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Exhuming McCarthy: Putin accused of stealing US election for Trump.

“Given NSA’s extensive trace capability, we conclude that DNC and HRC servers alleged to have been hacked were, in fact, not hacked.” – William Binney (former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA)

In scenes reminiscent of the 1938 House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the Western media is losing its shit over the ‘Russian hack’ of the US election. This despite a complete lack of evidence and some pretty serious doubts that any such ‘hack’ ever occurred. But rather than confront the content of the leaked Podesta and HRC emails which expose Hillary and the Clinton Foundation’s crooked dealings and how the Democratic party rigged its own primaries to steal the presidential nomination from Bernie Sanders, the powers that be are engaging in a game of blame-the-messenger, à la Snowden and Manning.

While a few reputable journalists have been quick to point out that the Podesta and HRC emails were clearly “leaked”, rather than “hacked”, citing sources close to the leak including Julian Assange of Wikileaks and former British ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray (who claims to have had direct contact with the source), most of the mainstream press is swallowing the CIA story hook line and sinker.

Of course Russia did not “hack” the US election, any more than it was stolen by internet bloggers or youtubers. As much as some would like to fantasise, the election result was not determined by Facebook, InfoWars, Wikileaks or by the so-called democratisation of information brought about by the internet. Trump’s victory, just as Michael Moore predicted a year ago, was the political expression of an embattled and embittered working class. There is nothing at all unique about this.

The breakdown of demographics shows that Clinton’s oft-cited ‘popular vote’ lead came down to a few densely populated key urban areas which make up the democratic heartland. In New York City for example, she received well over 2 million more votes than Trump, who won the rust belt in a landslide. (if a mere 58% voter turnout can be considered a landslide.) This is of course why the Electoral College system exists – so that a few large cities don’t get to decide the vote for an entire country.

Consequently, pressure is now being brought to bear on the Electoral College to sway the Dec. 19 vote. With the votes of 270 republican electors needed to put Trump in the Oval Office, the hope is to convince 37 of those voters to vote in bad faith, against the wishes of their electorates. To this end the Democrats and certain actors within the “intelligence community” are pulling out every dirty trick in the book including exhuming the long decomposed remains of McCarthyism. If the vote doesn’t have the desired results, President Obama has ordered a full review of allegations of Russian interference by January 20, which just happens to be inauguration day. In the event of a constitutional crisis the whole election may end up being decided by the House of Representatives, with a very real chance that Trump could be sidelined, leaving us with a far more hawkish acting president Pence or even vice-President Clinton. In any event we can expect legal challenges in the months ahead.

The rank hypocrisy that nobody seems to be talking about is Obama’s claim that the so-called Russian hack allegedly “casts doubt on the legitimacy of the electoral process”. This from a country whose Central Intelligence Agency has been interfering in other countries elections since at least 1948. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. What is even more tragic is that this latest psy-op seems to be going viral, with both the UK and Germany now accusing Russia of aggressive propaganda.

Trump’s preferred appointment of former Exxon chief Rex Tillerson to Secretary of State, tho thoroughly consistent with his mandate to make trade not war, has given the Democratic establishment another reason to point the finger at his alleged Russia connections. Herein may lie a clue as to the nature of the rift within the establishment which has the neoconservatives maneuvering so desperately to keep Trump out of the White House.

Quite clearly both Clinton and Trump had little in common with the average American. Both are very much insider figures, but each represents a different face of the establishment. Trump appeals to the billionaire (capitalist) class, where Obama and Clinton represent the trillionaire (finance) class. Where Obama and Clinton are aligned with the globalists of Wall Street, Trump’s interests are nationalist, leaning toward isolationist. His brand of populism appeals to a forgotten tradition of American nativism expressed in the famous words of John Quincy Adams “…she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.”

It is precisely this point which has the globalists in such a panic. With a defence budget black hole amounting to 54% of all federal discretionary spending, some $598.5 billion annually, it is not just those at the top who stand to lose their perks under a Trump administration. Trump’s desire to tighten the reins on federal defence spending puts him at loggerheads with the military industrial complex which has kept Wall Street afloat these last 70 years.

The permanent war economy has transformed the institutions of American capitalism so that they now work against the people. As one reader notes: “by putting the capitalist West on an economic war footing, by using the industrial might of the West to show the world that capitalism can wipe the floor with communism economically, if it gets rid of the welfare state, removes trade barriers, and focuses entirely on industrial and military production.”

It’s easy to see why Trump’s anti-interventionist prerogative makes him public enemy number one. Public enemy number 2 has to be Vladimir Putin. Putin’s refusal to roll over, incrementally re-asserting Russian sovereignty and its place in the international community, and most recently frustrating US led efforts at regime change in Syria, make him the perfect scapegoat for these fictitious allegations. The claim that Putin personally ordered the alleged hacks serves both to avert attention from the chaos which the US political establishment has brought upon itself, and to re-ignite cold war tensions with Russia.

There is an obvious problem with this hypothesis tho. Doubling down on Russophobia didn’t work for the Democrats during the election, so why would it work now?




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  1. John Brame

    WTF does one believe. They are all arseholes by degrees. When are these egomaniacs going to make love not war.

  2. Denisio Fabuloso

    What an opinionated crock.this article is. I find it difficult to comprehend the extent to which even the progressive side of politics is lurching in order to defend that psychopathic murdering arsehole Putin. We can suppose the next article will be headed: ‘Why Trump is actually good for you all’. Sorry, this site is now off my list of credible sources of information. Post fact really is a fact. Goodbye.

  3. Miriam English

    Sean, you seem to have swallowed the cool-aid. It amazes me the way you tie yourself in knots to make Trump a goodie and Clinton a baddie. You switch tunes almost mid-song, saying that Russia is pure as fresh snow as regards meddling in elections, but that dirty USA meddles in other countries’ elections, so they’re getting their just desserts. Do you even hear yourself?

    I am no great fan of USA, though I have a lot of friends there and I’m a great admirer of many artists and scientists there, just as I am of people everywhere, including Russia. Thanks to the internet I have friends in many countries — Spain, Germany, Mexico, Japan, USA, Zambia, Denmark, Finland, and many more. My niece speaks Russian and spent some time there recently, as well as several countries in Europe.

    In your rabid desire to cast USA as the bad guy you overlook the fact that it is millions of people who make up a country. The majority didn’t elect Trump or Clinton. The majority couldn’t be bothered voting. In the alternate universe of USA elections, 12% of the vote (what Reagan had) makes a “landslide victory”.

    The bad guys are bullies. They are at the top of every country — USA, Russia, UK, Australia, France, India, Brazil, China, Tahiti. It is incredibly rare to find people in power who don’t have a sick and twisted hunger for that power. This is why you can’t trust the people in power in Russia, Syria, USA, Australia, or anywhere. You are gullible if you do, Sean.

    Jesus! Getting your info from Breitbart??? You gotta be kidding.

  4. wam

    wow great reactions.
    It was always obvious that the septics would struggle to vote for a woman especially a woman whom trump repeatedly put into the camp of pollies who have done nothing. How effective was that slogan ‘she has done nothing in all those years’ (almost all aussies would empathise with that eg most believe gillard did nothing. Therefore making any mention of the excellent achievements by her or swan a big labor nonono)
    So trump was no surprise in our home.

    Surely the bottom line is the credibility of the media? To copy Deniso’s words we and the septics are fed disingenuous opinionated crock by the media every day and often struggle to glean any worth at all.

    So hello sean, I had a nice read!!!
    but I am odd because your words dragged me to the labor gerrymander that was turned into a jo gerrymander by the mick’s splitting from the commos in labor which killed labor in qld and federally. Ironically the micks are back in charge of labor and the coalition and labor is killed again. long live PAPA in politics

  5. Davidbruce

    Australia is part of the 5 Eyes + 1, and we have now agreed to have F-22 Raptors based here to protect us from China. So it is obvious that the Australian mainstream propaganda machine will follow the CIA litany of lies. The CIA have presented NO EVIDENCE of a Russian hack or direct intervention of the US Election. Maybe the Russians are better at this than the CIA (with all their years of experience, including Australia in 1975) because there is NO EVIDENCE of Russian intervention. But there appears to be a growing stream of information about the activities of the Department of Homeland Security in the lead up to the US Elections. Despite desperate attempts by CNN, NYT, WP, and other mainstream propaganda to prevent publication, this information is already flooding out.

    Late breaking developments have emerged in the case of Georgia vs. The Department of Homeland Security. As Claire Bernish of The Free Thought Project reported on December 9th, Georgia’s secretary of State Brian Kemp penned a letter to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, asking the director if he was aware that DHS had attempted to hack into the server hosting the state’s voter registration database, and if so, why was DHS doing so. Today it was revealed that not only did DHS attempt to penetrate GA’s firewall once, but it had in fact attempted to do so a total of 10 times. There will now be a massive campaign to further discredit Russia and Putin as part of payback for spoiling the party in Syria, and liberating the city of Aleppo. It will be another fatal mistake.

  6. Miriam English

    David, while there is no completely confirmed evidence, that isn’t the same as saying that there is no evidence. There is actually quite a lot of evidence, just none absolutely watertight. Is it enough? No. But it is a lot more than nothing.

