Tuesday 17th of July 2018

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by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2018-07-16 19:52
Hours before the long-awaited summit between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, the US leader took to Twitter to say that Moscow-Washington relations have never been worse thanks to years of foolishness and stupidity by the US.

Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt! (sic)” Trump wrote on Monday morning.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the prospect of improving ties between Moscow and Washington is in Russia’s hands. A better relationship with the Russian government would benefit all, but the ball is in Russia’s court, the top US official wrote on Twitter.


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by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2018-07-16 19:46

On the sidelines of the World Cup, Lothar Matthäus, a former German football player, is traveling across the tournament’s host country. In particular, he met Russian President Vladimir Putin and shook hands with him for a photo. In doing so, he apparently angered the newspaper Bild. However, Matthew countered its criticism like a true champion.

Apparently, Julian Reichelt, Bild's chief editor, didn't like the fact that Lothar Matthäus, who also contributes to the newspaper, was photographed with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Julian's article states that Matthäus shouldn't have "shaken bloody hands" with Putin. The article also says that "the worst world's regimes would buy these tournaments with their unlimited funds."

Brilliant Response

However, Matthäus couldn't just sit back. The former German team captain tweeted a photo showing the hypocrisy of the newspaper's management. The picture shows Kai Diekmann, the former chief editor, Nikolaus Blome, the deputy chief editor, and Vladimir Putin. In the photo, Blome is shaking hands with the president, and Diekmann is in a good mood.

READ MORE: Fans Take to Twitter to Vent After Croatia Beat England at FIFA World Cup

That was a classic own goal of the Bild: while the newspaper's article got just under 80 likes on Twitter, Matthäus's response generated 1,400 likes. Also, Bild's management has been hit hard by the Twitter users — someone called it a "golden goal", and there was even someone who said: "That's quite a counter-attack. Bravo, Lothar."

Sore losers

Someone's probably a sore loser: Kai Diekmann, the former chief editor of the Bild, griped that Lothar Matthäus should pay a fine for reposting the Diekmann-Putin photo because he doesn't hold the copyright for the picture. That didn't go down well with the Twitter community: "Kai, just take a breath," one user replied. Another user comments: "Oh Kai, you'd better keep silent now." Matthäus also repeatedly offered financial support in case he has to pay a fine.


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by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2018-07-16 16:23

When Russian President Vladimir Putin sits down at the table in Helsinki on Monday, he will surely have in the back of his mind some intelligence worries that have nothing to do with the U.S. president seated across from him.

Putin’s elite spy world has been penetrated by U.S. intelligence. That’s the implication of the extraordinarily detailed 29-page indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence (GRU) officers handed up by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators on Friday. The 11-count charge includes names, dates, unit assignments, the GRU’s use of “X-agent” malware, its bitcoin covert funding schemes and a wealth of other tradecraft.

Putin must be asking himself: How did the Americans find out all these facts? What other operations have been compromised? And how much else do they know?

“The Russians have surely begun a ‘damage assessment’ to figure out how we were able to collect this information and how much damage was done to their cyber capacity as a result,” says Jeffrey Smith, a former CIA general counsel, in an email. “They are probably also doing a CI (counter-intelligence) assessment to determine whether we have any human sources or whether the Russians made mistakes that we were able to exploit.”

Must the GRU assume that officers named in Friday’s indictment are now “blown” for further secret operations? Should Russian spymasters expect that operations they touched are now compromised? What about other Russian operations that used bitcoin, or X-agent, or another hacking tool called X-Tunnel? Has the United States tracked such operations and identified the targets? Finally, how are U.S. intelligence services playing back the information they’ve learned — to recruit, exploit or compromise Russian officers?

“I suspect the senior officers of the GRU who were involved do not have bright futures,” says Smith. “Putin will never extradite them, but it would be great if they were to defect to the U.S. and tell us what they know.”

Looking at this case through a counterintelligence lens raises an intriguing new series of questions. In putting all the detail into the indictment, Mueller was giving Russian intelligence a hint of how much America can see. But this public disclosure may mask much deeper capabilities — perhaps a capacity to expose many more layers of GRU military-intelligence operations and those by the Russian civilian spy services, the FSB and the SVR. American intelligence agencies rarely tip their hand this way by disclosing so much in an indictment; clearly they did so here to send messages.

