06/23/14

Russian Influence Operations in Washington

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Speaking to the U.S.-Russia Forum on June 16, 2014, the Russian Ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak, told the participants that there are “no ideological divides” between the U.S. and Russia. He said both countries were “market economies” with “democratic systems.” He called for increased U.S.-Russian cooperation and claimed that the Edward Snowden “affair”—the case in which the former CIA and NSA contract employee fled to Russia with highly classified documents—was “thrown on us,” as if the Russian intelligence service, the FSB, was caught flat-footed by his defection.

With such absurd and outrageous statements, Kislyak betrayed true Russian intentions, as well as major disinformation themes, that continue to confuse Western audiences. Officially, he spoke on “Russia Relations: Restoring a Constructive Agenda.”

The event, held in the Hart Senate Office Building in the nation’s capital, was a major exercise in Russian influence operations.

Politically, participants in the U.S.-Russia Forum included figures from the left, such as Stephen Cohen, a professor from New York University and Princeton University, and his wife, Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor and publisher of The Nation magazine. But people also came from Pat Buchanan’s American Conservative magazine and the Ron Paul Institute.

In the past, the Russians could only count on support from the “progressive” side of the American political spectrum. Figures from the American conservative movement are now on the Putin bandwagon.

Alaska’s Republican Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell “talked about the need for cooperation with Russia despite disputes over Crimea and Ukraine, Syria and Iraq, which have brought U.S.-Russia relations to their lowest point in decades,” according to a press release from his office.

Treadwell is running for the Senate against former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan and Joe Miller in the August 19 Republican primary.

Another speaker was Democrat Mark Ritchie, the secretary of state of Minnesota.

Equally significant, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern arose from the audience during the question period to state that the U.S. had provoked Putin and had somehow violated the 1994 Budapest Memorandum by supporting Ukraine’s anti-communist government.

Responding, speaker Robert Legvold, a professor at Columbia University, said such an argument was “not plausible,” and plugged his article in Foreign Affairs on a “New Cold War” between the U.S and Russia. Unlike other speakers, such as Cohen, he did not excuse Russia’s aggression.

McGovern, an associate of Edward Snowden, had served as a CIA analyst from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. His bio says that his duties included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President’s Daily Brief, and that he briefed one-on-one to President Ronald Reagan’s most senior national security advisers from 1981 to 1985.

It is apparent that McGovern’s “analysis” of Russian intentions, whatever it may have been, did not deter President Reagan from exposing and confronting the “Evil Empire.”

However, McGovern is today firmly on the Russian side.

The 1994 Budapest Memorandum, signed by the Russian government, was supposed to guarantee Ukraine’s territorial integrity, in exchange for giving its Soviet nuclear weapons back to Moscow. Russia violated the agreement in a blatant fashion when it invaded Ukraine.

Kislyak’s notion that the U.S. and Russia are comparable, in terms of democratic values, is, of course, completely absurd. In the U.S., journalists who expose the Obama administration can in extreme cases be harassed and intimidated, and sometimes even hauled into court. In Russia, by contrast, journalists and human rights activists who seek to expose the regime can be tortured and, in many cases, murdered. The U.S. allows pro-Moscow voices such as Russia Today (RT) to broadcast throughout the nation. The Kremlin suppresses and even outlaws dissident voices.

The 2013 State Department human rights report on Russia said that the regime has not brought to justice the individuals responsible for the deaths of prominent journalists, activists, and whistleblowers, such as Sergey Magnitsky.

Magnitsky was the Russian attorney for businessman Bill Browder, who ran an investment fund in Russia called Hermitage Capital Management. He was listed as a participant in the U.S.-Russia Forum in 2003. In 2009, however, Magnitsky was imprisoned and then killed by Russian authorities after he uncovered official corruption involving the theft of $230 million.

Browder himself became an “Enemy of the State” in Russia, and has been threatened with death. On the CBS “60 Minutes” program, he said, “The Russian regime is a criminal regime. We’re dealing with a nuclear country run by a bunch of Mafia crooks. And we have to know that.”

