Is Trump’s Russian romance bigger than Watergate?

From News:

“Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” the man designated to become US national security adviser wrote to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and got a reply wishing him the same in return.

Four days later, the US slapped sanctions on Russian intelligence services and kicked 35 officials out of the country in retaliation for alleged interference in the election campaign.

Again, Flynn texted the ambassador and the two spoke on the phone. The exact details of that call are now at the centre of a national security scandal that cost Mr Flynn his job.

Overnight, US President Donald Trump blasted “fake news media” on Twitter for “going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred”. He fumed at the leaks coming out of Washington that have damaged his White House and led to the sacking of a trusted adviser just one month into the job.

“This Russian connection nonsense is merely an attempt to cover up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” he tweeted.

“The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by “intelligence” like candy. Very un-American!”

Despite Mr Trump’s outrage, the story is not going away. University College London Professor Iwan Morgan said it raised questions that cut to the heart of an “old-fashioned turf war” between intelligence services, the White House and the role of Russia in the world. Among them is the “really dangerous” one for Mr Trump: What did he know about Mr Flynn’s conversation and when?

“If it comes out he sent some message … [to Russia, and] did that in secret rather than out in the open, that’s problematic,” he said.

“The real threat is that Congress will pick up on this … As the heat builds there will be a drip, drip, drip [of intelligence leaks]. This story is going to run and run unless he goes on national television to lance the boil. He’s got to address the American people, not go on Fox News or tweet it.”

From broadcasting legend Dan Rather:

Watergate is the biggest political scandal of my lifetime, until maybe now. It was the closest we came to a debilitating Constitutional crisis, until maybe now. On a 10 scale of armageddon for our form of government, I would put Watergate at a 9. This Russia scandal is currently somewhere around a 5 or 6, in my opinion, but it is cascading in intensity seemingly by the hour. And we may look back and see, in the end, that it is at least as big as Watergate. It may become the measure by which all future scandals are judged. It has all the necessary ingredients, and that is chilling.

When we look back at Watergate, we remember the end of the Nixon Presidency. It came with an avalanche, but for most of the time my fellow reporters and I were chasing down the story as it rumbled along with a low-grade intensity. We never were quite sure how much we would find out about what really happened. In the end, the truth emerged into the light, and President Nixon descended into infamy.

This Russia story started out with an avalanche and where we go from here no one really knows. Each piece of news demands new questions. We are still less than a month into the Trump Presidency, and many are asking that question made famous by Tennessee Senator Howard Baker those many years ago: “What did the President know, and when did he know it?” New reporting suggests that Mr. Trump knew for weeks. We can all remember the General Michael Flynn’s speech from the Republican National Convention – “Lock her up!” in regards to Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton had done one tenth of what Mr. Flynn had done, she likely would be in jail. And it isn’t just Mr. Flynn, how far does this go?

The White House has no credibility on this issue. Their spigot of lies – can’t we finally all agree to call them lies – long ago lost them any semblance of credibility. I would also extend that to the Republican Congress, who has excused away the Trump Administration’s assertions for far too long.

We need an independent investigation. Damn the lies, full throttle forward on the truth. If a scriptwriter had approached Hollywood with what we are witnessing, he or she would probably have been told it was way too far-fetched for even a summer blockbuster. But this is not fiction. It is real and it is serious. Deadly serious. We deserve answers and those who are complicit in this scandal need to feel the full force of justice.

And some Lefty press:

For now, put aside the blundering and bigotry at the borders, the daily diet of lies, the billionaire president’s financial secrets and conflicts of interest, and even the scary signs that the leader of the free world is a mentally unstable man.

Put that all aside for today. Because the Russians interfered in our presidential election, and now we learn that Russian intelligence agents had extensive contacts with Team Trump during the campaign, while they were cheating on his behalf.

We need every shred of information about those contacts – with a special focus on what President Trump knew and when.

For those who see his impeachment as America’s best hope to survive this dangerous moment, it is time to inch up to the edge of your seats and get ready to protest. If Congress doesn’t put together an investigation that is credible and tough, and bipartisan in spirit, then it’s time to get back to the streets in force, and to plan a campaign of civil disobedience.

So far there seems to be more evidence of smoke than fire with a blundering Flynn gone but it certainly bears watching. Any material acceleration will badly shock markets.

Comments

  1. A traitor US president is indeed a greater scandal than Watergate.

    If you think there is more ‘smoke than fire’ you simply have not been paying attention.

    • ResearchtimeMEMBER

      I don’t think you have really understood the situation – Michael Flynn’s political assassination by the deep state sets a terrifying precedent for democracy (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/15/no-donald-trump-fan-should-think-twice-celebrating-michael-flynns/) – …If you are concerned about the threat President Donald Trump and his dysfunctional White House pose to democracy, you should think very seriously before cheering that on…

      The “deep state” is a term used by some security analysts to refer to the network of permanent officials who execute the orders of their elected, but more temporary, bosses. In theory, they should serve politicians – and, by extension, the people. But if they start to act for themselves, that is very dangerous. And Flynn’s orchestrated downfall by unaccountable, shadowy agents entrusted with the country’s most sensitive secrets is not just bad news for the Trump administration. It raises serious concerns over the democratic nature of the US political system…

      But what we are now witnessing is open warfare between the White House and the country’s security apparatus, with both parties making no secret of the contempt they have for each other…

      The rise of the deep state cannot be the answer to bringing down the Trump administration, no matter how critical you may be of the government and its conduct. That would be a dangerous drift towards a police state not worthy of the land of the free.

      • wrt ‘smoke filled room’.

        I always thought the US was controlled from an island retreat in upstate New York.

      • You are parroting a distraction/deflection from the issue at hand which is a traitor US president who is likely a tool of a hostile foreign adversary.

        You know that people who parrot such deflections are known as useful idiots?

      • This is just business as usual in the bureaucracy v political class. Trump has just upped the stakes because he’s gone on the all out attack prior to becoming POTUS. bureaucracy was never going to just lie down was it?

        The risk is worrying though because you can’t see either side backing down and there is a LOT of ammunition available.

      • It’s not a political assassination. Flynn has to go because he lied to Pence, which created an opening for Trump’s political opponents on both side. It shows very poor judgement as every single call to the Russian ambassador is being watched. The rest is just smoke that will blow over.

      • Interesting you mention ammunition Dave. It was difficult to import the physical stuff here for a while due to everyone stocking up over there when Obama was thinking of tightening their gun laws. It’s happening again over there now – possibly for slightly different reasons……..?

