Donald Trump

Trump’s Comeback: How His Fiery CNN Town Hall Stole the Show


At first, many were surprised that CNN, a well-known anti-Trump media channel, decided to host an extraordinary show featuring former President Donald J. Trump and young CNN journalist Kaitlan Collins in a fiery town hall at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. Despite the initial surprise, the programme turned out to be a major win for Trump, who used the hour-long program as an opportunity to make a comeback.

Many viewers were shocked by how Collins, a relatively young journalist, lost her own control as a TV host in a discussion with a man who has beaten many others on stage. In TV shows, unfortunately, many journalists have less understanding, it’s not necessarily about who tells the truth or who you agree with, but who wins the debate and entertains the audience. While the later attempts by CNN and other anti-Trump media channels to downplay the programme may be less relevant, it’s clear that this programme has outperformed the interview Trump gave to Tucker Carlson a few days before his fetal termination from FOX.

It’s unfortunate to see a young journalist like Kaitlan become a victim to this Machiavellian politician who seems to have sharpened his mind and thoughts even more since serving as the head of one of the most influential nations on the planet. Even more surprising was the appearance of Anderson Cooper, one of CNN’s most prominent journalists, to deliver the concluding remarks without actually hosting the show.

Despite Trump’s impressive performance, the interview did reveal his careful approach to conflicts, particularly regarding the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war. It’s sad to see the strength of journalists shattered on a public stage due to immaturity or lack of preparation and prejudices on international humanitarian issues. However, this show has allowed us to realize that the USA is once again entering a remarkable and interesting political drama. While we can’t predict the outcome of the 2024 elections, it’s clear that Trump’s performance in this show has alerted the deep state and ruling Democrats to rethink and redesign their political strategies. If one seeks to neutralize Trump, he shall be destroyed by his own actions rather than external parties. In order to achieve this, one must know how to use Trump against himself, rather than resorting to the arrogant approach taken by politicians like Nancy Pelosi.

The Trump Effect: How One Man Changed American Politics Forever

In a geopolitical earthquake, Finland officially joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization yesterday, even as the United States found itself consumed by its own lurid domestic drama. So, even as America’s already enviable position in the world continues to expand and consolidate, primarily as a result of Vladimir Putin’s botched invasion of Ukraine, our domestic travails continue to distract and disorient us, even as they threaten to unravel America from within.

This strange dynamic of simultaneous global dominance and domestic unraveling was on stark display in the split-screen of downtown Manhattan and NATO headquarters in Brussels, where Finland’s national flag was raised to signal its place in the American-led alliance even as the first American president was arraigned on criminal charges in New York City.

In any case, it’s clear the radical homegrown authoritarianism embedded in the Republican Party, and personified by Donald Trump, are far more dangerous to us than even our most potent global adversaries in Beijing and Moscow. Of course, those threats also feed off one another, as in the case of Putin and Trump’s long and fruitful political alliance, which continues to this day.

As prosecutors attempt to hold Trump accountable, in the run-up to 2024, the gravest danger to our democracy will continue to threaten us from within. It’s a threat that will crystallize as we approach our next national election, one in which Trump may be both a criminal defendant and the Republican nominee, as Beijing and Moscow do what they can to stir up dysfunction in our fragile democracy.

Prosecuting a president

Indeed, Americans were intently focused on the spectacle in New York, as Donald Trump was indicted for making hush money payments to silence a pornstar before the 2016 election, resulting in 34 criminal charges against the former president and current Republican frontrunner. Trump was indicted, arrested, and arraigned yesterday in a Manhattan courtroom, amid a deafening media circus, becoming the first American president, current or former, to be indicted on felony charges.

However, the indictment seemed to be based on something of a novel legal theory, amid serious questions about whether or not it would stand up in a court of law. Regardless, the indictment has allowed Donald Trump to rapidly consolidate his control over the Republican Party, galvanizing his followers, and raising an extraordinary amount of money. 

In the short term, it seems the dominance of his authoritarian movement in the GOP is all but assured, with few Republicans willing to take him on as he’s facing criminal charges, particularly with those charges seeming weak.

Indeed, there’s been nearly universal concern from lawyers and political analysts about the weakness of the case, and anxiety that a failed prosecution would be “rocket fuel” for Trump’s third bid for the presidency, in the words of John Bolton, his former national security adviser turned conservative critic.

In any case, all eyes were on New York yesterday, and will remain trained on the Trump reality television saga for the foreseeable future, even as at least three other simmering criminal investigations threaten to produce their own indictments against the former president.

Thus, there was little reporting about the earth-shaking international developments affecting America’s position in Europe, despite the fact that Finland’s accession to full NATO membership carries with it profound implications for European and American security, with Washington and a newly belligerent Russia on opposing sides of a brutal war of aggression in Ukraine. 

