How Most Americans Favor Corruption

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at

Americans don’t do it voluntarily, but mainly because they don’t understand the way the U.S. system works. Part of that is the nation’s legal system; part of it isn’t, but is instead international.

Regardless of whether or not today’s United States is a democracy, our legal system possesses two features that make corruption especially difficult to prosecute to conviction, and this difficulty is extreme and makes such convictions extremely rare at the top, amongst members of Congress, and Presidents, and former federal officials, and billionaires, so that people at that level need to be extremely stupid in order to be convictable for whatever corruption they might do. (And such extreme stupidity is virtually non-existent amongst that elite, most powerful, group. So, they get away with it. There is absolutely nothing to stop them.) Consequently, corruption is rampant at the top in America.

Both of these two domestic, U.S., features apply also to some lesser extent in every other country; and, at the end, I’ll describe the exacerbating factor that makes the situation especially bad in the United States — the international factor, which intensifies America’s corruption-problem.

Reason Number One why Americans favor corruption is that (especially at the top) corruption is, to a large extent — and very unlike lower-class crimes of direct violence — a judgment-call, largely political, and therefore specifically a partisan matter to judge. Anything that’s “partisan” is especially difficult to produce a unanimous verdict, which is what would be required for a conviction. Consequently, an individual of high status within the elite will be granted by his group or “party” every benefit of every possible doubt. This is likely to protect any elite person from being convicted.

Take, for example, the latest “CBS News poll: Majority of Americans and Democrats approve of Trump impeachment inquiry”. On the question of impeachment, 87% of Democrats approve, while 77% of Republicans disapprove. There’s nothing even approaching unanimity. However, since impeachment is not entirely an issue which is based solely on the possibility of there having been corruption, a better indicator here is the poll’s other main question, of whether Trump deserves to be impeached over Ukraine. That question concerns not only the possibility that Trump might have acted corruptly in this matter, but also the questions of whether Hunter Biden did, and of whether his father Joe Biden did. Consequently, it measures only on corruption (abuse-of-office), not at all on other impeachment-issues; so, this is an ideal measure, for our purpose. Of course, Trump is a Republican but the latter two are Democrats, and Joe aims to replace Trump if Trump doesn’t become impeached by the House and then convicted in the Senate, and Joe aims to replace Mike Pence if Trump does become convicted in the Senate and replaced there by his Vice President. Though corruption is the issue on both sides (Republicans versus Democrats), it is an extremely partisan issue and therefore plays extremely to each side’s political prejudices. 75% of Democrats believe that Trump deserves to be impeached over the issue of Ukraine, and 8% believe that he doesn’t. 70% of Republicans think that he doesn’t deserve to be impeached over Ukraine, and 16% believe that he does. Consequently, the single issue of Ukraine accounts for almost all of the beliefs on both sides regarding whether or not Trump deserves to be impeached, and this issue of Ukraine is virtually 100% an issue about corruption.

In a court of law, whenever a particular issue is politically charged, unanimous verdicts are virtually impossible to attain. Neither impeachment nor removal from office requires anything even close to any such unanimity as judgment in a court-case does, because neither the House nor the Senate would be voting anything like jurors do in a courtroom, and the rules are extremely different; and, so, any corruption trial that’s in a court of law  faces an almost impossible barrier against conviction (because the standards of evidence and the other rules in a court-case are far stricter). So, this is one way in which most Americans favor corruption. (Like everywhere, Americans are prejudiced — i.e., partisan.)

Reason Number Two for this almost invulnerability at the top in America is that America’s elite, even more than in other countries, normally possess the financial wherewithal to hire enough lawyers of enough excellence in order to crush the prosecution’s case. Furthermore, there are a multitude of fine points in our laws that were written precisely in order to enable almost any of these people to be able to avoid being convicted. That’s one of the main things they buy politicians for — to get those types of “fine points” into the laws. It’s how the American system functions.

So: not only are the laws full of ‘loopholes’ that were placed there especially in order to get such people off any hook, but, on top of that, these are the people who can and do hire the ‘best lawyers that money can buy’ — and all of the lawyers and investigators that they need — in order to get off scot-free or else with only slap-on-the-wrist fines and ‘community service’ in order to avoid legal perdition, no matter how corrupt they might actually be.