    As for the Department of Homeland Security and the Georgia voter databases. It strikes me as a bit hysterical. They didn’t “hack” it. They probed it. That’s not just semantics — there is a very big difference. Could it have been malevolent? Perhaps. Could it have been some dickhead who works there. Maybe.

    The hacks the Russians are being blamed for could have been perpetrated by some kid in Russia… or anywhere, including in USA. He could have been using a program bought on the DarkNet from a Russian vendor. Alternatively it could have been done by the Russians. The truth is we don’t know. To pretend otherwise is dishonest or ignorant.

    Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if one day we find out that it was some kid in USA commissioned by Trump to do the hacking.

  7. Jexpat

    Some clarification is in order:

    1. The electoral college is an historical artifact of late 18th Century efforts to enshrine and protect the institution of slavery in the southern US states. See: and

    2. Trump did not “win the Rust Belt by a landslide.” In fact the vote was extremely close in three key states (one of which the Clinton camp, in its infinite wisdom chose not to even bother campaigning in.

    3. The US federal and state courts have themselves have long refused to allow US citizens the ability to audit their own elections- and have done so even in situations where there are gross statistical anomalies. This has undermined confidence in many US elections to date. It could easily be remedied through legislation- but both major parties have refused to address the issue(s).

    Truly a situation that Lewis Carroll or Franz Kafka would appreciate. Only a recount and audit could turn up conclusive evidence of hacking or systemic fraud- but without conclusive evidence of hacking or systemic fraud, US courts will not permit recounts. (Actually, it sounds a lot like the main trope in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22).

    4. Whoever phished or leaked the Podesta emails was simply providing Americans with important and newsworthy information. The Democratic National Comittee was in fact stacked and corrupted by Clinton partisans. By law, the DNC is to be a neutral unbiased organising body- yet throughout the primary campaign its chairperson and key members planned and repeatedly engaged in actions designed to undermine Sanders. At several points, the behavior was overt and juvenile. For example, Donna Brazile providing Clinton with at least one debate question- prior to the debate, while witholding it from Sanders!

    The emails also confirmed what was widely suspected: Clinton was saying one thing in private to her donors and benefactors in the banking, pharmaceutical and fossile fuel industries -and another to the public at large.

    5. It was the Clinton camp’s own decision to dangle out the shiny object of ‘the Russians did it’ back in July to divert attention away from its own dishonesty and corruption- without a shred of evidence. This (predictably) morphed into full blown McCarthyite attacks against nearly anyone and everyone who didn’t toe the Clinton line, or attempted to provide feedback and constructive criticism. This not only turned off many would be supporters and deflated the Democratic base- but every histrionic article or interview by her surrogates and supporters over the next several months was a missed opportunity to actively campaign on issues that actually mattered to the voting public, especially in those key electoral states. And it also reminded people of the actual dislosure which would othersie have blown over. Thus, the campaign was hoist with its own petard.

  8. Sean Stinson

    Miriam, why are you even bothering to refute the word of Julian Assange, who published the leaks in the first place, and Craig Murray, a diplomat close to the source with a longstanding reputation for integrity, both of whom insist that the DNC emails were LEAKED, and not HACKED? Why would you doubt the expert opinion of William Binney, probably the foremost expert in his field on such matters?

    Furthermore, surely it is the CONTENT of the leaked emails that bears investigation, not the SOURCE? Even if Russia is responsible for the hack, WHICH IT IS NOT, BECAUSE THERE WAS NO HACK, Why shoot the messenger?

    Assange was a hero of the left when he published the crimes of the Bush administration. Yet when he exposes similar crimes committed by democrats he is suddenly in collusion with THE RUSSIANS! Can’t you see how ridiculous this is?

  9. Jexpat

    Actually Sean, all one needs to highlight the hypocrisy is go back to the 2012 campaign, where Romney was caught out (secretly- and perhaps illegally recorded at a private event) with his 47% remarks, which differed considerably from what he was saying to the general public.

    Progressive publications who were touting, promoting and profitting from those revelations went full circle when the shoe was on the other foot.

  10. Miriam English

    Sean, I have nothing but respect for Julian Assange. Where did you ever get the idea that I don’t?

    I’ve been [wasting time] reading more about the intrusions into the DNC computers. There were two. One was by someone who calls himself Guccifer. He was suspected to be a member of the FSB, but nobody seems to know who he really is. He says he is Romanian, but that is doubtful. The other intrusion is by a group who seems to be confirmed as being in the GRU.

  11. jimhaz

    The CIA making this statement without evidence doesn’t make much sense to me.

    This situation is totally insufficient to stop Trump taking power within the time-frame we have.

    The thing is once Trump is in power he would swiftly ask for the CIA position to be proven by concrete evidence and if they could not he would send those involved in the CIA to jail. Would the CIA risk such harm on itself?

  12. Ricardo29

    Sean, if the point is the ‘content’ of the emails, given their detriment to the Democrats ( not just HRC) why would the Democrats leak them?

  13. Sean Stinson

    WikiLeaks has not revealed the source of the leaks, although fingers have been pointed at slain democratic staffer Seth Rich. but whether the source was from within the DNC or the intelligence community more broadly, whoever it was has done their country, and indirectly the democrats, a great service by exposing this corruption. In answer to your question, one assumes they did it for the same reason Snowden and Manning did.

  14. Jexpat


    Regardless of the source or sources of the July 2016 disclosures, the US Democratic party is- and has been divided into a “Republican, ie. right wing faction” and a “traditional Democratic values faction” for several decades.

    The former has proven time and again to be corrupt and cowardly to the core, and much like the controlling faction at the ALP, is widely viewed as standing for nothing- and ever willing to backhand, backstab and even gratuitously insult its own key constituencies over any given issue.

    This in a nutshell is why they’ve so often lost elections- all across the board.

  15. mark delmege

    Miriam – Guccifer was arrested some time back. Craig Murray suggests (I think) the leak was from a disgruntled Democrat who didn’t like the treatment Bernie got.

    Funny how some can’t handle the Democrats being criticised. I blame their parents, their school or church or themselves for not understanding the nature of evil. For not recognising the true evil of Obama’s regime – the alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and yes even IS and the Nazi’s in Ukraine. Or their alliance with Saudi Arabia in Yemen or the piles of money and weapons they have heaped on Israel as it has eaten up the West Bank and twice flattened Gaza. If this was a Republican President they would be all over him as a baby killer or the man who destroyed so many countries and created millions of refugees. They have neither spine nor intelligence to understand the world.
    Had they read your article they would see that you are neither pro or anti Trump.
    As for Obama he was just an errand boy – the front man for Empire – the lipstick on a pig. No better or worse in my opinion than Bush.

  16. Annie B

    jimhaz ….

    “The thing is once Trump is in power he would swiftly ask for the CIA position to be proven by concrete evidence and if they could not he would send those involved in the CIA to jail. Would the CIA risk such harm on itself?” … Frankly, I think the CIA is capable of absolutely anything – including some double sided coin antics. .. Would put nothing past them.

    Trump might – then again he might not, *ask*. Don’t think you can outrightly state that he ‘would ask for proof ‘ etc. ( as above ). The CIA has other ways of dealing with what they deem as ‘miscreants’ and I doubt any of the CIA would ever be sent to jail. .. Way too cunning and cluey, with much more up their sleeves, than anyone will ever know about.

    The CIA, the DoD, the FBI, NSA, and others, rule the roost over there. Am intrigued as to how Trump will handle all that…. It just might suit him to a T, to allow others to make all the decisions, while he is content to simply be the ‘figurehead’ for the U.S. of A – PotUS and sign on any and all dotted lines presented to him.

    After all, despite the moniker of being the ‘most powerful person on earth’ ( the PotUS ) … the president has never been anything else but a figurehead – a ‘representative’ – a ‘spokesperson’.

    Franklin D Roosevelt, used his ‘power of veto’ 372 times in his Presidency. Am wondering how many Trump might wave about to the powers that be.

    Sure looms as a very interesting year ahead !!

  17. Jexpat


    Craig Murray may or may not have any credibility- and whatever the case, certainly hasn’t offered any more in the way of evidence of his assertion than anyone else to date.

    As to rest of the rant- blaming parents, schooling or chuches (bit of irony there in that) is pretty weak was to begin a rant about, among things, ‘true evil.”

  18. Annie B

    Sean ~ ~

    It is very very easy to frustrate, upset, and bring out the aggression, in the U.S. of A. They jump at any chance to ‘have a go’ … because that’s how the population has been raised. To fight, to alienate, to flex their muscles in conflict – any form of conflict will do. … I venture to suggest that is so, more than in any other country in the world.

    As for the U.K and Germany accusing Russia of propaganda – they follow like little lambs, everything the U.S. dictates – to the letter. ( poor disillusioned bods ) In the hopes that if all hell does break loose, the U.S. will swan in and save them. Wouldn’t happen, especially not under Trumps reign … probably wouldn’t happen anyway, no matter who sits in the White House – as the U.S. will use those who are advantageous to their agendas, and kick to the kerb, those who do not measure up.

