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National Security State as Racket on the Danger of Terrorism
Review of Literature

“Plunderers of the world, when nothing remains on the lands to which they have laid waste by wanton thievery, they search out across the seas. The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”

Tacitus, Agricola
 

News Corporatism Recommended Links Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations Neofascism Nation under attack meme
Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative  Inverted Totalitarism The Deep State Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Reconciling Human Rights With Total Surveillance Operation Gladio - Wikipedia
The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies History of American False Flag Operations False flag operations as an important part of demonization of the enemy strategy Mystery of Building 7 Collapse Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo
Total Surveillance Media-Military-Industrial Complex The Grand Chessboard Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Two Party System as Polyarchy Corporate Media: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few
Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Facebook as Giant Database about Users Social Sites as intelligence collection tools Systematic Breach of Vienna Convention Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism The Iron Law of Oligarchy
American Exceptionalism New American Militarism Machiavellism   Humor Etc

"The greatest threat is that we shall become like those who seek to destroy us"

the legendary US diplomat George Kennan warned in 1947

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”


Ronal Reagan about a different crisis

Books have been written about President Eisenhower’s famous farewell warning in 1961 about the “military-industrial complex,” and what he described as its “unwarranted influence.” But an even greater leviathan today, one that the public knows little about, is the “intelligence-industrial complex.”

Michael Hirsh in

How America's Top Tech Companies
Created the Surveillance State )

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

- James Madison


Introduction

The National Security State is an ideology and practice of the USA elite, closely connected with the idea of the rule of the Media-Military-Industrial Complex, and especially three-letter agencies ("Trumanites" because of our 33rd president's role in founding the CIA, the modern Defense Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Agency).  It is somewhat different from national socialist idea as it is married to neoliberalism and does not included the decisive influence of the state in economic sphere.

Under neoliberalism society has become increasingly militarized, meaning that as most aspects of the social-democratic state (New Deal state) are eliminated, a police state is rising in its place. All problems that in the past were seen as social problems, and hence required social solutions, now acquire police solutions. Heavily militarized police became praetorian guard of 0.1% that is in power.

In economic sphere deregulation (economic liberalism or neoliberalism) produce social conflict, which at some point can not be masked by neoliberal demagogy ("shareholder value", "stakeholder participation" and other neoliberal crap).  As the state now represents interest only of the top 0.1% population, economic and political spheres became merged under authoritarian rule of financial oligarchy, not unlike the USSR under bolshevism with the only difference that "nomenklatura" was more aligned with the interests of the society then financial oligarchy,  Tax laws, inheritance rules, status to trade unions, "revolving door" regulations (which highly correlates with the degree of corruption of the society) became political decisions and  require constant brainwashing of the population and instilling fear using external threat. Terrorism is used for this purpose not unlike permanent war between Oceania and Eurasia in the Orwell's famous  novel 1984,  It is clear that the war with terrorism is quintessential for waging "permanent war for permanent peace".  This link to rampant militarism is close to what we observe in typical neo-fascist movements (Fascism - Wikipedia ):

Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism[1][2] that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe, influenced by national syndicalism. Fascism originated in Italy during World War I and spread to other European countries. Fascism opposes liberalism, Marxism and anarchism and is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.[3][4]

Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes in the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant. A "military citizenship" arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war.[5][6] The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.[5][6]

Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete, and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties.[7] Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society.[7] Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature, and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation.[8][9][10][11] Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.[12]

Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th century fascist movements.[13]

In this social system US intelligence apparatus and military establishment are raised to the level above and beyond civilian control and become a somewhat autonomous system, a hidden government of the USA. Deep state as it is now called. Which, as a minimum, assume the role of king maker for the most top positions in the USA government. And, if necessary, can act as a king remover (JFK assassination is a nice example here; CIA fingerprints are all over the place, but nobody from CIA went to jail for this "accomplishment": mission accomplished).

The colossal budget with  juicy cost-plus contracts of affiliated private companies gives those agencies not only tremendous power, but also vested ideological and financial interests. For example, for the moment of its creation, due to Allen Dulles background CIA was aligned with the interests of Wall Street. There no real overseeing of three letter agencies from neither executive branch, not from the Congress, nor from the Supreme Court.

But the reverse is not true. In a way they can serve as a surrogate king.   In other words, instead of the servant of the state intelligence agencies became the master. This phenomenon is not limited to the USA. The same hijacking of executive, parliamentarian and judicial braches of govern happened in other countries. A very interesting example provides the USSR: it was actually betrayal of KGB brass, who switched side and decided to privatize the country, that among other things doomed the USSR.

The key "three letter agencies" (CIA, DOD, NSA, FBI) were established by the National Security Act of 1947, signed in September 18, 1947 by President Harry S. Truman. This year can be considered as the year when National Security State was born and probably should be celebrated accordingly instead of old-fashioned Independence Day.  Very little was preserved from the "old republic" after this transformation of the USA. 

It is prudent to view National Security State as a modern form of corporatism, closely related to concepts of neo-fascism and Inverted Totalitarism. As ellatynemouth noted in the comment to the Guardian article Internet privacy as important as human rights, says UN's Navi Pillay (Dec 26, 2013):

The surveillance state is the ruling class's key hole through which they monitor us and our potential dissent. It's now an integral part of capitalism and can't be removed.

The game has changed. It's now about convincing us as much as possible that they will stop snooping on us. They won't though. It will just become more heavily hidden.

Surveillance state was made possible with the advent of computers, Internet and wireless communication. In some features it is close to neo-fascism and Latin-American far right authoritarian regimes, but there are important difference. Instead of organized violence against opponents it achieved its goals without relentless physical repression/elimination of opponents. It's key feature is mass surveillance, discreditation and blackmailing of opponents (like in German Democratic Republic there are dossier for every member of society and skeletons from the closet can be revealed for any politician or activist)  as well as control and manipulation of media, not mass repression of opponents. Like neofascist regimes of the past (such as Pinochet regime in Chile) and authoritarian "communist" regimes of the past and present, it make organized opposition to the government virtually impossible. Of the 20 characteristic traits of neo-fascist regimes probably around the half are applicable to the national security state.

After 9/11, Bush government's behavior and especially appeals to public clearly resonate with the proto-fascist "... uber alles" ideas. As an amazing example of doublespeak  Bushists managed to integrate American exceptionalism into the framework of globalist neoliberal regime (as the command-and-control center for neoliberal world empire, no less). Bush government inspired post-9/11 paranoia doesn’t come cheaply, though. Costs were staggering: the military ($682 billion), Homeland Security (about $60 billion), and 15 intelligence agencies (official figure of combined budget is perhaps $75 billion; but in reality in many times more then that). The total is probably over a trillion.

Nothing changed under President Obama, which suggests that he is just a figurehead and the  "deep state" is actually in charge. In most area Obama administration was more like Bush II administration , then "change we can believe in".  In this sense this was the most blatant "bait and switch" in the recent  political history of the USA. This is the view of Professor Michel Greenon, who in his book advocated the view that tradition troika of powers in the USA became by and large ceremonial and that real actors, at least in area of national security are not non-elected executives of super-powerful and well financed three-letter agencies. Here is a brief overview taken from review published by Reason (National Security State - Reason.com):

Though Glennon doesn't describe his thesis in terms of public choice theory, it echoes that discipline's insight that institutions are run for the benefit of the people who run the institutions. For the Trumanites, Glennon explains, "benefits take the form of enlarged budgets, personnel, missions; costs take the form of retrenchments in each." Witness the vast archipelago of intelligence facilities-nearly three Pentagons' worth of office space-that have been erected in greater Washington, D.C., since 9/11.

The national security state is becoming an autonomous, self-perpetuating entity, Glennon warns. It sets the table for elected officials' choices and increasingly dictates terms to them. The permanent bureaucracy basks in the "glow" of Madisonian institutions, drawing legitimacy from the illusion that elected officials are in charge. But while the buck may stop with the president, the real power resides with the Trumanites.

This explanation is strongest in the realm of state surveillance, which serves as Glennon's central case study. Recall the embarrassing revelation, in the summer of 2013, that the NSA was tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone. What did the president know, and when did he know it? If you believe top administration officials, Obama was almost as surprised as Merkel. Glennon quotes Secretary of State John Kerry to the effect that the Merkel wiretap, like a lot of NSA programs, occurred "on autopilot."

On one hand, that's what you'd expect them to say. On the other hand, the claim is entirely plausible, and it is consistent with the earlier history of NSA abuses uncovered by the Church Committee in the 1970s. Under Project SHAMROCK, for example, the NSA collected the content of virtually all cable traffic entering or leaving the United States for three decades-150,000 messages a month at its height. It was, the committee's final report concluded, "probably the largest governmental interception program affecting Americans ever undertaken." And yet it's not clear that any president ordered, approved, or was even aware of SHAMROCK. When the program's existence was exposed in the mid-'70s, Louis Tordella, longtime deputy director of the NSA, admitted that he didn't know whether any president or attorney general had ever been briefed on it.

The picture grows somewhat more complicated when we look at the modern practice of presidential war making. From the Truman administration onward, the president has accumulated enormous unchecked authority, despite James Madison's conviction that, since the executive department was "most distinguished by its propensity to war," it is "the practice of all states, in proportion as they are free, to disarm this propensity of its influence."

When it comes to picking the wars we wage, it's not clear that the Trumanites are fully in charge. Take four major war-powers decisions during the Obama administration: the Afghan surge, the escalation of drone attacks, the Libya intervention, and the current war against ISIS. I put the Trumanite win-loss record at roughly .500 here. The military and national security bureaucracy fought hard for the surge and the drone escalation, and got them. They generally opposed the Libyan action, and some prominent Trumanites-such as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs -appear to have been reluctant to endorse our latest war in the Middle East.

In the case of this most recent war, domestic politics seems a better explanation: The president yielded to the near-irresistible demand that he "do something" about the beheading of Americans and the implosion of the Iraqi state. Bombing ISIS is something, so we're doing it.

The Obama experience suggests we get the wars the Trumanites want -- and also some they don't. But this is hardly fatal to Glennon's thesis. He stresses that "a good theory of institutional behavior can predict, at best, only tendency over time"; his "predicts only that national security policy will change little from one administration to the next." So far, that theory is holding up rather well.

Even so, I've always been partial to one version of the "government politics" explanation. A few years ago, I wrote a book arguing that "Americans' unconfined conception of presidential responsibility is the source of much of our political woe and some of the gravest threats to our liberties." If the political reality is such that the president will be held personally accountable for any domestic terror attack, don't be surprised when he seeks powers nearly as vast as the expectations put upon him.

Glennon acknowledges it's not either-or; "explanations overlap," he writes. Dumb wars and security-state overreach are the result of political choices and the bureaucratic imperative. Policy continuity is depressingly overdetermined.

Real-time histories of key national security decisions in the Obama years tend to underscore this point. In Kill or Capture, reporter Daniel Klaidman describes the enormous political pressure the Obama administration was under after the failed "underwear bomber" attack on December 25, 2009. "For the White House," Klaidman writes, "the psychic toll of Christmas Day was profound. Obama realized that if a failed terror attempt could suck up so much political oxygen, a successful attack would absolutely devastate his presidency. And much as he liked to talk about returning to first principles, Obama also had a powerful instinct for self-correction-as well as self-preservation."

The psychic aftershock of Christmas 2009 helped shape a lot of what followed: from body scanners at airports to ramped-up drone strikes to the lethal targeting of an American citizen.

But to Glennon's point, the administration was under pressure from the Trumanites well before that. In the 2012 book, The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power, James Mann describes a concerted effort by then-CIA director Michael Hayden and other senior intelligence officials to preserve business as usual by scaring the hell out of the incoming Obama team. Their private name for this scheme was the "Aw, Shit! Campaign."

The scare tactics worked. Klaidman reports that both Harold Koh, legal advisor at the State Department, and Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's general counsel, used the same metaphor to describe the military pressure for more targeted killings: a runaway train. It was like "a massive freight train hurling down the tracks" Koh said. "You would have to throw yourself on the tracks to try to stop it," said Johnson.

All this helps shed light on Obama's strange and disorienting May 2013 "drone speech" at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., in which the president seemed to be speaking not as commander in chief, but as his own loyal opposition.

In the speech, Obama said things like "Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don't need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers." And: "The very precision of drone strikes can also lead a president and his team to view [them] as a cure-all for terrorism." I remember thinking: "A president"? Which one? Anyone in particular? Who's in charge here, anyway?

National Security and Double Government suggests that the answer to that last question isn't quite so obvious, that the "most powerful man in the world" isn't nearly as powerful as he might appear.

It remains the case that Obama had the formal authority to say no to mass surveillance and perpetual war. But saying no would require resisting enormous bureaucratic and political pressure. And anybody willing to do what it takes to become president is unlikely to transform himself into a self-denying Cincinnatus once in office. Political survivors don't jump in front of trains.

While US government spent around $3.67 trillion in 2013, the revenue was just $2.77 trillion. Of that amount over one trillion went to three-letter agencies and DOD. Now you understand to whom real power belongs.  Moreover the government has to borrow about $900 billion in order to maintain national security state programs intact. And there are 5 million (yes million) people in the USA with security clearance and around 3 million with top security clearance. In other words "Welcome to the USSR." or even Third Reich (actually republican senators opposed Truman initiative due to fear that he replicated institution of the Third Reich in the USA and only support of powerful Democrats allowed the president to push the act through the Congress.

But even if it was close to the Third Reich in political effects and its essence, this type of political structure is different, because it does not rely on mass mobilization. Instead it relied on the power of "deep state" and mass surveillance as well as passivity of most electorate. 

As Paxton describes it (Tracking Fascism) fascism as just hypertrophied and misguided nationalism, a specific flavor of far right nationalism. The central emotions in fascism and nationalism are identical. In other words at the core of fascist emotional mobilization always lies far right nationalism and that is important distinction with national security state and neoliberalism which are globalist and  "imperial" and does not stress particular nationality as long of the person/group serves empire interests:

...Feelings propel fascism more than thought does. We might call them mobilizing passions, since they function in fascist movements to recruit followers and in fascist regimes to "weld" the fascist "tribe" to its leader. The following mobilizing passions are present in fascisms, though they may sometimes be articulated only implicitly:
  1. The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.
  2. The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action against the group's enemies, internal as well as external.
  3. Dread of the group's decadence under the corrosive effect of individualistic and cosmopolitan liberalism.
  4. Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood (fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.
  5. An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.
  6. Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.
  7. The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group's success in a Darwinian struggle.

Post 9/11  "passions" in the USA were definitely skillfully used by Bush administration to push the nation into the Iraq war and the attacks on dissenters that occurred during it were pretty vicious, really in traditions of Third Reich ("you are either with us, or with our enemies"). 

But public was not really central in this whole issue. Americans were extras at best, patsies at worst,  Essentially all major decisions were made "behind the curtain" by deep state structures and public was just brainwashed into approval of those action. That's an important different between national security state and classical fascist regimes. In classic fascist state the leading fascist party would be central to unleashing such a war.  Here it was bust a bunch of highly placed bureaucrats in Bush II administration (so called neocons, which is an ideological group allied with the military industrial complex, but not an organized party as such).

Here is a more extended treatment of this issue (cited from Rush, Newspeak and Fascism An exegesis IV Tracking Fascism):

1. [Group primacy]: See, again, the Bush Doctrine. An extension of this sentiment is at play among those jingoes who argue that Americans may need to sacrifice some of their civil rights -- say, free speech -- during wartime.
2. [Victim mentality]: This meme is clearly present in all the appeals to the victims of Sept. 11 as justifications for the war. It is present at nearly all levels of the debate: from the White House, from the media, even from the jingoist entertainment industry (see, e.g., the lyric of Darryl Worley's extraordinarily popular country-western hit, "Have You Forgotten?": "Some say this country's just out looking for a fight / Well after 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right.").
3. [Dread of liberal decadence]: This meme has been stock in trade of the talk-radio crowd since at least 1994 -- at one time it focused primarily on the person of Bill Clinton -- and has reached ferocious levels during the runup to the war and after it, during which antiwar leftists have regularly and remorselessly been accused of treason.
4. [Group integration] and 5. [Group identity as personal validation] are, of course, among the primary purposes of the campaign to demonize liberals -- to simultaneously build a cohesive brotherhood of like-minded "conservatives" who might not agree on the details but are united in their loathing of all things liberal. It plays out in such localized manifestations as the KVI Radio 570th On-Air Cavalry, which has made a habit of deliberately invading antiwar protests with the express purpose of disrupting them and breaking them up. Sometimes, as they did recently in Bellingham, this is done with caravans of big trucks blaring their horns; and they are also accompanied by threatening rhetoric and acts of physical intimidation. They haven't yet bonded in violence -- someone did phone in a threat to sniper-shoot protesters -- but they are rapidly headed in that direction.
6. [Authority of leaders]: This needs hardly any further explanation, except to note that George W. Bush is actually surprisingly uncharismatic for someone who inspires as much rabid loyalty as he does. But then, that is part of the purpose of Bush's PR campaign stressing that he receives "divine guidance" -- it assures in his supporters' mind the notion that he is carrying out God's destiny for the nation, and for the conservative movement in particular.
7. [An aesthetic of violence]: One again needs only turn to the voluminous jingoes of Fox News or the jubilant warbloggers to find abundant examples of celebrations of the virtues -- many of them evidently aesthetic -- of the evidently just-completed war.

I would like to stress that similar processes occurred in different states after WWII as well (Latin America military dictatorships are one example). And with new force and on the new level after the dissolution of the USSR in Russia.  Of course the USSR was a National Security Surveillance State even before WWII, being one of the "pioneers" of this form of state along with Italy and Germany. But it was a rather "primitive" form of national security state  in a sense that it did not rely on computers, collecting "envelope" of all Internet communication, emails headers and other "meta-data" as well as systematic interception of SMS-based communications as well interception of wireless communication and financial operations via computerized banking (especially credit card transactions)  for surveillance.

Rule of Trumanites as the essence of the US National security state -- Boston Globe review of Michael Glennon book

Mickey Edwards, who served in Congress from 1977 to 1993, and is the author of “The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans.” published a very penetrating review of the book in  The Boston Globe. In which he stated:

It has long been the province of conspiracy theorists to claim that the real power of government is not wielded by the obvious practitioners of statecraft — presidents, members of Congress, the judiciary — but by secret or semi-secret entities, real wizards whose hidden machinations send us to war, sell us out to enemies, siphon public treasure into private hands. Depending on your talk show or paranoia of choice, these are the bankers, oil barons, one-worlders, war profiteers, Bilderbergers, Masons, Catholics, Jews, or Trilateralists. Our formal institutions, in this scenario, are stage sets, Potemkin villages; our officials are puppets; we are an unsuspecting audience.

Michael Glennon, a respected academic (Tufts’s FLETCHER SCHOOL) and author of a book brought to us by an equally respected publisher (Oxford University Press), is hardly the sort to indulge in such fantasies. And that makes the picture he paints in “National Security and Double Government” all the more arresting. Considering Barack Obama’s harsh pre-election criticisms of his predecessor’s surveillance policies, for example, Glennon notes that many of those same policies — and more of the same kind — were continued after Obama took office. “Why,” he asks, “does national security policy remain constant even when one President is replaced by another, who as a candidate repeatedly, forcefully, and eloquently promised fundamental changes in that policy?”

The answer Glennon places before us is not reassuring: “a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of US national security policy.” The result, he writes, is a system of dual institutions that have evolved “toward greater centralization, less accountability, and emergent autocracy.”

If this were a movie, it would soon become clear that some evil force, bent on consolidating power and undermining democratic governance, has surreptitiously tunneled into the under-structure of the nation. Not so. In fact, Glennon observes, this hyper-secret and difficult-to-control network arose in part as an attempt to head off just such an outcome. In the aftermath of World War II, with the Soviet Union a serious threat from abroad and a growing domestic concern about weakened civilian control over the military (in 1949, the Hoover Commission had warned that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had become “virtually a law unto themselves”), President Truman set out to create a separate national security structure.

By 2011, according to The Washington Post, there were 46 separate federal departments and agencies and 2,000 private companies engaged in classified national security operations with millions of employees and spending of roughly a trillion dollars a year. As Glennon points out, presidents get to name fewer than 250 political appointees among the Defense Department’s nearly 700,000 civilian employees, with hundreds more drawn from a national security bureaucracy that comprise “America’s Trumanite network” — in effect, on matters of national security, a second government.

Glennon’s book is not a breezy read: It’s thick with fact and not unappreciative of conundrum (“The government is seen increasingly by elements of the public as hiding what they ought to know, criminalizing what they ought to be able to do, and spying upon what ought to be private. The people are seen increasingly by the government as unable to comprehend the gravity of security threats.”). Nor is he glib with proposed solutions: to adequately respond to the threats posed by a below-the-radar second government will require “a general public possessed of civic virtue,” which prompts Glennon to cite retired Supreme Court justice David Souter’s bemoaning of a “pervasive civic ignorance.” Not all of the problem can be laid at Truman’s feet. And if we ourselves are part of the zeitgeist that allows invisible governments to flourish, repair will be difficult. As Glennon puts it, “the term Orwellian will have little meaning to a people who have never known anything different, who have scant knowledge of history, civics, or public affairs, and who in any event have never heard of George Orwell.”

This is no secret conspiracy nor a plot to deprive Americans of their civil liberties. It is the unintended consequence of a thoughtful attempt to head off the very threats that those attempts have inadvertently created. But if Glennon’s book is enlightening it is also scary. And it’s not fiction.

Why National Security State needs provocations -- pseudo terrorist attacks (false flag attacks)

There are multiple reasons such as to instill fear, and to demonstrate competence (Big Brother’s Liberal Friends — Crooked Timber)

Dr. Hilarius, 10.27.14 at 11:44 pm
An excellent analysis and summation.

Any defense of the national security state requires the proponent to show, at a minimum, that the present apparatus is competent at its task. Having lived through Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention many smaller governmental adventures) I see no evidence of competence. Instead, it’s repetitive failures of analysis and imagination no matter how much raw intelligence is gathered.

Nor is there any evidence that existing oversight mechanisms function as intended. Recent revelations about the CIA spying on the Senate should be enough to dispel the idea that leakers have no role to play.

Kinsley is particularly loathsome. His position is little more than “your betters know best” and that the state’s critics are guttersnipes needing to be kicked to the curb. Kinsley doesn’t need a coherent position, his goal is to be a spokesman for the better sorts, nothing more...

Tremendous push (or acceleration of pre-existing tendencies) toward National Security State occurred after 9/11 under the banner of fighting terrorism. At the point technological capabilities of mass surveillance using computers and the ability to have a dossier for everybody were in place, while mass deployment of PC, credit cards and cell phones provides constant stream of information to those dossiers, not that different from "gum shoes" reports. On November, 2001 the phone records of most Americans begin flowing to the N.S.A. After 9/11, President Bush authorizes the N.S.A. to collect phone and Internet content and metadata without a warrant. Within weeks, under the so-called President’s Surveillance Program (P.S.P.), the major telephone companies voluntarily hand over the data. The N.S.A. creates a twenty-four-hour “Metadata Analysis Center” (MAC) to search the phone records. In October 26, 2001: The Patriot Act is passed. Section 215 allows the government to seize “any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”

At this point the process started with adoption of Truman doctrine came to a logical end: national surveillance state became a reality. Formally Truman Doctrine was created "to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." but in reality their function was more questionable and after 9/11 (some people date this event as early as 1963 -- JFK assassination) those activities created what is called "The State Within a State" similar to the USSR KGB role (see The State Within a State by Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick). Here is one review of the book:

A Customer

passionate albeit muddled, August 24, 1999

I have problems with the author's obvious hatred of the Russian Revolution and Stalin and the way she claims there is an unbroken chain of horror going all the way back to 1917. Obviously things are better today -- hence her book! She says 66.7 million people died under "Chekist" rule since the Russian Revolution -- and then cites the Guiness Book of Records as her source!? No one could ever prove such a figure, I think its one of things that's repeated 'til it becomes fact.

I also find the author's lack of knowledge about our own CIA kind of disheartening. This fine organization has spread as much death and terror in the Third World (Indonesia, Guatemala,Chile, Argentina, Brazil etc. etc. ) as the KGB ever did anywhere, yet she seems to make them out to be benevolent compared to the KGB (which if you read this book are responsible for everything wrong with the world today).

After reading this book I still don't understand why she thinks the KGB or its incarnations are as bad today as they were at the height of the Terror in 1937. Its not really explained in the book. I still am not convinced that the KGB was the NKVD, and definitely convinced that either was the SS. Research I have done casually has never come up with hard, convincing figures for a Nazi style genocide in the USSR, and this anecdotal, unconvincing book didn't change my historical views.

See Michael J. Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998; which "explains the transformative process that ended in the ultimate demise of the New Deal state with its emphasis on social spending and ushered in the militarist National Security State." From Amazon review:

Hogan, a specialist in American diplomatic and national security studies, has written a complex but interesting work on the emergence of the national security state. To create this state, it was necessary to merge the armed forces, the Defense Department, and scientists into a single unit to enhance the military's capabilities. To a large extent, this unification was accomplished in the 1950s. The driving forces were James Forrestal, Dean Acheson, and powerful members of Congress such as Carl Vinson (D-GA), who chaired the Committee on Naval Affairs, along with presidents Truman and Eisenhower.

Hogan presents a compelling case but overemphasizes the importance of Truman and Eisenhower while downplaying the role of Vinson and others in the security state's creation. In fact, both Truman and Eisenhower often seemed opposed to it but succumbed to pressure from Congress and key figures like Acheson. This extremely complex study, which deals with a subject few other books handle, is designed for scholars and informed lay readers interested in the creation of the "military-industrial complex." by Richard P. Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., KY

Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti in his book "Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History" noted:

"As I pointed out in the preface to The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence in 1974, democratic governments fighting totalitarian enemies run the risk of imitating their methods and thereby destroying democracy. By suppressing historical fact, and by manufacturing historical fiction, the CIA, with its obsessive secrecy and its vast resources, has posed a particular threat to the right of Americans to be informed for the present and future by an objective knowledge of the past.

As long as the CIA continues to manipulate history, historians of its activities must be Revisionist if we are to know the truth about the agency's activities, past and present."

Attempts to curtain the surveillance proved to by fruitless.  Church Committee was probably the most important "after JFK assassination" attempt to somewhat tame three latter agencies and especially CIA, but it ended in nothing.

Later NSA overtook CIA in many areas of intelligence gathering activities. Which create internal frictions between two agencies. State Department also "infringed" in CIA role in foreign countries and, for example, in organization of neoliberal color revolutions in oil rich or strategically important countries it is difficult to tell when clandestine actions of State Department ends and clandestine actions of CIA stars and vice versa. 

In is interesting to note that even Senators feel threatened by this total surveillance system. In December 14, 2005 Senators Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Richard Durbin, and several colleagues sign a letter warning that Section 215 “would allow the government to obtain library, medical and gun records and other sensitive personal information” that “would allow government fishing expeditions targeting innocent Americans.” They demand that the records requested should “have some connection to a suspected terrorist or spy,” a requirement that would

protect innocent Americans from unnecessary surveillance and ensure that government scrutiny is based on individualized suspicion, a fundamental principle of our legal system.

In March, 2006, the Patriot Act is reauthorized without the changes sought by Obama and others.

In his October 19, 2012 review of the book Saman Mohammadi (The Excavator) wrote:

The case could be made that the creation of the CIA and the National Security State in 1947 was necessary. But after sixty years of human rights abuses, systematic attacks on the constitution, false flag terror events, assassinations of political reformers, and other horrible crimes against humanity, should not the CIA be reformed?

Let's put the question of morality aside. What are the "national security" reasons that legitimize the existence of the CIA? Once you learn that Al-Qaeda is a CIA creation and proxy insurgent army and that 9/11 was a massive false flag operation, you come to the natural conclusion that the CIA does not perform a national security role.

The CIA plays a much dirtier role: engineering the American mind. It is not denied that the shadow CIA has major influence in the mainstream media, especially amongst top newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Michael S. Rozeff speculates that the New York Times is entirely run by the CIA.

We can't know for certain if that is true because of the lack of historical documentation in the public domain, but there is a mountain of observable evidence that proves the CIA has many of its spooks working for the New York Times. Go here for just one example.

Until the American people demand that the U.S. government commit to radical transparency and the principles enshrined in the U.S. constitution, the shadow CIA and the mainstream media can twist history and manage public perceptions of reality as much as they like.

The shadow CIA's greatest power comes from its command of the American public mind as well as its ability to create a fictional version of history. The false flag September 11 events was the shadow CIA's biggest media operation to date. It was their Mona Lisa. They painted the canvas of reality with the brush of myth, and worked day and night to shape the collective memory of the American people while the horror of the tragic attacks was still fresh in the nation's mind.

Although the shadow CIA doesn't have a total command of the American mind and of history, as proven by the rise of the global 9/11 truth and justice movement, it possesses enough media power to mold world public opinion and dictate government policy for the United States with ease. There is no question that its power is totalitarian in nature and its aims are evil. It does not serve the interests of the American people; that much is clear.

How can there be freedom when CIA officials in television studios, newspaper offices, and publishing companies drive the public conversation and form the national narrative on every issue of significance. The global alternative media is the only global civil society actor that is putting limits on the CIA's power to make up history and suppress the truth about historical events like 9/11 and the occult sacrifice of JFK.

In the past, the shadow CIA was presented with roadblocks in the Congress. But 9/11 fixed that problem. The laws and the politics changed. In "The Big Chill," author Dan Froomkin says the absence of Congressional leadership in the post-9/11 political universe has strengthened executive power. Here is an excerpt his article:

After past periods of executive excess, the Fourth Estate was certainly more robust and arguably more persistent, but it also found natural allies in the other branches of government—particularly Congress. By contrast, over the summer of 2012, the publication of a minimal amount of new information regarding drones, cyberwarfare and targeted killings incited bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill—not to conduct hearings into what had been revealed, but to demand criminal investigations into the leaking.

That's how Congress has been ever since the terrorist attacks 11 years ago. "We never got our post 9/11 Church Committee," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists's Project on Government Secrecy, referring to a special investigative Senate committee that held hearings on widespread intelligence abuses after the Watergate scandal. "What we've got instead is the intelligence oversight committee drafting legislation to penalize leaks."

Since the Congress is not willing to stand up for the rights of the American people, the truth, human rights, and the U.S. Constitution, then the American people and global civil society must stand up. Congress has no real power. According to a recent Rasmussen survey, Congress only has an eight percent approval rating. There are underground, neo-Nazi groups in Europe that are more popular than the Congress.

The mainstream media is no better. It is content with its role as a propaganda arm of the shadow CIA, and that is a tragedy. American newspapers have the power to improve their nation and change the world for the better, but instead they choose to cover up independent investigations of shady events like 9/11 that shed light on how the U.S. government really operates.

Alternative media outlets like Infowars.com, Veterans Today, Lew Rockwell.com, Washington's Blog, The Corbett Report, and countless others are doing the best they can to educate the American people and wake up humanity.

The last thing the shadow CIA wants to see is an informed and awakened America. It is waging a silent war on human consciousness because it is scared of an enlightened world. A world that is awake and aware of its crimes against humanity is its greatest nightmare.

