of our time were simply never mentioned during the presidential campaign by either of the two pro-corporate parties.

Except for a pro-pollution quip by Kerry, little was said about the destruction of our planet and economy through global warming. In Missouri, Kerry stated that buying "a great big SUV is terrific, terrific. That's America." Both Kerry, and Bush joined in opposing the Kyoto Protocol during the debates to reassure corporate America of their commitment to profits over a future for our species.

The fact that 90 percent of the people have seen no rise in their inflation-adjusted income over the last thirty years in spite of the doubling of our GDP was of no concern to Bush or Kerry. The only real income gains went to the richest 1 percent. This income polarization and the growth of an underclass, with our minimum wage dropping (inflation adjusted in present dollars) from $8.50 to $5.15 since 1968 was never discussed.

The drop in corporate tax revenues that once provided 33 percent of federal government revenues but today provide only 7.8 percent likewise was particularly a taboo issue. The only comment in this regard was a call by John Kerry for further tax cuts for corporations. His proposal came at a moment when profit margins were the largest ever of GDP and the percentage of the budget from corporate taxes the lowest in decades.

The poorest 20 percent now pay the highest tax rate on their income for state and local taxes throughout the nation. In California the poorest 20 percent pay a rate 57 percent higher than the richest 1 percent of the population who pay the lowest rate of all. The general trend to an ever increasing regressive tax structure and the endless growth of corporate subsidies of course was never mentioned.

We could go on and on. Our antiquated electoral system, the growing violations of our Constitution and the rule of law internationally, and so on were never put before the people. The single most pressing world issue, the war in Iraq, became the centerpiece of the campaign as both Kerry and Bush fought over who was the most pro-war.

The Key to U.S. Elections

There was one peculiar event around the elections that received almost no analysis or discussion. The overwhelming majority of the supporters of John Kerry disagreed with their candidate on most major issues. Even in countries with completely distorted electoral systems, where money dominates and manipulates, it is quite unusual to see people voting massively for someone they consciously disagree with.

This simple fact tells how deep the corruption of the American political system has become. The Boston Globe reported 95 percent of the delegates at the Democratic Party convention opposed Kerry on the war. But these delegates are hopelessly corrupt people. They are part of a system based on careerism and money. They accept the game and call it being realistic. That is to lie to the people, to lie to themselves; to act out a lie does not bother these people at all.

Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean, and Al Sharpton -- along with all the Democratic "left" -- bought in to the fundamental lie of the presidential campaign. That lie is simple. They tell the people that the Democratic Party is not corrupt, is not an agent of corporate rule, and is not a defender of George Bush and his policies. They do not tell the people the elections are fixed from day one through the control of money and the media. Nor to they speak of the role of the so-called "two-party" system that prevents the real issues from being heard or debated, and that does not allow representative democracy (proportional representation), or even runoffs that would make it possible for people to vote for an opposition candidate. That lie is the essence of our electoral system. And in one sense it is the key issue of the elections.

This fact is a statement on the enormous success of the two-party, pro-money political system developed in the United States. It has achieved getting about half the people simply not to vote, and those who do vote even when they disagree with corporate domination vote in favor of what they oppose. Yet the people believe they somehow have chosen the government. Keeping this system in place is essential for the rule of a tiny minority over the majority in a complex modern economy. Open totalitarianism would have a very deep negative impact on the economy. Far better is the illusion of democracy. Crucial in this equation is the role "progressives," especially many of the liberal intellectuals, play.


Massive Capitulation of Liberals

The fact that the Democratic Party candidate was totally pro-corporate, pro-war, pro-Patriot Act, anti-poor, and against the environment did not stop the bulk of so-called "progressive leaders" from demanding not only a vote for Kerry but respect for corporate domination of our society -- by not having any candidates appear that favored peace, or were anti-corporate. They openly sought to deny those progressives who disagreed with their capitulation to the Democratic Party the ability to express their opinion at the ballot box. In the end approximately half a million people did vote for peace and against corporate domination.

