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Mr.Trump Don’t Miscalculate: US dangerous game with Pakistan: Safe heavens stunt as Weapons of Mass Destruction – Times of Islamabad

-OpEd: US dangerous game with Pakistan: Safe heavens stunt as Weapons of Mass Destruction

Trump Don’t Miscalculate

Trump is dragging the US military, already pretty thinly spread, to enter nuclear armed and China’s ally Pakistan. It can trigger Third World War . Two hundred million Pakistanis will fight to the last man.Vietnam and Gulf War would look like boy scouts jamboree.. And India will be nuclear toast, if it attacks Pakistan from Afghanistan. India’s nuclear weapons are unreliable.

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-OpEd: US dangerous game with Pakistan: Safe heavens stunt as Weapons of Mass Destruction

The US is finding the war in Afghanistan a little too hot for its liking and why not; it was a war that remained in search of strategy and failed to find it. It’s not that I wish to gloat, nor that I want to say ‘I told you so’, but that one is forced to respond when confronted with accusations that the US failed in Afghanistan on account of Pakistan.

  • That we were a tricky two-faced partner. Since I was closely associated with this conflict for a number of years and since I am aware of the things that happened, it is only right that people such as me must speak for Pakistan just as we fought for Pakistan.
  • That a hundred and fifty thousand NATO troops have been overwhelmed by the imagined hoards that Pakistan sent across the border, challenges my professional understanding of the situation.
  • That this is the same border that neither Afghanistan recognises and resists its management or fencing, of course, cannot have escaped US attention.
  • That Pakistan has seven times the number of posts than Afghanistan and the US combined does not seem to make any headway.
  • That Afghan communication systems are functioning despite Pakistan’s repeated requests that they be shut down while Pakistani SIMs are down and out is another moot point.
  • That three Generals of the US Army promised additional border deployment with a US brigade across the North Waziristan Border remains a promise unfulfilled and forgotten.
  • That the US unilaterally up-staked and left Nuristan and the Kunar Valley, one of the most dangerous areas on the border, creating a vacuum is a question that only they can answer.
  • That Pakistani dissidents were given safe havens in this vacuum and encouraged to attack Pakistan is for all to see and take note of.
  • That the MOAB (Mother of all Bombs) accounted for 14 Indians from Kerala amongst the causalities was never a surprise for us.
  • That India is permitted to have so many conciliates along the Border, and none are processing visas is an obvious aberration.
  • That Pakistan suffered horrendous terrorist attacks from Afghanistan through these bands of militants organised and facilitated in Kunar is a no brainer.

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MAKING SENSE OF WAR ON TERROR By K. H Zia

Last month, the Washington based Physicians for Social Responsibility (PRS) released a study on the death toll from the on-going “War on Terror”. The total ‘deaths from Western interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan since the 1990s – from direct killings and the longer-term impact of war-imposed deprivation likely constitute around 4 million (2 million in Iraq from 1991-2003, plus 2 million from the “war on terror”), and could be as high as 6-8 million people when accounting for higher avoidable death estimates in Afghanistan’.
Scores of millions of people have been forced to flee their homes by the wars waged by the West against Islamic countries (The Return of History: Conflict, Migration, and Geopolitics in the Twenty-First Century, by Jennifer Welsh, House of Anansi Press, 2017). It stands to reason that these atrocities will give rise to anger and radicalization among some, if not many.
 
We claim ISIS and al-Qaida are the enemies who are responsible for terror in the world. No less a person than foreign Secretary Robin Cook wrote that al-Qaida was actually the name of the CIA file containing details of all the Arab fighters that it had recruited to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Hillary Clinton said that ISIS was created by Saudi Arabia and Qatar who are our allies.
 
We say we are at war against ISIS and al-Qaida. So are Iran and Russia but they are our enemies while Saudi Arabia and Qatar who created and fund ISIS are our allies. Each ISIS fighter is trained, equipped, transported and paid $ 600 a month. Where does the money come from and why can’t its source be traced? Any of them that is injured is treated in Israel which is our ally. Israel also bombs Syrian army and its affiliates that fight against ISIS on a regular basis but never ISIS or al-Qaida (Robert Fisk in The Independent, 23rd. May 2017).
 