Indeed, it was a reminder that America’s own domestic dysfunction, and Washington’s tendency toward self-absorption, can overtake even the most advantageous strategic situation. In an increasingly tense and multipolar world, we may not have that luxury for long.

Finland joins NATO

Indeed, NATO’s border with Russia has just doubled in length. NATO gained 832 miles of border along the Russian-Finland frontier, and a new ally with one of the strongest militaries in Europe, and extensive historic experience in the art of resisting its massive Russian neighbor. Neutral throughout the Cold War, Finland is now officially under Washington’s nuclear umbrella, and if the country is attacked, can expect NATO’s Article 5 protection. 

Likewise, Sweden looks set to join sometime before the next NATO summit convenes in Vilnius, Lithuania in July 2023. 

It amounts to a major strategic headache for Russia, and a black eye for the Kremlin on the international stage. Finland is deep in the heart of what the Kremlin considers its natural sphere of influence, and the fact that it’s joined NATO after decades of neutrality is a humiliating strategic reversal for Russia, and Vladimir Putin personally.

After all, Putin launched his vicious war of aggression in Ukraine partly because of his fears of NATO enlargement choking off Russia’s geo-strategic position; the idea that his botched invasion has now led NATO onto much of his border, and has effectively reduced the Baltic Sea to a NATO lake, must have been beyond his imagination. 

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was a “violation of our security and our national interests.” He said the Kremlin would be “watching closely,” even as Putin indicates that he’ll soon be placing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, a reminder of the global stakes of these developments.

A showdown over Taiwan

Meanwhile, a newly assertive China is protesting the meeting between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing Wen. China has declared meetings between Taiwan and the U.S. verboten, a breach of the One China policy that America sometimes adheres to, and sometimes does not. With President Biden having issued numerous solemn promises to come to Taiwan’s defense in the event of a Chinese invasion, the issue is a live ball, and a perilous one for all involved.

However, it seems somewhat unlikely that Beijing will launch another fearsome show of military force, as it did when Nancy Pelosi visited the Taiwanese leadership, sparking a major showdown between China and the United States that continues to claw at the superpower relationship. 

In any case, with Xi Jinping clearly eyeing Taiwan, and Vladimir Putin continuing to pursue his catastrophic invasion of Ukraine, it’s an increasingly dangerous world, particularly as Beijing and Moscow seal their somewhat shaky alliance. Still, this tense geopolitical climate does nothing to negate the fact that America’s biggest problem is here at home. 

The Republican Party is still caught in a destructive whirling cult of personality, led by a sociopathic madman who’s already shown he’s more than willing to use political violence to get what he wants. As he’s prosecuted for his crimes, Trump can be expected to do as much as damage as possible, at the head of the Republican Party that he dominates.

Thus, it feels as though international and domestic tensions are rising together, inextricably linked by personalities, politics, and passions. It’s enough to make even the most jaded analysts somewhat nervous, as powerful forces converge, and potentially erupt, with unknown consequences.

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Trump charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records, pleads not guilty


Former U.S. President Donald Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records, the Manhattan district attorney said on Tuesday afternoon.

Trump, who was arraigned at the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City and became the first former U.S. president to be criminally indicted, reportedly pleaded not guilty.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced the indictment after Trump’s arraignment, accusing him of “falsifying New York business records in order to conceal damaging information and unlawful activity from American voters before and after the 2016 election.”

During the election, Trump and others employed a “catch and kill” scheme to identify, purchase, and bury negative information about him and boost his electoral prospects, according to Bragg’s office in a press release.

Trump then tried to hide this conduct, causing dozens of false entries in business records to conceal criminal activity, including attempts to violate state and federal election laws, the release alleged.

The New York State Supreme Court indictment cited three instances of hush-money payments to cover up Trump’s alleged affairs.

A Republican who held the White House from early 2017 to early 2021 after winning the 2016 race, Trump has denied wrongdoing and stated that the criminal inquiry led by Bragg, a Democrat, is politically motivated.

Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche, speaking to reporters outside the Manhattan Criminal Court after Trump’s departure, revealed that his client is “frustrated” and “upset.”

“It’s not a good day,” Blanche said, adding that “you don’t expect this to happen … to somebody who was the president of the United States.”

Trump is traveling back to his Mar-a-Lago residence in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he will hold an event to address his indictment on Tuesday night, following the court appearance.

“Seems so SURREAL — WOW, they are going to ARREST ME. Can’t believe this is happening in America. MAGA!” Trump wrote on his social media platform “Truth Social” before arriving at the Manhattan Criminal Court earlier in the day.

Republicans have rallied behind Trump, criticizing that the justice system has been weaponized by the Democratic Party for political purposes since Trump, 76, is running for the White House again and is an early frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

“Equal justice under the law, unless you’re a Republican running for president,” tweeted U.S. Congressman Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who serves as chairman of the House Republican Study Committee.

