August 4 -- With the passage of H.R. 3364, a new bill of sanctions targeting Russia, Iran and North Korea, by an overwhelming margin in the U.S. Congress -- only two votes against it in the Senate, and three in the House -- it is legitimate to ask, "Why did this happen now?" In particular, what had Russia done, to be included on the list?
While members of Congress cite the charge of Russian "meddling" in the U.S. election, there has still been not a shred of evidence produced to back up the charge, which originated in London's secret service agencies, despite multiple investigations and endless posturing by Obama's intelligence officers and the media. With the release of the VIPS report last week (see separate article), the whole story of "Russian meddling" by "hacking" the Democratic National Committee's emails has been discredited, by competent forensic analysis by some of the foremost intelligence professionals in the country.
The other issues cited as justification include "Russian aggression in Ukraine", though there is nothing new there, and these charges go back to the original Russian response to the neo-Nazi coup in February 2014, run by the U.S. and NATO operatives; and Syria, where the Russians are now actually engaged in high-level cooperation with the U.S. military, following the May 7 Trump-Putin meeting in Hamburg, at the G20 summit. Further, a powerful reason to vote against the new sanctions, especially for Republicans, was that President Trump had specifically asked his fellow Republicans, who have the majority in both Houses, to oppose the bill, to allow the positive openings with Russia to advance.
The U.S.-Russian cooperation in Syria has developed to where it is possible to see the total defeat of the barbaric jihadist forces which had taken over whole sections of the country. It includes a ceasefire in two "de-escalation zones", which has held, and a third zone north of the city of Homs was added in the last days. There are reports that Syrian refugees who fled to camps in Lebanon to escape the war are beginning to return to Syria, as a result of the ceasefire, while a Chinese delegation is expected soon, to begin mapping out reconstruction. As part of the U.S.-Russian progress, the Pentagon announced on July 27 that Trump ordered the end of the Obama policy of training and arming the "moderate" anti-Assad rebels, and some of the militias are dissolving, or even joining the Syrian army, to fight against Al Nusra and ISIS.
This provides the simple answer to the question of why push the sanctions bill now: It is precisely due to the success of the Trump-Putin summit, especially regarding progress in ending the war in Syria, and challenging not only the Blair-Bush-Obama doctrine of "regime change", but the whole strategic orientation to an imperial divide-and-conquer policy, which has led to endless wars, that the Congress was stampeded to pass the bill. The threat posed by the prospect of a Trump-Putin-Xi collaboration, to break out of the unipolar doctrine devised by the neocons, to defend a bankrupt City of London/Wall Street global financial order, is so profound that its patrons have concluded it is preferable to risk nuclear war, rather than allow the three leaders to succeed. The ongoing efforts to remove Trump from office, which are accurately characterized as a "regime change coup" in the U.S., are central to the defense of the collapsing Trans-Atlantic system. If not halted, Lyndon LaRouche has warned, we are heading to a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia.
The danger explicit in this legislation was addressed by Trump after the bill was passed, when he tweeted that, as a result of this bill, "Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time and dangerous low. You can thank Congress...." Trump signed the bill, as there was no way he could have avoided an override had he chosen to veto it. However, he issued a signing statement expressing his opposition, stating that it includes "a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions," particularly those related to the President's unique authority in dealing with foreign governments.
Implying that he does not feel bound by the bill, he wrote, "My Administration will give careful and respectful consideration to the preferences expressed by the Congress...and will implement them in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations." He concluded with a warning, that he "expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends or our allies."
This provoked an immediate, hysterical response from House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who warned Trump that he must not go against the language contained in the bill, by continuing his policy of rapprochement with Russia! “The Trump team’s alarming connections and conduct with Russia necessitated stronger sanctions and tougher limits on President Trump’s ability to roll them back. President Trump’s signing statement raises serious questions about whether his Administration intends to follow the law, or whether he will continue to enable and reward Vladimir Putin’s aggression."