    The U.S is ‘exceptional’ ?? … in so far as, they are excellent at never taking blame themselves – for anything. It is always the other blokes fault – in this case, Russia – lit and thrown accelerant on, by the people who have been russki-phobic since before I can remember. … How the hell does anyone break down that collective mind-set ? i.e. their anti-Russian phobias.

    Wonder what would happen, if some savvy geek, decided to leak ‘ proof ‘ that it was the Chinese who interfered with the electoral outcome ?? … That might be interesting ?

    Nothing has been proven, and I doubt it ever will be. .. This issue will be continually called upon, ( when necessary ) – to divert attention from the overall appalling state of affairs in the U.S. Any diversion will be better than none.

  19. paulwalter

    Just briefly ,back to Jexpat mid-page.

    Trump won, wasn’t supposed to do that…the Democrats have egg on their face. So I agree the Russia hack is the last desperate stand to retrieve a situation lost through complacency and carelessness- unless PROOF is given to back up such claims.

    Oth, it is indeed quite possible that the Russians stole a march on the US electronic system and it would be fearful for them to think their defences had been penetrated, although it seems the leak published in Wikileaks came from a Democrats insider, since deceased.

    Had they been less arrogant they would have made peace with the whistle blowers earlier, but were so sure of themselves they couldnt be bothered. But the whistle blowers, particularly Assange, had nowhere left to go and under those circumstances may have been comfortable with releasing leaks prejudicial to the Democrats…why not, given their treatment during the Obama Presidency?

    Sean is not so far wrong in his assertion that the Democrats were closer to Wall st while Trump runs with people like the John Birch society anglo Koch bros and the like.

    No. far better the Wasserman Schultz farce had not been attempted in the first place and Bernie Sanders been given his chance, provided he won the Democrat pre selection vote fair and square.

    Obama MUST release HARD data re an alleged Russia hack, there has to be a smoking gun or this line is discredited.

  20. Sean Stinson

    @ Annie B

    Funny you should mention this. I’ve wanted to have a rant about neo-McCarthyism since about last July, and this seemed like a good opportunity. I rushed to finish this post at 5am because i thought it was time sensitive with the electoral college vote being today, but there is much more to write about.

    You are right. Russia has a population one tenth of China’s and an economy about one seventh the size, and yet no one is accusing China of hacking US elections – apart from this guy who obviously didn’t get the memo.

    There is also the “intelligence community” itself, and its army of ‘consultants’, basically government employed lobbyists for the MIC. When company x thinks it can make a profit by selling weapons to country y, its think tank “consultants” are tasked with producing a report to executive government justifying the need for arms sales, or intervention.

    As to whether Trump will be just another yes man, assuredly so. But who he will take his orders from intrigues me.

  21. Sean Stinson

    Update: “Faithless electors” so far have turned out to be Democrats, not republicans, with some flipping their votes to Sanders.

  22. Jexpat


    I largely agree with your assessment, although two points should be emphasized.

    1. Trump’s cabinet picks demonstrate unequivocally, that his administration is and will be far more beholden to Wall Street, the worst of neoliberal instincts and right wing authoritarianism han a Clinton administration would have been. The problem is that many people lacked the foresight (or recollection) to grasp that outcome prior to the election- largely because it’s difficult to see a compelling alternative case when the Republican wing of the Democratic party has spent nearly three decades promoting what economist John Quiggin calls soft neoliberlism, alongside corporate racketeering and extortion arrangements masquerading as FTA’s. The ALP suffers from a similar problem. Me toosim blurs the contrast between the parties.

    2. Sanders likely wouldn’t have won the nomination even if the Clinton camp hadn’t corrupted the process at the DNC, which takes their efforts at undermining Sanders out of the realm of the craven and into the self-destructive. Indeed, the entire Democratic campaign was riddled with insular, self-destructive group think, incapable of viewing its actions through the eyes of its potential progressive and independent supporters. Predictablty, this hurt GOTV efforts and caused losses across the board: in Senate races (with the most favorable electoral map in years), in House races, and state and local races: governorships, state legislatures and other elected officals and ballot measures.

    It was as if- from the outset, they refused to go through the most elementary SWOT analysis, identifying their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. I suppose we could call that arrogance, though having observed so many repeated fails, and failures to learn from mistakes, I’m more inclined to call it stupdity.

  23. paulwalter

    Yep. Absolutely no quarrels with any of that, go for the stuff up.

    What a likely probable cost for many, many people though.

  24. Kaye Lee

    Sean how can you be so completely certain that what you hear on Russia Today and read on Breitbart is the truth?

    Are you absolutely certain that Putin and Assad are blameless in all things?

    You very much present one version of the story which always portrays the West as the perpetrator of evil and Putin and Assad as victims of their campaign. I very much doubt the fault is all on one side and I am absolutely flummoxed by your support for Trump who has shown NO reason to think he is capable of the Presidency let alone be an honest advocate for the people (choke).

    I am in no way saying our governments are free from corruption and wrongdoing but we have greater freedom to question them.

    Words matter Sean. Be careful. Not everyone expresses their anger through writing. Your aim seems to be to inflame tension. I have never heard you offer positive suggestions – you only seem to want to look backwards and apportion all blame to the West for everything that has ever happened. In doing so, you ignore those who have suffered human rights abuses under oppressive regimes elsewhere.

    Whatever doubt I have about the misinformation campaigns from all sides, I have NO doubt that Trump is a greedy, amoral ignoramus and there is endless evidence to back that up.

  25. Miriam English

    Sean, just a little side point here. You say the electoral college is a good thing because it protects rural people’s votes being swamped by city people’s. But that doesn’t really make sense. It is people that vote, not land. It should be one person, one vote — not one unit of land, one vote.

    As jexpat pointed out the electoral college is an atavism from the days of slavery.

    The Republicans have long had a diminishing minority of voters. They’ve managed to keep their power using gerrymanders, the result of which is reflected by the electoral college. See a wonderful, entertaining video by CGPGrey that explains very clearly how gerrymanders work.

  26. Miriam English

    I agree with Kaye.

    Sean, you correctly point out that we have to be careful of all the propaganda that comes from our media, though you take that to an unreasonable degree and call gullible anybody who gives credence to anything that comes out of Western media.

    But then you go and consume, without reservation, not only the propaganda from those opposed to the West, but you also feast indiscriminately upon all kinds of conspiracy theories. Do you not see how illogical that is?

  27. Annie B

    Kaye …

    I read Sean Stinson – because he puts forward many controversial issues – to be addressed from all sides of the spectrum. Ergo – everyone can have an equal say from whichever side they wish to address, here on AIMN. .. I read many other AIMN articles … all give the same leeway to commenters to express their opinions. … As you have, and I am now.

    While I personally totally agree with your last comment on the above post, “Trump – greedy / amoral ignoramus” … and the endless evidence to back that up … I didn’t see Sean being ultra-pro Trump in his article.

    “It’s easy to see why Trump’s anti-interventionist prerogative makes him public enemy number one. Public enemy number 2 has to be Vladimir Putin.” … I doubt he would have made that statement if he was so supportive of Trump. .. However, I am not here to debate the issues of Sean Stinsons’ writings or his leanings toward left or right.

    One of the greatest ‘catches’ to the human imagination, is mystery. And Trump is, if nothing else, a mystery. His declarations – hither, thither and yon – has the entire world in a quandary, wondering what will happen next. He has never been a politician – just a businessman of dubious record. … But he knows how to play the games around a board-room table. …

    That is what I believe he is doing – making sure all eyes are on him ( the ego-maniacal ‘him’ ) …. in order to further bolster his status as ‘someone to be reckoned with … a person of stature’, not to mention his most likely fractured ego ( if a psych. got hold of him – heaven knows how far that might uncover his personal misgivings and deeply entrenched problems ).

    So – this is what the world at this stage, has ended up with [ if the U.S. President is soooo influential – which I doubt as there are many factions behind the PotUS – who make all the bullets for the President to fire ].

    Frankly I think it is past time to disengage ourselves from the U.S. of A, as it is dysfunctional at best at this time – and is heading down a very slipper slope towards – heaven knows what. Probably ( personal opinion ) much distrust, much upheaval, much protest and further violence.

    Not something we should consider emulating.

  28. Kaye Lee

    The trouble is we ARE being dragged into the mess. We are allowing both the US and China to buy/build/develop/lease/use crucial infrastructure/land/military bases here whilst the tensions between the two nations grow. Liberal politicians are intemperate in their speech. Most of them are so ignorantly insular that they have never learned the art of diplomacy. George Christensen and Cory Bernardi are too dumb to understand pretty much anything except populism – hence their support for the ultimate populist,Trump.

  29. Annie B

    Miriam and Kaye ~~

    “This is of course why the Electoral College system exists – so that a few large cities don’t get to decide the vote for an entire country”. ( I doubt that is the ONLY reason it exists !! – it does hark back to slavery days ), not that I think slavery is any more in the U.S. – except maybe for a few indiscriminate employers who sneak in, non-green-card immigrants (?) to work at vastly reduced wages ,,, [ some employers here have been caught out doing the same thing ].

