Posts Tagged ‘RUSSIA’
Right-wing websites and networks are gleefully buzzing with theories about the state of Hillary Clinton’s health.
The former First Lady, New York U.S. Senator and Secretary of State collapsed after briefly attending a memorial ceremony on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The unsubstantiated theories include stroke, brain damage, Multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
But there’s one theory Right-wingers scrupulously refuse to offer: That Clinton might be a victim of poisoning by Donald Trump’s well-known admirer, Vladimir Putin.
It’s a theory that has been offered by no less than Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu, the Nigerian-American physician, forensic pathologist and neuropathologist who was the first to discover and publish findings of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in American football players.
Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu
His struggle to alert the National Football League to that danger met with hostility and derision. Finally, amid growing scrutiny from Congress, the NFL was forced to take the concussion issue more seriously.
NFL owners banned players from striking opponents with the crowns of their helmets. Meanwhile, the NFL is facing concussion lawsuits from nearly 4,000 former players.
On September 11, a Clinton rep stated that she was suffering from pneumonia–and Omalu warned on Twitter: “I must advice the Clinton campaign to perform toxicologic analysis of Mrs. Clinton’s blood. It is possible she is being poisoned.”
And he followed this up with a second tweet: “I do not trust Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump. With those two all things are possible.”
At this point, there is no evidence that Hillary Clinton is the victim of KGB “wet” methods. And it would take lengthy, sophisticated toxicology tests to hopefully learn the truth.
But there is plenty of evidence that Vladimir Putin has used murder–especially poison–to eliminate his opponents.
Putin came to power in 2000. Since then, at least 34 journalists have been murdered in Russia, according to the Moscow-based Glasnost Defense Foundation. Many of the suspected killers are military officials, government officials or political groups.
Being a political opponent of Vladimir Putin can also be dangerous. Among the casualties:
Viktor Yushchenko: In 2004, he was running for president of the Ukraine against Putin’s chosen candidate, Victor Yanukovych.
As the campaign neared its climax, Yushchenko suddenly fell ill–with dioxin poisoning. Flown to Vienna’s Rudolfinerhaus clinic for treatment, he survived, but his face was left greatly disfigured. He went on to win the election, serving as Ukraine’s president from 2005 to 2010.
Aleksandr Litvinenko: A former KGB officer, he had accused Putin of wholesale corruption. Even worse, he charged that–as a pretext for a second war with Chechnya–Putin ordered the bombings of Moscow apartment buildings, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people.
Litvinenko died on November 23, 2006 in London from a dose of Polonium-210 in his tea. At the time, he was meeting with two Moscow agents, one of whom is now a member of the State Duma.
Boris Nemtsov: An official with a liberal opposition group, he had been arrested several times for speaking against Putin’s government.
Nemtsov had been scheduled to lead an opposition rally in Moscow. But on February 27, 2015, two days before the event, he was shot dead as he walked home from dinner. The killing happened a short distance from the Kremlin.
If Hillary Clinton proved to have a serious medical condition such as Parkinson’s or Multiple sclerosis, the results would be tragic but strictly national.
Mounting pressure within and outside the Democratic party would force her to drop out of the race.
There would be a brief, furious struggle within the Democratic party for the nomination–most likely between Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and Tim Kaine, Clinton’s choice for Vice President. The winner would face Donald Trump in the coming debates and fall election.
And the Clintons–a force in American politics since 1992–would finally leave the national stage.
But if Hillary is a victim of a KGB assassination attempt, as Dr. Bennet Omalu suspects, then the consequences would be national and international.
Nationally, such a discovery would almost certainly generate huge sympathy for Clinton–a woman singularly unable to arouse sympathy among voters. That alone could ensure her election as President.
And even Americans who hate Clinton would never forgive Russia for daring to interfere with an American Presidential election. They would demand severe retaliation–even all-out war.
For Trump, it would prove a nightmare. He’s made too many admiring statements about Putin to disavow them now and be believed.
National outrage followed in July when Trump invited Putin to “find the 30,000 emails that are missing” on the private server that Clinton used as Secretary of State.
If Clinton died–or was simply injured–because of a KGB plot, few would believe Trump wasn’t a party to it.
And several of Trump’s closest associates have had ties to Putin, such as his former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Even many Republicans have already declared they can’t support Trump in abandoning NATO–much less his clear admiration for Putin, a dictator who got his start as a KGB agent.