CHUTZPAH: GCHQ BRAGS TO CNN ABOUT PASSING ON INTERCEPTS OF TRUMP ASSOCIATES COMMUNICATIONS WITH RUSSIANS, THEN DENIES WIRETAPPING TRUMP TOWER OR CAMPAIGN -- THE BRITISH ROLE IN THE COUP IN WASHINGTON
Having answered the question "why now?", we turn to the matter of how this vote was organized. While many in the U.S. continue to support Trump against this coup, few understand the origin of this unprecedented assault on an elected U.S. President, and have been ineffective in fighting it. From the beginning, the attack on American "democracy" has come not from Russia, but from the City of London, coordinated by the same intelligence officials, in both the U.K. and the U.S., responsible for the fraudulent claims which led to destructive destabilzations and regime change wars against Saddam Hussein, Libya's Qadaffi, Ukraine's Yanukovych regime, and the Assad government in Syria.
Why was then UN Amb. Samantha Power, an Irish born American citizen, responsible for so many of the unmasking requests of American citizens allegedly caught up in Russia-related NSA/GCHQ intercepts?
At the center of operations is Britain's GCHQ, the super-secretive intelligence command center, which first targeted Trump in early summer 2015, before he had even announced for President. It was from here that operatives were deployed to produce the narrative that Putin was preparing a massive cyber-intervention into the U.S. election, to elect Trump. At the same time, "ex"-MI6 operative Christopher Steele wrote the dossier which purported that Putin had sexual blackmail videos on Trump, which were passed from Sir Andrew Wood, former British Ambassador to Moscow, adviser to Tony Blair and an associate fellow of the Russia and Eurasia program at Chatham House, to Senator John McCain. It was McCain who brought this to then-CIA Director Brennan, who pulled together a "Get Trump" task force in June 2016, together with DNI Clapper and FBI Director Comey.
The Steele dossier, which had been in part financed by the Clinton campaign through a shadowy entity with British intelligence connections, Fusion GPS, was given to the media before the election, and used by Comey in an attempt to intimidate Trump during a January 2017 meeting. The most recent "gotcha" non-story, of Donald Trump, Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer who allegedly had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, was an obvious British set-up from the beginning, again involving Fusion GPS operatives.
It was this anti-Trump, anti-Putin operation, which was coordinated with President Obama and his staffers, such as Susan Rice, NSC adviser Ben Rhodes, and U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, which leaked classified documents to major media outlets, which have been banging that narrative nonstop since the election. The leading voices for the story have been former intel officials Brennan, Clapper and Comey, while Democrats, with few exceptions, and many Republicans, led by the anti-Putin muddle-headed McCain, have pushed it relentlessly. That there has been no "smoking gun" produced has not stopped the story, which has been presented as though it has been proven decisively. However, polls repeatedly demonstrate that most Americans are skeptical of the story, and only 6% told pollsters recently that they are concerned about Russia.
To get the bill passed required a coordinated effort, which went beyond the media and the usual anti-Trumpers. There are reliable reports that the intelligence community has been giving regular closed door, "classified" briefings to Congressmen, repeating the charges. These have been backed by the lobbying of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which has been pushing the anti-Iran line of Israel's Netanyahu government, asserting that Russia's support for Iran and Hezbollah in Syria demonstrates the pro-terror, anti-Semitic outlook of Putin and Russia.
Further, there is the factor of FBI blackmail and threats against Congressmen, to intimidate those who might speak out against the group-think narrative. While this rarely becomes public, two examples show that the thuggish tactics made infamous by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover continue to be employed. Rep. John Duncan, a Tennessee Republican who was one of the three who voted against the sanctions, announced on August 1 that he will retire after this term. Local newspapers have been running old news reports about allegations that his son received a big salary for serving as his campaign manager. While not illegal, there are implications that a further investigation of "corruption" may be underway.
A second case involves outspoken Republican Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, who has been strongly supportive of Trump's efforts to improve relations with Putin, and a harsh critic of "Russiagate." His town meetings have been targeted by Soros-linked hecklers, and the lead staffer of his subcommittee, Paul Behrends, was fired, after a campaign of leaks and innuendo implying he is a possible Putin operative! In spite of this, Rohrbacher released the full transcript of the VIPS report, with a letter to fellow members calling on them to study the report, which debunks the story of "Russian hacking."
Finally, worth noting is the bizarre case of William Browder, a speculator who made a fortune from financial operations in Russia from 1995 to 2006, when he ran a fund which used the privatizations of the Yeltsin years to loot Russia. Browder's fund, Hermitage Capital Management, came under investigation, as part of Putin's campaign against those profiting from blatant thievery of Russian state assets. He was kicked out of Russia, after evidence was uncovered by Russian authorities that he was running a $230 million tax fraud scheme.
