• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 3 december 2016

Clinton’s ‘Russia Did It’

Clinton’s ‘Russia Did It’ Cop-out

Exclusive: In a last-ditch effort to salvage Hillary Clinton’s campaign, establishment Democrats are slinging McCarthyistic mud, joining in smearing independent journalists and blaming everything on Russia, writes Robert Parry.

The Clinton machine – running on fumes after Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential bid – is pulling out all remaining stops to block Donald Trump’s inauguration, even sinking into a new McCarthyism.
In joining a recount effort with
 slim hopes of reversing the election results, Clinton campaign counsel Marc Elias cited a scurrilous Washington Post article that relied on a shadowy anonymous group, called PropOrNot, that issued a “black list” against 200 or so Internet sites, including some of the most respected sources of independent journalism, claiming they are part of some Russian propaganda network.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.  (Photo credit: Department of State)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. (Photo credit: Department of State)
In classic McCarthyistic fashion, no evidence was supplied, simply an anonymous smear. But The Washington Post, which itself has devolved into a neoconservative propaganda conveyor belt, published the attack apparently without contacting any of the targeted groups.
Despite the obvious journalistic problems with this article, the desperate Clinton campaign treated it like a lifeline to its drowning hopes for reversing the outcome of the Nov. 8 election.
Announcing that the Clinton campaign would join the recount started by Green presidential nominee Jill Stein aimed at three key Trump states – Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – Clinton’s campaign counsel Elias mentioned the Post story as one of the reasons.
“The Washington Post reported that the Russian government was behind much of the ‘fake news’ propaganda that circulated online in the closing weeks of the election,” Elias wrote.
Pro-Clinton media outlets piled on. Daily Kos wrote that “Even if they never touched a voting machine, there’s absolutely no doubt: Russia hacked the election.”
Besides the three recounts, the Clinton campaign’s last-ditch scheme to blame Russia for Hillary Clinton’s failure also involves lobbying the electors to the Electoral College to flip their votes from Trump to Clinton. The argument is that Trump must be part of some grand Russian conspiracy along with those 200 Web sites.
As bizarre as this conspiracy mongering has become, it is quickly emerging as a new Washington “group think.” All the “smart people” at the major networks and newspapers – as well as many Democratic insiders – are just sure that it’s all true.
They have conflated the hysteria over some “fake news” sites – apparently run by some entrepreneurs who realized that pro-Trump “news” got lots of clicks whether the stories were real or not – with the reality that some independent news sites have questioned the U.S. government’s extreme anti-Russian propaganda.
Plus, there was the claim by James Clapper, the Obama administration’s Director of National Intelligence, that the U.S. intelligence community believes that Russian hackers were responsible for giving Democratic Party emails to WikiLeaks. There, too, however, Clapper has provided no evidence to support his claim, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has denied receiving the leaked emails from the Russian government.
The Russians Did It!
Nevertheless, the Russians have become the latest scapegoats for why Hillary Clinton lost. It wasn’t that she had severe problems as a candidate, carrying heavy baggage from a long line of controversies and recording extremely high negatives from voters. It couldn’t have been that lots of Americans didn’t like or trust her or that she offered no inspirational message or coherent narrative of how she would govern.
Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Secretary of State John Kerry before meetings at the Kremlin on Dec. 15, 2015. (State Department photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Secretary of State John Kerry before meetings at the Kremlin on Dec. 15, 2015. (State Department photo)
No, it had to be the Russians. Of course, previously, the Clinton campaign had blamed the defeat on FBI Director James Comey, who announced just days before the election that he had reopened an investigation into Clinton’s private email server and then closed the inquiry for a second time, thus reminding voters of Clinton’s self-inflicted email scandal.
Though presumably the Clinton campaign is not suggesting that FBI Director Comey is another Russian agent or “useful fool,” blaming him at least had some evidentiary logic, in that he did reopen and then re-shut the Clinton email investigation.
But the Clinton campaign’s Russian complaint comes across even more like a dog-ate-my-homework excuse, except that it also has this ugly side of accusing professional journalists of treason because they wrote skeptical articles that some anonymous Web site didn’t like.
The complaint about alleged Russian hacking of emails also represents an attempt to divert attention away from the fact that the information published by WikiLeaks appears to be entirely true. By all accounts, the leaks revealed genuine communications between Democratic Party leaders and people in the Clinton campaign.
