The Danger of Leaving a President Out of the Loop

Donald Trump was kept in the dark about a possible U.S. nuclear response to a Russian cyber-weapon attack. The U.S. has now ramped up offensive cyber-warfare against Russia’s power grid, putting Trump in a deep bind, says Caitlin Johnstone.

By Caitlin Johnstone

The New York Times has published an anonymously sourced report titledU.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid about the “placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before” which could potentially “plunge Russia into darkness or cripple its military,” with one anonymous official reporting that “We are doing things at a scale that we never contemplated a few years ago.”

Obviously this is yet another serious escalation in the continually mounting series of steps that have been taken into a new cold war between the planet’s two nuclear superpowers. Had a report been leaked to Russian media from anonymous Kremlin officials that Moscow was escalating its cyber-aggressions against America’s energy grid, this would doubtless be labeled an act of war by the political/media class of the US and its allies with demands for immediate retaliation.

To put this in perspective, The New York Times reported last year that the Pentagon was pushing for the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review to include the strategy of retaliating against serious Russian cyberattacks on American power grids with nuclear weapons.

So that’s scary enough. What’s even scarier is the information that the Times buried way down in the 21st to 23rd paragraphs of its report:

“Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place ‘implants’—software code that can be used for surveillance or attack—inside the Russian grid.

“Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction—and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.

“Because the new law defines the actions in cyberspace as akin to traditional military activity on the ground, in the air or at sea, no such briefing would be necessary, they added.”

In an article titled “Pentagon Keeps Trump in the Dark About its Cyber Attacks on Russia”, Rolling Stone’s Peter Wade described this jarring revelation as follows:

“New laws, enacted by Congress last year, allow such ‘clandestine military activity’ in cyberspace to go ahead without the president’s approval. So, in this case, those new laws are protecting American interests… by keeping the sitting president out of the loop. What a (scary) time to be alive.”

So Trump is in a bit of a bind now. The escalation has already been put in place, which will likely see an equal response from Moscow if it isn’t scaled back. But scaling it back would mean a whole new wave of shrieking alarmism from the political/media class about the conspiracy theory that just won’t die no matter how much evidence is mounted against it: that Trump is a controlled puppet of the Kremlin. All as he’s working to build the case for re-election in 2020.

We Have Been Warned

Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton University and one of America’s leading experts on U.S.-Russia relations, has been warning for years that exactly this would happen. In an April 2017 interview on Democracy Now, Cohen warned that placing political pressure on a U.S. president to never step back from escalations during a showdown between nuclear superpowers could have potentially world-ending consequences should mounting tensions see a situation similar to the Cuban missile crisis again.

“I think this is the most dangerous moment in American-Russian relations, at least since the Cuban missile crisis,” Cohen said. “And arguably, it’s more dangerous, because it’s more complex. Therefore, we—and then, meanwhile, we have in Washington these—and, in my judgment, factless accusations that Trump has somehow been compromised by the Kremlin. So, at this worst moment in American-Russian relations, we have an American president who’s being politically crippled by the worst imaginable—it’s unprecedented. Let’s stop and think. No American president has ever been accused, essentially, of treason. This is what we’re talking about here, or that his associates have committed treason.”

“Imagine, for example, John Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis,” Cohen said. “Imagine if Kennedy had been accused of being a secret Soviet Kremlin agent. He would have been crippled. And the only way he could have proved he wasn’t was to have launched a war against the Soviet Union. And at that time, the option was nuclear war.”

People rarely take time to deeply reflect on the uniquely important fact that our species came within a hair’s breadth of total annihilation during the Cuban missile crisis. We learned long after it was all over that the only reason a nuclear-armed Soviet submarine didn’t discharge its payload on the U.S. Navy and set off a full-scale nuclear exchange between the U.S. and the USSR was because one of the three men in the sub needed to authorize the weapon’s use stood against the other two and refused. That man’s name was Vasili Arkhipov, and he’s responsible for the fact that you and everyone you love exists today. There’s a good PBS documentary about the event on YouTube if you’re curious.

Pre-Existing Agendas

President Kennedy was constantly going back and forth in communication with the Soviets during the Cuban missile crisis, and any number of things could have gone cataclysmically wrong during that exchange had Kennedy not made certain concessions at certain times and known when to hold back instead of pressing forward. He made a series of diplomatic moves that would not be possible in this current paranoid, leak-prone climate, including secretly recalling the USA’s Jupiter missiles from their position in Turkey at Khrushchev’s request.

For all the outrage that liberals display whenever a high-profile Republican utters the phrase “deep state”, it sure is interesting that the Commander-in-Chief has found himself in a situation where he is at the whim of a collective of warmongers who are advancing pre-existing agendas against a nation they perceive as a geostrategic threat to U.S. hegemony. It begs the question, who is really in charge?

The U.S. war machine is the most powerful military force in the history of civilization, and the alliance of nations that it upholds is functionally the most powerful empire that the world has ever seen. Because so much power depends on the behavior of this gargantuan war engine, it is seen by those with real power as too important to be left to the will of the electorate, and too important to be left to the will of the elected Commander-in-Chief. This is why Americans are the most propagandized people in the world, this is why Russia hysteria has been blasted into their psyches for three years, and this is why we are all at an ever-increasing risk of dying in a nuclear holocaust.

