American Resistance To Empire

WWIII Shaping-Up In the Eastern Mediterranean

The Navy ship, the Hershel “Woody” Williams, will be deployed to a joint U.S.-Greek base, a move that could serve as a mark of America’s growing irritation with Turkey.

Credit…Dimitris Papamitsos/Prime Minister Press Office, via Shutterstock


CRETE, Greece — In a move that could be construed as a symbolic show of support for Greece in its tense standoff with Turkey, America’s top diplomat said on Tuesday that the United States will base a mammoth Navy ship at a military base it shares with Greece, just 600 miles from the Turkish coast.

Expeditionary Seabase USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams Deploys for AFRICOM

The Hershel “Woody” Williams, a Expeditionary Sea Base ship, is assigned to the U.S. Africa Command and is not the kind of vessel that might intervene in a high-intensity conflict, should rising strains between Turkey and Greece — two NATO allies — boil over.

But its deployment at Souda Bay, a joint U.S.-Greek base near where Turkey earlier this year sent survey and drilling ships to search for gas, could serve as a symbolic warning of America’s growing irritation with Ankara.

The dispute with Turkey — along with how to resolve it — was chief among the priorities of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece following a series of meetings and tours at Souda Bay on Tuesday with the American secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.

Mr. Mitsotakis accused Turkey of violating international laws with its expansionist strategy to claim waters and resources in the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean that are controlled by Greece and other countries.

“It is a very sensitive area that has been recently tried by Turkey’s aggressiveness with provocative actions,” Mr. Mitsotakis told journalists after a private meeting with Mr. Pompeo. He said Turkey had stoked the tensions with extreme rhetoric and misleading communications about its intent: “In other words, actions that are contrary to the values of the Western world,” Mr. Mitsotakis said.

The widening rift puts the United States in an unenviable position, and not only because it risks being torn between two fellow NATO states. The U.S. alliance with Turkey is central to the Trump administration’s campaign to rout Shiite militias and other Iranian-backed efforts in Syria, where Iran supports the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The United States also has a massive air base in Incirlik, Turkey, where it stores tactical nuclear weapons.

But the Trump administration also has sought, with mixed success, to reel back some of Turkey’s aggressions.

Turkey’s incursion in northeast Syria, sending forces into areas held by Kurdish fighters whom Ankara considers a terrorist organization, has threatened the key ground force that beat back the Islamic State. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has detained U.S. citizens, governed in an increasingly authoritarian manner and hosted Palestinian militia who have been designated as terrorists by the United States.

The United States has not formally sought to mediate the dispute between Turkey and Greece; that is a task most recently handled by Germany.

In his public remarks on Tuesday, Mr. Pompeo gamely sought to straddle the division.

“We strongly support dialogue between NATO allies Greece and Turkey and encourage them to resume discussion of these issues as soon as possible,” Mr. Pompeo said in the remarks with Mr. Mitsotakis.

He described progress in mediation efforts by NATO, and said developing the eastern Mediterranean Sea “should promote cooperation and provide a foundation for the durable energy security and economic prosperity of the entire region.”

Earlier this month, Mr. Pompeo visited Cyprus — which has also objected to Turkey’s activities in disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean — and declared the United States “deeply concerned” over Turkey’s use of warships and jet fighters in its energy exploration efforts. Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and claimed the island’s north as its territory, which is recognized nowhere else in the world.

Greece and Turkey nearly went to war in 1996 over an uninhabited island, a crisis defused by U.S. diplomacy.

Mr. Mitsotakis noted that Mr. Pompeo “had a chance to realize” Turkey’s aggressions off the Cypriot coast during that trip and said after Tuesday’s talks that he believed Greece and the United States were “fully aligned” on the issue.

Armenia accuses Turkey of shooting down warplane

Armenia accuses Turkey of shooting down warplane

The Armenian defense ministry said an SU-25 warplane was shot down, and its pilot killed, by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet. Turkish officials have denied the accusation, calling it “absolutely untrue.” 

Aserbaidschan Konflikt um Berg-Karabach (Defence Ministry of Azerbaijan/Reuters)

Armenia’s defense ministry accused Turkey on Tuesday of shooting down an Armenian warplane, in the ongoing violent conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Defense ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stapnyan said an SU-25 warplane was downed, and its pilot killed, by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet amid clashes over Azerbaijan’s breakaway region of Nagorno Karabakh.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan’s top press aide Fahrettin Altun called the claim “absolutely untrue.”

“Armenia should withdraw from the territories under its occupation instead of resorting to cheap propaganda tricks,” Altun said.

Azerbaijani defence ministry spokesman Vagif Dyargahly also called the claim “yet another lie of Armenian propaganda.”

Read moreNagorno-Karabakh conflict: Germany’s Merkel urges ceasefire as violence escalates

The move would represent a major escalation in the decades-old conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the region, that was reignited on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said Armenian forces shelled the Dashkesan region in Azerbaijan. Armenian officials said Azerbaijani forces opened fire on a military unit in the Armenian town of Vardenis, setting a bus on fire and killing one civilian.

Armenia’s Foreign Ministry denied shelling the region, and said the reports would justify Azerbaijan “expanding the geography of hostilities, including the aggression against the Republic of Armenia.”

Armine Alexanyan, deputy minister of foreign affairs for the disputed region, said the country is “opting for war.”

“The Azerbaijani side has been announcing that if it doesn’t reach peace through negotiations, it will opt for war, and that’s exactly what it’s doing now;” Alexanyan told DW.

“Azerbaijan has been building up its arms for a long time now, spending billions of dollars on buying new high-tech equipment, including these unmanned drones, which now it’s testing, hoping to regain what it thinks belongs to it,” she said.

Read moreArmenia-Azerbaijan clashes leave several dead in worst hostilities in years

Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani Prosecutor’s office said that 12 civilians have been killed and 35 wounded by Armenian fire. The statement marked a sharp rise in reported civilian casualties.

Dozens more have been killed or wounded since clashes broke out. Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by the Armenian government since 1994.

lc/aw (AFP, dpa, Reuters, AP)

The Machinery of Hopelessness—ThomasPainesCorner 5/17/09

[A timely article, in the face of massive, imminent evictions, from a recently passed anarchist/activist/writer, from a publication that no longer exists…Thomas Paines Corner (Gave me my first shot on the Internet).]

The Machinery of Hopelessness

Posted by thomaspainescorner

UntitledBy David Graeber

David Rolfe Graeber ( February 12, 1961 – September 2, 2020)[1] was an American anthropologistanarchist activist


We have reached an impasse. Capitalism as we know it is coming apart at the seams. But as financial institutions stagger and crumble, there is no obvious alternative. Organized resistance is scattered and incoherent. The global justice movement is a shadow of its former self. For the simple reason that it’s impossible to maintain perpetual growth on a finite planet, it’s possible that in a generation or so capitalism will no longer exist. Faced with this prospect, people’s knee-jerk reaction is often fear. They cling to capitalism because they can’t imagine a better alternative.

How did this happen? Is it normal for human beings to be unable to imagine a better world?

Hopelessness isn’t natural. It needs to be produced. To understand this situation, we have to realize that the last 30 years have seen the construction of a vast bureaucratic apparatus that creates and maintains hopelessness. At the root of this machine is global leaders’ obsession with ensuring that social movements do not appear to grow or flourish, that those who challenge existing power arrangements are never perceived to win. Maintaining this illusion requires armies, prisons, police and private security firms to create a pervasive climate of fear, jingoistic conformity and despair. All these guns, surveillance cameras and propaganda engines are extraordinarily expensive and produce nothing – they’re economic deadweights that are dragging the entire capitalist system down.

This hopelessness-generating apparatus is responsible for our recent financial freefalls and endless strings of bursting economic bubbles. It exists to shred and pulverize the human imagination, to destroy our ability to envision an alternative future. As a result, the only thing left to imagine is money, and debt spirals out of control. What is debt? It’s imaginary money whose value can only be realized in the future. Finance capital is, in turn, the buying and selling of these imaginary future profits. Once one assumes that capitalism will be around for all eternity, the only kind of economic democracy left to imagine is one in which everyone is equally free to invest in the market. Freedom has become the right to share in the proceeds of one’s own permanent enslavement.

Since the economic bubble was built on the future, its collapse made it seem like there was nothing left.

This effect, however, is clearly temporary. If the story of the global justice movement tells us anything, it is that the moment there appears to be any sort of opening the imagination springs forth. This is what effectively happened in the late ’90s when it looked for a moment like we might be moving toward a world at peace. The same thing has happened for the last 50 years in the US whenever it seems like peace might break out: a radical social movement dedicated to principles of direct action and participatory democracy emerges. In the late ’50s it was the civil rights movement. In the late ’70s it was the anti-nuclear movement. More recently it happened on a planetary scale and challenged capitalism head-on. But when we were organizing the protests in Seattle in 1999 or at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings in DC in 2000, none of us dreamed that within a mere three or four years the World Trade Organization (WTO) process would collapse, “free trade” ideologies would be almost entirely discredited and new trade pacts like the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) would be defeated. The World Bank was hobbled and the power of the IMF over most of the world’s population was effectively destroyed.

But of course there’s another reason for all this. Nothing terrifies leaders, especially American leaders, as much as grassroots democracy. Whenever a genuinely democratic movement begins to emerge, particularly one based on principles of civil disobedience and direct action, the reaction is the same: the government makes immediate concessions (fine, you can have voting rights) and then starts revving up military tensions abroad. The movement is then forced to transform itself into an anti-war movement, which is often far less democratically organized. The civil rights movement was followed by Vietnam, the anti-nuclear movement by proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua and the global justice movement by the War on Terror. We can now see the latter “war” for what it was: a declining power’s doomed effort to make its peculiar combination of bureaucratic war machines and speculative financial capitalism into a permanent global condition.

We are clearly on the verge of another mass resurgence of the popular imagination. It shouldn’t be that difficult. Most of the elements are already there. The problem is that our perceptions have been twisted into knots by decades of relentless propaganda and we are no longer able to see them. Consider the term “communism.” Rarely has a term come to be so utterly reviled. The standard line, which we accept more or less unthinkingly, is that communism means state control of the economy. History has shown us that this impossible utopian dream simply “doesn’t work.” Thus capitalism, however unpleasant, is the only remaining option.

In fact, communism really just means any situation where people act according to this principle: from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs. This is, in fact, the way pretty much everyone acts if they are working together. If, for example, two people are fixing a pipe and one says “hand me the wrench,” the other doesn’t say “and what do I get for it?” This is true even if they happen to be employed by Bechtel or Citigroup. They apply the principles of communism because they’re the only ones that really work. This is also the reason entire cities and countries revert to some form of rough-and-ready communism in the wake of natural disasters or economic collapse – markets and hierarchical chains of command become luxuries they can’t afford. The more creativity is required and the more people have to improvise at a given task, the more egalitarian the resulting form of communism is likely to be. That’s why even Republican computer engineers trying to develop new software ideas tend to form small democratic collectives. It’s only when work becomes standardized and boring (think production lines) that becomes possible to impose more authoritarian, even fascistic forms of communism. But the fact is that even private companies are internally organized according to communist principles.

Communism is already here. The question is how to further democratize it. Capitalism, in turn, is just one possible way of managing communism. It has become increasingly clear that it’s a rather disastrous one. Clearly we need to be thinking about a better alternative, preferably one that does not systematically set us all at each others’ throats.

All this makes it much easier to understand why capitalists are willing to pour such extraordinary resources into the machinery of hopelessness. Capitalism is not just a poor system for managing communism, it also periodically falls apart. Each time it does, those who profit from it have to convince everyone that there is really no choice but to dutifully paste it all back together again.

Those wishing to subvert the system have learned from bitter experience that we cannot place our faith in states. Instead, the last decade has seen the development of thousands of forms of mutual aid associations. They range from tiny cooperatives to vast anti-capitalist experiments, from occupied factories in Paraguay and Argentina to self-organized tea plantations and fisheries in India, from autonomous institutes in Korea to insurgent communities in Chiapas and Bolivia. These associations of landless peasants, urban squatters and neighborhood alliances spring up pretty much anywhere where state power and global capital seem to be temporarily looking the other way. They might have almost no ideological unity, many are not even aware of the others’ existence, but they are all marked by a common desire to break with the logic of capital. “Economies of solidarity” exist on every continent, in at least 80 different countries. We are at the point where we can begin to conceive of these cooperatives knitting together on a global level and creating a genuine insurgent civilization.

Visible alternatives shatter the sense of inevitability that the system must be patched together in its pre-collapse form – this is why it became such an imperative on behalf of global governance to stamp them out (or at least ensure that no one knows about them). Becoming aware of alternatives allows us to see everything we are already doing in a new light. We realize we’re already communists when working on common projects, already anarchists when we solve problems without recourse to lawyers or police, already revolutionaries when we make something genuinely new.

One might object: a revolution cannot confine itself to this. That’s true. In this respect, the great strategic debates are really just beginning. I’ll offer one suggestion though. For at least 5,000 years, before capitalism even existed, popular movements have tended to center on struggles over debt. There is a reason for this. Debt is the most efficient means ever created to make relations fundamentally based on violence and inequality seem morally upright. When this trick no longer works everything explodes, as it is now. Debt has revealed itself as the greatest weakness of the system, the point where it spirals out of control. But debt also allows endless opportunities for organizing. Some speak of a debtors’ strike or debtors’ cartel. Perhaps so, but at the very least we can start with a pledge against evictions. Neighborhood by neighborhood we can pledge to support each other if we are driven from our homes. This power does not solely challenge regimes of debt, it challenges the moral foundation of capitalism. This power creates a new regime. After all, a debt is only a promise and the world abounds in broken promises. Think of the promise made to us by the state: if we abandon any right to collectively manage our own affairs we will be provided with basic life security. Think of the promise made by capitalism: we can live like kings if we are willing to buy stock in our own collective subordination. All of this has come crashing down. What remains is what we are able to promise one another directly, without the mediation of economic and political bureaucracies. The revolution begins by asking what sorts of promises do free men and women make one another and how, by making them, do we begin to make another world?


Pope Francis Refuses To Meet Pompeo To Receive Imperial Ass-Chewing

Pope Francis ‘refuses’ to meet with US Secretary of State after criticism of Vatican’s controversial China deal

Mr Pompeo plans to visit the Vatican this week to protest the imminent renewal of a two-year-old deal between the Catholic church and China

Pope Francis has reportedly refused to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his visit to Rome over a dispute between the Vatican and China.

Mr Pompeo plans to visit the Vatican this week to protest the imminent renewal of a two-year-old deal between the Catholic church and China, which the secretary of state has claimed would endanger the church’s moral authority.

He is slated to meet with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the foreign minister for the Vatican. But Pope Francis, whom Mr Pompeo met with last October, would not be meeting with him.

According to reports, Pope Francis cited the looming United States presidential election as the reason to not meet with Mr Pompeo. But the Trump administration’s criticism over the deal between the Vatican and China could likely be a factor in the decision.

This deal, which the details have not been disclosed to the public, has allowed the Vatican to have a say in the Catholic bishops appointed in China. Since the historic deal was agreed upon two years ago, two new bishops have been appointed in China after consultation with the Vatican.

Mr Pompeo has argued that the Vatican should not renew its deal with China due to Xi Jinping’s administration facing accusations of religious persecution.

“The human rights situation in China has deteriorated severely under the autocratic rule of Xi Jinping, especially for religious believers,” Mr Pompeo wrote for an article in First Things magazine this month.

He added that there have been “credible reports” of “forced sterilizations and abortions of Muslims in Xinjiang” as well as “abuse of Catholic priests and laypeople”.

Pope Francis has been notably silent on China’s violations of human rights. These violations include the imprisonment of at least one million Uighurs and other Muslims in prison camps, with reports of them facing starvation, torture, murder, sexual violence and much more while at the camps.

“The Holy See has a unique capacity and duty to focus the world’s attention on human rights violations, especially those perpetrated by totalitarian regimes like Beijing’s,” Mr Pompeo wrote. “In the late 20th century, the church’s power of moral witness helped inspire those who liberated central and eastern Europe from communism, and those who challenged autocratic and authoritarian regimes in Latin America and East Asia.”

He added. “What the church teaches the world about religious freedom and solidarity should now be forcefully and persistently conveyed by the Vatican in the face of the Chinese Communist party’s relentless efforts to bend all religious communities to the will of the party and its totalitarian program.”

In a tweet, Mr Pompeo added that the Catholic church “endangers its moral authority, should it renew the deal”.

The extension of the deal between the Vatican and China is expected to be signed next month.

Mr Pompeo’s trip to the Vatican comes with him also traveling to Greece, Italy, and Croatia to promote diplomatic relations and religious freedoms.

Azerbaijan’s military offensive

The demise of diplomacy: Azerbaijan’s military offensive

Volunteers of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation gather in Yerevan to leave for Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh), where martial law has been declared September 27, 2020. Armenia has imposed martial law and total military mobilization after clashes erupted in the territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh. Both sides have reported civilian casualties after shelling, artillery and air attacks along the front.

For the past several years, the outlook for diplomacy in Russia’s self-proclaimed “near abroad” or sphere of influence has been particularly daunting.  Ranging from Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 to its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and continuing aggression in eastern Ukraine, Western diplomacy has been largely stalled and stalemated.  More recently, it was Belarus that emerged as the obvious focal point for European engagement and diplomatic efforts, with a new challenge for security and stability along the EU’s “eastern neighborhood.”