And if this is not confusing enough, both al-Qaida and ISIS fought against Kaddafi in Libya and are now trying to get rid of Asad in Syria. So are we, which technically makes us allies. But we insist this is not so because the terrorists follow an evil ideology. If two sets of people have the same aim, how can only one of them be evil and the other not?
 
We claim Islamic fundamentalism and extremism give rise to terrorism. The countries that have been targeted —- Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Syria have constituted essentially moderate, tolerant and progressive societies. It is our allies, Saudi Arabia and Gulf Sheikhdoms who enforce rigid, retrogressive and extreme form of Islam.

According to reports US President Donald Trump last week accepted personal gifts alone worth $1.2 billion from Prince Salman of Saudi Arabia from where fifteen of the 9/11’s alleged attackers originated. One heavy sword made of pure gold and studded with diamond stones weighing 25 kilograms alone was worth $200 million. Then, there is this 125 meter long yacht, which is apparently the world’s tallest personal yacht, with 80 rooms with 20 royal suites.

What could be more Orwellian?
31ST May 2017

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Al-Saud’s Only Gamble Option by Ghassan Kadi

Al-Saud’s Only Gamble Option

                                   

by Ghassan Kadi

 

 

A lot has been said and speculated on about the “real” objectives of Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia. Seasoned veteran British journalist/analyst and Middle East expert Robert Fisk sees it as an attempt to create a Sunni-style NATO to curb the Iranian expansion, and his speculation is on the money, but in realistic terms, what can this visit and its “aftermath” achieve?

Despite the slump on crude oil prices over the last 2-3 years, the Saudis are not short on cash, despite the huge and growing deficit they are running. Their reserve cash is estimated to be a whopping three quarters of a trillion American dollars, and the unit “trillion” has been chosen here because it is the millions of the 21st Century and billions have become too small to consider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That said, the Saudis have recently pledged nearly a third of their stash on “investments” with the USA. The first allotment came in the form of an undertaking to invest over 100 billion dollars in the American housing sector less than a fortnight ago, and upon Trump’s historic Riyadh visit, the Saudis signed an excess of 100 billion dollar arms deal contract. This is a total of an excess of 200 billion American dollars to be injected into the American economy. But on the scale of trillions again, this huge figure amounts to only a mere 1% of America’s staggering official 20 trillion dollar debt.

A drop in the ocean perhaps if taken into the context of the American economy and debt, but there is little doubt that this Saudi money will create jobs in the USA, and if President Trump is still sticking by the promise of creating jobs, he’s on the money with this one too.

Thus far, and nearly four months after his inauguration, it can safely be said that the most predictable thing about President Trump thus far has been his unpredictability. But with all of his eccentricities and swings, what was it that made him swing in favour of Al-Saud? It may not be very difficult to solve this puzzle if we look at the chain of events.

Surely, the USA has a lot of strategic interests in the area, and these interests are multi-faceted. Among other things, the USA wants to protect the long-term well being of Israel, curb the influence of Russia and Iran in the region, have a share in the decision making of the “War on Syria”, and last be not least, keep a tight control on Saudi oil and cash wealth.

One of Trump’s election promises was to get America’s allies to pay their way, and he was very vocal about the Saudis saying on a number of occasions that protecting Saudi Arabia was costing the USA more than it should be paying for. Those subtle “threats” sent a wave of shivers down the spines of Saudi royals, especially that they were already in deep trouble financially and also bogged down in a protracted and highly expensive war in Yemen that seems unwinnable.

Given that the Saudis believed that former President Obama has let them down and did not invade Syria after the alleged East Ghouta chemical attack of August 2013, the unknown and rather unstable Trump looked like a wild card and they braced for the worst.

Knowing that they are in deep trouble and need America more than ever, feeling extremely nervous about the Iran nuclear deal, the Saudis realized that the only option they have with Trump was to appease him; “but how?”, they wondered. But when they put two and two together, and listened to Trump’s statements about Saudi Arabia, the Saudis realized that they can and will appease him with money; a quarter of a trillion dollars and counting.

Taking the big fat cheque book out is not a modus operandi that is alien to the Saudi psyche, because the Saudis have learned to solve their problems with money. And now, they believe that they are forging a new era of military and strategic alliance with the United States, and paying for this privilege with hard cash.