      • Love this “Deep State” concept, with its dark conspiratorial overtones, quite a different light on the same subject as “Yes, Minister”.

      • The deep state, and one side of it in control has been operating all my life. View is that another side has just about taken over. If you watched the various factions in Syira you might have picked up different sides funding different rebel factions.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4lPBznVCJU if you are actually concerned, or bother to know more, listen this interview or a least bit… the ex-CNN interviewer is weak but Catherine Austin Fitts is intelligent.

      • I am concerned about democracy. I am concerned that Clinton got in on 43 % of the popular vote and Lincoln on 34%.
        Yet with 11million illegals, who were instructed by Obama to get out and vote, and how to do it. Trump votes were close to HRC.

        Trump was elected overwhelmingly by the Electoral colleges of the States, US being a Union Of States.. constitutionally NOT a democracy you and the mad left the home of the tyrants and dictators and sadists… all of them Lefties, are shouting and will not let Trump function, nor get his Cabinet.
        It is a disgrace that the Dems have blocked his Cabinet: it nearly a month since he was inaugurated.
        It is a disgrace that Obama still has his organisation offices running round the country and has shadow govt . I care because my country and other countries outside of the US will suffer. Wars and civilian deaths every day for the last 8 years, Obama went in with a 1.2 mill house in Chicago to become extremely wealthy in the last 8 years.

      • @Gramus
        The only ‘idiots’ are those who dismiss the existence of the Deep State and its influence … and they’re mostly ‘useless’ rather than ‘useful’.

        Trump openly berated Hillary Clinton during the Presidential campaign for being so belligerent toward Russia when there were precisely zero grounds to be so. Christ, even Hollywood gave up casting the Russians as the bad guys two or more decades ago. Give Trump his due: he’s no Russia-lover, but at least, like anyone with an above room-temperature IQ, he recognises they present no threat to the West. Putin understands full well that Russia’s future prospects are tied to economic prosperity, not war, but the prospects of the Deep State are tied to war — dominated as it is by America’s security apparatus and the military industrial complex. Fighting ISIS doesn’t pay the bills for the U.S.’s mighty defence industry. They need a much bigger adversary.

      • “It’s not a political assassination. Flynn has to go because he lied to Pence, which created an opening for Trump’s political opponents on both side.”

        Well put! It appears Flynn left himself wide open to attack. Politics is a dog eat dog game and he just got spat out.

      • @Ronin8317 and @RobW – agree completely.
        When I saw Flynn get pushed out, I thought of the ancient’s wisdom: “The wife of Caesar must remain above suspicion”. Can’t say I’m sad to see him go though. Dude had way too much of a hard-on for Iran. Can’t recall many Persians involved in 9/11.

      • Here is a piece by an independent French journalist who they tried to kill more than once – because of his analysis:

        “Trump – business against war”

        http://www.voltairenet.org/article195279.html

        This is the first time in an awfully long time that the USA has a businessman as president. He is certainly no Obama or Clinton. Bush made his money by getting subsidies for a stadium so he does not count

        https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-05-25/texas-rangers-to-replace-stadium-bush-built-in-1-billion-deal.

    • So far we have evidence that
      -Russia tried to sway the election in favour of Trump with tactics including hacking DNC emails and releasing them, spreading fake news sites etc.
      -A few of Trump’s team have been in touch with Russia, including via their intelligence agencies.

      What would blow it into something quite spectacular is if it were proven there was a link between them – i.e. that Trump made a deal with Putin, or conspired with him to see that he was elected. That would be something close to treason. Though I expect the way America has been split into tribes many would not accept that and would argue that anyone, even Putin, is better than Hillary. So major constitutional crisis, and I expect a certain amount of violence could ensue.

      • This. Totally.

        Getting rid of Trump now is even more dangerous than Trump being president. The American Rift would become even wider. Violence not unlikely.

      • rubbish, the leaking was not done by Russia. That evidence is out. No hacking by Russia pertinant to Clinton or the elections.

      • What’s this all about then? From the Office of the Director of National Intelligence?

        https://www.scribd.com/document/335886615/Assessing-Russian-Activities-and-Intentions-in-Recent-US-Elections#from_embed

        “Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations such as cyber activity with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or “trolls”

      • Where is the ‘evidence’, Dan? The intelligence agencies have been asked for it several times by the media but have made every excuse to not make it available.

        Intelligence services to the media: “Please believe us …. pretty please.”

        Media to horde of idiots (apologies, world’s citizens): “There is evidence …”

        Sheep (apologies, citizens): “We believe!”

      • So what Dan? Russia paid some trolls to post on internet and spread their own narrative of events using RT? How does that in any way constitute some kind of evidence or plot that the Russians got Donald Trump elected? This is what the Western media does every single day. It spreads its narrative and version of events, and what we should morally accept and not accept. The US also has its own army of social media trolls. Let’s go further. Why is RT’s narrative so much more palatable to a very large global population?

        Are you all reading what you are writing? You should all be deeply embarrassed.

      • See its like a religious war even here. The administration is at war with the executive and people choose sides along tribal lines.

    • If that is the case then Obama is a bigger traitor with his underhand dealings with Iran and billions in hidden payments. The majority of the political class in the majority of countries are corrupt, blackmailed, etc.

  2. It will really turn to shinola in the next few days as Moscow realises Trump isnt a hope in hell of alleviating sanctions and as every last security asset they have is festooned with US security. Of course there is about 8 weeks until the weather starts to improve in Eastern Ukraine too

    • They are already taking measures and have been for some time. They have been moving forward on the assumption that nothing will change – until it does.

  3. How thick can someone be (who is supposed to be an expert on intelligence) not to understand that domestic communications with the Russian embassy are monitored by the FBI?

    • Settle down. He was only the head of the National Security Council.

      It’s not like you need to know “spy stuff” for the role.

      • And to be fair, as a former Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, with a 20 year career in military intelligence, including command of a Military Intelligence Brigade, he probably had very little opportunity to learn about, or be trained in, that ‘spy stuff’.

    • Probably as thick as the types of people suggesting the Russians would never have hacked anything relating the the last US presidential election, and sure wouldnt have used it to influence the outcome if they did…

      • Gunna, everyone knows they hack. The issue is what did they do to actually influence the election? Of which no one can say anything? I’m yet to hear a single piece of coherent argument about how they influenced the actual election????

        – Did they hack the actual voting machines?

        – Did they leak the information about Hillary? If they did do this one, technically, you can say, yes they did influence it, but it was done by simply revealing the TRUTH was it not?

        – Fake news articles??

