|Starving Venezuela into Submission
By Israel Shamir
February 13, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – You are so kind-hearted! I shed a tear thinking of American generosity.
“So many delightful goodies: sacks of rice, canned tuna and protein-rich biscuits, corn flour, lentils and pasta, arrived at the border of troubled Venezuela – enough for one light meal each for five thousand people”, – reported the news in a sublime reference to five thousand fed by Christ’s fishes and loaves.
True, Christ did not take over the bank accounts and did not seize the gold of those he fed. But 21st century Venezuela is a good deal more-prosperous than 1st century Galilee. Nowadays, you have to organise a blockade if you want people to be grateful for your humanitarian aid.
This is not a problem. The US-UK duo did it in Iraq, as marvelous Arundhati Roy wrote in April 2003 (inThe Guardian of old, before it turned into an imperial tool): After Iraq was brought to its knees, its people starved, half a million of its children killed, its infrastructure severely damaged… the blockade and war were followed by… you guessed it! Humanitarian relief. At first, they blocked food supplies worth billions of dollars, and then they delivered 450 tonnes of humanitarian aid and celebrated their generosity for a few days of live TV broadcasts. Iraq had had enough money to buy all the food it needed, but it was blocked, and its people received only some peanuts.
And this was rather humane by American standards. In the 18th century, the British colonists in North America used more drastic methods while dispensing aid to disobedient natives. The Red Indians were expelled from their native places, and then they were provided humanitarian aid: whiskey and blankets. The blankets had been previously used by smallpox patients. The native population of North America was decimated by the ensuing epidemics from this and similar measures. Probably you haven’t heard of this chapter of your history: the USA has many Holocaust museums but not a single memorial to the genocide near home. It is much more fun to discuss faults of Germans and Turks than of your own forefathers.
First, you starve people; then you bring them humanitarian aid. This was proposed by John McNaughton at Pentagon: bomb locks and dams, by shallow-flooding the rice, cause widespread starvation (more than a million dead?) “And then we shall deliver humanitarian aid to the starving Vietnamese”. Or, rather, “we could offer to do [that] at the conference table.” Planning a million dead by starvation, in writing: if such a note would be found on the ruins of the Third Reich, it would seal the story of genocide, it would be quoted daily. But the story of the genocide of the Vietnamese is rarely mentioned nowadays.
They did it in Syria, too. At first, they brought weapons for every Muslim extremist, then they blockaded Damascus, and then they sent some humanitarian aid, but only to the areas under rebel control.
This cruel but efficient method of breaking nations’ spirit has been developed by lion tamers for years, perhaps for centuries. You have to starve the beast until it will take food from your hands and lick your fingers. ‘Starvation-taming’, they call it.
The Israelis practice it in Gaza. They block all export or import from the Strip, interdict fishing in the Mediterranean and drip-feed the captive Palestinians by ‘humanitarian aid’. Jews, being Jews, make it one better: they made the EU to pay for the humanitarian aid to Gaza AND to buy the aid stuff from Israel. This made Gaza an important source of profit for the Jewish state.
So in Venezuela they follow an old script. The US and its London poodle seized over 20 billion dollars from Venezuela and from Venezuelan national companies. They stole over a billion in gold ingots Venezuela had trustingly deposited in the cellars of the Bank of England.
Well, they said they will give this money to a Venezuelan Random Dude, rather. To the guy who already promised to give the wealth of Venezuela to the US companies. And after this daylight robbery, they bring a few containers of humanitarian aid to the border and wait for the rush of bereft Venezuelans for food.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted:
“The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid. The U.S. & other countries are trying to help, but Venezuela’s military under Maduro’s orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers. The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE.”
Venezuelans aren’t starving, even though they are going through difficulties. The biggest noise is made by the wealthy, as always. If Pompeo wants to help Venezuelans, he might lift the sanctions, return the funds, lift the blockade. The biscuits he wants to provide are of but little use.