As regards the non-legal reasons why corrupt individuals in our system almost never go to prison, just consider what those ‘loopholes in the law’ really are: they are expressions of cultural values. Each loophole is argued for on the basis of some cultural values. Whereas those particular values obviously disadvantage the homeless and minorities and uneducated and inarticulate and ugly and poor (since few — if any — of those people hire lobbyists), the flip side of them provides advantages to the successful and the educated and the beautiful and the articulate — the very types of people who are the likeliest to be  corrupt. You don’t find many of the elite people in prison, but you do find them in executive suites and Ivy League campuses and on Capitol Hill and in finance and in think tanks and in lobbying firms — the places where power is wielded for the people who have the most money (who hire these people as their agents).

Whereas individuals who are homeless or minorities or etc. might elicit more sympathy than the rich and powerful do, they really don’t have the laws on their side nearly as much as the elite do, and the elite are also vastly likelier to have the most competent legal representation — and the legislators and judges — on their side. But if ever a non-elite person is corrupt, that person is extremely likely to “have the book thrown at him” and to get no sympathy at all from the public. This exemplifies the core principle of conservatism: all praise goes upward, all blame goes downward.

And, so, anyone who supports this system is actually favoring corruption. They do it not voluntarily, but instead because there are things they believe and don’t even question — such as that the elite are superior — but that are actually false. So: corrupt people almost always get away with it.

The reason, why the above-stated reasons apply increasingly and especially in the United States, has been that after Russia ended its side of the Cold War in 1991, America’s elite — the most corrupt part of society — increasingly and especially acquired global immunity for its violations of international laws, such as by increasingly invading countries that had never invaded nor even threatened to invade the United States. The 2003 invasion of Iraq made especially clear, to the entire world, that America would even go so far as to order U.N. weapons-inspectors out of a country in order to bomb it. That brazen and effective termination of the applicability to the U.S. (and to any of its allies, America’s vassals), of any international laws, constituted the making-public that the United Nations has been diminished to being little more than flapping mouths, at least since 20 March 2003.

Consequently, with no international body to restrain the American elite, the lid is now entirely off to corruption in America; and, the lower that the global public esteem the U.N., the worse that America’s corruption will become (if it’s not already entirely free of restraints). The restraints of international law (such as whatever restraints had previously existed) are now perhaps totally gone. Consider, for example, what happened to Gaddafi, and to Libya, in 2011.

A big change in global public opinion toward the U.N. occurred as a direct result of the U.S.-and-allied 20 March 2003 invasion of Iraq. The only periodic polling that was done internationally on the public’s esteem for the U.N., and that covered the period both shortly before and shortly after America’s invasion and destruction of Iraq, was by Pew. It sub-headlined “U.N. Less Popular”, and reported that in the 15 countries where public opinion was sampled both in 2002 (before the invasion) and in 2003 (after it), the favorability rating of the U.N. declined in 14 of the 15 nations, and the decline was sharp in each one of them (declining typically by a third, during just that one year). Only in Pakistan did the public rate the U.N. more favorably in 2003 than in 2002. Only in Pakistan did the public approve the U.N.’s becoming effectively nullified, and the U.S. Government and its allies thereby taking over the world as not only the lawmaker, but the judge, jury, police, and executioner, for all nations — the government of the world (a dictatorial government outside the United States, since the U.S. Government cannot even claim to democratically represent any of those foreigners). And yet, only 13% of respondents in Pakistan approved of the United States in 2003, which was exactly half of the 26% there who approved of the U.N.

The solution, when there is no legal government that stands above the nations of the world, isn’t so much to make the most powerful nation (the U.S.) less effective, as it is to make the U.N. more effective. The problem here isn’t actually the U.N.’s failure, so much as it is the U.S. regime’s freedom to violate international laws — especially the U.N. Charter. There is — clearly, now — no legal government of the world’s nations. The U.N. is less of a world-government now, after 20 March 2003, than it ever was before. So, international bullies such as the U.S. Government reign with impunity. Look, for example, at what such bullies are currently doing to Iran and to Venezuela — and, to Julian Assange. Ever since 2003, the international law-breaking has become blatant, and unashamed — sometimes even bordering on boastful.

The longer that this international immunity of the U.S. and its allies continues, the more corrupt America will become. FDR’s intentions for the U.N. were correct; Truman’s have by now failed utterly; as a consequence of which, the United States is effectively lawless at its top. A country like this, where the courts effectively trash its own Constitution, and the nation’s executive sometimes even flaunts his flouting of the little that still exists of a Constitution for the world, stands in sharp need of an international force that can effectively say no to its government. FDR was correct about international law, and not only about the U.S. Constitution.