Explains one former CIA officer: “Given that we clearly had so much of the Russian internal communication and cyber footprints, they must be asking what else do we have? Do we have communications between the units and more senior officers in the GRU? With the General Staff? With the Kremlin? With Putin? Probably not the latter directly, but the Russians are very bureaucratic and it’s hard for me to imagine there is not a clear trail of higher level approvals, progress reports, etc.”

Friday’s indictment is a legal document. But it’s also a shot across the Kremlin’s bow. The message is: If you don’t stop cyber-operations against the United States, we have the detailed information to identify and disrupt your intelligence services, officers, sources and methods. Mueller isn’t asking Russia to stop; he’s warning them of the consequences of going forward.

The indictment also sends a message to President Trump and members of his entourage who are potential targets of Mueller’s probe: Here’s a hint of what we know; how much are you willing to wager that we don’t know a lot more about Russian contacts and collusion? For example, the indictment is a proffer of Mueller’s information about contacts between GRU cut-out “Guccifer 2.0” and Roger Stone, Trump’s friend and adviser. What else does Mueller have?

Seeing these details, we have new appreciation for the dilemma of FBI officials James B. Comey, Peter Strzok and the handful of others who saw the unfolding story of Russia’s secret attempt to undermine Hillary Clinton and help Trump. As Strzok put it in his statement to a House committee Thursday: “In the summer of 2016, I was one of a handful of people who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with members of the Trump campaign.”

Strzok kept quiet about the conspiracy he was watching. Trump was elected president. But now, at last, with Friday’s indictment, we see a bit of what Strzok and the other intelligence officials saw.

And here’s a spooky final question: How much has the intelligence community told Trump about its operations against Russia? If you were one of the American intelligence officers who helped gather the information that’s included in Friday’s indictment, what would you think about the fact that Trump has asked for a private meeting first with Putin?


Gus: and you would think that Putin would be phased out by this?


Why? Because Putin would have to know how much can be “fabricated to try and spook him", especially as he is going to meet Trump. His own side would know as much crap as the CIA… Not only you would hear about the GRU, but not about the other Russian agencies that would be working backstage without YOUR knowledge… Putin is aware that the west will use any tricks to belittle him and the Russian people.

The “disinformation is rife" and the Western snoot is like snort… Lucky some "things" are foiled:

Russia has come under nearly 25 million cyber attacks targeting its critical information systems and infrastructure during the FIFA World Cup tournament, Vladimir Putin revealed.

Throughout the duration of the World Cup, we neutralized almost 25 million cyber attacks and other criminal activities against the information infrastructure of Russia, which, in one way or another, were associated with the holding of the World Cup, the Russian president said.

Speaking at a meeting dedicated to the security of the World Cup, Putin thanked the representatives of 55 special services and law enforcement agencies from 34 countries which helped ensure security during the month-long tournament.

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And some people in other countries see through the crap:

A journalist from the leading German paper Die Welt has criticized the media for painting an unfairly grim picture of Russia during the FIFA World Cup and for boycotting the tournament. She called this an example of hubris.

Die Welt reporter Kathrin Spoerr called out the press on what she believes is the unfair treatment of Russia during the nation’s hosting of the World Cup. The journalist says she is thrilled to see the final game on Sunday, but also recalls how the German media was riddled with negative stories on Russia, and how some of her colleagues declared ‘private boycotts’ of the tournament for political reasons.

“Ahead of the final, I’m wondering about two things. First, will I have enough popcorn? Second, what horrible stories on Russia will be reported before the kick-off?” Spoerr wrote on Saturday.

Writing about the prevalence of Russia-bashing and fearmongering ahead of the World Cup, Spoerr noted how “amused” she was by the fact that her colleague had just recently ‘discovered’ that “the Russians had learned to laugh”during the games. “Look, the savages can laugh,” she sarcastically writes.

When Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006, people celebrated in Berlin and Munich the same way they are celebrating in Kazan and St. Petersburg, because “it’s summer and the World Cup is awesome,” the journalist recalled, adding with irony: “Certainly, a few Russian journalists were present at the time. I wonder whether they were just as surprised by the sight of laughing Germans.”