If the shadow CIA has its way, it will continue inventing stories and passing it off as history with total immunity. But the global alternative media is telling the shadow CIA: Enough is enough, stop lying to the American people and the world.

The CIA's reckless disregard of U.S. traditions and laws made former President Harry Truman rethink his decision to create the CIA in the first place. On December 22, 1963, Truman wrote in The Washington Post:

For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas. I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations.

On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA about this agency (Wikipedia):

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer list of features of National security state

In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer argues that the Bush I war in Iraq (as well as Bush II invasion and occupation of the country) was an action of the military industrial complex usurping the "peace dividend". Iraq was attractive target as it has oil and far enough away to prove a good vehicle for eating up contract cash. He views the rise of the National Security Defense State as a consequence of "the threat of peace" for military industrial complex and identifies seven characteristics of a such a state:

  1. The military is the highest authority. In a National Security State the military not only guarantees the security of the state against all internal and external enemies, it has enough power to determine the overall direction of the society. In a National Security State the military exerts important influence over political, economic, as well as military affairs.
  2. Political democracy and democratic elections are viewed with suspicion, contempt, or in terms of political expediency. National Security States often maintain an appearance of democracy. However, ultimate power rests with the military or within a broader National Security Establishment.
  3. The military and related sectors wield substantial political and economic power. They do so in the context of an ideology which stresses that 'freedom" and "development" are possible only when capital is concentrated in the hands of elites.
  4. Obsession with enemies. There are enemies of the state everywhere. Defending against external and/or internal enemies becomes a leading preoccupation of the state, a distorting factor in the economy, and a major source of national identity and purpose.
  5. The working assumption is that the enemies of the state are cunning and ruthless. Therefore, any means used to destroy or control these enemies is justified.
  6. It restricts public debate and limits popular participation through secrecy or intimidation. Authentic democracy depends on participation of the people. National Security States limit such participation in a number of ways: They sow fear and thereby narrow the range of public debate; they restrict and distort information; and they define policies in secret and implement those policies through covert channels and clandestine activities. The state justifies such actions through rhetorical pleas of "higher purpose" and vague appeals to "national security."
  7. The church is expected to mobilize its financial, ideological, and theological resources in service to the National Security State.
Now we can add one additional feature
  1. Total surveillance

Compare that definition of the National Security State with the definition of Inverted Totalitarism. Most countries now have features of both.

The debate about National Security State reemerged in June 2008 due to revelations make about existence of the Prism program and similar program by British security services. For example, Jacob Augstein used the term "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism" in his article Europe Must Stand Up to American Cyber-Snooping published by SPIEGEL.

Here is an interesting comment of user MelFarrellSr in The Guardian discussion of the article NSA analysts 'willfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):

Here's the thing about the NSA, the GCHQ, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, et al...

We all have to stop commenting as if the NSA and the GCHQ are in this thing on their own; the reality is that no one was supposed to know one iota about any of these programs; the NSA and the GCHQ began and put in place the structure that would allow all internet service providers, and indeed all corporations using the net, the ability to track and profile each and every user on the planet, whether they be using the net, texting, cell, and landline.

We all now know that Google, Yahoo, and the rest, likely including major retailers, and perhaps not so major retailers, are all getting paid by the United States government, hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, our money, to profile 24/7 each and every one of us..., they know how we think, our desires, our sexual preferences, our religious persuasion, what we spend, etc.; make no mistake about it, they know it all, and what they don’t currently have, they will very soon…

These agencies and indeed all those who are paid by them, will be engaged over the next few weeks in a unified program of "perception management" meaning that they will together come up with an all-encompassing plan that will include the release of all manner of statements attesting to the enforcement of several different disciplinary actions against whomever for "illegal" breaches of policy...

They may even bring criminal actions against a few poor unfortunate souls who had no idea they would be sacrificed as one part of the "perception management" game.

Has anyone wondered why, to date, no one in power has really come out and suggested that the program must be curtailed to limit its application to terrorism and terrorist types?

Here’s why; I was fortunate recently to have given an education on how networks such as Prism, really work, aside from the rudimentary details given in many publications. They cannot, and will not, stop monitoring even one individuals activity, because to do so will eventually cause loss of the ability to effectively monitor as many as 2.5 Million individuals.

Remember the “Two to Three Hop” scenario, which the idiot in one of the hearings inadvertently spoke of; therein lies the answer. If the average person called 40 unique people, three-hop analysis would allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans Do the math; Internet usage in the United States as of June 30, 2012 reached a total of over 245,000,000 million…

The following link shows how connected the world is… http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm

We should never forget how the Internet began, and who developed it, the United States Armed Forces; initially it was known as Arpanet, see excerpt and link below…

"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation." - Supreme Court Judge statement on considering first amendment rights for Internet users.

"On a cold war kind of day, in swinging 1969, work began on the ARPAnet, grandfather to the Internet. Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol).”

http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa091598.htm

There is no government anywhere on the planet that will give up any part of the program…, not without one hell of a fight...

Incidentally, they do hope and believe that everyone will come to the same conclusion; they will keep all of us at bay for however long it takes; they have the money, they have the time, and they economically control all of us...

Pretty good bet they win...

Whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it ?

The book American Exceptionalism and Human Rights (edited by Ignatieff) raised an important and probably the most controversial question in world politics: whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it.

Following are based on the article by Laurence W. Britt published in Free Inquiry magazine

To a secular humanist, the principles of international law seems logical, right, and crucial. Yet, there is one archetypal political philosophy that is anathema to almost all of these principles. It is fascism. And fascism’s principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading as something else, challenging everything we stand for. The cliché that people and nations learn from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history, or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.

We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated by protofascist regimes at various times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities.

Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of these fascist and protofascist regimes reveals the absolutely striking convergence of their modus operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation to the informed political observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective to restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current circumstances.

The following regimes can be studies in this respect: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. They constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history. But they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible. Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.

One can wonder how many of those are applicable to Bush/McCain. What do you think ?
  1. Propaganda of nationalism and Exceptionalism ("shining city on the hill", beckon of democracy, etc). Prominent displays of flags and ubiquitous lapel pins. The fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy. Pride in the military, and demands for unity are way of expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a level of suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia (French fries - Freedom fries).

  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. Despite "freedom rhetorics" the party views human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious and truth about gulags is out, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the parties would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, such as Muslims, communists/socialists/liberals, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Opponents of these party were inevitably labeled as terrorists stooges and dealt with accordingly.

  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites identified closely with the military. A disproportionate share of national budget is allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an ultimate expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

  5. Sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, the party covertly views women as second-class citizens. Often are both anti-abortion and homophobic with the cover of religious values. For propaganda reasons those attitudes were masterfully blended into strong support of the fundamentalist religious sects, thus lending the party some legitimacy to cover for its abuses.

  6. A controlled mass media. The mass media could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Control can be indirect and subtle with formal adoption of slogan about "free media". Methods included the control of licensing, access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders and owners of the mass media are part of the power elite. The result is rampant brainwashing, which usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the party's excesses.

  7. Obsession with national security. A national security apparatus is bend to come under direct control of the ruling elite. It is used to bypass laws as a direct instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

  8. Abuse of religion. The party attaches itself to the dominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of religious values. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with those values is swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents are “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the party is tantamount to an attack on religion.

  9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.

  10. Power of organized labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Being poor was considered akin to a vice.

  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these party. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities professors come under close scrutiny; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or scientific theories, especially economic, are strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed.

  12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police is often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. Criminal charges sometimes are used against political opponents. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

  14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of two candidates representing the same power elite are usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, suppressing responsibilities for legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.

Edward Snowden quotes about National Security State

The most recent debate about the legitimacy of national security state as exists in the USA was sparked by Edward Snowden revelations. The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about National Security State modus operandi  might send a chill up your spine...


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National Security State

National Security State Bulletin, 2017 National Security State Bulletin, 2016 National Security State Bulletin, 2015

[Jan 17, 2018] Neoconning the Trump White House by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Take Nadia Schadlow, for instance. Never heard of her? Unless you've been navigating the rice paddies of Washington's post-9/11 national security enterprise for the last several years, there's no reason you would have. But she has been at the National Security Council since last winter, and is set to replace Dina Powell as deputy national security advisor , at the right hand of NSC chief H.R. McMaster. She was also the lead on the White House National Security Strategy , released last month. ..."
"... This was Schadlow's first position in government. Her résumé includes doctoral degrees from Johns Hopkins Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) under the tutelage of vocal Never Trumper and Iraq war promoter Eliot Cohen, who runs the largely neoconservative Strategic Studies program there, and whose last book, The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power, argued that the U.S., backed by a more robust military, must be the "guardian of a stable world order." ..."
"... What is significant about Schadlow's role in the White House -- she's reportedly a "trusted confidant" of General McMaster, who was lionized in the New Yorker for his T.E. Lawrence approach to counterinsurgency in Tal Afar in 2006 -- is not her bibliography, but her vast connections to Washington's foreign policy and national security clique, especially its neoconservative elite. If one were using the metaphor of chain migration, she would have plenty of friends on either side of the Potomac to tap for high-level placement, consulting, and advice. ..."
"... The foundation has a rich history cleaved to neoconservative pioneers such as Irving Kristol, father of Bill, who in his own memoirs credits the philanthropic institution and its then-director Randall Richardson (heir to the Vicks fortune) with helping him jumpstart the Public Interest, known as the premier neoconservative organ, a label Irving fully embraced . The foundation also served as a key backer of Commentary magazine after Norman Podhoretz took the helm in 1960. ..."
"... Meanwhile, since 1998, the foundation has given over $10 million to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI was built, literally, on Smith Richardson money), which fielded many of the Iraq war architects and promoters, including Frederick Kagan, John Bolton, former vice president Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Eliot Cohen, Michael Ledeen, Joshua Muravchik, David Frum, and Danielle Pletka. ..."
"... No surprise, then, that the worldview of people like Nadia Schadlow is no different from the wider Washington policy orbit that has enjoyed a pipeline of patronage from her former employer. She is not only affiliated with the Foreign Policy Institute, but is a full member of the Council on Foreign Relations. When she was named to the NSC staff in March 2017, along with "Kremlinologist" and former Eurasian Foundation strategist Fiona Hill, national security establishment courtier Thomas Ricks called them both "well-educated, skeptical, and informed. In other words, the opposite of the president they serve." ..."
"... That is why there seemed to be such relief upon the recent release of the Trump administration's National Security Strategy, with Washington scribblers lauding it as " well within the bipartisan mainstream of American foreign policy " and "a well crafted document that should reassure allies and partners." ..."
"... What it actually does is to reinforce Trump's turn towards a harder line against Iran, as evidenced in McMaster's recent speeches . Nikki Haley, ambassador to the UN, is threatening fellow members on the Security Council , and the Trump administration is seen as taking sides with Israel in the fragile Middle East peace process (or what's left if it). Meanwhile, the White House has just given a green light to arming Ukraine against Russia. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is executive editor of ..."
"... Follow her on Twitter @Vlahos_at_TAC. ..."
"... It turns to new parties, this endless Democrat/Republican cycle is a joke. Surely there are no more people out there that can rationally argue for the two party state as being a good setup for America. ..."
"... There is a term soldiers sometimes use to characterize those who have never fought, will never fight, but are nevertheless positive that fighting is the answer to their dissatisfactions. Chickenhawks. ..."
"... The Neocons are a cancer upon the American Body Politik. When Trump was elected I and many others were hopeful that this cancer could be effectively treated, but it could not for the cancer has spread to all vital organs and is terminal and our nation will die because of it. ..."
"... "Neocons?" Actually what they are is Neocoms or Neocommunists. World domination is the name of their game. ..."
"... The folks who thought President Trump would have a less belligerent foreign policy than Sec. Clinton would have deserve as much intellectual sympathy as those who thought that he would lower premiums and increase coverage of ACA. ..."
Jan 17, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Over the last year critics have warned of the returning neoconservative influence on the executive branch's national security apparatus, each day a little less confident that President Donald Trump will keep to the seeming anti-interventionist impulses he demonstrated during the 2016 campaign.

News flash: We're already there.

Of course the most garish of the pro-war set -- Sebastian Gorka, K.T. McFarland, John Bolton -- are easy to identify in or on the periphery of Trump's orbit (in Gorka's case, he was cast out of the White House, only to flak away in any media outlet that will pay attention). Meanwhile, elite neoconservative voices like Bill Kristol and Max Boot have become darlings of the "Never Trump" cadre, finding new life as conservative tokens on "Resistance" media like MSNBC.

What has been less obvious, but has become much clearer in these last few months, is that other neoconservatives are quietly filling the vacuum left by Obama's cadre of liberal interventionists. Many of them had taken a pass on "Never Trumping" publicly, and are now popping up at the elbows of top cabinet officials.

Take Nadia Schadlow, for instance. Never heard of her? Unless you've been navigating the rice paddies of Washington's post-9/11 national security enterprise for the last several years, there's no reason you would have. But she has been at the National Security Council since last winter, and is set to replace Dina Powell as deputy national security advisor , at the right hand of NSC chief H.R. McMaster. She was also the lead on the White House National Security Strategy , released last month.

This was Schadlow's first position in government. Her résumé includes doctoral degrees from Johns Hopkins Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) under the tutelage of vocal Never Trumper and Iraq war promoter Eliot Cohen, who runs the largely neoconservative Strategic Studies program there, and whose last book, The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power, argued that the U.S., backed by a more robust military, must be the "guardian of a stable world order." In that vein, Schadlow published a book last year, War and the Art of Governance , that extols the virtues of long-term military intervention for "achieving sustainable political outcomes," requiring "the consolidation of combat gains through the establishment of stable environments." Schadlow has repeated this for years as a mantra for reordering military strategy in the wake of the disastrous wars she and her contemporaries helped sustain, in Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere. Call it nation-building by another name.

In a 2012 Weekly Standard commentary , she criticized the Obama administration for saying "the tide of war is receding," and exclaimed "the line of thinking that now pervades the Pentagon avoids recognizing that combat and the restoration of political order go hand and hand." While she gives a nod to "civil-military operational planning and execution," she never utters the words "State Department." No surprise there, either, since her neocon friends were responsible for the long slide of Foggy Bottom's resources and influence in favor of military leadership, beginning with the "political reconciliation" and reconstruction of Iraq, and then Afghanistan.

What is significant about Schadlow's role in the White House -- she's reportedly a "trusted confidant" of General McMaster, who was lionized in the New Yorker for his T.E. Lawrence approach to counterinsurgency in Tal Afar in 2006 -- is not her bibliography, but her vast connections to Washington's foreign policy and national security clique, especially its neoconservative elite. If one were using the metaphor of chain migration, she would have plenty of friends on either side of the Potomac to tap for high-level placement, consulting, and advice.

Why? As recent senior program director for the expansive, multi-million dollar International Security and Foreign Policy Program under the Smith Richardson Foundation , she has helped to fund and facilitate countless authors, conferences, think tanks, and university programs since 9/11, most of which hew to the doctrine of sustained military intervention towards the goal of U.S. global power and influence. That includes preemptive war strategy, counterinsurgency, democracy promotion, and the continued push for bigger military budgets and solutions to regional conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine. If there was a prominent player in the U.S. security community over the last 20 years, you can bet Schadlow and Smith Richardson were more often than not connected to him.

But it goes back so much further than that. The foundation has a rich history cleaved to neoconservative pioneers such as Irving Kristol, father of Bill, who in his own memoirs credits the philanthropic institution and its then-director Randall Richardson (heir to the Vicks fortune) with helping him jumpstart the Public Interest, known as the premier neoconservative organ, a label Irving fully embraced . The foundation also served as a key backer of Commentary magazine after Norman Podhoretz took the helm in 1960.

It is in international affairs that Smith Richardson has made some of its biggest impacts, during the anti-communist Reagan era and into the Middle East conflicts under Presidents Clinton, Bushes, Obama, and Trump. To say the foundation was involved at every level in the lobbying for and crafting of the so-called global war on terror after 9/11 would be an understatement. Example: Former Smith Richardson research director Devon Gaffney Cross became a director of the Project for a New American Century, the intellectual vehicle that drove the removal of Saddam Hussein and shaped George W. Bush's foreign policy. In 2000, Cross was listed as one of the participants in PNAC's seminal treatise, "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century." The rest of the contributors are a who's who of Washington's war theocracy, most of whom have benefitted from Smith Richardson support.

Meanwhile, since 1998, the foundation has given over $10 million to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI was built, literally, on Smith Richardson money), which fielded many of the Iraq war architects and promoters, including Frederick Kagan, John Bolton, former vice president Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Eliot Cohen, Michael Ledeen, Joshua Muravchik, David Frum, and Danielle Pletka.

Just as telling is Smith Richardson's continued backing of the Institute for the Study of War , headed by Kimberly Kagan, wife of Frederick, with whom she was a "de facto advisor" to General Petraeus for a year as he set about his then-vaunted COIN strategy in Afghanistan. ISW, chaired by retired General Jack Keane, known as the " godfather of the surge ," was founded in part by the generosity of Smith Richardson in 2007. It not only promoted more troops, but an extended occupation in Afghanistan, regime change in Syria , and ongoing hostilities with Iran. No surprise, then, that ISW has numerous intertwining relationships with the military and the defense industry. It received $895,000 for program work from Smith Richardson between 2014 and 2016 alone.

According to Philip Rojc of Inside Philanthropy , other recipients of Smith Richardson grants since 1998 include the the Hudson Institute ($6,032,230), the Jamestown Institute ($5,779,475), the Hoover Institution ($3,645,314), and the Center for a New American Security ($1,595,000). Totals have been adjusted to include 2016 numbers.

The last one -- CNAS -- is more indicative of Smith Richardson's broader strategy, in that it doesn't only give to hardline neoconservative outfits like, say, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (which has received no less than $500,000 since 2014 and says it helped write Trump's new Iran policy ). On the contrary, Smith Richardson has been a major patron of the conventional establishment, too, even largely Democratic think tanks like CNAS, Brookings Institute, and the Carnegie Endowment -- all of which invariably host scholars and programs that promote America's military-driven global influence, counterinsurgency doctrine (CNAS was a virtual hothouse for COIN early in Obama's presidency), and democracy promotion in places like Russia and Ukraine, a major yet failed project of humanitarian interventionists in the Obama administration.

No surprise, then, that the worldview of people like Nadia Schadlow is no different from the wider Washington policy orbit that has enjoyed a pipeline of patronage from her former employer. She is not only affiliated with the Foreign Policy Institute, but is a full member of the Council on Foreign Relations. When she was named to the NSC staff in March 2017, along with "Kremlinologist" and former Eurasian Foundation strategist Fiona Hill, national security establishment courtier Thomas Ricks called them both "well-educated, skeptical, and informed. In other words, the opposite of the president they serve."

You know the "right" kind of operator has arrived in the White House when establishment commentariat like Ricks and Josh Rogin get all gushy about their calming, "soft power" influence over Trump, which sounds like a lot of bunk when you consider their well-documented points of view.

Simply put, after years of cross-pollination brought on by a slush fund of wealthy private donors like Smith Richardson and an even more eager defense industry, neoconservative views are no longer distinguishable from the sanctioned goals of the Washington policy establishment. They are all working, really, as proper stewards of the military-industrial complex, which is essential for advancing their (sometimes competing) visions of world power politics and American exceptionalism. There is little room for realism and restraint, as voiced by this magazine and other critics.

That is why there seemed to be such relief upon the recent release of the Trump administration's National Security Strategy, with Washington scribblers lauding it as " well within the bipartisan mainstream of American foreign policy " and "a well crafted document that should reassure allies and partners."

What it actually does is to reinforce Trump's turn towards a harder line against Iran, as evidenced in McMaster's recent speeches . Nikki Haley, ambassador to the UN, is threatening fellow members on the Security Council , and the Trump administration is seen as taking sides with Israel in the fragile Middle East peace process (or what's left if it). Meanwhile, the White House has just given a green light to arming Ukraine against Russia.

Call it the new "adults in the room," if you want, or peg it as the neoconservative influence that it is. Strikingly, Dan Drezner writes that the NSS is "Straussian" in that its "subtext matters at least as much as the text." The preeminent scholar Leo Strauss is considered one of the key founders of the neoconservative movement, a fact the Washington Post columnist should be well aware of. Like most of the elites here in Washington, however, Drezner is trying to have it both ways -- calling it neocon without have the guts to say it outright.

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is executive editor of The American Conservative. Follow her on Twitter @Vlahos_at_TAC.

Iron Felix January 15, 2018 at 9:48 pm

It is a sad state of affairs when the American people are literally dependent on sane people in Beijing, Moscow, Ankara, Tehran, and other capitals to keep a completely out of control neo-con foreign and defense policy establishment from plunging our people on the world into yet more pointless warfare.
MEOW , says: January 15, 2018 at 10:57 pm
Mainstream media seems "All Neocon." A star studded group of rationalizers. We are being gently taught to hate what the neocons hate. South Pacific had the recipe. Not for the reasons intended. Au contraire.
Beltway Roach Motels? , says: January 16, 2018 at 4:22 am
So. Well-heeled foreign interests and interventionists are buying nosebagger politicians and shaping our foreign policy under Trump, just like they did under Obama, Bush II, and Clinton.

Why do we bother having elections if neocon crap is the only item on the menu?

It's incredible. No matter how often they lie and fail, no matter how many colossally expensive disasters they cause, someone keeps letting the filth back in. They're as hardy and resilient as cockroaches, and we need to start dealing with them as such.

george Archers , says: January 16, 2018 at 9:26 am
Neocons?
Hal Donahue , says: January 16, 2018 at 9:41 am
Trump 'needs a war' to be re-elected. He knows this and who else to better start one than the neo-cons?

What is terrifying is that these same people and their ancestors actually attempted to convince Reagan that the US could win a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Reagan wisely chose 'Trust but Verify' over their strongest objections. Trump is a far cry from a Reagan.

The generations long war to destroy the State Department appears to have completely obscured the greatest US victory of last century. The defeat of the Soviet Union with little more than skirmishes.

The gloved fist approach, while frustrating to the military, was a massive success. Military solutions fail badly. One look at the history of military governments confirms their abysmal record. Yet, we have an administration preparing for war. Not at all certain, the people will follow.

mike flynn , says: January 16, 2018 at 9:59 am
Now that Trump has been effectively body snatched in foreign policy (neo-cons) and domestic (wall st) where does main st turn?
peter murray , says: January 16, 2018 at 10:35 am
As a matter of interest, and in the light of kite-flying about arming the Ukrainian nationalists, where is Ms 'Toria Nuland hanging out these days?
Peter B. Gemma , says: January 16, 2018 at 11:06 am
Good article. Trump is easily distracted from his (often right) gut feelings on policy (China, NATO, etc.) by titles: military rank, highbrow think tanks, Wall St. moguls, and power elites from the Council on Foreign Relations. With no moral compass or basic understanding of the Constitution or the ways Washington works, he is hapless and his agenda is hamstrung.
Michael Kenny , says: January 16, 2018 at 11:53 am
I wondered how far down I'd have to go down in the article before Ukraine and Putin popped up! It's the usual "let Putin win in Ukraine" propaganda. What astonishes me as a European is why people who call themselves "conservatives", whom you would naturally expect to be patriotic, often indeed excessively so, are frantically trying to persuade their fellow citizens to submit to a foreign power inflicting a humiliating defeat on their country, possibly the most humiliating that it has ever suffered in its history. I couldn't imagine Europeans behaving like that.
Stephen J. , says: January 16, 2018 at 11:57 am
Interesting article with good info. I believe "the Trump White House" is just continuing the policies of the past occupants of "The House of Blood."
[More info at link below]

August 9, 2016
The House of Blood

Its color is white but it is red with blood
The residents' name should really be mud
Instead they get fancy honors and titles
Wars for them is a musical recital

The hum of their drones flying through the air
Are killing children without due care
This is hellishly called "collateral damage"
These are the words of the resident savage

Immaculately dressed in a business suit
An eloquent speaker is this callous brute
Surrounded by sycophants and flunkeys too
Evil is what these people plan and do

War and more war is their hellish aim
Are they all devils and bloody insane?
Countries are reduced to smoking rubble
These well-dressed maniacs are big trouble

People are fleeing and dying too
From the hell produced by this satanic crew
Refugees are drowning in deadly waters
Trying to escape the endless slaughters

These helpless victims once had homes
Now they have nothing, and just roam
Helpless, homeless people on the move
With nothing really left to improve

The perpetrators call their crimes "bringing democracy"
Surely creating hell on earth is really hypocrisy
But when criminals rule there is no justice
And law and order is totally corrupted

The war criminals slogan is "responsibility to protect"
They tell that to the people whose countries they wrecked
Those still alive can hear the bombs explode and thud
A hellish "courtesy" from the House of Blood

http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/08/the-house-of-blood.html

Bobber , says: January 16, 2018 at 12:27 pm
Why would a big drug company have so much interest in foreign policy?
spite , says: January 16, 2018 at 12:58 pm
"where does main st turn?"

It turns to new parties, this endless Democrat/Republican cycle is a joke. Surely there are no more people out there that can rationally argue for the two party state as being a good setup for America.

bacon , says: January 16, 2018 at 1:11 pm
There is a term soldiers sometimes use to characterize those who have never fought, will never fight, but are nevertheless positive that fighting is the answer to their dissatisfactions. Chickenhawks.
JEinCA , says: January 16, 2018 at 1:26 pm
The Neocons are a cancer upon the American Body Politik. When Trump was elected I and many others were hopeful that this cancer could be effectively treated, but it could not for the cancer has spread to all vital organs and is terminal and our nation will die because of it.
Minnesota Mary , says: January 16, 2018 at 1:46 pm
@ george archers

"Neocons?" Actually what they are is Neocoms or Neocommunists. World domination is the name of their game.

Steve in Ohio , says: January 16, 2018 at 2:34 pm
" where does Main St turn?"

Trump won with a coalition of conservative and populist support. The two partners agree on judges, but not too much else. For those of the latter persuasion, you at least have a seat at the table in the current administration (thank you, Lord, for Stephen Miller!) Populists need to run candidates at all levels and start to groom future leaders. Somebody with Rand Paul's FP views and Tom Cotton's immigration views would be perfect.

One Guy , says: January 16, 2018 at 2:49 pm
@Michael Kenny,
Why should America care what Putin wins in Ukraine? Why doesn't the EU fight its own battles? Go on, oppose Putin. You have more to lose than America does.
Thaomas , says: January 16, 2018 at 4:37 pm
The folks who thought President Trump would have a less belligerent foreign policy than Sec. Clinton would have deserve as much intellectual sympathy as those who thought that he would lower premiums and increase coverage of ACA.

[Jan 17, 2018] Leftist musician Moby claims CIA asked him to post about Trump and Russia...and did so

Jan 17, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

test | Jan 15, 2018 4:25:58 AM | 55

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2018/01/13/moby-claims-cia-asked-him-to-post-about-trump-and-russia.html

[Jan 16, 2018] Watch A Sitting Congresswoman Shred The MSM Narrative In Under A Minute

Jan 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Watch A Sitting Congresswoman Shred The MSM Narrative In Under A Minute

by Tyler Durden Mon, 01/15/2018 - 16:34 155 SHARES

Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard appeared on multiple Sunday news shows a day after her state's false ICBM emergency alert sent the islands into a tense 40 minutes of panic before it was revealed to be a message sent in error, where she slammed the mainstream media's reporting on the North Korean nuclear threat, saying , "We've got to understand that North Korea is holding onto these nuclear weapons because they think it is their only protection from the United States coming in and doing to them what the United States has done to so many countries throughout history."

She further called for Trump to hold direct talks with Kim Jong Un in order to prevent the real thing from ever happening.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) Gabbard is an Army reserve officer who previously served two tours in the Middle East, including in Iraq. Image via the Ron Paul Institute

On Saturday Gabbard had immediately criticized President Trump for mishandling North Korea, taking to MSNBC to proclaim that "our leaders have failed us. Donald Trump is taking too long... he's not taking this [nuclear] threat seriously..." During Sunday interviews she elaborated on a plan of action, advising Trump to enter talks with Pyongyang which should "happen without preconditions" and that Trump should "sit across the table from Kim Jong Un" in order stamp out the climate of fear which contributed to the "unacceptable" alert issued on Saturday.

"We've got to get to the underlying issue here of why are the people of Hawaii and this country facing a nuclear threat coming from North Korea today, and what is this President doing urgently to eliminate that threat?" Gabbard said on CNN's State of the Union. She added that Pyongyang sees its nuclear weapons program as "the only deterrent against the U.S. coming in and overthrowing their regime there " after decades of the US exhibiting a pattern of regime change when dealing with rogue states, which she said makes setting up preconditions for talks a self-defeating step.

And concerning the potential for an "unintentional" nuclear war, Gabbard said, "It's not just the President making a decision to launch a nuclear weapon . It's these kinds of mistakes that we have seen happen in the past that bring us to this brink of nuclear war that could be unintentional."

The Hawaii lawmaker, who has garnered a lot of attention over her non-interventionist stance on Syria while angering establishment pundits for doing things like visiting Damascus last year on a fact-finding mission, left ABC's George Stephanopoulos visibly flustered during an interview on Sunday's "This Week" . She said:

We know that North Korea has these nuclear weapons because they see how the United States in Libya for example guaranteed Gadaffi - 'we're not going to go after you, you should get rid of your nuclear weapons.' He did, then we went and led an attack that toppled Gaddafi, launching Libya into chaos that we are still seeing the results of today. North Korea sees what we did in Iraq with Saddam Hussein, with those false reports of weapons of mass destruction. And now seeing in Iran how President Trump is decertifying a nuclear deal that prevented Iran from developing their nuclear weapons, threatening the very existence and the agreement that was made.

At this point an incredulous Stephanopoulos stopped the Congresswoman and asked, " Was it a mistake for the United States to take out Gaddafi and Hussein ?" Gabbard responded firmly with, "It was, absolutely." Apparently this was enough to end the interview as a presumably shocked Stephanopoulos had no response at that point.

For those unfamiliar, Gabbard is an Army reserve officer who previously served two tours in the Middle East, including in Iraq, and has been an outspoken critic of regime change and Washington's interventionist foreign policy.

[Jan 16, 2018] How One Employee Pushed The Wrong Button And Unleashed Doomsday Panic Across Hawaii Zero Hedge

Jan 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Mon, 01/15/2018 - 10:04 235 SHARES

Shortly before panicked Hawaiians stuffed children into storm drains and said their goodbyes on the morning of January 13, an unnamed employee at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (H-EMA) accidentally selected the wrong dropdown menu choice , resulting in a live broadcast to the cell phones of Hawaii residents and tourists which read " BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL ," according to officials.

Here is what happened, according to the Washington Post :

Around 8:05 a.m., the Hawaii emergency employee initiated the internal test, according to a timeline released by the state. From a drop-down menu on a computer program, he saw two options: "Test missile alert" and "Missile alert." He was supposed to choose the former; as much of the world now knows, he chose the latter, an initiation of a real-life missile alert.