WikiLeaks also revealed the contents of Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches to Goldman Sachs and other special interests, words that she delivered to these groups of insiders but wanted to keep from the American voters.
However, somehow this truthful information has morphed into “fake news” without anyone explaining how that transformation occurred. Through the black magic of simply saying “Russians” a few times, truthful information becomes “fake” and everyone’s judgment becomes hopelessly clouded.
The point is that even if the Russians did uncover this information and did deliver it to WikiLeaks, the reason that it was “news” was that Clinton had decided to make millions of dollars in speeches, trading off her government service, and then chose to conceal the contents of her speeches from the public.
However, instead of criticizing Clinton for her excessive greed and her obsessive secrecy, these Democrats are blaming the Russians, a classic case of sending out a red herring.
The Truth as ‘Fake News’
The same point holds true for Secretary of State Clinton’s disastrous decision to evade State Department regulations on handling official documents by instead channeling her emails through a private home email server, thus endangering national security secrets. That was her choice. The Russians weren’t involved (unless someone thinks that Hillary Clinton is also a “Russian agent” set on sabotaging her own campaign.)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh on March 30, 2012. [State Department photo]
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh on March 30, 2012. [State Department photo]
And, regarding WikiLeaks’ disclosures that the Democratic National Committee was working hand-in-glove with Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and others to ensure that the nomination was delivered to Clinton, the problem was not the source of the information, again it was the information itself. Rank-in-file Democrats had every right to expect a legitimate competition for the party’s nomination, not a rigged process designed to deliver the prize to the establishment favorite.
The reason for the party’s reforms after the raucous 1968 convention was to take the presidential selection out of the hands of party insiders and give it to the voters. What the emails revealed was that the Clinton machine had become the new-age Democratic Party bosses making sure their candidate prevailed.
Again, even if the Russians were behind the hack, they would only have been providing the American people with newsworthy information about how their democracy was being turned into a sham. The Russians didn’t create the sham; the Democratic insiders did.
And, regarding the anonymously developed “black list” of independent media sites, there is no evidence there either that these sites were distributing “fake news,” the focus of the current mainstream media hysteria. It was just news that PropOrNot — and presumably its fellow-travelers at The Washington Post — didn’t like.
As for Consortiumnews, which was one of the sites that was slimed, we are very careful to present well-reported and well-researched information. Granted, it sometimes isn’t what the U.S. State Department wants the American people to hear, but that is because the State Department has become a manufacturing center for propaganda and disinformation during both Republican and Democratic administrations.
It is not the job of independent journalists to simply retail the propaganda that the State Department and other agencies of the U.S. government produce, or that any other government produces. But that seems to be the anti-journalistic attitude that we now see at The Washington Post and The New York Times.
Mainstream Media’s Shame 
Tragically, the mainstream U.S. media has become a major disseminator of endless amounts of “fake news,” including highly misleading and false coverage of the Middle East and of the New Cold War. Possibly the most destructive modern case of “fake news” was the reporting by the Post and Times about the existence of Iraq’s fictional WMD.
Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine's Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)
Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine’s Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)
But there are more recent cases. For instance, the Times and Post have studiously ignored the reality of neo-Nazi and other ultranationalists serving as the tip of the spear for the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014. Occasionally, one of their field reporters will mention the inconvenient truth about the Azov and other battalions running around with Swastikas and SS symbols, but the newspapers will then turn a blind eye to this ugly reality or minimize its significance.
So, neo-Nazis are okay in Ukraine – and if any independent news outlet mentions their existence, you end up on a Washington Post-promoted “black list.” However, if some claim is made linking Russia to a neo-Nazi outfit or to some coup plotting – no matter how hazy or dubious the claim – it is trumpeted as loudly as possible.