However, things were not always this way, Spoerr notes: “There was a time when Helmut Kohl and Boris Yelstin sat together in a sauna to talk and decide how to overcome the Cold War. But soon after Kohl’s departure, we snapped back into the old German habit of imagining Russia is a country with low morals, and even as a nation unworthy of the World Cup.” The journalist added that such an attitude towards Russia amounts to “hubris.”

Determining who should host the games based on morals and politics is wrong, she writes. “If the World Cup were awarded on the criteria of political morality, it would be difficult for FIFA to find a suitable host in the future,” Spoerr explained. “Neither Turkey, nor Hungary, Italy, Japan, France, Great Britain, the US, Australia, and Africa would qualify since everyone is resting on dead bodies from their past.”

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Meanwhile the Russia/Putin bashing continues at the Guardian:

There were protests in a number of Russian cities in early July, organised by an unusually broad coalition of political forces, including parliamentary opposition parties that are usually broadly loyal to the Kremlin. The organisers did not hold protests in World Cup host cities.

The retirement age will rise gradually from 55 to 63 for women and from 60 to 65 for men over a number of years. Economists say it is important to raise the age from norms that were set in the era of Joseph Stalin, but the move is extremely unpopular with Putin’s supporters.

His approval ratings, while still high by the standards of western democratic leaders, are his lowest since March 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and a wave of patriotic fervour boosted his popularity.

Kolesnikov pointed to another survey, by the independent Levada Centre, which asked Russians whether “things are going in the right direction” in the country. Only 46% said they agreed, again the lowest figure since the annexation of Crimea. “And there is no second Crimea option available, even if we storm the North Pole,” wrote Kolesnikov. 

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ALL Western leaders would love to have at least 63 per cent approval... Please consider that the retirement age in Australia has also been raised to 65.5 for women and 67 for men. Why Because we are healthier and live longer? Sure but also we can pay taxes for a longer time and reduce the payout to pensioners...

Meanwhile Putin’s pragmatism might prevail:

Vladimir Putin is pragmatic enough to accept Donald Trump placing US national interests above all else but, to build a mutually beneficial relationship, he expects his counterpart to respect Russia’s, Dmitry Peskov told RT.

Ahead of the much-anticipated summit between the Russian and US leaders in Helsinki, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov sat down with RT for an exclusive interview, in which he touched upon Donald Trump’s seemingly controversial but very natural ‘America first’ motto.

This principle works for any head of state. Any head of state, when talking to their foreign counterparts, has to take care of the interests of their state. And our president is quite pragmatic, quite consistent, quite practical. He always says that he cares about the national interests of Russia, above everything else. That's why he understands the reciprocal beliefs of Donald Trump, as applied to his country,” Peskov said.

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by Gus Leonisky on Mon, 2018-07-16 08:01

MOSCOW — When President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia sits down with President Trump in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday for a meeting he has long wanted, he will already have accomplished virtually everything he could reasonably hope for.

All he really needs to make his meeting with Mr. Trump a success is for it to take place without any major friction — providing a symbolic end to Western efforts to isolate Russia over its actions against Ukraine in 2014, its meddling in the United States election in 2016 and other examples of what the United States Treasury Department has described as Russia’s “malign activity” around the world.

“If Trump says, ‘Let bygones be bygones because we have a world to run,’ that is essentially what Moscow needs from this,” said Vladimir Frolov, an independent foreign policy analyst in Moscow.

As with any negotiation, timing is everything, and Mr. Putin has been gaining a lot of momentum lately. He will arrive in Helsinki after presiding over the final game of the World Cup soccer tournament in Moscow on Sunday, and will meet an American president who has spent the last week berating his NATO allies and undercutting his host in Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May.


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by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2018-07-15 20:54

Donald Trump has finally come to the UK, 20 months after he won the election to make him the 45th President of the United States.

During that time, a trans-Atlantic network of business people, think tank analysts, and lobbyists have grown in influence — pushing a free market ideology and spreading climate science denial on both sides of the Atlantic.

DeSmog UK first mapped the network when Trump was sworn into office in January 2016. Things have moved on a bit since then.