One of the reasons why the U.N. has failed is that it has never clearly defined even the most dangerous international crime, “international aggression” (the invasion by one country against another country that had never invaded nor seriously threatened it), much less established penalties for it. The Nuremberg Tribunals after WW II were supposed to start the process, but the effort just faded soon thereafter (under Truman). Furthermore, existing international law is totally irrelevant to non-state aggressors, such as Al Qaeda, which should be allowed no protection by any government. Nor does international law address under what conditions a nation whose government protects terror-groups (such as Afghanistan, prior to 9/11) may legitimately be invaded (such as by the U.S. after 9/11), nor what limitations ought to be placed upon such a retaliatory invasion. “Terrorism” itself is undefined. In other words: the U.N., to date, is almost a total failure. When the U.S. Government steps into this legal void so as to impose its will in flagrant disregard of what international law does exist, this reflects not only the failure of the United States, but the failure of all of human civilization, at the present stage. That’s where we now are. Almost every international institution that the U.S. set up after WW II needs to be replaced. We’ve been on the wrong path, since FDR died. And America has been leading the world on that wrong path. It’s therefore no surprise that Americans approve of this path — Obama’s “the one indispensable nation”, or Trump’s “America first, last, and always” — more than the world’s other nations do. (Of course, Hitler, Hirohito, and Mussolini, also held that view, which isn’t patriotism, but instead nationalism — specifically, supremacist nationalism.) This has nothing to do particularly with Trump. Obama was perhaps even worse. It has to do, instead, with what America has been, ever since FDR died.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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What’s Holding Up the Market?

What’s holding up the U.S. stock market? The facile answer is the Federal Reserve (“the Fed has our back,” “don’t fight the Fed,” etc.) but this doesn’t actually describe the mechanisms in play or the consequences of a market that levitates ever higher on the promise of more Fed money-for-nothing injected into the diseased veins of the financial system.

As Gordon T. Long and I discuss in our latest half-hour video program, What’s Holding the Market Up? (34 minutes), the primary prop under stock valuations are corporate buybacks, which total in the trillions of dollars since the 2008-09 Global Financial Meltdown and the Fed’s “rescue of the rich,” which continues to this day.

Rather than risk capital in productive investments, U.S. corporations have borrowed trillions of dollars and used the cash to buy back their own shares. The Fed’s suppression of interest rates has incentivized stock buybacks in several ways:

1. When it’s cheap to borrow billions, the biggest bang for the buck is to use the borrowed bucks to buy back shares, which creates an illusion of growth as per-share sales and earnings both rise as shares are withdrawn from the public market.

Let’s say a company has a million shares outstanding and earns a net profit of $1 million. The per-share net profit is thus $1 per share. If the company borrows money and buys back 500,000 shares of its own stock, the per-share net earnings double to $2 per share.

Presto-magico, the company appears to be more profitable, and so its valuation based on its price-to-earnings ratio (P-E) adjusts higher, even though revenues and earnings have remained stagnant.

2. If a corporation piles up cash, it becomes an attractive target for acquisition. The way to avoid being taken over is to pile up debt (borrow money or sell corporate bonds, swapping debt for equity) and use the funds to buy back shares. As the corporation’s remaining shares soar in value, the company can use its own shares to acquire rivals.

These perverse incentives are the heart of the Federal Reserve’s policies, as depicted here: as real economic growth has slowed, the Fed’s largesse of cheap money has flowed into corporate buybacks because that’s what’s incentivized.

The Fed’s nearly free money for financiers policies in support of the Super-Rich do not exist in a vacuum–the disastrous consequences are already baked in. As Gordon’s chart shows, Fed policies effectively replace capitalism (investing capital productively and accepting risk) with creditism, a debt-dependent speculative system that transfers risk to the Fed and the taxpayers (i.e. profits are private, losses are socialized).

Needless to say, this doesn’t end well, as expanding credit and borrowing to fund speculation and consumption inevitably ends in a currency crisis that devalues the currency for everyone, rich and poor alike.

There’s much more in our video discussion:

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook): Read the first section for free in PDF format.

My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format.

