Kyle Orton Profile picture
Jul 16, 2018 17 tweets 9 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
#Putin's opening to this press conference suggests the takeover of southern #Syria by Asad/Iran is a model of U.S.-Russia cooperation that should be expanded, and flatters Trump that his summit with Kim [which Putin very much liked the look of] resolved the Korean Peninsula.
On #Ukraine, Putin hints broadly that the U.S. agrees with him that Kyiv's intransigence prevented Minsk's implementation, and then carefully lets it be known Trump brought up the election meddling, an assist to Trump politically, before of course dismissing it.
Trump frames engagement around U.S.-Russian co-operation in WW2, notes that unfortunate Cold War business, then says: "Our relationship has never been worse ... that changed as of about four hours ago." Says he is being politically brave to do what's right. Lambastes media + Dems
Trump says he will always put the American populace first, will pursue peace over politics. Says he raised the election meddling with Putin, who has "very strong feelings" and an "interesting idea" about it, apparently.
Trump claims securing relations with Russia will save hundreds of thousands of lives. Adds: "We have taken the first steps toward a brighter future."
Trump mentions the Nord Stream pipeline and having said it makes Germany dependent on Russia. Then turns to Putin and says he called him "a competitor and a good competitor he is. The word 'competitor' is a compliment."

So gross.
Asked if #Russia has any responsibility for the state of relations, Trump resorts to the moral equivalence we used to get from the Left: "I hold both countries responsible. I think the United States has been foolish. I think we have all been foolish. ... We're all to blame."
Putin piggybacks on Trump's we're-both-to-blame statement to claim that the U.S. intelligence engages in "illegal actions" in Russia and specifically attacks @Billbrowder for having acquired funds illegally (and then apparently channelled them to the Hillary campaign).
On #Syria, Trump says "President Putin is also helping #Israel ... We absolutely would like to work [together] to help Israel" (which is at best dubious) and that #Russia has "helped us with" #IS (which is flatly untrue). Adds as an afterthought that they can help Syria's people.
Putin, in response to Pompeo's statement (put to Putin by an RT journalist) that the ball was in #Russia's court over #Syria, hands a football to Trump and says, "Now the ball is in your court."
Trump, asked if he will condemn election meddling, says that the real question is where is the server. Putin denies, but it might be Russia, though "I don't see any reason why it would be [Russia] ... [and] I have confidence in both parties [U.S. intelligence and Putin]".

Trump: "President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today, and what he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the [Mueller] people ... come and work with [Russian] investigators with respect to the twelve [GRU] people [indicted on Friday]."
Putin denies the Concord company is anything to with "the Russian state" and then adds in an equivalence: it is like George Soros, who spends his billions trying to alter foreign governments but doesn't act for the United States.
Putin: if the U.S. submits evidence on the GRU officials, Moscow will look into extraditing them, but only if the U.S. begins reciprocal processes to hand over Russians wanted by the Kremlin. Putin then denounces using relations with Russia as "the loose change" of politics
Putin says Trump maintained a strong position against recognising the annexation of #Crimea, and denies that the Kremlin has any "kompromat" on Trump. Putin laughs off the idea he knew who Trump was in 2013 or collected such material on all attendees at the Economic Forum.
Trump concludes by saying any compromising material would have been released long ago, that Peter Strzok is a disgrace [which is fair enough, though of unclear relevance], and the Mueller probe is "a total witch hunt".
The only possible consolation from Trump's press conference with Putin is that it wasn't quite as bad as one might have expected. But it was sufficiently awful: a refusal to condemn Russian behaviour directly, moral equivalence with the US, abject confusion on Syria. A disaster.

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More from @KyleWOrton

Sep 9, 2018
A U.S. diplomat met three times with military officers in #Venezuela plotting a coup against Nicolas Maduro; he refused to give the officers even an indication of support, let alone the communications devices they needed to bring off their conspiracy.
Some saw #Venezuela's military as a means of stabilizing the situation, allowing practical things like aid deliveries. Others "saw considerable risk in building bridges with leaders of a military that...ha[ve] become a pillar of the cocaine trade and human rights abuses." #pt
There's nothing to complain about in the U.S. gathering intelligence by establishing communications with mutinous officers in #Venezuela. The question is whether Maduro is considered a threat: if he is, then do what's necessary to bring him down. If not, leave it for Venezuelans.
Read 5 tweets
Sep 5, 2018
More details on the schism between the Hazimis and lesser-extremists in #IS: Abu Anisa al-Dagestani, an Azeri commanded and Hazimi, blames the caliph's insufficiently stern position on takfir for the loss of land and men last year.
According to Abu Anisa al-Dagestani, the caliph reversed the May 2017 expansion by the Delegated Committee of the takfir ruling after his wife had a dream in which Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, and Abu Muhammad al-Furqan came to his house and ignored him. #pt
The caliph reversed the May 2017 takfir ruling by a deft institutional manoeuvre: he invited its author, Ismail al-Ithawi (Abu Zayd al-Iraqi), to a meeting in August 2017 and threatened to kill him if he didn't reverse himself. #pt
Read 5 tweets
Sep 4, 2018
If true, would seal the case for getting rid of Mattis.
Whatever the truth of Woodward's stuff, Mattis used his influence in April to work Trump down from a strike package that would have targeted the Asad regime itself and also killed some of the Russian and Iranian forces that abet its criminality. This was a disastrous mistake.
This is the reaction you want a Western leader to have:

After Assad gassed the kids again in April 2017, Trump said: "Let's fucking kill him! Let's go in. Let's kill the fucking lot of them."

Mattis blocked this response, and again this past April.…
Read 4 tweets
Aug 25, 2018
We mock Owen Jones for silence now #Venezuela has ended as socialism always does, but having just read a Leftist argument that #China's internment of Muslims is invented by USG fronts like @HRW, the "corporate media", and "reactionary" oppositionists, OJ's looking quite good.
As a side note: I simply do not know where to start with the accusation that @HRW has an "excessively disproportionate focus on designated enemies of Washington". Whatever criticisms of HRW one might have, that one seems completely delusional.
Amazing what one can learn from Western Leftists who are back to defending #China. For example, there is a species of "imprisoned hard-right neoconservative Chinese dissident". Naturally, he is also a "hardcore libertarian" at the same time. And fully deserves to be in the GULAG.
Read 4 tweets
Aug 21, 2018
21 August 1968: The Warsaw Pact [USSR, Bulgaria, GDR, Hungary, and Poland] invade Czechoslovakia, where a reformist leader had taken power in January and in April a reformist government took office, intent on "socialism with a human face". Moscow regarded this as a mortal threat.
Yuri Andropov, the KGB chief, advocated invading Czechoslovakia from early in the "crisis". The KGB made innovative use of Illegals, all of them posing as Westerners, to try to kidnap leading Czech reformists and to disseminate active measures to discredit the Prague Spring.
The KGB line was that "Rightists" and "imperialists" were preparing a coup in Czechoslovakia, hence the need for a preemptive invasion. Stories of American arms caches were disseminated. This despite solid information that the US had nothing to do with the Czech reformists.
Read 5 tweets
Aug 7, 2018
The #YPG/#PKK announces that its operatives have murdered Akash Ahmad Ali, a member of the ruling council in Efrin. #Syria
The #YPG/#PKK put out a video of its sleeper agents in the Efrin zone assassinating a member of Faylaq al-Sham in a drive-by shooting on 28 July. #Syria
The #YPG/#PKK also put out a video yesterday from the EUPHRATES SHIELD zone of its forces killing a rebel fighter, ostensibly a member of Ahrar al-Sham. #Syria
Read 4 tweets

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