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American Resistance To Empire

“Grizzly Steppe”–Is This a Joke? w/Facebook comments

obama-leaked-hillary-emails-not-hacked-by-russians

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[DEMOCRAT EMAILS WERE INTERNALLY LEAKED – Not Hacked By Russians As Corrupt Democrats & Media Claim]

“Grizzly Steppe”: Is This a Joke?

powerline

 

 

by John Hinderaker

The Obama administration is retaliating against Russia for hacking into Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s email account. It would have been much better if the administration had reacted when Russia hacked into the White House’s and State Department’s computers in 2014, but, as Glenn Reynolds says, at that time only national security was at stake, while now, it’s something really important: the Democratic Party’s power.

So yesterday the administration released its long-anticipated report on Russian hacking. The Associated Press explains the report’s importance:

The U.S. on Thursday released its most detailed report yet on Russia’s efforts to interfere in the U.S. presidential election by hacking American political sites and email accounts.

The 13-page joint analysis by the Homeland Security Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation was the first such report ever to attribute malicious cyber activity to a particular country or actors.

It was also the first time the U.S. has officially and specifically tied intrusions into the Democratic National Committee to hackers with the Russian civilian and military intelligence services, the FSB and GRU, expanding on an Oct. 7 accusation by the Obama administration.

So the report is really important. I read it yesterday, and had to triple-check to verify that this is the document the administration has been hyping.

The report can fairly be characterized as a joke. To begin with, 8 1/2 of its 13 pages consist of boilerplate advice to IT professionals, e.g.:

A commitment to good cybersecurity and best practices is critical to protecting networks and systems. Here are some questions you may want to ask your organization to help prevent and mitigate against attacks.

Right. So how about the Russians and Debbie W-S’s account? The information provided is absurdly thin. The bottom line:

The U.S. Government confirms that two different [Russian civilian and military intelligence Services] actors participated in the intrusion into a U.S. political party. The first actor group, known as Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) 29, entered into the party’s systems in summer 2015, while the second, known as APT28, entered in spring 2016.

The “U.S political party” is of course the Democratic National Committee. But what is the evidence that the Russian government was behind the hack?

In summer 2015, an APT29 spearphishing campaign directed emails containing a malicious link to over 1,000 recipients, including multiple U.S. Government victims. APT29 used legitimate domains, to include domains associated with U.S. organizations and educational institutions, to host malware and send spearphishing emails. In the course of that campaign, APT29 successfully compromised a U.S. political party. At least one targeted individual activated links to malware hosted on operational infrastructure of opened attachments containing malware. APT29 delivered malware to the political party’s systems, established persistence, escalated privileges, enumerated active directory accounts, and exfiltrated email from several accounts through encrypted connections back through operational infrastructure.

In spring 2016, APT28 compromised the same political party, again via targeted spearphishing. This time, the spearphishing email tricked recipients into changing their passwords through a fake webmail domain hosted on APT28 operational infrastructure. Using the harvested credentials, APT28 was able to gain access and steal content, likely leading to the exfiltration of information from multiple senior party members. The U.S. Government assesses that information was leaked to the press and publicly disclosed.

I assume that these claims are probably true, but they are conclusions, not evidence. Does the administration provide any evidence? This is as close as we get:

Indicators of Compromise (IOCs)

IOCs associated with RIS cyber actors are provided within the accompanying .csv and .stix files of JAR-16-20296.
Yara Signature
rule PAS_TOOL_PHP_WEB_KIT
{
meta:
description = “PAS TOOL PHP WEB KIT FOUND” strings:
$php = “ 20KB and filesize < 22KB) and #cookie == 2 and #isset == 3 and all of them }

I am not competent to interpret this information. No doubt some of our readers will weigh in, in the comments. But really: is this the best evidence the administration has that the Russian government hacked Debbie W-S’s email account? It seems remarkably feeble. The administration’s claim may be true. I have no idea whether it is or not. But the thinness of any persuasive evidence in a 13-page report that consists mostly of boilerplate advice to IT personnel inspires very little confidence.

COMMENTS FROM FACEBOOK

Lee Donowitz ·

Regarding “Grizzly Steppe”. Has there ever been an administration that over-promised & under-delivered more than Obama’s?!? It’s comical how poorly this man’s team consistently has scored on “real world” metrics for 8 years.

Nis Silver ·

“Debbie Does Dulles” as in Allen Dulles.

Tom Earnest ·

Does anyone else get the idea that the O Admininstration is trying to kick up as much trouble as possible for the incoming T Administration ? YES, NOT ? Answer YES. I would be interested in who almost caused this big rift between the US and Russia; Who’s laptop had the code; where did they get it; why was it on the laptop ? Compare this last minute excitement / punnishment to that that occurred when National Security was at risk. O Admin has egg on their faces again – not nearly the wizards they claim to be. Difficult for them to accept defeat gracefully and in a responsible manner.

Phil Clary ·

You forgot to report the part where the administration apoplogized for the behaviors and dishonesty revealed. Page 14?

Phil Clary ·

This report does not say why no RNC sites were compromised or what other, if any, government actors were compromised. Was the DNC the only fool to be compromised by the broadly sweeping phishing?

Does Wikileaks have different information than these Russian exfiltrations or was Russia just hosting Wikileaks?

Like · Reply · 1 · 1 hr · Edited

Richard Platt ·

Ok, now I got . . . I can keep my doctor, it was the video in Benghazi and the Russians did it. How much more clarity could one want?
Like · Reply · 4 · 3 hrs

Dianne Dee

I don’t think Hillary wanted to win. She choked a week before and proof of that is she cancelled the firecrackers. Furthermore, she booked the glass convention centre that Trump built years before for her finale. Subconsciously that was the glass ceiling she couldn’t break because Trump built it.

Mark Adams ·

The Russians have mind-hacked Obama to perform as ridiculous an exit as possible. Motive: contempt.

Wesley Young

The anti-Trump coalition continues to do Putin’s bidding. What is the real import of this molehill? The more our Country can be divided the less effective we will be in putting America first. This coincides with the plutocracy’s goal of destroying America as a nation state. The coalition wants to conflate hacking the DNC’s emails with hacking our election process. There’s no concrete proof of the former and consequently no proof whatsoever of the latter. The coalition wants to hamstring our President-elect to block him achieving the goals he was elected for. A secondary objective is to keep anyone from looking into the voter fraud committed by the dems.
Like · Reply · 1 · 8 hrs

Max Duncan ·

It’s right there on the first of 13 pages. “The Russians did it.” How much more evidence do you need? ROFL! Little Paul Deuffert is actually ready to start WWIII on the inarguable evidence – “the Russians did it.”
.
Scary, but the clown is supposedly a lawyer.
Like · Reply · 2 · 9 hrs

Wesley Young

There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s a lawyer.
I knew the report was phony after I noticed it had a watermark saying:
“the Russians did it”.
Like · Reply · 1 · 8 hrs

Glen Tschirgi ·

Perhaps the sorriest part of this pathetic Administration is how they have completely destroyed all credibility of our intelligence agencies. Who cares what the CIA, DHS, FBI, NSA et al say about this? Obama has subverted them all and they are relegated to political hack status. Trump will have to burn down the agencies and rebuild. In the meantime, everything they say is highly suspect. Sad.
Like · Reply · 6 · 10 hrs

John York ·

Yep, this is pretty grisly.

Erwin MacClendan

Maybe Trump and Putin can make an announcement from the Trump Tower in NYC that Russia is forming a joint task force charged with releasing all hacked documents; ask all world hacker’s and WikiLeaks to come forward with any illegally obtained information. The information will be made publicly available to the American people so that they may judge for themselves why the Obama Administration almost got us into a war with Russia.

Jeff Sessions will then step up to the podium and announce that if USG Classified documents are found, prosecutions by the USG will be levied against those who initially mishandled them. Any other violations of US law brought to light will also result in criminal prosecution.

President Trump can then come out and announce both the Russian Federation and liked minded Western Nations are going to create a new diplomatic organization that will take the place of the UN.

This would just about clean out the DNC with no push back from the public. It would destroy an Obama UN Secretary General appointment, and Fauxhontas.

It would pave the way diplomatically for the West and Russia to move forward in a new spirit of peace and cooperation.

Like · Reply · 1 · 10 hrs

David Hanig ·

You know someone in the Obama Administration is BS’ing when he tells the stenographers in the media that 17 intelligence agencies agree that the DNC hackers were Russian Government agents. The reason that we have 17 different intelligence agencies is that each specializes–none does everything. All any statement about 17 intelligence agencies means is that Coast Guard Intelligence and the rest have no objection to blaming the Russians.

What does the Drug Enforcement Agency have to say about hacking? What about the Department of Energy, which is responsible for evaluating intelligence on nuclear weapons? Does the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency have a satellite photo of the hackers? Even the only agency that can speak for the entire US intelligence appartus, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, only runs the committee meetings–it has no means of analyzing evidence of a computer hack.

Like · Reply · 4 · 11 hrs

Doug Brockman

The biggest worst crime here was attacking the sacred but seemingly incompetent DEMOCRAT party Had they attacked the GOP no such wailing and gnashing of teeth. This TRYiNG to use the IRS against democrats is impeachable. Actually using it against the tea party is entirely appropriate and warranted
Like · Reply · 1 · 11 hrs

Erwin MacClendan

I think the Obama Administration codified it into operation law as objectively legal. Imagine taking down BLM, Greenpeace, the Clinton & Obama Foundations, and Georgie S with the IRS. Kinda like Harry Reid’s Nuclear Option – some things get better with age.
Like · Reply · 10 hrs

Irene Bernhard

At the tippity top of the report, in a box labeled “JOINT ANALYSIS REPORT”, it states:

“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.”

Talk about a con job….

https://www.scribd.com/…/335…/FBI-Russian-Hacking-Report

Like · Reply · 1 · 11 hrs

Don DeVaughn ·

A .csv file is an elementary database file that has been in common use since about 1970 to transfer data from one database to another; for example, from an excel database to a Wordperfect database. By itself, there is nothing suspicous here. The “Yara Signature” references a common tool used by programmers who are looking for malware, and the code that is inside the brackets is a typical example of programming to find the malware. In my opinion, none of this points to any State action. All of this could have been used by technicians working for the DNC, trying to determine whether or not they had been “hacked.”
Like · Reply · 8 · 11 hrs

Eugene Fridkin

you can download php web kit from GitHub – haha…. They would better show IPs, traceroutes and the real things if anyone is to believe this
Like · Reply · 1 · 7 hrs · Edited

Lee Stokes ·

Csv is the old ASCII, comma/tab/space, etc. delimited file format.
Like · Reply · 4 hrs

William Befort ·

Actors, actors, actors. If this is genuine Foreign Intrigue, where are the actresses?
Like · Reply · 3 · 12 hrs

Wesley Young

They’re all called “actors” now.
Like · Reply · 8 hrs

Matt Brennan ·

Anyone want to chip in to get Duffort some buttcream? He seems to be really hurting. Maybe one of those blow up cushions with a big hole in the middle.

I love the smell of dems going nuts any time of the day.

Like · Reply · 2 · 12 hrs

Arlie Ray Blackshear Jr ·

In 2008, after Obama had won, the LIE-stream media crowed how sophisticated Obama’s tech savvy campaign was. How they had the “smarts” to run a multi level, multi tasking computer software driven campaign with social media driving voters and campaign donations to him and the DNC. It was a information technology juggernaut with the smartest programmers and hackers running circles around the electorate in cyberspace. Instantly, the campaign could answer any attack with a press release anywhere on any topic with their cyberspace war room. The smartest president ever, had the smartest campaign staSee More
Like · Reply · 5 · 12 hrs

Wesley Young

obama was aware of the ongoing cyber attacks back when he was elected. But he only got around to addressing the problem in the last three weeks of his reign of terror.
Like · Reply · 1 · 8 hrs

Gary Black ·

There is absolutely nothing in the document that points to the Russian State as perpetrators. On the contrary, the only “evidence” points to techniques used by any unsophisticated hacker. I will contend the DNC was never hacked but rather leaked by an insider. Podesta was hacked but not by a state actor. Clinton’s secret server was no doubt hacked by State actors according to the FBI but nobody getting excited about that.
Like · Reply · 12 · 13 hrs

Wesley Young

Guccifer claimed HIllary’s server was a piece of cake and that he saw evidence of others had been there.
Like · Reply · 1 · 8 hrs

Arnold Townsend ·

The “root kit” fragment shown in your post indicates absolutely nothing. It is typical of thousands of that type of infiltration and could have come from anywhere in the world. If they did not provide firm evidence this originated from Russia, it is a half-baked attempt to cast blame and fails miserably. I guarantee you it was thrown together under orders and with abysmal knowledge level of most journalists and their editors, it is a fraud.

You don’t need “root kit” to phish for passwords , it is something done all the time by various people for many reasons (nearly always in a quest for ill-gotten gain). Number one: never ever respond to any email claiming some kind of account problem requiring an immediate “password” change or reset. A “helpful” screen will often be provided to help and it may look very legitimate. No credible organization will use this approach.

More bread and circus from the Obama people. What judge at the Federal level would allow this rubbish as evidence?

Like · Reply · 14 · 13 hrs

Wesley Young

AS we have seen in the past, there are a myriad of Federal judges willing to help in the attack on the right.
Like · Reply · 2 · 8 hrs

Michael Eves Shaffer ·

All that snippit is proof us is that you can’t fix stupid. You would think that if they were going to invent some code to “prove” something, they would bother to make it pass programming 101.
Like · Reply · 3 · 13 hrs

Bob Parkman ·

I am competent to evaluate such things, unfortunately there is not enough information to evaluate properly and what information is provided is, as you mentioned, generic security advice.

Lastly, if these “hacks” (they’re not really hacks or cracks, just phishes) were properly done, there would be absolutely no known point of origin or useful path available to blame on anyone.

For them to conclude “it’s the Russians” without any correborating information through other channels is ludicrous. The “report” mentioned no such correboration.

Like · Reply · 12 · 13 hrs

Paul Dueffert ·

No, we are retaliating against Russia for using material stolen from a major domestic political party to influence a US election. It arguably is an act of war.
Like · Reply · 1 · 13 hrs · Edited

Mike Ster

Paul – you’re kind of sexy when you talk tough
Like · Reply · 11 · 13 hrs

Scott Wallace ·

So to make sure I understand this right, stealing private emails from those with political influence or information or thinking of some sort, in order to better insure a political outcome of one’s liking, is something that can be considered legitimate grounds for armed violence? Not arguing against, just want to make sure we get universally applicable ground rules established.
Like · Reply · 10 · 12 hrs

Jean Louise

Was it an act of war when the US attempted to influence Israel’s 2015 election? Or any of the other 117 elections the US has influenced around the world from 1946 to 2000?
Like · Reply · 11 · 12 hrs

Dan Shapiro ·

Consider, this is the same administration of rogue agents and if you like your doctor, you can…….

It’s cases like this that rely on past credibility. In this instance there is none.

Like · Reply · 5 · 13 hrs

Bill Wilson ·

Who, at this point, would believe one word said by this administration? There has never been a more thoroughly discredited and documented nest of liars. They lie as a matter of strategy. When caught out on open mics or other fora, they admit this.
Like · Reply · 3 · 12 hrs

Mike Fillian

I’m not sure I can draw the conclusion that pulling emails off of a political party’s server is equal to hacking a government server. At least as far as resulting in significant government retaliation. It seems asymmetrical.
Like · Reply · 8 · 13 hrs

Paul Dueffert ·

Do you really think the US should have done nothing when North Korea hacked Sony’s system? http://www.wsj.com/…/u-s-penalizes-north-korea-in…
Like · Reply · 12 hrs · Edited

Terrence OBrien

Paul Dueffert
Why not? They did nothng when they said the Russians hacked the White House and shut down their systems for a few weeks.
Like · Reply · 7 · 12 hrs · Edited

Randy David ·

What if a high level US politician gets drunk and passes out on a park bench…while passed out a folder with some secret information falls onto the walkway… someone picks up this information and discovers it is highly prized strategic concerns from a super power and they keep it. This would be the equivalent to what happened to Hillary… dunno about the rest of the DNC.
Like · Reply · 1 · 12 hrs

Christopher Mayerle ·

There is a giant leap of logic based on what the FBI & DHS are claiming is “evidence.” There was spearphishing, which is done by Russian government and non-government actors…and Nigerian royalty trying to hide their ill-gotten gains in my bank account and snot-nosed American, European, NorK, Venezuelan, etc. hackers.

Oh, but they used malware that Russians sometimes use, which is also used by Nigerian royalty and snot-nosed American, European, NorK, Venezuelan, etc…. Once malware is used, any competent hacker can modify it for their own personal use.

They used a fake domain, just like the Russians…and Nigerian royalty and snot-nosed American, European, NorK, Venezuelan, etc….

Whoever did the hack is probably smart enough to cover their tracks. So, unless there is some HUMINT out there telling us who it really was, the joint report really lends no credence to the story.

Like · Reply · 10 · 13 hrs

Paul Dueffert ·

Exactly why we need a Select Committee to investigate the facts, and lay them out in full to the public, as soon as possible.
Like · Reply · 13 hrs

Mike Ster

Paul Dueffert And we need this outgoing admin to stop politicizing it, right, Paul? We should wait for facts. Your comment only points pout how irresponsible Obama is being now and has been in the past.
Like · Reply · 8 · 12 hrs · Edited

Terrence OBrien

Paul Dueffert
Russians are known to use screw drivers. The window was forced open with a screw driver. Obviously the Russians did it.

Only Congress can figure it out. The last time they tried, none of the intelligence agencies showed up. A stern letter will follow.

Like · Reply · 7 · 12 hrs · Edited

Ed Lee

If the Russians did hack it still doesn’t explain the incentive to have Trump over Hillary. Yes, I know Trump was saying nice things about Putin but everyone already knows that the Dems are patsys and the Russians have hilLIARy’s emails and much more with which to blackmail her to get what they want.

I have another thought. If the Russians were somehow involved with the leaks and assuming they have every reason for another feckless Dem admin, I think they were fooled by the polls and just wanted to weaken the presumptive winner when she becomes president.

Like · Reply · 2 · 13 hrs

Ryan Murphy ·

Trump wants to improve the nuclear arsenal: Putin doesn’t want that. trump wants misled defense – Russia stridently doesn’t want that. Trump wants increased us energy production. Russia doesn’t want that …
Like · Reply · 2 · 9 hrs

Michael Kennedy

“Who are you going to trust. Me or your lying eyes?”
Like · Reply · 4 · 13 hrs

Dick Hanson

And for all their trouble, presuming that the Russian agents were behind this, they uncovered, what? The Democratic party’s strategies on how to win the public over into accepting the 48.37 sets of transgendered pronouns?

If this is the case, then I almost feel sorry for the Russian agents who had to read this crap. I personally wouldn’t but then again, Putin isn’t my boss.

Like · Reply · 3 · 13 hrs

Paul Dueffert ·

Material that helped fuel a steady drumbeat that HRC had problems with emails.
Like · Reply · 12 hrs

Mike Ster

Paul Dueffert Well, she did.
Like · Reply · 9 · 12 hrs

Matt Dermott Tucker

It’s the Rooskies!

Not:
– Black Lives Matter attacking police, people studying in libraries, and people trying to eat at local restaurants
– Obamacare premiums skyrocketing past monthly mortgage payments
– Blue Collar Union jobs being shunted aside for Environmentalists and Globalization
– A corrupt nominee that rigged her own primary coronation
– Said nominee calling a significant portion of the country “iredeemable deplorables”
– SJWs making constant nuisances of themselves
– Priveleged college snowflakes coming from multi-million dollar families and paying the value of a mid to upper level Merc or BMW a YEAR going on hunger strike because they feel “oppressed”See More

Like · Reply · 7 · 13 hrs

Paul Dueffert ·

Correct. As Ronald Reagan knew all too well, the Russians were, and remain, our primary geopolitical threat.
Like · Reply · 13 hrs · Edited

Matt Dermott Tucker

Sarcasm escapes you, I see.

So which Obama is right…

“The 80s called and want its foreign policy back”

or

“The Russians h@xx0r3d the election!!!1!”See More

Like · Reply · 6 · 12 hrs

Mike Ster

Paul Dueffert OK. So why did Obama wait 7 years and 49 weeks to do something about that strategic threat? He’s an idiot, you say.? OK. We finally agree on something.
Like · Reply · 9 · 12 hrs

Steve Baker ·

so what ?
Like · Reply · 2 · 13 hrs

US Dept. of Hasbara–SEC. 1287. “Global Engagement Center”

SEC. 1287. Global Engagement Center.

(a) Establishment.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense and the heads of other relevant Federal departments and agencies, shall establish within the Department of State a Global Engagement Center (in this section referred to as the “Center”).

(2) PURPOSE.—The purpose of the Center shall be to lead, synchronize, and coordinate efforts of the Federal Government to recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests.

(b) Functions.—The Center shall carry out the following functions:

(1) Integrate interagency and international efforts to track and evaluate counterfactual narratives abroad that threaten the national security interests of the United States and United States allies and partner nations.

(2) Analyze relevant information, data, analysis, and analytics from United States Government agencies, United States allies and partner nations, think tanks, academic institutions, civil society groups, and other nongovernmental organizations.

(3) As needed, support the development and dissemination of fact-based narratives and analysis to counter propaganda and disinformation directed at the United States and United States allies and partner nations.

(4) Identify current and emerging trends in foreign propaganda and disinformation in order to coordinate and shape the development of tactics, techniques, and procedures to expose and refute foreign misinformation and disinformation and proactively promote fact-based narratives and policies to audiences outside the United States.

(5) Facilitate the use of a wide range of technologies and techniques by sharing expertise among Federal departments and agencies, seeking expertise from external sources, and implementing best practices.

(6) Identify gaps in United States capabilities in areas relevant to the purpose of the Center and recommend necessary enhancements or changes.

(7) Identify the countries and populations most susceptible to propaganda and disinformation based on information provided by appropriate interagency entities.

(8) Administer the information access fund established pursuant to subsection (f).

(9) Coordinate with United States allies and partner nations in order to amplify the Center’s efforts and avoid duplication.

(10) Maintain, collect, use, and disseminate records (as such term is defined in section 552a(a)(4) of title 5, United States Code) for research and data analysis of foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts and communications related to public diplomacy efforts intended for foreign audiences. Such research and data analysis shall be reasonably tailored to meet the purposes of this paragraph and shall be carried out with due regard for privacy and civil liberties guidance and oversight.

(c) Head of Center.—

(1) APPOINTMENT.—The head of the Center shall be an individual who is an official of the Federal Government, who shall be appointed by the President.

(2) COMPLIANCE WITH PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES LAWS.—The President shall designate a senior official to develop guidance for the Center relating to relevant privacy and civil liberties laws and to ensure compliance with such guidance.

(d) Employees of the Center.—

(1) DETAILEES.—Any Federal Government employee may be detailed to the Center without reimbursement, and such detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status or privilege for a period of not more than 3 years.

(2) PERSONAL SERVICE CONTRACTORS.—The Secretary of State may hire United States citizens or aliens as personal services contractors for purposes of personnel resources of the Center, if—

(A) the Secretary determines that existing personnel resources are insufficient;

(B) the period in which services are provided by a personal services contractor, including options, does not exceed 3 years, unless the Secretary determines that exceptional circumstances justify an extension of up to one additional year;

(C) not more than 50 United States citizens or aliens are employed as personal services contractors under the authority of this paragraph at any time; and

(D) the authority of this paragraph is only used to obtain specialized skills or experience or to respond to urgent needs.

(e) Transfer of amounts authorized.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—If amounts authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available to carry out the functions of the Center—

(A) for fiscal year 2017 are less than $80,000,000, the Secretary of Defense is authorized to transfer, from amounts authorized to be appropriated by this Act for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2017, to the Secretary of State an amount, not to exceed $60,000,000, to be available to carry out the functions of the Center for fiscal year 2017; and

(B) for fiscal year 2018 are less than $80,000,000, the Secretary of Defense is authorized to transfer, from amounts authorized to be appropriated by an Act authorizing funds for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2018, to the Secretary of State an amount, not to exceed $60,000,000, to be available to carry out the functions of the Center for fiscal year 2018.

(2) NOTICE REQUIREMENT.—The Secretary of Defense shall notify the congressional defense committees of a proposed transfer under paragraph (1) not less than 15 days prior to making such transfer.

(3) INAPPLICABILITY OF REPROGRAMMING REQUIREMENTS.—The authority to transfer amounts under paragraph (1) shall not be subject to any reprogramming requirement under any other provision of law.

(f) Information access fund.—

(1) AUTHORITY FOR GRANTS.—The Center is authorized to provide grants or contracts of financial support to civil society groups, media content providers, nongovernmental organizations, federally funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions for the following purposes:

(A) To support local independent media who are best placed to refute foreign disinformation and manipulation in their own communities.

(B) To collect and store examples in print, online, and social media, disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda directed at the United States and its allies and partners.

(C) To analyze and report on tactics, techniques, and procedures of foreign information warfare with respect to disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda.

(D) To support efforts by the Center to counter efforts by foreign entities to use disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability of the United States and United States allies and partner nations.

(2) FUNDING AVAILABILITY AND LIMITATIONS.—The Secretary of State shall provide that each organization that applies to receive funds under this subsection is selected in accordance with the relevant existing regulations to ensure its bona fides, capability, and experience, and its compatibility with United States interests and objectives.

(g) Reports.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than one year after the date on which the Center is established, the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report evaluating the success of the Center in carrying out its functions under subsection (b) and outlining steps to improve any areas of deficiency.

(2) DEFINITION.—In this subsection, the term “appropriate congressional committees” means—

(A) the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; and

(B) the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Homeland Security, and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.

(h) Limitation.—None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available to carry out this section shall be used for purposes other than countering foreign propaganda and misinformation that threatens United States national security.

(i) Termination.—The Center shall terminate on the date that is 8 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

Russia Reports More Incidents of Outside Helicopters Rescuing Besieged Taliban

[Since Nov. 2001, the Taliban and al-Qaeda have been rescued from imminent eradication by intervening airlifts, ascribed to many agencies, US, Brit, Pak.  See St. Dept. spokesman in above video admitting to the preservation of the militants trapped in Kunduz.  This airlift was chronicled by investigative writer Seymour Hersh in The Getaway.]

[SEE:  Chinese Press Reports NATO Incursion In N. Waziristan, Helicopters Take Pakistan Taliban Leaders To Afghanistan ; Gen. Beg Claims US Helicopter Flew Hakeemullah to Safety ;  Afghan president: Unknown helicopters transfer rebels to Northern Afghanistan  ]

Geo-politics and Afghanistan

express tribune

 

 

The writer heads the independent Centre for Research and Security Studies, Islamabad and is author of Pakistan: Pivot of Hizbut Tahrir’s Global Caliphate

A new regional dynamism on peace and conflict led by Russia and China has emerged. With the presence of armed groups and the emergence of new terrorists bands such as Daesh there, Afghanistan remains at the of these new developments. The third session of a trilateral “working group” comprising Russia, China and Pakistan held on December 27 in Moscow also underscores what is playing out in the region.

Following the rare meeting, the group announced that Kabul will be invited to participate in future meetings on the threat posed by Islamic State (IS) militants in Afghanistan. The decision appeared to be a response to Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Shekib Mostaghani who, in a note of disapproval, had asserted that “regardless of the good intentions of the participants, the Moscow talks would not help the situation in Afghanistan.” In a joint statement the three nations also reiterated their interest in facilitating peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban. The most striking in the statement was the collective “particular concern” over “increased activities of extremist groups including the IS (Daesh) affiliates in the embattled country.

A cursory look as to what is driving the new developments and guiding the Moscow-Beijing-Islamabad consultations entails some worrying as well as encouraging realities. Firstly, the stalemate on ground in Afghanistan, with 2016 having been the bloodiest year in over a decade of conflict between Taliban insurgents and Kabul. Secondly, the realisation that only a regionally-led and coordinated solution might work following failure of international, US-led efforts to normalise Afghanistan. This might also result in the cooption of Iran, one of the two strategic neighbours of Afghanistan, into the dialogue, which should serve as a big facilitating factor. Third, the birth of Daesh, which most regional players view with extreme skepticism, resonated also by Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, in a rather dramatic way only days before the Moscow meeting.

Speaking during the  quarterly review of the Afghan situation at the Security Council on December 19 Churkin said elimination of Taliban leader Mullah Mansoor only strengthened the influence of irreconcilable radicles which only compounds the current situation in the country.

The most startling was Churkin’s revelations on the expansion/activities of the IS/Daesh influence in Afghanistan. Some excerpts from his statement are quite alarming. He stated that and northern caucus’ republics are being trained and where 700 terrorist families from Syria have already arrived. The intensive nature of facilities in Syria and Iraq make fighters look at Afghanistan increasingly frequently because they can find refuge there and can find a new platform for expanding their influence to CA and Russia as well as China. Some of our partners are not averse to contacts with the extremist and terrorist groups existing in Afghanistan. We known many events when ISIL fighters were re-deployed into northern provinces of Afghanistan by helicopters without any identification signs”. Raising serious, intriguing questions on the US-NATO “attempts to diminish the threat of IS in Afghanistan.” He also quoted the US- NATO forces commander General Jon Nicholson who had “stated that the terrorist organisation IS had set itself of the goal of creating Caliphate in Afghanistan and the fighters Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan it with so-called Khorasan velayat.”

Churkin also spoke of combat helicopters being used for the transfer of terrorists from one place to the other within Afghanistan, resonating similar apprehensions by Afghan law-makers in recent months. Fourth, the increasing craving for regional trade connectivity — epitomised by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Fifth, despite the stated intent to help the Afghan peace process delisting Afghan individuals from the UN sanctions lists.

The joint statement said that China and Russia, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, had confirmed their “flexible approach to delisting Afghan individuals from the UN sanctions lists” as a contribution to peace efforts in Afghanistan. The Taliban has identified removal of international travel and financial restrictions on its leaders as one of its conditions for engaging in reconciliation talks.

Keeping in view these aspects, one wonders whether the new regional group will eventually trump the Quadrilateral Contact Group comprising China-Pakistan-USA-Afghanistan that was created on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia conference at Islamabad on December 9, 2016? Or is the beginning of a new geo-political game between two obvious blocs (Indo-Afghan-USA and Moscow-Beijing-Pakistan-Iran) divided by conflicting views on sources of terrorism and shared interests in regional peace and development?

Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2016.

The Obama Post-Mortem

bitter-clingers SOURCE

Exit, Hope and Change – The Obama Post-Mortem

Submitted by Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

By now, anyone in this country still of sound mind knows that Barack Obama presided through eight years of remarkable continuity – of changeless conditions that left a great many hopeless. As the days of his tenure dwindle, what do we make of the departing 44th president?

He played the role with cool-headed decorum, but that raises the question: was he just playing a role? From the get-go, he made himself hostage to some of the most sinister puppeteers of the Deep State: Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Tim Geithner on the money side, and the Beltway Neocon war party infestation on the foreign affairs side. I’m convinced that the top dogs of both these gangs worked Obama over woodshed-style sometime after the 2008 election and told him to stick with the program, or else.

What was the program?