Democrats, by contrast, are seeking to cast the historic indictment as an accountability move and urging Trump supporters to remain peaceful while protesting.

“I believe that Donald Trump will have a fair trial that follows the facts and the law,” U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

“There’s no place in our justice system for any outside influence or intimidation in the legal process,” Schumer, a New York Democrat, added.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Tuesday afternoon that President Joe Biden is aware of his predecessor’s arraignment but stressed that it is not the Democrat’s “focus.”

“Of course, this is playing out on many of the networks here on a daily basis for hours and hours, so obviously, he will catch part of the news when he has a moment to catch up on the news of the day, but this is not his focus for today,” Jean-Pierre said.

In addition to the hush-money payment case, Trump is facing several other criminal investigations at the state and federal levels, including his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss, his handling of classified documents, and his role in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

Sixty percent of Americans approve of the indictment of Trump, according to a new CNN poll released on Monday.

Support for the indictment fell along party lines, with 94 percent of Democrats approving of the decision to indict Trump, while 79 percent of Republicans disapproved of the move to indict.

Besides, about three-quarters of Americans say politics played at least some role in the Trump indictment, including 52 percent who said it played a major role, the CNN poll showed.

The Reckoning with Donald Trump


The Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Donald J. Trump today, in connection with his payment of hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, in a truly historic move against a former American president who is again seeking reelection. Trump is expected to be booked and arraigned sometime next week in downtown Manhattan, although the exact timing and charges remain unknown right now, because the indictment remains sealed.

It’s hard to overstate the gravity of this development, which apparently came as something of a surprise to Trump’s team at Mar-a-Lago, despite nearly constant swirling rumors that charges would be brought.

For his part, Trump already released a lengthy grievance-soaked statement decrying what he called “Political Persecution and Election Interference,” offering a false narrative of his own victimhood, and attacking Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as a tool of “Radical Left Democrats.” 

This is likely only to be the first shot fired in Trump’s verbal offensive, with far more to come as he embarks on the rhetorical war path.

A political earthquake

This is the first time a current or former American president has ever been charged with a crime, and it can be expected to shake American politics and jurisprudence to its very core. Certainly, the implications of this case will reverberate deep into Republican politics, and scramble America’s upcoming presidential election in 2024, with entirely unpredictable fallout.

Trump’s legal team has indicated that he will voluntarily surrender to authorities in New York, where he will presumably be arrested, booked, and asked to plead guilty or not guilty before a judge in Manhattan district court. He’s certain to try to turn this event into a media circus, and he will work hard to inflame his supporters to come out and defend him, perhaps with additional calls for violence.

Indeed, he’s already demanded that his supporters “PROTEST! PROTEST! PROTEST!” in numerous fiery Truth Social posts predicting this indictment. He held a somewhat sparsely attended rally at Waco, Texas, which was the site of the infamous siege against the Branch Davidian sect, an important symbol of violent far-right rebellion against the federal government. The symbolism was lost on no one.

Lately, Trump’s been explicitly promising “retribution.” He predicted “death and destruction,” were he to be indicted, and now that he has been, aftermath is all but assured.

Grievance politics

For some time, Donald Trump has spoken flippantly about this moment, claiming that an indictment would actually benefit him politically with his bitterly aggrieved voters. However, the real question now seems to be how this prosecution might alter the larger political landscape within the Republican Party, and whether or not and to what degree the GOP coalesces around the former president.

It’s unknown.

And yet some quarters of the Republican Party are certain to remain in his corner, particularly in the GOP’s radicalized congressional caucus. Indeed, Kevin McCarthy’s House Republicans have already been lacerating Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, and subpoenaing his documents, on behalf of the former president, in what appears to be a blatant effort to obstruct this very prosecution.

Congressional Republicans like Jim Jordan and Elise Stefanik have already been vociferously denouncing what they’ve called a “sham prosecution” and “outrageous,” without even seeing the indictment, in a sign of how little the underlying facts and evidence matter to them. But other Republicans may be harder to pin down, particularly those who might wish to defeat Trump in the upcoming primaries.

Will prominent presidential aspirants like Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Mike Pompeo finally turn on Donald Trump, or will they continue to be his reliably sycophantic supporters, terrified of incurring his wrath? Will these leading Republicans adopt Trump’s own poisonous rhetoric describing this indictment as a “political witch hunt,” and could this prosecution galvanize his support in the GOP ahead of 2024? 

We simply don’t know how this will ultimately play out, politically or legally.

However, in the near term, Trump can expect a boost in support, as elected Republicans rally around their former boss. The long term consequences of an indictment are much harder to predict, as a combative former American president defends himself against felony charges in a criminal trial.

A cascade of charges

Of course, there are other simmering criminal investigations that are felt to be far more serious than this hush money affair, particularly Fulton County DA Fani Willis’s inquiry in Georgia, currently examining Trump’s efforts to fraudulently flip votes. There’s also the federal inquiry at the Department of Justice, led by special counsel Jack Smith, into Trump’s hoarding of classified documents, for which a federal search warrant was executed at Mar-a-Lago.