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Update on the MH17 Case

Eric Zuesse

The Netherlands Government is resisting an effort by Dutch victims’ families to find out why Ukraine’s Government, on 17 July 2014 — when the Malaysian airliner MH17 was shot down while flying over Ukraine’s civil-war zone — this passenger-plane had been guided by Ukraine’s air-traffic control to fly through, instead of around (as it instructed other airliners), the war-zone. On 1 October 2019, now more than five years after 196 Dutch nationals had died from that incident, Holland’s RTL News headlined (as autotranslated into English) “Cabinet considers research into Ukraine’s role in disaster MH17”, and reported that “The cabinet will examine whether further research is possible on the role of Ukraine in the disaster with flight MH17,” because “A proposal … for the investigation received the support of all Parties present in the second chamber” of Holland’s parliament. This news-report said that, “So far, the cabinet has not taken any steps against Ukraine. As far as we know, nothing is happening behind the scenes.” Furthermore: “Last year, the Netherlands, together with Australia, decided to make Russia as a country liable. For the liability of Ukraine, according to the cabinet, there was ‘no evidence’ and also ‘no research needed’.” Moreover, Dutch Foreign Minister Stefan Blok said that “We don’t see any reason for an investigation” into that, because “The government is trying to maintain its relationship with Ukraine,” and “because then both the airspace of Ukraine and that of Russia should be looked at,” and because “there are still no indications that Ukraine can also be held liable.” But actually, from the very start of that investigation, there has been a secret agreement not to blame Ukraine for anything having to do with the incident. This agreement is kept secret from the Dutch people. Blok, in resisting to investigate why the MH17 was guided over the civil-war zone, was simply adhering to the secret agreement that Netherlands had signed with Ukraine on 8 August 2014. If he were to agree to the families’ demand, he still would be obligated, by Holland’s 8 August 2014 agreement with Ukraine, to find Ukraine not to have perpetrated the downing. But the families don’t know this.

As I reported back on 24 August 2014, a secret agreement had been signed on August 8th between Netherlands, Ukraine, Belgium, and Australia, that Ukraine would have veto-power over any finding that their official “Joint Investigation Team” (“JIT”) would issue regarding the shoot-down of the MH17. Malaysia was excluded from the Team, but was finally admitted, after agreeing to their secret terms — including not to blame Ukraine. Russia’s RT headlined on 20 November 2014 “Dutch government refuses to reveal ‘secret deal’ into MH17 crash probe” and revealed that the Dutch Government was refusing to comply with its own Freedom of Information law by keeping this agreement secret. On 14 June 2016, the website “What Happened to Flight MH17” headlined “The vague role of Malaysia in the Joint Investigation Team” and reported that the JIT had actually been officially formed on 7 August 2014, and noted that, “In the limited number of public communications by JIT it is not mentioned what the role of Malaysia is in the criminal investigation.” (Malaysia, unlike those other four nations, isn’t a member of America’s core anti-Russia alliance, which includes NATO and Australia, but is instead a neutral nation and therefore considered untrustworthy by the others.) Subsequently, on 21 July 2019, John Helmer and Max van der Werff revealed that Malaysia’s Government rejects the ‘findings’ by the JIT (which, with no reservations, blame Russia for downing the MH17), but that Malaysia isn’t violating the 8 August 2014 secret agreement, since Malaysia isn’t saying Ukraine did it. Instead, Malaysia is saying that further investigations are needed, and that Malaysia possesses the black boxes and other crucial evidence.

The present report is an update regarding the entire matter of the shoot-down on 17 July 2014 of the MH17 Malaysian airliner over the breakaway Donetsk region of Ukraine. The additional facts which will be reported here regarding the MH17 incident shock me. I knew that U.S. President Barack Obama had become desperate for something to happen that would persuade German Chancellor Angela Merkel to endorse added sanctions against Russia regarding Ukraine, but I had had no idea, until now, as to what direct involvement, if any, he had had in the actual setting-up of the MH17 shoot-down. All of the source-evidence for the following can be clicked-through-to here by the reader, and this is important to do, for any reader who is skeptical (as all ought to be) and who wants to see source-evidence, for any assertion that seems outlandish. It’s important especially because the case which will be presented here stuns even me, who had voted three times for Obama, first in his 2008 primary against Hillary Clinton, then once again in his 2008 general election contest against Republican John McCain; and then, finally, once more, yet again, in his 2012 general election contest against Republican Mitt Romney (who, incidentally, right now, is arguing for Trump’s impeachment and replacement by Mike Pence; and who is famous for having said, in his 2012 campaign against Obama, that “Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe”). I knew that Obama was the lesser of two evils, but I now recognize that I had had no idea of how evil that actually was. Here I shall report what I now know. This extensively documented reconstruction, of the MH17 incident and of how it came about, seems to me to disprove the fundamental Western ‘historical’ narrative about contemporary international relations, and to signal the necessity for a fundamental rewrite of the mainstream view of world history in our era. At the very least, it disproves that view — the mainstream view or ‘history’ of our time. Whatever the truth might be, it certainly cannot be anything even approximating that ‘historical’ mainstream. Mainstream recent ‘history’ is, now more clearly than ever before, a sinister and carefully orchestrated myth, as will be demonstrated here in what follows.