On the money side, it was to float the banks and the whole groaning daisy chain of their dependents in shadow finance, real estate, and insurance, at all costs. Hence, the extension of Bush Two’s bailout policy with the trillion-dollar “shovel-ready” stimulus, the rescue of the car-makers, and a much greater and surreptitious multi-trillion dollar hand-off from the Federal Reserve to backstop the European banks with counter-party obligations to US banks.

In April of 2009, Obama’s new SEC appointees, strong-armed by bank lobbyists, pushed the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) into suspending their crucial Rule 157, which had required publically-held companies to report their asset holdings based on standard market-based valuation procedures — called “mark-to-market.” After that, companies like Too-Big-Too-Fail banks could just make shit up. This opened the door to the pervasive accounting fraud that allowed the financial sector to pretend it was healthy for the eight years that followed. The net effect of their criminal fakery was to only make the financial sector artificially larger, more dangerously fragile, and more prone to cataclysmic collapse.

Another feature of life on the money-side of the Obama presidency was that nobody paid a personal price for financial misconduct. This established the basic ethos of Obama-era finance: anything goes, and nothing matters. All the regulators looked the other way most of the time. And when forced to act by egregious behavior, they made deals that let banking executives off-the-hook while their companies shelled out fines that amounted to the mere cost of doing business. It happened again and again. The poster boy for this kind of “policy” — or just plain racketeering — was Jon Corzine, the head of the commodities brokerage MF Global, whose company looted “segregated” customer accounts to the tune of nearly a billion dollars in the fall of 2011. Corzine was never prosecuted and remains at large to this day.

Another signal failure in the money realm was Obama’s response to the 2010 Citizen United Supreme Court decision, which declared that the alleged legal “personhood” of corporations entitled them to exercise “free speech” by giving as much money as they wanted to political candidates for election. Big business no longer had to just rent congressmen and senators, they could buy them outright with cash.

A conservative Supreme Court made the call, but Obama could have acted forcefully in the face of it. The former constitutional law professor-turned-politician could have marshaled a response in his Democratic Party-controlled congress to draft legislation, or a constitutional amendment, that would properly redefine the personhood of corporations. It should be obvious, for instance, that corporations, unlike human citizens, do not have duties, obligations, and responsibilities to the public interest; by legal charter they have only to answer to their shareholders and boards of directors. How does this confer the kind of political free speech “rights” that the court allowed them to claim? And how did the Obama and his allies in the legislative branch roll over to allow this disgraceful affront to the constitution to stand? And how is that almost nobody in the mainstream press or academic law even pressed these issues? Thanks to all of them, we’ve set up the primary means for establishing a fascist Deep State: the official marriage of corporate money and politics. Anything goes and nothing matters.

Finally, in foreign affairs, there is Obama’s mystifying campaign against the Russian Federation. The US had an agreement with Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union that we would not expand NATO if they gave us a quantity of nuclear material that was in danger of falling into questionable hands in the disorder that followed the collapse. Russia complied. What did we do? We expanded NATO to include most of the former eastern European countries (except the remnants of Yugoslavia), and then under Obama, NATO began holding war games on Russia’s border. For what reason? The fictitious notion that Russia wanted to “take back” these nations — as if they needed to adopt a host of dependents that had only recently bankrupted the Soviet state. Any reasonable analysis would call these war games naked aggression by the West.

Then there was the 2014 US State Department-sponsored coup against Ukraine’s elected government and the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych. Why? Because his government wanted to join the Russian-led Eurasian Customs Union instead of an association with European Union. We didn’t like that and we decided to oppose it by subverting the Ukrainian government. In the violence and disorder that ensued, Russia took back the Crimea — which had been gifted to the former Ukraine Soviet Socialist Republic (a province of Soviet Russia) one drunken night by the Ukraine-born Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. What did we expect after turning Ukraine into another failed state? The Crimean peninsula had been part of Russia for longer than the US had been a country. Its only warm water naval ports were located there. They held a referendum and the Crimean people voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia. So, President Obama decided to punish Russia with economic sanctions.

Then there was Syria, a battleground between the different branches of Islam, their sponsors (Iran and Saudi Arabia), and their proxies, (Hezbollah and the various Salafist jihad armies). The US “solution” was to sponsor the downfall of the legitimate Syrian government under Bashar al-Assad. We apparently still favored foreign relations based on creating failed states — after our experience in Iraq, Somalia, Libya, and Ukraine. President Obama completely muffed his initial attempt at intervention — the “line-in-the-sand” moment — and then decided to send arms and money to the various Salafist jihadi groups fighting Assad, claiming that our bad guys were “moderates.” Meanwhile, Russia stepped in to prop up Assad’s government, apparently based on the idea that the Middle East didn’t need yet another failed state. We castigated Russia for that.

The idiotic behavior of the US toward Russia in these matters led to the most dangerous state of relations between the two since the heart of the Cold War. It culminated in the ridiculous campaign this fall to blame Russia for the defeat of Hillary Clinton. And here we are.

I didn’t vote for Hillary or Donald Trump (I wrote-in David Stockman). I’m not happy to see Donald Trump become president. But I’ve had enough of Mr. Obama. He put up a good front. He seemed congenial and intelligent. But in the end, he appears to be a kind of stooge for the darker forces in America’s overgrown bureaucratic Deep State racketeering operation. Washington truly is a swamp that needs to be drained. Barack Obama was not one of the alligators in it, but he was some kind of bird with elegant plumage that sang a song of greeting at every sunrise to the reptiles who stirred in the mud. And now he is flying away.

World is Disgusted by Obama’s Hypocritical Foreign Policy

[ Moscow says global nature of Magnitsky Act prompts US to undermine relations with world

“Using human rights as a pretext for exerting pressure on states the US does not favor.” ]

Russian FM: World is Disgusted by Obama’s Foreign Policy

mina

The Barack Obama administration’s foreign policy over the eight years of Obama’s presidency “evokes aversion of the entire world,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday.

“I think this man [Obama] and his team – naturally, speaking about the man we mean the team which has proved to be bad for all on the global arena,” she said in an interview with the Sunday Evening weekly news roundup on the Rossiya-1 television channel.

“I think this eight-year office served under the slogan of their exclusiveness evoked aversion of the entire world. They have failed to fulfill their obligations taken before some countries, they have failed to fulfill what they were commissioned to, including by the American people on the global arena,” Zakharova said.

According to the Russian diplomat, from the “moral point of view” the Obama team can be blamed for committing a “crime” as it demonstrated that “the stronger has unlimited rights to do evil.”

“This is what this administration will leave in history,” she added.

Russia Denounces US Decision to Export Surface-To-Air Weapons to Syria A “Hostile Step”

Zakharova: US Decision to Export Weapons to Syria “Hostile Step”

 almanar1

 

russia-foreign-ministry-spokeswoman-maria-zakharovaRussia Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Tuesday that the US decision to supply weapons to Syria is a hostile step that directly threatens Russian planes, military personnel and diplomats.

“This decision threatens the Russian air force jets, the Russian staff and our embassy in Syria, which has been repeatedly bombed,” the spokeswoman said.

“Thus we consider this a hostile step,” she stressed.

Populist and proud of it

Populist and proud of it

the straits times

I like what the United States is doing now.

Its incoming leaders are setting a tone that re-asserts America’s leading role in the world economy. Instead of following convention, they are leading and redefining the conversation.

Convention came from economists and policymakers who focused on the average, ignoring the reality that few people live in the average.

As a result, policies were enacted that led to aggregate gains in the economy, but not all segments shared equally. Indeed, and most troublesome, a good number of people lost income and wealth during this era of economic expansion.

So what do I like about what the US is doing now? I like that the US recognises that the world needs the US more than the US needs the world.

Since the late 19th century, the US was chided for eschewing the rest of the world. The US was the economy large enough to be self-sufficient and did not need extensive international trade and investment to grow.

Protesters marching in an anti-TPP rally in Washington, DC last month.
Protesters marching in an anti-TPP rally in Washington, DC last month. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

But quasi-isolationism in the US gave way to economists and policymakers who charted a world of economic gains founded on the liberalisation and expansion of international trade. Without question, stronger links across economies allow businesses to compete, thrive and grow. Economies grow – but not everybody wins.

Who lost? American workers lost.

Words such as these are increasingly chided as populism; a word used to discredit a line of thinking, without engaging in substantive debate or critique. Populism has acquired the same horror and disdain that the term “communism” had in 1950s America.

But like it or not, amidst extremely strong growth, a significant and, until recently, quiet segment of the US population lost: lost economic opportunities, lost careers, lost homes, lost friends. They lost core parts of their lives.

In other countries, meanwhile, growth was profound. China, for example, saw growth of 8 per cent or more for the first decade of this century. Except for the people displaced from their homes by local or provincial officials, nobody lost.

The transition in China was tremendous, moving from a poor agrarian society to a modern manufacturing society in less than a generation. The lives of millions improved spectacularly and they owe a massive debt of gratitude to people in the US who lost their jobs.

Jobs migrated as outsourcing and foreign direct investment moved manufacturing overseas. Paying a high-productivity worker a high wage was less efficient than paying many low-productivity workers low wages. The math would never be clear, but perhaps for each American worker who lost his job, 10 workers in China gained a job.

In aggregate, this is a great achievement. But try to tell that to the worker who saw his or her job disappear overseas.

It was not only jobs, of course; technology and management skills also migrated. China’s great manufacturing giants owe their genesis to skills transferred from foreign partners – willingly or unwillingly.

To enter China, foreign firms were mandated to enter into joint ventures. This gave highly motivated, creative and clever Chinese partners windows into the technology and management skills of foreign partners.

Understandably, the Chinese side took full advantage of this situation. A decade ago, when teaching executives and MBA students, I spoke about the challenges and risks for foreign firms of operating in China.

Laws on intellectual property protection were ill-defined and rarely, if ever, enforced. Soon, the Chinese joint-venture partners were competitors, and formidable ones at that. Not surprisingly, the foreign firms lost.

Like the American workers, they lost to Chinese companies which had taken their advantages, adapted them, improved them and then leveraged the Chinese domestic environment to produce more efficiently.

Now China has peaked as a manufacturing giant. Previously favourable demographics that held up the manufacturing boom are now stifling it.

Sole progeny has produced a generation of little princes and princesses who reject work in labour-intense manufacturing. Instead they demand good lives that come from high wages. They want the same high value-added jobs that the US lost over the past two decades.

Now China needs America’s help. It needs international trade, it needs international investment and it needs the support of the world economy to continue delivering growth above 6 per cent per year.

Though they will never admit it, Chinese leaders know they have this economic dependence. Moreover, they know their legitimacy as an authoritarian, unforgiving, censorship-ridden leader of the economy stems from their ability to provide peaceful economic growth.

If growth fails and China starts to see its own losers, negative sentiment could rise. In the US, this sentiment triggered a political earthquake in the form of Mr Donald Trump and a Republican sweep of Congress.

For China’s political elite, the idea of such negative sentiment leading to a peaceful transition of power is unthinkable.

Finally, it seems that the US understands this dynamic. Finally, it understands the dependence of many developing and transitioning economies on the economic largesse of the US. The cancellation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement will not affect the US, but it hurts economies like Malaysia and Vietnam.

The US has a strong bargaining position. The rest of the world needs the US much more than the US needs the rest of the world.

If populism means that the US will use its bargaining power to strike better terms of trade, to better protect its citizens from economic and job loss, to better protect its companies from corporate theft in the development of equitable competition, then please call me a populist.

I will proudly wear this label, as we walk into an exciting new world of international economic relations.

•Professor Andrew Delios is head of the Department of Strategy & Policy at the National University of Singapore Business School.

Cyber Panic–plot to overthrow Democracy and Trump

Cyber Panic

n-plus-1

 

 

Sophie Pinkham

If the hack is a “political 9/11,” should we retaliate by invading and destroying Russia?

Rex Tillerson and Vladimir Putin, 2012.

 

On Wednesday, the New York Times ran a front-page article on the DNC hack. Despite the implications of its lurid headline (“The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.”), the article is, for the most part, a tale of American incompetence and negligence.1 It reveals that the DNC took a full seven months to respond to FBI warnings that its email system had been hacked, sometimes through rather obvious phishing attempts, and that DNC executives took nine months to schedule a formal meeting with senior FBI officials.

The scores of articles written about the hacking of the Democratic campaign emails have presented no conclusive evidence of the Russian government’s involvement; the public hasn’t been offered any. Instead, we’ve been asked to trust the “intelligence community”—despite its long track record of deception—along with that of cyberdefense consultants hired by the Democrats.2 If Russian government agents did hack into the DNC system, this is nothing unusual. For example, China hacked into the Obama and McCain computer systems to monitor their campaigns. And remember when Angela Merkel was furious over leaked documents indicating that the NSA was tapping her cell phone? Countries spy on each other. They also meddle in elections—often through much more invasive and violent means than by leaking real emails.

Unable to offer definitive evidence, the Times article, like so many others published this week, strove to hold the reader’s interest with hyperbolic figurative language: for instance, “While there’s no way to be certain of the ultimate impact of the hack, this much is clear: A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness.” It was almost possible to forget that you were reading about phishing that had resulted in the publication of politically embarrassing emails; a disgruntled assistant could have accomplished comparable damage. (Stay tuned for stories on how Nigeria is trying to drop an atom bomb on America via all-caps requests for our bank account numbers.)

Like former CIA Director Michael Morrell’s ludicrous statement that the DNC hack was “the political equivalent of 9/11,” this kind of exaggeration underscores the fact that what really happened—hackers leaked office correspondence—was criminal, but neither violent nor particularly terrifying. Even if it can be proved that the email leaks were authorized by the Kremlin with the explicit intention of helping Trump win, the leaks can never be proven to have changed the outcome of the election. And if they did, it was by giving voters access to accurate, if privileged, information. There should certainly be a transparent investigation of the hack and the leaks. But the use of such overblown language—and the hysterical credulousness of so many politicians, journalists, and others—risks escalating a relatively minor incident into a conflict with real casualties. If the hack is a “political 9/11,” should we retaliate by invading and destroying Russia? Perhaps it would be preferable to start with two-step verification for politically sensitive Gmail accounts.

This is not to argue that cybersecurity isn’t a major concern. Cyberattacks on dams, for example, can be genuinely lethal, while attacks on financial systems can be enormously costly. But the current panic uses a definition of hacking that rates very low on the scale of cyberattacks, and blurs the line between actual security breaches and the dissemination of political propaganda. In an interview with Russian media expert Vasily Gatov, a Vox interviewer pled for confirmation of Russia’s decisive, strategic interference in the election.3 Gatov refused to comply, but the interviewer’s attempts to elicit the desired response were instructive: “To be clear, by ‘hack’ I don’t mean tampering with voting machines or rigging the process. I’m referring to the more insidious business of distorting discourse and influencing public opinion.” By this definition, “hack” encompasses the creation and distribution of invented news, as well as the theft and leak of real emails. But this confuses two distinct issues. Fake news is about invention, about promoting lies; email leaks are about giving wider access to truthful information, or at least to real documents that expose truths about our political system. You can oppose both, but the two should not be conflated. Propagandists are fundamentally different from whistleblowers, even if both act with political motives. And the US is about to give the President the right to appoint the chief executive responsible for Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other government-sponsored international news outlets; this was the judicious response, under Obama, to the proliferation of Russian-sponsored political propaganda.

If we accept even the more limited definition of election “hacking” as “rigging the process,” we could say with great certainty that the US election was “hacked” by the repeal of the Voting Rights Act, or by America’s longstanding failure to eliminate antiquated voting technology, make Election Day a holiday, make voter registration automatic, or stop disenfranchising large swathes of the population through mass incarceration. These are well-documented, longstanding problems that are vastly more serious than an email leak. (A real conspiracy between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign would be a major crime, of course, but would demand an indictment and a trial rather than moral panic.) America’s deeply flawed election process is a disgrace and should have been dealt with a long time ago, if fair elections were truly a priority in American politics. But no one seems to consider old-fashioned American voter suppression to be “hacking.” Maybe it’s too familiar.

As Trump makes his appointments, it has become clear (if it wasn’t already) that he will be the puppet of mega-corporations, particularly the fossil fuel industry, not Vladimir Putin. If Putin were a nice person, would it then be acceptable to have as secretary of state the former CEO of ExxonMobil, which operates as a de facto state, making its own deals with foreign leaders, regardless of their political persuasions, and hastening the destruction of the only ecosystem capable of sustaining human life? Rex Tillerson’s relationship with Putin is only a symptom of Tillerson’s fundamental unfitness for the position.

Democrats have an incentive to emphasize Russian meddling as an excuse for their disastrous defeat, which seems the result, in large part, of an incompetently run campaign. The obsession with foreign agents detracts from an effort to learn from the Democrats’ very real domestic mistakes and formulate a new political strategy. Meanwhile, many Republicans are welcoming this bipartisan opportunity to ramp up tensions with Russia; their warmongering demands constant vigilance.

In the most charitable reading of this belated frenzy, establishment Democrats and Republicans alike hope that accusations of Russian meddling will keep Trump out of the White House—an understandable wish, though it risks chaos. But perhaps there is something more at work here. Despite the success of Trump’s pseudo-populist rhetoric, both sides of the political establishment remain reluctant to speak about the biggest problem of all: America is poised to complete its transformation into an oligarchy that follows money and fossil fuels, no matter what the cost to the American public, to the environment, to the wider world. And it isn’t Putin’s fault.

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/us/politics/russia-hack-election-dnc.html 
  2. The Intercept ran a useful article on the many unanswered questions about the evidence that has been made public so far. https://theintercept.com/2016/12/14/heres-the-public-evidence-russia-hacked-the-dnc-its-not-enough/  
  3. http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/12/5/13811848/putin-russia-fake-news-donald-trump-propaganda-media 

Trump Making Lists, Identifying Individual Fighters In the Ideological War

[The ideological war between Trump and the Democrats continues after the election, behind the scenes, despite the fact that Trump’s “swamp draining” is openly taking shape as a political “grand inquisition” of sorts, with Trump compiling lists of offending bureaucrats (Energy Dept. rejects Trump’s request to name climate-change workers, who remain worried ; Trump team asked State Department for info on women’s issues programs, sparking fears of another witch hunt).

The swamp-infesting Democrats are left with backroom maneuvering, lobbying and preemptive blocking measures (SEE: Obama just made it much harder for Trump to build his “Muslim registry”).]

Trump transition asks for names of those working at State to counter extremism

cnn

(CNN)Trump transition officials have asked for the names of State Department officials working on efforts to counter violent extremism, two State Department officials familiar with the questionnaire confirmed to CNN.

The officials confirmed the request involves programs throughout the department aimed at preventing extremism in various ways, such as recruitment.
The request is one of several made of the department that are causing concern among State Department personnel about the incoming Trump administration’s foreign policy priorities.
Reuters first reported the request was being made to the State Department, which included asking for the names of those working in the counterterrorism’s bureau of office of countering violent extremism and whether they were political appointees or civil servants.
Throughout the campaign, President-elect Donald Trump regularly criticized President Barack Obama and his administration for not using the term “radical Islamic terrorism” when describing incidents of terrorism.
An example of how the Trump team frames the fight against terrorism in religious terms can be seen in the statement released by the President-elect earlier this week reacting to the Christmas market incident in Berlin before it was known the perpetrator had connections to ISIS.
“ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad,” Trump said. “These terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face of the earth, a mission we will carry out with all freedom-loving partners.”
The Trump transition team did not respond to a request for comment regarding the request.
Some State Department personnel have expressed concern why individual names are being requested, but one State Department official familiar with the request said it seems to only mean to help the transition understand who is doing what job at the department.
“Whatever names they have asked for thus far have been in the context of organizational charts and trying to get a sense of who is doing what jobs,” the State Department official said.
On the motive, the official added, “It is really hard to say. They don’t provide us the context behind these requests. Certainly it is causing concern by some. But in truth, nothing they have asked for yet has been out of the norm for an incoming transition.”
Earlier this month the transition team disavowed a separate questionnaire sent to the Energy Department requesting the names of employees working on climate change issues.
“The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol. The person who sent it has been properly counseled,” a Trump transition official told CNN.
The transition team has also asked the State Department to provide a list of existing programs and activities intended to promote gender equality, according to sources at the agency, raising fears that these programs may be the target of cuts.
A one-page memo earlier reported by The New York Times and The Washington Post asks the State Department to outline existing programs on gender equality, including funding, positions and programs on women’s empowerment and combating gender-based violence, department officials told CNN.
The questionnaire comes in the wake of broader efforts by the Trump transition team to quiz Obama administration agencies on programs and issues that the President-elect has expressed doubt about, including climate change. And though Trump has said little about gender, his attitudes toward and treatment of women became an incendiary campaign issue, particularly after leaked tapes of him bragging about sexually assaulting women.

Unknown Terrorists On Motorbikes Attack House of Former Taliban Leader/Guantanamo Alumnus, Abdul Salam Zaeef’

According to Kabul police two motorbike riders Friday evening attacked Zaeef’s house in Kamare area of Bagrami district.

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Unknown gunmen attacked former Taliban envoy to Pakistan Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef’s house in Kabul Friday night killing one of his guards. Police said.

According to Kabul police two motorbike riders Friday evening attacked Zaeef’s house in Kamare area of Bagrami district.

The unknown gunmen fled the area. Police said.

No group claimed responsibly Taliban reject any involvement in the attack.

Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef was Taliban envoy in Islamabad and in recent years he was living in Kabul.

He was detained in Pakistan in the fall of 2001 and held until 2005 in the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp. The United Nations removed Zaeef from its list of terrorists in July 2010.

Anti-Taliban Afghan Parliamentarian’s Home Scene of Taliban Suicide-Attack

alalam_635966634900018111_25f_4x3source

[Taliban spokesman (for Mansour Taliban only) took credit for the attack, which allegedly took place during a “security meeting involving prominent officials from Helmand.”  Mir Wali was always anti-Taliban, belonging to Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e Islami.  He formed and led an anti-Taliban “Peace Council”, where he reportedly sucked-up guns and money from the US Spec. Forces in Helmand.]

MP’s House Under Attack In Kabul, Five Feared Dead

tolo-news

 

 

According to security forces the gunmen stormed the house shortly before 7pm local time and at least one of the attackers detonated explosives inside the MP’s house.

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Three gunmen stormed Helmand MP Mir Wali’s house in Khoshal Khan, PD5, in Kabul on Wednesday night, killing at least five people, including two children and taking others hostage, security sources at the scene said.

According to them the gunmen stormed the house shortly before 7pm local time and at least one of the attackers detonated explosives inside the MP’s house.

Security sources and friends of Mir Wali have said that among the dead are two of the MPs grandsons, the 25-year-old son of Obaidullah Barikzai, an MP from Kandahar, and two security force members.

A number of people have also reportedly been wounded including Wais Samimi, former Uruzgan police chief.

Security sources have also said that a number of Mir Wali’s family members and friends have been taken hostage by the other gunmen.

Initial reports indicated only two attackers were involved but security sources later confirmed three had stormed the house.

Mir Wali was reportedly at home when the gunmen entered the house but managed to escape through a neighboring house.

TOLOnews journalist at the scene has reported that sporadic fire has been heard coming from inside the house.

The elite Crisis Response Unit is on the scene along with NDS Special Forces and other security force units.

Could Hacking Be “Payback” For America’s Ruthless Arrogance In the World?

Letter: Hacking by Russia might be payback

berks-beyond

 

Editor:

If Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee, that was nothing compared with our interventions throughout the world.

For example, Operation Gladio was a post-World War II program set up by the CIA and NATO to thwart communist influence in Italy and Western Europe. According to investigative reports, it was a right-wing terrorist network involved in false flag operations and the subversion of democracy.

The Italian government admitted the existence of Gladio in 1990.

According to allegations contained in numerous online sources and Daniele Ganser’s book “NATO’s Secret Armies,” the main function of the Gladio-style groups was to discredit left-wing groups and politicians through “the strategy of tension,” including false-flag terrorism, such as the Aug. 2, 1980 bombing of the Bologna, Italy, train station that killed 85 people. The attack was falsely blamed on Italy’s left-wing paramilitary Red Brigades group.

The strategy of tension is a concept for control and manipulation of public opinion through the use of fear, propaganda, terrorism, etc.

The aim of this strategy is to instill fear into the populace while framing communist and left-wing political opponents for terrorist atrocities.

Similar operations have been discovered across Europe, including France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Switzerland.

The U.S. government is still at it, as shown by the strong American involvement in the so-called “Orange” revolutions in former Russian republics. Maybe the hack was Russian payback.

Carl Gethmann
Reading

Hijacked Libyan Airliner Taken To Malta

LIVE: Libyan aircraft with 111 passengers hijacked to Malta, 65 released; Libyan MP on board

malta independent

 

 

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An aircraft that has left from Libya earlier today was hijacked and landed in Malta this morning at 11.32am, with sources saying that two people on board the flight are threatening to blow up the aircraft.

First, 25 passengers were released. The plane’s door was opened at 1.44pm and women and children were seen disembarking. This was followed by men, and by 2.23 pm, a total of 65 passengers had disembarked.

The plane is an Afriqiyah Airways A320 with 111 passengers on board, including 82 men, 28 women and one infant. The airplane’s door was opened at 1.44pm and some passengers started to disembark. The Prime Minister, in a tweet, said that women and children were disembarking.

Sources at the airport said that negotiations are taking place, and the Malta International Airport has confirmed that there is an unlawful interference at the airport.

“All emergency teams have been dispatched to the site. Passengers are advised to follow http://www.maltairport.com for updates,” an MIA statement concluded.

The Prime Minister is leading the National Security Committee from Castille in dealing with the incident.

The Office of the Prime Minister has confirmed negotiating team is on standby at Malta International Airport to hold negotiations with the hijackers.

Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi is leading negotiations, with the hijackers. This is contradictory to what the Libyan media has reported, where they said that the Libyan Transport Ministry are leading negotiators.

Al Naba Libyan TV is quoting the minister of transportation Milad Matouq as saying that the Maltese authorities are negotiating with the hijackers.

Other Arab media are reporting that a Libyan MP is on board the plane.

An official from Afriqiyah Airways said the two hijackers had expressed a willingness to release the passengers but that they will keep the pilot. Serraj al-Fitouri also told Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV that one Libyan lawmaker was among the list of passengers. It was unclear whether the lawmaker, identified as Abdel-Salam al-Marabet, had been on the flight that was hijacked earlier Friday.

In a first official statement issued soon after the plane landed, the government said the Prime Minister is at his office in Castille where the National Security Committee is coordinating the operation, statement said.

The Nationalist Party, in a statement, said the Opposition Leader was informed by the Prime Minister about the incident. The PN said it offered its full cooperation.

file-aspx2It left Sebha at 10.10am on its way to Tripoli, but it was hijacked and diverted to Malta. TVM is reporting that the hijackers are armed with hand grenades and are Gaddafi supporters.

Airport sources say that the aircraft pilot is continuously requesting the Air Traffic Control on information about who will be negotiating with the hijackers. The plane’s engines are still running.

file-aspx3Several emergency measures are being taken at Malta International Airport. A spokesperson from the Armed Forces of Malta informed this newsroom that all AFM units, including the C ‘Special Duties’ company – which is the AFM’s counter terrorism unit.

MIA CEO Alan Borg, when contacted by The Malta Independent, said that this is a matter being handled by the government.

file-aspx-4jpgPresident Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca appealed for everyone to remain calm and follow official updates.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna is praying for the safety and security of all those on-board.

All roads leading to the airport have been blocked.

The last hijacking in Malta was aboard EgyptAir Flight 648 back in 1985. It was a 24-hour ordeal that ended in bloodshed. The storming of the EgyptAir plane back then resulted in the deaths of 62 people. Only one of the three hijackers survived and was brought to justice.

Prayers for the delicate situation at Malta International Airport. May wisdom & good sense prevail. We pray for safety and security for all. pic.twitter.com/WouAucnKmv

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has spoken with Libyan Prime Minister Faez al Serraj.

Rouhani urges Muslims to unite against ‘great plot’

Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies – civil-democratic-islam.pdf

The RAND Corporation and – Fixing Islam

Rouhani urges Muslims to unite against ‘great plot’

final-call

By PressTV.com

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on all Muslims to unite against the “great conspiracy” of the enemies to destroy Islamic communities through sectarian wars.

President Rouhani addressed scores of thinkers from around the world Dec. 15 at an international Islamic unity conference in Tehran, saying that the ongoing bloodletting in Muslim countries is being orchestrated by major powers and the Zionists.

iran_rouhani_12-27-2016.jpg

Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Photo: UN Multimedia

“The aim of the enemies is to create hopelessness and destroy the opportunities of the Muslim communities,” the president said as he touched on some of the atrocities unfolding in Iraq and elsewhere.

“Big powers set up streams of blood in the streets of Mosul and destroyed this beautiful city. They took away sleep from Muslims and enslaved Muslim and Christian girls who were under the banner of a single government,” he said.

President Rouhani said Western powers and their regional allies are responsible for the destruction of cities and beheading of Muslim youths.

“First and foremost, the sin related to these crimes befalls on big colonialists, Western powers and occupiers of the region which opened the way to terrorist groups, armed them and bought smuggled oil from them, allowing looted works from destroyed museums to be sold in their markets.

The second culprits are some of the Muslim countries which gave money and weapons to terrorist groups,” President Rouhani said.

The president called on Muslim thinkers to invite the youths to the true message of Islam and exhort them to follow the path of divine messengers, culminating in the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.

“We must not allow the enemies of Islam to take away this capacity from us and destroy it or increase division and schism under various pretexts.”

Mr. Rouhani touched on centuries-old coexistence between Shia and Sunni Muslims as well as other religious and ethnic groups, when “we used to respect one another and refrained from insulting our religious luminaries.”

The president described Shia and Sunni Muslims as brothers in faith and following of the Qur’an and the traditions of the great prophet of Islam.

“Shia crescent or Sunni crescent, both are wrong. It is not Shia or Sunni which are squared up against each other. As the late Imam (Khomeini) said it is rather the American Islam standing against the genuine Muhammadan Islam.”

fake-quran

Mr. Rouhani touched on the principle of Jihad in Islam, citing precedents when it was used by Muslims to achieve independence from colonialists by the Libyans, Iranians, Iraqis and other nations.

“We must take pride in a Jihad which is in line with the judgment of the Holy Qur’an. We know of no Jihad other than the one standing against tyranny and defending the dignity of Islam and Muslims,” he added.

President Rouhani held hope that Muslims would unite by clinging to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad and identify the “Zionist regime” of Israel as their “biggest enemy,” when Yemen would achieve liberation and those who are aiding terrorists with money and arms would face the Islamic Ummah with shame.

“Let’s come the day when we are a united Ummah, relying on Allah instead of America, England and other big powers as well as terrorists.”

The 30th International Islamic Unity Conference opened in the Iranian capital with the participation of hundreds of domestic and foreign guests, prominent scholars and religious figures from various Muslim countries. (PressTV.com)

Why the elites blame post-truth politics (“Fake News”) for their failures

[Apparently, the Russian term for “Fake News” (“post-truth politics”) refers to the point in history where reliable news sources stopped reporting factual news and began to disseminate misinformation.  Fake News was born and began a thirty+ year run as the “Mainstream News”, even though their news was often misinformation, or just outright false info (disinformation).  The Alternate News offered on the Internet has exposed Western misinformation for what it is and that has panicked the Elitist overlords.  As a result, they have given us the traditional comeback of liars, they have accused us of being the purveyors of “Fake News”, that is, anything which challenges the official lies. 

