High Crimes and Misdemeanors – Not by Trump but Obama and Democrats

High Crimes.jpg

 Increasing evidence emerges that confirms what ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern suggests was a classic off-the-shelve intelligence operation initiated during the last year of Obama’s presidency  against the Trump campaign by employees of, and others associated with, the CIA, FBI, and the NS. Yet the public is being counseled to ignore possible proof of state mis-conduct. 

The historic and unprecedented timing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of twelve Russia military intelligence officers on the eve of Trump’s meeting with Putin, was clearly meant to undercut Trump’s authority. This still did not pique the journalistic curiosity of an ostensibly independent press to at least pretend to question the possible motivation for these indictments at such a specific moment.   

Instead of critical questions, Democrats, along with the corporate liberal media flipped the script and suggested that those questioning the allegations of Russian manipulation of the 2016 U.S. elections, which supposedly included the active or tacit support of the Trump campaign, was ipso-facto evidence of one’s disloyalty to the state - if not also complicit with implementing the Russia inspired conspiracy. 

This narrative has been set and is meant to be accepted as veracious and impermeable to challenges. Powerful elements of the ruling class, operating with and through the Democratic party in an attempt to secure maximum electoral success, decided that Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia shall be the primary narrative to be utilized by democrats -from the increasing phony opposition represented by the Sanders wing of the party, to the neoliberal, buck-dancing members of the Congressional Black Caucus. All are expected to fall in line and do thy ruling class’s bidding. 

When Trump met with the arch-enemy Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and didn’t declare war on Russia for conspiring against Clinton, charges of treason were splashed across the headlines and editorial pages of the elite press with some of the loudest denunciations coming from Black liberals.   

Not being at war with Russia, at least not in the technical sense, was just one of those inconvenient facts that didn’t need to get in the way of the main objective which was to smear Trump

And while evidence of collusion continues to surface, it’s actually not between Trump and the Russians, rather it’s between intelligence officials in the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign. The latest revelation of this evidence was reported by John Solomon in, “The Hill,” a Washington insider publication. According to Solomon, former FBI attorney Lisa Page gave testimony to the House Judiciary committee that seemed to confirm the partisan intentions of Peter Strzok and other high officials in the agency. 

Page was one of the authors of the infamous text messages between her and Peter Strzok (the two were also in a personal relationship at the time) while they both worked together at the FBI. The texts soon became the objective of endless speculation ever since they were revealed last summer. Exchanges shared between Strzok and Page during the 2016 campaign season, appear to point to Strzok’ participation in a vast conspiracy to gather intelligence on the Trump campaign and then to undermine his presidency on the unexpected chance of his election. 

Two days after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named Mueller as special counsel, Strzok, who at that time was the lead investigator on the Russia probe texted, “There’s no big there there.” 

Peter Strzok wasn’t just a minor bureaucrat with the bureau, as some outlets tried to imply in their coverage of the issue. He was the Chief of the FBI’s Counterespionage Section, and lead investigator into Clinton’s use of a personal server. He then led the FBI’s investigation of Russia interference as the Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Division until he was replaced in the summer of 2017. 

Page confirmed that the no “there there” was in fact the quality of the Russia investigation. This means that a special counsel was appointed even though key FBI officials knew that there wasn’t anything there. 

Page’s testimony provides strong confirmation that the decision by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to name Mueller as special counsel, who then brought in Strzok to lead the Russia-gate team, was not an objective, innocent affair. In actuality, it points to criminal use of the government’s counterintelligence capabilities to engage in a partisan manipulation of the electoral process.  

Some liberals, and even some radicals, pose the questions like “Even if those officials engaged in questionable activity, why should that be of concern for progressive forces, especially since this presidency represents the forefront of a neo-fascist movement in the U.S?” 

There are three interconnected reasons why progressives should be concerned:

First: The normalization of the assault on bourgeois democracy:  If elements of the capitalist class, in coordination with the major intelligence agencies, can successfully conspire to undermine and/or control an individual duly elected by the processes of U.S. democracy, as flawed as it may be, what does it suggest for a strategy that sees the electoral arena as a primary space for advancing progressive candidates and oppositional movements?  

The ruling class will go to great depths to maintain power: The fact that elements of the ruling class are prepared to undermine a member of their own class because that individual represents social forces that the financial and corporatist elite have determined are a threat to their interests must make us question “What would happen if a true radical was able to win high office?  Therefore, the support and alignment with these forces by so-called progressives and radicals because of their understandable hatred for Trump is still objectively an alignment with reaction.  