But with a sudden and sweeping military offensive by Azerbaijan early on Sunday morning, the unresolved Nagorno Karabakh conflict has now surfaced as the more pressing and most urgent crisis for European diplomacy.

From Concern to Crisis

For many experienced European diplomats, and for much of the EU External Action Service, the stability and security of the Armenian-backed enclave Nagorno Karabakh has been illusive and imaginary.  Fueled by pronounced frustration from the lack of any demonstrable progress to date from the mediation of the Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan has been close to walking away from the peace talks with Armenia for some time.

But Azerbaijan’s disdain for diplomacy now threatens to become the demise of diplomatic engagement, as Baku has opted for the force of arms.  More specifically, its most recent renewal of military hostilities marks a dangerous turning point in the escalation and intensity of this conflict, with little room and even less likelihood for de-escalation or disengagement.

And within the broader context, this fresh round of fighting raises the stakes for European diplomacy, clearly moving swiftly from concern to crisis.  For its part, EU leaders have joined calls for a ceasefire, backing similar statements by the U.S. State Department and bolstering an identical demand by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.  Yet given the localized limits of this rather unique conflict, neither the West, nor Russia for that matter, has much leverage and even less presence or pressure to exert in this case.

A handout photo made available by the Armenian Government Press Office shows Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (C) meeting with the military leaders in Yerevan o September 27, 2020. EPA-EFE//ARMENIAN GOVERNMENT PRESS OFFICE

Azerbaijan as a Threat to Regional Security and Stability

For diplomacy in Europe’s east, the timing could not have been worse.  Despite the shared threat from the global public health crisis over the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, Azerbaijan chose this especially vulnerable time to attack.  This is not an isolated incident, however, as this new offensive follows a similar attack in July, now seen as part of a more pronounced pattern of using the military force of arms to attempt to impose a “resolution” to the Karabakh conflict by force rather than through diplomatic negotiations.  And in this context, Azerbaijan has only revealed that it now stands apart as the primary threat to regional security and stability in the wider South Caucasus.

Moreover, the coordination and logistical preparation necessary to conduct this latest offensive by Azerbaijan only demonstrates that this latest round of fighting was a calculated and planned act of aggression.  Beyond the surprise nature of the attack, Azerbaijan’s willingness to target civilian areas and population centers in Karabakh also demonstrates a new disregard for the security of non-combatants.

The Risk of Spillover & “Proximity Powers”

Although Nagorno Karabakh is a rare conflict with no Russian military presence, there is a real risk of conflict contagion, or spillover, as nearby “proximity powers” may feel compelled to commit to intervening or at least interfering if the fighting continues.  Among these regional powers, Russia, Turkey and even Iran may pose even greater challenges for a concerted diplomatic effort at de-escalation.

Clearly, in terms of Russian interests, the Karabakh conflict serves as an effective element for sustaining power and position, cementing Moscow’s influence over both Armenia and Azerbaijan.  In recent years, this has only expanded, as Russia has replaced Turkey as the primary arms supplier for Azerbaijan.  Moscow has also skillfully managed Armenian insecurity and threat perception in its favor, maintaining its security “partnership” with Armenia despite a deepening crisis in that bilateral relationship.

Moreover, even within the context of Western diplomacy, Russia has been granted a rare degree of legitimacy and credibility as a diplomatic partner and mediator of this unique conflict, primarily due to its position as a co-chairing nation, along with France and the United States, of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) “Minsk Group,” which stands apart as the only diplomatic venue for managing and mediating the Karabakh conflict.

Armenian families in Nagorno Karabakh take refuge inside a bomb shelter after Azerbaijan reportedly shelled civilian areas in the disputed region, September 27, 2020. EPA-EFE//ARMENIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY PRESS OFFICE HANDOUT

Yet, it has been Turkey that has emerged as the most active actor.  In a role that may be as decisive as it is divisive, Turkey has pursued a much more assertive and even aggressive defense of Azerbaijan.  For Armenia and Karabakh, Turkey is increasingly seen as a more serious threat because of its more aggressive posture and due to the Erdogan regime’s assertive pursuit of its interests, most notable evident in its full and unquestioned backing of Azerbaijan.  This driving factor has only elevated the Armenian threat perception of Turkey.  It has only been bolstered by Turkey’s reassertion in the Eastern Mediterranean has prompted a dynamic response in Armenian foreign policy, with a strategic repositioning of Armenia in a closer alliance with Greece and Cyprus and a tactical alignment with Israel and Egypt over maritime security and offshore energy resources.

For Turkey, this vocal support for Azerbaijan is also an attempt to restore Ankara’s past role as Baku’s strategic military patron state, which it lost to Russia and Israel in recent years.  This is also why the Turkish response to recent fighting was immediate and harsh, blindly endorsing Azerbaijan’s version of events even well before the true state of affairs on the ground was determined.  Although this position can be viewed as a natural reaction by Turkey, the sudden and swift backing of Azerbaijan was more of a premature and reflexive reaction than as a result of any prudent well-considered strategy.  Therefore, and most importantly, it is a combination of each of these drivers, and Turkey’s repeat of its response to this latest attack, that is now ushering in a new period of a much more active and offensive Armenian foreign policy.

Ultra-nationalist Azeris and Turks hold their national flags and shout slogans against Armenia duirng a July 2020 rally in front of the Istanbul University in Istanbul. EPA-EFE//SEDAT SUNA

The Outlook for Diplomacy

Given this combination of daunting obstacles well beyond the confines of the conflict, the outlook for diplomacy remains bleak.  But with an imperative to halt the fighting and broker a ceasefire or bolster an agreement to “cease firing” at a minimum, it is only European diplomacy that has a chance.  Russia has little interest in anything beyond securing its own position of leverage from the conflict.  Turkey has already exposed itself as a biased player without even the pretense of impartiality.  And as the United States remains distracted and disengaged from the South Caucasus, all eyes are on Brussels.

Therefore, the most effective approach for European engagement will be to do just that: engage and engage all parties to the conflict.  With an advantage from Armenia’s greater legitimacy from truly free and fair elections and success in a peaceful transition to democracy, the EU can also engage the democratically elected representatives in Nagorno Karabakh (Artaskh) itself.

While it is no longer sufficient to ignore Karabakh, the military attacks by Azerbaijan and its disdain for diplomacy only makes the case for a new policy of “status neutral” engagement of all parties, without distinction or prejudice.  This is the only way to restore a ceasefire and rebuild a cessation of hostilities that can contribute to a new climate more conducive to genuine and sincere diplomatic negotiations.

Trump/Pompeo Try To Extort Sudan Concessions To Israel, To Escape “Terrorist State” Label

Normalizing Sudan-Israel Relations Now is a Dangerous Game
by Jeffrey Feltman, the principle Middle East fire-starter for Bush, Obama and Trump.  He is the one man responsible for lighting both Libya and Syria on fire…every tragedy which flowed from this conflagration is his fault, along with Prince “Bandar Bush” (SEE: The Original Syrian Media Report Revealing Bandar/Feltman Plan To Destroy the Middle East )

Pompeo tries to extort cash from struggling Sudan

Sudan rejects linking removal from US terrorism list with Israel

Sources say US officials indicated they wanted Khartoum to open ties with Israel, following in the UAE and Bahrain’s steps.

The White House and the US State Department declined to comment when asked about the status of negotiations [File: Anadolu]

Sudan does not want to link its removal from a US “terrorism list” that is hindering access to foreign funding for the country’s economy with the normalisation of relations with Israel, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said on Saturday.

Sources said this week that US officials indicated in talks with a Sudanese delegation they wanted Khartoum to follow the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain and open ties with Israel.

Sudan’s designation as a “state sponsor of terrorism” dates back to its toppled ruler Omar al-Bashir, and makes it difficult for its new transitional government to access urgently needed debt relief and foreign financing.

In a visit to Khartoum last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Sudan’s Sovereign Council chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to normalise ties with Israel [File: Sudan’s Foreign Media Council/AFP]

Hamdok said Sudan had told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit last month it was necessary to separate the removal from the US list from the normalisation of relations with Israel.“This topic [ties to Israel] needs a deep discussion of the society,” he told a conference in Khartoum to discuss economic reforms.

Sudan’s surging inflation and plummeting currency have been the biggest challenges to Hamdok’s transitional administration, which rules with the military since al-Bashir’s removal.

Sudan was put on the US list in 1993 because the United States believed al-Bashir’s government was supporting armed groups.

But many in Sudan consider this is undeserved since al-Bashir was removed last year and Sudan has long cooperated with the US on counterterrorism.

The White House and the State Department declined to comment when asked about the status of negotiations.

Burhan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a surprise meeting in Uganda earlier this year. Yet opening ties is sensitive, as Sudan was a staunch foe of Israel under al-Bashir.

Electing Biden Means War with Russia…period.

[Biden promises that he is “coming for” Putin, after also promising a mask mandate, meaning masks for everybody all the time outside of the home, under threat of Govt. prosecution…Do liberals and Democrats really want mandated masks and war with Russia?]

[SEE: Why Are Top Democrats So Anxious To Start War With Russia? ; Democrats and Hollywood = Jewish Control Over the Weak American Mind ]

Secret source for(Non-Russian) anti-Trump Steele dossier is revealed

by Daria Bedenko

As the US presidential election approaches, the Democratic party is ramping up speculation about “Russian interference”, with Moscow allegedly attempting to undermine the campaign of Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

Joe Biden warned there would be “consequences” for Russian President Vladimir Putin for “violation of our sovereignty” when asked by MSNBC host on allegations that Russia is conducting “interference [in the US presidential election] to hurt you and cause chaos”.

“My message to Vladimir Putin is that if I get elected, I’m coming”, Biden said. “Because here’s the deal, it’s a violation of our sovereignty. I made it clear before, and I’ll make it clear again… [Trump] would like to see very much Vladimir Putin continue down the road he is. But I promise you, I promise you: there’ll be consequences. There’ll be consequences if I win, for this involvement in our sovereignty”.

This is not the first time Biden has addressed the Russian president, as the former has promised to “stand up to [Putin]” during his entire presidential campaign, calling the Russian president “a bully” and accusing him of attempting to choose the American president.

© Sputnik / Mikhail Klimentyev
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump

Biden also slammed US President Donald Trump for allegedly playing a “subservient role” to the Russian leader.

“Never before has an American president played such a subservient role to a Russian leader,” Biden said earlier in August during a campaign event. “It’s not only dangerous, it’s humiliating and embarrassing for the rest of the world to see. It weakens us.”

The Russia Card

The saga about Russians allegedly trying to meddle with the US presidential election has been ongoing since 2016, when Democrats, apparently stunned by the unexpected failure of Hillary Clinton, accused Trump of “colluding” with Russia, and claimed that Moscow interfered in the US electoral process.

Despite hysteria around the allegations, US Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigated and found nothing that pointed at a “collusion” between the Russian government and Trump’s election.

As November approaches, allegations that the Kremlin is yet again “meddling” with the upcoming election, are being ramped up.

Recently, The Washington Post reported that a secret CIA assessment claimed that Putin, along with his “top aides”, is “probably directing” a Russian interference operation to shape election results. Specifically, the reported assessment puts forward an idea that the operation is targeted at undermining Biden’s campaign.

Yard signs supporting U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden are seen outside of an early voting site at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., September 18, 2020.
Yard signs supporting U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden are seen outside of an early voting site at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., September 18, 2020.

Topping the allegations, the report said that the scheme involves “a prominent Ukrainian lawmaker connected to President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly insisted that Moscow never intended to interfere with the US internal affairs, and never will intend to do so, echoed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who consistently points at a lack of evidence behind the US allegations.

On Friday, the Russian president invited the administration of Donald Trump to exchange pledges of non-interference in elections or other internal affairs, proposing the restoration of a “regular, full-scale, bilateral, inter-agency, high-level dialogue on the key issues of ensuring international information security”.

Judgment Day

[This is one of my lost articles, which I had posted on other Internet sites, before starting ThereAreNoSunglasses, Dec. 06, 2007 .  I just found it on the web, it has never appeared here.  It was slightly re-written before posting it here today.]

Judgment Day

By Peter Chamberlin
Dec. 06, 2007

The world is being steered into an apocalyptic climax that defies reason, by largely unknown powers, for unknowable reasons. All of us are among the unfortunate losers in the ultimate earth lottery, with ringside seats to the end of the world, from which there is no escape. There is a secretive cabal of criminal minds, who are doing everything in their (practically limitless) power to violently forge a utopian world order upon the earth. In this unfolding power play they intend to pre-enact Judgment Day, to convince the people that time is up, making them easier to manipulate, using their own religious beliefs against them. What the Bible gave us as a prophetic warning, these guys are treating as if it was their script for the worst horror movie of all time.

Here we have a lot of very rich and powerful people producing and directing a worldwide Hollywood version of the end of the world, with extreme real world consequences. Cecil B. Demented does “Armageddon” on the streets of America. For the most part, we have passively watched as “shock and awe” rained down from the sky, onto the innocent masses of poor dark-skinned people half a world away. But for those countries who were spared the first act, because they were far away from the war’s front lines, there will be a terrible second act, which will prove to be just as deadly as the first. When the world cracks open, the war will become up close and very personal for everyone.

The name of the new game, from here on out, will be population reduction, selective population reduction. In the end, the human race, at least the surviving remnant, will be much paler than it is today. The same think tanks and globalist foundations who wrote the script for the end of the world are the same ones who produced the threatening “Global 2000 Report,” the blueprint for population reduction that our elite masters conjured up for the Carter administration.

If you want to know what they intend for us in their Judgment Day script then keep in mind that the Book of Revelation has been their inspiration. Wars, famine and pestilence seem to be the motif for the first two acts. They will help to induce shock in the captive audience, for the third and final act of the globalist tragedy. Traumatized populations that have been devastated by atrocities are easier to manipulate, as government practiced psy-ops programs have confirmed.

The goal of the plotters is basically to appear to cause the “end of the (old) world,” so that they can brutally seize for themselves all the promised blessings intended for God’s “Chosen People”, making the sheeple believe that time is up. These powerful men, seeking to enthrone themselves in seats reserved for God’s elect, are playing upon superstitious beliefs, to carry out their twisted plans for world domination.

Elites, using prophecy to mislead the religious, are seeking prophetic rewards for their own cunning. By causing religious people to believe that this might be the “end of days,” they have dissuaded them from rising in opposition to them, as this might also be seen as interfering with God’s work. This deception is as effective for parts of the Muslim faith as it is for some of the Christians. Convincing superstitious people that this man-made end of days might be God’s will is using scripture to bring them into line with the script. Whenever a “wicked and foolish generation seeketh after a sign,” it will find the omens everywhere.

The criminal producers of our horror movie/psy-war operation intend to establish a new world order based on the ashes of the old. Their utopian world will be a world without conscience or morality, as it will be built upon the deaths of billions, who will have been harvested in the final act of this terrible horror script. Their perfected world (based on death), of unlimited profit to a very limited elite will come into being when Trump gives the order for the attack upon Iran. In a world of reason, he would never give such an order, but we all know that the order is about to be given. In this new world order, where some men see themselves as gods, and other humans are simply assets, there is no moral compunction to end the ordering of thousands more to their deaths.

America is prepared to destroy its own economy, the global economy, the international order, and to violate the very foundation of law, on the pretext of eliminating a threat to our ally Israel — a threat that does not even exist. To calm Israel’s fear of its future, we are all set to eliminate the nation of Iran, and with it, our own futures. Before his time runs out, Trump will order the bombers and the missiles into Iranian airspace, to destroy the imaginary nuclear weapons that pose no threat to Israel, in spite of the fact that his help might also destroy the Zionist state, as well. By any measurement, this is insanity. This is the final step on the road to the New World Order, Judgment Day.

The world has been transformed by almost twenty years of Imperial War, into a very unstable swirling cauldron of pent up fear and hatred. The decision to escalate the wars (when diplomacy visibly fails), seeking vindication through the total destruction of all opposition, is a suicidal decision. Those who push our government to take this fatal step will, at minimum, push us into the waiting police state and the accompanying economic depression, or in the worst case scenario, the end of human civilization. Those in Israel who are pushing America to wage war against Iran are apparently so blinded by their fear of the Shia state that they cannot perceive the greater danger that their actions will cause massive death in Israel and possibly its collapse as a free state. These Americans and Israelis are doing their best to bind the US government to actions that will endanger our existence. Why? Is it possible that our leaders believe that it is more important to sow disorder than to seek lasting peace?

The American neocons have used the New Right to bind America to Israel’s extremist Likud policies. These three elements have been the loudest voices on both sides of the Atlantic, trying to force the violent resolution of the mutual hatred between Israelis and Iranians. These are the same strident voices that brashly denounced the peace talks at Annapolis, claiming that they will lead to war.

The most notable of the neocons (many of whom have dual American/Israeli citizenship) are ardent supporters of Ariel Sharon and his Likudists. They proudly carried-on the traditional Zionist positions that Sharon championed, by opposing all negotiations with the Arabs and following policies which aggressively encouraged the Palestinians to leave Palestine. These policies, which amounted to an official program of state harassment, were meant to inflict low levels of terror on the Palestinian people, designed for the purpose of de-populating Palestine. The infamous “Koenig Memorandum” (an Israeli government document) details these harassment policies. From the organized brutality directed at the Palestinian people since then, there can be little doubt, that the policies described in the Koenig Memorandum did in fact become official Israeli policy for dealing with the “Intifada.” Many of the official policies of harassment mentioned in the report became the actual policies used to disenfranchise the Palestinians from the land taken from them.