What they do not know is that whilst they were dreaming big, thinking that they are on the verge of becoming a regional superpower to be reckoned with signing an alliance with America, Donald Trump was signing a business deal, a sales contract; nothing more and nothing less.

The way Trump sees this is a win-win situation. If the Saudis do manage to get the upper military hand and curb the Iranians, he would have reached this zenith not only without having to fight Iran, but also whilst being paid for it. On the other hand, if the Saudis take a gamble to go to war with Iran and lose, he would have received his quarter trillion in advance. So for Saudi Arabia to win or lose, the deal makes America a quarter of a trillion dollar richer; or rather a quarter of a trillion less in debt.

In reality however, what are the odds of Saudi Arabia winning an open war with Iran? Or will this war eventuate in the first place? Back to this question later on.

In a part of the world that is highly volatile, supplying a huge arsenal of highly lethal weapons to a regime that is known for its atrocities, war crimes, inciting regional tension and creating conflict is pouring oil on an already raging fire. Trump’s arms deal with the Saudis probably marks one of the lowest points in America’s history. If anything, after the historic American-Iranian nuclear deal, America was in a position to play the role of an arbitrator and try to get the Saudis and the Iranians to reconcile; coerce them if needed. Instead, Trump turned his attack on Jihadi terrorism by supplying more support to the core and centre of terrorism (Saudi Arabia) and signed a huge arms deal that will only lead to further and much deadlier escalations.

With seemingly very powerful Sunni/Shiite animosities resurfacing after many centuries of dormancy, the pro-American axis happens to be predominantly Sunni and the pro-Russian resistance axis is seen to be Shiite; though it is not as such in reality. That said, the strongest Sunni army in the region is undoubtedly Turkey’s, and Turkey could potentially play a key role in bolstering Fisk’s Sunni-”NATO”. However, the Kurdish issue is a bigger threat to Turkey than Iran has ever been, and Turkey will walk away from its Sunni brothers and “NATO” allies if they were to support Kurdish separatists and arm them; and the irony is that they are.

 

 

 

Without Turkey, a Sunni-”NATO” will be a toothless tiger, unless perhaps it receives enough support from Israel; a support America will not be prepared to offer. But apart from some possible airstrikes and intelligence sharing, how much support will Israel give if any at all? And how much will Putin will be able to weigh in with his clout to keep Netanyahu’s nose out of it? Last but not least, how will the leaders of a so-called Sunni-”NATO” be able to “sell” the idea of getting into an alliance with Israel with its Sunni populace base?

There is little doubt that the Saudis now feel that Trump has given them a carte blanche to attack Iran, and if they swallow the bait fully, they may be foolish enough to take the gamble. But first, they have to finish off Yemen, and then look back and think how they miscalculated when they planned the so-called “Operation Decisive Storm”, and which was meant to be a swift and successful operation. More than two years later, victory seems further than ever predicted all the while the Yemenis have been improving their missile manufacturing capabilities and have been able to hit targets in the capital Riyadh.

Whilst the Saudis were begging the Americans to sell them more advanced weapons to win the war in Yemen, the Yemenis were developing their own. But given that Saudis believe that all problems can be solved provided one is prepared to spend as much as needed, the bottom line for them will always be, “how much?”

The Saudis will not only have to re-evaluate the short-sighted military gamble they took in Yemen, but also the financial one. No one knows for certain what has thus far been the dollar cost that the Saudis had to cough up, but it is in the tens of billions of dollars. With a country that is currently running a near 90 billion dollar budget deficit and diminishing returns, to gamble one third of the national savings on a new war aimed at Iran is tantamount to both, military and financial suicide.

If a war against Iran is at all winnable by the Saudis, what will be the dollar cost?

If the budget ceiling was broken, just like that of Operation Decisive Storm, and if the Saudis realize that the over 100 billion odd dollars they “invested” to buy state-of-the-art weaponry from the USA was not enough, by how much will they be prepared to lift the cost ceiling? They will only need to break the ceiling 3-4 fold before they actually run out of cash reserves. Such a budget overblow is not unusual in wars, and Yemen and Syria are living proof for the Saudis to learn from; if they are capable of learning.

A war against Iran will perhaps be Al-Saud’s final gamble option, but unless the Saudi royals change their rhetoric and seek reconciliation with their Shiite neighbours, this war could well be Al-Saud’s only gamble option.