On the eve of the President’s UK visit, over 100 scientists signed a letter urging Theresa May to challenge Donald Trump’s climate science denial. To mark the occasion, DeSmog UK has updated the network map, showing all the key connections between the actors in the shadows pushing to lighten environmental regulations and dampen corporate accountability in the US and UK...

From Trump to the UK

Donald Trump is famously keen to appoint climate science deniers and fossil fuel lobbyists to head up the US’s main environmental regulator, the Environmental Protection Agency.

First there was Scott Pruitt, a lawyer funded by the fossil fuel industry that was fond of trying to stop the EPA’s clean power plan in the courts. After Pruitt resigned in the wake of multiple allegations of inappropriate use of EPA funds, Trump appointed another coal lobbyist to replace him — Andrew Wheeler. He was a staffer of climate science denying US Senator Jim Inhofe. Inhofe once held up a snowball in Congress to try and disprove global warming.

Inhofe has taken campaign contributions from the Koch brothers — who have spent more than $88 million backing groups spreading climate science denial, according to Greenpeace estimates. Trump’s 2016 presidential bid was belatedly backed by the Kochs, but Trump mainly drew funds from Rebekah Mercer and Robert Mercer. The Mercer Family Foundation spent at least $3,824,000 between 2003 and 2010 directly funding groups opposing climate change action.

The Mercers and the Kochs fund a number of organisations that tie Trump and his administration to the climate science denial and Brexit lobbying in the UK, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Heartland InstituteThe Heritage Foundation, the CATO Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and Americans for Prosperity.

Trans-Atlantic Conduits

These groups use a number of actors as conduits to spread their money, resources and ideas into the UK.

One organisation that rapidly grew in influence after the Brexit referendum was the Legatum InstituteOpenDemocracy revealed how Legatum got privileged access to UK government ministers, with all the links and meetings mapped by DeSmog UK.

Legatum hired two US lobbyists with ties to climate science denial organisations — Alden Abbott and Shanker Singham. Abbott authored a report for the Heartland Institute, and was a Deputy Director at The Heritage Foundation, while Singham was a policy expert for the US-based Heartland Institute.

Singham is often credited with working inside government to push for a Hard Brexit. Singham had begun advising PR and lobbying firm Grayling about Brexit, Open Democracy revealed. This was a problem, as Singham was a member of International Trade Secretary and arch-Leaver Liam Fox's trade advisory team. Singham said there is no conflict of interest, but stepped down from his trade advisory role anyway.

The controversy saw Singham shuffled out of Legatum. He now works for the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has strong ties to organisations based in a building that acts as an incubator for climate science denial and deregulatory ideas in the UK — 55 Tufton Street.

One resident, the Taxpayers’ Alliance, was set up by Matthew Elliott, now a Senior Advisor at Legatum. Elliot was Chief of the Brexit campaign group Vote Leave. He recently visited the US to work on the US-UK trade deal, alongside Singham.

Elliott is married to Sarah Smith, chair of right-wing lobby group Republicans Overseas UK. Smith used to work as a Major Gifts Officer for Americans for Prosperity, a Koch brothers lobby group.

There are other links, beyond Legatum.

Myron Ebell, a Director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a member of Trump’s transition team, is an ally of the UK’s premier climate science denial campaign group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

Ebell spoke at an event organised by the GWPF in January 2017. At the event, he said he considered the “climate industrial complex”, which included everyone from climate campaigners to publicly funded scientists, as one of the “most dangerous” threats to society.

When asked where he got his information on climate change, if not from experts or scientists, Ebell said he was “very skeptical of expert opinion when it becomes group-think and experts gang up against public”. He pointed to Brexit as another example of the public rejecting expert opinion. When asked what special interests he was representing, he replied “freedom”.

And then there are Arron Banks and Nigel Farage, famously photographed in a golden elevator with Donald Trump in November 2016.

Farage, former leader of UKIP and the Leave.EU campaign group, has spoken at The Heritage Foundation. One of Brexit’s main funders, Banks has also been invited to Heritage Foundation events, as well as speaking at the CATO Institute — both of which promote climate science denial and rampant free-market capitalism.