At his first press conference upon becoming President, Ronald Reagan harshly denounced Soviet leaders: “They reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat.”
A KGB plot against Hillary Clinton would convince many Americans that Republican leaders have become as corrupt as those in the Kremlin.
Donald Trump has changed Presidential campaigning–perhaps forever.
First, He has made angry and brutal attacks on a wide range of persons and organizations–including his fellow Republicans, journalists, news organizations, other countries and even celebrities who have nothing to do with politics.
Among those groups–and the insults Trump has leveled at them:
Second, he has weaponized social media. He has made Twitter an essential arm of his campaign, swiftly insulting his opponents and keeping them constantly off-balance. He has proved himself a master at the tabloid news culture and thoroughly in tune with his target audience.
Third, since announcing his candidacy on June 16, 2015, he has gotten a year’s worth of free media publicity. This has nothing to do with a networks’ conspiracy to favor Trump.
Instead, it owes to the media’s lust for sensational copy. And scenes of conflict–such as making brutal attacks on others–generate huge viewership.
This has been most apparent in debates, during which he belittled his Republican opponents with insulting nicknames.
- “Little Marco” – Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
- “Goofy” – Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren
- “Lyin’ Ted” – Texas U.S. Senator Rafael Eduardo “Ted” Cruz
And looking beyond the Republican primary cycle, he created one for his future Democratic antagonist: “Crooked Hillary”–Hillary Clinton, former First Lady, U.S. Senator from New York and Secretary of State.
Political pundits have marveled at Trump’s ability to cast aside the long-held niceties of political discourse and not have to pay an electoral price for it. But that time may be coming to an end.
On July 22, Wikileaks released 19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments hacked from computers of the highest-ranking officials of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Cyber-security experts believe the hackers originated from Russia–and that Russian President Vladimir Putin may well have authorized it.
The emails revealed the DNC’s bias for Clinton for President. And they showed clear animosity toward her lone challenger, Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.
Sanders’ supporters had long charged that the DNC and its chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, were plotting to undercut his campaign. Now thousands of them were descending on the Democratic nominating convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as furious protesters.
Five days later, on July 27, Trump held a press conference in Doral, Florida. Always ready to pounce on any perceived sign of weakness, he aimed yet another attack on Clinton:
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Trump hoped to score points on Hillary Clinton’s using a private email server as Secretary of State. Instead, he ignited criticism–of himself–on both Left and Right.
“This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent,” said Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s chief foreign policy adviser. “This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”
Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was equally quick to react: “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug,” said Brendan Buck, Ryan’s spokesman. “Putin should stay out of this election.”
“If he is talking about the State Department emails on her server, he is inviting a foreign intelligence service to steal sensitive American government information,” said Michael Hayden, head of the CIA under President George W. Bush.
“In addition to its implications for national security today,” wrote Benjy Sarlin, political reporter for MSNBC, “the incident raised disturbing questions about how Trump would govern as president. If a leader is willing to turn to ask foreign spy agencies to target a political opponent, what would he ask of his own spy agencies?”
The avalanche of criticism has led Trump to claim: “I was only being sarcastic.”
Only his most hardcore followers seem to believe it.
Since the end of World War II, the Republican party has taken an intensely anti-Communist stance. Now its nominee for President has not only exchanged compliments with an ex-KGB agent but has even invited him to target his Democratic opponent.
For at least one normally conservative newspaper, that’s simply too much. In a July 27 editorial, The Dallas Morning News declared:
“Words have meaning. The world is listening. And what the world is hearing is a man demonstrating that he is unfit to sit in the Oval Office.”
The ancient Greeks believed hubris–overweening pride–to be the greatest of sins. And, they warned, it was usually punished by divine wrath.
In his book, The World of Herodotus, Aubrey de Selincourt writes that the Greek historian filled his book, The Histories, with “stories of the perils of pride–pride of wealth, pride of power, pride of success, and, deadliest of all, the pride which leads a man to forget that he is a nothing in the sight of the gods.”
Trump has long boasted of his wealth, power and success. Perhaps his time of reckoning has finally arrived.
Sometimes your worst enemies aid you unintentionally–and in ways you could never help yourself. That’s what America’s Islamic enemies are now doing throughout the Middle East.