They have pointed the finger of accusation back at us…the question is, how far are they going to take this counter-psyop? 

Which way will Trump fall in this dispute over “truth”? 

Will one side of the right-left Internet divide be targeted for the big “TREASON” tag?]

Why the elites blame post-truth politics for their failures

Russia- beyond the headlines

 

 

 

Establishment leaders in Europe and America need a reality check and to address voters’ genuine concerns in a globalized world.

Drawing by Alexei IorschDrawing by Alexei Iorsch

The year 2016 has seen truly epic failures of mainstream politics and media, most significantly at the British EU referendum and the American election. In both cases seasoned analysts could not see beyond their Westminster or Capitol bubbles and foresee the outcomes. Enraged as they were, they chose to blame outside forces, often pointing the finger at Moscow, which supposedly has more influence on Western voters than home politicians.

More generally, they blamed their failures on “post-truth politics”, ie, assuming that new-wave politicians (and their line-up crosses the Cold War divide in the Euro-Atlantic) run fake news stories and take advantage of a total breakdown of trust in elites and their institutions. Indeed, progressively, we have been seeing the last of established politicians, and institutions falling into disarray and irrelevance.

Such a viewpoint treats the voters with disdain, and this attitude tends to be taken by the same people who vow to “save democracy”. Would it not be fair to say the voters are disgruntled and reject the mainstream because they want change and the elites cannot deliver it, not because they are “seduced” or fooled? After all, how one can fool a person so easily?

The journalist Tim Dickinson fittingly called “fake news” lazy language. It’s about throwing actual misinformation in one heap with inconvenient truths. So, today the job of the ancient regime establishment in the West has boiled down to name-calling rather than dealing with real issues. Mainstream media and politicians engage in fakes and emotional excess no less than those they accuse.

I learned a subtle difference between the two sorts of “fake news” from a data scientist at the traditional “digital BBQ” at the embassy. A number of websites rooting for Donald Trump in novel ways actually existed, but they were set up, sometimes very far from America, to capitalize on the volume of Internet traffic. In other words, supply followed the demand, not the other way around – this was the thirst for change, for a gasp of fresh air.

Needless to say, these facts ruin the narrative of “Russian propaganda threatening Western democracy”. None of the academic experts and journalists I spoke to believed those accusations. It’s just inventing a bogeyman to deflect attention from real flaws of policies, presented to the electorate as alternative-free. Policies and politics have become average, lowest common denominator: they don’t rock the boat but neither do they solve problems. A real debate of real issues was suppressed through political correctness and the newspeak, meant to deny reality. All genres became boring with no appeal to imagination.

Instead of drawing sensible conclusions, the elites engage in scaremongering. For example, The Economist writes that contrary to the initial post-Cold War expectations, Western politics is moving in Russia’s direction. There is no analysis of why this convergence is supposedly on Russia’s terms.

Of course, conformism, of which Alexis de Tocqueville warned, could ensure stability for a while, but nothing is forever. That is why I welcome Niall Ferguson’s words of repentance in The Sunday Times, where he explains why he had allowed petty considerations to have the upper hand over his intelligence, scholarship and instincts.

The Syrian crisis proves that wars cannot be won in the virtual reality of media space. Truth on the ground still matters. Therefore I believe there is nothing new in what is being described as “post-truth”. As Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying, “you cannot fool all the people all the time”. And another great American said the only thing we had to fear was “fear itself”.

It is not deception or fear that wins the argument, it is the ability to boldly recognize and address the problems. We in Russia, did that 30 years ago. The Western elites seem to be still living in denial.

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Alexander Yakovenko is Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He was previously Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

 

Disgruntled Dems Source of “Russian Leaks”–Snopes.com Fact Check

Bethania Palma

Craig Murray, described as a “close associate” of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, claims the leaks of DNC e-mails came from the inside.

unproven

Origin:On 15 December 2016, the British tabloid Daily Mail quoted Craig Murray, a former U.K. ambassador to Uzbekistan and “close associate” of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, as saying that the Democratic National Committee’s e-mails were not obtained by WikiLeaks due to the efforts of Russian hackers but were instead leaked by a disgruntled DNC operative who had legal access to them:

Murray insisted that the DNC and Podesta emails published by Wikileaks did not come from the Russians, and were given to the whistleblowing group by Americans who had authorized access to the information.

‘Neither of [the leaks] came from the Russians,’ Murray said. ‘The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.’

He said the leakers were motivated by ‘disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders.’

Murray said he retrieved the package from a source during a clandestine meeting in a wooded area near American University, in northwest D.C. He said the individual he met with was not the original person who obtained the information, but an intermediary.

Murray’s assertions flew in the face of news reports that U.S. intelligence agencies believed the Russian government had been involved in the hacking of e-mails from DNC members as well as Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The intelligence community has been telling reporters that Russian operatives hacked e-mails and released them via Wikileaks:

CIA and FBI officials do not think Russia had a “single purpose” by intervening during the presidential campaign. In addition to helping Trump, intelligence officials have told lawmakers that Moscow’s other goal included undermining confidence in the U.S. electoral system.

No one has yet identified exactly who obtained the DNC e-mails published by WikiLeaks during run up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In his end-of-year press conference held on 16 December 2016, President Barack Obama reiterated intelligence claims that the Russians hacked the DNC’s information systems and went on to say:

I’d make a larger point, which is, not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin. This is a pretty hierarchical operation. Last I checked, there’s not a lot of debate and democratic deliberation, particularly when it comes to policies directed at the United States. We have said and I will confirm that this happened at the highest levels of the Russian government and I will let you make that determination as to whether there are high-level Russian officials who go off rogue and decide to tamper with the U.S. election process without Vladimir Putin knowing about it.

So far, no suspects have been named and no specific evidence has been produced regarding who obtained the e-mails that were systematically leaked throughout the course of the 2016 election cycle. (Assange has denied that it was Russians.) The Daily Mail noted that Murray’s claims cannot be verified and suggested that due to his ties to WikiLeaks he may not be considered a reliable source:

[Murray’s] links to Wikileaks are well known and while his account is likely to be seen as both unprovable and possibly biased, it is also the first intervention by WikiLeaks since reports surfaced that the CIA believed Russia hacked the Clinton emails to help hand the election to Donald Trump.

A 13 December 2016 report on the hacks by the New York Times described early, fumbled attempts by the FBI and DNC to address the issue, coupled with a less-than-sufficiently aggressive response by the Obama administration. Early on, the FBI had tried to warn the DNC that their computers were being hacked by a group called “the Dukes,” a group known to be linked to the Russian government:

While there’s no way to be certain of the ultimate impact of the hack, this much is clear: A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

The Times‘ report relied on dozens of interviews to chronicle the timeline of the attacks, citing an internal memo by a DNC staffer dating from 2015 informing associates that the FBI was looking into cyberattacks by “the Dukes.”

Originally published: 19 December 2016

sources:

Goodman, Alana.   “Ex-British Ambassador Who Is Now a WikiLeaks Operative Claims Russia Did NOT Provide Clinton Emails.”
The Daily Mail.   14 December 2016.

Entous, Adam and Ellen Nakashima.   “FBI in Agreement with CIA That Russia Aimed to Help Trump Win White House.”
The Washington Post.   16 December 2016.

The Washington Post.   “Transcript: Obama’s End-of-Year News Conference on Syria, Russian Hacking and More.”
16 December 2016.

Lipton, Eric, et al.   “The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.”
The New York Times.   13 December 2016.

Ban Ki Moon–Decries the Rise of Populist Movements As An “Insult”

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U.N. Chief: Rise of Populist Movements Is an ‘Insult’

polizette

Outgoing secretary-general talks about the ‘alienation’ of migrants, refugees — and essentially calls for open borders

 

by Edmund Kozak | Updated 19 Dec 2016 at 1:41 PM

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, whose term ends Dec. 31, described the rise of populist parties and politicians across the West as an “insult” and implied that resistance to mass Muslim migration is a result of xenophobic propaganda, in an astonishing statement released Sunday.

The official statement, issued during the U.N.’s “International Migrant Day,” is an example of the alternative reality in which the globalist Establishment elite resides. It reflects a vast inability to understand the nationalist-populist counter-revolution sweeping the West.

“To add insult to injury, we have witnessed the rise of populist movements that seek to alienate and expel migrants and refugees, and to blame them for various ills of society,” Ban said.

“This has been another turbulent year for refugees and migrants,” the statement began, inaccurately conflating legitimate refugees with migrants. “We have witnessed the unacceptable loss of thousands of lives of people in transit in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. And, to add insult to injury, we have witnessed the rise of populist movements that seek to alienate and expel migrants and refugees, and to blame them for various ills of society,” Ban added.

To dismiss the rise of the populist Right — one of the most important political developments in modern times — and the legitimate economic and social grievances driving it as an “insult” is a shocking display of aloof arrogance. Moreover, the notion that the Marine Le Pens and Geert Wilders of the world “seek to alienate” migrants and refugees is simply untrue. Those migrants and refugees come from mainly Muslim countries with values and cultural norms vastly different from our own — and are already alien.

Not one of the populist politicians in Europe or America has ever blamed Muslim migrants for the “various ills of society.” They’ve blamed them, instead, for the specific ills they’ve brought with them, namely a massive spike in theft, sexual assault, and domestic Islamic terrorism.

Yet “we must reject intolerance, discrimination and policies driven by xenophobic rhetoric and the scapegoating of migrants. Those who abuse and seek to harm migrants must be held to account,” Ban wrote.

Unfortunately, that Muslim migrants pose a direct threat to Western stability is now an inescapable truth. There has been a steady stream of horrifying stories coming out of Europe.

 

Resistance to mass Muslim migration is not driven by “xenophobic rhetoric and the scapegoating of migrants” — it is driven by the very actions of some of the migrants. Ban might be quick to condemn those who would hurt migrants, but he willfully ignores the abuse and harm certain Muslim migrants have perpetrated on Westerners.

Not content with slamming those who do not wish to see their homelands become Islamic colonies, Ban also demanded that Western nations willingly comply in the displacement of their own people. “We need stronger international cooperation among countries of origin, transit and destination that is guided by international law and standards,” Ban wrote.

“Good governance of migration also demands expanding legal channels for safe migration, including for family reunification, for labor mobility at all skill levels, and educational opportunities for children and adults, as well as decriminalizing irregular migration and regularizing the status of undocumented migrants,” he continued.

Ban’s message is clear. Calling for “decriminalizing irregular migration and regularizing the status of undocumented migrants” is a call for open borders. The chief of the United Nations does not seem to believe that nation-states should exist.

The Dangerous Nature of the Poisonous Western Media and Their “Gang-Rape” of the Truth

[Americans are slowly awakening to the truth of the propaganda war raging all around us, same way with the Brits…this link–“Was this murderous attack on a Russian diplomat revenge for Turkey’s dirty deal with Putin?“–is another piece of that garbage and outright rape of the truth by the Brit press.  But it is just another example of the poisonous nature of the entire Western press and Mainstream Media.]

Russian Official Blames “Western Media” for Turkish Ambassador’s Assassination

mother-jones

 

 

He says the media’s “hysteria” about Aleppo led to Monday’s fatal attack.

On Monday, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was assassinated in an Ankara art gallery by a gunman who shouted, “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!”

Alexei Pushkov, a member of the Duma—the Russian legislature—and the former chairman of its foreign affairs committee, was quick to blame the Western media for inciting the attack through its coverage of Syria.

“The hysteria around Aleppo raised by the Western media has consequences,” he told LifeNews, a pro-Putin online news outlet and TV channel. “This murder is precisely a consequence of attempts to blame Russia for all the sins and crimes she did not commit. They are completely ignoring the crimes of fighters in Aleppo, and that forms a distorted and false picture of what is happening in this city, which contributed to this terrorist act…This is a result of anti-Russian hysteria, raised in the West and supported by a certain part of Turkish society.”

Pushkov made a similar point on his Twitter account, writing that “the death of the Russian ambassador in Turkey, a terrorist act, is the result of political and media hysteria around Aleppo from Russia’s enemies.”

Russia, Turkey and Iran To Act As Guarantors In Syrian Peace Deal

Russia, Turkey and Iran agree on joint Syria action

hurriyet

MOSCOW

Russia, Turkey and Iran have agreed to jointly act on Syria, one day after the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated in the Turkish capital, as evacuations from the besieged parts of eastern Aleppo continued on Dec. 20.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Dec. 20 that Russia, Iran and Turkey were ready to act as guarantors in a peace deal between the Syrian government and the opposition.

Lavrov told reporters in Moscow after a tripartite meeting that the three ministers had signed a joint statement which states that Russia, Iran and Turkey “express their willingness to help the Syrian government and the opposition draft an agreement and act as its guarantors.”

The meeting came one day after Russian Ambassador to Ankara Andrey Karlov was assassinated at an art exhibition in the capital by a policeman who shouted: “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!”

Speaking after Lavrov, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Turkey would continue its efforts for a political solution in Syria, for the widening of a cease-fire across the country and for the interrupted supply of humanitarian aid.

The three ministers gathered in Moscow to discuss the situation in Syria and the evacuations in Aleppo.

Prior to Lavrov’s announcement, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, said on Dec. 20 that Russian experts had drawn up a “Moscow Declaration” that amounted to a roadmap to end the Syria crisis and that he hoped that Turkey and Iran could support the document.

Shoigu, speaking at meetings in Moscow with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts, said the document was aimed at achieving a cease-fire in Syria.

“All previous attempts by the United States and its partners to agree on coordinated actions were doomed to failure. None of them wielded real influence over the situation on the ground,” said Shoigu.

A total 37,500 people have been evacuated from Aleppo so far and the goal is to complete all evacuations by Dec. 21, Çavuşoğlu wrote on Twitter on Dec. 20, while the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said 25,000 people had been bused out of east Aleppo.

“Yesterday [Dec. 19] only, we evacuated 15,000 people from east Aleppo. If we consider those evacuated on [Dec. 20] too, then the total should be 25,000,” ICRC spokeswoman Ingy Sedky told AFP.

She said “thousands” of others were still waiting to be bussed out, amid a lack of information on the numbers of civilians and fighters remaining in east Aleppo.

The ICRC has been overseeing the complex evacuation deal for Aleppo, brokered by government backer Russia and rebel supporter Turkey.

After a month-long assault by government forces, thousands of civilians and rebels left the last remaining opposition-held districts of east Aleppo on Dec. 15 at the start of the evacuations.

The deal was suspended until early Dec. 19 over government demands for the simultaneous evacuation of two Shiite-majority villages in northwest Syria besieged by rebels.

Sedky confirmed that 750 people had thus far been bussed out of the villages of al-Fuaa and Kafraya, in Syria’s mainly rebel-held Idlib province, as part of the deal.

Meanwhile, the Syrian government authorized the United Nations to send an additional 20 staff to east Aleppo, where they will monitor the ongoing evacuation of thousands of people, a U.N. spokesman said on Dec. 20.

“The task is to monitor and observe the evacuations,” Jens Laerke told a news briefing in Geneva
This came one day after, the U.N.’s Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura, said Dec. 19 he had planned peace talks for February 2017 in Geneva.

Before the start of the tripartite meeting in Moscow, Lavrov and Çavuşoğlu laid flowers on the portrait of Karlov.

The Russian minister said in televised comments that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan late on Dec. 19 “agreed this tragedy makes us more decisive in fighting terrorism and makes our today’s meeting even more important.”

Lavrov said Moscow was willing to seek agreements that would improve the humanitarian situation in Syria and help political procession but “will not offer any concession to terrorists.”

Official: Berlin suspect was asylum-seeker from Pakistan

Official: Berlin suspect was asylum-seeker from Pakistan

press-of-atlantic-city

 

By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER and FRANK JORDANS Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) — The suspect in the truck attack that killed 12 people at a busy Berlin Christmas market came from Pakistan and had applied for asylum in Germany, the country’s top security official said Tuesday.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the suspect, who denies involvement, entered Germany on Dec. 31 last year and arrived in Berlin in February.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel described herself as “shocked, shaken and deeply saddened” after what she said the government must assume was a “terrorist attack.” De Maiziere said that as far as officials know, the Islamic State group has not claimed responsibility.

In addition to those killed, nearly 50 people were injured when the truck plowed into the popular Christmas market filled with tourists and locals outside the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church near Berlin’s Zoo station late Monday.

“There is still a lot that we don’t know about this act with sufficient certainty,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin, in her first personal statement following the incident. “But we must, as things stand, assume it was a terrorist attack.”

Merkel, who has been criticized for allowing in large numbers of migrants, addressed head-on the possibility that an asylum-seeker was responsible.

“I know that it would be particularly hard for us all to bear if it were confirmed that a person committed this act who asked for protection and asylum in Germany,” Merkel said. “This would be particularly sickening for the many, many Germans who work to help refugees every day and for the many people who really need our help and are making an effort to integrate in our country.”

Authorities arrested a man about 2 kilometers (1½ miles) from the crash site on suspicion of having been at the wheel of the truck. Footage showed the suspect, his head covered in a white sheet, being pushed into a police car shortly after the attack. Berlin’s Tagesspiegel newspaper reported that the man was known to police for minor crimes.

A spokesman for Berlin’s office for refugee affairs said police conducted a large-scale search overnight at a large shelter for asylum-seekers at the city’s now-defunct Tempelhof airport. Four men in their late 20s were questioned but nobody was arrested, Sascha Langenbach told The Associated Press.

Among the dead was a man in the truck, who succumbed as paramedics treated him, Berlin police spokesman Winfried Wenzel said. Police said later that the man was a Polish national, but didn’t give further details of who he was or what happened to him.

The Polish owner of the truck said he feared the vehicle may have been hijacked. Ariel Zurawski said he last spoke with the driver, his cousin, around noon, and the driver told him he was in Berlin and scheduled to unload Tuesday morning. “They must have done something to my driver,” he told TVN24.

Germany has not so far experienced any mass-casualty attacks by Islamic extremists, but has been increasingly wary since two attacks by asylum-seekers in the summer that were claimed by the Islamic State group. Five people were wounded in an ax rampage on a train near Wuerzburg and 15 in a bombing outside a bar in Ansbach, both in the southern state of Bavaria. Both attackers were killed.

Those attacks, and two others unrelated to Islamic extremism in the same weeklong period, contributed to tensions in Germany over the arrival last year of 890,000 migrants.

Far-right groups and a nationalist party seized on Monday’s attack, blaming Merkel for what had happened.

“Under the cloak of helping people Merkel has completely surrendered our domestic security,” Frauke Petry, the co-chairwoman of the Alternative for Germany party, wrote.

Manfred Weber, a member of Merkel’s conservative bloc and leader of the European Parliament’s biggest political grouping, cautioned against sweeping verdicts but said it was important to ensure that extremists didn’t enter the country.

The German government said Merkel spoke Tuesday with President Barack Obama, who expressed his condolences. In Washington, White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the United States was ready to help in the investigation and response.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said Islamic extremists must be “eradicated from the face of the earth” and pledged to carry out that mission with all “freedom-loving partners.”

The attack came less than a month after the U.S. State Department warned that extremist groups including Islamic State and al-Qaida were focusing “on the upcoming holiday season and associated events” in Europe.

The Islamic State group and al-Qaida have both called on followers to use trucks in particular to attack crowds. On July 14, a truck plowed into Bastille Day revelers in the southern French city of Nice, killing 86 people. Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack, which was carried out by a Tunisian living in France.

Merkel said Monday’s attack would not cause Germany to live in fear.

“Even if it’s difficult at this hour we will find the strength to live life the way we want to live it in Germany. Free, together and openly,” she said

___

Associated Press writers David Rising and Geir Moulson in Berlin and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.

Russian Ambassador To Turkey, Andrey Karlov, Murdered On Camera By Radical Islamist Policeman

 

Photography: Haşim Kılıç
russian_ambassador_assassinated

 

 

Ankara ‘the Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov at the
opening of the exhibition was attacked armed attack.
The operation carried out by the aggressive Special Operations police was killed. The attacker is speaking in Arabic and Turkish, shouting slogans about Aleppo, ‘I will not get out of here, do not come near me’. Karlov, who was taken to the hospital, could not be rescued. Police officer Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş in Ankara Agile Force came out. Here for the assassination last minute information …

Last Minute : Attack Ankara Contemporary Arts was held during the opening of an art exhibition at the Centre. Following the opening speech from the podium to make Russia ‘s Ambassador to Ankara Andrey Karlov was attacked armed at this time. Russian Foreign Ambassador explained that Karlov lost their lives. After the attack, he was killed by the operation of an attacking police officer who opened fire on the air. Eyewitnesses said they thought they were protecting the attacker in a suit. The event is also stated that during 3 people slightly injured.

SALDIRGAN ÇEVİK KUVVET POLİSİ MEVLÜT MERT ALTINTAŞ

Attackers June 24, 1994 Aydin Soke born, registered Manisa Prince Population, Soke Republic Anatolian High School graduate, Izmir Rustu Unsal Police School graduate police vocational college graduate and is currently serving in the riot and the position holder 2.5 years Mevlut Mert Altintas. After Mert Altındaş finished the course, it was revealed that he entered Rüstü Ünsal Police Vocational High School in Buca in Izmir in 2012 and graduated in 2014 after 2 years of education.

Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlova assassination ... The identity of the attacker has been certain

AILESI INSPECTING

Manisal Mert Altıntaş’s mother and sister living in the town of Söke Aydin, immediately after the incident learned that the Security Directorate. His father, who lived in Aydın, was also taken into custody. Çeltikçi neighborhood of Söke which sits Family Freedom in their homes while police launched a search operation in the streets.

Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlova assassination ... The identity of the attacker has been certain
Aggressive Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş’s mother and sister were taken into custody.

 

HOME HAS BEEN SEEN FRONT

Police officer in charge of the agile attack of the Russian ambassador to Ankara, Andrey Karlov, was arrested in connection with the aggressive Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş’s roommate, Rapid Force Division Directorate.

Altıntaş, who was in charge of the Ankara Agile Force Branch Directorate, was searched at Yenimahalle’s house as part of an investigation into the murder of Russian Ambassador Karlov after the armed attack.

Altıntaş, who was killed in the operation after the attack, was taken to the police station of the same house by the Police Force Branch Directorate.

HOW RUS HELPED THE REMOVAL?

Ambassador of Russia Andrey Karlov, today evening hours of Çankaya Municipality Contemporary Arts Center attended the opening of the photo exhibition. Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov was invited to speak at the opening ceremony of the photo exhibition of ‘Visiting traveler Kaliningrad to Kamchatka Russia’ in cooperation with Ankara Embassy and Çankaya Municipality.

Explanation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the assassination
Statement from the Foreign Ministry after the assassination

WAITING AFTER SUSPICIOUS, FIRE ASSEMBLY

Meanwhile, according to the statements of witnesses that police entered the exhibition, showing the identity claim it is a person standing on the podium behind the Karlov. Ambassador Karlov began to escape in a panic as the invaders clashed with bullets hitting his back. Meanwhile, 3 people were injured slightly from the bouncing bullets.

DISMISSED HOLLOW SALON

After shooting the Russian ambassador, the attacker opened fire several times with his handgun and talked in Arabic and Turkish, saying “You will kill the children in Aleppo and we will get their revenge”. Then the attacker, who asked all the invited people to get out of the way, continued to yell, “Only here comes death”. Art center olds out of the way while inside several times more weapons was heard.

Last minute: the moment of attack on the Russian Ambassador Last minute: the moment of attack by the Russian Ambassador

Upon the attack, the police and the Special Operations team were referred to the health teams. A security strip was created around the arts center. It was stated that the health conditions of the 3 injuries treated were good.

PASSED IN DEATH IN CONFLICT

Shortly afterwards gunshots were heard from the art center. It was learned that the undelivered attacker had clashed with special operations officers. After a short period of confusion, the attacker was seized dead. Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov was then removed by the health team who was taken in. Only 30-40 minutes after the attack, doctors were able to intervene in Karlov, which was removed from the Güven Hospital by ambulance. Ambassador Karlov, who was seen by doctors as having a heart massage, could not be rescued despite all the interventions.

Explaining the first attack from Russia
Explanation of the first ‘attack’ from Russia

Police identified the attacker who was involved in the incident and started work to arrest the person with whom the person was connected.

LIVES DURING THAT ATTACK

Karlov was armed during the opening speech at the photo exhibition entitled “Russia from Kaliningrad to Kamchatka in Russia” in cooperation with the Russian Embassy in Ankara and Çankaya Municipality. It is stated that the attacker in the suit is waiting at the back of the ambassador while speaking.

Here's the assassin
Here’s the assassin

Hurriyet Ankara representative Deniz Zeyrek said: “We have a photo from our Ankara bureau, and we have a photograph of the event.” The photograph of Kamchatka was on display, while the ambassador spoke to the air while the ambassador spoke, then shot at the ambassador’s back and then emptied the room. The ambassador has been hit again and it has been claimed that the police entered by showing the police in. The suit goes in with a tie and a gun in a suit “

 

SALDIRGAN, BLACK TOOL CLOTHING

Hürriyet photographed Haşim Kılıç explains: “When the ambassador arrived, there was a photo exhibition organized by the Russian embassy, where a man in black suit, who we thought was our protection, was standing behind the ambassador, firing at the air and then shooting the ambassador.

Russian Ambassador suikaste first explanation from USA
First Ambassador to the United States

The attacker said more about Aleppo. Then he wanted people to go out. As the people went out, they fired a few more hands into the body of the ambassador. I guess one of those invites came to one of the invites. There were about 100 people in the guesthouse and they were completely evacuated. The people fired a few more at the embassy while they were fleeing. “The security officers of the Center for Contemporary Arts shared the knowledge that the attacker was a police officer.

DISPLAY OF THE IMAGE DIAGNOSIS

The witness of the Russian ambassador Karlov, who was on the brigade with the armed attack,

“One who knows how to use a weapon from behind and very closely, or else there would be other wounded, and he would be more seriously injured with bouncing bullets … The ambassador is a person who comes in with the protection identity from behind. The ambassador was shot in the first or second minute while he was in the opening speech and there was no movement while he was lying on the ground … I think we lost … He fired at least five hands and fired another hand while lying on the ground said he took Aleppo’s revenge “In Aleppo, we do not squeeze you like civilians like you, we bore our bullets to you, we are throwing you at our bombs’, it is the summary of what remains in your mind.”

 

10-15 HUNDRED SHOULDER INCLUDED INCOME

After the armed attack, the assailant evacuated the hall and stayed inside with the wounded ambassador. Special Operations and police teams surrounded the building. 15-20 hand guns were heard and there was a conflict.

SECOND FLOOR OUTPUT, OPERATIONAL KILLED

Russia’s Ankara ambassador Andrey Karlov armed attack on the person was neutralized by the operation. Operation of the Çankaya Municipality Contemporary Arts Center, where Russian Ambassador to Ankara Andrey Karlov was attacked, was organized. After Karlov was wounded, a clash broke out between the attacker who learned that he was on the second floor of the building and the special operations police. After about 15 minutes of cracking, the attacker was neutralized. Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu and Minister of National Defense Fikri Işık also visited the scene and received information from the authorities.

Meanwhile hurriyet .com speaking Russian authorities attack radical that it achieved the Islamist terrorists.

Neocons Plan Total Chaos For Trump

Neocon panic and agony

vinyard of the saker

 

This column was written for the Unz Review: http://www.unz.com/tsaker/neocon-panic-and-agony/

There are clear signs that the Neocons running the AngloZionist Empire and it’s “deep state” are in a state of near panic and their actions are indicating that they are truly terrified.

The home front

On the home front, the Neocons have resorted to every possible dirty trick on the book to try to prevent Donald Trump from ever getting into the White House: they have

  • organized riots and demonstrations (some paid by Soros money)
  • encouraged the supporters of Hillary to reject the outcome of the elections (“not my President”)
  • tried to threaten the Electors and make them either cast a vote for Hillary or not vote at all
  • tried to convince Congress to refuse the decision of the Electoral College and
  • they are now trying to get the elections annulled on the suspicion that the (apparently almighty) Russian hackers have compromised the election outcome (apparently even in states were paper ballots were used) and stolen it in favor of Trump.

That is truly an amazing development, especially considering how Hillary attacked Trump for not promising to recognize the outcome of the elections. She specifically said that Trump’s lack of guarantees to recognize the outcome would threaten the very basis of the stability of the US political system and now she, and her supporters, are doing everything in their power to do just that, to throw the entire electoral process into a major crisis with no clear path towards resolution. Some say that the Democrats are risking a civil war. Considering that several key Republican Congressmen have said they do support the notion of an investigation into the “Russian hackers” fairytale, I submit that the Republicans are doing exactly the same thing, that this is not a Democrat vs Republican issue, but a “deep state vs The People of the USA” issue.

Most experts agree that none of these tactics are going to work. So this begs the question of whether the Neocons are stupid, whether they think that they can succeed or what their true objective is.

My guess is that first and foremost what is taking place now is what always happens when the Neocons run into major trouble: they double down, again.

And again. And again. That is one of the key characteristics of their psychological make-up: they cannot accept defeat or, even less so, that they were wrong, so each time reality catches up to their ideological delusions, they automatically double-down. Still, they might rationalize this behavior by a combination of hopes that maybe one of these tricks will work, with the strong urge to do as much damage to President-Elect Trump before he actually assumes his office. I would never underestimate the vicious vindictiveness of these people.

What is rather encouraging is Trump’s reaction to all this: after apparently long deliberations he decided to nominate Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of State. From a Neocon point of view, if General Michael Flynn was bad, then Tillerson was truly an apocalyptic abomination: the man actually had received the order of “Friend of Russia” from the hands of Vladimir Putin himself!

putin-tillerson-medal-300x212 

Vladimir Putin and Rex Tillerson

Did Trump not realize how provocative this nomination was and how it would be received by the Neocons? Of course he did! That was, on his part, a totally deliberate decision. If so, then this is a very, very good sign.

I might be mistaken, but I get the feeling that Trump is willing to accept the Neocon challenge and that he will fight back. For example, his reaction to the CIA accusations about Russian hackers was very telling: he reminded everybody that “these are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction”. I think that it is now a safe bet to say that as soon as Trump take control heads will roll at the CIA.

[Sidebar: is it not amazing that the CIA is offering its opinion about some supposed Russian hacking during the elections in the USA? Since when does the CIA have any expertise on what is going on inside the USA? I thought the CIA was only a foreign intelligence agency. And since when does the CIA get involved in internal US politics? Yes, of course, savvy observers of the USA have always known that the CIA was a key player in US politics, but now the Agency apparently does not even mind confirming this openly. I don’t think that Trump will have the guts and means to do so but, frankly, he would be much better off completely dissolving the CIA. Of course, that could get Trump killed – messing with the Fed and the CIA are two unforgivable crimes in the USA – but then again Trump is already very much at risk anyway, so he might as well strike first].

