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WikiLeaks figure says ‘disgusted’ Democrat leaked Clinton campaign emails
By Dave Boyer - The Washington Times
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
A WikiLeaks figure is claiming that he received leaked Clinton campaign emails from a “disgusted” Democratic whistleblower, while the White House continued to blame Russian hackers Wednesday for meddling in the presidential election and asserted that Donald Trump was “obviously aware” of Moscow’s efforts on his behalf.
Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and a close associate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, said in the report by the Daily Mail that he flew to Washington for a clandestine handoff with one of the email sources in September.
He said he received a package in a wooded area near American University.
“Neither of [the leaks] came from the Russians,” Mr. Murray told the British newspaper. “The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.”
The White House still won’t say whether the U.S. has retaliated against what it describes as Russian efforts to influence the election of Donald Trump. “It merits a proportional response. I am not in a position to confirm whether we have initiated it or not,” [White House press secretary Josh] Earnest said.
He said “the United States is particularly vulnerable” to cyberattacks because of its heavy reliance on the internet.
“Given the interconnected nature of our society and our economy, the United States is in a unique position, vis-a-vis the rest of the world, because we rely on 21st-century communications technology for just about everything, in a way that lots of other societies and economies and countries don’t,” he said.
Trump Quiets Some Russian Doubts
January 30, 2017
President Trump’s weekend phone call to President Putin seems to have quieted some of Russia’s concerns about the unpredictability of the real-estate-mogul-turned-politician, reports Gilbert Doctorow.
Below are the translaions of some select comments by the panelists
The second important aspect I’d note is in the Russian press release, namely the agreement to the establish partnership on an equal basis The United States has not had partnership relations of equals not only with Russia but with no one else as well in the years following the end of the Cold War. They dealt with Russia as the side that had lost the Cold War and towards whom you can carry out any policy line without regard to our concerns. Then another very important word we noted was “restoration” – used to characterize our future trade and economic relations. Restoration of trade and economic relations is a rather transparent reference to the idea that one way or another the sanctions will be reexamined. This is so although the word “sanctions” itself was not mentioned. I’d also note that they reviewed a wide range of issues. Syria, Ukraine, Iran, the Korean peninsula, and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. This presupposes, at a minimum, that in this rather short conversation there were no serious disagreements or differences of opinion. They discussed what they wanted to discuss. The questions were prepared and the participants in the discussion afterwards were satisfied. Therefore, I consider this a very good, encouraging start in Russian-American relations. Let us not tempt fate and let us knock wood..Let us hope this continues in the same way in the future. We could not hope for better than this.”
“We have just heard the phrase that ‘Europe has been sleeping.’ The discussion today is between Trump and Putin. ….Merkel and Hollande are stuck in the old formulas…..They have an old agenda. They don’t have anything in particular to offer…..Europe is off the highway and sidelined. This is another point that comes out of the [Trump-Putin] conversation.”
“I’d like to start with agreeing terms. World order is precisely the agreements between victorious powers after a global war. That is what was done at Yalta, Teheran, Potsdam. Helsinki was not on that level. When the Yalta arrangements collapsed the West, and the USA in particular took this to mean its victory. And it was not accidental that we had all those discussions about the unipolar world. And it was the dissatisfaction of Russia and others with this unipolar world led to the fact that now Trump will set up a new world order by reaching agreement with those powers who did not accept globalization from the 1990s which was supposed to set up a new world order. ….Russia can now be a participant in the creation of the new world order. Putting aside the list of issues, the main item on the conversation was when do we meet and in what format…
Dangers of Democratic Putin-Bashing
February 1, 2017
Exclusive: As national Democratic leaders continue to blame Russian President Putin for their 2016 defeat, they’re leading their party into a realignment with the neocons and other war hawks, reports Robert Parry.
... in another way, what we’re seeing is not new. It is a replay of other “group thinks” in which some foreign leader is demonized beyond all reason allowing any accusation to be lodged against him with virtually no pushback from anyone interested in maintaining a U.S. mainstream career.
We saw this pattern, for instance, in the run-up to the Iraq War when Saddam Hussein was demonized to such a degree that any accusation against him was accepted without question, such as him hiding WMDs and colluding with Al Qaeda. In that context, some individuals supposedly with “first-hand knowledge” – “Iraqi defectors” – showed up to elaborate on and personalize the anti-Saddam propaganda message. We learned only later that many were scripted by the U.S.-government-funded Iraqi National Congress.
Since 2011, we saw the same demonization treatment applied to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who was depicted as a ruthless monster opposed by a “moderate opposition” which, in turn, was embraced by “human rights” groups, touted by Western media and applauded even by citizen “peace groups” around the United States and Europe. The Assad demonization obscured the fact that many “opposition” groups were part of an externally funded “regime change” project spearheaded by radical jihadists connected to Al Qaeda.
A Reagan Strategy
For me, this pattern goes back even further. I have witnessed these techniques since the 1980s when the Reagan administration tapped into CIA psychological warfare methods to rally the American people around a more interventionist foreign policy – to “kick the Vietnam Syndrome,” the public skepticism toward war that followed the Vietnam debacle.
Back then, senior CIA propagandist Walter Raymond Jr. was assigned to the National Security Council staff where he tutored young neocons, the likes of Elliott Abrams and Robert Kagan, drumming into them that the key was to personalize the propaganda by demonizing a particular leader, making him eminently worthy of hate.
Raymond counseled his acolytes that the goal was always to “glue” black hats on the side in Washington’s crosshairs and white hats on the side that Washington favored. The grays of the real world were to be avoided and any politician or journalist who sought to deal in nuance was disparaged as a fill-in-the-blank “apologist.”
So, in the 1980s, the Reagan administration targeted Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega, “the dictator in designer glasses,” as President Reagan dubbed him.
In 1989, before the invasion of Panama, Gen. Manuel Noriega got the treatment. In 1990, it was Saddam Hussein’s turn, deemed “worse than Hitler” by President George H.W. Bush. During the Clinton administration, the demon du jour was Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic. In all these cases, there were legitimate criticisms of these leaders, but their evils were inflated to fantastical proportions to justify bloody military interventions by the U.S. government and its allies.
Regime Change in Moscow?
The main difference in recent years is that Official Washington’s neocons and liberal interventionists have taken aim at Russia with the goal of “regime change” in Moscow, a strategy that risks the world’s nuclear annihilation. But except for the stakes, the old script is still being followed.
How US nuclear force modernization is undermining strategic stability: The burst-height compensating super-fuze
Hans M. Kristensen, Matthew McKinzie, Theodore A. Postol
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, 1 MARCH 2017
The US nuclear forces modernization program has been portrayed to the public as an effort to ensure the reliability and safety of warheads in the US nuclear arsenal, rather than to enhance their military capabilities. In reality, however, that program has implemented revolutionary new technologies that will vastly increase the targeting capability of the US ballistic missile arsenal. This increase in capability is astonishing—boosting the overall killing power of existing US ballistic missile forces by a factor of roughly three—and it creates exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.
... Russian planners will almost surely see the advance in fuzing capability as empowering an increasingly feasible US preemptive nuclear strike capability—a capability that would require Russia to undertake countermeasures that would further increase the already dangerously high readiness of Russian nuclear forces. Tense nuclear postures based on worst-case planning assumptions already pose the possibility of a nuclear response to false warning of attack. The new kill capability created by super-fuzing increases the tension and the risk that US or Russian nuclear forces will be used in response to early warning of an attack—even when an attack has not occurred.
The increased capability of the US submarine force will likely be seen as even more threatening because Russia does not have a functioning space-based infrared early warning system but relies primarily on ground-based early warning radars to detect a US missile attack. Since these radars cannot see over the horizon, Russia has less than half as much early-warning time as the United States. (The United States has about 30 minutes, Russia 15 minutes or less.)
The inability of Russia to globally monitor missile launches from space means that Russian military and political leaders would have no “situational awareness” to help them assess whether an early-warning radar indication of a surprise attack is real or the result of a technical error.
The combination of this lack of Russian situational awareness, dangerously short warning times, high-readiness alert postures, and the increasing US strike capacity has created a deeply destabilizing and dangerous strategic nuclear situation.
When viewed in the alarming context of deteriorating political relations between Russia and the West, and the threats and counter-threats that are now becoming the norm for both sides in this evolving standoff, it may well be that the danger of an accident leading to nuclear war is as high now as it was in periods of peak crisis during the Cold War.
The Silent Slaughter of the US Air War
May 9, 2017
By Nicolas J S Davies
Exclusive: The U.S. mainstream media voiced moral outrage when Russian warplanes killed civilians in Aleppo but has gone silent as U.S. warplanes slaughter innocents in Mosul and Raqqa, notes Nicolas J S Davies.
April 2017 was another month of mass slaughter and unimaginable terror for the people of Mosul in Iraq and the areas around Raqqa and Tabqa in Syria, as the heaviest, most sustained U.S.-led bombing campaign since the American War in Vietnam entered its 33rd month.
The Airwars monitoring group has compiled reports of 1,280 to 1,744 civilians killed by at least 2,237 bombs and missiles that rained down from U.S. and allied warplanes in April (1,609 on Iraq and 628 on Syria). The heaviest casualties were in and around Old Mosul and West Mosul, where 784 to 1,074 civilians were reported killed, but the area around Tabqa in Syria also suffered heavy civilian casualties.
In other war zones, as I have explained in previous articles (here and here), the kind of “passive” reports of civilian deaths compiled by Airwars have only ever captured between 5 percent and 20 percent of the actual civilian war deaths revealed by comprehensive mortality studies. Iraqbodycount, which used a similar methodology to Airwars, had only counted 8 percent of the deaths discovered by a mortality study in occupied Iraq in 2006.
Airwars appears to be collecting reports of civilian deaths more thoroughly than Iraqbodycount 11 years ago, but it classifies large numbers of them as “contested” or “weakly reported,” and is deliberately conservative in its counting. For instance, in some cases, it has counted local media reports of “many deaths” as a minimum of one death, with no maximum figure. This is not to fault Airwars’ methods, but to recognize its limitations in contributing to an actual estimate of civilian deaths.
Allowing for various interpretations of Airwars’ data, and assuming that, like such efforts in the past, it is capturing between 5 percent and 20 percent of actual deaths, a serious estimate of the number of civilians killed by the U.S.-led bombing campaign since 2014 would by now have to be somewhere between 25,000 and 190,000.
The Pentagon recently revised its own facetious estimate of the number of civilians it has killed in Iraq and Syria since 2014 to 352. That is less than a quarter of the 1,446 victims whom Airwars has positively identified by name.
Airwars has also collected reports of civilians killed by Russian bombing in Syria, which outnumbered its reports of civilians killed by U.S.-led bombing for most of 2016. However, since the U.S.-led bombing escalated to over 10,918 bombs and missiles dropped in the first three months of 2017, the heaviest bombardment since the campaign began in 2014, Airwars’ reports of civilians killed by U.S.-led bombing have surpassed reports of deaths from Russian bombing.
Because of the fragmentary nature of all Airwars’ reports, this pattern may or may not accurately reflect whether the U.S. or Russia has really killed more civilians in each of these periods. There are many factors that could affect that.
For example, Western governments and NGOs have funded and supported the White Helmets and other groups who report civilian casualties caused by Russian bombing, but there is no equivalent Western support for the reporting of civilian casualties from the Islamic State-held areas that the U.S. and its allies are bombing. If Airwars’ reporting is capturing a greater proportion of actual deaths in one area than another due to factors like this, it could lead to differences in the numbers of reported deaths that do not reflect differences in actual deaths.
Shock, Awe … and Silence
To put the 79,000 bombs and missiles with which the U.S. and its allies have bombarded Iraq and Syria since 2014 in perspective, it is worth reflecting back to the “more innocent” days of “Shock and Awe” in March 2003. As NPR reporter Sandy Tolan reported in 2003, one of the architects of that campaign predicted that dropping 29,200 bombs and missiles on Iraq would have, “the non-nuclear equivalent of the impact that the atomic weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had on Japan.”
At the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the U.S. military to conduct a devastating aerial assault on Baghdad, known as “shock and awe.”
When “Shock and Awe” was unleashed on Iraq in 2003, it dominated the news all over the world. But after eight years of “disguised, quiet, media-free” war under President Obama, the U.S. mass media don’t even treat the daily slaughter from this heavier, more sustained bombardment of Iraq and Syria as news. They cover single mass casualty events for a few days, but quickly resume normal “Trump Show” programming.
As in George Orwell’s 1984, the public knows that our military forces are at war with somebody somewhere, but the details are sketchy. “Is that still a thing?” “Isn’t North Korea the big issue now?”
There is almost no political debate in the U.S. over the rights and wrongs of the U.S. bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria. Never mind that bombing Syria without authorization from its internationally recognized government is a crime of aggression and a violation of the U.N. Charter. The freedom of the United States to violate the U.N. Charter at will has already been politically (not legally!) normalized by 17 years of serial aggression, from the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, to drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen.
So who will enforce the Charter now to protect civilians in Syria, who already face violence and death from all sides in a bloody civil and proxy war, in which the U.S. was already deeply complicit well before it began bombing Syria in 2014?
In terms of U.S. law, three successive U.S. regimes have claimed that their unconstrained violence is legally justified by the Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed by the U.S. Congress in 2001. But sweeping as it was, that bill said only,
“That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11th, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”
How many of the thousands of civilians the U.S. has killed in Mosul in the past few months played any such role in the September 11th terrorist attacks? Every person reading this knows the answer to that question: probably not one of them. If one of them was involved, it would be by sheer coincidence.
Any impartial judge would reject a claim that this legislation authorized 16 years of war in at least eight countries, the overthrow of governments that had nothing to do with 9/11, the killing of about 2 million people and the destabilization of country after country – just as surely as the judges at Nuremberg rejected the German defendants’ claims that they invaded Poland, Norway and the U.S.S.R. to prevent or “preempt” imminent attacks on Germany.
U.S. officials may claim that the 2002 Iraq AUMF legitimizes the bombardment of Mosul. That law at least refers to the same country. But while it is also still on the books, the whole world knew within months of its passage that it used false premises and outright lies to justify overthrowing a government that the U.S. has since destroyed.
The U.S. war in Iraq officially ended with the withdrawal of the last U.S. occupation forces in 2011. The AUMF did not and could not possibly have approved allying with a new regime in Iraq 14 years later to attack one of its cities and kill thousands of its people.
Caught in a Web of War Propaganda
Do we really not know what war is? Has it been too long since Americans experienced war on our own soil? Perhaps. But as thankfully distant as war may be from most of our daily lives, we cannot pretend that we do not know what it is or what horrors it brings.
This month, two friends and I visited our Congresswoman’s office representing our local Peace Action affiliate, Peace Justice Sustainability Florida, to ask her to cosponsor legislation to prohibit a U.S. nuclear first strike; to repeal the 2001 AUMF; to vote against the military budget; to cut off funding for the deployment of U.S. ground troops to Syria; and to support diplomacy, not war, with North Korea.
When one of my friends explained that he’d fought in Vietnam and started to talk about what he’d witnessed there, he had to stop to keep from crying. But the staffer didn’t need him to go on. She knew what he was talking about. We all do.
But if we all have to see dead and wounded children in the flesh before we can grasp the horror of war and take serious action to stop it and prevent it, then we face a bleak and bloody future. As my friend and too many like him have learned at incalculable cost, the best time to stop a war is before it starts, and the main lesson to learn from every war is: “Never again!”
Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump won the presidency partly by presenting themselves as “peace” candidates. This was a carefully calculated and calibrated element in both their campaigns, given the pro-war records of their main opponents, John McCain and Hillary Clinton. The American public’s aversion to war is a factor that every U.S. president and politician has to deal with, and promising peace before spinning us into war is an American political tradition that dates back to Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt.
As Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering admitted to American military psychologist Gustave Gilbert in his cell at Nuremberg, “Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”
“There is one difference,” Gilbert insisted, “In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.”
Goering was unimpressed by Madison‘s and Hamilton’s cherished constitutional safeguards. “Oh, that is all well and good,” he replied, “but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
Our commitment to peace and our abhorrence of war are too easily undermined by the simple but timeless techniques Goering described. In the U.S. today, they are enhanced by several other factors, most of which also had parallels in World War Two Germany:
–Mass media that suppress public awareness of the human costs of war, especially when U.S. policy or U.S. forces are responsible.
–A media blackout on voices of reason who advocate alternative policies based on peace, diplomacy or the rule of international law.
–In the ensuing silence regarding rational alternatives, politicians and media present “doing something,” meaning war, as the only alternative to the perennial straw man of “doing nothing.”
–The normalization of war by stealth and deception, especially by public figures otherwise seen as trustworthy, like President Obama.
–The dependence of progressive politicians and organizations on funding from labor unions that have become junior partners in the military industrial complex.
–The political framing of U.S. disputes with other countries as entirely the result of actions by the other side, and the demonization of foreign leaders to dramatize and popularize these false narratives.
–The pretense that the U.S. role in overseas wars and global military occupation stems from a well-meaning desire to help people, not from U.S. strategic ambitions and business interests.
Taken altogether, this amounts to a system of war propaganda, in which the heads of TV networks bear a share of responsibility for the resulting atrocities along with political and military leaders. Trotting out retired generals to bombard the home front with euphemistic jargon, without disclosing the hefty directors’ and consultants’ fees they collect from weapons manufacturers, is only one side of this coin.
The equally important flip-side is the media’s failure to even cover wars or the U.S. role in them, and their systematic marginalization of anyone who suggests there is anything morally or legally wrong with America’s wars.