      • What is there to hack? The majority of electoral systems in the various States are paper based. The US election can be manipulated in two ways. In the longer term via boundary changes and in the short term during an via illegal voters which seems to have been the case. As for the stupid fools in the DNC they were not hacked by the Russians – it was either an insider and/or a section of the intelligence services.

      • Gunna the specific/hacks leaks were not by Russia… like stuff found Wieners perverted laptop.. the Podestra emails to Clinton.

        And of course countries track each other, including by satellites (e.g. the uS satellites over Ukr when the malaysian plane went down) and US hacks Merkel and every head of Govt, allies or not. US has interfered in 81 elections. Wikipedia has the list plus the coups.. it includes the Whitlam effort. Overseas journos materialised and took over.
        Some of the russian haters here might listen to a speech by Putin.. e.g. the Oct 2015 speech at the UN and grow up.

      • JC,

        *everyone* knows that Ruskies and Pyoutin are up to no good and if any truth comes from them cannot be trusted.

        The narrative used tells it all: “influencing election” is used to subconsciously suggest an utter lie – meddling into election process.

        So here I’m gunna say that you are right JC

  4. Read that Trumps business empire is riddled with dirty Russian money from the oligarch class and organised crime. Not that surprising given that hes a property magnate who likes to push the envelope (bound to attract a lot of developing world capital flight), but still not a good look for a US President, especially given the other Russian links

    • Trump is super super shady and always has been.

      It is more than just a bad look. In addition to treason, his offshore ‘business’ dealings violate the Emoluments clause of the US constitution and are grounds for impeachment.

    • Here’s a link with more info. Can’t find the original article I was looking at, but it linked to a list of Russian investors in Trumps many assets which contained some well known figures in Russian organised crime, Again, this should not be a surprise – given the amount of dodgy money sloshing around the globe, and the attractiveness of real estate as a washing machine. But its an absolute time bomb for Trump

      http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/12/19/the-curious-world-of-donald-trumps-private-russian-connections/

      Time article http://time.com/4433880/donald-trump-ties-to-russia/

    • Bottom line IMO Trump does not matter, its matter of whether the planet continues with globalisation and terror as it has progressed for the last 60 years.
      As well empires end, they die at the core (as US has.. dam wall breaking, Nuc reactors years ou to date, roads schools.. terrible way down in education level) as the armies the periphery dont bring enough loot back back in to sustain. Rome brought back its solders and they looted it. US is collapsing. Trump is trying to slow this down, keep the army happier and stop spending huge money on outside wars.
      Clinton would have us in WW3 by now and paying her another 75 million this year, into the TPP and bombing armies of democratically elected countries protecting themselves against ISIS as we did last november.

  5. Flynn was thrown under the bus serves Russia well. He is the sacrificial pawn while Putin and his mafia mates move closer to their real goal – getting Obama era sanctions lifted.

    Prior to Obama’s decision to punish Russia over the Crimea invasion, Exxon Mobil had a half TRILLION dollar oil and gas deal in play with the Russians that would have made a handful of Putins friends among the richest men in the world.

    None of this is about geo-politics or ideology. It’s pure and simple Corruption 101.

    • Russia did not invade Ukraine. It was terrified after the US instigated (Victoria Nuland etc) coup against the democratically elected govt (their gold was taken to the US)…and the terrible enlistment of US mercenaries in Maiden and there attacks ongoing on Eastern Ukr. Crimea was part of united Russia since the 1700’s and given in 1954 by the USSR President… a Ukrainian by birth to join Ukr and Crim for admin purposes. Ukraine is in a terrible state now. Joe Bidens son is there too.
      With about 54% russain speakers they feared for their lives and a 95% approx vote to secede was taken and Crimea chose to join Russia. Who then built a cross-sea power line to them. French and presumably other EU politicians have visited over 2 years and report Crimea is happy and good.

      • Terror Australis

        non sequitur.
        The point of my comment was that certain individuals stand to reap colossal windfall profits if/when the sanctions are lifted.

      • @glo – – spot on comments.
        Sorry to say you’re wasting time (as I have) in replying to Terror !
        His is a closed & factually bereft mind set.

    • That’s true TA, but the sanctions won’t work anyway. This is because the Europeans don’t really want them too. It hurts their economies. Germany just acts like they don’t exist when it comes to goods and services from Russia that are critical to them. Powerful German industrialists also don’t care for them. They want to do business! You can be guaranteed sanctions are being skirted by other countries and multinationals through existing transfer companies or newly incorporated ones in jurisdictions not sanctioning Russia.

      The US couldn’t effectively neuter Iran with much more punitive sanctions, they don’t have a hope of the ones on Russia achieving their objectives. Russia is simply too big, too important and not militarily impotent that such a strategy will succeed. In effect, sanctions are an act of war, and Russia has perceived them as such. This is why they have become and will become far more active in countering US influence in spheres and situations where it suits them. Mostly bang for buck scenarios, using asymmetric means. The effect of these sanctions will actually be the opposite of what the US foreign policy establishment desire. It is also playing into Chinese hands nicely, who get far better negotiating positions and therefore pricing on long term energy supply as well as military technology.

      Also why sanction Crimea? The official narrative is that it was invaded by Russia. Surely in such a scenario, the populace of Crimea would be openly hostile to Russia? Why then would the US sanctions extend to Crimea specifically? Wouldn’t they be trying to assist the local populace to resist this invader?

      • Terror Australis

        Once again….
        The point I am making completely separate to whether or not sanctions are a good idea. Reasonable people can disagree on that.

        My point is that certain individuals in Russia stand to become incredibly rich and what we don’t yet know is who stands to profit on the US side of the bargain. If Trump is getting any kind of kick-back from lifting the sanctions that is a slam dunk case for impeachment. You might question whether any modern President would be so brazen as to try to enrich themselves from the position of POTUS but …… this is Trump we are talking about.

        Trump has flip-flopped on all number of issues, but (perhaps not coincidentally) that one position that he has been consistent on is his “friendly” relationship with Putin. There has to be a reason for that.

        Speculation for now, but watch as events unfold.

      • “My point is that certain individuals in Russia stand to become incredibly rich and what we don’t yet know is who stands to profit on the US side of the bargain. ”

        The O&G guys are already rich. They would just get richer.

        The so called “cosy relationship” with Putin, can be explained away by any rational human as prudent, when you have campaigned on a policy to re-engage with Russia, and indeed have won with that on your platform. Or just common sense not to go straight into the chair and automatically assume the policy of your predecessor regarding an important foreign player. There are a bunch of other logical reasons. My mind doesn’t automatically jump to, the man is trying to enrich himself.

