Trump's 'election': Russian-backed fascist coup?

Well, this is pretty hilarious. Kremlin mouthpiece RT, long promoted as some kind of "alternative" by lefties in the West, is now baiting the anti-Trump protesters as paid pawns of George Soros, the fave bugaboo of yahoos, paranoids and anti-Semites. Embarassingly, even at this late date, the (always dubious) FreeThought Project is touting Russian media reports making this claim. We stated months ago that Putin and Trump were in league, hoping to instate a fascist world order after the January inaurguation. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, who ironically continue to be glorified by "leftists," obviously played a strategic role in this global coup, now on the cusp of being consolidated. Certainly, the jubilation at Donald Trump's election by the forces of Russo-fascism couldn't be more blatant.

In Montenegro—where Russian nationalists were just accused of attemting a coup d'etat—a roadside billboard was raised featuring images of Trump and Putin above the words (in English and Cyrillic): "LET'S MAKE THE WORLD GREAT AGAIN—TOGETHER." (Snopes)

A Cossack paramilitary group in Russia responded to Trump's election by declaring him to be an honorary Cossack. The Irbis Cossack order bestowed Donald with the title, inviting the entire Trump family to visit them in St. Petersburg. (Moscow Times, Nov. 23) Neo-Cossack fromations have proliferated under Putin, often with semi-official paramilitary powers. Given the historical role of the Cossacks in attacks on Jews over the centuries, this is rather akin to the Ku Klux Klan celebrating Trump's victory. The Irbis Cossacks, by the way, made headlines last year when they raised a bust in St. Petersburg depicting Putin as a Roman emperor.

And the ultra-reactionary nationalist parties and politicians that Putin has been backing across Europe are also enthused. French far-right leader Marine Le Pen boasted that her election as president next year will form a trio of world leaders with Trump and Putin that "would be good for world peace." Inaugurating her campaign headquarters  just a mile away from the Elysee presidential palace, Le Pen called the premises "a stopover on the way" to her "final destination down the road." (The Independent, Nov. 16)

And the evidence is there, if you care to look at it, that this was coordinated at the highest levels. Russian Insider on Dec 15, 2015 ran a photo of Michael Flynn dining with Putin at a Moscow soirée hosted by RT. Yeah, that's the same Mike Flynn who was Trump's ultra-Islamophobic military policy advisor, and who has just been appointed his post-inauguration National Security Advisor. (The Green Party candidate Jill Stein also supped with Mike and Vladimir at the RT soirée, again pointing to the paradoxical co-optation of the American left by international fascism.)

The National Security Agency chief, Michael S. Rogers, on Nov. 15 made a statement at a press conference charging that a particualr "nation-state" targeted Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, in order to affect the US election. He said that the Republicans were "consciously" assisted by hackers seeking a "specific effect" in the election. (Quartz, Nov. 15) Not hard to guess which "nation-state" he means.

The White House even sent a secret "hotline" message to Russia on Oct. 31 to warn against any further cyber-meddling in the US election process—through a special channel created in 2013 as part of the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center. (WP, Nov. 15)

And it has been over a month since the US Intelligence Community formally accused Russia of directing hacks to try to influence the elections. The official statement by the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said the e-mail dumps "are intended to interfere with the US election process." (NYT, Oct. 7) That's the same James Clapper, Mother Jones reminds us, who fired Mike Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2013 for being too much of a terror-war hard-ass. And the same Clapper who resigned in the wake of Trump's victory, as NBC reported.

Interestingly, Clapper's October statement was jointly released with all the 16 member agencies of the US Intelligence Community—except the FBI. (Occupy Democrats) Right, the one agency that seems, with director James Comey's eleventh-hour statements about an investigation into Clinton's e-mails, to have been openly collaborating with the Russian spy apparatus to throw the election to Trump. As we noted, he made no such statements about his agency's investigation into the Russian ties of Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. News of that investigation was only reported due to unofficial leaks.

A group of computer scientists, statisticians and election lawyers have issued a call for an audit and recount of the election results in some swing states, citing evidence of Russian hacking. This call must be urgently supported. It may not be too late to prevent Trump from taking office before he can consolidate his fascist agenda.

CIA: Russia meddled in US election

And it continues to get more grimly hilarious. The New York Times reports that US intelligence agencies, including the CIA and NSA, have concluded with "high confidence" that Russia acted covertly in the presidential campaign to harm Clinton and boost Trump. This in response to a review of the matter ordered by Obama. The Trump campaign, in turn, responds by dissing the CIA in terms that could be lifted directly from any left-wing website: "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction." The statement adds: "The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It's now time to move on and 'Make America Great Again.'" Note that they don't say popular victory.

Fromer CIA man Robert Baer tells CNN that the CIA should release the evidence—and that if "the evidence is there, I don't see any other way than to vote again." That's right. He calls for nullifying the election and holding a new one. 

The Washington Post describes the nature of some of this evidence: "Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman... Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton's chances."

