Assange, Sheldon Adelson, and the CIA – Max Blumenthal

The CIA used an Adelson controlled company to spy on Julian Assange. Billionaire Casino owner Sheldon Adelson was a key player in making Trump president; has a history of money laundering; consorting with organized crime families; is a fervent supporter of the Israeli right, and advocates for attacking Iran. Max Blumenthal joins Paul Jay on theAnalysis.news podcast.

Transcript

Paul Jay

Welcome to theAnalysis.news podcast. Max Blumenthal is the editor of “The Grey Zone” and is the author of several books. His latest is “The Management of Savagery.” His latest article on Gray Zone is titled “New Court Files Expose Sheldon Adelson, Security Team and U.S. Spy Operation Against Julian Assange.”  Now joining us to discuss one of the major powers behind the Trump throne is Max Blumenthal. Thanks for joining us, Max. 

Max Blumenthal

Thanks for having me on.

Paul Jay

So let’s start with for some viewers who might not get why Sheldon Adelson is worth talking about. Give a little bit of background, and then let’s get into the story of what the spying is on Assange.

Max Blumenthal

Well, I think Sheldon Adelson is one of the, as you said in the intro, the major force behind the Trump throne, and particularly when it comes to Trump’s policies in the Middle East, vis-a-vis Israel, Palestine and Iran. Sheldon Adelson speaks for Netanyahu in the United States. He has funded Benjamin Netanyahu’s political career and provides the major financial and political leverage inside Washington for Netanyahu to exercise his influence. He’s definitely far more influential over the Trump administration than other billionaires we’ve  heard more about in the past few years, including, I would argue, Robert Mercer or the Koch brothers. And he’s certainly been more influential than Russia, which was the subject of an investigation that captivated American media for the past three years. What has Adelson done? Well, we can go back to 2015 and recall Donald Trump’s appearance as he was getting his presidential campaign off the ground before the Republican Jewish Committee, a group which substantially benefits from Adelson’s funding. And Donald Trump was heavily criticized for saying that he’s a dealmaker, and that he’ll exercise his power as president to negotiate a two state solution, which went against everything Adelson stands for. He also said to the crowd, you guys know how to make deals. You’re  deal makers; a lot of you are in real estate. So he was accused of anti-Semitism. Adelson then brought his fortune to bear on the Trump campaign. And Trump changed his tune. Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, happened to be from a family that was close to Benjamin Netanyahu, that hosted Netanyahu when he’d come to New York as opposition leader in the 90‘s. Kushner would have to actually get out of his bedroom and move to another room so Netanyahu would take his bed. He was literally in bed with Jared Kushner. Kushner is the executive chairman of the Kushner Family Foundation, which funds illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. And thanks to this special relationship with Sheldon Adelson, we’ve seen the Trump administration really shatter the status-quo on Israel/Palestine in so many ways. They’re now moving towards annexation of large settlement blocks in the West Bank, which is a key goal of Netanyahu.This will all take place under the auspices of the deal of the century, which Kushner helped negotiate. Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam, were seated in the front row of the rollout for this. This policy that Palestinians call the steal of the century because it will essentially just take the Palestinian national movement and shatter it into a thousand pieces. Sheldon Adelson paid for the U.S. embassy to move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which effectively dooms the concept of a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem. He even paid for delegations from U.S. vassal states and Central America like Guatemala, to fly on his jet to those ceremonies to provide diplomatic cover to what Trump was about to do. He’s helped basically create the political pressure; I mean, he’s almost single handedly responsible for the political pressure that influenced Trump’s decision to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. The Iran nuclear deal’s shredding gave Trump latitude to enact the maximum pressure policy, which culminated with the assassination of probably the most beloved figure in Iran, the second most important figure politically, Major General Kassam Soleimani. And this was a decision, as Gareth Porter has really outlined in disturbingly clear terms for us at the Grey Zone. It was a decision that was sort of advanced and imposed on Trump by Mike Pompeo, who is now Secretary of State and Netanyahu. They were both lobbying him for months and months to carry out this action. And it’s led to retaliations by Iran. The attack on the Al-Assad military base in Iraq. And now we see five Iranian fuel tankers heading to Venezuela to break the U.S. siege. And this is definitely a retaliation by Iran against this hostile policy, which I really believe Adelson provided the major leverage point for. I really believe that if it were not for Sheldon Adelson and his influence on the Trump administration, there are lesser pro-Israel Likudnick billionaires like Bernard Marcus, the former CEO of Home Depot, and Paul Singer, the hedge fund billionaire vulture capitalist who tanked Argentina’s economy in the 90‘s, who are also funding the Trump administration, who had funded the Trump administration to carry out these policies specifically. But it’s really Adelson who is the major player here.