At 8:07, the alert went out, with a more detailed message scrolling across television screens, reading:

"Civil authority has issued A CIVIL DANGER WARNING for the following counties or areas: Hawaii: At 8:07 AM on Jan 13, 2018... Message from IPAWSCAP. The U.S. Pacific Command has detected a missile threat to Hawaii. A missile may impact on land or sea within minutes. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. If you are indoors, stay indoors. If you are outdoors, seek immediate shelter in a building. Remain indoors well away from windows. If you are driving, pull safely to the side of the road and seek shelter in a building or lay on the floor."

Of note, US PACOM was not involved whatsoever.

me title=

38 minutes later, a wireless alert went out letting people know "There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm."

By then it was too late: the fake warning had ignited mass panic among residents - many of whom thought they had minutes to live. One resident had a little girl get into a manhole during the threat.

me title=

me title=

Authorities were apologetic, with Governor David Ige (D) apologizing for the "pain and confusion" caused by accidentally telling millions of people death was imminent, saying in a press conference " a mistake made during a standard procedure at the changeover of a shift and an employee pushed the wrong button."

me title=

The following day, there were far more questions than answers. Brand new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the alert was "absolutely unacceptable," and that a full investigation was underway. Pai seemed to initially lay blame at state officials for the mistake.

"Based on the information we have collected so far, it appears that the government of Hawaii did not have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert," said Pai, adding "Federal, state, and local officials throughout the country need to work together to identify any vulnerabilities to false alerts and do what's necessary to fix them. We also must ensure that corrections are issued immediately in the event that a false alert does go out."

Technical Difficulties

A major factor in the 38 minute gap between the erroneous warning and the subsequent "false alarm" alert was the fact that while the state has permission from FEMA to issue the emergency broadcast, there is no system in place to send out a subsequent "false alarm" alert.

"We had to double back and work with FEMA [to craft and approve the false alarm alert] and that's what took time," said HEMA spokesman Richard Rapoza.

Rapoza says that has now been remedied with a cancellation option that can be selected within seconds of a mistake. "In the past there was no cancellation button. There was no false alarm button at all," Rapoza said. "Now there is a command to issue a message immediately that goes over on the same system saying 'It's a false alarm. Please disregard.' as soon as the mistake is identified."

The Emergency Management Agency also said it suspended all drills until the completion of their investigation, as well as a "two-person activation/verification rule" to initiate tests and missile launch notifications.

According to the Washington Post, "The agency said it would issue a preliminary report of findings and corrective actions next week. The employee in question has been temporarily reassigned, Rapoza said, but there are no plans to fire him .

"Part of the problem was it was too easy -- for anyone -- to make such a big mistake," Rapoza said. "We have to make sure that we're not looking for retribution, but we should be fixing the problems in the system. . . . I know that it's a very, very difficult situation for him."

Poor guy. Doesn't he know he accidentally wiped a perfectly good Uranium One related indictment off the headlines? Oops! Tags Disaster Accident

Comments Vote up! 1 Vote down! 8

PitBullsRule Jan 15, 2018 10:06 AM Permalink

That's very disrespectful.

Gap Admirer -> PitBullsRule Jan 15, 2018 10:08 AM Permalink

And the tards blame Trump for the Hawaii state implementation of the system.

DinduNuffin -> Gap Admirer Jan 15, 2018 10:11 AM Permalink

how long before they corrected the mistake? ... why so long?

Gap Admirer -> DinduNuffin Jan 15, 2018 10:15 AM Permalink

They called the Hot Chick Chat Line and went through all of the menus (press 1 for a Spanish chick) instead of the correct number.

MagicHandPuppet -> Gap Admirer Jan 15, 2018 10:17 AM Permalink

"a mistake made during a standard procedure at the changeover of a shift and an employee pushed the wrong button."

Ummm, WTF? Seriously? So someone got the "Sign Out" and "The World Is Over" buttons mixed up? Sure, Mmmmkay ;)

Sum tin fishy in Hawaii!

BaBaBouy -> MagicHandPuppet Jan 15, 2018 10:19 AM Permalink

Waz Said "Employee" Eating Donuts at the Time ???

ParkAveFlasher -> BaBaBouy Jan 15, 2018 10:23 AM Permalink

I believe the employee's proper response is "DOH!"

toady -> ParkAveFlasher Jan 15, 2018 10:53 AM Permalink

The question is, does this finally rise to the level where a public sector employee gets fired?

The union says no.

Beam Me Up Scotty -> toady Jan 15, 2018 11:11 AM Permalink

Of course no one is going to get fired. Most government "jobs" are nothing more than welfare. Turd counters collecting checks. This guy probably saw the word "test" and said, ain't no way I am takin' a test today.

Joe Davola -> Beam Me Up Scotty Jan 15, 2018 11:16 AM Permalink

Cheese-and-rice, the Test button shouldn't right next to the Real button!

stizazz -> Joe Davola Jan 15, 2018 11:25 AM Permalink

In Occupied Palestine these alerts are ALWAYS real, never a test. http://bit.ly/2EJ15F4

CheapBastard -> stizazz Jan 15, 2018 11:35 AM Permalink

Don't be so harsh on the guy. He was probably petting his therapy puppy and reading "How to Properly Punch a Nzai," and by axident hit the wrong button.

Lets face it, all those words on the screen are confusing!

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-01-14/19-insane-tidbits-james-damor

BokkeDavola -> CheapBastard Jan 15, 2018 11:51 AM Permalink

I'm making over $14k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do... http://disq.us/url?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.Jobzon3.com%3Ab8eR_DQLwGRPVGtFv

RAT005 -> BokkeDavola Jan 15, 2018 11:58 AM Permalink

The new version of playing the racist card is Blame Whitey.

Fish Gone Bad -> RAT005 Jan 15, 2018 12:11 PM Permalink

It was a rioting test, plain and simple. See what people do when they think they are going to be dead real soon. Please notice this did not happen stateside where the panic could not have been contained to a few islands.

HowdyDoody -> Fish Gone Bad Jan 15, 2018 12:42 PM Permalink

Whoever it was, they have a great future as a flash-crash operative.

Socratic Dog -> HowdyDoody Jan 15, 2018 1:40 PM Permalink

More to this than that. This is from Moon of Alabama. Action precedes the official timeline.

Many of us did not receive a missile attack
message at all. This was not due to lack of
cell phone reception. Their phones worked,
but they were not alerted. They also use
the same provider.
Then, alert messages were different. Some
said that the ballistic missile threat
would expire at 6pm. Right.

Here are my own experiences. You be the
judge:

Driving towards Pahoa and reaching the
High School intersection, I saw cops
coming from the Kalapana direction with
lights and sirens on. They stopped at
every pulled over vehicle to talk to
the driver.
Then they turned into Pahoa road and
I also pulled to the side of the road,
thinking whom they are after this time.

I had just turned down the radio, where
HPR had started the news. That was at
8:01 AM.

The cop told me (both of his windows were
rolled down):
"The guy in North Korea has fired three
missiles at us. You should go home and
stay with your family."
He drove off to Paul's gas station to
talk to other drivers. His co-cop did
the same at the propane place.

My first thought was "That's bullshit."
Cops driving around talking to folks
individually while the ICBM's are
homing in. It would take those things
20 minutes to hit their target.

Fuck that shit, I am going to have
breakfast as intended. Should that
be true, I had at least a last break fast.

At the store the news had already created
panic among those who are easily manipulated.
The hysteria was quite impressive and my
reassuring them that things are okay went
in the one ear and out the other.

Mind you that I know these people for years
and I am well known for being level headed.

I get my breakfast and sit outside. A few
other guys are rolling in. Then, at 8:07 AM,
the emergency alert appears on our phones.
Those who knew, were all filled in by the
cops BEFORE the alert.

The alert caused the store to close. I did
my best to calm people down. Explaining to
them that they should listen to their body,
instead to anything the government says.
George Carlin's made that clear a long time
ago.

But people are now so disconnected from the
'Here and Now' have been so propagandized
and brainwashed, that they are incapable
to keep cool and THINK.

IF that would have been the real McCoy,
we would have had twenty minutes left
from the time the cops 'informed' people.

Then, when it became apparent that it was
bullshit, the cops drove around and appeared
to be taking license plates of those who did
not panic, but have breakfast instead.

Around 8:30 AM, Tulsi Gabbard's tweets had
made it around enough for people to calm
down somewhat.

The alert cancellation came at 8:45 AM.

Citxmech -> Socratic Dog Jan 15, 2018 1:50 PM Permalink

I'm actually kind of amazed that they actually have a missile warning system at all. I always assumed that we'd find out that kind of thing when the flash came.

Socratic Dog -> Socratic Dog Jan 15, 2018 1:52 PM Permalink

If legit, the post is enough evidence to know the whole thing was absolutely intentional. Some sort of exercise. As we know, "exercises" seem to be accompanied by the real thing with uncommon frequency. It's a marker for false flags. If you're not wondering whether some serious shit wasn't actually happening over there, you belong on HuffPo, not the Hedge.

exartizo -> Socratic Dog Jan 15, 2018 1:55 PM Permalink

that's really funny....

"listen to your body".

shovelhead -> exartizo Jan 15, 2018 2:34 PM Permalink

Some peoples bodies say "Breakfast...an fuck the nukes."

phaedrus 1952 -> Socratic Dog Jan 15, 2018 1:57 PM Permalink

There is WAY more to this story than what is being presented.

Using the Washington Compost for info could be a good analytical starting point as they are known liars and propaganda mouthpieces.

Whatever the fuck is behind this event is very significant and will, hopefully, a be exposed sooner rather than later.

shovelhead -> phaedrus 1952 Jan 15, 2018 2:36 PM Permalink

Yup.

A democrat run state. What else do you need?

Mr. Universe -> RAT005 Jan 15, 2018 12:15 PM Permalink

All I could think of was Monsters vs. Aliens and the big red buttons.

Well then which button gets me a Latte?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1CxlyMoFRs

zedwood -> BokkeDavola Jan 15, 2018 12:00 PM Permalink

Should have been more like MS Windows> "Are you sure you want to proceed?" > 'Are you really, really sure?" > "Press ESC-CTRL-HELLYES to continue" > "Are you sure?"

corsair -> BokkeDavola Jan 15, 2018 12:14 PM Permalink

Plus these two buttons should not even be on the same page, let alone next to each other.

bloostar -> BokkeDavola Jan 15, 2018 12:25 PM Permalink

Yes, like a huge, red, flashing and audible warning stating 'warning, submitting this drop down option will open all manhole covers and cause certain residents to believe cowering under a car will shield them from an inbound thermonuclear warhead'.. that would work. I'm all for it.

inosent -> BokkeDavola Jan 15, 2018 12:26 PM Permalink

That assumes you are familiar with the software and protocols. It is highly unlikely that this sort of thing would be a one screen event, given that just to purchase a $1 item online has a confirmation screen, even two.

It is also highly probable the state protocols require not only a second screen, but a second person. "bad software" ... you just earned a troll point on ZH. Congratulations!

Joe Davola -> inosent Jan 15, 2018 12:51 PM Permalink

There is a patent for something called 1-click ordering

RovingGrokster -> BokkeDavola Jan 15, 2018 12:48 PM Permalink

More to the point, having the test and real alerts in the same drop-down menu, is asking for a mis-click. Also, having a stereotype "Are you sure?" popup is asking for the average moron to click right through and realize his mistake afterwards.

Come on now - how many of us have shut down or rebooted something important by mistake because we thought the "Are you sure?" was a response to something different, like "Save configuration" or "Send coffee and donuts."

That's just plain bad software design by people who didn't think about the consequences of making the "Nuke Alert" button exactly like any other. Try this:

Missile Alert button pops up a panel with a Big Red "Live alert NOW" button, an Amber "this is a drill" button, and a green "Send the All Clear" button. If you hit the "Live alert NOW" button, you get a very lurid confirmation panel with something like "LIVE MISSILE ALERT WILL BE SENT - ARE YOU SURE??" this confirmation panel should be ENTIRELY different from the "just a drill" confirmation, and not at all like any standard confirmation panel. The confirmation popup should occupy most of the screen, and the big red "YES" and the Green "CANCEL" buttons should be large enough and well separated enough to avoid any possible wrong selection.

Yes, folks, when it comes to emergency alert buttons, it is time to "lift and separate 'em" so there is no mistake what you are touching!!

auricle -> stizazz Jan 15, 2018 2:15 PM Permalink

Why is this function not under the control of the military. Any alert would come from the military anyway. Civilians don't have the knowhow to maintain such a system. Hawaii put that on clear display.

Justin Case -> Joe Davola Jan 15, 2018 12:13 PM Permalink

Procedures are probably antiquated and should be reviewed by improved process standards. This is how things get better in all industries. When an incident occurs, root cause is reviewed and a process to prevent a re-occurrence. For equipment, methods of increasing reliability, and remedies for failures, you train it out, engineer it out or replace it.

Human error is due to lack of training or inadequate program. Management is responsible as it is in any industry and should review the current training program and testing. Management, a CEO was forced to resign for an altercation on a plane where a passenger was seriously injured by security. He sued and won compensation. It's no different in any industry.

Kickaha -> Justin Case Jan 15, 2018 12:51 PM Permalink

Fair enough. But if you read the main article, the suggested fix was to ad another layer of bureaucracy to the process. That is always the proffered solution to any governmental process failure. It fixes nothing, but eventually so many people and committees are involved in the process that nobody can be found to take the blame, and job security is maximized.

Note, also, that it took 38 minutes to issue the correction because the workers were too scared of maybe violating some unknown rules and regulations by taking charge and doing the obvious retraction immediately. I can see them sweating bullets while pouring over their regulatory manuals looking for a mandated procedure which would tell them exactly how to do a retraction of an erroneous doomsday proclamation.

I can readily see the implementation of a "fix" that will require the participation of many other government employees before the warning gets issued, and create a policy which, when followed step-by-careful step, results in the warning being issued about 30 minutes after the missile has arrived.

Not that it matters. The lucky ones will already be incinerated by then.

Justin Case -> Kickaha Jan 15, 2018 1:12 PM Permalink

ad another layer of bureaucracy

That's what Gov't is all about and why they are inefficient and expensive. There are many patronage jobs in Gov't. They don't always hire the brightest people, but ones that might be connected or related in someway with a higher ups in management.

So it's not a failure attributed to the employee, but the structure and it's inability to remove all probabilities of failure. Nothing was fixed by firing the individual, but it satisfies upper management that a remedy was implemented? The Guy's manager is responsible for the failure.

As a manager it was my responsibility to ensure my people's training records were up to date. If there were any gaps, it was my fault. Any failures were investigated to determine root cause of failure and training records of the individual were part of the investigation.

Freddie -> Beam Me Up Scotty Jan 15, 2018 11:35 AM Permalink

Hawaii is a real libtard and amazingly corrupt shithole. Endless years if using HI to import illegals, scammy C*I*A shit through Bank of Hawaii, Bishop Land Trust scam and military scam shit.

Govt worker presses the wrong button and keeps their job? LOL! What a joke.

The retards on the islands including wealthy libs and actors all go into a panic actually believing NK would launch a nuke at HI or even have the technology to do it. SUCKERS.

Mr. Class and -> Freddie Jan 15, 2018 11:42 AM Permalink

An affirmative action hire, most likely.

Justin Case -> Freddie Jan 15, 2018 12:34 PM Permalink

There was an incident at a bakery here where an individual was inside a dough kneading machine working on the agitator. An operator came and started the machine killing the mechanic inside. The operator was not fired nor charged with murder. The result of the investigation was that it was the mechanics fault for not following lock out, tag out procedures. They will review the procedures to see if they are adequate for both persons involved, operators and mechanics. They might add, if it isn't in there, that the operator do a pre-start inspection of the equipment for his safety as well.

No need to fire people for making a mistake without reviewing current procedures. Pilots make mistakes as well and when they miscalculate, people die. The transportation ministry does an extensive review on the cause of failure. They don't just fire the pilot on the spot. In a non union environment the company can just fire you even if it was a deficiency of the company's part. They'll fix their deficiency but won't call you back and apologize to you and offer you yoar job back. Firing someone will not prevent a repeat of the incident if it's the process or training that is inadequate.

Unions ensure fair treatment in the work place. They don't protect bad employees and their membership are people like you. They don't support anyone that doesn't perform his duties either. They'll report it to their union Stewart and they will issue a warning and or termination if it is on going. Terminations have to have an adequate reason not because there is a personality conflict between you and someone above you, that has moar say or is connected to upper management. I've seen people baited, so that they can fire them.

Root cause of failure investigations are very valuable in preventing re-occurrences of negative events.

Blankenstein -> Justin Case Jan 15, 2018 1:28 PM Permalink

Don't you live in Canada? Because I'm pretty sure I've seen you state that before.

Justin Case -> Blankenstein Jan 15, 2018 1:46 PM Permalink

I am Canadian, but I honestly don't recall ever posting the incident. I've been in the maintenance and reliability field over 40 years. So I follow industrial accidents and see how they are handled. It's still of interest to me.

Goldennutz -> Justin Case Jan 15, 2018 2:07 PM Permalink

Fire the pilot after he is dead?

therover -> Beam Me Up Scotty Jan 15, 2018 11:45 AM Permalink

Any company that gets subsidized by the US Government has employees as welfare recipients.

So all you Lockheed Martin, Grumman, Goldman parasites, put yourself in that category.

Justin Case -> therover Jan 15, 2018 2:00 PM Permalink

That's a misconception flaunted by MSM. The corporatocracy hates it when the slaves have something to say or the corporatocracy can't kick people around, hire and fire without just cause. Fire you and hire a nephew or brother in law. A union request fair treatment and by labor standards set forth by the Gov't. If you were in a union and there was a Guy that was sitting in the washroom reading the paper all day, wouldn't you complain? Sure you would. Go to yoar union Stewart and tell him. They'll deal with him. If it continues, the company will fire him and the union won't contest it. I don't know why people get the impression that the unions support undesirables. They manage the employees for management, especially the thousands in the auto industry. Management has to only deal with the union reps not every employee one at a time. I've work in union environments and I prefer not to, because I like direct contact with management and a partnership. Some employers are real assholes and I've worked in those places. Drive 30 miles to work and they tell you that they're not busy today so you can go home. Want a job tomorrow? Ya, keep yoar mouth shut, is best. Not busy today, you clock out early. Our regular hours are 44/week before OT. No paid lunch, no benefits. No sick pay. 2 weeks vacation, never moar. If I don't like yoar tattoos yoar fired, the boss said so.

fishpoem -> Beam Me Up Scotty Jan 15, 2018 11:48 AM Permalink

LOL! Perfect!

OverTheHedge -> Beam Me Up Scotty Jan 15, 2018 12:04 PM Permalink

Interesting that no one thought to put in some kind of check: "Are you absolutely sure you want to cause chaos and confusion, and frighten the living whatsits out of everyone?"

I imagine all around the world these alert messages are getting re-engineered today, with a little dialogue box added - "Are you a) absolutely, definitely, all going to die, or b) a muppet?"

Justin Case -> OverTheHedge Jan 15, 2018 1:16 PM Permalink

put in some kind of check

A proper review of procedures will reveal the gaps

Eyes Opened -> Beam Me Up Scotty Jan 15, 2018 12:25 PM Permalink

Lets hope the employee who's job it is to NOT push the Big Red Button in error is of a slightly higher calibre & intelligence... 😒

icedoc -> Beam Me Up Scotty Jan 15, 2018 12:29 PM Permalink

He failed the test so now he has to do it over till he gets it right.

Goldennutz -> Beam Me Up Scotty Jan 15, 2018 2:03 PM Permalink

A promotion is in order here as long as he passes the next civil serpent promotion exam.

Sample exam questions.

1. Upon arriving at work what is the first thing you do?

A- Get coffee and donuts

B- Discuss last nights sports event

C- Check out what the office hottie is wearing today

D- All of the above

2. How long should you take for your one hour lunch break?

A- One hour and fiteen minutes

B- One hour and a half

C- As long as you damn well please

D- Consult with your supervisor

Endgame Napoleon -> toady Jan 15, 2018 1:46 PM Permalink

Next question: Will the MSM cover this?

This is one of those gift questions that the professor puts on the pop quiz out of pure altruism.

We all know the answer to this one.

Slomotrainwreck -> ParkAveFlasher Jan 15, 2018 12:29 PM Permalink

How many "BIG RED BUTTONS" need to be pushed to cause an actual catastrophy?

[Jan 15, 2018] CIA had an agent at a newspaper in every world capital at least since 1977

Highly recommended!
Jan 14, 2018

Joel Whitney is a co-founder of the magazine Guernica, a magazine of global arts and politics, and has written for many publications, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

His book Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World's Best Writers describes how the CIA contributed funds to numerous respected magazines during the Cold War, including the Paris Review, to subtly promote anti-communist views. In their conversation, Whitney tells Robert Scheer about the ties the CIA's Congress for Cultural Freedom had with literary magazines.

He talks about the CIA's attempt during the Cold War to have at least one agent in every major news organization in order to get stories killed if they were too critical or get them to run if they were favorable to the agency. And they discuss the overstatement of the immediate risks and dangers of communist regimes during the Cold War, which, initially, led many people to support the Vietnam War.
globinfo freexchange

James Jesus Angleton was part of this post-OSS group that understood how important spying and covert ops had been in World War II. And from there, he makes all kinds of terrible mistakes. He and his group believed essentially that they needed to do better propaganda than the Soviets did, and one of the ways that they thought they could do it better was to do it subtly and, you could say, secretly.

So, when this program is threatened with exposure in '64, '65, '66 and '67 through various sources like Ramparts and The New York Times, this privilege of secrecy that they enjoyed was not something that they were willing to give up. So you have something that is described as relatively benign, this funding of culture through the Congress for Cultural Freedom, a funding of student movements through the National Student Association, the funding of labor unions that would be less communist-influenced than the communist-dominated ones that they presumed were out there. These were seen as benign answers. They were reactions to Soviet penetration. So, secrecy is a key to making them work.

So, even if you want to make the argument that, for instance, the Congress for Cultural Freedom never censored its magazines–which I think has been severely disproved; they did censor. Even if you wanted to say that they published all sorts of great writers–which clearly they did; that was part of the subtlety of it and part of the brilliance of it, and part of the soft-power charm of it. Even if you wanted to say all that, when the secrecy is exposed by honest accounting in the media, the fourth estate, the adversarial media of American bragging around the world, they are so attached to their secrecy, and so upset, the CIA group led by people like Angleton, that they commit something that is about as anti-American as anything in our system. Which is: more secrecy, more media penetration to the point of penetrating, first, the anti-Vietnam War press; second, the student, the college student newspapers and press; the alternative, so-called, press. Which essentially is a license to do what they did later. So, where Ramparts was penetrated, leads to Operation Chaos, presumably; that leads to Operation Mockingbird in the seventies.

By the time we have Carl Bernstein reporting on Operation Mockingbird, and John Crewdson reporting on its international equivalent in the New York Times–Bernstein in Rolling Stone–you essentially see the CIA trying to have at least one agent at every major news and media organization it can do in the world.
And Crewdson reporting in the Times at the end of 1977 essentially says that they had one agent or contract agent at a newspaper in every world capital on Earth. They could get stories killed or get stories to run that portrayed the CIA's views in a favorable way, or kill them if they did not.

https://www.kcrw.com/news-culture/shows/scheer-intelligence/joel-whitney-the-cias-cold-war-literary-influence/embed-player?autoplay=false


https://www.kcrw.com/news-culture/shows/scheer-intelligence/joel-whitney-the-cias-cold-war-literary-influence/

[Jan 14, 2018] Militarism and empire building means devastation at home

Jan 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Detroit's once glorious Mark Twain Public Library.

[Jan 14, 2018] By default I block Google and its octopus of websites as third party sites on websites I visit.

Jan 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

CalDre , January 11, 2018 at 7:33 am GMT

To Moderators:

By default I block Google and its octopus of websites as third party sites on websites I visit. This list includes doubleclick.net, googlesyndication.com, google-analytics.com, googleusercontent.com, googleadservices.com, googlecode.com, gmail.com, gstatic.com, googletagmanager.com and, yes, googleapis.com.

When you do this you find that a lot of websites stop working, and proves how google (and its intelligence agency patrons) are able to egregiously violate your privacy and track you all over the internet (in addition to whatever tracking your or your friends' Android devices do).

Unfortunately this site uses googleapis.com for its comment submission. Why? There are countless ways to activate a "Reply" button without requiring Big Brother Google to monitor the event.

Please re-consider your reliance on Google to provide minor web features (new comment submission works with googleapis.com disabled but it is not possible to reply to another comment as the three options – Reply, Agree/Disagree/etc. and This Commenter links – are all non-functional without permitting Google spying).

[Jan 14, 2018] The US could have had a visionary reformer in JFK but unfortunately he was prematurely decommissioned by the deep state but Trump is light years behind JFK in intellect and articulation.

Notable quotes:
"... I view Trump as a failing would be reformer. I have already stated on this site that Trump's bid to enter the reformers club is pretty much hampered by his reaching power without having a strong third party behind him. He is bound by the diktats of the deep state and the most he can manage is to sabotage the system through guile. His mission is truly impossible. ..."
"... Gorbachov was another failed reformer who nevertheless managed to destroy the old system but his victory was worse than a phyrric one as he moved the situation from a bad system to total chaos of the uncreative destruction type as the Soviet Union morphed into oligarchic Russia. ..."
"... The US could have had a visionary reformer in JFK but unfortunately he was prematurely decommissioned by the deep state but Trump is light years behind JFK in intellect and articulation. Overall I would stick to Gerald Celente's definition of the political establishment as cowards, fools, freaks and liars, a fact that is hard to swallow but true nonetheless. ..."
Jan 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Joe Levantine , January 12, 2018 at 8:07 pm GMT

@peterAUS

I view Trump as a failing would be reformer. I have already stated on this site that Trump's bid to enter the reformers club is pretty much hampered by his reaching power without having a strong third party behind him. He is bound by the diktats of the deep state and the most he can manage is to sabotage the system through guile. His mission is truly impossible.

Gorbachov was another failed reformer who nevertheless managed to destroy the old system but his victory was worse than a phyrric one as he moved the situation from a bad system to total chaos of the uncreative destruction type as the Soviet Union morphed into oligarchic Russia.

Truly, the only 20th century impressive reformer, notwithstanding the controversy surrounding his name, was Adolf Hitler. He was guided by a vision and after he cumulated many successes started to act on intuition bypassing the guidance of his party and state apparatus, both the civil and the military one, which led him to commit some grave strategic errors that proved finally to be his undoing. Here I repeat what I have already stated on this site that Hitler came to power within weeks from FDR's ascendency, but Hitler managed to do in two years what FDR failed to do in six years of the New Deal with German unemployment falling from 25% under the Weimar Republic to 3%. Yet despite his successes, he did fight the recalcitrance of the bureaucracy by relying on the SA and the SS. Trump has nothing of this luxury and will invariably have to kowtow to the power structure to stay in power.

That leaves the one truly successful Western reformer who managed to materialise his vision, the one and only Otto Von Bismarch, who knew how to play the different layers of the German societies against each other and managed to rule unhindered by the establishment guided by a visionary plan that was supported by extremely competent military and civilian officials.

The US could have had a visionary reformer in JFK but unfortunately he was prematurely decommissioned by the deep state but Trump is light years behind JFK in intellect and articulation. Overall I would stick to Gerald Celente's definition of the political establishment as cowards, fools, freaks and liars, a fact that is hard to swallow but true nonetheless.

[Jan 13, 2018] RIP Marc Raskin, Who Connected the Dots Between Inequality and War

Notable quotes:
"... Four Freedoms Under Siege ..."
"... Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and is a co-editor of Inequality.org. ..."
Jan 13, 2018 | fpif.org

Institute for Policy Studies Co-founder Marcus Raskin will be remembered, among many other noteworthy achievements, for coining the term "national security state." In congressional testimony in 1967, he used the phrase to describe the complex web of war institutions he feared would drive continuous conflict abroad while turning the United States into a "garrison and launching pad for nuclear war."

Raskin died on December 24, 2017, at age 83 -- just as the current president of the United States was about to make nuclear threats via Twitter. And as for his fears about the country becoming a garrison, Raskin wasn't far off. Over the five decades after Raskin's testimony, the number of inmates in U.S. state and federal prisons grew from 188,000 to 1.5 million , with the vast majority of them poor and people of color.

While progressive activists have tended to treat these issues separately, Raskin consistently connected the dots between America's military adventures overseas and economic and racial injustice at home.

In a 2008 book with Robert Spero, for example, he used President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "four essential human freedoms" as a clever frame for exposing the extent to which the national security state had accelerated poverty and inequality while undermining other basic rights.

Roosevelt laid out these four freedoms in his 1941 State of the Union address. They included freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. FDR's notion of "freedom from want" built on this famous line from his 1937 inaugural address: "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

Institute for Policy Studies Co-founder Marcus Raskin will be remembered, among many other noteworthy achievements, for coining the term "national security state." In congressional testimony in 1967, he used the phrase to describe the complex web of war institutions he feared would drive continuous conflict abroad while turning the United States into a "garrison and launching pad for nuclear war."

Raskin died on December 24, 2017, at age 83 -- just as the current President of the United States was about to make nuclear threats via Twitter. And as for his fears about the country becoming a garrison, Raskin wasn't far off. Over the five decades after Raskin's testimony, the number of inmates in U.S. state and federal prisons grew from 188,000 to 1.5 million , with the vast majority of them poor and people of color.

While progressive activists have tended to treat these issues separately, Raskin consistently connected the dots between America's military adventures overseas and economic and racial injustice at home.

In a 2008 book with Robert Spero, for example, he used President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "four essential human freedoms" as a clever frame for exposing the extent to which the national security state had accelerated poverty and inequality while undermining other basic rights.

Roosevelt laid out these four freedoms in his 1941 State of the Union address. They included freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. FDR's notion of "freedom from want" built on this famous line from his 1937 inaugural address: "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

In Four Freedoms Under Siege , Raskin and Spero concede that the Cold War superpower rivalry did contribute to some progress towards Roosevelt's dream of freedom from want. Raskin was a young aide in Kennedy's National Security Council during a period of high tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union that were playing out with deadly consequences in Cuba, Vietnam, and elsewhere.

And while he was horrified by the existential threat posed by the superpower standoff, Raskin later recognized that the competition with the Soviet Union did give a boost to the U.S. labor unions and other forces that were pushing for progressive economic reforms.

The elites, Raskin and Spero explained, feared that movements for "social and economic justice, from rhetoric to out-and-out radicalism, would transform the power structure in such a way as to open up the society to democracy that displaces overlapping economic oligarchies. The right, especially big business, also feared that this would be just the prelude to the redistribution of resources, or at least access to them."

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Raskin and Spero point out, "people at the top no longer had to concern themselves with the people at the bottom." And the permanence of the national security state obliterated any hope of a post-Cold War "peace dividend" that could've helped realize FDR's dream of freedom from want.

Raskin and Spero wrote their book during the militarily aggressive administration of President George W. Bush. As Halliburton and other private military contractors lined up to feed at the Iraq War trough, the period perfectly illustrated the danger of a war economy without end.

"This kind of 'let 'er rip' corruption policy did not originate with Bush II conservatives," Raskin and Spero wrote, "but they pushed the idea of a corporate controlled state to the limit as a partner to military expansion."