The Nader Factor

Never in our history have we seen such a massive effort to try and prevent an individual, Ralph Nader, from entering the race for the presidency. This massive anti-democracy campaign was led by so-called "progressive" organizations like The Nation and MoveOn.org. Throughout the campaign these groups became more openly direct agents of the Democratic Party.

The only other time in American history where the kind of viciousness expressed against Ralph Nader was ever seen was against the early abolitionists, the Liberty Party candidates (in the 1840s), who were labeled fanatics for daring to challenge the two pro-slavery parties of the time.

Why is this happening? Why the intensification of the broad capitulation of the progressive intelligentsia? For years they have backed the existing system through their subordination to the Democratic Party. But the new level of panic and intensity of their attack against anyone daring to challenge the Democrats is new.

U.S. Turns to Reverse Gains

The answer, I believe, is tied to the shift in the socio-economic reality since the 1970s. After the Second World War the United States made a worldwide effort to take markets from nations weakened by the war, primarily England and France. The move to gain world domination was combined with a campaign to offer concessions at home to win the backing of working people and draw in the power of the trade unions behind corporate international ambitions. Liberal support for the Democrats was associated with concessions. The Democrats, certainly deceivers then as now, acted more as brokers negotiating concessions in return for delivering support from minorities and working people.

This period ended with the Vietnam War, globalization, and the beginning of the micro-processor revolution during the 1970s. The shift can be traced to the rise of Japan's economy (actually economies throughout Asia in general), and the peak in oil inside the United States.

The U.S. corporate world found itself being challenged by international competitors in new ways. It now wanted to remove some of the concessions granted in the period from the thirties through the sixties. Once the Cold War ended, which left the U.S. as the only world military power, the shift accelerated. At each step the Democratic Party rose to the occasion, blocking any effective opposition to the take-back program of corporate America.

Unions were destroyed (from 37 percent of our workforce to 12 percent), the minimum wage was lowered, social safety nets were dismantled, the income gap widened, and some environmental regulations were lowered.

At each step scattered resistance appeared. As each union was attacked it would try to fight back alone, depending on its "friends" in the Democratic Party. As the corporate rulers saw so little resistance, and it became clear that they could depend on the Democrats' control over minorities and labor (later also the NGOs) they pressed forward with increasing take-back programs. The Patriot Act is now an open challenge to the Bill of Rights. The war in Iraq is an open break with any pretense to respect the rule of law internationally.

Thus the role of the Democrats as the broker-negotiator for labor, minorities, and women for concessions has shifted toward direct support of corporate policy since the 1970s. They now try to convince the people that the Republican pro-corporate platform is really in their own interests. That is, they have become open backers of the shift to the right.

During the 1990s interest in third parties reappeared. Polls showed a lowering in the support for the two parties. The Perot phenomenon showed how shallow the commitment to the two parties was at the beginning of the 1990s. Then in 2000 a nationally known figure, Ralph Nader, came forward with a pro-the-people platform and was backed cautiously by some progressive Democrats, such as Hightower, Moore, Dugger, and others. Ronnie Dugger had formed a "populist" party that would not run candidates lest it upset the Democrats. Other Democrats tried forming a third party that would endorse Democrats, called the New Party. Nothing came of these formations. Only the far more clearly independent progressive Green Party that was willing to run against Democrats began to grow, at least a little, particularly in California.

Democrats were startled. They were doing their job supporting corporate America when suddenly an independent current was beginning to appear. Quickly they set out to stop the Green Party and the Nader phenomenon. Relying on their undemocratic spoiler electoral system, they placed the "blame" for the election of Bush on Nader precisely while they voted for everything Bush asked of them.

By 2004 the Democrats had proved they could contain the opposition and permitted corporate America to confirm Bush as an actually "elected" president. They had scared the Moores, Hightowers, and Duggers back into the fold from which I doubt they will dare stray again. These kinds of capitulations are not quickly reversed. However, if a mass break begins from below, these "progressives" will suddenly once again become interested in third-party politics and once again they will play the role of opposing those who actually are building an independent force.

