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The Deep State is not a conspiracy of dark forces but rather the branches of government that do not change with each new administration. Their heads may change but the core staff does not. Prominent among these in the US – and the main reason for suspicion – are the security-intelligence agencies, all seventeen of them. It is from some of these agencies that we are now hearing and seeing a marked reaction against the shambles that is Donald Trump’s administration. This reaction has already resulted in the discovery that Trump’s campaign chair, Attorney General, and his Secretary of Defense took and lied about meetings with staffers at the Russian Embassy, both during and subsequent to the election. Jeff Sessions, Attorney General, met with the Russian Ambassador just three days after President Obama announced sanctions to punish Russian cyber malfeasance. We have learned today that present at a meeting denied by Defense Secretary Flynn was Mr. Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and now a kind of roving diplomat without any conspicuous credentials. The net is tightening around the President – who has now been shown unambiguously lying about his own relationship with Russian premier Putin – and I am told investigators are trying to ascertain whether or not the Trump team was colluding with Russian operatives to interfere in the election. Mere contact is not sufficient for charges to be laid. Collusion, however, is treason – a death sentence,  or life in jail at the very least. Some of those in the deep state are convinced collusion has occurred and believe they will be able to prove it.

 

Whenever Trump most complains about “fake news” it is over the stories circulating about this Russian involvement. Why? Because, if proven, it would potentially and probably chop up support in his base. Such people may like the bombast and racist innuendo, but many of them will not be able to tolerate the idea of a covert alliance with America’s traditional enemy. Some perhaps even think of the Soviets still, and the Red Peril. And we know how the President likes to play to his base almost exclusively.

 

Tuesday’s address to the Congress was a striking example of this administration’s proclivity for staging events that can only be compared with the Nazi Nuremberg rallies of the 1930s – crowd-pleasing spectacles designed to glorify and magnify the Fuhrer. The address said nothing, besides a wish-list of prospective actions phrased to sound like accomplishments, yet each hollow statement was greeted with fantastically overdone applause. Bereaved or unusually accomplished ordinary citizens – unusual because of race or class and the concomitant adversity – were shamelessly dragged in for emotional effect. What was supposed to be a serious talk outlining propositions to an assembly of serious people was a mere carnival. The large number of members not supporting Trump – less still the demonstrators outside – were invisible, except for the odd person looking glum and not clapping. This was a spectacle staged to present the American TV audience with an image of the President wholeheartedly supported and adored by a united House. It was in effect fake news. CBC Radio, however, chose largely to ignore the address, and certainly didn’t dissect the speech for its accuracy or vacuity. The CBC has been particularly thin on US news of late, and I hear the Government of Trudeau le Petit has pressured the Corp to lay off Trump to protect our American trade. If true, this is beneath contempt.

 

Major voices on the Right in the US are speaking out fearlessly. One was even interviewed on the CBC, presumably because no one here is allowed to do it. David Frum, senior editor of the Atlantic magazine, ex-speech writer for George W. Bush, ex-Canadian, active supporter of the Iraq catastrophe, is no bleeding-heart liberal. He says the allegations of Russian collusion in election meddling are going to be provably true. Far from overreacting to this story, as we are told is happening by some news agencies, we ought to beware of underreacting. It is probably the most devastating incident in American political history – if true, of course. Richard Nixon spied on the Democratic Party, but at least he used American agents to do it. In Mr. Frum’s opinion, Trump is heading down the road to autocracy. The 21str-century version won’t be like Stalin or Hitler, he says. Violence and coercion will be replaced by “deceit and corruption”. These are very serious issues, yet the CBC glosses over them or ignores them, dredging up the usual trivia and, sports, entertainment and local flim-flam. It’s sad, and it’s irritating when our powerful neighbor is on the verge of what could well be a new civil war.