In his final weeks, Marc Raskin was excited to learn about plans for a Poor People's Campaign that, like his own work, will take on the inter-connected problems of the War Economy, poverty, racism, and ecological devastation.

The campaign will mark the 50th anniversary of a similar effort led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders who saw the need to build on the civil rights cause by tackling the militarism that had led to the Vietnam War and the poverty that plagued too many Americans of all races. Back then in 1968, Institute for Policy Studies staff included leaders of both the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements. Raskin himself was indicted that year for conspiracy to aid resistance to the draft.

The new Poor People's Campaign, led by two prominent faith leaders -- the Rev. Liz Theoharis and the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II -- held a kick-off event in Washington on December 4. The Institute for Policy Studies prepared a report for the launch that includes data on each of the campaign's focus areas. Theoharis and Barber announced plans for a historic 40-day wave of civil disobedience across the country in the spring of 2018, culminating in a mass demonstration in the capital in June.

At a December 12 follow-up meeting at the Institute for Policy Studies, Raskin asked one of the lead organizers of the new Poor People's Campaign who they expect to be their strongest opponents. From his six decades of experience in Washington, he had a keen sense of the challenges ahead. Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and is a co-editor of Inequality.org.

[Jan 02, 2018] The Still-Missing Evidence of Russia-gate by Dennis J. Bernstein

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The central groupthink around Russia-gate is the still unproven claim that Russia hacked Democratic emails in 2016 and publicized them via WikiLeaks, a crucial issue that NSA experts say should be easy to prove if true, reports Dennis J. Bernstein. ..."
"... Binney: We at Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) published an article on this in July. First of all, if any of the data went anywhere across the fiber optic world, the NSA would know. Just inside the United States, the NSA has over a hundred tap points on the fiber lines, taking in everything. ..."
"... The other data that came out from Guccifer 2.0, a download from the DNC, has been a charade. It was a download and not a transfer across the Web. The Web won't manage such a high speed. It could not have gotten across the Atlantic at that high speed. You would have to have high capacity lines dedicated to that in order to do it. They have been playing games with us. There is no factual evidence to back up any charge of hacking here. ..."
"... Bernstein: Let me come at this from the other side. Has the United States ever tried to hack into and undermine Russian operations in this way? ..."
"... Binney: Oh, sure. We do it as much as anybody else. In the Ukraine, for example, we sponsored regime change. When someone who was pro-Soviet was elected president, we orchestrated a coup to put our man in power. ..."
"... Did the US meddle in the Russian elections that brought Yeltsin to power? ..."
"... I believe they did. We try to leverage our power and influence elections around the world. ..."
"... Binney: Yes, to defend privacy but also to defend the Constitution. Right now, our government is violating the first, fourth and fifth amendments in various ways. Mueller did it, Comey did it, they were all involved in violating the Constitution. ..."
"... Bernstein: There seems to be a new McCarthyite operation around the Russia-gate investigation. It appears that it is an attempt to justify the idea that Clinton lost because the Russians undermined the election. ..."
"... Bernstein: It was initially put out that seventeen intelligence agencies found compelling evidence that the Russians hacked into our election. You're saying it was actually selected individuals from just three agencies. Is there anything to the revelations that FBI agents talked about taking action to prevent Trump from becoming president? ..."
"... Binney: It certainly does seem that it is leaning that way, that is was all a frame-up. It is a sad time in our history, to see the government working against itself internally ..."
"... Bernstein: What concerns do you have regarding the Russia-gate investigation and the McCarthyite tactics that are being employed? ..."
"... Binney: Ultimately, my main concern is that it could lead to actual war with Russia. We should definitely not be going down that path. We need to get out of all these wars. I am also concerned about what we are doing to our own democracy. We are trampling the fundamental principles contained in the Constitution. The only way to reverse all this is to start indicting people who are participating in and managing these activities that are clearly unconstitutional. ..."
Jan 02, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

The central groupthink around Russia-gate is the still unproven claim that Russia hacked Democratic emails in 2016 and publicized them via WikiLeaks, a crucial issue that NSA experts say should be easy to prove if true, reports Dennis J. Bernstein.

A changing-places moment brought about by Russia-gate is that liberals who are usually more skeptical of U.S. intelligence agencies, especially their evidence-free claims, now question the patriotism of Americans who insist that the intelligence community supply proof to support the dangerous claims about Russian 'hacking" of Democratic emails especially when some veteran U.S. government experts say the data would be easily available if the Russians indeed were guilty.

One of those experts is William Binney, a former high-level National Security Agency intelligence official who, after his 2001 retirement, blew the whistle on the extraordinary breadth of NSA surveillance programs. His outspoken criticism of the NSA during the George W. Bush administration made him the subject of FBI investigations that included a raid on his home in 2007.

Even before Edward Snowden's NSA whistleblowing, Binney publicly revealed that NSA had access to telecommunications companies' domestic and international billing records, and that since 9/11 the agency has intercepted some 15 trillion to 20 trillion communications. Snowden has said: "I have tremendous respect for Binney, who did everything he could according to the rules."

I spoke to Binney on Dec. 28 about Russia-gate and a host of topics having to do with spying and America's expanding national security state.

Dennis Bernstein: I would like you to begin by telling us a little about your background at the NSA and how you got there.

William Binney: I was in the United States Army from 1965 to 1969. They put me in the Army Security Agency, an affiliate of the NSA. They liked the work I was doing and they put me on a priority hire in 1970. I was in the NSA for 32 years, mostly working against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. I was solving what were called "wizard puzzles," and the NSA was sometimes referred to as the "Puzzle Palace." I had to solve code systems and work on cyber systems and data systems to be able to predict in advance the "intentions and capabilities of adversaries or potential adversaries."

Bernstein: At a certain point you ran amiss of your supervisors. What did you come to understand and try to tell people that got you in dutch with your higher-ups?

Binney: By 1998-1999, the "digital issue" was basically solved. This created a problem for the upper ranks because at the time they were lobbying Congress for $3.8 billion to continue working on what we had already accomplished. That lobby was started in 1989 for a separate program called Trailblazer, which failed miserably in 2005-2006. We had to brief Congress on how we were progressing and my information ran contrary to the efforts downtown to secure more funding. And so this caused a problem internally.

We learned from some of our staff members in Congress that several of the corporations that were getting contracts from the NSA were downtown lobbying against our program in Congress. This is the military industrial complex in action. That lobby was supported by the NSA management because they just wanted more money to build a bigger empire.

But Dick Cheney, who was behind all of this, wanted it because he grew up under Nixon, who always wanted to know what his political enemies were thinking and doing. This kind of approach of bulk acquisition of everything was possible after you removed certain segments of our software and they used it against the entire digital world. Cheney wanted to know who his political enemies were and get updates about them at any time.

Bernstein: Your expertise was in the Soviet Union and so you must know a lot about bugging. Do you believe that Russia hacked and undermined our last election? Can Trump thank Russia for the result?

Binney: We at Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) published an article on this in July. First of all, if any of the data went anywhere across the fiber optic world, the NSA would know. Just inside the United States, the NSA has over a hundred tap points on the fiber lines, taking in everything. Mark Klein exposed some of this at the AT&T facility in San Francisco.

This is not for foreigners, by the way, this is for targeting US citizens. If they wanted only foreigners, all they would have to do was look at the transatlantic cables where they surface on the coast of the United States. But they are not there, they are distributed among the US population.

Bernstein: So if, in fact, the Russians were tapping into DNC headquarters, the NSA would absolutely know about it.

Binney: Yes, and they would also have trace routes on where they went specifically, in Russia or anywhere else. If you remember, about three or four years ago, the Chinese hacked into somewhere in the United States and our government came out and confirmed that it was the Chinese who did it, and it came from a specific military facility in Shanghai. The NSA had these trace route programs embedded by the hundreds across the US and all around the world.

The other data that came out from Guccifer 2.0, a download from the DNC, has been a charade. It was a download and not a transfer across the Web. The Web won't manage such a high speed. It could not have gotten across the Atlantic at that high speed. You would have to have high capacity lines dedicated to that in order to do it. They have been playing games with us. There is no factual evidence to back up any charge of hacking here.

Bernstein: So was this a leak by somebody at Democratic headquarters?

Binney: We don't know that for sure, either. All we know was that it was a local download. We can likely attribute it to a USB device that was physically passed along.

Bernstein: Let me come at this from the other side. Has the United States ever tried to hack into and undermine Russian operations in this way?

Binney: Oh, sure. We do it as much as anybody else. In the Ukraine, for example, we sponsored regime change. When someone who was pro-Soviet was elected president, we orchestrated a coup to put our man in power.

Then we invited the Ukraine into NATO. One of the agreements we made with the Russians when the Soviet Union fell apart was that the Ukraine would give them their nuclear weapons to manage and that we would not move NATO further east toward Russia. I think they made a big mistake when they asked Ukraine to join NATO. They should have asked Russia to join as well, making it all-inclusive. If you treat people as adversaries, they are going to act that way.

Bernstein: Did the US meddle in the Russian elections that brought Yeltsin to power?

Binney: I believe they did. We try to leverage our power and influence elections around the world.

Bernstein: What has your group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, been up to, and what has been the US government's response?

Binney: We have been discussing privacy and security with the European Union and with a number of European parliaments. Recently the Austrian supreme court ruled that the entire bulk acquisition system was unconstitutional. Everyone but the conservatives in the Austrian parliament voted that bill down, making Austria the first country there to do the right thing.

A slide from material leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden to the Washington Post, showing what happens when an NSA analyst "tasks" the PRISM system for information about a new surveillance target.

Bernstein: Is it your goal to defend people's privacy and their right to communicate privately?

Binney: Yes, to defend privacy but also to defend the Constitution. Right now, our government is violating the first, fourth and fifth amendments in various ways. Mueller did it, Comey did it, they were all involved in violating the Constitution.

Back in the 1990's, the idea was to make our analysts effective so that they could see threats coming before they happened and alert people to take action so that lives would be saved. What happens now is that people go out and kill someone and then the NSA and the FBI go on a forensics mission. Intelligence is supposed to tell you in advance when a crime is coming so that you can do something to avert it. They have lost that perspective.

Bernstein: They now have access to every single one of our electronic conversations, is that right? The human mind has a hard time imagining how you could contain, move and study all that information.

Binney: Basically, it is achievable because most of the processing is done by machine so it doesn't cost human energy.

Bernstein: There seems to be a new McCarthyite operation around the Russia-gate investigation. It appears that it is an attempt to justify the idea that Clinton lost because the Russians undermined the election.

Binney: I have seen no evidence at all from anybody, including the intelligence community. If you look at the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) report, they state on the first page that "We have high confidence that the Russians did this." But when you get toward the end of the report, they basically confess that "our judgment does not imply that we have evidence to back it up."

Bernstein: It was initially put out that seventeen intelligence agencies found compelling evidence that the Russians hacked into our election. You're saying it was actually selected individuals from just three agencies. Is there anything to the revelations that FBI agents talked about taking action to prevent Trump from becoming president?

Binney: It certainly does seem that it is leaning that way, that is was all a frame-up. It is a sad time in our history, to see the government working against itself internally.

Bernstein: I take it you are not a big supporter of Trump.

Binney: Well, I voted for him. I couldn't vote for a warmonger like Clinton. She wanted to see our planes shooting down Russian planes in Syria. She advocated for destabilizing Libya, for getting rid of Assad in Syria, she was a strong backer of the war in Iraq.

Bernstein: What concerns do you have regarding the Russia-gate investigation and the McCarthyite tactics that are being employed?

Binney: Ultimately, my main concern is that it could lead to actual war with Russia. We should definitely not be going down that path. We need to get out of all these wars. I am also concerned about what we are doing to our own democracy. We are trampling the fundamental principles contained in the Constitution. The only way to reverse all this is to start indicting people who are participating in and managing these activities that are clearly unconstitutional.

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of "Flashpoints" on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom . You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net .

[Jan 02, 2018] False flag attacks using sharpshooters as a standard instrument of color revolutions

Notable quotes:
"... Andrew Bacevich needs to study more deeply about Syrian history and politics, since his description of Syrian president Bashar Assad as a brutal dictator fits as a description of Bashar's father Hafez Assad but is inaccurate in relation to Bashar Assad, who seems to have a rather gentle personality and is actually one of the more benign leaders in the Middle East. ..."
"... Under that new constitution, in 2014 he ran in a free election observed by international observers against two other politicians and was reelected president. He has promised that if he loses the next election he will step down. ..."
"... Nevertheless Assad has been systematically demonized by the governments and MSM of the US, UK, and France, as well as by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. Demonization is a technique that is often used to prepare the way for regime change, and it is not based on objective analysis. ..."
"... Similar tactics were used in Ukraine in February 2014 by ultranationalist Right Sector sharpshooters, who were seen shooting Maidan demonstrators. The deaths of the demonstrators were then blamed on the police. ..."
"... "'From the start the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.' ..."
"... opposition is armed and frequently employs brutality and violence, only in order then to blame the government. ..."
"... For an objective overview of the context of the events of 2011 in Syria that led to the international war against the elected Syrian government, see Stephen Gowans, "The Revolutionary Distemper in Syria That Wasn't." ..."
"... Also see Gowans' well-researched 2016 book 'Washington's Long War on Syria.' The US has been demonizing and trying to overthrow the Syrian government for several decades now, above all because it is the only remaining semi-socialist nation in the Middle East and has single-payer national health insurance, support for the elderly, and free college education for all. Assad is no saint, but he is one of the more democratic and forward-looking leaders in the Middle East today. ..."
Jan 02, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Gen Dau , , May 8, 2017 at 7:55 pm

Andrew Bacevich needs to study more deeply about Syrian history and politics, since his description of Syrian president Bashar Assad as a brutal dictator fits as a description of Bashar's father Hafez Assad but is inaccurate in relation to Bashar Assad, who seems to have a rather gentle personality and is actually one of the more benign leaders in the Middle East.

Bashar Assad had planned to be a doctor, and he studied medicine for two years in the UK before being ordered to return to Syria by his father after his elder brother died in an accident. Although there were some excesses by the police in 2011, Bashar Assad quickly relaxed some old security laws and pushed for a new democratic constitution, which was promulgated in 2012. Under that new constitution, in 2014 he ran in a free election observed by international observers against two other politicians and was reelected president. He has promised that if he loses the next election he will step down.

Nevertheless Assad has been systematically demonized by the governments and MSM of the US, UK, and France, as well as by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. Demonization is a technique that is often used to prepare the way for regime change, and it is not based on objective analysis. Although Assad is often called a butcher who gasses his own people, experts such as Theodore Postol of MIT and others have shown that not a single allegation of gassing by the Syrian government under Assad has ever been proven. In addition, many of the excesses by the Syrian police against demonstrators in 2011 seem to have been initiated by armed members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda in Syria, who quickly infiltrated the demonstrations.

There have even been allegations that jihadi sharpshooters on rooftops shot demonstrators in false-flag attacks.

Similar tactics were used in Ukraine in February 2014 by ultranationalist Right Sector sharpshooters, who were seen shooting Maidan demonstrators. The deaths of the demonstrators were then blamed on the police. In the case of Syria:

"Syrian-based Father Frans van der Lugt was the Dutch priest murdered by a gunman in Homs . His involvement in reconciliation and peace activities never stopped him from lobbing criticisms at both sides in this conflict. But in the first year of the crisis, he penned some remarkable observations about the violence – this one in January 2012:

"'From the start the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.'

"In September 2011 he wrote: 'From the start there has been the problem of the armed groups, which are also part of the opposition The opposition of the street is much stronger than any other opposition. And this opposition is armed and frequently employs brutality and violence, only in order then to blame the government. '"

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/157412-syria-hidden-massacre-2011/

For an objective overview of the context of the events of 2011 in Syria that led to the international war against the elected Syrian government, see Stephen Gowans, "The Revolutionary Distemper in Syria That Wasn't."

https://gowans.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/the-revolutionary-distemper-in-syria-that-wasnt/

Also see Gowans' well-researched 2016 book 'Washington's Long War on Syria.' The US has been demonizing and trying to overthrow the Syrian government for several decades now, above all because it is the only remaining semi-socialist nation in the Middle East and has single-payer national health insurance, support for the elderly, and free college education for all. Assad is no saint, but he is one of the more democratic and forward-looking leaders in the Middle East today.

[Jan 02, 2018] Neocon warmongers should be treated as rapists by Andrew J. Bacevich

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... What's puzzling is why that capacity for outrage and demand for accountability doesn't extend to our now well-established penchant for waging war across much of the planet. ..."
"... Compare their culpability to that of the high-ranking officials who have presided over or promoted this country's various military misadventures of the present century. Those wars have, of course, resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and will ultimately cost American taxpayers many trillions of dollars. Nor have those costly military efforts eliminated "terrorism," as President George W. Bush promised back when today's G.I.s were still in diapers. ..."
"... Bush told us that, through war, the United States would spread freedom and democracy. Instead, our wars have sown disorder and instability, creating failing or failed states across the Greater Middle East and Africa. In their wake have sprung up ever more, not fewer, jihadist groups, while acts of terror are soaring globally. These are indisputable facts. ..."
"... For starters, there is no "new strategy." Trump's generals, apparently with a nod from their putative boss, are merely modifying the old "strategy," which was itself an outgrowth of previous strategies tried, found wanting, and eventually discarded before being rebranded and eventually recycled. ..."
"... Thus far, Trump's interventionism has been a fragment of what the Hillary campaign promised. ..."
"... This is the center of a world empire. It maintains a gigantic military which virtually never stops fighting wars, none of them having anything to do with defense. It has created an intelligence monstrosity which makes old outfits like Stazi seem almost quaint, and it spies on everyone. Indeed, it maintains seventeen national security establishments, as though you can never have too much of a good thing. And some of these guys, too, are engaged full-time in forms of covert war, from fomenting trouble in other lands and interfering in elections to overthrowing governments. ..."
"... It's unlikely that the USA would be remaining in Afghanistan if its goals were not being attained. So the author has merely shown that the stated goals cannot be the real goals. What then are the real goals? I propose two: 1) establish a permanent military presence on a Russian border; 2) finance it with the heroin trade. Given other actions of the Empire around the globe, the first goal is obvious. The bombing of mud huts containing competitors' drug labs, conjoined with the fact that we do not destroy the actual poppy fields (obvious green targets in an immense ocean of brown) make this goal rather obvious as well. The rest of the article is simply more evidence that the Empire does not include mere human tragedy in its profit calculation. ..."
"... Andrew Bacevich calls for a Weinstein moment without realizing that it already happened more than ten years ago. The 2006 midterm elections were the first Weinstein moment, which saw the American people deliver a huge outpouring of antiwar sentiment that inflicted significant congressional losses on the neocon Republicans of George W. Bush. ..."
Dec 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

What makes a Harvey Weinstein moment? The now-disgraced Hollywood mogul is hardly the first powerful man to stand accused of having abused women. The Harveys who preceded Harvey himself are legion, their prominence matching or exceeding his own and the misdeeds with which they were charged at least as reprehensible.

In the relatively recent past, a roster of prominent offenders would include Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, and, of course, Donald Trump. Throw in various jocks, maestros, senior military officers, members of the professoriate and you end up with quite a list. Yet in virtually all such cases, the alleged transgressions were treated as instances of individual misconduct, egregious perhaps but possessing at best transitory political resonance.

All that, though, was pre-Harvey. As far as male sexual hijinks are concerned, we might compare Weinstein's epic fall from grace to the stock market crash of 1929: one week it's the anything-goes Roaring Twenties, the next we're smack dab in a Great Depression.

How profound is the change? Up here in Massachusetts where I live, we've spent the past year marking John F. Kennedy's 100th birthday. If Kennedy were still around to join in the festivities, it would be as a Class A sex offender. Rarely in American history has the cultural landscape shifted so quickly or so radically.

In our post-Harvey world, men charged with sexual misconduct are guilty until proven innocent, all crimes are capital offenses, and there exists no statute of limitations. Once a largely empty corporate slogan, "zero tolerance" has become a battle cry.

All of this serves as a reminder that, on some matters at least, the American people retain an admirable capacity for outrage. We can distinguish between the tolerable and the intolerable. And we can demand accountability of powerful individuals and institutions.

Everything They Need to Win (Again!)

What's puzzling is why that capacity for outrage and demand for accountability doesn't extend to our now well-established penchant for waging war across much of the planet.

In no way would I wish to minimize the pain, suffering, and humiliation of the women preyed upon by the various reprobates now getting their belated comeuppance. But to judge from published accounts, the women (and in some cases, men) abused by Weinstein, Louis C.K., Mark Halperin, Leon Wieseltier, Kevin Spacey, Al Franken, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor, my West Point classmate Judge Roy Moore, and their compadres at least managed to survive their encounters. None of the perpetrators are charged with having committed murder. No one died.

Compare their culpability to that of the high-ranking officials who have presided over or promoted this country's various military misadventures of the present century. Those wars have, of course, resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and will ultimately cost American taxpayers many trillions of dollars. Nor have those costly military efforts eliminated "terrorism," as President George W. Bush promised back when today's G.I.s were still in diapers.

Bush told us that, through war, the United States would spread freedom and democracy. Instead, our wars have sown disorder and instability, creating failing or failed states across the Greater Middle East and Africa. In their wake have sprung up ever more, not fewer, jihadist groups, while acts of terror are soaring globally. These are indisputable facts.

It discomfits me to reiterate this mournful litany of truths. I feel a bit like the doctor telling the lifelong smoker with stage-four lung cancer that an addiction to cigarettes is adversely affecting his health. His mute response: I know and I don't care. Nothing the doc says is going to budge the smoker from his habit. You go through the motions, but wonder why.

In a similar fashion, war has become a habit to which the United States is addicted. Except for the terminally distracted, most of us know that. We also know -- we cannot not know -- that, in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. forces have been unable to accomplish their assigned mission, despite more than 16 years of fighting in the former and more than a decade in the latter.

It's not exactly a good news story, to put it mildly. So forgive me for saying it ( yet again ), but most of us simply don't care, which means that we continue to allow a free hand to those who preside over those wars, while treating with respect the views of pundits and media personalities who persist in promoting them. What's past doesn't count; we prefer to sustain the pretense that tomorrow is pregnant with possibilities. Victory lies just around the corner.

By way of example, consider a recent article in U.S. News and World Report. The headline: "Victory or Failure in Afghanistan: 2018 Will Be the Deciding Year." The title suggests a balance absent from the text that follows, which reads like a Pentagon press release. Here in its entirety is the nut graf (my own emphasis added):

"Armed with a new strategy and renewed support from old allies, the Trump administration now believes it has everything it needs to win the war in Afghanistan. Top military advisers all the way up to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis say they can accomplish what two previous administrations and multiple troop surges could not: the defeat of the Taliban by Western-backed local forces, a negotiated peace and the establishment of a popularly supported government in Kabul capable of keeping the country from once again becoming a haven to any terrorist group."

Now if you buy this, you'll believe that Harvey Weinstein has learned his lesson and can be trusted to interview young actresses while wearing his bathrobe.

For starters, there is no "new strategy." Trump's generals, apparently with a nod from their putative boss, are merely modifying the old "strategy," which was itself an outgrowth of previous strategies tried, found wanting, and eventually discarded before being rebranded and eventually recycled.

Short of using nuclear weapons, U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan over the past decade and a half have experimented with just about every approach imaginable: invasion, regime change, occupation, nation-building, pacification, decapitation, counterterrorism, and counterinsurgency, not to mention various surges , differing in scope and duration. We have had a big troop presence and a smaller one, more bombing and less, restrictive rules of engagement and permissive ones. In the military equivalent of throwing in the kitchen sink, a U.S. Special Operations Command four-engine prop plane recently deposited the largest non-nuclear weapon in the American arsenal on a cave complex in eastern Afghanistan. Although that MOAB made a big boom, no offer of enemy surrender materialized.

$65 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars. And under the circumstances, consider that a mere down payment.

According to General John Nicholson, our 17th commander in Kabul since 2001, the efforts devised and implemented by his many predecessors have resulted in a "stalemate" -- a generous interpretation given that the Taliban presently controls more territory than it has held since the U.S. invasion. Officers no less capable than Nicholson himself, David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal among them, didn't get it done. Nicholson's argument: trust me.

In essence, the "new strategy" devised by Trump's generals, Secretary of Defense Mattis and Nicholson among them, amounts to this: persist a tad longer with a tad more. A modest uptick in the number of U.S. and allied troops on the ground will provide more trainers, advisers, and motivators to work with and accompany their Afghan counterparts in the field. The Mattis/Nicholson plan also envisions an increasing number of air strikes, signaled by the recent use of B-52s to attack illicit Taliban " drug labs ," a scenario that Stanley Kubrick himself would have been hard-pressed to imagine.

Notwithstanding the novelty of using strategic bombers to destroy mud huts, there's not a lot new here. Dating back to 2001, coalition forces have already dropped tens of thousands of bombs in Afghanistan. Almost as soon as the Taliban were ousted from Kabul, coalition efforts to create effective Afghan security forces commenced. So, too, did attempts to reduce the production of the opium that has funded the Taliban insurgency, alas with essentially no effect whatsoever . What Trump's generals want a gullible public (and astonishingly gullible and inattentive members of Congress) to believe is that this time they've somehow devised a formula for getting it right.

Turning the Corner

With his trademark capacity to intuit success, President Trump already sees clear evidence of progress. "We're not fighting anymore to just walk around," he remarked in his Thanksgiving message to the troops. "We're fighting to win. And you people [have] turned it around over the last three to four months like nobody has seen." The president, we may note, has yet to visit Afghanistan.

I'm guessing that the commander-in-chief is oblivious to the fact that, in U.S. military circles, the term winning has acquired notable elasticity. Trump may think that it implies vanquishing the enemy -- white flags and surrender ceremonies on the U.S.S. Missouri . General Nicholson knows better. "Winning," the field commander says , "means delivering a negotiated settlement that reduces the level of violence and protecting the homeland." (Take that definition at face value and we can belatedly move Vietnam into the win column!)

Should we be surprised that Trump's generals, unconsciously imitating General William Westmoreland a half-century ago, claim once again to detect light at the end of the tunnel? Not at all. Mattis and Nicholson (along with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster) are following the Harvey Weinstein playbook: keep doing it until they make you stop. Indeed, with what can only be described as chutzpah, Nicholson himself recently announced that we have " turned the corner " in Afghanistan. In doing so, of course, he is counting on Americans not to recall the various war managers, military and civilian alike, who have made identical claims going back years now, among them Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in 2012 .

From on high, assurances of progress; in the field, results that, year after year, come nowhere near what's promised; on the homefront, an astonishingly credulous public. The war in Afghanistan has long since settled into a melancholy and seemingly permanent rhythm.

The fact is that the individuals entrusted by President Trump to direct U.S. policy believe with iron certainty that difficult political problems will yield to armed might properly employed. That proposition is one to which generals like Mattis and Nicholson have devoted a considerable part of their lives, not just in Afghanistan but across much of the Islamic world. They are no more likely to question the validity of that proposition than the Pope is to entertain second thoughts about the divinity of Jesus Christ.

In Afghanistan, their entire worldview -- not to mention the status and clout of the officer corps they represent -- is at stake. No matter how long the war there lasts, no matter how many " generations " it takes, no matter how much blood is shed to no purpose, and no matter how much money is wasted, they will never admit to failure -- nor will any of the militarists-in-mufti cheering them on from the sidelines in Washington, Donald Trump not the least among them.

Meanwhile, the great majority of the American people, their attention directed elsewhere -- it's the season for holiday shopping, after all -- remain studiously indifferent to the charade being played out before their eyes.

It took a succession of high-profile scandals before Americans truly woke up to the plague of sexual harassment and assault. How long will it take before the public concludes that they have had enough of wars that don't work? Here's hoping it's before our president, in a moment of ill temper, unleashes " fire and fury " on the world.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular , is the author, most recently, of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History .

anonymous , Disclaimer December 11, 2017 at 3:31 am GMT

It's astonishing to see people make the claim that "victory" is possible in Afghanistan. Could they actually believe this or are they lying in order to drag this out even longer and keep the money pit working overtime? These are individuals that are highly placed and so should know better. It's not really a war but an occupation with the native insurgents fighting to oust the foreign occupier. The US has tried every trick there is in trying to tamp down the insurgency. They know what we're trying to do and can thwart us at every step. The US lost even as it began it's invasion there but didn't know it yet in the wake of it's initial success in scattering the Taliban, not even a real army and not even a real state. They live there and we don't; they can resist for the next thirty years or fifty years. When does the multi-billion bill come due and how will we pay it?
Issac , December 12, 2017 at 4:07 am GMT
"How long will it take before the public concludes that they have had enough of wars that don't work?"

It already happened, but Progressives like you failed to note that Republican voters subbed the Bush clan and their various associates for Trump in the Primary season, precisely because he called the Iraq and Afghan wars mistakes. The Americans suffer under a two party establishment that is clearly antagonistic to their interests. As a part of that regime, a dutiful Progressive toad, you continue to peddle the lie that it was the war-weary White Americans who celebrated those wars. In reality, any such support was ginned up from tools like you who wrote puff pieces for their Neocon Progressive masters.

Thus far, Trump's interventionism has been a fragment of what the Hillary campaign promised. Might you count that among your lucky stars? Fat chance. You cretinous Progressive filth have no such spine upon which to base an independent thought. You trot out the same old tiresome tropes week after week fulfilling your designated propagandist duty and then you skulk back to your den of iniquity to prepare another salvo of agitprop. What a miserable existence.

USAMNESIA , December 14, 2017 at 3:32 am GMT
This is the center of a world empire. It maintains a gigantic military which virtually never stops fighting wars, none of them having anything to do with defense. It has created an intelligence monstrosity which makes old outfits like Stazi seem almost quaint, and it spies on everyone. Indeed, it maintains seventeen national security establishments, as though you can never have too much of a good thing. And some of these guys, too, are engaged full-time in forms of covert war, from fomenting trouble in other lands and interfering in elections to overthrowing governments.

Obama ended up killing more people than any dictator or demagogue of this generation on earth you care to name, several hundred thousand of them in his eight years. And he found new ways to kill, too, as by creating the world's first industrial-scale extrajudicial killing operation. Here he signs off on "kill lists," placed in his Oval Office in-box, to murder people he has never seen, people who enjoy no legal rights or protections. His signed orders are carried out by uniformed thugs working at computer screens in secure basements where they proceed to play computer games with real live humans as their targets, again killing or maiming people they have never seen.

If you ever have wondered where all the enabling workers came from in places like Stalin's Gulag or Hitler's concentration camps, well, here is your answer. American itself produces platoons of such people. You could find them working at Guantanamo and in the far-flung string of secret torture facilities the CIA ran for years, and you could find them in places like Fallujah or Samarra or Abu Ghraib, at the CIA's basement game arcade killing centers, and even all over the streets of America dressed as police who shoot unarmed people every day, sometimes in the back.