UPDATE: Trump now seems like he might be denying that what The New York Times’ sources said is happening is happening. It’s unlikely that the Times would fabricate a story whole cloth, so if Trump is in fact denying the story then either the sources are lying about what they’re doing in their own purported jobs, or Trump is still being kept in the dark, or Trump is just lying.

“Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia,” Trump tweeted. “This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country. ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

Curiouser and curiouser.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Follow her work on FacebookTwitter, or her website. She has a podcast and a new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.” This article was re-published with permission.

71 comments for “The Danger of Leaving a President Out of the Loop

  1. Robert Mayer
    June 18, 2019 at 20:07

    Tnx CN, Caitlin… so the grey lady answers the question: “How does DNC cui bono from Ruskigate?” by justifying cyber attack on Vlad’s power grid…
    BUT… (& tnx4 your mention of same, Caitlin) ultimate attack = N.U.K.E!!!?
    & surely Bolt-On Pompasso & Donnyboy (& fams) got 1st dibs on Langley’s Best Shelter so… still puzzled!

  2. Stephen
    June 18, 2019 at 07:20

    I love Caitlin, but I had to scratch my head when she wrote: “It’s unlikely that the Times would fabricate a story whole cloth…”

    I can think of a good half dozen, right off the top of my head, and dozens more, if I put my mind to it.

    A slip of the pen, Cait?

  3. John Drake
    June 17, 2019 at 18:45

    “..too important to be left to the will of the electorate,…” Gee this is just what the founding fathers planned with their electoral college and criteria that only men of property could vote. The tradition goes back a long way. It profoundly states the attitudes of high level government officials who don’t understand who they really serve.
    On another note, apparently a lot of the motivation for this anti-Russian cyber warfare comes from the Russiagate meddling myth concocted by the Hillary campaign(see Ray McGovern, Bill McKinney and others debunking the hack theory).
    A myth that has reduced the Democratic party into obsessing over a fantasy while ignoring real issues.
    Thanks Hillary, another reason the Clintons are right up there with the Bushes as US’ most destructive self-centered and corrupt families.

  4. uncle tungsten
    June 17, 2019 at 17:31

    No leader of any country needs to talk to Trump. It is Trump who desperately for his ego gratification that wants to talk with them. Better to wait for the USA to show its hand and stick to it for five years or so and then maybe talk to Trump.
    Trump is in charge and barks the orders. The scumbag bovver boys he employs are doing what they love – growling and barking. But Trump is in charge. For sure there are factions in the USA administration that have carved out power for themselves like the power system cyber warriors but that’s because the USA system permits strutting and self aggrandising ignorance. These bastions of mendacity are out of control just like the US police forces. There is little difference in method but major difference in how many innocents will be crushed.

    The USA is not a fit country to meet with. It is better to advise through diplomatic channels what is expected or offered and give that proposition time for the USA to actually Just Do It.

  5. dean 1000
    June 17, 2019 at 16:59

    Another Good one Caitlin.

    Your NYT link has something for everyone. A dab of Yellow Journalism. Another attack on Trump, and a mild version of what we praise Wikileaks for – exposing the obsessively aggressive mentality of some people in the federal government.
    The Times says the cyber dudes have new legal authority to “deter, safeguard or defend against attacks or malicious cyber activities against the United States.”
    Does anyone have the Public Law number or Title number & section of the new law?

    I don’t want to be a Pecksniff or fastidious grammarian but i simply can’t understand “ deter, safeguard or defend” as authorizing putting malware into the power network of another country.
    If country A put malware into the power network of country B, would that act “deter” or encourage Country B to do likewise to country A? If the later, it wouldn’t be an act ‘defending’ or “safeguarding’ country A.

    I know it’s naive to quote the Declaration of Independence. It does say the government is supposed to do stuff that goes to the Safety and Happiness of the people.
    If you were freezing in the dark due to a malware created power outage, would you be any happier or safer to know that Russians were also freezing in the dark?
    Would it be inappropriate to ask if the inmates are running the asylum?

    We need the cyber dudes and more of them no doubt about it.

    Job one for the federal government is to defend the US rather than mounting counterproductive attacks on other countries. Even if government can clean and block malware from power plants, the grid can be physically attacked in several million places.

    The federal government should start a crash program to provide every lived in house and apartment with enough PV panels to power a refrigerator for 8 hrs a day, give an electric car a fifty mile charge and provide enough power to run a few lights and power a wi -Fi router. Pay for it by massive cuts to the imperialistic military budget and corporate welfare.

  6. News From Argentina
    June 17, 2019 at 16:58

    yesterday (sunday 16), There was in argentina a power failure covering ALL the fucking country and some small parts of uruguay chile and brazil. The blackout affected some 50 million people.

    According to the criminals who call themselves the argentine govt, a power plant went out of sync, so the whole distribution system ‘automatically’ shut itself down. A ‘bug’ in a system created and run by useless engineers…is the official lie.

  7. Vera Gottlieb
    June 17, 2019 at 14:32

    Can’t help wondering who? who? is in charge of running the country?