The question then, is whether or not these Manhattan charges might crack open the doorway to other far more consequential prosecutions, and what kind of compounding effect multiple simultaneous prosecutions would have on Trump’s support in the Republican Party.

Again, it’s all unknown.

Right now, what is known, is that a single prosecutor is finally attempting to hold an utterly lawless former leader of the free world to account for one small part of his long record of wrongdoing, with no guarantee of success. With that said, there’s every reason to pursue Trump in court, should evidence of crimes exist. 

Without the rule of law, our democracy will fail. Period.

Donald Trump has evaded justice for decades, for racist housing policies at his residential buildings in Queens, for obstructing the Mueller investigation into Russian election interference, for blackmailing the president of Ukraine into providing dirt on Joe Biden, for trying to overturn a valid American election with lies, and ultimately inciting a lethal insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

He was acquitted after two righteous impeachments during and after his presidency because of the cowardice of elected Republicans, and he has thus far escaped state and federal charges for his well-documented efforts to incite a coup d’etat, and his hoarding of mounds of classified documents at his home at Mar-a-Lago.

Donald Trump is a cancer on the American body politic, fueled by his own sense of impunity. That impunity is finished.

Perhaps finally, justice will prevail over this destructive and narcissistic criminal, who’s brought this country so low. Perhaps finally, American democracy will be safeguarded from a would-be dictator who would like nothing better than to obliterate our freedom, and replace the rule of law with the rule of the strong, connected, and wealthy.

Of course, whether or not this prosecution is successful will have the gravest possible national implications for the country. Trump and his minions will do everything in their power to tear America apart, and obstruct the successful pursuit of justice.

That much is assured.

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Trump Americans Need Their Own Political Party

Tucker Carlson’s interview with former Republican US Representative Steve King explains how Washington really works, and it is not according to campaign slogans. 

The interview will help Trump Americans understand that no representation of them is coming from the Republican Party, not on immigration or anything else.  Trump himself was easily rolled by the Establishment.  Trump had no idea what he was up against and no staff able to clue him in and help him deal with it.  The Republican Establishment supported the lie that the 2020 presidential election was free of vote fraud and accepted the election fraud as the price of getting rid of Trump.  Do not confuse Trump supporters with the Republican Party.  They stand for different things. Kevin McCarthy will be a worse Speaker of the House for Trump Supporters than Nancy Pelosi. 

Trump supporters have no future in the Republican Party, which is cemented to the Establishment.  Trump supporters need to withdraw in mass and form a new party.  It is time for the Republican Party to be discarded. Instead of trying to operate within the Republican Party, Trump should offer his supporters a new party.  If they don’t follow him, they will have sealed their own doom.  

Both Tucker Carlson and Steve King missed the real reason US Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, helped the New York Times frame US Rep. King, a principled conservative, as a racist. It wasn’t the three or four words that the presstitutes took out of context and used to concoct a “white supremacist” issue. It was Rep. King’s defense of Western civilization.   Western civilization is white civilization.  To defend it is to defend white people. To defend white people, whom the New York Times 1619 Project labels racist, is racist.  Therefore Rep. King is a racist because he defends Western civilization.

This shows the deadly damage that has been inflicted on Western civilization by its own intellectuals, media, universities and schools, and politicians of both parties.  We have reached the point that we cannot defend our own civilization, our own existence, without being demonized.  Such a civilization is dead, a subject for archaeologists.

Dictator Biden’s Double Standard

As blood-red lighting stained the backdrop, the dark black sky rendered an eerie aura of despotism. Members of the military stood guard clutching their weapons in a show of power. Like a tyrannical allocution, US President Joe Biden lifted his hands clenched tightly into a fist and condemned his political opposition as being extremists and a threat to democracy. He propagated words of division to an already heavily-polarised population split along lines of party, politics and ideology.

Joe Biden took to the stage in downtown Philadelphia to issue a speech of mere opprobrium pointed bluntly toward the rivals of his political camp. His clenched fists thrown into the air complemented by his bared teeth and glare of hostility reminded the world of Hitler’s speeches at the Nazi conventions in WWII Europe.

By declaring that former President Donald Trump and his supporters are a threat to American democracy, Joe Biden essentially promulgated that over 77 million of his own people are extremists. “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic”, Joe Biden raged.

The timing of his schismatic speech is politically felicitous as it comes a few weeks before the 2022 mid-term elections – an event that could witness a return of the Republican party to control the House or Senate. The botched military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the immigrant crisis on the Southern border and the devastated economy are some of the principal talking points of the Republican camp.

