Obama has announced new sanctions on Russia based on unsubstantiated charges by the CIA that the Russian government influenced the outcome of the US presidential election with “malicious cyber-enabled activities.”
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a report “related to the declaration of 35 Russian officials persona non grata for malicious cyber activity and harassment.”
The report is a description of “tools and infrastructure used by Russian intelligence services to compromise and exploit networks and infrastructure associated with the recent U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. government, political and private sector entities.”
The report does not provide any evidence that the tools and infrastructure were used to influence the outcome of the US presidential election. The report is simply a description of what is said to be Russian capabilities. https://diplopundit.net/2016/12/29/dhsfbi-issues-joint-analysis-report-grizzly-steppe-russian-malicious-cyber-activity-read-report/
Moreover, the report begins with this disclaimer: “DISCLAIMER: This report is provided ‘as is’ for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.” https://diplopundit.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/jar_16-20296.pdf
In other words, the report not only provides no evidence of the use of the Russian tools and infrastructure in order to influence the US presidential election, the report will not even warrant the correctness of its description of Russian capabilities.
Thus the DHS report makes it completely clear that the Obama regime has no evidential basis for its allegations on the basis of which it has imposed more sanctions on Russia.
What is going on here?
First there is the question of the legality of the sanctions even if there were evidence. I am not certain, but I think that sanctions require the action of a body, such as the UN Security Council, and cannot legally be imposed unilaterally by one country. Additionally, it is unclear why Obama is calling the expulsion of Russian diplomats “sanctions.” No other country has to do likewise. During the Cold War when diplomats were expelled for spying, it was not called “sanctions.” Sanctions imply more than unilateral or bilateral expulsions of diplomats.
Second, it is clear that Obama, the CIA, and the New York Times are fully aware that the allegation is false. It is also clear that if the CIA actually believes the allegation, the intelligence agency is totally incompetent and cannot be believed on any subject.
Third, President Trump can rescind the sanctions in 21 days, a third reason that the sanctions are ridiculous.
So why are President Obama, the CIA, and the New York Times making charges that they know are false and for which they have not produced a shred of evidence? http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/29/opinion/president-obama-punishes-russia-at-last.html?_r=1
One obvious answer is that the neoconized Obama regime is desperate to ruin US-Russian relations past the point that Trump can repair them. As the New York Times puts it, “Mr. Obama’s actions clearly create a problem for Mr. Trump.” The question the New York Times says, is whether Trump “stands with his democratic allies on Capitol Hill or his authoritarian friend in the Kremlin.”
Can Trump’s foreign policy be controlled by false allegations? According to the New York Times, Trump has relented and agreed to being briefed by the CIA about the Russian hacking now that Republicans such as Paul Ryan, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham have lined up with Obama and the CIA in accepting charges for which no evidence has been presented. However, a briefing without evidence would seem simply to further discredit the CIA in Trump’s eyes.
As I have emphasized in my columns, facts no longer have a role in the United States and its empire. Allegations alone suffice, whether in court cases, interrogation centers, foreign and domestic policies, or classrooms. The US even bases its military invasions on false allegations—“weapons of mass destruction.” Indeed, the entirely of US foreign policy since the Clinton regime has been based on nothing but false allegations.
The Russian government should have learned by now, but perhaps Moscow still thinks that facts matter in Washington’s decisions.
Possibly we should consider that more is going on than meets the eye. Perhaps the propaganda about the Russian cyber threat to democracy is being used to prepare American and/or European populations for an incident. The CIA has morphed into a “deep state” that uses disinformation and propaganda to align decisions of Congress, the executive branch, and foreign governments with secret behind-the-scenes agendas. Many books, such as Stephen Kinzer’s The Brothers and Douglas Valentine’s CIA As Organized Crime have described some of these secret agendas.
In order to deter Trump from restoring normal relations with Russia, an incident would have to be severe and irreversible. Rather than accept defeat for their agenda of US world hegemony, the neoconservatives are prepared to take high risks. The willingness to take risks is demonstrated by the public effort of the CIA Director to discredit the president-elect.
As expected, Putin’s response to the latest provocation is low key as the “sanctions” appear to be meaningless on the surface (http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/12/30/stephen-lendman-reports-president-putins-response-to-obamas-new-sanctions/). However, in the event that something dangerous is below the surface, the Russian government might want to consider putting its military forces on alert.
Stephen Lendman Reports President Putin’s Response To Obama’s New Sanctions
Stephen Lendman Reports President Putin’s Response To Obama’s New Sanctions
It is clear enough who is the real leader of the world. That person is not in the White House.
Putin’s Response to Obama’s New Sanctions
by Stephen Lendman
Both leaders are polar opposites – a mensch in Moscow on the right side of history compared to a US menace in Washington waging war on humanity. [Mensch means a person of dignity and honor. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensch ]
In response to Obama’s new sanctions, a same day article quoted Sergey Lavrov, saying Russia “cannot leave unanswered insults of the kind, reciprocity is the law of diplomacy and foreign relations.”
He recommended Putin respond tit for tat while blasting Obama’s deplorable action. It seemed certain, but didn’t happen. Putin took the high ground, in stark contrast to his disgraceful US counterpart, issuing a statement, saying:
“We regard the recent unfriendly steps taken by the outgoing US administration as provocative and aimed at further weakening the Russia-US relationship.”
“This runs contrary to the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people. Considering the global security responsibilities of Russia and the United States, this is also damaging to international relations as a whole.”
“As it proceeds from international practice, Russia has reasons to respond in kind. Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration.”
“The diplomats who are returning to Russia will spend the New Year’s holidays with their families and friends. We will not create any problems for US diplomats.”
“We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year’s holidays.”
“Moreover, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties in the Kremlin.” [ The Russian Orthodox Church uses the old Julian calendar for religious holidays, which puts Christmas on January 7.]
“It is regrettable that the Obama Administration is ending its term in this manner. Nevertheless, I offer my New Year greetings to President Obama and his family.”
“My season’s greetings also to President-elect Donald Trump and the American people.”
“I wish all of you happiness and prosperity.”
Judge for yourself. Who’s the mensch and who’s the menace? Which way will Trump go?
My personal yearend greetings and thanks to President Putin for for doing the right thing consistently on major geopolitical issues. I proudly support his preeminent world leadership.
A Final Comment
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova explained that Obama’s expulsion order disrupts the lives of 96 Russian nationals – 35 diplomats and family members.
Some targeted diplomats only arrived in America two months ago. “It is not clear how they could have participated in (alleged) activities that, according to the secret services, took place in the spring of 2016,” Zakharova explained.
They have until January 1 to leave – Obama’s happy new year greeting.
There might be more to Obama’s provocation than meets the eye. See my column: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/12/30/what-is-the-obama-regime-up-to-paul-craig-rober