For example, the Post’s lead editorial on Friday asserted, “In NATO member Hungary, Russian agents have been fingered for training with a neo-Nazi militia; in the tiny Balkan state of Macedonia, which is on the verge of joining the [NATO] transatlantic alliance, Moscow is accused of plotting a violent coup.”
Though the Post admits the evidence is “incomplete,” it presses ahead with the allegations. Yet there is no self-awareness or self-criticism; since the Post strenuously supported the violent coup in Ukraine that overthrew elected President Viktor Yanukovych, a putsch spearheaded by armed neo-Nazis, many of whom have since been incorporated into Ukraine’s security forces and have received U.S. military training.
In the weeks before the coup, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was caught conspiring with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt on how to “midwife” or “glue” the change in Ukraine’s leadership. “Yats is the guy,” Nuland enthused about Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was indeed installed as prime minister after Yanukovych was forced to flee for his life.
However, simply recalling that history apparently now is forbidden in Official Washington.
Behind the Clinton Machine
There’s also the little-discussed issue of how the Clinton machine evolved and currently works. A short version of that history is that the Democrats got pummeled in 1988, in part, because Republicans “weaponized” their advantage in campaign cash to launch devastating attack ads against Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, including the race-baiting Willie Horton ads.
President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 1997. (White House photo)
President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea parade down Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 1997. (White House photo)
Sensing that they couldn’t beat the Republican money while trying to represent the average citizen, the national Democrats largely abandoned the working class to join the dollar chase. They developed a pro-corporate agenda pushed by the Democratic Leadership Council and its brightest star, Bill Clinton.
After winning in 1992, Clinton and his understudies, the likes of John Podesta, institutionalized this relationship between the Democratic Party and various financial and other special interests. Then, after Clinton left office in 2001, his money machine’s business model adapted, with the Clinton Foundation and various Democratic-led Beltway consulting firms expanding or setting up shop.
The key to the strategy was always that Hillary Clinton would eventually become president and therefore foreign governments and domestic interests had to stay on the Clintons’ good side.
The expectation was that Hillary Clinton would get elected in 2008, but her path was blocked by the charismatic Barack Obama. Obama, however, bailed the Clinton machine out by naming her Secretary of State. So, the Clinton influence with foreign potentates remained.
After Clinton left the State Department in 2013, the business model still thrived because she was widely viewed as the clear front-runner to succeed President Obama – and both Clintons cashed in by giving speeches to various business groups and foreign interests for several hundred thousand dollars a pop, totaling in the millions of dollars.
You might have thought that the Clinton machine would have shielded Hillary Clinton from this apparent pay-to-play operation but instead she joined Bill Clinton in raking in the dough, a sign of startling arrogance or stunning greed.
The idea that Hillary Clinton could “power through” the obvious conflicts of interest that these speeches presented and that she could hide from the voters what she told Goldman Sachs and other well-heeled groups further revealed an extraordinary hubris. Clinton and her entourage brushed aside demands from Sen. Bernie Sanders and his populist backers that she disclose what she had said to the rich and powerful.
That brazenness made her vulnerable to the WikiLeaks disclosures late in the campaign revealing her friendly advice to Goldman Sachs and the others. Again, the only reason that was “news” was because Clinton and her team had stonewalled public demands for the information earlier. But rather than taking the blame for that judgment, they blamed the Russians.
The next question for the national Democrats is what will replace the Clinton machine or will it just be retooled in some new way that keeps the money pouring in. Clearly, the old business model of hitting up donors with the implicit club of a Hillary Clinton presidency in the closet will no longer work.
That means possibly leaner years for both the Clinton Foundation and Clinton-related businesses, such as the Podesta Group, a lobbying firm led by John Podesta’s brother, Tony, which has collected annual lobbying fees in the tens of millions of dollars.
But the Democrats risk a bleak political future if they don’t break away from the corporatist model that Bill and Hillary Clinton have personified over the past quarter century. Or maybe the Democrats can just keep on blaming the Russians.
[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “The Orwellian War on Skepticism“; “The Fake News About Fake News“; and “Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt.“]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