White House officials termed Biden’s address as the ‘battle for the soul of the nation’ and Biden claimed that he speaks to America on ‘sacred’ ground. This sort of language reminds any political reader of the authoritative attributes of the famous Big Brother, in George Orwell’s classic; 1984. This is of course complemented by the widespread censorship of opposing political views on mainstream media and big tech platforms as well as the rampant cancel culture that seems to have infiltrated social life across the globe.

As the Biden-Harris administration plummets to become the second least popular duo in office, White House officials work hard to put on a dazzling show before the mid-terms. However, being flanked by Marines complemented by Nazi-like lighting behind the president is probably the worst backdrop that the strategists could come up with.

Biden’s comments on his political opponents come as a result of the forced entry of Trump supporters into the US Capitol on 06 January 2021 – for which court cases and trials are open to date. The US judiciary, politicians and legal system have arrested, are trying and will sentence scores of Trump supporters for storming their government buildings.

Yet the very sanctimonious posturing lies in the hypocritical statements of Western representatives with regard to the Sri Lankan Aragalaya regime change operation. While Biden condemned insurrectionists as ‘extremists’ threatening American democracy, his ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung, hailed the Sri Lankan insurrectionists as ‘peaceful protesters’. Why is it that the insurrectionists of Sri Lanka were defended as peaceful yet when America is threatened in the same way, their insurrectionists are castigated as a threat? Perhaps post-colonial neo-imperialism is the underlying impetus.

The Aragalaya movement in Sri Lanka was the propulsion of mob violence driven by behind-the-scenes political strategists. Kumar Gunaratnam’s Peratugami and the Anthare played pivotal roles in the planning, organising and executing of the protest-riot compilation. The raging mob violence left millions of rupees in damages in Galle Face alone. The same mobs burned down over sixty homes of lawmakers, destroyed over fifty public and private vehicles and waged incendiarism in the current President’s residence – but yes, according to Ambassador Chung, they are ‘peaceful protesters’.

When Sri Lanka attempted to protect her national assets by making the insurrectionists leave the invaded government buildings, including the Presidential Secretariat, Presidential Residence and Prime Minister’s Residence, the US and Western officials released tweets and reports against President Wickremesinghe’s actions. Yet when their own Capitol building was invaded by insurrectionists, the US government deployed over 26,000 National Guard troops to quell the demonstrations. The double standard in handling crises is not just appalling, but rather vituperative in the larger sense of geopolitical regard.
Of course, this sort of hypocrisy is not new to the table as the same Western governments that unfoundedly accuse Sri Lanka of unsubstantiated war crimes and manipulated ‘genocides’, enjoy immunity from condemnation for their crimes in wars across the world, especially during the Invasion of Iraq and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria.

Biden’s antagonist-like monologue lambasted the Trump-aligned population of America as being “a clear and present danger” who placed “a dagger at the throat of [American] democracy”. Does the US diplomatic community suggest that Sri Lanka is not in ‘clear and present danger’ from the politically charged regime change operation that transpired here?

The American state and people have been a friend of Sri Lanka for decades. The political bond that was enjoyed during the JR-Reagan period is one of diplomatic brilliance and political prosperity. Likewise, the US military has always had a cordial relationship with its Sri Lankan counterparts. Amongst several instances, the US Navy Pacific Command provided intelligence to the Sri Lankan government of LTTE terrorist activity to hunt down terrorist ships and crew during the war. Alternatively, the Sri Lankan military provided Jungle Warfare training to foreign troops. The potential inconvenience to this politico-militaristic relationship stems from mishandled diplomacy on both sides of the spectrum; including the double standard view of the US government as well as the failure of the Sri Lankan diplomatic corps in building a stronger relationship with its Western counterparts.

The LTTE international network carries out its compelling strategy of lobbying, litigation and lawmaking in the global arena. By lobbying foreign politicians with funds and votes, the LTTE international body attempts to achieve the vision of separatism through international geopolitics after having failed to achieve it through sheer brutal terrorism on the island. At the same time, the ongoing shift in US foreign policy away from the political ecosystem of the Middle East and towards the Indo-Pacific region signals a potentially intense power play in the region.

The Sri Lankan government and diplomatic corps must immediately understand the severity of this impending materialisation and prepare themselves at the earliest. The economic condition of the country and the failing political stability have rendered the nation a regional punching bag, as rightly commented by President Wickremesinghe. A punching bag will not survive the storm – only a ship with a sturdy sail and adept steering can make it through. It is time Sri Lanka builds her sail and firmly lays her hands on the helm. The storm is coming.

Time to Unveil Trump’s Basement Documents


Whatever your feelings about former President Trump, there are reasons to be skeptical when government officials say it was necessary to raid his Florida home to recover classified documents that threatened national security.