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/john-chuckman-essay-of-wizards-and-washington-and-the-dreary-unrelenting-reality-of-american-politics-a-raw-and-sometimes-darkly-comic-survey-of-americas-treacherous-political-terrain/

nsa , December 18, 2017 at 5:36 am GMT
ZOG has now asserted the right to kill anyone, anywhere, anytime, for any reason. No trial, no hearing, no witnesses, no defense, no nothing. Is this actually legal? Any constitutional lawyers out there care to comment? Has ZOG now achieved the status of an all-powerful all-knowing deity with the power of life and death over all living things?
Waiting too , December 18, 2017 at 10:36 am GMT
It's unlikely that the USA would be remaining in Afghanistan if its goals were not being attained. So the author has merely shown that the stated goals cannot be the real goals. What then are the real goals? I propose two: 1) establish a permanent military presence on a Russian border; 2) finance it with the heroin trade. Given other actions of the Empire around the globe, the first goal is obvious. The bombing of mud huts containing competitors' drug labs, conjoined with the fact that we do not destroy the actual poppy fields (obvious green targets in an immense ocean of brown) make this goal rather obvious as well. The rest of the article is simply more evidence that the Empire does not include mere human tragedy in its profit calculation.
War for Blair Mountain , December 18, 2017 at 1:09 pm GMT
5.6 TRILLION $$$$$$ FOR GULF WAR 1 AND GULF WAR 2

The Native Born White American Working Class Teenage Male Population used as CANNON FODDER for Congressman Steven Solarz's and Donald Trump's very precious Jewish only Israel .

WAR IS A RACKET!!!! don't you think?

DESERT FOX , December 18, 2017 at 1:43 pm GMT
Israel and the deep state did the attack on 911 and thus set the table for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and Syria and the Zionist neocons who control every facet of the U.S. gov and the MSM and the MIC and the FED ie the BANKS set in motion the blood sacrifice for their Zionist god SATAN, that is what they have done.

The Zionist warmongers and Satanists will destroy America.

Michael Kenny , December 18, 2017 at 2:17 pm GMT
It's not so much that America is addicted to war as that the American "business model" makes permanent war inevitable. US global dominance rests on economic domination, in particular, the dollar as world reserve currency. That has allowed the US economy to survive in spite of being hollowed out, financialised and burdened with enormous sovereign debt. Economic dominance derives from political dominance, which, in its turn, flows from military dominance. For that military dominance to be credible, not only must the US have the biggest and best military forces on the planet, it must show itself willing to use those forces to maintain its dominance by actually using them from time to time, in particular, to unequivocally beat off any challenge to its dominance (Putin!). It also, of course, must win, or, more correctly, be able to present the outcome credibly as a win. Failure to maintain military dominance will undermine the position of the dollar, sending its value through the floor. A low dollar means cheap exports (Boeing will sell more planes than Airbus!), but it also means that imports (oil, outsourced goods) will be dear. At that point the hollowed out nature of the US economy will cut in, probably provoking a Soviet-style implosion of the US economy and society and ruining anyone who has holdings denominated in dollars. I call that the Gorbachev conundrum. Gorby believed in the Soviet Union and wanted to reform it. But the Soviet system had become so rigid as to be unreformable. He pulled a threat and the whole system unravelled. But if he hadn't pulled the thread, the whole system would have unravelled anyway. It was a choice between hard landing and harder landing. Similarly, US leaders have to continue down the only road open to them: permanent war. As Thomas Jefferson said of slavery, it's like holding a wolf by the ears. You don't like it but you don't dare let go!
TG , December 18, 2017 at 2:36 pm GMT
"How long will it take before the public concludes that they have had enough of wars that don't work?" Answer: Never.

In Alabama when people would rant about how toxic Roy Moore was, I would politely point out that his opponent for Senate was OK with spending trillions of dollars fighting pointless winless wars on the other side of the planet just so politically connected defense contractors can make a buck, and ask if that should be an issue too? The response, predictably, was as if I was an alien from the planet Skyron in the galaxy of Andromeda.

We are sheep. We are outraged at these sexual transgressions because the corporate press tells us to be outraged. We are not outraged at these stupid foreign wars, because the corporate press does not tell us to be outraged. It's all mass effect, and the comfort of being in a herd and all expressing the same feelings.

Intelligent Dasein , Website December 18, 2017 at 2:37 pm GMT
Andrew Bacevich is wrong about a couple of things in this article.

First, he says that the American public is both apathetic and credulous. I agree that we have largely become apathetic towards these imperial wars, but I disagree that we have become credulous. In fact, these two states of mind exclude one another; you cannot be both apathetic and credulous with respect to the same object at the same time. The credulity charge is easy to dismiss because virtually no one today believes anything that comes out of Washington or its mouthpieces in the legacy media. The apathy charge is on point but it needs qualification. The smarter, more informed Americans have seen that their efforts to change the course of American policy have been to no avail, and they've given up in frustration and disgust. The less smart, less informed Americans are constrained by the necessity of getting on with their meager lives; they are an apolitical mass that possesses neither the understanding nor the capacity to make any difference on the policy front whatsoever.

Second, Andrew Bacevich calls for a Weinstein moment without realizing that it already happened more than ten years ago. The 2006 midterm elections were the first Weinstein moment, which saw the American people deliver a huge outpouring of antiwar sentiment that inflicted significant congressional losses on the neocon Republicans of George W. Bush. An echo of that groundswell happened again in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected to office on an explicitly antiwar platform. But Obama turned out to be one of the most pro-war presidents ever, and thus an angry electorate made one final push in the same direction by attempting to clean house with Donald Trump. Now that Donald has shown every sign of having cucked out to the war lobby, we seem to be left with no electoral solutions.

The only thing that's going to work is for the American Imperium to be handed a much-deserved military and financial defeat. The one encouraging fact is that if the top ten percent of our political and financial elite were planed off by a foreign power, the American people would give as few damns about that as they currently do about our imperial wars.

Ilyana_Rozumova , December 18, 2017 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Very good but some little errors. Concerning Russia and China, Russia vent all or nothing. China was much smarter. First they allowed self employment, than small business and long time after they started to sell state enterprises,

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 18, 2017 at 3:17 pm GMT
If Tom's Dispatch continues to be successful, Americans will continue to be asleep.

Masterful propaganda. War, according to our favorite spooks, is necessary to win, but otherwise reprehensible.

Sex is otherwise necessary for human life but Harvey Weinstein is ugly. Hold tightly to your cognitive dissonance, because you're expected to remember John F Kennedy who got it on, but is the expendable martyr you should care about, not that other guy

Let's review: terror attacks are wins. Superior or effective anti-war propaganda comes from the military
itself. They really don't want war, but really they do.

nebulafox , December 18, 2017 at 4:00 pm GMT
@anonymous

We're trying to make Afghanistan not Afghanistan: aka, trying to be a miracle worker. We can throw as much money as we like at that place, and it isn't going to happen, least of all with troops on nine month shifts.

Let Iran and Pakistan squabble over it. Good riddance.

nebulafox , December 18, 2017 at 4:08 pm GMT
@Waiting too

1) doesn't really make much sense, given that Poland and the Baltic States would be more than happy to take all US forces in Europe to give us a presence near Russia in a part of the world that would be far easier to justify to the American public-and to the international community. Afghanistan? Who exactly is Russia going to mess with? Iran is their-for now, longer term, the two have conflicting agendas in the region, but don't expect the geniuses in the Beltway to pick up on that opportunity-ally, and unlike the USSR, the Russians don't want to get involved in the India-Pakistan conflict. Russia's current tilt toward China makes a strategic marriage with India of the kind that you found in the Cold War impossible, but they obviously don't want to tilt toward the basketcase known as Pakistan. The only reason that Russia would want to get involved with Afghanistan beyond having a more preferable status than having American troops there is power projection among ex-Soviet states, and there are far more effective ways to do than muddle about with Afghanistan.

2, on the other hand, given Iran-Contra who knows? The first generation of the Taliban pretty much wiped the heroin trade out as offensive to Islamic sensibilities, but the newer generations have no such qualms.

I think you give America's rulers far too much credit. The truth is probably far scarier: the morons who work in the Beltway honestly believe their own propaganda-that we can make Afghanistan into some magical Western democracy if we throw enough money at it-and combine that with the usual bureaucratic inertia.

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 18, 2017 at 4:28 pm GMT
@Waiting too

Another bonus is that Afghan heroin seeps into Russia and wreaks havoc in the regions bordering Afghanistan -- krokodil and all that.

Art , December 18, 2017 at 4:45 pm GMT
According to General John Nicholson, our 17th commander in Kabul since 2001,

We have been killing these people for 17 years. Now our generals say that if we indiscriminately kill enough men, women, and children who get in the way of our B52s, that they will see the light and make peace. How totally wonderful.

My solution is to gage the Lindsey Grahams for a year.

What will do more good for peace – B52s or shutting up Graham's elk?

Think Peace -- Art

MarkinLA , December 18, 2017 at 5:59 pm GMT
I remember when Trump said he knew more than the generals and was viciously attacked for it. It turns out he did know more than the generals just by knowing it was a waste. Trump was pushed by politics to defer to the generals who always have an answer when it comes to a war – more men, more weapons, more time.
Sollipsist , December 18, 2017 at 6:20 pm GMT
@Intelligent Dasein

"The less smart, less informed Americans are constrained by the necessity of getting on with their meager lives; they are an apolitical mass that possesses neither the understanding nor the capacity to make any difference on the policy front whatsoever."

I wonder if any Abolitionists criticized the slaves for failing to revolt? Probably not; I'm guessing they were mostly convinced that the negro required intervention from outside, whether due to their nature or from overwhelming circumstance.

If the enslaved American public is liberated, I hope we'll know what to do with ourselves afterwards. It'd be a shame to simply end up in another kind of bondage, resentful and subject to whatever oppressive system replaces the current outrage. Perhaps the next one will more persuasively convince us that we're important and essential?

peterAUS , December 18, 2017 at 6:46 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Agree.
Very good post, IMHO.

That phrase "a choice between hard landing and harder landing" is good and can be easily applied to USA today.

Interesting times.

peterAUS , December 18, 2017 at 6:47 pm GMT
@TG

Agree.
This is well written, IMHO:

We are sheep. We are outraged at these sexual transgressions because the corporate press tells us to be outraged. We are not outraged at these stupid foreign wars, because the corporate press does not tell us to be outraged. It's all mass effect, and the comfort of being in a herd and all expressing the same feelings.

Sowhat , December 18, 2017 at 7:29 pm GMT
Thank you, Andrew J. Bacevich, for your words of wisdom and thank you, Mr. Unz, for this post.
This corporation needs to be dissolved. I've read about "the inertia" of Federal Government that has morphed into a cash cow for a century of wasted tax dollars funding the MIIC, now the MIIC. Does our existence have to end in financial ruin or, worse yet, some foreign entity creating havoc on our soil?
The Founders NEVER intended that the US of A become a meddler in other Sovereignty's internal affairs or the destroyer of Nation States that do not espoused our "doctrine." Anyone without poop for brains knows that this is about Imperialism and greed, fueled by money and an insatiable luster for MORE.
This should be easier to change than it appears. Is there no will? After all, it Is our Master's money that lubricates the machinery. So, we continue to provide the lubrication for our Masters like a bunch of imbeciles that allow them to survail our words and movements. Somebody please explain our stupidity.
Delinquent Snail , December 18, 2017 at 8:57 pm GMT
@nebulafox

If americans would just go all in and commit genocide. That would lead to victory.

No afgans, no enemy.

joe webb , December 18, 2017 at 8:58 pm GMT
the folks in the US are sick of the wars, contrary to Bacevich. They simply will vote come next election accordingly. They register their disgust in all the polls.

This article is not very useful. More punditry puff.

No comments on the Next War for Israel being cooked up by the new crop of neocon youngsters, I guess, and Trump who will trump, trump, trump into the next War for the Jews.

How about some political science on Iran, Syria, Hisbollah, Hamas and the US, Arabia, Judenstaat axis of evil?

Joe Webb

Jim Christian , December 18, 2017 at 9:07 pm GMT
Hey Bacevich? When you link to WashPost and NYTimes to make your points, you don't. They block access if you've already read links to those two papers three times each and can no longer, for the month, read there. When folks link to papers that won't let you read, it makes one wonder why.
Simply Simon , December 18, 2017 at 10:26 pm GMT
I believe Americans are damned sick and tired of the stupid, needless war in Afghanistan. But then they should have been sick and tired of stupid , needless wars like Korea, Vietnam and Iraq, and probably most of them were. But it's easy to be complacent when someone else's son is doing the fighting and dying And it's easy to be complacent when your stomach is full and you have plenty of booze and pain killers available. There will be a day of reckoning when the next big economic bust arrives and which may make the Great Depression paltry by comparison. America is a far different place then it was in the 1930s when our population was 140 million. Americans were not so soft and the conveniences we now take for granted not available. When the supermarkets run out of food, watch out. There may not even be any soup lines to stand in.
Joe Franklin , December 18, 2017 at 11:21 pm GMT

In truth, U.S. commanders have quietly shelved any expectations of achieving an actual victory -- traditionally defined as "imposing your will on the enemy" -- in favor of a more modest conception of success.

Your assumptions are wrong about the US goal of the invasion of Afghanistan. Afghanistan and Iraq were not invaded to establish democracy or impose American will whatever that is. Afghanistan and Iraq were invaded to establish a temporary military staging ground for a US invasion of Iran, the designated regional enemy of Israel. As long as the current regime in Iran remains, the US will remain in Iraq and Afghanistan.

... ... ...

Druid , December 19, 2017 at 12:41 am GMT
@Waiting too

And minerals! Eric Prince himself recently tried to sell the idea of having his private militias do the fighting in Afghanistan for the US and finance it by mining said country's minerals, thus making himself even richer.

anno nimus , December 19, 2017 at 1:53 am GMT
"i can live without a friend, but not without an enemy."
Cloak And Dagger , December 19, 2017 at 5:03 am GMT
@SolontoCroesus

I was onboard with Mr. Bacevich, until I got to this:

Almost as soon as the Taliban were ousted from Kabul, coalition efforts to create effective Afghan security forces commenced. So, too, did attempts to reduce the production of the opium that has funded the Taliban insurgency

What utter rubbish! The Taliban was instrumental in shutting down the poppy production until the CIA came along and restarted it to fund their black ops.

http://www.sfaw.org/newswire/2017/03/28/a-conspiracy-theory-that-became-a-conspiracy-fact-the-cia-afghanistans-poppy-fields-and-americas-growing-heroin-epidemic/

We have the reverse Midas touch. Everything we touch (Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc., etc.) turns to shit. We supposedly attack countries to liberate them from their tyrants who are supposedly killing their own people, and end up killing more people than all of them put together. And, oh yes, we have our favorite tyrants (Saudis, Israelis) whom we provide with horrible weapons (like cluster bombs) to help them kill people we hate.

Mr. Bacevich is right about the lack of outrage about our wars, but the current Weinstein explosion consists of hordes of mostly American female victims, mostly white, a (very) few jews, and a few men, who have the stage to complain about their oppressors. What would be the counterpart of that w.r.t. the wars? Millions of brown victims in far away lands that most of us couldn't even find on a map? How likely is that to happen?

So yes, no outrage, and none likely. The last 17 years have proven that.

Joe Wong , December 20, 2017 at 2:25 pm GMT
@anonymous

You don't know the American has been paying everything through monopoly money printed through the thin air since WWI, i.e. a keystroke on the Federal Reserve's computer? No wonder the Americans have been waging reckless wars all over the world on the fabricated phantom WMD allegations as humanitarian intervention relentlessly.

Romans did not stop waging reckless wars until their empire collapsed; the British imitates the Romans and the American is born out of the British, hence the Americans will no stop waging reckless wars until their empire collapsed like the Romans.

[Jan 02, 2018] Jill Stein in the Cross-hairs by Mike Whitney

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Russia Investigation shifts to Clinton's Political Rivals ..."
"... Let me get this straight: The Democrats think Stein siphoned votes away from Hillary, so Stein must be a "Russian agent". Is that it? ..."
"... The persecution of Jill Stein strips away the facade once and for all exposing Russia-gate as a complete fraud that is being used to exact revenge on the adversaries of Hillary Clinton and her reprobate friends. The New York Times even admits as much. ..."
"... That's what's really really going on, the fatcat honchos behind the scenes are just settling scores for Hillary's lost election. It's payback time for the Clinton Mafia. Here's more baloney from the Times: ..."
"... Give me a break. Does anyone on the Senate Intelligence Committee honestly believe that Jill Stein is a Russian agent? ..."
"... Of course not. They're just harassing her to send a message to anyone who might be thinking about running for president in the future. They're saying, "You'd better watch your step or we'll trump-up charges against you and make your life a living hell. Isn't that the message?You're damn right it is! ..."
"... "This is a witch hunt. It is neo-McCarthyism, plain and simple. The people who are outright calling Stein a Russian agent are making a complete mockery of themselves and of the American political process ..."
"... Dragging Stein into this mess shows Clinton Democrats up for what they really are. It proves that the 'Resist' crowd's crusade is not just about Trump and "collusion" -- it's also about discrediting all dissenting American voices and establishing their own definition of what political opposition is supposed to look like -- and for the Clinton cult, it's not supposed to look like Jill Stein . ..."
"... Anyone who disagrees with the Democrats is a Putin puppet -- and if you've ever been to Moscow, forget it -- don't even bother trying to defend yourself. Off with your head." ("McCarthy-style targeting of Jill Stein proves Democrats have truly lost the plot", RT) ..."
"... "The Socialist Equality Party condemns the targeting of Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate in the 2016 election, by the neo-McCarthyite witch-hunters on the Senate Intelligence Committee . The attack on Stein, spearheaded by the Democratic Party, is an unconstitutional attempt to delegitimize and suppress political opposition to the monopoly of the capitalist two-party system . ..."
"... This is the Orwellian reality of America in 2017, ruled by two right-wing, oligarchic parties that can and will tolerate no political opposition . ..."
"... If you're a liberal and you hate Donald Trump, then you probably see the Russia-gate investigation as your best chance to achieve the Golden Grail of "impeachment". But are you willing to compromise your principles, join forces with the sinister and unscrupulous Clinton cabal, and throw allies like Jill Stein under the bus to achieve your goal? ..."
"... How high a price are you willing to pay to get rid of Trump? That's the question that every liberal in America should be asking themselves. And they'd better answer it fast before it's too late. ..."
"... Mueller is clearly not the upstanding 'protector of American values' he is painted he is a servile political degenerate. A lifetime of betrayal has rendered him ethically autistic. He is blind to the way his own actions condemn him before reasonable minds. Hopefully he will wake up when condemned hiself in an American Court of Law at some future date. ..."
"... According to Edward Aguilar of Project for Nuclear Awareness, cancelling construction of the new submarines, reducing the current number of such subs, and retiring rather than replacing nuclear warheads and a couple hundred ICBMs would save $270 billion. ..."
"... The weapons oligarchy appears to be a racketeering-influenced and corrupt organization. Luckily, the RICO Act provides for heavy criminal penalties for such death-dealing corruption. ..."
Dec 26, 2017 | www.unz.com
The Russia Investigation shifts to Clinton's Political Rivals Mike Whitney

"Jill Stein had dinner with Putin, so GET THE GUILLOTINE! That's how we roll in this country now. Didn't she know it's illegal to eat with Russians?"

... ... ...

[Jan 02, 2018] BOOK REVIEW: America s War for the Greater Middle East by Andrew J. Bacevich by David Rohde

This review way written almost two year ago. The new President is now sitting in White house. Nothing changed.
The problem with Bacevich' views is that neoliberalism dictates expansion and maintenance of neoliberal empire as well in best Trotskyism tradition "export of neoliberal revolution" using bayonets, if other means do not work. So this is the nature of the neoliberal beast, not an aberration like he assumes. Militarism is essence of US foreign policy under neoliberalism.
Notable quotes:
"... This book, Bacevich's eighth, extends his string of brutal, bracing and essential critiques of the pernicious role of reflexive militarism in American foreign policy. As in past books, Bacevich is thought-­provoking, profane and fearless. Assailing generals, journalists and foreign policy experts alike, he links together more than a dozen military interventions that span 35 years and declares them a single war. Bacevich analyzes each intervention, looking for common themes from Carter's late 1970s missteps to Barack Obama's widespread use of assassination by drone strike today. ..."
"... A presumption that using military power signified to friends and foes that Washington was getting serious about a problem diminished the role of diplomats and diplomacy. " 'Getting serious' also implied a preference for uniforms over suits as the principal agents of U.S. policy," Bacevich writes. "Henceforth, rather than military power serving as the handmaiden of diplomacy, the reverse would be true." ..."
"... In another repeated mistake, triumphalist American commanders prematurely declare victory without realizing that their opponent has simply withdrawn to fight another day as a guerrilla force, as occurred in Afghanistan in 2001. They also personalize the enemy, wrongly assuming that the removal of figures like Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Muammar Qaddafi will instantly end conflict. ..."
"... From Somalia in 1993 to Yemen today, American commanders and policy makers overestimated the advantage American military technology bestows on them. And most crucially of all, the United States has failed to decide whether it is, in fact, at war. ..."
"... "In the war for the greater Middle East, the United States chose neither to contain nor to crush, instead charting a course midway in between," Bacevich writes. "Instead of intimidating, U.S. military efforts have annoyed, incited and generally communicated a lack of both competence and determination." ..."
"... For all that, Bacevich is right that the United States' reflexive use of armed intervention in the Middle East is folly. An unquestioning faith in military might and an underinvestment in diplomacy has tied Washington in a policy straitjacket. Bacevich's call for Americans to rethink their nation's militarized approach to the Middle East is incisive, urgent and essential. ..."
Apr 15, 2016 | www.nytimes.com

BOOK REVIEW: AMERICA'S WAR FOR THE GREATER MIDDLE EAST (A Military History) By Andrew J. Bacevich Illustrated. 453 pp. Random House. $30.

In the opening chapter of his latest book, the military historian Andrew J. Bacevich blames Jimmy Carter, a president commonly viewed as more meek than martial, for unwittingly spawning 35 years of American military intervention in the Middle East. Bacevich argues that three mistakes by Carter set precedents that led to decades of squandered American lives and treasure.

First, Carter called on Americans to stop worshiping "self-indulgence and consumption" and join a nationwide effort to conserve energy. Self-sacrifice, he argued in what is now widely derided as Carter's "malaise speech," would free Americans from their dependence on foreign oil and "help us to conquer the crisis of the spirit in our country."

The president came across as more hectoring pastor than visionary leader, Bacevich argues in "America's War for the Greater Middle East." His guileless approach squandered an opportunity to persuade Americans reeling from high foreign oil prices to trade "dependence for autonomy."

Carter's second mistake was authorizing American support to guerrillas fighting a Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan, a move that eventually helped fuel the spread of radical Islam. Finally, in a misguided effort to counter views that he was "too soft," Carter declared that the United States would respond with military force to any outside effort to seize Persian Gulf oil fields. "This statement, subsequently enshrined as the Carter Doctrine, inaugurated America's war for the greater Middle East," Bacevich writes.

This book, Bacevich's eighth, extends his string of brutal, bracing and essential critiques of the pernicious role of reflexive militarism in American foreign policy. As in past books, Bacevich is thought-­provoking, profane and fearless. Assailing generals, journalists and foreign policy experts alike, he links together more than a dozen military interventions that span 35 years and declares them a single war. Bacevich analyzes each intervention, looking for common themes from Carter's late 1970s missteps to Barack Obama's widespread use of assassination by drone strike today.

Washington's penchant for intervention, Bacevich contends, is driven by more than America's thirst for oil or the military-­industrial complex's need for new enemies. In addition to these two factors, he argues that "a deeply pernicious collective naïveté" among both Republicans and Democrats spawns interventions doomed by "confusion and incoherence."

The ultimate responsibility for the United States' actions lies with an "oblivious" American public engrossed in "shallow digital enthusiasms and the worship of celebrity," Bacevich writes. Americans support freedom, democracy and prosperity in other nations, he tells us, as long as they get the lion's share of it. "Ensuring that Americans enjoy their rightful quota (which is to say, more than their fair share) of freedom, abundance and security comes first," Bacevich says. "Everything else figures as an afterthought."

Bacevich's argument is heavy-handed at times, but when he writes about military strategy, he is genuinely incisive. Citing numerous examples, he convincingly argues that destructive myths about the efficacy of American military power blind policy makers, generals and voters. The use of overwhelming lethal force does not immediately cause dictators or terrorists to turn tail and run, even if that's what politicians in Washington want to believe. Rather, it often leads to resentment, chaos and resistance.

A presumption that using military power signified to friends and foes that Washington was getting serious about a problem diminished the role of diplomats and diplomacy. " 'Getting serious' also implied a preference for uniforms over suits as the principal agents of U.S. policy," Bacevich writes. "Henceforth, rather than military power serving as the handmaiden of diplomacy, the reverse would be true."

In another repeated mistake, triumphalist American commanders prematurely declare victory without realizing that their opponent has simply withdrawn to fight another day as a guerrilla force, as occurred in Afghanistan in 2001. They also personalize the enemy, wrongly assuming that the removal of figures like Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Muammar Qaddafi will instantly end conflict.

From Somalia in 1993 to Yemen today, American commanders and policy makers overestimated the advantage American military technology bestows on them. And most crucially of all, the United States has failed to decide whether it is, in fact, at war.

"In the war for the greater Middle East, the United States chose neither to contain nor to crush, instead charting a course midway in between," Bacevich writes. "Instead of intimidating, U.S. military efforts have annoyed, incited and generally communicated a lack of both competence and determination." The historical forces at work in the Middle East are different from the dynamics that led to American victories in World War II and the Cold War. American officials have failed to understand that. What's more, a deluded Washington foreign policy establishment believes that an American way of life based on "consumption and choice" will be accepted over time in the "Islamic world."

But it is here, in his description of the "Islamic world," that Bacevich stumbles. What is missing in this book about "the greater Middle East" are the people of the greater Middle East. Bacevich's most highly developed Muslim character in these pages is Saddam Hussein. The former Afghan president Hamid Karzai is a distant second. Beyond those two, the rest of the world's estimated 1.6 billion Muslims come across as two-dimensional caricatures.

And so Bacevich lumps together vastly different nationalities - from Bosnians to Iraqis to Somalis - often referring to all of them primarily as "Muslims." The dizzying complexities of each country's history, politics, culture, resources and rivalries are missing. And when it comes to how "Muslims" view the world, Bacevich veers into the simplistic essentialism that he accuses Washington policy makers of following.

Bacevich suggests that in the "Islamic world" lifestyles based on "consumption and choice" might not work. Such broad-brush statements might well be considered simplistic and even bigoted if applied to other faiths. Can one contend that a "Christian world," "Hindu world" or "Jewish world" exists? Are such generalizations analytically useful? Do the world's hundreds of millions of Muslims practice their faith identically?

As a result of this essentialism, Bacevich glosses over a vital point about the Middle East today: A historic and brutal struggle between radicals and modernists for the future of the region is underway. One can argue that the United States has no place in that fight, but making sweeping generalizations about Muslims as Bacevich does limits our understanding of the forces at work in the region. It also plays into the hands of extremists who seek to divide the world by faith.

In the most troubling passage of the book, Bacevich breezily questions pluralism itself. "According to one of the prevailing shibboleths of the present age, this commingling of cultures is inherently good," he writes. "It fosters pluralism, thereby enriching everyday life. Yet cultural interaction also induces friction, whether spontaneously generated or instigated by demagogues and provocateurs."

We do live in a dangerous world, but it is also an inevitably interconnected one. The commingling of cultures cannot be stopped. Nor should it be.

For all that, Bacevich is right that the United States' reflexive use of armed intervention in the Middle East is folly. An unquestioning faith in military might and an underinvestment in diplomacy has tied Washington in a policy straitjacket. Bacevich's call for Americans to rethink their nation's militarized approach to the Middle East is incisive, urgent and essential.

David Rohde is the national security investigations editor for Reuters and a contributing editor for The Atlantic.

[Dec 31, 2017] How America Spreads Global Chaos by Nicolas J.S. Davies

Highly recommended!
Essentially CIA dictates the US foreign policy. The tail is wagging the dog. The current Russophobia hysteria mean additional billions for CIA and FBI. As simple as that.
The article contain some important observation about self-sustaining nature of the US militarism. It is able to create new threats and new insurgencies almost at will via CIA activities.
The key problem is that wars are highly profitable for important part of the ruling elite, especially representing finance and military industrial complex. Also now part of the US ruling elite now consists of "colonial administrators" which are directly interested in maintaining and expanding the US empire. This is trap from which nation might not be able to escape.
Notable quotes:
"... The U.S. government may pretend to respect a "rules-based" global order, but the only rule Washington seems to follow is "might makes right" -- and the CIA has long served as a chief instigator and enforcer, writes Nicolas J.S. Davies. ..."
"... Once the CIA went to work in Vietnam to undermine the 1954 Geneva Accords and the planned reunification of North and South through a free and fair election in 1956, the die was cast. ..."
"... No U.S. president could extricate the U.S. from Vietnam without exposing the limits of what U.S. military force could achieve, betraying widely held national myths and the powerful interests that sustained and profited from them. ..."
"... The critical "lesson of Vietnam" was summed up by Richard Barnet in his 1972 book Roots of War . "At the very moment that the number one nation has perfected the science of killing," Barnet wrote, "It has become an impractical means of political domination." ..."
"... Even the senior officer corps of the U.S. military saw it that way, since many of them had survived the horrors of Vietnam as junior officers. The CIA could still wreak havoc in Latin America and elsewhere, but the full destructive force of the U.S. military was not unleashed again until the invasion of Panama in 1989 and the First Gulf War in 1991. ..."
"... Half a century after Vietnam, we have tragically come full circle. With the CIA's politicized intelligence running wild in Washington and its covert operations spreading violence and chaos across every continent, President Trump faces the same pressures to maintain his own and his country's credibility as Johnson and Nixon did. ..."
"... Trump is facing these questions, not just in one country, Vietnam, but in dozens of countries across the world, and the interests perpetuating and fueling this cycle of crisis and war have only become more entrenched over time, as President Eisenhower warned that they would, despite the end of the Cold War and, until now, the lack of any actual military threat to the United States. ..."
"... U.S. Air Force Colonel Fletcher Prouty was the chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1955 to 1964, managing the global military support system for the CIA in Vietnam and around the world. Fletcher Prouty's book, The Secret Team: The CIA and its Allies in Control of the United States and the World , was suppressed when it was first published in 1973. Thousands of copies disappeared from bookstores and libraries, and a mysterious Army Colonel bought the entire shipment of 3,500 copies the publisher sent to Australia. But Prouty's book was republished in 2011, and it is a timely account of the role of the CIA in U.S. policy. ..."
"... The main purpose of the CIA, as Prouty saw it, is to create such pretexts for war. ..."
"... The CIA is a hybrid of an intelligence service that gathers and analyzes foreign intelligence and a clandestine service that conducts covert operations. Both functions are essential to creating pretexts for war, and that is what they have done for 70 years. ..."
"... Prouty described how the CIA infiltrated the U.S. military, the State Department, the National Security Council and other government institutions, covertly placing its officers in critical positions to ensure that its plans are approved and that it has access to whatever forces, weapons, equipment, ammunition and other resources it needs to carry them out. ..."
"... Many retired intelligence officers, such as Ray McGovern and the members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), saw the merging of clandestine operations with intelligence analysis in one agency as corrupting the objective analysis they tried to provide to policymakers. They formed VIPS in 2003 in response to the fabrication of politicized intelligence that provided false pretexts for the U.S. to invade and destroy Iraq. ..."
"... But Fletcher Prouty was even more disturbed by the way that the CIA uses clandestine operations to trigger coups, wars and chaos. The civil and proxy war in Syria is a perfect example of what Prouty meant ..."
"... The role of U.S. "counterterrorism" operations in fueling armed resistance and terrorism, and the absence of any plan to reduce the asymmetric violence unleashed by the "global war on terror," would be no surprise to Fletcher Prouty. As he explained, such clandestine operations always take on a life of their own that is unrelated, and often counter-productive, to any rational U.S. policy objective. ..."
"... This is a textbook CIA operation on the same model as Vietnam in the late 1950s and early 60s. The CIA uses U.S. special forces and training missions to launch covert and proxy military operations that drive local populations into armed resistance groups, and then uses the presence of those armed resistance groups to justify ever-escalating U.S. military involvement. This is Vietnam redux on a continental scale. ..."
"... China is already too big and powerful for the U.S. to apply what is known as the Ledeen doctrine named for neoconservative theorist and intelligence operative Michael Ledeen who suggested that every 10 years or so, the United States "pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show we mean business." ..."
"... As long as the CIA and the U.S. military keep plunging the scapegoats for our failed policies into economic crisis, violence and chaos, the United States and the United Kingdom can remain the safe havens of the world's wealth, islands of privilege and excess amidst the storms they unleash on others. ..."
"... But if that is the only "significant national objective" driving these policies, it is surely about time for the 99 percent of Americans who reap no benefit from these murderous schemes to stop the CIA and its allies before they completely wreck the already damaged and fragile world in which we all must live, Americans and foreigners alike. ..."
"... Douglas Valentine has probably studied the CIA in more depth than any other American journalist, beginning with his book on The Phoenix Program in Vietnam. He has written a new book titled The CIA as Organized Crime : How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, in which he brings Fletcher Prouty's analysis right up to the present day, describing the CIA's role in our current wars and the many ways it infiltrates, manipulates and controls U.S. policy. ..."
"... In Venezuela, the CIA and the right-wing opposition are following the same strategy that President Nixon ordered the CIA to inflict on Chile, to "make the economy scream" in preparation for the 1973 coup. ..."
"... The U.S. willingness to scrap the Agreed Framework in 2003, the breakdown of the Six Party Talks in 2009 and the U.S. refusal to acknowledge that its own military actions and threats create legitimate defense concerns for North Korea have driven the North Koreans into a corner from which they see a credible nuclear deterrent as their only chance to avoid mass destruction. ..."
"... Obama's charm offensive invigorated old and new military alliances with the U.K., France and the Arab monarchies, and he quietly ran up the most expensive military budge t of any president since World War Two. ..."
"... Throughout history, serial aggression has nearly always provoked increasingly united opposition, as peace-loving countries and people have reluctantly summoned the courage to stand up to an aggressor. France under Napoleon and Hitler's Germany also regarded themselves as exceptional, and in their own ways they were. But in the end, their belief in their exceptionalism led them on to defeat and destruction. ..."
Oct 30, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

The U.S. government may pretend to respect a "rules-based" global order, but the only rule Washington seems to follow is "might makes right" -- and the CIA has long served as a chief instigator and enforcer, writes Nicolas J.S. Davies.