    • MediocritasMEMBER

      It’s pretty clear no? Big oil & gas men like Tillerson.

      Same as it ever was. Plenty of OECD oligarchs get rich by influencing OECD politicians. The difference with the Trump administration is that it contains inexperienced politicians who don’t know how to hide it so well.

      Is this grounds for penalty? Maybe. However for this to happen, I want to see it equally enforced upon every other shady politician retrospectively. Given that this would net most of them, consider it a non-starter. If there’s going to be quid pro quo (and there always will be), I’d at least prefer to see it out in the open like this than thinly veiled behind such an obvious layer of legalese and diplomatic bullshit.

      On Putin’s corruption, sure, it’s no secret but again, I encourage a broader view on this. Consider where Russia is coming from, the extreme corruption prior to Putin and whether or not things are improving, staying the same, or getting worse. It seems clear to me that his administration has improved things immensely and he’s popular accordingly. If you can find a couple of hours, check this out: https://vimeo.com/27806187

      Russia’s far from perfect, but what I bristle against is this “holier than thou” attitude pronounced by western talking-heads and, even worse, when this translates into military action intended to install a “better” government. The evidence is clearly in that such ends-justify-the-means thinking does not achieve the desired “ends” and just leaves the bloody, horrendous “means”. Instead of accepting responsibility for the “means”, the talking heads just project their own failings onto others.

    • @Terror Australis –” Flynn was thrown under the bus serves Russia well. He is the sacrificial pawn while Putin and his mafia mates move closer to their real goal – getting Obama era sanctions lifted.”

      You are so mouthy about this -as if you have the inside info. IF you’re a runaway Yank go home & sprout your nonsense over there. This whole American $hit fight is all about the CIA keeping Russia as a phantom enemy.
      Some decent & more reliable comments come from : The Saker
      “The Neocons and the “deep state” have neutered the Trump Presidency, it’s over folks! ” 14/2/17
      http://thesaker.is/the-neocons-and-the-deep-state-have-neutered-the-trump-presidency-its-over-folks/

      “The Swamp Strikes Back” 16/2/17
      http://thesaker.is/the-swamp-strikes-back/

  6. I always figured the Republicans were going to roll him, they hate him. I just didn’t know how.

    Not that it isn’t warranted or anything. If it’s revealed that the accusations in the Steele dossier are true, then that marks an even more fucked up period in American politics.

  7. Didn’t Dan Rather torch his career running with forged documents? The hubris of some of these people is off the charts.

    • I think thats arguable. The documents apparently could have been forged, certainly they couldnt come up with cast iron proof they were not forged. But the substance of the story about W dodging service seemed well supported across the board.

      I dont think you can really say – “just because you fucked up one story, you can’t ever comment on anything ever again”

      • If it’s something that big and your judgement stinks. Sorry. Old pompous greys wheeling themselves out to give lectures. It’s bad enough msnbc put Brian Williams back on air. It’s meant to be a trust business. Frankie McDonald should be reading the news before him.

    • It was more likely the hubris of some ambitious staffer on which people like Rather rely, much like how Fareed Zakaria was done in. I think if you judge Rather on his entire career, that one scandal, though embarrassing, did not define him as a journalist.

  8. Follow the money trail.
    How much money will Trump make when Rex Tillerson (former Exon Mobil CEO) announced a lifting of the Crimea sanctions.
    Prior to Obama putting a stop to it, Tillersons old company has a half TRILLION dollar oil and gas deal in play with the Russian state. It wouls have made Putin and his mafia friends among the richest of the world’s men.

    NO WAY is Trump missing out on his cut from that deal. Throwing Flynn under the bus is just a useful distraction from the bigger game.

    Brace for impact when the press inevitably finds out.

  9. Three things scare me about this story:
    1) It is inconceivable to me that someone of Flynn’s experience wouldn’t know how to use secure Telephone links AND insist on doing so when discussing matters with The Russian Ambassador.
    2) The NSA was able to break whatever encryption was used for this call this quickly.
    3) We have a leak

    The standard for the Red Line (Kremlin – White house link from the cold wars days) is OTP (One Time Pad). OTP’s are agreed to be unbreakable by anyone with any experience in Cryptoanalysis. It’s hard for me to believe that any official communications link between a US National Security leader the Russian Ambassador wouldn’t at least use encryption equal to our cold war era. Even commercial phone encryption systems like STE would be very hard for a third party to break without leaked key-mat.
    This suggests that either some third party TLA has direct access to the keymat-OTP codes OR they have bugged either the Russian Ambassadors office or Flynn’s office.
    All three scenarios are very scary, first off who authorized this surveillance?

      • A National Security Adviser should be working with the Russians. That’s not even close to the issue, but i can see from your other posts you have swallowed the MSM line that everyone is a Russian agent in this administration hook line and sinker. The issue was that he did so before the new Republican administration was formed. He was talking out of turn!!!

      • Of course they surveil all US domestic communications with foreign embassies, that’s standard procedure and Flynn would have known that. Hence he would have insisted on a Secure Telephone link AND hopefully understood how to generate and share secure keymat. The itself call is not in question,(everyone agrees that it happened) however the contents of the call that are being questioned. By Flynn’s lies we can assume that he believed that the contents of his call would not be easily discovered, yet they have been quickly decoded (means either the encryption standard was crap or someone leaked Keymat), or bugged offices.
        However you cut it someone is intentionally showing their hand here, in this game you don’t show your hand without good reason.

      • reusachtigeMEMBER

        Nup! It’s a great development to see Russia and America finally working together on things. You’re just a commie conspiracist and need to be purged!

      • A National Security Adviser should be working with the Russians.

        Bet you’d be singing a different tune if your “team” wasn’t the one in the White House.

        God the sycophancy here is disgusting.

      • “Bet you’d be singing a different tune if your “team” wasn’t the one in the White House.

        God the sycophancy here is disgusting.”

        Hi Jason, i would be. That’s exactly what the new guy should be doing too. As well as all the other politicians. During the height of the cold war, all of the people in those administrations in those positions still had open lines of communication with Soviet counterparts. Today, the fact they don’t is very dangerous. That he was talking to them is not the issue. It is the WHEN he was talking to them. And that certainly is an issue that may indeed warrant his resignation. Talking out of turn in these scenarios is a big NO NO!

      • Blub blub halp me! I’m drowning in salty liberal tears!
        Listening to these thought-programmed bed-wetters reminds me of the reported response to Orson Wells War of the Worlds, where a fictional radio show about alien invaders caused panic and mass hysteria among guileless listeners.
        Not even fit to fight a meme war, let alone the civil/global war with bombs and bullets they seem to be salivating over.
        ‘Lefty’ warmongers, classic. The fascists of the future will be called anti-fascists.