 

Second: By aligning politically with the U.S. based transnational ruling class that sees Trump as a threat to their interests, liberals and some left forces have abandoned positions and left them to the radical right, with the objective result of providing support for the very same narrow, racist, U.S.-centric, and proto-fascist forces that liberals and the left claim to be opposed to. 

The critique and rejection of NATO, supporting de-escalation of tensions with Russia, exposing hegemony of finance capital, revealing the anti-democratic nature of the European Union, opposing international “trade” agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and trans-Atlantic Investment Partnership, demanding that U.S. forces withdraw from Syria and questioning the role of Saudi Arabia in spreading right-wing Wahhabism throughout the world, are now positions taken up by the right because the imperial left has aligned itself with the agenda of transnational capital and its imperialist objectives in lieu of presenting a people’s agenda.    

Third: Consequently, the criticism of Trump’s foreign policies, including approaches on North Korea and Russia by democrats, is coming from positions to the right of Trump! The result is a political environment in which the possibility of escalating military conflicts with Russia, Iran or even at some point with China, is becoming a more normalized and realistic possibility. 

The Clinton New Network (CNN) along with MSNBC, the Washington Post and New York Times are  desperately trying to salvage the underlying theme of the assault on the Trump administration: that it’s supposed collusion with foreign sources, specifically the Russians, may have had a significant impact on why Clinton lost the election. And they also hold that any deviation from that declaration by Trump and his administration are just attempts at obstruction of justice.  

With the revelations about the role and activities of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the Comey leak to the press, with the express purpose to create pretext for the appointment of a special counsel, the placing of an FBI informant in the Trump campaign, the role Andrew McCabe in covering up for his subordinates and leaking classified information to the press, the “primary narrative” of the democrat party and liberals is starting to unravel.   

Abuse of state power is nothing new. 

This would not be the first time that powerful unelected elements in the state have moved to manipulate political outcomes based on an agenda that the public had no knowledge of or even to remove a president. People have forgotten or didn’t make the correct connection that the famous source of information that brought down Richard Nixon, Bernstein’s and Woodman’s “deep throat” was Mark Felt, the Associate Director of the FBI!

And like the question raised to Nixon and Watergate then, but will only be raised by the Black Agenda Report today is, “What did Obama know and when did he know it?” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musings from Margins: The NATO and Putin Summits, Plus High Crimes, Misdemeanors and Liberal Madness

“…we’ who inhabit marginal space that is not a site of domination but a place of resistance… I am speaking from a place in the margins where I am different, where I see things differently. I am talking about what I see.” (Bell Hooks) 

BARAKA_____845x400 (1).jpg

 

Trump visits the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) 

Reactionary democrats are defending NATO, and something called the "Western alliance," further exposing them as a war party and a party committed to upholding white supremacy.

NATO is a key component of the U.S./NATO/EU axis of domination, the global structures of the Pan-European white supremacist, colonial/capitalist patriarchy. The fact that some individuals could self-identify as progressive, or even more incredibly, as radical, and then make an argument in support of NATO reflects the right-wing character of Western leftism. 

The NATO declaration said that the Russians were responsible for all sorts of actions including: “aggressive actions, …the threat and use of force to attain political goals,” that challenged the Alliance and undermined “Euro-Atlantic security and the rules-based international order”- sounds like they were really describing the U.S.

Trump raised the question that if Russia represents such an existential threat to Europe why is it that they haven’t devoted more resources to European security, and why are they still willing to trade with Russia.  

Trump – Putin And Liberal Madness!

There was a time in United States politics when it was supposed to be accepted that domestic politics stopped at the shores and all would either fall silent or never utter a critique of a U.S. president while he was abroad. But with the Mueller indictment of Russia intelligence officers on the eve of the summit between Trump and Putin, that ethos became another practice relegated now to the realm of myths that in past times sustained the nations’ self-definition.   

Mueller's indictment beautifully set Trump up. Trump knew they were setting him up and he was not going for it but in not going for it he was going to open himself up to a frontal attack from those elements attempting to undermine him. They used his ego against him, a brilliant move. Does it have anything to do with issue of collusion, of course not. But none of this really had anything to do with collusion, it was and is a classic disinformation campaign meant to de-legitimize and eventually force from office someone who the elite never dreamed could have won because if they did they would not have promoted him through there media outlets.