  8. June 17, 2019 at 10:25

    The abti-Russia paranoia may well be the product of Mess’rs Bolton and Pompeo, the neocons Trump was induced, no doubt by powerful elements in the highly influential war mongers in what some call the Deep State. The neocons are categorically the most recklessly aggresive characters in the foreign policy establishment. They will not settle for anything less than US world domination. They are toxic imperialists, wholly ego driven, identifying their personal egos with their twisted concept of the grandiose notion of the US mission in the world. A previous generation of neocons (Wolfowitz, Perle, etc.) brought us George W. Bush’s 2003 Iraq War and all the lies it was baed on. So long as the neocon crazies have such a toehold in the Republican Party, and the Republicans control the presidency, we are in danger of nuclear war with Russia. These people are wholly unbalanced, and it is high time that the Congress begin a thorough inquiry about what is driving our foreign policy, which they have every right to do. This means calling people like Bolton and Pompeo before Congress. There is all kinds of precedent. The Fulbright run Senate Foreign Relations Committee grilled the Johnson administration that was escalating the Vietnam War. If today’s Republican Senate won’t do it, then the Democratically run House counterpart should. The neocon war crazies are out of control, threatening nuclear war with Russia, and it is time for the opposition party to mount strong opposition.

    • Sam F
      June 18, 2019 at 06:12

      Congress is controlled by exactly the same interests as the executive, as is the judiciary they appoint.
      Elections, mass media, and the judiciary, the tools of democracy, are controlled by economic power.
      The US failed to revise its Constitution to protect those institutions as economic power grew.
      There is now no way to restore democracy until the US is broken financially and militarily.
      Unfortunately it has domestic resources sufficient to support domestic tyranny despite foreign embargo.
      So the People of the US will be the victims of its oligarchy indefinitely unless they rebel militarily.
      They will not do that because they are amoral social and financial dependents of oligarchy.
      They will betray, persecute, and kill the leaders of any movement for their own liberation. Pays good.

    • Karl Brantz
      June 18, 2019 at 10:50

      Good observation! But would I be out of line to point out that those neocons were primarily ZioCons? No one has mentioned the Zionist/Israeli influence on whatever purports to be a government of the United States. Israel cannot be separated from the US and vice versa. It’s not that the empower has no clothes, it’s more like he’s wrapped up in an Israeli flag and sporting a yarmulke.

  9. jadan
    June 17, 2019 at 07:36

    This US behavior is insane. The one trillion dollar US military budget is insane. Does this reflect the will of the American people? No. The people want what people always want, security, comfort, peaceful coexistence. With a lunatic as president and crazed oligarchs dictating policy, the mundane, unexciting aspirations of the consumer majority have no voice. Insanity is contagious. It easily infects a congress that is morally compromised to begin with.

  10. jmg
    June 17, 2019 at 06:55

    “But in a public appearance on Tuesday, President Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the United States was now taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort “to say to Russia, or anybody else that’s engaged in cyberoperations against us, ‘You will pay a price.’” . . . Both General Nakasone and Mr. Bolton, through spokesmen, declined to answer questions about the incursions into Russia’s grid. . . . Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction”

    U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid – The New York Times – June 15, 2019

    “NOT TRUE!”
    — Trump, June 16

    So, maybe Acting President Bolton is leaving Nominal President Trump out of the loop? Is the military-industrial complex neutralizing the elected president, or is he going to recover his presidency?

  11. June 17, 2019 at 06:05

    1 – So, of course, the real reason for classifying almost anything which gets classified: “has not been briefed on the operation because of “the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials” – the article names Trump as the person they don’t trust but the person doesn’t matter. Regardless of who is “in charge” (nominally) the reason for “confidential,” “secret,” “top secret,” and so forth is really so someone can get away with working their own little cowboy empire, their own plaything, and never be held accountable.
    2 – And the real question is so clear, “Who is really in charge of anything?” How can they be brought to account? And Trump, the “grand wanna be in charge” is clearly not in charge of anything.
    3 – The president, regardless of who it is, is clearly not running much of anything. “Stuff” just goes on stuffing away, for the sake of numerous mostly hidden actors, each building their own little playpen/empire.

  12. Zhu
    June 17, 2019 at 04:39

    it’a hard to know who to trust less:a creature of tantrums and whimsy likevTrump;, our Atmegeddonite generals; or liberal newagers, trusting in Positive Thinking and The Hundredth Monkey Principle. :-(

  13. Bill
    June 17, 2019 at 02:18

    Is it possible that the NY Times story is not true, and that it was just “leaked” to make Trump look bad?

    • Zhu
      June 17, 2019 at 04:43

      Possible, but how probable? It’s possible, after all, that I’m a one-legged South American princess, but pretty unlikely.

    • Sid Finster
      June 17, 2019 at 09:02

      1. Just because the story is leaked doesn’t make it not true.
      2. It may also be that the story was leaked to provoke Trump into a hunt for real or imaginary disloyal elements within his own adminstration.