The Pope and Gorbachev
Pope Francis recently suggested that a third party could act as a mediator to help resolve our country’s nearly 70-year-old conflict with North Korea. The Pope suggested Norway. Even more importantly, the Pope framed the problem as a dispute between the United States and North Korea, not, as U.S. officials do, as North Korea posing a problem or a threat to the rest of the world.
This is how diplomacy works best, by correctly and honestly identifying the roles that different parties are playing in a dispute or a conflict, and then working to resolve their disagreements and conflicting interests in a way that both sides can live with or even benefit from. The JCPOA that resolved the U.S. dispute with Iran over its civilian nuclear program is a good example of how this can work.
This kind of real diplomacy is a far cry from the brinksmanship, threats and aggressive alliances that have masqueraded as diplomacy under a succession of U.S. presidents and secretaries of state since Truman and Acheson, with few exceptions. The persistent desire of much of the U.S. political class to undermine the JCPOA with Iran is a measure of how U.S. officials cling to the use of threats and brinksmanship and are offended that the “exceptional” United States should have to come down from its high horse and negotiate in good faith with other countries.
At the root of these dangerous policies, as historian William Appleman Williams wrote in The Tragedy of American Diplomacy in 1959, lies the mirage of supreme military power that seduced U.S. leaders after the allied victory in the Second World War and the invention of nuclear weapons. After running headlong into the reality of an unconquerable post-colonial world in Vietnam, this American Dream of ultimate power faded briefly, only to be reborn with a vengeance after the end of the Cold War.
Much as its defeat in the First World War was not decisive enough to convince Germany that its military ambitions were doomed, a new generation of U.S. leaders saw the end of the Cold War as their chance to “kick the Vietnam syndrome” and revive America’s tragic bid for “full spectrum dominance.”
As Mikhail Gorbachev lamented in a speech in Berlin on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 2014, “the West, and particularly the United States, declared victory in the Cold War. Euphoria and triumphalism went to the heads of Western leaders. Taking advantage of Russia’s weakening and the lack of a counterweight, they claimed monopoly leadership and domination of the world, refusing to heed words of caution from many of those present here.”
This post-Cold War triumphalism has predictably led us into an even more convoluted maze of delusions, disasters and dangers than the Cold War itself. The folly of our leaders’ insatiable ambitions and recurrent flirtations with mass extinction are best symbolized by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock, whose hands once again stand at two and a half minutes to midnight.
The inability of the costliest war machine ever assembled to defeat lightly-armed resistance forces in country after country, or to restore stability to any of the countries it has destroyed, has barely dented the domestic power of the U.S. military-industrial complex over our political institutions and our national resources. Neither millions of deaths, trillions of dollars wasted, nor abject failure on its own terms has slowed the mindless spread and escalation of the “global war on terror.”
Futurists debate whether robotic technology and artificial intelligence will one day lead to a world in which autonomous robots could launch a war to enslave and destroy the human race, maybe even incorporating humans as components of the machines that will bring about our extinction. In the U.S. armed forces and military industrial complex, have we already created exactly such a semi-human, semi-technological organism that will not stop bombing, killing and destroying unless and until we stop it in its tracks and dismantle it?
Nicolas J S Davies is the author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq. He also wrote the chapters on “Obama at War” in Grading the 44th President: a Report Card on Barack Obama’s First Term as a Progressive Leader.
Watergate Redux or ‘Deep State’ Coup?
May 10, 2017
By Robert Parry
Exclusive: Official Washington is abuzz, comparing President Trump’s ouster of FBI Director Comey to President Nixon’s Watergate cover-up, but there is a darker “deep state” interpretation of these events, says Robert Parry.
President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday reflected a growing concern inside the White House that the long-rumored scheme by “deep state” operatives to overturn the results of the 2016 election may have been more than just rumors.
The fear grew that Comey and other senior officials in the U.S. intelligence community had concluded last year that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump was a suitable future president, albeit for different reasons. I’m told that Clinton was seen as dangerously hawkish and Trump as dangerously unqualified, opinions privately shared by then-President Barack Obama.
So, according to this account, plans were made last summer to damage both Clinton and Trump, with the hope of putting a more stable and less risky person in the Oval Office – with key roles in this scheme played by Comey, CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
When I first heard about this supposed cabal in the middle of last year, I dismissed it as something more fitting a Jason Bourne movie than the real world. But – to my amazement – the U.S. intelligence community then began intervening in the presidential campaign in unprecedented ways.
On July 5, 2016, Director Comey dealt a severe blow to Clinton by holding a press conference to denounce her use of a private email server while Secretary of State as “extremely careless,” yet he announced that no legal action would follow, opening her to a damaging line of attack that she jeopardized national security but that her political status gave her special protection.
Then, on Oct. 28, just ten days before the election, Comey reopened the investigation because of emails found on the laptop of disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner, the husband of Clinton’s close aide Huma Abedin. That move re-injected Clinton’s email controversy into the campaign, along with the unsavory issues surrounding Weiner’s sexting scandal, and reminded voters about the sex-related scandals that have swirled around Bill Clinton for years.
To make matters worse, Comey closed the investigation again just two days before the election, once more putting the Clinton email controversy in front of voters. That also reaffirmed the idea that Clinton got special treatment because of her political clout, arguably the most damaging image possible in an election year dominated by voter anger at “elites.”
Clinton herself has said that if the election had been held on Oct. 27 – the day before Comey reopened the email inquiry – she would have won. In other words, whether Comey’s actions were simply clumsy or possibly calculated, the reality is that he had an outsized hand in drowning Clinton’s candidacy, a point that Trump’s Justice Department also noted on Tuesday in justifying Comey’s firing.
And, we now know that Comey was leading a parallel investigation into possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, instigated at least in part by a dossier prepared by ex-British spy Christopher Steele, paid for by Clinton supporters and containing allegations about secret meetings between Trump aides and influential Russians.
Last July, the FBI reportedly secured a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page. Page was mentioned in the Steele dossier and gave an academic speech in Moscow on July 7 mildly critical of U.S. policies toward Russia and other nations of the former Soviet Union, two apparent factors in justifying the FISA warrant.
Before the election, people close to Clinton also tried to get the U.S. media to publicize the Steele dossier and particularly its anonymous claims about Trump cavorting with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel while Russian intelligence agents supposedly filmed him. However, because media outlets could not confirm Steele’s allegations and because some details turned out to be wrong, the dossier remained mostly under wraps prior to the election.
However, after Trump’s surprising victory on Nov. 8, President Obama and his intelligence chiefs escalated their efforts to undermine Trump’s legitimacy. The Obama administration leaked an intelligence assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin had orchestrated the hacking of Democratic emails and their publication by WikiLeaks to undermine Clinton and help Trump.
The intelligence community’s assessment set the stage for what could have been a revolt by the Electoral College in which enough Trump delegates might have refused to vote for him to send the election into the House of Representatives, where the states would choose the President from one of the top three vote-getters in the Electoral College.
The third-place finisher turned out to be former Secretary of State Colin Powell who got three votes from Clinton delegates in Washington State. The idea of giving votes to Powell was that he might be an acceptable alternative to House members over either Clinton or Trump, a position that I’m told Obama’s intelligence chiefs shared. But the Electoral College ploy failed when Trump’s delegates proved overwhelmingly faithful to the GOP candidate on Dec. 19.
Still, the effort to undermine Trump did not stop. President Obama reportedly authorized an extraordinary scheme to spread information about Russia’s purported assistance to Trump across the federal bureaucracy and even overseas.
Comey, Brennan and Clapper also set in motion a hasty intelligence assessment by hand-picked analysts at the CIA, the FBI and the National Security Agency, producing a report on alleged Russian electoral interference that was released on Jan. 6.
Though Clapper had promised to release a great deal of the evidence, the declassified version of the report amounted mostly to “trust us” along with a one-sided analysis of Putin’s alleged motive, citing his well-known disdain for Clinton.
But the report failed to note the other side of that coin, that Putin would be taking a great risk by trying to hurt Clinton and failing, given Clinton’s odds as the prohibitive favorite to defeat Trump. Putin would have to assume that the NSA with its powerful surveillance capabilities would pick up a Russian initiative and inform an irate President Hillary Clinton.
In other words, the Jan. 6 report was not some careful analysis of the pros and cons for believing or doubting that Russia was behind the WikiLeaks disclosures. It amounted to a prosecutor’s brief, albeit without any public evidence to support the Russia-did-it charge.
We learned later that the report’s classified appendix included a summary of Steele’s dossier that was then briefed to President Obama, President-elect Trump and to members of Congress, guaranteeing that its damaging but unproven allegations would finally get widely circulated in the mainstream media, as indeed promptly happened.
Hobbling Trump’s Presidency
So, going into the Inauguration, Russia-gate was dominating the front pages of newspapers as well as the endless chat shows on cable TV despite the fact that no real evidence was presented proving Russia was responsible for the WikiLeaks’ posts – and WikiLeaks denied getting the material from Russia. There was also no evidence that Trump’s campaign had colluded with the Russians in this endeavor.
But those suspicions quickly hardened into a groupthink among many Democrats, liberals and progressives. Their hatred of Trump and their dread about his policies convinced some that the ends of removing Trump justified whatever means were employed, even if those means had more than a whiff of McCarthyism.
On Inauguration Day, many anti-Trump protesters carried signs accusing Trump of being Putin’s boy. Sensing a political opportunity, congressional Democrats joined the #Resistance and escalated their demands for a sweeping investigation of any connections between Trump’s team and Russia. Their clear hope was something might turn up that could be exploited in an impeachment proceeding.
As the principal intelligence holdover from the Obama administration, Comey assumed an essential role in this operation. It would be up to the FBI to secure the financial records from Trump and his associates that could provide a foundation for at least suspicions of a sinister relationship between them and Russia.
Trump may have thought that he bought some political space by complying with political pressure to fire National Security Adviser Michael Flynn on Feb. 13 over what exactly was said in a pre-Inauguration phone conversation between Flynn and the Russian Ambassador. Trump also got the Russia-gate pressure to lessen when, on April 6, he fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syria over an alleged chemical attack. But he soon came to realize that those respites from Russia-gate were brief and that an incipient constitutional coup might be underway with him as the target.
However, if those coup suspicions have any truth – and I realize many Americans do not want to accept the notion that their country has a “deep state” – firing Comey may fuel Trump’s troubles rather than end them.
Trump clearly is unpopular not only among Democrats but many Republicans who see him as an unprincipled interloper with a nasty Twitter finger. The Comey firing is sure to spark new demands for a special prosecutor or at least more aggressive investigations by Congress and the press.
Although Democrats had condemned Comey for his interference in the Clinton campaign, they now are rallying to Comey’s side because they viewed him as a key instrument for removing Trump from office. After Comey’s firing, from The New York Times to CNN, the mainstream media was filled with comparisons to Richard Nixon’s Watergate cover-up.
One of the few voices commending Trump for his action, not surprisingly, came from Carter Page, who briefly served as a Trump foreign policy adviser and has found himself in the crosshairs of a high-powered counterintelligence investigation as a result.
“It is encouraging that further steps toward restoring justice in America have been taken with the termination and removal from office of FBI Director James Comey,” Page said in a statement.
“Although I have never met President Trump, his strength and judgment in holding senior officials accountable for wrongdoing stands in stark contrast to last year when ordinary private citizens outside of Washington like myself were targeted for exercising their Constitutional rights.
“Under James Comey’s leadership in 2016, I was allegedly the subject of an intensive domestic political intelligence operation instigated by the FBI and based on completely false allegations in a FISA warrant application.”
Yet, despite what Page and other Trump advisers caught up in the Russia-gate probe may hope, the prospects that Comey’s firing will end their ordeal are dim. The near certainty is that whatever Obama and his intelligence chiefs set in motion last year is just beginning.
The Scandal Hidden Behind Russia-gate
By Daniel Lazare,
May 11, 2017
Exclusive: Official Washington has the Russia-gate scandal almost 180-degrees wrong; it is not about protecting democracy, but about pushing Americans into more wars, the true scandal that is being missed.
[There are differences between Watergate and Russia-Gate]
Difference No.1: Watergate was about a real event, the June 17, 1972.
... the burglars turned out to be part of a special security operation known as the White House Plumbers
.... Since the FBI has never conducted an independent investigation – for as-yet-unexplained reasons, the DNC refused to grant it access to its servers despite multiple requests – the only evidence that a break-in even occurred comes from a private cyber-security firm, CrowdStrike Inc. of Irvine, California, that the DNC hired to look into the breach.
Since when do the cops rely on a private eye to look into a murder rather than performing an investigation of their own? CrowdStrike, moreover, turns out to be highly suspect. Not only is Dmitri Alperovich, its chief technical officer, a Russian émigré with a pronounced anti-Putin tilt, but he is also an associate of a virulently anti-Russian outfit known as the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank funded by the Saudis, the United Arab Emirates, the Ukrainian World Congress, the U.S. State Department and a variety of other individuals and groups that have an interest in isolating or discrediting Russia.
... But CrowdStrike then said it was able to pin it on the Russians because the hackers had made certain elementary mistakes, most notably uploading a document in a Russian-language format under the name “Felix Edmundovich,” an obvious reference to Felix E. Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Cheka, as the Soviet political police were originally known. It was the equivalent of American intelligence agents uploading a Russian document under the name “J. Edgar.” Since this was obviously very careless of them, it raised an elementary question: how could the hackers be super-sophisticated yet at the same time guilty of an error that was unbearably dumb?
The skeptics promptly pounced. Referring to Russia’s two top intelligence agencies, a well-known cyber-security expert named Jeffrey Carr was unable to restrain his sarcasm: “OK. Raise your hand if you think that a GRU or FSB officer would add Iron Felix’s name to the metadata of a stolen document before he released it to the world while pretending to be a Romanian hacker. Someone clearly had a wicked sense of humor.”
Since scattering such false leads is child’s play for even a novice hacker, it was left to John McAfee, founder of McAfee Associates and developer of the first commercial anti-virus software, to draw the ultimate conclusion. “If it looks like the Russians did it,” he told TV interviewer Larry King, “then I can guarantee you: it was not the Russians.”
Difference No. 2: Russia-gate is not about democracy but about neo-McCarthyism and war.
For all the self-serving hoopla and mythology surrounding Watergate, the scandal was ultimately about something important: the dirty tricks and lawless authoritarianism that were advancing smartly under the Nixon administration. But Russia-gate is not about democracy. Rather, it is about an inside-the-beltway battle over the direction of U.S.-Russian relations.
The battle is deadly serious. Since roughly 2008, Cold War II has expanded steadily to the point where it now extends along a 1,300-mile front from Estonia to the Crimea plus the Caucasus and major portions of the Middle East. It has intensified as well and would likely have reached a flashpoint if the hawkish Hillary Clinton had been elected.
... In other words, Page [,an academic and energy entrepreneur and former Trump foreign policy adviser] drew official notice because he dared to differ with the orthodox view of Putin as a latter-day Lucifer. As a consequence, he now finds himself at the center of what the Times describes as “a wide-ranging investigation, now accompanied by two congressional inquiries, that has cast a shadow over the early months of the Trump administration.” So, out of nothing (or at least very little) has grown something very, very large, an absurd pseudo-scandal that now has Democrats gobbling on about special prosecutors and impeachment.
... As Consortium News’ Robert Parry has pointed out (see “The McCarthyism of Russia-gate,” May 7), the Senate Intelligence Committee hit Page with a sweeping order on April 28 to turn over anything and everything having to do with his extensive list of Russian business, personal and casual contacts for the 18 months prior to Trump’s Inauguration.
The order thus informs Page that he must turn over “[a] list of all meetings between you and any Russian official or representative of Russian business interests which took place between June 16, 2015, and January 20, 2017 … all meetings of which you are aware between any individual with the Trump campaign and any Russian official or representative of Russian business interests … [a]ll communications records, including electronic communications records such as e-mail or text messages, written correspondence, and phone records of communications … to which you and any Russian official or representative of Russian business interests was a party,” and so on and so forth.
Considering that Page lived in Russia for several years, the request is virtually impossible. It thus “amounts to a perjury trap,” Parry notes, “because even if Page tried his best to supply all the personal, phone, and email contacts, he would be sure to miss something or someone, thus setting him up for prosecution for obstructing an investigation or lying to investigators.”
Dems crippling Trump’s plans to cooperate with Russia out of own ambitions – Stephen Cohen
SophieCo, Russia Today, 19 May, 2017 10:00
Stephen Cohen: ... you would have to ask why are all these, I think, false allegations being made against President Trump? Because the narrative that Trump somehow is Kremlin agent is what broke out after Lavrov and Trump met in the White House, in the Oval office. Because it was a normal meeting, it was an important meeting, it was part of trying to build, between Trump and Putin, an alliance against international terrorism, particularly in Syria. So that would’ve been a good thing, and it is a good thing, but the enemies of that, and the enemies of Trump, turned it into a scandal that does not exist.
... Moreover, the Israelis have said “nothing was revealed” - this is just part of the narrative against either Trump personally or the attempt to build a new relationship with Russia based on cooperation. But Sophie, please understand, this is a unique moment - there’s never been anything like it in my lifetime, in American-Russian relations, and it’s exceedingly dangerous.