One the external front

On the external front, the big development is the liberation of Aleppo by Syrian forces. In that case again, the Neocons tried to double-down: they made all sorts of totally unsubstantiated claims about executions and atrocities while the BBC, always willing to pick up the correct line, published an article about how much the situation in Aleppo is similar to what took place in Srebrenica. Of course, there is one way in which the events in Aleppo and Srebrenica are similar: in both cases the US-backed Takfiris lost and were defeated by government forces and in both cases the West unleashed a vicious propaganda war to try to turn the military defeat of its proxies into a political victory for itself. In any case, the last-ditch propaganda effort failed and preventing the inevitable and Aleppo was completely liberated.

The Empire did score one success: using the fact that the most foreign forces allied to the Syrians (Hezbollah, Iranian Pasdaran, Russian Spetsnaz, etc.) were concentrated around Aleppo, the US-backed Takfiris succeeded in breaking the will of the Syrians, many of whom apparently fled in panic, and first surrounded and then eventually reoccupied Palmyra. This will be short lived success as I completely agree with my friend Alexander Mercouris who says that Putin will soon liberate Palmyra once again, but until this happens the reoccupation of Palmyra is rather embarrassing for the Syrians, Iranians and Russians.

It seems exceedingly unlikely to me that the Daesh movement towards Palmyra was undetected by the various Syrian, Iranian and Russian intelligence agencies (at least once source reports that Russian satellites did detect it) and I therefore conclude that a deliberate decision was made to temporarily sacrifice Palmyra in order to finally liberate Aleppo. Was that the correct call?

Definitely yes. Contrary to the western propaganda, Aleppo, not Raqqa, has always been the real “capital” of the US backed terrorists. Raqqa is a relatively small town: 220’000+ inhabitants versus 2’000’000+ for Aleppo, making Aleppo about ten times larger than Raqqa. As for tiny Palmyra, its population is 30,000+. So the choice between scrambling to plug the holes in the Syrian defenses around Palmyra and liberating Aleppo was a no-brainer. Now that Aleppo has been liberated, the city has to be secured and major engineering efforts need to be made in order to prepare it for an always possible Takfiri counter-attack. But it is one thing to re-take a small desert town and quite another one to re-take a major urban center. I personally very much doubt that Daesh & Co. will ever be in control of Aleppo again. Some Neocons appear to be so enraged by this defeat that they are now accusing Trump of “backing Iran” (I wish he did!).

The tiny Palmyra was given a double-function by the Neocon propaganda effort: to eclipse the “Russian” (it was not solely “Russian” at all, but nevermind that) victory in Aleppo and to obfuscate the “US” (it was not solely “US” at all, but never mind that) defeat in Mosul. A hard task for the tiny desert city for sure and it is no wonder that this desperate attempt also failed: the US lead coalition in Mosul still looks just about as weak as the Russian lead coalition looks strong in Aleppo.

Any comparison between these two battles is simply embarrassing for the USA: not only did the US-backed forces fail to liberate Mosul from Daesh & Co. but they have not even full encircled the city or even managed to penetrate beyond its furthest suburbs. There is very little information coming out of Mosul, but after three months of combat the entire operation to liberate Mosul seems to be an abject failure, at least for the time being. I sincerely hope that once Trump takes office he will finally agree to work not only with Russia, but also with Iran, to finally get Daesh out of Mosul. But if Trump delivers on his promise to AIPAC and the rest of the Israel Lobby gang to continue to antagonize and threaten Iran, the US can basically forget any hopes of defeating Daesh in Iraq.

Our of despair and spite, the US propaganda vilified Russia for the killing of civilians in Aleppo while strenuously avoiding any mention of civilian victims in Mosul. But then, the same propaganda machine which made fun of the color of the smoke coming out of the engines of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov (suggesting that she was about to break down) had to eat humble pie when it was the US navy’s most expensive and newest destroyer, the USS Zumwalt, which broke down in the Panama canal and had to be immobilized, while the Kuznetsov continued to do a very good job supporting Russian operations in Syria.

Over and over again, the AngloZionist propaganda machine has failed to obfuscate the embarrassing facts on the ground and it now clearly appears that the entire US policy for the Middle-East is in total disarray and that the Neocons are as clueless as they are desperate.

neocon-scum

The countdown to January 20th

It is pretty obvious that the Neocon reign is coming to an end in a climax of incompetence, hysterical finger-pointing, futile attempts at preventing the inevitable and a desperate scramble to conceal the magnitude of the abject failure which Neocon-inspired policies have resulted in. Obama will go down in history as the worst and most incompetent President in US history. As for Hillary, she will be remembered as both the worst US Secretary of State the US and the most inept Presidential candidate ever.

In light of the fact that the Neocons always failed at everything they attempted, I am inclined to believe that they will probably also fail at preventing Donald Trump from being sworn in. But until January 20th, 2017 I will be holding my breath in fear of what else these truly demented people could come up with.

As for Trump, I still can’t figure him out. On one hand he nominates Rex Tillerson in what appears to be a deliberate message of defiance against the Neocons, while on the other hand he continues to try to appease the Israel Lobby gang by choosing a rabid Zionist of the worst kind, David M. Friedman, as the next US ambassador to Israel. Even worse then that, Donald Trump still does not appear to be willing to recognize the undeniable fact that the US will never defeat Daesh as long as the anti-Iranian stance of the Neocons is not replaced by a real willingness to engage Iran and accept it as a partner and ally.

Right now the Trump rhetoric simply makes no sense: he wants to befriend Russia while antagonizing China and he wants to defeat Daesh while threatening Iran again. This is lunacy. Still, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but somebody sure needs to educate him on the geopolitical realities out there before he also end up making a total disaster of US foreign policy.

And yet, I still have a small hope.

My hope is that the latest antics of the Neocons will sufficiently aggravate and even enrage Trump to a point where he will give up on his futile attempts at appeasing them. Only by engaging in a systematic policy of “de-neoconization” of the US political establishment will Trump have any hopes of “making America great again”. If Trump’s plan is to appease the Neocons long enough from him to be sworn in and have his men approved by Congress – fine. Then he still has a chance of saving the USA from a catastrophic collapse, but only as long as he remains determined to ruthlessly crack down on the Neocons once in power. If his hope is to distract the Neocons by appeasing them on secondary or minor issues, then his efforts are doomed and he will go down the very same road as Obama who, at least superficially, initially appeared to be a non-Neocon candidate and who ended up being a total Neocon puppet (in 2008 the Neocons had placed their bets on McCain and they only infiltrated the Obama Administration once McCain was defeated).

One way or another, we are headed for a crisis, the only open question whether the USA will come out of this crisis liberated or doomed.

The Saker

New $4 billion USS Zumwalt breaks down again, needs tow through Panama Canal

[Will this silence the childish Navy commenters who cite the diesel smoke billowing from the thirty year old Russian carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, as proof of its impending breakdown.]

New $4 billion USS Zumwalt breaks down again, needs tow through Panama Canal

portland-press

 

The stealth destroyer, built at Bath Iron Works, apparently lost propulsion in one shaft while in the Panama Canal.

The USS Zumwalt has suffered another mechanical breakdown, this one requiring that it be towed to a port in the Panama Canal.

The Zumwalt, a first-of-its class “stealth” destroyer built at Bath Iron Works, was transiting the canal when it lost propulsion in one of its two drive shafts and crew members noticed water coming into bearings connecting the shaft with its electric motor, according to reports by USNI News, a publication of the U.S. Naval Institute, and the Navy Times. The Zumwalt also suffered “minor cosmetic damage” when the ship made contact with the canal walls.

Tugboats were required to tow the Zumwalt, and the guided missile destroyer is now undergoing repairs on the eastern side of the canal at the former U.S. Naval Station Rodman, USNI News and Navy Times reported.

This is at least the second mechanical problem with the newly commissioned destroyer, although naval experts say such issues are common for the lead ship in a new class, especially one as packed with new technology as the Zumwalt.

“With the Zumwalt, the whole purpose is to push the limits of technology,” said Eric Wertheim, author of the U.S. Naval Institute’s “Guide to Combat Fleets of the World.”

The more than $4 billion Zumwalt is the largest and most technologically advanced destroyer ever built for the U.S. Navy. It features an electric propulsion system, new types of weapons and a sleek, angled shape and hull design that makes the 610-foot ship appear no larger than a fishing vessel on radar. Although much larger than the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers also built at BIW, the Zumwalt is able to operate with a smaller crew and is designed to get closer to shore to support land operations.

The ship’s 78 megawatt gas turbine generates enough electricity to propel the ship through the water as well as power existing and future weapons systems, including lasers and “rail guns” under development by the Navy. But all of that technology carries costs and risks. After initially planning to build 32 Zumwalt-class destroyers, the Navy reduced the order to just three ships – all built by BIW – and revamped the Arleigh Burke line of warships. Instead, the three Zumwalt destroyers will effectively become floating test platforms for technology that could be incorporated into other Navy ships.

Wertheim said some of this technology “is untested and is going to require time and investment to work things out.” But he expressed confidence that the Navy will work out the bugs over time.

“No one likes to see these (problems) but it is early … and we are pushing the envelope on the technology,” Wertheim said. “So this is the ugly side of technology.”

Named for former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., the Zumwalt was designed as a multipurpose warship able to fight at sea and bombard targets on land with its missiles and new projectile system. The ship has a large landing pad for helicopters, drones and the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets – another technology plagued with problems and cost-overruns – as well as an enclosed bay for launching the small boats used by Navy SEALs or other special forces.

Construction of the Zumwalt took more than six years and the more than $4 billion price tag significantly exceeded original expectations. The total cost of the three-ship program is estimated at $22 billion.

After departing BIW for the final time in September, the Zumwalt was commissioned during a ceremony in Baltimore on Oct. 15 and was en route to its home port of San Diego when the latest breakdown occurred. Prior to commissioning, the Zumwalt also experienced a leak in a lubrication system for one of the ship’s propeller shafts, requiring repairs at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia.

But Navy officials praised the performance of the Zumwalt during at-sea trials this spring and summer. The ship’s crew even had a chance to engage in the ship’s first (unofficial) mission by helping to rescue a Maine fishermen suffering a medical emergency.

And not all of the recent complications have been related to the ship’s mechanical functions.

Earlier this month, news broke that the rocket-powered projectiles for the Zumwalt’s 155mm Advanced Gun System – billed as a more affordable alternative to cruise missiles fetching $1 million apiece – would still cost $800,000 each. As a result, the Navy only planned to buy 90 of the projectiles rather than the 600 that were supposed to be on board and was researching less-costly alternatives for the gun system.

British Generals and SAS Troops Try To Restore Combat Capability of Syrian “Rats” Who Fled Aleppo

[SEE: Syrian Spec. Forces Overrun Terrorist Bunker, Capture 14 US/ISRAELI/SAUDI Spec. Forces Inside]

British Generals Restore Combat Capability of Syrian Opposition Retreated from Aleppo

south front analysis

 

British military advisers have arrived to Syria to restore combat capability of the ‘moderate’ opposition, retreated from Aleppo.

Army special forces are readying for a ground assault in Syria (Photo: Getty Images)

British military advisers have arrived to Syria in order to restore combat capability of units of the ‘moderate’ opposition, retreated from Aleppo, the Izvestiya newspaper reported, citing a statement of UK Defense Minister Michael Fallon. According to Fallon, 20 British military instructors, who will train the opposition forces, involved in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, have already arrived at the destination.

The dispatch of British advisers was announced in October, long before the recapture of Aleppo by the Syrian government forces. Initially, they had a task to train recruits to conduct combined arms combat, as well as to teach them the basics of tactical medicine and combat engineering. However, the situation changed and the task was changed too.

According to media and information from social networks, now the group of military advisors consists mainly of high-ranking officers in the rank of up to brigadier general. The group is guarded by the Elite Special Forces of the UK Armed Forces – the Special Air Service (SAS). Their first task is to evaluate the combat capability of opposition units, escaped from Aleppo, and the condition of their military hardware. Then, they will have to develop a new strategy for the ‘moderate’ opposition and try to unite its military structures under a single command.

As First Deputy Head of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznihir, said, an operation on withdrawal of militants, their family members and civilians, held by them, from blocked parts of Aleppo to the province of Idlib is currently conducted. According to reports, the eastern part of Aleppo has been left by 6,462 people, including 3,000 militants, in the first 24 hours of the evacuation.

After the liberation of Aleppo, Western powers seriously fear of discord between survived oppositionists. For this reason, they intend to consolidate disjointed units and turn them into the combat-capable army. Fallon has already promised that British military instructors will train only ‘moderate’ opposition, but not Islamists. The basis of the rebel forces should consist of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and three other groups.

As an advisor to the Director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Elena Suponina, noted, the opposition suffered a serious defeat in Aleppo.

“The oppositionists retreat to Idlib province, but it is broken up units, which are in a very difficult relations with each other,” the expert told Izvestiya. “The groups are disjointed and weakened.”

Suponina suggested that the UK will not be able to form the combat-ready and competent forces from the surviving militants.

“The British try to somehow save the situation after the defeat in Aleppo, but before this the Americans also have tried to create the efficient opposition and completely failed with this,” she said. “Most likely, the British experience also will be not so successful.”

“Moderate-Terrorists” Burn Evacuation Buses In E. Aleppo

47631-ownnyndciy-1482072654

 

 

 

According to reports, Al Nusra torched several buses sent to evacuate injured civilians from two government-held villages in Syria’s Idlib province. #PrayforAleppo?

#PrayForNusra
#PrayForNusra

The evacuation of injured and sick civilians from pro-government enclaves in Idlib provnice has met a terrible but predictable setback: Some buses sent to evacuate civilians have been torched by “moderate” rebels.

Earlier, rebels had fired on buses and blocked roads leading out of Aleppo. It seems that even the BBC can’t spin this one:

Several buses en route to evacuate the sick and injured from two government-held villages in Syria’s Idlib province have been burned by rebels.

The convoy was travelling to Foah and Kefraya, besieged by rebel fighters.

Pro-government forces are demanding people be allowed to leave the mainly Shia villages in order for the evacuation of east Aleppo to restart.

Unlike with the alleged Assad atrocities in Aleppo, Twitter has already blown up with photographs and video evidence of the attack:

And a video:

Meanwhile, your American friends on Facebook who identify as non-binary trans-curious pansexuals demand a direct NATO intervention to prevent Al Nusra from losing East Aleppo. Yes, #PrayforAleppo might be the most upside down garbage hashtag in Twitter history, which is really saying something.

Remember: It’s a “post-truth” age. These buses would have probably been used to evacuate sarin gas and Russian hackers. Hail Nusra!

Senior GOP Lawmaker Calls for Investigation of CIA Director For Withholding Information and Media Leaks

Senior GOP Lawmaker Calls for Investigation of CIA Director Over Media Leaks on Russian Hacking

abcnews_logo_v2

 

 

 

By MARGARET CHADBOURN

 

A senior Republican congressman called for an investigation into whether the head of the CIA leaked to the media while withholding from Congress the agency’s findings that Russians used hacking in an attempt to help Donald Trump win the presidency.

“We have supposedly [CIA Director] John Brennan leaking information to The Washington Post, to a biased newspaper like The New York Times — findings and conclusions that he’s not telling the [House] Intelligence Committee,” said Rep. Peter King of New York in an interview with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz on “This Week.”

King, a former chairman and current member of the House Intelligence Committee, was referring to news stories on Dec. 9 that cited either unnamed officials or intelligence sources and did not name Brennan as a source.

“There should be an investigation of what the Russians did, but also John Brennan and the hit job he seems to be orchestrating against the president-elect,” Donald Trump, King said.

“I’m not saying it didn’t happen,” that Russia interfered in the election to help Trump. “I’m just saying we’ve been given no evidence on it, when we have these stories mysteriously appearing in the newspaper,” King said.

A Democratic congressman, California Rep. Adam Schiff, his party’s senior member on the House Intelligence Committee, pushed back against the criticism of Brennan over the information about the Russian hacking.

“He has done a remarkable job at the agency,” Schiff said on “This Week.” “I don’t think he’s trying to politicize this in any way.”

Schiff continued, “I do think there’s a consensus among the top leadership in the intelligence community, not only of who was responsible [for the hacking], but why. And I think when the review is released by the administration within the next two or three weeks, I think the American people will see that.”

The California Democrat also cautioned that it is “deeply damaging” to the country for Trump to continue casting doubt on the capabilities of the intelligence community over Russia’s election-related hacking.

“For the president-elect to continue to give the Russians deniability is deeply damaging to the country,” Schiff said. “He is doing damage to himself and to his ability to lead the country when he becomes president. We are going to have a national security crisis at some point. It may be very early in the administration or it may be later but it’s going to come and he is going to need to rely on the intelligence community.”

China Returning Captured UAW Drone, “Slocum Glider”

uaw-drone-image-from-china

 

 

 

 

 

Image released by Chinese military

[SEE:  Chinese Navy Grabs Underwater Drone From USNS  Bowditch, Caught Mapping S. China Sea “Battle Space”]

China urges US to stop military reconnaissance in Chinese waters

cctv

The Chinese Defense Ministry says it has been in touch with Washington and will return a US drone seized in the South China Sea. The ministry’s response comes after the US had said one of its underwater devices had been captured by a Chinese naval vessel.

The ministry said it was regrettable that the US spoke publicly about the seizure and voiced a protest against frequent reconnaissance by the US military in Chinese waters.

The ministry demanded that the US stop such activities and also warned it would take necessary counter-measures if the US did not desist.

slocum

Am I A Russian Spy?–Are You?

i-am-a-russian-spy

This Russian plot is hard to follow

orange-co-register

By SUSAN SHELLEY / Staff Columnist

The Democratic National Committee headquarters is seen, Tuesday, June 14, 2016 in Washington. Sophisticated hackers linked to Russian intelligence services broke into the Democratic National Committee's computer networks and gained access to confidential emails, chats and opposition research on presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, people familiar with the breach said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Democratic National Committee headquarters is seen, Tuesday, June 14, 2016 in Washington.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m starting to worry that I might be a Russian spy.

Now that the CIA has secretly concluded from secret evidence that there was a Russian plot to publicize secret emails, I fear that some sort of secret Russian mind-meld may have led me to write columns that were inexplicably critical of Hillary Clinton and wildly fair to Donald Trump.

At the time, I thought I was simply reporting on Clinton’s decision to evade the Freedom of Information Act by hiding her official State Department correspondence on a private email server in her house. I thought I was interviewing Trump supporters at his rallies and reporting on why they were so happy he was running for president.

But now, with the benefit of the CIA’s hindsight, I see that I was a Russian spy the whole time.

I should have seen it earlier. There were so many clues.

Vladimir Putin was photographed on a horse in Siberia. I was photographed next to a horse in Agoura Hills. (I’m the one in the shirt.)

My late father, who was an actor, once played a Russian diplomat on an episode of “The Jeffersons.” I went to the studio personally to watch the taping of the sitcom. My name was on the list.

This is so troubling. And there’s more.

Whenever there was a free Rocky and Bullwinkle toy in a box of cereal, I always got Natasha.

My grandfather was born in Russia and came to the United States as a child. At the time, it had been just a few months since the Cubs won the World Series.

That’s just how long it’s been for me!

It’s all so clear now. I have a globe from the 1980s that still shows the map of the old Soviet Union. I could have thrown it out. Why didn’t I? Why?

Because it belonged to my father! A Russian diplomat on “The Jeffersons”!

Wait. Wait. Calm. Must be calm. Must think clearly.

California didn’t go for Trump. No matter what the CIA says, my columns for the Southern California News Group couldn’t have been responsible for Hillary Clinton losing the election.

The Russians obviously recruited the Clinton campaign scheduler who told her to go to Texas and Arizona and not to bother with Wisconsin.

Putin’s spies somehow lulled Clinton into leaving the campaign trail for long stretches of time while hypnotizing Trump into taking roughly three days off in 17 months.

A Russian hit man must have held a knife to the throat of the staffer who talked into Clinton’s earpiece and told her to call millions of American voters a “basket of deplorables.”

Hey, at least it’s an explanation.

I suppose the innocents among us might believe that the American people freely elected an outsider after years of telling pollsters they were sick of politics as usual.

Foolish innocents! So gullible!

Obviously, this was a foreign conspiracy of epic proportion, spanning continents and controlling the media, forcing hundreds of thousands of helpless people to print out their own tickets and stand in line for six hours to hear a guy in a suit give a speech in front of a flag.

And I played my part. Just a small cog in the mechanism of espionage and deceit.

I know exactly when they targeted me. It was that night at Jerry’s deli in Encino when I ordered a turkey sandwich with mayonnaise and they brought me one with Russian dressing.

And I didn’t send it back.

Susan Shelley is a columnist for the Southern California News Group. Reach her at Susan@SusanShelley.com and follow her on Twitter: @Susan_Shelley.

Syrian Spec. Forces Overrun Terrorist Bunker, Capture 14 US/ISRAELI/SAUDI Spec. Forces Inside

BREAKING: At Least 14 US Coalition Military Officers Captured by Syrian Special Forces in East Aleppo Bunker

 

saa-liberate-aleppo-vanessa-beeley-2106-copyrightSyrian Army soldier holds up Al Nusra Front (al Qaeda in Syria) flag in the Umayyed Mosque, Old City, after government troops liberated terrorist-occupied East Aleppo this week (Image: Vanessa Beeley for 21st Century Wire)



21st Century Wire
SPECIAL REPORT

DAMASCUS – According to two reports coming out of Aleppo today, at least 14 US Coalition military officers were captured this morning in an East Aleppo bunker by Syrian Special Forces.

This story was quietly leaked by Voltaire.net, who announced, “The Security Council is sitting in private on Friday, December 16, 2016, at 17:00 GMT, while NATO officers were arrested this morning by the Syrian Special Forces in a bunker in East Aleppo.”

Fares Shehabi MP, a prominent Syrian Parliamentarian and head of Aleppo’s Chamber of Commerce published the names of the Coalition officers on his Facebook page on the 15th December (emphasis added):

Mutaz Kanoğlu – Turkey
David Scott Winer – USA
David Shlomo Aram – Israel
Muhamad Tamimi – Qatar
Muhamad Ahmad Assabian – Saudi
Abd-el-Menham Fahd al Harij – Saudi
Islam Salam Ezzahran Al Hajlan – Saudi
Ahmed Ben Naoufel Al Darij – Saudi
Muhamad Hassan Al Sabihi – Saudi
Hamad Fahad Al Dousri – Saudi
Amjad Qassem Al Tiraoui – Jordan
Qassem Saad Al Shamry – Saudi
Ayman Qassem Al Thahalbi – Saudi
Mohamed Ech-Chafihi El Idrissi – Moroccan

Listen to Fares Shehabi’s interview on the Sunday Wire radio show: ‘Liberation Aleppo

In addition to Voltaire.net, the other original report was provided by Damascus-based Syrian journalist Said Hilal Alcharifi. According to Alcharifi, captured “NATO” officers were from a number of member states including the US, France, Germany and Turkey, as well as Israel. Here is his statement (translated from French):

“Thanks to information received, Syrian authorities discovered the headquarters of high ranking western/NATO officers in the basement of an area in East Aleppo and have captured them alive. Some names have already been given to Syrian journalists, myself included. The nationalities are US, French, British, German, Israeli, Turkish, Saudi, Moroccan, Qatari etc. In light of their nationalities and their rank, I assure you that the Syrian government have a very important catch, which should enable them to direct negotiations with the countries that have tried to destroy them.”

Although these initial reports describe the individuals in question as “NATO” officers, it’s unlikely they would have been carrying NATO colors on a covert operation – and might be more accurately labeled as US Coalition officers. Note that early reports suggest that these are not standard ‘street rebel’ or jihadi terrorists but actual Coalition military personnel and field commanders.

21WIRE also received unconfirmed reports yesterday that militants had fired a missile into the  Ramousa area and then tried, unsuccessfully, to get cars out of East Aleppo. It’s possible this incident could be related to today reports of captured western operatives.

This report from the Syrian Arab News Agency (emphasis added):

“The agreement on evacuating militants and weapons from the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city has been suspended after terrorist groups breached it, special sources told SANA correspondent in Aleppo.

The sources said that the suspension of the agreement will remain in place until obtaining guarantees that oblige the terrorist groups to abide by all the agreement’s provisions, stressing on the Syrian side’s full adherence to the agreement and its keenness to end the bloodshed and restore security and stability to the entire city of Aleppo.”

Earlier, SANA reporter said that the terrorist groups have breached the agreement as they smuggled heavy weapons, including TOW missiles, heavy machineguns and kidnapped people via the buses and cars transporting terrorists and their families towards the southwestern countryside of Aleppo city.

The reporter added that the terrorist groups fired shells and sniper bullets on the buses and ambulances at al-Ramousseh crossing, noting that the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which are supervising the evacuation process had to withdraw all buses and cars from the crossing.

Over the past 24 hours, some 8079 terrorists and members of their families were evacuated via busses and ambulances from the neighborhoods of Salah-Eddin, al-Ansari, al-Mashhad and al-Zibdiyeh to the southwest countryside of Aleppo city”

If true, this latest news would also mean that both the Syrian and Russian governments would have additional leverage going forward in any bilateral negotiations with the US-led Coalition.

If, however, this story is kept under wraps by NATO member governments and summarily blacked out by the US and European media outlets, then it might indicate that a deal has been struck, albeit behind the scenes, for the return of captured NATO operatives in exchange for other concessions.

If today’s report from East Aleppo is accurate, this might also help explain the hysterical behavior by the US State Department and western UN officials who have been demanding “an immediate ceasefire” – despite the fact that 99% of East Aleppo has already been liberated by Syrian government forces.

The western establishment hysterical reactions to Al Nusra’s defeat in Aleppo have included wild claims that the Syrian Army had ‘unleashed death squads,’ on its own residents in East Aleppo and were openly ‘executing women and children in the street,’ and ‘burning children in the street,’ as well what appear to be more fictional reports circulated in US media mainly by Michael Weiss of The Daily Beast via CNN, claiming that Syrian Army was committing “mass rape” against residents of East Aleppo. His article entitled, Women in Aleppo Choose Suicide Over Rape, Rebels Report, made a number of outlandish claims including:

“Activists and rebels in the besieged city say mass executions have begun and children are burned alive as Assad’s Iranian- and Russian-backed forces move in.”

Not surprisingly, aside from unnamed “UN sources”, Weiss claims to have received his information from none other than the discredited US and UK-financed pseudo ‘NGO’ known as the White Helmets.

SEE ALSO: Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Bill to Stop US Government Funding and Arming Jihadist Terrorists in Syria

Back in September, numerous reports suggested that a western command center located behind terrorist-held lines had been targeted and destroyed by a Russian missile strike. Prof Michel Chossudovsky wrote:

The US and its allies  had  established a Field Operations Room in the Aleppo region integrated by intelligence personnel. Until it was targeted by a Russian missile attack on September 20,  this “semi-secret” facility was operated by US, British, Israeli, Turkish, Saudi and Qatari intelligence personnel.”  

This report was neither admitted, nor was it denied by US Coalition sources at the time. However, one mainstream Israeli source, The Times of Israel, did report the incident.

For anyone who has been paying close attention to the Syrian Conflict, seeing NATO special forces or “contractors” working with ‘rebel’ or terrorist fighters inside of Syria is nothing unusual. Numerous reports have been filed of British soldiers assigned to fighting groups to help with training, strategy and logistics. In June 2016, The Telegraph admitted that British special forces were helping one rebel group, “… with logistics, like building defences to make the bunkers safe,” said one ‘rebel’ fighter. Other reports, including the LA Times which detailed CIA operations used to arm militants, including Al Nusra Front (al Qaeda in Syria) who were the terrorist force in charge in East Aleppo. Other revelations of US covert involvement include The New York Times, and also information on US (NATO by another name only) covert operations provided to the Wall Street Journal.

South Front also notes:

“Earlier in December, SF already noted that the US despearate attempts to push a “diplomatic solution” in Aleppo could indicate that the Obama administration stalling for time to extricate US mercenaries and special service members from the Aleppo pocket:”

https://southfront.org/wp-content/plugins/fwduvp/content/video.php?path=https%3A%2F%2Fsouthfront.org%2Fthe-us-seeks-to-free-officers-from-the-death-trap-in-aleppo-city%2F&pid=665

Considering that US-led coalition military advisers have been widely operating across Syria, training and assisting to the so-called “moderate opposition” openly linked with al-Qaeda, the recently appeared reports are likely true.

For instance, British military advisers have officially arrived to Syria to restore combat capability of the ‘moderate’ opposition, retreated from Aleppo…”

21WIRE can also point out that throughout fighting in the Donbass in eastern Ukraine, during the period of May 2014 to the present, numerous incidents have been reported where NATO military soldiers and operatives have been both spotted, and captured by rebel forces, and in most cases these reports have been muted, more than likely because of ‘horse trading’ taking place as an extension of wider diplomacy.

Contributors to this report were Patrick Henningsen and Vanessa Beeley.

“Palestine” May Become A Settled Issue Under Trump

[For once, the Times gets it right, well, almost.  We can expect to see the mainstream media becomes more truthful, as it has been exposed as the real “fake news”, and now it is competing against the occasional truth found on the Internet.  Sometimes, We the “conspiracy theorists” find the real truth about news and manage to convey it through our various, personal websites.  The question has been asked, “Is the Alternative Press the ‘Fake News’ media?” 

Reality, as we know it, is set for a big “flip-flop”, when Donald Trump begins to turn political/military reality on its head.  Trump is the kind of guy who will move the American Embassy to Jerusalem and support a total war of pacification upon Hamas-related targets.  He is also likely to throw the word “TREASON” around a lot. 

For family-related reasons, many of us may have to rethink the issue of Israel/Palestinians and our personal commitment to the cause of “Palestine”.  In the Trump Police State we can expect to see a lot of the extremist Republican “wish list” find fulfillment.  Israel is at the top of that list, along with the elimination of Social Security and Medicare.]

A Dangerous Choice for Ambassador to Israel

In appointing David Friedman as the next ambassador to Israel, Donald Trump voiced a desire to “strive for peace in the Middle East.” Unfortunately, his chosen representative would be far more likely to provoke conflict in Israel and the occupied territories, heighten regional tensions and undermine American leadership.

Mr. Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer who has represented the president-elect in matters involving Atlantic City casinos, has no diplomatic experience, unlike nearly every American ambassador who has served in this most sensitive of posts. That might not be quite so alarming if he didn’t also hold extremist views that are radically at odds with American policy and with the views of most Americans.

Mr. Friedman has doubted the need for a two-state solution, under which Israelis and Palestinians could live side by side in peace. Ignoring international law and decades of policy under Republican and Democratic administrations, he has endorsed continued Israeli settlement of occupied territory in the West Bank, which Israel captured from Jordan during the 1967 war. Mr. Friedman has gone so far as to endorse even the annexation of some of that land, where Palestinians hope to build a state of their own.

David Friedman, left, with Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka after an appearance in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 2010. Credit Bradley C. Bower/Bloomberg

There are other reasons to question Mr. Friedman’s fitness for the post. He has accused President Obama of anti-Semitism, absurdly, and called supporters of J Street — a liberal American Jewish organization that has lobbied for a two-state solution and the Iran nuclear deal — “far worse than kapos — Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps.” American ambassadors to Israel traditionally maintain close contacts with American Jews, as well as Israeli officials, but Mr. Friedman reportedly told a closed-door forum in Washington earlier this month that he would refuse to meet with J Street, effectively ostracizing a significant part of the community.