The essential background information regarding the MH17 must be presented at the start, and it’s accurately portrayed in an 11-minute video. The first-ever news-report to display and assemble in an easily comprehensible way all of the crucial facts constituting the background context that’s necessary in order to understand the MH17 event and what caused it, was an 11-minute video compilation, which was uploaded to youtube on 12 March 2014, and which you can see here. It’s 100% true, nothing at all deceptive in any way, and it still remains, in my opinion (after my seeing it around 50 times and considering it from a multitude of different perspectives), absolutely a masterpiece, the only perfect public-affairs video that I have ever seen. Beyond that essential background information to the MH17 event, now follows (and entirely within that factual background-context), a summary in more detail, focusing in, or zooming onto, the MH17 event itself, more closely:

This will be a summary, which — since it might seem incredible to anyone who doesn’t already know the evidence — will immediately be followed by the evidence, all clickable here to each source (though not necessarily via only a single click). The first sentence of the summary will summarize the essential background information to the MH17 event — meaning here only information on the background that’s essential in order to be able to understand the context in which the information that is to be newly introduced here regarding the MH17 event will fit into that bigger picture — and this opening sentence will therefore itself be linked to more-detailed summaries of key aspects of that background part, each aspect of which itself contains links to all of the source-evidences there regarding that aspect of the deepest background, so that the full background will be accessible from the links that are provided here, and the new information, which is to be provided at the end, will be entirely understandable within the context of that full background.

Here, then, is the overall summary, including the heavily-linked opening sentence regarding this event’s deep background:

President Obama not only perpetrated the February 2014 bloody coup in Ukraine which he had started by no later than 2011 to plan and placed into operation on 1 March 2013 inside the U.S. Embassy in Kiev (months before the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom he was to overthrow decided for Ukraine not to accept the EU’s offer of membership), but Obama and his NATO were so determined to reverse the coup’s resulting breakaway, from Ukraine, of Ukraine’s two most anti-nazi districts, Crimea and Donetsk, that Obama and his NATO then set up the shoot-down of the MH17 airliner by Obama’s newly-installed nazi Ukrainian government, with the objective being to promptly blame it against Russia. Obama was, at that time, in early July 2014, desperate for there to be a pretext on which the European Union would join the U.S. in greatly hiking sanctions against Russia regarding Ukraine. What the most-recent information will show is this: Obama and his NATO were intending to use this false accusation against Russia as a pretext not only to hike anti-Russia sanctions but ultimately to invade both Donetsk and Crimea and risk WW III in order to coerce those two regions back again into Ukraine — now to become (like the rest of Ukraine) under the control of the U.S. regime. The reasons why that plan failed (was aborted) were, first, that Malaysia’s Government held in international law the unchallengeable right of ownership over the airliner’s black boxes; and, second, that there was especially one member of NATO, Angela Merkel, who refused to risk WW III and to join into Obama’s extremely psychopathic scheme, since it risked the whole world over his determination to grab the entirety of Ukraine. Obama always refused to proceed forward with a geostrategic plan if it was strongly opposed by at least one core ally — in this particular instance, he knew enough not to drive Germany to abandon NATO and to ally with Russia (especially since Russia itself was his actual target in his coup to take over Ukraine). By declining to move forward without Merkel, all of those immediate risks to the world were avoided. Furthermore, Malaysia’s holding the black boxes was especially a problem for Obama and NATO, because any preparation for a U.S.-NATO invasion of Donbass and Crimea would spark Malaysia to go public with what it already knew about the U.S.-NATO lies regarding the MH17 incident. Obama possessed no ability to prevent that response from Malaysia. Not only Germany, but also Malaysia, possessed power in this situation, and Obama, fortunately, yielded to it. (Of course, the great worry about Trump is that if he gets into a similar situation, he might move forward regardless.)