... have they been running an operation which involves this leaking you mentioned, against Trump, which is now going on for almost a year. If so, it began last July, with these charges about Trump’s illicit relations with the Kremlin. Now, bear in mind, Sophie, that all of these allegations are based on leaks, intelligence leaks. There’s no evidence they’re coming from Trump’s people. But Trump doesn't control the intelligence services. We’re not sure who does, and therefore, we are now asking, some of us: who is doing this leaking and for what purpose? But it doesn’t stop, it continues, and it has continued since Trump became president. So, you’ve posed a big question, but I want to add - it’s only a question, we don’t have an answer. It needs to be discussed in the United States, that’s for sure.
... he said repeatedly, and I quote: “Wouldn’t it be great to cooperate with Russia?” He meant, in the war against international terrorism. And I thought, and many others thought here - “Yes, it would be great!”, despite everything that’s happened, and think about this, Sophie - Trump has not stopped trying to negotiate with President Putin of Russia. There have been conversations between Trump and Putin, your foreign minister, Lavrov, and our Secretary of State Tillerson have met, they appeared to be talking regularly, there’s a plan, but it may be sabotaged, for Trump and Putin to meet in July.
... Again, there’s no conspiracy with Russia, but it dominates the media.
... international terrorism” sounds bland, but if these terrorists get ahold of radioactive material or chemical weapons, we are talking about a catastrophe like Chernobyl. This is not some secondary issue. This is existential.
... Because they don’t tell us everything they’re doing and they should not. We know that between Trump and Putin there have been conversations both at the level of the Russian foreign minister Lavrov and the American Secretary of State Tillerson, but also, with other people playing a role. I would guess that Henry Kissinger has played a role. But there are official and non-official people, but nonetheless, the enemies of this cooperation are so powerful in the United States, and there are enemies of it in Moscow too, let’s be candid - the question is, whether these leaders can do it. And Trump is crippled, but he’s not fully crippled, and he’s pushing ahead, best we can know, but every time he does, we get a new fake scandal, like what happened in the Oval office about the intelligence. It’s completely bogus, Sophie, there’s nothing to it.
Sophie Shevardnadze: Why is this idea not taken at face value - why is it that whoever says “Maybe we should change our attitude towards Russia” is immediately suspected or branded as being the Kremlin’s spy?
SC: This has happened before in our history, but it’s been kind of in bars and in minor newspapers, gossip. It’s never become the national narrative, as it is today. Part of it, I think, is the absolute hatred of Trump on the part of the Democratic party and its allies. Part of it is very strong opposition in Washington. Not only in the intelligence agencies, but in the United States Senate, on the part of people like Senator McCain and his allies in the Democratic party, against any cooperation with Moscow. Part of it is a lack of high political culture in our kind of international, diplomatic discourse here. We are not terribly informed nation about foreign affairs. Sometimes, when American journalist call me up and ask me a question, it’s clear to me they don’t even understand their own question. We’re a provincial nation, Sophie, we’re not part of Europe, and many young people and old people, who do journalism in this country, have very little experience. So the discourse becomes primitive and crude, but there are a lot of factors working into this. I would say, the loathing for Trump and the opposition to any President’s - they sabotaged Obama too, at one one point - cooperation with Russia.
... I just saw, what I think is the cover of the new Time magazine - used to be a very-very popular magazine, less so today - and the cover has a drawing of a White House that has been turned half into the Kremlin. So, they’ve merged Kremlin and the White House, and this is the motif, that there’s some kind of Putin-Trump access in the White House which New York Times columnists write about all the time. So what’s published in Foreign Policy magazine ought not to be taken seriously. Scarcely anything in the mainstream media today can be taken at face value. Everybody has to study for his or herself in America today.
... And the Democratic party, particularly the Hillary Clinton wing of the Democratic party, has already made it clear that it’s going to push this Trump-Russia story, at least until the Congressional elections in 2018. They think it’s a winning issue, and I think it’s fairly clear, that this is Mrs. Clinton’s hope to run again, because she will say: “I did not run a bad campaign, I did not lose - Putin stole my election from me and gave it to Trump”. And they’re going to push this at the grassroots, it’s already there at the town meetings, at Democratic grassroots, and they’re going to push it and push it at least until the elections, off-year elections, we call them, in 2018. So this is a given. No matter what facts emerge, the Democratic party is going to push this as they are now every day.
US Report Still Lacks Proof on Russia ‘Hack’
By Robert Parry, January 7, 2017
Despite mainstream media acceptance, the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment on alleged Russian “hacking” still lacks hard public evidence, a case of “trust-us” by politicized spy agencies.
Open Letter to Trump
from leading artists, politicians, journalists: drop charges and investigation into WikiLeaks
1:20 PM - 15 May 2017
... We call on you as President of the United States to close the Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks and drop any charges planned against any member of WikiLeaks. It was a free and robust press that provided you with a platform on which to run for president. Defending a truly free press requires freedom from fear and favour and the support of journalists and citizens everywhere; for the kind of threat now facing WikiLeaks — and all publishers and journalists — is a step into the darkness.
Alfonso Sánchez, Andrej Hunko (Member of German Parliament (DIE LINKE), member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe), Andrew Bartlett (Former Senator in the Australian Parliament - 1997-2008), Andrew Fowler (Journalist/author), Andy Müller-Maguhn (Member of the Board, Wau Holland Foundation (WHS) / Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ)), Angela Richter (Director), Ann Wright (Col., US Army (ret.); Foreign Service Officer (resigned)), Annegret Falter (Whistleblower-Network), Annie Machon (Former British intelligence officer), Brandon Bryant (Recipient of the 2015 Whistleblower of the Year Award, former drone pilot), Coleen Rowley (FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)), ...Diani Barreto (Journalist, researcher, campaigner, coordinator at ExposeFacts), ... Edward Snowden (President, Freedom of the Press Foundation), ... Friedrich Moser (director A GOOD AMERICAN), Günter Wallraff (Investigative journalist), ... Jérémie Zimmermann (La Quadrature du Net, co-founder), ...John Kiriakou (Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer), John Pilger (journalist, Courage Trustee), ... Kirk Wiebe (NSA Whistleblower and Retired Senior Intelligence Analyst), , ... Oliver Stone (filmmaker), ... Patti Smith(artist), , ... Ray McGovern (Former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.) and founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity as well as Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence), , ... Thomas Drake (Former Senior Executive, NSA), ... William Binney (Technical Director, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)), Yanis Varoufakis (economist and co-founder of DiEM25), more
Russia-gate’s Shaky Foundation
By Daniel Herman, September 29, 2017 (in cache)
Special Report: The Russia-gate hysteria now routinely includes rhetoric about the U.S. being at “war” with nuclear-armed Russia, but the shaky factual foundation continues to show more cracks, as historian Daniel Herman describes.
John F. Kennedy, 399 - White House Statement Following the Return of a Special Mission to South Viet-Nam. October 2, 1963
3. Major U.S. assistance in support of this military effort is needed only until the insurgency has been suppressed or until the national security forces of the Government of South Viet-Nam are capable of suppressing it.
Secretary McNamara and General Taylor reported their judgement that the major part of the U.S. military task can be completed by the end of 1965, although there may be a continuing requirement for a limited number of U.S. training personnel. They reported that by the end of this year, the U.S. program for training Vietnamese should have progressed to the point where 1,000 U.S. military personnel assigned to South Viet-Nam can be withdrawn.
5. It remains the policy of the United States, in South Viet-Nam as in other parts of the world, to support the efforts of the people of that country to defeat aggression and to build a peaceful and free society
Hillary Clinton’s Deceptive Blame-Shifting
Robert Parry, June 1, 2017
... Referring to a report (in cache) ...
[this report titled Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” is a declassified version of a highly classified assessment that has been provided to the President and to recipients approved by the President]
... released by President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence (DNI) on Jan. 6, Clinton asserted that “17 agencies, all in agreement, which I know from my experience as a Senator and Secretary of State, is hard to get. They concluded with high confidence that the Russians ran an extensive information war campaign against my campaign, to influence voters in the election. They did it through
So that was the conclusion.”
But Clinton’s statement is false regarding the unanimity of the 17 agencies and misleading regarding her other claims. Both former DNI James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan acknowledged in sworn testimony last month that the Jan. 6 report alleging Russian “meddling” did not involve all 17 agencies.
Clapper and Brennan stated that the report was actually the work of hand-picked analysts from only three agencies – the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation – under the oversight of the DNI’s office. In other words, there was no consensus among the 17 agencies, a process that would have involved some form of a National Intelligence Estimate (or NIE), a community-wide effort that would have included footnotes citing any dissenting views.
Instead, as Clapper testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on May 8, the Russia-hacking claim came from a “special intelligence community assessment” (or ICA) produced by selected analysts from the CIA, NSA and FBI, “a coordinated product from three agencies – CIA, NSA, and the FBI – not all 17 components of the intelligence community,” the former DNI said.
... “It wasn’t a full inter-agency community assessment that was coordinated among the 17 agencies, and for good reason because of the nature and the sensitivity of the information trying, once again, to keep that tightly compartmented,” Brennan said.
... Her reference to the 1,000 Russian “agents” is not contained in the Jan. 6 report, either. It apparently derived from unconfirmed speculation from Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, who mentioned this claim at a news conference on March 30, admitting that he didn’t know if it was true.
... the reality is that U.S. intelligence agencies, their allies and U.S.-government-funded “non-governmental organizations” have mounted similar operations against Russia and other targets.
... Neither, of course, are Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party eager to engage in a serious self-criticism about how they managed to blow an extremely winnable race against an extraordinarily flawed candidate in Donald Trump. Rather than look at their own missteps and misjudgments, they are presenting themselves as innocent victims.
In Wednesday’s interview – after misrepresenting what the Jan. 6 report actually said – Clinton suggested that the Trump campaign must have colluded with the Russians in “weaponizing” the data.
[The Russians] were conveying this weaponized information and the content of it. … So the Russians — in my opinion and based on the intel and the counterintel people I’ve talked to — could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they had been guided. … Guided by Americans and guided by people who had polling and data information.”
... Clinton lacked any proof of this convoluted accusation ...
... while the Democrats dig themselves deeper into the so-far empty pit of blaming Russia for their electoral disaster, the Russia-gate investigation continues to take on other curious aspects, such as an unwillingness to hear from some of Donald Trump’s advisers who have been named in accusations and who have volunteered to testify publicly.
The US Hand in the Libyan/Syrian Tragedies
By Jonathan Marshall
June 9, 2017
Exclusive: The Obama administration’s “regime change” debacles in Libya and Syria are spreading terrorist violence into Europe, but they have inflicted vastly more bloodshed in those two tragic nations.
... A decade ago, Libya was a leading foe of radical jihadis, not a sanctuary for their international operations. A 2008 State Department memo [see below] noted that “Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism.” It gave the Gaddafi regime credit for “aggressively pursuing operations to disrupt foreign fighter flows,” particularly by veterans of jihadist wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
All that came to an end in 2011, when armed rebels, including disciplined members of al-Qaeda and Islamic State, enlisted NATO’s help to topple Gaddafi’s regime. Western leaders ignored the prescient warnings of Gaddafi’s son Seif that “Libya may become the Somalia of North Africa, of the Mediterranean. . . .You will see millions of illegal immigrants. The terror will be next door.” Gaddafi himself similarly predicted that once the jihadis “control the Mediterranean . . . then they will attack Europe.”
... In April 2012, Lebanese authorities confiscated a ship carrying more than 150 tons of arms and ammunition originating in Misrata, Libya. A U.N.-authorized panel inspected the weapons and reported finding SA-24 and SA-7 surface-to-air missiles, anti-tank guided missiles, and a variety of other light and heavy weapons.
By that August, according to Time magazine, “hundreds of Libyans” had flocked to Syria to “export their revolution,” bringing with them weapons, expertise in making bombs, and experience in battlefield tactics.
“Within weeks of the successful conclusion of their revolution, Libyan fighters began trickling into Syria,” the magazine noted. “But in recent months, that trickle has allegedly become a torrent, as many more have traveled to the mountains straddling Syria and Turkey, where the rebels have established their bases.”
A Syrian rebel told the newsweekly, “They have heavier weapons than we do,” including surface-to-air missiles. “They brought these weapons to Syria, and they are being used on the front lines.”
A month later, the London Times reported that a Libyan ship carrying more than 400 tons of weapons bound for Syria, including SAM-7 anti-aircraft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades, had docked in Turkey. Such weapons particularly compounded the suffering of civilians caught up in the war.
As France’s foreign minister told reporters that October, rebel-held anti-aircraft missiles were “forcing (Syrian government) planes to fly extremely high, and so the strikes are less accurate.”
According to later reporting by journalist Seymour Hersh, most such Libyan weapons made their way to Syria via covert routes supervised by the CIA, under a program authorized by the Obama administration in early 2012. Funding and logistics support came from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. The CIA supposedly avoided disclosing the program to Congress by classifying it as a liaison operation with a foreign intelligence partner, Britain’s MI6.
Word of the operation began leaking to the London media by December 2012. The CIA was said to be sending in more advisers to help ensure that the Libyan weapons did not reach radical Islamist forces.
Of course, their efforts came too late; U.S. intelligence officials knew by that time that “the Salafist(s), the Muslim Brotherhood, and (al-Qaeda)” were “the major forces driving the insurgency.” The influx of new arms simply compounded Syria’s suffering and raised its profile as a dangerous arena of international power competition.
Libya’s arms and fighters helped transform the Syrian conflict from a nasty struggle into a bloodbath. As Middle East scholar Omar Dahi noted, “the year 2012 was decisive in creating the present catastrophe. There were foreign elements embroiled in Syria before that date . . . but until early 2012 the dynamics of the Syrian conflict were largely internal. . . . Partly in . . . appropriation of weapons pumped in from the outside and partly in anticipation of still greater military assistance, namely from the West, the opposition decided to take up arms.
“The decision—militarization—had three main effects. First, it dramatically increased the rate of death and destruction throughout the country. . . . By mid-2012, the monthly casualties were almost in excess of the total in the entire first year of the uprising. Militarization gave the Syrian regime a free hand to unleash its full arsenal of indiscriminate weaponry. . . Perhaps most fatefully, the advent of armed rebellion placed much of the opposition’s chances in the hands of those who would fund and arm the fighters. . . . It was then that the jihadi groups were unleashed.”
The collateral victims of NATO’s intervention in Libya now include 6 million Libyans attempting to survive in a failed state, millions of people across North Africa afflicted by Islamist terrorism, 20 million Syrians yearning for an end to war, and millions of innocent Europeans who wonder when they might become targets of suicidal terrorists. There is nothing “humanitarian” about wars that unleash such killing and chaos, with no end in sight.
2008 State Department Memo
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR SECRETARY RICE'S VISIT TO LIBYA
Source: Wikileaks Document
Embassy Tripoli and the Government of Libya are looking forward to your [Condoleezza Rice's] historic visit to Tripoli September 5. Coming on the heels of NEA A/S Welch's successful finalization of a comprehensive claims settlement agreement in Tripoli August 14, the GOL views your visit as a signature event in its decade-long effort to achieve reintegration into the international community, and as a tangible benefit of its strategic decision in 2003 to abandon its WMD programs and renounce terrorism. Key issues for your visit include:
Paul Jay, Reality Asserts Itself, May 22, 2017
Norman Solomon joins Paul Jay on Reality Asserts Itself discussing the Trump/Russia affair and plans to isolate & perhaps attack Iran
Paul Jay: I think this relates to the first segment of our interview. We were talking about the fight within the Democratic Party and the fight against the oligarchy that represents the control of the DNC and the Democratic Party. It comes very much to this question of what you make of Chuck Schumer and his allies. The anti-Russia kick is being used as a way to wound the Trump presidency, and for good reason many people all of whom consider themselves progressive would like to wound the Trump presidency, and for good reason. I mean, I personally think this Trump/Pence presidency will be in terms of foreign policy as or more dangerous as the Bush/Cheney administration. Domestically, they'll be clearly far worse. You can see from the Cabinet appointments and Supreme Court and such. Opposition to that Trump camp that merges with the Schumer camp means merges with the oligarchy within the Democrat Party. Actually winds up just strengthening the people that are really behind the scenes that benefit from an oligarchy domestic policy and oligarchy foreign policy.
Paul Jay: At the heart of this issue of Comey and the elections and such is an underlying assumption in the media, in the political world, that Russia is America's adversary, antagonistic adversary. You hear this word over and over again. I mean, if Trump had been sitting down with the Canadians and gave them some intelligence about ISIS, nobody would have cared. If he had been sitting down with Germany, nobody would have cared because they're our allies. What is a progressive view do you think on this whole demonization of Putin and the Russians?
Norman Solomon: Well, at RootsAction.org which I co-founded with Jeff Cohen, we're unfortunately somewhat unusual in that as a large online action group, and we have one and a half million active people now. We refuse to jump on the anti-Russia bandwagon. It's absolutely tragic that so many people who I believe should know better are jumping in to fueling what amounts to a new cold war. We've got to ask ourselves, where does that lead? This anti-Russia hoopla, this bandwagon. Where is it headed? It's headed toward increased tension with another huge nuclear power. There are 4,000 nuclear weapons pointed from Russia, mostly in U.S. direction and vice versa. What's the end game here? Do we want to conflict in eastern Europe or elsewhere, Ukraine that could escalate into nuclear war? Is it really worth it to score some political points real or imagined against Republicans and heighten the chance that the world will end up with nuclear holocaust? I think the irresponsibility of so many left liberal groups in jumping on the anti-Russia bandwagon is mind-blowing. The idea-
Paul Jay: Only because it damages Trump. If Obama had been proposing exactly the same thing, they all about have been for it.
