From New Dawn 167 (Mar-Apr 2018)
Editor’s Note: As with many New Dawn featured articles, this 2018 piece by journalist Patrick Henningsen was extremely prescient, particularly following the recent revelations exposing the Russiagate hoax, and how Washington was preparing its geopolitical chess pieces for subsequent events in Ukraine. The 2023 Twitter Files also confirm that US Democrats and media organisations knowingly propagated the ‘Russiagate theory’ hoax and spread a false narrative about “Russian bots” and trolls amplifying pro-Trump messaging.
Make no mistake about it: the US Deep State and its Atlanticist partners are waging a new Cold War against Russia, but will it go hot? It’s still difficult to say how far this sabre rattling will go, but one thing is certain: Washington’s stroganoff is definitely overcooked.
When WikiLeaks published leaked Democratic National Committee emails in July 2016, it didn’t take long for Washington and its media oracles to trade-in their ultimate cash-cow ‘threat’ de jour, ISIL, in favour of a newly inflated Russian Bear.
Right out of the gates, the media went big, clamouring for something to be done about Russia “hacking” the 2016 US presidential election. When no evidence materialised, the narrative mysteriously morphed into “Russian collusion,” before being lowered to “Russian meddling,” and then finally, 18 months after the story began, it’s been further downgraded to mere “Russian influence.” As weak as the case continues to be, the reality is that political operatives have staked everything on their official Russian conspiracy theory and are dutifully ploughing ahead regardless.
One of the Deep State’s key partners in propping-up their narrative are the Silicon Valley tech firms. In January, Republican lawmakers began pressuring the House Intelligence Committee to release an explosive memo written by chairman Devin Nunes. The memo contains damning evidence about a fraudulent surveillance warrant ordered by Barack Obama’s FBI and Department of Justice, in order to spy on members of Donald Trump’s campaign and transition teams.
Before the memo’s release, the hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo began trending on Twitter. It didn’t take long before the Deep State spin machine claimed it had evidence that the top-trending hashtag was being propelled through cyberspace by “Russian influence-linked accounts.” Unhinged Democrats, led by Congressman Adam Schiff and Senator Dianne Feinstein, went even further and drafted a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey demanding the Silicon Valley giants “conduct an in-depth forensic examination” of their latest anti-Russian conspiracy theory.1
According to their overwrought line of thinking, anyone who retweeted or ‘liked’ any Twitter post which was either sympathetic to Russia or supported Trump had in fact taken part in the Kremlin’s secret “active measures” operation to influence the vulnerable minds of Americans. Twitter was so concerned that it sent an email out to hundreds of thousands of users who might have been ‘touched’ by the Kremlin, informing them of their original sin.
California tech firms found no evidence of Russian meddling on social media over the last year, nor were there any attempts to sponsor ‘interference’ either.2 Still, desperate congressional conspiracy theorists like Adam Schiff want to pressure Silicon Valley firms to rummage through their data logs in the hopes of magically finding some evidence.
As it turned out, the source of the hysterical reports was a Deep State cut-out organisation, a new online initiative promoted by the US-German Marshall Fund called “Hamilton 68,”3fronted by former military and FBI operative Clint Watts. He is an associate of the antediluvian cold warrior Deep State think tank Foreign Policy Research Institute.4
Watts’ cut-out front is not dissimilar to another earlier online Deep State Russiaphobia project called “PropOrNot”5 which was promoted by the Washington Post and listed some 200 mostly North America alternative media websites including the Ron Paul Institute, Global Research, Truth Out, Paul Craig Roberts and many others. The shadowy site claimed these websites were all part of an intricate nefarious network of Kremlin agents.
Both of these Deep State vilification initiatives claim to be part of ‘counter-propaganda’, but you can’t counter something which isn’t there in the first place.
In the Crosshairs of the Deep State
During the primary phase of the US presidential election, Donald Trump was essentially up against 15 Republican war hawks (except for Rand Paul). He adopted a more pacifist-reformist approach in order to separate himself from the field – and it worked. Trump ran the table and cruised into the Republican Party nomination, ready to do battle with arch-globalist and Deep State favourite Hillary Clinton.
His rhetoric on the campaign trail was promising. The soon-to-be 45th President of the United States spoke boldly about reaching out to Russian President Vladimir Putin and normalising relations with Russia, stressing the need for the two nations to cooperate on a number of pressing issues, not least of all the War on Terror and the fight to defeat ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Trump was popular with Americans feeling the fatigue of war, and also with disillusioned Obama supporters who believed in his ‘hope and change’ slogan, only to be saddled with seven wars from the Nobel Peace Prize president. Trump’s desire for détente with Russia angered both the Republican and Democratic establishments, federal agency operatives, and of course the mainstream media who have been ginning-up a new Cold War since the US-backed coup d’état in the Ukraine in 2014.