Contrary to the propaganda of Republican militarists and Democratic do-gooders, Americans should be thrilled at the mutual destruction of their most dedicated enemies.
In the first installment of this series, three reasons were given for why the United States should not intervene in the Syrian conflict. This will offer the remaining seven.
Fourth: Since 1979, Syria has been listed by the U.S. State Department as a sponsor of terrorism.
Among the terrorist groups it supports: Hizbollah and Hamas. For many years, Syria provided a safe-house in Damascus for Illich Ramirez Sanchez–the notorious international terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal.
Ilich Ramírez Sánchez–“Carlos the Jackal”
Fifth: The United States had no part in creating or supporting the decades-long dictatorship of the Assad regime–which has long been hostile to America.
After a long series of political maneuverings, Hafez al-Assad seized power in 1970 and was proclaimed “president” next year. With aid from the Soviet Union, he built up the Syrian army. Using arrest, torture and execution, he ruled Syria as a dictator until he died in 2000.
His son, Bashar, then took command of Syria. Like his father, he has supported Palestinian and Lebanese militant groups. And, like his father, he continues to receive financial and military support from the successor to the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation.
Thus, America has no moral obligation of any kind to Syria–or Syrians.
Sixth: Intervening in Syria could lead to Syrian attacks against Israel.
An American military strike on Syrian government forces could lead the country’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad, to attack Israel–perhaps even with chemical weapons. Assad could do this simply because he hates Jews–or to lure Israel into attacking Syria.
If that happened, the Islamic world–which lusts to destroy Israelis even more than “apostate” Muslims–would rally to Syria against the United States, Israel’s chief ally.
Seventh: Committing American ground forces to Syria or just continuing to bomb targets there could lead to Islamic terrorism against the United States–at home or abroad.
This has already happened with Russia, which, on September 30, 2015, began bombing airstrikes on forces trying to overthrow Assad.
On October 31, Airbus A321, a Russian airliner, broke up in mid-air, then crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.
In Egypt, a militant group affiliated to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed it had brought down the plane “in response to Russian airstrikes that killed hundreds of Muslims on Syrian land.”
The same fate could well befall American civilians and/or soldiers.
Eighth: China and Russia are supporting the Assad dictatorship–and the brutalities it commits against its own citizens.
This reflects badly on them–not the United States. And any move by the United States to directly attack the Assad regime could ignite an all-out war with Russia and/or China.
What happens if Russian and American forces start trading salvos? Or if Russian President Vladimir Putin orders an attack on America’s ally, Israel, in return for America’s attack on Russia’s ally, Syria?
It was exactly that scenario–Great Powers going to war over conflicts between their small-state allies–that triggered World War I.
Ninth: The United States cannot defeat ISIS through air power alone–thus making commitment of ground troops inevitable.
President Barack Obama authorized airstrikes against ISIS in September, 2014. The United States Air Force has since dropped thousands of bombs on ISIS convoys.
This has not destroyed ISIS. And its failure to do so has only led to demands by hawkish Republicans and Democrats for “boots on the ground.”
Tenth–and most importantly: While Islamic nations like Syria, Iraq and Egypt wage war within their own borders, they will lack the resources–and incentive–to attack the United States.
Every dead Hizbollah and Al-Qaeda and ISIS member makes the United States that much safer. So does the death of every sympathizer of Hizbollah, Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
The peoples of the Middle East have long memories for those who commit brutalities against them. In their veins, the cult of the blood feud runs deep.
When Al-Qaeda blows up civilians in Beirut, their relatives will urge Hizbollah to take brutal revenge. And Hizbollah will do so. Similarly, when Hizbollah does, those who support Al-Qaeda will demand even more brutal reprisals against Hizbollah.
Al-Qaeda terrorists–now taking aim at Hezbollah terrorists
No American could instill such hatred in Al-Qaeda for Hizbollah–or vice versa. This is entirely a war of religious and sectarian hatred.
In fact, this conflict could easily become the Islamic equivalent of “the Hundred Years War” that raged from 1337 to 1453 between England and France.
When Adolf Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, then-Senator Harry S. Truman said: “I hope the Russians kill lots of Nazis–and vice versa.”
That should be America’s position whenever its sworn enemies start killing off each other. Americans should welcome such self-slaughters, not become entrapped in them.