Paul Jay

Let me just add to this point about Adelson.  In 2013, Adelson was on a panel in New York where he, according to the reporting, seriously advocated that the United States should explode a nuclear weapon in one of the Iranian deserts. We have to send a message of what would be possible.

Max Blumenthal

That was reported by Mondoweiss. I think Phil Weiss was,  or someone at Mondoweiss was in the audience. He definitely said that. Adelson has also said that he regretted serving in the U.S. military as a young man when he could have served in the Israeli army. And he said that he hopes his grandson grows up to be an Israeli sniper. So Adelson really has two interests. The first one is advancing the expansion or protecting the expansionist policies of Netanyahu’s Israel, advancing the fortunes of the Likud Party wherever they have designs, whether it’s in the Palestinian West Bank or on Iran, southern Lebanon or even in the halls of power in Europe and the United States. The number two priority of Sheldon Adelson is advancing his global financial empire. He’s a casino baron, and he has casinos that span from Las Vegas to Macao in Chinese territory. And so these two interests kind of converged when Mike Pompeo, I think, with thanks to the influence of Adelson, became CIA director when Trump entered office in January 2017.

Paul Jay

Just to give a little more context. I’ve always said it as Adelson. But it’s Adelson, isn’t it? 

Max Blumenthal

I don’t know. I, you know, the only time I met Sheldon Adelson, I just called him that, was on an assignment for the Real News  with Jessell Nor,  and he was basically funding this bizarre event in New York where Elie Wiesel was on stage with Paul Kagami, the Rwandan president, and they were giving Kagami an award.

 Shmulee Boteach, who is this far right rabbi is basically one of Adelson’s bagmen, was onstage as well, along with Michael Steinhart, who was another ultra-Zionist billionaire. And what they were trying to do was arrange a special relationship for Israel on the African continent through Rwanda. And so Rwanda was going to be one of the first African countries to open an embassy inside Israel as the result of this. And I don’t know what kind of enticements Kagami got, but they were substantial.

    There’s a totally bizarre event. I managed to actually confront Adelson personally in his wheelchair and ask him about, you know, his support for settlements and so on, his call for dropping a nuclear weapon on Iran. He didn’t respond. So, you know, he didn’t correct me when I mispronounced his name. This was the point.

Paul Jay

I think he might be deaf. Just a little more context. It’s fairly well known, and this isn’t just the Sands Casino or the Macao casinos of Adelson, it’s also to do with some of the other casinos. But one of the major businesses of casinos is money laundering. And in fact, the Sands and Adelson faced an investigation by the Justice Department and negotiated some kind of settlement with them before they were actually charged and convicted. But there was very clear evidence that has been reported in various major press of money laundering by Adelson’s casinos.

And then there’s another case that Adelson fired the head  manager of the Macao casino who then sued for unjust termination. This is reported by The Guardian a couple years ago. And in that, he accused Adelson and the casino of working with Chinese and/or Japanese organized crime to money launder. And then there’s another piece of this story, which Max writes about in the article, which we’ll get to in a bit. So talk a bit about the article.

Max Blumenthal

Well, there is also a, you know, just related to your point. In 2011, the Justice Department was taking actions against online gambling, which is an emerging avenue that Sheldon Adelson is profiting from. And they reversed their position under the watch of Jeff Sessions, who was Trump’s DOJ director. And, you know, Adelson had been dumping millions into a lobbying campaign on the issue which culminated in backing Donald Trump. So it’s pretty clear that he’s basically, besides his ideological interest in supporting apartheid Israel, he also has a financial interest in protecting himself through the Trump Justice Department. And that’s exactly what took place. And, you know, Sessions even pledged in his confirmation hearing that he’d re-examine the online gambling laws. But, you know, he completely walked that back. So my piece focuses on the CIA under Mike Pompeo.  Mike Pompeo, someone who last year in April 2019, bragged, “I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole.”