As the recent PBS documentary on the American War in Vietnam acknowledged, few American officials ever believed that the United States could win the war, neither those advising Johnson as he committed hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, nor those advising Nixon as he escalated a brutal aerial bombardment that had already killed millions of people.

As conversations tape-recorded in the White House reveal, and as other writers have documented, the reasons for wading into the Big Muddy, as Pete Seeger satirized it , and then pushing on regardless, all came down to "credibility": the domestic political credibility of the politicians involved and America's international credibility as a military power.

Once the CIA went to work in Vietnam to undermine the 1954 Geneva Accords and the planned reunification of North and South through a free and fair election in 1956, the die was cast. The CIA's support for the repressive Diem regime and its successors ensured an ever-escalating war, as the South rose in rebellion, supported by the North. No U.S. president could extricate the U.S. from Vietnam without exposing the limits of what U.S. military force could achieve, betraying widely held national myths and the powerful interests that sustained and profited from them.

The critical "lesson of Vietnam" was summed up by Richard Barnet in his 1972 book Roots of War . "At the very moment that the number one nation has perfected the science of killing," Barnet wrote, "It has become an impractical means of political domination."

Even the senior officer corps of the U.S. military saw it that way, since many of them had survived the horrors of Vietnam as junior officers. The CIA could still wreak havoc in Latin America and elsewhere, but the full destructive force of the U.S. military was not unleashed again until the invasion of Panama in 1989 and the First Gulf War in 1991.

Half a century after Vietnam, we have tragically come full circle. With the CIA's politicized intelligence running wild in Washington and its covert operations spreading violence and chaos across every continent, President Trump faces the same pressures to maintain his own and his country's credibility as Johnson and Nixon did. His predictable response has been to escalate ongoing wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and West Africa, and to threaten new ones against North Korea, Iran and Venezuela.

Trump is facing these questions, not just in one country, Vietnam, but in dozens of countries across the world, and the interests perpetuating and fueling this cycle of crisis and war have only become more entrenched over time, as President Eisenhower warned that they would, despite the end of the Cold War and, until now, the lack of any actual military threat to the United States.

Ironically but predictably, the U.S.'s aggressive and illegal war policy has finally provoked a real military threat to the U.S., albeit one that has emerged only in response to U.S. war plans. As I explained in a recent article , North Korea's discovery in 2016 of a U.S. plan to assassinate its president, Kim Jong Un, and launch a Second Korean War has triggered a crash program to develop long-range ballistic missiles that could give North Korea a viable nuclear deterrent and prevent a U.S. attack. But the North Koreans will not feel safe from attack until their leaders and ours are sure that their missiles can deliver a nuclear strike against the U.S. mainland.

The CIA's Pretexts for War

U.S. Air Force Colonel Fletcher Prouty was the chief of special operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1955 to 1964, managing the global military support system for the CIA in Vietnam and around the world. Fletcher Prouty's book, The Secret Team: The CIA and its Allies in Control of the United States and the World , was suppressed when it was first published in 1973. Thousands of copies disappeared from bookstores and libraries, and a mysterious Army Colonel bought the entire shipment of 3,500 copies the publisher sent to Australia. But Prouty's book was republished in 2011, and it is a timely account of the role of the CIA in U.S. policy.

Prouty surprisingly described the role of the CIA as a response by powerful people and interests to the abolition of the U.S. Department of War and the creation of the Department of Defense in 1947. Once the role of the U.S. military was redefined as one of defense, in line with the United Nations Charter's prohibition against the threat or use of military force in 1945 and similar moves by other military powers, it would require some kind of crisis or threat to justify using military force in the future, both legally and politically. The main purpose of the CIA, as Prouty saw it, is to create such pretexts for war.

The CIA is a hybrid of an intelligence service that gathers and analyzes foreign intelligence and a clandestine service that conducts covert operations. Both functions are essential to creating pretexts for war, and that is what they have done for 70 years.

Prouty described how the CIA infiltrated the U.S. military, the State Department, the National Security Council and other government institutions, covertly placing its officers in critical positions to ensure that its plans are approved and that it has access to whatever forces, weapons, equipment, ammunition and other resources it needs to carry them out.

Many retired intelligence officers, such as Ray McGovern and the members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), saw the merging of clandestine operations with intelligence analysis in one agency as corrupting the objective analysis they tried to provide to policymakers. They formed VIPS in 2003 in response to the fabrication of politicized intelligence that provided false pretexts for the U.S. to invade and destroy Iraq.

CIA in Syria and Africa

But Fletcher Prouty was even more disturbed by the way that the CIA uses clandestine operations to trigger coups, wars and chaos. The civil and proxy war in Syria is a perfect example of what Prouty meant. In late 2011, after destroying Libya and aiding in the torture-murder of Muammar Gaddafi, the CIA and its allies began flying fighters and weapons from Libya to Turkey and infiltrating them into Syria. Then, working with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Croatia and other allies, this operation poured thousands of tons of weapons across Syria's borders to ignite and fuel a full-scale civil war.

Once these covert operations were under way, they ran wild until they had unleashed a savage Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria (Jabhat al-Nusra, now rebranded as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham), spawned the even more savage "Islamic State," triggered the heaviest and probably the deadliest U.S. bombing campaign since Vietnam and drawn Russia, Iran, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Hezbollah, Kurdish militias and almost every state or armed group in the Middle East into the chaos of Syria's civil war.

Meanwhile, as Al Qaeda and Islamic State have expanded their operations across Africa, the U.N. has published a report titled Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment , based on 500 interviews with African militants. This study has found that the kind of special operations and training missions the CIA and AFRICOM are conducting and supporting in Africa are in fact the critical "tipping point" that drives Africans to join militant groups like Al Qaeda, Al-Shabab and Boko Haram.

The report found that government action, such as the killing or detention of friends or family, was the "tipping point" that drove 71 percent of African militants interviewed to join armed groups, and that this was a more important factor than religious ideology.

The conclusions of Journey to Extremism in Africa confirm the findings of other similar studies. The Center for Civilians in Conflict interviewed 250 civilians who joined armed groups in Bosnia, Somalia, Gaza and Libya for its 2015 study, The People's Perspectives : Civilian Involvement in Armed Conflict . The study found that the most common motivation for civilians to join armed groups was simply to protect themselves or their families.

The role of U.S. "counterterrorism" operations in fueling armed resistance and terrorism, and the absence of any plan to reduce the asymmetric violence unleashed by the "global war on terror," would be no surprise to Fletcher Prouty. As he explained, such clandestine operations always take on a life of their own that is unrelated, and often counter-productive, to any rational U.S. policy objective.

"The more intimate one becomes with this activity," Prouty wrote, "The more one begins to realize that such operations are rarely, if ever, initiated from an intent to become involved in pursuit of some national objective in the first place."

The U.S. justifies the deployment of 6,000 U.S. special forces and military trainers to 53 of the 54 countries in Africa as a response to terrorism. But the U.N.'s Journey to Extremism in Africa study makes it clear that the U.S. militarization of Africa is in fact the "tipping point" that is driving Africans across the continent to join armed resistance groups in the first place.

This is a textbook CIA operation on the same model as Vietnam in the late 1950s and early 60s. The CIA uses U.S. special forces and training missions to launch covert and proxy military operations that drive local populations into armed resistance groups, and then uses the presence of those armed resistance groups to justify ever-escalating U.S. military involvement. This is Vietnam redux on a continental scale.

Taking on China

What seems to really be driving the CIA's militarization of U.S. policy in Africa is China's growing influence on the continent. As Steve Bannon put it in an interview with the Economist in August, "Let's go screw up One Belt One Road."

China is already too big and powerful for the U.S. to apply what is known as the Ledeen doctrine named for neoconservative theorist and intelligence operative Michael Ledeen who suggested that every 10 years or so, the United States "pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show we mean business."

China is too powerful and armed with nuclear weapons. So, in this case, the CIA's job would be to spread violence and chaos to disrupt Chinese trade and investment, and to make African governments increasingly dependent on U.S. military aid to fight the militant groups spawned and endlessly regenerated by U.S.-led "counterterrorism" operations.

Neither Ledeen nor Bannon pretend that such policies are designed to build more prosperous or viable societies in the Middle East or Africa, let alone to benefit their people. They both know very well what Richard Barnet already understood 45 years ago, that America's unprecedented investment in weapons, war and CIA covert operations are only good for one thing: to kill people and destroy infrastructure, reducing cities to rubble, societies to chaos and the desperate survivors to poverty and displacement.

As long as the CIA and the U.S. military keep plunging the scapegoats for our failed policies into economic crisis, violence and chaos, the United States and the United Kingdom can remain the safe havens of the world's wealth, islands of privilege and excess amidst the storms they unleash on others.

But if that is the only "significant national objective" driving these policies, it is surely about time for the 99 percent of Americans who reap no benefit from these murderous schemes to stop the CIA and its allies before they completely wreck the already damaged and fragile world in which we all must live, Americans and foreigners alike.

Douglas Valentine has probably studied the CIA in more depth than any other American journalist, beginning with his book on The Phoenix Program in Vietnam. He has written a new book titled The CIA as Organized Crime : How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, in which he brings Fletcher Prouty's analysis right up to the present day, describing the CIA's role in our current wars and the many ways it infiltrates, manipulates and controls U.S. policy.

The Three Scapegoats

In Trump's speech to the U.N. General Assembly, he named North Korea, Iran and Venezuela as his prime targets for destabilization, economic warfare and, ultimately, the overthrow of their governments, whether by coup d'etat or the mass destruction of their civilian population and infrastructure. But Trump's choice of scapegoats for America's failures was obviously not based on a rational reassessment of foreign policy priorities by the new administration. It was only a tired rehashing of the CIA's unfinished business with two-thirds of Bush's "axis of evil" and Bush White House official Elliott Abrams' failed 2002 coup in Caracas, now laced with explicit and illegal threats of aggression.

How Trump and the CIA plan to sacrifice their three scapegoats for America's failures remains to be seen. This is not 2001, when the world stood silent at the U.S. bombardment and invasion of Afghanistan after September 11th. It is more like 2003, when the U.S. destruction of Iraq split the Atlantic alliance and alienated most of the world. It is certainly not 2011, after Obama's global charm offensive had rebuilt U.S. alliances and provided cover for French President Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Cameron, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Arab royals to destroy Libya, once ranked by the U.N. as the most developed country in Africa , now mired in intractable chaos.

In 2017, a U.S. attack on any one of Trump's scapegoats would isolate the United States from many of its allies and undermine its standing in the world in far-reaching ways that might be more permanent and harder to repair than the invasion and destruction of Iraq.

In Venezuela, the CIA and the right-wing opposition are following the same strategy that President Nixon ordered the CIA to inflict on Chile, to "make the economy scream" in preparation for the 1973 coup. But the solid victory of Venezuela's ruling Socialist Party in recent nationwide gubernatorial elections, despite a long and deep economic crisis, reveals little public support for the CIA's puppets in Venezuela.

The CIA has successfully discredited the Venezuelan government through economic warfare, increasingly violent right-wing street protests and a global propaganda campaign. But the CIA has stupidly hitched its wagon to an extreme right-wing, upper-class opposition that has no credibility with most of the Venezuelan public, who still turn out for the Socialists at the polls. A CIA coup or U.S. military intervention would meet fierce public resistance and damage U.S. relations all over Latin America.

Boxing In North Korea

A U.S. aerial bombardment or "preemptive strike" on North Korea could quickly escalate into a war between the U.S. and China, which has reiterated its commitment to North Korea's defense if North Korea is attacked. We do not know exactly what was in the U.S. war plan discovered by North Korea, so neither can we know how North Korea and China could respond if the U.S. pressed ahead with it.

Most analysts have long concluded that any U.S. attack on North Korea would be met with a North Korean artillery and missile barrage that would inflict unacceptable civilian casualties on Seoul, a metropolitan area of 26 million people, three times the population of New York City. Seoul is only 35 miles from the frontier with North Korea, placing it within range of a huge array of North Korean weapons. What was already a no-win calculus is now compounded by the possibility that North Korea could respond with nuclear weapons, turning any prospect of a U.S. attack into an even worse nightmare.

U.S. mismanagement of its relations with North Korea should be an object lesson for its relations with Iran, graphically demonstrating the advantages of diplomacy, talks and agreements over threats of war. Under the Agreed Framework signed in 1994, North Korea stopped work on two much larger nuclear reactors than the small experimental one operating at Yongbyong since 1986, which only produces 6 kg of plutonium per year, enough for one nuclear bomb.

The lesson of Bush's Iraq invasion in 2003 after Saddam Hussein had complied with demands that he destroy Iraq's stockpiles of chemical weapons and shut down a nascent nuclear program was not lost on North Korea. Not only did the invasion lay waste to large sections of Iraq with hundreds of thousands of dead but Hussein himself was hunted down and condemned to death by hanging.

Still, after North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon in 2006, even its small experimental reactor was shut down as a result of the "Six Party Talks" in 2007, all the fuel rods were removed and placed under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the cooling tower of the reactor was demolished in 2008.

But then, as relations deteriorated, North Korea conducted a second nuclear weapon test and again began reprocessing spent fuel rods to recover plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.

North Korea has now conducted six nuclear weapons tests. The explosions in the first five tests increased gradually up to 15-25 kilotons, about the yield of the bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but estimates for the yield of the 2017 test range from 110 to 250 kilotons , comparable to a small hydrogen bomb.

The even greater danger in a new war in Korea is that the U.S. could unleash part of its arsenal of 4,000 more powerful weapons (100 to 1,200 kilotons), which could kill millions of people and devastate and poison the region, or even the world, for years to come.

The U.S. willingness to scrap the Agreed Framework in 2003, the breakdown of the Six Party Talks in 2009 and the U.S. refusal to acknowledge that its own military actions and threats create legitimate defense concerns for North Korea have driven the North Koreans into a corner from which they see a credible nuclear deterrent as their only chance to avoid mass destruction.

China has proposed a reasonable framework for diplomacy to address the concerns of both sides, but the U.S. insists on maintaining its propaganda narratives that all the fault lies with North Korea and that it has some kind of "military solution" to the crisis.

This may be the most dangerous idea we have heard from U.S. policymakers since the end of the Cold War, but it is the logical culmination of a systematic normalization of deviant and illegal U.S. war-making that has already cost millions of lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. As historian Gabriel Kolko wrote in Century of War in 1994, "options and decisions that are intrinsically dangerous and irrational become not merely plausible but the only form of reasoning about war and diplomacy that is possible in official circles."

Demonizing Iran

The idea that Iran has ever had a nuclear weapons program is seriously contested by the IAEA, which has examined every allegation presented by the CIA and other Western "intelligence" agencies as well as Israel. Former IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei revealed many details of this wild goose chase in his 2011 memoir, Age of Deception : Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times .

When the CIA and its partners reluctantly acknowledged the IAEA's conclusions in a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), ElBaradei issued a press release confirming that, "the agency has no concrete evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program or undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran."

Since 2007, the IAEA has resolved all its outstanding concerns with Iran. It has verified that dual-use technologies that Iran imported before 2003 were in fact used for other purposes, and it has exposed the mysterious "laptop documents" that appeared to show Iranian plans for a nuclear weapon as forgeries. Gareth Porter thoroughly explored all these questions and allegations and the history of mistrust that fueled them in his 2014 book, Manufactured Crisis : the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare , which I highly recommend.

But, in the parallel Bizarro world of U.S. politics, hopelessly poisoned by the CIA's endless disinformation campaigns, Hillary Clinton could repeatedly take false credit for disarming Iran during her presidential campaign, and neither Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump nor any corporate media interviewer dared to challenge her claims.

"When President Obama took office, Iran was racing toward a nuclear bomb," Clinton fantasized in a prominent foreign policy speech on June 2, 2016, claiming that her brutal sanctions policy "brought Iran to the table."

In fact, as Trita Parsi documented in his 2012 book, A Single Roll of the Dice : Obama's Diplomacy With Iran , the Iranians were ready, not just to "come to the table," but to sign a comprehensive agreement based on a U.S. proposal brokered by Turkey and Brazil in 2010. But, in a classic case of "tail wags dog," the U.S. then rejected its own proposal because it would have undercut support for tighter sanctions in the U.N. Security Council. In other words, Clinton's sanctions policy did not "bring Iran to the table", but prevented the U.S. from coming to the table itself.

As a senior State Department official told Trita Parsi, the real problem with U.S. diplomacy with Iran when Clinton was at the State Department was that the U.S. would not take "Yes" for an answer. Trump's ham-fisted decertification of Iran's compliance with the JCPOA is right out of Clinton's playbook, and it demonstrates that the CIA is still determined to use Iran as a scapegoat for America's failures in the Middle East.

The spurious claim that Iran is the world's greatest sponsor of terrorism is another CIA canard reinforced by endless repetition. It is true that Iran supports and supplies weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas, which are both listed as terrorist organizations by the U.S. government. But they are mainly defensive resistance groups that defend Lebanon and Gaza respectively against invasions and attacks by Israel.

Shifting attention away from Al Qaeda, Islamic State, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and other groups that actually commit terrorist crimes around the world might just seem like a case of the CIA "taking its eyes off the ball," if it wasn't so transparently timed to frame Iran with new accusations now that the manufactured crisis of the nuclear scare has run its course.

What the Future Holds

Barack Obama's most consequential international achievement may have been the triumph of symbolism over substance behind which he expanded and escalated the so-called "war on terror," with a vast expansion of covert operations and proxy wars that eventually triggered the heaviest U.S. aerial bombardments since Vietnam in Iraq and Syria.

Obama's charm offensive invigorated old and new military alliances with the U.K., France and the Arab monarchies, and he quietly ran up the most expensive military budget of any president since World War Two.

But Obama's expansion of the "war on terror" under cover of his deceptive global public relations campaign created many more problems than it solved, and Trump and his advisers are woefully ill-equipped to solve any of them. Trump's expressed desire to place America first and to resist foreign entanglements is hopelessly at odds with his aggressive, bullying approach to every foreign policy problem.

If the U.S. could threaten and fight its way to a resolution of any of its international problems, it would have done so already. That is exactly what it has been trying to do since the 1990s, behind both the swagger and bluster of Bush and Trump and the deceptive charm of Clinton and Obama: a "good cop – bad cop" routine that should no longer fool anyone anywhere.

But as Lyndon Johnson found as he waded deeper and deeper into the Big Muddy in Vietnam, lying to the public about unwinnable wars does not make them any more winnable. It just gets more people killed and makes it harder and harder to ever tell the public the truth.

In unwinnable wars based on lies, the "credibility" problem only gets more complicated, as new lies require new scapegoats and convoluted narratives to explain away graveyards filled by old lies. Obama's cynical global charm offensive bought the "war on terror" another eight years, but that only allowed the CIA to drag the U.S. into more trouble and spread its chaos to more places around the world.

Meanwhile, Russian President Putin is winning hearts and minds in capitals around the world by calling for a recommitment to the rule of international law , which prohibits the threat or use of military force except in self-defense. Every new U.S. threat or act of aggression will only make Putin's case more persuasive, not least to important U.S. allies like South Korea, Germany and other members of the European Union, whose complicity in U.S. aggression has until now helped to give it a false veneer of political legitimacy.

Throughout history, serial aggression has nearly always provoked increasingly united opposition, as peace-loving countries and people have reluctantly summoned the courage to stand up to an aggressor. France under Napoleon and Hitler's Germany also regarded themselves as exceptional, and in their own ways they were. But in the end, their belief in their exceptionalism led them on to defeat and destruction.

Americans had better hope that we are not so exceptional, and that the world will find a diplomatic rather than a military "solution" to its American problem. Our chances of survival would improve a great deal if American officials and politicians would finally start to act like something other than putty in the hands of the CIA

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 .

[Dec 30, 2017] Not a single officer resigned in protest despite the fact that the US is deeply in bed with ISIS and those who are responsible, at least according to the official conspiracy theory, for 9/11

Saker, of course, if "Russia firster". And that makes his analyses of Russia weaker than it should be. But his analysis of the USA is superb.
Notable quotes:
"... What defeats? US achieved its real goal in Iraq, which was to smash it and leave it divided. Zionist wanted a weak Iraq, and it is weak indeed. US still occupies Afghanistan and uses it for whatever it wants. The longer the war goes on, the Occupation is justified like continued US presence in South Korea. US doesn't want to win in Afghanistan. As long as the war is officially 'on', US can stay and rule that part of the world. ..."
"... And Libya is destroyed. Gaddafi's dream of counter-currency is finished. Libya is like humpty dumpty, smashed forever, and the Zionists are happy. ..."
"... And Syria? It didn't cost America anything to see that nation totally wrecked. ..."
"... re the first sentence of this comment. And probably confusing for "Russia-Firsters"; USA is this/that (all bad) and Russia/China are this/that (all good) but there is a fear about the "bad boy". Doesn't make sense but, well, who cares. We gotta go with the message, that one "USA bad" etc. ..."
"... The burden now is clearly on Russia and China to do everything they can to try to stop the US from launching even more catastrophic and deeply immoral wars. That is a very, very difficult task and I frankly don't know if they can do it. I hope so. That is the best I can say. ..."
"... US foreign policy flows from internal conditions. As long as the US is ruled by ...Globalists... as their cuckaroo dogs like Joe Biden, Lindsey Graham, and the rest, nothing will change. ..."
"... Simplistically, it appears most Americans because of the Cold War view geopolitics as a Manichean struggle of civilizations, good versus evil. Therefore, as they understand the United States, representing absolute good, to have been the victor in that battle for the planet, the United States now has the right to dictate terms to the entire globe in a mopping up action. ..."
"... It is US "elites" Modus Operandi, otherwise "exceptionalism" flies out of the window. With some effort and time given we may yet see the US taking credit for the Battle of Lepanto and, eventually, for Thermopylae. Consider his: "Kursk was an Anglo-American victory as well as a Soviet one." (c) ..."
Dec 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

Priss Factor , Website December 29, 2017 at 5:47 am GMT

The same goes for the US military: not one single officer has found in himself/herself to resign to protest the fact that the US is deeply in bed with those who are responsible, at least according to the official conspiracy theory, for 9/11. Nope, in fact US special forces are working with al-Qaeda types day in and day out and not a single one of these "patriots" has the honor/courage/integrity to go public about it.

But for 9/11, Alqaeda was always the US's baby. They were used in Afghanistan against the Soviets. US and its ally Pakistan fully backed Osama and his ilk for a long time. If not for 9/11, US and Alqeda's good relations would have been unbroken.

It's like US-Japan's relations. It got rocky cuz of disagreement over China and then Pearl Harbor. But had it not been for that, US-Japan relations would have been smooth throughout the 20th century. US had initially backed Japan's war with Russia and looked the other way when Japan moved into Korea and China. It was Japan's over-reaching that set the two nations apart and led to Pearl Harbor. But after WWII, they were friends against against China and Russia.

So, it shouldn't surprise us that US and Alqaeda are pals again. They were for a long time. It was US presence in Saudi Arabia that made Osama bitter and turn against his ally, the US. But with Iran and Shias as the Big Enemy, the US and Alqaeda are friends again.

Priss Factor , Website December 29, 2017 at 5:53 am GMT
And yet, somewhere, to some degree, these guys must know that the odds are not in their favor. For one thing, an endless stream of military defeats and political embarrassments ought to strongly suggest to them that inaction is generally preferable to action, especially for clueless people.

What defeats? US achieved its real goal in Iraq, which was to smash it and leave it divided. Zionist wanted a weak Iraq, and it is weak indeed. US still occupies Afghanistan and uses it for whatever it wants. The longer the war goes on, the Occupation is justified like continued US presence in South Korea. US doesn't want to win in Afghanistan. As long as the war is officially 'on', US can stay and rule that part of the world.

And Libya is destroyed. Gaddafi's dream of counter-currency is finished. Libya is like humpty dumpty, smashed forever, and the Zionists are happy.

And Syria? It didn't cost America anything to see that nation totally wrecked.

...These were great successes in a sick way. The Zionist-US goal was to spread chaos and turn those nations into hellholes that will take many decades to recover. And since 9/11, there's been hardly any major terrorist attacks in America.

peterAUS , December 29, 2017 at 6:00 am GMT
Beauties of time zone(s). Anyway . The usual Saker's "panic attack". So, for those 10 % here who aren't actually on his wavelength, a brief comment. As usual there is a bit of discrepancy between:

the AngloZionist Empire is reeling from its humiliating defeat in Syria

and

Syria (threats of a US-Israeli-KSA attack; attack on Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria)
attack on Russian forces in Syria)
.attack Iranian forces in Syria)

but not important, of course. Just think "USA bad", "Russia good" and all makes sense. Surprisingly, though, this is well stated

Let me immediately say here that listing pragmatic arguments against such aggression is, at this point in time, probably futile.

with a bit of Freudian slip

that is really frightening.

re the first sentence of this comment. And probably confusing for "Russia-Firsters"; USA is this/that (all bad) and Russia/China are this/that (all good) but there is a fear about the "bad boy". Doesn't make sense but, well, who cares. We gotta go with the message, that one "USA bad" etc.

Now, he got this mostly right:

whereas those in the elites not only know that they are total hypocrites and liars, but they actually see this as a sign superiority: the drones believes in his/her ideology, but his rulers believe in absolutely nothing.

Except they do believe in something: POWER.

He got close here, I admit:

Because they profoundly believe in four fundamental things:
1. We can buy anybody
2. Those we cannot buy, we bully
3. Those we cannot bully we kill
4. Nothing can happen to us, we live in total impunity not matter what we do

Now, I also admit THIS is quite interesting:

The same goes for the US military: not one single officer has found in himself/herself to resign to protest the fact that the US is deeply in bed with those who are responsible, at least according to the official conspiracy theory, for 9/11. Nope, in fact US special forces are working with al-Qaeda types day in and day out and not a single one of these "patriots" has the honor/courage/integrity to go public about it.

Still, the explanation feels weak.

Imbeciles and cowards. Delusional imbeciles giving orders and dishonorable cowards mindlessly executing them.

He could've gone deeper, but that would've complicated the message. Propaganda is all about keeping things simple and close to the lowest denominator (read imbecile). Makes sense, actually. He is correct here, though:

Alas, this is also a very hard combo to deter or to try to reason with.

The usual "Bad USA has been losing badly" compulsory part of the article we'll skip here, save:

.to engage either the Iranians or Hezbollah is a very scary option

("panic" thing) And, of course oh man .

Putin is a unpredictable master strategist and the folks around him are very, very smart.

I suggest reading this a couple of times. For a couple of reasons I'd leave to the reader. Back to topic at hand:

I think that we can agree that the Neocons are unlikely to be very impressed by the risks posed by Russian forces in Syria and that they will likely feel that they can punch the russkies in the nose and that these russkies will have to take it.

with

I place the risk here at 'medium' even if, potentially, this could lead to a catastrophic thermonuclear war because I don't think that the Neocons believe that the Russians will escalate too much (who starts WWIII over one shot down aircraft anyway, right?!)

..("panic" thing)
and

Let's hope that the Urkonazis will be busy fighting each other and that their previous humiliating defeat will deter them from trying again, but I consider a full-scale Urkonazi attack on the Donbass as quite likely

..("panic" thing).
and

The truth is that at this point nobody knows what the outcome of a US attack on the DPRK might be, not even the North Koreans. Will that be enough to deter the delusional imbeciles giving and dishonorable cowards currently at the helm of the Empire? You tell me!

("panic" thing).

And, at the end, kudos actually, he appears to be getting there:

Frankly, I am not very confident about this attempt as analyzing the possible developments in 2018. All my education has always been based on a crucial central assumption: the other guy is rational.

This isn't bad:

The burden now is clearly on Russia and China to do everything they can to try to stop the US from launching even more catastrophic and deeply immoral wars. That is a very, very difficult task and I frankly don't know if they can do it. I hope so. That is the best I can say.

But I'd keep focus on "I frankly don't know if they can do it". Now, back to fanboys and resident agenda pushers.

Priss Factor , Website December 29, 2017 at 6:23 am GMT
Frankly, I am not very confident about this attempt as analyzing the possible developments in 2018.