So far the Democrats have shown they can contain the early attempts to develop a political movement representing the people. The key to the victory for Bush in 2004 was precisely the effectiveness of the Democrats. And the effectiveness of the Democrats was partially reflected in the inability of leading progressives to stand up against what will be recorded, in time, as the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people, the Democratic Party.

The Rise of the Religious Right

These same liberals who cried out against Nader for running are all confused by the reappearance of an old traditional way to control the oppressed in our nation. The use of superstition combined with handouts. The rise of the religious right is the companion to the Democratic Party in controlling the oppressed majority. While a super-oppressed underclass is being created by globalization, including inside the United States, new religious formations are appearing, well funded, offering programs of token material assistance (as the governmental safety net is removed) while indoctrinating people to accept pro-corporate worship of the market with the usual promise of a reward in heaven. This organizing effort of the right is making gains precisely because of the failure of a progressive viable alternative to exist.

Could it get any better for the rich? If you can't brainwash them with superstition you have the Democratic Party "opposition" to corral and control them. It will be hard for corporate America to get the editors of The Nation reading the Bible, but voting Democratic is easy enough and either way it leads in the same direction. Watching the Democrats giving George Bush eighteen standing ovations at the State of the Union address in 2004 tells you all you need to know -- including the moment when Bush called for ending the separation of church and state through his plan to give tax money to these rightist reactionaries who use the cover of being religious outfits.

The rise of Bush and his more open and explicit moves to not only take away socioeconomic concessions but begin to change the traditional framework -- that is the constitutional rights of our political system-has made the more "progressive" types like The Nation editorial board panic. They have no confidence that the people could ever independently resist these attacks, so instead of helping build an opposition, calling on people to rebel from the Bush/Kerry platform of war and oppression, they call on everyone to forget about the economic take-backs or even the war issue and back the "lesser-evil" of the two pro-corporate, pro-war political organizations, the Democrats.

Their panic, as they begin to finally understand where corporate America is going, is quite open. They offer no solution. They can only shout words of hate against anyone who points out the dead end of their support for the Democrats. They have only one simple message: "vote Democrat." They offer no platform, no demands on the Democrats. They do not even dare to say to the Democrats: "If you continue to support Bush we won't support you." No, their support for the Democrats is unconditional. It is considered a "reality check" that cannot be altered, like gravity. The fact that 25 percent of our people are no longer registered Democratic or Republican and that polls find 38 percent do not consider themselves supporters of either party is of no concern to them. There is no hope. Surrender, unconditionally, to the rule of the corporate world and ask for mercy, vote Democrat.

Michael Moore is a perfect example. On national TV he called Ralph Nader crazy for daring to run. Moore went on to speak about "we," meaning the future Kerry government, as though there was any connection between what Moore has advocated in his writings and movies and what Kerry would do. This delusional effort which swept an entire current of well-known progressive leaders from Chomsky to Moore has really revealed the failure of that layer to understand the nature of our society and the role of our two-party system. Deep down it shows a lack of belief that the American people could ever rise up and change America.

The Green Party

Within the Green Party this crisis resulted in the appearance of two opposing political currents. One current bent to the liberal capitulation and the other resisted the capitulation. What was new for those of us who have been around for the last fifty years fighting for social justice, peace, and democracy was not the capitulation but the existence of a rather broad resistance, at least in comparison to the sixties where the capitulation to the Democratic Party was quite generic.

Inside the Green Party two documents appeared expressing these two currents. One called for support for the concept of voting for a lesser evil, i.e., the Democratic Party, signed by eighteen leaders of the Green Party. The other, named the Avocado Declaration, called for opposing lesser-evil voting and supporting Green Party independence. The document of the lesser-evil current gave very little historical or socioeconomic explanation to back up the authors' views.

The Green Party nomination of David Cobb for president -- the choice of the lesser-evil current -- over Ralph Nader -- the choice of the independent current -- is now history. But what is not yet fully understood is that Cobb lost the primaries and the state conventions. Thus the Milwaukee convention of 2004 that nominated Cobb introduced another issue and a new crisis into the Green Party: internal democracy. The evidence is so overwhelming that the Milwaukee convention was packed that it is hard for Cobb supporters to deny it. It is sad that they show no remorse nor see the destructive result of rejecting majority rule. It is our hope that the next National Convention will return the Green Party to internal democracy and that Cobb and many of his supporters will help to do so.

