What Robert Mueller delivered in Friday’s indictment were the first charges for interfering in the 2016 presidential election. He is getting to the heart of the matter.
Robert Mueller charges 13 Russians with interfering in US election to help Trump
The special counsel also buried once and for all Donald Trump’s mealy-mouthed obfuscations over whether Russia was responsible for this confidence trick of breathtaking scope and scale. Former CIA director-general Michael Hayden has described it as the political equivalent of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
But what Mueller has not yet produced is compelling evidence that demonstrates the president or his campaign knowingly coordinated with Russians to cheat Hillary Clinton out of the election.
This looks an awful lot like collusion.
We need a whole new category for what the Trump White House hid from the public. So corrupt.
The official investigation into relations between Donald Trump and Russia now has “specific, concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion”, it has been reported.
At least 63 individuals with Russian ties have bought nearly $100 million worth of property.
WASHINGTON – The Washington Post is reporting that after meetings with then Senator Jeff Sessions last summer, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak showered the Trump surrogate with expensive gifts in an apparent attempt to curry favor with the Trump Campaign and potential 45th President of the United States.
According to the article in the Post, the gifts included but were not limited to an expensive top-of-the-line tricycle, a large jungle gym playset, an extra small Confederate uniform with a miniature battle flag, and a Shetland pony.
The article claims that Sessions did not report the gifts and should never have accepted them in the first place.
“If this is true Attorney General Sessions is in violation of senate rules,” said Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee. “This is very serious.”
When reached for comment about the allegations, Attorney General Sessions denied that he had received any gifts from any Russian official, and had in fact never spoken to the Russian ambassador in his life.
“I wouldn’t recognize the Russian ambassador if I looked up at him from a foot away,” said the diminutive racist from Alabama.
“In fact, I’ve never spoken to anyone from Russia at all. I can’t even tell you where Russia is. I know Sarah Palin knows where it is; why don’t you go ask her about the Russian ambassador.”
Despite his denials, the Post is standing by its story, and released photographs of Sessions riding his new pony on a farm belonging to a Republican state senator from Maryland. There were also photos of the attorney general playing on his jungle gym with friends and riding his tricycle on the sidewalk outside a bar in Georgetown.
At a hurriedly called press conference this morning, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for Sessions to resign.
“I don’t care how much fun the Attorney General is having with his new toys,” said a visibly irritated Schumer, “it’s his duty as an American citizen to resign and return those gifts.”
So far there has been no response from the Trump Administration to the disturbing new revelations.
White House Press Secretary Sean Sphincter told reporters that the President was far too busy finalizing plans to nuke Pyongyang to worry about any fucking Shetland ponies.
Reince Priebus asked the FBI to dispute media reports that Donald Trump’s campaign advisers contacted Russian intelligence agents during the election, a White House official says.
The United States has expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland in response to a campaign of harassment by Russia against American diplomats in Moscow, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.
The Russian ambassador to Turkey has been shot dead in an attack at an Ankara art gallery by a gunman shouting “Don’t forget Aleppo”.
By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – – The headlines scream, “Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to …
It’s now been confirmed.
Russian government officials had contact with members of Donald Trump’s campaign team, a top Russian diplomat confirmed on Thursday.
In a one-two blow for the Republican candidate, US media is reporting that the FBI are looking at ‘regular flows of information’ from Russia at the same time as another investigation reveals a top secret link between Trump Tower and a pro-Putin bank.
Two disturbing reports out today indicate that the Trump Organization and even Trump himself may be compromised by Russia.
For years the influence of the CIA in Hollywood was hidden and unacknowledged. Now it’s more of an open secret; not publicized, but pretty easy to read up on if you care. Just ask the spy agency’s Entertainment Industry Liaison.
Moscow is sending a blunt message to its American counterparts by dispatching a major aircraft carrier battlegroup to conduct operations in Syria.
Moscow has accused Washington of sabotaging the Syria ceasefire deal, saying that the US will be responsible for any new terror attacks in Syria, as by taking no action against Al-Nusra terrorists it shows it is ready “to make a deal with the devil.”