But the bottom line to any military action is military pragmatism. How can the Saudis think that they can invade and subdue Iran when they haven’t been able to subdue a starved and besieged Yemen? In the unlikely event that they will be able to serve Iran with a swift “shock-and-awe” strike and achieve prompt victory, what will add to their woes is Iran’s ability to close the Strait of Hormuz and to also hit oil production areas and ports. In simple terms, the Saudi war on Yemen is expensive enough, but a war with Iran will be much more expensive, and one that will cut off Saudi life-line; its income.

Do the Saudis believe that expensive imported hardware is going to give the military edge they need? “Knowing” Trump, he will likely wait till the Saudis are down on their knees begging and then extort them by hiking the price of an elusive “super weapon”, perhaps even an A-Bomb, that will tip the war in Saudi favour. But “knowing” the Saudis and Iranians, if the Saudis attack and start an all-out war on Iran, then this may indeed earn the name of decisive storm, but not on Saudi terms. Will Iran virtually walk into Saudi Arabia? Such a scenario cannot be overruled. More than likely however, America will continue to feed the fire for as long as the Saudi cow (female camel in this instance) can be milked and for as long as there is money to be had. For as long as the infamous Al-Saud are on the throne, the kingdom will continue to be run by the same old rules of arrogance that will not stop until that evil legacy is down and vanquished.

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The Terror Attacks Trump Won’t Talk About by MARK FOLLMAN in Mother Jones

 
 

Right-wing extremists who carried out a deadly gun rampage in June 2014.

On Monday, in a case little noticed by the national media, a man went on trial in federal court for plotting a potentially horrific terrorist attack in upstate New York. In 2015, this man allegedly planned to enlist accomplices to help him bomb a house of worship and open fire with assault rifles on any bystanders. “High casualty rates” was the goal. “If it gets down to the machete, we will cut them to shreds,” he allegedly said, according to prosecutors.

Also on Monday, the Trump White House released a list of 78 attacks carried out in the US and abroad by “radical Islamic terrorists” since 2014, which it said were mostly “underreported,” following the president’s own claim earlier in the day that the media conspired to ignore such attacks. But had the upstate New York plotter succeeded, he would not have made the White House list. The individual charged with masterminding that plan was Robert Doggart, a 65-year-old white man from Tennessee who allegedly conspired to form a militia and attack a Muslim community in Islamberg, NY, on “behalf of American patriotism.”

As the media picks apart the White House’s absurd suggestion that attacks in Paris, San Bernardino, Orlando, and elsewhere were somehow ignored, the bigger story may be this: Trump has been almost entirely silent about terror plotted and carried out by white supremacists and other far-right extremists.

After six people were killed and many others were injured while praying at a mosque in Quebec City on January 29, the White House and Fox News quickly ran with false claims that the suspected attacker was Moroccan. (That man was in fact interviewed as a witness.) Trump has not tweeted nor made any public remarks about the white nationalist (and Trump fan) who has been charged in the case.

After avowed white supremacistDylann Roof killed nine people at a historic black church in Charleston in June 2015, Trump tweeted that the attack was “incomprehensible” and expressed his “deepest condolences to all.” But despite frequently warning about the dangers of violent extremism, Trump has said nothing publicly about the case at any point since Roof went on trial in December.

After a white man went on a deadly rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado in November 2015—apparently motivated by an infamous video sting that falsely claimed Planned Parenthood was trafficking in “baby parts”—Trump described the perpetrator as a “maniac.” But after that, he went on at much greater length about Planned Parenthood’s alleged misdeeds.

And why has Trump mentioned nothing about a deadly shooting spree in 2014 by a longtime neo-Nazi at a Jewish community center and retirement home in Kansas? Or about the slaying of police officers in Las Vegas that year by right-wing extremists who left a swastika and a “Don’t tread on me” flag on the officers’ bodies? Or about the “sovereign citizen” charged in the shooting of five Black Lives Matter protesters last November?

It’s hard to say. But there seems little reason to expect a list of attacks on Muslims, Jews, African Americans and others from the president anytime soon.