  14. benedict
    June 17, 2019 at 01:58

    “It’s unlikely that the Times would fabricate a story whole cloth” – I think Glen Greenwald and John Pilger and whole lot of others would disagree with this…

    nonetheless always enjoy reading your articles

  15. CitizenOne
    June 17, 2019 at 00:55

    Yup. Sorry state we are in . There is a convergence of unavoidable missteps hinged on media propaganda which is a global machine to conspire and ultimately create war for the benefit of the defense corporations and the wealthy who have unimaginable power to influence what we perceive as reality by funding politicians which work for special interests that have an old business model. The major influencers just see it as profit, just money in their piggy bank and they are on course for a showdown with every nation waging war with Russia and China and all the other countries.

    In this ultimate arms race we will build the ultimate weapons to destroy human life on the planet. Why? Because we have to. We have to develop ever more lethal weapons because we, the tax payers in the USA, fund the military complex every budget cycle because we put up with and acquiesce to the war machine we fund.

    We are at a state of permanent war with the rest of the world. There are no other nations that can garner the projection of force we have. We are on top of the World with more missiles and bombs and the ability to reign down destruction on any nation that opposes us. We seem to be at the apex of world domination based on all that has gone before.

    Such is the reason we will be stopped in our tracks. We are living in a bubble of invincibility which is the narrative created by the recipients of over seven hundred billion dollars each year. Who are these recipients of all our wealth? Is it Medicare or Social Security? No, it is the defense corporations that receive the lions share of our tax dollars or at least that is the desire of the military that seeks and is granted billions of dollars in increases every year.

    Optimistically we should thank the maker we enjoy our existence and that we should thank our military for its service in devotion to our democratic nation. Opposite to this view is the grave possibility that our military that is engaged in a race for the ultimate weapon to defeat our enemies will end up killing us all.

  16. Linda Lewis
    June 16, 2019 at 23:18

    It’s possible. A senior official at a large federal agency told me the agency blindsided the rest of the federal government in deciding to dismantle its nuclear emergency preparedness office. At the time, Vice President Cheney was warning of a “suitcase nuke” terrorist attack on the United States.

  17. SteveK9
    June 16, 2019 at 22:52

    First I heard this story, my heart skipped a beat, and all I could think was ‘are we this insane’? If we go down that road it will be a thermonuclear war. Russia has plenty of smart programmers (actually a number of our best … are Russian), and they could certainly retaliate. But, it would not stop there.

    I actually felt relief reading Trump’s statement. To me it sounded like someone went to Trump and said that if we were doing this, or even if the Times story was believed, it was incredibly dangerous. And, his statement is exactly what I would expect under that scenario. I hope to God Trump is correct and the story is nonsense.

    • SteveK9
      June 16, 2019 at 22:58

      Just an addendum: I was also thankful, once again, that Putin is the leader of Russia.

  18. Don Bacon
    June 16, 2019 at 22:30

    “It’s unlikely that the Times would fabricate a story whole cloth.”
    What’s this, the comedy hour? Are we supposed to take this person seriously?

  19. June 16, 2019 at 22:25

    Tell a lie enough times it becomes reality.
    Perfect example the Russia ate my homework narrative.
    Buchanan has a great article on it. They conducted a whole investigation on Trump based on redacted papers from crowdstrike . Crowdstrike was implicated in the last election 2018 of both houses in the USA fabricating a story of an Alabama senator being connected to Russian trolls.
    Post Scriptum: My dear readers we are witnessing signs of an over rated over extended and sclerotic empire Pax-Americana which is more dangerous than a rabid dog. Not to insult any lovers of the beloved canine. While western society self implodes and continues down the path of total economic ,social and political meltdown the rest of the world is moving on. The largest wealth gap since the Gilded age hell lets start a war with the Slavs.
    Let me off this ship of fools.

  20. Sam F2
    June 16, 2019 at 21:16

    The danger of the MIC and secret agencies acting without approval of the president,
    extends the danger of the president acting without approval of Congress,
    and that of Congress acting without approval of the People.

    All are consequences of our unregulated market economy, taking over the national institutions left unprotected in our Constitution, so that we no longer have the tools of democracy (mass media, elections, and judiciary) to restore democracy. Amendments could restrict their funding to limited individual donations or federal funds, but we shall not see such amendments until the US is ruined and the people in open rebellion. This is the consequence of failing to see the danger of new forms of power (economic, information) and failing to protect democracy from their abuse.

    We shall not wrest government from the secret agencies until we eliminate the NSC and operations divisions of all secret agencies, downsize them dramatically, and re-purpose 80% of the MIC to infrastructure development in the developing nations. After a few generations we can leave the bullyboys on the soccer fields and leave the rest of the world alone.

  21. Yahweh
    June 16, 2019 at 19:54

    The “controllers” are just getting started. Hack your grid? You bet, and more. How about controlling your drinking water! Coming soon! The controllers have waited long enough, their coming attractions are being leaked now world wide. The great war will begin in just a few months…..The dream is over, reality will be like a steam roller….Get ready NOW….

  22. June 16, 2019 at 18:56

    Trump hasn’t slept nightly more than four hours for years, before his Presidency. He reads little, making him vulnerable to nonsense. Regardless, I feel as Dao Gen says that this is more Russophobic b.s.; NYT exists on such b.s. Russians are smart folks, they are on the lookout for such. Times are different from days of JFK. More people, more techno manipulation; even more b.s. from MSM; globalism a worldwide net. Now who or what is behind the massive power failure that affected four South American countries today?