US foreign policy flows from internal conditions. As long as the US is ruled by ...Globalists... as their cuckaroo dogs like Joe Biden, Lindsey Graham, and the rest, nothing will change.

America needs a new civil 'war' to set things right. The ruling elites must be outed, routed, and destroyed. But the elites have framed the civil war in America as between 'nazis' and 'antifa', and this divide-and-conquer strategy gets nothing done. The American Left is more at war with Civil War monuments than with the REAL power. This civil 'war' must be between people vs the elites. But elites have manipulated the conflict as 'blue' vs 'red'.

What happens IN America will affect what happens OUTSIDE America.

There are people on both right and left who know what is going on with this neo-imperialism BS. Elite intellectuals are useless as critics because the filtering system for elitism favors the cucks and toadies. To reach the top in any profession, one has to suck up to Zionists, denounce Russia, worship homos, and denounce any form of white agency as 'white supremacism'.

... ... ...

How can the elite power be challenged by non-elites? Is there some way? A new way to use the internet? Maybe. That must be why the Platforms are shutting down so many alternative voices.

And how can masses of Trumptards and Anti-Trump resistance be convinced that the real power is not with Trump or any president but with the Deep State that colludes with Big Media and Big donors?

So many Trumptards think all is fine because Trump is president. Likewise, so many progs paid no attention as long as Obama was president even though Obama proved to be a war criminal.

US is now a silly nation where progs are totally incensed over 'gay cakes'. With dummy populists who think in terms of flag and guns and idiot decadent proggists who think in terms of 'muh gender' and 'white privilege', a true challenge to sick elite power is impossible.

We need more on the right to call out on Trump, and we need more on the left to call out on likes of Obama and Hillary. And both sides need to focus on the Power above Trump-Hillary-Obama. But they are too childish to see anything cuz for most of them, it's either 'muh guns' or 'muh gender'.

Fran Macadam , Website December 29, 2017 at 7:46 am GMT
Simplistically, it appears most Americans because of the Cold War view geopolitics as a Manichean struggle of civilizations, good versus evil. Therefore, as they understand the United States, representing absolute good, to have been the victor in that battle for the planet, the United States now has the right to dictate terms to the entire globe in a mopping up action.
Andrei Martyanov , Website December 29, 2017 at 2:22 pm GMT

Yet none of that prevents them from claiming that they, not Russia, defeated Daesh/ISIS/al-Nusra/etc. This is absolutely amazing, think of it –

It is US "elites" Modus Operandi, otherwise "exceptionalism" flies out of the window. With some effort and time given we may yet see the US taking credit for the Battle of Lepanto and, eventually, for Thermopylae. Consider his: "Kursk was an Anglo-American victory as well as a Soviet one." (c)

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/why-the-battle-kursk-might-just-be-the-most-misunderstood-22931?page=3

You see where it is all going? In real everyday life this is qualified as Stolen Valor and there is a Federal Law from 2013 which makes it a crime.

Diversity Heretic , December 29, 2017 at 2:30 pm GMT
@Priss Factor

Calvin Coolidge referred to Japan as America's natural friend. Were the economic sanctions imposed because of Japanese expansion in China, Indochina and the Dutch East Indies really necessary? How important was it to Mr. and Mrs. Average American that China be governed by Communists, warlords and corrupt nationalists, that Indochina be governed by French colonialists, and the Dutch East Indies be governed by Dutch colonialists, than by Japanese imperalists? Pat Buchanan has called WWII in Europe the unnecessary war; I think the truly unnecessary WWII conflict was in the Pacific.

[Dec 29, 2017] Hunt s Deathbed Confession Reveals JFK Killers

Dec 29, 2017 | rense.com
Hunt's Deathbed Confession
Reveals JFK Killers
The Last Confession Of E. Howard Hunt -
US government/CIA team murdered JFK

By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor
4-4-7

The April 5 issue of Rolling Stone features the deathbed confession of CIA operative and key Bay of Pigs/Watergate/Nixon administration figure E. Howard Hunt, The Last Confession of E. Howard Hunt by Erik Hedegaard. This piece is significant not only for its exploration of Hunt, but for breakthrough information that appears to thoroughly corroborate the work of key John F. Kennedy assassination researchers and historians.

Who killed JFK?

According to Hunt's confession, which was taken by his son, St. John ("Saint") Hunt, over the course of many personal and carefully planned father-son meetings, the following individuals were among the key participants:

Lyndon B. Johnson: LBJ, whose own career was assisted by JFK nemesis J. Edgar Hoover (FBI), gave the orders to a CIA-led hit team, and helped guide the Warren Commission/lone gunman cover-up.

Cord Meyer: CIA agent, architect of the Operation Mockingbird disinformation apparatus, and husband of Mary Meyer (who had an affair with JFK).

David Atlee Philips: CIA and Bay of Pigs veteran. Recruited William Harvey (CIA) and Cuban exile militant Antonio Veciana.

William Harvey: CIA and Bay of Pigs veteran. Connected to Mafia figures Santos Trafficante and Sam Giancana.

Antonio Veciana: Cuban exile, founder of CIA-backed Alpha 66.

Frank Sturgis: CIA operative, mercenary, Bay of Pigs veteran, and later Watergate figure.

David Morales: CIA hit man, Bay of Pigs veteran. Morales was also a figure involved with the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.

Lucien Sarti: Corsican assassin and drug trafficker, possible "French gunman," Grassy Knoll (second) shooter.

Would Hunt continue to tell lies on his deathbed? Perhaps. Would Hunt tell a final tall story or two, to protect himself, or perhaps deal one final slap in the face to the US government (which made him a fall guy for Watergate)? Yes. Would Hunt hide the involvement of certain individuals to whom he remained loyal, including people who are still alive? Certainly. Anything from an operative like Hunt can only be accepted with caution and healthy skepticism.

Nevertheless, Hunt's scenario has the ring of truth.

Each of the named names are well-known CIA and CIA-linked players exposed by many researchers and historians who have detailed the enduring connection from the Bay of Pigs and the Dallas hit to Watergate and Iran-Contra.

The Hunt confession vindicates generations of historians, researchers and whistleblowers who have given their lives and careers to expose the truth about Dealey Plaza. While there are too many to name, they include, but are not limited to (and in no particular order): Jim Garrison, Mark Lane, Fletcher Prouty, Josiah Thompson, Carl Oglesby, Peter Dale Scott, Anthony Summers, Robert Groden, Victor Marchetti, David Lifton, Harrison Livingstone, Michael Canfield, A.J. Weberman, Sylvia Meagher, William Turner, Jim Marrs, Pete Brewton, John Newman, Philip Melanson, Hal Verb, Mae Brussell, Harold Weisberg, Oliver Stone, Mike Ruppert and Dan Hopsicker, Jim diEugenio and Linda Pease.

Meanwhile, the criminal deceptions of the US government and its corporate media, the Warren Commission, and the dirty work of cover-up specialists such as Gerald Posner and Mark Fuhrman, and the legions of JFK assassination revisionist/theorists, deserve a final rebuke, and eternal scorn.

Highlighting Hunt's role

Although the Rolling Stone piece does not address it, the Hunt confession directly corroborates two classic investigations that previously exposed the role of Hunt. They are Mark Lane's Plausible Denial and Michael Canfield/A.J. Weberman's Coup D'Etat in America. Lane's book details how he took Hunt to court, and won a libel suit, essentially proving that the CIA murdered JFK, and that Hunt lied about his whereabouts. The investigation of Canfield and Weberman identified Hunt and Frank Sturgis as two of the three "tramps" arrested at Dealey Plaza.

Time has only made these investigations more relevant. More than ever, their books, and those of the JFK historians and researchers above listed, deserve to be found, read and studied.

Hunt to Nixon to Bush

The Rolling Stone piece fails to go after the roles of Richard Nixon and George Herbert Walker Bush. But the Hunt confession, if accurate, leads directly to them, to their lifelong associates, and all the way to the present George W. Bush administration.

The Dallas-Watergate-Iran-Contra connection has been thoroughly documented by the key JFK researchers, and in particular, in the work of Peter Dale Scott, one of the very first to show the deep political continuity across three decades. Daniel Hopsicker's Barry and the Boys goes into even more detail on the players.

Consider the career of George H.W. Bush. He was a Texas oilman (Zapata Oil) and a CIA operative, involved with the Bay of Pigs. Bush's name was found in the papers of George DeMohrenschildt, one of Lee Harvey Oswald's CIA handlers. As documented by Pete Brewton, author of The Mafia, the CIA and George Bush, Bush was deeply connected with a small circle of Texas elites tied to the CIA and the Mafia, as well as the Florida-based CIA/anti-Casto Cuban exile/ Mafia milieu As Richard Nixon's hand-picked Republican National Committee chairman, and later as CIA director, Bush constantly covered-up and stonewalled for his boss about Watergate, which itself (by the admission of Frank Sturgis and others) was a cover-up of the JFK assassination.

Tracking any of the individual CIA operatives involved with the Bay of Pigs, it is impossible to ignore or deny direct connections to George H.W. Bush and his crime family, across the Kennedy assassinations, covert operations in Indochina and, later, Latin America.

Beyond any reasonable doubt, the US government murdered John F. Kennedy. There are people still alive today who were involved directly and indirectly implicated. Some are probably even serving in positions of high influence. Some still have never been identified or touched.

All of these individuals still need to be pursued, exposed, and brought to justice.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

editor@onlinejournal.com

Email Online Journal Editor

http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/printer_1918.shtml

[Dec 29, 2017] E. Howard Hunt, Agent Who Organized Botched Watergate Break-In, Dies at 88 - The New York Times

Dec 29, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

E. Howard Hunt, a cold warrior for the Central Intelligence Agency who left the spy service in disillusionment, joined the Nixon White House as a secret agent and bungled the break-in at the Watergate that brought the president down in disgrace, died Tuesday in Miami. He was 88.

His death, at North Shore Medical Center, was caused by pneumonia, said his wife, Laura.

"This fellow Hunt," President Richard M. Nixon muttered a few days after the June 1972 break-in, "he knows too damn much."

That was Howard Hunt's burden: he was entrusted with too many secret missions. His career at the C.I.A. was destroyed by the disastrous invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, and his time as Nixon's master of dirty tricks ended with his arrest in the Watergate case. He served 33 months in prison for burglary, conspiracy and wiretapping and emerged a broken man.

"I am crushed by the failure of my government to protect me and my family as in the past it has always done for its clandestine agents," Mr. Hunt told the Senate committee investigating the Watergate affair in 1973, when he faced a provisional prison sentence of 35 years. "I cannot escape feeling that the country I have served for my entire life and which directed me to carry out the Watergate entry is punishing me for doing the very things it trained and directed me to do."

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He was a high-spirited 30-year-old novelist who aspired to wealth and power when he joined the C.I.A. in 1949. He set out to live the life he had imagined for himself, a glamorous career as a spy. But Mr. Hunt was never much of a spy. He did not conduct classic espionage operations in order to gather information. His field was political warfare: dirty tricks, sabotage and propaganda.

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When he left the C.I.A. in 1970 after a decidedly checkered career, he had become a world-weary cynic. Trading on the thin veneer of a reputation in the clandestine service, he won a job as a $100-a-day "security consultant" at the Nixon White House in 1971.

In that role, he conducted break-ins and burglaries in the name of national security. He drew no distinction between orchestrating a black-bag job at a foreign embassy in Mexico City and wiretapping the Democratic National Committee's headquarters at the Watergate complex. He recognized no lawful limit on presidential power, convinced that "when the president does it," as Nixon once said, "that means it is not illegal." Mr. Hunt and the nation found out otherwise.

Mr. Hunt was intelligent, erudite, suave and loyal to his friends. But the record shows that he mishandled many of the tasks he received from the C.I.A. and the White House. He was "totally self-absorbed, totally amoral and a danger to himself and anybody around him," Samuel F. Hart, a retired United States ambassador who first met him in Uruguay in the 1950s, said in a State Department oral history.

"As far as I could tell, Howard went from one disaster to another," Mr. Hart said, "until he hit Watergate."

Everette Howard Hunt Jr. was born in Hamburg, N.Y., on Oct. 9, 1918, the son of a lawyer and a classically trained pianist who played church organ. He graduated from Brown University in June 1940 and entered the United States Naval Academy as a midshipman in February 1941.

He worked as a wartime intelligence officer in China, a postwar spokesman for the Marshall Plan in Paris and a screenwriter in Hollywood. Warner Brothers had just bought his fourth novel, "Bimini Run," a thriller set in the Caribbean, when he joined the fledgling C.I.A. in April 1949.

Mr. Hunt was immediately assigned to train C.I.A. recruits in political and psychological warfare, fields in which he was a rank amateur, like most of his colleagues. He moved to Mexico City, where he became chief of station in 1950. He brought along another rookie C.I.A. officer, William F. Buckley Jr., later a prominent conservative author and publisher, who became godfather and guardian to the four children of Mr. Hunt and his wife, the former Dorothy L. Wetzel.

Photo
E. Howard Hunt in 1973. Credit Mike Lien/The New York Times

In 1954, Mr. Hunt helped plan the covert operation that overthrew the elected president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz. "What we wanted to do was to have a terror campaign," Mr. Hunt said in a CNN documentary on the cold war, "to terrify Arbenz particularly, to terrify his troops." Though the operation succeeded, it ushered in 40 years of military repression in Guatemala.

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By the time of the coup, Mr. Hunt had been removed from responsibility. He moved on to uneventful stints in Japan and Uruguay. Not until 1960 was Mr. Hunt involved in an operation that changed history.

The C.I.A. had received orders from both President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his successor, President John F. Kennedy, to alter or abolish the revolutionary government of Fidel Castro in Cuba. Mr. Hunt's assignment was to create a provisional Cuban government that would be ready to take power once the C.I.A.'s cadre of Cuban shock troops invaded the island. He fared no better than the paramilitary planners who had vowed to defeat Mr. Castro's 60,000-man army with a 1,500-strong brigade.

The careers of the American intelligence officers who planned and executed the Bay of Pigs debacle in April 1961 were damaged or destroyed, as was the C.I.A.'s reputation for derring-do. Mr. Hunt spent most of the 1960s carrying out desultory propaganda tasks at the agency, among them running news services and subsidizing books that fell stillborn from the press.

He funneled his talent into writing paperback spy novels. His works followed a formula of sex and intrigue but offered flashes of insight. "We become lawless in a struggle for the rule of law -- semi-outlaws who risk their lives to put down the savagery of others," says the author's alter ego, Peter Ward, in the novel "Hazardous Duty."

He retired from the C.I.A. in 1970 and secured a job with an agency-connected public relations firm in Washington. Then, a year later, came a call from the White House. A fellow Brown alumnus, Charles W. Colson, special counsel to President Nixon, hired Mr. Hunt to carry out acts of political warfare. Within weeks, Mr. Hunt was in charge of a subterranean department of dirty tricks.

He went back to C.I.A. headquarters, requesting false identification, a red wig, a voice-altering device and a tiny camera. He then burglarized the Beverly Hills office of a psychiatrist treating Dr. Daniel J. Ellsberg, a former national-security aide who had leaked a copy of the Pentagon Papers, a classified history of the Vietnam War, to The New York Times. Mr. Hunt was looking for information to discredit Mr. Ellsberg. When the break-in became public knowledge two years later, the federal case against Mr. Ellsberg on charges of leaking classified information was dismissed.

Mr. Hunt, in league with another recently retired C.I.A. officer and four Cuban Bay of Pigs veterans, then led a break-in at the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate complex to bug the telephone lines. The job was botched, and the team went in again to remove the taps. The burglars were arrested on the night of June 17, 1972. One had Mr. Hunt's name and a White House telephone number in his address book, a classic failure of espionage tradecraft that proved the first thread of the web that ensnarled the president.

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The final blow that drove Nixon from office was one of the secret White House recordings he made -- the "smoking gun" tape -- in which he vowed to order the C.I.A. to shut down the federal investigation of the Watergate break-in on spurious national-security grounds. By the time Nixon resigned in August 1974, Mr. Hunt was a federal prisoner.

His life was in ruins: his wife had been killed in a plane crash in 1972, his legal fees approached $1 million, he had suffered a stroke, and whatever illusions he once had that his government would protect him were shattered. Standing before the judge who imprisoned him, he said he was "alone, nearly friendless, ridiculed, disgraced, destroyed as a man."

Freed from prison just before his 60th birthday, Mr. Hunt moved to Miami, where he met and married his second wife, Laura, a schoolteacher, and started a second family. Besides his wife, he is survived by the two daughters and two sons from his first marriage: Lisa Hunt of Las Vegas, Kevan Hunt Spence of Pioneer, Calif., Howard St. John Hunt of Eureka, Calif., and David Hunt of Los Angeles; two children from his second marriage, Austin and Hollis, both of Miami; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Mr. Hunt's last book, "American Spy: My Secret History in the C.I.A., Watergate and Beyond," written with Greg Aunapu, is to be published on March 16 with a foreword by his old friend William F. Buckley Jr.

Late in life, he said he had no regrets, beyond the Bay of Pigs.

[Dec 29, 2017] Watergate Burglar Howard Hunt Was William Buckley's Deep Throat

Dec 29, 2017 | www.thedailybeast.com

According to Buckley's son, Christopher, Hunt informed Buckley that, were he to die, Buckley would be contacted by a person he did not know who had a key to a safe deposit box, which the two of them would open together. When Christopher asked his father what the box might have contained, Buckley replied, "I don't know exactly, but it could theoretically involve information that could lead to the impeachment of the president of the United States." He felt bound to keep confidential what he knew.

[Dec 29, 2017] Are E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis JFK Assassins

Notable quotes:
"... Report to the President by the Commission on CIA Activities Within the United States ..."
Dec 29, 2017 | posc.mu.edu

H oward Hunt and Frank Sturgis became notorious in 1972 with the start of the Watergate scandal. Both men plead guilty on a variety of charges in January of 1973.

Frank Sturgis was arrested by police at the Democratic party headquarters on the sixth floor of Watergate. He was found with four other men, wearing rubber surgical gloves, unarmed, and carrying extensive photographic equipment and electronic surveillance devices. He was officially charged with attempted burglary and attempted interception of telephone and other conversations. Sturgis was also apart of the Miami Cuban exile community and involved in various "adventures" relating to Cuba which he believed were organized and financed by the CIA.

E. Howard Hunt was one of the "plumbers" and a former White House aid during the Watergate scandal. He was directly linked to Sturgis and the other four men that broke into Watergate. He was charged with burglary, conspiracy, and wiretapping. He served 33 months. Hunt was also a former employee of the CIA, serving from 1949-1970. He typically performed work relating to propaganda operations in foreign countries.

To say this punched all kinds of buttons among JFK conspiracy theorists would be an understatement.

In no time flat the theorists concluded that Hunt and Sturgis were involved in the death of JFK. It was claimed that they were two of the three tramps photographed on the day of the assassination. By 1974, when the Rockefeller Commission was established to investigate the domestic activities of the CIA, Hunt and Sturgis were chief suspects in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The following section from the Report to the President by the Commission on CIA Activities Within the United States outlines the Commission's conclusions.

... ... ...

B. The Theory That the CIA Had Relationships With Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby The second theory advanced in support of allegations of CIA participation in the assassination of President Kennedy is that various links existed between the CIA, Oswald and Ruby. Lee Harvey Oswald was found by the Warren Commission to be the person who assassinated the President. Jack Ruby shot and killed Oswald two days after the President's assassination.

There is no credible evidence that either Lee Harvey Oswald or Jack Ruby was ever employed by the CIA or ever acted for the CIA in any capacity whatever, either directly or indirectly.

Testimony was offered purporting to show CIA relationships with Oswald and Ruby. It was stated, for example, the E. Howard Hunt, as an employee of the CIA, engaged in political activity with elements of the anti-Castro Cuban community in the United States on behalf of the CIA prior to the Bay of Pigs operation in April 1961. In connection with those duties, it was further alleged that Hunt was instrumental in organizing the Cuban Revolutionary Council and that the Cuban Revolutionary Council had an office in New Orleans. Finally, it was claimed that Lee Harvey Oswald lived in New Orleans from April to September 1963, and that a pamphlet prepared and distributed by Oswald on behalf of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee during that period indicated that the office of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee was situated in building which was also the address of the New Orleans office of the Cuban Revolutionary Council. (4)

It was therefore implied that Hunt could have had contact with Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans during the spring or summer of 1963. No evidence was presented that Hunt ever met Oswald, or that he was ever in New Orleans in 1963, or that he had any contact with any New Orleans office of the Cuban Revolutionary Council.

Hunt's employment record with the CIA indicated that he had no duties involving contacts with Cuban exile elements or organizations inside or outside the United States after the early months of 1961. This was more that two years before Oswald went to New Orleans in April 1963 and more than a year before Oswald returned to the United States from the Soviet Union, where he had lived for almost three years.

An example of the testimony relating to an alleged relationship between the CIA and Jack Ruby consisted of a statement that Frank Sturgis was engaged in a series of revolutionary activities among Cuban exiles in the United States in the 1950's and 1960's and that the CIA also sponsored and organized anti-Castro activities among Cuban exiles in the United States in 1959 and the early 1960's.

It was further stated that someone once reported to the FBI that Jack Ruby had engaged in supplying arms to persons in Cuba in the early 1950's in association with a former Cuban President, Carlos Prio, and that Frank Sturgis also had connections with Carlos Prio during the 1950's and 1960's.

In addition, it was alleged that Frank Sturgis was at one time (before he escaped from Cuba in June 1959) a director of gambling and gaming establishments in Havana for the Castro government, and that in August or September, 1959, Jack Ruby made a trip to Havana at the invitation of a friend who had interests in gambling establishments in Cuba and the United States.

Moreover, both Sturgis and Ruby were alleged to have had connections with underground figures who had interests in the United States and Cuba.

From this group of allegations, the witness inferred that Sturgis and Ruby could have met and known each other--although no actual evidence was presented to show that Ruby or Sturgis ever met each other.

Even if the individual items contained in the foregoing recitations were assumed to be true, it was concluded that the inferences drawn must be considered farfetched speculation insofar as they purport to show a connection between the CIA and either Oswald or Ruby.

Even in absence of denials by living persons that such a connection existed, no weight could be assigned to such testimony. Moreover, Sturgis was never an employee or agent of the CIA.

A witness, a telephone caller, and a mail correspondent tendered additional information of the same nature. None of it was more than a strained effort to draw inferences of conspiracy from the facts which would not fairly support the inferences. A CIA involvement in the assassination was implied by the witness, for example, from the fact that the Mayor of Dallas at that time was a brother of a CIA official who had been involved in the planning of the Bay of Pigs operation in Cuba several years previously, and from the fact that President Kennedy reportedly blamed the CIA for the Bay of Pigs failure.

The same witness testified that E. Howard Hunt was Acting Chief of a CIA station in Mexico City in 1963, implying that he could have had contact with Oswald when Oswald visited Mexico City in September 1963. Hunt's service in Mexico City, however, was twelve years earlier--in 1950 and 1951--and his only other CIA duty in Mexico covered only a few weeks in 1960. At no time was he ever the Chief, or Acting Chief, of a CIA station in Mexico City.

Hunt and Sturgis categorically denied that they had ever met or known Oswald or Ruby. They further denied that they ever had any connection whatever with either Oswald or Ruby.

Conclusions
Numerous allegations have been made that the CIA participated in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Commission staff investigated these allegations. On the basis of the staff's investigation, the Commission concluded there was no credible evidence of any CIA involvement.

[Dec 29, 2017] Confession of Howard Hunt

Dec 29, 2017 | www.maryferrell.org

Confession of Howard Hunt Legendary CIA spy and convicted Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt. Legendary CIA spy and convicted Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt.

Before his death in January 2007, CIA master spy and convicted Watergate conspirator Howard Hunt confessed to being peripherally involved in the assassination of President Kennedy, and named several other participants.

In notes and conversations with his son Saint John, and in an audiotape he created in 2004 to be played after his death, Hunt described being invited into the "big event" at a Miami safehouse in 1963. Others named in the plot:

Hunt says he declined active participation but did have a "benchwarmer" role in the plot. In the tape excerpt made available so far, Hunt made no claims which would prove his allegations. However, the people he names have all been suspects in the assassination for some time, and many of them worked closely together in anti-Castro operations.

In the "smoking gun" tape which helped drive him from office, President Richard Nixon said this of Hunt: "You open that scab there's a hell of a lot of things..." He then instructed Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman to take a message to CIA Director Richard Helms, asking Helms to intervene in the FBI's early Watergate investigation because "the President believes that it is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again." In his book The Ends of Power , Haldeman described Helms' reaction: "Turmoil in the room. Helms gripping the arms of his chair leaning forward and shouting, 'The Bay of Pigs had nothing to do with this. I have no concern about the Bay of Pigs'." Haldeman came to believe that the "Bay of Pigs" referred to the Kennedy assassination.

Hunt's story has been challenged due to its lack of corroboration, its internal inconsistencies and Hunt's failure to provide any details from his activities in 1963 which would support it.

Some will accept Hunt's confession as the truth. For others, Hunt's naming of LBJ at the top of the plot will be seen as a bit of "spin" to present the assassination as a "rogue operation," deflecting attention from higher-level sponsors within the government. For that matter, Hunt was not necessarily in a position to know the ultimate authors of the conspiracy.

For others, the confession will be dismissed, seen as a parting gift to a ne'er-do-well son or perhaps a "last laugh" on America from a man who hated Kennedy with a passion.

[Dec 28, 2017] How CrowdStrike placed malware in DNC hacked servers by Alex Christoforou

Highly recommended!
If this is true, then this is definitely a sophisticated false flag operation. Was malware Alperovich people injected specifically designed to implicate Russians? In other words Crowdstrike=Fancy Bear
Images removed. For full content please thee the original source
One interesting corollary of this analysis is that installing Crowdstrike software is like inviting a wolf to guard your chicken. If they are so dishonest you take enormous risks. That might be true for some other heavily advertized "intrusion prevention" toolkits. So those criminals who use mistyped popular addresses or buy Google searches to drive lemmings to their site and then flash the screen that they detected a virus on your computer a, please call provided number and for a small amount of money your virus will be removed get a new more sinister life.
I suspected many of such firms (for example ISS which was bought by IBM in 2006) to be scams long ago.
Notable quotes:
"... They found that generally, in a lot of cases, malware developers didn't care to hide the compile times and that while implausible timestamps are used, it's rare that these use dates in the future. It's possible, but unlikely that one sample would have a postdated timestamp to coincide with their visit by mere chance but seems extremely unlikely to happen with two or more samples. Considering the dates of CrowdStrike's activities at the DNC coincide with the compile dates of two out of the three pieces of malware discovered and attributed to APT-28 (the other compiled approximately 2 weeks prior to their visit), the big question is: Did CrowdStrike plant some (or all) of the APT-28 malware? ..."
"... The IP address, according to those articles, was disabled in June 2015, eleven months before the DNC emails were acquired – meaning those IP addresses, in reality, had no involvement in the alleged hacking of the DNC. ..."
"... The fact that two out of three of the Fancy Bear malware samples identified were compiled on dates within the apparent five day period CrowdStrike were apparently at the DNC seems incredibly unlikely to have occurred by mere chance. ..."
"... That all three malware samples were compiled within ten days either side of their visit – makes it clear just how questionable the Fancy Bear malware discoveries were. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | theduran.com

Of course the DNC did not want to the FBI to investigate its "hacked servers". The plan was well underway to excuse Hillary's pathetic election defeat to Trump, and CrowdStrike would help out by planting evidence to pin on those evil "Russian hackers." Some would call this entire DNC server hack an "insurance policy."

... ... ...

[Dec 28, 2017] From Snowden To Russia-gate - The CIA And The Media

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The promotion of the alleged Russian election hacking in certain media may have grown from the successful attempts of U.S. intelligence services to limit the publication of the NSA files obtained by Edward Snowden. ..."
"... In May 2013 Edward Snowden fled to Hongkong and handed internal documents from the National Security Agency (NSA) to four journalists, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Ewen MacAskill of the Guardian and separately to Barton Gellman who worked for the Washington Post . ..."
"... In July 2013 the Guardian was forced by the British government to destroy its copy of the Snowden archive. ..."
"... In August 2013 Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for some $250 million. In 2012 Bezos, the founder, largest share holder and CEO of Amazon, had already a cooperation with the CIA. Together they invested in a Canadian quantum computing company. In March 2013 Amazon signed a $600 million deal to provide computing services for the CIA. ..."
"... The motivation for the Bezos and Omidyar to do this is not clear. Bezos is estimated to own a shameful $90 billion. The Washington Post buy is chump-change for him. Omidyar has a net worth of some $9.3 billion. But the use of billionaires to mask what are in fact intelligence operations is not new. The Ford Foundation has for decades been a CIA front , George Soros' Open Society foundation is one of the premier "regime change" operations, well versed in instigating "color revolutions" ..."
"... It would have been reasonable if the cooperation between those billionaires and the intelligence agencies had stopped after the NSA leaks were secured. But it seems that strong cooperation of the Bezos and Omidyar outlets with the CIA and others continue. ..."
"... The Washington Post , which has a much bigger reach, is the prime outlet for "Russia-gate", the false claims by parts of the U.S. intelligence community and the Clinton campaign, that Russia attempted to influence U.S. elections or even "colluded" with Trump. ..."
"... The revelation that the sole Russiagate "evidence" was the so-called Steele Dossier - i.e. opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign - which was used by the intelligence community to not only begin the public assertions of Trump's perfidy but to then initiate FISA approved surveillance on the Trump campaign, that is truly astonishing. Instructive then that the NY Times, Washington Post, etc have yet to acknowledge these facts to their readers, and instead have effectively doubled down on the story, insisting that the Russiagate allegations are established fact and constitute "objective reality." That suggests this fake news story will continue indefinitely. ..."
"... What we see here is these bastions of establishment thinking in the USA promoting "objective reality" as partisan - i.e. there is a Clinton reality versus a Trump reality, or a Russian reality versus a "Western" reality, facts and documentation be damned. This divorce from objectivity is a symptom of the overall decline of American institutions, an indicate a future hard, rather than soft, landing near the end of the road. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

The promotion of the alleged Russian election hacking in certain media may have grown from the successful attempts of U.S. intelligence services to limit the publication of the NSA files obtained by Edward Snowden.

In May 2013 Edward Snowden fled to Hongkong and handed internal documents from the National Security Agency (NSA) to four journalists, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Ewen MacAskill of the Guardian and separately to Barton Gellman who worked for the Washington Post . Some of those documents were published by Glenn Greenwald in the Guardian , others by Barton Gellman in the Washington Post . Several other international news site published additional material though the mass of NSA papers that Snowden allegedly acquired never saw public daylight.

In July 2013 the Guardian was forced by the British government to destroy its copy of the Snowden archive.

In August 2013 Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for some $250 million. In 2012 Bezos, the founder, largest share holder and CEO of Amazon, had already a cooperation with the CIA. Together they invested in a Canadian quantum computing company. In March 2013 Amazon signed a $600 million deal to provide computing services for the CIA.