    • It’s 1: unecncrypted. All phonecalls and email to the Russian ambassador was not encrypted.

      The problem with Flynn as NSA is that he is not very competent, and he actually believes in #Pizzagate.

    • Well Flynn was basically fired by the Obama administration for ‘lack of judgement’ (read: gross incompetence)… so maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised?

      first off who authorized this surveillance?

      I thought it was clear from the Snowden leaks that no one is safe from SIGINT these days? Collect first, ask questions later is the Five Eyes motto now.

    • darklydrawlMEMBER

      “2) The NSA was able to break whatever encryption was used for this call this quickly.”

      The Snowden leaks clearly stated that the NSA (and the other 5 eyes members – particularly the British) had the capability to break many sorts of encrypted communications (and they were continuing to put considerable resources into exploiting the others) plus several commercial VPN’s as well. I am sure their abilities have only gotten better over time.

      Trump should have studied history a bit better. After all it was top FBI official Mark Felt (Deep Throat) that was the secret source high in the U.S. government who helped Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein unravel the Watergate conspiracy.

      Trump hasn’t won too many friends in the intelligence community….

      • Agreed NSA and GCHQ are very capable cryptoanalysis organizations but this sort of turn around time suggests deliberate backdooring OR analysis methods that are way Way WAY in advance of anything that’s even guessed at by academics.
        Cracked Encryption usually comes down to weak keys hence the key management issues and procedures will need to be reviewed.
        More important than the fact that they broke whatever encryption/obfuscation was attempted, is the fact that they are now exposed as having broken this encryption this quickly. Eventually the facts will come out and this will make their analysis capabilities undeniable, which of course prompts all adversaries to double down on encryption key lengths.
        If they (AG sources) insist that the calls were unencrypted than Flynn looks like pretty stupid as does the Russian Ambassador, so it’s worth asking who benefits from these guys looking like bozos?
        If they acknowledge that someone bugged Flynn’s office than we’re back with a Watergate2 scenario, exactly who authorized this action? or who undertook this unauthorized surveillance (aka invasion of privacy and criminal trespass)?
        If someone is on the inside than we have a mole!
        Welcome to the wilderness of Mirrors.
        Now what was the question Mother James used to ask….Cui Bono?

      • I have access to very secure comms, so why would I believe that the Russian Ambassador was less capable than myself, in this area? Flynn is also not a novice, he has held many jobs requiring high level security clearance and an understanding of high level security operation procedures., by the same logic, he must have known that ANY phone calls between himself and the Russians would be recorded, meaning that either the mention of sanctions was indeed incidental OR the man is an idiot…and a dangerous idiot at that. Experience tells me that people like Flynn are not idiots.

      • Why would a retired general, who is not yet a sworn member of an incoming administration be making efforts to organise encrypted comms with the Russian ambassador to exchange pleasantries? He is not yet in a position to legally discuss anything relating to Govt policy.

        He was not in a position to speak to him about anything that would require being encrypted. The government agencies would not be facilitating his potential encrypted comms at that time.

        The fact that he was talking out of school and then lied about it points to incompetence rather than malfeasance.

  10. MediocritasMEMBER

    OK, seemingly I’m the only one on the fucking internet who is sick to death of this bullshit. No, I’m not talking about the Trump administration’s push to get more friendly with Russia, I’m talking about the media’s obsession with trying to paint Putin as a Bond Villain and the nation of Russia as a Great Satan, seemingly hell bent on marching towards World War Three.

    So the Trumpsters want to do all sorts of business deals with Russia? GOOD! So the Trumpsters are on friendly, first-name terms with Russian counterparts? GOOD! The administration should stop playing defense on this and should instead viciously attack all critics for wanting a take us back into the most intense periods of the Cold War.

    The USSR doesn’t exist anymore. Heaven forbid that we all try to get along. I absolutely do not give a shit if Flynn was talking to the Russians. If you seriously think that it’s some kind of treason to do deals with Russia, then where the fuck have you been for the past 40 years as US powers-that-be did all sorts of deals with China and sold out the entire manufacturing sector to a foreign Communist nation?

    • People have literally lost the plot. McCarthyism all over again, with domestic politicians being branded Russian agents. The funnier part is that people believe it, ALL OVER AGAIN!

      I mean is Russia a failed gas station with nukes, or so powerful that it has the current US govt. in its pocket? I mean seriously, are people even listening to themselves?

      • The other weird thing is how involved people in the comments section of this blog seem to be on this topic. Have added a few names to the batshit crazy list today.

    • They have jack shit on the Trump administration, the global hysteria is a desperate attempt to justify the impeachment narrative or at the very least undermine and weaken his administration.

      I don’t give a shit who you support, there is no way you can objectively look at all this as anything but an establishment war – even if Trump is actually just a major swamp monster globalist shill (how would this even be remotely diff from the last 8/16/24 years) – there is no justification for the intense hysteria from the left.

      • Of course there is justification. FFS we’re talking about Russia interfering in, possibly deciding, a US presidential election and the winner being in Russia’s pocket. How can that not be serious?

      • MediocritasMEMBER

        Hysterical is the right word. Personally I don’t like Trump at all. I think he’s a total narcissist, nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is, and a terrible choice for President. But against Clinton? Hell, I’d choose Trump any day.

        No matter how much I dislike the guy personally, I’m still prepared to give him a go. If he does something good then he deserves to get credit for it, if he does something bad then he deserves to be criticised for it. So far he has done some surprisingly good things, like ripping up the TPP which is something the hysterical left should have been praising him for.

        A good boss can be an asshole, he doesn’t have to be a friend. Apparently the hysterical sorts don’t possess the maturity to sit comfortably with such a metal concept.

      • It’s just good policy for Russia to have a weakened USA. That’s why they pushed for Trump. His policies would have damaged the US capability over 3-4 years. That Trump and his administration is as incompetent as they are should surprise noone, although they do seem to be exceeding expectations.

      • Hi Dave – please provide me the evidence that provides the substance to the narrative you just put forward – Trump = in Russia’s pocket and that Trump had anything to do with Russia’s involvement in the Email leak.

        You speak from such conviction so I presume this should be easy for you to provide. If you could please give me your credible sources that have provided this evidence, I would appreciate it so that I can be more informed.

      • MediocritasMEMBER

        @Dan: there is absolutely no evidence of that. Trump won because he had a superior team of informaticists working with him, it’s that simple. Here: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/how-our-likes-helped-trump-win

        Next, if you really feel so passionate about one nation potentially meddling in the political affairs of another, then how irate you must feel towards the USA for the dozens of times it has interfered in the political affairs of others both covertly and overtly.