That is why the attendance list at the event, provided to this columnist, is so interesting. With few exceptions, they were supporters of the Russian regime. The list constitutes a “who’s who” of individuals, mostly in Washington, D.C. and New York, who can be counted on to promote the Russian line and more U.S.-Russian trade.

On the list we find several people from the Russian Orthodox Church. Other groups represented at the forum were involved in international trade with Russia. They included:

  • The law firm Patton Boggs, which represented Gennady Timchenko, a Russian billionaire with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin (Reuters reported the Russian was seeking U.S. government financing to buy U.S. planes.)
  • Dimtry Beskurnikov of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who is said to be the owner and manager at Russian American Trade & Investing Consulting, and a member of the Business Advisory Board at Eurasia Business Coalition
  • Sergey Belyakov, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation

In addition to these individuals, we find the following interesting names on the list:

  • Umberto Pascali, who has written about how the Russians are preparing to dump the U.S. dollar as the world’s currency
  • Axel Tillman, who represents the U.S. arm, RVC-USA, of a Russia-backed venture capital firm
  • Webster Tarpley, formerly of the Lyndon LaRouche organization.

Phillip Swarts, an investigative reporter at The Washington Times, covered the U.S.-Russian forum, emphasizing the Russian point of view.

The next phase of this process for putting in place a “constructive agenda for U.S.- Russia relations” is scheduled for September 7 – 9, 2014, in Moscow.

06/23/14

Forum: If Abortion On Demand Is Both Legal And Constitutional, Why Not Suicide And Euthanasia?

The Watcher’s Council

Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture or daily living. This week’s question: If Abortion On Demand Is Both Legal And Constitutional, Why Not Suicide And Euthanasia?

Virginia Right!: Or why children of illegals who were brought here through no fault of their own deserve amnesty and not unborn babies who are here through no fault of their own.

The Independent Sentinel: Why stop with abortion – it’s only a matter of geography – why not kill them after they’re born if we’re not happy with the results. Actually, hasn’t that been suggested by one of the loons Obama surrounds himself with?

Bookworm Room: Abortion on demand is legal because those who support it can argue, less and less convincingly as prenatal care and imaging advance, that a fetus is not a person. That’s a difficult argument to make about either depressed or sick people. They may not be enjoying themselves, but they’re standing there before you, large as life and twice as natural. When we seem them, we recognize their inherent vitality, a vitality that ought not to be destroyed either by what one hopes is only a transient depression or an illness (even a fatal one) that can be managed humanely.

Peter Singer — who holds an endowed ethics chair at Princeton — thinks parents should have a month after the child’s birth within which to decide to euthanize it because it’s defective. As you can imagine, the disability rights people loath him. He’s also the guy who founded the radical animal rights movement. PETA isn’t his organization, but it’s his brain child. He ran afoul of animal rights activists, though, when he said bestiality was ethically acceptable provided the animal consents. The PETA crowd said that cows can’t give consent, so it’s always rape. Did I mention that he has an endowed chair at Princeton?

As for the post-birth abortion, a Planned Parenthood representative in Florida said that it was up to a woman and her doctor whether she wanted to “abort” the baby after it was born.

It’s views such as these that have pushed me away from being pro-choice. There’s something very ugly going on there. Garden-variety pro-choice people should really look at the movement’s core and wonder whether they’re celebrating choice or death.

Simply Jews: Why, if we base our decisions on that old joke that a Jewish embryo isn’t considered a person before he/she gets a law or medicine degree, we could expand the Singer’s proposal a bit further.

Jokes aside, when I was reading this, the professor’s ideas combined with his attitude to bestiality gave me a few ideas about the professor’s immediate future that I would loath to air in this group. Not in writing anyway.

And another corollary: the case of prof Singer, like many other sadly similar cases in the academic circles cause me a grave concern about the future of our higher education and, as a result, about our future in general. I am saying “our”, because here the status is very similar.

Princeton… someone should clean up these places, or we all are in big trouble.