 And to me, this really seems like a clear reference to what he did working through a Spanish security contractor who had a contract with Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands as kind of a front for a black operation against a top target of the US national security state, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. And, you know, I will try to spare listeners all of the details now and just explain how I put this story together. The detail, some of the details of this story had already been out there in Spanish media. El Pais, the newspaper has reported on some of the dirty tricks that were used against Assange when he was inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he’d been given sanctuary. For example, the Spanish security contractor had turned the cameras there into surveillance devices and implanted microphones inside the cameras. Then, when Assange started using a white noise device because he knew he was being spied on, they planted a magnetic microphone under the fire extinguisher. But what I learned about this investigation was the seminal role played by Adelson’s  Las Vegas Sands, that’s his international company and his executive security team in making this whole operation possible. I mean, there’s a long history of wealthy oligarchs acting as middlemen for CIA operations, or you know, providing front. But in this case, personnel from Las Vegas Sands appear to have taken an active role. And all of this came out. Everything that I was working with. These are; you know, I was working with company files from the Spanish security contractor, which was called U.C. Global. Company backups, emails, call logs, protected witness testimony from a Spanish court case that was opened late last year after the arrest of the mercenary who directs this security firm named David Morales. Morales’s arrest took place because of former employees and a former business partner went to Assange’s lawyers, said we participated in a criminal operation of spying, spying on Julian Assange himself. But also his lawyers violating attorney client privilege. Spying on journalists. Spying on a U.S. member of Congress who went to meet him. Spying on Ecuadorian diplomats who we were——

Paul Jay

Yeah. And wasn’t it the Ecuadorians who actually hired him in the first place?

Right. They said we we broke our contract. This is a matter of trust. And so we can’t be part of this company anymore because the Ecuadorian security service thought we were working for them, not the Americans. I mean, it was the ultimate back stab to the Ecuadorian government, which was at the time, for most of this time, until Lenine Moreno, who is sort of a U.S. puppet at this point, came into power led by the leftist Rafael Correa, who turned out to have himself been a target of CIA spying.

     Actually, I have in it on one of the intelligence reports up on my browser right now that came out of this court case. It’s all written in English, and it contains intimate details of a meeting Rafael Correa held in 2017. So, I mean, this couldn’t have been written for the Ecuadorian security service because they speak Spanish. It was obviously a CIA operation. In any case, these former disgruntled employees and former business partner  gave all of the dirt on this black operation to Assange’s lawyers, who then provided it to a Spanish judge who enacted a secret operation. And the Spanish judge ultimately compelled the arrest of David Morales, the contractor who is now on trial. And this trial demonstrates just this massive abuse of power under the watch of Mike Pompeo’s CIA, working through Sheldon Adelson company to destroy  a publisher and  everyone associated with him. And it really should invalidate what’s taking place in a British court, which is really under the control of the U.S. Department of Justice, where Assange is facing extradition. There’s a hearing coming up in November to determine whether Assange will be extradited to the U.S..

 So this is why this case is so important. And I, you know, obtain these files and was able to put this narrative together and name names of personnel who are working, or were working in Las Vegas Sands who spearheaded this operation.

Paul Jay

The big headline here is that Adelson’s security firm, actually works part of his hotel empire, was the middleman funneling this information to the CIA? Is that right?

Max Blumenthal

It appears that  way, or what could have, would also appear to have taken place is that personnel who work under Adelson, specifically someone named Brian Nagel, who is the head of global security for Las Vegas Sands, were essentially CIA assets. And Nagel is someone who is the assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service. Everyone thinks that the Secret Service and in terms of, you know, grim bodyguards who were wearing dark suits and  aviator glasses, who are like whispering into their sleeves while they surround the president. But the Secret Service,under Nagel’s watch, emerged as the top cyber crime agency in the U.S., and Nagel working with the FBI and the CIA at a period when the whole online world was new and particularly new to the U.S. law enforcement, he set up all of these sort of fusion centers to bring U.S. law enforcement capacity to bear to shut down cyber crime syndicates. He left government in 2008, went to Adelson Sands, and in 2010, WikiLeaks comes online.

 These agencies that Nagel helped set up would have been on the front lines of the U.S. fight against WikiLeaks when it first dropped Cablegate, for example, all the classified State Department cables. And so I’m just putting two and two together here. David Morales, the Spanish security contractor, was at the Venetian Hotel owned by Sheldon Adelson in Las Vegas in December 2017.  While in London, Julian Assange and his legal team were trying to enact a strategy to get him diplomatic immunity so he could leave the embassy. And to break that plan apart to basically undermine that plan, Morales, in Las Vegas, received instructions in English to provide to his employees in London on how to set up a separate camera spying feed so that the Americans could watch the cameras and listen in on Assange’s conversations without the Ecuadorian security services even knowing that was taking place, 

Paul Jay

Because these were cameras that were, in theory, supposed to be watched by the Ecuadorian Secret Service. So they were having a, like a parallel camera system that the Americans would have  hold of.