The pro-lesser-evil current has every right to fight for their ideas and try to win a majority within the Green Party. If they were to become the majority, the pro-independence current should respect their right to promote their views in the name of the party. But the grave problem that arose in 2004 is that the lesser-evil current lost the votes of the membership but still succeeded not only in getting control of the convention but getting control of the national Coordinating Committee. The result has been a sharp decline of the Green Party nationally. Its funding has declined and the Green Party's strongest state organizations have begun to feel uneasy with the national leadership.

But in California and New York, the Green Party has continued to grow. In New York, registration in the Green Party grew by the thousands during 2004, now surpassing 40,000, and in California a new record of elected officials hit seventy-seven, while registration remained just under record levels of 160,000. These two states represent by themselves the majority of Greens in the United States and both states side strongly with the pro-independence current.

It is inevitable and normal that the Green Party will have internal differences and debates on these historic issues. As I traveled throughout the country campaigning, I met Green Party organizers who are stunned by what has happened and will leave the Green Party if its internal structure is not democratized.

In the present discussion on returning the Green Party to democracy Marilyn Ditmanson, the Treasurer of the Butte County Greens in California, expressed what many Greens feel when she wrote, "There are those of us who believe that the Green Party is important enough to spend our time to fix it. Right now the Green Party does not represent the will of its people. There are many of us who are on our last campaign for the Green Party -- to bring democracy to the party. If we do not get democracy here we will find a political party or start one where we get democracy."

Across the nation, Green Steve Greenfield of New Paltz, New York, writes, "The will of the great majority as expressed in opinion surveys, primaries and ultimately in the ballot booths was overruled by 'electors' whose prime source of decision power was their ability to afford the transportation to Milwaukee."

It would be quite easy for the Cobb supporters to prove their claim that their victory was legitimate and that they did represent the majority. Take for example Maine, a state where the pro-Democratic Party wing of the Greens is well organized and in control of the Green Party apparatus. Maine is the state where a Green candidate was elected to the state legislature, but who openly announced his support for Kerry. Maine's delegation voted 95 percent for Cobb at the 2004 National Convention. Maine Cobb supporters have one little problem to explain. When the Green Party membership voted for who they supported and who they wanted as delegates they only voted 23.6 percent for Cobb while delivering 29.2 percent for Nader and giving Salzman and Camejo (who both supported Nader) another 12.9 percent, bringing the pro-Nader vote to 42.1 percent.

The Cobb supporters argue the delegates from Maine came around and changed their minds and voted for Cobb. If that were true, then all that the Cobb supporters need to do is present written statements from the nineteen delegates showing that only 23 percent (four delegates) had originally voted for Cobb and the other fifteen of their nineteen delegates had originally voted for other candidates, mostly pro-Nader, but had changed their minds. That is, that their delegation to the convention reflected their membership.

If they could do that they would have done so long ago. They know what we all know. The pro-Cobb Greens packed the Maine delegation in open disrespect for the will of the membership as was done in many other states. John Rensenbrink, one of Maine's lesser-evil leaders, wrote a piece claiming there was a shift in opinions at the last minute. Rensenbrink added something new in the debate, attempting to red-bait those who support independence. Rensenbrink wrote that the real danger to the Greens is socialists, specifically naming the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), and the International Socialist Organization (ISO) for joining the Green Party.

Rensenbrink is the editor of Green Horizon Quarterly, so you would think he would show some journalistic integrity and indicate some evidence for his assertions. But his statement is not backed by a single fact. Not a single member of the SWP is a member of the Green Party. Nor could Rensenbrink name a single delegate that "changed" his or her mind.