        Honduras, Guatemala, Iran, Haiti, Congo, Indonesia, Vietnam, Afghanistan to name but a few. Hell, the US even meddled in Australian politics: https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/gough-whitlam-and-the-cias-forgotten-coup,7029

        Is your morality consistent? Where has your outrage been all these decades?

      • @caeos – see the links I posted above, there is absolutely heaps out there on Trump / Russia.

        I didnt mention the Hillary emails. I’m more concerned with Russian interference across Internet and social media generally.

      • Dave – what are you talking about? You act like there is some news here – time bomb what? All of this stuff was disseminated during the campaign – even the liberal MSM moved on from it. This is not providing substance or evidence to the narrative you put forward above. You need to do far better.

        Let me know when you can pull up some actual evidence to justify the leaps you have made.

    • Some truth to what you’re saying, but a couple of problems also –

      1) The problem is WHY Trump is cosy with Putin and vice versa. It reeks of impropriety.
      2) Russia IS in many ways a malign force in the world. It is certainly trying to break up Europe. Its at a stage of development where it is likely not far from economic collapse. May not appear that way now, but only needs a proper downturn in commodities. Needs to be managed very carefully. Not much sign that this is happening.

      I’d agree that its better for the US and Russia to get along. But for positive not negative reasons.

      • “Russia IS in many ways a malign force in the world. ” What the hell does that make America then!
        “The problem is WHY Trump is cosy with Putin and vice versa. It reeks of impropriety.” It reeks of impropriety ?!! What does that even mean!!?

      • You have not idea what you are going on about. You come across a closet bigot and no all the loons that want a shooting war with Russia. The real manipulators of the US are the Israelis to the extent that the US national interests and foreign policy are constantly and seriously compromised by this relationship.

      • Dave,

        thanks for another lovely entry in my collection of snowfalking -isms.

        “1) The problem is WHY Trump is cosy with Putin and vice versa. It reeks of impropriety.
        2) Russia IS in many ways a malign force in the world. It is certainly trying to break up Europe. Its at a stage of development where it is likely not far from economic collapse. May not appear that way now, but only needs a proper downturn in commodities. Needs to be managed very carefully. Not much sign that this is happening.”

      • MediocritasMEMBER

        Well I strongly support the elimination of the Maastricht Treaty, a neutering of the EU superstructure and a transition of the euro to an SDR-like status. In other words, rolling back Europe to its state in the early days of the EU, when it was about avoiding war rather than enabling the economic dominance of Germany. These things would be good for Europe, not bad, and if that’s what Russia aims for then GOOD!

        Meanwhile, Russia has been attempting to establish a “customs union” in Eurasia, much closer to the original, healthy state of the EU than what it has now mutated into. Instead of demonising Russia for trying to do something progressive, it’s time to eat humble pie and admit that the EU, as it stands, is a mess and the eurozone, a catastrophe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasian_Customs_Union

        Taken a look at the TARGET2 balances lately?

      • “It reeks of impropriety ?!! What does that even mean!!?”

        Jesus Christ. It should be pretty obvious, but anyway. What this means is – Trump is beholden to the Russian elite because he has taken their money. This is why he’s being nice to them. The other main reason is that he is being advised by someone who sees Putin as the essence of right wing, male, Christian, white domination. You’d have to be fucking blind not to perceive this cultural trend. Have a look at this link for yet another example. https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/16/england-fans-2018-world-cup-russia-hooligans

        BTW, I’m not defending the US and its neocon adventures.

        Impropriety – failure to observe standards of honesty or modesty; improper behaviour or character.
        “she was scandalized at the impropriety of the question”
        synonyms: wrongdoing, misconduct, dishonesty, corruption, unscrupulousness, illegitimacy, unprofessionalism, irregularity;

      • UrbanWastelandMEMBER

        Dave, what on earth are you talking about? Russia trying to break up Europe? You really believe that? Russia isn’t really doing anything other than trying to sort out all of the problems IN RUSSIA.

      • There’s hardly any point in engaging in these discussions if people are just going to invent opinions and attribute them to you. I am a huge critic of the Euro and believe it will break up, probably in a couple decades or so. Doesn’t change the fact that Russia would love to destabilize Europe to the max to gain more leverage over its old Eastern Europe satellites. And seems to have found a buddy to assist in Trump.

      • Russia isn’t really doing anything other than trying to sort out all of the problems IN RUSSIA.

        And in Ukraine… South Ossetia…

      • UrbanWastelandMEMBER

        Jason, you shill, in these conflicts it’s extremely important to differentiate between the objectives of various international interests (i.e. your employers) and the desires of the actual population living in these areas…

      • @Dave – -” Russia IS in many ways a malign force in the world. It is certainly trying to break up Europe. Its at a stage of development where it is likely not far from economic collapse. May not appear that way now, but only needs a proper downturn in commodities. Needs to be managed very carefully. Not much sign that this is happening.”

        You sound about as informed as the old Dad & Dave comedy show.
        You should get out more.
        Also I’d suggest reading widely – – give the MSM BS a miss. For your info -not smart to Quote the Guardian -another bastion of MSM BS ! Try Googling – Who really started the War in Ukraine – + read Australian Journalist John Pilger (below)
        “A World War has Begun: Break the Silence”
        http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/23/a-world-war-has-begun-break-the-silence/

    • They are playing a very dangerous game with Russia and China where a mistake could result in a hot conflict. What is it with all the toy soldiers and tin tanks on Russia’s border? This forces the Russians to constantly reconfigure their defensive posture. What are they going to do march on Moscow.

      These clowns have no plan or strategy and if they attack Russia the revised Russian military doctrine authorizes the Russian government to use ALL means to protect the Russian state. As General Montgomery commented – the two rules of war are never march on Moscow and never invade China. For the anti Russian bigots in the US taking on Russia won’t result in a TV war as it will be real, local and very hot.

      • MediocritasMEMBER

        Russia put their country so close to all our military bases! http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/rsw4.jpg

        They’re coming right for us! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nt6kKhlX8vU

        Last year NATO installed a “missile defense” system in Romania. Another Aegis Ashore system is planned for Poland in 2018. These systems are purportedly designed to defend against missile attack from the Middle East. Not only is this a non-existent threat, but the location makes little sense given that sea-based Aegis systems are more than enough to take down launches from Iran.