    I think we could all agree that the electoral system in that country, is ‘off the wall’ .. 🙁


    “Quite clearly both Clinton and Trump had little in common with the average American.” …. Yes, I have cherry picked text a bit here – but Stinson often bungs these two into the same basket in his article.

    Obama also, certainly does not come off lightly in his writing.

    No-one has to stretch too far, to ‘exhume’ McCarthyism … it has been in that community since the late 1940’s … and remains as avid and contentious as it was then. Oh shite – Communism !!!! Bad, bad, triple bad, according to the deeply subjected American public-at-large – over that worst word of all time to them – communism. …. I don’t condone communism at all, but the general U.S. population reaction to it is extreme to this day – and harks back to the McCarthy days, and beyond. America at large, have not moved past that point … Which is partly why Sanders was given the boot – by various devious means – by the Democrats and sneakily – the Republicans, who would not have had a bar of him, but it suited them to have the Dems do all their dirty work for them. … Socialism = Fascism = Communism, in the minds of many over there.

    This article gives everyone at the top ( in the U.S. ) a damned good serve – something they richly deserve.


  30. Sean Stinson

    Whoever said I read Breitbart? When did I ever say Putin and Assad are blameless in all things?

    One sided my arse. I am not criticising Putin and Assad because they are not the ones invading other people’s countries!!!!

    Whether or not either or both of them have committed crimes does not factor in to the equation. When it becomes a matter of international injustice then I’m sure I’ll criticise them as well, but Putin and Assad’s methods are of absolutely no consequence to the moral right and wrong of what is happening in Syria.

    Who is arming and funding the terrorists? Who is publicly committed to regime change? Who has the right to decide who should govern Syria? These questions are what concern me, not to mention the small matter of INTERNATIONAL LAW which we in the west, and particularly the US of A seem to consider beneath us.

    I am not a Putin fan boy. I am not anti-American. I am FERVENTLY anti imperialist, which is why I so often criticise the country which has “gone abroad in search of monsters to destroy” – third time i’ve used that quote today.

    And while I’m laying my cars on the table let me state for the record that I am also anti capitalist.

  31. Annie B

    Kaye –

    Yes – we ARE in the middle of it … “dragged into the mess” … and as far as inviting with much fanfare, the two now opposing factions to plonk themselves and their armory ( in increasing numbers btw ), almost next to one another in the north of our country, is unconscionable. … and the current government has not the guts or integrity to do anything about it.

    What is however, known now, was not known then. … That does NOT excuse the government of the time ( I think it was Labor under Julia Gillard ) …. of acting without forethought. .. To allow boots on soil in this country, without what seems, proper analysis, was a very stupid thing.

    Agree with your comment, especially about those two nitwits – Bernardi and Christensen. !! 🙁

  32. Matters Not

    KL, re your comment:

    we ARE being dragged into the mess

    Seems to me you have the wrong ‘tense’. We are already in this mess and whether we like it or not, we have been for decades. I will again quote from an article I referred to elsewhere

    the pattern established in the Vietnam war still holds … Australia volunteers to join an American war, confects an invitation from the receiving state, and then regardless of the legality, fights whoever the US designates as the enemy … The situation in Syria is even more serious. … ’ Australia’s Permanent Representative at the UN, Gillian Bird, argued that the Syrian government was ‘unwilling or unable’ to prevent IS from attacking Iraq from Syria, and this justified Australian air strikes across the border. Her Syrian counterpart wrote to the UN Security Council on 17 September 2015, accusing Australia, France and the UK of ‘taking measures’ against Syria, and denying that Syria was unwilling or unable to control IS. He cited Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others as countries which ‘arm, shelter and train the terrorist groups IS, Nusrah Front and others associated with Al Qaida.’ Of course Australia’s measures against Syria were taken at the behest of the US, which has since changed its mind, and hence Australia’s mind has changed too.

    Watch this short but disturbing video.

    There’s been article after article arguing that with the rise of Trump, Australia should seek to establish an independent stance, yet both Bishop and Turnbull seem wedded to maintaining the status quo.

  33. Annie B

    Miriam : …

    your quote : “…….. you take that to an unreasonable degree and call gullible anybody who gives credence to anything that comes out of Western media. ”

    If, by that statement, you mean mainstream media as we know it – I have to say, that people who believe the crap dished up through MSM these days, are indeed very very gullible. I could not find much in reference to that in the article, …. and seeing as how I have now read it 3 times over – I figure I might have seen a smidgin of direct comment on that. … however, if I have missed something, and he did indeed call gullible, people who give credence to (what) comes out of Western media – then I would have to agree with him.

    MSM ( particularly those ruled by Murdoch ) are enjoying less and less credence in their tabloids and potential vegetable scrapings, wrapping ‘ papers ‘. … and it needs no persuasion for thinking persons, to sort the chaff from the grain, in on-line ‘news’. Which would, I suspect, include all the ‘fake news’ floating about – but that is another subject for another time.

    Not arguing here btw. 🙂

  34. Sean Stinson

    @ Annie B

    appreciate your contribution – i replied to your earlier comment above.

    I’m aware of the GOP’s history of gerrymandering, and the weaknesses of the arcane electoral college system – but your suggestion that it is undemocratic actually goes to the root of the American two party system.

    forget left vs right, the (often false) dichotomy which applies to the Westminster system doesn’t go anywhere near to explaining the US political system – the libertarian-authoritarian axis of the political spectrum is much more informative.

    the key difference between the two parties, as i see it, is not that one is nominally more left leaning — see my previous articles where i’ve argued the US has been a one party state for 40 years — its that one is nominally democratic and the other libertarian.

    you really need to go back to the founding documents to get a read on this. The US was conceived as a constitutional republic, NOT a democracy. This is why republicans they are so precious about their constitution. The liberties guaranteed under it are designed to protect the individual FROM THE TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY.

    Totally un-democratic, at least in the sense of majority rule. But as I have also written in articles here, DEMOCRACY DOES NOT MEAN MAJORITY RULE. it means the rule of the demos, the people.

    which brings us back to the electoral system, and why Clinton winning 2 million extra votes in up state New York perhaps should not give her the right to govern for the entire country? Seems like a reasonable topic for debate anyway.

    Also, for what its worth, it was the republicans who supported the abolition of slavery.


  35. Annie B

    Matters Not ….

    Re : your link … no surprise there. But it is disturbing.

    The U.S. is a militarised community, looking forward to, or for – anything to fight – to establish what they blindly believe is ‘superiority’ through military might. “Might is right” is the mantra.

    The quote you gave from another article beginning : “the pattern established in the Vietnam war still holds”
    and then – “Australia volunteers to join an American war, confects an invitation from the receiving state, and then regardless of the legality, fights whoever the US designates as the enemy”

    “Whoever the U.S. designates as the enemy” … That is, how it is – in a nutshell.

    I would love to know ( but cannot at this time research it ) how that country has been able to take a strangle-hold over so many so-called ‘allied’ countries over the past decades. ? How did it happen ? ….. Cleverly devised propaganda ??

  36. Annie B

    Sean …

    While I did not mention specifically anything on the subject of ‘democracy’ as such, and as we understand it …. I do have to yell very loudly, that there is little left in this world that is truly democratic. So in that regard, I agree.

    Rather think Scandinavian countries give a good showing of what democracy really is, or should be – and its workings … but the rest of the world abandoned it – over the years.

    Including our own country – !! 🙁

    Have to wonder if we will ever see it return ? If it does, I most likely will not be around to see it.

    But – where there is life, there is hope …. ( I sincerely trust ).

  37. Matters Not

    Annie B, perhaps Manifest Destiny still reigns supreme? Even if the concept has different monikers these days.

  38. Annie B

    MN ~ ~ ~

    hmm !! …. “Manifest Destiny” relates to a widely held belief in the 19th century of ( particularly ), American supremacy beginning and happening, and it is more than likely many in the U.S. reside ( in their minds ), back in that day …. because it suits their ‘exceptional’ purposes and collective mindset.

    So – yes – it still reigns supreme – certainly to a large degree.

    “Destiny” – the hidden power believed to control future events…. aided and abetted by the bible belt there.

    It does not paint a pretty picture by any means. And recent history attests to that.

  39. Miriam English

    Sean, saying that the republicans were the ones who were in favor of abolishing slavery is a bit of a mislead.

    Those two major parties have changed so much over the years they’ve swapped places on many (most?) topics. The Republican of then would be the Democrats of today. All pro-slavery voters in USA today are Republican voters… including the deluded fools who vote for their own enslavement.

  40. Roswell

    I apologise for not having a link (primarily because I’ve forgotten where I saw the article today or what it was even called), but it was something about Trump voters being of the opinion that African Americans aren’t, well, as deserving as white Americans.

    It doesn’t of course prove Miriam’s suggestion that the Republicans and the Democrats have swapped ideology over the last century, but it certainly adds some credence to it.

  41. Jexpat


    Anyone thinking that US Republicans are libertarians (in any way other than neo-feudalist) are in for a big surprise over the next 4 years.

  42. mark delmege

    republicans are republicans and libertarians are libertarians but trump is somewhere between the two imo or maybe somewhere else.