Marjorie Cohen on Fidel Castro

The Remarkable Legacy of Fidel Castro 

Posted on Dec 2, 2016
By Marjorie Cohn

   Fidel Castro in Havana in 1978. (Marcelo Montecino / Flickr) (CC-BY-SA)

When Fidel Castro died on Nov. 25 at the age of 90, we lost one of the most remarkable leaders of the 20th century. No other head of state has so steadfastly stood up to the United States and survived.
In 1959, the Cuban Revolution, led by Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara, overthrew the ruthless Fulgencio Batista, who had come to power in a coup d’état. Batista’s government had protected the interests of the wealthy landowners. In order to control the populace, Batista had carried out torture and public executions, killing as many as 20,000 people. During his regime, Batista was supported—financially and militarily—by the United States. Indeed, the U.S. Mafia’s gambling, drug and prostitution operations flourished under Batista’s government.
Led by Castro, the new Cuban government expropriated U.S.-owned property, companies and holdings in Cuba. The United States responded with a punishing economic embargo, which later became a blockade. The CIA attempted unsuccessfully to overthrow the revolution in the disastrous 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.
Since 1959, the U.S. government and the expatriated Cuban-Americans who fled Cuba after the revolution have tried mightily to topple the Castro government, without success. Castro survived more than 630 assassination attempts.

The Legacy of Fidel Castro

“What’s amazing here is you’ve got a country that’s suffered an illegal economic blockade by the United States for almost half a century and yet it’s been able to give its people the best standard of health care, brilliant education,” Ken Livingstone, former mayor of London, said in 2006. “To do this in the teeth of an almost economic war is a tribute to Fidel Castro.”
Castro practiced a unique form of internationalism. Nelson Mandela credited Cuba with helping to bring down the system of apartheid in South Africa. Cuba fought with the revolutionaries in Angola. And Cuba regularly sends doctors to other countries and provides foreign nationals with free medical education.
As Nelson Valdes noted in 2013, Castro, together with others, “shaped a foreign policy and national movement around the fundamental concept of national sovereignty, yet devoid of any self-centered nationalism.” He added, “This unique form of national self-determination incorporated other countries on an equal footing. In fact, national sovereignty and solidarity had precedence over ideology.” Thus, Valdes wrote, “Cuba has aided countries, despite the economic and political differences they may have.”
In 1953, in what is considered the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, Castro, his brother Raul and more than 100 other rebels mounted a failed attack against the Batista regime at the Moncada Barracks. Castro was arrested, tried, sentenced to 15 years in prison and released in an amnesty deal two years later.
At his trial, Castro famously said in his defense, “Condemn me, it does not matter. History will absolve me.”

A History of U.S. Inference in Cuba

The U.S. economic embargo was initiated in 1960 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in response to a memorandum written by L.D. Mallory, a senior State Department official. Mallory proposed “a line of action that makes the greatest inroads in denying money and supplies to Cuba, to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and the overthrow of the government.”
Cuba turned to the U.S.S.R. for assistance, which supported the Cuban Revolution until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 1962, in response to the stationing of U.S. nuclear missiles in Turkey, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev placed nuclear missiles in Cuba. After a tense standoff, Khrushchev and U.S. President John F. Kennedy negotiated a withdrawal of the missiles from both Cuba and Turkey.
The economic blockade continues to this day. It is an illegal interference in the affairs of the Cuban people, in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Charter of the Organization of American States. Every year for 26 consecutive years, the United Nations General Assembly has called on the United States to lift the blockade, which has cost Cuba in excess of $ 1 trillion.
U.S. meddling in Cuban affairs did not start in 1959. Since 1898, when the United States intervened in Cuba’s war for independence, the U.S. government has tried to dominate Cuba. The United States gained control of Guantanamo Bay in 1903, when Cuba was occupied by the U.S. Army after its intervention in Cuba’s war of independence against Spain.
Cuba was forced to accept the Platt Amendment to its constitution as a prerequisite for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Cuba. That amendment provided the basis for a treaty granting the United States jurisdiction over Guantanamo Bay. The 1903 agreement gave the United States the right to use Guantanamo Bay “exclusively as coaling or naval stations, and for no other purpose.” A 1934 treaty maintained U.S. control over Guantanamo Bay in perpetuity until the United States abandons it or until both Cuba and the United States agree to modify it. That treaty also limits its uses to “coaling and naval stations.”
None of these treaties or agreements gives the United States the right to use Guantanamo Bay as a prison, or to subject detainees to arbitrary detention or torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, which have been documented at the prison.
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How close do you live to a NUKE?

