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Battle of the Titans

by Berry Friesen (May 19, 2017)

This is epic: President Donald J. Trump vs. the powers running the world.

I’m searching for words to describe what an unusual moment this is.  We plebs are not supposed to see what we are seeing, nor hear what we are hearing; it will only cause us to become disenchanted with the empire and the imperial elite.

Yet here it is, Trump against “the Deep State.”  That term refers to the powerful people in the federal bureaucracy (especially the military and the security agencies), in Congress, big oil, Wall Street, the defense industry, the media and establishment think-tanks who make sure the world proceeds in the general direction established by most US presidents since World War 2.

It’s a huge undertaking, managing the world and keeping it headed in the “right” direction. Unexpected events occur constantly and some nations simply won’t play ball (Iraq, Libya, Syria, Russia and Iran come to mind).

What’s more, mavericks such as President Trump mess things up.  He refuses to take counsel, is contemptuous of any plan but his most recent brainstorm, and doesn’t respect public servants, Congress, bankers or the media.  So it’s game on!  Events unfolding in our presence will be spoken of for generations!

Before we declare a favorite in this battle of the gods, we’d better check our sources. From whom are we getting our information?

Of course, there is the mainstream media, so determined to see Trump bloodied, discredited and kicked to the curb that they regularly and illegally publish classified information.  They are part of the Deep State, so what we hear from them will support the Deep State’s agenda.

Trump has his media supporters too; Fox News is an example, Breitbart News another. I am not acquainted with Trump-supporting sites, so cannot comment.

What about an anti-imperial perspective?  We need reliable guides, people who blend candid criticism of Trump with mature disenchantment with the empire and its truth-bending stories and domination-seeking agenda.  I recommend four:

     --   Robert Parry’s, established in 1995 as the first investigative news magazine on the Internet.  Parry is a veteran journalist with excellent credentials; he was one of the reporters who broke the Iran-Contra scandal for The Associated Press in the mid-‘80s.  He often writes himself, but also publishes commentary from others.  Content includes both domestic and international issues.

     --   Ray McGovern’s website at  McGovern was a career analyst at the CIA until he retired 25 years ago.  In retirement, he leads the “Speaking Truth to Power” section of Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  His website includes occasional essays as well as highly informative TV and radio interviews.  No decipherable political affiliation. His May 17 op-ed about Trump is published by the Baltimore Sun (see here).

     --   Justin Raimondo’s  Raimondo is a libertarian who focuses on foreign policy and opposes both of the major war parties (Republican and Democrat).  His mission is to build a left-right anti-war coalition, united in its opposition to militarism and empire.  Raimondo’s site publishes brief news reports as well as anti-imperial commentary from a wide variety of authors.

     --   Paul Jay’s The Real News Network.  It leans left politically, but does not hesitate to criticize Democrats.  Of the four sites noted here, it covers the broadest range of issues, both via direct reporting and commentary.  In addition, the site often includes interesting interviews.

As readers of this blog already know, I do not believe Russia intervened in the 2016 election or attempted to compromise Trump or his top associates.  The Russia story is fake news, manufactured to discredit Trump, fuel more imperialism and justify a massive spending increase for the weapons industry. (For a review of my reasons, see the note * below.)

So where does all of this come from?  According to McGovern and Parry, from a combined effort to delegitimize Trump’s presidency led by former CIA Director John O. Brennan, former National Intelligence Director James Clapper and former FBI Director James Comey.  You can read Philip Giraldi's summary of McGovern’s and Parry’s perspective here.

In a May 19 essay published by ConsortiumNews, Giraldi says he has been persuaded "there is indeed a group at the top of the US national security system that wants to . . . . convince the nation that the President and his team colluded with the Russians to rig the 2016 election in his favor."

Clapper Comey Brennan

Brennan and Clapper have been replaced by Trump appointees.  Comey continued on until Trump fired him on May 9 for his refusal to bring the 8-month FBI investigation to a conclusion.  The firing can be understood as an obstruction of justice; it also can be understood as the removal of a disloyal and even treasonous team member.  Similarly, Trump’s “I hope you can let this go” comment to Comey can be understood as in two different ways--as obstruction or as continuing support for a close associate (Michael Flynn) whose career has been destroyed by politics.