The Razor: First of all I do not agree that abortion is Constitutional. My view is that it was a clear-cut case of judicial overreach.

Although I am personally and very (I might add) Pro-Life I still maintain a pro-choice stance simply because I believe Law is too blunt an instrument for cases such as these that require more of a scalpel. Is abortion murder? I believe like most Americans that within the first few weeks of pregnancy, it’s not. But you get into the second trimester and especially the third, and it clearly becomes murder. Suicide is clearly murder, but should a person be charged with a crime for having attempted it? Nope because who would the State be acting on behalf of? Who is the injured party in such an instance? The State has too much power already; to intrude on a person’s decision to kill himself or herself simply strikes me as a greater intrusion than when it interferes with abortion. As for euthanasia, it should be made available to those whose condition is terminally ill. What has been happening in the Netherlands stretches the definition of “terminally ill” to include mental illness which is going too far.

No one ever says that these questions are easy. If they do then something is wrong with them. But as moral human beings we need to consider them and question our beliefs if only to avoid the slippery slope rightly feared by many. But the existence of such a slope should not empower the State nor should it increase needless suffering.

But ask me next week. Perhaps my opinion will change.

JoshuaPundit: Actually, to answer the question directly, we’re already there to some degree. Euthanasia is already legal in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg and up for serious consideration in most of the EU, and assisted suicide is legal in the States of Washington, Oregon, Vermont, New Mexico and Montana as well as in the countries of Switzerland, Germany, Albania, Colombia and Japan. And again, there are many more jurisdictions considering it and I have no doubt that the list will be longer by this time next year.And there’s no reason it shouldn’t be. After all, if life ends in the womb or years later in a discreet medical facility after a few papers get signed, what’s the diff? One less mouth to feed, one less file to process. Next please!

What I’m going to write next invites ridicule, which is fine. But some of you may want to mull it over.

Western culture has always prided itself on its freedoms, but the chief impetus for them has always been a recognition that the individual is important, and that freedom itself is a gift to be passed on to future generations. Our culture has changed to the point where these two principles have become something that gets mouthed frequently, but is less and less nonored in practice. What our culture has embraced instead is an anti-life stance, where the individual is dispensable and future generations don’t matter as opposed to the all important gratification of the NOW.Even though many people still hold to the realizations and principles behind the west’s freedoms, many of our leaders, educators and those who run what E.J. Terrell Jr. once called the Kultursmog do not.

I am by no means a person who says that abortion is always wrong in all situations. But we now have made abortion on demand a modern sacrament, a holy writ not to be challenged no matter what. Why shouldn’t euthanasia and assisted suicide be next on the list, along with all the other ‘changes’ we’ve embraced, or at least allowed?

We now have a leader who is a fierce advocate for actual infanticide. A mere thirty or forty years ago someone with this view would have been shunned and run out of public life. Many countries in the West are not even reproducing at replacement rates, the very definition of marriage is in the process of being dismantled, and the killing of a child because the kid was merely inconvenient is the subject of a ‘comedy’ now getting rave reviews in the usual places.

I regard that as decadent and unholy. There are really no other words for it.

America has been, in my view at least, the beneficiary of G-d’s providence in many ways. I can’t help but wonder if what we’re embracing now is going to change that.

The Glittering Eye: If that were the law, I don’t think there is a coherent principle opposing them. However, it’s not the law. The law is actually mischievous since making the state’s interest in the lives of the unborn contingent on an imaginary point of viability encourages those who oppose abortion on principle to seek to capitalize on the state’s interest and those who support abortion on demand on principle to make the imagined rights pre-viability absolute. A continuing, zero-sum conflict.

On top of that existing law is bad public policy unless you believe that we need a lot fewer people with educations and jobs and a lot more people without either one. The problem, of course, is that the coherent public policy positions (abortion on demand paid by the state on the one hand and sweeping restrictions on abortion on the other) are each anathema to a substantial chunk of the population. So we’re left with incoherent, bad public policy.