President Maduro is right when he refuses to let this hypocrisy bribe the stomachs and hearts of his people. It is not just that he remembers his Virgil and knows, Timeo danaos et dona ferentes, “beware gift-bearing Greeks.” There are too many American and Colombian soldiers around the pending delivery place, and this place is suspiciously close to an airport with an extra-long runway suitable for a an airlift.
The US is known for its propensity to invade its neighbours: Panama was invaded in 1989 to keep the Panama Canal in American hands and to roll back the agreement signed by the good-hearted President Jimmy Carter. President George Bush Sr sent his airborne troops in after calling Panama president “a dictator and cocaine smuggler”. This is exactly what President Trump says about Venezuela’s president.
They are likely to use this aid to invade and suborn Venezuela. Wisely, Maduro began large military exercises to prepare the army in case of invasion. The situation of Venezuela is dire enough even without invasion. Their money has been appropriated, their main oil company is as good as confiscated; and there is a strong fifth column waiting for Yankees in Caracas.
This fifth column consists mainly of compradors, well-off young folk with a smattering of Western education and upbringing, who see their future within the framework of the American Empire. They are ready to betray the unwashed masses and invite the US troops in. They are supported by the super-rich, by representatives of foreign companies, by Western secret services. Such people exist everywhere; they tried to organise the Gucci Revolution in Lebanon, the Green Revolution in Iran, the Maidan in the Ukraine. In Russia they had their chance in the winter of 2011/2012 when their Mink-Coat Revolution was played at Moscow’s Bolotnaya Heath.
In Moscow they lost when their opponents, the Russia-First crowd, bettered them by fielding a much-biggerdemo at Poklonnaya Hill. The Western news agencies tried to cover the defeat by broadcasting pictures of the Putin-supporters demo and saying it was the pro-Western Heath. Other Western agencies published pictures of 1991 rallies saying they were taken in 2012 on the Heath. In Moscow, nobody was fooled: the mink-coat crowd knew they were licked.
In the Ukraine, they won, for President Yanukovich, a hesitant and pusillanimous man of two minds, failed to gather massive support. It is a big question whether Maduro will be able to mobilise Venezuela-First masses. If he is, he will win the confrontation with the US as well.
Maduro is rather reticent; he hasn’t disciplined unruly oligarchs; he does not control the media; he tries to play a social-democrat game in a country that is not Sweden by long shot. His subsidies have allowed ordinary people to escape dire poverty, but now they are used by black marketeers to siphon off the wealth of the nation. Far from being a disaster zone, Venezuela is a true Bonanza, a real Klondike: you can fill a tanker with petrol for pennies, smuggle it to neighbouring Colombia and sell it for market price. Many supporters of the Random Guy have made small fortunes this way, and they hope to make a large killing if and when the Americans come.
A bigger problem is that Venezuela had become a monoculture economy: it exports oil and imports everything else. It does not even produce food to feed its 35 million inhabitants. Venezuela is a victim of neoliberal doctrine claiming that you can buy what you can’t produce. Now they can’t buy and they do not produce. Imagine a democratic Saudi Arabia hit by blockade.
In order to save the economy, Maduro should drain the swamp, end the black market and profiteering, encourage agriculture, tax the rich, develop some industry for local consumption. It can be done. Venezuela is not a socialist state like orderly Cuba, nor a social-democratic one like Sweden and England in 1970s, but even its very modest model of allowing the masses to rise out of misery, poverty and ignorance seems too much for the West.
It is often said there are two antagonists in the West, the Populists and the Globalists, and President Trump is the Populist leader. The Venezuela crisis proved these two forces are united if there is a chance to attack and rob an outsider country. Trump is condemned at home when he calls his troops back from Afghanistan or Syria, but he gains support when he threatens Venezuela or North Korea. He can be sure he will be cheered on by Macron and Merkel and even by The Washington Post and The New York Times.
He has the real WMD, the Weapons of Mass Deception, to attack Venezuela, and these WMD had been activated with the beginning of the creeping coup. When a rather unknown young politician, the leader of a small neoliberal rabidly pro-American fraction in the Parliament, Random Dude, claimed the title of president, he was immediately recognised by Trump, and the Western media reported that the people of Venezuela went out in mass demos to greet the new president and demand Maduro’s removal.