Tory Politicans and the UK Government

All of these conduits are significantly involved with pro-Brexit groups, which have the backing of numerous Tory politicians and cabinet members.

For instance, Leave Means Leave, a group campaigning for a hard Brexit, had new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab on its political advisory board.

Leave Means Leave was also supported by some of the UK’s most prominent climate science deniers such as former Tory MP and now Lord Peter Lilley, and Democratic Unionist Party (DUPMP Sammy Wilson. It was also supported by libertarian Tories calling for deregulations which have previously pushed disinformation on climate change including Jacob Rees-Mogg, John Redwood, Christopher Chope and Ian Paisley Jr, to name a few.

Former environment secretary Owen Paterson is also a member of the group. Paterson and Lilley are both affiliated with the GWPF, and Paterson delivered a speech to the Competitive Enterprise Institute in October 2017.

Raab was also co-founder of Change Britain, which was set up by members of Vote Leave after the referendum. Change Britain’s patron is Lord Charles Guthrie, a former Field Marshal, who has been implicated in deals to buy Siberian gold alongside Arron Banks.

Raab is not the only cabinet member with strong links to the US. Just weeks after his appointment as International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox met with over a dozen Heritage Foundation members – including its president and former Tea Partier Jim DeMint and several individuals who became part of the Trump administration. Fox’s former special advisor when he was Defence Secretary, Luke Coffey, now works for the Heritage Foundation.

Fox was also the founder of Atlantic Bridge, a neoconservative thinktank aiming to promote a “special relationship”between the UK and United States. In 2007, the group established a partnership with free-market lobby group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), known for producing template pieces of legislation that reduce protections for the environment and other anti-regulation efforts. Atlantic Bridge operated until September 2011 when it was dissolved following a Charity Commission investigation.

A key funder of Atlantic Bridge was Michael Hintze, the billionaire hedge fund manager, Conservative party donor, philanthropist, and supporter of the climate science denying GWPF. Hintze also donated money to former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson for his campaign to be London Mayor.

While not a pro-Brexit cabinet member, new Home Secretary Matt Hancock has also accepted cash from a key donor to the climate science denying GWPF. He has received £18,000 in donations from businessman Neil Record over the past four years.

Johnson’s Brexit co-conspirator and now Environment Secretary Michael Gove was also involved with Atlantic Bridge, and sits on the Advisory Committee of another 55 Tufton Street outfit, the New Culture Forum.

Gove, Fox and Johnson are all Brexit figureheads, and all recently held meetings with Singham and Legatum.

With so many connections between the Brexit and Trump camps, the President’s visit this week may feel more like a homecoming.


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It appears that May and Trump ignored the issue of "climate" altogether and waffled on about the European "weather"...

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2018-07-15 19:39

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may soon be evicted from the London embassy that has sheltered him for the last six years.

Ecuador, which has played host to the political provocateur since 2012, and Britain are in high-level discussions over Assange’s fate, the Sunday Times of London reported.

New Ecuadorean president Lenin Moreno – who has called Assange a “stone in the shoe” – dismisses him as a problem he inherited from his predecessor.

The South American nation’s former president granted Assange political asylum shortly after the Australian was accused of sexual assault and rape in Sweden.

Assange claimed the charges were part of a U.S. plot to discredit him for WikiLeaks disclosures that embarrassed the Obama administration.

Bur Ecuador’s new government, which has cut off his Internet access and banned most visitors, isn’t buying the story.

Assange believes he will be extradited to the United States if he leaves the London embassy – a fear that may have been heightened by indictments filed Friday by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

WikiLeaks published documents that the Russians allegedly hacked from the Democratic National Committee – including emails that revealed the party’s internal scheme to rein in the insurgent primary campaign of Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton.


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At no point has wikileaks divulged the source of its information. But wikileaks has revealed:

Starting on Friday 22 July 2016 at 10:30am EDT, WikiLeaks released over 2 publications 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments from the top of the US Democratic National Committee -- part one of our new Hillary Leaks series. The leaks come from the accounts of seven key figures in the DNC: Communications Director Luis Miranda (10520 emails), National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan (3799 emails), Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer (3095 emails), Finanace Director of Data & Strategic Initiatives Daniel Parrish (1742 emails), Finance Director Allen Zachary (1611 emails), Senior Advisor Andrew Wright (938 emails) and Northern California Finance Director Robert (Erik) Stowe (751 emails). The emails cover the period from January last year until 25 May this year.