Ask Marion: Americans like to see themselves as the most compassionate people on the planet, rescuers of the downtrodden and the heroes that ride in on the white horses to save people, cultures and nations around the world… and sometimes we do and have.

But as a nation we have virtually all accepted the reality of abortion on some level, just like animal lovers have accepted our cruel system for euthanizing more healthy pets every year than any other country in the world. All God’s creatures:

In 2008 we had the choice and opportunity to vote for an all (rather radical) pro-choice ticket, Obama-Biden or a ticket with a fence straddler worried about the vote and a offending anyone, McCain, paired up with a strong pro-life candidate, who had walked the walk, Palin. We elected the radicals twice.

Abortion -> On The Ground At March For Life 2014 – New Poll: 62% of Americans Now Believe Abortion is Morally Wrong and most Pro-Choice advocates don’t even know Planned Parenthood’s Roots or who Margaret Sanger was… an absolute believer in abortion, euthanasia and eugenics. And since President Obama took office, who as Senator voted for partial birth abortions and not giving aid, care or even comfort to tiny babies who survive abortion procedure. See Gary Bauer: ‘More Babies Have Been Aborted Than Jobs Have Been Created’ Under Obama.

Economic issues aside, it is estimated that 7.5 million companion animals enter shelters each year, and additional 1 million more have been added to that number or just abandoned since the economic downturn in 2009. Only about 30% are reclaimed and approximately 2.7 million animals are adopted (1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats).

And over 1,200 Military Dogs have been put down by the Obama Regime.

Eating dogs was bad enough. Killing over 1,200 faithful military dogs who were protecting American troops in Afghanistan is worse:

The heroic service dogs were euthanized because they were deemed too “dangerous” for civilian adoption or jobs with law enforcement agencies, as well as for medical reasons according to U.S. Air Force reports given to Congress.

The dogs were used as guards and to sniff out terrorist bombs.

It’s not as if no homes could be found:

Currently more than 300 people are waiting to adopt a military dog, with an average waiting time of 18 months.

Betraying those who loyally served in Afghanistan and Iraq has been characteristic of the current administration. And if you actually believe that they care more about our two legged Veterans than they do about the 4-legged ones… then Houston… we have a problem. All but 1 of the Michael Vick fighting dogs were able to be rehabbed and re-homed… and none had problems. Everyone of these military canines deserved better!!

Obamaland radical crazies… just a few of the present and former Czars… advisers, cabinet members:

Kathleen Sebelius. Remember, Sebilius was an ardent supporter of murdered partial birth abortionist Tiller, and her extreme record on abortion has sadly been ignored (or hidden) by the media.

Science Czar John P. Holdren – Updated 9.2.09 He Advocated de-developing the US to a world of zero growth, says the Constitution backs compulsory Abortion and believes we should seize babies born to unwed women

Cass Sunstein, Obama’s Regulatory Czar advocated removing people’s organs without explicit consent.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Rahm Emanuel’s brother and his Complete Lives System, who believes we should deny coverage to the elderly an disabled ‘for the Greater Good’

Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, Death Panels… are all part of, or will be the result of ObamaCare!!

If we do not get rid of ObamaCare and the hold the Progressives have on our government… the death panels are already here. (remember when they called Sarah Palin crazy?, now people like Howard Dean have admitted she was right) A committee of non-medical professionals will make the decisions of who gets what treatments and medications, if any. They will decide against the old… the useless eaters as they call them; the mentally and physically disabled, including Veterans (Is there really an doubt after what we have seen at Veteran’s Affairs over the past few months:); and then anyone else they have no use for. And as the money and help dries up for those afflicted with or caring for people with Alzheimer’s, Autism, Dementia, PTSD, etc etc (all on the rise) and no help is available, the cries for assisted suicide or euthanasia will become louder… the benevolent left… will say YES!

And for the record: Rockefeller Soft Kill Depopulation Plans Exposed. Both Hillary Clinton and Bill Gates have spoken on depopulation. And you can bet it won’t be them or their families!

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: Personally feel it will be in the next few years.

Well, there you have it.

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