Then, while the Trump transition team was waiting in the wings after defeating Clinton in a stunning upset, the outgoing Commander-in-Chief, Barack Obama, made a series of cutting moves that would undermine any chance of Trump starting his term on a positive footing with Moscow. First, Obama signed an extension on US sanctions against Russia as well as adding a number of new measures.6 But what came next can only be described as an act of diplomatic warfare when Obama ordered even more new sanctions along with the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and the closing of Russian diplomatic properties in Maryland and New York, which Obama claimed were being used for intelligence-related purposes.7
“There has to be a cost and a consequence for what Russia has done,” said one of the mainstream media’s typically unnamed ‘senior administration officials’ at the time. “It is in an extraordinary step for them to interfere in the democratic process here in the United States of America. There needs to be a price for that.”
Russian was understandably irate and warned this was Cold War déjà vu being initiated by the White House. Obama did not stop there. To keep things on ice between Washington and Moscow, he then deployed 300 US Marines to Norway, supposedly to reinforce Norway’s 122 mile-long border with Russia near the Arctic Circle.8 It was the first US deployment in Norway since World War II. Finally, right before Trump’s inauguration, Obama ordered the deployment of some 3,000 US soldiers into Poland to “reassure NATO allies who were concerned about ‘a more aggressive Russia’.”9
The neophyte Trump tried playing it cool, even complimenting Vladimir Putin for not responding in a mindless tit-for-tat. Regardless, it was clear Trump had already been sandboxed before his term got started.
To add insult to injury, while all this was unfolding, Obama appears to have also dispatched his top Deep State agent, former national security adviser Susan Rice, to oversee the spying of the Trump transition team, allegedly under the guise of surveilling “foreign officials,” in what became known as the great ‘Unmasking Scandal’.10
From this point on, it became very clear what the Deep State wanted – it had no intention of allowing any US president to pursue good relations with Russia. Before the 2016 election, it was difficult to conceptualise this shadowy thing called the ‘Deep State’. It had previously been spoken of by a few great scholars such as Peter Dale Scott11 and Mike Lofgren.12 Some call it a ‘state within a state’, while others refer to it as a hidden hierarchical network of corruption that facilitates all number of criminal enterprises globally. From hostile corporate takeovers of countries and the unleashing of jackals like the ones described by John Perkins13 in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, to proxy ‘regime change’ terrorist militias, to the CIA and its global drugs and weapons trafficking syndicates, and the banks and financial institutions who launder their illicit proceeds, some of which are used to fund other covert and ‘black ops.’
At the very top of this pyramid of international organised crime is what US president Dwight D. Eisenhower14 famously dubbed the “Military Industrial Complex.” These are the criminal interests represented by Trump’s own party opponents like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and of course John McCain. Certainly the same could be said about Hillary Clinton, a key operative in the Deep State machine since her husband’s days as Arkansas governor.15
After Trump took office it wasn’t long before he was surrounded by Deep State loyalists, all tasked with making sure the new President stayed on course with the wider agenda. This is their strategy of geopolitical tension on multiple fronts, designed to keep Washington and its allies on a permanent war footing, leading to the most important outcome of this equation – the triggering of increased military and ‘defence’ spending, not only in the US but in Europe too. Positioning Russia as Washington’s number one existential threat is the keystone of this strategy.
One year on, we can now see exactly how Russiagate greased the tracks for at least one controversial arms transaction: an initial US deal to send $50 million worth of lethal Javelin anti-tank missiles to the Ukraine.16 As arms shipments go, this is a small one amounting to a mere drop in the bucket compared to what the US trafficked to terrorists in Syria since 2012, but it does demonstrate how US politics can effectively trigger the mechanism on a deal that was simply not possible one year ago. You can expect more arms shipments, all fuelled by sustained fear-mongering and the spinning of evermore colourful fables about how Russia’s ‘little green men’ invaded and are occupying the Ukraine.17
No doubt, this overall strategy of tension is what Trump’s vaunted ‘Generals’ were aiming at when pushing him to engage in more theatrical sabre rattling with Kim Jung-Un in North Korea. The strategy paid off as Congress enthusiastically inked his pen for a new $700 billion defence budget in December 2017 – a near 20 percent increase from the previous year’s already bloated Pentagon money pit. Interestingly, the $56 billion hike was almost as much as the entire Russian annual defence budget.
