Fortifying its role as sales force for the New Cold War, the NY Times reported last week about how President Trump’s own national security team secured a NATO agreement in advance of the organization’s recent meeting, out of fear that the president could scuttle the deal. According to the Times,
Senior American national security officials, seeking to prevent President Trump from upending a formal policy agreement at last month’s NATO meeting, pushed the military alliance’s ambassadors to complete it before the forum even began.
The work to preserve the North Atlantic Treaty Organization agreement, which is usually subject to intense 11th-hour negotiations, came just weeks after Mr. Trump refused to sign off on a communiqué from the June meeting of the Group of 7 in Canada.
The rushed machinations to get the policy done, as demanded by John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, have not been previously reported. Described by European diplomats and American officials, the efforts are a sign of the lengths to which the president’s top advisers will go to protect a key and longstanding international alliance from Mr. Trump’s unpredictable antipathy.
Why, one might wonder, would John Bolton and other White House neocons feel compelled to box their boss out to protect a NATO agreement? Again, from the Times,
It achieved several goals critical to NATO officials.
Against Russian objections, the military alliance would formally invite Macedonia to join. It would establish an Atlantic Command post, hosted by the United States in Norfolk, Va., to coordinate a swift alliance response in the event of, for instance, a war in Europe between Russia and NATO allies.
War with Russia. Okay. Keep moving, folks. Nothing to see here. NATO is your friend, says NY Times.
Facebook recently announced, with much press fanfare, that they had disabled 32 pages that the social media menace determined to be sowing dissent, much like the Russians are accused of doing in the 2016 election season, and prompting Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) to assert “today’s disclosure is further evidence that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms like Facebook to sow division and spread disinformation.”
It turns out, however, the naughty pages were mainly left-leaning activist and lifestyle pages, with no actual connection to anything Russian (with no correction from Warner). But certain patterns of page admins were apparently reflective of behavior of the Ruskies, like using false Facebook identities (yes, really). On the surface it sounded like nothing more than an imbecilic public relations effort on behalf of Mark Zuckerberg to create a story that gets ahead of the anti-Facebook tsunami arriving after whichever party carries the midterm elections. The ground is so tenderized now, such that any political loser can now blame Facebook for Russian meddling in their campaign. It’s clear the nerd needs a narrative. He also needs to resist accountability.
Enter the patriots!
Reading a little deeper into the story, we learn that Facebook has contracted with a virulent anti-Russia, right-wing think tank called the Atlantic Council to assist in identifying suspicious pages on the network. The Council recently assembled a lab that could identify bad actors on Facebook, and elsewhere in the cyber-schoolyard. Who’s behind the lab, you ask? Again from the Times,
The lab was founded by [Graham] Brookie, a National Security Council advisor in the last four years of the Obama administration. Ben Nimmo is a co-founder. He joined after stints as a journalist covering the Baltic states as they sparred with Russia a decade ago and as a spokesman for NATO on Russia and Ukraine.
Reporting for the media watchdog group FAIR, Adam Johnson points out,
Behind its generic-sounding name and “nonpartisan” label, the Atlantic Council is associated with very particular interests. It’s funded by the US Department of State and the US Navy, Army and Air Force, along with NATO, various foreign powers and major Western corporations, including weapons contractors and oil companies. The Atlantic Council is dead center in what former President Obama’s deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes called “the blob”—Washington’s bipartisan foreign-policy consensus.
And a little googling revealed that the Atlantic Council chairman, Jon Huntsman, Jr., is also the current U.S. Ambassador to Russia. When Mark Zuckerberg needs to partner with an anti-Russia think tank to protect his “community,” you know someone is in over his nerdy head. Which makes me wonder if intelligence infiltration is the price Zuckerberg is paying to prevent possible antitrust moves against his techno-monopoly.
Is your head spinning yet?
The “act of war” rhetoric regarding Russian supposed hacking of our holy election process – rhetoric, not only from the despicable National Security Advisor, John Bolton, and the reliably Russia-hating, cable news “expert” Max Boot, but also from DNC Chair Tom Perez – is more evidence of a bipartisan Washington Consensus, a nice umbrella for the institutional blending of neoconseravative and neoliberal ideologies.
