Kushner Is “Senior Official” Who Ordered Flynn To Contact Russia

When commenting on the Flynn plea deal with Mueller, we said that while hardly evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, especially since all events took place after the election, the real question is who was the “senior member of the transition team” that instructed Flynn to call Russia. Now, according to Bloomberg’s Eli Lake we may have the answer: none other than Jared Kushner, who as Lake says, “could be one of the next dominoes to fall.”
According to the Bloomberg report, “one of Flynn’s lies to the FBI was when he said that he never asked Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, to delay the vote for the U. N. Security Council resolution. The indictment released today from the office of special prosecutor Robert Mueller describes this lie: “On or about December 22, 2016, Flynn did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution.” At the time, the U. N. Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements was a big deal. Even though the Obama administration had less than a month left in office, the president instructed his ambassador to the United Nations to abstain from a resolution, breaking a precedent that went back to 1980 when it came to one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the U. N.
This was the context of Kushner’s instruction to Flynn last December. One transition official at the time said Kushner called Flynn to tell him he needed to get every foreign minister or ambassador from a country on the U. N. Security Council to delay or vote against the resolution. Much of this appeared to be coordinated also with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose envoys shared their own intelligence about the Obama administration’s lobbying efforts to get member stats to support the resolution with the Trump transition team. As Lake correctly notes, “for now it’s unclear what to make of all of this” especially since th most important part of a case is missing: motive.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.

Kushner Said To Have Ordered Flynn To Contact Russia

When commenting on the Flynn plea deal with Mueller, we said that while hardly evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia, especially since all events took place after the election, the real question is who was the “senior member of the transition team” that instructed Flynn to call Russia. Now, according to Bloomberg’s Eli Lake we may have the answer: none other than Jared Kushner, who as Lake says, “could be one of the next dominoes to fall.”
According to the Bloomberg report, “one of Flynn’s lies to the FBI was when he said that he never asked Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, to delay the vote for the U. N. Security Council resolution. The indictment released today from the office of special prosecutor Robert Mueller describes this lie: “On or about December 22, 2016, Flynn did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution.” At the time, the U. N. Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements was a big deal. Even though the Obama administration had less than a month left in office, the president instructed his ambassador to the United Nations to abstain from a resolution, breaking a precedent that went back to 1980 when it came to one-sided anti-Israel resolutions at the U. N.
This was the context of Kushner’s instruction to Flynn last December. One transition official at the time said Kushner called Flynn to tell him he needed to get every foreign minister or ambassador from a country on the U. N. Security Council to delay or vote against the resolution. Much of this appeared to be coordinated also with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose envoys shared their own intelligence about the Obama administration’s lobbying efforts to get member stats to support the resolution with the Trump transition team.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.

Globalization Faces Challenges

For much of the second half of the 20th Century, and even into the new millennium, ‘Globalization’ was the dominant theme used to describe the drift of the world economy. It was widely considered both natural and inevitable that the world economy would continue to integrate and that national boundaries would become less constraining to commerce and culture. And with the exception of the eternal ‘anti-globalization’ protesters, who robotically appeared at large gatherings of world leaders, the benefits of globalization were widely lauded by politicians, corporate leaders and rank and file citizens alike. But a casual glance at the world headlines of 2016 suggests that the belief in globalization has crested, and is now in retreat. What are the consequences of this change?
International trade has existed for millennia. But few modern historians would characterize the trade caravans that crossed the Himalayas and the Sahara as sources of international conflict. Rather, they are widely seen as a useful means to bring goods that were plentiful from one region to other regions where they were scarce. Along the way, routes like the Silk Road in Asia created a great number of positive secondary benefits in culture and politics. But relatively modern developments such as ocean-going sailing ships, modern navigation, and steam and diesel power, have greatly increased the size and scope of trade. Globalism was also boosted rapidly by technological advances in communications, including intercontinental jet travel, fax machines, satellite telephones, the Internet, real time money transfers and massive investment flows to international and emerging markets.
Since the end of WWII, the establishment of international reserve currencies and the rise of supranational organizations, such as the United Nations, The World Bank, and International Monetary Fund, has saddled trade with more political baggage. The rise of bi-lateral and multi-lateral trade negotiations, which are often shadowy and bureaucratic affairs conducted behind closed doors, have further eroded support for trade. Oftentimes these efforts have resulted in deals that clearly favor politically connected players and have given rise to justified accusations of cronyism. By opening larger markets and reducing costs, certain corporations have amassed shocking wealth. The benefits to workers are far more diffuse and difficult to quantify.
The Harvard Business Review of May 13, 2016 published an article by Branko Milanovic about the unequal distribution of wealth generated by globalism. Milanovic comments that, since the mid-1980s, globalism has resulted in the ‘greatest reshuffle of personal incomes since the Industrial Revolution. It’s also the first time that global inequality has declined in the past two hundred years.’ Milanovic points to two main conclusions. First, he highlights the massive percentage gain in wages in Asia, particularly among the middle classes. In some cases, percentage wage gains in the Asian middle class have eclipsed the percentage gains experienced by the top one percent in the richer Western economies.
In stark contrast, the U. S. and Western lower and middle classes have enjoyed almost no percentage wage increases, while their top one percent was the only group to experience significant income gains, based on available household surveys from 1988 to 2008. A recent unpublished paper by John E. Roemer, a political scientist at Yale, suggests that the diminishing of global inequality made possible by trade is far less potent politically than the relative increases in national inequality. In other words, the benefits of globalism are obscured while the costs are highly visible.