Like the former president, I was once accused by the government of mishandling classified information connected to my representation of a detainee at Guantanamo Bay. There was nothing in my client’s file that posed any danger to national security. My client was an innocent shopkeeper who was sold to the Americans back in 2003 when the U.S. was paying bounties to corrupt Afghan warlords to turn in Al Qaeda or Taliban fighters, and then shipping those men 8,000 miles to our newly built prison camp in Cuba. The government decided to classify every document in the detainee files as “secret,” not to protect national security, but so it could lie with impunity and tell the American people that the prisoners at Gitmo were the “worst of the worst,” and “terrorists” captured on the battlefield.

I never revealed any classified information. I got into trouble after writing an article criticizing the government’s practice of classifying certain evidence above the security clearance level of the detainee’s lawyer, making it impossible to challenge. Following a hearing at the Department of Justice, I was allowed to keep my security clearance long enough to see my client released back to his home and his family after 12 years of unjust imprisonment.

I was never in serious legal jeopardy. But the experience opened my eyes to the ways that our government abuses its power to classify information as “secret” to protect its own officials from embarrassment or criminal exposure. Since 9/11, the people most aggressively pursued for mishandling classified materials are whistleblowers, not traitors.

Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange revealed official crimes such as the murder of unarmed Iraqi civilians and journalists. Daniel Hale revealed that our drone assassination program regularly slaughters innocent civilians, contrary to public statements about surgical strikes. John Kiriakou revealed inconvenient facts about our torture program. Edward Snowden revealed an illegal mass surveillance program. All these truth-tellers were aggressively pursued under the Espionage Act. Assange may die in prison for telling the truth about the crimes of our leaders.

While Trump may not fit the mold of a selfless whistleblower, there is still cause for concern. First, the official justifications for the raid on Mar-a-Lago are highly suspect. Initially we were told that Trump possessed “classified documents relating to nuclear weapons” that he might sell to a foreign government like Saudi Arabia. This shocking accusation has been quietly dropped. Now we are told that the government has “grave concern” that Trump might blow the cover on “clandestine human sources” described in the mainstream media as the “lifeblood” of our intelligence community. “Disclosure could jeopardize the life of the human source,” a former legal adviser to the National Security Council told the New York Times.

This second justification—to protect sources—is also dubious. The DOJ has been in negotiation with Trump’s lawyers since he left the oval office with his boxes of documents. If the government was just concerned about protecting its informants, a deal could have easily been struck wherein government lawyers would go to Mar-a-Lago and redact the lines in the documents that identify informants without the need for a full-blown raid.

The sudden concern in the mainstream media about protecting informants in order to take down Trump is short-sighted. The U.S. has a long and sordid history of using corrupt, lying informants to launch disastrous policies like the Iraq War. In 2002-03, we were told by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Powell that the government had “solid intelligence” that the Iraqi regime possessed mobile production facilities for biological and chemical weapons. Had ordinary Americans then had access to the intelligence reports—leaked years later, after the disastrous war was in full flight—we would have learned that the “solid intelligence” about mobile weapons labs came from a single informant named “Curveball,” who had been described by his handlers as “crazy” and “probably a fabricator” and his intelligence as “highly suspect.” Had some brave patriot leaked these reports in real time, millions more Americans would have taken to the streets in 2002 to stop the planned invasion of Iraq.

The media should be demanding more information from our government, especially about its use of informants, and not more secrecy. It is a basic rule of journalism that governments lie, and they often bribe (and sometimes torture) informants to support those lies.

Many innocent men, including my client, were sent to Guantanamo Bay on the word of informants who were bribed with large cash rewards. If these informants are the lifeblood of our intelligence service, then that service should be defunded.

A more plausible explanation for the Mar-a-Lago raid was provided by two high-level U.S. intelligence officials who told Newsweek’s William M. Arkin that the true target of the raid was a personal “stash” of hidden documents that Justice Department officials feared Donald Trump might weaponize. This stash reportedly included material that Trump thought would exonerate him of any claims of Russian collusion in 2016 or any other election-related charges. “Trump was particularly interested in matters related to the Russia hoax and the wrong-doings of the deep state,” one former Trump official told Newsweek.

This explanation is corroborated by former senior director for counterterrorism Kash Patel, who prepared a key House report that revealed “significant intelligence tradecraft failings” in connection with the Intelligence Community’s Assessment on Russian interference. But the CIA has blocked the release of Patel’s report by classifying it as “secret.”

Kash Patel, who is a current board member of Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), began his career in government under President Obama as a national security prosecutor and later held several positions in the Trump administration. In April 2017, he was picked to lead a team of investigators for the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Republican Devin Nunes (now CEO of TMTG), and tasked with evaluating the “Intelligence Community Assessment” (ICA) on Russian interference. Although the media touted the ICA as the consensus view of all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, it was in fact a rushed job completed in the final days of the Obama administration by a small group of CIA analysts led by then-CIA Director John Brennan.