Also noteworthy — especially for Dutch citizens and the families of the passengers on that airliner — the Netherlands Government had been one of the largest financial backers of the February 2014 U.S.-planned overthrow of Ukraine’s democratically elected President. For example, it was the largest single donor, listed at $793,089, to Hromadske TV, which was the leading station that advocated for forcing that President out of power. Whereas the U.S. Government had organized and ran the overthrow, and spent far more on it (over $5 billion) than did any other nation or individual, the U.S. was only the second-largest donor to that station, at $399,650. So: Holland’s government had a significant investment in the post-coup regime, even before that post-coup regime shot down the MH17 plane and thereby slaughtered its 283 passengers, of whom 196 were Dutch. This is yet another reason why the Dutch Government’s heading this investigation in which Ukraine — another member — should be a suspect but is instead a juror, nullifies any rational authority to its ‘findings’.

One of my more important early news-reports regarding the MH17 case was the 24 August 2014 “MH-17 ‘Investigation’: Secret August 8th Agreement Seeps Out”, which article, referenced near the opening of the present article, documented that the secret agreement amongst the 4-party official MH17 ‘investigative’ team — Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, and Ukraine — gave each one of those governments an absolute veto over any public announcement or ‘finding’ from the ‘investigation’, so that if Ukraine, which was a prime suspect in the incident, were to disapprove a ‘finding’, then the team wouldn’t be allowed to issue it. This is like giving a murder-suspect veto-power over the investigation into the murder. It shows how poisoned that whole official ‘investigation’ was, even at its very start. This is important to understand.

Another especially relevant news-report from me was the 7 June 2015 “Obama Sidelines Kerry on Ukraine Policy”, which noted that Obama supported the position of Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, who favored the U.S. backing an all-out invasion of Crimea and Donbass by Ukraine, and that Obama rejected the position of her boss, John Kerry, the Secretary of State, who opposed that policy. “Kerry, for his part, now faces the decision as to whether to quit … or else for Kerry to stay in office and be disrespected in all capitals for his staying on after having been so blatantly contradicted by his subordinate.” (This wasn’t the only instance when Obama trashed Kerry’s work: he likewise did it when Kerry favored the U.S. agreeing with Russia that, in a Syrian-war cease-fire, not only ISIS but also Al Qaeda-led forces in Syria could continue to be bombed. Russia was bombing both, but Obama refused to accept a ceasefire in which Russia would be allowed to continue its bombing of Al Qaeda, not only of ISIS. It was the ultimate humiliation of Kerry, and effectively ended his career in government.) This displays Obama’s profound hatred of Russia.

My last major report on MH17 was on 31 December 2018, “MH17 Turnabout: Ukraine’s Guilt Now Proven”. That presents conclusive checkmate against the U.S.-NATO case blaming Russia for MH17 (that case being run by the Netherlands Government, which simply ignores its case having become disproven by that evidence).

Here’s the more-recent report, what I did not previously know, which comes from the great independent Western journalist living in Moscow, John Helmer; and presented here are the highlights from his report — a report that fills-in crucial additional details of the same historical narrative that I have previously documented regarding the MH17 incident:

“MH17 Evidence Tampering Revealed by Malaysia – FBI Attempt to Seize Black Boxes; Dutch Cover-Up of Forged Telephone Tapes; Ukrainian Air Force Hid Radar Records; Crash Site Witness Testimony Misreported”

John Helmer, 21 July 2019

A new documentary from Max van der Werff, the leading independent investigator of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 disaster, has revealed breakthrough evidence of tampering and forging of prosecution materials; suppression of Ukrainian Air Force radar tapes; and lying by the Dutch, Ukrainian, US and Australian governments. An attempt by agents of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to take possession of the black boxes of the downed aircraft is also revealed by a Malaysian National Security Council official for the first time.

The sources of the breakthrough are Malaysian — Prime Minister of Malaysia Mohamad Mahathir; Colonel Mohamad Sakri, the officer in charge of the MH17 investigation for the Prime Minister’s Department and Malaysia’s National Security Council following the crash on July 17, 2014; and a forensic analysis by Malaysia’s OG IT Forensic Services of Ukrainian Secret Service (SBU) telephone tapes which Dutch prosecutors have announced as genuine. …

Watch it in full here. …

The film reveals the Malaysian Government’s evidence for judging the [Joint Investigative Team] JIT’s witness testimony, photographs, video clips, and telephone tapes to have been manipulated by the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), and to be inadmissible in a criminal prosecution in a Malaysian or other national or international court.