Max Blumenthal

Exactly. And so the Ecuadorians, they thought, you know, these cameras are there to prevent intruders from getting in. From the American point of view or the CIA point of view these cameras were there to intrude. They were weapons of intrusion. And it’s just notable that Assange received, sorry  Morales, who is the, you know, sort of mercenary hired to do this spying, received those instructions at Adelson’s hotel in Las Vegas, in English, in this PowerPoint presentation.  Who else would have the wherewithal to put that presentation together and then know how to conduct an operation like this but someone like Brian Nagel, who had been working at that point for nine years under Adelson’s Company?

Paul Jay

There’s a long history of this type of nexus between the CIA, as you said, certain billionaires and organized crime. This love with lots of back and forths between, during the time of the Kennedy administration. And in fact, one of the theories of the Kennedy assassination is that Kennedy was killed because Robert Kennedy went back on a deal with the mafia, the Iran-Contra gate, also the working with Colombian and Mexican cartels. And you have Adelson, who has been directly accused of working with Chinese organized crime and others of money laundering, and then he’s invited and gets fetted at the White House.

     In fact, he wanted a casino license in Japan. I’m not sure how that all ended up, but he was brought to the White House to dine with Trump and the prime minister of Japan so he could negotiate this casino license. And I think one of the things that’s striking about all this, as much as the CNN and MSNBC’s of the world go after Trump, this would, you would think, be such an obvious thing to attack Trump on, this connection with Adelson and organized crime. It’s barely reported on.

Max Blumenthal

Yeah, I just find it strange that Adelson gets so little scrutiny in general and winning is scrutinized. His real interests, including his ideological interests or his ideological agenda, are rarely mentioned. He’s just referred to as Republican mega donor, which makes him so much less interesting. And I think it’s sort of a conscious decision, partly because the pro-Israel lobby is bipartisan, but also partly because, you know, Adelson is so powerful. The money laundering is again something that Adelson is clearly engaged in. And the Department of Justice has suddenly lost interest in this. I wonder why? Adelson‘s  stands is one of the engines of the Chinese economy, believe it or not. Macao is under Portuguese control until, I think, the year 2000 or 2001. And then it became, it emerged as kind of the Las Vegas of Asia under a casino baron named Stanley Ho, who just died this week. He was 98. Stanley Ho had a monopoly on Macao for several years. But then the Chinese government decided that by encouraging competition, the island would flourish as an economic powerhouse. So they brought in Sheldon Adelson and one of his competitors in Las Vegas, Steve Wynn, who doesn’t invest in politics the same way Adelson does. And the island really took off. What I show in my piece is, you know, besides the fact that, you know, Las Vegas Sands is bringing in a ton of revenue, mainly from the Chinese mainland. Two thirds of the revenue in Macao in gamblining  comes from the Chinese mainland. You know, the new class of Chinese elites that’s benefiting from this economic powerhouse is spending freely there. They include many Chinese officials. So the CIA and the FBI apparently came into Sands in 2010. This is two years after Brian Nagel joins the operation. Brian Nagel, I described him before. I forgot to mention he was given a CIA medal of distinction for his work in assisting their operations outside as a non-agency member. So in 2010, the CIA and FBI enter Las Vegas Sands, according to a private report funded by the gambling industry. And they start using the casino’s cameras. I wouldn’t say spy on, but basically to record Chinese officials blowing large sums of money at the gambling tables. Then they confront these officials, and they say, you know, we have footage of you losing tons of money. You’re not supposed to be on a public salary. This is sort of corruption. It’s not going to go over well when you get home. So what you should do is inform for us and provide us with detailed information about what’s going on inside the Chinese government.

     It’s a classic blackmail operation. It was revealed in 2015. I have a copy of this report, but that was classified at the time. It was revealed in 2015 in The Guardian. No one’s connected it to what took place around Assange. But, you know, you put the pieces together and Sands does have a pretty well established relationship with law in U.S federal law enforcement and the intelligence services. So it’s not shocking that Adelson finds himself in the middle of another intelligence intrigue.