Patel’s team obtained and reviewed the key documents underlying the ICA’s conclusions, and interviewed around 70 witnesses under oath. His demands that intelligence agencies produce relevant documents caused a stir among deep state officials unaccustomed to being called to account for their actions. As the Washington Post reported, “Democrats criticized the unusual direct requests to the agencies” by Patel’s team of investigators. Patel, a former public defender, apparently believed that even the intelligence community should be subject to the rule of law.

In March 2018, Patel’s team produced a report that found serious flaws in the CIA’s Russia investigation and called into question the intelligence community’s key claims that Russia ordered a cyber-hacking and interference campaign to help Trump. The CIA’s response to Patel’s report was to classify it as secret and block its release.

During the next three years, Patel and others, including then-President Trump and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, pushed for declassification of Patel’s report on the ICA. But the heads of the intelligence agencies continued to obstruct, claiming that releasing the report “would compromise intelligence sources and methods” and cause “harm… to national security, including specific harm to the military.” Trump eventually backed down.

Then in December 2020, according to the Post, Trump tried to fire Gina Haspel as CIA director for “resisting efforts by Trump and Patel to declassify” Patel’s report. But once again, Trump backed down and the document still remains under lock and key. Not surprisingly, in its article about Patel’s battle with the intelligence community, the Washington Post sides with the CIA, describing CIA Director Haspel and her colleagues, who demanded that Patel’s report criticizing their work be kept secret, as “courageous officialswho sought to protect the government.”

Patel has publicly voiced his frustration with the CIA for blocking release of his report on the ICA. “I think there were people within the IC [Intelligence Community], at the heads of certain intelligence agencies, who did not want their tradecraft called out, even though it was during a former administration, because it doesn’t look good on the agency itself,” Patel said in an interview. Patel also said he has been threatened with criminal prosecution just for talking to the media about his classified report. The power of government officials to say, ‘we have classified your report and if you even talk about it to the media we might put you in jail,’ is the power of a despot.

In an interview with the Grayzone’s Aaron Maté, Patel disputed the claim that releasing his report harms national security, noting that his committee released similar reports of its other investigations and “we didn’t lose a single source, we didn’t lose a single relationship, and no one died by the public disclosures we made, because we did it in a systematic and professional fashion.”

For example, in January 2018, Patel authored a report that showed serious abuses by the FBI in the Carter Page investigation, which caused a former FBI lawyer to plead guilty to falsifying information that was used to apply for warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. This report criticizing the FBI was released to the public, suggesting that it is still permissible to criticize the FBI, but not the CIA.

Patel’s public statements suggest his agreement with Newsweek’s report that the true motivation for the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago was seizing documents relating to the Russia investigation that Trump took with him when he left the White House. In a recent interview with Real Clear Politics, Patel noted that “the same corrupt FBI government gangsters, the same agents that were involved in Russiagate, the same counterintelligence agents that were involved in making the bad false call on Hunter Biden’s laptop,” are also involved in the raid on President Trump’s home, with the intent to make sure the American public never gets the full story on Russiagate.

The saga of the Mar-a-Lago raid sheds some light on the important question of who really controls what we are permitted to see about the inner workings of our own government. While the sitting president may in theory have unilateral authority to declassify and release information to the American people, the deep state bureaucracy still holds the power to obstruct the president. As one former bureaucrat told CNN, the process for declassification must include signoff from the agency that classified the information in the first place “in order to protect the intelligence-gathering process, its sources and methods.”

Whatever one thinks of Trump, is it really in the public interest to have a deep state controlling what information gets out to the public? In 1953, the CIA directed a military coup that overthrew democratically elected Iranian leader Mohammad Mosaddegh, and in 1973, the CIA helped overthrow democratically elected Chilean leader Salvador Allende. These leaders were targeted not because they were unfriendly to the American people but because they were unfriendly to international oil and copper interests that wanted to exploit those countries’ resources. And while the people of Iran and Chile knew in real time who was responsible, the American people were kept in the dark for decades until key historical documents were finally declassified.

Many scholars believe the CIA was complicit in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Yet 60 years later, thousands of key documents remain redacted or under seal. President Trump came to office promising to release those records, as required by the JFK Records Act. But deep state bureaucrats opposed the release, claiming it would cause “potentially irreversible harm to our Nation’s security.” Trump backed down, quite possibly recalling the fate of the last president to go to war with the CIA.

It’s not necessary to side with Trump to oppose excessive secrecy. It’s our government. We have a right to see whatever secrets Trump had hidden in his basement. And if government bureaucrats are truly concerned that one of their informants might be outed, they can redact those few lines from the reports. But show us the rest.

This article is distributed in partnership with Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

Ukraine: The Missing Link

I once asked my younger son if he could pass the salt, only to be met with the response, “Of course I can!” When I repeated my request, he snapped back: “You asked me if I could do it, and I answered you. You didn’t tell me that I should do it.”

Who was freer in this situation – me or my son? If we understand freedom as freedom of choice, my son was freer, because he had an additional choice about how to interpret my question. He could take it literally, or he could interpret it in the usual sense, as a request that was formulated as a question out of politeness. By contrast, I effectively renounced this choice and automatically relied on the conventional sense.