 

Unsurprisingly, Trump never once mentioned the most damaging issue dogging his administration during his autohagiography to Congress. Not a word about Russia – nyet. Not a peep. One might well ask how the Russians are taking all these allegations and accusations. You can’t really discover that, however, since Czar Putin controls all the media. But you can discover what he, Putin, is thinking – or what he wants us to think he’s thinking. A recent newspaper headline bemoaned the state of America since Trump’s election, calling it “a madhouse”. True enough. One headline today read, “Time to End the Honeymoon with Trump?” This is clearly Moscow telling the world it has no special ties to Trump, is dismayed by his first month in office, and will be content to work with whomever replaces him. Other recent press articles complain about Russia being used as a punching-bag in Washington. Putin is creating a distance between himself and the White House. Why? Probably because he’s fairly certain that the shit will soon hit Trump’s fan, and, knowing that shit as intimately as Putin indubitably does, he must be well aware of the consequences that must inevitably follow any exposure of Russian collusion in election tampering or possibly even worse high crimes and misdemeanors. These consequences will of course leave any Russian nationals unscathed, and, wearing his Teflon suit, Putin can deny all knowledge of this crazy Yankee fantasy. But Deep State officials know it is not a fantasy. The CIA has said so, and if the NSA – which has the metadata on every phone call made every minute of every day in the entire world – cannot come up with some irrefutably conclusive evidence against this administration, well, then their trillion-dollar budget should be kicked down to Langley. Some months ago I cited examples of Russian interference in previous US and other elections. There is no doubt that they do it. There’s no doubt that America indulges in some shady cyber activities too. But Russia does have a long relationship with computer crimes. Back in the nineties, Moscow hand-picked the best and brightest techno-geeks, furnished them with state-of-the-art equipment, installed them somewhere deep in the remotest Urals, and instructed them to wait for the most glorious and secret project. This project never arrived, though. It was not a good time for the Kremlin. Putin was just another KGB agent, and the post-Communist nation was floundering under a crew of oligarchic kleptocrats who stripped Russia’s assets and bought the lot themselves for a few kopecs. Meanwhile, back in the Urals, our techno-geeks were amusing themselves playing havoc on the Internet. They hacked anything worth hacking. They went shopping on your credit cards. And they wrote the first really destructive viruses and worms. Objectively, they did brilliant work. Subjectively, I had to buy two new desktops inside a year. When highly gifted or inordinately intelligent people are allowed to play, not only do they learn what no one is teaching, they also come up with ideas and discoveries no one else could have possibly stumbled upon. With this isolated group of brainy nerds the whole concept of Russian cyber warfare was developed far in advance of any Pentagon efforts. If Russians did hack Democratic Party computers, you can be sure it would be a very sophisticated job, hard to detect, and perhaps impossible to trace to any specific server, less still any individual. I think the Deep State already knows this, and has thus shifted its attention towards the physical meetings. As I write this, the Secretary of State has been linked to a Russian bank specializing in money-laundering. That is now the four most important offices in Trump’s administration linked to shadowy dealings with Moscow. No wonder that Putin, the master strategist – and apparently a great chess player – is edging Trump to where he can be easily thrown under the bus. But let’s not rush to judgement. Is there anything to suggest that Russia might be innocent in all of this?

 