It is true that there are many socialists in the Green Party. Some, like members of Solidarity, have been members for years. Others, like the ISO, have recently joined in some areas. Both have played important and extremely positive roles in strengthening the influence of the Green Party. The ISO in particular has brought large numbers of young activists on campuses to help build Green Party campaigns and has done so in a totally principled manner. Both the ISO, Solidarity, and other socialist groups have helped expand Green Party influence within the labor movement and both have been welcomed by the majority of non-socialist Greens. Certainly that is what I have seen in California.

As Forrest Hill has shown, Cobb at best had about 25 percent support among Greens while those backing Nader had about 60 percent. The convention was stolen. It is not the first time nor will it be the last time a convention is stolen from its membership.

The Cobb supporters have another problem to explain in states where Cobb had lost the primaries or conventions but the convention delegates turned out to be over 90 percent for Cobb. The votes in the election show no such trend of a "shift" to Cobb away from Nader. In Maine, Cobb received 2,942 votes to Nader's 7,997 -- clearly Nader carried the majority of voters who had voted Green in 2004 and who did not vote for Kerry. Amazingly, Cobb support came in just around the percentage he got when the membership voted in Maine. In Wisconsin, we have a similar electoral result. Wisconsin is another Cobb last-minute miracle that gave him 94 percent of the delegates at the Milwaukee convention, but where he had received an even lower percentage of the membership vote than in Maine. But when the votes came in from Wisconsin, Cobb received 2,674 votes to Nader's 18,730, about 12 percent. Once again this reflected the actual vote strength Cobb had inside the Green Party.

Nader's campaign was an alliance between Greens and independents expressed in the Nader/Camejo ticket. The Greens who did not vote for Kerry voted in their overwhelming majority for Nader/Camejo, for a slate that favored independence and opposed lesser-evil politics.

The battle to build an independent electoral resistance to corporate domination clearly passed through the Green Party in the year 2000. It may not do so in the future unless the Green Party becomes once again a clearly independent political force.

The lesser-evil current in the Green Party has begun to shift more openly to a policy in support of the Democratic Party along the lines originally advocated by the now defunct New Party. Jack Uhrich, one of the more factional Cobb supporters, wrote an article for Green Horizon Quarterly making this view quite explicit. He argues the Green Party is not growing because it does not support Democrats and gives a detailed example in New Mexico. He names which Democrats the Greens should have supported and ends his article by pointing out there is hope since a Green has withdrawn in a race to help the Democrat win. He explains the decline of the Green Party in New Mexico as directly related to its policy of maintaining its independence from the two corporate parties, especially under the influence of Carol Miller, one of the leading pro-democracy and pro-independence Greens in New Mexico.

No Cobb supporter has made any comment disassociating themselves from Jack Uhrich's call for support to Democrats in partisan races. But the evidence continues to mount that the lesser-evil current is a minority in the Green Party. For instance, at the recent state plenary in California, the largest Green Party organization by far, it was clear that only a small minority believes the Green Party as an institution should endorse partisan Democrats.

In other states, like Utah, the lesser-evil wing has promoted splitting the Green Party. In Utah the pro-Cobb current simply declared itself the Green Party and began "expelling" Greens who supported Nader. The treasury of the Green Party was under the control of both a Nader and a Cobb supporter. The Cobb supporter went to the bank and emptied the account, taking all funds to the new "Cobb-only Green Party." The Cobb supporters then went to court seeking to have themselves declared the Green Party of Utah. They lost their requests after several attempts.

The national leadership has done nothing to stop the split in Utah. In fact, not one Cobb supporter has publicly opposed the pro-split action of their current in Utah. In the states where the largest active Green membership exists, the Cobb current is a minority and thus an open attempt to split the party is not likely at this time. The future of the Green Party lies in the balance. Some Greens who favor independence have quit, some on the right are joining the Democrats. There is some discussion of forming a new party, but most Greens believe the present crisis can be overcome. The fact is many of the Cobb supporters want there to be a Green Party and believe in democracy. I believe consensus can be reached on the issue of one person, one vote and a democratic process for nominating presidential candidates or endorsements can be created, in my opinion.