In the Zionist interpretation of events, it is the peace process that makes peace impossible. Movement leaders have always understood (yet kept carefully hidden) the eventual necessity of driving all the Arabs out of the land of Greater Israel. It has always been a key part of the Zionist plan to empty the land of its rightful inhabitants, in the most subtle manner possible:

“Spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it employment . . . Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried away discreetly and circumspectly,” wrote Theodore Herzl, founder of the World Zionist Organization Complete Diaries, in a June 12, 1895, entry.

In this view, those who even suggest to the Arabs that peace through negotiations is possible are considered to be traitors for undermining the only possible path to peace, which is to terrorize the Palestinians until they either submit to Israel’s terms or become refugees. This is the Israeli “Iron Wall” strategy, formulated by Zionist folk hero Wolf Jabotinsky. There are to be no negotiations, but instead, the liberal application of enough force to make life unbearable. The Palestinians must be made to fear the consequences of not giving in to Israeli demands more than they hate giving up their homeland.

“A voluntary reconciliation with the Arabs is out of the question either now or in th. If you wish to colonize a land in which people are already living, you must provide a garrison for the land, or find some rich man or benefactor who will provide a garrison on your behalf. Or else-or else, give up your colonization, for without an armed force which will render physically impossible any attempt to destroy or prevent this colonization, colonization is impossible, not difficult, not dangerous, but IMPOSSIBLE! . . . Zionism is a colonization adventure and therefore it stands or falls by the question of armed force. It is important . . . to speak Hebrew, but, unfortunately, it is even more important to be able to shoot – or else I am through with playing at colonizing.” Vladimir Jabotinsky, founder of Revisionist Zionism (precursor of Likud), The Iron Wall, 1923.

Because the Israeli leaders have been true to the tenets of Zionism, the “Peace Process” has never had a chance to succeed. If negotiations begin to show promise the Zionists will do everything that they can to derail any conceivable peace agreement. This is how it has always been. This is the same with America’s radical right wing, which has always staked its fortunes on destroying arms control treaties.

Entering into peace talks which you intend to make fail is hypocrisy, even though pretending to negotiate in good faith does bring immediate rewards, if the negotiator is careful not to give anything away in the process. The political parties in the Israeli government play separate parts in the ongoing psycho-drama called “The Peace Talks,” with the left taking charge of the negotiations at Annapolis, playing the role of reasonable Israelis, while the right-wing Likud party elements prepare to defend Israel by demolishing whatever the talks produce and finishing the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. This two-faced image of Israel feigns negotiations in order to placate their American benefactors, who arm them to kill Palestinians.

If the US and Israel were serious about pursuing peace in the Middle East, they would pursue policies that sought to bring extremists into the system as a means of civilizing their actions, instead of seeking to bomb them out of existence. They must learn that peace cannot be won by “pacifying” the world. All the bombs in the world will not destroy the will to resist; they will only strengthen it. The way must be made clear for the orderly transition of extremist Muslim militias into political parties, in the same way that the militant Zionist militias of Menachem Begin transitioned from their era of gangsterism to become Israel’s political parties. Hamas and Hezbollah are legitimate political forces that provide a great deal of aid to their embattled populaces. We asked the Arabs to try democracy and they rarely choose the parties we support. It is time that we get over it, and find a new way to look at the Middle East. If hatred of America and Israel is the cause of the war on terror, then ending that war means breaking with the policies that caused that hatred, not multiplying the causes themselves.

In order to break free from the chains that bind us to permanent war in the Middle East, we have to separate religion from government, to put an end to America’s efforts to fulfill Biblical prophecy. It is this tendency of American leaders to see themselves as messianic figures which causes them to think that they can usher in a religious utopia by re-creating events from ancient prophecies. We have been speculating about the real reasons behind America’s rapid moral decay into fascism, when the answer has been laying right there in front of us all along. The insanity of the “Christian Right” is the insanity that has overwhelmed this nation. Their absolute dedication to Israel has opened the door to the power play by the “devourers of worlds.”

We go to elaborate lengths to identify the brainwashers of the American majority in the government or to name names in the great conspiracy. Perhaps we misjudge the political power wielded by a radical religious movement in our lazy society, where barely 50 percent ever bother to vote. The reason for the enormous power of the New Right is that they have merely walked into the gap left by the American majority, which has given up on Democracy, abdicating their rights to lead their own government. These hyper-political “Christian” leaders who have promised their followers that they were going to intervene in America’s history, to inject Christian principles into American government, have been conspiring to takeover the Republic since they first rose-up to elect Ronald Reagan. Since then, they have been pretty effective at rousing a politicized and divided American majority to empower the Republicans under the guise of the “war on terror” to do whatever they have wanted to do to us, but allegedly “for us” until today. The one thing that they consistently do, is promote the interests of Israel.

According to CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour, “A recent poll found that 59 percent of American evangelicals believe Israel is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy . . . The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimates 85 million evangelicals believes God tells them to support Israel — more than six times the world’s Jewish population.”

American Christians overwhelmingly believe that to support the state of Israel is to support God’s work. On this belief, the new neoconservative foreign policy of mass-murder has been grafted. Israeli political Zionists and politicized Christian Zionists both support killing as many Palestinians as is necessary to transmute Palestine into Israel. This religious deception that masquerades as “Christianity” likes to lay claim to the birthright of Jesus Christ, even though its most prominent spokesmen like John Hagee go so far as to deny that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. Congressmen, like former Rep. Richard Armey, have openly stated that “my number one priority in foreign policy is to protect Israel,” when it should obviously be to protect America first. People like these are so dedicated to carrying-out the political will of Israel in the United States that they should register as agents of a foreign government.

With so much overwhelming political and economic power being brought to bear behind such an all-consuming nihilistic vision, what can rational American patriots do to stop them? Which of the three identified groups of “Armageddonists” is susceptible to reason? The neocons cannot be persuaded to change their treasonous ways because they are in the plot too deep. We know that the Christian Zionists are impervious to reason, because they believe Jesus promised to send magic clouds (or spaceships in the clouds) to save them. That leaves us with the Israeli government, to focus all our efforts upon. We have to persuade them that Israel will not benefit from any world war waged for them by America.

We must escalate our efforts to confront Israel, no matter how often we are slammed as “anti-Semites.” After all, the Zionists we confront have always followed Theodor Herzl’s admonition that “anti-Semitism . . . is a deeply imbedded force in the subconscious mind of the [Gentile] masses.”

If Herzl is saying that all Gentiles are anti-Semitic, isn’t that Jewish racism?

The Endless Fantasy of American Power

The Endless Fantasy of American Power

A U.S. soldier taking a break in the Pesh valley in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, August 2009
Carlos Barria / Reuters

In this year’s presidential election campaign, candidates have largely sidestepped the role of armed force as an instrument of U.S. policy. The United States remains the world’s preeminent and most active military power, but Republicans and Democrats find other things to talk about.

Ever since the end of the Cold War, successive administrations have enthusiastically put U.S. military might to work. In the last three decades, the flag of the United States Army has accumulated 34 additional streamers—each for a discrete campaign conducted by U.S. troops. The air force and navy have also done their share, conducting more than 100,000 airstrikes in just the past two decades.

Unfortunately, this frenetic pace of military activity has seldom produced positive outcomes. As measured against their stated aims, the “long wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq have clearly failed, as have the lesser campaigns intended to impart some approximation of peace and stability to Libya, Somalia, and Syria. An equally unfavorable judgment applies to the nebulous enterprise once grandly referred to as the “global war on terrorism,” which continues with no end in sight.

And yet there seems to be little curiosity in U.S. politics today about why recent military exertions, undertaken at great cost in blood and treasure, have yielded so little in the way of durable success. It is widely conceded that “mistakes were made”—preeminent among them the Iraq war initiated in 2003. Yet within establishment circles, the larger implications of such catastrophic missteps remain unexplored. Indeed, the country’s interventionist foreign policy is largely taken for granted and the public pays scant attention. The police killing of Black people provokes outrage—and rightly so. Unsuccessful wars induce only shrugs.


With something approaching unanimity, Americans “support the troops.” Yet they refrain from inquiring too deeply into what putting the troops in harm’s way has achieved in recent decades. Deference to the military has become a rote piety of American life. In accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency, for example, Joe Biden closed his remarks with an appeal to the Divine on behalf of the nation’s soldiers: “And may God protect our troops.” Yet nowhere in his 24-minute address did Biden make any reference to what U.S. troops were currently doing or why in particular they needed God’s protection. Nor did he offer any thoughts on how a Biden administration might do things differently.

Americans don’t particularly want to hear about war or the possibility of war in the present season of overlapping and mutually reinforcing crises. And Biden obliged them in the most important speech of his career. The famously garrulous politician mentioned recent U.S. wars only in passing, briefly referring to his late son, who served in Iraq, and excoriating U.S. President Donald Trump for not responding more aggressively to revelations that Russia put bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

This aversion to taking stock of recent U.S. wars is by no means unique to Biden or confined to the Democratic Party. It is a bipartisan tendency. It also inhibits a long overdue reexamination of basic national security policy.

Protracted wars are not making Americans freer or more prosperous.

Between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 2016 presidential election, leaders of both political parties collaborated in trying to demonstrate the efficacy and necessity of what they habitually referred to as “American global leadership.” Embedded in that seemingly benign phrase was a grand strategy of militarized primacy. Unfortunately, the results achieved by this assertion of global leadership proved to be anything but benign, as turmoil in Afghanistan and Iraq attest. Although the defense industry and its allies have profited from American wars, the American people have done less well. Protracted wars are not making Americans freer or more prosperous. They have instead saddled the nation with enormous debt and diverted attention and resources from neglected domestic priorities.

In 2020, further occasions for bristling, militarized U.S. leadership beckon. China offers the most obvious example for hawks, with demands that the United States confront the People’s Republic growing more insistent by the day. Many in Washington appear to welcome the prospect of a Sino-American cold war. Other prospective venues for demonstrating assertive U.S. leadership include in operations against Iran, Russia, and even poor benighted Venezuela, with prominent figures in the Beltway eager to have a go at regime change in Caracas.

To cling to this paradigm of U.S. global leadership is to perpetuate the assumptions and habits defining post–Cold War U.S. national security policy—and above all the emphasis on amassing and employing military might. The United States grants itself prerogatives allowed to no other country to remain, in its own estimation, history’s “indispensable nation.” To judge by the results achieved in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other recent theaters of war, this imperative will only continue to wreak havoc in the name of freedom, democracy, and humane values.


An alternative path exists. Proponents of this path, most of them anti-interventionist progressives, propose to reframe politics as global rather than merely international. That is an important distinction. A global political ethos highlights problems affecting all nations, whether strong or weak, rich or poor, as opposed to emphasizing geopolitical competition, which sees the United States preoccupied with fending off any and all challengers to its preeminence. Those shared problems are not difficult to identify. They include communicable diseases such as COVID-19, the danger of nuclear conflict, the deterioration of the global commons, and, perhaps above all, climate change.

A second Trump administration will never acknowledge the existence of this alternative path. And regrettably, a Biden administration will probably pay little more than lip service to it. Despite the Biden campaign’s nod toward climate change—a crisis but also, in Biden’s words, “an enormous opportunity”—his own record and his choice of advisers suggest an administration less interested in real change than in restoring the status quo ante Trump.

Trump won the presidency in 2016 in no small part because a considerable number of Americans had lost confidence in establishment policies that left the United States mired in what he and other critics of a militarized U.S. policy called “endless wars.” He offered himself as the fixer who would put “America first.” But he has fixed nothing—and broken a great deal more. With monumental ineptitude, Trump has inflicted massive damage on U.S. credibility while the wars he inherited continue.

Take at face value Biden’s acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination and it suggests that he is intent on pursuing what is in effect an “America first” agenda without resorting to that radioactive phrase. Biden presents himself as an agent of domestic renewal, promising to save “the soul of America.” He is not promising to redeem the world.

But saving the United States’ soul will require an honest reckoning with post–Cold War U.S. foreign policy and, above all, with the reckless misuse of military power that forms its abiding theme. Biden proposes as president to build a United States that is “generous and strong, selfless and humble.” Achieving this lofty goal will require more than simply repudiating Trump and all his works. It will demand an approach to statecraft that is itself generous and strong, selfless and humble, qualities that recent administrations have displayed only intermittently.

What should this kind of statecraft look like? It would emphasize multilateral collaboration rather than unilateral action. It would use force only as a last resort. It would honor treaty commitments. It would adhere to respected norms—for example, the prohibition on preventive war. It would encourage allies capable of defending themselves to do so. It would work to strengthen, rather than undermine, international institutions. It would cease to define the size of the Pentagon’s budget as the ultimate measure of national security.

Washington should cease to define the size of the Pentagon’s budget as the ultimate measure of national security.

Given his priorities, Biden’s reluctance to talk about foreign wars is understandable. Yet if his administration reverts to the militarized definition of American global leadership that for decades has been the establishment’s default position, he will find the subject difficult to avoid. That path will lead to more war, inevitably clouding Biden’s rhetorical vision of light overcoming darkness.

If Biden is serious about transforming U.S. foreign policy, he will prioritize matters that pose an immediate threat to the safety and well-being of the American people. Terrorism still poses a nagging problem and always will. Aggressive actions by adversaries such as China, Russia, and Iran serve to remind Americans of the permanence of geopolitics. But in terms of proximate danger, all of these supposed threats pale in comparison with the death toll caused by the coronavirus pandemic or the havoc caused annually by climate-enhanced storms and wildfires. None of these actual threats will yield to a military solution.

War is the nemesis that will prevent Biden from achieving what he promises to do. A first step toward building the virtuous United States he desires is to avoid needless and futile armed conflicts. That will require a radical reorienting of U.S. national security policies to prioritize the safety and well-being of the American people at home, not the pursuit of phantasmagoric foes abroad.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views and editorial stance of the SOHR.

Source: The Endless Fantasy of American Power | Foreign Affairs

25,150 Posts On No Sunglasses…some good friend is reading every single one

25,150 Posts On No Sunglasses


President Trump Warns About Pentagon Pushing Unwanted Permanent Wars

Trump Draws Eisenhower Comparisons After Criticizing Military-Industrial Complex

President Donald Trump’s difficult week with the military got a little worse on Monday, when the commander in chief accused the Pentagon leadership of pushing for conflicts in order to keep defense contractors profitable.

The president later shared tweets comparing himself to former President Dwight Eisenhower, who warned Americans about the rising power of the military-industrial complex in a 1961 speech marking the end of his time in office.

Trump has long framed himself as a staunch ally of the military and claimed enduring support among service members for his administration. The president has pushed to expand America’s gargantuan military budget and repeatedly bragged about the strength of the U.S. armed forces.

But the president has also grappled with multiple military controversies, accused of using service members as political props, criticized for maligning prominent veterans, putting troops in harm’s way unnecessarily and, according to an Atlantic report last week, dismissing U.S. war dead as “losers.”

Trump rejected the allegations, though multiple reports at outlets including the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and even Fox News—which has been largely deferential to the president—confirmed the Atlantic story in part or in full.

On Monday, Trump took aim at the Pentagon top brass during a press conference at the White House. “I’m not saying the military’s in love with me,” Trump told reporters.

“The soldiers are, the top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

The remarks prompted a flurry of reports and social media comments describing Trump’s attack as unprecedented and politically unwise, given the president’s recent struggle to maintain his pro-military image.

Trump then retweeted multiple posts comparing him to Eisenhower, who in 1961 said: “This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience.”

Though he acknowledged the “imperative need for this development,” Eisenhower warned of the “grave implications” of its growth. “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.”

Trump retweeted a post from Mollie Hemingway, a senior editor at the right-wing Federalist website, who said: “You are free to dislike and hysterically respond to any and all criticism of the military-industrial complex. You are not free to claim that it’s unprecedented for a president to critique it.”

Trump also retweeted a thread from reporter Glen Greenwald, now of The Intercept, who said Eisenhower “had 16 minutes on TV to warn Americans of what he thought they most needed to know, and used it primarily to emphasize the dangers of Pentagon growth, weapons spending, and the threats of Endless War.”

Trump seemingly wants to claim Eisenhower’s legacy in his latest spat with the military, but the president has been happy to sell American weapons around the world. Major deals between U.S. manufacturers and foreign nations have become a key element of his foreign diplomacy.

When Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the White House, for example, Trump had posters made detailing the value of Saudi arms purchases and how many American jobs the contracts supported. The president has also publicly lauded American weapon deals with India, which he framed as a key element in bilateral ties with New Delhi.

The president has filled his administration with officials who have worked in or for major private sector companies, including prominent players in the military-industrial complex.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper, for example, was a long-time lobbyist for the Raytheon defense contractor, which has sold weapons to the Saudis that have been used to kill civilians in Yemen.