Hackers released a treasure trove of unpleasant internecine emails on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. The Democratic Party chairwoman was out of a job and tensions between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters were reignited just as the Democrats were trying for a prime-time show of unity. Who were the hackers? Security experts inside and outside the government have pointed the finger at Russia. So, was this an act foreign aggression playing out on a strange new battlefield?
TeleSur | – – Saudi Arabia’s decision to send troops to Syria is “final” and “irreversible,” Saudi military spokesman Ahmed …
December 8, 2015
This week Eric welcomes to CounterPunch Radio author, political analyst, and regular CounterPunch contributor John Wight to discuss recent developments in Syria, and the regional geopolitics that inform all events in the Middle East. Eric and John go in depth on the downing of the Russian jet by Turkey, and what that means for the ongoing war in Syria. They address a wide range of issues from the interplay between Wahhabi extremism and the Muslim Brotherhood, to the political development, and regional significance, of Egypt. The conversation also touches on the economic motivations of the interested parties, the role of Israel, Obama vs the Neocons, British politics as related to the war on Syria, and much much more. This far-ranging interview is yet another example of the kind of thing you just don’t find outside CounterPunch.
Intro/Outtro: “Freight Train Rollin'” by David Vest
Interlude: “Where Were You” by The Mekons
The Turkish government is hitting against the part which is not as strong as Russia and other regional partners of Syria. They are hitting back at the Kurds – at the Kurdish civil society in Turkey, says Karin Leukefeld, Middle East journalist.
The shooting down of a Russian fighter jet on the Turkey-Syria border is a grave development that could push the world back towards the darkest hour of the Cold War, a foreign policy expert has warned.
“It’s my deep belief that any actions to the contrary in order to destroy the legitimate government [of Syria] will create a situation which you can witness now in the other countries of the region or in other regions, for instance in Libya, where all the state institutions are disintegrated. We see a similar situation […]
The Paris attacks and the bombing of a Russian airliner have driven Moscow and the West closer together and, in doing so, have done more to seal Islamic State’s fate than 18 months of inconclusive Western airstrikes.
They’re only 5 years late.
Russia will need to be a part of a long-term solution in Syria, whether the West wants it to be or not, says international political expert, Professor Damien Kingsbury.
President Obama’s own substantial failures in the Middle East notwithstanding, he might still be right about Vladimir Putin’s Syrian intervention. Eventually, Russia will have to accept that the brutal rule of Bashar al-Assad is the cause of the Syrian civil war, not the solution it.
It comes as welcome news that Australia is set to abandon its opposition to Bashar al-Assad as part of a durable peace settlement in Syria. The recent military escalation by Russia and reported sightings of Chinese war ships in the Mediterranean in the last week must come as something of an embarrassment to the war…
Last week satellite images revealed Russia’s military expansion in Syria, with deployments of troops, tanks and warplanes. Now western governments are scrambling to respond to the shift in power in the Middle East
More than two weeks have passed since the lifeless body of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed ashore on a Turkish beach, forcing the world to confront the tide of Syrian asylum seekers massing at Europe’s borders.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ visit to Moscow this week for talks with President Vladimir Putin has fuelled wild speculations about the real intentions of the Greek government.
The visit is taking place while bailout talks between Greece and Europe have reached a very critical juncture.
Greece is again on the verge of bankruptcy, but its euro partners insist that the government stay the course with its austerity programme and the neoliberal structural reforms before they unlock more aid.
While it is hard to say what the Greek prime minister hopes to achieve from his talks with Putin, his overtures towards Russia may represent a sincere attempt on his part to reorient the country’s strategic interests as well as reflect a sense of deep frustration with Greece’s euro partners.
And for good reason.
The financial bailouts by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have created an economic and social catastrophe of unprecedented proportions for an advanced western nation in peacetime conditions.
Greece’s GDP has sunk by 20 percent since 2010, its level of sovereign debt has risen as a share of GDP to 176 percent, the unemployment rate has exceeded the 25 percent mark, and one out of three Greeks live near or below the poverty line.
The general explanation on the part of Greece’s euro partners and in much of the western media for this dramatic situation is that Greek authorities have been slow in introducing structural reforms while hinting at the same time that the Greek people are lazy.
However, the facts on the ground tell a different story. First, major reform policies have been fully implemented across the private sector labour market, which include increasing labour market flexibility and substantially reducing wages and salaries.