In a further sign of Mr. Friedman’s apparent zeal for confrontation rather than diplomatic finesse, he has announced that he expects to have his office in Jerusalem, rather than Tel Aviv, where the American Embassy has been for 68 years, along with the embassies of most other countries. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem, which has sites that are sacred to Muslims, Christians and Jews, as their capital. Like the crucial questions of borders, Israeli security and the fate of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, the contested status of Jerusalem should be resolved by negotiation, not by American fiat. Unilaterally relocating the embassy to Jerusalem would be interpreted as tipping the scale for Israel, further eroding America’s role as an honest broker.

Donald Trump promised to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem during his campaign. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also promised to move the embassy when they first ran for president, only to drop the idea after their elections because they realized that such a highly charged symbolic gesture would anger Arabs and undermine peace efforts.

The Trump administration could make the move pretty easily by slapping an “embassy” sign on the building that is now the American Consulate in Jerusalem and deals primarily with Palestinian issues. No one can predict what the fallout might be, but the sorrowful history of the conflict suggests that such a move would provoke violence and impede Israeli efforts to improve relations with major Sunni Arab states.

Like any president-elect, Mr. Trump is within his rights to nominate whomever he pleases. But with his choice of Mr. Friedman, he has displayed a dangerous ignorance of or indifference to the land mines across the Middle East. The Senate has the responsibility to protect Mr. Trump and the country from taking this reckless step.

Chinese Navy Grabs Underwater Drone From USNS Bowditch, Caught Mapping S. China Sea “Battle Space”

 

usns-bowditch

USNS  Bowditch (T-AGS 62) is a Pathfinder class oceanographic survey ship. She is the third ship in the class. USNS Bowditch is a part of a 29 ship Special Mission Ship program and operates in the South China Sea.

the-remus-6000-autonomous-unmanned-vehicleThe REMUS 6000 autonomous unmanned vehicle being deployed from Pathfinder, sister ship of USNS Bowditch

Positioning, Navigation and Timing

PNT provides position and precise time references to surface, subsurface, air and space-borne assets – May 3, 2013
By Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information DominanceMay 3, 2013
Introduction
Positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) is a key component of information dominance, particularly in attaining and sustaining battlespace awareness and assured command and control. PNT provides position and precise time references to surface, subsurface, air and space-borne assets, enabling safety of navigation, communications and assured command and control.Safety of Navigation
Freedom of maneuver is an integral component of achieving superiority in battle, whether on land, on or under the sea, or in the air. Over the last decade, the advent of maritime electronic navigation systems has yielded dramatic improvements in our ability to exploit the battlespace. By integrating digital charts with navigation sensors, these enhancements provide real-time PNT information.

Oceanographic Survey Ships

A new contractor, Horizon Lines Limited of Kenilworth, N.J., began operating the oceanographic ship fleet in October 2004. USNS Pathfinder in the Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific, USNS Sumner in the central Pacific and USNS Bowditch, USNS Bruce C. Heezen and USNS Mary Sears in the South and East China Seas conducted surveys of the world’s oceans using multi-beam, wide-angle, precision hydrographic sonar systems to collect water depth measurements and other related data.

Russia’s attempts to hack the Republican Party reportedly failed because of a spam filter

Russia’s attempts to hack the Republican Party reportedly failed because of a spam filter

business-insider

 

Bryan Logan

The Republican Party is thought to have been targeted by Russian hackers in ways similar to the hacks that nearly upended the Democratic Party — via malicious emails.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal published Thursday night, US intelligence experts said the Russian hackers who tried to break into the Republican National Committee targeted the email of a former employee.

The attempts apparently did not go very far, according to two cybersecurity officials briefed on the matter and cited by The Journal, who said a phishing campaign last spring that targeted the sole email address of that former employee essentially failed.

Messages sent to that address were quarantined by email filters traditionally designed to stop spam and potentially malicious emails, the experts said. GOP officials allegedly had no idea hackers tried to breach their systems until June, after Democratic Party honchos announced that they were hacked, according to another unnamed source cited by The Journal.

The report said Republican leaders suspected they too may have been targeted and brought in a cybersecurity firm to investigate. The FBI later got involved, the newspaper said.

“The apparently successful blocking of a Russian espionage operation offers one possible explanation why the GOP’s main political organization didn’t suffer the same fate as its Democratic counterpart,” The Journal’s Devlin Barrett and Julian E. Barnes wrote.

Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton conceded the presidential election at the New Yorker Hotel on November 9. Justin Sullivan / Getty

The Wall Street Journal is owned by News Corp., which also owns Fox News Channel, and The New York Post, among many other media properties.

Last week, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported findings from the CIA that suggested the Republican Party had also been hacked, in a report that framed the much-larger Democratic Party breach as evidence that Russia tried to help Trump win the election.

Some Republican leaders have painted the ordeal as partisan politics, but there is growing bipartisan support for a complete accounting of the matter. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a former Republican presidential candidate, said his campaign accounts were breached in a CNN interview on Wednesday. Graham said he wants “crippling sanctions” against Russia as punishment.

President Barack Obama echoed those sentiments in excerpts from an interview with NPR released Thursday:

“I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action and we will.”

2009–Dem. Computer Expert Alperovitch Before He Blamed Russia For Every Cyber-Attack

Report: Countries prepping for cyberwar

C-NET

U.S., Israel, Russia, China, and France are gearing up for cyberoffensives, according to a new McAfee report.

Countries armed with “cyberweapons,” according to McAfee.Photo by McAfee

 

Major countries and nation-states are engaged in a “Cyber Cold War,” amassing cyberweapons, conducting espionage, and testing networks in preparation for using the Internet to conduct war, according to a new report to be released on Tuesday by McAfee.

In particular, countries gearing up for cyberoffensives are the U.S., Israel, Russia, China, and France, the says the report, compiled by former White House Homeland Security adviser Paul Kurtz and based on interviews with more than 20 experts in international relations, national security and Internet security.

“We don’t believe we’ve seen cases of cyberwarfare,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research at McAfee. “Nations have been reluctant to use those capabilities because of the likelihood that [a big cyberattack] could do harm to their own country. The world is so interconnected these days.”

Threats of cyberwarfare have been hyped for decades. There have been unauthorized penetrations into government systems since the early ARPANET days and it has long been known that the U.S. critical infrastructure is vulnerable.

However, experts are putting dots together and seeing patterns that indicate that there is increasing intelligence gathering and building of sophisticated cyberattack capabilities, according to the report titled “Virtually Here: The Age of Cyber Warfare.”

“While we have not yet seen a ‘hot’ cyberwar between major powers, the efforts of nation-states to build increasingly sophisticated cyberattack capabilities, and in some cases demonstrate a willingness to use them, suggest that a ‘Cyber Cold War’ may have already begun,” the report says.

Because pinpointing the source of cyberattacks is usually difficult if not impossible, the motivations can only be speculated upon, making the whole cyberwar debate an intellectual exercise at this point. But the report offers some theories.

For instance, Alperovitch speculates that the July 4 attacks denial-of-service on Web sites in the U.S. and South Korea could have been a test by an foreign entity to see if flooding South Korean networks and the transcontinental communications between the U.S. and South Korea would disrupt the ability of the U.S. military in South Korea to communicate with military leaders in Washington, D.C., and the Pacific Command in Hawaii.

“The ability of the North Koreans to disable cybercommunications between the U.S. and South Korea would give them a huge strategic advantage” if they were to attack South Korea, he said.

There have been earlier attacks that smack of cyberwarfare too. Estonian government and commercial sites suffered debilitating denial-of-service attacks in 2007, and last year sites in Georgia were attacked during the South Ossetia war, orchestrated by civilian attackers, the report says.

“Over the next 20 to 30 years, cyberattacks will increasingly become a component of war,” William Crowell, a former NSA deputy director, is quoted as saying. “What I can’t foresee is whether networks will be so pervasive and unprotected that cyberwar operations will stand alone.”

Could Civilization Survive A Full-Scale Terminal Cyberwar?

snowden-russia
source

Could cyberwar knock us back to the Stone Age?

zd net

If the United States were involved in a major cyberwar, just how badly would it be hit? Could the U.S. survive? Could modern civilization survive? In this thought experiment, David Gewirtz explores such a scenario in-depth.

 

While there are many aspects of cyberwar worthy of discussion, one area rarely explored is just how dangerous a full-on cyberwar could be to the U.S., and to global society. Could a cyberwar knock us back to the Stone Age?

A thought experiment

Consider this article a thought experiment. Rather than exploring individual vulnerabilities or examining named exploits, let’s explore what aspects of modern technology define our Information Age, and what might happen if some of those relied-upon technologies were no longer available to us.

For the purpose of our exploration, we will assume that cyberwar doesn’t lead to a nuclear or biological war, that the effects resulting from the conflict remain within the bounds of digital means of destruction rather than traditional NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical) warfare.

Even so, in some ways this exercise is akin to exploring the effects of nuclear weapons and various post-apocalyptic scenarios that result from nuclear war. While we won’t be looking at surviving radioactive fallout and the devastation of target cities, we do need to look at the fallout that may come from aggressive espionage, and sabotage to financial and infrastructure systems.

The effects of cyberattack

A few years ago, I led a cyberattack simulation. On my team were former members of the White House national security team, and a Secret Service supervisor. We looked at what would happen if something like the Stuxnet virus were launched against the United States, along with concurrent distributed denial of service attacks and other digital assaults.

There were two clear conclusions from that simulation: our financial system is clearly at risk, and so are elements of our infrastructure. Particularly vulnerable are all the infrastructure systems based on older technology that either cost too much — or are too much work — to upgrade.

Other systems, including defense-related systems, are also vulnerable. One particularly disturbing example is the United States Navy, which entered into a multi-million dollar contract with Microsoft to continue to supply hotfixes to warfighting systems based on the extremely-porous-to-penetration Windows XP.

While the simulation results exposed substantial economic cost from a comprehensive cyberattack, it also presupposed national systems to be moderately resilient. The expectation was that after some time — probably a few days at worst — daily 21st century modern life would resume across the United States.

This is the prevailing wisdom. Most cybersecurity analysts and threat assessors see the potential for enormous damage in cyberwar and cyberattacks, but extinction events are rarely discussed. We have all assumed that if we got hit, we’d regroup, rebuild, and recover.

For the purpose of our thought experiment, what if that were not the case?

The OPM breach

Most examinations of cyberwar threat took place before the enormous breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. OPM is, essentially, the American government’s HR department.

Extinction events are rarely discussed. We have all assumed that if we got hit, we’d regroup, rebuild, and recover.

On June, OPM announced it had been the victim of a persistent penetration that went back at least to March of 2014. More than 21.5 million individual, highly-personal personnel records were stolen from the agency, including confidential disclosures by government personnel with security clearances.

In addition to the other data stolen, 1.1 million fingerprint patterns were also grabbed. This means, if you think about it, that since enemy actors had access to fingerprint and personnel systems, they not only could take information, they could plant fake information, as well.

In a theory sound enough for our thought experiment, the bad guys could have embedded identity information good enough to allow them to implant human agents into top secret government installations.

All of our normal evaluations of threat assume that the deep and carefully considered systems the United States has put into place, in case of events ranging from natural disaster to global pandemic to nuclear war, would exist in the case of cyberwar. The assumption has been that systems like continuity of government, essential communications, and financial system continuity would protect us from even the worst attacks.

That all relies, however, on our ability to trust government workers to do their jobs when it’s most important. My experience has been that the vast majority of government workers (aside from politicians) are truly patriotic and dedicated professionals, so we are generally in good hands.

But we’ve seen the damage even one or two rogue workers can do. Witness the damage Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden have caused, and they were just two relatively low-level government workers. Imagine, instead, the damage that could be caused by workers turned — either because of blackmail based on the stolen OPM data, or enemy agents (complete with government IDs that are confirmed by the now falsified OPM data) inserted into critical positions.

This takes our thought experiment to a whole new level. What would happen if we were hit by a devastating cyberattack and the government’s continuity systems did not function as expected, because they, too, were compromised?  I know, it’s a stretch. But remember that this is a thought experiment, and that clever enemies are capable of playing a long game. We’re trying to explore the what-ifs of a postulated situation.

The effects of extinction-level cyberattack

Let’s assume, through a combination of malware, espionage, denial of service, and sabotage, that our national systems were to break down. What then?

Our path down the rabbit hole requires us to identify what sorts of systems would be interrupted. So let’s start by assuming the financial system would come to a halt. Stock exchange transactions would stop, and all electronic fund and electronic banking transactions would cease. At that point, checks and credit cards would no longer have value, businesses would no longer be able to operate, and even cash would likely lose its transaction value.

What about communications? Over the past ten years, most of us have moved off of land lines and away from over-the-air broadcast TV (notwithstanding a small group of HD antenna owners). Most of us communicate over mobile services and the Internet. In a catastrophic cyberwar, and for the purpose of our thought experiment, let’s assume all communications with the possible exception of ham radio would go offline.

You really, really don’t want to make yourself a target of thousands upon thousands of pissed off IT professionals.

Without financial support and communications, our supply chains would be toast. Goods and services would no longer move across the country. There would be mobs storming supermarkets, hardware stores, and gun shops. Gasoline for vehicles would run out in a matter of days.

National government would cease to function. Instead, the primary governance touch points would be some responsible local law enforcement officers. More likely, we would see feudal governance take hold, where those with the most firepower, survival resources, and physical strength would take power.

But what about other governments? Surely other governments would jump in to lend a hand, if for no other reason than a precipitous decline in the U.S. economy would have devastating results worldwide.

Here’s where the scenario branches. If the cyberattack were limited to the United States, then it’s likely that other governments would involve themselves to a limited extent, if only to regain access to our ability to buy their goods.

This includes China, by the way. Since China’s economy is so dependent upon America’s (and us upon them), it is unlikely that China would engage in extinction-level cyberwar. In fact, so much of the world’s economy is intermingled, that it is actually quite unlikely that most major countries would engage in terminal cyberwar.

That leaves activists, crazies, and highly-isolated rogue nations like North Korea. In fact, it mostly leaves North Korea, because even Iran and Russia rely on a functioning world economy.

The Stone Age

Before we discuss North Korea, let’s get one other factor out of the way: the Stone Age. This article asked whether cyberwar could knock us back to the Stone Age. Rather than letting the hyperbole of the question stand, let’s understand that the Stone Age preceded humanity’s ability to work metal. Cyberwar (without an accompanying NBC event) would not deny us the ability to work metal, even iron and steel.

In fact, if we were to look at how far back something like a universally-devastating cyberwar might take us, we’d probably land right around the technology level of World War II. Unfortunately for our postulated post-cyberwar society, nations in World War II were highly structured. For example, England, even during the worst of the London Blitz, was able to function as a nation.We might not be able to replicate that level of functioning, primarily because our existing modes of communication are now nearly universally reliant on the Internet and digital technology. So we’d have to move back a few centuries, even before the telegraph that Lincoln used so powerfully in the Civil War, to a world where communications relied on fast horses and capable riders. At least bicycles are relatively common in the modern world.

Our worst case, therefore, is a society largely feudal in nature, knocked back in some ways to a technology base roughly akin to those the Founding Fathers had when they revolted against King George.

But could North Korea (again, without nukes or EMP weapons) generate a cyber-event devastating enough to take out all major nations and knock us all back to a pre-telegraph world?

Nope. Not a chance

My analysis of North Korea shows the country is indeed capable of mounting a cyberattack, especially if they use resources and agents located outside the nation’s physical borders. But could North Korea simultaneously take out digital systems worldwide? First, they don’t have the resources. Second, it’s far more likely the OPM breach was by China, rather than North Korea.

Any total cyberwar extinction event would have to remove the United States’ deep contingency operations, and while China or Russia might be able to turn a few more Snowdens, that’s way out of North Korea’s capability level. Plus, breaking U.S. contingency planning would take more than a handful of blackmailed government employees.

The enemy’s reach would have to be deep and pervasive, and that’s simply not going to be able to happen with the depth and pace necessary to unhinge all our preparatory measures.

So let’s conclude our thought experiment with a few observations and conclusions. The simple answer is no, cyberwar would not knock us back to the Stone Age. There is no rogue nation or organization with the reach to hit all of modern society across nations, and that’s what would be required to push modern society out of the Information Age.

There is no doubt that cyberwar and cyberattacks can be devastating, and have a high financial and operational cost. But there’s also little doubt that we would recover, in time.

Frankly, the worst case is a substantial financial cost and an enormous army of very pissed off IT folks. Here’s a warning to both our rational and irrational enemies. You really, really don’t want to make yourself a target of thousands upon thousands of pissed off IT professionals.

By the way, I’m doing more updates on Twitter and Facebook than ever before. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz and on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz.

Office of Dir. Nat. Intel. Refuses To Provide Briefing To House Intel. Comm. On Alleged Russian Hack

dir-nat-intel

Intelligence Community Statement on Review of Foreign Influence on U.S. Elections

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 

DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
WASHINGTON, DC 20511

December 14, 2016

Intelligence Community Statement on Review of Foreign Influence on U.S. Elections

“Senior Administration Officials have regularly provided extensive, detailed classified and unclassified briefings to members and staff from both parties on Capitol Hill since this past summer and have continued to do so after Election Day.

Last week, the President ordered a full Intelligence Community review of foreign efforts to influence recent Presidential elections – from 2008 to present. Once the review is complete in the coming weeks, the Intelligence Community stands ready to brief Congress—and will make those findings available to the public consistent with protecting intelligence sources and methods. We will not offer any comment until the review is complete.”

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP File Photo)

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(CNSNews.com) – An attempt by Congress to find out more about Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election hit a brick wall last night, when U.S. intelligence agencies refused a request to brief the House intelligence committee today (Thursday) on the cyber-attacks.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the committee chair, was furious: “It is unacceptable that the Intelligence Community directors would not fulfill the House Intelligence Committee’s request to be briefed tomorrow on the cyber-attacks that occurred during the presidential campaign,” Nunes said in a statement.

“The legislative branch is constitutionally vested with oversight responsibility of executive branch agencies, which are obligated to comply with our requests,” Nunes said. “The Committee is vigorously looking into reports of cyber-attacks during the election campaign, and in particular we want to clarify press reports that the CIA has a new assessment that it has not shared with us.

“The Committee is deeply concerned that intransigence in sharing intelligence with Congress can enable the manipulation of intelligence for political purposes,” said Nunes. “The Committee will continue its efforts and will insist that we receive all the necessary cooperation from the relevant leaders of the Intelligence Community.”

In a statement of its own, the U.S. intelligence community — comprised of 17 different agencies — noted that “senior administration officials” have regularly briefed members of Congress and their staff, in both classified and unclassified settings.

It said it would not make any comment until a review ordered by President Obama is complete.

Last week, President Obama ordered a full review of foreign efforts to influence presidential elections, dating back to 2008. Obama expects the review to be complete before he leaves office.

“Once the review is complete in the coming weeks, the Intelligence Community stands ready to brief Congress–and will make those findings available to the public consistent with protecting intelligence sources and methods. We will not offer any comment until the review is complete,” the statement said.

Although the Obama administration alerted Americans to Russian attempts to interfere in the U.S. election in October, a full month before the election, the hacking of Democrats’ emails didn’t become a big deal until Donald Trump’s surprise victory on Nov. 8.

In the weeks since then, news reports have said not only did the Russians hack and leak Democrats’ emails, but they did so to help Donald Trump win.

On Thursday, NBC News reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin “became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election.”

The Obama White House on Wednesday went so far as to suggest that Republican Donald Trump had inside information about Russian hacking well before the Nov. 8 election.

­­­”There is ample evidence that was known long before the election, and in most cases long before October, about the Trump campaign and Russia — everything from the Republican nominee himself calling on Russia to hack his opponent,” Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said on Wednesday.

“It might be an indication that he was obviously aware and concluded, based on whatever facts or sources he was — he had available to him, that Russia was involved. And their involvement was having a negative impact on his opponent’s campaign. That’s why he was encouraging them to keep doing it.”

 

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Nunes Statement on Cancellation of Cyber-Attack Briefing

“It is unacceptable that the Intelligence Community directors would not fulfill the House Intelligence Committee’s request to be briefed tomorrow on the cyber-attacks that occurred during the presidential campaign. The legislative branch is constitutionally vested with oversight responsibility of executive branch agencies, which are obligated to comply with our requests. The Committee is vigorously looking into reports of cyber-attacks during the election campaign, and in particular we want to clarify press reports that the CIA has a new assessment that it has not shared with us. The Committee is deeply concerned that intransigence in sharing intelligence with Congress can enable the manipulation of intelligence for political purposes. The Committee will continue its efforts and will insist that we receive all the necessary cooperation from the relevant leaders of the Intelligence Community.”

The Listers—Defenders of Truth, Or Enemies of the State?

[We face an unprecedented period of darkness and uncertainty, with the only certainty being the strong probability that many us bloggers might face incarceration along the way.  Will the notorious, “List” be composed  of “Patriots” or outlaws?  Until we know which side will win the rapidly-building war of words, which “Fake News” will be outlawed we don’t even know whether the Internet will remain free or be censored.  If Trump beats back the Democrat assault upon the election and their version of “fake news”, then many of the “Listers” will be recognized as American patriots, for fighting the Establishment’s “fake news.”  If the Democrats are successful in regulating American Democracy, then we will all be arrested, perhaps filling-up the controversial internment camps. 

Perhaps now would be an ideal time to remember why we have put ourselves on the paths which led us all to the Internet and alternative news, in general. 

Do you remember when or why you dedicated your life to a heroic struggle to help save America from its leaders? 

Do you remember when you volunteered to be a foot-soldier in a war for Truth?]

 

Cultural Alchemy – Social evolution from the inside out

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“The ‘hero’s journey’.  It begins with a calling. Something calls us to greater depths than what we had experienced before. Or perhaps like Alice, we unexpectedly slip and fall down a rabbit hole.  The hero or heroine, on their own path towards wholeness, ultimately heals and evolves themselves, but what they bring back is also pure gold for their people.

In this hero’s journey, this alchemical path to healing and inner mastery, there are fundamental patterns which repeat, that apply to all people in all times. One of those is that of facing darkness. It is called the ‘nigredo’ in western alchemy and it is present in every epic tale of fiction and myth. On our paths, we will face the devil in one form or another. In Jungian language, this is our shadows. It is through the embracing and clarifying our inner darkness that we attain the capacity to heal and transform. This essential first step is frequently left out of western spiritual practices and is the biggest reason why so many do not achieve their spiritual goals.

Traversing and integrating our shadows may in fact be the most important step we can take in personal and collective evolution. It is through this journey that we mature the most and bring into balance our own destructive projections which when not brought to consciousness, become the very evil we want to eliminate from the world.”

(read HERE)

To End War on Terror, Stop Arming Terrorists

Gabbard’s Law: To End War on Terror, Stop Arming Terrorists

black agenda report

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

 

“The United States has spent billions of dollars to arm, train and protect whole armies of jihadist terrorists in Syria.”

If Tulsi Gabbard, Barbara Lee and a handful of other lawmakers have their way, Washington’s so-called “moderate” rebels in Syria would be cut off from American money and arms. The U.S. would also ‘be compelled to cut off aid to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, the biggest recipient of U.S. aid in the world.’ The U.S. proxy war on Syria has always been illegal; Gabbard’s bill would make it doubly so.
Ever since the passage of the Patriot Act in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, it has been a crime to provide “material support” to groups designated as terrorists by the U.S. State Department, including ISIS and al-Qaida and its Syrian affiliate, the al-Nusra Front. As the law is interpreted, “material support” can mean providing almost any kind of service or assistance that a prosecutor believes might materially help the designated group — even attending a peace conference or representing a group member in court. Americans have done hard time in prison for being found in violation of this law. But, at the same time, the United States has spent billions of dollars to arm, train and protect whole armies of jihadist terrorists in Syria – Islamist fighters that collaborate in every possible way with al-Qaida and its offspring in the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State.

In the words of Tulsi Gabbard, the Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii: “This madness must end… The Government must end this hypocrisy and abide by the same laws that apply to its citizens.” Gabbard has introduced a bill to force the U.S. government to abide by its own laws, as well as international law, by making it specifically illegal for U.S. to fund aid of any kind, not just to al-Qaida and ISIS, but to any other groups that collaborate with them. In Syria, that means virtually all of the so-called “moderate” rebels that the U.S. and its allies have lavished billions of dollars on. Just as importantly, Gabbard’s Stop Arming Terrorists Act makes it illegal for the United States to give aid to any nation that assists these terrorists. That means the U.S. would be compelled to cut off aid to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, the biggest recipient of U.S. aid in the world, which openly brags about treating al-Qaida fighters in Israeli hospitals. The U.S. would also have to cut off all assistance to Britain, France and most of the rest of NATO, for their assistance to terrorists in Syria.

Rep. Keith Ellison: Useless to the Cause of Peace

Earlier this year, the Obama administration reneged on its agreement with Russia to draw up a list of the jihadist groups Washington supports, and to make sure they don’t fight alongside al-Qaida. Gabbard’s law would require that the Director of National Intelligence draw up a list of the jihadi groups that are cooperating with al-Qaida and ISIS, and update that list every six month, to make sure none of them get U.S. assistance.

Gabbard models her bill on 1980s Boland Amendment that halted U.S. aid to the U.S. Contra terrorists, in Nicaragua. She was joined by two Republican and two Democratic co-sponsors, including Black California congresswoman Barbara Lee. The bill is endorsed by the Progressive Democrats of America and the U.S. Peace Council. But don’t expect it to get effective support from the Progressive Caucus in the U.S. Congress. Minnesota Black congressman Keith Ellison is Caucus co-chair – and absolutely worthless to the cause of peace. He supported the war against Libya and the proxy war in Syria, which is why he stands a good chance of becoming head of the Democratic National Committee, where it’s all war, and anti-Russia, all the time.

 

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

“We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes.”

Trump’s Non-Interventionist Military policy

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President-elect Donald Trump laid out a U.S. military policy on Tuesday that would avoid interventions in foreign conflicts and instead focus heavily on defeating the Islamic State militancy.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a USA Thank You Tour event at Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S., December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a USA Thank You Tour event at Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S., December 6, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

In the latest stop on a “thank you” tour of states critical to his Nov. 8 election win, Trump introduced his choice for defense secretary, General James Mattis, to a large crowd in this city near the Fort Bragg military base, which has deployed soldiers to 90 countries around the world.

“We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with,” Trump said. “Instead, our focus must be on defeating terrorism and destroying ISIS, and we will.”

Trump’s rhetoric was similar to what he said during the election campaign when he railed against the war in Iraq.

In Fayetteville, he vowed a strong rebuilding of the U.S. military, which he suggested has been stretched too thin. Instead of investing in wars, he said, he would spend money to build up America’s aging roads, bridges and airports.

Even so, Trump said he wants to boost spending on the military. To help pay for his buildup, Trump pledged to seek congressional approval for lifting caps on defense spending that were part of “sequestration” legislation that imposed cut spending across the board.

“We don’t want to have a depleted military because we’re all over the place fighting in areas that we shouldn’t be fighting in. It’s not going to be depleted any longer,” he said.

Trump said any nation that shares these goals will be considered a U.S. partner.

“We don’t forget. We want to strengthen old friendships and seek out new friendships,” he said. He said the policy of “intervention and chaos” must come to an end.

While U.S. armed forces are deployed in far-flung places around the globe, they are only involved currently in active combat in the Middle East, specifically Iraq and Syria for the most part.

“We will build up our military not as an act of aggression, but as an act of prevention,” he said. “In short, we seek peace through strength.”

Trump described Mattis as the right person for the job and urged Congress to approve a waiver to let him take on the civilian position. Under U.S. law a military leader must be retired for seven years before becoming eligible to become defense secretary.

Speaking to the crowed, Mattis said, “I look forward to being the civilian leader as long as the Congress gives me the waiver and the Senate votes to consent.”

“We’re going to get you that waiver,” Trump said, returning to the microphone. “If you don’t get that waiver there are going to be a lot of angry people.”

Have ISIS Trainers Created A Brigade-Sized Unit of Terrorist “Agents” To Strike In Europe?

IS trains 400 fighters to attack Europe in wave of bloodshed

ap

By LORI HINNANT and PAISLEY DODDS 

PARIS (AP) — The Islamic State group has trained at least 400 fighters to target Europe in deadly waves of attacks, deploying interlocking terror cells like the ones that struck Brussels and Paris with orders to choose the time, place and method for maximum chaos, officials have told The Associated Press.

The network of agile and semiautonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria and Iraq.

The officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, described camps in Syria, Iraq and possibly the former Soviet bloc where attackers are trained to target the West. Before being killed in a police raid, the ringleader of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks claimed he had entered Europe in a multinational group of 90 fighters, who scattered “more or less everywhere.”

But the biggest break yet in the Paris attacks investigation — the arrest on Friday of fugitive Salah Abdeslam — did not thwart the multipronged attack just four days later on the Belgian capital’s airport and subway system that left 31 people dead and an estimated 270 wounded. Three suicide bombers also died.

Just as in Paris, Belgian authorities were searching for at least one fugitive in Tuesday’s attacks — this time for a man wearing a white jacket who was seen on airport security footage with the two suicide attackers. The fear is that the man, whose identity Belgian officials say is not known, will follow Abdeslam’s path.

After fleeing Paris immediately after the November attacks, Abdeslam forged a new network back in his childhood neighborhood of Molenbeek, long known as a haven for jihadis, and renewed plotting, according to Belgian officials.

“Not only did he drop out of sight, but he did so to organize another attack, with accomplices everywhere. With suicide belts. Two attacks organized just like in Paris. And his arrest, since they knew he was going to talk, it was a response: ‘So what if he was arrested? We’ll show you that it doesn’t change a thing,'” said French Senator Nathalie Goulet, co-head of a commission tracking jihadi networks.

Estimates range from 400 to 600 Islamic State fighters trained specifically for external attacks, according to the officials, including Goulet. Some 5,000 Europeans have gone to Syria.

“The reality is that if we knew exactly how many there were, it wouldn’t be happening,” she said.

More than four sources with access to tallies of fighters tasked with Europe attacks independently corroborated the numbers of fighters who trained for specific attacks in Europe, including some who have spoken to fighters directly. Others have cross checked information regarding fighters leaving or returning.

Two of the suicide bombers in Tuesday’s attacks, Belgian-born brothers Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, were known to authorities as common criminals, not anti-Western radicals until an apartment one of them rented was traced to Abdeslam last week, according to Belgian state broadcaster RTBF. Similarly, an Algerian killed inside that apartment on March 15 had nothing but a petty theft record in Sweden — but he’d signed up as an Islamic State suicide bomber for the group in 2014 and returned to Europe as part of the Nov. 13 plot.

In claiming responsibility for Tuesday’s attack, the Islamic State group described a “secret cell of soldiers” dispatched to Brussels for the purpose. The shadowy cells were confirmed by the EU police agency, Europol, which said in a late January report that intelligence officials believed the group had “developed an external action command trained for special forces-style attacks.”

French speakers with links to North Africa, France and Belgium appear to be leading the units and are responsible for developing attack strategies in Europe, said a European security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss briefing material. He is also familiar with interrogations of former fighters who have returned to Europe. Some were jailed after leaving IS while others were kicked out of the terror group, and they include Muslims and Muslim converts from all across Europe.