Norman Solomon: Well, it's seen as a tool, a club to hit Trump over the head with. I believe that there are certainly other impeachable offenses. ... I think from the standpoint of world security, the idea that the juggernaut of rhetoric against Russia should be fueled by Democrats, I think it's similar to the CEOs of the corporations who will look at the next two quarters and they think it's to their advantage to do a poisonous dump into the river because they're going to make a profit. People like Pelosi and Schumer and their acolytes in the media and among Democratic Party groups, they are poisoning our future because they think they're going to make headway.
Paul Jay: Well, literally because what they're telling us is that Russia is a greater threat to America than climate change.
Norman Solomon: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:11:27].
Paul Jay: They don't talk about climate change at all and they never shut up about Russia.
Norman Solomon: It's also a way to displace reality about what happened in 2016. They want to pretend that the election of Trump and the anti-Democratic factors in the U.S. came primarily or largely from Kremlin. I think that is absolutely absurd.
Paul Jay: Not talk at all about the substance of what was released in Wikileaks, which is if the DNC hadn't been plodding against Sanders, there never would have been an issue in the first place.
Norman Solomon: It wasn't fake news. It was accurate. We can argue about whether it should have been released or not, but was totally accurate. There was nothing fake about it, and there's no focus at all then on the caging of the hundreds of thousands of registered voters, the way structurally in state after state people of color or poor people were discouraged from or sometimes prevented from voting. The death of a thousand cuts to democracy, that is a panoply of self-inflicted wounds. The absurdity of Democrats or anyone else pointing to the Kremlin when we have a lack of democracy in our own country that is fully homegrown, I think that is a real abdication or moral and political responsibility.
Paul Jay: I mean, as a news organization, we report on Putin's autocracy. We report on the suppression of civil rights and human rights in Russia. We reported on the killing of journalists in Russia. The oligarchs of Russia are ... People have called it a kleptocracy. One of our guests often calls capitalism in Russia Jurassic Park capitalism because it's so barbaric. All of that being said, Russia's done nothing on a global scale that compares with the crimes of U.S. foreign policy. How do these liberals, progressives, whatever they want to call themselves, keep forgetting that?
Norman Solomon: Well, FAIR, the media watch group that I've been an associate with has pointed out that in 1996 Time magazine did a cover story bragging about how the U.S. had gotten Boris Yeltsin re-elected. Direct interference. If we're going to look at the realities, the geopolitical realities, the fact that the U.S. has expanded NATO up to the borders of Russia and therefore greatly increase ... I mean, can you imagine the Warsaw Pact expanding to Mexico or Canada? That action which is contravention of what the first President Bush promised to Gorbachev that this would not happen after the Berlin Wall fell. This is an example where we've got to look at the world from other vantage points, not just the myopic, jingoistic, red, white and blue lenses that we're encouraged to look through.
Paul Jay: The core of the narrative of the military industrial complex, the core of the narrative that justifies an almost trillion dollar military intelligence, security budget and perhaps more than a trillion dollars. Is Russia the existential threat? They have what? 60 and more years invested in that narrative, and along comes with Trump, and he wants to undo the narrative. It's very interesting that he only lost the popular vote by three million. He wins the Electoral College. Most Americans, they don't need this Russia is the boogieman story. We're very open to have a more rational policy towards Russia, but it takes out. You don't need aircraft carriers if you're only fighting ISIS.
Norman Solomon: One of the insidious things is that when somebody opens his or her mouth and points out some of these factors, increasingly they're being accused of being some sort of symp for flunky or ideological ally with the Kremlin. When you look at the impact of that, it is calculated to have impact on Trump as well. A broken clock is correct once in a while, and broken as he is politically and psychologically, when Trump says it would be good to get along with Russia, that is what one president after another in his saner moments has said when you got these two huge super powers. Aa a matter of fact, we're coming up very close to the 50th anniversary of the Spirit of Glassboro meeting where Kosygin from Russia and President Lyndon Johnson met to further détente. If people want to win their jingoistic, nationalistic, ideological war, and blow up the world with nuclear weapons, that's going to be a very small comfort that they stuck to their pride in America as they perceive it.
This is a calculated pressure. I'll give this one other example. A calculated pressure to push Trump away from any rational relationship with the Kremlin. You know that the Center for American Progress, the Podesta outfits, still closely intertwined and aligned with the Clinton wing of the party; they in recent months have launched something called the Moscow Project. They're crowdsourcing explicitly any bit of information that can tie any Trump associate or Trump himself to Russia. They've got a huge amount of money. They explicitly are trying to bring Trump down on the basis of Russia, and I think that's very dangerous.
Paul Jay: I do not personally trust Trump's intent for wanting to reconcile with Russia. I think there's abundance of evidence that it's a fossil fuel play. This is why Tillerson got this Friendship Award when he was at Exxon. They want to lift sanctions on Russia because they want to have ... Putin seems to be willing to make a deal where they're going to let western capital, western fossil fuel companies come in and make a lot more money out of Russian oil, but who cares about the intent? Maybe that's his intent, but the policy of having a more normalized relationship with Russia and reducing the tensions, that has to be good for people. It also seems so bloody obvious.
Paul Jay: It goes another step, which I think is even more dangerous, because in spite of all the rhetoric against Russia, I don't think any of these forces are planning a real war against Russia. The military industrial complex love it, love an almost-war because it justifies these massive expenditures. The Democratic Party liberal establishment loves it because they're drawing some blood in terms of partisan politics. ...
Lied To Death: Conversations With Daniel Ellsberg On Why We Go To War
By Arn Menconi, 2015
Excerpts from Chapter 1 (transcript)
Now, what I'm saying is: The US had a covert foreign policy. The foreign policy is not what the President or the State Department says it is. It is not ever what a public affairs officer says it is. The policy is always different from that. But I'm saying much more than the fact that I used to think (I've learnt much more than that) that it has a covert component. That's well known. They don't generally know what covert means the way I just described it. They don't understand that it means not just secret but lying, and explicitely lying. Anything secret, if it's very secret, has to be protected by some lies, such as if somebody asks you "Do you know of this report?", which you just read or wrote, and you have to say "No.", because the existence of that report is secret. So to keep that secret you have to lie about what you know and what you think and so forth. But I'm saying more than that: A covert policy is not merely secret, is lying from start to finish
I conceive of the American foreign policy as being in the service of covert empire. Covert in two senses.
And, first, let me say that the word "covert" means not only "secret" or sometimes synomymously "clandestine". But clandestine in particular situations sounds like secret operations, operations that you keep secret from the public. And that includes some military planning for example, which has to be secret from the enemy. But covert implies: it's not merely secret, but it is accompanied by a cover story, a false account of every aspect of the policy, which is meant to deceive the domestic public, not merely foreigners, not merely adversaries, and may or may not be known to allies on a secret basis. But to deceive them as to what the policy is, what the targets are, what you are trying to achieve, what the interests are, the (?) of the policy, and what the means are. And above all to conceal who is running this.. ...
We don't have a foreign policy that uses in part covert operations in peacetime as in wartime. ... The purposes of our covert operations, the purposes of our foreign policy in general are different from what we say. They are not to improve our national security. To a large extent they endanger our national security by tolerating or provocing or promoting threats literally to our existence. Without our foreign policy there would not be five thousand Soviet missiles aimed at us that could destroy the world including us any day. Those wouldn't exist if our foreign policy was different. If our foreign policy was aimed primarily at preventing the United States from facing an existential -by which I mean survival, physical survival to the last human- if it were aimed at preventing threats to our physical survival, it could easily have been oriented toward preventing the existence of what at one point was about 30 000 Soviet weapons. But that existence is a collateral accepted by our policy, it's a price of our foreign policy which is for our own benefit, not based on our security.
(more about US foreign policy in Daniel Ellsberg, "The Doomesday Machine - Confessions of a Nuclear Planner", 2017)
In this context see also:
Ben Norton in Loud and Clear "After NYC Attack: A Deeper Look Into the Origins of Modern Terrorism"
On the Nov. 2nd 2017 episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by journalist Ben Norton,
... these [terrorists] groups of today have their origins in the Cold War on the opposite side. In the 1980s the most infamous example is the US in partnership with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. They supported extremists groups (Mujaheddin) inside Afghanistan to fight the USSR-backed socialist government in Afghanistan. Mujahedin are the ideological and political forefathers for many of the groups we see today. So, the Taliban and Al-Qaeda directly have their origin in Afghanistan in the 1980s. And at that moment they were supported by the CIA.
Far right, facists groups do not distinguish between government and civilians The US supported extremely brutal groups (e.g. the Contras in Nicaragua) in the 1980s in Central America. This kind of violence is rooted in empires. And because the resistance groups have all been crushed, all that's left are these extremists groups that have turned on their former imperial sponsors.
US policy has effectively empowered Al-Qaeda in Yemen, Libya and Syria, Taliban in Afghanistan, ISIS in Iraq.
Democrats Face Failing Russia-gate Scheme
By Norman Solomon, June 26, 2017
"The plan for Democrats to run against Russia may be falling apart.
now Democrats in Congress and other party leaders are starting to face an emerging reality: The “winning issue” of Russia is a losing issue.
... A major poll has just reached conclusions that indicate party leaders have been operating under political illusions. Conducted last week, the Harvard-Harris national poll found a big disconnect between the Russia obsession of Democratic Party elites in Washington and voters around the country.
... The [Harvard-Harris national] poll “reveals the risks inherent for the Democrats, who are hoping to make big gains — or even win back the House — in 2018,” The Hill reported. “The survey found that
... Yes, a truly independent investigation is needed to probe charges that the Russian government interfered with the U.S. election. And investigators should also dig to find out if there’s actual evidence that Trump or his campaign operatives engaged in nefarious activities before or after the election. At the same time, let’s get a grip. The partisan grandstanding on Capitol Hill, by leading Republicans and Democrats, hardly qualifies as “independent.”
In the top strata of the national Democratic Party, and especially for the Clinton wing of the party, blaming Russia has been of visceral importance. A recent book about Hillary Clinton’s latest presidential campaign — Shattered by journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes — includes a revealing passage. “Within 24 hours of her concession speech,” the authors report, campaign manager Robby Mook and campaign chair John Podesta “assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up.” At that meeting, “they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.”
... In early spring, the former communications director of the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign, Jennifer Palmieri, summarized the post-election approach in a Washington Post opinion piece: “If we make plain that what Russia has done is nothing less than an attack on our republic, the public will be with us. And the more we talk about it, the more they’ll be with us.”
... I warned ("Democrats are playing with fire on Russia", 1/9/2017) that “the most cohesive message from congressional Democrats is: blame Russia. The party leaders have doubled down on an approach that got nowhere during the presidential campaign — trying to tie the Kremlin around Donald Trump’s neck.”
And I added: “Still more interested in playing to the press gallery than speaking directly to the economic distress of voters in the Rust Belt and elsewhere who handed the presidency to Trump, top Democrats would much rather scapegoat Vladimir Putin than scrutinize how they’ve lost touch with working-class voters.”
But my main emphasis in that Jan. 9 article was that “the emerging incendiary rhetoric against Russia is extremely dangerous. It could lead to a military confrontation between two countries that each has thousands of nuclear weapons.”I noted that “enthusiasm for banging the drum against Putin is fast becoming a big part of the Democratic Party’s public identity in 2017. And — insidiously — that’s apt to give the party a long-term political stake in further demonizing the Russian government.” My article pointed out: “The reality is grim, and potentially catastrophic beyond comprehension. By pushing to further polarize with the Kremlin, congressional Democrats are increasing the chances of a military confrontation with Russia.” ..."
Democrats are playing with fire on Russia
BY NORMAN SOLOMON, CONTRIBUTOR - 01/09/17
"... Meanwhile, the emerging incendiary rhetoric against Russia is extremely dangerous. It could lead to a military confrontation between two countries that each have thousands of nuclear weapons. At the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last Thursday on foreign cyber threats, ranking member Jack Reed (D-RI) denounced “Russia’s rejection of the post-Cold War international order and aggressive actions against its neighbors,” and he condemned “a regime with values and interests so antithetical to our own.” ...
... At the same time, enthusiasm for banging the drum against Putin is fast becoming a big part of the Democratic Party’s public identity in 2017. And — insidiously — that’s apt to give the party a long-term political stake in further demonizing the Russian government. The reality is grim, and potentially catastrophic beyond comprehension. By pushing to further polarize with the Kremlin, congressional Democrats are increasing the chances of a military confrontation with Russia. By teaming up with the likes of Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham to exert bipartisan pressure for escalation, Democrats could help stampede the Trump administration in reckless directions.
This approach is already underway. It is worse than irresponsible. It is madness that could lead to a nuclear holocaust."
What Trump Can Expect from Putin
By Ray McGovern, July 1, 2017
... For decades, the Russians have viewed an invulnerable nuclear-tipped strategic missile force as a deterrent to a U.S. attack though they have never displayed an inclination to commit suicide by actually firing them.
From this perspective, Putin wonders why the U.S. might seek to upset the nuclear balance by deploying ABM systems around Russia’s borders, making Russia’s ICBM force vulnerable.
Putin’s generals, like yours, are required to impute the most provocative intentions to military capabilities; that is what military intelligence is all about. Thus, they cannot avoid seeing the ABM deployments as giving the U.S. the capability for a first strike to decapitate Russia’s ICBM force and, by doing so, protecting the U.S. from Russian nuclear retaliation.
And, as Putin has made clear, the Kremlin sees U.S. claims that the deployments are needed to thwart a strategic strike from Iran as insultingly disingenuous – all the more so in light of the 2015 multilateral agreement handcuffing Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb for the foreseeable future.
Yet, the U.S.-Russia strategic balance becomes more and more precarious with the deployment of each new ABM site or warship, together with rising concerns at the possibility of a U.S. technological breakthrough. With the time window for Russian leaders to evaluate data indicating a possible U.S. nuclear strike closing, launch-on-warning becomes more likely – and so does World War III.
It is no secret that Russian leaders feel double-crossed by NATO’s steady creep eastward, but Russia’s strategic planners seemed to believe they could handle that – up to a point. That point was reached with the Feb. 22, 2014 coup d’etat in Ukraine, which Moscow viewed as one U.S.-backed regime change too many and one that installed a virulently anti-Russian government along a route historically used by foreign invaders.
On April 17, 2014, the day before Crimea was re-incorporated into Russia, Putin spoke of what motivated Russia’s strong reaction. The “more important” reason he gave was the need to thwart plans to incorporate Ukraine and Crimea into the anti-ballistic missile deployment encircling Russia.
... In his interviews with Oliver Stone (aired on Showtime as “The Putin Interviews”), Putin made the same distinction between the NATO buildup (bad enough) and ABM deployment (more dangerous still), telling Stone the ABM challenge is “a separate issue which no doubt is going to require a response from Russia.”
Putin blames your predecessors for his mistrust of Washington on this important issue. He has branded a huge mistake President Bush’s 2001 decision to exit the ABM Treaty – an agreement that sharply limited the number of permitted anti-ballistic missile sites – noting that the Treaty had been for three decades the “cornerstone of the system of national security as a whole.”
Putin’s misgivings were hardly allayed by President Obama’s ten-second pas de deux five years ago with Dmitry Medvedev in South Korea. An ABC open mike picked up their private conversation on March 26, 2012, at a summit on nuclear security in Seoul.
Obama is heard assuring then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that the missile defense issue “can be solved,” but that it was “important for him (Putin) to give me space.” President Obama asked Medvedev to tell Putin that Obama would have “more flexibility” after being re-elected. More flexibility or no, the missile defense program proceeded unabated, with Washington shunning bilateral talks.
... on Sept. 11, 2013, Putin placed an op-ed in The New York Times, titled “A plea for caution from Russia,” the last part of which he is said to have drafted himself:
“My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism …
“It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional … There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. … We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”
Russia then played a central role in facilitating Iran’s concessions regarding the nuclear accord that President Obama considered perhaps his greatest diplomatic achievement, with the key interim agreement reached on Nov. 24, 2013. But Putin felt betrayed when Obama’s State Department helped organize the coup in Ukraine just three months later.
Since the Ukraine crisis, U.S. media and political circles have subjected Putin to an unrelenting demonization, including comparisons of him to Adolf Hitler and an over-the-top campaign to blame him for Hillary Clinton’s defeat and the Trump presidency.
Yet, while the tone of the Russia-bashing in Washington has reached hysterical levels, the Defense Intelligence Agency has just published a balanced assessment of “Russia’s Threat Perceptions,” which offers a view from Moscow’s vantage point:
“Since returning to power in 2012, Russian President Putin has sought to reassert Russia as a great power on the global stage and to restructure an international order that the Kremlin believes is tilted too heavily in favor of the United States at Russia’s expense.
“Moscow seeks to promote a multipolar world predicated on the principles of respect for state sovereignty and non-interference in other state’s internal affairs, the primacy of the UN, and a careful balance of power preventing one state or group of states from dominating the international order. …
“Moscow has sought to build a robust military able to project power, add credibility to Russian diplomacy, and ensure that Russian interests can no longer be summarily dismissed without consequence.”
'The Putin Interviews' - Oliver Stone Speaks Out!
'The Putin Interviews' - Oliver Stone Speaks Out! RonPaulLibertyReport
(in cache on INTENSO#8)
Insane militarization of US politics toward Russia. Putin would be hailed as a great politician if he wasn't the Russian president.
Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
A Former CIA Analyst Explains Why Denuclearization Is Crucial to Stabilizing U.S.-Russia Relations
Melvin Goodman, Robert Scheer
Posted by Emma Niles on Jul 7, 2017
In a new episode of “Scheer Intelligence”, host and Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer talks with Melvin Goodman [former CIA analyst] about agency failures and the future of U.S.-Russia ties.