When the Central Intelligence Agency created the term conspiracy theory, it was conceived of as a weapon exactly for a moment like this when official state criminality was being exposed. The premise was that when fact-based information and/or analysis emerged that challenged the official narrative or interpretation of a specific event that might prove dangerous to the state and entrenched elite interests, an intervention could be orchestrated with “counter-facts” and a diversionary and implausible conclusion of both sets of facts that would deride and call into question the credibility of the whole theory.

There seems to be a complete psychotic break with reality in the U.S. as a result of the Trump-Putin summit. Liberals are hysterically calling for impeachment and even so-called radicals are quoting ex-CIA criminal John Brennan and branding Trump a traitor. The good thing about all of this is that the liberals posing as radicals have been exposed and their sentimental pro-empire, pro-American proclivities revealed. Unfortunately, though, the reactions to the summit has also revealed a secret that many of us knew, spoke about but did not dare focus to much attention on it, and that was the reality of how right-wing Black America had become. 

The Russians today, the Chinese tomorrow, Putin's a devil while Benjamin Netanyahu is honored even though his hands drip with the blood of unarmed Palestinians. It is very dangerous, especially for the oppressed, when the rulers know how easy it is to manipulate public opinion.

The real final word on Ocasio-Cortez: I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt and took a lot of heat for it. I don't regret that because I can take the heat, that is what you get when you don't run with the herd. But it is really sad that she does not have the confidence or political understanding to recognize that the times call for clear, consistent, principled politics and that if you really stand for something the people will stand with you. The other read is that she may have known something that some of didn’t completely perceive until today, and that is how incredibly conservative and conformist the public is in the U.S. 

The Ongoing Agony of the Obama-Trump War on the People of Yemen!

Yemen.jpg

“We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation.” (M.L. King, “Beyond Vietnam”)

Yemen, the poorest Arab nation on Earth, is the victim of a savage, illegal war waged by the Saudi Arabian monarchy.  Armed to the teeth with the most sophisticated weapons in the world manufactured and supplied by the merchants of death in the United States, the Saudis are providing another grotesque example of what happens when a powerful nation with modern weapons is unrestrained by law and basic human decency.

Flying hundreds of sorties and targeting the civilian infrastructure—water and sanitation plants, the electrical grid, agricultural fields, food storage facilities, hospitals, roads, schools the result is over 20 million people, or 70 percent of the population,  are now dependent on food imports; 7 million of them are facing famine-like conditions and rely completely on food aid to survive. Conservative reports put the number of dead from the Saudis’ barbaric air war since March 2015 at over 11,000, with the vast majority being innocent civilians. Meanwhile, untold millions have been displaced.

All of the above acts against the Yemenis are war crimes.

But the trauma and devastation of the people doesn’t end here.  

For the last two weeks, the gangster family running the Saudi state has imposed a murderous air, sea and land blockade preventing vital aid to those millions now dependent on it for their basic survival.

However, the Saudis are not the only ones implicated in this unfolding international crime. Like most of the egregious, international human-rights crimes of the late 20th and 21st centuries, the U.S. state is once again complicit.  

The fact is the Obama administration gave the green light to the Saudi war on Yemen. This is a war that could not then or today have been launched and executed without direct support from the U.S. military. The United States provided critical support in the form of intelligence sharing and targeting, air-to-air refueling, logistics support, participation in the naval blockade, and billions of dollars in weapons sales.

That support continues under the Trump administration, including the finalization of the multi-billion-dollar arms deal with the Saudis that was initiated under the Obama administration.   

Starvation is rampant, and the innocents are dying but who cares when there is money to be made and geopolitical interests to protect. As the indispensable nation, the nation above all nations, it is of no real concern that starvation is a war crime. Rogue states, especially if they believe in their “exceptionality” don’t restrict themselves to the rules that apply to others. So like other elements of international law that the United States ignores, starvation according the Department of Defense the U.S. Department of Defense considers starvation a legitimate weapon. Therefore, its use is strategic, and morality or its legality is of no concern to the masters of the universe.   

Mass starvation is not the only tragedy the people are facing. Yemen is also experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of cholera in the world since the epidemic in Haiti that began in 2010. The Red Cross reports that there are over 750,000 cases of infection with the number expected to rise to over 900,000 by the end of the year. So far there have been over 3,000 deaths.   

In this period when the corporate capitalist press and social media companies coordinate with the U.S. state to determine the range of acceptable information and selected facts presented to the U.S. public, it is not surprising Yemen has received scant coverage. Yet, in those few instances when the Obama administration felt compelled to comment on the situation—usually when the foreign press asked—it downplayed its role. When pressed, the Obama administration provided a ludicrous explanation: Apparently, Saudi Arabia was justified in intervening for its own security and to restore democracy in Yemen!