  23. Marko
    June 16, 2019 at 17:19

    “…New laws, enacted by Congress last year, allow such ‘clandestine military activity’ in cyberspace to go ahead without the president’s approval. So, in this case, those new laws are protecting American interests… by keeping the sitting president out of the loop. ”

    Yes , and Trump signed that bill into law , and his staff would have informed him of the implications. He was probably delighted to find out that he could claim to be “out of the loop” when such actions were taken. That’s plausible deniability , one of the most treasured Presidential prerogatives, and an essential one for maximizing Trump’s evil deeds.

    When will people stop making excuses for this creep ? He’s not a good man trapped in a bad system , he’s a narcissistic psychopath living out his wildest dreams.

    • Zhu
      June 17, 2019 at 05:00

      I’m afraid all US Presidents are psychopaths. Likewise at least half their cabinet members and advisors.

  24. Red Douglas
    June 16, 2019 at 17:10

    >>> “. . . Kennedy did not know that American missiles had been placed in Turkey.”

    Do you have a credible citation to back up that assertion? The placement of the Jupiters in Turkey was agreed upon between the Kennedy administration and the government of Turkey in June of 1961. It is unlikely in the extreme that it could have happened with out the knowledge and approval of the president.

    • Eleanor Rigby
      June 17, 2019 at 11:38

      I believe this is on the tapes from the CMC. JFK is asking aloud just what would be the motivation to put missiles in Cuba, because that would be like the US putting missiles in Turkey. McNamara says, “we’ve done that.”

  25. jsinton
    June 16, 2019 at 16:08

    Well, there ya go. Only one Donald Trump stands between us and obliteration. Enjoy.

  26. Welldoneson
    June 16, 2019 at 15:47

    LOL Caitlin Johnson is so far out of the loop, it is comical to see her fictional efforts to pretend otherwise. What a freak!

    • anon
      June 16, 2019 at 19:11

      Troll alert: no evidence or argument, just leering and jeering to cause trouble.

  27. O Society
    June 16, 2019 at 15:32

    Trump’s qualifications are he’s a reality TV game show host and WWF Hall of Famer.
    The safest thing for the world is to leave him out of the loop on any desicion more complicated than how many Big Macs to order.

  28. Jill
    June 16, 2019 at 14:12

    It’s clear the US does not have an elected civilian govt. We have a set of competing cabals. Trump is a willing dotard. If he were not he could easily counter this BS.

    1. fire self declared “president” Bolton

    2. state clearly and unequivocally that whatever Democrats and the IC may think or say about him, it is immaterial. He has absolutely no intention of going to war with Russia.

    3. immediately begin diplomatic negotiations with Iran, Russia, China and Venezuela to reestablish trade between all of these nations and the US

    4. call upon his supporters to tell the IC and other war mongers to go to hell. He has a base that will do this if he would ask.

    He isn’t doing things which he could do because either he’s been sufficiently paid off or sufficiently drugged up not to (or he willingly took both the drugs and the cash).

    • Welldoneson
      June 16, 2019 at 15:50

      Hey rube, Trump is in fact doing what you list here. Your agreeing with the dictator if Korea only makes you look the twit.

      • anon
        June 16, 2019 at 19:09

        I hate to imagine what a monster you would produce saying “Well done son” after misleading the innocent.
        Or was it you so dependent upon approval of an abusive father, that you would troll stupidly for his approval?

    • SteveK9
      June 16, 2019 at 23:05

      Sadly, he simply isn’t smart enough. Of course Obama was intelligent, but the problem was that he knew nothing about the World and was far too arrogant to admit it. Trump has the same lack of knowledge, and on top of it is stupid. So, we have a, largely well-meaning, fool in charge. A large amount of what Trump says is so dumb, it is funny. Part of his appeal I guess. The problem is that we may end up as radioactive ash (that was even more likely with Clinton).

    • Abby
      June 16, 2019 at 23:23

      I agree that he is being handled by Bolton, Pompeo and others in his administration. Sheldon Anderson is a huge republican donor and it was his idea for Trump to install Bolton.

      My biggest question here is why did the NYT publish that article? Why would they have tipped off Russia and tell them what we are doing? I thought that anyone who spilled the beans on our foreign policies would be in trouble for it? I think that we are being played again because people are questioning the false Russia Gate propaganda nonsense. Saying that Trump is not to be trusted because he’d tell Vlad what we are doing is no difference from what the Times just did.

    • Sid Finster
      June 17, 2019 at 09:06

      Or he’s just weak and easily manipulated.

  29. Dao Gen
    June 16, 2019 at 14:03

    Even before reading your update, I doubted the story. It just doesn’t pass the smell test. Since when has the NYT published the truth about Russia in the last three years? And if you ask Cui bono, the answer I get is that the US deep state or at least some in the MIC and IC want to find a new way to undermine Trump and prevent him from trying to achieve detente with Russia before the election, especially since collusion with the Russian government can’t be proved. The story makes Trump look like a helpless, ineffective chump. The informa…. er…. fiction leakers presumably also want to threaten Russia and suggest new policies that the Pentagon or intel apparatus is not able to suggest publicly because they would be war crimes if carried out. And the hysterical Dem impeachment machine will surely be able to twist the story and somehow use it as high-octane fuel. I’m not a Trump supporter, but this leak sounds like a carefully launched weapon.