There is a strong case that these emails were leaked by a mole in the DNC or leaked links to these. The "indictment of 12 Russians" by Mueller (The III) is only a smokescreen to hide this strong possibility. Wikileaks will stay tight-lipped on its sources.

by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2018-07-15 19:22

While browbeating European leaders at the NATO summit this week, US President Donald Trump used a rather unfortunate metaphor. He described Germany and Europe as “captive of Russia”.

Trump was erroneously referring to the huge and mutually beneficial trade in natural gas between Russia and Europe. He was implying that Germany and the rest of Europe are excessively dependent on Russian fuel, and thereby are "controlled" by Moscow's geopolitical agenda.

READ MORE: Merkel Says Germany 'Independent' as Trump Claims Berlin is Moscow's 'Captive'

Sometimes garbled thinking, however, inadvertently brings attention to the truth. And the truth is, Europe is far more a captive of US objectives than it is ever of Russia. A captivity that continually damages Europe's best interests in the service of American hegemonic power.

What's more, the European leaders seem to suffer from "Stockholm Syndrome". This is the name of a curious condition which psychologists attribute to cases whereby victims of a hostage-taking situation bizarrely develop a trust or deference towards their evil-doing captors.

Trump's swaggering display of bullying and humiliation was apparently accepted by European leaders in a pathetically servile way. His petulant ultimatum for increased military spending on NATO was acquiesced to by the fawning Europeans.


The American president then continued his "tirade tour" from Brussels to the United Kingdom where he made an extraordinary public attack on Prime Minister Theresa May, calling her Brexit plans a failure, in a high-profile media interview. The BBC headlined that Trump gave May's Brexit plans "both barrels". Such contempt for a political leader while being hosted in the country is shameful and mortifying.

Despite Trump's boorish behavior, European politicians gingerly shuffle their feet, mutter and grumble, but ultimately do nothing to stand up to him. It will be interesting to see the interaction when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

On his "captive of Russia" remark, Moscow slammed Trump's demeaning distortion of what it said are normal and mutual trading relations between Russia and Europe. Rightly, the Kremlin pointed out that the American president is resorting to bully tactics in order to blackmail Europeans into replacing economically and logistically convenient Russian gas with much more expensive US supplies.

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by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2018-07-15 19:18

Saska Saarikoski HS Laura Saarikoski HS


Published: 15.7. 2:00, Updated: 15.7. 6:20

Dear Presidents, Ladies and Gentlemen, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin

For many foreigners, it is a surprise that we, the ferocious Finns, are in awe of the Argentinean tango. These summertime melodious tunes are making us dance across our country. That is why we remember very well how US President Ronald Reagan compared major-negotiating talks with the tango, which requires two.

As Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are now preparing for their own tango in Helsinki, we Finns are delighted to be able to offer a summer setting for the event. Soon we will see which of the presidents will take and whichever is being exploited.

The meeting arouses Finnish memories about other encounters in the past. Leaders have often come to Helsinki in tense moods but left the city with a smile on the lips. Over the years, the phenomenon was named "the spirit of Helsinki".

This time, however, it is exceptionally difficult to anticipate the meeting, as things have changed rapidly both in Russia and in the United States.

FINNS have been concerned about developments in Russia. Our neighbor seems to have chosen a line where the country's power and honor are placed before democracy and civil liberties. As Russia's neighbor, Finland has expressed concern about such development.

Such criticism is not about the Russian people, but of Russian views. During our 100th anniversary of Independence, we Finns have learned how a strong foundation for democracy, the rule of law and free civic activity, contributes to the development of society. We also hope the same for the Russians.

The United States is far more geographically distant from Finland but is spiritually close. The United States is a good friend who has supported stability and security throughout Europe, including in our neighborhood.

However, recent developments in the United States have raised concerns in Europe and also in Finland.

President Trump is not a man afraid to rock the boat. Last week, Trump reiterated his demand that Europeans should take greater responsibility for their own security. We Finns are well aware of this kind of speech, because we have handled our defense both in war and peace.