There are too many areas of mutual interest that are much more important than most of the differences we have with Russia,” Goodman tells Scheer. “When you look at arms control, disarmament, counterterrorism, nonproliferation of strategic weaponry, the Iran situation, the North Korean situation—the United States and Russia are completely in agreement in those areas.”
“Trump is clueless about major areas of strategic substance,” Goodman continues, adding that many key members of Trump’s administration also are unfit to start a dialogue with Russia. “This is an administration with no institutional memory whatsoever. It’s incredibly pathetic.”
Rush transcript of parts with time marks:
• 9:30: Melvyn Goodman: "To the Kennedy administration and the Eisenhowwer administration anything left of center was bad. Kennedy was no different than Eisenhower on that regard. The way they looked at the Third World was: If you couldn't control the leader of a Third World country, then you have to oppose that leader. It didn;t matter if he was left or right. This was true for Eisenhower and Kennedy."
The Syrian Test of Trump-Putin Accord
By Ray McGovern, July 8, 2017
The U.S. mainstream media remains obsessed over Russia’s alleged “meddling” in last fall’s election, but the real test of bilateral cooperation may come on the cease-fire in Syria, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
Admitting Deep-State Pre-eminence
Only in December 2016, in an interview with Matt Viser of the Boston Globe, did Kerry admit that his efforts to deal with the Russians had been thwarted by then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter – as well as all those forces he found so difficult to align.
“Unfortunately we had divisions within our own ranks that made the implementation [of the ceasefire agreement] extremely hard to accomplish,” Kerry said. “But it … could have worked. … The fact is we had an agreement with Russia … a joint cooperative effort.
“Now we had people in our government who were bitterly opposed to doing that,” he said. “I regret that. I think that was a mistake. I think you’d have a different situation there conceivably now if we’d been able to do that.”
The Globe’s Viser described Kerry as frustrated. Indeed, it was a tough way for Kerry to end nearly 34 years in public office.
After Friday’s [July 7, 2017] discussions with President Trump, Kremlin eyes will be focused on Secretary of State Tillerson, watching to see if he has better luck than Kerry did in getting Ashton Carter’s successor, James “Mad Dog” Mattis and CIA’s latest captive-director Pompeo into line behind what President Trump wants to do.
As the new U.S.-Russia agreed-upon ceasefire goes into effect on Sunday, Putin will be eager to see if this time Trump, unlike Obama, can make a ceasefire in Syria stick; or whether, like Obama, Trump will be unable to prevent it from being sabotaged by Washington’s deep-state actors.
Atomwaffenverbot: "Bundesregierung macht sich unglaubwürdig"
Stefan Korinth, 27. März 2017
Friedensforscher Sascha Hach zu Deutschlands Weigerung, an UN-Verhandlungen zum Verbot von Atomwaffen teilzunehmen.
... Dahinter steckt eine größere Bewegung, die schon seit mehreren Jahren gewachsen ist. Also einerseits auf Regierungsseite, vor allem getragen durch atomwaffenfreie Staaten, die seit 2013 mehrere internationale Konferenzen veranstaltet haben zu den humanitären Auswirkung von Atomwaffen, zur Krisenreaktion in solchen Fällen und zur Frage, wie Atomwaffen völkerrechtlich geregelt sind. Auf der anderen Seite wird sie von einem breiten zivilgesellschaftlichen Bündnis unterstützt. Die atomwaffenfreien Staaten sind bei diesen Konferenzen zu dem Schluss gekommen, dass nicht nur die Atomwaffenstaaten selber von den Auswirkungen betroffen wären und dass es keine angemessenen Krisenreaktionsmechanismen gibt. Atomwaffen sind aus ihrer Sicht mit dem humanitären Völkerrecht nicht vereinbar und es besteht für sie deshalb dringender Handlungsbedarf, hier eine völkerrechtliche Lücke zu schließen, um Atomwaffen als letzte noch nicht verbotene Massenvernichtungswaffe zu ächten.
... Die grundlegenden Ziele sind herausgebildet: dass das Verbot eben nicht nur die Weitergabe von Atomwaffen beinhalten soll, so wie es der Atomwaffensperrvertrag tut, sondern auch die Entwicklung, die Herstellung, den Besitz und den Einsatz delegitimiert.
... Zum einen würde es einen Gegenpol zur aktuellen Debatte schaffen. Denn momentan geht es ja stark in Richtung Aufrüstung und Modernisierung. Die Atomwaffenstaaten fahren die Investitionen rauf, aber auch die Rhetorik, auch die Drohung mit ihren Atomwaffenarsenalen. Das heißt, wenn es die anderen Staaten schaffen, einen Ächtungsvertrag zu beschließen, dann zeigen sie in dieser Debatte um Atomwaffen nochmal in eine ganz andere Richtung. Und können damit auch die aktuelle Aufrüstungs- und Eskalationsdynamik bremsen. Das ist unsere Erwartung.
Darüber hinaus ist so eine völkerrechtliche Ächtungsnorm hilfreich, um diplomatischen und politischen Druck für nukleare Abrüstung auszuüben. Das heißt, die Atomwaffenstaaten, wenn sie nicht beim Vertrag dabei sind, davon gehen wir jetzt mal aus, wären als solche delegitimiert. Wenn eine UN-Konferenz einen Verbotsvertrag macht, dann ist das natürlich ein spürbarer Angriff auf die Reputation und die Legitimität der Atomwaffenstaaten und ihren privilegierten Status. ...
... Klar hingegen ist, dass Deutschland offiziell an der Abschreckungspolitik der NATO teilnimmt und Mitglied der nuklearen Planungsgruppe innerhalb der Nato ist. Außerdem stellt Deutschland über die einfache Stationierung der US-Atomwaffen auf deutschem Staatsgebiet hinaus auch Trägersysteme bereit - Tornados - sowie Personal der Bundeswehr für die Wartung, aber auch für den Fall eines Einsatzes. Deutschland nimmt also sehr aktiv an der Abschreckungs- und Nuklearpolitik der Nato teil. Deutschlands Rolle im Gesamtprozess und die jetzige Verweigerung, bei einem Atomwaffenverbot mit zu verhandeln, erklärt sich natürlich auch durch diese Beteiligung an der Nato-Abschreckungspolitik. ... Durch den Nato-Vertrag ist kein Staat verpflichtet, an der Abschreckungspolitik teilzunehmen oder gar die Stationierung von Atomwaffen auf seinem Territorium zu akzeptieren. Das ist tatsächlich eine Frage des politischen Willens.
... Es gab politischen Druck vonseiten der USA [auf Deutschland, sich an der Nato-Atomwaffenpolitik zu beteiligen]. Im Vorfeld der Abstimmung in der Generalversammlung im letzten Jahr hat sich die US-Regierung an alle Nato-Mitgliedstaaten gewandt und sie sehr eindringlich dazu aufgefordert, im Sicherheitsinteresse der Allianz einstimmig gegen Verhandlungen und gegen ein Atomwaffenverbot zu stimmen. Diesem Druck hat sich die Bundesregierung gebeugt - und, das kann man so sagen, sich hier zum Vasallen der USA gemacht (Offener Brief (Cache) an den neuen Außenminister Gabriel).
...Über Lösungsstrategien oder Akteure, die sich für Abrüstungs- und Entspannungspolitik einsetzen, wird hingegen [in der Presse] kaum berichtet.
Dass auch über diese Verhandlungen, die jetzt in New York beginnen und über diese politische Bewegung, die im Schatten der westlichen Öffentlichkeit in Gang gesetzt wurde, so wenig informiert wird, zeigt, dass die Berichterstattung zum Thema Atomwaffen gerade sehr unausgeglichen ist.
... Atomwaffen bedeuten eben Macht, Überlegenheit, Status, Wettbewerb - das sind anscheinend die Gründe. Wenn man sich anschaut, wie die Weltordnung durch Atomwaffen untermauert wird, merkt man, dass Atomwaffen eine ganz andere macht- und geopolitische Rolle haben als es die anderen Massenvernichtungswaffen hatten.
... Die jüngsten Zahlen stammen aus einer Umfrage von 2016. Laut einer Forsa-Erhebung stimmen 93 Prozent der Bundesbürger für ein Atomwaffenverbot. 85 Prozent haben sich für einen Abzug der Atomwaffen aus Deutschland ausgesprochen. Und 88 Prozent waren gegen eine Modernisierung der Atomwaffen, die in Deutschland stationiert sind. Das ist eine ganz klare Haltung der deutschen Öffentlichkeit. Auch wenn wir mit Bürgern in Kontakt kommen, bin ich noch keinem begegnet, der es für gut hielte, dass sich Deutschland nuklear bewaffnet.
Trotzdem gab es in der jüngsten Debatte einzelne Stimmen, darunter auch Politiker, die sich dafür aussprachen. Ich glaube, die haben keine große Chance, in der deutschen Bevölkerung auf positive Resonanz zu stoßen. Es ist traurig, mitanzusehen, dass sich auch solche Institutionen wie die Bundesakademie für Sicherheitspolitik, ein sicherheitspolitischer Think-Tank der Bundesregierung, an dieser Debatte beteiligt und das mit einer sehr unkritischen Haltung gegenüber Atomwaffen.
... Die Federführung für die Teilnahme der Bundesregierung an [den UN-]Verhandlungen [zum Verbot von Atomwaffen] hat der Außenminister. Und die Entscheidung hat unserer Kenntnis nach auch Bundesaußenminister Steinmeier kurz vor der abschließenden Abstimmung im Dezember getroffen. Aber wir wissen auch, dass er vonseiten des Verteidigungsministeriums und des Bundeskanzleramtes hierfür Unterstützung erhalten hat. Das Bundeskanzleramt soll sich eindeutig gegen eine Teilnahme an Verhandlungen ausgesprochen haben.
Diese Haltung steht im Widerspruch zur Abrüstungsrhetorik des aktuellen Außenministers und der Bundesregierung. Sie versucht sich gerade abzugrenzen gegenüber den Muskelspielen bestimmter Staatenführer in den USA oder in der Türkei und will sich als besonnener Akteur in der Weltpolitik profilieren, der sich Frieden, Entspannung und Abrüstung verpflichtet fühlt. Das ist natürlich überhaupt nicht glaubwürdig, wenn sie in der Frage von Atomwaffen nicht mal bereit ist, an Gesprächen zur Abrüstung teilzunehmen.
Celebration as UN adopts historic nuclear weapons ban
Tim Wright, 10 JULY 2017
.... The treaty prohibits its state parties from
It also prohibits them from
A nation that possesses nuclear weapons may join the treaty, so long as it agrees to remove them from operational status immediately and destroy them in accordance with a legally binding, time-bound plan. One that hosts another nation’s nuclear weapons on its territory may also join the treaty on condition that it will remove them by a specified deadline.
With close to 15,000 nuclear weapons remaining in the world—and efforts underway in all nuclear-armed nations to bolster their arsenals—the ultimate goal of eliminating this paramount threat to humanity is far from being realized. But now, the United Nations has established the foundations for making a nuclear-weapon-free world possible.
The treaty establishes a powerful norm that, many expect, will prove transformative. It closes a major gap in international law. Nuclear weapons—like other indiscriminate weapons, including biological and chemical weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions—are now categorically and permanently banned.
After the nuclear weapons ban treaty: A new disarmament politics
Zia Mian, 7 JULY 2017
Article I of the treaty states that each state party undertakes never under any circumstances to:
As [the Trump administration’s UN ambassador Nikki] Haley put it, “We have to be realistic, is there anyone who thinks that North Korea would ban nuclear weapons?” Fortunately, more than 3,700 scientists, including 30 Nobel Laureates and a former Secretary of Defense, ignored her and signed an open letter supporting the negotiations. [Lawrence J. Korb, The nuclear ban treaty: A missed US opportunity that can be redeemed in September, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 10 July 2017].
The Stalemate Machine: A Schematic Summary
Pages 132 - 135 in Papers on the War
by Daniel Ellsberg, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1972
The following imputed Presidential decision guidelines (A, below) will, under crisis conditions of the Vietnam conflict as perceived by Washington decision-makers, lead to policy choices and Executive performance conforming in some detail to those actually obtaining at major escalation points (not necessarily to behavior in between them) between 1950 - 68. (Presidential choices significantly escalating U.S. involvement have occurred, in fact, only in crisis situations of impending failure.)
Together with decisions between major escalations, institutional consequences (including consequences for expectations), and external factors - mainly, GVN and DRV/VC behavior operating over time - these rules will generate an evolution of policy, involvement, and conflict very close to that observed over that period (B, C, and D below).
A. Presidential Decision Rules in Crisis
Do not lose South Vietnam to Communist control - or appear likely to do so - before the next election.
Do not, unless essential to satisfy Rule 1 in the immediate crisis or an earlier one:
Do choose actions that will:
(°) roughly in order shown under Rule 2, though, for example, any adjacent pair may be reversed, depending on judgement and circumstances.
EU erkennt überraschend „Grundlage der Kooperation“ mit Russland
Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten | Veröffentlicht: 12.07.17 01:45 Uhr
Russland und die Europäische Union wollen einen neuen Anlauf starten, um ihre außenpolitische Zusammenarbeit zu stärken. Obwohl beide Seiten nicht bei allen Themen dieselben Positionen teilten, sei eine „Grundlage zur Kooperation“ zu erkennen, sagte die EU-Außenbeauftragte Federica Mogherini nach einem Treffen mit Russlands Außenminister Sergej Lawrow am Dienstag in Brüssel. Es sei notwendig, regelmäßige Kontakte zu unterhalten.
Es sei aus Sicht der EU „unerlässlich“, wo immer dies möglich sei, zusammenzuarbeiten, sagte die EU-Außenbeauftragte nach mehrstündigen Gesprächen mit Lawrow. Dabei ging es Mogherini zufolge neben Syrien auch um die Krise in Libyen, die Vereinbarung mit dem Iran, die Spannungen in der Golf-Region, den Friedensprozess im Nahen Osten und die Lage in Nordkorea und in der Ukraine.
Lawrow sagte laut TASS, er hoffe, dass sich die Beziehungen zwischen Russland und der EU wieder normalisieren würden. Als Nachbarn hätten beide Seiten ein Interesse an guten Beziehungen. Er habe daher der Bitte Mogherinis zu einem Treffen sofort entsprochen. Lawrow hielt sich in Belgien auf, wodurch das Gespräch möglich geworden sei. Auch Lawrow unterstützte die Idee von regelmäßigen Kontakten.
OSZE-Treffen: Sebastian Kurz fordert Annäherung zwischen Russland und EU
Quelle: Reuters © Reuters, 11.07.2017 • 19:29 Uhr
Der OSZE-Vorsitzende Sebastian Kurz empfängt den russischen Außenminister Sergej Lawrow. Bei einem informellen Treffen der OSZE am Dienstag in Österreich sprachen sich Vertreter der Organisation für eine Annäherung zwischen Russland und der EU aus. In Europa könne es Frieden nur mit Russland geben. Das Blockdenken müsse überwunden werden.
Intel Vets Challenge ‘Russia Hack’ Evidence
July 24, 2017 (in cache)
In a memo to President Trump, a group of former U.S. intelligence officers, including NSA specialists, cite new forensic studies to challenge the claim of the key Jan. 6 “assessment” that Russia “hacked” Democratic emails last year.
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?
Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers, and then doctored to incriminate Russia.
... Independent analyst Skip Folden, a retired IBM Program Manager for Information Technology US, who examined the recent forensic findings, is a co-author of this Memorandum. He has drafted a more detailed technical report titled “Cyber-Forensic Investigation of ‘Russian Hack’ and Missing Intelligence Community Disclaimers,” and sent it to the offices of the Special Counsel and the Attorney General. VIPS member William Binney, a former Technical Director at the National Security Agency, and other senior NSA “alumni” in VIPS attest to the professionalism of the independent forensic findings.
The recent forensic studies fill in a critical gap. Why the FBI neglected to perform any independent forensics on the original “Guccifer 2.0” material remains a mystery – as does the lack of any sign that the “hand-picked analysts” from the FBI, CIA, and NSA, who wrote the “Intelligence Community Assessment” dated January 6, 2017, gave any attention to forensics.
NOTE: There has been so much conflation of charges about hacking that we wish to make very clear the primary focus of this Memorandum. We focus specifically on the July 5, 2016 alleged Guccifer 2.0 “hack” of the DNC server. In earlier VIPS memoranda we addressed the lack of any evidence connecting the Guccifer 2.0 alleged hacks and WikiLeaks, and we asked President Obama specifically to disclose any evidence that WikiLeaks received DNC data from the Russians [see here and here].
Addressing this point at his last press conference (January 18), he described “the conclusions of the intelligence community” as “not conclusive,” even though the Intelligence Community Assessment of January 6 expressed “high confidence” that Russian intelligence “relayed material it acquired from the DNC … to WikiLeaks.”
Obama’s admission came as no surprise to us. It has long been clear to us that the reason the U.S. government lacks conclusive evidence of a transfer of a “Russian hack” to WikiLeaks is because there was no such transfer. Based mostly on the cumulatively unique technical experience of our ex-NSA colleagues, we have been saying for almost a year that the DNC data reached WikiLeaks via a copy/leak by a DNC insider (but almost certainly not the same person who copied DNC data on July 5, 2016).
From the information available, we conclude that the same inside-DNC, copy/leak process was used at two different times, by two different entities, for two distinctly different purposes:
The Time Sequence
June 12, 2016: Assange announces WikiLeaks is about to publish “emails related to Hillary Clinton.”