Fighters in the units are trained in battleground strategies, explosives, surveillance techniques and counter surveillance, the security official said.

“The difference is that in 2014, some of these IS fighters were only being given a couple weeks of training,” he said. “Now the strategy has changed. Special units have been set up. The training is longer. And the objective appears to no longer be killing as many people as possible but rather to have as many terror operations as possible, so the enemy is forced to spend more money or more in manpower.”

Similar methods had been developed by al-Qaida but IS has taken it to a new level, he said. Another difference is that fighters are being trained to be their own operators — not necessarily to be beholden to orders from the IS stronghold in Raqqa, Syria, or elsewhere.

Several security officials have said there is growing evidence to suggest the bulk of the training is taking place in Syria, Libya and elsewhere in North Africa.

In the case of Tuesday’s attacks, Abdeslam’s arrest may have been a trigger for a plot that was already far along.

“To pull off an attack of this sophistication, you need training, planning, materials and a landscape,” said Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at Kings College in London, which has one of the largest databases of fighters and their networks.

“Even if they worked flat out, the attackers in Brussels would have needed at least four days,” said Maher, who has conducted extensive interviews with foreign fighters.

The question for many intelligence and security officials is now turning to just how many more fighters have been trained and are ready for more attacks.

A senior Iraqi intelligence official who was not authorized to speak publicly said people from the cell that carried out the Paris attacks are scattered across Germany, Britain, Italy, Denmark and Sweden. Recently, a new group crossed in from Turkey, the official said.

On Wednesday, Turkish authorities said one of the Brussels suicide attackers, Ibrahim El Bakraoui, was caught last June near the Syrian border and deported to the Netherlands, with Ankara warning Dutch and Belgian officials that he was a “foreign terrorist fighter.” But he was released from Dutch custody due to lack of evidence of involvement in extremism.

Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens said Wednesday that authorities had no reason to detain El Bakraoui because he was “not known for terrorist acts but as a common law criminal who was on conditional release.”

The latest new name to surface this week, Najim Laachraoui, turned out to be the bombmaker who made the suicide vests used in the Paris attacks, according to French and Belgian officials. Attackers used an explosive known as Triacetone Triperoxide, or TATP, made from common household chemicals. DNA evidence indicates he died on Tuesday in the suicide attack on the airport, two officials briefed on the investigation told AP.

Fifteen kilos of TATP were found in an apartment linked to the Brussels attackers, along with other explosive material.

The unidentified man seen on security footage wearing a white jacket and black hat at the Brussels airport on Tuesday remains at large, a fugitive link in a chain still being forged.

___

Dodds reported from London. Qassim Abdul-Zahra contributed from Baghdad.

“Fake News” Is A Ticking Suicide-Bomb

 

The Pathologization of Dissent

“political dissent is being gradually pathologized (i.e., stigmatized as aberrant or “abnormal” behavior, as opposed to a position meriting discussion)/”

“Fake News” Is A Ticking Suicide-Bomb

The simple truth is this, we have reached a moment of truth, the surprise Trump upset of the Establishment has not only exposed the perennial elitist control over the American corporate media and the entire political process, it has proven conclusively that the majority of that media has been actively engaged in a nationwide process of organized deception and perception management for the purpose of creating a false national narrative and the illusion of massive popular support for the Establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton.  This false narrative came crashing down with the Trump win.  The false news narrative, painted for us on the canvas of our minds in brilliant technicolor, was composed of hundreds of bits of Western “fake news”, stitched together in a bizarre patchwork quilt of “called nightly news”, then presented as “real news,” with the intention of subverting American Democracy. 

In an organized misinformation/disinformation campaign that can only be described as “conspiratorial,” politicians, govt spokesmen and national news media sources, from both sides of the aisle, have been combining their efforts to create the illusion of a free democratic election, supported by “fair and balanced reporting,” in an operation which more closely resembled a military psychological warfare operation than a presidential campaign. 

It has now been made obvious to all who care to see, that the American electoral process is neither free nor Democratic.  Power and money have corrupted the process for far too long, when alleged political opponents feel compelled to publicly break cover, exposing the so-called “two party system” as the fraud that it has always been, in order to defeat the one man who has challenged Establishment control over this country.  In taking-on the Establishment, Trump has accused the Oligarchy of fraud on an unprecedented scale.  The Fake News of the nightly news media is merely one element of that wholesale fraud associated with our electoral process.

“Fake News” accurately describes the entire spectrum of American news that we have become accustomed to over the years, drowning us in politically-slanted garbage that the “legitimate,” “Mainstream News” has dreamed-up and bombarded us with for decades.  This new concept of “fake news” which has been introduced by the left-stained media is no doubt a CIA-formulated combination solution to both the crumbling credibility of the American corporate press and the simultaneous discrediting of the liberal Democrat Party. 

Unnamed CIA sources have leaked to the press “news” of a secret report claiming Russian electoral interference (SEE: Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security).  Any CIA involvement in domestic politics is clearly illegal.  A CIA report on Russia and Trump, intended to support a political claim by the Democrat Party is clearly CIA meddling in domestic politics and the electoral process.  This “all or nothing” moment smells like another CIA “Plan B”, throwing the country into chaos, in order to compensate for the failure of American fake news to stampede the American electorate into the Hillary/Establishment/Banker corral.

President Trump’s rattling of America’s true seats of power (HINT..not in Washington) has caused the American Oligarchy to become unhinged, forcing them to resort to “Plan B” (probably for the first time since Kennedy disrupted the CIA plans), hoping to regain their control over the American political process.

[This letter has been written by Democrats, signed by 5 Democrats, in order to accommodate an unfolding Democrat scheme to void the recent election, in favor of the evil witch.]

schiff-letter2

It has been made abundantly clear that Obama and the Democrats intend a fight to the death over this “Fake News” issue (SEE: Just Before Trump Takes Office, Obama Plans Release Of Intel On Russian Hacking). 

Whose idea of fake news will win the war of semantics to set the definition of “fake news”?  The Mainstream Media has named most of the alternate press on the Internet as “fake,” whereas the individuals who make up the alternate news simply define “fake” as anything provably false, unsupported by facts, or otherwise unverifiable by available open resources.  In a rational world, news sources which actively seek true over false news would easily win-out over the mainstream press, which conceals true news reports in favor of twisted truths and organized deception. 

During the exhaustive election cycle, many new false paradigms have been generated through social media and fake news sites.  Add these to a whole world of false paradigms which have already been generated over many decades by the Pentagon and CIA.  Into this massive, storm-swept sea of illusion, we have the “red herring” of “fake news” tormenting delusional sheeple on the nightly news cycle, in an attempt to derail Trump’s mandate to investigate the wholesale failure of the national press. 

How can a lying national press be trusted? The Democrat Party, which poses as a defender of human rights and the Free Press, is prepared to ride that CIA red herring into a brand new, full-blown era of McCarthyism, as every media source which doesn’t parrot the Democrat Party line will soon be censored, so that the REAL “Fake News” (Nightly News, etc.) can continue its mind-numbing masquerade as the only real news sources.

 

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National exposure of the miserable failure of the mainstream media to stampede Hillary Clinton into the White House has been like a curtain suddenly dropping, exposing a subversive media pulling our switches, demonstrating their capabilities to control the American political process in a conspiratorial attempt to control the outcome of our “free election.”

The elitists of the American Oligarchy harbor utter contempt towards the common folks who compose the American majority, evidently they are sickened or repelled by our opinions, and our needs.  Hillary boldly expressed that elitist contempt in her “basket of deplorables” remark, further clarifying that most of us are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”

Witches and warlocks of the realm of constructed illusion, like the Clintons, have begun to badger the simple-minded with the new mantra of “We must stand up for our democracy,” because fake news represents an “urgent” threat to our “Republic, if we can keep it.”  (Little wonder that neo-conned Democrats now sound like Republicans, even picking-up old Republican slogans.)

Those of us who have made it to the official “FAKE NEWS” list (and those of us who aspire to make that list) must prepare ourselves for the political fight of the century, an ideological fight over truth and lies, focused upon defining particularly important words like Democracy and Free Press.

To some degree the “legitimate” press and Internet news sites will be trading places in the minds of the American people.  The Mainstream Media has delegitimized itself with its false, slanted pro-Hillary, anti-Trump reports.  If the Nightly News can no longer be trusted to pursue truth in news, we are still free to turn to foreign news sites.  If the Democrat red herring succeeds in destroying American democracy then any reports which are not mantras of the Nightly News will be considered as “fake news” under currently proposed remedies.

One goal is to blame Russia for Wikileaks, in order to discredit all Wikis as “fake news,” so that all of those embarrassing cables and emails can disappear.  Discredit Trump in order to invalidate the electoral college.

Clinton has recently emerged from her lair to make her stand against “fake news”, blaming Russian news sources for her stinging defeat, no doubt holding-out false hope of overturning Trump’s win by Jan. 20.

Mr. Trump won because he accurately read the popular will of the American people and then boldly challenged the Liberal Establishment, shining light upon many things that the Gatekeepers DID NOT WANT EXPOSED.  In their feverish “kamikaze” attacks upon Trump during that contest they have failed to keep hidden that which the cooperative liberal press has always kept hidden, destroying the credibility of the national news media in the process.

Tipping point…

The worldwide web has grown so big that it has become unmanageable for the government, the content of the Web can no longer be monitored or shaped by the Empire’s gatekeepers, to sweep explosive truths from the Internet. The Empire is losing control over the conversations of “We the People” and therefore, the Internet must either be shut-down or the conversations must be brought under strict govt control, at least for us common folks, who keep rattling the cages…scaring the shit out of our Keepers.   Fake news will become the new “hate speech” (The Term “Fake News” Joins “Hate Speech” As A New Tool for Ideological Speech Suppresion).

Evidently its time for fireworks.  We are entering a period of unprecedented instability, all turning on the works of one man, a Russian expatriate, Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of CrowdStrike website.  Dmitri Alperovitch is a nonresident senior fellow with the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council.  Atlantic Council is a “consolidation of the U.S. citizens groups supporting the Atlantic Alliance”–[i.e., “NATO”–ed.]

* * * * * * * * *

All known unclassified reports claiming Russian hacking of DNC servers are based upon the technical evidence obtained for the DNC by the CrowdStrike website.  CrowdStrike was allegedly able to track their prey back to two sources, which Alperovitch claims are associated with Federal Russian sources, but not to the agencies themselves.  If traced back to Russian hackers, but not to the Russian govt, then how can Moscow be penalized for the actions of its private citizens, any more than the Saudis have been penalized for individual Saudis supporting ISIS/Al Qaeda?

peter.chamberlin@hotmail.com

Alperovitch Dmitri 175

Dmitri Alperovitch

Nonresident Senior Fellow, Cyber Statecraft Initiative

[My research into Dmitri Alperovitch produced the following post on Demitri from an unusual, anonymous, one article, website with a bizarre name, Sibisim Gerbilism.]

THE RUSSIANS DID IT! Or Did They?

“The hacks began on or around 4/1/2016. The DNC became aware of the hacks later that month. At some point, they brought in a cybersecurity firm named CrowdStrike to investigate. On 6/14/2016, the DNC made a public announcement that their server was hacked. A hacker or hackers named Guccifer 2.0 claimed responsibility. At the time of going public, the DNC blamed Russia.”

“The co-founder of the cybersecurity firm that investigated the DNC hack is a Senior Fellow at a NATO funded think-tank and he happens to conclude that Russia, NATO’s #1 enemy, is behind the attack. You’d think that Alperovitch’s ties to the Atlantic Council would warrant, at the very least, a mention from somebody – anybody – in the corporate press. So far, I haven’t come across one publication that’s cared to note it. But it doesn’t end there.”

“On 6/14/2016, the Atlantic Council published an article entitled “DNC Hack: ‘No Certain Links’ to Foreign Governments, which cites Beau Woods, deputy director of something called the Cyber Statecraft Initiative which falls under the Atlantic Council’s auspices. The article further reveals our hero Dmitri Alperovitch is part of this initiative. It goes on to state “there is no hard evidence of a direct connection between the hackers and the Russian government” while keeping the door open to the possibility. Ultimately, it concludes by quoting Woods as saying, “The bottom line is that we don’t know.” Interestingly, this article stands in contradistinction to another article published on the very same day by the Washington Post, where the author cites none other than Dmitri Alperovitch as the source pointing the finger at Russia. So which is it? The Atlantic Council and CyberStrike appear to be at odds.”

“If we hop back to the donor list of the Atlantic Council, we uncover a host of Armenian, Georgian, Romanian, Turkish and multi-national fossil fuel companies. The European market relies heavily on Russian oil and natural gas. Western Europe is the biggest buyer of Russian fossil fuel. Among the host of fossil fuel companies funding the Atlantic Council is the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), a proposed natural gas pipeline that will connect the Southern Gas Corridor from Turkey to Greece and onto Italy. BP, another Atlantic Council donor, has a 20% stake in TAP. Along with the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline, TAP will serve to cut Western Europe’s dependence of Russian fossil fuels. This will greatly serve NATO’s interests, dealing an economic blow to Russia.”

[Fake news often begins as fake email spam which is believed by the receiver and then passed-on to others, without bothering to confirm or refute it from other sources, preferably the original source, or as close as the researcher can get.  The following example is one of Alperovitch’s first public accusations against Russia, in 2007.  Since then, Dimitri has served as NATO/US “go to guy” for pointing fingers at foreign govts.]

“Russian botmasters, who are behind Storm”, 29th August 2007, Dmitri Alperovitch

Storm Trojan floods e-mail boxes,  Jan 19, 2007

“230 Dead as storm batters Europe,” or “U.S. Secretary of Sate Condoleeza Rice has kicked German Chancellor,”

Operation Shady Rat

Kaspersky’s thoughts on Shady Rat

Russian expert founds CrowdStrike

Alperovitch article at CrowdStrike

“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” the transition said in a terse, unsigned statement.
“The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.'”

Just before Donald Trump takes the presidential oath of office next month, the Obama administration plans to release a full report on Russian connections to cyber attacks during the election, officials said Friday.

Trump has cast doubt on the Kremlin’s involvement in politically charged hacking and fake news efforts prior to this year’s election while leading members of Congress have called on the administration to share what it knows about the Russian connection and pushed for a wider investigation, leading to a potentially fiery showdown over the issue. And such a public divide between the president-elect and intelligence agencies is unusual and dangerous, say experts.

“To evaluate Congress’s response appropriately, we would like all Members to have a comprehensive understanding of what the U.S. Intelligence Community knows regarding Russia’s involvement in these actions and attempts to interfere in our election,” the lawmakers wrote this week in an open letter to President Barack Obama.

Officials sometimes purposely share with Congress “only what is necessary for them to perform proper oversight,” partially as a safeguard against unintentional leaks, says Chris Finan, a former White House cybersecurity advisor and CEO of Bay Area security startup Manifold Technology. But in this case, Finan says it was more likely that intelligence agencies are still working to establish precisely how various efforts to influence the election link back to the top levels of the Russian government.

“They’d want to try to find deliberate command and control links—instances where people were directed by a Russian official,” he says. “I think that there’s probably a lot of interest and focus in, are these proxy groups operating on their own based on what they thought Moscow would want them to do or were they acting on a directive from somebody in the Russian government.”

Prominent Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced a bill on Wednesday calling for a bipartisan commission to investigate Russian attempts to influence the election. Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings cited October statements from intelligence officials blaming Russia for hacks targeting Democratic Party servers and subsequent leaks of embarrassing emails.

“The head of the National Security Agency said there is no doubt that this was a targeted and conscious effort to achieve a specific result,” Cummings said in a statement. “And the Intelligence Community also said that they believe that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

Prominent Republican senators including Arizona Senator and Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Tennessee Senator and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker have also all expressed interest in investigating Russian hacks, despite the president-elect’s skepticism. House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, has also recently publicly condemned Russia for the attacks despite his support for Trump.

While Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden have both hinted at the possibility of retaliation for the alleged Russian hacks, it’s likely that at this point in Obama’s presidency any further responses will be left to the Trump administration, Finan says.

Trump said in an interview with Time magazine, which named him 2016’s “Person of the Year,” that he doesn’t believe Russia interfered with the election and thinks intelligence agency conclusions may have been politically motivated.

Trump’s statements drew a strong rebuke from Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, who called his comments “enormously damaging to the country” and to intelligence officials.

“Notwithstanding the abundance of evidence that Russia hacked our political institutions during the Presidential campaign and dumped documents in an effort to meddle in our political affairs, President-elect Trump’s comments this morning continue to contradict our intelligence professionals and carry water for the Kremlin,” Schiff said in a statement.

Schiff declined through a spokesman to comment further on the matter, and a Trump spokeswoman didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

Such a divide over the legitimacy of intelligence reports is highly unusual, particularly when conclusions within the intelligence community seem so unanimous, Finan says.

“Not only is it unusual—it’s incredibly dangerous,” he says. “To question the veracity but also to question the professionalism of our intelligence community, that is potentially very damaging to morale and it’s going to put the nation at risk.”

The List of “Fake News” Sites Produced By Unknown “Experts”, PROPORNOT, “Is It Propaganda Or Not?”

The List

4thmedia.org newswithviews.com
4threvolutionarywar.wordpress.com nowtheendbegins.com
abeldanger.net nsnbc.me
activistpost.com off-guardian.org
ahtribune.com oftwominds.com
allnewspipeline.com oilgeopolitics.net
americanlookout.com opednews.com
americasfreedomfighters.com orientalreview.org
amren.com patriotrising.com
amtvmedia.com paulcraigroberts.org
ancient-code.com platosguns.com
anonews.co pravda.ru
anonhq.com pravdareport.com
antiwar.com prepperwebsite.com
asia-pacificresearch.com presstv.com
assassinationscience.com prisonplanet.com
baltimoregazette.com rbth.com
barenakedislam.com readynutrition.com
beforeitsnews.com redflagnews.com
bignuggetnews.com regated.com
bioprepper.com rense.com
blackagendareport.com righton.com
blacklistednews.com rinf.com
christianfightback.com ronpaulinstitute.org
collective-evolution.com rt.com
conservativedailypost.com rumormillnews.com
consortiumnews.com ruptly.tv
corbettreport.com russia-insider.com
cosmicscientist.com sana.sy
countercurrents.org sentinelblog.com
counterinformation.wordpress.com sgtreport.com
dailyoccupation.com shiftfrequency.com
dailystormer.com shtfplan.com
darkmoon.me silentmajoritypatriots.com
darkpolitricks.com silverdoctors.com
davidstockmanscontracorner.com sott.net
dcclothesline.com southfront.org
dcleaks.com sputniknews.com
defenddemocracy.press stormcloudsgathering.com
dennismichaellynch.com strategic-culture.org
disclose.tv superstation95.com
disclosuremedia.net survivopedia.com
drudgereport.com the-newspapers.com
educate-yourself.org theantimedia.org
educateinspirechange.org thecommonsenseshow.com
endingthefed.com thedailybell.com
endoftheamericandream.com thedailysheeple.com
endtime.com theduran.com
eutimes.net theearthchild.co.za
eutopia.buzz theeconomiccollapseblog.com
ewao.com theeventchronicle.com
eyeopening.info thefederalistpapers.org
fellowshipoftheminds.com thefreethoughtproject.com
filmsforaction.org themindunleashed.org
floridasunpost.com thenewsdoctors.com
foreignpolicyjournal.com therebel.media
fourwinds10.net therussophile.org
freedomoutpost.com thesaker.is
gaia.com thesleuthjournal.com
galacticconnection.com thetruenews.info
gangstergovernment.com thetruthseeker.co.uk
gatesofvienna.net theunhivedmind.com
geopolmonitor.com thirdworldtraveler.com
globalresearch.ca toprightnews.com
godlikeproductions.com trueactivist.com
govtslaves.info trunews.com
greanvillepost.com truth-out.org
guccifer2.wordpress.com truthandaction.org
hangthebankers.com truthdig.com
healthnutnews.com truthfeed.com
henrymakow.com truthkings.com
heresyblog.net ufoholic.com
humansarefree.com undergroundworldnews.com
ihavethetruth.com unz.com
in5d.com usanewshome.com
informationclearinghouse.info usapoliticsnow.com
infowars.com usasupreme.com
intellihub.com usdcrisis.com
intersectionproject.eu usslibertyveterans.org
intrepidreport.com vdare.com
investmentresearchdynamics.com veteransnewsnow.com
investmentwatchblog.com veteranstoday.com
jackpineradicals.com vigilantcitizen.com
jamesrgrangerjr.com viralliberty.com
jewsnews.co.il voltairenet.org
journal-neo.org wakeupthesheep.com
katehon.com wakingtimes.com
kingworldnews.com washingtonsblog.com
lewrockwell.com wearechange.org
libertyblitzkrieg.com weshapelife.org
libertywritersnews.com whatdoesitmean.com
makeamericagreattoday.com whatreallyhappened.com
memoryholeblog.com wikileaks.com
mintpressnews.com wikileaks.org
moonofalabama.org wikispooks.com
nakedcapitalism.com worldnewspolitics.com
naturalblaze.com worldpolitics.us
naturalnews.com www.fort-russ.com
newcoldwar.org yournewswire.com
newstarget.com zerohedge.com

Fake Famine and Humanitarian Intervention in Nigeria

Fake Famine and Humanitarian Intervention in Nigeria

african perspective

by africanagenda.net

The United Nations says there is an impending famine in Borno province of Nigeria. According to various aid agencies 75 000 children are at risk of starvation. Save the Children will be asking for aid donors to raise $1.2 billion at the next UN humanitarian appeal to be held in Geneva.

They are likening the potential crisis in scale to the Biafran famine of the late 1960s which was the first African famine to be brought to the TV screens of the world . The media showed horrifying pictures of skeletal children in what became the birth of poverty-porn and the rise of the NGO Industrial Complex that has been using our goodwill and money for corrupt purposes ever since. Today the soft-power tools of institutions like USAID, its British counter-part DIFD (UKAID) and the French version MSF, wield more power than any military force over their own governments and those of the numerous countries they currently occupy.

It is 50 years since the Biafran War and the oligarchs who currently rule the West rely on the fact that we do not know our history either in Britain, France or Biafra. The oligarchs` machine- like,  sociopathic minds lack imagination and therefore rely on a pattern which they use over and over again under different titles and names.

Biafra

Back in 1967, it was presented to the world that civil war in Nigeria was causing millions of people to die of starvation. The Biafran region, under Colonel Ojukwu had taken up arms against the military government of Nigeria in the name of freeing the Igbo people from its persecutions, secession from the State. These times have left indelible memories across the world of human suffering on an horrific scale. In Nigeria, social divisions caused by the civil war continue to destabilize the nation and block any sense of national cohesion.

The real causes were never exposed . The truth was that Nigeria was ripped apart and millions died because of an oil  war between two competing petroleum corporations – French Elf Aquitaine and British Royal Dutch Shell.

Oil reserves in  French controlled Gabon were dwindling and  the French petroleum giant Elf Aquitaine had discovered vast reserves in Biafra . French secret services funded and equipped the army of Col. Ojukwu and encouraged him to take up arms against the government for secession of the Biafran region. When it became apparent that Col Ojukwu`s forces were not going to win against the Nigerian government, a public relations program was put in place using a marketing company called Mark Press. The aim of this was to cause such a public outcry over human suffering that a humanitarian intervention would be called for.This led to the first military occupation disguised as an humanitarian intervention by  foreign powers.

On the other side Royal Dutch Shell which up until very recent times, has used Nigeria as its private oil reserve for the oligarchs of the City of London, supported the Military Government of Nigeria in all its atrocities against the Biafrans.

Boko Haram

Boko Haram have been created as the excuse for the oligarchs War on Terror in West Africa. The organisation no longer bears any resemblance to the original Boko Haram.It has been infiltrated and utterly corrupted to be a tin-pot terrorist outfit to create havoc and justify the presence of foreign powers in the form of aid agencies, Africom and UN peace-keeping missions.

Current food shortages in Borno provence are being attributed to the regional instability caused by the presence of Boko Haram. Borno province has been the stronghold of this  terrorist group since they gained notoriety world-wide thanks to the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls. This led to a massive Kony2012 style PR campaign to rescue these children. The cause was championed by America`s First Lady, Michelle Obama. Nigeria`s president at the time, Goodluck Jonathan, on being questioned about the Chibok schoolgirls responded by saying ” what abducted children ?” During the Kony2012 hype to get Africom into Uganda, Ugandans were asking who was Joseph Kony and his army of child soldiers.

Borno Province is situated next to Niger which has recently agreed to a new Africom base. Africom also has a base in neighbouring  Cameroon. Is this forward-planning by the US Defence Department as Boko Haram are being steadily wiped-out by the Nigerian military under the excellent leadership of Pres Buhari ?

Bread and Butter for NGOs

The Nigerian government have responded to the United Nation`s alarm bells about famine, with some frank and very interesting comments. Pres. Buhari recently made this statement :

We are concerned about the blatant attempts to whip up a non-existent fear of mass starvation by some aid agencies, a type of hype that does not provide a solution to the situation on the ground but more to do with calculations for operations financing locally and abroad.”

The Real Food War

Chief Audu Ogbeh , Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development stated that Nigeria has more than adequate supplies of food and that there is no chance of a famine. Nigeria now has 110 rice mills. He explained that the price of the country`s food staple will come down once production levels have reached the necessary target. Until then demands to lower the price nationally would only demoralize farmers. The answer, he said, is to stimulate more production.

The prices will fall, but let production reach a level where those who want to exploit can no longer do so because there is so much available everywhere“.

The United Nations World Food Programme has been flooding Third World countries with US subsidized grains and cotton for decades on the pretext of food shortages and famines.The reality has been the complete annhiliation of domestic economies, leaving farmers unable to compete with free food dished out by the WFP.

The Real Nigeria

nigeria-space-prog

scientists at NASRDA image : pilotafrica.com

Nigeria is not a backward state unable to feed its population. It is an industrialized and thriving economy. At present it is the 20th largest economy and is worth  in excess of $500 billion in terms of nominal GDP and  $1 trillion in terms of purchasing power parity. In 2014 it replaced South Africa as Africa`s largest economy.Goldman-Sachs has ranked it as one of the emerging Next Eleven most powerful economies of the 21st century. Nigeria has long been the West African regional power.

Nigeria has its own space program The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and has plans to send its first manned  mission into space by 2030, a first for an African nation. Nigeria is being  partnered by China in this development to become a world-class space industry and has already launched 5 satellites since 2003 with 3 still in orbit delivering data.

Nigeria has the greatest human potential among African states with the largest population of 174 million. With such a fantastic human resource brilliant minds will be finding solutions to all of Africa`s unsolved problems. Recently two schoolchildren from Lagos Anesi and Osine Ikhianosime, aged 13 and 15,  have thought up  their own computer coding system and created a new search engine called Crocodile Browser Lite.

Since his inauguaration Pres. Buhari has done wonders. He has tackled corruption in his military,cabinet and in the state`s dealings with Royal Dutch Shell. He has  instituted national development funds to revitalize the domestic economy. Buhari, almost uniquely among his geo-political compatriots, recognizes religious extremism as a direct result of poverty and unemployment.

Nigeria`s military have now all but wiped out Boko Haram .

Buhari recognizes, that unlike Great Britain, Nigeria is not an island and that the well- being of Nigeria`s neighbouring countries will directly influence the well -being of his nation. Nigeria cannot develop in peace while poverty reigns in the region. He  has therefore given his support to one of the most exciting developments the 21st century will bring to Africa – the TransAqua Plan for the replenishment of Lake Chad.

transaqua_details_huge

The TransAqua Plan has for the last 30 plus years, remained only a vision for genuine African development, a vision of African industrialization and the economic co-operation of countries from the Great Lakes Region to the Sahel, a vital artery of transport, trade, energy and life-sustaining water with the potential to change the lives of 40 million people. Despite the fact that this proposed project has been put before all international development agencies over the last 30 plus years, not one drop of interest in this genuine development has come as a result.

However this dream is now turning to realization. In November 2014 the first meeting was held of the International Scientific Committee which was established to advise the Lake Chad Basin Commission,and was conducted at its headquarters in Chad`s capital city of N`Djamena. The Lake Chad Basin Commission was originally formed in 1964 by Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad with later members being the Central African Republic (1996) and Libya ( 2008). The 1960s was an era of unprecedented optimism for the continent which under leadership of that time offered a brilliant African future. Many of those leaders were either assassinated or demonized and their visions of African dignity never saw the light of day in the decades of destabilization and globalization that have followed.

So how are we to interpret the UN`s call for humanitarian intervention in a country that is clearly winning the war on terror? Nigeria, under Buhari is clearly winning a far more important and real war, he is winning the war on African  poverty which is not the war that the Western oligarchs want him to be fighting.

Lake Chad is situated in the Sahel, it is Africa`s fourth largest lake and has a colossal drainage area of almost 2.4 million km2.However it is very shallow and has been steadily drying up, its complete disappearance will be a tragedy for an already water-restricted area. The plan is to transport approximately 100 billion cubic meters of water from the eastern Congo River Basin in Kivu, which is in a region of high rainfall with an excess of water which is already supplying the massive hydro plant of the Inga Dam. The water will be transported 2800km along navigable canals which will introduce an entirely revolutionary African transport system, facilitating trade and commerce and change. The canal will become an interactive commercial system based on local communities, a water-way highway, a floating market of exchange. Intrinsic to this will be the regenerationof the environment in the upper reaches of the system. Here, to reduce extreme evaporation mass planting of trees will be needed to change local weather systems; a dynamic approach to the environment as oppose to preservation and conservation only. Man`s creative thinking should realize our ability to engineer in favour of our biosphere and altering it for mutual benefit. Hydro capabilities will be used to supply electricity which is the foundation stone of mechanization and industrialization. This will lead to a transformation in agriculture and manufacturing with participating nations exporting finished products of textiles and food to international markets. Most importantly such changes will require skills from highly qualified engineers and technicians to mechanical skills, to innovators of new systems; jobs, productive employment and a secure African -based market.But it is more than that. If we view this project in terms of its capabilities we are looking at nothing less than a revolution. A revolution to restore dignity to millions of lives, a revolution based on harnessing man`s intellectual creativity to restore decaying environments and using the Earth`s life blood to create a state of abundance based on human dignity that will reflect in all directions onto this beautiful place on which we live.

Dare to dream this dream and a revolution will take place, from Kivu, in genocide strewn DRC , through the utter poverty of the Central African Republic, to the drought ridden lands of Chad , human lives can and will be transformed. This project is the chance to give the young generation a sense of their own future of which they are a crucial and pivotal part. Let this be an industrial revolution, Africa`s industrial revolution and let us be done with useless political words, time now to build that future based on projects that will benefit nations not corporations, that will require co-operation not war, that will bring mechanization, abundant electricity,skills, innovation, employment, and dignity.

Sources : Nigerian Civil War:

http://markcurtis.info/2007/02/13/nigeriabiafra-1967-70/

Al Jazeera documentary : The French African Connection

Nigerian economy – Wikipedia

Trans-Aqua Plan for Lake Chad – http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2016/eirv43n14-20160401/31-35_4314.pdf

note – Transaqua Plan for Lake Chad, previously published on africanagenda.net under Buhari cutting Nigeria Free from the Ropes of Empire?