Reference: Courtesy Mother Jones

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Edward Snowden: A Man of Conscience & An Interview with Amy Goodman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In our extended conversation, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald responds to claims NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations helped Russia, and examines what actions the Trump administration may take against him and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. “Exactly the same playbook was used against [Daniel] Ellsberg that is now being used against Snowden, which is to say, ’Don’t listen to these disclosures. Don’t regard this person as a hero for exposing our corruption and lawbreaking. Focus instead on the fact that these are traitors working with our enemies,’” says Greenwald. “And just as it was completely false in the case of Ellsberg, so too is it completely false in the case of Snowden.”


TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We continue our conversation with Glenn Greenwald, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founding editor of The Intercept. I spoke with him on Thursday with Democracy Now!’s Nermeen Shaikh.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, I want to turn to an op-ed published last week in The Wall Street Journal titled “The Fable of Edward Snowden.” It was written by journalist Edward Jay Epstein, whose upcoming book, How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft, it will be published later this month. In the article, Epstein writes, quote, “It was not the quantity of Mr. Snowden’s theft but the quality that was most telling. Mr. Snowden’s theft put documents at risk that could reveal the NSA’s Level 3 tool kit—a reference to documents containing the NSA’s most-important sources and methods. Since the agency was created in 1952, Russia and other adversary nations had been trying to penetrate its Level-3 secrets without great success. Yet it was precisely these secrets that Mr. Snowden changed jobs to steal.” Now, that’s what Edward Jay Epstein wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

In response to the article, journalist Barton Gellman issued several tweets discrediting the piece, including writing, quote, “Snowden, Epstein book says, reached unreachable ‘Level 3’ secrets that only a spy could want.” But “[t]here’s no such category at the NSA.” So, Glenn Greenwald, could you talk about that? And respond to this forthcoming book on Snowden.

GLENN GREENWALD: Well, first of all, it’s a huge irony, because, as we just discussed, Democratic partisans spent the last week trying to turn me into a Breitbart admirer, and at the same time many of these same Democratic partisans were heralding this attack on Snowden by Edward Jay Epstein. Who is Edward Jay Epstein? He is a longtime neocon who’s written forever for The Wall Street Journal op-ed page, probably the most right-wing organ within the mainstream American media outlet. But he’s also a writer for Breitbart. He has written multiple articles for Breitbart. And so, at the same time that these Democrats are accusing me of being a Breitbart supporter, they’re heralding an article, a smear, by a Breitbart writer.

Beyond that, the theme of this article and the theme of his book—and, obviously, we can’t detail all the falsehoods here. I encourage you to go look at what Bart Gellman posted online, who said there’s so many falsehoods that he doesn’t even have time to discredit them all. But the central theme is essentially to insinuate that, all along, Edward Snowden was an operative of Russia, that he was really just a Russian spy, he wasn’t a whistleblower, he wasn’t acting out of conscience or anything else. And I just want to say two things about that. Number one, even CIA and NSA officials, who hate Edward Snowden with a burning passion, have publicly repudiated this theory over and over. They have said, “We have no evidence to believe that Snowden ever worked with the Russian government, either before he leaked these secrets or after.” And, in fact, the former CIA chief, Mike Morell, said, “I believe that both the Chinese and the Russians tried to get Snowden to share information with them, and Snowden said, ‘I absolutely will not share anything with you,’ because of his disdain for intelligence agencies in general.” So, if you are going even more extreme than both the NSA and CIA in saying bad things about Edward Snowden, that shows how far off the rails you actually have gone.

The other thing that I would say is that what is being done to Edward Snowden by The Wall Street Journal and Breitbart, these sort of far-right organs that Democratic Party partisans are now cheering, is exactly what it’s done to all whistleblowers, beginning with Daniel Ellsberg. If you go back and look at what The New York Times was reporting in 1971 about Daniel Ellsberg after he leaked the Pentagon Papers, John Ehrlichman, one of the top domestic policy aides to Richard Nixon, and Henry Kissinger, at the time Nixon’s national security adviser, continually said that they believed that Daniel Ellsberg was a Soviet spy, that before giving the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times he had given them to the Kremlin. Exactly the same playbook was used against Ellsberg that is now being used against Snowden, which is to say, “Don’t listen to these disclosures. Don’t regard this person as a hero for exposing our corruption and lawbreaking. Focus instead on the fact that these are traitors working with our enemies.” And just as it was completely false in the case of Ellsberg, so too is it completely false in the case of Snowden.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think will happen with Edward Snowden under a Donald Trump administration? And then, what do you think will happen with Julian Assange, who’s being cited now by Trump as having the accurate information all of the—over all of the 17 intelligence agencies?