June 15, 2016: DNC contractor Crowdstrike, (with a dubious professional record and multiple conflicts of interest) announces that malware has been found on the DNC server and claims there is evidence it was injected by Russians.
June 15, 2016: On the same day, “Guccifer 2.0” affirms the DNC statement; claims responsibility for the “hack;” claims to be a WikiLeaks source; and posts a document that the forensics show was synthetically tainted with “Russian fingerprints.”
We do not think that the June 12 & 15 timing was pure coincidence. Rather, it suggests the start of a pre-emptive move to associate Russia with anything WikiLeaks might have been about to publish and to “show” that it came from a Russian hack.
The Key Event
July 5, 2016: In the early evening, Eastern Daylight Time, someone working in the EDT time zone with a computer directly connected to the DNC server or DNC Local Area Network, copied 1,976 MegaBytes of data in 87 seconds onto an external storage device. That speed is many times faster than what is physically possible with a hack.
It thus appears that the purported “hack” of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 (the self-proclaimed WikiLeaks source) was not a hack by Russia or anyone else, but was rather a copy of DNC data onto an external storage device. Moreover, the forensics performed on the metadata reveal there was a subsequent synthetic insertion – a cut-and-paste job using a Russian template, with the clear aim of attributing the data to a “Russian hack.” This was all performed in the East Coast time zone. ...
FOR THE STEERING GROUP, VETERAN INTELLIGENCE PROFESSIONALS FOR SANITY
William Binney, former NSA Technical Director for World Geopolitical & Military Analysis; Co-founder of NSA’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center
Skip Folden, independent analyst, retired IBM Program Manager for Information Technology US (Associate VIPS)
Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)
Larry C Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)
Michael S. Kearns, Air Force Intelligence Officer (Ret.), Master SERE Resistance to Interrogation Instructor
John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.)
Lisa Ling, TSgt USAF (ret.) (associate VIPS)
Edward Loomis, Jr., former NSA Technical Director for the Office of Signals Processing
David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
Ray McGovern, former U.S. Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and CIA analyst
Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East, CIA
Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)
Cian Westmoreland, former USAF Radio Frequency Transmission Systems Technician and Unmanned Aircraft Systems whistleblower (Associate VIPS)
Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA
Sarah G. Wilton, Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.); Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret.)
Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat
‘Zero evidence’ that Russia hacked DNC, says NSA whistleblower (VIDEO)
Published time: 8 Nov, 2017 18:07
Edited time: 9 Nov, 2017 11:34
NSA whistleblower William Binney spoke to RT about his recent meeting with CIA director Mike Pompeo, where they discussed accusations that Russia meddled in 2016 US presidential election by hacking the Democrats.
In an interview with RT America host Ed Schultz on Wednesday, Binney said tests have “clearly showed” the DNC was not hacked by Russia before the 2016 presidential election, but that the data was downloaded locally.
Binney met with CIA director Mike Pompeo on Wednesday to review analysis by the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), which challenged the notion that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was hacked by Russia. In a letter to President Donald Trump, the group claims the “data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers.”
After analyzing the data, VIPS concluded that the transfer simply does not support the claim the documents were hacked by Russian agents, as leaders of the US intelligence community claimed in a January report.
Binney also spoke with RT's Neil Harvey on Wednesday.
During the meeting, Binney shared test findings gleaned on the transfer rate of data, which he said “clearly showed that it was a local download and not an international hack.”
“It was very clear it was a local download, because of the speeds and all,” Binney said, explaining how his colleagues set up a test between a data center in New Jersey and another in the UK, and could not reproduce the download that took place on July 5, 2016.
The approximately 16Gbits [1,976 Megabytes] of data was downloaded in two bursts, totaling 87 seconds, with a 12-minute pause between them.
“It had to be done locally,” Binney told RT America.
The data logs and the speed test were the only concrete evidence available for examination, he pointed out. “Everything else is speculation, and agenda- and emotionally-driven assertions.”
NSA whistleblower told CIA director DNC leak was inside job, not Russian hack
If the intelligence community had some factual evidence proving Russian hacking, that would be another matter, the NSA whistleblower said, but “so far they’ve produced nothing.”
When asked who could have been behind the leak, Binney said it may have been an “inside job,” but he couldn’t attribute it to anybody in particular, because “we never knew who did the download, or whether or not it went anywhere else.”
President John F. Kennedy presented aerial surveillance photos of Soviet missiles in Cuba during the 1962 missile crisis, Binney pointed out. Reagan presented Japanese radio intercepts of orders to shoot down the Korean airliner in 1983. No such evidence has been offered for the hacking accusation, though many lawmakers have described it as an act of war.
“They need to put up or shut up,” said Binney. He said he does not buy into such claims without any factual evidence, “and that’s basically what their situation is. They have zero evidence.”
However, if there was an agency who would be able to detect if the DNC was hacked, it would be the NSA, Binney said.
“If anybody did anything across the net, NSA has so many taps on the fiber network inside the US and around the world and so many traceroute programs embedded by the hundreds around the network, they would know where these packets went,” Binney told RT America.
The NSA and FBI “know a lot more than they're telling the president,” Binney added.
The analysis from VIPS implies the intelligence community is not telling the Trump administration what really happened, Binney said. They don’t want the American people to hear the truth either, he added.
“They’re hiding this. They keep the population ignorant, uninformed so they can manipulate them any way they want,” Binney said. “This is the same thing the mainstream media is doing.”
Mainstream media outlets have branded the VIPS analysis as “disputed,” “fringe,” or a “conspiracy theory” (Washington Post, NBC, and CNN respectively) while failing to apply the same level of skepticism to the US intelligence community narrative.
On Wednesday, the NSA whistleblower was repeatedly called Binney a “conspiracy theorist” in a CNN article about the meeting.
“That’s basically showing the shallow weakness of their argument,” Binney said. “They produce no facts whatsoever and simply throw labels at people to do character assassination.”
NSA whistleblower told CIA director DNC leak was inside job, not Russian hack
Published time: 8 Nov, 2017 14:51 Edited time: 9 Nov, 2017 11:33
A Leak or a Hack? A Forum on the VIPS Memo
A letter from dissenting members of VIPS, a reply from VIPS, and the results of our independent review
By Various Contributors, SEPTEMBER 1, 2017
Quoted below are the first 3 paragraphs of the reply (in cache) from William Binney, Skip Folden, Ed Loomis, Ray McGovern, Kirk Wiebe
on the dissenting memo (in cache) written by Thomas Drake, Lisa Ling, Cian Westmoreland, Philip M. Giraldi, and Jesselyn Radack
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT
BY WILLIAM BINNEY, SKIP FOLDEN, ED LOOMIS, RAY MCGOVERN, AND KIRK WIEBE
We Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) scientists make our technical judgments based on given facts and do not speculate without a factual basis. The main issue here is: Who gave the DNC e-mails to WikiLeaks? “Handpicked” analysts from three intelligence agencies “assess” that the Russians hacked into the DNC, but provide no hard evidence for this.
We think back to the evidence-free “assessments” 15 years ago before the attack on Iraq. Several “high-confidence” intelligence judgments had been fraudulently “fixed” to dovetail with the Bush/Cheney agenda for war. In June 2008, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan report five years in the making. Mincing no words, he wrote: “In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent.”
We worry that this may be happening again. Adding to our concern, in recent years we have seen “false-flag” attacks carried out to undergird a political narrative and objective—to blame the Syrian government for chemical attacks, for example. Forensic evidence suggests that this tried-and-tested technique (in this instance, simply pasting in a Russian template with “telltale signs”) may have been used to “show” that Russia hacked into the DNC computers last June.
For more than a year, we have been pointing out that any data acquired by a hack would have had to come across the Internet. The blanket coverage of the Internet by the NSA, its UK counterpart GCHQ, and others would be able to produce copies of that data and show where the data originated and where it went. But US intelligence has produced no evidence that hacking by Russia led to it acquiring the DNC e-mails and passing them on to WikiLeaks. ...
William Binney was a civilian employee of the National Security Agency from 1970 to 2001. He held numerous positions, including technical director of the World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group; Operations Directorate analysis skill field leader; member of the NSA Senior Technical Review Panel; chair of the Technical Advisory Panel to the Foreign Relations Council; co-founder of the SIGINT Automation Research Center; NSA representative to the National Technology Alliance Executive Board; and technical director of the Office of Russia, as well as working as a senior analyst for Warning for over 20 years. After retiring, Binney blew the whistle on the unconstitutional surveillance programs run by the NSA. His outspoken criticism led to an early-morning FBI raid on his home in 2007. Even before Edward Snowden’s whistle-blowing, Binney publicly revealed that the NSA had access to telecommunications companies’ domestic and international billing records, and that since 9/11 the agency has intercepted some 15 to 20 trillion domestic communications. The documents released by Edward Snowden confirmed many of the surveillance dangers about which Binney had been warning under both the Bush and Obama administrations.
Skip Folden (Associate VIPS) retired from IBM after 25 years. His last position there was as IBM program manager for information technology, US.
Ed Loomis is a former NSA technical director for the Office of Signals Processing. From 1996 to 2001, he led the SIGINT Automation Research Center. He retired in 2001 as senior cryptologic computer scientist after 37 years at the agency. He worked for the NSA as an enterprise senior system architect from 2002 to 2007 following retirement, and he was professionally certified in multiple fields at the NSA: mathematician, computer systems analyst, operations research analyst, and system acquisition manager. Loomis applied technical knowledge and experience in developing automated systems focused on producing intelligence supporting military operations and top US decision-makers from 1964 to 2001.
Ray McGovern worked as a CIA analyst under seven presidents and nine CIA directors after serving as a US Army infantry/intelligence officer in the 1960s, McGovern. His concentration was on Russia, one of the foreign posts in which he served. He was chief of the CIA’s Foreign Policy Branch in the 1970s and acting national intelligence officer for Western Europe in the ’80s. He prepared the President’s Daily Brief for Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. During Reagan’s first term, McGovern conducted the early-morning CIA substantive briefings, one-on-one, to the president’s five most senior foreign-policy advisers. At retirement, he was awarded the Intelligence Commendation Medallion for “especially meritorious service,” but gave it back in March 2006 to dissociate himself from an agency engaged in torture. After retirement, he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
Kirk Wiebe is a former senior analyst at the SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA. He led the center’s response to National Security Decision Directive 178, ordering the NSA to develop a program to counter the threat posed by foreign relocatable targets, which earned him the DCI’s National Meritorious Unit Citation. Wiebe was awarded the NSA’s second-highest honor, the Meritorious Civilian Service Award, together with numerous other awards for work on the challenges of digital-age strategic planning. He held the NSA’s professional certification as a Russian linguist.
Live links to VIPS memos can be found at consortiumnews.com/vips-memos.
CIA DIRECTOR MET ADVOCATE OF DISPUTED DNC HACK THEORY — AT TRUMP’S REQUEST
Duncan Campbell, James Risen
November 7 2017, 3:11 p.m.
Guccifer 2.0 NGP/VAN Metadata Analysis
August 24, 2017
Based on the analysis that is detailed below, the following key findings are presented:
Macron’s Maneuvers on the New Cold War
by Dennis J Bernstein, July 26, 2017
Official Washington’s hawks are blocking President Trump’s desired detente with Russia, but that has opened a path for France’s new President Macron to mediate the New Cold War, Diana Johnstone tells Dennis J Bernstein.
PBS’ Anti-Russia Propaganda Series
by Rick Sterling, July 27, 2017 (in cache)
PBS has joined the anti-Russia propaganda stampede with a five-part documentary series that recycles the false and deceptive claims that have become Official Washington’s dangerous new groupthink, reports Rick Sterling.
Episode 1: “How Putin Redefined what it means to be Russian”
In this episode, the documentary:
Episode 2: “Inside Russia’s Propaganda Machine.”
In this episode, the documentary:
Episode 3: “Why are so many from this Russian republic fighting for Isis?”
In this episode, the documentary:
Episode 4: “The Deadly Risk of Standing up to Putin”
In this episode, the documentary:
Episode 5: “What Russians think about Trump and the U.S.”
Based on the content, the final episode should be titled “What the U.S. establishment and media thinks of Putin and Russia.” In this episode, the documentary:
The PBS documentary “Inside Putin’s Russia” aims to expose Russian repression, aggression and disinformation. As shown in the many examples above, the five-part documentary is highly biased and inaccurate. While it shows some features of Russia, it also demonstrates American propaganda in the current tumultuous times.
The Dawn of an Orwellian Future
by Robert Parry, July 28, 2017
Exclusive: The U.S. mainstream media continues to spread its own “fake news,” like the falsehood about an intelligence community “consensus” on Russia-gate “hacking,” as algorithms begin to marginalize dissent, reports Robert Parry.
A report by the World Socialist Web Site found that “in the three months since Internet monopoly Google announced plans to keep users from accessing ‘fake news,’ the global traffic rankings of a broad range of left-wing, progressive, anti-war and democratic rights organizations have fallen significantly.”
Google’s strategy is to downgrade search results for targeted Web sites based on a supposed desire to limit reader access to “low-quality” information, but the targets reportedly include some of the highest-quality alternative news sites on the Internet, such as – according to the report – Consortiumnews.com.
Google sponsors the First Draft Coalition, which was created to counter alleged “fake news” and consists of mainstream news outlets, including the Times and The Washington Post, as well as establishment-approved Web sites, such as Bellingcat, which has a close association with the anti-Russia and pro-NATO Atlantic Council.
This creation of a modern-day Ministry of Truth occurred under the cover of a mainstream-driven hysteria about “fake news” and “Russian propaganda” in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.
Last Thanksgiving Day, the Post ran a front-page article citing accusations from an anonymous Web site, PropOrNot, that identified 200 Web sites — including such Internet stalwarts as Truthdig, Counterpunch and Consortiumnews — as purveyors of “Russian propaganda.”
Apparently, PropOrNot’s standard was to smear any news outlet that questioned the State Department’s Official Narrative on the Ukraine crisis or some other global hot spot, but the Post didn’t offer any actual specifics of what these Web sites had done to earn their place on a McCarthyistic blacklist.
Speech and the Following Discussion at the Munich Conference on Security Policy (2007)
by Vladimir Putin, February 10, 2007 (in cache)
... I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world. And this is not only because if there was individual leadership in today’s – and precisely in today’s – world, then the military, political and economic resources would not suffice. What is even more important is that the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilisation. ...
Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force – military force – in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. As a result we do not have sufficient strength to find a comprehensive solution to any one of these conflicts. Finding a political settlement also becomes impossible.
We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?
In international relations we increasingly see the desire to resolve a given question according to so-called issues of political expediency, based on the current political climate.
And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasise this – no one feels safe! Because no one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them. Of course such a policy stimulates an arms race.
The force’s dominance inevitably encourages a number of countries to acquire weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, significantly new threats – though they were also well-known before – have appeared, and today threats such as terrorism have taken on a global character.
I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security.
And we must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue. Especially since the international landscape is so varied and changes so quickly – changes in light of the dynamic development in a whole number of countries and regions.
Madam Federal Chancellor already mentioned this. The combined GDP measured in purchasing power parity of countries such as India and China is already greater than that of the United States. And a similar calculation with the GDP of the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – surpasses the cumulative GDP of the EU. And according to experts this gap will only increase in the future.
There is no reason to doubt that the economic potential of the new centres of global economic growth will inevitably be converted into political influence and will strengthen multipolarity.
In connection with this the role of multilateral diplomacy is significantly increasing. The need for principles such as openness, transparency and predictability in politics is uncontested and the use of force should be a really exceptional measure, comparable to using the death penalty in the judicial systems of certain states. ...
Oliver Stone Defends His Putin Interviews
By Dennis J Bernstein, July 31, 2017
Director Oliver Stone saw his four-part interviews with Russian President Putin as a way to give Americans a better understanding of a leader who has been demonized in the mainstream media, reports Dennis J Bernstein.
Dennis Bernstein: The corporate mainstream reporting on the Ukraine has been amazing.
Oliver Stone: It is an historical inaccuracy. If you read the accounts at the time in the Washington Post and the New York Times, there was zero coverage from the other side. Reporters were dismissing these stories as conspiracy theories and this was “on the day of.” It was so evidently a coup, the Europeans knew it. Yet, in the United States, we seemed, as we often do, to be blissfully ignorant of the other side of the story.
We are looking for some justification for restarting the Cold War. It was almost as if we were back to confronting the Soviet Union again. We have been stalking Putin since he starting putting the economy back together again. Around 2004 you start to see the earliest criticism of him as a dictator and an embezzler, and so on.
And talk about meddling in elections, Putin was understated when he said that the United States was all over the Russian election in 2012. We have a clip of [Assistant] Secretary of State Victoria Nuland saying how we were trying to do all this good work in Russia, etc. We were blatantly interfering in their election. In 1996 we completely rigged the election for Yeltsin. He was so unpopular after four years in office that the communists were poised to take back the government. We arranged for him to get a gigantic loan from the IMF, among other things.
... Putin talked with me at length about nuclear parity. I don’t think most Americans realize that when Bush abrogated the non-proliferation treaty in 2001 we were removing one of the principal cornerstones of our national security. And then we put the ABM [Anti-Ballistic Missile] in Poland and more recently in Romania.
In 2009 Obama announced that we would be spending trillions of dollars to modernize our nuclear arsenal, and now Trump declares that we are going to win the next war. It is frightening as hell to the Russians. Putin pointed out that they currently have one-tenth of our military budget. All kinds of horrors could be in store if the United States tries to press its advantage with nuclear weapons.