Second, the number of public sector employees has been slashed by over 30 percent since 2009, with corresponding salary cuts ranging anywhere from 28 percent to 35 percent.
Third, public education, public healthcare, transportation, and social services have experienced sharp annual budget cuts since 2010 to the point that Greece may now qualify as a failed state.
|Securing a preferential trade agreement with Russia, and possibly some direct financial aid, will help the country’s beleaguered economy and may force its euro partners to adopt a more flexible approach towards an EU member state which seems to be driven directly into the arms of Moscow.|
Fourth, most state-owned assets have been privatised, and those that still remain under public ownership (certain airports for example) may soon get privatised under pressure by Greece’s main creditors.
Finally, as the ultimate proof of how misguided and culturally biased the prevailing story is about Greece’s current misfortunes, every major study shows that Greeks work more hours than anyone else in Europe.
Interestingly enough, the question of why Greece’s economy is in such a mess was pointedly answered by Peter Bofinger, a member on the German Chancellor’s Council of Economic Advisers, in a recent interview on German radio: “excessive austerity”.
In fact, in a private dinner conversation back in late November 2014, Bofinger stated to the author that Greece should have pulled out of the euro when the crisis broke out in May 2010 because he could see the disastrous effects that the bailout plan was going to have on the economy and its people.
The IMF has also admitted on various occasions in the past that it underestimated the negative impact of the austerity measures on the Greek economy, but that did not stop its officials overseeing the bailout of Greece from insisting on more and more of the same deadly medicine.
Today, Greece’s situation is exponentially more dire than it was a few years ago. Liquidity has dried up completely and the debt crisis is no longer confined to the public sector but has expanded into the private sector as well.
The new Syriza-led government has done a lot of screaming about the adverse effects of austerity since it came to power two months ago, but it has failed to convince Greece’s euro partners about the economic and moral merit of its case.
Indeed, both Europe and the IMF insist on the continuation of a failed programme that has caused massive economic damage and untold social pain.
As the eurozone’s unquestionable master, Germany has also refused to consider any talk of a Greek debt write-off, forgetting rather conveniently that its own economic recovery after the war would not have been possible if it was not for the London Debt Agreement of 1953, which cancelled a great portion of German debt.
Germany also impugns the claims of Greece about war reparations. Greece has never been repaid for the hundreds of millions of reichsmarks that the Greek National Bank was forced to give to Nazi Germany during the war or for the atrocities committed on the local population by the German forces during the occupation.
Under these circumstances, it is no wonder why Greece’s leftist government is making overtures towards Russia.
During his talks with Putin, the Greek prime minister may or may not request direct economic assistance from Moscow. He will certainly try, though, to strengthen economic ties between the two nations, especially in the area of energy.
Parallel financial system
In the meantime, the Greek government should not hesitate to introduce a parallel financial system (a “double currency”) in order to address the lack of liquidity and help to boost growth.
And, in the end, if all efforts to convince Greece’s euro partners that the social welfare of a nation’s citizens must take priority over any obligations to creditors fail, an orderly exit from the euro may be the only option left.
It could very well be then that the new Greek government’s overtures towards Russia are in anticipation of an uncertain future regarding Greece’s place in the eurozone, even though its expressed desire is for Greece to remain in the euro.
Securing a preferential trade agreement with Russia, and possibly some direct financial aid, will help the country’s beleaguered economy and may force its euro partners to adopt a more flexible approach towards an EU member state which seems to be driven directly into the arms of Moscow.
As for Russia, it might be willing to provide whatever assistance it can (and without necessarily making financial costs and benefits a priority in its decision-making process) to financially beleaguered Greece in order to have an EU member state on its side.
Greece has already expressed its disagreement over EU sanctions against Russia, and it takes only one EU member to veto sanctions.
In sum, if talks between Greece and Russia lead to a fruitful collaboration between the two countries, the EU will have a hard time keeping Russia in check and may even lose a vital political partner in its quest of a unified Europe.
C J Polychroniou is a research associate and policy fellow at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College and a contributor to Truthout.org.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.
There is a brouhaha underway about an American journalist who told a story about being in a helicopter in a war zone. The helicopter was hit and had to land. Which war zone and when I don’t know. The US has created so many war zones that it is difficult to keep up with them all, and as you will see, I am not interested in the story for its own sake.