The headline in the February 6, 2016 edition of The World Post said it all: “Geneva III: The Stillborn Conference and the Endemic Failure of the International Community.”
And just what was it that the international community had failed to achieve?
“While approaching the fifth anniversary of the Syrian civil war on March 15 — which claimed more than 300,000 lives, approximately 700,000 wounded, 4 million fled the country, and another 6 million displaced within Syria — the international community has failed to put an end to bloodshed in this war-torn country.”
Put another way: More than 300,000 potential or actual Islamic terrorists will never pose a threat to the United States or Western Europe.
The Syrian conflict began on March 15, 2011, triggered by protests demanding political reforms and the ouster of dictator Bashar al-Assad.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights–which is safely located in Great Britain–the total number of dead is now more than 310,000.
And who does the Observatory–and The World Post–blame for this Islamic self-slaughter?
Why, the West, of course.
According to the Observatory:
“The silence of the International community for the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria encourages the criminals to kill more and more Syrian people because they have not found anyone that deter them from continuing their crimes that cause to wound more than 1500000 people; some of them with permanent disabilities, make hundreds of thousands children without parents, displace more than half of Syrian people and destroy infrastructure, private and public properties.”
And according to the Post:
“It is disgraceful that the international community has successfully concluded an agreement with the regime in a very short period of time to remove its chemical weapons while completely failed to save the lives of millions of innocent children, women, and elderly people throughout Syria in the past five years!”
Got that? It’s the duty of non-Muslims to bring civilized behavior to Islamics.
And why are all these murderers eagerly slaughtering one another?
Because of a Muslim religious dispute that traces back to the fourth century.
Yes, it’s Sunni Muslims, who make up a majority of Islamics, versus Shiite Muslims, who comprise a minority. Each group considers the other takfirs–that is, “apostates.”
And, in Islam, being labeled an apostate can easily get you murdered.
There is, however, an optimistic way to view this conflict:
- At least 310,000 actual or potential enemies of Western civilization–and especially the United States–have chosen to slaughter one another.
- Additional thousands are certain to follow their example.
- And the United States cannot be held in any way responsible for it.
Yet, Left-wing do-gooders and Right-wing militarists demand that the United States thrust itself into a conflict that doesn’t threaten America in any way.
In fact, it’s in America’s best interests that this conflict last as long as possible and spread as widely as possible throughout the Islamic community.
First: In Syria, two of America’s most deadly enemies are waging war on each other.
Yes, it’s Hizbollah (Party of God) vs. Al-Qaeda (The Base).
Hizbollah is comprised of Shiite Muslims. A sworn enemy of Israel, it has kidnapped scores of Americans suicidal enough to visit Lebanon and truck-bombed the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, killing 299 Americans.
Flag of Hezbollah
Al Qaeda, on the other hand, is made up of Sunni Muslims. It is intolerant of Shiites and has instigated violence against them. It denounces them as takfirs–“apostates”–and thus worthy of extermination.
Flag of Al-Qaeda
Al Qaeda has attacked the mosques and gatherings of liberal Muslims, Shiites, Suffis and other non-Sunnis. Examples of sectarian attacks include the Sadr City bombings, the 2004 Ashoura massacre and the April, 2007 Baghdad bombings.
On one side of this conflict is the Ba’ath regime of Bashar al-Assad, whose allies include Russia, Iran, Hizbollah and elements of the Iraqi government.
On the other side are a host of Syrians and thousands of foreign Sunni fighters, some of whom are affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
Second: The United States has been at war in the Middle East for 14 years–since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
In October, 2011, America first committed its forces to Afghanistan, in pursuit of Osama bin Laden, the 9/11 mastermind. Failing to find him, its forces nevertheless stayed on in that country, hoping–and failing–to bring civilization to its barbaric population.
Then, in March, 2003, President George W. Bush invaded Iraq to settle a personal score with its dictator, Saddam Hussein.
After Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, launched the 1991 Gulf War, Hussein had had the bad grace to not topple from power. When the elder Bush lost a second term as President to Bill Clinton in 1992, his son blamed Hussein.
Third, the United States is still fighting a brutal war in Afghanistan.
America originally intended to withdraw all but a small embassy-based force of 1,000 troops by the end of 2016.
