Sunday, May 28, 2017


"Susan Hennessey, a national security fellow at the 
Democratic-aligned Brookings Institution and former 
National Security Agency lawyer, wrote: “Hard to fully 
convey the gravity of this… Unthinkable Kushner could 
stay in the White House… The most significant question 
seems to be whether Trump was aware of and/or 
directed Jared and Flynn’s contacts w/Kislyak."

"Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA 
and a prominent Trump critic, told CNN on Saturday: 
“This is off the map. I know of no other experience like 
this in our history, certainly within my life experience."

Will they finish off America as they serve themselves and the super rich???

Jared Kushner’s Growing Stench of Treason

Emile Simpson

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Jared Kushner’s Growing Stench of Treason

Nobody knows yet whether the president's son-in-law broke any laws. But "traitor" is more than just a legal term.
It’s time to talk about treason.
We now know, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports cited by the Washington Post, that in early December 2016 Jared Kushner and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak “discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities, in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring.”
At any time in the Cold War, what Kushner did would certainly have attracted the stigma of treachery. Should the same standard apply today?
Let’s consider Kushner’s best defense. Backchannels are an accepted part of diplomatic relations. A relationship may be too controversial for public consumption, and it is useful to have fora where diplomats and those entrusted with the leadership of states can speak frankly, without the glare of the media.
But this appears to have been no ordinary proposal for a backchannel. First and foremost, the intent was to avoid monitoring by the United States’ own intelligence agencies. And second, Trump’s team weren’t in government yet (unless the intent was for the backchannel to continue, or to start, after the inauguration, and thus provide a means to avoid U.S. intelligence monitoring while in office, which would be even more dubious).
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The charitable interpretation here is that the Trump transition team did not want the Obama administration to know what they were discussing with Moscow. But this is unpersuasive as a defense, because if those conversations were within the realm of legality, what difference would it have made if the Obama administration knew about them? One might retort that it was important that the outreach to the Russians be kept out of the public domain, and that the Obama administration could have frustrated that by leaking to the press. But this argument is inane, given how publicly Trump advertised his desire for rapprochement with Russia during the campaign.
A final argument might be that Trump’s team was aware that it is illegal for private citizens to conduct diplomacy with a foreign government, so they needed a secret backchannel. Of course, being illegal, the Trump team would never make that argument. They might say, perhaps not unreasonably, that they were not conducting diplomacy, but merely talking to the Russians as an opposition party might do (call it the Marine le Pen argument). But you can’t have it both ways: either the enterprise was legal, in which case there would have been no need to hide it from U.S. intelligence, or it was not.
Let’s be clear. There would be nothing inherently illegitimate with the Trump transition team pursuing better relations between the United States and Russia. Indeed, it was a major part of the campaign platform Trump used to win the election. Foreign policy debate between Russia doves and hawks has been going back and forth since the deterioration of post-Cold War relations following the West’s intervention in Kosovo 1999, and those who want the West to have warmer relations with Russia have many reasonable arguments.
But it’s the very legitimacy of wanting better relations with Russia, given Trump’s democratic mandate to pursue such a course, that makes Kushner’s desire to hide the Trump transition team’s connections with the Kremlin from U.S. intelligence so dubious, especially if he did intend for the backchannel to continue, or to start, after the inauguration. That is the kernel of the illegitimacy here: not the effort to improve relations through a backchannel, but the extraordinary measures to keep it secret from one’s own side.
In the Cold War, Kushner’s actions would have attracted the stigma of treachery because Russia was an enemy of the United States. But his actions would not have gotten him indicted because there was no ongoing open war in accordance with the legal definition of treason (18 U.S. code § 2381): “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason”.
Similarly today, what we are talking about is not the legal offense of treason but the stigma of treachery — the broader social meaning of treason.
To understand this broader social meaning it helps to think about the history of the concept. In the Roman Republic, there were two treasonable offenses. One was called perduellio, which basically aligns with our current definition of treason of aiding an enemy in war. The other was called the Crimen majestatis populi romani imminutae, known commonly as maiestas, which was the offense of diminishing the majesty of the Roman people. It was only later, after the Republic collapsed and the emperors took over, that maiestas became the offense against the person of the emperor, given how in this kind of monarchy, there was little difference between the sovereign identity of the state and its ruler. (This is the origin of the offense of “lèse majesté” against monarchs still on the statute books in some states today.)
If Kushner’s actions should come to attract the stigma of treachery, it would be in the old Roman Republican sense of maiestas, when public values and their expression in state institutions still meant something. Thus, in the Roman Republic, maiestas was about punishing individuals for hijacking their state positions for their personal gain. It could be used, for example, to prosecute official maladministration, like corruption by provincial officials or military officers. An apt modern equivalent would be soliciting personal investments by selling political access or expedited visas to rich Chinese people, which Kushner’s family business has already independently been accused of.
We’ll have to wait for the facts to see what Kushner may have been trying to hide from U.S. intelligence. But my hunch is that far from the “Manchurian Candidate” theories, this will turn out to be a sorry case of operating in the grey areas of the law to enrich oneself whilst in office. Not as bad as aiding the enemy, but still rancid. It is exactly what treachery as maiestas meant in Republican Rome: An offense against the dignity of the state understood as a community bound by its public values.
In Rome, the punishment for maiestas was normally exile. Kushner’s fate is still to be determined. But the public response to it will tell us much about whether the American people, under their new monarch, still have the dignity to protect their ancient majesty.
Photo credit: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images




OBAMA-CLINTON-TRUMPERnomics: The Massive Transfer of Wealth to the Super Rich Ratcheted up!