    If I were you, I would double-check the PBS “documentary.” Both PBS and the Guardian are virtually as Russophobic as the NYT, and the timing of the 2015 video is only a year after Joe Biden supported a fascist coup in Ukraine and the pesky, independent-minded Crimeans voted to return to Russia. Russophobic frenzy was at peak energy levels even then. The story about the nuclear torpedo just doesn’t sound right. The USSR was very interested in exchanging a US pullout of its missiles from Turkey for an agreement to pull Russian missiles out of Cuba. It’s difficult to believe the Soviet leadership would have ordered a nuclear torpedo to be used. I haven’t had time to investigate the PBS piece, but it is prima facie suspicious. People can be paid to say all sorts of things, especially if they now hate the USSR, and the piece may be very ripe propaganda.

    If the story turns out to be true, however, please turn up the heat on Rachel Maddow and point out that she is simply projecting when she tells people to be very afraid Russia will turn off their heat.

    • AnneR
      June 16, 2019 at 15:07

      Dao Gen – definitely the G and PBS/NPR are as Russophobic (and any country in the US/NATO crosshairs phobic) as Wapo, the NYT, MSDNC…. and on and on. So I wouldn’t go by any “documentary” that PBS trots out, wouldn’t trust it to present the full, unedited, unslanted version at all.

  30. Miranda Keefe
    June 16, 2019 at 14:00

    When they start accusing others of something, that means they’re doing it. They accused Russia of hacking into our grid years ago…..

    • Miranda M Keefe
      June 16, 2019 at 16:51

      That was me posting from my phone.

  31. Jeff Harrison
    June 16, 2019 at 13:32

    Well, Caitlin, you seem not to realize that Kennedy did not know that American missiles had been placed in Turkey. Furthermore, Khrushchev put the Russian missiles in Cuba because they knew our missiles were in Turkey. The removal of the missiles from Turkey wasn’t a request, it was a demand. Khrushchev didn’t really care what the American people were told as long as the missiles went away. The net result was that the American people thought that Russian aggression had been blunted by the President when, in fact, it was American aggression all along and it was blunted by the Russian response.

    There’s two bits of reality here though. One, the American people who seem to think that we are the greatest thing since pizza and canned beer, don’t know or understand the extent or depth of our aggression around the world because the MSM never reports it. Or, if it is reported, the reporting is done without context so it appears that our aggression is justified. And two, the Russians knew that those missiles were there but you’ll note they never said anything, they merely countered them. The US is very good at shooting its mouth off if we think that we can frighten some country but outright telling a country that we have penetrated the country’s grid is downright stupid. After Snowden’s revelations, the Russians switched to typewriters. If you don’t think that the Russians aren’t going to clean their networks after this report, you’re a fool.

    The good news is that the rest of the world is beginning to see through this crap. The EU vassals, not so much.

    • michael
      June 16, 2019 at 16:11

      JFK had to go through back channels to make the deal with Khrushchev to remove the Jupiter missiles from Turkey. It would have been suicide for both countries if the Generals and the CIA had been allowed in the loop. A good rationale for JFK’s assassination among other disaffection with the young war hawk who had turned to peace dove.
      Intelligence Agencies run the US, that should be clear in a Police State. This should have been clear when the FBI refused to turn over the Strzok Page texts (the OIG gave up those he had) and the CIA refused to obey a direct Presidential order to rescind the security clearance of TV News personality, and very likely the person still running our foreign policy (they claimed the Commander in Chief had not done all the bureaucratic paperwork).
      Putin is no fool (unlike Trump). He can just state that if Russia’s electricity goes out, at any time for any reason, their full arsenal of nuclear weapons will be launched at the US and their European allies (and New Zealand if that’s where the Elites are hiding!) MAD was all that saved the world from the first Cold War, there may need to be the same understanding to survive again.

      • Abby
        June 16, 2019 at 23:34

        The problem is that the elites are sociopaths and believe that they can use mini nukes and will be able to survive. Obama ordered the defense companies to build up the mini nukes arsenal before he blew town. But as you said if that happened then Russia would respond with their full nukes.

        I didn’t know that Brennan still had his security clearance? Who said that Trump didn’t submit the right paperwork?

    • Red Douglas
      June 16, 2019 at 16:31

      >>> “. . . Kennedy did not know that American missiles had been placed in Turkey.”

      Do you have a credible citation to back up that assertion? The placement of the Jupiters in Turkey was agreed upon between the Kennedy administration and the government of Turkey in June of 1961. It is unlikely in the extreme that it could have happened with out the knowledge and approval of the president.