Paul Jay

Let’s go bigger picture here again. The Trump administration has been very committed to destabilising, at the least,with the hope of even bringing down the government of Iran. Whether it was John Bolton or Flanner, one after another, including Pompeo. Trump has been surrounded by various forms of neo cons who want to continue the agenda established by Cheney and such. The end of the Iraq war was always seen as step one towards an attack or some kind of bringing down the government in Iran.

     Given the current pandemic, global depression and a real possibility, Trump might lose the election, do you think this makes this administration even more aggressive towards Iran, and that we might find something, they might do something more provocative than killing the General sometime before this election?

Certainly by killing Sulimani, but essentially by scrapping the Iran deal, the Trump administration boxed itself into a policy of constant escalation. And the question is, you know, in this kind of game of geopolitical chicken, who is going to call whose bluff? And I think Iran has just called the US bluff because the US has sanctioned everything in Iran to the point where there’s nothing left to sanction. They killed the number two figure in the country, and they realized that Iran does have deterrence capacity. We saw it, not just with the ballistic missile strike on the Al-Assad military base in Iraq, which is one of the largest U.S. military bases in the Middle East, where we were told nobody was injured. Trump said everybody’s safe, everything’s fine. And then we learned that over 100 U.S. personnel at the base had been kind of secretly airlifted to hospitals in Europe because they’d suffered traumatic brain injuries. But we also saw it with the downing of a U.S. drone over Iranian territory and several, I guess I would say, unsolved attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. Now these five Iranian oil tankers are heading to Venezuela because the Trump administration has taken the same tack on Venezuela, where it’s boxed itself into a maximum pressure policy that necessitates or invites mutual, endless escalation.

Paul Jay

Well, I’m not suggesting there could be like an attack on Iran. I doubt that, although I wouldn’t put anything past these guys. But a mutual friend of ours in Los Angeles, an Iranian. His fear was that they’d try, and not they’d try. They’ve been trying. But that gets even more serious to create a kind of civil war situation, Iran using the Sunni population and others and use them. And this was before the pandemic. But if you take the current economic crisis, combined with sanctions and the despair people are in,  it may be much easier for the Americans to fuel something like this.

Max Blumenthal

Yeah, I mean, that’s a constant fear of Iran. And Iran’ssecurity state is really always looking out for some kind of ?????. I mean, the civil war wouldn’t take place with the Sunni population, which really is tiny inside Iran. It would be with sort of the enemies of the part of the sector of the population that’s opposed to the IRGC and the kind of revolutionary state that they’ve established. And we’ve seen protest waves take place. Some of them have been sort of responses to economic policies ostensibly, or when you have in Iran, even though you have a reformist leadership with Hassan Rouhani as someone who actually was a part of the Iranian security state, he was the director of Iran’s version of the NSA, if I’m not incorrect. And he’s constantly balancing economic policy with the threat of internal upheaval. So the Iranian leadership expects waves of protests at certain points, and it tries to offset them by, for example, enacting an economic policy they think is necessary. That will lead to a backlash from the part of the public and lead to possibly the currency getting weaker, but will offset the protest wave that the U.S. might have expected. But I don’t think it’s a major threat right now. The only thing I can be sure of, though, is that the Trump administration is sort of at least in the near term, it is out of options on Iran until November. And Iran’s openly said that when it sent these five fuel tankers to Venezuela to relieve Venezuela’s fuel crisis because Venezuela has heavy crude oil, that needs to be mixed with light crude. And the U.S. sanctioned not just the light crude, refused to provide it to Venezuela and put secondary sanctions on companies that provided them with the equipment to mix the crude, to make fuel that could be used by automobiles and so on. When Iran sent these five tankers, they said that this is like their official messaging, that Donald Trump faces a crisis of legitimacy because of Corona virus. He won’t strike us back because it will ruin his chances at re-election.And we have deterrent capacity as we demonstrated when you killed our general. And they’re absolutely, 100 percent right. So that’s why these tankers are proceeding unscathed into Venezuelan waters and it’s really signal moment. It really signals, I think, the dawn of an emerging new world order. If Trump’s re-elected, we could see them continue this demented policy of escalation. I really think it’s an it’s an ideological policy,` and it’s a myopic policy that is being dictated by Sheldon Adelson, who speaks for Netanyahu in the United States. If the U.S. had rational leadership, they’d see what’s taking place in Venezuela in terms of the Cuban missile crisis with these Iranian tankers, which pose no threat like Soviet missiles. But they would realize that one way to make sure Iran doesn’t send more of its assets into the Western Hemisphere is to actually allow negotiations in Venezuela and to negotiate with the Iranian leadership, which has just, despite everything, still held out an olive branch.