Today, the Trump administration doesn’t even need to bother to provide an explanation for continued U.S. support to the barbarism in Yemen. More focused on domestic political intrigue, his critics are not concerned about the crimes against humanity and war crimes being committed by the U.S. administration in Yemen. Recent legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in the form of a resolution to compel the administration to comply with the War Powers Act on Yemen or withdraw U.S. forces has stalled after generating miniscule interest. Since the people who are dying are “over there,” to borrow from Senator Lindsey Graham, who cares, and who cares if U.S. involvement is constitutional or not!

Once again, the hypocritical morality of the U.S. and the West is exposed. With all of its moralistic pontificating about human rights, humanitarianism, the responsibility to protect, the global public is reminded that U.S. and Western geo-political interests will always “trump” their supposed commitments to the rule of law, human rights, and all of the other high-sounding principles that they have consistently violated through practice.

Dr. King suggested 50 years ago that the United States was approaching spiritual death, that the deep malady in the “American” spirit was producing a sick people and making the United States a danger to the world. With mass shootings, the epidemic of suicides, pervasive drug addiction, intensifying anti-Semitism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, white supremacy, generalized narcissism, and the normalization of war, the conclusion should be obvious today, the United States is a much sicker nation and an even more dangerous threat to the world.

The people of Yemen are suffering. They cry out for help, for an end to their misery, respect, and protection of their human right to live. But their voices are unheard, drowned out by the noise of Russia-gate, arguments about the meaning of Trump’s latest tweet, and the latest episode of the TV show “Scandal”.

While many activists in the U.S. who are aligned with the democratic party would reject it, the people in the global South, the racialized “others” whose lives have never mattered, understand clearly that Trump is not an aberration, he is the reflection of the “American” spirit.

BAP Member to Address United Nations on Colombia Peace Process

Charo Mina-Rojas, a long-time Afro-Colombian activist who has been involved in her country's peace process since the 22-day civil strike in Buenaventura, Colombia, will speak to the United Nations Security Council this month. See the document below for the official statement. Mina-Rojas is also a BAP member and organizes for Proceso de Comunidades Negras.

DOWNLOAD: Statement by MADRE and Proceso de Comunidades Negras

 

BAP+Member+to+Address+United+Nations-1.jpg

Afghanistan, North Korea and the War Against Black America: A Comment on Need for Black Left Unity

“One of the mistakes that some political analysts make is to think that their enemies should be our enemies.” (Nelson Mandela in a response to question on Ted Koppel’s show during his first trip to the U.S.)

The Trump administration’s bellicosity in response to the delicate and dangerous situation with North Korea is just the latest, however crude, iteration of warmongering that has characterized U.S. geo-political polices beginning with the settler-state’s bloody march across the North American continent and continuing to the present. With the ascendancy of the U.S. as a global power after World War II, military intervention was buttressed with sophisticated counter-intelligence operations as central weapons to advance U.S. global dominance. However, the state’s use of military force and subversion took an even more qualitatively dangerous turn toward more militarism at the end of the Cold War when neo-liberalism and militarism converged as Full Spectrum Dominance, with bi-partisan support. Unrestrained by any countervailing global force, militarization, threats of war, and domestic repression dramatically exposed the strategy of the U.S. ruling circles and their junior partners in Europe to utilize force to advance and maintain their dominant position in the capitalist global order.

The task for those of us who have historically been the victims during this 522-year-old nightmare of Western colonial/capitalist exploitation and systematic dehumanization is to make sure that we don’t confuse our interests and realities with the interests and agenda of the U.S./EU/NATO axis of domination. For the black liberation movement, we must be clear about our friends and our interests but even clearer about who our enemies are and their interests.

In just the last few weeks, the Trump administration has threatened military intervention in Venezuela; committed the U.S. to a never-ending war in Afghanistan; declared an escalation of the War on Black America with the lifting of the restrictions on select military equipment to domestic law enforcement agencies; and escalated tensions with North Korea (and by extension with China).

For the black left and broader black social movements it is important that we recognize 1) that the liberatory agenda of the black working class and poor is in direct opposition to the agenda of the white supremacist ruling class and the U.S. state no matter which one of the bourgeois parties is occupying the executive office; 2) that internationalism is at the center of the black radical tradition and that we have historically identified the U.S. as an oppressor nation and opposed imperialist moves against oppressed nations, and that we must continue to do so; 3) that the commitment of the U.S. war machine to maintain white ruling class power abroad mirrors the domestic war apparatus used to enforce the continued imprisonment of colonized peoples, including the national oppression of black people and the black working class and poor; and 4) that U.S. imperialist wars are always fought by the working class and poor and that we have a responsibility to make sure that our young people, and indeed no other group of young working class people, are tricked into believing that these wars are somehow honorable and reflect more than the naked greed of a rapacious, racist, parasitic oligarchy.