They beamed videos of huge Caracas demos back to Venezuela. Not many viewers abroad noticed that the video was old, filmed in 2016 demos, but the Venezuelans saw that at once. They weren’t fooled. They knew that there is no chance for a big protest demo on that day, the day of a particularly important baseball game in the professional league between Leones of Caracas and Cardenales de Lara from Barquisimeto.
But the WMD kept lying. Here is a report by Moon of Alabama: the reports of large anti-government rallies are fake news or prophecies hoping to become self-fulfilling ones:
AFP news agency✔@AFP
Tens of thousands of protesters are set to pour onto the streets of Venezuela’s capital #Caracas Saturday to back opposition leader Juan Guaido’s calls for early elections as international pressure increased on President #Maduro to step down http://u.afp.com/Jouu
That was at 7:10am local time in Caracas, several hours before the rally took place. Such “predictive reporting” is now supposed to be “news”. A bit later AFP posted a video:
AFP news agency @AFP – 15:50 utc – 2 Feb 2019″>
VIDEO: Thousands of opposition protesters pour onto the streets of Caracas to back Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan #Guaido who is calling for early elections, as international pressure increases on President Nicolas #Maduro to step down
AFP news agency✔@AFP
#UPDATE Venezuela’s self-proclaimed president Juan #Guaido has promised China he will honour bilateral agreements and says he is ready to start a dialogue with Beijing “as soon as possible” http://u.afp.com/Joua
Venezuela’s Guaido extends olive branch to China
Venezuela’s self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido has promised China he will honour bilateral agreements and said he was ready to start a dialogue with Beijing “as soon as possible”. Guaido’s…
AFP news agency✔@AFP
318 people are talking about this
That was at 11:50am local time. The attached video did not show “thousands” but some 200 people milling about.
They lie that there are army deserters spoiling for a fight with the army. The young guys CNN presented weren’t deserters, and they didn’t live in Venezuela. Even their military insignia were of the kind discarded years ago, as our friend The Saker noticed.
However, these lies won’t avail – my correspondents in Caracas report that there are demos for and against government (for Maduro slightly bigger crowds), but the feelings aren’t strong. The crisis is manufactured in Washington, and the Venezuelans aren’t keen to get involved.
That’s why we can expect an American attempt to use force, preceded by some provocation. Probably it won’t be a full-blown war: the US never fought an enemy that wasn’t exhausted prior to the encounter. If the Maduro administration survives the blow, the crisis will take a low profile, until sanctions do their work and further undermine the economy.
In this struggle, President Trump is his own bitter enemy. He seeks approval of the War Party, and his own base will be disappointed by his actions. His sanctions will send more refugees to the US, wall or no wall. He undermines the unique status of the US dollar by weaponising it. In 2020, he will reap what he sow.
Israel Shamir can be reached at email@example.com.
This article was originally published by “The Unz Review.”-
The best thing that can happen in 2020 is for Bernie Sanders to do fantastically in the primaries and be cheated out of the nomination, once again, thus giving millions of leftish Democrats a chance to do something useful with their lives: leave the party.
“Kamala Harris is by far the most dangerous corporate threat to a revival of the Sandernistas.”
Early this century, the oligarchy of filthy-rich white men that rule the United States reached a consensus among themselves on the necessity of maintaining a regime of endless war and austerity. In truth, there was no other policy choice available to the Lords of Capital. The financial oligarchy’s success in consolidating virtually all political and economic power in an ever-shrinking cabal of the super-wealthy has all but eliminated the last refuges and hideaways of democracy in the U.S., while condemning most of the population to eternal insecurity amidst falling living standards. Late stage western capitalism has nothing to offer its own citizens but austerity, and no way to compete with the dynamic societies of Asia except through war. Yet, the rulers must maintain the charade of domestic social progress and mass upward mobility, although no such possibilities exist under this system.