But as the Taliban re-emerged as a threat, President Barack Obama announced he would maintain 9,800 troops there for most of 2016. About 5,500 troops will still be in Afghanistan by 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is no admirer of President John F. Kennedy.
Yet he would no doubt agree with the spirit of the poem that Robert Frost intended to read at Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural.
Entitled “Dedication,” the poem went unread because the sunlight reflecting off snow blinded the elderly poet. So Frost relied on memory to recite an earlier creation: “The Gift Outright.”
“Dedication,” however, was far more in keeping with the upcoming aggressive hubris of the Kennedy years:
It makes the prophet in us all presage
The glory of a next Augustan age
Of a power leading from its strength and pride,
Of young ambition eager to be tried,
Firm in our free beliefs without dismay
In any game the nations want to play.
On September 30, Putin embarked on a game of big-power politics. He started launching airstrikes against Syria.
The objective: To bolster the dictatorship of Russia’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is now caught up in civil war.
This began on March 15, 2011, triggered by protests demanding political reforms and the ouster of al-Assad. More than 310,000 people have been killed in the fighting.
The Obama administration is worried about Russian intentions. And Republicans are furious, demanding that American military forces directly confront those of Russia.
Yet despite Right-wing fears about Russia, there is no reason for alarm–by Americans.
Putin’s intervention in Syria’s civil war offers three possible outcomes for the United States. And they’re all positive.
First, the Russians will kill thousands of America’s sworn enemies.
Russians are well-known for their disregard for human life. During their invasion of Germany in 1945, Russian soldiers literally nailed civilians to barn doors, squashed them under their tanks, and raped countless women of all ages.
In Syria, they will slaughter everyone who gets in their way. Thus, they will kill far more of America’s Islamic enemies than even our own military–hamstrung by do-gooder “rules of engagement”–could possibly eliminate.
Second, Russia will replace the United States as “The Great Satan” in the eyes of most Islamics.
The Soviet Union waged a ruthless war against Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. Out of that war grew Al-Qaeda. Millions of Islamics still hate Russians for their brutalities.
From 1999 to 2009, Russia fought a brutal war against Islamics in Chechnya. Chechens responded with terrorism across Russia.
Russia’s intervention in Syria will only harden its image as an enemy of Islam–even if it’s supporting one group of Islamics (the Assad regime) against others.
If Islamic terrorism starts raging throughout Russia, Putin may be forced to back down from his military moves against Syria and Ukraine.
Third, if Russian planes get shot down or Russian soldiers killed, Russia will suffer the casualties–not the United States.
The Soviet Union never fully recovered from its losses in Afghanistan–13,310 soldiers killed, 35,478 wounded.
If Russia starts taking heavy losses in Syria or at home through terrorism, this could lead to widespread unrest. Even Vladimir Putin could find himself in danger of being replaced.
And for Russia, the chicken Kiev has already come home to roost.
On October 31, Airbus A321, a Russian airliner, broke up in mid-air, then crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.
The plane was carrying holidaymakers from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg when it crashed into a mountainous area of central Sinai.
In Egypt, a militant group affiliated to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed that it had brought down the plane “in response to Russian airstrikes that killed hundreds of Muslims on Syrian land.”
On November 19, ISIS published an online photo of a soft drink can and two components–a detonator and a switch–that it claimed brought down the plane.
The crash has proved emotionally wrenching for Russians.
Flags across Russia flew at half-staff and Russian Orthodox priests conducted services to pray for the victims.
President Putin declared a nationwide day of mourning. In St. Petersburg, home to most of the victims, authorities ordered the mourning to last for three days.
Flag of ISIS
And, on November 24, another such loss occurred: A Russian fighter was shot down on the Turkish-Syrian border by two Turkish F-16s.
Turkish officials claimed that it had violated Turkish airspace 10 times within a five-minute period.
This marked the first time in a half-century that a member of NATO–in this case, Turkey–has downed a Russian plane.
Vladimir Putin quickly called the shootdown a “stab in the back committed by accomplices of terrorists.”
And he warned: “The tragic event will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations.”
With the armed forces of so many Great Powers–France, Russia, Britain and America–now crowding into Syria, such an outcome was probably inevitable.
It was exactly that scenario–Great Powers going to war over conflicts involving their small-state allies/clients–that triggered World War I.
A conflict between Russia and Turkey–a member of NATO–could easily trigger World War III.