    • Realist
      June 16, 2019 at 19:11

      I think all those EU vassals are led by puppets thoroughly compromised by American espionage and threats. They care more about their own hides and the lucre lavished on them by Washington than they do their own country and people. At least that’s what PCR has always asserted. Nobody rises to the top in America or in its overseas empire without being thoroughly vetted and owned by the Shadow Government and the Deep State which that “Big Club” ultimately controls. Retired top end politicians who served the empire well could receive a partnership in the Carlyle Group, the so-called “Ex-President’s Club” dominated by the Bush Family. Not only faithful American cabinet members, like James Baker, but also British PM’s like John Major and Tony Blair got a taste of that action for “correct thinking and action” while “serving their country.” Cameron, Thatcher, Brown were all hooked up with consultantships or board memberships on the biggest central banks in Europe, thanks to their membership in the “Big Club,” chaired by America. Even Theresa May will probably see a payday by way of thanks from Big Uncle Sam. Isn’t it wonderful how freedom and democracy allows the most talented and deserving to rise to the top.

    • June 16, 2019 at 22:12

      “the reporting is done without context so it appears that our aggression is justified. ” I read those words, I am staring at them and I can’t believe&emdash;is it a typo? Or it is some alternate universe where the sky is green, the grass is blue and American actions abroad can be called “aggression” and unjustified at that?? (paraphrase of my favorite skid on SNL on Hagel hearings in US Senate).

      The sad point is that this is a story of totally illegal activity. From my indirect observations, NYT would not invent story of an anonymous source hinted to be from US intelligence, so true or not, the story was told to the reporters to making CIA look good. Like the story of Gina Haspel showing pics of dead ducks and sick children in a context that totally suggested that Russian caused both and not “presumably did something that could cause things like that”. Misleading a federal official is a crime, and Trump is still one of them, but they brag about it because to many people this makes them look good. Similarly, ANY hacking is criminal, and hacking facilities that are essential to the health etc. of the population may be qualified as terrorism. One wish that they limit themselves to misleading federal officials.

      Jokes aside, we really seem to live in an alternate universe where federal employees brag about the crimes they allegedly committed to look good, aspiring politicians pretend to be homicidal maniacs to get elected (not always successfully, opponents may make even better impression of heartless sadists) and so on.

  32. Will
    June 16, 2019 at 13:20

    This is a play and Caitlyn here bought the play hook line and sinker. Would be more interesting to exam more closely who is the real players are and the most likely target of the play.

  33. Joe Tedesky
    June 16, 2019 at 13:13

    Whether it be the Dulles brothers sabotaging Eisenhower against his orders to not fly the U2 while his administration was reaching out to Khrushchev for detente or, the Pentagon ignoring Obama/Kerry’s ceasefire by bombing Deir Essor in the dead of night against the agreed to ceasefire made with Russia is a deep stated parallel government at play here. What’s more revolting is how the MSM provides cover for these acts of treason as if those committing these acts were the true patriots for what all that’s worth. Let us not forget the anonymous WH insider who told the NYT of how they (meaning WH staff) don’t always let Trump see everything out of fear that Trump is to irrational a president to be included into the loop. So none of this should come as any surprise since it is well known that there is a government behind the government we elect.

    Love Caitlin Johnstone’s reporting… she’s a keeper.

    • michael
      June 16, 2019 at 16:21

      Like Eisenhower, JFK was also saddled with the Bay of Pigs when McGeorge Bundy countermanded the Presidential order to take out Castro’s remaining two jets, which turned the tide. And like Eisenhower JFK took full blame publicly (but he fired Allen Dulles who was probably behind both provocations).
      Doesn’t look like anything has changed, the Intelligence Agencies still want to keep all the Forever Wars going and start more. They run the country and their hubris dictates that they want everyone aware that they control things.

  34. exiled off mainstreet
    June 16, 2019 at 12:22

    I go along with the author, whom I highly respect. My take does vary slightly from hers on the Times story. I think it not that likely but quite possible that, at the present time, the Deep State Times would fabricate stories out of whole cloth. It has degenerated into the permanent power structure’s Pravda. What I think is most important, though, is that the thickos in the yankee power structure don’t recognize another implication of their story: that if they have engaged in this, it makes a similar Russian or Chinese move a defensive response rather than an offensive attack. I don’t know if the recent blackouts in Argentina relate to this story in some way. Is it a warning by the Russians, or is it a warning by the yankees, who, finding the Russian system too well defended, decided to hit a softer target to show it is possible. They did do similar things in their efforts to destroy the Venezuelan government earlier this year. My guess is that the Chinese, if they wanted to, could run rings around the yankee saboteurs.

  35. Bob Van Noy
    June 16, 2019 at 12:08

    In October of 1962 I was an Army volunteer in advanced infantry training at Fort Ord, California who had volunteered because my High School mentor suggested that it was the best way for me to “buy” the GI Bill. We had been at peace since the “Korean Conflict” and there were few outward signs of of global warfare but the Bay Of Pigs had put the dynamics of International Crisis on the board unbeknownst to the general population. Later, in the Spring of 1963, my unit was flown into Florida armed for the invasion of Cuba, obviously we didn’t invade because Our President overrode the Joint Chiefs and withdrew us back to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. I knew little of these underlying dynamics until late in life. Were it not for a Soviet Submarine Officer and Two Brothers who found the courage to defy the MIC, we might have all died…

  36. June 16, 2019 at 11:36

    The really strange thing about this episode: Trump is taking Deepstate’s side, accusing The Deepstate Times of being insufficiently loyal to Deepstate. At the same time, Deepstate is keeping Trump out of the loop.