“The provocateur in the White House shattered the façade of racial harmony that had been carefully cultivated over decades by corporate media.”
It is a ruling class political dilemma made far more complex by the disruption wreaked on the two-capitalist party system by Donald Trump, the orange-tinted huckster and mega-opportunist. Trump captured the Republican Party apparatus by throwing red racist meat to the hordes of white supremacists that are still the most decisive force in the U.S. electorate. The polite White Man’s Party of Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes was suddenly stripped to the waist and showing its Aryan tattoos. The provocateur in the White House shattered the façade of racial harmony that had been carefully cultivated over decades by corporate media, while at the same time calling into question the corporate consensus on so-called “free trade,” “humanitarian” military intervention (regime change) and increasing hostility to capitalist Russia.
The bulk of the ruling class and their operatives in the national security services and media sprang into (often hysterical) action to neutralize and expunge Trump, the disruptive element. In the mad process, however, they have done incalculable damage to the very national institutions that give legitimacy to the bourgeois political order — that is, the institutions that justify the rule of the rich in a supposedly democratic state. When the CIA, the FBI, the corporate media and most of the Democratic Party are howling that the occupant of the White House is illegitimate, they strip the office, itself, and the electoral process for achieving that office, of its legitimacy. And when they claim that a few Russians with a hundred thousand dollars were able to set Americans at each others’ throats and decisively swing a national election, they paint a picture of extreme instability and political fragility — not a superpower, but a weak society on the brink of disaster and dissolution.
“Sanders’ proposals on health care, livable wages and free college education awakened expectations and thirst for a better life among masses of Americans.”
The legitimacy of the corporate regime was simultaneously challenged from leftish quarters, by Bernie Sanders, whose 2016 primary campaign failed to stop the warmongering corporatist Hillary Clinton, but succeeded in proving that super-majorities of Americans (including Republicans) want Medicare for All. Sanders’ proposals on health care, livable wages and free college education awakened expectations and thirst for a better life among masses of Americans. Sanders’ proposals are not transformative, revolutionary or “socialist.” However, the mere raising of expectations among the masses of people is dangerously destabilizing in a society where the corporate rulers have decreed endless austerity and war.
The oligarchy cannot tolerate or accommodate a New Deal, Green or otherwise. Their model of development is embodied in Jeff Bezos’ demand that New York City fork over billions for the pleasure of his corporate presence. Austerity is not really a policy at all, but a recognition that late stage capitalism is incapable of investing in productive enterprises that create good jobs for masses of people, or to provide security and adequate social services for the rearing of healthy, happy families. Instead, capital exports jobs to the Global South, where workers can be super-exploited; feasts on the bones of the public sector in the home country, privatizing every public good that holds the prospect of private profit; gorges on war production and diverts trillions to the virtual casinos of the derivatives markets.
“Austerity is not really a policy at all, but a recognition that late stage capitalism is incapable of investing in productive enterprises that create good jobs for masses of people.”
Similarly, endless war is less a policy than an acknowledgement that the U.S. cannot compete with China in fostering infrastructure development in Africa, Latin America and Asia — for the same reason that the U.S. cannot connect its own cities with high-speed rail: the system is moribund and cannibalistic, and has already stripped the home country of productive capacity. War is the only game the oligarchy thinks it can win.
In the years following 9/11, both corporate parties began to speak of the “War on Terror” as a “twilight” struggle that would last “generations.” The message to U.S. society was: this is wartime forever; lower your expectations; don’t demand upward mobility under these perpetual martial circumstances — it’s unpatriotic.
Trump’s racialist coup in the Republican Party and Bernie Sanders’ breakout among the Democrats threatened to disrupt the “twilight” predations of the Lords of Capital. Trump told white workers the lie, that he would claw back the jobs that were exported to China and elsewhere, while Bernie evoked a revived New Deal. The ruling class blitzkrieg against Trump is now entering its third year, and has spawned a New Cold War that is methodically targeting dissent on the internet. The Democratic half of the rich man’s duopoly has moved frantically to pre-empt a second Sanders bid for the party’s presidential nomination, deploying reliable corporate chameleons like Cory Booker and Kamala Harris to nail down the all-important Black vote and subvert ”New Deal” sentiment from the inside by pretending to be Medicare for All supporters.