Black Alliance for Peace (BAP): A People(s)-Centered Human Rights Project Against War, Repression, and Imperialism

The expanding wars in Afghanistan, conflict with North Korea, the U.S. African Command (AFRICOM), U.S. intervention in Venezuela, proposals to increase the military budget by $75 billion, and the war on African/Black people are all interrelated expressions of the systemic violence that the state is waging and prepared to wage to salvage its rapidly declining power. We must understand those systemic connections or we will find ourselves chasing shadows and focused on symptoms instead of the diseased global system that produces ecological destruction, poverty, premature death, racism, alienation, wars and violence. To be whole, healthy human beings practicing revolutionary solidarity, we must stand in firm opposition to the death project of Western and U.S. imperialism.

That is why we created the Black Alliance for Peace. BAP is struggling to make real the sentiments of millions who want to see an end to war, violence, mass incarceration, police executions and beatings. BAP is exposing the lie that while the people are told there is no money for jobs for our youth, health facilities and healthcare, fully funded public education, decent affordable housing, recreational facilities and even paved roads in our communities, billions of the people’s resources are ending up in the coffers of the corporations who profit from war. That is theft – systematic and legal – but theft nevertheless.

And we expose the fact that the black “mis-leadership” class fully participates in the process to deliver the people’s resources to the ruling elite. More than 30 members of the Congressional Black Caucus voted in July to increase the military budget by more than 75 billion dollars, an amount that exceeded the $54 billion dollars requested by the Trump administration that many saw as obscene.  

The organizations and individuals that have come together in BAP understand that it is only through resistance that builds power rooted in the black working class that will allow us to not only resist but to realize a transformative vision beyond the logic of the white supremacist, patriarchal, colonial/capitalist national and global order. As Margaret Kimberley, BAP Coordinating Committee and United National Anti-war Coalition Administrative Committee member points out:

“American government aggressions continue domestically and internationally with bipartisan support for threats against North Korea and ongoing war and  occupation of Afghanistan. Proposals to increase the military budget are also embraced by Republicans and Democrats alike. This means that a people centered, independent effort is the only way to end the vicious cycle of state sponsored violence.”

This position is echoed by Mekdes Amare, a young organizer and BAP member who sees the connection between the DOD 1033 program that is principally responsibly responsible for the obscene militarization of the police and war efforts aboard:

"Trump lifting the restrictions on the 1033 program is a troubling development for working class communities of color in America,” she says. “But we must remember that many presidents before Trump laid the ground work for this increased drive towards fascism. This includes Obama who did not actually end the 1033 Program but only restricted weapons like bayonets while allowing advanced military hardware to flow into police departments.”

And in the spirit of the black radical internationalist tradition she closes by saying that “We must organize and fight this drive towards fascism for our own sake and for the sake of our sisters and brothers across the globe"

The Black Left Must find a way to unite:

BAP sees itself as part of this effort to organize resistance structures as part of the broad effort to rebuild and unite the black left in the U.S.  Brother Saladin Muhammad has been one of the few consistent voices calling for a broader black left effort to unite all our disparate forces at this critical moment in history. We should respond to Saladin’s call. Now is the time for the Black is Back Coalition, the Black Left Unity Network, the Black Liberation Unity Committee, BYP100 and Black Lives Matter Network among other groups to find a way to struggle for a national framework that allows us to concentrate and coordinate our efforts to realize authentic black working class-based self-determination as part of a broader de-colonial project in the territory known as the United States.

The responsibility to organize and fight for a new future has never been more apparent. There is no reform of this dying order. The choices are quite clear. Either we fight for a new world order, one that sees the dismantling of and an end to the tyranny of the capitalist dictatorship or we will suffer a prolonged period of neo-fascist barbarity.

The financial and corporate elites have made their choice and their choice is to fight, even if it means destroying the planet and everyone one on it. What will be our choice?

 

Ajamu Baraka is a veteran of the black liberation movement. He is currently a board member with Cooperation Jackson, the national organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace and was the 2016 candidate for vice president on the Green Party ticket. He is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report and contributing columnist for Counterpunch magazine.  He can be reached at www.AjamuBaraka.com