Paul Jay

Well, what you’re describing is a sort of, presupposing, a kind of rationality. And I thought the same thing prior to the Iraq war, that it just made no sense as much of all the bellicose rhetoric coming out of the Bush administration. Everyone that knew the region said that if the U.S. invaded Iraq, it would be one of the great strategic blunders in American history. That it would unleash years of civil war, mostly to begin with war against the American occupation and everything that happened, and the way things evolved in Iraq. That’s not what Bush/Cheney wanted, wasn’t the objective, I don’t think. They wanted certainly more control. They didn’t want a government that is usually more friendly to Iran than it is the United States. And what I’m concerned about now is the same group of neo cons that are around Trump and shaping that foreign policy. And I think he’s a vessel for the neo cons. I interviewed Ambassador Joe Wilson just a couple of months before he died, and he’s the ambassador that went to Niger and exposed the yellowcake fraud thing, the accusation that Saddam was buying uranium from Africa to make nuclear weapons. And he showed that was B.S. And, you know, his wife, Valerie Plame, was later outed. And Wilson is one of ——.People can watch this on the Analysis., He’s very sharp on the importance of recognizing how much the neo cons are shaping Trump foreign policy and Pompeo  included, of course. And I just think we should be wary of and on guard for some kind of false flag attack that would justify a military confrontation with Iran. And I don’t think it’s an invasion. And I don’t even know if it’s anything more than a stunt for the elections. But it is, certainly anything that even comes close to that is easily going to go out of control. As you said, the Iranians do have the ability to fight back. And, who knows, what gets unleashed.

     But he’s, Trump is also surrounded with the military leadership, is very much made up of people who welcome the apocalypse, Armageddon. There’s religious fanaticism throughout. And Trump’s, so much of Trump’s support comes from sections of evangelicals, and not all, but many of whom are as fanatic as you know, as fanatic as any fanatic. They’re supposedly fighting Islamic fanatics. The American religious fanatics are just as fanatical, except they have more, they have nuclear weapons and more guns. So I think it’s a dangerous moment these next few months. And I just think we should be on alert for some kind of provocation.

Max Blumenthal

Well, it’s not just Trump’s base that’s filled with, you know, evangelical end timer’s. It’s, his cabinet, Secretary of State is one of them. And the Secretary of State is a former army officer 

Paul Jay

 And the vice president.

Max Blumenthal

Good point. And you know, the military itself, the Air Force is based in Colorado Springs. This is like Vatican West. It’s the base of evangelical Christianity in the United States, right down the street from James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. So, yeah, there’s a lot of irrational thinking surrounding this administration. I think the Iranian and Venezuelan leaderships, which are in survival mode, are rational. And, you know, if the Trump administration wants to deploy some kind of trick, a false flag or whatever you’re suggesting could take place. They can’t easily predict what the response will be, especially from Iran, which has good experience with October surprises. The question that I would just ask is who, when you ask who benefits? Does the Iranian leadership want Donald Trump to be ousted by Joe Biden? I think there’s a section of it that does. But there are also elements in the IRGC which see Trump greatly weakening American alliances and weakening American power that are comfortable with an out of control rogue leader who’s really lifting the mask on American empire.

     My understanding of the Venezuelan leadership is that they want someone else to come in who they think they might be able to negotiate with. Normalized ties with Cuba did under Obama. But Iran’s you know, it’s a totally different bag. And so, first of all, I think there’s such a miniscule chance that the U.S.would invade Iran or directly confront Iran. It would be incredibly unpopular in the U.S., including among Republicans and a large sector of Trump’s base, which voted for him in 2016 because he took this non-interventionist line. It could be that they would attempt something. But I just highly doubt it’ll erupt into full scale war. So how can they be sure the Iranians will respond the way they want? I think they can’t. So the Trump administration, as I said before, and the U.S. national security state, because it’s taken, it’s expended so many options in order to carry out this policy of regime change, this maximum pressure policy. And then they always say all options are on the table. But they’ve used so many of the options that contain very little political cost at home. And the only options they have left would have terrible domestic repercussions. And that’s why I don’t—I mean, that’s why I think the Trump administration needs to be re-elected to attempt further escalation. But anything’s possible with people who are just not thinking rationally in Washington or are thinking about biblical eschatology.

All right.  Thanks for joining us, Max. 

Thanks a lot, Paul. 

And thank you for joining us on theAnalysis.news podcast.   

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *