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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Why is Russia Today attacking Rep. Maxine Waters?

In Sunday's post I noted that if the sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun and the US attack on the Shayrat airbase was given the cui bono, or "who benefits" test, clearly Donald Trump won out big time. Before the sarin deaths and his cruise missile response, he was way down in the polls. Most importantly, things had been coming to a head in the investigation into his ties to Vladimir Putin. Trump's Nunes gambit had fallen apart, and although we didn't know it at the time, Paul Manafort was preparing to register as a foreign agent, we were about to find out that a FISA warrant had been issued on Carter Page, European intelligence agencies were about to weigh in, and much, much more. He badly needed to be rescued. Just about any mass casualty event that allowed him to look presidential would do, and Bashar al-Assad, at Putin's prodding, was only too happy to help him out.

There is some evidence that the Trump and Putin were cooperating on the airbase strike. Rawstory said:
Two U.S. military officials told Matthew Cole at The Intercept Thursday that this plan would “overwhelm Russian air defense systems used by the Syrian military.” 
Although Russia has some of its most advanced air defense systems in Syria, the need to overwhelm them proved unnecessary because they stood down and never even tried to shoot down Trump's Tomahawks. Rawstory also stated:
ABC News reported early Friday that the Syrian military seemed to know that something might happen. Eyewitnesses claim the military then evacuated personnel and moved equipment before the strike took place.
I said this scenario was highly conspiratorial and therefore pretty unlikely because it sees Assad doing the sarin attack so that Trump could bomb the quickly emptied airbase and have a big show of falling out with Russia, proving to everyone that there couldn't possibly be any collusion between Trump and Putin.

While it is clear that 86 civilians were murdered and hundreds injuried, this far-fetched idea that the whole Syrian sarin thing just might be a show hatched up to divert our attention away from Trump's Moscow ties has been gaining some currency. Lawrence O'Donnell has been saying that the Trump-Putin theory can't be ruled out on his MSNBC show. The Washington Post reported on it in "MSNBC host’s conspiracy theory: What if Putin planned the Syrian chemical attack to help Trump?", 8 April 2017. It says:
“Wouldn't it be nice,” O'Donnell asked a nodding, smiling Rachel Maddow, “if it was just completely, totally, absolutely impossible to suspect that Vladimir Putin orchestrated what happened in Syria this week — so that his friend in the White House could have a big night with missiles and all the praises he's picked up over the past 24 hours?”

The theory was impossible to rule out, O'Donnell said, because of the Trump campaign's ties to the Russian government.
According to the Washington Post, O'Donnell picked up this conspiracy theory from Bill Palmer. On 8 April early AM he published "Syria gas attack and Donald Trump’s military response don’t add up – unless Putin orchestrated it." In it he opined:
But Vladimir Putin knows full well that a gas attack like this was likely to prompt at least some kind U.S. military response against Assad. So Putin wouldn’t have been behind this unless he wanted the U.S. to take military action in Syria. And the only logical reason for Putin to want that is if he was trying to set up a win for Donald Trump, which could boost his historically low approval rating. It would also allow Trump to paint himself as being willing to go against Russian interests, as an argument against the most serious charges in the worsening Trump-Russia scandal.
Maxine Waters
Congresswoman Maxine Waters, a African American Democrat from Los Angeles with a long history of activist, has made the impeachment of Donald Trump her new mission in life. She spoke at the Tax Rally in Washington, DC on Saturday, April 15th. Heather Digby Parton reported on that in Salon, 17 April 2017:
The anti-Trump resistance is very much a grassroots effort, but there are leaders emerging. One of the most vocal is Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat who represents Los Angeles. Appearing at the Washington Tax Day march last Saturday, Waters put it bluntly: “I don’t respect this president,” she said. “I don’t trust this president. He’s not working in the best interests of the American people. I will fight every day until he is impeached!” Then she led the crowd in a chant of “Impeach 45!” It doesn’t get any more resistant than that.
She is also starting to raise these questions about the Syria strike. Reporting for the Huffington Post, Lauren Windsor wrote:
At the rally before the march, Waters vowed to fight every day until Trump is impeached and questioned the motives behind the U.S. attack on Syria. She believes Syria to be “phony tension between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, all being hyped up by the White House, still trying to distract us.”

After her speech, I asked the congresswoman whether she believes Putin and Assad were colluding to help take the heat off of Trump from the investigations into his ties with Russia. She believes that Putin and Trump are “tied at the hip,” the tension is a charade, and that the end-game is getting the oil sanctions lifted for drilling in the Arctic.

She must have hit a nerve because RT.com, formerly known as Russia Today, came down on her like a ton of Brexits. It published this vicious attack on her, 17 April 2017:
‘People like Maxine Waters put Democratic Party at risk by proposing loony conspiracies’

17 Apr, 2017 16:44
The Democratic Party should not give any more publicity to Congresswoman Maxine Waters because she is discrediting the Party among thinking Americans and people around the world, says Charles Ortel, geo-politics writer.

US Representative Maxine Waters has accused President Trump on of being “in bed” with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

At a rally on Saturday in Washington, DC, Waters said she considered Syria to be “phony tension between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, all being hyped up by the White House, still trying to distract us.”

The Democrat from Los Angeles added: “They [The Russians] see Trump as helping them to lift the sanctions so they can drill in the Arctic for the oil that Tillerson negotiated on behalf of Exxon with Putin.”
I've seen RT be insulting before, but this piece is just downright mean spirited:
Charles Ortel, the private investor, and writer said that Maxine Waters is a lady “who has had many firsts to her credit.”

“For that, some people do respect her. But when she opens her mouth and says things that are this stupid – she deserves to be fully exposed and fully criticized,” Ortel told RT.

In his opinion, some of the comments by the Democratic congresswoman are just “bizarre ravings.”

“This is the kind of raving that comes out of people on the right and the left frankly, who walk around wearing tin foil hats. It makes no sense whatsoever that the president of the US and the Russian president would engage in this type of loony conspiracy theory putting many lives at risk,” he said.

He added that on both sides of the political spectrum “there are people who are not deep thinkers, who surround themselves with other simple minded people, who fall victim to the type of loony theories that many people like to think about.” More...
In a piece titled "Donald Trump's War Crimes", 5 April 2017, Truthout, Marjorie Cohn reports:
Over the past month, the US-led coalition has killed an inordinate number of civilians.

"Almost 1,000 non-combatant deaths have already been alleged from coalition actions across Iraq and Syria in March -- a record claim," according to Airwars, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that monitors civilian casualties from airstrikes in the Middle East. "These reported casualty levels are comparable with some of the worst periods of Russian activity in Syria."
This reality makes the claim that the presidents of the US and Russian would refuse to take such self-serving actions because they wouldn't want to put many lives at risk, ring hollow.

Personally, I am coming to believe that Trump's empty airbase strike was "a play within a play," which would make this four hundred year old observation by Hamlet's mother still the perfect response to Mother Russia's slander of Maxine Waters:

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

My Posts on 2016 Election and Aftermath

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

Click here for a list of my other blogs on Libya

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