Try to imagine the media firestorm if a leader of an radical Islamic militia group — caught on video with a roomful of people swearing allegiance to al-Qaeda — had appeared with Barack Obama at a press conference during his 2012 election campaign. Try to imagine the ferocious uproar if Obama had a business partner who backed ISIS-linked Islamic militants trying to overthrow a democratically elected leader. The scandal would be off the scale: investigations, denunciations, impeachment hearings — 24/7 pandemonium. Yet as Allan Nairn reports, this is precisely, exactly the case with Donald Trump, and we hear — nothing.
Nothing from the Islamophobic zealots who condemn even the slightest connection to even the most moderate Islam as proof of “terrorism.” Nothing from the Congressional zealots who see Sharia law lurking behind every corner. No wall-to-wall thundering about the “Islamic menace” from FOX News or Breitbart. Nothing even from the “Resistance” — no fulminations from Keith Olbermann, no eyebrow-crooking from Rachel Maddow, nothing from the Democratic Party — and no reports by the Times or the Post or NBC or CNN. We have a president who is personally and financially connected to the most radical form of violent, terroristic extremism (as well as the cynical manipulation of state-backed extremist front groups to advance the personal profit of Trump business partners and allies) — and nobody cares.
As with Trump’s bribes from China and the undeniable, rampant criminal corruption of the government by his family, nothing at all is made of this open scandal. If a scandal can’t be tied to Russia, it’s as if it doesn’t exist. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Everywhere you look, there are things right out in the open that could bring Trump down in the most straightforward way: bribery, corruption, terrorist links. (Just to start with.) They don’t require deep dives into the rabbit hole of espionage; you don’t have to rely on dubious, never-quite-confirmed leaks from the “intelligence community,” you don’t need super-elaborate, Glenn Beck-style flow charts tracing every possible (or wildly improbable) connection going back 30 years that “proves” (without tangible, usable evidence) that Vladimir Putin has been controlling Trump since he was born and is now in charge of every event on the planet. No; you have straightforward evidence of malfeasance, criminal activity and dangerous connections that could be used to launch very traditional journalistic, congressional and law-enforcement investigations through the most mainstream, establishment channels. Yet no one is taking any action on these fronts.
And yes, given the long-known fact that Trump is involved with criminals and corruption on an international scale, it is very likely that he does indeed have some connections to the murky miasma of state power and crime which characterizes the Russian system. (It also characterizes the American system; to take just one example, what happened to the $6.5 trillion that the Pentagon recently confessed it couldn’t account for among its myriad contracts with private firms, many of them politically connected corporate behemoths who profit directly from war and rumors of war?) And sure, these possible Russian connections should be investigated along with everything else. But even in the Russophobic frenzy that has gripped the “Resistance,” these kinds of links — business ties with a paper trial — are ignored or downplayed in the pursuit of some “smoking gun” that will show Putin stroking a hairless cat and muttering to his minions, “We will now hack the American election in favor of our agent, Comrade Trump. And in this way, we will RULE THE WORLD! Mwahahahaha!”
If you really want to get rid of Trump, there are clear, open — even easy — ways to do it. Since this is not being done by those in position to do it — or at least advocate it — one has to conclude they don’t want to do it. But why not?
On one level, it’s easy to see why big power players in the Democratic Party would be reluctant to do so; any probe into Trump’s connections to the State Power-Criminal World nexus could turn up unrelated connections exposing their own links to dubious players and backers and allies. Just as the intermittent investigations into the way our most respectable, eminent financial firms knowingly launder money for drug dealers, terrorists and corrupt state actors inevitably end with quick, clean plea agreements involving no admission of criminality and payment of “huge” fines that usually amount to, at most, one day’s rake-off for the giant firms. Still, as Watergate proved, it is possible to bring down a criminal president without giving the whole dirty shebang away. And Trump has even less backing among the Republican establishment than Nixon did.
But even more puzzling is the way our fightin’ progressives are ignoring the open crimes and scandals that could quickly and easily bring Trump down in favor of the Russian rabbit hole. Here, there seems to be some kind of magical thinking at work: “If we can prove Trump is an actual Russian spy, it will somehow undo the whole election we lost and we can go back to that happy place where we once were!’ (A place where it’s a “progressive” president who runs death squads, allies with religious extremists (Saudi Arabia) to wage aggressive war on innocent people, deports millions of immigrants, protects Wall Street, extends off-shore drilling, expands the nuclear arsenal, increases military budgets, backs corporate attacks on public education, supports right-wing coups in Latin America, etc. etc.)
Of course, almost all of the high-profile “Resistance” figures work for corporate behemoths who are deeply tied to the same State Power-Criminal World nexus noted above. This doesn’t necessarily mean that most of them aren’t sincere in their “progressive” beliefs, but it does mean there is only so far they would ever be allowed to go — even if they wanted to go there. (Those who would like to go further would never be given a slot in such venues in the first place. Only sincerely “moderate reformists” get selected. You don’t need overt censorship in such a system.)
But again, there is still more than enough material to take down Trump, even on a surface level, without disturbing the roots of the corrupted system itself. The media heroes of the “Resistance” needn’t shake the foundations of their corporate bosses to do so. The power brokers of the Democratic Party establishment needn’t trouble their Wall Street backers to do so. The New York Times and Washington Post and CNN and CBS needn’t challenge the systemic, endemic corruption of the entire system in order to attack, investigate, prosecute and remove Trump for his very open, easily provable crimes and misdemeanors.
Yet they are not doing this. While Trump wheels and deals for his own private profit with ISIS-linked militants and murderous generals in Indonesia, the “Resistance” expends billions of pixels and hours of airtime on … Carter Page. This is a genuinely bizarre — and deeply perilous — situation.