This post was published at Euro Pac on October 26, 2016.

The National Security ‘Experts’ Denouncing Trump Are a Who’s Who of Disastrous Neocons

This piece first appeared at TomDispatch.com.
It’s not every day that Republicans publish an open letter announcing that their presidential candidate is unfit for office. But lately this sort of thing has been happeningmore and more frequently. The most recent example: we just heard from 50 representatives of the national security apparatus, men – and a few women – who served under Republican presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. All of them are very worried about Donald Trump.
They think we should be alerted to the fact that the Republican standard-bearer ‘lacks the character, values, and experience to be president.’
That’s true of course, but it’s also pretty rich, coming from this bunch. The letter’s signers include, among others, the man who was Condoleezza Rice’s legal advisor when she ran the National Security Council (John Bellinger III); one of George W. Bush’s CIA directors who also ran the National Security Agency (Michael Hayden); a Bush administration ambassador to the United Nations and Iraq (John Negroponte); an architect of the neoconservative policy in the Middle East adopted by the Bush administration that led to the invasion of Iraq, who has since served as president of the World Bank (Robert Zoellick). In short, given the history of the ‘global war on terror,’ this is your basic list of potential American war criminals.
Their letter continues, ‘He weakens U. S. moral authority as the leader of the free world.’
There’s a sentence that could use some unpacking.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on August 24, 2016.

‘Vince Foster’s Ghost’ Reappears – Formally Clinton’s Best Friend

America used to be known as a great country, a reputation that lived on decades after it was no longer true. An over heard comment from a group of kids, today, talking about July 4th, Independence Day as being ‘the fireworks day.’ In truth, that is probably as much as they know about it.
Knowing what is available as a choice for the presidency of this country, it is no accident that common sense, pride in this nation as a Republic [another fact few recognize] and having to ‘support’ a de facto political federal government that does not serve any of the interests of the people, it is no small wonder that a person like Hillary Clinton is the best
this country can serve up as a candidate.
Whenever her name comes up, it is followed by controversy, conspiracies, corruption, deceit, even death, without even including Benghazi – [‘At this point, what difference does it make?’ HRC]. Among yesterday’s headlines:
John Ashe, a former President of the United Nations General Assembly, was found dead Wednesday just a few days before being set to testify against Clinton in a corruption case.

This post was published at Edge Trader Plus on July 3, 2016.

This U.N. Official Accidentally Crushed His Own Throat Right Before He Was Set To Testify Against Hillary Clinton

Call it conspiracy theory, coincidence or just bad luck, but any time someone is in a position to bring down Hillary Clinton by testifying they wind up dead. In fact, there’s a long history ofClinton-related body counts, with scores of people dying under mysterious circumstances.
Perhaps the most notable is Vince Foster. Foster was a partner at Clinton’s law firm and knew the inner workings of the Clinton Machine. Police ruled that death a suicide, though it is often noted that Foster may have been suicided.
Now, another official has found himself on the wrong end of the Clintons. That John Ashe was a former President of the United Nations General Assembly highlights the fact that no one is safe once in their sights.
And as you might have guessed, there are major inconsistencies with Ashe’s death. It was not only conveniently timed because Ashe died just a few days before being set to testify against Clinton in a corruption case, but official reports indicated he died of a heart attack.
The problem, however, is that police on the scene reported Ashe died when his throat was crushed during a work-out accident.