It turns out that the journalist has remembered incorrectly. He was in a helicopter in a war zone, but it wasn’t hit and didn’t have to land. The journalist has been accused of lying in order to make himself seem to be “a more seasoned war correspondent than he is.”
The journalist’s presstitute colleagues are all over him with accusations. He has even had to apologize to the troops. Which troops and why is unclear. The American requirement that everyone apologize for every word reminds me of the old Soviet practice, real or alleged by anti-communists, that required Soviet citizens to self-criticize.
National Public Radio (2-5-15) thought this story of the American journalist was so important that the program played a recording of the journalist telling his story. It sounded like a good story to me. The audience enjoyed it and was laughing. The journalist telling the story did not claim any heroism on his part or any failure on the part of the helicopter crew. It is normal for helicopters to take hits in war zones.
Having established that the journalist had actually stated that the helicopter was hit when in fact it wasn’t, NPR brought on the program a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, an expert on “false memory.” The psychologist explained various reasons a person might have false memories, making the point that it is far from uncommon and that the journalist is most likely just another example. But the NPR presstitute still wanted to know if the journalist had intentionally lied in order to make himself look good. It was never explained why it made a journalist look good to be in a helicopter forced to land. But few presstitutes get to this depth of questioning.
Now to get to the real point. I was listening to this while driving as it was less depressing to listen to NPR’s propaganda than to listen to the Christian-Zionist preachers. In the previous hour NPR had presented listeners with three reports about civilian deaths in the break-away provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine. The first time I heard the report, the NPR presstitute recounted how explosives had hit a hospital killing 5 people in the break-away Donetsk Republic. The presstitute did not report that this was done by Ukrainian forces, instead suggesting that it could have been done by the “Russian-supported rebels.” He didn’t offer any explanation why the rebels would attack their own hospital. The impression left for that small percentage of informed Americans capable of thought is that presstitutes are not allowed to say that the Washington-backed Ukrainians attacked a hospital.
In all three reports, Secretary of State John Kerry was broadcast saying that the US wanted a diplomatic, peaceful solution, but that the Russians were blocking a peaceful solution by sending tank columns and troops into Ukraine. On my return trip, I heard over NPR Kerry twice more repeating the unsupported claim that Russian tanks and troops are pouring into Ukraine. Obviously, NPR was serving as a propaganda voice that Russia was invading Ukraine.
Think about this for a minute. We have been hearing from high US government officials, including the president himself, for months and months about Russian tank columns and troops entering Ukraine. The Russian government denies this steadfastly, but, of course, we cannot trust the now-demonized Russians. We are not allowed to believe them, because they are positioned as the Enemy, and good patriotic Americans never believe the Enemy.
But how can we help but believe the Russians? If all these Russian tank columns and troops that have allegedly been pouring into Ukraine were real, Washington’s puppet government in Kiev would have fallen sometime last year, and the conflict would be over. Anyone with a brain knows this.
So, we arrive at my point. A journalist told a harmless story and has been roasted alive and forced to apologize to the troops for lying. In the middle of this brouhaha, the US Secretary of State, the President of the United States, innumerable senators, executive branch officials, and presstitutes have repeatedly reported month after month Russian tank columns and troops entering Ukraine. Yet, despite all these Russian forces, the civilians in the break-away provinces of eastern and southern Ukraine are still being slaughtered by Washington’s puppet state in Kiev.
If Russian tanks and troops are this ineffective, why are NATO commanders and neoconservative warmongers warning of the dire danger that Russia poses to the Baltics, Poland, and Eastern Europe?
It doesn’t make any sense, does it?
So the question is: Why are the presstitutes all over some hapless journalist rather than holding accountable the Great Liars, John Kerry and Barack Obama?
The answer is: It is costless to the presstitutes to try to destroy, for totally insignificant reasons–perhaps just for the pleasure of it, like “American Sniper” killing people for fun–one of their own, but they would be fired if they hold Kerry and Obama accountable, and they know it. But they have to get someone, so they eat their own.