It is more difficult to understand that President Trump has threatened his friends at the same time as he has talked warmly with despotic leaders, like Korean Kim Jong-un.

In the United States, Trump's line follows that Russia has been called "Finnization", which refers to a cautious neutrality policy after the war in Finland. We Finns have never liked this term. However, Finland had clear reasons for the policy of the Cold War years. The motives of contemporary US leadership are harder to guess.

Previously, the United States has represented a strong and principled line with Russia when we Europeans have tried to smooth out differences. This time, Europe is afraid that the United States will drive it through the East.

President Trump often seeks out expedient political gains at the expense of allies, the international community and the long-term interests of his own country. It can not be without worry before this meeting of presidents - especially when a strong negotiator like Putin is on the other side of the table.

This assessment is not made as far as the United States is concerned, but on the contrary, due to respect for the United States. We know that within the United States there are very different opinions about foreign policy. The sharpest US criticism now comes from some Americans themselves.

The United States has become the world's leading state because it has generally been able to balance its great power with reason and wisdom. As the world's most powerful girl, Peppi Pitkätossu knows: If one is strong enough, one must be kind enough - otherwise one will not be anything.

It does not mean that the United States has not benefited from the world order it has created. It has, and it benefited a lot.

The United States and Russia have recently started to remind each other of this in sometimes surprising ways. One of them is the desire of the country's leaders to modify reality to their liking at the expense of the facts. As a small country, Finland has never been able to afford such luxury. We believe in our former President J.K. Paasikivi, the beginning of all wisdom is the acknowledgment of facts.

In relations between Russia and the West, it is now difficult to expect a fast turnaround to a better outcome, since the East and West worlds are considered genuinely different from one's perspective. If the West wants to influence Russia, it has to change its desires from the Kremlin either by raising the criticism of unwanted activity or by rewarding a real change. It is the only way to influence Russia, as Ronald Reagan showed in the 1980s.

Pressuring Russia would require a long-term policy from the United States, as well as the strong support of the Western allies, while neither of them would show submission. That's why Putin arrives in Helsinki with his sleeves full of aces.

The meeting has been described that the United States may make concessions in return for a smile and some empty promises. Some people have been afraid as if this was the new Yalta, where Trump and Putin would share the world with their own lackeys. Concerns stem from the problems caused by the incoherent US policy. I hope, however, everybody understands that European affairs has to be independent and agreed by the European heads.

It may be that due to our northerly position, we Finns are used to thinking that things are so bad that they can not get worse. The deterioration of US-Russian relations is to no-one's advantage. Therefore, this meeting Helsinki is, despite all the difficulties, a very important one.

Donald and Vladimir, the floor is yours, let's tango!


(Translation by Vladimir Lenanovitch)


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by Gus Leonisky on Sun, 2018-07-15 17:23
With mainstream media spitting out unconfirmed accusations of chemical weapons use, be it in Syria or Salisbury, don’t bother digging deeper for evidence because that’s just for ratings, Redacted Tonight host Lee Camp has said.

News coverage over the recent month has presented loads of material for the latest episode of the comedy show.

Like the CNN journalist sent to the Syrian town of Douma specifically to sniff its air, following an alleged but then-refuted chemical attack by Syria against its very own people.

“If there really was sarin gas that reporter would have immediately fallen on the ground dead and Wolf Blitzer would have an awkward rest of the half-an-hour to fill,” the Redacted Tonight host said.

It would not be the first time the US has been brought into a conflict by lies; there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the Gulf of Tonkin incident before the Vietnam War also never actually happened, Camp reminded viewers.

The same thing is happening with the Skripal case in the UK, where the media has been trying so hard to persuade the people that Russia would, for some reason, try to poison an ex-spy that defected a decade ago while, during the same period, the world’s eyes were on Russia, as host of the FIFA World Cup.

The media is always there to cover corruption in Washington, that shows itself through government lies, its hunger for war and its more-than-close ties with corporations, Camp said.

The host applauded the resignation of Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, after numerous scandals, but said that the celebrations were short-lived, when a coal lobbyist was appointed in his stead “to make sure the environmental destruction continues without pause.”


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