The president also has ties to Eric Prince, the founder of the notorious Blackwater private security company that was accused of a range of crimes during the occupation of Iraq. Prince has more recently pushed for his mercenaries to be deployed to replace U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Prince’s sister is Betsy DeVos—Trump’s education secretary—and both are major GOP donors. Prince reportedly also tried to establish a secret back channel between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Chaos Election Plan, Whether Trump Wins Or Loses

[The following tells it like it is far better than I ever could, even in my younger, more energetic days…Whitney Webb describes the nightmare election that is upon us, detailing the many secret plans of bipartisan traitors willing to sabotage their own country for a lost political cause…America is no longer a Democracy, but a dictatorship of the self-appointed “ruling class.”]

“Bipartisan” Washington Insiders Reveal Their Plan For Chaos If Trump Wins The Election

Authored by Whitney Webb

A group of “bipartisan” neoconservative Republicans and establishment Democrats have been “simulating” multiple catastrophic scenarios for the 2020 election, including a simulation where a clear victory by the incumbent provokes “unprecedented” measures, which the Biden campaign could take to foil a new Trump inauguration.

A group of Democratic Party insiders and former Obama and Clinton era officials as well as a cadre of “Never Trump” neoconservative Republicans have spent the past few months conducting simulations and “war games” regarding different 2020 election “doomsday” scenarios. 

Per several media reports on the group, called the Transition Integrity Project (TIP), they justify these exercises as specifically preparing for a scenario where President Trump loses the 2020 election and refuses to leave office, potentially resulting in a constitutional crisis. However, according to TIP’s own documentseven their simulations involving a “clear win” for Trump in the upcoming election resulted in a constitutional crisis, as they predicted that the Biden campaign would make bold moves aimed at securing the presidency, regardless of the election result.

This is particularly troubling given that TIP has considerable ties to the Obama administration, where Biden served as Vice President, as well as several groups that are adamantly pro-Biden in addition to the Biden campaign itself. Indeed, the fact that a group of openly pro-Biden Washington insiders and former government officials have gamed out scenarios for possible election outcomes and their aftermath, all of which either ended with Biden becoming president or a constitutional crisis, suggest that powerful forces influencing the Biden campaign are pushing the former Vice President to refuse to concede the election even if he loses.

This, of course, gravely undercuts the TIP’s claim to be ensuring “integrity” in the presidential transition process and instead suggests that the group is openly planning on how to ensure that Trump leaves office regardless of the result or to manufacture the very constitutional crisis they claim to be preventing through their simulations.

Such concerns are only magnified by the recent claims made by the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State under Obama, Hillary Clinton, that Biden “should not concede under any circumstances.”

“I think this is going to drag out, and eventually I do believe he will win if we don’t give an inch, and if we are as focused and relentless as the other side is,” Clinton continued during an interview with Showtime a little over a week ago. The results of the TIP’s simulations notably echo Clinton’s claims that Biden will “eventually” win if the process to determine the election outcome is “dragged out.”

The Uniparty’s “war games”

Members of the TIP met in June to conduct four “war games” that simulated “a dark 11 weeks between Election Day and Inauguration Day” in which “Trump and his Republican allies used every apparatus of government — the Postal Service, state lawmakers, the Justice Department, federal agents, and the military — to hold onto power, and Democrats took to the courts and the streets to try to stop it,” according to a report from The Boston Globe. However, one of those simulations, which examined what would transpire between Election Day and Inauguration Day in the event of a “clear Trump win,” shows that the TIP simulated not only how Republicans could use every option at their disposal to “hold onto power”, but also how Democrats could do so if the 2020 election result is not in their favor.

While some, mostly right-leaning media outlets, such as this article from The National Pulse, did note that the TIP’s simulations involved the Biden campaign refusing to concede, the actual document from TIP on the exercises revealed the specific moves the Biden campaign would take following a “clear win” for the Trump campaign. Unsurprisingly, these moves would greatly exacerbate current political tensions in the United States, an end result that the TIP claims they were created to avoid, gravely undercutting the official justification for their simulations as well as the group’s official reason for existing.

In the TIP’s “clear Trump win” scenario (see page 17), Joe Biden – played in the war game by John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager and chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton – retracted his election night concession and subsequently convinced “three states with Democratic governors – North Carolina, Wisconsin and Michigan – to ask for recounts.” Then, the governors of Wisconsin and Michigan “sent separate slates of electors to counter those sent by the state legislature” to the Electoral College, which Trump had won, in an attempt to undermine, if not prevent, that win.

Next, “the Biden campaign encouraged Western states, particularly California but also Oregon and Washington, and collectively known as “Cascadia,” to secede from the Union unless Congressional Republicans agreed to a set of structural reforms. (emphasis added)” Subsequently, “with advice from [former] President Obama,” the Biden campaign laid out those “reforms” as the following:

  1. Give statehood to Washington, DC and Puerto Rico
  2. Divide California into five states “to more accurately represent its population in the Senate”
  3. Require Supreme Court justices to retire at 70
  4. Eliminate the Electoral College

In other words, these “structural reforms” involve the creation of what essentially amounts to having the U.S. by composed 56 states, with the new states set to ensure a perpetual majority for Democrats, as only Democrat-majority areas (DC, Puerto Rico and California) are given statehood. Notably, in other scenarios where Biden won the Electoral College, Democrats did not support its elimination.

Also notable is the fact that, in this simulation, the TIP blamed the Trump campaign for the Democrats’ decision to take the “provocative, unprecedented actions” laid out above, asserting that Trump’s campaign had “created the conditions to force the Biden campaign” into taking these actions by doing things like giving “an interview to The Intercept in which he [Trump] stated that he would have lost the election if Bernie Sanders had been nominated” instead of Biden as the Democratic presidential candidate.

The TIP also claimed that the Trump campaign would seek to paint these “provocative, unpredecented actions” as “the Democrats attempting to orchestrate an illegal coup,” despite the fact that that is essentially what those actions entail. Indeed, in other simulations where the Trump campaign behaved along these lines, the TIP’s rhetoric about this category of extreme actions is decidedly different.

Yet, the simulated actions of the Biden campaign in this scenario did not end there, as the Biden campaign subsequently “provoked a breakdown in the joint session of Congress [on January 6th] by getting the House of Representatives to agree to award the presidency to Biden,” adding that this was “based on the alternative pro-Biden submissions sent by pro-Biden governors.” The Republican party obviously did not consent, noting that Trump had won the election through his Electoral College victory. The “clear Trump win” election simulation ended with no president-elect being inaugurated on January 20, with the TIP noting “it was unclear what the military would do in this situation.”

Of course, some TIP members, including its co-founder Rosa Brooks – a former advisor to the Obama era Pentagon and currently a fellow at the “New America” think tank, have their preference for “what the military would do in this situation.” For instance, Brooks, writing less than 2 weeks after Trump’s inauguration in 2017, argued in Foreign Policythat “a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders” was one of four possibilities for removing Trump from office prior to the 2020 election.

Who is behind the TIP?

The TIP was created in late 2019, allegedly “out of concern that the Trump Administration may seek to manipulate, ignore, undermine or disrupt the 2020 presidential election and transition process.” It was co-founded by Rosa Brooks and Nils Gilman and its current director is Zoe Hudson. Brooks, as previously mentioned, was an advisor to the Pentagon and the Hillary Clinton-led State Department during the Obama administration. She was also previously the general counsel to the President of the Open Society Institute, part of the Open Society Foundations (OSF), a controversial organization funded by billionaire George Soros. Zoe Hudson, who is TIP’s director, is also a former top figure at OSF, serving assenior policy analyst and liaison between the foundations and the U.S. government for 11 years.

OSF ties to the TIP are a red flag for a number of reasons, namely due to the fact that OSF and other Soros-funded organizations played a critical role in fomenting so-called “color revolutions” to overthrow non-aligned governments, particularly during the Obama administration. Examples of OSF’s ties to these manufactured “revolutions” include Ukraine in 2014 and the “Arab Spring,” which began in 2011 and saw several governments in the Middle East and North Africa that were troublesome to Western interests conveniently removed from power.

Subsequent leaked emails revealed the cozy ties between Soros and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, including one email where Soros directed Clinton’s policy with respect to unrest in Albania, telling her that two things need to be done urgently,” which were to “bring the full weight of the international community to bear on Prime Minister Berisha” and appoint a senior European official as mediator.” Both “urgent” tasks were subsequently performed by Clinton, presumably at Soros’ behest.

In addition to her ties to the Obama administration and OSF, Brooks is currently a scholar at West Point’s Modern War Institute, where she focuses on “the relationship between the military and domestic policing” and also Georgetown’s Innovative Policing Program. She is a currently a key player in the documented OSF-led push to “capitalize” off of legitimate calls for police reform to justify the creation of a federalized police force under the guise of defunding and/or eliminating local police departments. Brooks’ interest in the “blurring line” between military and police is notable given her past advocacy of a military coup to remove Trump from office and the TIP’s subsequent conclusion that the military “may” have to step in if Trump manages to win the 2020 election, per the group’s “war games” described above.

Brooks is also a senior fellow at the think tank New America. New America’s mission statement notes that the organization is focused on “honestly confronting the challenges caused by rapid technological and social change, and seizing the opportunities those changes create.” It is largely funded by Silicon Valley billionaires, including Bill Gates (Microsoft), Eric Schmidt (Google), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Jeffrey Skoll and Pierre Omidyar (eBay). In addition, it has received millions directly from the U.S. State Department to research “ranking digital rights.” Notably, of these funders, Reid Hoffman was caught “meddling” in the most recent Democratic primary to undercut Bernie Sanders’ candidacy during the Iowa caucus and while others, such as Eric Schmidt and Pierre Omidyar, are known for their cozy ties to the Clinton family and even ties to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

The Never Trumpers

Aside from Brooks, the other co-founder of TIP is Nils Gilman, the current Vice President of Programs at the Berggruen Institute and, prior to that, worked for Salesforce, a major tech company and government contractor. Gilman is particularly focused on artificial intelligence and transhumanism, recently telling the New York Times that his work at the Berggruen Institute is focused on “building [a] transnational networks of philosophers + technologists + policy-makers + artists who are thinking about how A.I. and gene-editing are transfiguring what it means to be human.” Nicholas Berggruen, for whom the Berggruen Institute is named, is part of the billionaire-led faction, alongside Blackstone’s Steve Schwarzman and Eric Schmidt, who seek to develop A.I. and the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” in conjunction with the political leaders and economic elite of China.

They are critics and rivals of those in the “nationalist” camp with respect to A.I. and China, who instead prefer to aggressively “leapfrog” China’s A.I. capabilities in order to maintain U.S. global hegemony as opposed to a “new order” promoted by Berggreun, Schmidt, Schwarzman and Henry Kissinger, another key member of the “cooperation” faction. The battle over the U.S.’ future A.I. policy with respect to China appears to be a major yet widely overlooked reason for some of the antipathy towards Trump by those in the “cooperation” faction, including those who employ TIP’s founders, given Trump’s tendency to, at least publicly, support “America First” policies and increased tensions with China. In contrast, the Biden family is invested in Chinese A.I. companies, suggesting that Biden would be more willing to pursue the interests of the “cooperation” faction than Trump.

While the identities of the TIP’s founders and current director have been made public, the full member list of the TIP has not. However, the TIP’s “sister” organization, called The National Task Force on Election Crises (NTFEC), does have a public membership list and several of its members are also known to be part of the TIP. Some of these overlapping members include Michael Chertoff, former head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Michael Steele, former chairman of the RNC and Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to former Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Chertoff, Steele and Wilkerson, though Republicans, are part of the so-called “Never Trump” Republican faction, as are the TIP’s other known Republican members. Thus, while the “bipartisan” nature of TIP may be accurate in terms of party affiliation, all of known TIP’s members – regardless of party – are united in their opposition to another term for the current president.

Other known members of the TIP include David Frum (the Atlantic), William Kristol (Project for a New American Century, The Bulwark), Max Boot (the Washington Post), Donna Brazile (ex-DNC), John Podesta (former campaign manager – Clinton 2016), Chuck Hagel (former Secretary of Defense), Reed Galen (co-founder of the Lincoln Project) and Norm Ornstein (American Enterprise Institute).

Of their known members, the most outspoken is Lawrence Wilkerson, who has fashioned himself the group’s “unofficial” spokesperson, having done the majority of media interviews promoting the group and its “war games.” In an interview in late June with journalist Paul Jay, Wilkerson notes that the TIP lacks transparency and that, aside from their “war games,” their other activities are largely confidential.

He specifically stated that:

“There is some confidentiality about what we agreed to, and what we’ve put out publicly, and who’s responsible for that, and other aspects of our doing that. The Transition Integrity Project is to this point very, very close, whole, and confidential.”

In that same interview, Wilkerson also noted that the current “combination of events” involving the recent unrest in several U.S. cities, the coronavirus crisis, the national debate over the future of policing, the economic recession and the 2020 election was the foundation for a revolution in the U.S. He told Jay that:

“I want to say this is how things like 1917 and Russia, like 1979 and Tehran, and like 1789 in France. This is how these sorts of things get started. So we’ve got to be very careful about how we deal with these things. And that worries me because we don’t have a very careful individual in the White House.”

Pre-planned chaos – who benefits?

While it certainly is possible that, in the event of a clear Biden win, President Trump could refuse to leave the White House or take other actions that would challenge the faith of many Americans in the national election system. However, while the TIP claims to be specifically concerned about this eventuality and about “safe guarding” democracy without favoring either candidate, that is clearly not the case, as their simulation of a clear Trump win shows that extreme, “undemocratic” behavior, in their view, is permissible if it prevents another four years of Trump. Yet, this clear double standard reveals that an influential group of “bipartisan” insiders are intent on creating a “constitutional crisis” if Trump wins and are planning for such a crisis regardless of the 2020 election’s results.

Well before the TIP or any of their affiliated groups emerged to conduct these doomsday election simulations, other groups were similarly engaged in “war games” that predicted complete chaos in the U.S. on election day as well as the imposition of martial law in the U.S. following the emergence of unprecedented unrest and disarray in the country.

Several of these I detailed in a series earlier this year, which mainly focused on the “Operation Blackout” simulationsconducted by the U.S.-Israeli company, Cybereason. That company has considerable ties to the U.S. and Israeli intelligence and its largest investor is Softbank. Notably, Softbank is named by the Eric Schmidt-led National Security Commission on AI (NSCAI) as forming the “backbone” of a global framework of A.I.-driven companies favored by the “cooperation” faction as a means of enacting the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” in cooperation with China’s economic and political elite.

In addition to Cybereason, several mainstream media reports and a series of suspect “predictions” from U.S. intelligence and other federal agencies released last year had seeded the narrative that the 2020 election would not only fail spectacularly, but that U.S. democracy “would never recover.” Now, with the TIP’s simulations added to the mix and the advent of the previously predicted chaos throughout the country with the 2020 election just two months away, it is clear that the November 3rd election will not only be a complete disaster, but a pre-planned one.

The question then becomes, who benefits from complete chaos on and following the 2020 election? As the TIP suggested in several of their simulations, the post-election role of the military in terms of domestic policing, incidentally the exact expertise of the TIP’s co-founder Rosa Brooks, looms large, as most of the aforementioned doomsday election simulations ended with the imposition of martial law or the military “stepping in” to resolve order and oversee the transition.

The domestic framework for imposing martial law in the U.S., via “continuity of government” protocols, was activated earlier this year under the guise of the coronavirus crisis and it remains in effect. Now, a series of groups deeply tied to the Washington establishment and domestic and foreign intelligence agencies have predicted the exact ways in which to engineer a failed election and manipulate its aftermath.

Who would stand to benefit the most from the imposition of martial law in the United States? I would argue that one need look no further than the battle within Washington power factions over the future of AI, which has been deemed of critical importance to national security by the public sector, the private sector and prominent think tanks. The Schmidt-led NSCAI and other bodies determining the country’s AI policy plan to implement a series of policies that will be deeply resisted by most Americans – from the elimination of individual car ownership to the elimination of cash as well as the imposition of an Orwellian surveillance system, among other things.

All of these agendas have advanced under the guise of combatting coronavirus, but their advance can only continue to use that justification for so long. For groups like the NSCAI, Americans must welcome these AI-driven advances or else, even if it means Americans face losing their jobs or their civil liberties. Otherwise, these groups and their billionaire backers argue, the U.S. will be “left out” and “left behind” when it comes time to set the new global standards for AI technology, as the U.S. will then be left in the dust by China’s growing AI industry, which is fed by its own implementation of these technologies.

By keeping Americans angry and distracted by the partisan divide through pre-planned election chaos, a “New America” waits in the wings – one that is coming regardless of what happens on election day. That is, of course, unless Americans quickly wake up to the ruse…

Preventing a Disrupted Presidential Election and Transition


August 3, 2020

Executive Summary

In June 2020 the Transition Integrity Project (TIP) convened a bipartisan group of over 100 current and

former senior government and campaign leaders and other experts in a series of 2020 election crisis scenario

planning exercises. The results of all four table-top exercises were alarming. We assess with a high

degree of likelihood that November’s elections will be marked by a chaotic legal and political landscape.

We also assess that the President Trump is likely to contest the result by both legal and extra-legal means,

in an attempt to hold onto power. Recent events, including the President’s own unwillingness to commit

to abiding by the results of the election, the Attorney General’s embrace of the President’s groundless

electoral fraud claims, and the unprecedented deployment of federal agents to put down leftwing protests,

underscore the extreme lengths to which President Trump may be willing to go in order to stay in office.