GLENN GREENWALD: So, I think, certainly, it’s unclear. I mean, I think there’s this assumption that because Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have been saying positive things about one another, and there’s connections between the Trump campaign and various Russian interests, that that means there’s going to be this flowering détente between the two countries, and this great relationship is going to emerge, and they’re going to become allies. And that’s certainly possible. It may be that there is an alliance between the U.S. and Russia against China as a struggle for power and imperialism ensues. It’s also the case—and as part of that, if that really does happen, one of the fears that some people have is that, as part of the kind of coming together of the U.S. and Russia, that Trump will be able to persuade Putin to hand Snowden over as kind of a gift, as something that Trump can show to the American people: “Look, I got my hands on Snowden, when Obama was unable to do so.” And that certainly is a concern.

But I think that’s a little bit of a superficial view, because the animosity between the American political class and intelligence community, on the one hand, and the Russian political class and intelligence community, on the other, is very ingrained. It has existed for decades. It is entrenched and systemic and cultural. And I think there is a very good likelihood that those entities, which most certainly do not want détente between Russia and the United States, will find ways to undermine and subvert this agenda. And it’s very easy to see that the U.S. and the Soviet—and Russia can once again sort of become at loggerheads and resume this animosity. So I don’t think we know what’s going to happen with Snowden.

As for Assange, I mean, remember, the reason he’s in the Ecuadorean Embassy is not, in the first instance, because the U.S. is trying to get their hands on him. It’s because Sweden has these pending charges against him, that various courts in the U.K. and the EU have upheld the validity of. And so, I don’t really see how Trump can alter that, can change that dynamic. That’s one of the tragedies, is I don’t see an exit for Julian Assange exiting the Ecuadorean Embassy without facing those charges in Sweden. What the position of Assange and Ecuador has always been was that if the U.S. or Sweden agree that his going to Sweden won’t result in his extradition to the U.S., he will go on the next flight and face those charges. So, if the Trump administration says, “We have no interest in extraditing Julian Assange,” if they end the grand jury that’s been pending against WikiLeaks, that I could see as a potential resolution. He goes to Sweden. He faces the charges against him. If he’s convicted, he gets imprisoned. If he’s acquitted, he’s free.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, I want to go to another recent piece of yours on Assange headlined “The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False.” In the piece, you cite a passage from a recent interview with Julian Assange conducted by Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi. You then point out the distortion of Assange’s words in the account given by Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs.

Assange’s precise words in the interview are worth citing at length. When asked about his response to Trump’s election, he said in the interview, quote, “Hillary Clinton’s election would have been a consolidation of power in the existing ruling class of the United States. Donald Trump is not a D.C. 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. They do not by themselves form an existing structure, so it is a weak structure which is displacing and destabilizing the pre-existing central power network within D.C. 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,” end-quote.

So, could you explain, Glenn Greenwald, how Assange’s response was conveyed in the Guardian article, the Guardian article which was headlined “Julian Assange gives guarded praise of Trump and blasts Clinton in interview”? Of course, The Guardian subsequently posted a correction to the piece.

GLENN GREENWALD: Right. So let me just take a step back. I mean, I obviously worked at The Guardian when I did the Snowden reporting. I have a lot of respect for the reporters and editors there. They do a lot of great reporting. But one of their big flaws as an institution is they develop personal feuds with people they cover. And when that happens, they dispense with all journalistic standards. So, one of the people who they have particular hatred for is Jeremy Corbyn. And over and over, they have produced journalistic garbage about Corbyn in pursuit of their feud. The other—probably the only person they despise more than Jeremy Corbyn is Julian Assange, with whom they had once worked and then had a huge falling out with. It’s very personal and acrimonious. And whenever The Guardian reports on Julian Assange, all journalistic standards get thrown out of the window.