French and American Aircraft Carriers To Exit Med, Leaving Only Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov

http://www.stripes.com/polopoly_fs/1.441865.1480519154!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_900/image.jpg
Crew members prepare to launch Dassault Rafale M fighter-bombers off the flight deck of French navy aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the eastern Mediterranean on Nov. 25, 2016. The jets are bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria.
Chris Church/Stars and Stripes

Anti-Islamic State coalition losing French flattop

stars and stripes

By CHRIS CHURCH | STARS AND STRIPES

ABOARD THE CHARLES DE GAULLE — France will continue to support the fight against the Islamic State group even after its only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, heads home in December to conduct a maintenance period expected to last more than a year.

The loss of Charles de Gaulle leaves the US-led coalition to defeat the Islamic State without one of its most powerful and potent weapons after a vital turning point in the campaign.

French President Francois Hollande had twice extended the nuclear-powered warship’s latest deployment, pushing its depot period back until after vessel’s return home in mid-December.

“France wanted to intensify its efforts within the coalition in this period, which is a turning point of the fight,” said Rear Adm. Olivier Lebas, commander of Task Force 473.

“Everywhere Daesh is losing territory … and it’s a turning point also because we started the fight in Mosul,” he said, using an alternative name for the Islamic State group. “Daesh is enduring tremendous pressure, it’s very important to maintain this high pressure to take advantage of this positive momentum in the theater.”

The 42,000-ton carrier, known in the navy by its nickname “Le Grand Charles,” has played a crucial role in Operation Chammal, the French anti-Islamic State campaign in the Middle East.

The 24 multirole Rafale M fighter-bombers onboard tripled the number of jets France is currently using to conduct strikes and reconnaissance missions over Iraq and Syria as part of the operation. The ship’s ability to maneuver closer to the conflict and choose from where it conducts strikes adds a flexibility the ground-based aircraft don’t have. Over the past two years it’s operated from both the eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf.

“Precision strikes from the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle have decimated Daesh, enabling Iraqi security forces to close in on and begin the liberation of Mosul,” the public affairs office for the U.S.-led coalition said in a recent statement.

Since September 2015, French air forces — both the Armee de l’Air (air force) and Aeronavale (naval aviation) — have conducted more than 5,200 missions and 1,000 strikes, destroying 1,600 targets, French officials say. They’ve conducted 100 strikes since the beginning of the Mosul battle.

The timing of the carrier’s departure comes as Iraqi and Kurdish coalition partners on the ground continue pushing deeper into Mosul. In Syria, government forces and their Russian allies are advancing into rebel areas of Aleppo, while Kurdish-led rebel groups are working on isolating Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital.

The French are not the only ones facing a shortage of carriers.

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is also scheduled to finish its deployment in the near future. Barring any extension or scheduling changes, the coalition may not have the assistance of a carrier until early next year, when the USS George H.W. Bush is scheduled to arrive in theater.

This would leave the Admiral Kuznetsov, the flagship of the Russian navy, as the only carrier in the region. The Russians, however, have mainly focused on fighting rebel groups trying to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, rather than confronting the Islamic State.

Refueling and important maintenance for the Charles de Gaulle, which occurs every 10 years, cannot be postponed any longer, said Lebas.

“It’s like your car,” he said. “When you have no fuel left in your tank, you have to stop to refuel. Even if you want to continue, you have to stop.”

France plans to maintain its pressure on the Islamic State and will find other ways of assisting the coalition with other assets depending on what the coalition needs, Lebas said. He couldn’t speak to specifics about what the French could do.

The French currently have 12 Air Force Rafale assisting the campaign. They also reployed artillery forces on the ground near Mosul in September.

Maintaining naval pilot capability

Lebas said there are two key focuses to keep French naval pilots up to date while Charles De Gaulle is sidelined. The pilots must maintain their operational capability and theater knowledge by deploying and flying in conflict areas and they must maintain their ability to fly from carriers at sea.

The French navy is looking at a number of possibilities to maintain these capabilities, though no decisions have been made yet. One possibility is launching and recovering aircraft from U.S. aircraft carriers during Charles de Gaulle’s maintenance period, Lebas said. The French carrier uses U.S. catapult and arresting gear systems with slight modifications, so U.S. and French aircraft are interoperable with each other’s ships.

French and 6th Fleet officials say they are looking at training that capability when USS Dwight D. Eisenhower sails into the eastern Mediterranean.

Launching and recovering Rafales from a U.S. aircraft carrier would likely be for training and not combat operations, Lebas said. He said the training would be valuable to further integrate the two allies.

In 2007, the French landed and launched aboard the USS Enterprise for the first time. Since then the U.S. and France have tested several times the capability of launching and landing their aircraft on each other’s carriers.

French pilots have typically conducted carrier qualifications and currency training with U.S. ships, according to U.S. defense officials, but currently there is no plan in place to do so during the Charles de Gaulle’s maintenance period.

The French use the Rafale in both the navy and air force. The navy version is slightly modified, with strengthened landing gear, arrestor hook and other changes needed to ensure onboard operations. In theory, then, the Aeronavale could send pilots to land-based units in combat theaters such as Africa, the Middle East or Afghanistan to continue their mission.

Terrorism threat is the motivating factor

The major terror attacks around France in 2015 are still fresh in the minds of the crew, some of whom are completing their third deployment in less than two years.

Since gunmen opened fire in the Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters in January 2015, 200 people have been killed in terrorist attacks throughout France, including 130 in a massive coordinated attack in Paris November 2015.

“The attacks in Paris are a very big part of the crew’s determination, the crew’s will, the crew’s resilience,” said Charles De Gaulle commanding officer Capt. Eric Malbrunot. “Everybody knows why we have the deployments, why we have been extended … It’s very clear in everyone’s minds why we are here.”

“We all know (a terrorist attack) could happen at any time,” said Commander Marc, commander of the 12th naval squadron. (The commander cannot be identified by his full name because of security concerns.). “We need to continue the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” said the pilot, using another name for the Islamic State group.

Pilots and crew were also motivated by the effort to free the millions of people suffering under the militants’ rule, Marc said.

While morale among the carrier’s 2,000 crewmembers remains high, they are also excited to head home for the holidays.

“We’ll be home for Christmas,” said Malbrunot. “We’ll be home for a big family celebration. For everybody, after these two years of intense engagements, that’s a good milestone to have in view.”

church.chris@stripes.com
Twitter: @CChurchStripes

 

Aleppo Has Been Liberated!—Mask of Zion

syrian-arab-army-victorious-672x372

Mark It In The History Books! Aleppo Has Been Liberated!

The Zionist Conspiracy Against Syria Is Dead!

 

mouqawamah-musicimage-2

by Jonathan Azaziah

And there it is! Aleppo has been liberated! Let me say it again: Aleppo, Syria’s second city, soon-to-be-restored economic hub and one of the oldest most continuously inhabited cities on Earth, is free! The Syrian Arab Republic, its Resistance Axis allies and Vladimir Putin’s Russia pulled it off! Whose tears are sweeter and more copious right now? The happy tears of Aleppo’s people, whose city is reunified and free of terrorism for the first time in five years? Or the wailing, overwhelmed, defeated, suicidally depressed tears of Syria’s enemies in the usurping Zionist entity, the American ZOG, the British ZOG, the French ZOG, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Neo-Ottoman Turkey, who armed, financed and backed the Takfiri ‘Goy’ Golem to the teeth only to watch it get epically crushed? It’s truly hard to tell and I must say, such a mystery is glorious! Told y’all that something miraculous was going down in Halab and the Syrian Arab Army alongside its steadfast comrades have made that miracle a tangible reality and a soaring, HISTORIC triumph!

Syria’s defenders began the day with a bang, blasting through Takfiri terrorist defense lines and freeing a whopping 8 districts. These recaptured regions included Jouret Awwad, Karm al-Qaterji, Turbat Lala, Al-Marjeh, Sheikh Lutfi, Karz Dada, Karm al-Maysar and the big one, Al-Shaar, which was the “moderate” head-choppers’ most fortified piece of territory and their most strategic position in all of eastern Aleppo other than the Old City. With Al-Shaar under Syrian government control, the SAA, Hizbullah, Iraq’s Kata’ib Hizbullah and Harakat al-Nujaba as well as Syrian-Palestinian paramilitary group Liwa Al-Quds carved out another pocket in eastern Aleppo, dividing the “rebels” even more and sending their dwindling ranks into a panic. In sheer desperation, Jabhat al-Nusra and its Wahhabi mercenary cohorts launched massive but ill-planned counteroffensives in Karm al-Maysar, Karm al-Qaterji and Turbat Lala. Resistance forces repelled everything. Focus then shifted onto Aleppo’s Old City and specifically the Citadel of Halab, which the SAA was only a half kilometer away from as a result of its new progress.

Then the extraordinary happened. The Syrian Arab Army, side-by-side with Hizbullah and Iraqi Resistance fighters, heroically stormed into the previously-mentioned Old City–the “grand prize” of this struggle–and smashed the droves of Takfiri zombies they encountered with ease. Within a matter of just two hours, Al-Farafira, Karm al-Jabal, Bab al-Hadid and Aghyour were all retaken and Mouqawamah Axis soldiers were advancing still. As the Wahhabi terrorist goons’ morale plummeted, they watched their pitiful lives flash before their hateful eyes and in spite of their chest-pounding boasts a little over a day earlier that they would never surrender Halab, they realized the lack of options in front of them and they did just that. Hundreds of Jabhat al-Nusra thugs began to withdraw from their posts, lay down their arms and kneel before Syria’s guardians.

The Syrian Arab Army then called in its famous green buses to take Zio-NATO’s humiliated proxies to Idleb. Resistance forces, led by Hizbullah, pushed deeper into the Old City and reached the center, prompting Russia to phone Turkey and hammer out an agreement for the small number of terrorists remaining to leave. Syria and its TRUE friends now control nearly 90% of eastern Aleppo, with the Old City completely liberated and the few terrorist-held areas in the southeast like Bustan al-Qasr set to be emptied of Wahhabi criminals in a little less than 48 hours. It’s over. It’s finally, FINALLY over. The most important battle of the entire war on Syria has come to a close in favor of the Resistance Axis and although we still await the official announcement, let it be known and let it be joyously screamed: The Zionist conspiracy against the Syrian Arab Republic is dead!

In this once-in-a-lifetime moment, it’s hard not to think about Mursi, Sarkozy, Hollande, Davutoglu, Zio-Killary Clinton, Saudi “King” Abdullah, “Prince” Bandar Ibn ‘Israel’, Qatari “Emir” Hamad al-Thani, Cameron, Obama, Biden, Kerry, Power, Harper and Jewish-Zionist New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, all of whom said “Assad Must Go!” And yet, they are all gone (or about to be gone) while Dr. Bashar al-Assad is still here, stronger and more popular than ever. The Syrian Arab Army is still here too. And Aleppo has been fully cleansed of the Wahahbi-Takfiri plague. That’s not poetic justice… That’s MOUQAWAMIST justice! In the face of a 4th Generation Warfare campaign consisting of barbaric terrorists from 100 countries, a colonialist alliance never before seen in history and a universal media onslaught, Syria, Hizbullah, the Iraqi Mouqawamah, the Islamic Republic of Iran (most especially its IRGC and the Afghan Fatemiyoun and Pakistani Zaynabyoun under its command) and the Russian Federation didn’t merely change the map of the whole region, they changed the fate of the whole world. Forever.

ALF MABROUK to these heroes whose sacrifices already register in history’s notebooks as legendary and Heaven-sent. And most importantly, ALF MABROUK to Aleppo’s people, who can now begin the process of healing after half a decade of chaos, ruin and horror. There will be Christmas in Aleppo this year and it’s gonna be a pretty damn Merry one! Next up are Idleb and Raqqa! Soon, every inch of Syria will know the beautiful jubilation Aleppo is feeling.

Taliban Leaders Admit To Long-Term Saudi Sponsorship

Saudis financially support the Afghan Taliban

Khaama

The Taliban militants receive financial support from the Saudis as the insurgency led by the group has entered to its 15th year with the group intensifying attacks since the Afghan forces took full security lead last year.

A former Taliban finance minister has told The New York Times that he traveled to Saudi Arabia for years raising cash while ostensibly on pilgrimage.

A former State Department adviser Valid Nisar also told the paper that the Taliban have also been allowed to raise millions more by extorting “taxes” by pressing hundreds of thousands of Pashtun guest workers in the kingdom and menacing their families back home.

The move by Saudis to financially support the group comes in contradiction with the Kingdom’s move to pursue the group to participate in peace talks with the Afghan government.

According to the Times, the Saudi intelligence once covertly mediated a peace effort that Taliban officials and others involved described in full to The Times for the first time.

Reports regarding Saudis support to Taliban come as the top US commander in Afghanistan General John Nicholson earlier said the Taliban connections to Russia and Iran are not advancing the cause of stability in the region.

Both Iran and Russia are concerned regarding the presence of ISIS loyalists in the country and have been allegedly helping and arming the Taliban in a bid to contain the influence of ISIS affiliates in Afghanistan and prevent it from threatening neighboring countries including central Asian states.

Mosul Operation Stalls Against Intense ISIS Resistance–(Real or Fake “News”?)

[Real or Fake “News”?–Understanding that this report originated with the Mossad disinformation service, Debka, we should not even read it…but then, how are things going in Mosul?  Is ISIS still fleeing Mosul to hole-up in Raqqa?  We don’t really know those answers, because our only sources of reporting are the British disinformation services (“News”), or American mainstream media, all of them are obvious fountains of disinformation, so I guess that makes Debka News just as valid as the BBC, which isn’t saying much. 

Anyway, what is the truth about the anti-ISIS operations in eastern Syria and northern Iraq?  (SEE: Islamic State launches overnight attack against Iraqi troops in Mosul, Iraqi forces fight IS deep inside Mosul, but the battle is far from over).]

Pentagon pens ground op plans for Mosul as campaign falters – DEBKA

Russia-Today

FILE PHOTO. An American soldier takes his position at the U.S. army base in Qayyara, south of Mosul October 25, 2016. © Alaa Al-Marjani
Hopes for the successful conclusion of the US-backed operation to retake Islamic State stronghold Mosul are reportedly fading, with US generals now preparing plans to deploy American ground troops in Iraq, pending the approval of President-elect Donald Trump.

After seven weeks, Iraqi troops and their allies have failed to make significant progress in retaking Mosul – Iraq’s second-largest city – from terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), despite outnumbering the jihadists 10-to-one.

On Monday, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter gave assurances that it was “possible” to take the city before President Barack Obama leaves office on January 20, adding that it would be a “tough fight.”

But the militants themselves are reportedly now convinced they will be able to keep control of the city.

According to DEBKAfile, a military intelligence news site reputedly connected to the Israeli security services, a delegation of IS commanders arrived in Mosul on Sunday to discuss synchronizing the city defenses with those of Raqqa in Syria. Mosul commanders have “changed course about leaving the city and decided to stay put,” the report said.

Despite reports of successes in the Mosul operation, in reality Iraqi troops are demoralized by a lack of progress and continued counterattacks by IS fighters, the report said. Kurdish Peshmerga forces are also skeptical about the siege and are now “bending their energies to establishing a strong line of defense against Mosul, to secure their capital Irbil and other towns” of Iraqi Kurdistan.

“Aware of the crisis on the Mosul front, the Pentagon has drawn up plans for sending out US reinforcements in the hope of turning the tide of the stalled battle. Those plans repose in their pending trays to await the decisions of the incoming US President Donald Trump and the new Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis,” the report said.

READ MORE: If abandoned by US, Syrian ‘moderates’ may get in bed with jihadists, report warns

During his election campaign, Trump set the goal of defeating IS as a top priority for his future administration. He said he would do more than President Obama to achieve the goal, including by allying America with Russia and the government of Syria.

The Obama administration insisted that the fight against the terrorists in Iraq and Syria can be won without placing American boots on the ground. This has not stopped it from deploying special operations forces in both countries, however, with the Pentagon insisting that the personnel only act as instructors for local troops.

Retiring Pak Army Chief Sharif Becomes Saudi’s Commander of Global Islamist Army

[This is an unexpected cross-armies military appointment which should probably alarm the free-thinkers of the world, who are watching this element of the geopolitical puzzle play-out, unless it meshes with the Trump anti-Islamist plans.  Pak General Sharif was the architect of Pakistan’s anti-Taliban (TTP only) sweeps and would represent an excellent candidate for sweeping ISIS from the Middle East, if that were the true mission of the Saudi’s Islamist Army, a.k.a., “Decisive Storm”.  As the Saudi Decisive Storm crusade has played-out in the real world, so far, the Saudis have hired an army which is probably more mercenaries than “Jihadis,” killing and dying to save the Saudi’s ass in Yemen.  Other than that, gun-running to ongoing Saudi wars in Syria and North Africa have probably been the army’s primary function up until now. 

What a freaking mess!  Good luck to Trump in this whole thing.]

 [SEE:  

The CIA and Saudi Intelligence Have Created A Global Islamist Army, Once Again
Def. Sec. Hagel Supports Saudi King Building 100,000 Man Islamist Army for Son Miteb
Saudi Money Gathers Together 350,000 Soldiers From 20 Countries In Northern Saudi
Saudi “Decisive Storm” Doesn’t Include Pak. Army
CENTCOM Supports Pakistani Army Acting As Enforcer for Saudi Anti-Democracy Agenda ]

EXCLUSIVE: Raheel Sharif to become the Army Chief of an unprecedented military force

daily pakistan

ISLAMABAD (Saeed Chaudhry) – General (r) Raheel Sharif has accepted to take the command of Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) on certain terms.

Gen (r) Raheel has gained worldwide popularity due to his remarkable counterinsurgency tactics that helped reduce violence in the country to its lowest level since 2006 with an overall decline of 70% in terrorist attacks under his tenure.

Sources have confirmed to Daily Pakistan that the former army chief has expressed his willingness to take the charge of the 39-nation military alliance, IMAFT only if he is also empowered to play the role of an arbitrator between the belligerent groups in the Middle East. Gen Raheel has clearly refused to command a force which fights for a single country.

Meanwhile, Iran has also assured to accept Pakistan’s role in mediating Yemen crisis if the general takes IMAFT’s command with an authority of arbitrator.

Iran, through its consulate in Pakistan, sent a letter to the ex-COAS and assured that it will not only cooperate with Pakistan in controlling the Yemen crisis but will also bring the Houthi rebels on negotiating terms if he takes the command of this Islamic military alliance.

Sources add that General Raheel Sharif had expressed his willingness for the arbitration during his meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, while Turkish leadership has also been conveyed the development in this regard.

The proposal was first presented to Gen Raheel by Saudi Arabia and then similar requests were made by Iran to Pakistan’s foreign ministry as well. However, the general will only accept the offer if he is also allowed to mediate between the warring groups.

Founded by Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud on December 15, 2015, Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) is based at a joint command centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The creation of this 34-nation alliance was first announced by Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Miner of Defense, on December 15, 2015. By March 2016, this had risen to 39.

It is an inter-governmental military alliance of Muslim countries in the world united for military intervention against ISIL and other anti-terrorist activities across the Middle East and other countries.

Besides Pakistan, the members of this Muslim military alliance include: with Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Turkey, Bahrain, Bangladesh, UAE, Libya, Malaysia, Egypt and Jordan.

The Slow Road To Global Empire…The Elitists’ Scheme Plays-Out Methodically

From Bush To Trump: Culture, Economy, & War – The Pillars Of The New World Order

zero hedge

Submitted by Federico Pieraccini via Strategic-Culture.org,

Looking at US history over a fairly long period of time, it is easy to see the destructive path that has accompanied the expansion of the American empire over the last seventy years.

While World War II was still raging, US strategists were already planning their next steps in the international arena. The new target was immediately identified in the assault and the dismemberment of the Soviet empire. With the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet economic model as an alternative to the capitalist system, the West found itself faced with what was defined as ‘the end of’ history, and proceeded to act accordingly.

The delicate transition from bipolarity, the world-order system based on the United States and the Soviet Union occupying opposing poles, to a unipolar world order with Washington as the only superpower, was entrusted to George H. W. Bush. The main purpose was to reassure with special care the former Soviet empire, even as the Soviet Union plunged into chaos and poverty while the West preyed on her resources.

Not surprisingly, the 90’s represented a phase of major economic growth for the United States. Predictably, on that occasion, the national elite favored the election of a president, Bill Clinton, who was more attentive to domestic issues over international affairs. The American financial oligarchy sought to consolidate their economic fortunes by expanding as far as possible the Western financial model, especially with new virgin territory in the former Soviet republics yet to be conquered and exploited.

With the disintegration of the USSR, the United States had a decade to aspire to the utopia of global hegemony. Reviewing with the passage of time the convulsive period of the 90’s, the goal seemed one step away, almost within reach.

The means of conquest and expansion of the American empire generally consist of three domains: cultural, economic and military. With the end of the Soviet empire, there was no alternative left for the American imperialist capitalist system. From the point of view of cultural expansion, Washington had now no adversaries and could focus on the destruction of other countries thanks to the globalization of products like McDonald’s and Coca Cola in every corner of the planet.

Of course the consequences of an enlargement of the sphere of cultural influence led to the increased power of the economic system. In this sense, Washington’s domination in international financial institutions complemented the imposition of the American way of life on other countries. Due to the mechanisms of austerity arising from trap-loans issued by the IMF or World Bank, countries in serious economic difficulties have ended up being swallowed up by debt.

Too many nations have experienced the tragedy of an economic collapse due to the obligation to privatize or grant to foreign corporations the rights to exploit their primary resources – the long arm of Western governments. Such an economic model has generated an epidemic of predatory finance and speculation, enormously strengthening the domination of the capitalist system on the rest of the globe. It is not a coincidence that in 1995 the WTO was founded, which imposed conditions of trade that strongly favored the European powers and the American empire.

In the event of a failure of cultural or economic pressure, Washington has often opted for real military aggression. An act of war is the most explicit form of abuse and is normally reserved for nations that refuse to comply with Atlanticist directions. In this sense, towards the end of Clinton’s term, the tone of the presidency shifted from a predilection towards focussing on the economy to aggression against sovereign nations. The first victim was Somalia, then in short order followed by the bombing of Serbia and the breakup of Yugoslavia. A relatively new phase in the recent history of the United States began, whereby economic and cultural expansion gave way to the reign of destructive bombs and missiles.

Although the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia was successful, the US image in the world began to be diminished, including its cultural leadership. Military action always produces consequences in the functioning of international relations, although history is often written by the winners.

By the end of the 90’s, although no country was in a practical position to oppose a cultural, economic or military resistance against Washington, the first thoughts of an alternative alliance to the Western bloc were beginning to emerge. The United States, while sniffing the danger, did not change direction, committed as it was to the idea of a ??cultural imposition, which became even more pronounced as a result of the expansion of the Internet as well as the effects of economic globalization.

The decision to shift gears, accelerating the triad of cultural, economic and military pressure, was eloquently expressed by the elites with the controversial victory of George W. Bush in 2000.

The successor to Bill Clinton had necessarily to be a president with a strong military angle, a high capacity to expand the capitalist globalization model, and a huge sense of patriotism to spread American propaganda of every possible cultural form in every corner of the planet. The ultimate goal was to surround the Heartland (China + Russia + Eurasia generally) as was expressed by MacKinder, to control their resources. Thus began an uncertain mission, requiring the election of a president friendly to the project of a unipolar New World Order created by the elite.

In the following years, thanks to the September 11, 2001, Washington had a perfect way to expand its wars and terror to every corner of the world. Economic aggression experienced a further boost with the creation of the EURO, a maximal expression in the financial domain. The Internet and increasing growth of interconnectivity ended up accelerating globalization, centralizing even more decision-making power into a few hands. The sum of these factors made it possible to fruitfully continue the devastating work of evangelization according to the Western economic model.

Yet despite the apparent economic and cultural expansion of the United States, as well as an incessant war operation in Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2001, the dream of a triumphant march towards global hegemony began to suffer the first setbacks.

The economic or cultural factor began to no longer be sufficient, requiring the opting of an armed solution as in Afghanistan and Iraq, demonstrating in practice how the American empire was serious about expanding eastwards, expanding its ambitions and influence. In this cultural, economic and military march, Washington often ignored or underestimated the consequences of its actions thanks to its unique position as the world superpower. This is a strategic mistake that will cost the United States and its utopian dreams of global domination.

However, the earliest forms of Eurasian resistance already began to emerge in the mid 90’s, first with the creation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in 1996 and then with the Eurasian Economic Union in 2000 (the first discussions began in 1994), two factors that changed the course of history several years later.

The Republic of China, thanks to the pressure resulting from globalization, became the global farm, accumulating wealth and rapidly becoming over the coming fifteen years the first global economic power. The Russian Federation, on the other hand, after a decade of hunger and hardship, elected Putin, a strongman emanating from the intense nationalistic view. Thanks to a protectionist attitude towards the economy and a strong determination to reinvigorate the military role of Russia, in the space of 15 years he brought Moscow to be global power status.

In the end, the Bush era, degraded by destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, has brought more harm than good in Washington. Bush laid the foundation for a process of unification of the opposing powers to American imperialism and forced them into each other’s’ arms (BRICS) to mount an effective counter to the cultural, economic and military action of the euro-American elites.

As well as unifying the enemies of Washington, the American home front was beginning to show signs of unrest, both economically and militarily. The two wars deeply shook Western public opinion, forcing the elite to propose a candidate representing rupture who was focused on internal needs. Obama has been the perfect representation of this intent.

Elected with less warlike intentions of Bush and the clear need to reform a financial system that was out of control, he has failed in both cases, dragging the world into an unending conflict while giving high finance absolute control over the levers of economic power. The Fed and the private banks have increased their power enormously under Obama, coming to determine directly the democratic order of even allied nations with mechanisms such as spread or the ability to print money at zero interest. Instead of regulating the perverse financial mechanisms, their influence has increased. Instead of trying to mediate with hostile nations, Obama embarked on a mission of nation-building, regime change and color revolutions, using the whole arsenal of soft-power at his disposal. these were of course intentional and deliberate choices.

Obama was forced to adopt new destabilization techniques to obscure their purpose in the eyes of the population without losing sight of the objectives of the elites established in the early 90’s. Drones, economic manipulation, TTIP, TTP, special forces, color revolutions, the Arab Spring, sanctions and cyber warfare – these have become the Obama administration’s modus operandi.

The key factor remains the possibility of denying direct involvement in wars harmful to the image of the United States and its continuing economic, cultural and military expansion. From here these techniques can be seen in 2010 in the Middle East and North Africa, the spread of speculation in some European countries, and drone attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. This is not to mention the hundreds of troops belonging to special forces spread over five continents and the coup financed and organized by the US government organs in Ukraine.

The Obama administration has been accelerating global hegemony by swapping tools, but the effects and causes have remained the same as, or even worse than, previous administrations.

Meanwhile, the economic unions, cultural and military between the three nations pioneer of anti-imperialism, Iran, China and Russia, have accelerated their strategic alignment as an instrument of deterrence against advancing American hegemony.

The war in Syria, combined with the worsening of the crisis with Russia, tensions with China in the South China Sea, and the aggressive posture toward Iran’s orbit of Shiite nations, have accelerated the erosion of American power. The main causes are the failed cultural model imposed through the Arab Spring; the economic coup in Ukraine (the nation is on the brink of bankruptcy); and the military impossibility of direct intervention in Syria. The United States, in the space of a decade, has found itself facing a reality no longer compatible with the plan of global hegemony.

The Trump victory fits into this decadent scenario. Are we facing a true revolutionary who intends to rid forever global hegemonic aims, or is he simply a well-thought-out pause, created by the elites to revitalize the economy, arrest the internal discontent in the country, and rebuild the army to resume the march toward global hegemony in 2020?

This is the typical million-dollar question that I tried to give an answer to in a previous article. At the moment, it is difficult to interpret and predict which path will be taken by the elected president. Both have many arguments to support them and can easily be disputed or accepted. Only time will tell if the reality around us is already now placed in a multipolar world order, or if we are in a convulsive transition phase in which the United States remains anchored to the role of global power hoping to preserve the ‘unipolar moment’ it began in 1989.

America No Longer Calls the Shots

Ralph Alswang Ralph Alswang

The End of the Western Consensus

international policy

For the last 70 years, since the end of World War II, the West shared a unified ethos on where it stood. Anchored by the United States, Western Europe and the Anglo diaspora states of Australia, Canada and New Zealand, the West was defined by a powerful political consensus that largely came to be defined by the promotion of democracy, globalization, free trade, the reduction of political and economic barriers, social liberalization and immigration.

This consensus fundamentally changed the world, dramatically increasing global trade and investment, increasing protection for the rights of minorities and LGBT, advancement of women’s rights and increased immigration into Western societies. The West appeared as a unified bloc, brimming with endless confidence in its own moral superiority and destiny, often displaying self-righteous indignation at governments and cultures that did not share its values.

During the Cold War, the West and many of its proxy allies in the developing world, stood steadfast against the revolutionary zeal of the Communist world which promoted national liberation intertwined with international solidarity, command economies, social justice and one party authoritarianism. This paradigm was destroyed with the fall of the Iron Curtain, and the subsequent opening of China.

Since the 1990s, the Western consensus has dominated the world. Internationally, it has pursued a world increasingly connected by free trade, the championing of democracy and globalization. Domestically, Western nations promoted tolerance for racial, religious and sexual minorities, multiculturalism and liberal intellectualism. Western nations championed a sense of inclusive civic national identities, rejecting ethno-nationalism.

The Trump Coup

There is an often repeated expression that is used ironically, “May you live in interesting times.” We certainly do today. What started as a crack in the Western consensus with Brexit, has now grown into a gaping hole with the unexpected election of Donald Trump.

For the first time in nearly three generations, the Western consensus is facing a formidable threat to its legitimacy. Campaigning on a platform that destroyed all conventions of political correctness, often veering into racist and misogynistic themes, deeply hostile to free trade, friendly to Russia and critical of our alliance commitments and neoconservative militarism, Trump instituted a hostile takeover of the Republican Party.

However, Trump is no traditional Republican. His coup of the party allowed him to successfully use its national platform as a vehicle to win the presidency, even as the party establishment widely rejected his candidacy. Against all odds, he was victorious and shock and unease soon set in throughout the world.

The United States will now have an incoming president with a worldview, nationalistic and populist, often diametrically opposed to the Western consensus. Trump’s controversial and trusted strategist, Stephen Bannon, has openly expressed deep resentment against the Republican establishment, particularly figures such as Paul Ryan. He has made clear the intention of the Trump camp to start a new political movement to replace the traditional Republican Party now under their command.

Neoliberal Cosmopolitans vs. Populist Right

What is fast transpiring is the dawn of a new political era where the old paradigm pitching liberal versus conservative, no longer applies. That old rivalry had existed, with contrasting ways of governance, but often within the same worldview, that of a belief in free trade, civic nationalism and Western moral supremacy. The Democrats and the Republicans both upheld and supported our government’s support and leadership in the Western consensus, echoing the values that we had thought defined the West. Now, in the United States and Britain, arguably the two most important cultural anchors of the West, we have witnessed the rise of leaders, and their movements, who are increasingly rejecting those values.