The party must accept and learn to live with conflicting political currents. This issue will dominate the history of the Green Party in the immediate future. As I proposed at the 2004 convention, the best way for Greens to proceed is to allow both currents to promote their strategy and for us to learn from each other, debate, discuss, and respect each other. My unity proposal at the Milwaukee convention, calling for both Nader and Cobb to be endorsed and allowing each state to respect its internal democracy for ballot status was unfortunately rejected by the Cobb current.

It is clear that such a compromise was not what the Democrats wanted to happen at the Green Party convention. They wanted Nader defeated. The last thing Democrats want is democracy and open discussion. They were overjoyed to hear of Cobb's "victory" at the convention. The Nation immediately ran a congratulatory article quoting only Greens who were Cobb supporters. Open Kerry supporters like Norman Solomon immediately announced he would join the Green Party now that it had come to its senses and was joining in the pro-Kerry effort.

While the Democrats fought tooth and nail to deny Nader ballot status, they tried to help Cobb. In New York, where 15,000 signatures are required, Cobb's small group of supporters were only able to collect 5,000. Even then the Democrats would not challenge their efforts and wanted Cobb on the ballot.

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) are featuring David Cobb and Medea Benjamin on their Web site and at their national conference, while they rejected allowing Ralph Nader to speak. And of course they would not invite any Green who they did not consider a supporter directly or indirectly of John Kerry. Yet the PDA leadership agrees with the Green Party on many critical issues. Greens should work with them around specific issues. There is nothing wrong per se with Greens attending their conference and speaking at it. The issue is, do we promote their illusion that working in a pro-war, pro-corporate party is the course progressives should take? The lesser-evil current in the Green Party is rapidly moving to an inside/outside strategy because of their illusions in the nature of the Democratic Party. Ted Glick, Jack Uhrich, John Rensenbrink, and Medea Benjamin are among the most open advocates of this view.

The truth is, however, that the Democrats are now in disarray. They can't blame Nader for Bush's electoral victory and they haven't a clue of the role they played in helping Bush win. The polarization economically continues. The war and the attacks on our liberties continue.

Green Party relations with dissenting Democrats are quite important for the Green Party. The key is how this relationship is maintained. We should seek to work with Democrats around issues where we agree. But at the same time we must keep our independence and work to expose the reality of the Democratic Party. It is of great interest to us what happens in the Democratic Party.

While working with progressive Democrats is not the centerpiece to building the Green Party in my opinion, it is a factor both positive and negative. There will be an ideological struggle and collaboration around specific issues with many Democrats. The key is not to ever have the Green Party, as an institution, endorse candidates of the two parties representing the rule of money over people. In the end, a major split in the Democratic Party is inevitable due to the massive internal contradiction between what the Democrats support and who votes for them.

All these events point to our need to focus the growth of the Green Party outside of the "liberal intellectual" establishment and turn to the layers that, at least in California, have become the strongest base of voter support for the Greens. These include the poorest people, African Americans, Latinos, and youth. Our effort to build an independent alternative is still focused through the Green Party. Hundreds of thousands of people are members of the Green Party. We need to protect, build, unify, and win over the Green Party to a combative, independent stance.

In opposition to that perspective is the rising development from within the lesser-evil current for an inside/outside strategy, where the Green Party openly endorses Democrats, works with progressive Democratic Party organizations, and becomes a "fusion" pressure group from the outside. The problem with such a strategy is that it fails to understand the nature of the Democratic Party as a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporate world. We will never build a people's alternative force that does not see the Democrats as our opponents -- rather than our allies.

-- Independent Politics: The Green Party Strategy Debate, edited by Howie Hawkins


Bütikofer more or less agrees with Savage. "If you want to advocate for solutions, you have to fight for majorities in the local city councils, municipal councils, states, and so on," he explained.

But to become a viable party, Bütikofer recalled that Alliance 90 had to "cooperate with progressive movements in the business sector, where people are adapting to new ways of doing business by promoting energy or resource efficiency." In other words, they ditched the megaphones, and, without sacrificing their core values, started talking and acting more like the politicians in the other parties.