Amid all this, the pathetic, deluded Russphilic "left" continues to squawk about how concerns over Moscow's meddling are "McCarthyism"—as if the Cold War were still on, as if it were progressives being portrayed as in league with Moscow and not the most vicious ultra-conservatives, and as if Putin were communist and not fascist. (Yes, fascist.)

It's all being spelled out for us very clearly, and the clock is ticking. It is now nine days until the Electoral College votes, and one month to the inauguration. Are we going to sit by and quietly acquisece in the death of American democracy? Or can we at least call, with an unwavering and unified voice, for the Electoral College to refuse to seat Donald Trump?

Petition to nullify the election

For what it's worth, Change.org has an online petition to "Postpone Electoral College Vote and Inauguration, Pending Investigation." It has accrued nearly 50,000 signatures, and is to be delivered to Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders—although it is not clear to us why they should have the authority to do this, or if anyone does...

Wonkette takes down absurd "red-baiting" canard

The Wonkette blog provides a much-needed breath of fresh air on the paradoxical "leftist" denialism of the Putin-Trump convergence, snarkily entitled: "Why Is Everybody Being So Red-Baity And McCarthyite And Mean To Poor Innocent Russia? A Wonksplainer." She writes:

[S]ome of the dopier parts of the left in America seem to think Russia is still communist, so being mad at them for interfering in our election is "red-baiting" and "McCarthyism." They are apparently unaware that Russia hasn't been communist for some decades now, but is just the same typical hyper-crony-capitalist Mafia-style kleptocracy, on steroids, that the US under Trump is likely to be!

Thank you, Wonkette! 

The site also runs a maddening exploration of how credulous WikiLeaks re-tweeting of pro-Trump conspiranoid material led to the bizarre "Pizzagate" affair. A further break-down is provided by the NY Times. Yet most "leftists" seemingly continue to be convinced that WikiLeaks is on the side of the angels.... and that Putin is a communist.

Talk about the "post-truth" era.

...yet some of the red-baiting is real

Mediaite reported back in September that MSNBC's Joy Reid tweeted a bunch of tweets in which she repeatedly refered to Putin as "Comrade Vladimir" and otherwise portrayed contemporary Russia as communist. This only plays into the hands of those who would dismiss the legitimate and urgent concerns about Russian interference in the election—on behalf of the extreme right—as "red-baiting." Not helpful, Joy. She did appear to take some flack for this error.

FBI-CIA shadow war?

OK, this is admittedly something of a conspiracy theory we are working on, but it is mselling more and more like the FBI has been co-opted by the Trump-Putin agenda while the CIA remains loyal to Obama. The Washington Post reports that the FBI is not signing off on the CIA's conclusion that Russia meddled in the election. In testimonyon the matter to the House Intelligence Committee, an FBI senior official called the evidence "fuzzy" and "ambiguous."

The CIA is meanwhile making as clear as a secretive agency can that they do not welcome Trump. "Given his proclivity for revenge combined with his notorious thin skin, this threatens to result in a lasting relationship of distrust and ill will between the president and the intelligence community," Paul Pillar, former deputy director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, told WaPo.

File under "Things that make you go 'hmmmm...'"

Russophile Exxon exec fingered for State Department

The NY Times tells us Rex Tillerson, chief executive of ExxonMobil, "whose extensive deal-making for the energy giant has plunged him into global politics from Yemen to Russia" but who has no actual diplomatic background, is fingered for Secretary of State. He is said to have "close ties with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, whom he has known for more than two decades. Russia awarded Mr. Tillerson its Order of Friendship in 2013..."

This just gets better and better.

Trump, Putin and Exxon team up to destroy the planet

ThinkProgress on Dec. 11 draws a line from Trump's declared desire to tear up the Paris climate agreement and his conniving with Vladimir Putin...

So much is explained by Trump’s Secretary of State choice. Media reports now say it will be Rex Tillerson, CEO of oil giant ExxonMobil, which had made a $500 billion oil deal with Putin that got blocked by sanctions.

Stalling the biggest oil deal ever did not just "put Exxon at risk," as the Wall Street Journal reported in 2014. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow explained last week this deal was so big it was "expected to change the historical trajectory of Russia."

[...I]f the sanctions are lifted — something a new Secretary of State could help make happen — it would pay off big time for Exxon. As Bloomberg explained in an October piece, "Exxon Faces Collateral Damage From a New Cold War," the company's "project queue for 2018 onward is weighted to resources challenged by low prices or higher costs, such as LNG and oil sands."

Imagine, however, if the oil giant is freed to produce and sell oil on the staggering 63.7 million acres of Russian land it leases, which is over 5 times the amount of land it leases in this country. Happy days are here again, for Exxon.

Again, you have to admire their chutzpah in making it so blatant.

EPA to join conspiracy to destroy the planet

And of course the pick for EPA is Scott Pruitt, the climate-denialist oil-connected attorney general of Oklahoma who is part of an effort by states to challenge the EPA's power to reguilate greenhouse gases, and has launched suit to overturn the agency’s Clean Power Plan.