In this report, TIP explains the basis for our assessment. Our findings are bolstered by the historical experience

of Bush v. Gore (2000) and other U.S. electoral dysfunctions. The closest analogy may be the election

of 1876, a time of extreme partisanship and rampant disenfranchisement, where multiple states proffered

competing slates of electors, and the election was only resolved through a grand political bargain

days before Inaugurationone that traded an end to Reconstruction for electoral peace and resulted in a

century of Jim Crow, leaving deep wounds that are far from healed today.

Among the findings we highlight in the report:

The concept of “election night,” is no longer accurate and indeed is dangerous. We face a period

of contestation stretching from the first day a ballot is cast in mid-September until January

20. The winner may not, and we assess likely will not, be known on “election night” as officials

count mail-in ballots. This period of uncertainty provides opportunities for an unscrupulous candidate

to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the process and to set up an unprecedented assault on the

outcome. Campaigns, parties, the press and the public must be educated to adjust expectations

starting immediately.

A determined campaign has opportunity to contest the election into January 2021. We anticipate

lawsuits, divergent media narratives, attempts to stop the counting of ballots, and protests

drawing people from both sides. President Trump, the incumbent, will very likely use the executive

branch to aid his campaign strategy, including through the Department of Justice. We assess

that there is a chance the president will attempt to convince legislatures and/or governors to take

actions including illegal actions to defy the popular vote. Federal laws provide little guidance

for how Congress should resolve irregularities when they convene in a Joint Session on January

6, 2021. Of particular concern is how the military would respond in the context of uncertain election

results. Here recent evidence offers some reassurance, but it is inconclusive.

The administrative transition process itself may be highly disrupted. Participants in our exercises

of all backgrounds and ideologies believed that Trump would prioritize personal gain and

self-protection over ensuring an orderly administrative handoff to his successor. Trump may use

pardons to thwart future criminal prosecution, arrange business deals with foreign governments

that benefit him financially, attempt to bribe and silence associates, declassify sensitive documents,

and attempt to divert federal funds to his own businesses.

These risks can be mitigated; the worst outcomes of the exercises are far from a certainty. The purpose of

this report is not to frighten, but to spur all stakeholders to action. Our legal rules and political norms

don’t work unless people are prepared to defend them and to speak out when others violate them. It is


incumbent upon elected officials, civil society leaders, and the press to challenge authoritarian actions in

the courts, in the media, and in the streets through peaceful protest. Specific recommendations include:

Plan for a contested election. If there is a crisis, events will unfold quickly, and sleep-deprived

leaders will be asked to make consequential decisions quickly. Thinking through options now will

help to ensure better decisions. Approach this as a political battle, not just a legal battle. In the

event of electoral contestation, sustained political mobilization will likely be crucial for ensuring

transition integrity. Dedicated staff and resources need to be in place at least through the end of


Focus on readiness in the states, providing political support for a complete and accurate count.

Governors, Secretaries of State, Attorneys General and Legislatures can communicate and reinforce

laws and norms and be ready to confront irregularities. Election officials will need political

and public support to see the process through to completion.

Address the two biggest threats head on: lies about “voter fraud” and escalating violence. Voting

fraud is virtually non-existent, but Trump lies about it to create a narrative designed to politically

mobilize his base and to create the basis for contesting the results should he lose. The potential

for violent conflict is high, particularly since Trump encourages his supporters to take up


Anticipate a rocky administrative transition. Transition teams will likely need to do two things

simultaneously: defend against Trump’s reckless actions on his way out of office; and find creative

solutions to ensure landing teams are able to access the information and resources they need

to begin to prepare for governing.


About the Transition Integrity Project

The Transition Integrity Project (TIP)1 was launched in late 2019 out of concern that the Trump Administration

may seek to manipulate, ignore, undermine or disrupt the 2020 presidential election and transition

process. TIP takes no position on how Americans should cast their votes, or on the likely winner of

the upcoming election; either major party candidate could prevail at the polls in November without resorting

to “dirty tricks.” However, the administration of President Donald Trump has steadily undermined

core norms of democracy and the rule of law and embraced numerous corrupt and authoritarian practices.

This presents a profound challenge for those from either party who are committed to ensuring free and

fair elections, peaceful transitions of power, and stable administrative continuity in the United States.

The American people have the right to choose their next president without intimidation or interference in

the normal electoral process. Believers in democracy and the rule of law should therefore be prepared to

take action to ensure that the results of the 2020 presidential election reflect the will of the American people.

Like many authoritarian leaders, President Trump has begun to lay the groundwork for potentially

ignoring or disrupting the voting process, by claiming, for instance, that any mail-in ballots will be fraudulent

and that his opponents will seek to have non-citizens vote through fraud. Similarly, he has frequently

expressed the view that he is entitled to additional time in office and that his opponents are seeking

to steal the election. If President Trump’s future actions violate long-standing legal and ethical norms

relating to presidential elections, there is also a risk that they will push other actors, including, potentially,

some in the Democratic Party, to similarly engage in practices that depart from traditional rule of law

norms, out of perceived self-defense.

The goal of TIP is to highlight these various electoral and transition-related risks and make recommendations

to all actors, individual and institutional, who share a commitment to democracy and the rule of

law.2 The recommendations shared here reflect input from both Republicans and Democrats committed to

these values. However, because the primary threat to the integrity of the election and transition appears to

come from the Trump Administration, most of the recommendations in this memo focus on how actors

committed to the rule of law can restrain or counter anti-democratic actions the Trump Administration

and its supporters may take in connection with the 2020 election.

That TIP’s concerns are widely shared is reflected in the media attention which this project has already

begun to garner. (For a list of articles as of late July 2020, see Appendix A.)

About the Scenario Exercises

In June 2020, TIP organized four scenario exercises to identify risks to the rule of law or to the integrity

of the democratic process in the period between Election Day (November 3, 2020) and Inauguration Day

(January 20, 2021), with an eye toward mitigation and/or prevention of worst-case outcomes.

At this point it seems possible that either candidate may achieve a decisive electoral victory, but the goal

of TIP’s scenario exercises was to gain a better understanding of the tests our democratic institutions

1 Rosa Brooks and Nils Gilman launched the Transition Integrity Project in December 2019 to focus on identifying

and mitigating threats to democracy and administrative continuity in the period between Election Day and Inauguration.

TIP has received advice and input from dozens of experts representing both major political parties. TIP is directed

by Zoe Hudson. Inquires can be sent to

2 TIP recognizes and shares the view that the Electoral College is profoundly anti-democratic, and that numerous

long-standing practices also function to create structural biases in our voting system. For present purposes, however,

these constraints are treated as givens.


could face in the event that candidates defy the norms that have underpinned American political practice

for decades. Specifically, TIP wanted to examine some of the unknowns: How far might candidates go in

contesting negative electoral outcomes or disrupting the normal transition process? How well would

American institutions hold up if one or both candidates refused to “play by the rules”?

The four scenarios were developed after a consultative process involving outreach to experts on elections

and transitions, political violence and instability, governance, and scenario planning and game design.

Each of the four scenarios developed was different. (See Appendix B for a summary of the scenarios and

key actions.) In one scenario, the exercise posited that the winner of the election was not known as of the

morning after the election and the outcome of the race was too close to predict with certainty; in another,

the exercise began with the premise that Democratic party candidate Joe Biden won the popular vote and

the Electoral College by a healthy margin; and in a third, the exercise assumed that President Trump won

the Electoral College vote but again lost the popular vote by a healthy margin. The fourth exercise began

with the premise that Biden won both the popular vote and the Electoral College by a narrow margin.

Sixty-seven people participated as active “players” in one or more of the scenario exercises, while dozens

more participated in the exercises as observers and offered feedback during debriefing sessions. Participants

included members of both major political parties, former high-ranking government officials (including,

for example, two former governors), senior political campaigners, nationally prominent journalists

and communications professionals, social movement leaders, and experts on politics, national security,

democratic reform, election law, and media.

Each simulation exercise involved seven teams, each composed of 2-3 people. The teams were constructed

to allow players considerable flexibility to adopt different identities at different points in the

game. Using a “matrix game”3 format, the teams were: (1) The Trump Campaign [“Team Trump”]; (2)

The Biden Campaign [“Team Biden”]; (3) Republican Elected Officials; (4) Democratic Elected Officials;

(5) Career Federal Government employees (civilian and military) and political appointees; (6) Media

(right wing, left wing and mainstream); and (7) the Public (this team consisted of polling experts).

Teams were made up of participants with “real life” experience in the types of roles they were asked to

play. Under the rules of the matrix game, teams presented with the initial scenario could take any action

they wanted. The chances of success of each team action were determined based on robust argumentation

among all teams and the adjudication of a White Cell, as well as a randomizing factor based on dice rolls.

It is important to note that the exercises were not designed to model or simulate legal strategy, but rather

to better understand the potential political mobilization and media dynamics surrounding potential electoral

contestation, and how candidates might exercise political power to achieve a win.

Key Insights from the Scenario Exercises

The scenario planning exercises were conducted in June 2020. Developments since then have only confirmed

that there is every reason to be concerned that our electoral rules and norms are under threat. In an

interview with Chris Wallace, President Trump suggested that he might not abide by the results of the

election if he loses. The President deployed agents from Homeland Security to Portland to suppress racial

3 A “matrix game” approach emphasizes and facilitates creativity and dynamic interaction between teams representing

major stakeholder groups. Participants make multifaceted, competitive arguments about not only their own intended

actions, but also the actions of each of their allies, partners, and competitors. The iterative “contest of ideas”

design forces players to interrogate and critique actions in real-time which provides insight not only into what

could happen, but also the reactions those actions may elicit. The gameplay focuses on players’ intentions, which

makes this modality useful for analyzing competing strategies.


justice protestors, a move that outraged many, including the Republican former head of Homeland Security,

and indicates President Trump’s appetite to deploy federal agents even against the will of local

elected officials. He has announced plans to expand this deployment to blue cities in swing states, raising

the specter of electoral intimidation. President Trump has speculated about whether the election should be

postponed and Attorney General Bill Barr expressed confusion about whether the date of the election

could be moved. (As a legal matter, only Congress can move the day of the Presidential election.) Trump

also demanded that the election results be called immediately on Election Day, e.g. before all mail-in ballots

can be counted. And the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center in the Office

of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement warning that foreign countries are again

trying to interfere in the US election.

Two words of caution about the findings from the exercises. First, TIP intentionally did not game legal

strategies in any detail. Litigation will be an important part of the strategy for both sides, but we did not

attempt to pass judgement on whether any particular claims or tactics would prevail. One question is

whether a candidate is able to convince the state legislature to send a package of electoral college votes

inconsistent with the certified popular vote. Even if a court disapproved of this action, Congress might

nonetheless consider those votes on January 6.

Second, the exercises were not able to fully capture the ways in which the media will shape and drive

public opinion, or how specific media outlets would cover events differently and drive increasingly partisan

responses. Social media in particular will undoubtedly play a heavy role in how the public perceives

the outcome of the election. Political operatives, both domestic and foreign, will very likely attempt to use

social media to sow discord and even move people to violence. Social media companies’ policy and enforcement

decisions will be consequential, and this merits further exploration and consideration.

The topline findings are here. While not directly the subject of the scenario planning exercises, in debriefings

our participants almost all raised questions about whether “Trumpism” would survive a Trump loss.

We include a summary of that discussion in Appendix C.

1. Campaign decisions about whether to contest the election are likely to be political calculations,

rather than calculations based on legal rules alone.

Election lawyers use the term “margin of litigation” to describe the range of reported vote tallies that

would provoke legal action. Thinking about the upcoming Presidential election, the more important concept

might be the “margin of contestation.”4 In other words, what combination of factors might lead a

candidate to conclude that contesting the election is (or is not) in his interest? This is a dynamic and unpredictable

calculation because the outcome is likely to be fought not only in court or by counting ballots,

but possibly also in state legislatures, in Congress, and on the streets.

What happens before Election Day will, to a large extent, determine the margin of contestation. Reporters,

pollsters, pundits, political parties, and many others will communicate confidence or concern about

the legitimacy of the election. Viral social media memes will play a role as well.

During the exercises, winning “the narrative” emerged as a potentially decisive factor. Either side can expand

or contract the “margin of contestation” if they succeed in substantially changing how key decision

makers and the public view the “facts,” the risks of action or inaction, or external events such as civil unrest.

An integrated strategy of legal contestation, political leadership, mass mobilization, and messaging is

4 This observation comes from Ohio State University law professor Edward B. Foley, author of Presidential Elections

and Majority Rule (Oxford University Press, 2020) and Ballot Battles: The History of Disputed Elections in the

United States (Oxford University Press, 2016).


much stronger, and Team Trump often had the advantage because they could rely on Fox News, a significant

and committed base, and loyalties from law enforcement agencies. Team Biden often had the majority

of the public on its side, and the ability to mobilize resentment about the structural disenfranchisement

in the way we conduct presidential elections.

TIP’s exercises suggest that President Trump may expand the margin of contestation primarily by contesting

the legality of votes cast (e.g., by alleging fraudulent mail-in ballots, voting by ineligible voters, etc.).

Meanwhile, former Vice President Biden may expand the margin of contestation by highlighting voter

suppression by the GOP (purges of voter rolls, shutting down of polling places, failure to fund election

administration, ID and other verification requirements, intimidation of voters, etc.). Biden may also be

able to expand the margin of contestation by questioning the overall legitimacy of a system that doesn’t

require the winner to get a majority of the popular vote or by decrying how President Trump uses the

power of the presidency to manipulate the process. Both sides may expand the margin of contestation by

questioning the credibility of reported results, if, for example, they believe (or merely assert) that foreign

interference or other factors compromised the integrity of the vote count.

The conditions and mood of the country will also inform whether and how candidates assess the window

of contestation. We could be facing an alarming second wave of COVID-19, rising unemployment, a cratering

stock market, growing evictions, civil unrest, and even political violence. President Trump may be

seen as an asset or as a liability to down-ballot Republican candidates. The political commitment (or desperation)

of rank and file members of each party will not just reflect the actions of leadership but may

drive those actions as well. A close election will by definition be a fluid situation.

2. A close and contested election may be resolved through the exercise of power, not through

the courts.

The scenario exercises developed by TIP were designed to encourage both the Biden and Trump teams to

pursue plausible but aggressive actions in order to win. The exercises demonstrated that the very first

“move” by each campaign was often decisive; it established a narrative and the overall strategy. In all

four of the exercises TIP conducted, Team Trump immediately adopted a strategy of casting doubt on the

official election results, even in the one scenario where he later accepted a loss. Team Trump also encouraged

chaos and violence in the streets and aimed to provoke Team Biden into subverting norms even

as Team Trump itself sabotaged traditional norms so that Team Biden could be accused of hypocrisy or


During the exercises, Team Trump and GOP elected officials took the following steps:

Calling for recounts in all states in which victory was not already apparent.

Launching coordinated investigations at the state and federal levels into alleged “voting irregularities”

in an effort to undermine public confidence in results that did not go Trump’s way and/or

alter the results.

Attempting to halt the counting of mail-in ballots by filing cases in state court or leaning on Republican

leaders to stop vote counting or to certify a result early, without waiting for the certified

results from the Secretary of State.

Turning out their well-organized and committed base to take to the streets in Trump’s favor, in

part by disseminating disinformation about the danger posed by pro-Biden demonstrators (e.g., by

suggesting likely Antifa violence, etc.).

Relying on both FOX News and right-wing social media to echo and amplify pro-Trump messages

and facilitate the harassment and bullying of election officials, to cause chaos and delay

and/or to intimidate officials into taking actions that benefited Team Trump.


Using federal agencies to justify or support Trump campaign tactics. In one of the more aggressive

moves undertaken in one of the TIP exercises, Team Trump had Attorney General Bill Barr

order the seizure of mail-in ballots to ensure that vote counting would stop.

In TIP’s exercises, when Team Trump was behind in the popular vote, they moved quickly to try to shift

the narrative and alter the standards of proof. Their strategy was to force Team Biden to “prove a negative”:

that there was not election fraud. The exercises suggest that Trump and his supporters are likely to

engage in an orchestrated disinformation campaign to shape the public’s perception in fact, misperception

of the “facts” underpinning a dispute over electoral results. In TIP’s exercises, once a narrative

took hold casting the election results into doubt, Team Trump was able to successfully convince GOPcontrolled

state legislatures to submit separate slates of electors declaring Trump the winner.5

Biden’s strategic assets include Democratic governors and Secretaries of State in swing states (notably in

North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin); a broadly shared sense in the Democratic Party

that current voting systems, as well as the electoral college, are structurally anti-democratic; and a widespread

and deeply-held desire, on the part of Democrats nationwide, to move on from the chaos of the

Trump administration. In all the scenarios examined in TIP’s exercises, even as votes were still being

counted, Team Biden moved quickly to try to project an ability to govern, by announcing cabinet nominees,

an agenda for the first 100 days, and bipartisan support for its administration.

During the exercises, Team Biden and Democratic elected officials took the following steps:

Organizing 1,000 “influencers” to denounce efforts to steal the election.

Organizing all living presidents to stand with Biden and denounce Trump administration efforts

to subvert the democratic process.

Recruiting moderate Republican Governors such as Baker (MA) and Hogan (MD) to form an

“Election Protection” Coalition.

Working with local Democratic elected officials to call on the Adjutant General of the National

Guard, along with representatives from the technology sector, to monitor vote counting.

Organizing a bipartisan “National Day for Restoration of Democracy” and a “National Day of

Unity,” both including faith leaders.

