The first hundred days: the netting of Donald Trump.

The Russian agent: Putin’s play-pal

Blog No. 125.

President Trump’s hundred-day, ‘honeymoon’ period has just drawn to an end. As forecast in a previous blog on the subject of his domestic policy, he has been enduring a rocky ride. Several of his most publicised best intentions, his policies on immigration and the trashing of Obamacare, appear to have already failed. The draining of the Washington swamp appears to be on hold  and his presidency itself, remains under grievous assault in the popularity ratings. His approval rating at the end of the first hundred days stands at 42% (in comparison to Obama’s 69% at the same stage of his presidency.)

3rd April – the day before the strike.

Not only do Trump’s current ratings, at around 42%, remain consistently below those of all other post WWII presidents at the end of their honeymoon periods, but in March, a Gallup poll had Trump’s approval rating down as low as 35%. This was largely as a result of a massive media campaign launched against him by an alliance of the defeated neo-liberal Democrats and the neo-con Republicans. This campaign was centred on the fictitious ‘Russia-gate’ conspiracy, which had it that ‘foreign-agent’ Trump had gained power only because he had the support of and had been collaborating with the Kremlin. (Amazingly, America has never enjoyed a Tel Aviv-gate conspiracy outcry! But then the Israeli lobby’s power over the House has long been accepted as being as American as apple pie.)

The Russia-gate conspiracy seems now to have largely disappeared from public view and with its disappearance, Trump’s ratings have started to inch up into the 40 percentiles. To an outside observer it might appear that Russia-gate was a fiction generated by the CIA and other deep state players in order to eliminate the Trump presidency and the threat it posed to their ambitions. The need for such extreme interference with constitutional procedure would now appear redundant. A way has been found for the Russia-gate campaign to be used as a bridle to bring Trump’s foreign policy back under control and heading in the ‘right’ direction – especially in regard to the abandonment of the isolationist policies of détente with Russia and toleration of Bashir Assad, which Trump had been articulating.

Suddenly, on the 4th April, with the Khan Sheikhoun sarin attack on Syrian children, Trump developed a manly spine. This is the reaction of a senior Neo-Con Senator, Lindsay Graham, who, along with John McCain, is among the leading advocates for the use of America’s military muscle to project its global hegemony.

It would appear that someone delivered a message to Trump something along the lines that ‘domestic policies of increasing expenditure on the military, cutting taxes on the rich and hindering would be immigrants, are all well and good, but if you want to stay in office, you have also to fall into line with our foreign policies.’ Trump has had to get rid of maverick advisors, such as Bannon and Flynn, and replace them with personalities closer to the hearts of, or more readily manipulated by, the experts, who are accustomed to running America’s relationship with the exterior world, (i.e. the neo-liberal and neo-con establishments.)

Ben Garrison on the Trumpian dilemma.

Having a vibrant self-regard, and being down to an ego-deflating 35% public approval rating, it didn’t take long to bring President Trump to a compliant trot with a promise that all his woes of office could be blown away with a few changes in his foreign policy outlook. In short, Trump can now continue in power as he has sold out his prerogative to make foreign policy to his erstwhile tormentors. Assassination, impeachment, etc. are no longer likely to be required. Few would have anticipated that it would take so little time before Trump succumbed to the reality of the massed opposition he faced. It now appears more likely than ever that Trump will not be able to both indulge in expensive overseas adventurism and bear the cost of creating the promised jobs at home on which his re-election will depend.

So what are we left with? The world now has a US foreign policy, which greatly boosts military spending; supports NATO brinkmanship; regards Russia with enmity; regards China as a sucker that can be inveigled, or blackmailed into breaking its alliance with Russia; is very seriously considering a pre-emptive strike on North Korea; is looking at ways of getting regime change in Iran back onto the agenda; supports Israel’s continued suppression of the Palestinians and supports Saudi Arabia. To support the Saudi regime is also to support its efforts, while continuing to provide American weaponry and other support to Islamist rebels in Syria, to spread famine throughout Yemen and (as collateral damage to both western and eastern worlds) build the strength of Al Qaeda’s South Yemeni franchise.