For the first time also, the Malaysian Government reveals how it got in the way of attempts the US was organizing during the first week after the crash to launch a NATO military attack on eastern Ukraine. The cover story for that was to rescue the plane, passenger bodies, and evidence of what had caused the crash. In fact, the operation was aimed at defeating the separatist movements in the Donbass, and to move against Russian-held Crimea.

The new film reveals that a secret Malaysian military operation took custody of the MH17 black boxes on July 22, preventing the US and Ukraine from seizing them. The Malaysian operation, revealed in the film by the Malaysian Army colonel who led it, eliminated the evidence for the camouflage story, reinforcing the German Government’s opposition to the armed attack, and forcing the Dutch to call off the invasion on July 27. …

Although German opposition to military intervention forced its cancellation, the Australians sent a 200-man special forces unit to The Netherlands and then Kiev. …

The new film reveals in an interview with Colonel Mohamad Sakri, the head of the Malaysian team, what happened next. Sakri’s evidence, filmed in his office at Putrajaya, is the first to be reported by the press outside Malaysia in five years. A year ago, Sakri gave a partial account of his mission to a Malaysian newspaper.


“I talked to my prime minister [Najib],” Colonel Sakri says. “He directed me to go to the crash site immediately.” At the time Sakri was a senior security official at the Disaster Management Division of the Prime Minister’s Department. Sakri says that after arriving in Kiev, Poroshenko’s officials blocked the Malaysians. “We were not allowed to go there…so I took a small team to leave Kiev going to Donetsk secretly.”

Sakri goes on to say he was asked by the [nominally nonpartisan] OSCE’s special monitoring mission for Ukraine to hand over the black boxes; he refused. He was then met by agents of the FBI (Min 6:56). “They approached me to show them the black box. I said no.” He also reports that in Kiev the Ukrainian Government tried “forcing me to leave the black boxes with them. We said no. We cannot. We cannot allow.”

The handover ceremony in Donetsk, July 22, 2014: on far left, the two black boxes from MH17; in the centre, shaking hands, Alexander Borodai and Mohamad Sakri. …

Van der Werff and Yerlashova contracted with OG IT Forensic Services, a Malaysian firm specializing in forensic analysis of audio, video and digital materials for court proceedings, to examine the telephone tapes. The Kuala Lumpur firm has been endorsed by the Malaysian Bar. The full 143-page technical report can be read here.

The findings reported by Akash Rosen and illustrated on camera are that the telephone recordings have been cut, edited and fabricated. The source of the tapes, according to the JIT press conference on June 19 by Dutch police officer Paulissen, head of the National Criminal Investigation Service of The Netherlands, was the Ukrainian SBU. Similar findings of tape fabrication and evidence tampering are reported on camera in the van der Werff film by a German analyst, Norman Ritter. …

CLOSING NOTE: The present article was offered as an exclusive to virtually all mainstream news-media in the U.S. and its major allied countries, none of which responded. It therefore is not copyrighted, and is instead available to all news-media, free of charge, for publication. Readers are therefore encouraged to distribute it to others without any limitation.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Democracy Is Now a Hindrance to the Imperial State

If we step back from the histrionics of impeachment and indeed, the past four years of political circus, we have to wonder if America’s democracy is little more than an elaborate simulation, a counterfeit democracy that matches our counterfeit capitalism (Matt Stoller’s term).

If we review the mechanics of our “democracy,” we find that swapping which party controls Congress doesn’t really change the policies of The Imperial State, the central state that oversees America’s global commercial and geopolitical empire.

Next, consider the high return rate of incumbents. Once in power, politicos can skim the millions of dollars in campaign contributions needed to win re-election.

Then there’s the some are more equal than others nature of the judicial system that serves the interests of financial and political elites: Bernie Madoff was free to continue his Ponzi scheme for years despite whistleblower attempts to instigate a federal investigation, and pedophile /schmoozer / “intelligence agency asset” Jeffrey Epstein was free to exploit underage teens and pile up $200 million after a wrist-slap conviction.