This post was published at shtfplan on June 28th, 2016.

The Fraudulent Case for a Syrian Escalation

The recent call by 51 dissenting State Department officials for U. S. military escalation in Syria is merely one of dozens of similar demands by neoconservatives and anguished liberals who accuse President Obama of moral failure for not dictating peace in Syria at the end of a gun.
At almost the same time as the dissent went public, in fact, the hawkish Center for New American Security issued similar recommendations under the auspices of Michele Flournoy, Hillary Clinton’s likely pick for Secretary of Defense. Its report called for more ‘arming and training’ of anti-government rebels, launching of ‘limited military strikes’ against the Assad regime, and eliminating ‘artificial manpower limitations’ on military missions in the country.
Critics warn that such policies would violate international law, in the absence of any United Nations authorization for intervention, and risk a dangerous confrontation with Russia. But the slew of reports, speeches and columns calling for ‘limited’ and ‘judicious’ military escalation have an even bigger flaw: they never make even the slightest case for thinking such interventions could work.
Their claims reflect magical thinking. Champions of intervention cling to the wishful belief that if the world’s one superpower wants something badly enough, we must be able to attain it. But as our disastrous experiences in Iraq and Libya – not to mention Vietnam – should have made abundantly clear to any sentient being, America simply lacks the capability to find and empower suitable local partners and then dictate political outcomes.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on June 23, 2016.

It Used To Be Called Political Economy For A Reason

In yet another anecdote that proves the global recovery can only be political, acting Brazilian President Michel Temer appointed Ilan Goldfajn to be the next central bank head for that nation. Goldfajn is about as orthodox as they come: trained at MIT (saltwater, as if makes any difference), former director at the central bank who has ‘consulted’ with the IMF, World Bank, and United Nations. The nomination has pleased all the ‘right’ people who are absolutely certain that Brazil’s worst days are now behind.
Reuters probably wrote about it best, unintentionally, under the headlineBrazil Government Taps Wall Street Favorite To Head Central Bank.
‘Well-trained technocrats … should allow the government to establish a clear regime shift,’ Goldman Sachs senior economist Alberto Ramos wrote in a research note.
Trained by whom? To do what? More of the same. Along with Mr. Goldfajn’s recommendation, the interim government also indicated it would formalize rules making Banco more independent and supposedly less susceptible to political influence. The current structure for the central bank is highly unusual, with a shared power structure among the National Treasury, the Bureau of Currency and Credit while also including a private sector foundation in Banco do Brasil. ‘Independent’ central banks, even here where it is insisted that independence will be expressly limited, are all economists want to hear as it gives them unrestrained power.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Jeffrey P. Snider ‘ May 19, 2016.

Hillary’s Big Benghazi Lie – -Revisiting The Case For ‘Humanitarian’ Intervention in 2011

Five years ago, on March 17, 2011, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1973 (2011) authorizing ‘regional organizations or arrangements…to take all necessary measures…to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack’ in Libya. The resolution was adopted with ten votes for, none against, and five abstentions.
In explaining the reason for its abstention, India implicitly questioned the narrative propagated by the U. S., France, and the UK, which depicted Qaddafi as bordering on genocidal. India noted that Resolution 1973 authorized ‘far-reaching measures under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, with relatively little credible information on the situation on the ground in Libya.’
India was right to question the credibility of the narrative that was employed to ensure the adoption of Resolution 1973. For starters, the protests were not as peaceful as the pro-intervention narrative suggests. Some protesters in Libya had taken up arms from the first day of the uprising on February 15, 2011, and many more began using violent means soon after. Further, based on the events prior to the adoption of Resolution 1973, there was no indication that Qaddafi’s threats were aimed at anyone other than those who took up arms against his regime.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on March 17, 2016.