    There’s no point in trying to disentangle anything that happens in DC.

    I trust Stephen Cohen because he has ALWAYS tried to tell the truth, no matter which party benefits. I don’t trust any of the other sources, unfortunately including Caitlin.

  37. June 16, 2019 at 11:31

    Can someone explain why the NYT should be believed?

  38. Nathan Mulcahy
    June 16, 2019 at 11:19

    I used to be Dem leaning but saw the light nearly two decades ago. But most of my friends and family remain oblivious to the fact that the Dem Party is a party of neo-cons and 3-letter US “intelligence” agencies, in bed with the corporate war who*es, pretending to be news organizations, hell bent on unending global wars.

    I wish I could point them to news sites like Consortium News. But I have long been branded a lunatic for pointing out that NPR is a refined propaganda organ of the establishment. Oh well …..

    • Realist
      June 16, 2019 at 19:25

      So, Caitlin’s lesson today may be considered a logical consequence of the forces she described in her lesson presented yesterday. In other words, false narratives, big lies, and propaganda seem to work wonderfully in the favor of the entrenched elites. That’s why others brand you a lunatic. They have been irredeemably brainwashed.

      Just keep coming here for your news and analysis. It’s free and it’s the truth.

  39. Helen
    June 16, 2019 at 10:45

    Does this need some copy editing? Space needed before and after the em dashes. Question marks are there instead. Or is intended to include extra ???

    we?—?and then, meanwhile, we have in Washington these?—?and

    imaginable?—?it’s unprecedented.

    • Lucius Patrick
      June 16, 2019 at 14:58

      I had the same question. I think it is an editing mistake, they are replacing the ellipsis with the question mark. I believe the ellipsis can be used to cut portions of a paragraph as long as the order is not rearranged but I am not sure about using ellipsis to cut portions longer than paragraphs.

    • AnneR
      June 16, 2019 at 15:03

      Yes, indeed, those ?—? were weird.

    • June 17, 2019 at 06:03

      The question marks were generated by the browser. That happens when a non-standard character is typed into the document and the browser doesn’t know what it is or doesn’t know how to show it.

  40. Michael Wilk
    June 16, 2019 at 10:30

    My guess is that Caligula Drumpf is still being kept in the proverbial dark. I wouldn’t out it past the boy to deliberately lie, even if only to himself, but I don’t think he really knows what’s going on. He’s out of his element and from the beginning allowed the clowns within the military-industrial-surveillance establishment to take charge. Me, I’d have engaged in a thorough house-cleaning upon taking office and put people in charge like Scheer and John Kiriakou, who know how things work and are willing to challenge the establishment.

    • Realist
      June 16, 2019 at 19:35

      No doubt. In spite of protestations from the establishment insiders that Trump is a traitor taking orders from Putin and needs to go, they purposely created him because they knew they could intimidate and control him like a sock puppet. I’m sure the intel agencies had a thorough psych evaluation of him before he was allowed on the short list of presidential nominees. The Russiagate BS is all theatrics and propaganda, although they WILL make him a scapegoat and toss him under the bus if their agenda to attain absolute world hegemony comes a cropper. Just like Hillary, they have a ready excuse if their grand plans are thwarted.

  41. jmg
    June 16, 2019 at 10:09

    Important warning from Russian President Vladimir Putin (June 6, 2019):

    “If no one is interested in renewing the START-3 Treaty, we will not renew it. We have already said a hundred times that we are ready to do so, but no one is willing to talk about it with us.

    “Please note that there is no formal negotiating process, and everything will expire in 2021. Mind you, there will be no more instruments to limit an arms race.

    “Or, for example, deploying weapons in outer space. Do we understand what this means or not? Ask the experts. It means that each of us will have to live at all times, say, under a nuclear weapon. Permanently! But we are doing this, and doing it quickly. Will anyone ever think about it, talk about it, or show any concern? No, complete silence.

    “Or, take low-yield nuclear weapons, or non-nuclear strategic missiles. What if a global-range strategic missile is launched from a submarine in the middle of the ocean? How do we know if it carries a nuclear charge or not? Do you realize how serious and dangerous this is?”

    Putin’s dire warning: Anybody listening? — RT America

    • What is real?
      June 16, 2019 at 19:43

      I dunno. Makes me wonder if the MIC doesn’t have reverse-engineered alien weaponry on-line and ready to deploy. They seem to fear nothing, or care nothing about the future of this planet.

      Moreover, you have to ask yourself, why the wall-to-wall programming about space aliens all weekend long now?

    • Abby
      June 16, 2019 at 23:44

      Another thing that is happening is the military buildup in countries that border Russia. We’ve put lots of troops and military equipment into Poland and other countries and have been sending new missiles to somewhere in Europe. Putin has been watching this happen and I’m wondering how much longer he is going to put up with it?

      Obama overthrew Ukraine’s government and installed the same type of Nazis that our grandfathers fought in WWII. Think about this for a minute. We are not only arming and funding the terrorists that we’re supposed to be at war with, but also the neo Nazis in Ukraine. Again how much longer will Putin’s patience continue?

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