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Monday, January 01, 2018

The Australian connection. Plus: The Deep State

Deep State. This piece by Benjamin Wittes explains why Trump's war on the so-called "Deep State" has not succeeded -- so far. It's an important, gripping read, so please hit the link.

I would add this: The "Deep State," as the Trumpers conceive of it, is a fiction. It's a convenient bogeyman designed to allow Trump to purge the government of everyone who won't goosestep along with the Alt Right agenda.

The phrase "Deep State" was invented (or at least popularized) by Berkeley professor Peter Dale Scott, former Canadian diplomat turned poet/anti-war activist/JFK assassination researcher. Scott is on the left. When he used the term, he didn't mean what the Trumpers mean by it. Alex Jones seems to have picked up the concept from Scott -- and I'm guessing that Roger Stone, Trump's Machiavellian pal, picked it up from Jones. Nowadays, we often hear the phrase "Deep State" on Fox News, and even some Trump-worshiping congressfolk have started to employ it.

In short and in sum: The views of an anti-fascist writer are being used to justify fascism. I wonder what Scott thinks of that? 

How Australia learned Trump's big secret. As most of you know, we recently learned that the FBI's investigation of the Russia/Trump connection was prompted not by THAT dossier but by a "head's up" warning from Australia. In May of 2016, Alexander Downer -- an Australian diplomat in London -- went drinking at a classy wine joint with Trump adviser George Papadopoulos. Not for the first time, the quaffing of the grape led to the spilling of the bean.

We're still not quite sure how this information came out, although the right-wing media presumes that Mueller leaked it. I doubt that he did any such thing. If he did -- well, turnabout is fair play. Remember the Starr Chamber? Remember how leaky that was? The moment anything even remotely damaging to Clinton was learned, headlines blared the news worldwide.

The Sydney Morning Herald confirms the story about Downer and adds more:
The ambassador to the United States Joe Hockey personally steered Australia's dealings with the FBI on explosive revelations of Russian hacking during last year's presidential campaign in a sign of how politically sensitive the Australian government regarded the bombshell discovery, Fairfax Media understands.
Rightwingers still want us to believe that the FBI's investigation of Trump somehow proves that the FBI, not Trump, is an out-of-control beast. For chrissakes, should the FBI have just ignored this information? Suppose that the Australian ambassador had said that Hillary was working with the Kremlin: The Bureau would have been very remiss if they had not looked into the matter.
Andrew Shearer, a senior national security and foreign affairs adviser to former prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott, said Mr Downer and the Australian government appeared to have handled the matter "entirely appropriately".
Damned right he did.

The SMH article also goes out of its way to emphasize the Australian government's annoyance with the fact that Alexander Downer's name came out. Why so annoyed? Obviously, because Downer isn't just a diplomat. The man may not be a spy per se, but he clearly has a deep relationship to Australia's intelligence services.

A reader named sent the following information in a comment, providing important background to an earlier Cannonfire post...
Alexander Downer was Aussie Foreign Affairs Minister in 2002-04 under conservative PM John Howard. He had plenty of foreign affairs and intel contacts before his posting as High Commissioner to the UK (a political sinecure to retired high profile politicians).

In 2005 Australia established a Royal Commission (the Cole Inquiry) into alleged kickbacks to the Saddam regime from the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) in return for purchasing wheat in breach of the UN Oil-For-Food program . The Paul Volker Inquiry determined that such corruption had occured and that Australia was the leading culprit. The Cole Inquiry confirmed the breaches but found that none of it would sustain criminal charges, and so the matter publicly died.

But there is an interesting back story here of Downer's links to the US MIC. Downer is close friend of former US defence secretary, William Cohen, founder of the Cohen Group. It's no accident, I suppose, that this powerful US PR firm with close ties to defense industries and the Bush leadership, was willing to assist the AWB before the Volker and Cole Inquiries. And then there's Frank Miller, also a Downer confidante. This former Senior Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control at the National Security Council, VP of the Cohen Group, served for thirty one years at senior levels of the US government on things like nuclear deterrence, strategic arms reduction, national space policy, defense trade reform, and transforming the American and NATO militaries. This is a very senior guy. He doesn't get out of bed except to reorganise NATO. Yet we are told that he flew to Australia to handle "the day-to-day work" for the AWB before the Cole inquiry. What gives? What was a Frank Miller doing handling a piddling wheat corruption investigation in Australia? It couldn't be, could it, that Miller and the Cohen Group were acting as damage control agents, not for the AWB, but for Downer and the Federal government? Just to cover up any possible leaks of other illicit dealings with Saddam by US allies or agents?

Of course, the Cohen Group was a major player in the American Turkish Council (ATC) which has been well covered by Sibel Edmonds. These are the go to guys for covert US foreign policy, especially in Asia and the former Russian states -- and all the drugs and arms trafficking in between.
Here's a follow-up from the same reader:
Further tidbit. Back in Feb 2002 Australia's UN ambassador John Dauth advised former AWB chairman Trevor Flugge that US military action to depose Saddam Hussein was inevitable and that Australia would be participating. The details, which appeared in minutes tended to the Cole inquiry, were dismissed by Alexander Downer as Dauth's personal views. But how likely is this? A professional diplomat at a key embassy is going to express 'personal views' about market-sensitive information to one of our major exporters? That's simply unbelievable. Dauth did advise Flugge that war was coming twelve months ahead of time. That means PM Howard and Foreign Minister Downer knew as well and they lied to Parliament and the Australian people. The Aussie leadership -- and Downer -- knew of the Iraq invasion from Feb 2002. So let's be clear: Downer is well connected.
I failed to mention that Downer was Aussie Foreign Minister between 1996-2007, under both the Clinton and Bush administrations. He would have been known to every senior US Defense, State Dept and Intelligence official in those administrations as a completely reliable US supporter in the Pacific. He was definitely a 5-Eyes insider at the highest level and was not just some minor diplomat, even at the time of his meeting with Papadopoulos. P knew that Downer worked well with the Bush team and probably figured he would enjoy a bit of Hillary-hate. Big mistake. Aussie politicians left and right are immune to the GOP disease, being all about the Alliance. Papadopoulos may as well have taken out a full page NYT ad. Dumb as a bunch of rocks. Downer also has extensive pro-Israel links.
Many, many thanks to "fred" -- whoever he is -- for compiling all of this material.

I believe that Downer, in a sense, had targeted Papadopoulos. Or rather: The intelligence services had learned that Papadopoulos was a key part of Trump/Russia collusion, and Downer was sent in to confirm and to learn more.

One almost feels sorry for Papadopoulos. His is the classic tale of an academic who got in way over his head, playing a game best left to those with greater experience.

Now that Downer has been "outed," people will be less likely to accompany him on these imbibe-and-blab excursions.
From what I can find, Scott's unfortunately bought into the CounterPunch/Jill Stein narrative that this is all just a ploy to start a war with Russia.
your Youtube is not clickable. What is the title please?
ted, are you the guy I remember from the radio back in California? Good to see you.

There is no link to a YouTube video in this post. You may be referring to the preceding post, which bears the euphonious title "Jim Carrey: Hollywood Elites ‘Eat Whole Babies’ For Christmas"

Try this URL:

If you want to know why I came to regard conspiracy theory as a dangerous thing...that video exemplifies my argument.
yes i believe i am that guy and the video i referred to was posted by the first person to comment on your piece.
Oh! I will confess that I did not click on that link. I used to think the world of Scott and I don't want another hero to fall.


Oy. Definitely does NOT sound like my cup of tea.
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