The new broom in the halls of Trump’s foreign policy will continue waging war in Afghanistan and against, the Frankenstein of its own creation, ISIS, legally in northern Iraq (by invitation of the Iraqi government) and illegally in Syria (where Assad’s government has consistently refused to legalise US deployment of forces.) At this stage it looks as though the long term aim is a separate Kurdistan in northern Syria and northern Iraq, which will give US forces permanent status in both countries and will, in due course enable another attempt at the Assad government’s replacement by a US client regime.

Oil politics, which inspired the West’s initiation of the Syrian civil war, will continue to feature prominently in the calculations of both Trump and the US establishment. The breaking up of Syria will/might enable not only the originally intended Qatari gas pipeline, but now, also an Israeli pipeline to travel from the newly discovered gas and oil reserves in the illegally occupied Golan Heights, via Turkey, in a bid to damage the Russian economy by replacing Russian gas in the European market. The fact that former vice-president Cheney and Murdoch both happen to be directors of the Golan extraction company, is just one of those interesting little by-ways of global affairs.

So how did all this suddenly come about? How did a President set upon a domestic agenda that was dependent for its funding on a decline in the USA’s international embroilment, suddenly hand over responsibility for the conduct of his country’s foreign affairs to the most hawkish kangaroos in the western world?

As an aside, it should be noted with some relief that the newly empowered hawk faction is not without its own factions. The most significant split is between the political neo-cons and the Pentagon. The neo-con faction sees the USA as the military and economic hegemon of a uni-polar world, no matter what the risks entailed in achieving that position.

The Pentagon, on the other hand, welcomes the influx of cash, prestige and jobs for retired top-brass in the burgeoning defense sector that the Neo-Cons’ ambition and Donald Trump’s job-creation scheme will bring its way. However, it remains extremely wary of any serious long term military commitments that might result from their surfeit of enthusiasm. While wars might make some military reputations, many more reputations and lives have been wrecked in the bogs of  the Pentagon’s failures in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. Furthermore, the wreckage that has followed upon the USA’s multiple, smaller state-wrecking interventions in places such as Libya, Somalia and Ukraine, cannot help but give pause for cautious thought among the intelligence and military fraternities that have to face up to the problems they have created on the ground.

On the 4th April 2017, the White Helmets based in Syria’s Al Qaeda controlled Ibid province, reported a massive Sarin attack by Syrian government aircraft on the town of Khan Sheikhoun. Scores of innocent women and children had died horrible deaths and photo coverage was provided to support the allegations. Within minutes the western media had picked up the story and the West’s leading statesmen promptly added their own expressions of outrage at the Assad regime’s brutality and breach of international law. Nowhere was the cautionary word ‘alleged’ placed in front of the so eagerly accepted truth of the report.

Such universal blind acceptance of a blatantly false truth must have called for advance planning. Within five minutes of reading the first report, I, as no more than a moderately well-informed observer of Syrian affairs, wrote as follows to a friend:

We must anticipate that this is another false flag – as the notorious Al Ghouta attack was proved to be.

Pointing towards this conclusion is the Pentagon’s current problem with having to divert public attention from civilian casualties in Mosul: the increasing desperation of the Syrian rebels: the fact that the first reports came from the western-funded White Helmets and the immediate claim from the White House that ‘it looked as though Sarin had been used.’

Above all the above considerations is the fact that Assad is on the cusp of finally being accepted by the West as the lesser of the two evils awaiting post-insurrection Syria and that any such attack mounted by his forces would have adverse political consequences far beyond the potential military benefits obtained from gassing a bunch of children. Assad would not have survived so long were he an idiot.

The alternative to a false flag explanation is that a conventional Syrian air-raid hit a rebel dump of lethal chemicals. This might be indicated by the, as yet unverified, claim that the effects on victims are more severe than would be expected of chlorine. Despite the White House statement, one thing is certain it was not a pure Sarin that was released – Sarin kills within the first couple of minutes of inhalation.

