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Russia Sanctions Bill Based on Numerous Frauds

July 28, 2017 (EIRNS)—The Russian sanctions section of the Iran-Russia-North Korea sanctions bill, H.R. 3364, which the U.S. Senate gave its final approval to by a vote of 98-2 yesterday and sent to the White House, is a full-scale assault on Trump, openly putting nearly the entire Congress on the record as backers of the of the fake Russia-gate (proven false by the VIPS report), and willing to back the ongoing coup by the British assets in the press, the intelligence community, and Wall Street.

The bill is based on numerous frauds, among them, the assertion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. It cites in the findings section the Jan. 6, 2017 intelligence "assessment"—the one that was presented as a consensus of the intelligence community as a whole but turned out to have been composed by a hand picked group of analysts from only three of the 17 intelligence agencies—that claimed that "Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the United States presidential election." The assessment warned, the findings in the sanction bill say, that

"Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the U.S. Presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against U.S. allies and their election processes."

With respect to congressional review, the bill provides that if the president wishes to lift sanctions—in the language of the bill, actions that either significantly alter or don’t alter U.S. foreign policy—he must submit a report to the Congress which will then be the subject of hearings in the relevant committees, and then a resolution of disapproval or approval "may" be originated in either house, subject to limited debate and then presidential approval or veto. It appears that there’s no requirement on the part of the Congress to even respond with a resolution, if it chooses not to, and therefore, if the Congress doesn’t act, the president can’t do anything.

With respect to Russia, the bill codifies all of the sanctions that have been imposed on Russia by executive order since March of 2014, including the final sanctions order that President Obama issued—related to Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election—just before he left office. Section 224 of the bill requires the imposition of sanctions on any person who the President determines

"knowingly engages in significant activities undermining cybersecurity against any person, including a democratic institution, or government on behalf of the Government of the Russian Federation."

The 2014 Ukraine Freedom Support Act said the president "may" impose sanctions on Russian and other foreign financial institutions in certain situations. Section 226 of the sanctions bill changes this from "may" to "shall." The same is done with existing sanctions on Russian crude oil projects.

The pipeline issue which has so angered the European Union is addressed in section 257. Under the heading, "Ukrainian energy security," it states, among other things, that it is U.S. policy

"to continue to oppose the NordStream 2 pipeline given its detrimental impacts on the European Unions energy security, gas market development in Central and Eastern Europe, and energy reforms in Ukraine; and that the United States Government should prioritize the export of United States energy resources in order to create American jobs, help United States allies and partners, and strengthen United States foreign policy."

One of the likely intended beneficiaries of this provision is Virginia’s Dominion Energy company, which is nearly finished building a $3.8 billion LNG export facility in southern Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay where an import terminal already exists.

Earlier, in section 232, it states that sanctions may be imposed

"with respect to a person if the President determines that the person knowingly, on or after the date of the enactment of this Act, makes an investment described in subsection (b) or sells, leases, or provides to the Russian Federation, for the construction of Russian energy export pipelines, goods, services, technology, information, or support..."

Subsection (b) defines such investments as:

"an investment that directly and significantly contributes to the enhancement of the ability of the Russian Federation to construct energy export pipelines."

This could even be imposed against repair and maintenance of the several existing Russian pipelines to Europe.

The sanctions bill also incorporates something called the "Countering Russian influence in Europe and Eurasia" Act. Among the findings is something that sounds more like a description of the activities of the National Endowment For Democracy than anything that the Russian Federation, under the presidency of Valdimir Putin, actually does: "The Government of the Russian Federation," it says,

"has sought to exert influence throughout Europe and Eurasia, including in the former states of the Soviet Union, by providing resources to political parties, think tanks, and civil society groups that sow distrust in democratic institutions and actors, promote xenophobic and illiberal views, and otherwise undermine European unity."

It also finds that it is Moscow that’s not complying with the Minsk agreements and is in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Congress has decided that Russia is solely responsible for the violence in Ukraine, thus giving the neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine a free pass, and that the President should call on Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. It authorizes $250 million per year for the next two years to provide aid and assistance across Eastern Europe and NATO to fight back against this insidious Russian influence.