  43. Sean Stinson

    ok then, one party is democratic and the other not so much. the point is, republican and democratic ‘nominal values’ are very different, and not in the sense of left and right, or even ‘neoliberalism’ vs ‘neoconservatism’.

  44. Robert G. Shaw

    Sean, good article and a good discussion. I’d just like to add 2 points.
    One, I think it’s very obvious that the Russian action is conceived and implemented with one aim in mind – to further their own interests. The fact that they were ‘asked in’ isn’t really important and I think there’s very little differences between the US imperialism were seeing in this case and that of the Russian variety.
    Two, I think that the reason the Americans failed in their attempts at regime change, therefore leading to this 5 year tragedy in Syria, is that they are forever bound by a strange moral code that sees them, on the one hand, imperial and hawkish, and on the other, always pulling their punches, militarily. I think that’s been referred to as the Vietnam Effect – fighting with one hand tied behind your back.
    The Russians don’t have any such restraints and can therefore be seen, paradoxically, as helpers, forceful and righteous resistors to US imperialism. Which is why they’re now considered as “liberators’ of the Syrian people.
    That said, it’s very clear that of the two evils existing in Syria, Assad is the better option. Any consideration of the Islamist forces as potential power brokers in the region is in my opinion a one way ticket to greater political and social catastrophe and presents us with the grotesque and tragic contortions – the West’s assistance to the ‘rebels’, read predominantly Islamist forces, against Assad and Putin.

  45. mark delmege

    I think you are mistaken Robert. US and Christian boots on the ground in a Muslim country has been shown time and time again to be a bad idea. But arming brotherhood types was a tactical necessity and so far it has failed but bleeding Syria has served a purpose. Israel has made a two state solution now impossible and as others have said the war against Syria was as much about Israel ‘security’ as anything else. Israeli officials have actually said they would prefer IS in Syria than Assad. If you read the reports Israel has actively worked for IS and Al Qaeda by bombing Syria and supplying field hospitals – and if you noticed IS and al qaeda types have not attacked Israel. Actually the whole IS deal is a con – a lie – they are as much a US creation and a creature of the war machine as anything else. They are useful idiots – pawns to be promoted or taken down as the need arises.
    As for the hacking and this goes for any hacking, State hackers have the best methods and technology and would never leave a trace leading back to the hack. So when you hear the WA govt office of Meteorology is hacked by the Chinese or the Dems by the Russians – such claims are false. Its is a psychological operation designed to make us fear – whoever.
    But there are plenty of people out there who can do it – which is all the more reason why keeping state secrets on a private email server is a no no. If I was a State hacker even a Russian I would do it from the USofA or Mexico not in Russia. Anyway I will go with Craig Murray as say it was a leak and not a hack.

    Much could and should be said and written about the role of Israel in this whole disaster.

    One issue on Trump that I have not yet seen discussed is how he will deal with Obama’s assasination program – you know death by drone that has killed thousands and many hundreds of innocent civilians. The Tuesday briefings where Obama signs off on the death list – will they be continued? Will Trump cancel that program or just pass it off to the centralised intelligence bureau he has in the making?

  46. Sean Stinson

    @ Robert Shaw

    I take your comment re Vietnam, but to stretch the analogy a bit further – the US did not care about winning the Vietnam war so much as protracting it. As Smedley Butler said, war is a racket. The US has a long history of funding both sides of any and all wars, for profit. The longer the Syrian conflict drags on, the more money for defence contractors. The more damage wrought on civillian infrastructure, the more money for rebuilding. Cynical i know.

    This is territory i veered off to in the first draft of this article — i have a habit of going off-topic — trying to explain the role of the military industrial complex. the permanent war economy and the various “intelligence agencies” — little more than government-paid shills for the MIC.

    I think there is an argument to be had as to whether it was the New Deal that pulled the US out of the great depression, or 10 million men under arms??? Looking back to the 1890s we see the same thing – — remember the US had just won their independence from a colonial power 40 years earlier and so the very concept of empire was anathema to them — of all the reasons put forward for US militarism/imperialism — the need for a “new frontier”, the weakening of anti-trust laws (under McKinley) and the subsequent lobbying power of the steel and ship building industries — the main reason surely was to break the cycle of debt deflation???

    So you have the US involved in two major wars which each occurred within a decade of a major depression.

    Now fast forward to the 08/09 recession, from which we still haven’t recovered.

    I don’t think i need to explain where this is going…

  47. paulwalter

    Sean, keep trying. Your comments make eminent sense most of the time and although opponents may emply the blanking tactic, your info still will eventually percolate through against the resistance.

  48. Robert G. Shaw

    @mark, I’m not sure I see where it is that I’m “mistaken”.

    @sean, I understand your point. I just don’t follow it, or at least, remain unconvinced. The conditions for the two world wars were far more complex, and in some major respects, so far removed from direct US influence, that the argument you’re trying to prosecute would need to make connections where I believe none exist.
    But that’s a digression: my initial point was probably a very mundane one – that in situations like Syria every player is bad – Assad, the US, the Russians, ISIS, the Ba’athists, FSA, YPG, Iran, Hezbollah, the Saudi’s, Qatar, Al-Nusra et al – all of them.
    Sure, you are I are probably going to differ on degrees of “bad” but it was a few of your claims (made at 9.37pm yesterday) that prompted my post.

    By the way, when your article first came up a few days ago I noticed you mentioned counties won by Clinton versus those won by Trump. A contributor made mention of the snopes article and linked it for reference. By the afternoon your reference, the contributor, and the link were gone!
    Stalinist airbrushing immediately came to mind.
    Tell me I’m wrong.

    I also think it’s very good you engage in the comments section after one of your articles.
    Conversation is good.

  49. Sean Stinson


    A couple of things, the wars I was specifically referring to were the Spanish American War and WWII, sorry for not being clear on that. Obviously the US entry into WWI was for different reasons – tho Wilson still faced a lot of anti war sentiment, not to mention opposition from lots of hyphenated-Americans and a strong labour movement.

    Yes, I the article was edited to correct an error of fact, I added a note reflecting this but it appears to have been lost in the next save.

    ** Author’s note: This article has been edited to correct an error of fact which appeared in the original version. According to Associated Press, it appears that HRC won 487 of 3141 electoral counties, not 57 as originally claimed.

    Lastly, don’t get me started me on Stalin. 😉

  50. Sean Stinson

    “All pro-slavery voters in USA today are Republican voters… ”


    Was it Republicans who voted for the 1994 crime bill which doubled the prison population?

    The thirteenth amendment abolished slavery EXCEPT as punishment for a crime. Private prisons in the US have been turned into labour camps since the 90s, thanks to the Democratic Party and Bill Clinton.

    Tell me again how Republicans and Democrats have swapped places?

  51. mark delmege

    Robert ‘is that they are forever bound by a strange moral code that sees them, on the one hand, imperial and hawkish, and on the other, always pulling their punches, militarily. I think that’s been referred to as the Vietnam Effect – fighting with one hand tied behind your back.’

    I dont agree with this. It wasn’t true in Serbia Iraq Grenada Panama or Afghanistan. Syria more resembles Nicaragua – war by proxy.
    Russia certainly is acting in its own self interests and has the backing of China for the same reasons. War by proxy has been used previously against Russia and will be again if those trained in Syria are again let loose in muslim parts of Russia – Same same with China. It sees the Uyghurs flown in and out of Syria and knows what uncle Samuel has planned for them next.
    But there is also a moral dimension to all this – or if you prefer the Rule Of Law. Arming death squads in foreign countries is illegal and counter to the UN. These people have to be stopped – neutralised or eliminated and countries that promote that must be shamed or defeated or at the very least prevented from winning on the battle front.

  52. Robert G. Shaw

    @sean, thanks for the clarifications.
    I also think that to call what’s happening now in Aleppo a “liberation” is to try to push the square peg of reality into the round box of ideological bias. All of the considered accounts like yours for example, and those of Bartlett et al, I generally agree with, bar one crucial point.
    The Russians, by their very acts of ‘liberation’, the bombing, are causing as much civilian deaths as arguably the ‘rebels’. I find it a bit rich for them to now come forward and say that they will conduct ‘safe passage’ of civilians out of the city.
    I don’t buy the narrative from those those in control of the ‘siege’ who are now painting themselves as ‘humanitarians’.

    Also, see my response to Mark below.

    @mark, I don’t think anyone would doubt the military capability of the US. It’s never been the lack of firepower that’s thwarted their imperial ambitions. They have the potential, and have had the potential, to raze any enemy they choose (Russia, China notwithstanding). Aside from a range of other factors, (for another thread maybe) it’s been their failed efforts to resolve the impossible: to win wars you need “boots on the ground” fortified by a near universal resolve on the home front.
    We haven’t seen that since Vietnam.
    So all of those examples you listed, rather than proving your point, I see as proving mine.

    Proxy war is now the business of war – from Assad’s decision to release his Salafist prisoners in March 2011, to Saudi money funding Syrian opposition groups, of any stamp. All sides are equally guilty because the gathering of client states is the only way the larger powers can affect their larger geopolitical ambitions. I never thought that Syria was simply about Assad or the Syrian people.
    I would be surprised if anyone did.