        The Russians rightly point out that Aegis systems are able to launch Tomahawks, of which two nuclear-equipped variants have been designed. So we have installed a missile “defense” system, that is perfectly capable of launching an offensive nuclear strike, less than 1800 km from Moscow and we’re accusing the Russians of “aggression”.

        Here’s Putin making one simple, and deeply disturbing point: if Russia detects a launch from these facilities, how does it know whether or not the missile is a nuke? What is the appropriate response? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqD8lIdIMRo

        All the MSM ever feeds people here is the anti-Russia propaganda. There is no attempt to foster a balanced view. It’s as if they WANT hostility.

        I wonder how we would all be feeling if the Russians were installing land-based nuclear launch sites within 1800 km of our capital cities?

      • Russia can never under any circumstances be right or have a legitimate grievance. Cmon mate, get with the program!!!

      • The missile shield is about two things:

        1. Making Russia act militarily before the shield can become reality. This way you can spin it as Russian aggression against European states. Can effectively turn the screws on them.

        OR

        2. The shield actually working, with Russia doing nothing about it. This effectively gives the USA first strike capability and declaws the bear, making them a servile b*tch like the rest of Europe.

        It has zero to do with Iran or any other “missile threat.”

      • MediocritasMEMBER

        Agreed JC and I’ll add that it’s also an important component of the “Pivot to Asia” because it frees up the Navy to move east (replacing Aegis at sea with Aegis on land).

        So far as I can tell, Trump is totally on board with the Pivot to Asia which is not good news for China (or world peace). Where he differs slightly from the establishment neocons is that he appears to desire a reduction of tension between Russia and NATO.

        What *actually* happens is all that matters though and so far, NATO is showing no signs at all of backing off in Eastern Europe. The craziest neocons want it no other way; they really believe they can pivot to asia and get hot with China while maintaining the heat on Russia.

        This way leads to WW3.

    • You’re letting your preference for Trump vs. Hillary totally cloud your judgement on this one mate.

      How about an emotion-free argument based on the merits of the facts available (albeit in varying levels of corroboration)?

      Why are there so many people who seemingly don’t understand that opinion and belief doesn’t have to be a binary coin flip?

      • MediocritasMEMBER

        Have a read of all my other posts in this thread. I’ve spent decades buried in the facts of geopolitics and it’s impossible to NOT get a little emotional when a credible threat to the International Neoliberal Consensus is getting some shots in and the INC is responding to shut it down with every dirty trick in the book.

        I’ve been watching the world decay under the INC for most of my life and I’m deeply unhappy about it. So while I would never consider the Farages, Putins and Trumps of this world long term allies (their names are simple proxies for the movements they’re figureheads for), while they’re landing hits on the INC I’ll temporarily cheer them on.

      • @Jason – -” How about an emotion-free argument based on the merits of the facts available (albeit in varying levels of corroboration)?”

        Having read your contributions to this article — I suggest you take your own advice -urgently.
        On the merits of facts available your contributions are woefully inadequate.
        Inform yourself by getting away from MSM BS.


      • …while I would never consider the Farages, Putins and Trumps of this world long term allies (their names are simple proxies for the movements they’re figureheads for), while they’re landing hits on the INC I’ll temporarily cheer them on.

        Well said Mediocritas

    • @Mediocritas
      “The administration should stop playing defence on this and should instead viciously attack all critics for wanting a take us back into the most intense periods of the Cold War”

      Well said – – and spot on. It’s a dangerous game being played. Pity trump wasn’t more forceful.

  11. Iraq catalyst hawk is quite happy and open about USIC vs Trump heh

    Bill Kristol ✔ @BillKristol
    “Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state.”

    No problems here – 3 years ago Deep State concept was a conspiracy, now its just being talked about in the media openly and the left are happy about it because it suits.

  12. FiftiesFibroShack

    Not even a month in… and remember: these dishonest incompetents are yet to face a problem that wasn’t of their own making.

    • MediocritasMEMBER

      Are you inferring that the previous administration was a bunch of “honest competents”? :-p

      I see crony capitalism as far as the eye can see. The merger of corporation and state (fascism). Some days it wears a blue shirt, other days a red shirt.

      The only difference with Trump is that he’s a nationalist which goes firmly against the grain of 40 years of neoliberalism, which is all about internationalism. Perhaps that’s because Trump has a tiny brain and can only imagine being the Emperor of America and hasn’t expanded his mind to Emperor of the World (like the other oligarchs).

      IMO, the Trump administration is the lesser of two evils.

      • Are you inferring that the previous administration was a bunch of “honest competents”? :-p

        Again reference to this as though it’s a binary problem.. one side of the coin being ‘Good’ the other being ‘Bad’.

      • MediocritasMEMBER

        No Jason, I was making a joke that you clearly missed. Hence the “inferring”, hence the :-p

        Again, you’re making a straw man.

  13. One thing overlooked from the dossier. The claim that Trump team is relatively comfortable with focus on Russia (noting that was some months ago) because the Trump involvement in Russian corruption is low…. And it distracts from what they’ve done in China. I have no specific knowledge of the China link but real estate is likely. So after this round there’s more to come.

  14. Tom Winter [email protected]_Winter 8 hours ago
    “NBC’s Pete Williams reports (as we have all along) that investigators have found no collusion between Trump campaign and contacts in Russia.”

  15. If I understand the logic of the above, people high up in the US government should not talk to their counterparts in Russia.

    Ever look at a map?
    Do you know how big Russia is?
    Do you know that they are a lot smarter than American engineers and scientists when it comes to weaponry?
    Do you know that a great many American universities employ Russian mathematicians?
    Do you know that the ordinary Russian soldier is a lot fitter, better trained, motivated and more intelligent than those of NATO?

    Do you realize that if you are determined to have WW3, some Russian rockets would be flying over Australia on their way to hit the USA’s backside?

    The hubris over here is overwhelming. Last time, the Brits ordered the Australians to send much of their army to Singapore – where they were all taken prisoner. You have learnt nothing.

      • Jason,

        When all else fails, resort to rudeness an ad hominem.

        In view of the fact that they no longer teach history or geography to kids in Australian schools, I am hardly surprised. Sad.

        FYI, whenever the Americans want to send a heavy (i.e. military) satellite into orbit, they buy the rocket engine from the Russians.

        There is nothing, absolutely nothing that the Russians need to buy from Australia. They have all the minerals they need plus a huge amount of oil and gas. They produce more oil than anyone else. Australia imports 70% of its oil.

        They are leaders in nuclear energy and have the power stations that consume the toxic waste of other stations. The Americans are so backward in this area that it is beyond belief. Their infrastructure is falling apart because of institutional corruption.