Well, yes and no. Most of the contentious meetings were with Sergei Kisliak, the Russian Ambassador in Washington. He’s an amiable man, laid-back, and well-liked by all. He knows almost everyone on the Hill, is very sociable, so if you’ve been in town for a while you will probably have met him. Unlike Putin and his cronies, who all come out of the intelligence services, Kisliak was originally a physicist, a background that initially made him useful in Washington as a knowledgeable negotiator in arms-reduction talks. It is of course part of a diplomat’s job in any embassy to identify and meet up-and-coming politicians, people who may well form a future administration, so there is ostensibly nothing dramatically unusual in the meetings with men slated to be Trump’s most senior officials. Nothing that is, except the uniform lying by those officials about the meetings. If it is all so innocent and routine, why lie? The only possible reason is that an official meeting would require someone to take minutes, and then a report on what was discussed in detail to be written up. The meeting would almost certainly be recorded too, whether overtly or covertly. By claiming their meetings were just casual chats – about what precisely no one seems to remember clearly – the three officials obviate the need for these formal requirements. It is of course what was discussed that lies at the heart of this major debacle. If Russian cyber spooks were at work in the US – even if based elsewhere – Sergei Kisliak would almost certainly know about it. It’s his job. As said, he’s companionable, highly social and well-known. He regularly meets sociably with politicians and diplomats of all stripes from all over the globe. If you’re seen slurping a cappuccino with him in the mall or some club, no one will think twice about it. But the meetings in question were not casual socializing. They were formal and held in private, at the embassy itself or in an office nearby. Thus they are unquestionably official unofficial affairs and ought to have been documented for future reference and posterity. They were not. The Attorney General claims he talked with Kisliak about terrorism, religion, war, and things he can’t remember. You do not schedule an official meeting to have such a fantastically general and risibly rambling yack. You do that over drinks or coffee somewhere, or on the phone – where calls are recorded or can be retrieved by NSA tech wizardry. It seems that whatever was discussed had to be discussed face to face, in private, at a secure location (secure for the Russians at least), and ideally in secret.  Since the accused officials have already been caught lying, there is no reason to expect a word of truth from them regarding the nature of these meetings, one of which, as I pointed out above, came 72 hours after the Obama sanctions against Moscow. Naturally, Putin and his countrymen would like the punitive sanctions lifted, and no one would blame them for pursuing any promising route to do this. If Trump intended to lift the sanctions, though, what was there to discuss? Obviously, a quid pro quo was involved – we will lift the sanctions if you… The question is what, if you what? Since most meetings occurred after the election, the what cannot have been more Dem-hacking. Hail-fellow-well-met Mr. Kisliak most certainly is, but what else is he, besides a former physicist and career diplomat, that is? The answer is interesting. He is known in intelligence circles – most notably MI6 – to be a skilled spymaster, able to recruit and run highly sophisticated networks engaged in various forms of advanced espionage and black ops. One of these forms is the undetectable international transfer of enormous amounts of money, to be used, one assumes, for nefarious purposes – or possibly just moved offshore to render the loot invisible. Another related form is plain old money-laundering. These networks span the underworld, from gangland, through narco-lords, to the major crime syndicates, and, as is the norm in espionage, many of those involved have no idea for whom they are really working. You are recruited to work for, say, the Mossad, so you believe you’re with the Israelis. You can’t go anywhere to inquire, to check out your control’s legitimacy. It’s spying – it’s all a secret. You drop off whatever you’re supposed to ferret out or spy into. You pick up your cash payments from a left-luggage locker, or somewhere. Chances are you will never find out you were working for the Russians all this time. It’s the stuff of novels, yet it also goes on in reality – although these days the computer has mostly replaced lock-picks, firearms and hidden micro-transmitters. This is the sort of work Sergei Kisliak probably thinks of as his day job.. If you’re the Russian Embassy, of course, for a start you have diplomatic immunity, but you’re also at liberty to perform financial transactions that, for a US citizen, would have red flags waving and alarm bells ringing. We now know the Secretary of State has had ties to a Russian bank notorious for money-laundering. So is it stretching the imagination to suggest that the other three officials, as well as Mr. Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, were meeting Kisliak in connection with his expertise in fiduciary legerdemain? Why would Kushner even attend such a meeting if it were not on his father-in-law’s account? He has no brief or mandate of any kind to be dealing with the Russians over anything at all – lest it be on behalf of the Trump empire, or on matters too secret for anyone to discover. Since we know that some kind of quid pro quo is being haggled over regarding the lifting of sanctions – not yet lifted, you will note – the only question left would seem to be one of money. Is it coming in as payment, or going out as a tax dodge? These are extremely rich men with sticky fingers in many pies, including the vast pastry known as organized crime. They will have hundreds of millions to hide. But they may also have tens of millions to use for illicit political machinations, including the construction of a media conglomerate to overshadow and then oust the old fashioned networks which peddle outmoded virtues like integrity, accuracy and reliability. Steve Bannon as William Randolph Hearst and Ted Turner combined. The news operation will be cheap too, since you don’t need reporters in the field when all you broadcast are opinions and fiction. More money for the execs. It will be a winner. Fear not for the grave new future, however, for, as we have said, Czar Putin knows something, and he’s the great dark spider at the centre of this web. What he seems to know is that Trump’s star is not just waning – it’s shooting down through the sky into the deep dark ocean. I predict that the Oval Office will have a new occupant by summer, but we have five rocky months ahead still. This would make a great video or board game. And it is surely comforting to know that Trump is very expendable in Moscow. Ra-Ra-Vlad-Putin, lover of succession scenes.…  

 

Paul William Roberts

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