Attempting a capital strike and a work stoppage as part of an overall effort to push corporate

leaders to insist that all ballots to be counted.

During TIP’s exercises, these moves had limited ability to stop Team Trump’s push to discredit or contest

the results. The one exception was in the scenario, described in more detail later, where Biden won the

popular vote by a large margin but still lost the electoral college, and the response was aggressive and coordinated.

Team Trump was consistently more ruthless than Team Biden more willing to ignore existing

democratic norms, to make use of disinformation, to deploy federal agencies to promote Trump’s personal

and electoral interests, and to engage in intimidation campaigns. Team Biden generally felt constrained

by a commitment to norms and a desire to tamp down violence and reduce instability.

At the same time, the scenario exercises also revealed that for many Democrats and key Democratic constituencies,

this election represents an existential crisis, the last chance to stop a rapid and potentially irreversible

US decline into authoritarianism and unbridled nativism. Some participants in the exercises observed

that if former Vice President Biden wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College, there

will be political pressure from the Democratic Party’s rank and file and from independent grassroots

5 This move and others would certainly be contested in court; we don’t mean to imply that every action taken is

strictly legal. Teams were given considerable flexibility in the actions taken.


organizations to prevent a second Trump term. In the scenario that most closely mirrored the 2016 election

results (e.g., the Democratic candidate wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College), Team

Biden pushed to overturn certified results in states with Democratic Governors and negotiated hard for

permanent structural reforms in exchange for recognition of a Trump victory. To take this more robust

action, Team Biden had to deliver a united Democratic front, which meant coordinating effectively with

state party officials as well as with grassroots and activist organizations. While most participants believed

that the Trump campaign has the real-life capacity to mobilize and, to a significant extent, steer and control

the actions of Trump supporters, several participants expressed serious doubt about the ability of the

Biden campaign to either mobilize or control left-wing activists. (They also expressed doubt about Team

Trump’s future willingness to honor any agreements made during the election period.)

The period from November 4th to December 14th sets the stage for a potential fight in the Congress on

January 6th, 2021. The scenario exercises did not have adequate representation from individual states to

adequately understand how the full range of state-based institutions and actors would likely conduct

themselves. Teams were often able to convince state legislatures or governors to submit a slate of electors

contrary to the popular vote, but it isn’t clear how realistic this political possibility is, or if it is being actively

considered by either campaign.

3. As an incumbent unbounded by norms, President Trump has a huge advantage.

TIP’s scenario exercises underscored a basic truth: an incumbent running for re-election can use the powers

of the presidency to great advantage, particularly if traditional norms are viewed as unimportant and

the incumbent is willing to take the risk that a court will eventually rule his actions to be unlawful. The

exercise identified the following presidential powers as most likely to be misused to manipulate electoral

outcomes or disrupt the transition: the President’s ability to federalize the national guard or invoke the

Insurrection Act to deploy active duty military domestically; his ability to launch investigations into opponents;

and his ability to use Department of Justice and/or the intelligence agencies to cast doubt on

election results or discredit his opponents. The President and key members of his administration can also

reference classified documents without releasing them, manipulate classified information, or selectively

release classified documents for political purposes, fueling manufactured rumors. Participants noted that

additional presidential powers subject to misuse include the ability to the freeze assets of individuals and

groups the president determines to be a threat, and his ability to restrict internet communications in the

name of national security.

Many participants expressed concern that the Department of Justice has been politicized and would be

used to provide legal cover for the President’s actions. In one TIP simulation, the teams playing the Department

of Justice and the Postmaster General took action to seize ballots going through the mail, allegedly

to “safeguard” the ballots pursuant to a fraud investigation. The elections also demonstrated that

there is considerable room to use foreign interference, real or invented, as a pretext to cast doubt on the

election results or more generally to create uncertainty about the legitimacy of the election.

The scenario exercises revealed very few meaningful checks on Team Trump’s executive authorities from

GOP members of Congress or from political appointees in federal agencies.6 During the TIP exercises,

teams playing GOP elected officials and political appointees most often acted in lockstep to support Team

Trump. Where the GOP broke ranks, it could be decisive. There was one instance where four GOP

6 This did not feature in the scenario planning exercises, but when President Trump has suggested that the date of the

election should be moved, GOP leaders, including Majority Leader McConnell have been quick to clarify that the

date cannot be moved. See “Trump encounters broad pushback to his suggestion to delay the Nov. 3 election,”

Washington Post, July 30, 2020.


Senators broke with Trump when the Congress considered the slate of electors, handing the victory to

Biden. The one area of genuine uncertainty related to whether Team Trump could convince the military to

deploy active duty troops domestically. In the scenario, the military refused to support Team Trump, but

there was concern that this reflected “recency bias” given that the exercises were run shortly after participants

observed the military’s cautiousness in the wake of the June 1, 2020 events in Lafayette Square.

4. A show of numbers in the streets- and actions in the streets- may be decisive factors in determining

what the public perceives as a just and legitimate outcome.

During TIP’s exercises, Team Biden almost always called for and relied on mass protests to demonstrate

the public’s commitment to a “legitimate” outcome, with the objective of hardening the resolve of Democratic

elected officials to fight and take action, and to dramatize the stakes. As a practical matter, however,

participants in the exercise noted that racial justice activists and others will likely act independently

of the Biden campaign players repeatedly cautioned that these social movements are independent, not

beholden to, or a tool of, the Democratic party. Their support or Biden’s ability to mobilize them cannot

be taken for granted. (Note: leaders of these grassroots movements were not well represented in the simulation

exercises, so the scenario exercises did not robustly test their likely receptivity to a Biden call to

take to the streets, or to the Biden campaign’s ability to control these actors once mobilized.) If anything,

the scale of recent demonstrations has increased the stakes for the Democratic Party to build strong ties

with grassroots organizations and be responsive to the movement’s demands.

In addition, the exercises suggest that there is a significant possibility of simultaneous street mobilizations

by both Trump and Biden supporters, in which case the possibility for violence will increase significantly,

and the actions of law enforcement will become critical. Of note here: TIP’s scenario exercise suggest

that President Trump and his more fervent supporters have every incentive to try to turn peaceful pro-

Biden (or anti-Trump) protests violent in order to generate evidence that a Democratic victory is tantamount

to “mob rule.” In the recent past, President Trump has on numerous occasions called on “Second

Amendment people” to defend their rights and has called on his supporters to “liberate” states with restrictive

COVID-19-related rules. Trump can rely on surrogates to embed operatives inside protests to encourage

violent action, and he can mobilize a range of law enforcement actors (including National Guard

troops, whether federalized or under the control of GOP governors) who might, without proper training or

if led by politicized actors, escalate matters. In some scenarios examined by TIP, Team Trump succeeded

in invoking the Insurrection Act and sending active duty military troops into US cities to “restore order,”

“protect” voting places, or confiscate “fraudulent” ballots.

5. Trump is likely to prioritize his personal interests in the transition period.

TIP constructed scenarios intended to illuminate issues in the transition period, but during the exercise,

the active teams spent most of their time contesting the election results. As a result, the insights on the

formal transition are somewhat limited. Nevertheless, a few themes emerged:

Take the money and run. Participants in the scenario exercises universally believed that selfpreservation

for President Trump and his family will be Trump’s first and possibly only priority if

he is forced to concede electoral defeat. Before he leaves office he might maximize the flow of

federal money into Trump businesses (moves played: direct COVID-19 relief package for Trump

hotels; relocate to Mar-a-Lago for the final months of his presidency); negotiate business deals

with foreign countries; and purge documents that might incriminate foreign governments and

business partners (for example, documents related to Jamal Khashoggi’s murder). President

Trump could also launch his next business venture from the White House (speculations include

“MAGA TV,” possibly headed by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner).

Pardon everyone. In almost every TIP scenario, Team Trump executed or prepared for the pardons

of relatives, campaign associates, and himself. Players took different approaches in each of

the scenarios; in one scenario Trump resigned on January 19, 2021, trusting that Pence would

sign the pardons. In another scenario, Trump executed his own pardon. In the debrief, participants

noted that the pardons could be challenged only after he leaves office and someone files charges.

Even with an expansive understanding of pardon powers, Trump can’t absolve himself of state

crimes. He could, however, impugn the character of state officials, including, for instance, the

character of New York State Attorney Leticia James, who has publicly threatened legal action

against President Trump when he leaves office. He will certainly try to establish the narrative in

advance that any efforts to hold him or his allies accountable for wrong-doing and illegality is politically

motivated revenge.

Wag the Dog/spark a foreign adventure. There was quite a bit of speculation that Trump might

himself initiate a foreign crisis shortly after the election or during the transition, perhaps to

change the media narrative around a contested election, attempt to rally nationalist feelings to

himself, or placate foreign leaders to whom he may feel beholden, such as Vladimir Putin. Some

participants noted that in the event of political chaos in the United States, certain US adversaries

might be emboldened to act opportunistically, especially if electoral contestation was generating

uncertainty about who precisely was acting as Commander in Chief. From a national security

perspective, participants expressed concern about US vulnerability during a contested election.

Destroy evidence. In an effort to preserve the President’s legacy and thwart future criminal investigations,

Team Trump ordered numerous documents destroyed in several of the exercises. Team

Trump also classified many more documents as top secret and expanded the use of non-disclosure


Disrupt the transition process. In several of the TIP exercises, Team Trump refused to provide

clearances or briefings for proposed members of the incoming Biden administration, offering

only what is already in the public domain. Team Trump attempted to discredit the transition team

(“We’re cooperating, but not with Democrat Antifa agents”). In a debrief, one participant expressed

concern that Attorney General Barr could launch a bogus investigation into “terrorist

ties” of the Biden transition team in order to justify surveillance, and/or facilitate a false flag operation

before the election or when the election is still being contested. Others voiced the concern

that if Trump loses badly, he could quit on the spot, making Vice President Pence interim president

during the transition period. Few participants found it plausible to envision a defeated Trump

gracefully engaging in the customary rite of passing the baton to the next President on Inauguration


During several of the TIP exercises, Team Biden attempted to enter into negotiations with Team Trump

about a pardon and graceful transition, but those overtures were consistently rejected. In multiple instances,

Team Biden offered to talk about pardons. In one instance, Team Biden’s strategy in anticipation

of an ultimate loss was to strengthen its hand in order to negotiate a package of structural reforms

to the democratic system (including making DC and Puerto Rico states, abolishing the Electoral College,

and requiring Supreme Court justices to retire at 70).

It is not clear whether the failure to compromise during these scenario exercises should be viewed as predictive

of likely future behavior by Trump and his representatives, or whether the game structure of the

scenario exercises rewarded partisan actions. What is clear is that, if he is faced with having to negotiate

an “exit package” with the incoming Biden team, President Trump has incentives to increase the chaos or

damage to the institutions during the transition process, in order to improve his negotiating leverage regarding

that exit package.


Recommendations to Avoid a Crisis

The recommendations below are preliminary, and TIP is actively seeking feedback on these recommendations,

which will be revised as needed based on input received. Some of these recommendations are already

being contemplated and implemented by independent organizations.

TIP has no role in advising campaigns on strategy, and the campaigns will take independent actions. The

draft recommendations below are directed at government officials, civil society actors, and other stakeholders

concerned with safeguarding the integrity of the 2020 election and transition process.

1. Plan for a contested election.

There will likely not be an “election night” this year; unprecedented numbers of voters are expected to

use mail-in ballots, which will almost certainly delay the certified result for days or weeks. A delay provides

a window for campaigns, the media, and others to cast doubt on the integrity of the process and for

escalating tensions between competing camps. As a legal matter, a candidate unwilling to concede can

contest the election into January.

Everyone interested in protecting the legitimacy of the election and transition planning processes needs to

make plans now for how to respond in the event of a crisis.

If there is a crisis, events will unfold quickly, and sleep-deprived leaders will be asked to make

consequential decisions quickly. Thinking through options now will help to ensure better decisions.

Planners need to take seriously the notion that this may well be a street fight, not a legal battle;

technocratic solutions, courts, and a reliance on elites observing norms are not the answer here.

Dedicated staff and resources need to be in place at least through the end of January.

The news media has a particular responsibility to ready the public for the possibility that results

will not be known on Election Night, to communicate election results accurately, and to plan to

cover a contested election in a manner that reduces, rather than inflames, tensions.

2. Focus on readiness in the states, providing political support for a complete and accurate count.

Get it right here to avoid a crisis.

Our decentralized elections system places great power in the hands of state actors, including Governors,

Secretaries of State, Attorneys General and Legislatures. Election officials will need political and public

support to see the process through to its conclusion.

State and local election officials need to communicate with the public ahead of time, clarifying

how ballots will be counted, when results might be known, and how disputes will be resolved.

State actors should understand and use the legal remedies available under state law to address

confusion and questions about the count.

State actors, particularly those in swing states, should ask: What are specific political incentives

for certain actions in the post-electoral period in their state? What is the risk that the state legislature

or the governor would certify a result at odds with the popular vote? What are the risks that a

complete count would be thwarted? What is the history of hate crimes and other acts of targeted

violence? Who are the key influencers in the media and among local activists who can affect political

perceptions, and mobilize political action? Can they be approached and briefed on these

issues now, to establish pre-commitments to playing a constructive role in the event of a contested



Groups, coalitions, and networks should be preparing now to establish the necessary communications

and organizing infrastructure to support mass mobilization. If there is a crisis, almost every

strategy to protect the democratic process is dependent on mass mobilization, and in particular, on

people taking peacefully to the streets in large numbers, potentially for an extended period. Large,

base-building groups on the progressive side will need to anchor this strategy, but their success

will likely depend on supporting and resourcing new and emerging racial justice leaders, many of

whom are not affiliated with formal institutions and coalitions.

3. Name the elephant in the room: President Trump is not running a normal re-election campaign.

There is a difference between running for re-election and attempting to stay in power through any means

possible. A norm-disregarding incumbent has assets that can influence the outcome. President Trump’s

actions and statements over the course of his presidency raise serious concerns about whether he will observe

the norms of our electoral system. Everyone particularly the media and non-partisan actors

should avoid “both side-ism,” the instinct to appear neutral by positing false equivalencies between major

and minor norm breaches or illegalities.

Of particular concern are the President’s ability to federalize the national guard; to deploy the military domestically;

to launch investigations into opponents and to freeze their assets; and even to control communication

in the name of national security. The politicization of the Department of Justice adds an additional

worrying dimension, including whether and how the agency could provide legal cover for the President’s

actions. In July, the Department of Homeland Security deployed federal agents to Portland, Oregon

under questionable legal authority and against the will of local officials. Agents detained people, and used

tear gas, rubber bullets and acoustic weapons on protestors. This follows the well-publicized and broadly

condemned actions in Lafayette Square in June where National Guard troops and U.S. Park Police used

tear gas on protestors in order to allow President Trump to have a photo op in front of a church.

Congressional leaders should conduct oversight hearings, set clear expectations ahead of time

about the conduct of the election, and seek advance assurances from the military and agency

heads about their plans and conduct. The Department of Homeland Security should be pushed to

more vigorously investigate and publicize evidence of foreign interference.

Military and law enforcement leaders need to be particularly attuned to the possibility that partisan

actors will seek to manipulate or misuse their coercive powers for inappropriate political

ends. Concretely, at both the state and federal level, partisan actors (including President Trump

himself) may seek to deploy law enforcement, national guard troops and potentially active duty

military (under the Insurrection Act) to “restore order” in a manner that primarily benefits one

candidate, or to participate in efforts that interrupt the process to count ballots. Military and law

enforcement leaders need to plan now for these possibilities to avoid becoming unwitting pawns

in a partisan battle.

Civil servants should be educated about their legal obligations to uphold the constitution. Those

who speak out about abuses of power may need political protection and support, and legal assistance,

as they may face retaliation.

Journalists and independent watch dogs can begin to cultivate sources and research stories now so

that they are positioned to sound the alarm should actors inside or outside of government attempt

to discredit the legitimate results of the election.

4. Address the two biggest threats head on: lies about “vote fraud” and escalating violence.


Despite overwhelming evidence that voting fraud is extremely rare, falsely claiming fraud is a common

tactic to undermine voter confidence in election results, and Trump is using it already. Another significant

concern is that if both Trump and Biden supporters take to the streets, it will increase the risk of violent

conflict, particularly since President Trump has repeatedly encouraged his supporters to take up arms.

Foreign intelligence operations are also likely to attempt to stoke domestic discord. Extremists can use

social media platforms and communications tools like Facebook Messenger to quickly and broadly disseminate

lies and to organize people to take extreme action. (We have seen this already, e.g., through

hoaxes aimed at encouraging armed right-wing activists to assemble against non-existent threats.)

Trusted leaders and the media should publicly challenge President Trump’s claims of fraud, including

that all mail-in ballots are fraudulent. This should be described as the first step of a strategy

to interrupt or disregard the official results. Election officials and others in a position to

launch large public information campaigns need to explain the long tradition of absentee voting

as well as the safeguards in place to secure mail-in ballots and protect the results.

Public officials and law enforcement need to plan for large-scale protests, provide support for

peaceful demonstrations that are protected by the First Amendment, and think carefully about

how to deal quickly with violent elements, some of whom may be agents provocateurs.

Peaceful protestors will need specialized training on de-escalation and non-violent techniques

and on how to document the non-violent nature of their protests, given the likelihood that agitators

will attempt to blame any violence on them.