What was obvious to me must have been equally obvious to many others – especially those specialists sitting in their offices and think tanks in Washington. Nevertheless, sixty-three hours after the alleged attack, Donald Trump launched a retaliatory cruise missile attack on the Syrian government airfield from which it was alleged the Sarin attack had originated. Folklore has it that Ivanka, Trump’s daughter, saw the White Helmet footage on Fox News and pleaded with her father to punish the perpetrators of such wickedness – and he obliged.

To justify its assault on Syria, the White House issued a four-page, ‘declassified’ intelligence report on the attack, indirectly implicating Russia and producing much skepticism among even the moderately well-informed.

There have been many conflicting hypotheses put forward but the most generally accepted and apparently extremely well-informed report, is contained in an article by Professor Postol. (Theodore A. Postol is Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.)

The Sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Al Ghouta in 2013 was effectively demonstrated to have been a false flag, carried out by hard pressed Islamist rebels with the support of either or both Turkish and Saudi intelligence agencies. The intention was to persuade Obama to launch a full-scale US assault on the Assad government. (This is a very long analysis only for the seriously interested.) However, Obama hesitated until the facts had been better investigated and when they were, called off the planned assault.

In the Khan Sheikhoun instance, and with that recent experience of the previous false flag, one would have anticipated that a considerable investigatory time-lag would have ensued between event and retaliation. As it didn’t, one can only assume that after the Al Ghouta fiasco, the deep state had learnt a painful lesson and ensured that on this occasion the USA would be fully prepared for the event and would achieve the desired military and public relations coup before any investigatory prevarication could intervene.

After the ‘truth’ of the event and the justification for the Commander in Chief’s heroic, son et lumière,  intervention against Assad had become well established in America’s public mythology, the action required justification on the world stage. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has now been called upon by the UN to carry out an investigation. The problem is that like other international institutions, such as the International Criminal Court, the OPCW has been deeply penetrated by western intelligence agencies.

Thus, overruling vigorous Russian demands for a full and thorough investigation, the OPCW investigators are instructed neither to visit the site of the attack nor the remains after the US cruise missile strikes, of the Syrian government airfield from which it is alleged the attack was launched. Furthermore, to ensure that the investigation’s results are fully compliant with the requirements of the powers involved, in breach of normal practice, the investigation is to be headed not by neutrals, but by two British citizens. The White Helmets, founded by ex-British Army Officer and likely MI6 operative, James le Mesurier, reported the incident and it is his countrymen who get to head the investigation into it, while their country was one of the initiators of the conflict in the first place.

This comment comes from Bob Rigg, a NZ citizen and former OPCW official. “The Russians have also pointed out that both investigation teams are headed by UK citizens. Normally in such situations, to avoid any suggestion of political bias, UN organisations select citizens of different countries to lead such sensitive efforts. In my view any investigation findings based on findings unsupported by on-site inspections are suspect from the outset. If the two key sites can be safely accessed by inspectors, what is the powerful rationale for not inspecting them? When the US sacked OPCW DG Jose Bustani in 2002, it was struggling to gain political control of the organisation. Has it succeeded? I resigned in 2002 because I believed that this was the case.”

Now, it would seem that he world is unlikely to see an honest report on the event and the western alliance appears to be striving to ensure that it never does.

Trump quickly followed up his successful baptism by murder in Syria with a similar ratings success in deploying the Mother of all Bombs in Afghanistan and the uttering of robust threats of military action against North Korea. The new persona of Donald Valiant-for-Freedom Trump, as he bestrides the world like a military colossus, will be perpetuated by the propaganda agencies, not only in his own mind, but in the woolly minds of all the other western statesmen, such as NZ’s PM, Bill English, who seem anxious to endorse and even applaud this extremely dangerous development.

Trump’s enlargement

As with climate change, the terrible truth of the dysfunctional role the USA plays in the world is dawning far too slowly. In the end, that truth will dawn and the nations of the world will have to find a way of uniting to sanction the USA until it becomes a good global citizen, prepared to keep its interactions with the rest of humanity within both the spirit and the letter of international law. It is to be hoped that the excesses and the failure of the Trump presidency, now to be inflicted on the world, will bring the urgency of such action to the forefront of public debate.

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