How close do you live to a NUKE? 

Fascinating map reveals the exact locations where nuclear bombs are stored

  • Nuclear weapons are stored within a blast range of some major cities 
  • These include London, Glasgow and Brussels in Europe, and Denver and Seattle in the US 
  • Any catastrophe from a freak accident at a factory is virtually impossible 
  • However, many bombs have been lost or accidentally deployed
  • Many of these were active at the time and could still explode if triggered  

The exact locations where nuclear weapons are stored have been pinpointed - and you have probably been closer to one than you may think.
A new video highlights where all the accountable nuclear weapons in the world are kept, many of which are within the blast range of major cities across Europe and the US, including London, Glasgow, Brussels, Denver and Seattle.
While the chances of a freak accident are incredibly remote, as many as 50 bombs have been lost or accidentally deployed over the years - some of which were active at the time and only did not explode through sheer good fortune.
As well as the cities that are in close proximity to nuclear storage sites, some are transported between one another, meaning you may well have shared a road with a vehicle that was carrying a nuclear weapon.
How close do you live to a nuke? It may be closer than you think
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There are no nuclear weapons in the Southern Hemisphere, but the countries in red are the ones where nukes are kept
There are no nuclear weapons in the Southern Hemisphere, but the countries in red are the ones where nukes are kept
A map of Europe shows there is a fair chance that you have probably been within striking distance of a nuke
A map of Europe shows there is a fair chance that you have probably been within striking distance of a nuke
A map of all the locations in the United States where nuclear weapons are kept - some are actually within major cities
A map of all the locations in the United States where nuclear weapons are kept - some are actually within major cities
America has ten different locations in which it stores its nuclear weapons, including the Kirtland Underground Munitions Maintenance And Storage Complex, which is inside the New Mexico city of Albuquerque.
This is actually the largest complex in the world, and its underground space stretches across 28,000 square metres and has room for a fifth of the globe's supply of nukes.
The video, uploaded to YouTube by the RealLifeLore channel - points out that the bombs are disarmed and taken to another compound in Amarillo - suggesting anyone who has driven that route may have been metres away from a bomb without knowing it. 
Another site just 18 miles from the Seattle, while there are hundreds of silos around North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska and Colorado containing missiles ready to be launched at the President's command.


RUSSIA: 7,300
USA: 6,970
CHINA: 260 
UK: 215
INDIA: 115
ISRAEL: 60-400 (suspected, undeclared)
NORTH KOREA: 15 (suspected, undeclared) 
The closest of these is 77 miles from Denver, while other areas where missiles are stored include one 55 miles from Kansas City, Missouri and another 32 miles from Jacksonville, Florida.
The main storage sites in the UK are 42 miles southwest of London, at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in the Berkshire village of Aldermaston, and 27 miles northwest of Glasgow, at the naval base of HMNB Clyde.
America also keeps weapons in various locations across Europe - and the video highlights that some of these are not too far away from major cities.
These include a site in Rotterdam, an area 43 miles from Venice, sites 52 miles from Milan and Cologne, one 53 miles from the Belgian capital, Brussels.
Russia's 7,300 weapons are kept in top-secret locations but the video speculates that these are spread across the country but located within close proximity to Moscow, St Petersburg, Vladivostock and Saratov.
The map also shows the believed location of nuclear weapons in Russia (top), Israel (middle), and Pakistan and India (bottom)
The map also shows the believed location of nuclear weapons in Russia (top), Israel (middle), and Pakistan and India (bottom)
Just last month Vladimir Putin unveiled chilling pictures of its largest ever nuclear missile, capable of destroying an area the size of France.
The RS-28 Sarmat missile, dubbed Satan 2 by Nato, has a top speed of 4.3 miles (7km) per second and has been designed to outfox anti-missile shield systems. 
Also highlighted are the nuclear weapons that have been lost by the America and Russia - many of which are still unaccounted for, having lost 11 and 40 respectively.
Several were being transported by planes which crashed, including an instance in North Carolina, when one bomb ended up in a tree and another lodged itself in the ground without exploding.
Four were dropped over Greenland, while another is still reportedly sat on the ocean floor off the coast of Georgia. 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3994504/How-close-live-NUKE-Fascinating-map-reveals-exact-locations-nuclear-bombs-stored.html#ixzz4RnWJp7uT
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NATO Member Turkey and Russia-China Alliance