Media outlets, organizers and campaigns need to develop strategies to both promote accurate reporting

with trusted leaders and to interrupt and limit disinformation campaigns.

Social media platforms should take a leadership role in ensuring, at a minimum, the safety of

election workers and others involved in counting ballots by, for example, keeping personal information

and accounts secure. Social media platforms should also elevate trustworthy officials and

accurate information, remove lies and disinformation, and refuse to give voice to those provoking

or organizing violent action.

5. Anticipate a rocky administrative transition.

As is required by law, the formal transition process has already started. There are rules that ensure transition

teams have access to government resources and are being briefed even if the election is still contested.

But these legal protections do not guard against the potential for the reckless, self-serving actions

that President Trump might take if he is on his way out of office.

Transition teams will need to plan to do two things simultaneously: possibly defend against

Trump’s disruptive actions on his way out of office; and find creative solutions to ensure landing

teams are able to access the information and resources they need to begin to prepare for governing.

Here too civil servants will need independent legal guidance and possibly whistle-blower protections.

They need to know what information they can and can’t disclose to transition teams, how to

preserve government documents, what constitutes an unlawful instruction, and how to sound the


Congressional leaders and lawyers need to anticipate that Trump will make strategic use of pardons

to thwart future criminal prosecution, arrange business deals with foreign governments that

benefit President Trump and his family, attempt to bribe and silence associates, declassify sensitive

documents, and attempt to divert federal funds to Trump’s businesses.


Appendix A: Press Coverage of TIP through late July 2020

David Frum, “Where the System May Break,” The Atlantic, January 31, 2020:

Paul Egan, “Granholm issues controversial warning about potential Trump election interference,” Detroit

Free Press, July 31, 2020:


“Experts Game Out What Might Happen if the Election Goes Off the Rails,” All Things Considered,

July 30, 2020:


“This ‘War Game’ Maps Out What Happens if the President Contests the Election,” WBUR, July 28,


Paul Steinhauser, “Group is Quietly Planning for What Happens if Trump-Biden Election is Contested,”

Fox News, July 27, 2020:


Jess Bidgood, “A bipartisan group secretly gathered to game out a contested Trump-Biden election. It

wasn’t pretty,” Boston Globe, July 26, 2020:



Jason Lemon, Bipartisan Group Predicts Violence If Trump Loses Election and Refused to Leave

White House, Newsweek, July 26, 2020:


“Election Gaming Scenario: Is this what 2020 has been about?” Augusta Free Press, July 26, 2020:

Ben Riley-Smith, “Revealed: Republicans and DC veterans fear Donald Trump won’t accept election

defeat,” The Telegraph, July 7, 2020:


Max Boot, “What if Trump loses but insists he won,” The Washington Post, July 6, 2020:

Ed Luce, “How America could fail its democracy test,” The Financial Times, July 2, 2020:

Peter Nicolas, “Trump could still break democracy’s biggest norm,” The Atlantic, June 16, 2020:

Reid Epstein, “Trump Sows Doubt on Voting. It Keeps Some People Up at Night,” New York Times,

May 24, 2020



Appendix C: Game Summaries

TIP hosted four separate games. Key actions and insights from each turn in each game are outlined below.

Turns Two and Three are combined in these descriptions as all games reached a logical concluding point

either at the end of Turn Two or early in Turn Three. Parts of Turn Three were also used to summarize

key game take-aways. These are not comprehensive descriptions, but they note important moves and

strategies from each game.

Game One: Ambiguous Result

The first game investigated a scenario in which the outcome of the election remained unclear from election

night and throughout gameplay. The election outcome turned on results of three states: North Carolina,

Michigan and Florida. Different combinations of outcomes from those states could result in a range

of final election results including a 269-269 Electoral College tie. A ‘blue shift’ occurred during the

game whereby what initially looked like a likely Trump win shifted in the second turn to looking like a

Biden win.

Turn One (November 3 November 10)

The Trump Campaign began the game by calling on Biden to concede based on the election night

in-person voting returns, which skewed toward President Trump and the GOP. The Trump Campaign

also used the “bully pulpit” of the Presidency and its influence with right wing media to

lock in the election night returns, call into question mail-in ballots or the legitimacy of post-election

day vote counts, and enlist the support of Republican officials in several states to immediately

halt further vote counting.

The Trump Campaign team asked the Department of Justice (DoJ) to deploy federal agents across

the nation to “secure” voting sites and prepare the National Guard for possible deployment to

maintain order against potential protests. Attorney General Barr instructed the DoJ to support litigation

that would prevent further counting of mail-in ballots.

On election night, the Biden Campaign declared that victory was imminent and called for every

vote to be counted. The team mobilized a network of influential bipartisan elites, elected officials,

and retired military officers to speak to the press and denounce any effort to suppress counting the

vote. The Biden Campaign also called for peaceful rallies, echoing a call to count every vote.

GOP Elected Officials publicly supported Trump’s victory and claims of voter fraud but stopped

short of supporting the deployment of military forces. Democratic Elected Officials were proactive

in the states where they held offices to ensure votes would be counted and to build bipartisan

coalitions to oversee and protect the count.







Clear Biden




Clear Trump





Biden win


Turn Two and Three

The Trump Campaign team again attempted to federalize the National Guard to end further vote

counting and called on supporters to turn out in large numbers. The Biden Campaign established

a bipartisan transition team and mobilized supporters to ensure vote counting was completed thoroughly.

Officials from both parties sought to block or overturn results in key states, including seeking to

use friendly state legislatures and governors to send alternate or additional sets of electors. After

dice-rolls, most of these efforts failed.

As the scenario played out, North Carolina went to Biden and Florida to Trump, leaving Michigan

as the deciding state. There, a rogue individual destroyed a large number of ballots believed

to have supported Biden, leaving Trump a narrow electoral win. The Governor of Michigan used

this abnormality as justification to send a separate, pro-Biden set of electors to DC.

Neither campaign was willing to accept the result, and called on their supporters to turn out in the

streets to sway the result. The Trump Campaign team attempted to coerce or influence the individual

electors. President Trump also invoked the Insurrection Act.

The outcome of the scenario hinged on how the elected officials from the two parties addressed

the separate slate of electors from Michigan. GOP officials asserted that as the President of the

Senate, Vice President Pence could legally choose to accept or reject electors as he wished.

There was no clear resolution of the conflict in the January 6 joint session of Congress; the partisans

on both sides were still claiming victory, leading to the problem of two claims to Commander-

in-Chief power (including access to the nuclear codes) at noon on January 20.

Game Two: Clear Biden Victory

In this scenario, Biden won outright in the Electoral College and the popular vote. The Trump Campaign

initially contested the outcome of the vote. Once it became clear that efforts to overturn that outcome

were unlikely to succeed, the Trump Campaign pivoted to a strategy of self-preservation and limiting future

legal liability.

Turn One

The Trump Campaign initially alleged massive fraud and called for joint DNI-DOJ investigations

into the election results. These allegations were reinforced by GOP elected officials. Both the

Trump Campaign and GOP team called on media to cast doubt on the outcomes. (Unlike in other

scenarios, they never attempted to get state legislatures to repudiate the certified popular vote in

the states, or to thwart the state-law processes for counting ballots.)

The Trump Campaign maximized federal funding for Trump businesses by temporarily relocating

the President and his staff to Mar-A-Lago and pursuing murky overseas business deals.

GOP-controlled Senate pushed through outstanding judicial nominations.

The Trump Campaign sought to shield President Trump and his team from any future criminal

jeopardy by preparing pardons for all individuals connected to the administration regardless of

admitted or perceived guilt.

The Biden Campaign successfully secured the election result and also worked to forge coalitions

with elected GOP officials which the dice rolls granted to a limited extent – while taking public

steps to ‘heal the country’ through public rallies and addresses.

The Democratic Elected Representatives team also pushed for a bipartisan alliance through an

Election Protection Coalition as a way to insulate results from the DOJ/DNI investigations. They

also sought to enlist ‘faithless electors’, though the game play did not grant this. (Since the game

was played, SCOTUS has unanimously ruled against faithlessness.)


Turns Two and Three

The Biden Campaign team emphasized standing up a credible transition process. The Trump

Campaign sought to hinder this, but the Federal Government Team confirmed that a number of

civil servants would seek to enable it regardless of directions from the White House.

The Trump team issued pardons for Trump family members, political allies, and cabinet officials,

along with prominent Democrats, including Hunter Biden and Hillary Clinton, for unspecified


The Trump Campaign took steps to position either Donald Trump or his son Donald Trump Jr. to

run for reelection in 2024. The Trump Campaign announced the new “MAGA TV” station, featuring

documentary footage from Trump’s final weeks in office.

The Trump Campaign team also sought to install close allies in positions of influence in the RNC

and to distract public attention from the President’s efforts at self-preservation and continued influence

in the party by escalating rhetoric with Iran.

The Biden Campaign remained focused on the transition and laying the groundwork for governing.

The Democratic Elected Representatives team supported the Biden effort, but also began the

process of preparing for investigation into Trump, his family, and his associates.

GOP elected officials re-focused on state responses to COVID-19, while the Federal Government

saw a mass exodus of Trump aligned political appointees.

Game Three: Clear Trump Win

The third scenario posited a comfortable Electoral College victory for President Trump 286-252 but

also a significant popular vote win52% – 47%–for former Vice President Biden. The game play ended

in a constitutional crisis, with threats of secession, and the potential for either a decline into authoritarianism

or a radically revamped set of democratic rules that ensure the popular will prevails (abolishment of

the Electoral College, making DC and Puerto Rico states, and other changes). Key moves and actions include:

Turn One

The Trump Campaign had two main objectives at the outset of the scenario. The first priority was

to legitimize the Electoral College results by pushing narratives that cast doubt on former Vice

President Biden’s popular vote victory and portraying wide-spread protests of President Trump as

anti-American, undemocratic, and promoting mob rule. The Trump Campaign planted agent provocateurs

into the protests throughout the country to ensure these protests turned violent and

helped further the narrative of a violent insurrection against a lawfully elected president.

The second Trump Campaign priority was to consolidate power to reduce or eliminate the “Deep

State” and broader institutional resistance to President Trump’s agenda for his second term. Specific

measures included selective promotions of military personnel with “pro-American views”,

rushing judicial nominations, increasing financial incentives to big business, and working with

states to maximize GOP control through redistricting.

The GOP Elected Officials team was supportive of Trump’s efforts to crack down on protests.

Establishing “law and order” and defeating the “anarchists” was a unifying call. But they pressed

President Trump to “slow down” on the campaign’s more aggressive and overt efforts to consolidate

power, partly out of concern that they would lose the support of moderate Democrats needed

to publicly declare Trump’s victory legitimate.

The most consequential action of the first turn was the Biden Campaign’s retraction of its election

night concession. It capitalized on the public’s outrage that for the third time in 20 years a candidate

lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College. They also capitalized on concern about

widespread voter suppression before and on Election Day. The Biden Campaign began the game


by encouraging three states with Democratic governorsNorth Carolina, Wisconsin, and Michigan

to ask for recounts. As the game developed, governors in two of the three (Wisconsin and

Michigan) sent separate slates of electors to counter those sent by the state legislature.

The GOP failed to convince moderate Democrats in the House to break ranks with the Democratic

resistance and support Trump’s electoral victory, much to the GOP’s surprise. Part of the

strategy here was to attack the Electoral College and to claim that the certified popular votes in

these states were questionable because of voter suppression.

At the end of the first turn, the country was in the midst of a full-blown constitutional crisis characterized

by: 1) Political chaos; 2) Widespread threats of violence, and sporadic actual violence in

the streets; and 4) A hostile, dangerous, highly-partisan, and frequently unconstrained information

and media environment.

Turns Two and Three:

The Biden Campaign encouraged Western states, particularly California but also Oregon and

Washington, and collectively known as “Cascadia,” to secede from the Union unless Congressional

Republicans agreed to a set of structural reforms to fix our democratic system to ensure

majority rule. With advice from President Obama, the Biden Campaign submitted a proposal to 1)

Give statehood to Washington, DC and Puerto Rico; 2) Divide California into five states to more

accurately represent its population in the Senate; 3) Require Supreme Court justices to retire at

70; and 4) Eliminate the Electoral College, to ensure that the candidate who wins to the popular

vote becomes President.

As the scenario evolved, the Trump Team focused its efforts on driving a wedge into the disparate

and, in the view of many participants, fragile Democratic coalition. For example, during the

second turn, Trump gave an interview to The Intercept in which he stated that he would have lost

the election if Bernie Sanders had been nominated.

The Trump Team’s approach in turns two and three also emphasized creating the conditions to

force the Biden Campaign into taking provocative, unprecedented actionssuch as supporting

California’s secession or sending a second slate of electorsthat played into a broader narrative

of the Democrats attempting to orchestrate an illegal coup. The team also tried to position President

Trump as a “unifier”working with top CEOs, holding a unifying event at the Lincoln Memorial,

offering to establish a commission to review electoral rulesand as prioritizing safety

and security in the face of radical groups supporting Joe Biden and trying to destroy America.

One of the most consequential moves was that Team Biden on January 6 provoked a breakdown

in the joint session of Congress by getting the House of Representatives to agree to award the

presidency to Biden (based on the alternative pro-Biden submissions sent by pro-Biden governors).

Pence and the GOP refused to accept this, declaring instead that Trump was reelected under

the Constitution because of his Electoral College victory. This partisan division remained unresolved

because neither side backed down, and January 20 arrived without a single presidentelect

entitled to be Commander-in-Chief after noon that day. It was unclear what the military

would do in this situation.

Game Four: Narrow Biden Win

The final scenario explored a narrow Biden win where he leads with less than 1% of the popular vote the

day after the election, and is predicted to win 278 electoral votes. Fox News is among the major networks

that called the election for Biden, though the Trump campaign does not concede, setting up an intense

competition that concludes with an uneasy and combative but ultimately successful transition.


Turn One:

The Trump Campaign began the game by encouraging the state legislatures in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin

and Michigan to certify a separate slate of electors in support of President Trump. Despite

opposition from the Biden Campaign and Democrats, both Michigan’s and Pennsylvania’s legislatures

agree to send two sets of electors in support of Trump.

The Trump Campaign engaged in a large and coordinated disinformation campaign primarily focused

on the legitimacy of the mail-in ballots. This campaign used the media to amplify “stolen

election” and “voter fraud” narratives, and launched noisy DoJ investigation into voter fraud. Attorney

General Barr also took action to stop ballot counting. Trump Campaign surrogates released

false information that Joe Biden had suffered a heart-attack in an attempt to undermine perceptions

of Biden’s fitness to hold office. The Biden Campaign quickly dispelled this information,

but Facebook kept posts about the heart-attack up.

Despite all of these moves during the first week after the election, dice rolls confirmed that the

Biden Campaign maintained a narrow lead.

The Trump Campaign understood that its most effective strategy was not just to create more

doubt about the validity of votes for Biden, but also to sew more chaos and disruption so that

President Trump could position himself as the only one capable of ensuring law and order. The

Trump Campaign stoked chaos and mayhem by urging local police forces to break up Black

Lives Matter and pro-Biden demonstrations and encouraging Alt Right / Boogaloo supporters to

confront liberal protestors.

Turns Two and Three

The Biden Campaign framed Trump’s actions as ugly and divisive; engaging independents and

moderate Republicans to speak out against this threat. Mitt Romney tried to convince Republican

senators to support the Biden victory. After first failing, Romney prevailed and convinced three

other GOP Senators to recognize Biden as the President-elect.

As it became evident that the Biden victory would be certified, Senator Majority Leader Mitch

McConnell privately signaled to several Republicans they could support Romney’s cross-the-aisle

effort, recognizing that moderate Republicans are more likely to prevail in 2022.

The Biden Campaign organized massive protests across the country. A dice roll determined that

over four million Americans took to the streets across the country in support of Biden, enabling

his campaign to gain momentum in the battle for public opinion. Violent skirmishes and vandalism

took place during these demonstrations.

A critical moment in the game play was the Joint Chiefs of Staff leaking that internal discussions

had taken place about how to handle the escalating situation, including the consideration of resigning

in protest of Trump’s continued efforts to sow unrest. The leak indicated that the Joint

Chiefs’ commitment was to the Constitution rather than to the President or to a particular party.

Once the Senate voted in agreement with the House on January 6, the military made it clear that it

was ready to support Biden as the newly inaugurated president on January 20.

Sensing the election slipping away, right-wing media pursued particularly aggressive and provocative

strategies. Infowars published a list of addresses, phone numbers, and other personal information

of electors pledged to vote for Joe Biden. The announcement included spurious claims

linking 88 of these electors to Soros and 14 to child sex trafficking. Rush Limbaugh and others

accused the Biden campaign of accepting help from China, a message picked up by the mainstream

media. Right-wing meme pages, which have a 340% greater reach than any other piece of

content on Facebook, saturated the on-line landscape with appeals to defend the Constitution

from enemies both foreign AND DOMESTIC.”

Biden’s electoral victory was certified but Trump refused to leave the White House. He began to

burn documents and potentially incriminating evidence, and continued to launch attacks against

the legitimacy of the election. President Trump released a series of pardons for members of his

administration as well as himself before the Secret Service escorted him out of the White House.