Just in case New Cold War fanatics haven’t buttoned up their case with Putin’s election-hacking-as-war trope, Washington Consensus propagandists have something else up their war mongering sleeves, with recent reports that Russians are hacking into our power grid, possibly rendering your television useless. Just imagine if they take it down during the Academy Awards, or something equally and ridiculously essential to American life. Oh, the humanity! Yet again from the Times,
Despite attempts to infiltrate the online accounts of two Senate Democrats up for re-election, intelligence officials said they have seen little activity by Russian military hackers aimed at either major American political figures or state voter registration systems.
By comparison, according to intelligence officials and executives of the companies that oversee the world’s computer networks, there is surprisingly far more effort directed at implanting malware in the electrical grid.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence findings, but their conclusions were confirmed by several executives of technology and technology security firms.
Of course, this sacrosanct reportage, fortified by anonymous intelligence officials, comes with renewed “act of war” calls, yes, from Democrats.
When critics of the duopoly point out the similarities between the two major parties, it’s clear to see in the shared adherence to the Washington Consensus by establishment leaders in both parties. No wonder why the leadership of the Democratic Party looks like endless Old Timers Day. They can’t risk handing over the reigns to a younger bench, who more likely see the Consensus as friendly to multi-national business and banking interests, and hostile to the needs of everyone else.
Will it go round in circles
In the aftermath of Hillary Clinton’s unexpected and humiliating defeat, a coordinated public relations campaign (propaganda) took flight with the purpose of inculcating Trump “resisters” into cheerleaders for Washington Consensus foreign policy goals. This effort could never have succeeded without coordination between think tanks like the Atlantic Council and anonymous intelligence/military types leaking to the press, including, but not limited to, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, NPR/PBS, the BBC, and your “trusted” cable news channels, for those who don’t read.
While Russia-as-enemy is the focal point that the Consensus has been drumming up in support of a New Cold War, we can see the demand for obedience when it comes to neoconservative policies regarding Syria and North Korea as well. When Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is more interested in reducing nuclear tensions with Russia than Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), it’s time for Democrats and trusting liberals to ask if they’re being spun into submission in the name of resistance.
If Democrats were sincere about looking for tampering with the 2016 election, they need to look no further than their own destructive dynamics in their preference to face Trump, railroading Bernie Sanders and his supporters, and, more crucially, how black voter disenfranchisement (old style politics) impacted Electoral College results in Wisconsin, as Ari Berman writes in The Nation, tilting the presidency to Trump,
A new study by Priorities USA, shared exclusively with The Nation, shows that strict voter-ID laws, in Wisconsin and other states, led to a significant reduction in voter turnout in 2016, with a disproportionate impact on African-American and Democratic-leaning voters. Wisconsin’s voter-ID law reduced turnout by 200,000 votes, according to the new analysis. Donald Trump won the state by only 22,748 votes.
When Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein attempted to coordinate a recount in suspected states, Team Hillary, Democrats, and their stenographers in the press ridiculed the effort, and refused to join on. The Russia-did-it cake was already in the oven.
As global weather patterns portray, climate change is changing our living ecology more rapidly than anyone anticipated. With concentrated media, politico and public outrage focused on Trump and Russia, essential coverage about the climate, and humanity’s needs as a whole, are relegated to page two, or worse. So if your concept of resistance is restricted to Trump and Republicans, you’re missing the larger and more crucial picture.
Remember, it was a very similar dynamic and some of the same cast of characters who sold us on the idea that Saddam Hussein possessed “weapons of mass destruction” to gain public support for regime change, i.e., a war that killed millions of innocent people and tossed the Middle East into perpetual chaos. So don’t be spun in circles again in the name of resistance to Trump. He’s a problem, but not the problem.
I got a dance that ain’t got no steps, I’m gonna let the music move me around
–Billy Preston / Bruce Fisher