The old political paradigm is quickly being replaced before our own eyes. One that pitches the neoliberal establishment, still dominant among the cosmopolitan elites of the West, versus a new wave of right wing populist nationalist movements that are hostile to immigration, free trade and favor increasingly non-interventionist foreign policies and are far more concerned with domestic issues and often with ethno-nationalist undertones.

The new populism has moved at a speed and breadth unforeseen in modern history. Much of this has to do with the power of the internet and the ability to spread once marginalized ideologies widely, winning hearts and minds away from the mainstream media outlets which once had a near monopoly on public discourse and thoughts. From websites such as Breitbart to the Alex Jones’ Youtube Infowars channel, once marginal groups such as the alt-right, have been able to hitch themselves upon Trump’s rise and have moved themselves into the mainstream.

The marketplace of ideas, once dominated by large corporations deeply vested in the establishment, is now quickly being democratized by the power of the internet. Barriers of entry have been radically lowered, allowing low cost platforms to challenge the message of the mainstream media, and often times, quite effectively. The internet now hosts many alternative political universes that go unnoticed by mainstream society, but have proven to be extremely powerful in shaping worldviews of growing subcultures that are now challenging the accepted narrative.

End of Western Conformity

Current trends, where leading states of the West are turning towards leaders who increasingly reject the neoliberal value system, suggest that the façade of a united West may be fast eroding. With leaders who are refusing to accept the traditional agenda, the West will cease to behave so much as a singular actor, and simply become a number of independent actors, each with its own agenda.

The West will still be bound by a deep set of cultural ties and similarities, but the motivations and stances that individual states take may largely depend on the orientation of their elected leadership at any given time. What this means is that we are entering a far more unpredictable and potentially chaotic world.

The new political fault lines developing in the United States are still unclear. With the movement we have seen mobilized by the Bernie Sanders campaign and the subsequent anti-Trump protests, we may see the neoliberal establishment challenged not only by a Trump led populist right, but also by a Sanders like populist left. Both grass roots movements fed by powerful and savvy social media driven platforms challenging the status quo.

As Blue State America openly challenges and disobeys the policies of the Trump administration and a government where Republicans dominate all three branches, a frustrated anti-Trump movement may find its voice in an alternative populist leftist “alt-left” movement with a worldview that champions the liberal values of Blue America in strident opposition to the bigotry of the alt-right, but rejecting the influence of Wall Street on Washington that has been groomed under the Neoliberals, while pushing aggressive programs for universal healthcare and education to bolster the middle class and the poor.

As the Neoliberal domination of the West begins to erode, we may see the rise of Western governments who possess worldviews diametrically opposed to one another. Governments drawn from what were formerly the Left or Right fringes of society may take over. Western nations may eventually start to mirror non-Western nations more than one another. For example, Trump already shares a closer style and worldview with leaders such as Russia’s Putin or the Phillipines’ Duterte, than he does with the bulk of the European elite.

What this means is that the uniqueness of the “West” may fade into a world with no dominant political or global paradigm aside from nationalism reigning supreme.

The Strength of Neoliberal Institutions

With the state of angst and the rapid pace of change unfolding as the Trump administration prepares to take office, it is too easy to begin writing the obituary for the global order. However, this is likely premature as the Neoliberal institutions and worldview that have dominated the Western world are still entrenched powerfully in our political and business world. Many of the themes of the alt-right, particularly the extreme racism and misogyny common in their cyberspace, are still too distasteful to be stomached by the mainstream public. While the socialist policies of the alt-left will likely be viewed with great suspicion.

However, with the rise of alternative movements who are increasingly savvy enough to harness the power of the internet, it is clear the Neoliberal monopoly will be facing unprecedented challenges to its entrenched dominance from both sides. These challenges may create significant diversity among Western nations in terms of foreign, trade, immigration policies, and even in the value of human rights.

The Western consensus may be able to withstand the momentary victories of a Trump or a Sanders, but the movements they represent have been unleashed and are now duking it out with the entrenched establishment in the boxing arena of electoral politics. That reality will not be reversed, they have entered the public consciousness and are here to stay, and the polarization we have witnessed with this divisive election may only widen in the years to come. What is clear, is that we do live in interesting times.

Pakistan Not To Blame For Kashmir Unrest, Claims Omar Abdullah, Former Chief Minister

omar-abdullah
Omar Abdullah Sparks Controversy Again, Gives A Clean Chit To Pakistan

times-now

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister today gave a clean chit to Pakistan, saying that it cannot be blamed for the unrest in the Kashmir Valley, and instead, blamed the Centre for being “ignorant” of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Don’t be under the false impression that the unrest you are seeing in Kashmir has been ignited by Pakistan. We found that some people at the Centre willingly or unwillingly wanted to keep themselves ignorant about the situation in Kashmir. It was easy for them to blame Pakistan,” he said today while addressing the media.

Omar added that it was “our mistakes” that have led to the situation in Kashmir.

“We told the Centre to act on the promises that it has made to Jammu and Kashmir. We kept trying to make them understand that the unrest in Kashmir has not been created by Pakistan. It is the result of our mistakes,” he said.

Omar Adbdullah’s statements come even after it has been proved that Jamat-ud-Dawa Chief, Hafiz Saeed – who is said to be based in Pakistan- has been pushing in money from across the border to fund the unrest in the valley. (Read: MHA Busts Saeed Finance Module)

This is the third controversial statement coming from the former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister in the past one week.

On Thursday, Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah alleged that statements made by Union Ministers after the surgical strikes have lead to an increase in Pakistan backed terror attacks.

Omar Abdullah had also suggested holding a dialogue with Pakistan to reduce tension between the two countries.

Remembering the Real Reagan–(rerun)

[SEE: Trump and the Neocon Playbook–Trump Is the Reincarnation of Reagan]

The Real Ronald Reagan, as Portrayed by Phil Hartman

Reagan’s Secret Legacy

Jan 28, 2011

Peter Chamberlin

On this, the one-hundredth birthday of Ronald Reagan, the Reagan worshippers are coming out of the woodwork. It seems that the self-appointed leaders of the “Tempest in the Teapot” party (or whatever they call themselves), even Obama himself, are trying to ride Reagan’s fame to new political heights. That’s good, because Reagan had a serious weakness, his notoriety associated with his extremist beliefs, which we should all take time to remember today.

Ronald Reagan did something very bad to this country; he planted a poisonous seed that has now put forth fully ripened fruit, in our own era, fruit which makes the heart cold and intoxicates the minds, filling them with visions of untold wealth and power. Reagan imbibed deeply on his own poison, giving substance to his own hallucinatory visions, which he shared with his followers. It his delusional military and economic theories that are directly responsible for the dual crises that threaten the civilized world today. His nonsensical faith-based “supply-side economics” theory (which George Bush described as “voodoo economics”) set loose the dangerous speculative economics that have plagued us, giving credence to the “borrow our way to prosperity” theories that have imperiled the world economy.

His was a “faith-based” policy, in that it required a leap of blind faith in Reagan’s promises, that the investor class would reinvest the enormous profits Reagan was sending their way, back into the American economy. Instead, they pocketed the cash, sending much of it to offshore bank accounts, or into building new factories in “Third World” countries, instead of modernizing American production lines. In short, Reagan promised that if we basically trusted his plan his rich friends would turn the American economy around, after he basically handed them the keys to the national treasury.

Deregulation took the lid off. In effect, financial institutions were urged to adapt the same policies used by the CIA over the years to raise cash for covert operations. Risky investments were encouraged, any investments, so long as there was some form of cash flowing or other capital to be used as new collateral for new loans, to increase investment pools for new ventures. Reagan unleashed a massive pyramid scheme, to use as a weapon to economically bludgeon Russia and its allies. In the end, all of us have come to feel the hard end of the economic weapon.

His crazy ideas of hiring militants to fight our enemies for us (so that the American military and the CIA might disavow the contracts) have lived on, eventually coming back to bite us all on the ass, in today’s “war on terrorism.” The war in Afghanistan, then Iraq, soon in Pakistan as well, are all clean-up operations, trying to eliminate some of the same militant groups which we have created to fight for us in the past.

The “Reagan revolutionaries,” who came to be known as the “neocons,” were masters in the science of propaganda, having spent their academic years studying European fascism (under the pretense of finding preventive measures with which to defend against new fascism). The key to effective propaganda is the ability to say one thing publicly and mean the exact opposite of that thing, revealing the truth only to a select group of insiders. The “neoconservatives” successfully took over the “conservative movement by using this technique. Both groups used the same words and phrases, but the neocons group lied about their definitions, using those words instead, as code words, understandable only to the elite, who knew that when Reagan spoke of reining-in the multinational corporations, he really intended to empower them. When he spoke of deregulation and privatization as being keys to unlocking the American economy, the insiders knew that only the wealthy few would be deregulated and that privatization would not improve anyone’s lives, other than the American oligarchs who would be handed vast segments of federal programs to cannibalize for their own profits, just like Russia’s oligarchs.

Which of Reagan’s many delusional values should Americans really want to “reconnect with”? The “patriotism” reflected in his “crusade for democracy,” which turned-out to be a front for international destabilization and limited warfare operations. His National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has been behind every “colored revolution” in former Soviet space. The attempts by these funded groups to foment democratic revolutions in Iran, Tunisia and Egypt have manipulated growing discontent, to agitate the masses and initiate popular reactions against America’s favorite puppets, puppets which have been targeted by the NED revolutionaries for regime change. The conceit that motivates Obama’s minions to destabilize the Middle East and Africa, as well as Central Asia, to further American plans for world control is a threat to the entire world.

The events now unfolding across North Africa are another American psy-op gone public (SEE: Egypt protests: America’s secret backing for rebel leaders behind uprising ), just like the recent Kyrgyz uprisings and the previous Future Movement attempts to ignite an anti-Hezbollah civil war in Lebanon. Having failed in its previous attempts to takeover the former Soviet governments through the so-called “colored revolutions,” and in its attempts in former Soviet Georgia to ignite a war against Russia, the American “deep state” has returned to its scheme to use democratic revolution to force its will upon the world.

Reagan’s team peddled a synthetic version of “democratic-revolution,” creating popular revolutions against targeted regimes, that were really not really “of the people,” even though they were obviously “by the people.” The legions of government scientists and psychologists had finally figured-out how to magnify negative emotions and to manipulate behavior, through a combination of bribery, threats and appeals to false ideals, so that the people themselves could be turned into guided weapons, much like the psychology of a suicide bomber. Reagan’s “Project Democracy” was a form of low-level warfare, capable of “weaponizing” the masses and directing them at their own governments.

Everyday people by the hundreds of thousands have been deceived by sincere-sounding agitators into putting their lives at risk in the streets, unleashing their anger in reaction to provocation. A real revolution “of the People” does not have an already formed “unity government” waiting in the wings, while agitators steer the “people power” revolution in the streets.

Every national politician since Reagan, of either party, has supported the chain of lies that the Reagan years have strengthened this country. All news media since the very beginning have promoted this idea, maintaining the fiction that this country has not been in regression, both economically and militarily, ever since Reagan unleashed his revolution. The sad truth is, that this country will continue its deadly downhill slide until we all realize just how badly we have been lied to by all of our leaders and take our own actions to correct the course that they have set us upon. Until we bravely face the truth about the total lack of truth in all of our national leaders and stand-up to them all, America is doomed.

Until we break free from this dumbed-down alternative America that Reagan has locked us into, by actually overthrowing the system that keeps empowering the cut-throats and the liars, we will never know true American greatness. Until we face the truth about who we are and understand why most of the world now hates us as the “evil empire” (a complete reversal of roles from Reagan’s world), we will not understand or see the path to national salvation which still lies open before us. Until the day that we take the future away from people like Obama and Palin, and Bush and Reagan, and Clinton and Gore, Bush and Cheney, we will truly have no future. Until we face the facts about just how wrong our leaders have all been and see the intricate blanket of lies used to cover their crimes, we will be unable to do anything to save ourselves.

Sitting idly by, while the Obama government endangers the roots of civilization itself, squandering any remaining investment potential in a failing gambit to save the American system of organized robbery and government by extortion, is not an option. If Obama is going to continue Reagan’s quest to overthrow the world order, forcing global “regime change,” then we will have no other choice but to defeat him and disrupt the great plan. If revolution is America’s last remaining exportable product, then it must also be revolution here at home.

There are two visions or ideologies that are propelling this country into the future, one of these visions promotes the idea that all of our counterfeit government leaders are instead, great men, with Ronald Reagan being venerated as perhaps among the greatest of all men. This political vision, or ideology, which has been carefully crafted by psychological warfare experts for our entertainment and control, glorifies what America has done to the world over the past thirty years, under the guise of sowing the seeds of Democracy and protecting them. This Reagan-worshipping cult of personality is content with Reagan’s original plan for a two-tiered America (kept in power by endless military adventurism), divided very unequally between a small, powerful, ruling elite and their mercenary force of bureaucratic technocrats, and the rest of us.

Then there is America’s alternative vision, one shared by a rapidly growing grass-roots movement, which focuses upon America’s secret military history. This vision, shared by much of the rest of the human race considers America’s string of “limited wars” to be a series of war crimes, military acts of aggression, which are more accurately defined as terrorism than as legitimate military action, since all of the mercenary forces hired or tricked into fighting for us have been “non-military combatants” (thugs, criminals and jihadists). In reality, America’s secret wars were dishonorable adventurism that real patriots or a heroic warrior class would not be associated with.

America’s alternative news services exist to post reports about America’s secret news, reports on countless little wars of aggression, that have been waged upon both friends and foes alike. Until America produces a generation of American leaders who are both willing to take-on the real debate about the American deep state at the state or national level and run on an anti-war-crime platform, then nothing will get better.

Reagan was not a “noble warrior,” riding on a white horse, come to save America. Nay, he was the slayer of America, riding a pale horse, come to finish-off what previous Empire-builders had started. Despite Reagan’s politically charged rhetoric, we know that the Empire he seduced us into helping him build was not American at all, except for a few of the multinational corporations with home offices in New York.

Reagan’s revolution was a counterfeit revolution, taking America in a direction the Founding Fathers never intended. History has been hijacked by an international cartel, intent upon creating a Fascist global government, subservient to the dictates of the cartel. Reagan and all those who come after him have merely been puppets of that international cartel. The sooner we all face that fact the sooner we begin a real resistance movement here in our homeland. Honoring Reagan or the forces he has set into motion is a disservice to the past.

peter.chamberlin@hotmail.com

The Orwellian War On Free Thought and Free Speech

The Orwellian War on Skepticism

Special Report: Official Washington’s rush into an Orwellian future is well underway as political and media bigwigs move to silence Internet voices of independence and dissent, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Under the cover of battling “fake news,” the mainstream U.S. news media and officialdom are taking aim at journalistic skepticism when it is directed at the pronouncements of the U.S. government and its allies.

One might have hoped that the alarm about “fake news” would remind major U.S. news outlets, such as The Washington Post and The New York Times, about the value of journalistic skepticism. However, instead, it seems to have done the opposite.

Author George Orwell.Author George Orwell.

Author George Orwell.

The idea of questioning the claims by the West’s officialdom now brings calumny down upon the heads of those who dare do it. “Truth” is being redefined as whatever the U.S. government, NATO and other Western interests say is true. Disagreement with the West’s “group thinks,” no matter how fact-based the dissent is, becomes “fake news.”

So, we have the case of Washington Post columnist David Ignatius having a starry-eyed interview with Richard Stengel, the State Department’s Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy, the principal arm of U.S. government propaganda.

Entitled “The truth is losing,” the column laments that the official narratives as deigned by the State Department and The Washington Post are losing traction with Americans and the world’s public.

Stengel, a former managing editor at Time magazine, seems to take aim at Russia’s RT network’s slogan, “question more,” as some sinister message seeking to inject cynicism toward the West’s official narratives.

“They’re not trying to say that their version of events is the true one. They’re saying: ‘Everybody’s lying! Nobody’s telling you the truth!’,” Stengel said. “They don’t have a candidate, per se. But they want to undermine faith in democracy, faith in the West.”

No Evidence

Typical of these recent mainstream tirades about this vague Russian menace, Ignatius’s column doesn’t provide any specifics regarding how RT and other Russian media outlets are carrying out this assault on the purity of Western information. It’s enough to just toss around pejorative phrases supporting an Orwellian solution, which is to stamp out or marginalize alternative and independent journalism, not just Russian.

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. (Photo credit: Aude)Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. (Photo credit: Aude)

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. (Photo credit: Aude)

Ignatius writes: “Stengel poses an urgent question for journalists, technologists and, more broadly, everyone living in free societies or aspiring to do so. How do we protect the essential resource of democracy — the truth — from the toxin of lies that surrounds it? It’s like a virus or food poisoning. It needs to be controlled. But how?

“Stengel argues that the U.S. government should sometimes protect citizens by exposing ‘weaponized information, false information’ that is polluting the ecosystem. But ultimately, the defense of truth must be independent of a government that many people mistrust. ‘There are inherent dangers in having the government be the verifier of last resort,’ he argues.”

By the way, Stengel is not the fount of truth-telling, as he and Ignatius like to pretend. Early in the Ukraine crisis, Stengel delivered a rant against RT that was full of inaccuracies or what you might call “fake news.”

Yet, what Stengel and various mainstream media outlets appear to be arguing for is the creation of a “Ministry of Truth” managed by mainstream U.S. media outlets and enforced by Google, Facebook and other technology platforms.

In other words, once these supposedly responsible outlets decide what the “truth” is, then questioning that narrative will earn you “virtual” expulsion from the marketplace of ideas, possibly eliminated via algorithms of major search engines or marked with a special app to warn readers not to believe what you say, a sort of yellow Star of David for the Internet age.

And then there’s the possibility of more direct (and old-fashioned) government enforcement by launching FBI investigations into media outlets that won’t toe the official line. (All of these “solutions” have been advocated in recent weeks.)

On the other hand, if you do toe the official line that comes from Stengel’s public diplomacy shop, you stand to get rewarded with government financial support. Stengel disclosed in his interview with Ignatius that his office funds “investigative” journalism projects.

“How should citizens who want a fact-based world combat this assault on truth?” Ignatius asks, adding: “Stengel has approved State Department programs that teach investigative reporting and empower truth-tellers.”

Buying Propaganda

After reading Ignatius’s column on Wednesday, I submitted a question to the State Department asking for details on this “journalism” and “truth-telling” funding that is coming from the U.S. government’s top propaganda shop, but I have not received an answer.

The Washington Post building in downtown Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Washington Post)The Washington Post building in downtown Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Washington Post)

The Washington Post building in downtown Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Washington Post)

But we do know that the U.S. government has been investing tens of millions of dollars in various media programs to undergird Washington’s desired narratives.

For instance, in May 2015, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) issued a fact sheet summarizing its work financing friendly journalists around the world, including “journalism education, media business development, capacity building for supportive institutions, and strengthening legal-regulatory environments for free media.”

USAID estimated its budget for “media strengthening programs in over 30 countries” at $40 million annually, including aiding “independent media organizations and bloggers in over a dozen countries,” In Ukraine before the 2014 coup ousting elected President Viktor Yanukovych and installing a fiercely anti-Russian and U.S.-backed regime, USAID offered training in “mobile phone and website security,” skills that would have been quite helpful to the coup plotters.

USAID, working with currency speculator George Soros’s Open Society, also has funded the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, which engages in “investigative journalism” that usually goes after governments that have fallen into disfavor with the United States and then are singled out for accusations of corruption. The USAID-funded OCCRP collaborates with Bellingcat, an online investigative website founded by blogger Eliot Higgins.

Higgins has spread misinformation on the Internet, including discredited claims implicating the Syrian government in the sarin attack in 2013 and directing an Australian TV news crew to what appeared to be the wrong location for a video of a BUK anti-aircraft battery as it supposedly made its getaway to Russia after the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014.

Despite his dubious record of accuracy, Higgins has gained mainstream acclaim, in part, because his “findings” always match up with the propaganda theme that the U.S. government and its Western allies are peddling. Higgins is now associated with the Atlantic Council, a pro-NATO think tank which is partially funded by the U.S. State Department.

Beyond funding from the State Department and USAID, tens of millions of dollars more are flowing through the U.S.-government-funded National Endowment for Democracy, which was started in 1983 under the guiding hand of CIA Director William Casey.

NED became a slush fund to help finance what became known, inside the Reagan administration, as “perception management,” the art of controlling the perceptions of domestic and foreign populations.

The Emergence of StratCom

Last year, as the New Cold War heated up, NATO created the Strategic Communications Command in Latvia to further wage information warfare against Russia and individuals who were contesting the West’s narratives.

NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

As veteran war correspondent Don North reported in 2015 regarding this new StratCom, “the U.S. government has come to view the control and manipulation of information as a ‘soft power’ weapon, merging psychological operations, propaganda and public affairs under the catch phrase ‘strategic communications.’

“This attitude has led to treating psy-ops — manipulative techniques for influencing a target population’s state of mind and surreptitiously shaping people’s perceptions — as just a normal part of U.S. and NATO’s information policy.”

Now, the European Parliament and the U.S. Congress are moving to up the ante, passing new legislation to escalate “information warfare.”

On Wednesday, U.S. congressional negotiators approved $160 million to combat what they deem foreign propaganda and the alleged Russian campaign to spread “fake news.” The measure is part of the National Defense Authorization Act and gives the State Department the power to identify “propaganda” and counter it.

This bipartisan stampede into an Orwellian future for the American people and the world’s population follows a shoddily sourced Washington Post article that relied on a new anonymous group that identified some 200 Internet sites, including some of the most prominent American independent sources of news, as part of a Russian propaganda network.

Typical of this new McCarthyism, the report lacked evidence that any such network actually exists but instead targeted cases where American journalists expressed skepticism about claims from Western officialdom.

Consortiumnews.com was included on the list apparently because we have critically analyzed some of the claims and allegations regarding the crises in Syria and Ukraine, rather than simply accept the dominant Western “group thinks.”

Also on the “black list” were such quality journalism sites as Counterpunch, Truth-out, Truthdig, Naked Capitalism and ZeroHedge along with many political sites ranging across the ideological spectrum.

The Fake-News Express

Normally such an unfounded conspiracy theory would be ignored, but – because The Washington Post treated the incredible allegations as credible – the smear has taken on a life of its own, reprised by cable networks and republished by major newspapers.

MSNBC's "Hardball" host Chris Matthews

MSNBC’s “Hardball” host Chris Matthews

But the unpleasant truth is that the mainstream U.S. news media is now engaged in its own fake-news campaign about “fake news.” It’s publishing bogus claims invented by a disreputable and secretive outfit that just recently popped up on the Internet. If that isn’t “fake news,” I don’t know what is.

Yet, despite the Post’s clear violations of normal journalistic practices, surely, no one there will pay a price, anymore than there was accountability for the Post reporting as flat fact that Iraq was hiding WMD in 2002-2003. Fred Hiatt, the editorial-page editor most responsible for that catastrophic “group think,” is still in the same job today.

Two nights ago, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews featured the spurious Washington Post article in a segment that – like similar rehashes –didn’t bother to get responses from the journalists being slandered.

I found that ironic since Matthews repeatedly scolds journalists for their failure to look skeptically at U.S. government claims about Iraq possessing WMD as justification for the disastrous Iraq War. However, now Matthews joins in smearing journalists who have applied skepticism to U.S. and Western propaganda claims about Syria and/or Ukraine.

While the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament begin to take action to shut down or isolate dissident sources of information – all in the name of “democracy” – a potentially greater danger is that mainstream U.S. news outlets are already teaming up with technology companies, such as Google and Facebook, to impose their own determinations about “truth” on the Internet.

Or, as Ignatius puts it in his column reflecting Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy Stengel’s thinking, “The best hope may be the global companies that have created the social-media platforms.

“‘They see this information war as an existential threat,’ says Stengel. … The real challenge for global tech giants is to restore the currency of truth. Perhaps ‘machine learning‘ [presumably a reference to algorithms] can identify falsehoods and expose every argument that uses them. Perhaps someday, a human-machine process will create what Stengel describes as a ‘global ombudsman for information.’”

Ministry of Truth

An organization of some 30 mainstream media companies already exists, including not only The Washington Post and The New York Times but also the Atlantic Council-connected Bellingcat, as the emerging arbiters – or ombudsmen – for truth, something Orwell described less flatteringly as a “Ministry of Truth.”

Big Brother poster illustrating George Orwell's novel about modern propaganda, 1984.Big Brother poster illustrating George Orwell's novel about modern propaganda, 1984.

Big Brother poster illustrating George Orwell’s novel about modern propaganda, 1984.

The New York Times has even editorialized in support of Internet censorship, using the hysteria over “fake news” to justify the marginalization or disappearance of dissident news sites.

It now appears that this 1984-ish “MiniTrue” will especially target journalistic skepticism when applied to U.S. government and mainstream media “group thinks.”

Yet, in my four decades-plus in professional journalism, I always understood that skepticism was a universal journalistic principle, one that should be applied in all cases, whether a Republican or a Democrat is in the White House or whether some foreign leader is popular or demonized.

As we have seen in recent years, failure to ask tough questions and to challenge dubious claims from government officials and mainstream media outlets can get lots of people killed, both U.S. soldiers and citizens of countries invaded or destabilized by outsiders.

To show skepticism is not the threat to democracy that Undersecretary Stengel and columnist Ignatius appear to think it is.

Whether you like or dislike RT’s broadcasts – or more likely have never seen one – a journalist really can’t question its slogan: “question more.” Questioning is the essence of journalism and, for that matter, democracy.

[In protest of the Post’s smearing of independent journalists, RootsAction has undertaken a petition drive, which can be found here.]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

Trump and the Neocon Playbook–Trump Is the Reincarnation of Reagan

[President-elect “ReaganTrump” follows Heritage Foundation advisor’s advice and makes phone call to Taiwan as a veiled threat to upset the US/CHINA policy.]

China lodges ‘solemn representations’ with US

Boston Globe

This file photo taken on November 10 showed a man buying a newspaper featuring a photo of US President-elect Donald Trump.

GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images

This file photo taken on November 10 showed a man buying a newspaper featuring a photo of US President-elect Donald Trump.

BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump’s phone conversation with Taiwan’s leader (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

The Chinese foreign ministry says Beijing has lodged ‘‘solemn representations’’ with the U.S. over the call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan’s leader.

Geng Shuang, a ministry spokesman, said in a statement Saturday that ‘‘It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory. The government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing China.’’

Geng said, ‘‘This is a fact that is generally recognized by the international community.’’

The statement did not describe the details of China’s complaint to the U.S., or say with whom it was lodged.

It said China urged the relevant side — implying Trump’s incoming administration — to handle Taiwan-related issues ‘‘cautiously and properly,’’ to avoid ‘‘unnecessary interference’’ in the China-U.S. relationship.

___

5:15 p.m.

Taiwan’s official Central News Agency says the former president of a conservative American think tank played a ‘‘crucial’’ role that led to the call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan’s leader.

The news agency said Saturday, citing anonymous sources, that Edwin Feulner, founder of the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, was a ‘‘crucial figure’’ in setting up communication channels between the sides.

Feulner led a delegation from the Heritage Foundation on a trip to Taiwan in October and met with Tsai, according to a release at the time from Taiwan’s presidential office.

That release says Tsai called Feulner a ‘‘long-time friend to Taiwan’’ and conveyed her gratitude to his foundation for its support.

___

2 p.m.

One of China’s best-known international relations scholars says President-elect Donald Trump’s call with Taiwan’s leader will not help ease Beijing’s concerns about U.S. policy toward China under the incoming administration.

Shi Yinhong of Renmin University in Beijing said Saturday that China will respond discreetly and with restraint because it wants stable relations with the U.S., but that officials are increasingly worried.

Shi says: ‘‘In the mind of Chinese leaders, concerns are mounting over about U.S. policy toward China’’ under Trump’s administration. He says Taiwan is the most sensitive and important issue in U.S.-China relations.

He says Trump’s call may help Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen ‘‘convince people in Taiwan that the island can establish good relations with the U.S. and encourage her to continue to resist pressure from Beijing.’’

___

12:10 p.m.

China’s foreign minister says he hopes Beijing’s relations with the U.S. won’t be ‘‘interfered with or damaged’’ after President-elect Donald Trump broke with decades-long diplomatic tradition and spoke directly with Taiwan’s leader.

Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV reports that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday the call between Taiwan’s president and Trump was ‘‘just a small trick by Taiwan.’’ He said he thought it would not change longstanding U.S. policy toward China.

Wang says the so-called ‘‘one-China policy’’ is the cornerstone of U.S.-China relations and that Beijing hoped that foundation would not be ‘‘interfered with or damaged.’’

It is highly unusual, probably unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979.

5:15 p.m.

Taiwan’s official Central News Agency says the former president of a conservative American think tank played a ‘‘crucial’’ role that led to the call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan’s leader.

The news agency said Saturday, citing anonymous sources, that Edwin Feulner, founder of the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, was a ‘‘crucial figure’’ in setting up communication channels between the sides.

Feulner led a delegation from the Heritage Foundation on a trip to Taiwan in October and met with Tsai, according to a release at the time from Taiwan’s presidential office.

That release says Tsai called Feulner a ‘‘long-time friend to Taiwan’’ and conveyed her gratitude to his foundation for its support.

___

2 p.m.

One of China’s best-known international relations scholars says President-elect Donald Trump’s call with Taiwan’s leader will not help ease Beijing’s concerns about U.S. policy toward China under the incoming administration.

Shi Yinhong of Renmin University in Beijing said Saturday that China will respond discreetly and with restraint because it wants stable relations with the U.S., but that officials are increasingly worried.

Shi says: ‘‘In the mind of Chinese leaders, concerns are mounting over about U.S. policy toward China’’ under Trump’s administration. He says Taiwan is the most sensitive and important issue in U.S.-China relations.

He says Trump’s call may help Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen ‘‘convince people in Taiwan that the island can establish good relations with the U.S. and encourage her to continue to resist pressure from Beijing.’’

___

12:10 p.m.

China’s foreign minister says he hopes Beijing’s relations with the U.S. won’t be ‘‘interfered with or damaged’’ after President-elect Donald Trump broke with decades-long diplomatic tradition and spoke directly with Taiwan’s leader.

Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV reports that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday the call between Taiwan’s president and Trump was ‘‘just a small trick by Taiwan.’’ He said he thought it would not change longstanding U.S. policy toward China.

Wang says the so-called ‘‘one-China policy’’ is the cornerstone of U.S.-China relations and that Beijing hoped that foundation would not be ‘‘interfered with or damaged.’’

It is highly unusual, probably unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979.

12:10 p.m.

China’s foreign minister says he hopes Beijing’s relations with the U.S. won’t be ‘‘interfered with or damaged’’ after President-elect Donald Trump broke with decadeslong diplomatic tradition and spoke directly with Taiwan’s leader.

Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV reports that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday the call between Taiwan’s president and Trump was ‘‘just a small trick by Taiwan.’’ He said he thought it would not change longstanding U.S. policy toward China.

Wang says the so-called ‘‘one-China policy’’ is the cornerstone of U.S.-China relations and that Beijing hoped that foundation would not be ‘‘interfered with or damaged.’’

It is highly unusual, probably unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979.