But the Secret Service demonstrated its “culture of professionalism” (as one member of the Federal

Government Team indicated) by indicating that it would be “loyal to the office, not to the

person” and therefore it would escort Trump out of the White House on January 20.

Trump transitions into running TRUMP TV, a new media outlet that immediately upon its founding

calls for the impeachment of President Biden.

By early January 2021, Biden has begun the tasks of uniting the country and trying to pull America

out of its lingering COVID-19 related economic and public health crisis. He articulates a series

of packages focused on infrastructure and healthcare / COVID-19 and actively seeks to involve

Senate Republicans in the process. The Biden Campaign also announces that moderate Republican

governors Larry Hogan and Charlie Baker will be nominated to serve in his cabinet. The

President-Elect also establishes a joint investigation from the House and Senate Intelligence

Committees to examine all forms of foreign interference in the 2020 election.

The Biden Campaign had originally sought to create a “way out” for Trump to concede the election

during early turns. By the end of the game, though, the Democratic Party had begun investigations

into the criminal activities of President Trump and his family.


Appendix C: Will “Trumpism” Survive a Trump Loss?

While it was not squarely in the scope of TIP’s investigation, almost all of the debriefings included some

discussion about whether “Trumpism” is likely to survive Trump after he leaves office. President Trump

has cultivated and mobilized a significant base; many believe it won’t easily be demobilized after Trump

leaves office (“Trumpiness is built in now,” said one participant). There are immediate implications for an

incoming Administration.

Many observers expect President Trump to try to extend his norm-disrupting influence after he leaves office

through an independent media company or partnerships. Participants predict that in the event of a

Biden victory, Trump will attack President Biden early and consistently, blaming all problems in the

country on a combination of the stolen election and the incompetence of the Biden administration; the

message will be clear, consistent, and relentlessly hammered in: “If only the election hadn’t been stolen

from me, everything in the country would be great again.” Such a message could fuel political violence.

QAnon could play a role in electing far-right candidates to Congress, providing an anchor for ex-President

Trump’s proposals.

A minority view was that once Trump is a “big loser,” he’ll lose face with the GOP base and Republicans

will move on. If he tries to look like a martyr, these participants suggest, he may come across as merely

pathetic. However, if the pandemic and the economy continue to get worse after the 2020 election, it may

become more likely that Trump (or a Trump-like figure) will again be a serious contender for the presidency

in 2024.

How should anti-authoritarian interests respond? A number of participants urged Democrats to embrace a

new playbook. President Obama’s working assumption was that “the fever would break on the back of

electoral defeat,” but this proved to be mistaken; throughout the Obama administration, Republicans refused

to compromise or engage in customary negotiations over policy, counting instead on blocking every

possible Democratic initiative and waiting for their chance to regain the presidency. These participants

cautioned that Democrats should not rely on litigation, moral suasion, or merely hoping that Republicans

in Congress or state elected office will “come to their senses.” Instead, they should focus on building

more authentic relationships with the left’s base, including by publicly supporting the peaceful protest

movement that has emerged since late May, rather than continuing to seek conciliation and compromise

with the GOP.

There was near universal agreement that in the event of a Trump loss, the GOP’s strategy will be to create

trouble for the incoming Biden administration, in order to regain ground in 2022 and retake the White

House in 2024. GOP activists (possibly encouraged by Trump himself and by far-right media) may seek

to create ongoing street-level chaos and conflict. Meanwhile, GOP party leaders will likely focus on postcensus

redistricting. Senate Republicans are also likely to try to block one or more Biden cabinet or court

nominees as a show of political nerve. If the GOP holds the Senate, even more dramatic blocking actions

will be contemplated, tempting the Biden Administration to continue President Trump’s approach of appointing

“acting” appointees, thus institutionalizing the nullification of the “advise and consent” role of

the Senate in executive branch appointments.

Republicans will likely also push hard on judicial nominations, trying to seat as many nominees as possible

before President Trump leaves office. This could potentially include a Supreme Court nomination,

which would further undermine the legitimacy of the Court in the eyes of many Democrats and heighten

demands from the left for “court packing.” Conversely, it is also possible that if the GOP holds the Senate,

Majority Leader McConnell could refuse to hold any votes on any Biden court nominees, allowing

the vacancies to pile up until a Republican president is again in place to make the appointments.


Some exercise participants noted, however, that there are conflicting interests for the GOP and, in particular,

for Republicans running in 2022 in states where moderates have an advantage, as well as for Republican

leaders with Presidential ambitions for 2024. Some GOP presidential hopefuls might define their candidacy

as anti-Trump (Rubio, Johnson, Toomey), while some Republican Governors might quickly shift

back to state priorities such as COVID-19. An early defining battle between approaches will likely take

place over choosing the party chair.

TIP offers these preliminary recommendations based on the input from participants in the scenario planning


There was no agreement among participants in the scenario planning exercises about what specific

actions should be taken with regard to pursuing investigations and possible charges against

President Trump and members of his Administration. A new Administration, in partnership with

a broad range of stakeholders, could consider a range of options including those used by other

countries, such as truth and reconciliation commissions.

One question is whether to continue the tradition of offering legal immunity or pardons to Trump

and his family. There was a lively debate about whether any short-term gain from this diplomatic

effort was worth a longer-term risk that corrupt or criminal practices would continue. This may

come up during the transition itself, if Trump decides to negotiate an “exit package” for himself.

More broadly, there needs to be a robust, intentional, and specific strategy to challenge the white

supremacist and extremist networks that enabled Trump’s rise to power and were in turn enabled

by Trump’s administration. This base will not automatically demobilize if and when Trump

leaves office, and it is inimical to the kind of pluralist democracy the founders intended.

Finally, it is imperative that Congress take decisive action to limit executive power, as happened

with in the wake of President Nixon’s abuses of power in the early 1970s. One of the key findings

of these scenario exercises is the extraordinary degree of de facto power that a President unbounded

by norms or human decency can wield. No president should be able to use the executive

branch to settle political scores, damage perceived adversaries, or pursue personal financial gain.

Principles of political decency that had been maintained through norms will have to be codified

through law.

The US, Israel and Beirutshima

The US, Israel and Beirutshima

Wherever there is mass murder in the Middle East, there you find the Israeli fingerprint. And it was always forever thus.

Time and time again, since 1948, Israel has demonstrated that it solves all its regional problems with violent terroristic solutions that change the political and geostrategic equation in its favor. Time and time again, there is always a major Western government that benefits from and supports this Israeli terrorism, and in the case of the recent horrific explosion at the Beirut Port, now otherwise known as ‘Beirutshima’, it is the US who greatly benefits as well as Tel Aviv.

Since 1948, the Beirut Port has long been a target marked for destruction by Israel. It has long been Israel’s wet dream to destroy this busy and industrious port, originally built by the ancient Phoenicians. This is because the Beirut Port poses the biggest trade competition to Israel’s Haifa Port, therefore a constant threat to Israel’s lucrative marine economy. Also, the Beirut Port is a well-established and crucial lifeline to Lebanon’s daily energy and sustenance needs, therefore destroying it renders the Lebanese government vulnerable and open to a practical siege of all its economic and political decision-making: a virtual colonization of political Lebanon by its more affluent enemy and neighbor. Not forgetting here also that Lebanon’s militarized resistance groups being the biggest immediate threat to the very existence of the Jewish state itself, Israel fears the port being used to transfer unchecked weapons into the hands of Palestinian resistors residing in Lebanon, as well as into the hands of various other Lebanese resistance groups at war with Israel.

Moreover, the Port of Beirut also poses the biggest geostrategic threat for the US’s eastward-bound power projection where China and its new Silk Road operation is fast creeping westwards and is attempting to land at the eastern coastal strip of the Mediterranean, right where the Beirut Port docks. The US having recently forced Israel to cancel its Haifa contact with China has somewhat dampened the Chinese advance in the eastern Mediterranean, and what remains now in the path of the US is the Beirut Port. The US must either invade it to block the Chinese geostrategic mission creep, or else destroy it.

Evidently, the US has chosen the latter option – with Israel assigned the task of accomplishing the destruction of Beirut Port. After all, for different reasons, both benefit greatly from Beirutshima.

And so very timely is this destruction of the Beirut Port as the Lebanese government has very recently been in official talks with the Chinese over their offer to vastly invest in and develop the Beirut Port: a much needed gateway port and bridge into Europe for China, which represents an absolutely intolerable equation for the US’s hegemony in Europe. The Beirut Port’s rebuilding to its previous standard of activity will be contingent on strict conditions imposed by the US and Israel on the Lebanese government, if the port is allowed to be rebuilt at all, that is. Most certainly, the US is determined not to allow the Chinese any executive, investment or managerial access to it.

Furthermore, unable to overcome the Lebanese Resistance’s muscle on the battlefield, as demonstrated again recently by Israel’s hysteria and fear of Hezbollah’s retaliation over Israel killing one of its fighters in Syria, the Israeli terrorist attack on the Port of Beirut shakes off, to a degree, Israel’s own domestic sense of cowardice and military weakness in the face of Hezbollah; while simultaneously dealing a massive blow to the currently anorexic economic belly of its Lebanon enemy.

Dear reader, this article is not concerned with the ‘whodunit’ aspect of the Beirut Port bombing – it’s a fait accompli that this is the work of Lebanon’s enemy and its agents of chaos. Yes, there was gross negligence involved on behalf of the Lebanese port authorities and some politicians, but it was not the port authorities or politicians whose fingers triggered the gigantic port explosion, it was Israel taking advantage of this neglect and corruption and setting it up for an explosive false flag op against the unarmed Lebanese citizens themselves. A typical Israeli behavior: strike at unarmed civilians when unable to strike at an enemy’s army or armed resistors. And no, Hezbollah does not have an arms depot in the port: this is a ludicrous posit that should be immediately dismissed as it falsely demotes Hezbollah’s intelligence and renders their superior weapons strategists into inferior port gangsters. There is zero reason for the Hezbollah to use the busy and exposed thoroughfare of Beirut Port for a secret weapon storage when it already has several mountains and an endless string of remote hills for safe weapons storage. Certainly, Hezbollah is present at the Beirut Port, but only for Intel gathering, not for weapon storing.

This article is not concerned with establishing whodunit and whatnot forensics gathered in slo-mo. It is already clear to all discerning minds who exactly benefits from the false flag attack on the Beirut Port. This article is concerned with the geostrategic why’s and wherefores of the terrorist attack against the Lebanon, and concerned especially with the target itself and the timing. The pertinent questions here being why the Beirut Port and why now? Therefore, let us look at the wider geostrategic meaning of this terrorist attack on Beirut. After all, such a gigantic event does not just suddenly materialize out of the blue. Such a gigantic and consequential event is never for nothing. It is not an unfortunate accident that occurred by happenstance due to neglect and gross incompetence. Indeed, it is a trigger for a larger regional and global project, in the same way that the 9/11 attack was a trigger for a larger project whose ultimate beneficiaries remain Israel and the US’s MIC.

And this larger US project has everything to do with the current US war on China, albeit presently a non-military war, but a war nevertheless, a war that the Pentagon is militarily preparing for – hence the ever increasing and breathtakingly high defense budget that Congress has been allocating to the US military throughout the terms of the last three Presidents.

The US having lost Pakistan to the China sphere of influence, thus losing an attack dog bordering China, and having recently assigned Turkey as its new enforcer in the middle east, it now behooves the US to use its Mideast allies of both Turkey and Israel, two infamous terrorist states who regularly break international law with impunity: use them as spoilers and saboteurs against an advancing China and against any of Beijing’s Mideast regional allies. Beirutshima is clearly an apparent US endeavor to push-back the Chinese advance in the highly strategic eastern Mediterranean, as the US attempts to simultaneously pivot eastwards itself through secured territories wherever China is successfully backtracked by the US and its regional henchmen.

But, can this grand geostrategic plan really work for the benefit of the US? Can the US really succeed at remaining the only superpower in the world by the incessant knee-capping of China’s new Silk Road project?

This is yet to be determined. But judging by the deep budgetary and societal crisis engulfing the US homeland, with no sign whatsoever of its deepening troubles abating, analysts doubt that the US has lungs large enough to last the whole race through with China. Here I will add that the US-China fight over the Beirut Port is not yet over. One wonders what went through the mind of the wily Chinese ambassador in Lebanon to witness the Beirut Port exploding as it shockingly did: to witness his pet project and assignment be destroyed right before his eyes and right before a signed agreement was made between him and the Lebanese government of Diab. And knowing the Chinese, they will see this as an opportunity to entrench their feet even further in Lebanon by offering both a rebuilding and a security deal to the Beirut Port, whereas the deal on the table before Beirutshima was smaller and only for expansion and renovation. And here lies the crunch: is Diab’s government brave enough to face further US and Israeli terrorism in order to align with China who is offering to save Lebanon from its current intractable financial double-crisis? I estimate that sooner or later, Diab’s mettle will be tested in this regard.

Here, I will remind readers that within our living memory, little Lebanon has actually humiliated and evicted both the US and Israel’s military forces from its territory. But can it do it politically too? I say yes, so long as Hezbollah’s sophisticated weapons remain intact, coupled with a united society that gives its PM a clear mandate to go forward with a China deal. The first condition is guaranteed, no one can touch Hezbollah’s arms. But, will the US and Israel succeed at creating another sectarian war in Lebanon after numerous failures at this these past 30 years? The 7th of August (tomorrow) is the date of the official verdict release for the assassinated Rafic Hariri case – the nation of Lebanon has anxiously waited some 15 years for it. Local analysts are predicting a finger falsely pointing at Hezbollah. If this is the case, a sectarian gunpowder keg may very well be lit. Or it may not, as Lebanon since the night of the port explosion has been under Marshall Law, therefore security on the street is in the hands of the military, not in the hands of government security apparatuses and their sectarian alliances. And even though the US has its own agents inside of the Lebanese army, they are a minority who would be risking the breakdown and breakup of the Lebanese army itself – an outcome that the US desires the least because should this army breakup happen, then Hezbollah will be forced to step in so as to take over the task of securing the streets of Lebanon. And nobody wants this scenario, not even Hezbollah.

All Hezbollah cares about is spending its energy on confronting and defeating Israel.

And despite Israel’s successful terrorist attack on Beirut Port, all that Israel cares about is finding someone else to face Hezbollah on the battlfield in its place.

Thus, post Beirutshima, Israel remains hostage to Hezbollah’s missiles. And China sees added opportunities to land bigger feet and currency in a devastated Lebanon.

(Republished from Plato’s Guns by permission of author or representative)

Local Atomic Energy Plant In Piketon Named In RICO Class Action Lawsuit Filed in Columbus Federal Court

BREAKING: Nuclear Fraud RICO Class Action Filed in Columbus Federal Court Regarding Alleged Radiation Contamination involving Scioto, Pike and other Counties

BREAKING: Nuclear Fraud RICO Class Action Filed in Columbus Federal Court Regarding Alleged Radiation Contamination involving Scioto, Pike and other Counties

A multiple RICO class action involving cover ups at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant and Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant has been filed by counsel in the Ohio Southern District Federal Court in Columbus, Ohio. According to one of the lead plaintiffs, Jeff Walburn, the complaint incorporates new investigation of a “cold case” fire which has now been labeled arson. The complaint alleges contamination impacting beyond Pike and Scioto Counties and misuse of nuclear materials received from Russia, said Walburn. 

“Defendants acted deliberately to; cover up the human health and environmental impact of operations at PORTS, the spiking of the processing plant with Russian
plutonium and other transuranics (under the guise of downgrading and non-proliferation), the likely arson designed to destroy evidence of criminality, and the illegal shipment and diversion of SNM (Special Nuclear Materials). Defendants persist in spreading false information to the public regarding the health risks present in their community. The threat continues and remains,” the lengthy complaint with a large amount of exhibits alleges.

Walburn and Charles Lawson, two former guards at the plant, are associated with the case. Both encountered retailation as whistle blowers. As the RICO conduct occurred in “this jurisdiction” and “elsewhere throughout the United States,” it is significant that Lawson received a threat specific mentioning the late Karen Silkwood:  “… We made Karen Silkwood disappear and we are going to make you disappear. And that red Chevy Astrovan, that your wife takes your children to school in, she is going to go out and turn the key and it’s going to go boom.”

Named as defendants Centrus Energy Corp., United States Enrichment Corp., Lockheed Mertain Corp., Uranium Disposition Services, LLC,  BWXT Conversion Services, LATA/Parallax Portsmouth, Fluor Bwxt Portsmouth LLC, and others.

Among Proposed “classes” include property owners (within 50 miles of PGDP), all workers in schools and correctional facilities as well as students and inmates, and all residents and former residents with more than one years residence within 25 miles of PGDP, and spouses, and descendants, to four generations, of current and former workers at PORTS.

“The DOE has failed to notify local authorities or the public of similar contamination detected 15 miles from PORTS affecting Valley Local School District, Northwest Local School District, the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility and surrounding communities. A similar pattern has been taking place in McCracken County, Kentucky at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Facility,” the complaint states. (p. 14)

Walburn, et. al v. Centrusus Energy, et al.  20:-cv-4621 names Nathan Hunter (Hunter & Hunter) as trial attorney, as well as Dick Collins (Collins & Truett Law Firm, Doral , Florida) and Tim Howard (Howard & Associates PA, Tallahassee).

Content will be updated. Complaint and exhibits available on Pacer.  Click link below to read full complaint. 

  1. Complaint (1.35 MB)