Comey is a member of the imperial elite; he’s touched nearly all the bases.  After a couple of years as Deputy Attorney General in the Bush Administration where he attempted to legalize torture, Comey left government and become general counsel and senior vice-president for Lockheed Martin, the largest military contractor in the world and recipient in 2015 of $36 billion in  Pentagon funds.  Next he worked as general counsel for Bridgewater Associates, a hedge fund, before becoming a senior research scholar on national security at Columbia Law School. From 2005-2013, Comey also served as a director for HSBC Holdings, a British bank. During his tenure on the board, HSBC engaged in extensive money laundering for drug cartels and conspired with other banks to commit financial fraud by manipulating the LIBOR rate, an index for setting interests rates worldwide.

Obviously, the stakes in this confrontation are high.  Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer summed it up nicely on national TV when he expressed puzzlement that Trump seemed ready to tangle with the CIA.  Said Schumer: "You take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you."

Furthermore, because of his own mistakes and weaknesses, Trump’s credibility declines day by day.

Yet his Administration holds the information, expertise and legal authority to expose the misdeeds of Brennan, Clapper and Comey and perhaps bring criminal indictments against them.  And as Parry notes, it holds the keys to many locked Washington closets where skeletons abound.

Whether Trump has the executive ability to marshal his Administration’s assets is uncertain.   Whether he has the time to do so is in the hands of Trump’s Republican colleagues in Congress.  Notwithstanding all the bluster, I do not expect them to destroy the Republican Party in order to get rid of Trump.

Which means the battle of the titans will continue for the foreseeable future. Don't forget: for anti-imperialists like us, this tedious drama is a wonderful opportunity. We may feel like we're in the wilderness, but that's the very place where disenchantment with the empire is most likely to occur. And it's the perfect time to invite your friends and neighbors to recognize what wretchedly dystopian politics being an empire has given us.

*   Though the FBI investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election has been going on since late July, 2016, no evidence of collusion between Russians and the Trump campaign has been produced.  This was confirmed recently by Senator Diane Feinsteinby former National Intelligence Director James Clapper and by other leading public officials.

Much has been made of the December/January conclusion of US intelligence agencies that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) computers.

Inexplicably, the FBI never examined the DNC computers.  Thus, the only evidence produced by these agencies to date was provided by a private contractor working for the DNC:  CrowdStrike, a company linked to an anti-Russia think tank.  It found evidence of hacking by someone who used Russian references in the coding of the hack.

The probative value of that finding was greatly diminished March 31 when WikiLeaks published its “Vault 7” cache of documents, including the CIA’s $17 billion “Marble Framework tool.” Its 700 million lines of code enable it to hide the true source of CIA malware and make it appear that a hack originated from a country other than the US, such as Russia, North Korea or Iran.

Then there is the allegation that the Russians turned over stolen DNC files to WikiLeaks. If such a transfer occurred via Internet transmission, the NSA would have detailed proof. Yet the NSA has produced no evidence of this, nor of any other kind of transmission.

So what has been going on?  The breach of the DNC computers—the one that provided proof that the DNC cheated Bernie Sanders out of the Democratic nomination—likely was carried out by one or more upset employee who then relayed the stolen files to WikiLeaks, probably via a thumb-drive.  The CIA conducted the hacking of the DNC computers, using its Marble Framework tool that deceptively pointed to the Russians in order to create a diversion and further poison US-Russia relations.

Had Clinton won the election, none of this would have received much attention. But with Trump’s shocking victory, the emergency plan to shackle Trump and the already established plan to freeze hostile US-Russia relations merged into a single campaign.

Thus, the Clinton campaign blamed Russia’s Putin for her defeat.  Top Obama Administration officials added fuel to the fire by briefing the President on the so-called “dirty dossier” on Trump, thereby ensuring its scandalous references to Russian prostitutes would be leaked to the media.  Further, the Obama Administration unmasked the names of Trump associates surveilled by NSA’s ubiquitous data collection and expanded the network of government functionaries who had access to the unmasked surveillance.  As expected, frequent leaks of classified information to the media promptly began, even before the new administration was in place; Trump’s fired National Security Director, Michael Flynn, was discredited by those leaks.