And this article was a perfect example. There’s not just a correction; there’s actually a retraction at the bottom of that article now, because they claimed, with zero evidence, that WikiLeaks has had a long-standing, close relationship with the Putin regime, as they called it. That has now been deleted from the story. They also claimed that Julian Assange praised Russia for having a free and vibrant press, and that therefore there was no need for whistleblowing, when in fact he said nothing of the sort. He simply said that the reason why Russian leakers don’t go to WikiLeaks, as opposed to other outlets in Russia, is because WikiLeaks doesn’t speak Russian and has no presence in the Russian media landscape, and therefore isn’t viewed as a good option for a Russian whistleblower. They also corrected their total distortion of what he said.

What they also said, which is what you just asked me about, was they tried to make it seem like Julian Assange was a fan of Donald Trump, that he was praising Trump at the expense of Hillary Clinton. And as the quote that you just read proves, he wasn’t praising Trump at all. He was simply neutrally describing what he thought would be the consequence, the fallout, of the Trump presidency—namely, that Trump isn’t a part of the traditional power structure in Washington, which is why the traditional power structure in Washington is so horrified at his victory and why they’re so disoriented and scared, that instead he’s creating a new power structure filled with rich people who are corrupt, but that because it’s new, it’s going to take some time to become entrenched. And in that process, there will be instability. And that instability will enable some positive outcomes and also some very negative ones. He was just describing his predictions for what the fallout would be of a Trump presidency, by no means praising Trump. But The Guardian was trying to feed this narrative that Assange is a Trump fan, that he loves Russia, that he serves Putin. That was the whole point of the article. This was another article that really went viral all over the internet, and the key claims ended up collapsing. They had to retract and correct several of the key claims. And, of course, none of those corrections or retractions went anywhere near as far as the original false claims themselves did.

AMY GOODMAN: During his Fox News interview, Julian Assange said the Obama administration is implicating Russia in the leaks to delegitimize Trump.

JULIAN ASSANGE: Our publications had wide uptake by the American people. They’re all true. But that’s not the allegation that has been presented by the Obama White House. So, why such a dramatic response? Well, the reason is obvious. They’re trying to delegitimize a Trump administration as it goes into the White House. They’re going to try—they are trying to say that President-elect Trump is not a legitimate president.

AMY GOODMAN: Your thoughts on this, Glenn Greenwald?

GLENN GREENWALD: So, I do think there’s an element of truth to this, which is that if you look, for example, at the agency that has led the way in pushing these allegations about Russia, which is the CIA, there is no question that the CIA—the community of the CIA was vehemently in support of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and, with equal vehemence, opposed to Donald Trump. The two leading members of the CIA community, former CIA Director Michael Morell, who served under President Obama, and former CIA Director General Hayden, who served under President Bush, both endorsed Hillary Clinton, one in The Washington Post, the other in The New York Times. And when they did so, they both attacked Donald Trump with a viciousness that is very rare, claiming that he essentially had been turned into, converted and recruited into a tool of Putin. The CIA was very aggressively in favor of Hillary Clinton’s victory. And there’s a lot of different reasons for that, but I think the primary one is that the CIA proxy war in Syria is something that Hillary Clinton had promised not just to support, but to escalate. She was very critical of Obama for restraining the CIA’s effort to support these rebels and to remove Assad, while Trump took the exact opposite position, saying, “We have no business trying to change the government of Syria. We ought to let Russia run free in Syria, kill ISIS, kill whoever else they want to kill, because we have no interest. We should keep Assad and Russia in charge of Syria.” There were other reasons, as well. So there’s no question the CIA was a political actor behind the Hillary Clinton presidency and against Donald Trump’s.

And since then, Trump has attacked the CIA. He’s pointed out that they’re unreliable, that they lied about WMDs. And just yesterday, Chuck Schumer went on The Rachel Maddow Show, and she asked him about this conflict between the CIA and Trump. And he said something incredibly important and very revealing. He said, “It is really stupid of Trump, just from a perspective of self-interest, to go to war with the intelligence community, because they have six different ways to Sunday to destroy you if you stand up to them,” which is something that people have known forever, that the deep state can destroy even politicians who are supposed to be more powerful than they are. So I think a lot of this is exactly what Julian said, which is the CIA is attempting to undermine and subvert Trump because they never wanted him to be president in the first place, and they’re now trying to weaken and subvert his agenda, that they oppose.

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