Aside from establishing face-to-face contact between the the two presidents, the Biden-Putin summit today met only the most modest expectations of those hoping for improved ties between the U.S. and Russia. By the same token, weapons makers and others profiteering on tension with Russia, and living in fear of a thaw in bilateral relations, can now breathe a sigh of relief.
Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s appearance on Russian TV early this morning, at which he dampened expectations, turned out to be a harbinger of things to come later in the day. Peskov said, "Clear signals had been sent to Moscow that the US would try to "restrain and pressure" Russia, adding that the constant talk about punishing Moscow "does not make the overall atmosphere any easier." Putin himself charged recently that US leaders "want to hold back our [Russia’s] development and they talk about this openly." At his press conference after the talks, Putin also charged that US attempts to "contain" Russia remained a huge fly in the ointment.
On COI #123, Maj. Danny Sjursen returns to the show to discuss Daniel Ellsburg, the coup in Mali, and the potential for another war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This week marked the 50th anniversary since the NYT began publishing the Pentagon Papers, leaked by the heroic Ellsberg in 1971. In the past month, Ellsberg released another document outlining US plans to nuke China in the late 1950s. With the release, Ellsberg challenged the government to indict him under the Espionage Act, risking spending his remaining years behind bars for a chance to challenge the World War I-era law.
In Mali, a military leader has carried out a coup for the second time in a year, the indirect result of ongoing intervention by France and the US in Africa’s Sahel region. Danny explains how a plague of coups has ravaged Africa since AFRICOM was founded in 2008.
Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan are heating up again. In late 2020, fighting broke out between the two former Soviet Republics. Danny recaps what happened during the last round of hostilities and how it set the stage for a renewed conflict in 2021. Danny argues the once-frozen war has been removed from the freezer and that violence will continue to erupt as the sides fight for territory.
Last week, The New York Times revealed that in late 2017 and early 2018, prosecutors in the Department of Justice persuaded a federal grand jury to subpoena the telephone, email and texting records of about 20 people, including two members of Congress and their families, staffs and investigators, and one of the minor children of a staff member. Also subpoenaed were the records of Donald F. McGahn II, then the White House chief counsel, and his wife.
In all, the government sought data on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses. The subpoenas identified the targets only by telephone number and computer identification number.
The subpoenas were served on Apple, the custodian of these records. Also served upon Apple was a gag order signed by a federal judge instructing Apple not to tell anyone it had received the subpoenas. The government sought and obtained three annual extensions of the gag order. Such an order should have been challenged, as it is unconstitutional on its face.
Joe Biden will meet his Russian counterpart for the first time as president. Will this meeting herald a new stability in US/Russia relations, or will it devolve into US lectures and Russian counter-lectures? Can Joe hold his own with Putin? Also today: Andy Slavin is a very bad and evil person. And parents are fighting back against “woke” school districts. On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report.
On COI #122, Kyle and Will break down a controversy centered on Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who landed in hot water after suggesting that the United States, Israel, Hamas and the Taliban all commit atrocities alike. While she was accused of equating “democratic countries” with “terrorists,” Will and Kyle explain that the backlash was overwrought, and that Washington and Tel Aviv are, in fact, responsible for war crimes.
The Pentagon is sounding alarms over two Iranian military vessels transiting the Atlantic Ocean, a first for Tehran’s navy. Nobody knows for sure what the ships intend to do or where they’re headed, and the US military appears to not believe its own hype, having no plans to intercept the vessels or even monitor them more closely. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the two ships pose a serious threat to the entire Western Hemisphere, though declined to explain how, saying nothing about the massive arsenal of US naval power stationed in Iran’s backyard.
The White House has released its war powers report to Congress, outlining the status of US forces around the world and the legal justification for their deployment. The report comes as several bills introduced in the House and Senate aim to claw back war-making authorities from the executive branch. Will and Kyle explain that many deployments are based on outdated authorizations that have nothing to do with the current realities.
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity SUBJECT: Media Working On Mousetrap For Summit
Summary: With your meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Geneva just three days away, mainstream media are barely reporting – and at times distorting – olive-branch remarks by Putin, and are at pains to "accentuate the negative". We are particularly concerned over the incessant media commentary on "Russian hacking", which seems to be aimed at mousetrapping you into an ill-advised confrontation with Putin. Revelations since the last summit in July 2018 – including testimony under oath to Congress – give President Putin some very high cards. Should things get acrimonious, he might decide to put them into play.
Putin’s interview by NBC’s Keir Simmons Friday is a case in point. Little media attention has been given to Putin’s most salient remark (the language itself was given a sloppy, voice-over translation into English). Putin highlighted the welcome difference he sees in you in contrast to former President Trump. You, he said, are "a different kind of person, and I very much hope that … there will not be any impulsive acts from him" ("him" meaning you). The NBC translator rendered the Russian, more ambiguously and somewhat misleadingly, saying Putin was very much hoping "there will not be any impulse-based movements on behalf of the sitting president".
Similarly, speaking on Russia’s Channel 1 on June 4, Putin called you "an experienced, balanced, and ‘akkuratny’" politician. U.S. news services lazily translated that Russian word "akkuratny" into "accurate". But the word means "cautious". The (invidious) comparison, of course, is with the highly impulsive, incautious Trump. Putin added that he hoped that those qualities would have a positive effect at the summit. These remarks grabbed no headlines in the Western Establishment media, which continues to demonize Putin and "all his works and all his pomps".