Browder responded by launching an "investigation" into what he alleged was fraud by Russian authorities. He eventually blamed Putin, who he claims, with no evidence, has amassed a personal fortune of over $200 billion. His investigator, Sergei Magnitsky, was arrested and interrogated about Hermitage's crime, and died in jail. Browder claimed he was murdered, and launched a vendetta against Putin, which resulted in the "Magnitsky Act" of 2012, which sanctioned Russian officials identified by Browder as responsible for Magnisky's death. Browder was featured in a much-hyped "star" performance before a Senate Committee during a hearing on the recent sanctions bill. CNBC-News covered it under the sensational headline, "Is Vladimir Putin the richest person in the world?" He told the Senators that Putin's goal is "to create chaos everywhere."
Browder's book, Red Notice: How I Became Putin's No. 1 Enemy, published in February 2015, has been circulated among Congressmen and staffers, and made a best seller. However, his effort to produce a documentary to buttress his claims of corruption and murder by Russian officials, under Putin's direction, by an acclaimed Russian director, has backfired, as Viktor Nekrasov's film shows that it is Browder who is a liar and a fraud (see box).
Browder's background, which is apparently unknown by those Senators who praised him as a "hero", identifies him as a City of London operative. Born in the U.S., the grandson of the General Secretary of the Communist Party USA in the 1930s and '40s, Earl Browder, he became a British citizen in 1998. He was involved in the privatization of Russian assets while working for the notorious looting firm, the Boston Consulting Group, while running the Russian proprietary investment desk of Saloman Brothers. He founded Hermitage Capital in partnership with Edmond Safra, whose Safra Bank was a joint London-Israeli operation engaging in laundering funds from drugs and arms sales. Safra's operations were underwritten by the leading British drug bank, HSBC, and HSBC was also the lead underwriter for Hermitage, as well as the trustee and manager of the fund. Before its fall, Hermitage was one of the biggest foreign "investors" in Russia, with returns of over 1,500% during its decade of operations! Browder personally pocketed nearly $150 million per year in 2006 and 2007, before the Russian government shut him down.
Not surprisingly, Browder's charges against Russia and Putin were backed by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and George Soros, -- both leading sponsors of the Maidan coup in Ukraine. Soros' career, like that of Safra, has been entirely dependent on financial and political support of the same City of London operations currently running the coup against President Trump.
ATTEMPTS TO BAN SCREENING OF NEKRASOV'S FILM
As part of his efforts to bring down Russian President Putin, by focusing on phony corruption charges, Bill Browder financed a film by Andrei Nekrasov, to document the Magnitsky case. The film, "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes", was intended to prove that Putin's security forces were behind the murder of Magnitsky and the takedown of Browder's Hermitage Capital, and that Putin personally benefited from it. He chose Nekrasov, as he is an acclaimed director, and a Putin critic.
However, as Nekrasov worked through the documents provided to him by Browder, he became struck by the inconsistencies in the story. He discovered that Browder's company did engage in fraud, and that Magnitsky, rather than being a courageous whistle-blowing attorney, was an accountant paid to cover up Browder's fraud.
When Nekrasov asked Browder for clarifications, he became angry, then threatening. When the film was completed, Browder launched a campaign to have it blacklisted, shutting down a showing in the European Union parliament, and preventing its release to the public. When a showing was arranged for Congressmen in Washington, Browder told the Senate that those arranging its screening should be prosecuted under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, which could mean a five-year prison sentence. Not surprisingly, the screening was largely boycotted by the Congress, and the film has no distributor. Browder arranged hostile reviews in the New York Times and Washington Post, and The Daily Beast headlined its review, "How an Anti-Putin Filmmaker Became a Kremlin Stooge." Journalist Robert Parry reports that its not clear that The Daily Beast reporter even saw the film.
Thus, the man who claims he is heroically standing up against the autocrat Putin, on behalf of freedom and democracy, is censoring a film which he intended to rally western nations against Putin. In discussing this irony, Nekrasov asked, "...do we allow graft and greed (of Browder -- HS) to hide behind a political sermon? Will democracy survive if human rights -- its moral high ground -- is used to protect special interests?"