... Putin is well aware that the media in this country never really brings across what he is trying to say. I have been very impressed with his speeches. For example, the theme of his 2007 Munich [Security Conference] speech is still very relevant. He saw what was going on in the world, with our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. That speech was never really reported here in the United States. It is disgraceful that we cannot take an important foreign leader seriously and report his own words.
Endangering a Landmark Nuclear Treaty
By Jonathan Marshall, August 6, 2017
Official Washington’s political game of heightening tensions with nuclear-armed Russia to get better control of President Trump could destroy a landmark nuclear arms control treaty, as Jonathan Marshall explains.
Playing Politics with the World’s Future
By Alastair Crooke, August 6, 2017
The strategy of neutering President Trump in his dealings with Russia – and his administration’s own ignorance about complex Mideast issues – are combining to create grave dangers, writes ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke
... Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wrote in response:
“The signing of new sanctions against Russia into law by the U.S. president leads to several consequences.
“What does this mean for the U.S.? The American establishment completely outplayed Trump. The President is not happy with the new sanctions, but he could not avoid signing the new law. The purpose of the new sanctions was to put Trump in his place. Their ultimate goal is to remove Trump from power.” .
... Polls indicate
The point here is that the Republican support for Trump’s desire for détente with Russia has not eroded one jot, whereas the “concern” of the Independents and even among Democrats is eroding somewhat.
Neocons Leverage Trump-Hate for More Wars
By Robert Parry, August 5, 2017
Exclusive: The enactment of new sanctions against Russia and Iran – with the support of nearly all Democrats and Republicans in Congress – shows how the warmongering neocons again have come out on top, reports Robert Parry.
How the World May End
By John Pilger, August 4, 2017
Republicans and Democrats – along with a complicit mainstream media – are plunging ahead toward war with Russia, a mad groupthink that could end life on the planet, observes John Pilger.
The War on WikiLeaks and Assange
August 4, 2017
Helping government authorities discredit Julian Assange and destroy WikiLeaks, mainstream media outlets twisted a recent interview to make Assange look like a Donald Trump backer, write Randy Credico and Dennis J Bernstein.
by SophieCo, Published time: 13 Mar, 2017 07:24 (in cache, cached video of interview: INTENSO#8)
We ask a former adviser to President Ronald Reagan on Russian affairs, Russia scholar and author – Suzanne Massie.
... I happen to care a great deal for Russia and I have for many years, and I have always maintained the exact position from the beginning and that is you have a lot to give us and we have a lot to give you. We should be together, because together we could do a great deal more than we can do apart for the rest of the world. That's been my position. If they [the Trump adminsitration] ever wanted to talk to me about that, I would be happy.
The American public is very-very different from what is now being heard in the U.S. It comes from Washington and it comes from some of the media. Much good stuff exists on the Internet if you want to look for it, but the great public and I say that, basically, sometimes, even Russia forgets that Washington is not the U.S. any more than Paris is the whole France. We have other places and I have been saying: instead of trying to concentrate all the time on Washington you should be concentrating on other places in the United States. Now, I have given lectures in every state of the United States except Alaska and Hawaii, and I have seen the same thing and I've done it now for about 20 years - the same thing. The American people, the public, is always very curious about you, they always want to know, they always say to me: why Russia, why did I go and study Russia? They ask questions, they are always curious and they are not hostile. Americans, even up in Maine, not even Maine, which is a state of fishermen and boat-builders and you know, even the men who came to plough our snow the night before I left - said exactly the same thing as I'm saying to you: "We should be together". "You know" - he kept saying - "You know, I don't like what they're saying, the press". And that is the fact. So I wouldn't take too seriously the things that are said now in limited ways, and say that the public feels that way. No American I have ever met would like to have a war with you.
Das neue Wettrüsten
ein Artikel in DIE ZEIT von Matthias Naß | 29. Oktober 2016 (im Cache)
The NYT’s Yellow Journalism on Russia
By Robert Parry, September 15, 2017 (in cache)
Exclusive: The New York Times’ descent into yellow journalism over Russia recalls the sensationalism of Hearst and Pulitzer leading to the Spanish-American War, but the risks to humanity are much greater now.
For one, even if the U.S. government were to succeed in destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia sufficiently to force out President Putin, the neocon dream of another malleable Boris Yeltsin in the Kremlin is far less likely than the emergence of an extreme Russian nationalist who might be ready to push the nuclear button rather than accept further humiliation of Mother Russia.
The truth is that the world has much less to fear from the calculating Vladimir Putin than from the guy who might follow a deposed Vladimir Putin amid economic desperation and political chaos in Russia. But the possibility of nuclear Armageddon doesn’t seem to bother the neocon/liberal-interventionist New York Times. Nor apparently does the principle of fair and honest journalism.
The Times and rest of the mainstream media are just having too much fun hating Russia and Putin to worry about the possible extermination of life on planet Earth.
Did Manning Help Avert War in Iran?
By Robert Parry (Originally published on Aug. 19, 2013), January 25, 2017 (in cache)
From the Archive: Though President Obama commuted Chelsea Manning’s prison sentence, he showed no appreciation for her brave disclosures, including one that undercut war plans with Iran, Robert Parry reported in 2013.
Clinton, Assange and the War on Truth
By John Pilger, October 20, 2017
Australia’s public broadcasting network gave Hillary Clinton an open mike to defame WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange as “a tool of Russian intelligence” without giving him a chance to respond.
FERGUSON: How much of that was a personal vendetta by Vladimir Putin against you?
CLINTON: … I mean he wants to destabilize democracy. He wants to undermine America, he wants to go after the Atlantic Alliance and we consider Australia kind of a … an extension of that …
(The opposite is true. It is a combination of Western armies massing on Russia’s border for the first time since the Russian Revolution 100 years ago.)
(What Clinton fails to say – and her interviewer fails to remind her – is that in 2010, WikiLeaks revealed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had ordered a secret intelligence campaign targeted at the United Nations leadership, including the Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon and the permanent Security Council representatives from China, Russia, France and the U.K. A classified directive, signed by Clinton, was issued to U.S. diplomats in July 2009, demanding forensic technical details about the communications systems used by top U.N. officials, including passwords and personal encryption keys used in private and commercial networks. This was known as Cablegate. It was lawless spying.)
CLINTON: He [Assange] is very clearly a tool of Russian intelligence. And, ah, he has done their bidding.
(Clinton offered no evidence to back up this serious accusation, nor did Ferguson challenge her.)
CLINTON: You don’t see damaging negative information coming out about the Kremlin on WikiLeaks. You didn’t see any of that published.
(This was false. WikiLeaks has published a massive number of documents on Russia – more than 800,000, most of them critical, many of them used in books and as evidence in court cases.)
“Libya was Hillary Clinton’s war,” Julian Assange said in a filmed interview with me last year. “Barack Obama initially opposed it. Who was the person championing it? Hillary Clinton. That’s documented throughout her emails … there’s more than 1,700 emails out of the 33,000 Hillary Clinton emails that we’ve published, just about Libya. It’s not that Libya has cheap oil. She perceived the removal of Gaddafi and the overthrow of the Libyan state — something that she would use in her run-up to the general election for President.
“So in late 2011 there is an internal document called the Libya Tick Tock that was produced for Hillary Clinton, and it’s the chronological description of how she was the central figure in the destruction of the Libyan state, which resulted in around 40,000 deaths within Libya; jihadists moved in, ISIS moved in, leading to the European refugee and migrant crisis.
von Hillary Rodham Clinton
Look inside the book
Getting the Left to Embrace US ‘Exceptionalism’
By James W. Carden, October 24, 2017
Exclusive: Neocons have deftly used the Left’s hatred of President Trump and the demonizing of Russia to lure liberals and progressives into an interventionist mindset to defend “American exceptionalism".
... In the end, the ideology of American Exceptionalism feeds delusions of American Innocence and prepares the ground for military intervention the world over. Is that really the right way to oppose Donald Trump?
Rajoys Staatsstreich beginnt!
von Prof. Dr. Axel Schönberger, Deutschland, 27. Okt. 2017 (im Cache)
Am 27. Oktober 2017 hat der ungesetzliche und verfassungswidrige Staatsstreich des spanischen Ministerpräsidenten Mariano Rajoy und des Partido Popular begonnen. Nicht mit qualifizierter, sondern mit einfacher Mehrheit legt der Partido Popular und der spanische Senat Artikel 155 der spanischen Verfassung gegen dessen Wortlaut zu einem Ermächtigungsartikel aus und erweitert ihn ohne Rechtsgrundlage zu einem Instrument für einen Staatsstreich von oben, um massiv gegen bestehendes spanisches Recht zu verstoßen. Die Verkündung der Absetzung der katalanischen Regierung und des katalanischen Parlaments, die «Auslöschung» einer Reihe von katalanischen Regierungsinstitutionen sowie die Ausschreibung von Neuwahlen in Katalonien fallen nicht in die Kompetenz des spanischen Ministerpräsidenten und sind auch nicht durch die Verfassung gedeckt, sondern verstoßen im Gegenteil eklatant gegen die spanische Verfassung und gegen spanische Gesetze, insbesondere gegen das Autonomiestatut Kataloniens, das geltendes spanisches Recht ist.
Seit Jahren hat der Partido Popular unter Führung von Mariano Rajoy darauf hingearbeitet, eine Unabhängigkeitserklärung Kataloniens geradezu zu erzwingen, um so endlich die ihm und seiner postfranquistischen Partei unliebsamen katalanischen Institutionen ausschalten zu können. Wie kaum ein anderer hat er die Lage polarisiert und Katalonien geradezu herausgefordert. Schon sind aus seiner Partei die ersten Rufe zu vernehmen, die Anwendung des Artikels 155 auch auf das Baskenland anzuwenden. Nicht ohne Eigeninteresse versuchte daher der Präsident des Baskenlandes am 26. Oktober 2017 noch ein letztes Mal zwischen Madrid und Barcelona zu vermitteln. Der katalanische Präsident Carles Puigdemont, der sich stets dialogbereit zeigte, wäre hierzu trotz Widerstands in den eigenen Reihen offenbar auch bereit gewesen und hätte Neuwahlen in Katalonien für den Dezember des Jahres 2017 ausgeschrieben – wozu nach spanischem Recht nur er und keinesfalls die Zentralregierung in Madrid befugt ist –, wenn denn die spanische Regierung und der spanische Senat im Gegenzug von der beabsichtigten Anwendung des Artikels 155 der spanischen Verfassung auf Katalonien abgesehen hätten. Die spanische Regierung war dazu jedoch nicht bereit, sondern erklärte sogar, daß der Artikel 155 in jedem Fall auf Katalonien angewandt würde. Damit ließ sie Katalonien keinen anderen Weg, als die vom katalanischen Volk beschlossene Unabhängigkeit am 27. Oktober 2017 feierlich zu verkünden. Seit dem 27. Oktober 2017 existiert nunmehr Katalonien kraft Völker- und Naturrecht als eigenes völkerrechtliches Subjekt. Damit endete die von Franco eingeführte Monarchie in Katalonien. ...
Nach Verhör von Twitter durch US-Kongress: Keine Hinweise auf russische Wahleinmischung
Russia Today, 30.09.2017 (im Cache)
Nicht "faschistisches Russland", sondern Twitter hat US-Wahlkampf manipuliert
Russia Today, 3.11.2017 (im Cache)
Israel’s Ploy Selling a Syrian Nuke Strike
By Gareth Porter, November 18, 2017 (in cache)
Exclusive: The Iraq WMD fiasco wasn’t the only time political pressure twisted U.S. intelligence judgments. In 2007, Israel sold the CIA on a dubious claim about a North Korean nuclear reactor in the Syrian desert.
Technical Evidence against a Reactor
Egyptian national Yousry Abushady was a PhD in nuclear engineering and 23-year veteran of the IAEA who had been promoted to section head for Western Europe in the operations division of agency’s Safeguards Department, meaning that he was in charge of all inspections of nuclear facilities in the region. He had been a trusted adviser to Bruno Pellaud, IAEA Deputy Director General for Safeguards from 1993 to 1999, who told this writer in an interview that he had “relied on Abushady frequently.”
Abushady recalled in an interview that, after spending many hours reviewing the video released by the CIA in April 2008 frame by frame, he was certain that the CIA case for a nuclear reactor at al-Kibar in the desert in eastern Syria was not plausible for multiple technical reasons. The Israelis and the CIA had claimed the alleged reactor was modeled on the type of reactor the North Koreans had installed at Yongbyon called a gas-cooled graphite- moderated (GCGM) reactor.
But Abushady knew that kind of reactor better than anyone else at the IAEA. He had designed a GCGM reactor for his doctoral student in nuclear engineering, had begun evaluating the Yongbyon reactor in 1993, and from 1999 to 2003 had headed the Safeguards Department unit responsible for North Korea.
Abushady had traveled to North Korea 15 times and conducted extensive technical discussions with the North Korean nuclear engineers who had designed and operated the Yongbyon reactor. And the evidence he saw in the video convinced him that no such reactor could have been under construction at al-Kibar.
On April 26, 2008, Abushady sent a “preliminary technical assessment” of the video to IAEA Deputy Director General for Safeguards Olli Heinonen, with a copy to Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. Abushady observed in his memorandum that the person responsible for assembling the CIA video was obviously unfamiliar with either the North Korean reactor or with GCGM reactors in general.
The first thing that struck Abushady about the CIA’s claims was that the building was too short to hold a reactor like the one in Yongbyon, North Korea.
“It is obvious,” he wrote in his “technical assessment” memo to Heinonen, “that the Syrian building with no UG [underground] construction, can not hold a [reactor] similar [to] NK GCR [North Korean gas-cooled reactor].” Abushady estimated the height of the North Korean reactor building in Yongbyon at a 50 meters (165 feet) and estimated that the building at al-Kibar at a little more than a third as tall.
Abushady also found the observable characteristics of the al-Kibar site inconsistent with the most basic technical requirements for a GCGM reactor. He pointed out that the Yongbyon reactor had no less than 20 supporting buildings on the site, whereas the satellite imagery shows that the Syrian site did not have a single significant supporting structure.
The most telling indication of all for Abushady that the building could not have been a GCGM reactor was the absence of a cooling tower to reduce the temperature of the carbon dioxide gas coolant in such a reactor.
... Yet another critical piece that Abushady found missing from the site was a cooling pond facility for spent fuel. The CIA had theorized that the reactor building itself contained a “spent fuel pond,” based on nothing more than an ambiguous shape in an aerial photograph of the bombed building.
But the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon and all 28 other GCGM reactors that had been built in the world all have the spent fuel pond in a separate building, Abushady said. The reason, he explained, was that the magnox cladding surrounding the fuel rods would react to any contact with moisture to produce hydrogen that could explode.
But the definitive and irrefutable proof that no GCGM reactor had been present at al-Kibar came from the environmental samples taken by the IAEA at the site in June 2008. Such a reactor would have contained nuclear-grade graphite, Abushady explained, and if the Israelis had actually bombed a GCGM reactor, it would have spread particles of nuclear-grade graphite all over the site.
Behrad Nakhai, a nuclear engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for many years, confirmed Abshuady’s observation in an interview. “You would have had hundreds of tons of nuclear-grade graphite scattered around the site,” he said, “and it would have been impossible to clean it up.”
Manipulated and Misleading Photographs: ....
by Robert S. McNamara and James G. Blight, 2001 (excerpts)
The FBI Hand Behind Russia-gate
By Ray McGovern, January 11, 2018
Special Report: In the Watergate era, liberals warned about U.S. intelligence agencies manipulating U.S. politics, but now Trump-hatred has blinded many of them to this danger becoming real, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.
Thanks to the almost 10,000 text messages between Strzok and Page, only a small fraction of which were given to Congress four weeks ago, there is now real evidentiary meat on the bones of the suspicions that there indeed was a “deep-state coup” to “correct” the outcome of the 2016 election. We now know that the supposedly apolitical FBI officials had huge political axes to grind.
... the official release of unguarded text messages between FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok (former chief of the FBI’s counterintelligence section) and his girlfriend, FBI lawyer Lisa Page ...
The Department of Justice Inspector General reportedly has additional damaging texts from others on the team that Special Counsel Robert Mueller selected to help him investigate Russia-gate.
Besides forcing the removal of Strzok and Page, the text exposures also sounded the death knell for the career of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, in whose office some of the plotting took place and who has already announced his plans to retire soon.
the FBI text messages provid[e] documentary evidence that key FBI officials involved in the Russia-gate investigation were indeed deeply biased and out to get Trump ..
... Peter Strzok (pronounced “struck”) has an interesting pedigree with multiple tasks regarding both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump. As the FBI’s chief of counterespionage during the investigation into then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a personal email server for classified information, Strzok reportedly changed the words “grossly negligent” (which could have triggered legal prosecution) to the far less serious “extremely careless” in FBI Director James Comey’s depiction of Clinton’s actions. This semantic shift cleared the way for Comey to conclude just 20 days before the Democratic National Convention began in July 2016, that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against Mrs. Clinton.
Then, as Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division, Strzok led the FBI’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election of 2016. It is a safe bet that he took a strong hand in hand-picking the FBI contingent of analysts that joined “hand-picked” counterparts from CIA and NSA in preparing the evidence-free, Jan. 6, 2017 assessment accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of interfering in the election of 2016.
... In June and July 2017 Strzok was the top FBI official working on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia, but was taken off that job when the Justice Department IG learned of the Strzok-Page text-message exchange and told Mueller.
... Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, with almost four decades of membership in the House and Senate, openly warned incoming President Trump in January 2017 against criticizing the U.S. intelligence community because U.S. intelligence officials have “six ways from Sunday to get back at you” if you are “dumb” enough to take them on.
The Strzok-Page exchanges drip with disdain for Trump and those deemed his smelly deplorable supporters. In one text message, Strzok expressed visceral contempt for those working-class Trump voters, writing on Aug. 26, 2016, “Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support. … it’s scary real down here.”
The FBI Lost 5 Months Worth of Text Messages Between Anti-Trump Agents
By Timothy Meads, Townhall.com, Jan 21, 2018 3:40 PM
The Daily Caller [an extreme right wing news website, according to John Kiriakou] reports that the FBI “failed to preserve five months of text messages" exchanged between two anti-Trump FBI employees who may have compromised on going investigations such as the Clinton e-mail scandal and the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross reports that “The disclosure was made Friday in a letter sent by the Justice Department to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC).
'The Department wants to bring to your attention that the FBI’s technical system for retaining text messages sent and received on FBI mobile devices failed to preserve text messages for Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page,' Stephen Boyd, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs at the Justice Department, wrote to Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of HSGAC
He said that texts are missing for the period between Dec. 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017.”
Comment by William Binney (in Brian Becker, John Kiriakou, "Democrats Surrender to Trump; Gov't Reopens, No Action for Immigrants", time mark 66:40 - 69:00 LOUD & CLEAR, SputnikNews, 23.01.2018): "I'd say the random probability [of this being an accidental technical system failure, which the FBI is insinuating] is zero, simply because if they are going to delete the evidence within the FBI they also, since it's text messenges, it's going across the net, they also have to delete it [a duplicate of the text message] in NSA, in both those agencies. Since in both cases it's data relevant to an investigation that kind [of accidental technical system failure] is virtually impossible randomly. ... It's a conspiracy to cover up the crime, which ... John Kiriakou: which at the very, very least is obstruction of jusitce ... William Binney: Yeah, that's right, and also it [the deletion] is a criminal act by violating the Records Act. They should never have had that data, and if they took our ThinThread program they would never have had it to begin with. So they couldn't have violated it [the Records Act, by deleting the data in several independent places].
John Kiriakou: What we are talking about here is government oversight. We're talking about the Congressional Oversight Committee. ...The Oversight Committee should have been so deeply involved in this issue that it would have been impossible to delete the information, because they would have been all over it, let alone to delete it 3 or 4 separate times.
Der weiße Elefant
Von Konstantin von Hammerstein, Christiane Hoffmann, Peter Müller, Otfried Nassauer, Christoph Schult und Klaus Wiegrefe,
Der Spiegel 50/2016, 10.12.2016 (im Cache)
english verson: Konstantin von Hammerstein, Christiane Hoffmann, Peter Müller, Otfried Nassauer, Christoph Schult and Klaus Wiegrefe, "Elephant in the Room - Europeans Debate Nuclear Self-Defense after Trump Win", Spiegel-Online International, 9 Dec. 2016 (im Cache)
US-Atomwaffen sind der ultimative Garant für Europas Sicherheit. Doch was, wenn Trump den Nuklearschirm infrage stellt? In Berlin und Brüssel hat das Nachdenken begonnen.
Seit Jahrzehnten wird der Schutz gegen eine mögliche russische Aggression in letzter Instanz durch das amerikanische Atomwaffenarsenal garantiert. Doch seit der Wahl Donald Trumps zum 45. Präsidenten der Vereinigten Staaten ist man sich in Brüssel und Berlin nicht mehr sicher, ob Washington auch künftig seine schützende Hand über Europa halten wird.
... Doch was, wenn dem künftigen Präsidenten eine viel grundlegendere Wende der amerikanischen Sicherheitspolitik vorschwebt? Was, wenn er den Nuklearschirm infrage stellt, der während des Kalten Krieges Europas Sicherheit garantierte?
Mehr als 60 Jahre lang hat Deutschland seine Sicherheit der Nato und ihrer Führungsmacht, den Vereinigten Staaten, anvertraut. Ohne glaubwürdige Abschreckung wären die europäischen Nato-Staaten einer möglichen russischen Bedrohung ausgeliefert. Es wäre das Ende des transatlantischen Bündnisses.
... In europäischen Hauptstädten hat seit dem Wahlsieg Trumps das Nachdenken über eine europäische nukleare Abschreckung begonnen. Die militärischen, politischen und völkerrechtlichen Hürden sind riesig, konkrete Absichten oder gar Pläne gibt es nicht. Doch in Brüssel tauschten sich bereits französische Diplomaten mit ihren Kollegen aus anderen Mitgliedstaaten aus: Könnten Franzosen und Engländer mit ihren Nukleararsenalen einspringen, um Länder wie Deutschland zu schützen?
"Gut, dass darüber endlich gesprochen wird", sagt Jan Techau, Direktor des Holbrooke Forum an der American Academy in Berlin. "Die Frage des künftigen nuklearen Schutzes Europas ist der weiße Elefant im Raum der europäischen Sicherheitsdebatte. Wenn die nukleare Sicherheitsgarantie der USA wegfällt, ist es wichtig zu klären: Wer schützt uns künftig? Und: Wie vermeiden wir, dass wir künftig nuklear erpressbar sind?"
Falls Trump ernstlich die amerikanischen Garantien infrage stelle, müsse Berlin überlegen, auf der Basis der französischen und britischen Kapazitäten einen europäischen Nuklearschirm zu entwickeln, heißt es in einem Aufsatz in der November-Ausgabe von "Foreign Affairs". Und die "FAZ" räsonierte in einem Leitartikel sogar über das "Undenkbare": die deutsche Bombe.
... Doch die Debatte hat die geschützten Zirkel von Thinktanks und Fachzeitschriften längst verlassen. Der Obmann der Unionsfraktion im Auswärtigen Ausschuss des Bundestags Roderich Kiesewetter schlug in einem international beachteten Interview schon Mitte November einen französisch-britischen Nuklearschirm vor, falls Trump den amerikanischen Schutz für Europa infrage stellen sollte. "Wenn die USA keine nuklearen Sicherheitsgarantien mehr für Europa abgeben wollen, braucht Europa trotzdem einen nuklearen Schirm", so Kiesewetter. ... Man müsse sich, so Kiesewetter, auf alle Eventualitäten vorbereiten. "Es darf für unsere Sicherheit keine Denkverbote geben." Der CDU-Sicherheitspolitiker ist Oberst a. D. und diente unter anderem in der Nato-Zentrale in Brüssel und im militärischen Hauptquartier der Allianz im belgischen Mons. Nach der Trump-Wahl führte er nicht nur Gespräche mit französischen und britischen Diplomaten. Er fühlte auch in der Bundesregierung vor.
Kiesewetter sagt, er habe mit Merkels Sicherheitsberater Christoph Heusgen und mit dem Politischen Direktor im Verteidigungsministerium, Gésa von Geyr, geredet. Für die Regierung sei das kein Thema, heißt es aus beiden Häusern. Kiesewetter hatte allerdings nicht den Eindruck, dass seine Ideen als Fantastereien abgetan wurden.
European nuclear deterrence in the era of Putin and Trump
Felix Wimmer, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, 8 JANUARY 2018 (in cache)
... Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has called the collapse of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century,” now takes any measure available to him to reverse the European order created after 1989. He perceives the extension of Western values and security through the European Union and NATO as a direct threat to Russia’s position on the continent. Putin seeks to destabilize the European community through propaganda and the financial support of illiberal, anti-European, and pro-Russian parties. In Eastern Europe, he is also increasingly comfortable with using force to achieve his goals, such as preventing Ukraine from developing closer ties with the European Union.
Putin will not be satisfied anytime soon. He “is intent on showing the world [that] Russia is a great power and that he respects strength and takes advantage of perceived weakness. He pushes forward until there is pushback,” writes Robert A. Manning, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.
At a July 2017 forum on Capitol Hill, Brad Roberts, director of the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, explained how Putin’s “theory of victory” against the United States and its allies is built on his perception of Western weakness and hesitation. In 2014, Putin was convinced that the West would let him get away with annexing Crimea and practically invading eastern Ukraine, and he remains convinced that he will not encounter any significant pushback in the future. This belief is rooted in Putin’s view of what Roberts calls the “asymmetry of stake”: Because the Russians have more at stake, Russian threats look more credible than American threats. While Putin is fighting for Russia’s position in the world and, more importantly, his position as the legitimate leader of Russia, all that is at stake for the West is the preservation of liberal values. While the Americans might be willing to defend freedom and democracy with sanctions, they will not resort to bullets and bombs.
In Putin’s mind, the Russian nuclear arsenal ensures that the West stays out of his affairs. According to Alexey Arbatov, a Russian expert on international security and arms control, Putin is largely ignoring the nuclear lessons of the Cold War, and views arms control more critically than the Soviet leadership did. While Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev agreed with US President Ronald Reagan that “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” Putin does not voice similar reservations. In Arbatov’s formulation, as Roberts described it at last year’s forum, Putin and a small cadre of fellow Russian elites are ready to use the Western fear of a nuclear confrontation to their benefit. Putin is absolutely confident that, should things get serious, the Americans would back down first.
... Advocates of the Eurodeterrent, such as the German politician Roderich Kiesewetter, propose that French and perhaps British nuclear weapons should replace the American bombs currently stationed in Europe. The new system would either function similarly to the existing nuclear-sharing program, or a new European military organization would be established to oversee the weapons. In either case, the Eurodeterrent is thought to rely mainly on French weapons and German funding. All this could supposedly be done without proliferation, since the current nuclear arsenals of France and the UK “would likely be sufficient for defending Germany,” according to Jan Techau at the American Academy in Berlin. Although the European arsenal would be dwarfed by Russia in numbers, France possesses the second-strike capability that is crucial for deterrence.
... However, European leaders have to plan for the worst. They have to be prepared to deal with possible further fractures, or even an end of the alliance; they have to be prepared for an even more belligerent Russia. Anything else would be naēve.
By Max Blumenthal, The Real News Network, Jan. 18, 2018
Known as a bastion of neo-Nazism, the Azov Battalion has received teams of American military advisors and high powered US-made weapons
Made in Texas, tested by Azov
The story of how American arms began flowing towards the Nazi-inspired militia began in October 2016, when the Texas-based AirTronic company announced a contract to deliver $5.5 million dollars worth of PSRL-1 rocket propelled grenade launchers to “an Allied European military customer.” In June 2017, photos turned up on Azov’s website showing its fighters testing PSRL-1 grenade launchers in the field. The images raised questions about whether Ukraine was AirTronic’s unnamed “customer.”
Two months later, the pro-Russian military analysis site Southfront published a leaked contract indicating that 100 PSRL-1 Launchers worth $554,575 — about 1/10th of the total deal — had been produced in partnership with a Ukrainian arms company for distribution to the country’s fighting units.
In an interview last December with the US-backed Voice of America, AirTronic Chief Operating Officer Richard Vandiver emphasized that the sale of grenade launchers was authorized through “very close coordination with the U.S. Embassy, with the U.S. State Department, with the U.S. Pentagon and with the Ukrainian government.”
Finally, this January, the transfer of the lethal weapons to Azov was confirmed by the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRL). Aric Toler, a DFRL researcher, asserted that “the US Embassy did absolutely help facilitate this transfer, and I'm not sure if they were aware that Azov would be the first to train with them.”
As NATO’s de facto lobbyist in Washington, and one of the most fervent advocates in Washington for arming the Ukrainian military, the Atlantic Council was an extremely unlikely source for such a disclosure. While the think tank’s motives for exposing Azov’s use of American arms remains unclear, its researchers wound up highlighting a truly scandalous episode of semi-covert American support for neo-Nazis.
Los Alamos Study Group
Recent News Media
Greg Mello (Secretary and Executive Director, co-founder, Los Alamos Study Group, led LSG since 1989) in Dr. Strangelove Returns: Analyzing the New US Nuclear Policy, Radio Sputnik, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou hosts, Washington, 6 February 2018 (06:05 - 08:00)
"A lot what is in this review has already been US policy for a long time. It just wasn't emphasized. So, Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) was not the idea behind a lot of US nuclear arsenal - that was kind of a myth. ... People have been beavering all the time trying to figure out how to win nuclear wars, and that is how our arsenal is structured. There has always been the threat to use nuclear weapons in response to say a cyberattack, an attack on the [electric] grid. All of that was there under Obama - it just wasn't emphasized much, but it was discussed a lot. And that is what we mean by not forswearing a first strike with nuclear weapons. There is always some reason to have a first strike whether it's a non-nuclear perceived attack on the United States or -more likely- a potential defeat of US forces abroad somewhere. So, the idea that we would use nuclear weapons first in a conflict or because of some other circimstancces has a lot of detail behind it that has always been there. So, I'm a little concerned right now that a lot of the people who are most critical of the Trump Nuclear Posture Review were actually in favor of ... Former officials who are critical of the Trump Nuclear Posture Review were actually in favor of most of those policies in the recent past."
(Greg Mello (Secretary and Executive Director) is a co-founder of the Study Group and has led its varied activities since 1989, which have included policy research, environmental analysis, congressional education and lobbying, community organizing, litigation, advertising, and the nuts and bolts of running a small nonprofit. From time to time Greg has served as a consulting analyst and writer for other nuclear policy organizations. Greg was originally educated as an engineer (Harvey Mudd College, 1971) and regional planner (Harvard, 1975). Greg led the first environmental enforcement at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He was a hydrogeologist for the New Mexico Environment Department and later a consultant to industry. In 2002 Greg was a Visiting Research Fellow at Princeton's Program on Science and Global Security. Greg's research, analysis, and opinions have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Issues in Science and Technology, in the New Mexico press, and elsewhere. Source: Los Alamos Study Group)
Kevin Kamps (Beyond Nuclear)
Understanding Russia, Un-Demonizing Putin
By Sharon Tennison, February 6, 2018 (in cache)
... I’ve been in country [Russia] long enough to reflect deeply on Russian history and culture, to study their psychology and conditioning, and to understand the marked differences between American and Russian mentalities which so complicate our political relations with their leaders.
As with personalities in a family or a civic club or in a city hall, it takes understanding and compromise to be able to create workable relationships when basic conditionings are different. Washington has been notoriously disinterested in understanding these differences and attempting to meet Russia halfway.
In addition to my personal experience with Putin, I’ve had discussions with numerous U.S. officials and American businessmen who have had years of experience working with him –– I believe it is safe to say that none would describe him as “brutal” or “thuggish,” or the other slanderous terms used to describe him in Western media.
I met Putin years before he ever dreamed of being president of Russia, as did many of us working in St. Petersburg during the 1990s. Since the anti-Putin vilification started, I’ve become nearly obsessed with understanding his character. I think I’ve read every major speech he has given (including the full texts of his annual hours-long telephone “talk-ins” with Russian citizens).
I’ve been trying to ascertain whether he has changed for the worse since being elevated to the presidency, or whether he is a straight character cast into a role of villain that he never anticipated –– and is using sheer wits to try to do the best he can to deal with Washington under extremely difficult circumstances. ...
Psychologists tell us that people often project on to others what they don’t want to face in themselves. Others carry our “shadow” when we refuse to own it. We confer on others the very traits that we are horrified to acknowledge in ourselves.
Whether we can answer these questions with any certainty, one thing I am quite sure of is that 99% of those who excoriate Putin in mainstream media have had no personal contact with him at all. They write articles on hearsay, rumors and fabrication, or they read scripts others have written on their tele-prompters. This is how our nation gets its “news,” such as it is.
There is a well-known code of ethics worth bearing in mind:
It seems to me that if our nation’s leaders would commit to using these four principles in international relations, the world would operate in a completely different manner, and human beings across this planet would live in better conditions than they do today.
The author can be contacted at email@example.com.
What you need to know about the Nuclear Posture Review
Newsletter of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, 7 February 2018
The experts on the new Nuclear Posture Review
On February 2, the Pentagon rolled out the unclassified version of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review. The 2018 document contains significant changes over the last NPR, which was completed in 2010. The Bulletin will be publishing analyses of the NPR document itself and how it might be implemented.
It is anticipated that the United States will generally seek to increase the accuracy of its nuclear weapons in order to lower the yield of modified warheads with improved performance margins.
Read the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review
Pentagon press briefing of the 2018 NPR rollout
NBC News, Feb 2, 2018 (in cache)
This is the 3.5-page memo prepared by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. It is derived from the FBI's application for surveillance authority before the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court.
(excerpts, [additions] and formating by J. Gruber)
This memorandum provides Members an update on significant facts relating to the Committee's ongoing investigation into
during the 2016 presidential election cycle.
Our findings, which are detailed below,
On October 21, 2016, DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC. Page is a U.S. citizen who served as a volunteer advisor to the Trump presidential campaign. Consistent with requirements under FISA, the application
The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and 3 FISA renewals from the FISC.
As required by statute (50 U.S.C. § 1805(d)(1)), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the FISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause.
Due to the sensitive nature of foreign intelligence activity, FISA submissions (including renewals) before the FISC are classified. As such, the public's confidence in the integrity of the FISA process depends on the court's ability to hold the government to the highest standard — particularly as it relates to the surveillance of American citizens. However, the FISC's rigor in protecting the rights of Americans, which is reinforced by 90-day renewals of surveillance orders, is necessarily dependent on the government's production to the court of all material and relevant facts. This should include information potentially favorable to the target of the FISA application that is known by the government. In the case of Carter Page, the government had at least four independent opportunities before the FISC to accurately provide an accounting of the relevant facts. However, our findings indicate that, as described below, material and relevant information was omitted.
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