“The system is moribund and cannibalistic, and has already stripped the home country of productive capacity.”
The corporate media — the same folks that buttressed Trump’s campaign with billions in free air time, in expectation that Hillary would knock him flat like a straw man on Election Day – are busy constructing a whole roster of corporate alternatives to Sanders, hoping to head off the kind of popular movement-style politics that Bernie thrived on in 2016. Kamala Harris is by far the most dangerous corporate threat to a revival of the Sandernistas, for obvious reasons of race and gender. However, as a career prosecutor, Harris is a lifelong operative in the mass incarceration machine. She is so wedded to the beast, she opposed compliance with a court order to dramatically reduce California prison overcrowding, because it would shrink the number of inmates available for work in the prison system. Harris can be effectively neutralized from the Left, as being even more pro-mass Black incarceration than Hillary Clinton, who never personally put anyone in prison.
It is critical that mass incarceration loom large in the unfolding campaign season. Austerity means freezing unequal and oppressive social relationships in place, and policing the resultant misery, anger and frustration. Therefore, an austerity regime requires the revving up of the state coercive and carceral machinery. In the Age of Austerity, the Lords of Capital need a Jailer in the White House. A Black female jailer like Harris is ideal for the ruling class.
“As a career prosecutor, Harris is a lifelong operative in the mass incarceration machine.”
Most importantly, the rulers need to give people something to feel good about — the illusion that progress is being made, despite their own frozen or worsening economic realities. The trick is to promote racial and gender “firsts” and market them as socially transformative, in the midst of actual social and economic decay. Kamala Harris fits the bill, perfectly – which is why she is the most dangerous to a Sanders project, and why Sanders should jump into the race right away, before the corporate media declare a “front-runner” and otherwise make him appear irrelevant.
You don’t have to be a Democrat to root for Sanders in the primaries. What there is of a mass Left – and virtually all Black political activity — is locked up in the Democratic half of the corporate duopoly. The tens of millions of social democrats that are effectively neutered within the Democratic Party must leave, if there is to be a mass resistance to late capitalist austerity, war and mass incarceration. Although Bernie Sanders is probably the most popular politician in the nation, with the most favored political program, the billionaires that control the Democratic Party will move heaven and earth to prevent him from getting the nomination — as was done in 2016. The best scenario for the Left is for Sanders to do so well in the primaries that corporate party leadership is forced to resort to dirty tricks and transparently undemocratic means to steal the nomination from him in the clear light of day. At that point, progressives would have yet another chance to escape their subordination, humiliation and ultimate irrelevance in a corporate-owned party, and to create or join a social democratic formation.
“The tens of millions of social democrats that are effectively neutered within the Democratic Party must leave, if there is to be a mass resistance to late capitalist austerity, war and mass incarceration.”
People of the Left like me, who are not social democrats, would cheer an exodus from the Democratic Party as a huge historical development in itself, freeing millions from the corporate political machine — a kind of emancipation.
So, start running again, Bernie — and force the Party’s corporate operatives to rig the game, like last time. In righteous defeat, you could change the course of history.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
Venezuela’s US-appointed coup leader Juan Guaidó plans to privatize state assets and give foreign corporations access to oil, the Wall Street Journal admitted.
“Guaidó plans to implement the neoliberal capitalist shock therapy that Washington has imposed on the region for decades.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Venezuela’s US-appointed coup leader Juan Guaidó has already drafted plans for “opening up Venezuela’s vast oil sector to private investment” and “privatizing assets held by state enterprises.”
The report confirms what The Grayzone previously reported .
“Juan Guaidó, recognized by Washington as the rightful leader, said he would sell state assets and invite private investment in the energy industry,” read the Wall Street Journal’s January 31 article.