    A further and incredibly telling example of the kinds of deals and perfidy going on in Syria came the other day with the assassination of the Russian diplomat by a young Turk. Turkey eager that nothing get in the way of its ongoing and growing friendship with Russia immediately labeled the young assassin a Gulenist. No surprises there. Russia for its part reckoned that the life of one if its diplomats was well worth continuing the growing influence it could secure with Turkey over Syria and the region. So we have the strange scene where Orthodox Russia is able to sit with its new friends, hitherto sectarian antagonists, Sunni Turkey, and Shi’ite Iran, over the fate of Syria.
    And the Americans?
    They didn’t get an invite and will have to watch, like the rest of us, the dismemberment of Syria.
    I imagine it is especially galling to them to see Turkey, the second largest standing army in NATO, and their primary client against Assad from way back in Dec 2011, now taking their seat at the grown-ups table.

    As I mentioned earlier, I think it’s all bad and the only thing for us to do is argue over degrees.

  53. Jexpat

    Sean wrote: “Was it Republicans who voted for the 1994 crime bill which doubled the prison population?”

    Actually, yes.

    See the roll call vote:

    This “All pro-slavery voters in USA today are Republican voters… ” is also correct.

    This goes back to Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” in 1968, which appealed to racist and authoritarian voters in an attempt split off the Democratic party’s solid southern base, which was already splintered by segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace’s independent candidacy. This was in direct response to Democratic Presidient Lyndon Johnson’s pushing through the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.

    The segrationist Democrats of 50 years ago are all or nearly all… Republicans, including Trump’s nominee for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose admittd ties to the KKK kept him from being confirmed as a federal judge… when appointed by Ronald Reagan.

    For more on that, see:

    I get the distinct impression from some of the posts here that several folks don’t know much about who Republicans actually are and what their record is. By comparison, Cory Bernardi, George Christianson and Tony Abbott, etc. are lightweights.

  54. Sean Stinson

    Appreciate your take on this Robert, although I disagree to an extent. Yes I see Russia acting in its own interests, but those interests as I see it relate to the ‘proxy war’ which you alluded to. I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone of the interview between Amy Goodman and Gen. Wesley Clark in which he told of the Pentagon’s plan to take down 7 countries in 5 years. After Syria comes Iran, and then Washington will have its Islamist proxies up against Russia’s southern flank, so better to fight them now in Syria. I look at it all through the lense of recent history, 1860 til present. Russia has always been on the receiving end of Western imperialist aggression. If that makes me an ‘apologist’, then so be it.

    As for the bombings, again we really only have Western MSM’s reporting on this. I don’t know how many times in the last year we heard that the “last hospital in Aleppo” was destroyed by Russian bombers. Seems to me like a card you can only play once.

    To your point about Vietnam, you are right, this is the reason the US can’t do ‘boots on the ground’. Islamist proxies have been the workaround for this since the first Afghanistan war. These days private security also play a hefty roll – last time i looked into this there were something like 60 000 G4S contractors in Afghanistan. So when the West says they have pulled their troops out, they aren’t being entirely honest.

  55. Sean Stinson


    Thanks for the clarification. The fact remains it was Bill Clinton’s bill, which just goes to prove that the Democrats, or at least the conservative faction within the Democrats, have been in bed with the Republicans for 30 years. I see the US pretty much as a one party state these days. Any significant ideological difference is not between left and right, but between nationalism and globalism. The same analysis could be applied to Australian politics, as others have noted in their comments.

  56. mark delmege

    Robert I would have thought Afghanistan and Iraq were examples of lots of firepower and boots on the ground.
    I don’t see a problem with Russia Turkey and Iran tactically agreeing on certain matters in Syria. Turkey appears to have changed course somewhat and that is very much due the willingness of Russia to be flexible and to seek any (almost) avenue to end the conflict. Turkey doesn’t want Kurds to have an independent state on its border. I’d say that suits Syria and Russia isn’t (publicly) complaining. I’m not sure how tight the Turkish spigot on flows of jihadists into Syria is today but any tightening is welcomed.
    Russia Iran and Syria have a long history of relations and lets not forget the (proximity and) economic ties between them all (including Turkey)
    Russia has almost as many Muslims as Australia has people and 2 m of them are Shia. Moscow also has the largest Mosque in all of Europe apparently. So yes while it is essentially orthodox it is also multi ethic and multi denominational/
    I have seen the claim made about Assad releasing Islamist militants  from prison. I note the Syrian govt made numerous attempts to placate protesters in the early days and I am aware of the allegations made by you by others. I just don’t know the true motivations. I’ll accept its arguable till I know better.
    I do think throwing your hands up and saying they are all as bad as each other to be kinda lazy and misses the reality of one side defending a country and another attacking it. War is nasty anyway you look at it.
    You make other inferences – like the one with a ‘young Turk’ and ‘sectarian antagonists ‘ which I think are uninformed.
    This ‘war’ is far from over and I don’t doubt that Syria Iran Russia and Turkey all have different agendas that may or may not become apparent as things pan out.

  57. Kaye Lee

    “1860 til present. Russia has always been on the receiving end of Western imperialist aggression.”

    Are we going to ignore Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, Georgia and the Ukraine?

  58. Sean Stinson

    No Kaye Lee, not ignoring any of these, unless you want to argue that the fascist coup in Ukraine in 2014 wasn’t a US regime change operation, that the US didn’t back the Islamists in the Chechen-Russian conflict, that Russia actually “invaded” Afghanistan rather than being invited by the legitimate government of Hazifullah Amin to defend it against the US backed Mujahideen terrorists, and that the CIA were not the chief antagonists behind the popular uprisings which led to the Hungarian Revolution and the Prague Spring…

  59. Kaye Lee

    Oh so they had good reasons for their imperialist invasions?

    I agree with you about the damage caused by colonialism and arrogant greedy treaties which ripped sovereignty from people and handed them over for “tutelage” until they could “look after themselves.”

    I recently had an interesting conversation speculating on what the world would look like without American intervention and we all agreed that, in the grand scheme of things, they were very recent players. The rot started way before they chose to involve themselves.

  60. Sean Stinson

    I would not argue differently. Eduardo Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America tells the story of the pillage of a continent over 5 centuries by the Spanish, Portuguese, British and Dutch. A good read which I’d highly recommend. Then there’s India, Africa, and so on, as far back as you want to go.

    I refer to my comment above. I am not anti American, I am anti Imperialist.

  61. Robert G. Shaw

    M. Mert Altintas was a 22 year old Turkish police officer.
    Turkey is majority Sunni, Iran majority Shi”ite, therefore the term ‘sectarian antagonists’ is a neat and uncontroversial description of their relations/tensions.
    I don’t really understand why you would quibble on those two points, or refer to them as ‘uninformed’. Perhaps you’d care to explain why.

    Assad’ motivations for releasing the Salafists I think is clear enough, or should be clear enough, to anyone looking at this situation seriously.

    as you rightly say, the memo from Wolfowitz was incredibly damning. One really doesn’t need further evidence of US deceit in these matters. It will go down, or at least should go down, as one of the most dreadful admissions as to the despicable, ruthless and unforgiveable process of US foreign policy.
    However, I must remind you of the error, as I see it, of holding tight to the “Russia has always been on the receiving end of Western imperialist aggression”. It’s true that it has been, but its also true that it too has engaged in a near identical foreign policy of proxy and clientelism.
    To my way of thinking, and here I echo Kaye Lee’s thoughts, everything from say, the German/Soviet pact of ’39, to the post war carve up and the swallowing of Eastern Europe, through to events in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Cuba, Vietnam, China, Yugoslavia, and equally disturbing, the articulation of the Brezhnev Doctrine, is right up there with what the US were doing.
    Here I’d like to address your rebuttal of that crucial point – it’s not up to me to play the endlessly retrospective ‘causal’ game. I don’t have to buy into the post hoc fallacy; I don’t have to argue alleged US actions that allegedly justified Russian reactions. These instances of Russian imperialism are historical proof of their complicity in political and ideological aggrandizement. If anything, the onus would be on you to prove US machinations, and even if you could accomplish such a feat, your argument would succumb to the ‘but he hit me first’ rationale. At this level of seriousness I would call that particular rationale pretty flimsy stuff.

    This is want I meant earlier regarding degrees of guilt or responsibility or evil – everyone involved is so caught up in their own mess and the mess of others that trying to separate out individual instances of moral and political innocence or justification is just a zero sum game of ideological bias.
    No one is innocent in theatres like Syria, no one is more innocent or justified, no one is more right, no one more a symbol and act of redemption.
    Perhaps in other situations, but not here, not in Syria.

    I guess my point these last few posts is that I am extremely wary of holding one side guilty the other blameless. One see’s a lot of that sort of myopia in both Left and Right accounts. I tend to judge, or at least try to, according to a certain degree of common (historical and psychological) sense – sure, the Russian bombers are killing “rebels”. They’re also killing civilians in the process, lots of them, and I’m dolefully reminded of the Bến Tre quote: ‘It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it’.