The corporate mass media is the PR machine for the Imperial State. If the state seeks to sell the public a war of choice, the media dutifully pounds the drums of war. If the Imperial State decides to disempower a president or other elected official, the media will hound the elected official until he/she is disgraced or buried, too busy fighting off the ceaseless media propaganda to function. The mass media excels at ruthlessly mocking political targets, reducing their stature in the public eye and undermining their “soft power.”

As for presidents: as long as the prez follows the Imperial minders’ orders, everything will be fine. Cross the minders and you’re out. The perfect presidential candidate from the perspective of the Eastern Establishment / National Security State was Bush I: Eastern Establishment blue-blood, Yale, combat military service, and stints in high offices, including high-level diplomacy and the CIA.

Bush I famously lacked “the vision thing,” but presidents only need “the vision thing” during the campaign–witness Obama’s “hope and change” slogan. Once elected, they just need to follow the Imperial script, which includes a permanent PR campaign touting “democracy” as a necessary facade for the actual workings of the Imperial State.

Bush I was the ideal Imperial State president because he understood the need for the velvet glove of diplomacy, the most important element of which is an orchestrated demonstration of Imperial restraint. This also includes healthy dollops of PR about the sanctity of our alliances, which are heavily promoted as the acme of win-win cooperation, etc. He also understood the essential role of America’s commercial Empire: the US dollar, US banking and US corporate interests around the world.

Imperial State handlers cannot tolerate loose-cannon presidents, those who keep their own council and who act outside the “recommended guidelines,” for example, trying to make peace with rivals and enemies that the Imperial State cultivates as “enemies” for its own purposes.

John F. Kennedy appeared to be the ideal Imperial State president: wealthy Eastern Establishment, Harvard, combat military service, informal diplomatic experience via his father’s connections, an enthusiastic supporter of the Imperial State’s Cold War and a youthful politician with superb communication skills who the mass media fell for hook, line and sinker.

Once Kennedy soured on the CIA, things got dicey. The ideal president quickly became less ideal as his independence grew.

The Imperial State and mass media always feared and hated Richard Nixon, a poker player who kept his cards hidden and who surrounded himself with loyalists and outsiders, a rogue politician who could upstage the Imperial State’s agenda by private diplomacy (opening relations with China) or expanding wars of choice (the invasion of Cambodia).

Nixon’s cabinet was well-stocked with Establishment pros, but they were largely figureheads when it came to the bold private diplomatic moves Nixon favored. In other words, Nixon was the Imperial State’s nightmare president.

Just to show that the Imperial State plays no favorites in party affiliations, the State and its media organs also hated Jimmy Carter, another independent who wandered outside the “recommended guidelines” and had to be destroyed via endless mockery and the undermining of his initiatives.

(Maintaining the circus entertainment of party politics is a core function of the mass media.)

The Imperial State was deeply distrustful of Reagan, hence the constant media mockery and the attempt to unseat him via the Iran-Contra Affair. But Reagan was smart enough to surround himself with insiders (Cap Weinberger, James Baker et al.) and popular enough to fend off the constant media attacks, much to the media’s intense frustration (hence their mocking description of Reagan as the “Teflon president.” How dare he survive our campaign to undermine and destroy him!)

Bush II was no Bush I, but he followed orders and never strayed from the “recommended guidelines.” The same can be said of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, telegenic communicators in the Kennedy mold.

Needless to say, the Imperial State and its media organs loathe Trump, the loosest cannon imaginable. Hillary Clinton had proven herself a reliable water carrier for the Imperial State, and so her election was elaborately planned and staged: potentially loose cannon Bernie Sanders was shivved in the primaries by the Democratic Party, and the champagne was chilled for Hillary’s victory.

Alas, the party was crashed in a most unforgivable fashion, and the Imperial State’s war on Trump has been unremitting and ham-handedly obvious.

Democracy is the coat of paint applied for PR purposes to the Imperial State. “Democracy” is only tolerated if it follows the approved script. The Republic is good PR, but the Empire makes the rules and the scripts that elected officials follow, and woe to anyone who wins an election they were supposed to lose or who strays too far from the “recommended guidelines.” (Imperial enemies must remain enemies until the Empire decides otherwise.)

Democracy has always been a “problem” for the Imperial State to manage, but now it is a hindrance to Imperial pretensions and power that is setting up an existential crisis unlike any other in American history.

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Is Peace Possible?

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