The paper noted that Guaidó plans “to reverse President Nicolás Maduro’s economic polices,” explaining:
“Mr. Guaidó said his plan called for seeking financial aide from multilateral organizations, tapping bilateral loans, restructuring debtand opening up Venezuela’s vast oil sector to private investment. It includes privatizing assets held by state enterprises … He also said he’d end wasteful state subsidies and take steps to revive the private sector.”
In other words, Guaidó plans to implement the neoliberal capitalist shock therapy that Washington has imposed on the region for decades.
“Guaidó seeks to adopt an aggressive “structural adjustment” program.”
Using funding from US-dominated international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Venezuelan coup leader seeks to adopt an aggressive “structural adjustment” program, enacting the kinds of economic policies that have led to the preventable deaths of millions of people and an explosion of poverty and inequality in the years following capitalist restoration in the former Soviet Union.
In a speech, Juan Guaidó even echoed rhetoric that is popular among US conservatives: “Here, no one wants to be given anything.”
It is clear that the coup leader’s priorities reflect those of Venezuela’s capitalist oligarchs and right-wing politicians in the United States. Economic liberalization is the Venezuelan opposition’s first and most important goal; democracy is just a pretense.
This article previously appeared on The Grayzone Project site.
With Republicans on both House and Senate investigative committees having found no evidence of Donald Trump being guilty of Democrat-inspired allegations of Russian collusion, it is worth revisiting one anecdote that escaped significant attention during the hysteria but continues to have U.S. security implications.
As secretary of State, Hillary Clinton worked with Russian leaders, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-President Dmitri Medvedev, to create U.S. technology partnerships with Moscow’s version of Silicon Valley, a sprawling high-tech campus known as Skolkovo.
Clinton’s handprint was everywhere on the 2009-2010 project, the tip of a diplomatic spear to reboot U.S.-Russian relations after years of hostility prompted by Vladimir Putin’s military action against the former Soviet republic and now U.S. ally Georgia.
A donor to the Clinton Foundation, Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, led the Russian side of the effort, and several American donors to the Clinton charity got involved. Clinton’s State Department facilitated U.S. companies working with the Russian project, and she personally invited Medvedev to visit Silicon Valley.
The collaboration occurred at the exact same time Bill Clinton made his now infamous trip to Russia to pick up a jaw-dropping $500,000 check for a single speech.
The former president’s trip secretly raised eyebrows inside his wife’s State Department, internal emails show.
That’s because he asked permission to meet Vekselberg, the head of Skolkovo, and Arkady Dvorkovich, a senior official of Rosatom, the Russian nuclear giant seeking State’s permission to buy Uranium One, a Canadian company with massive U.S. uranium reserves.
Years later, intelligence documents show, both the Skolkovo and Uranium One projects raised serious security concerns.
In 2013, the U.S. military’s leading intelligence think tank in Europe sounded alarm that the Skolkovo project might be a front for economic and military espionage.
“Skolkovo is an ambitious enterprise, aiming to promote technology transfer generally, by inbound direct investment, and occasionally, through selected acquisitions. As such, Skolkovo is arguably an overt alternative to clandestine industrial espionage — with the additional distinction that it can achieve such a transfer on a much larger scale and more efficiently,” EUCOM’s intelligence bulletin wrote in 2013.
“Implicit in Russia’s development of Skolkovo is a critical question — a question that Russia may be asking itself — why bother spying on foreign companies and government laboratories if they will voluntarily hand over all the expertise Russia seeks?”
A year later, the FBI went further and sent letters warning several U.S. technology companies that had become entangled with Skolkovo that they risked possible espionage. And an agent in the bureau’s Boston office wrote an extraordinary op-ed to publicize the alarm.
Skolkovo “may be a means for the Russian government to access our nation’s sensitive or classified research development facilities and dual-use technologies with military and commercial application,” Assistant Special Agent in Charge Lucia Ziobro wrote in the Boston Business Journal.
The FBI had equal concern about Rosatom’s acquisition of Uranium One. An informer named William Douglas Campbell had gotten inside the Russian nuclear giant in 2009 and gathered evidence that Rosatom’s agents in the United States were engaged in a racketeering scheme involving kickbacks, extortion and bribery.
Campbell also obtained written evidence that Putin wanted to buy Uranium One as part of a strategy to obtain monopolistic domination of the global uranium markets, including leverage over the U.S.
Campbell also warned that a major in-kind donor to the Clinton Global Initiative was simultaneously working for Rosatom while the decision for U.S. approval was pending before Hillary Clinton’s department. Ultimately, her department and the Obama administration approved the transaction.
The evidence shows the Clintons financially benefited from Russia — personally and inside their charity — at the same time they were involved in U.S. government actions that rewarded Moscow and increased U.S. security risks.
The intersections between the Clintons, the Democrats and Russia carried into 2016, when a major political opposition research project designed to portray GOP rival Donald Trump as compromised by Moscow was launched by Clinton’s presidential campaign and brought to the FBI.
Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS research firm was secretly hired by the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party through their law firm, Perkins Coie.
Simpson then hired retired British intelligence operative Christopher Steele — whom the FBI learned was “desperate” to defeat Trump — to write an unverified dossier suggesting that Trump’s campaign was colluding with Russia to hijack the election.
Simpson, Steele and Perkins Coie all walked Trump-Russia related allegations into the FBI the summer before the election, prompting agents who openly disliked Trump to launch a counterintelligence probe of the GOP nominee shortly before Election Day.
Simpson and Steele also went to the news media to air the allegations in what senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr would later write was a “Hail Mary” effort to influence the election.
Congressional investigators have painstakingly pieced together evidence that shows the Clinton research project had extensive contact with Russians.
Ohr’s notes show that Steele’s main source of uncorroborated allegationsagainst Trump came from an ex-Russian intelligence officer. “Much of the collection about the Trump campaign ties to Russia comes from a former Russian intelligence officer (? not entirely clear) who lives in the U.S.,” Ohr scribbled.
Steele’s dossier also relied on information from a Belarus-born Russian businessman, according to numerous reports and a book on the Russia scandal.
Steele and Simpson had Russian-tied business connections, too, while they formulated the dossier.
Steele worked for the lawyers for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and tried to leverage those connections to help the FBI get evidence from the Russian aluminum magnate against Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
The effort resulted in FBI agents visiting Deripaska in fall 2016. Deripaska told the agents that no collusion existed.
Likewise, Simpson worked in 2016 for the Russian company Prevezon — which was trying to escape U.S. government penalties — and one of its Russian lawyers, Natalia Veselnitskaya. In sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Simpson admitted he dined with Veselnitskaya both the night before and the night after her infamous meeting with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower in June 2016.
Simpson insists the two dinners sandwiching one of the seminal events in the Trump collusion narrative had nothing to do with the Trump Tower meeting, a claim many Republicans distrust.
Whatever the case, there’s little doubt the main instigators of the Clinton-inspired allegations against Trump got information from Russians and were consorting with them during the political opposition project.
This past week, we learned from Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) that his committee came to the same conclusion as the House: There is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
But now there is growing evidence — of Democratic connections to Russia. It’s enough that former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) believes a probe should be opened.
There is “obvious collusion the Democrats had through Glenn Simpson and through Fusion GPS, that they were talking directly to Russia,” Nunes told Hill.TV’s “Rising” in an interview to be aired Monday.
Collusion can be criminal if it involves conspiracy to break federal laws, or it can involve perfectly legal, unwitting actions that still jeopardize America’s security against a “frenemy” like Russia.
There is clear evidence now that shows Hillary Clinton’s family and charity profited from Moscow and simultaneously facilitated official government actions benefiting Russia that have raised security concerns.
And there’s irrefutable evidence that her opposition research effort on Trump — one that inspired an FBI probe — was carried out by people who got information from Russia and were consorting with Russians.
It would seem those questions deserve at least some of the scrutiny afforded the Trump-Russia collusion inquiry that is now two-plus years old.
NOTE: This story has been updated from the original to correct that Uranium One is a Canadian company and to clarify that House and Senate investigating committees have cleared the president.
John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.