The business doesn’t end there either. In Brussels, a concerted and relentless campaign of hysterical Russiaphobia in Europe has helped pave the way for a historic new European ‘collective defence’ agreement. 23 European Union countries signed the new Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), a historic move that officially lays the framework for European military integration, or an EU Army. This includes a centralised defence budget for military hardware, facilities, and research & development. At the heart of this new EU defence force will be the usual suspects – transatlantic military juggernauts like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamic, BAE Systems and many others. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, described the signing of PESCO as a “historic moment in European defence.”18 By 2025, you could see a collective EU defence budget that rivals the US, as the world’s number two military spender ahead of China and Russia. Eventually, this will move NATO to an adjunct role in the job of policing the European hemisphere. You can almost hear Eisenhower rolling in his grave.
In addition to this, there is already talk of increasing the US defence budget to $1 trillion over the next two years.19 Frugal-minded Americans would be shocked to realise that when you audit America’s entire National Security Budget, it already totals $1.1 trillion.20
All of this, we’re told, is to counter the great Russian menace. How odd then, that in 2017 the Russian Federal Treasury announced its nation’s annual defence budget was being cut by 25.5 percent down to $65.4 billion21 – the most drastic cut in the country’s defence spending since the early 1990s. If the West is to be believed and Vladimir Putin really is “the next Hitler,” then his war chest is looking a bit scant. Good luck with the world domination Vlad.
As for the West, the peoples’ challenge still remains: how to dislodge the Deep State and re-take control of their governments?
1. “Top Dems call on Twitter, Facebook to investigate Russian bot campaign,” thehill.com/policy/technology/370265-top-dems-call-on-twitter-and-facebook-to-investigate-russian-bot-campaign
2. “Tech companies say they didn’t see Russian social media infiltration in 2017 elections,” www.politico.com/story/2018/01/25/russian-social-media-elections-312491
3. “Hamilton 68: A New Tool to Track Russian Disinformation on Twitter,” securingdemocracy.gmfus.org/blog/2017/08/02/hamilton-68-new-tool-track-russian-disinformation-twitter
4. “Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Program on the Middle East,” www.fpri.org/contributor/clint-watts/
5. “Washington Post’s ‘Fake News’ Guilt,” consortiumnews.com/2016/11/27/washington-posts-fake-news-guilt/
6. “U.S. extends sanctions against Russia ahead of Trump inauguration,” www.rbth.com/international/2016/12/21/us-extends-sanctions-against-russia-ahead-of-trump-inauguration_665023
7. “Obama expels 35 Russian diplomats in retaliation for US election hacking,” www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/29/barack-obama-sanctions-russia-election-hack
8. “The Plan to Deploy U.S. Troops to Norway,” www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/norway/2016-11-09/plan-deploy-us-troops-norway
9. “US tanks and troops in Poland a threat, Russia says,” www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-38592448
10. “Top Obama Adviser Sought Names of Trump Associates in Intel,” www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-09-20/what-we-still-don-t-know-about-obama-era-unmasking
11. “The ‘Deep State’ behind U.S. democracy,” www.voltairenet.org/article169316.html
12. “What is The Deep State?,” 21stcenturywire.com/2017/09/02/what-is-the-deep-state/
13. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
14. “Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Address (1961),” eisenhower.archives.gov/research/online_documents/farewell_address.html
15. “Clintons, Contras and Cocaine,” www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/11/clintons-contras-and-cocaine/
16. “Why Trump’s Decision to Send Javelin Anti-Tank Missiles to Ukraine Could Escalate Tensions with Russia,” fortune.com/2017/12/23/trump-approves-javelin-missiles-ukraine/
17. “How, Why, and When Russia Will Deploy Little Green Men,” www.fpri.org/article/2016/03/how-why-and-when-russia-will-deploy-little-green-men-and-why-the-us-cannot/
18. “EU Paves the way for Defense Union,” www.dw.com/en/pesco-eu-paves-way-to-defense-union/a-41360236
19. “President Trump Is Likely To Boost U.S. Military Spending By $500 Billion To $1 Trillion,” www.forbes.com/sites/charlestiefer/2016/11/09/president-trump-is-likely-to-boost-u-s-military-spending-by-500-billion-to-1-trillion/
20. “US National Security Budget at $1.1 trillion,” www.pogo.org/straus/issues/defense-budget/2017/americas-1-1-trillion-national-security-budget.html
21. “Russia Cuts Military Budget,” www.defenseworld.net/news/18745/Russia_Cuts_Military_Budget_By_25__To_US_65_Billion
© New Dawn Magazine and the respective author.
For our reproduction notice, click here.