    Re: your skepticism on the effect of the bombings – look at the pics, Aleppo resembles Berlin in ’45. It strains credulity to think that civilians haven’t been killed in their thousands.
    Re: G4S contractors – contractors are one thing, a standing army quite another.

  62. mark delmege

    Robert – this is getting tedious. Iran and Turkey have strong ties for all sorts of reasons. You seek to promote division where it is not necessary. Shia and Sunni and all the other variants can get on quite well and do in most parts. Much like me. I have Shia Sunni Jewish and Christian friends and I am not religious. Tolerance is the norm.
    There is nothing obvious about why militants were released around 2011. I can think of three possible reasons. And you are in no better position (most likely) than me to understand why.

  63. Kaye Lee

    “There is nothing obvious about why militants were released around 2011.”

    According to a former Syrian intelligence officer…

    “Syrian intelligence agencies released Islamist militants from prison to deliberately subvert a peaceful uprising and ignite a violent rebellion

    Under pressure from opposition groups and the international community, the regime set free hundreds of detainees from jail in the first few months of the uprising as part of an amnesty.

    But many political prisoners and protesters backing the peaceful uprising were kept in prison, while others, including known Islamist radicals and violent offenders, were quietly released.

    Some former inmates of Saidnaya prison, a facility 50 km north of Damascus, went on to become prominent members of insurgent groups.

    Zahran Aloush, commander of the Jaish Al Islam; Abdul Rahman Suweis of the Liwa al Haq; Hassan Aboud of Ahrar Al Sham; and Ahmad Aisa Al Sheikh, commander of Suqour Al Sham, were all held in regime jails prior to the uprising.

    The commander of the powerful Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al Nusra, Abu Mohammad Al Jolani, is also rumoured to have been among those set free, although little is known about his true identity.

    “Most of the important people in these extremist groups were in Saidnaya prison, not just Zahran Aloush. There were many of them and the regime let them go very deliberately,” the former intelligence officer said.

    From the start of the uprising, the regime insisted it was facing an Islamist insurgency as a way of justifying its murderous response to overwhelmingly peaceful demands for political reforms.

    To give that narrative credence and bolster support among the fearful religious minorities it depends on for support, as well as Syria’s moderate mainstream population, the regime sought to create instability inside Syria, including acts of violence by Sunni extremists, said the former intelligence officer. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

    He is one of a small number of Alawite security officers who defected from the regime in protest at its tactics to break the uprising.”

    I do not know if this is true but I offer it as one view.

  64. Robert G. Shaw

    @mark, I can’t see why you would be calling the conversation “tedious” and I’m sorry if you’re unable to follow the points I’m trying to make.
    Yes, the two countries do have strong ties. I didn’t dispute that fact. What I did say was that they were “sectarian antagonists” – Turkey is majority Sunni, Iran majority Shi’a. I can’t see any problem whatsoever with that statement and you still haven’t explained why you find that so troubling in the context of my post.

    As to your other quibble about the release of Salafists, I notice that Kaye Lee has addressed it adequately.
    Simply put, Assad hoped to corrupt the “legitimate” demonstrations with jihadists so that he could act out a two part narrative – one, allow and support the jihadists in their attacks on the early FSA, thereby killing off his primary adversaries, and two, with rampant and emboldened jihadists running loose he would be able to call for the assistance of the West in destroying them. He would have used the West’s primary narrative over the last 16 years – anti terror – as a weapon to remove both the jihadists and his very own non jihadi political foes.
    One has to admit that from Assad’s perspective, it was a very good plan.

    @sean, I read this recently and thought it might be of interest to you. I find the implications to be so catastrophic as to make Syria look like a weekend jaunt. So aside from the Syria conversations, like the one we’re having now, my focus will certainly be on following these newer, more alarming developments. It appears to me, if I follow my logic to a conclusion of sorts, to be the much anticipated exposion of the bloody yet so far contained tensions between Sunni and Shi’a.

    Perhaps for another article and thread?

  65. mark delmege

    Robert, for example Iran (Persian and mostly Shia) is a supporter of Palestinians – mostly Sunni and Arab.
    I think you have that colonialist mentality of looking for division to make an argument against the other.
    And then you have Saudi Arabia – about as extremist as they get and a supporter of Israel – some even call them Arab Zionists.
    If you think back to 2011 there were other things happening in the world that might – maybe – give an understanding of why militants were released from jail.
    I am aware of the article KL posted – but look at the source country and their role in the funding and support of terrorists in Syria and tell me they are not a player in this regime change program.

  66. mark delmege

    Al Arabiya al Jazeera and The national are hardly news sites demonstrating unbiased opinions. They all support the opposition in Syria and represent the views of the (very undemocratic) Gulf Kingdoms.

  67. Sean Stinson

    @ Robert

    I do appreciate your comments, but I think we view Syria differently, certainly in terms of who is the aggressor. International law is pretty clear on this matter. Sorry, but some thing actually ARE black and white.

    As for the link, I really don’t know how to respond, lest we become bogged down in a tedious argument over which sources are to be trusted and which are state propaganda. Suffice it to say this comes from a Saudi owned news outlet – the language is loaded, Iranians are described as “terrorists” – in short, an extremely one sided piece.

    I think what is desperately needed right now is an analysis of recent trends in journalism from a philosophical perpsective, ie, how we should we evaluate news articles, opinion vs fact, what should be considered “false news”.

  68. Sean Stinson

    Thanks Mark, looks like you beat me to it!

  69. Robert G. Shaw

    @mark, I really have no idea how your first post at 6.04pm relates to our conversation.
    As for your second, and here I’d like to speak to Sean’s comments also, i’m not interested in the source or the transparent commentary, as much as the content.
    Salami’s speech can be found on numerous web sites. It’s that, and only that, of very particular interest to me.
    You can try and attack the sources as a kind of distraction: arguments over ‘biased’ reporting can be leveled at every news article of any paper or news service in the world and as such they are not really much of an argument here.
    I tend to think that confirmation bias is as much a danger as falling prey to the ‘fake news’ you mention.
    I also think that there is a very real danger of labeling everything we don’t want to read or hear as ‘fake news’.

    Again, Hossein Salami’s remarks can be found on a range of news service sites – Left, Right, and everything in between. There is no doubt he said them, no one refutes them, least of all the Iranians themselves. Look past the messenger and the barefaced and unsophisticated editorialising and look at the remarks themselves.

  70. Sean Stinson

    Fair point. I’d have to see the full text of the statement to comment. Context is important. Interesting that you say it appears all over the internet, but in a quick search i’ve only been able to find references from the conservative news outlets.

  71. Kaye Lee

    “Suffice it to say this comes from a Saudi owned news outlet”

    Yet you quote Russia Today which is a state owned outlet – one that I often listen to I might add but always with my detector on…as Robert says, listen to the actual quotes – every news site puts their own slant on things, some way more than others. Selective reporting, manipulation by google feeding you what you want to hear – we all have to question.

    One of my real problems is when the people being quoted are the same few repeated on every source.

    I wouldn’t worry about what one guy in the military said because I think most generals are mad – have you listened to our very own Jim Molan for example? But if I started to hear the same policy confirmed by other people, other sources than that one guy, or saw actions to confirm that intention, then you move from watching brief to concern.

    When your life is the military, those are the options you consider. When arms exports make countries billions of dollars, they seem to all abandon their scruples.

    You talk of Saudi Arabia – the US and Russia both sell them arms, as does basically anyone who exports weapons, all with their governments’ approval. It’s concerning that both Trump and Putin are talking about increasing their nuclear arsenal.

  72. mark delmege

    Robert …Who are these left right and centre news sources you speak of? I hear all sorts of shit spoken by officials here and former officials. (Like that joker – a former Defence official and the ABC RN host on radio this morning regarding R2P) And rhetorical statements are a dime a dozen. Context is all important. But really when it comes down to it does it matter what he says – or what he is reported to have said? He won’t determine Iran foreign policy.
    That you don’t understand what I said doesn’t surprise me/

    I now see the last two posts and the likeness of language used by both – was coincidental.

  73. Sean Stinson

    Kaye Lee its you who keep bringing up RT. I prefer my news sources to be as far away from the centres of power as possible. That said, there are a few honest journalists whose work I admire who new find themselves working for RT — Chris Hedges comes to mind — so i find it a good source of criticism of US foreign policy. If I was looking for criticism of Russian foreign policy I would look elsewhere — but not the NY Times or WaPo thanks very much, for the same reason I don’t drink out of the toilet.

    And please, posting a link from The National, a government-owned English-language daily newspaper published in Abu Dhabi… how is this any different from what you are accusing me of? All news sources are not equal. I am sick of this piss weak political correctness, or whatever you want to call it, that insists every point of view is equal and worthy of equal consideration. IT IS NOT. The Saudi regime commit unspeakable atrocities against their people. Women are flogged for being raped ffs. A guy was sentenced to 2000 lashes last week for being an atheist. If you are gay you will probably be beheaded. Sorry, I have no time for propaganda coming out of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE or any other US client state in the region.

  74. Sean Stinson

    ‘It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it’

    If this was truly Russia’s intent the could have done it in a day.

    On the other hand, if you want to protect human life, it’s going to take longer.

