In Russia, 78% have just voted in support of constitutional amendments. 

Among these, we find the paramount Atlanticist obsession: the possibility that Vladimir Putin will be able to run for two more presidential terms. 

Predictably, anguished cries of “Dictator! Dictator!” have been lobbed like deadly shells all across the Beltway. 

They might even silence the echoes of the latest CIA press release to the New York Times, based on “raw” intel and supported by no evidence or proof whatsoever, that Russia had been paying bounties to the Afghan Taliban to kill US troops.   

A crafty amalgamated headline in the Washington Post – the CIA/Jeff Bezos vehicle – gave away the game: “The only people dismissing the Russian bounties intel: The Taliban, Russia and Trump.” 

Simpletons will easily fall for it. The message is clear.

No one cares about the endless war in and on Afghanistan. The only thing that matters is whether Trump knew months ago about the intel, and why the National Security Council did not unload another Himalaya of sanctions on Russia. 

Afghan Taliban fighters and villagers attend a gathering as they celebrate the peace deal signed between US and Taliban in Laghman Province, Alingar district on March 2, 2020. Photo: Wali Sabawoon/NurPhoto)

When in doubt, ask House speaker Nancy Pelosi, a notorious DC swamp dweller, who gave away the game with her famous remark, “With him, all roads lead to Putin. I don’t know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally or financially.” 

Ray McGovern – who knows one or two things about the CIA – completely debunked the CIA plant. He included a key assessment by Scott Ritter – who knows a thing or two about US “intel” from his experience as a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq:  

“Perhaps the biggest clue concerning the fragility of the New York Times’ report is contained in the one sentence it provides about sourcing: ‘The intelligence assessment is said to be based at least in part on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals.’ That sentence contains almost everything one needs to know about the intelligence in question, including the fact that the source of the information is most likely the Afghan government as reported through CIA channels.”

No wonder the Kremlin dismissed it for what it is: “an unsophisticated plant.” And fine, sophisticated Russian diplomacy did smell the proverbial rat: the framing of Trump, once again, as a Russian agent.

A delicious touch of mischief was added by a Taliban spokesman: “We” have conducted “target killings” for years “on our own resources.”

Anyone familiar with the Afghanistan quagmire knows that if Moscow wanted to raise hell against Americans, it could easily supply the Taliban with deadly surface and surface to air missiles – and end that endless war in a flash. 

Russia simply does not need to expel the US from Afghanistan. As much as US bases such as Bagram keep an eye on everything happening in the strategic intersection between Central Asia and South Asia, so do Russia, China and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) keep an eye on the Americans. 

What the SCO wants is to devise a realistic Afghan peace plan – already a work in progress – brokered by Asians, including India, Pakistan and SCO observers Iran and Afghanistan. 

Russian diplomacy also clearly identifies the collateral damage of the CIA plant – in fact a meek Russiagate 2.0 attempt, but with perfect timing.  

Everything that Putin and Trump had been negotiating – the oil market, arms control, the G-7 and, of course, Afghanistan – is now on hold. The only “winner” would be NATO’s wet dream of – hostile – power play, capable of thwarting the Eurasia integration project led in tandem by China and Russia’s “pivot to Asia.”    

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong …

Hybrid war by the Deep State on Russia, a relentless affair, now proceeds in tandem with hybrid war on China. 

So cries of deep despair once again had to be raised all across the NATO spectrum when, 23 years after the Hong Kong handover, the special administrative region (SAR) finally started to be de facto decolonized.  

The full text of the Hong Kong National Security Law is here. It got the seal of approval of President Xi Jinping only a few hours before midnight on June 30 – exactly 23 years after the handover. 

Article 9 is particularly interesting: it stresses the necessity to  “strengthen public communication, guidance, supervision and regulation over matters concerning national security, including those relating to schools, social organizations, the media and the internet.” 

If media and social media are let loose in Hong Kong, 5th columnists will run riot, as they do in any color revolution, and as they did during the “protests” last year, black blocs included. Now with the new law it’s a matter of being responsible, or otherwise landing in major legal trouble.

A protester uses a sharp object against a police officer who is trying to detain a man (C) during a rally against a new national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020. Photo: AFP

The new National Security Law is as much about preventing sedition – and hybrid war tactics – as smashing money laundering by dodgy mainland characters. There is nothing extraordinary about Hong Kong’s now having legislation with a broad extrajudicial reach. 

The US awards itself the privilege of being extrajudicial as it sees fit. Take the case of Julian Assange, facing extradition to the US for the “crime”– committed outside US territory – of acting as a publisher.  

The Assange case, complete with psychological torture inflicted by British minions in a high-security prison fit for terrorists, reduces to ashes the whole US hysteria over Hong Kong.    

And then there are European so-called leaders who, in unison, are condemning China over the “deplorable” security law. 

The late, great Gore Vidal told me in London in 1987 that in the future Europe would be a mere, inconsequential boutique. Now Europe is in fact terrified that sooner rather than later it will be reduced to Far Western Asia.

Talk about the revenge of history on those who named Asia “the Far East.”