The American oligarchy, steeped in criminality and parasitism, can produce only a government of war, social reaction and repression. In its blind avarice, it is creating the conditions for unprecedented social upheavals. It is hurtling toward its own revolutionary demise at the hands of the working class.


“The massive transfer of wealth will not go to investment, but to acquiring bigger diamonds; more luxurious mansions, yachts and private jets; new private islands; more  security guards and better-protected gated  communities to segregate the financial nobility from the masses whom they despise  and fear.”

 “Our entire crony capitalist system, Democrat and Republican alike, has become a kleptocracy approaching par with third-world hell-holes. This is the way a great country is raided by its elite.” ---- Karen McQuillan  AMERICAN

New eruption of political warfare in Washington focuses on Jared Kushner’s meetings with Russians
By Barry Grey
29 May 2017
As President Donald Trump returned to Washington from his nine-day foreign trip, the political warfare between his administration and sections of the intelligence establishment allied with the Democratic Party erupted once again, with the focus shifting to Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser, Jared Kushner.
The new turn in the conflict between the fascistic 
president and his cabinet of oligarchs and generals, on 
the one side, and state forces opposed to Trump’s 
supposed “softness” toward Russia, on the other, comes 
the same week that the White House released a budget 
proposal calling for $1.7 trillion in social cuts, including 
the virtual destruction of Medicaid, the government 
health program for the poor.
This declaration of war on the working class was relegated within days to the background by the Democratic Party and the bulk of the corporate-controlled media, underscoring the fact that the conflict within the political establishment has no democratic content and nothing in common with the opposition to Trump among working people and youth.
There is little that separates the Democrats from Trump when it comes to savage cuts in social programs and new windfalls for the rich. The Democrats’ chief concern is to preempt the emergence of mass opposition to Trump and divert social anger behind the drive of US imperialism to subordinate Russia to Washington’s drive for domination of Eurasia.
The escalation of the campaign against Trump coincides with his failure at the Brussels summit to clearly affirm support for NATO and its military-strategic offensive against Russia, and his attack on Germany at the G7 meeting in Italy. These actions were roundly condemned by media outlets that have been leading the attack on the Trump White House, particularly the New York Times and the Washington Post .
On Sunday, the interview programs were dominated by allegations, first published Friday by the Post, that Kushner, at a December 2016 meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, proposed the establishment of a back channel for communications between Russian military officials and the Trump transition team. According to the Post, the idea was to allow Trump’s chief national security adviser at the time, retired Gen. Michael Flynn, to discuss with confidentiality options for collaboration between the two countries in the Syrian war as well as other sensitive issues.
Citing unnamed officials who had reviewed US intercepts of communications between Kislyak and Moscow, the newspaper reported that the Russian ambassador told his superiors that Kushner had suggested the talks utilize secure Russian facilities. The back channel was never established, however.
Even as the Post, followed by the New York Times and most of the print and broadcast media, sought to portray this proposal as an extraordinary and sinister breach of diplomatic and political norms, the newspaper acknowledged: “The State Department, the White House National Security Council and US intelligence agencies all have the ability to set up secure communications with foreign leaders, though doing so for a transition team would be unusual.”
The Democratic Party and elements within the intelligence apparatus seized on the press reports to escalate their anti-Russian campaign and suggest that Kushner, if not Trump himself, had committed treason. The Democratic National Committee issued a statement declaring: “Trump has no choice but to immediately fire Kushner, whose failure to report this episode on his security clearance is reason enough for a criminal investigation. The next question is whether the president authorized this, because no one stands between Trump and Kushner in the chain of command.”
Susan Hennessey, a national security fellow at the Democratic-aligned Brookings Institution and former National Security Agency lawyer, wrote: “Hard to fully convey the gravity of this… Unthinkable Kushner could stay in the White House… The most significant question seems to be whether Trump was aware of and/or directed Jared and Flynn’s contacts w/Kislyak.”
Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA and a prominent Trump critic, told CNN on Saturday: “This is off the map. I know of no other experience like this in our history, certainly within my life experience.”
The hue and cry over Kushner’s alleged proposal for a secret line of communication with Russia is a red herring. There is nothing extraordinary about it. Such arrangements are made with other countries with regularity, especially where tensions are running high. There are, moreover, many precedents for back channel, secret talks with foreign countries by incoming administrations and even presidential campaigns prior to Election Day.
To cite a few well-known examples:
• In December of 1960, President-elect John F. Kennedy approved a secret meeting between a trusted adviser and a Soviet agent to discuss the possibility of improving relations between the two “super-powers.” The close aide was Robert Kennedy.
• Less than two years later, ABC News reporter John Scali met secretly with Soviet emissary Aleksandr Fomin to set up a back-channel line of communication that was used to negotiate a resolution to the Cuban missile crisis.
• Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign negotiated a secret deal with Iran in 1980 to prevent the release of the US hostages being held in Tehran until after the November election, so as to deprive Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter with a boost that would have likely led to Reagan’s defeat. Reagan’s emissary was his campaign chairman, William Casey, who went on to become CIA director in the Reagan administration.
That this allegation is being seized on to escalate the campaign against Trump highlights the fact that the political conflict centers on issues of US imperialist foreign policy—in particular, the efforts, led by the Democrats, to whip up an anti-Russian frenzy so as to justify an escalation of the war in Syria and a possible military conflict with nuclear-armed Russia, which could quickly lead to a nuclear Third World War.


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