    Are you able to cite for me how many times the “last hospitals in Aleppo” was destroyed by Russia led air strikes, from your Western media sources? I lost count…

  75. Kaye Lee


    All I am trying to do is show there are many sides to the story, many players, with all sides using propaganda. As I said when posting the link, “I do not know if this is true.”

    “I am sick of this piss weak political correctness”

    I am sick of people using the term political correctness and I see absolutely no sign of PC influencing or inhibiting this discussion.

    I absolutely agree about the Saudi regime. I just wonder why both the US and Russia (and Canada and China and France and the UK and just about everyone except Belgium and the Netherlands who only recently stopped) sell arms to the Saudis.

    Are you suggesting that no hospitals have been bombed in Aleppo? There are way too many credible reports for it to be bs. I understand the “last” thing….but the reports I read said stuff like last children’s hospital or last hospital in east aleppo etc. The adjective may have been incorrect but there sure seemed a deliberate strategy in play.

    On another note….

    How many Russian soldiers have to be captured in the Ukraine before we accept that Russia has active involvement there?

  76. Sean Stinson

    The ONLY hospital we have credible evidence of being deliberately targeted in the last year is the MSF hospital in Kunduz Afghanistan which the US bombed for an hour despite having precise signals intelligence and being repeatedly told to stop.

    The whole idea that Russia is indiscriminately bombing civilian locations is completely UNSUBSTANTIATED.

    Aleppo is one of Syria’s most populated cities, home to some 2.3 million. It has over 6000 hospitals. The ‘Old City’, in the eastern part of Aleppo has been under siege by terrorists up until last week, and has a population of about 150 000. Any attempts up until then to evacuate the hostages have been thwarted by the rebels. The voices of the freed people of Eastern Aleppo Syrians tell the story far better than the MSM. Also, the Syrian army has captured about 30 senior ranking rebels, comprised of mostly Saudis, but including Israelis, Belgians, and Americans. For the fifty millionth time, this was NEVER a civil war. This is a war AGAINST Syria by outside forces. It is no different to Iraq or Libya. Russia is defending the Syrian people and their government, and we should all be thankful for that.

    Lastly, i said political correctness OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT. I.E, If you don’t like my choice of worlds then suggest your own alternative.

  77. Sean Stinson

    And how many RUSSIANS live in Ukraine? The Russia friendly Yanukovych government was unceremoniously removed in a fascist coup orchestrated by the CIA in 2014. Russia has legitimate interests in Ukraine, and most Ukrainians would much prefer an alliance with Russia than with the West. That is the way Ukraine was heading before the coup. The US has a long history sponsoring Nazis in an effort to undermine Ukraine – just as it uses Islamists in the ME.

    Anyway, Since I’m obviously a KGB agent and not to be trusted, perhaps you’d rather hear it from this guy:

  78. Kaye Lee

    No need to shout Sean.

    I finds it no excuse that their carpet bombing happened to hit hospitals. You don’t carpet bomb civilians whether they are there of their own free will or not. Could I suggest you heard the voices of the “freed” people who chose to go towards government lines rather than the other direction. Perhaps a biased sample? To suggest there are no Syrians amongst the rebels is something I cannot believe.

    You obviously have your mind firmly made up that Assad has done no wrong and that Russia are there for purely altruistic reasons. I cannot accept that. I agree this has been a manipulated crisis with heavy involvement from outside but I think Assad also helped in that process so he could get Iran and Russia to help quell internal dissent with devastating force.

    I do not think you are a KGB agent any more than I am an apologist for American intervention. But you sure as hell don’t have any questions do you – you, somehow, know what is fact. Oh to be so certain.

    As for the PC rant, it is not political correctness gone mad for people to ask questions, raise different opinions, or even disagree with you yanno.

    I don’t have an hour and a half to watch your video, sorry. I am cooking as we speak.

  79. Sean Stinson

    “You obviously have your mind firmly made up that Assad has done no wrong and that Russia are there for purely altruistic reasons.”

    BS. Never said this, In fact I have argued at length about Russia’s various motives here and in other articles. Don’t put words i my mouth.

    As for “Syrian rebels” – in ANY country there will always be a minority opposed to the government, and in the event of conflict, some of them will side with the enemy.

    The fact remains that Russia is in Syria at the explicit request of the Syrian government. The US, GB, France, Australia etc have nobody’s permission. They are invading a sovereign state. This is just as much an ILLEGAL war as Iraq and Afghanistan.

  80. Kaye Lee

    Do you think Assad had any hand in creating a situation where he could call in Russia to help quell that minority dissent?

  81. Sean Stinson

    No I don’t. The idea that Syria has that sort of leverage over Russia is fanciful. Russia didn’t get seriously involved until last September anyway.

    What you are suggesting is just ridiculous. The way to deal with dissent is not to start a revolution and then call in the cavalry to put it down. That’s like setting fire to your house and hoping your neighbour will be there to help put it out.

  82. mark delmege

    come on Kaye no one could have imagined in 2011 that Russia would get involved in Syria or even Iran for that matter. BTW many of the ‘civilians’ are families of rebels – local and imported. Actually I think it is reckless of any fighter to bring their families to the front line. I even saw a disturbing video yesterday of a mother saying goodbye to her two young daughters who were dressed for suicide bombing – they couldn’t have been 9. Such is the fanaticism of IS types. (via IS twitter feed)

  83. mark delmege

    You could ask instead why during the Gillard Govt young aussies were allowed to travel to Syria to join the fight? I said at the time this was wrong and that it would cause us problems. It was only stopped by the Liberals. I fear it was not slackness but a deliberate policy in support of the US program for regime change. If it was obvious to me it would have been obvious to our security services!

  84. Kaye Lee

    mark, rather than a Gillard conspiracy to support IS (shades of Hillary hysteria), I would suggest it was more a matter of human rights, many of which have been eroded in the “war on terror”. It required new legislation to be able to stop people travelling.

    Sean, what do you say to the suggestion that violent rebels were released from prison by Assad whilst other supporters of peaceful protest remained incarcerated? Could it be that that backfired and escalated?

  85. Roswell

    Mark, your comment at 1:28 leaves me speechless. I’ve heard many conspiracies over the last few years – some I buy, some I don’t – but the Gillard one is outside of the square.

  86. Sean Stinson

    I see no evidence for this and I find it highly implausible. Conversely there is a ton of evidence which shows the Syrian government has been defending itself against foreign terrorist mercenaries. Read the wikileaks cables, or if you want it straight form the horses mouth, there is this. Yes, even the MSM occasionally let the truth slip through.

    “Opposition leaders in southern Syria, where the CIA-trained fighters (terrorists, ed.) are concentrated, said the groups have recently become better organized and more effective in their use of heavier weapons, including U.S.-made TOW antitank missiles.”


    “But the sudden contraction of Assad’s sphere of control has focused renewed attention on Syria and the CIA program set up in 2013 to bolster moderate forces that still represent the United States’ most direct involvement on the ground in Syria’s civil war.

    The cost of that CIA program has not previously been disclosed, and the figure provides the clearest indication to date of the extent to which the agency’s attention and resources have shifted to Syria.

    At $1 billion, Syria-related operations account for about $1 of every $15 in the CIA’s overall budget, judging by spending levels revealed in documents The Washington Post obtained from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

    U.S. officials said the CIA has trained and equipped nearly 10,000 fighters sent into Syria over the past several years — meaning that the agency is spending roughly $100,000 per year for every anti-Assad rebel who has gone through the program.

    The CIA declined to comment on the program or its budget. But U.S. officials defended the scale of the expenditures, saying the money goes toward much more than salaries and weapons and is part of a broader, multibillion-dollar effort involving Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to bolster a coalition of militias known as the Southern Front of the Free Syrian Army.

    Much of the CIA’s money goes toward running secret training camps in Jordan, gathering intelligence to help guide the operations of agency-backed militias and managing a sprawling logistics network used to move fighters, ammunition and weapons into the country.”

  87. mark delmege

    Why Roswell? Her public pronouncements were pretty much in line with the liberal war hawks Obama and Clinton – on everything* – who she gave a marine base too and and Clinton who she worked for after leaving office and having previously given hundreds of millions of our tax dollars. Surely its not such a stretch? Even her foreign minister suggested assassinating the President. As a client state then and now we do pretty much what the US wants – and they wanted regime change. Tens of thousands of jihadists from around the world were encouraged to go to Syria to fight. I’d argue the public discourse here at every level reinforced the notion that the Assad government was evil and that all efforts must be made to bring it down. As perception management goes that view remains today. Never mind the facts.
    I wrote many times to the ABC that their propaganda was encouraging our young to go to Syria and fight.
    The post fact world has been alive for sometime and rarely ever more obvious to some of us during the Obama regime. Our media have become cheer squads for Obama on so many issues – that would never have been so total were a Republican in office.

    *for example Libya, Ukraine and Syria and that’s just for starters

  88. Roswell

    “Even her foreign minister suggested . . . ”

    So does that mean she endorsed it?

    You could suggest to me that we blow up Whyalla, but just because you suggested it does that mean I support it?

    (Maybe I picked the wrong example when I used Whyalla. If I’m not tempted, many would be).

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