UN Physically Removes Independent Media From NYC HQ For Exposing Institutional Corruption

For years, the United Nations seems to have been embroiled in an endless string of scandals and cover-ups, and yet rarely, if ever, has anyone ever actually been held to account. This has led a number of pundits to accuse the institution of being ‘above the law’ and riddled with institutional corruption.
This latest story only reaffirms these accusations…
Independent journalist Matthew Russell Lee (photo, left) founded Bronx-based Inner City Press in 2005 and received official press accreditation to cover the United Nations in New York City. He was the first-ever independent, non-affiliated blogger to be given access to the UN’s inner sanctum. Since then Inner City Press has broken stories on a number of controversial stories: peacekeeper rapes in Africa, UN cholera in Haiti, war crimes in Sri Lanka and Burundi, the Sudans, SEMG and Yemen (see a leaked letter here), as well as corruption within UN Headquarters (cocaine shipments through its mail room and the current bribery scandals).
Apparently, it was all too much for diplomatic luminaries at the UN. Last month, Lee was forcibly ejected from the UN headquarters.
The DC-based Government Accountability Project, which defends UN and other whistleblowers, believes that the ouster of Inner City Press from the UN’s press office is ‘retaliatory in response to independent, critical journalism.’

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on MARCH 6, 2016.

Repudiation Of The Neocon’s Big Lie – – Peace Is Breaking Out With Iran

This has been the most dramatic week in US/Iranian relations since 1979.
Last weekend ten US Navy personnel were caught in Iranian waters, as the Pentagon kept changing its story on how they got there. It could have been a disaster for President Obama’s big gamble on diplomacy over conflict with Iran. But after several rounds of telephone diplomacy between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, the Iranian leadership – which we are told by the neocons is too irrational to even talk to – did a most rational thing: weighing the costs and benefits they decided it made more sense not to belabor the question of what an armed US Naval vessel was doing just miles from an Iranian military base. Instead of escalating, the Iranian government fed the sailors and sent them back to their base in Bahrain.
Then on Saturday, the Iranians released four Iranian-Americans from prison, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. On the US side, seven Iranians held in US prisons, including six who were dual citizens, were granted clemency. The seven were in prison for seeking to trade with Iran in violation of the decades-old US economic sanctions.
This mutual release came just hours before the United Nations certified that Iran had met its obligations under the nuclear treaty signed last summer and that, accordingly, US and international sanctions would be lifted against the country.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on January 18, 2016.

Bovard: The GOP’s New Budget Leaves No Boondoggle Behind

As you’ve likely heard already, the Republican Party in Congress has joined forces with the Democratic Party to make sure that no government program, no matter how pointless, does not have to suffer the indignity of even the tiniest spending cut.
James Bovard performs a post mortem on the budget “debate” forUSA Today. Just a partial list of outrages listed by Bovard include:
The bill fails to block President Obama from delivering up to $3 billion to the United Nations Green Climate Fund, a partial product of the Paris climate summit. Republicans initially planned to block such funding unless the Senate was permitted to vote on the U. N. climate treaty. But since the omnibus bill failed to prohibit such payments, Obama will soon deliver $500 million in U. S. tax money to the fund – despite the legendary record of U. N. programs for corruption worse than Chicago. The bill fails to block perhaps the Environmental Protection Agency’s greatest land grab – its ‘waters of the United States’ decree that seizes federal jurisdiction over 20 million acres that are sometimes wet. The EPA’s wetland crackdowns have been trounced by numerous judges. Republicans faltered even though theGovernment Accountability Office reported Monday that EPA had engaged in illegal ‘covert propaganda’ to promote this policy. It provides more than $3.7 billion for economic and military aid to Afghanistan, though an Agency for International Development study recently warned that some projects ‘actually had the perverse effect of increasing support for the Taliban.’ Afghan relief continues to be a hopeless mess; the AID inspector general reported last week that the agency’s highly touted new monitoring system was used for less than 1% of grants and contracts.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on DECEMBER 18, 2015.

UN passes resolution urging nations to use ‘all necessary measures’ to fight ISIS

November 2015 – UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations Security Council on Friday adopted a resolution, drafted by France, calling on countries around the world to take ‘all necessary measures’ to fight the Islamic State. The 15-to-0 vote came a week after the terrorist attacks in Paris, for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility, and just hours after the deadly siege of a hotel in Bamako, the capital of Mali, by Islamic militants. The French ambassador, Franois Delattre, told the Security Council after the vote that the resolution ‘recognizes the exceptional nature of the Daesh threat,’ using an Arabic acronym for the group.
Russia voted for the measure, which signaled a rare diplomatic convergence. For four years, Russia and the West have sparred over the war in Syria, with the Kremlin staunchly backing the government and Western powers backing the opposition. Russia has floated its own counterterrorism proposal, but it would require coordination with the governments of the affected countries – meaning, in Syria, the administration of President Bashar al-Assad. That idea is anathema to the West.