Turkey Looks to Join Russia-China 
Alliance, Snubbing the US and Europe

(ANTIMEDIA) Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan recently said Turkey does not need to join the European Union “at all costs.” Instead, he is looking to become part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a Eurasian political, economic, and military bloc originally founded in Shanghai by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Although Turkey is a member of NATO, 11 years of negotiations aimed at the country’s entrance into the E.U. have almost fallen flat. A proposal for Turkey to take a certain number of refugees from Europe with hopes this would lead to E.U. membership failed earlier this year.
According to Reuters, European leaders have been critical of Ankara’s record on democratic freedoms, particularly in light of its recent brutal crackdown on dissidents and journalism. Meanwhile, Erdogan has become increasingly exasperated by what he sees as “Western condescension.”
Turkey must feel at ease. It mustn’t say ‘for me it’s the European Union at all costs,’” Erdogan told reporters on a plane journey from Pakistan to Uzbekistan, according to Hurriyet newspaper.
Turkey has been somewhat affiliated with the bloc since 2013, when it signed up as a “dialogue partner,” asserting it shared “the same destiny” as members of the organization. Dialogue partners can take part at the ministerial level and be involved in some meetings, but they do not have voting rights.
I hope that if there is a positive development there, I think if Turkey were to join the Shanghai Five, it [would] enable it to act with much greater ease,” Erdogan stated.
In order to understand what Erdogan is referring to when he says “to act with much greater ease,” one must look at what has been happening in Turkish politics — both domestically and internationally — in the last decade.
In 2009, Qatar put forward a proposal to run a pipeline through Turkey and Syria to export Saudi and Qatari gas to Europe. The Syrian government rejected this proposal and instead forged an agreement with Iran and Iraq to run a separate pipeline to Europe, cutting Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar out of the route entirely.
After that, Turkey became hellbent on taking down the Syrian government. The fact that foreign-backed Islamist fighters referred to the Turkish border as the “gateway to jihad” shows how little attention Turkey paid to jihadists flowing across the border into Syria.
ISIS was even smuggling oil from Syrian territory into Turkish territory until Russia began targeting these oil convoys with airstrikes. Following these attacks, Erdogan showed where his real loyalties lay by shooting down a Russian jet on the border.
Although Russian and Turkish relations began to deteriorate rapidly, an apology from Erdogan helped these relations get back on track. In October of this year, Russia and Turkey signed a gas pipeline deal of their own.
Most importantly, however, Erdogan’s own survival and political legacy have seen a shift from focusing on removing Assad from power in Syria. At home, he is experiencing widespread dissidence, and earlier this year, he fended off a military coup. His brutal crackdown on dissent, opposition, and Kurdish movements make one wonder why Western media has spent half a decade infatuated with Assad’s actions in Syria.
Through his transition from Turkish president to iron-fisted dictator, Erdogan has found more friends in his Eastern partners than his previously held friendships with Western powers. As astutely noted by the Washington Post in August of this year:
“Dictators who fear their enemies also look for allies. But they don’t want allies who criticize what they are doing, either out loud or by example. And so, in the wake of the failed coup and the successful crackdown, Erdogan naturally sought out the company of Vladimir Putin.”
This is what Erdogan was referring to when he talked about acting with “greater ease.” According to Reuters, more than 110,000 people have been sacked or suspended since Erdogan’s crackdown began. Approximately 36,000 have been arrested.
Joining the Eastern bloc would put Erdogan in better company to continue what he has been doing all year.
However, if Turkey is able to join the bloc for good, it should be noted that Iran’s inclusion is also a very real and likely possibility. Given the two Middle Eastern powers have effectively been fighting a proxy war against each other in Syria since 2011, this could very well spell bad news for Washington’s plan to overthrow the Assad regime.

This article (Turkey Looks to Join Russia-China Alliance, Snubbing the US and Europe) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Darius Shahtahmasebi and theAntiMedia.orgAnti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to edits@theantimedia.org.