Exxon seeks Russia sanctions waiver

So the NY Times reports that ExxonMobil is seeking a waiver from US sanctions against Russia to move ahead with its Black Sea venture with Rosneft. With Tillerson in charge of the State Department, wonder how that's gonna work out? 

Putin, Trump embrace Austria's far right

From the New York Times, Dec. 19:

BERLIN — The leader of the Austrian far-right Freedom Party has signed what he called a cooperation agreement with Russia's ruling party and recently met with Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the designated national security adviser to President-elect Donald J. Trump of the United States.

Word of the agreement with Russia was the latest sign that the Kremlin is forging bonds with political parties across Europe in what some European leaders suspect is a coordinated attempt to meddle in their affairs and potentially weaken Western democracies. Many of these efforts are murky and involve obscure groups, and it is unclear whether President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has any direct involvement.

The Freedom Party leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, reported the signing of the agreement with United Russia, Mr. Putin’s party, on Monday on his Facebook page, where he also disclosed that he had visited General Flynn a few weeks ago in Trump Tower in New York.

"Internationally, the Freedom Party continues to gain in influence," wrote Mr. Strache, a dental technician who has led the party since 2005.

The Trump transition team did not respond to request for comment on the meeting.

The Freedom Party, founded in the 1950s by ex-Nazis, surged this year to nearly capture the largely ceremonial presidency of Austria in May, but was defeated in a final runoff on Dec. 4. Still, its ascendance, alongside the rise of rightist parties in many European countries and with Mr. Trump's victory, has raised new questions about political realignment across the continent.

Breitbart is now ironically quoting Trump team reps to the effect that this story is "fake news." The Times appears to be standing by it.

Alt-right-Russo-fascist convergence

Brian Whitmore of Radio Free Europe's Daily Vertical notes the Putin embrace of the Freedom Party, and writes: "What Russia pretended to oppose in Ukraine it is now supporting openly in Europe." Daily Beast meanwhile notes that "alt-right" founder Richard Spencer is married to Russian-born Nina Kouprianova, a cyber-activist who avidly posts Kremlin-line propaganda.

Russia's 'hybrid warfare' against Europe

A Dec. 15 CBC report notes claims of a Russian campaign of "hybrid warfare" voiced by several European leaders and intelligence agencies. 

In a detailed report released in April [PDF], the European Council on Foreign Relations bluntly warned that Moscow's different intelligence services "conduct active measures aimed at subverting and destabilizing European governments … and attacks on political enemies."

The goal appears to be to weaken politicians Moscow does not like in a bid to end sanctions, sow discord throughout NATO and the EU, to increase distrust of liberal democracies generally and to challenge U.S. influence on the continent.

The head of Germany's domestic intelligence service (BfV), Hans-Georg Maassen, insists Russia has been actively cyber-targeting German infrastructure and institutions for at least eight years.... 

"We see aggressive and increased cyber-spying and cyber-operations that could potentially endanger German government officials, members of parliament and employees of democratic parties," he said in a statement last week...

It's not all hacking. Russian state media and their friends in social media have kept up a barrage of anti-Merkel propaganda, which has only risen since she supported sanctions against the Kremlin. The attacks include fake news stories often highlighting right-wing political accusations that she has opened up Germany to a flood of migrants and terror attacks.

Last January, Merkel's government accused Russian state TV of trying to raise media hysteria inside Germany after it broadcast an apparently false report saying a 13-year-old girl was raped by Arab immigrants.

It sparked street demonstrations by the far right.

German police denied the attack ever happened, but Russia refused to apologize.

Fake news is now so widespread that German security services are offering regular briefings to expose falsehoods as they arise. And this past fall, alarmed EU leaders started meeting in an attempt to find solutions to Russian political meddling in so many member states.

Julian Assange: give fascism a chance

Kremlin mouthpiece Sputnik notes with glee that Julian Assange crowed in an interview with Italy's La Repubblica in which he expressed his opinion on the imminent fascist takeover of the United States: "Donald? It's a change anyway"

"Donald Trump is not a DC insider, he is part of the wealthy ruling elite of the United States, and he is gathering around him a spectrum of other rich people and several idiosyncratic personalities," he said. "It is a new patronage structure which will evolve rapidly, but at the moment its looseness means there are opportunities for change in the United States: change for the worse and change for the better."

Whereas: "Hillary Clinton's election would have been a consolidation of power in the existing ruling class of the United States."

Alt-right-Russo-fascist convergence redux

Pressed by Marco Rubio in his confirmation hearing about whether Putin is a war criminal, Rex Tillerson responded: "I would not use that term." (CNBC) So cute to see the incoming fascist mob echo the talking points I've been hearing from The Nation, Counterpunch and Democracy Now.

Meanwhile, Marine Le Pen was seen visiting Trump Tower in New York. She declined to say whether she was there to see Trump but the Trump team said there would be "no meetings." (BBC News) Uh-huh.