Now, imagine a world where many more people acted in everyday life the way my son did when he was teasing me. We would never know for sure what our partners in conversation wanted to say, and we would lose an immense amount of time pursuing pointless interpretations. Is this not an apt description of political life over the last decade? Donald Trump and other alt-right populists have capitalized on the fact that democratic politics relies on certain unwritten rules and customs, which they have violated when it suits them, while avoiding accountability by not always explicitly breaking the law.

In the United States, Trump’s Republican Party lackeys are pursuing such a strategy ahead of the next presidential election. According to a fringe legal theory that they have embraced, a loophole in federal election law would permit a state’s legislature to appoint its own presidential electors if the secretary of state decides that he or she cannot certify the result of an election. Republican election deniers are now running for the offices that they will need to override the will of the voters in 2024. The GOP thus is attempting to destroy one of the basic conditions of democracy: that all political participants speak the same language and follow the same rules. Otherwise, a country will find itself on the verge of civil war – an outcome that almost one-half of Americans now expect.

The same conditions apply to global politics. For international relations to work, all parties must at least speak the same language when they talk about concepts like freedom and occupation. Russia obviously is undermining this condition by describing its war of aggression in Ukraine as a “special operation” to “liberate” the country. But Ukraine’s government has also fallen into this trap. Addressing the Israeli Knesset on March 20, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “We are in different countries and in completely different conditions. But the threat is the same: for both us and you – the total destruction of the people, state, culture. And even of the names: Ukraine, Israel.”

Palestinian political scientist Asad Ghanem described Zelensky’s speech as “a disgrace when it comes to global struggles for freedom and liberation, particularly of the Palestinian people.” Zelensky “reversed the roles of occupier and occupied.” I agree. And I also agree with Ghanem that, “every possible support must be given to Ukrainians as they resist [Russia’s] barbaric aggression.” Without Western military support, most of Ukraine would now be under Russian occupation, destroying a pillar of international peace and order: the integrity of borders.

Unfortunately, Zelensky’s Knesset speech was not a singular event. Ukraine regularly takes public positions in support of the Israeli occupation. In 2020, it quit the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People; and just last month, its ambassador to Israel, Yevgen Korniychuk, declared that: “As a Ukrainian whose country is under a very brutal attack by its neighbor, I feel great sympathy towards the Israeli public.”

This parallel between Israel and Ukraine is totally misplaced. If anything, the Ukrainians’ situation is closest to that of the West Bank Palestinians’. Yes, Israelis and Palestinians at least acknowledge their adversaries’ otherness, whereas Russia claims that Ukrainians are really just Russians. But not only does Israel deny that the Palestinians are a nation (as Russia does with Ukraine); the Palestinians also have been denied a place in the Arab world (like Ukrainians vis-à-vis Europe before the war). Moreover, like Russia, Israel is a nuclear-armed military superpower that is de facto colonizing a smaller, much weaker entity. And like Russia in the occupied parts of Ukraine, Israel is practicing a politics of apartheid.

While Israel’s leaders welcome Ukraine’s support, they have not returned the favor. Instead, they have oscillated between Russia and Ukraine, because Israel needs Russia’s continuing toleration of its own military strikes on targets in Syria. But Ukraine’s full support for Israel mainly reflects its leaders’ ideological interest in presenting their struggle as a defense of Europe and European civilization against a barbaric, totalitarian East.

This framing of the fight is untenable, because it requires glossing over Europe’s own roles in slavery, colonialism, fascism, and so forth. It is crucial that Ukraine’s cause be defended in universal terms, around shared concepts and interpretations of words like “occupation” and “freedom.” To reduce Ukraine’s war to a struggle for Europe is to use the same framing as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “court philosopher” Aleksandr Dugin, who draws a line between “Russian truth” and “European truth.” Confining the conflict to Europe reinforces Russia’s own global propaganda, which presents the invasion of Ukraine as an act of decolonization – part of the struggle against Western neoliberal domination and a necessary step toward a multipolar world.

By treating Israel’s colonization of the West Bank as a defensive struggle for freedom, Ukraine is validating another power’s aggression and thus compromising its own fully justified struggle for freedom. Sooner or later, it will have to make a choice. Will it be truly European, by participating in the universal emancipatory project that defines Europe? Or will it become a part of the new right’s populist wave?
When Ukraine asked the West, “Can you pass the howitzers?” the West did not cynically quip, “Yes, we can!” and then do nothing. Western countries replied reasonably by sending weapons to fight the occupiers. Yet when Palestinians ask for support of any kind, they receive nothing but empty statements, often accompanied by declarations of solidarity with their oppressor. When they ask for the salt, it is handed to their opponent.

Courtesy: Project-syndicate. Click here to read the original