This post was published at UtopiatheCollapse on November 21, 2015.

Iraq Switches Sides – – Joins The Coalition Of The Un-Washington

Iraq joined Russia, Iran and Syria in a new agreement to strengthen cooperation against extremist group Islamic State, extending the Kremlin’s reach in the Middle East as it rivals Washington for influence.
U. S. and Russian officials held talks Sunday on the sidelines of a United Nations summit in New York to try to forge a common approach to fighting Islamic State, a day before President Barack Obama and Russian PresidentVladimir Putin were to hold their first formal meeting in more than two years at the U. N. The two had an informal encounter in November on the sidelines of a G-20 summit in Australia.
Iraq’s Defense Ministry said Sunday that the country had signed an intelligence and security cooperation pact with Russia, Iran and Syria, pledging to cooperate in collecting information about Islamic State. The deal effectively formalizes years of military collaboration among the four nations, which have intermittently been allies since the 1980s.
The deal is another challenge to U. S. influence in the Middle East at a time when Russia is deploying new military assets – primarily in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – including fighter aircraft and attack helicopters in the coastal region of Syria.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on September 28, 2015.

How the Iran Deal Serves America’s Interest In The Middle East

If Iran’s nuclear program were the primary concern of those lamenting the deal that John Kerry and representatives of five major countries concluded with Iran last Tuesday, they would be relatively pleased. Under the agreement, Iran will be stripped of 98 percent of its enriched uranium, all of its plutonium producing capacity, and 2/3 of its centrifuges, and will be placed under the most rigorous inspection regime in the history of nuclear proliferation negotiations. The cartoon image of Iran racing toward the bomb – presented last year by Prime Minister Netanyahu at the United Nations – may not have been reality-based, but if that’s what Israel is worried about, it can relax. Iran will not be racing toward the bomb.
But of course Israel is not pleased at all, and many of its volunteer spokesmen and politicians in the United States are railing against the deal as virtually the worst thing to happen in history. Netanyahu has let no one outdo him in hysteria. Iran is seeking to ‘take over the world,’ he told an Israeli audience last week. (As the leaders of Russia, China, France, Germany, and Britain signed onto the agreement, one wonders how they all managed to miss the world takeover threat Netanyahu sees so clearly.)
Netanyahu’s followers in the United States, AIPAC, the Republicans in Congress, and the Iraq War neocons will dutifully suit up and mount a serious effort to scuttle the deal. (AIPAC has ordered staffers to cancel their summer vacations.) But something far different from Iranian centrifuges is at stake. It has never been clear to the U. S. intelligence community (or for that matter to the Israeli one) that Iran wanted a nuclear weapon to begin with, and it is far from obvious what advantages, if any, Iran would accrue if it managed to cobble together one or two nuclear weapons. There really isn’t any evidence that Iran’s leaders want the destruction of their 5,000 year-old Persian civilization, which would be the inevitable consequence of using the supposed bombs that Iran’s leaders have always denied any interest in seeking.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner By SCOTT MCCONNELL The American Conservative – July 23, 2015.

Historic Nuke Deal Resets Eurasia’s ‘Great Game’

July 17, 2015
This is it. It is indeed historic. And diplomacy eventually wins. In terms of the New Great Game in Eurasia, and the ongoing tectonic shifts reorganizing Eurasia, this is huge: Iran – supported by Russia and China – has finally, successfully, called the long, winding 12-year-long Atlanticist bluff on its ‘nuclear weapons.’
And this only happened because the Obama administration needed 1) a lone foreign policy success, and 2) a go at trying to influence at least laterally the onset of the new Eurasia-centered geopolitical order.
So here it is – the 159-page, as detailed as possible, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); the actual P5 1/Iran nuclear deal. As Iranian diplomats have stressed, the JCPOA will be presented to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which will then adopt a resolution within 7 to 10 days making it an official international document.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by PEPE ESCOBAR, Asia Times /.