A democracy without an honest media cannot exist. In America democracy is a facade behind which operates every evil inclination of mankind. During the past 14 years the American people have supported governments that have invaded, bombed, or droned seven countries, killing, maiming, and displacing millions of people for no reason other than profit and hegemonic power. There is scant sign that this has caused very many Americans sleepless nights or a bad conscience.
When Washington is not bombing and killing, it is plotting to overthrow reformist governments, such as the Honduran government Obama overthrew, and the Venezuelan, Bolivian, Ecuadoran, and Argentine governments that the Obama regime is current trying to overthrow. And, also, of course the democratically elected government in Ukraine that has been supplanted by Washington’s coup.
The new Greek government is in the crosshairs, and so is Putin himself.
Washington and its fawning presstitutes branded the elected Ukrainian government that was a victim of Washington’s coup, “a corrupt dictatorship.” The replacement government consists of a combination of Washington puppets and neo-nazis with their own military forces sporting Nazi insignias. The American presstitutes have been careful not to notice the Nazi insignias.
Ask yourself why a journalist’s false memory episode of an insignificant event is so important to the American presstitutes, while John Kerry’s and Barak Obama’s extraordinary, blatant, blockbuster, and dangerous lies are ignored.
In the event you have forgotten the efficiency of the Russian military, remember the fate of the American and Israeli trained and equipped Georgian Army that Washington sicced on South Ossetia. The Georgian invasion of South Ossetia resulted in the deaths of Russian peace-keeping soldiers and Russian citizens. The Russian military intervened, and the American and Israeli trained and equipped Georgian Army collapsed in five hours. All of Georgia was back in Russian hands, but the Russians withdrew and left the former province of Russia independent, despite the lies from Washington that Putin intends to restore the Soviet Empire.
The only correct conclusion that any American can make is that every statement of the US government and its presstitute media is a blatant lie designed to serve a secret agenda that the American people would not support if they knew of its existence.
Whenever Washington and its whore media speak, they lie.
Paul Craig Roberts
Then a sudden oversupply pushed prices south, until the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries met in November. The US and Canada are not members of OPEC. It could have decided to wind back production to restore prices, as it had done in the past, and many experts expected it to again. But that would have been a gift to the upstarts and also to Russia, which isn’t a member. Instead it decided to destroy their business model. Maintaining production and allowing the oil price to plummet would hurt the US and Canada far more than it would hurt OPEC.
Countries damaged by falling prices are Russia,Venezuela & Nigeria. Is this as Putin says a direct economic attack on the Russian economy?
In the West anything coming out of Russia is false, fake and a lie. Minutes after Malaysian MH17 crashed Russia was to blame. So, when Channel One comes out with a video it was slammed as a lie by a country who voted for a communist president not once but twice. A photo was sent anonymously by email November 12th to the Russian Union of Engineers claiming that MH-17 was shot down by a Ukrainian jet. It was only shown as possible evidence not as absolute truth. However, I do not even have to see it because I know who the liar is.
Russia never said it was their satellite photo. “All versions have to be considered” Channel One said. Ivan Andrievskiy, the first vice-president of the Russian Union of Engineers, said the photo was made by a foreign spy satellite either American or British. In August, he goes on to say, “Russian Union of Engineers published its report on the possible causes of the accident citing that rocket and cannon was used by armament of another aircraft. There is no credible evidence of it being hit by a missile from the ground.”
“I fully agree with the results of your analysis of the causes of destruction of the” Boeing “- says a man using the alias name of George Bilt, a graduate of MIT, air expert with decades of experience. The ” Boeing “was shot down by a fighter jet chasing him. At first the jet fired an air cannon, then the cabin [of MH-17] was struck by an air to air missile, then the right engine and the right wing were damaged by a missile with a thermal homing system.”
CIA monitors the media like hawks and went to work with their army of bloggers contradicting the obvious. Reuters, head of the propaganda machine based in the UK wrote, “Several commentators who have examined the photographs have described them as forgeries.” America’s CBS shovels more crap by pointing out, “the plane was shot down by a mixed team of rebels and Russian military personnel who believed they were targeting a Ukrainian military plane.” The BBC proudly proclaims,”Web users debunk Russian TV’s MH17 claim” where they show a photo of the wreckage with bullet holes but still say “Western investigators say the plane was likely hit by shrapnel from a surface-to-air weapon”. Denial!