Glättli suggests a small-scale approach at first. Greens, he thinks, can find a beloved patch of nature that local politicians aren't protecting, and get reforms passed, either through local political assemblies, or via ballot measure systems like California's to protect it. "You have the possibility to channel anger and resentment into politically meaningful action," he offered. This strategy was one key to winning support early on in Switzerland, he told me, because voters thought, Oh, finally someone is doing something substantial about the destruction of this land.

And Glättli told me the time may be finally right for a shift to the left in the US. "For the first time in quite some years, political positions are being discussed that we really do consider leftist political positions," he said. But not thanks to anyone in the Green Party. "It was mainly Bernie [Sanders] who brought this to the table."

Follow Mike Pearl on Twitter.
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Re: Democrats’ McCarthyism Hits Greens’ Stein

Postby admin » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:14 am

Russian Environmentalists Brand U.S. Green Party Putin "Accomplices"
by Damien Sharkov
Newsweek
September 7, 2016

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Russia's Green activists are accusing U.S. Green Party leader Jill Stein of neglecting their struggle, after a series of statements she made, calling for closer cooperation with the Kremlin at a dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Stein has made statements, echoing the Kremlin’s criticism of the U.S., as her programme calls American policy in the Middle East “a futile quest for military and economic domination,” while she has urged for collaboration with Moscow at a dinner with Putin last December. Stein is currently campaigning as a candidate for White House ahead of the November elections.

Leading Russian environmental activists Yevgenia Chirikova and Nadezhda Kutepova posted an open letter on Tuesday, expressing alarm at Stein’s apparent one-sided criticisms, asking her to clarify her position on Facebook.

On the other hand, the forest fires that ravaged Russia during record drought and heat waves this summer threatened not only forests, but new radiation challenges as the wildfires ripped through areas affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and heat dried out lakes and rivers – long dumping grounds for radioactive waste – as irradiated sediment became airborne....

“We were accused of being enemies of the people and of working for Western intelligence....

In the words of Nadezhda Kutepova, who heads the NGO Planet of Hopes (Planeta Nadezhd) in Ozyorsk, a town in Chelyabinsk Region in the South Urals, her organisation is essentially operating “behind enemy lines.” Ozyorsk is a restricted-access location hosting the Russian spent nuclear fuel reprocessing enterprise Mayak and is frequently cited as the most contaminated place on earth. Environmental activities in this area bear special significance and, Kutepova says, the problem of intimidation by the authorities is an indicator of how effective her organisation’s work must be.

It was extremely difficult when my professional community hadn’t spoken in my defence… when the FSB went after me. Many of my colleagues, when seeing me, would cross the street. I was accused of receiving a grant from the CIA, almost,” Tsepilova said.

-- Russia’s ecological big-leaguers join forces to withstand state’s mounting pressure on environmental NGOs at Bellona’s St. Petersburg conference, by Maria Kaminskaya


“As environmentalists and human rights defenders, we often support Green candidates all over the world when they run for local, national or continental election,” the two activists wrote. “However, we are asking ourselves if we can support your candidature for the Presidency of the United States of America.

“We have carefully read your program and your website and we have to admit that we are deeply shocked by the position you expressed during your visit to Moscow and your meeting with Mr. Vladimir Putin,” they added.

Chirikova is an award-winning environmentalist who launched one of the most memorable environmentalist protests, against the government’s plans to construct a superhighway between Moscow and St Petersburg through the Khimki Forest, known as Moscow’s Green Belt. Meanwhile, Kutepova has clashed with officials over pollution from the accident-prone Mayak nuclear plant.

Both have fled Russia due to pressure from the government to cease their campaign activities.

“By silencing Putin’s crimes you are silencing our struggle,” the two activists wrote. “By shaking his hand and failing to criticize his regime you are becoming his accomplice. By forgetting what international solidarity means you are insulting the Russian environmental movement.

Image


“How is it possible to have a discussion with Mr. Putin and not mention, not even once, the fate of Russian political prisoners, or the attacks against Russian journalists, artists, and environmentalists? Is it fair to speak with him about ‘geopolitics’ and not mention new Russian laws against freedom of speech, restrictions on NGOs and activists, or the shameful law that forbids ‘homosexual propaganda’?”