    • “Do you know that they are a lot smarter than American engineers and scientists when it comes to weaponry?”

      Not only are you a paid shill (on MB. Sad!), but you are also incredibly stupid. America’s military technology is far superior to Russia’s. I can’t believe I even have to write that. What a stupid comment.

      How is Moscow this time of the year?

      • “America’s military technology is far superior to Russia’s”

        F-35 ? Aegis ? Zumwalt?

        The Russians have a defensive strategy. They don’t need “power projection”. They just need to keep the USA out of their backyard.

        Pretty well the whole of the Middle East is switching sides: Turkey, Iraq, Egypt and Morocco. Our neighbours in Indonesia are getting far better aircraft for a fraction of the price of the F-35

        http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/indonesia/auri-modernization-fighter.htm

        How about the 26,000 bombs Obama allegedly dropped on ISIS in 2016? Did they get to take back Ramadi? The Russians did get back Aleppo – for very low civilian casualties.

        The Afghanis are unanimous that the Soviet / Russian soldier is far superior to the NATO fatties.

      • “The Afghanis are unanimous that the Soviet / Russian soldier is far superior to the NATO fatties”
        Well there’s objective proof if I ever saw it – I’m off to google what the Afghanis believe when it comes to climate change…

    • It is not an offence to talk to the Russian ambassador and then becoming the NSA Chair. The problem is that Flynn lied to Mike Pence about it taking place, when the FBI have a detail record of the conversation because the call was unencrypted. Flynn needs to go, because he is clearly incompetent for the job.

    • onya Alfred. Plus Putin wins playing 17 grandmaster chess players simultaneously.
      He loves his country. He takes questions from 3 years old and up. His mum loved him, his family had terrible time with war. People of his intelligence dont want to fight.
      IQ 99.99 percentile band cant be measured on IQ charts… they only go to 160. 200 plus is another world.
      He will in Syria defend his democratically elected friend/person with intelligence whom he respects and also protect his own country in the longer term.
      Putin is surrounded by idiots in term of elected heads. Look at what we have. Series of ten pound poms and worse.
      Xi gets terrible abuse by some chinese yet likewise had a father jailed and tortured for many years…and is driven to look after his country and to help peoples lives in a highly intelligent way.
      The highly intelligent dont want war. “Gifted” programmes in Aus are given by 85 to 90 percentile band teachers who try to set up competition. The idiots dont get it.
      Xi has the OBOR idea which gives win-win and also a replacement for the IMF, a win-win instead of evil incarnate.
      Most journos are not intelligent enough to get it. Putins speech in October 2015 UN was remarkable.

      • Thanks glo and AuRules,

        Sometimes it is difficult to know when people are serious. Anyone who reads his history should know that the Japanese were once considered intellectually-inferior, physically-weak, bow-legged, buck-toothed, short-sighted clowns.

        It is sad to see the same reel being replayed with new actors.

  16. 2016 taught Cruz how to troll the media:

    Ted Cruz – Verified account
    [email protected]
    “Breaking: ABC releases video of POTUS promising “more flexibility” w/ Russia after election. Media outraged: http://tinyurl.com/jue8k2q
    RETWEETS
    6,499
    LIKES
    9,540
    11:25 AM – 15 Feb 2017

  17. Shock horror. Politicial leaders in one country will order operations to sway an election in another country. Welcome to your world USA…

  18. “Prior to Obama’s decision to punish Russia over the Crimea invasion, Exxon Mobil had a half TRILLION dollar oil and gas deal in play with the Russians that would have made a handful of Putins friends among the richest men in the world.”

    Prior to Obama’s decision to emblematically punish Russia for making him stupid and for thwarting the US de-democratisation of Ukraina (well, not quite thwarted but it exposed Beltway naked as the anti-democracy machinery), US business (Exxon) had interest in Russia and US businesses were to make a lot of money. Not any more, since sanctions.
    There, I corrected your typo.

    Your statement seems to draw conclusion as if Russians instigated sanctions to rid of Exxon’s presence, grub their 0.5 trillion bucks and now want them lifted to cash out on that. If they indeed played that card… well than that’s masters of game playing and Obama should be tried for treason.
    With or without Exxon, someone in Russia is to make a lot of money on oil. Same in Texas, Saudi Arabia and wherever there’s a strong country protecting own resources.

    Wherever there’s oil, there illegitimate interests to make exuberant money on it. The less democratic and poorer the state, the moar money Exxon and ilk can make. Draw your conclusions from thereby, not really hard, why there were interventions against democracies in every oil rich country where US interests had no substantial or absolute control of oil.

    • MediocritasMEMBER

      A while back I investigated the Sakhalin O&G projects and discovered the big difference between how Exxon operated and how Shell operated. The Russians were ripped apart by the main-stream western media for forcing Shell (or more correctly Sakhalin Energy) to sell a large chunk of their share of operations to Gazprom at a firesale price. What the media did NOT mention was the absolutely appalling “Production Sharing Agreement” that Shell had acquired:

      http://awsassets.panda.org/downloads/sakhalinpsawww.pdf

      What the media also did not mention was that Shell was using every dirty trick in the books to overstate costs so that they could extend the duration of the initial terms of the PSA. Meanwhile, Exxon behaved fairly and reasonably towards Russia and played no such games.

      Shell absolutely got what it deserved from the Russians. Exxon retained its share and continued to operate at Sakhalin without any problems. So when Tillerson was announced as a possible head of the State Department, I thought that was a great idea. Here’s a guy who knows how to work productively with Russia so that both parties profit from it.

      It seems that the MSM hold the Shell mindset, which is to rape Russia for all that its worth and then cry victim if Russia fights back. A large part of this has to do with the fact that Russia’s extremely wealthy oligarchs fled West with their takings when the government clamped down on their rampant looting.

      What’s really crazy to me is Europe’s (especially Germany’s) political position regarding Russia. Gazprom wants to sell energy to Europe, so does the Middle East. Europe needs the energy and will benefit from competitive pricing from multiple sources. Yet they cut off their noses to spite their faces, making it harder for Russia to supply what they want and need, supporting sanctions that even German businesses DO NOT AGREE WITH, and supporting chaos in the Middle East which leads to a migrant crisis that Europe can’t afford (socially, politically and economically).

      There are too many “lifer” politicians in charge, following the Project for a New American Century and pandering to an outdated model of American Hegemony, rather than encouraging extensive trade in a multipolar world.

      Let’s do business with Russia, as much as possible, because the more business links there are, the greater the loss should there be war, hence there’s a powerful incentive to stay peaceful.