In a supposed interview Saturday with BuzzFeed , the man calling himself George Bilt said, “I had no knowledge or means of proving and researching if this was an authentic satellite photo or not (it was clearly available online since mid October – not really such a new discovery too)”. Buzzfeed titles their article, “Russian TV Airs Clearly Fake Image To Claim Ukraine Shot Down MH17” and goes on to claim the photos are fake without calling Bilt a fake and not admitting his name is not real. If you know they are fake why an interview? FYI, Buzzfeed has plagiarists like Benny Johnson.
Of course the US, Britain and Kiev’s puppet government call it fake. They are the ones who started the war in Ukraine. No offers from Obama or NATO to cooperate with Russia over this issue like Reagan and Gorbachev did in the past when their negotiations led to a nuclear treaty. Instead we get a statement from Admiral “I barely got a history degree at the University of South Florida” who explained the reason Russia is close to NATO today is because of Putin and has nothing to do with the expansion of NATO towards Russia- Rear Adm. John Kirby.
Unless you are in denial or have been asleep this century you must know of the wars America has started in the Middle East and Ukraine. How many wars has Russia started? How many troops has she sent overseas? None. Russia is close to Europe and offered Ukraine cheap gas and financial aid. That’s bad business for Chevron and other firms in the West. Ukraine Deal with the Devil: The Chevron Deal. The US overthrew the Kiev government and installed their long time friend Pudgy Poroshenko.
Obama supports his puppet and Jackass Joe Biden’s son was conveniently appointed to the board of directors at Ukraine’s Largest Gas Co. Remember when Cheney was attacked by the media for his ties with Halliburton? Bad then but OK now. Bad for Russia to help in Ukraine but OK for US to interfere. USA hypocrisy and greed growing exponentially. Yet this is old news. Read Rothbard’s book about US economic conquest in “Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy”
“Of course, Obama himself is deeply in the pocket of the finance industry. Goldman Sachs accounted for over $994,000 of Obama’s war chest. Lehman Brothers was the origin of $395,600, a record amount for the company second only to what Hillary Clinton received…in 2008 that Obama’s fat-cat donors included top executives from Wachovia, Washington Mutual, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, J.P. Morgan, Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Countrywide.”
“Hope and Change” meant new hopes and riches for the elite who like Gruber calls American people stupid. Jonathan Gruber, the creator of Obama Care feels it is necessary to deceive the stupid American people. Keep in mind Obama prides himself in being the most transparent government in history. Liars to the core. Wake up America. Your government cannot be trusted. It is run by the corporate elite and your computer voting will not get it done. The Republican’s compromise brings no hope because they are bought and paid for as well.
I will never believe news from a country that is after a “New World Order” and starts wars and violence around the world. Recently, General Numbnuts McNeely of the Pentagon, freely admitted in this video by Vovan222prank that he will send instructors to train Kiev Ukrainian troops. Those same troops have been attacking priests and innocent people of SE Ukraine who want independence. The US even has a bill S2277 to overthrow Russia and support NATO. Should I believe a country and her media that is hostile not only to Russia and her interests but the world itself?
Can I believe someone who still commits the Soviet mistake like Obama? CNBC anchor Geoff Cutmore said,”President Obama has accused you, as you know, of untruths when it comes to supporting some of the separatist groups in Ukraine…” President Vladimir Putin responded, “Who made him a judge? He’s not a judge. Why doesn′t he get a job in the judicial system then and work there? I don′t think Mr. Obama is accusing me of anything. He has his own perspective on certain processes, I have mine.” “He has his own perspective” means Obama has a reason to lie about the situation in the Ukraine.
President Vladimir Putin has encouraged foreigners to investigate the crash site and the OSCE did go there. He has asked foreign observers to monitor Russia’s voting process and they have come. Putin has helped the Church and defends it and is free to speak of his Christianity. We are free here in Russia where whistleblowers like Snowden find refuge. So it does not matter if the recent photos are fake. I know what the US is after in Ukraine and they are not sending humanitarian convoys like Russia did into Donbass. I have never believed a liar especially a greedy one. “The Land of the Free” is no more. The “Land of the Tsars” is where Christ still reigns.