Stein also posted on Facebook that she “was in Russia to speak at an RT conference along with many other people, including many fellow activists from the peace movement.” While there, she shared a video message on YouTube – recorded from Moscow’s Red Square – in which she called for an end to militarism, and for an international order based on respect for human rights and international law.

-- Democrats’ McCarthyism Hits Greens’ Stein, by Nat Parry


The pair also demanded that the U.S. Green Party clarify its position on Putin, to demonstrate it is opposed to the “anti-democratic and anti-environmental” aspects of the Russian administration.

A Green Party spokesman, brushed off the criticism, telling Radio Liberty that he thinks “the letter exaggerates Dr. Stein's alleged deference to President Putin.”
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Re: Democrats’ McCarthyism Hits Greens’ Stein

Postby admin » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:03 am

Mainstream Media is corrupt to the core
by Mark Taliano
American Herald Tribune
November 4, 2015

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Corporate media, also known as Mainstream Media (MSM), is corrupt to the core.

The US government enjoys tremendous leeway to basically make things up, especially now that it operates beneath the protective umbrella of National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), but this hasn’t encouraged reporters to vet sources, and to double source. Certainly, it isn’t happening enough to warrant any reasonable person to think that MSM news stories of importance are accurate.

This is no trifling matter. Under international law, much of what passes as “news” in the West is prohibited. It is dangerous, and it continues to engineer popular consent for what is essentially an on-going holocaust in the Middle East.

Reporters should be vetting “non-governmental organizations” (NGOs) rather than blindly accepting the messaging and amplifying it throughout the world. Writer Vanessa Beeley, who is a member of the Steering Committee at Syria Solidarity Movement International, reports that these NGOs form a “soft power complex” that serves to advance imperial hegemony (rather than peace and prosperity).

A compilation of these questionable organizations and individuals is provided by writer/ photographer/ journalist Eva Bartlett. They include:

Avaaz
Amnesty International
Hand in Hand for Syria
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
Ken Roth
Medecins Sans Frontiers/Doctors Without Borders
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)
Purpose Inc.
“The Syria Campaign”
White Helmets/”Syrian Civil Defence”
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR)


Funding sources should be investigated by those interested in reporting the truth.

We know, for example, the US Congress funds USAID and its off-shoots, including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the International Republican Institute (IRI). So these organizations, which are fronts for the CIA and serve to effect regime changes throughout the world, are not “non-governmental”. More accurately, they represent illegal foreign interventions in the domestic affairs of “host” countries, all with a view to subordinate other nations to perceived US national interests. Whenever a government has been “renovated”, or there is a color revolution which devolves into open warfare, these “NGOs” are in the shadows orchestrating the chaos. USAID, as an example, provides funding for the discredited “White Helmets” in Syria.

Meanwhile, convicted financial criminal George Soros has provided $100 million in funding for HRW. As for the purported “neutrality” of the group, HRW boss Ken Roth argues for bombing in Syria, while director Tom Malinowski supports illegal torture renditions.

Private Intelligence Agencies (PICS) are also part of the “Soft Power Complex”. Rita Katz’s SITE intelligence group, for example, provided ISIS beheading videos and pictures, all for mass consumption, with a view to engineering perceptions and generating hatred as a pretext for illegal invasions. (The irony is rich, since ISIS are “strategic assets”/allies of the West in Syria.)

A recent video has emerged which illustrates the danger inherent in basing policies and perceptions on discredited sources. A US State Department spokesperson made the very serious allegation that Russia bombed hospitals in Syria. When questioned about the basis for his allegation, the spokesperson referenced press reports, civil society groups, and “operational information”. Strong evidence demonstrates, however, that the information is false.

These are not trifling lies and misrepresentations, since false intelligence has already served as a catalyst for illegal invasions, and it is likely do so again.

MSM needs to reinvent itself and decide to start reporting evidence-based truth, rather than warmongering propaganda.
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