In October 2013 Pierre Omidyar, the owner of Ebay, founded First Look Media and hired Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. The total planned investment was said to be $250 million. It took up to February 2014 until the new organization launched its first site, the Intercept . Only a few NSA stories appeared on it. The Intercept is a rather mediocre site. Its management is said to be chaotic . It publishes few stories of interests and one might ask if it ever was meant to be a serious outlet. Omidyar has worked, together with the U.S. government, to force regime change onto Ukraine. He had strong ties with the Obama administration.

Snowden had copies of some 20,000 to 58,000 NSA files . Only 1,182 have been published . Bezos and Omidyar obviously helped the NSA to keep more than 95% of the Snowden archive away from the public. The Snowden papers were practically privatized into trusted hands of Silicon Valley billionaires with ties to the various secret services and the Obama administration.

The motivation for the Bezos and Omidyar to do this is not clear. Bezos is estimated to own a shameful $90 billion. The Washington Post buy is chump-change for him. Omidyar has a net worth of some $9.3 billion. But the use of billionaires to mask what are in fact intelligence operations is not new. The Ford Foundation has for decades been a CIA front , George Soros' Open Society foundation is one of the premier "regime change" operations, well versed in instigating "color revolutions".

It would have been reasonable if the cooperation between those billionaires and the intelligence agencies had stopped after the NSA leaks were secured. But it seems that strong cooperation of the Bezos and Omidyar outlets with the CIA and others continue.

The Intercept burned a intelligence leaker, Realty Winner, who had trusted its journalists to keep her protected. It smeared the President of Syria as neo-nazi based on an (intentional?) mistranslation of one of his speeches. It additionally hired a Syrian supporter of the CIA's "regime change by Jihadis" in Syria. Despite its pretense of "fearless, adversarial journalism" it hardly deviates from U.S. policies.

The Washington Post , which has a much bigger reach, is the prime outlet for "Russia-gate", the false claims by parts of the U.S. intelligence community and the Clinton campaign, that Russia attempted to influence U.S. elections or even "colluded" with Trump.

Just today it provides two stories and one op-ed that lack any factual evidence for the anti-Russian claims made in them.

In Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options the writers insinuate that some anonymous writer who published a few pieces on Counterpunch and elsewhere was part of a Russian operation. They provide zero evidence to back that claim up. Whatever that writer wrote (see list at end) was run of the mill stuff that had little to do with the U.S. election. The piece then dives into various cyber-operations against Russia that the Obama and Trump administration have discussed.

A second story in the paper today is based on "a classified GRU report obtained by The Washington Post." It claims that the Russian military intelligence service GRU started a social media operation one day after the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was illegally removed from his office in a U.S. regime change operation . What the story lists as alleged GRU puppet postings reads like normal internet talk of people opposed to the fascist regime change in Kiev. The Washington Post leaves completely unexplained who handed it an alleged GRU report from 2014, who classified it and how, if at all, it verified its veracity. To me the piece and the assertions therein have a strong odor of bovine excrement.

An op-ed in the very same Washington Post has a similar smell. It is written by the intelligence flunkies Michael Morell and Mike Rogers. Morell had hoped to become CIA boss under a President Hillary Clinton. The op-ed (which includes a serious misunderstanding of "deterrence") asserts that Russia never stopped its cyberattacks on the United States :

Russia's information operations tactics since the election are more numerous than can be listed here . But to get a sense of the breadth of Russian activity, consider the messaging spread by Kremlin-oriented accounts on Twitter, which cybersecurity and disinformation experts have tracked as part of the German Marshall Fund's Alliance for Securing Democracy.

The author link to this page which claims to list Twitter hashtags that are currently used by Russian influence agents. Apparently the top issue Russia's influence agents currently promote is "#merrychristmas".


bigger

When the authors claim Russian operations are "more numerous than can be listed here" they practically admit that they have not even one plausible operation they could cite. Its simply obfuscation to justify their call for more political and military measures against Russia. This again to distract from the real reasons Clinton lost the election and to introduce a new Cold War for the benefit of weapon producers and U.S. influence in Europe.

Cont. reading: From Snowden To Russia-gate - The CIA And The Media

11:53 AM | Comments (137)

G , Dec 26, 2017 12:10:03 PM | 1

If what you allege is true about Greenwald and the Intercept, then why hasn't Snowden spoken out about it yet? Surely he would have said something about the Intercept and Greenwald keeping important stories buried by now. Yet, as far as I can tell, he has a good relationship with Greenwald. I find it hard to believe hat a man who literally gave up everything he had in life to leak important docs would remain silent for so long about a publishing cover up. I don't really like the Intercept and I think your analysis of its content is accurate, but I do find it hard to believe that the NSA docs were "bought" back by the CIA.
Ort , Dec 26, 2017 1:41:21 PM | 16
@G | 1

If what you allege is true about Greenwald and the Intercept, then why hasn't Snowden spoken out about it yet?
_____________________________________________________

My understanding is that early on, Snowden placed his trove of documents in the exclusive care of Glenn Greenwald and his associates. Although Snowden has since become a public figure in his own right, and his opinions on state-security events and issues are solicited, as far as I know Snowden has no direct responsibility for managing the material he downloaded.

I haven't followed Snowden closely enough to know how familiar he may be with the contents of the reported "20,000 to 58,000 NSA files" turned over to GG/Omidyar. Snowden presumably took pains to acquire items of interest in his cache as he accumulated classified material, but even if he has extraordinary powers of recall he may not remember precisely what remains unreleased.

FWIW, I was troubled from the first by one of the mainstays of GG's defense, or rationale, when it became clear that he was the principal, and perhaps sole, executive "curator" of the Snowden material. In order to reassure and placate nervous "patriots"-- and GG calls himself a "patriot"-- he repeatedly emphasized that great care was being taken to vet the leaked information before releasing it.

GG's role as whistleblower Snowden's enabler and facilitator was generally hailed uncritically by progressive-liberals and civil-liberties advocates, to a point where public statements that should've raised skeptical doubts and questions were generally passively accepted by complacent admirers.

Specifically, my crap detectors signaled "red alert" early on, when Greenwald (still affiliated with "The Guardian", IIRC) took great pains to announce that his team was working closely with the US/UK governments to vet and screen Snowden's material before releasing any of it; GG repeatedly asserted that he was reviewing the material with the relevant state-security agencies to ensure that none of the released material would compromise or jeopardize government operatives and/or national security.

WTF? Bad enough that Greenwald was requiring the world to exclusively trust his judgment in deciding what should be released and what shouldn't. He was also making it clear that he wasn't exactly committed to disclosing "the worst" of the material "though the heavens fall".

In effect, as GG was telling the world that he could be trusted to manage the leaked information responsibly, he was also telling the world that it simply had to trust his judgment in this crucial role.

To me, there was clearly a subliminal message for both Western authorities and the public: don't worry, we're conscientious, patriotic leak-masters. We're not going to irresponsibly disclose anything too radical, or politically/socially destabilizing.

GG and the Omidyar Group have set themselves up as an independent "brand" in the new field of whistleblower/hacker impresario and leak-broker.

Like only buying NFL-approved merchandise, or fox-approved eggs, the public is being encouraged to only buy (into) Intercept-approved Snowden Leaks™. It's a going concern, which lends itself much more to the "modified limited hangout" approach than freely tossing all the biggest eggs out of the basket.

GG found an opportunity to augment his rising career as a self-made investigative journalist and civil-liberties advocate. Now he's sitting pretty, the celebrity point man for a lucrative modified limited hangout enterprise. What is wrong with this picture?

Bart Hansen , Dec 26, 2017 1:51:59 PM | 17
#1: I suspect that Snowden needs Glenn and Laura as liaisons to the outside world.
G , Dec 26, 2017 2:05:23 PM | 18
@16 I just see no evidence of that aside from fitting the narrative of people who are convinced of a cover up in leaked docs. Moreover, there is no way Russia would continue to offer Snowden asylum if he was gov agent. I'm sure Russian intelligence did a very thorough background check on him.

@17 that's simply not true. He regularly tweets, gives online talks and publishes on his own. He has not used either Poitras or Greenwald as a means of communication for years. And he has never dropped a single hint of being disappointed or frustrated with how documents and info was published.

It just seems so implausible given the total lack of any sign of Snowden's dissatisfaction.

jayc , Dec 26, 2017 2:31:15 PM | 22
The revelation that the sole Russiagate "evidence" was the so-called Steele Dossier - i.e. opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign - which was used by the intelligence community to not only begin the public assertions of Trump's perfidy but to then initiate FISA approved surveillance on the Trump campaign, that is truly astonishing. Instructive then that the NY Times, Washington Post, etc have yet to acknowledge these facts to their readers, and instead have effectively doubled down on the story, insisting that the Russiagate allegations are established fact and constitute "objective reality." That suggests this fake news story will continue indefinitely.

What we see here is these bastions of establishment thinking in the USA promoting "objective reality" as partisan - i.e. there is a Clinton reality versus a Trump reality, or a Russian reality versus a "Western" reality, facts and documentation be damned. This divorce from objectivity is a symptom of the overall decline of American institutions, an indicate a future hard, rather than soft, landing near the end of the road.

Jen , Dec 26, 2017 2:50:16 PM | 25
G @ 1 and 18: My understanding is that Edward Snowden has been advised (warned?) by the Russian government or his lawyer in Moscow not to reveal any more than he has said so far. The asylum Moscow has offered him may be dependent on his keeping discreet. That may include not saying much about The Intercept, in case his communications are followed by the NSA or any other of the various US intel agencies which could lead to their tracking his physical movements in Russia and enable any US-connected agent or agency (including one based in Russia) to trace him, arrest him or kill him, and cover up and frame the seizure or murder in such a way as to place suspicion or blame on the Russian government or on local criminal elements in Russia.

I believe that Snowden does have a job in Russia and possibly this job does not permit him the time to say any more than what he currently tweets or says online.

There is nothing in MoA's article to suggest that Glenn Greenwald is deliberately burying stories in The Intercept. B has said that its management is chaotic which could suggest among other things that Greenwald himself is dissatisfied with its current operation.

G , Dec 26, 2017 2:57:40 PM | 26
@21 I'm not disputing that moneyed interests might have been leaned on by the CIA to stop publishing sensitive info. What I'm disputing is the idea that people like Greenwald have deliberately with-held information that is in the public interest. I doubt that, regardless of the strength of the Intercept as a publication.

@25 What interest would the Russian gov have in helping protect NSA? I assume Russia loves the idea of the US Intel agencies being embarrassed. Snowden speaks his mind about plenty of domestic and international events in US. I have never seen him act like he's being censored.

Jen , Dec 26, 2017 3:46:44 PM | 31
G @ 25: Moscow would have no interest in helping protect the NSA or any other US intel agency. The Russians would have advised Snowden not to say more than he has said so far, not because they are interested in helping the NSA but because they can only protect him as long as he is discreet and does not try to say or publish any more that would jeopardise his safety or give Washington an excuse to pressure Moscow to extradite him back to the US. That would include placing more sanctions on Russia until Snowden is given up.

There is the possibility also that Snowden trusts (or trusted) Greenwald to know what to do with the NSA documents. Perhaps that trust was naively placed - we do not know.

Red Ryder , Dec 26, 2017 3:48:47 PM | 33
b, a big exposition of facts, rich in links to more facts.

This is important material for all to understand.

Snowden is "the squirrel over there!" A distraction turned into a hope.
Compared to Assange, who is being slow-martyred in captivity, Snowden is a boy playing with gadgets.

Why did not Snowden make certain a copy of his theft went to Wikileaks? That would have been insurance.
Since he did not, it all could be just a distraction.

What is known about the Snowden affair is we received proof of what we knew. Not much else. For those who didn't know, they received news.
And ever since, the shape of things from the Deep State/Shadow Government/IC has been lies and warmongering against American freedoms and world cooperation among nations.

Fascism is corporate + the police state. The US government is a pure fascist tyranny that also protects the Empire and Global Hegemony.

We connect the dots and it's always the same picture. It was this way in the 60s,70s,80s,90s, 00s, and this forlorn decade.
Fascism more bold each decade. Billionaires and millionaires have always been in the mix.

[Dec 28, 2017] I think many British journalists work for the British secret service, and they were recruited at university and slotted into journalist employment

Notable quotes:
"... Tisdall's weekly spiel about the Evil Empire and its Dark Lord made many CiFers comment that he must report regularly to Chatham House, London, at weekends for briefings, after which he'd knock out some good, blood-curdling copy about Russia in order to please his masters. ..."
"... As a matter of fact, I think many British "journalists" – Tisdall and Harding being prime examples thereof – primarily work for the British not-so-secret secret service, that they were recruited at university and were slotted into journalist employment to do their business of propagandizing. ..."
Sep 15, 2012 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile says: September 15, 2012 at 11:58 am

Something went wrong there!

Here's Tisdall on Russia:

And on and on

Tisdall's weekly spiel about the Evil Empire and its Dark Lord made many CiFers comment that he must report regularly to Chatham House, London, at weekends for briefings, after which he'd knock out some good, blood-curdling copy about Russia in order to please his masters.

I don't think that's far from the truth actually. As a matter of fact, I think many British "journalists" – Tisdall and Harding being prime examples thereof – primarily work for the British not-so-secret secret service, that they were recruited at university and were slotted into journalist employment to do their business of propagandizing. That might explain why Harding is such a god awful journalist that has had on occasion to take recourse to a spot of cut and paste plagiarism.

Tisdall and Harding being prime examples thereof – primarily work for the British not-so-secret secret service, that they were recruited at university and were slotted into journalist employment to do their business of propagandizing. That might explain why Harding is such a god awful journalist that has had on occasion to take recourse to a spot of cut and paste plagiarism.

[Dec 28, 2017] When GG acquired apparently exclusive stewardship of the Snowden trove, one of my first thoughts was, "If there's anything in Snowden's documents that contradict or cast doubt upon the official 9/11 narrative, Glenn will be careful to put it on the bottom of the pile and keep it there." I still believe this

Dec 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

@ WJ | 110

119

Sorry I can't help with your questions, but I concur with your hunches about the creation of Intercept.

Your reference to Intercept being set up "to block the inquiry into or exposure of special access Intel operations during or prior to 9/11 which would blow up entirely the official narrative of that epochal event" touches a nerve.

I was a regular reader and commenter at Glenn Greenwald's (GG) "Unclaimed Territory" blog, which was absorbed into the progressive-liberal lite Salon site. I even had a few brief but cordial e-mail exchanges with GG, since I diligently sent him (requested) private e-mail alerts to grammatical and syntactic errors in his prolific posts.

I sympathized with GG's early attempts to deal fairly with aggressive 9/11 Truthers monopolizing the comments; he personally moderated, and participated in, his comments threads. At first, GG's stance was "agnostic" towards 9/11 "Truther" theories, but he reasonably insisted that 9/11-related comments not be allowed to hijack every discussion.

But GG himself was not much of a 9/11 skeptic, and I soured on GG when he proved to be what I call a "Trutherphobe".

Before long, he became openly censorious and began removing both comments and commenters who insisted on mentioning 9/11, even if the 9/11 reference was germane to the topic. (Not me; I knew better than to push his buttons.) Also, GG adopted, or independently reached, what I call the "Chomsky Bubble" stance-- essentially, a sophisticated rationalization that amounts to "nothing to see here, move along."

Eventually, despite his efforts to seem nominally open-minded towards 9/11 skeptics, it became clear that to GG, pursuing 9/11 truth was both a distraction and a nuisance. 9/11 truth is simply not part of GG's agenda.

When GG acquired apparently exclusive stewardship of the Snowden trove, one of my first thoughts was, "If there's anything in Snowden's documents that contradict or cast doubt upon the official 9/11 narrative, Glenn will be careful to put it on the bottom of the pile and keep it there." I still believe this.

It's too late to blithely conclude "In short...", but all this to say that if you're correct, GG is just the person to put in charge of a modified limited hangout operation that, in part, suppresses 9/11 inquiry and truth.

[Dec 28, 2017] Was Snowden a double agent or not

Notable quotes:
"... I have always been flabbergasted about the naivety of the general public in regards to the abilities, capabilities and determination of the so called 'establishment' - aka Plutocracy, when it comes to the choice of means to achieve their psychopathic goals. What is out of reach, or undoable to those that willingly accept the death of millions of innocent people in the ME and the world over? ..."
"... The utter destruction of sovereign Nations that don't fall in line? Organizing coup d'etats like local fundraisers for soup kitchens? Looking at the track record of the American establishment, nothing, absolutely nothing is ever off the table. ..."
"... I'm always wary of talk about limited hangouts. A case can usually be made that such talk is itself intended for the same purpose - to lull the recipient into despair and passivity. ..."
"... And it WAS a secret weapon. It took a long time for this to become obvious. We see the media all along has been completely mediocre, but since it has long given wall-to-wall coverage, it never had to get very good in order to send the daily propaganda message. Come the Internet, everyone sees how sloppy the media's work is. But does this raise the quality of the media lies? It seems not - the opposite in fact, the readers get far smarter than the writers. ..."
"... The greatest trick the Devil pulled was not convincing the world he didn't exist, it was convincing the world that evil was clever, when in fact it's very mediocre. Evil performs badly. It will continue to perform badly. It can be resisted and overcome. This takes time. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Dec 26, 2017 8:34:55 PM | 57

Snowden went to established journalists because he wanted the story to get out. He also wanted them to be cautious and conservative, to redact whatever seemed damaging to operations or his country.

In my opinion, what the journalists did worked. And Snowden destroyed his own access to the materials.

My guess - purely a guess - is that Snowden was, and remains, quite satisfied with what happened and what got published. He never wanted operational FACTS to get out so much as he wanted the SCALE of what the US was doing to get out. In this matter, I'd call his entire effort a tremendous success.

Snowden's face and story went around the world and shook things up. Paradigms came crashing down. In my own personal case, the Snowden material showed me the scale of US adventurism, and the vast audacity of its criminality. It made it clear, in philosophical terms rather than evidentiary terms, that 9/11 could easily be an inside job. It took a change in the paradigms of the scale of corruption to open up that possibility for me. I'm sure it's done similar things for millions of people. Snowden was one of the few events I can think of that actually played out in the mainstream before anyone figured out how to shut it down - and the genie was out of the bottle.

We don't know what we've lost by not having the missing pages released. But I find it hard to think they could change paradigms any more than has already happened. There's a diminishing return here. Wikileaks publishes troves of material, but what paradigms get changed unless it plays in the mainstream? Manning with the video of the mercs shooting the civilians was the last time this happened, I think.

When it comes to seeing what's behind the curtain - which is precisely what the information war is about - the words and the details of the stories matter far less than the way that people's thinking gets changed.

~~

At Christmas I socialized with ordinary people. I learned that they believe the Russians interfered in the US election, and planted Trump. Bummer, but on the other hand, I could talk to everyone about the NSA getting my Facebook feed or my phone data, and there's full agreement, or at least no disagreement.

Snowden went into the culture. Russiagate is still playing out, and we don't yet know who will be the big loser in the belief system of the culture. I'm still willing to bet it's the mainstream media.

~~

Putin has said that Snowden didn't reveal anything that Russian intelligence didn't already know. Russia didn't want to harbor Snowden, but the US State Department forced the issue by revoking his passport while he was in the air terminal in Russia. The current asylum granted is for a 3-year period. I see no reason to make any change in this. It will be reviewed when it expires, and if Snowden is still a stateless political refugee, which seems very likely, than I imagine it will be renewed. Russia is a nation of laws.

Russia has little to do with Snowden. And even less to do with the US elections. Russia doesn't want confrontation, between anyone. Russia wants a world of no conflict, and every action it takes pursues this end. Russia will easily forego a cheap victory in order to gain a valuable cessation of hostilities. I believe Putin when he says that who won the US election was of no great importance to Russia - they would deal with whomever was there.

It's always important to understand that Russia is not playing a zero-sum game, nor is she playing to "win" against any other nation in geopolitics. Russia wins when other nations stop fighting. The lat thing she wants to do is interfere with the internal order of other countries. But she is rooting for the orderliness of each country.

~~

Sorry such a long comment.

karlof1 , Dec 26, 2017 9:31:54 PM | 63
Grieved @57--

Thanks for your nice long comment and its excellent observations. And Happy Holidays since I haven't wished them on you yet this year!

For me, Snowden's revelations were nothing new as I had already learned about Project Echelon , which by the end of the 1980s was global girding and mostly intent on industrial espionage as this summary at the link informs:

"The ECHELON program was created in the late 1960s to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War, and was formally established in 1971.[5][6]

"By the end of the 20th century, the system referred to as "ECHELON" had allegedly evolved beyond its military and diplomatic origins, to also become ' a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications' (mass surveillance and industrial espionage)."

Indeed, the extent of Echelon was available to the public--sort of--but there were very few publications about it, although that changed as the internet grew during the 1990s. So for me, Snowden's actions becoming headline news was more important than the content of his revelations as the slumbering public got slapped upside its collective head.

Another historical factoid of interest is FDR's meeting with media CEOs a few days prior to 7 Dec 1941, of which no transcript exists to my knowledge, although what was said can be inferred by subsequent actions by all the actors involved--there was no, zero, deviation from the official government line about the Day of Infamy, which was a prelude to media portrayal on 911.

Fundamentally, the bottom line is whenever interests between national governments diverge from those of their public, governments will lie every time--those two sets of policy HRC admitted she had for public versus private consumption. Although it's too soon to be certain, it appears that the leadership of Russia and China have learned the difficult lesson that the best policy is for the national government to be in sync with the interests of its citizenry, thus the philosophical adoption of Win/Win versus the Outlaw US Empire's Zero Sum game, which forms the basis for our ongoing Hybrid Third World War.

nottheonly1 , Dec 26, 2017 9:32:22 PM | 64
Pe entities at work that are not under the control of the Russian secret services. Here is a link to an article on RT.de about US Special Forces at the Russian Border
All we can do is assume.

@karlof1 #37

My favorite pet peeve is Bernays. Even those who are aware of his deplorable actions, seldom grasp just how devastating his selling out of the human psyche to corporations and the NSA/CIA really turned out to be. The man hated the masses and short of calling them 'useless eaters', he saw them solely as means to corporate profits.
His legacy is a citizen without any other rights than that to "go shopping".

Go Ask Alice tells us the latest story about how much the surveillance has advanced. The article is about some content provider with unknown identity. The core message though is about the NSA/FBI/CIA going after anybody that comments on the internet, provided certain keywords are triggered. While that has been known since Snowden, the masses suffer from short term memory loss. Any dissent to the establishment is noted. This proves that there is no more rule of common law and nothing resembling a democracy by a far shot. A Plutocratic dictatorship determined to destroy anybody that poses a threat to its existence.

Red Ryder , Dec 26, 2017 10:43:54 PM | 69
@66
"What would be the most sinister scenario in regards to Snowden and the NSA leak?"

That General Hayden gets his wish and kills Snowden. That's the most sinister.

If you meant, intrigue, double agent or useful idiot sort of thing, well, Snowden had no intention of running to China and definitely not to Russia.
The Intel Agencies would have loved if he ran straight to Moscow. But it didn't happen. So,we sort of know he wasn't "used". He was "allowed" because they had it covered when he handed off the purloined data.

What sort of encrypted communication did he use on that trip to Hong Kong? They knew what he was doing.
They tried for it to be an out-and-out treason case. Remember that they insisted the Chinese in Beijing had it all?
They they tried to generate the same with Russia and Putin when he landed in Moscow.

I find him to be a useful tool for everyone who wants something out of his adventure. People who think he's a hero have their hero. People who want him dead probably have some contract out on him. And others want him to be returned and prosecuted like Timothy McVeigh and executed.

Grieved indicated above @57, Snowden was in our culture now. He's an asterisk. Compare him to Daniel Ellsberg. You cannot. Ellsberg forced the country against the war machine, forced the NYTimes to grow a set of balls and publish the Papers, and he won against the Deep State who tried to destroy him. All the while he stood like a man of courage and didn't scurry around and lateral the papers off. They got published. He faced down the system and won a huge First Amendment battle.

I chalk up the differences as Snowden is a kid with a keyboard. Assange and Ellsberg are men. The latter really matter. Snowden is a very light symbol, at best. He embarrassed NSA and only exists today because of Putin and Russian values.

I guess Vietnam was the great Evil, and surveillance just doesn't match up against what that charnel house of napalm, carpet bombing, white phosphorus, Agent Orange and Agent Blue, Phoenix Program assassinations became.

Ellsberg was a true hero. I named my first son after him.

Penelope , Dec 26, 2017 11:46:12 PM | 76
The original 3 TV Networks were started by Intelligence figures. When the Church Committee documented that all 3 were controlled by the Rockefellers, Senator Nelson Rockefeller was able to limit the GPO printing of the report to less than 100 copies.
Time Warner was govt & military intelligence controlled since its founding in 1923 by Henry Luce, a Yale Skull & Bones guy from an intelligence family. His father was a spy in China pretending to be a missionary.

The German journalist Udo Ulfkotte wrote a book, Bought Journalists, in which he reported that every significant European journalist functions as a CIA asset.

It became even worse during the Clinton regime when six mega-media companies were permitted to acquire 90% of the US print, TV, radio, and entertainment media, a concentration that destroyed diversity and independence. Today the media throughout the Western world serves as a Propaganda Ministry for Washington. The Western media is Washington's Ministry of Truth.

At the top it isn't the case that the CIA controls the media; rather that the board of directors is named by the banksters and mega-rich. Like all the mega-corps, they are thoroughly controlled by the Usurpers. The CIA has always been their private police force for intell & enforcement at home and abroad.

To rule a world requires control of military force, of money, information, energy, and the elimination of private property. Everything else is distraction. Probably the end of net neutrality is important. The coming global digital money is catastrophic. Agenda 21 is the global dictatorship, and is already decreasing private property-- among other things. https://geopolitics.co/2015/04/09/the-true-purpose-of-agenda-21/ I recommend the video within it.

Grieved , Dec 27, 2017 1:08:11 AM | 77
@73 Mark - I cannot understand why Snowden doesn't have another copy to give to Wikileaks.

This is a crucial point. Edward Snowden chose not to possess the files after he had handed them off to the journalists. He wiped out his copy when they started to publish them. This was a deliberate choice, and part of an entire ethical view that Snowden held of the situation he was in, and the situation he had created.

If you can't understand why he held this view, then you have to ask him, or study his words. But rest assured that he didn't simply "fail" to have a backup copy in case his journalists chickened out or sold out their commitment. He was a geek. He wasn't a journalist. He wanted sensible journalists to handle the lifetime scoop that he was holding. In my view, he made an incredibly good choice.

Put yourself in his shoes. The path he had already walked just to get those files to those real-world journalists in Hong Kong was already a thousand times longer than anything that could possibly lie in front of him. All this talk about assets - like you can keep this kind of thing going: the man lived a lifetime in a few short years and did the best thing he could ever have conceived of.

He earned the space to delete the files and sit back for a while and watch things happen. He said he wanted the public to know, and the public to discuss - if he was wrong, so be it, but it was for the public to discuss, he always said.

Everything I've written here may not be true. But if it is true, then on the basis of this narrative of events, no one has any right to ask anything more of Snowden. He was the messenger who put his body in the circuit to complete the signal. We all gained. He gained nothing, except satisfaction of mission accomplished.

For me that's where his story ends. Greenwald, Intercept, oligarchs, slavery - these are all another story, and one that I'm focused on. But I choose to honor Snowden for the bravery of what he seems to have done, and if true that achievement scored so high that no amount of falling short can diminish it.

Peter AU 1 , Dec 27, 2017 1:38:17 AM | 79
78

Snowden confirmed the NSA files held by shadow brokers as genuine. How many years after destroying his copies? Snowden worked in US intelligence, perhaps just as a geek, but I don't see him destroying the only weapon he has against them.

psychohistorian , Dec 27, 2017 2:04:04 AM | 80
@ Grieved with recent support for Snowden

I agree and thank you for your words.

I haven't read here any discussion of the movie, SNOWDEN, produced by Oliver Stone. I saw it when it first came out. Is it on Netflix or other outlets yet? As movies go it fell short of a documentary. That said, it provides yet another potential thin-edge-of-a-wedge thought for the zombies that live among us.

The neurofeedback treatment that I am up to 132 session of has healed many people like Edward Snowden (with his reported epilepsy) and I hope he gets such soon in his life; us old folks are harder to heal. One of neurofeedback earliest successes was a woman with epilepsy who after being healed went out and got a drivers license.....can't find the source but this was 30-40 years ago

I consider Snowden to be a true American patriot. The American values that I was taught are in stark contrast to those exhibited by the God of Mammon cabal in control today. I don't believe that we are a bad species but sorely misdirected by something that can be "easily" changed. Look at the progress we have made as a species. Why do we let ourselves be limited in our development by centuries old conventions about who controls the tools of finance? How many wars would there be if money was a public utility?

Wake up zombies! It is time to change the world.

Thominus , Dec 27, 2017 2:52:00 AM | 81
What more revelations of Snowden's archive could possibly make any difference? It is already basically understood that the NSA, its contractors, and 5 eyes agencies "collect it all" illegally, with no meaningful oversight, to the degree that social media became their accomplice and extension, that they abuse this power and the constitution proudly and with impunity for any purposes and justifications they see fit, and so on, and the vast majority of citizens cower, or delude themselves with some comforting trust that it won't be used against them.

It has only proven that nothing will snap the majority ignorance from its coma.
No one with any voice - even those involved seem able to comprehend how vastly and deeply this will effect the free will of people, culture, and society - for that matter how it already has progressed to do so.

In the wake of the retroactive telcom immunity (which by definition is an admission of blatant criminality and conspiracy by and between both government and telcom corporations) The Snowden revalations couldn't have been more explicit, signifiacnt, or urgent. The people did nothing. Those minor percentage of us who bother to read and understand what is happening can chatter and pontificate all we want, because the ignorant majority hasn't the interest or energy to question the status quo. (they absoloutely have not the attention span to read a single Greenwald article) So really I can understand why there is no point releaseing the rest.

Snowden was the one upholding his oath to the constitution, against whose who systematically violated it, and he is called a traitor.

As far as RussiaGate being some sort of distraction from this - no more than a distraction from any other meaningful information that SHOULD be on people's minds.

brabantian , Dec 27, 2017 4:11:38 AM | 83
Regrettably, Moon of Alabama has not spotted what all major government intelligence agencies have known for a couple of years now ... European intel agency report - 'Edward Snowden & Glenn Greenwald are CIA frauds'
...
[copy of a Veterans Today nonsense piece deleted - b.]
V. Arnold , Dec 27, 2017 4:14:20 AM | 84
Peter AU 1 | Dec 27, 2017 1:38:17 AM | 80

Snowden didn't "destroy" anything. He gave it all to Greenwald in Hong Kong.
That way, nobody could coerce or otherwise intimidate him; as there were no files in his possesion.
Snowden himself clearly stated this fact.
That he landed in Russia is entirely the fault of the U.S. government (such as it is) by cancelling Snowden's passport enroute; this becomes ancient history in today's world...

Oh mercy; this is getting just too weird and woo, woo, for this one; later will be greater...

Posted by: V. Arnold , Dec 27, 2017 4:16:44 AM | 85

Oh mercy; this is getting just too weird and woo, woo, for this one; later will be greater...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 27, 2017 4:16:44 AM | 85 /div

V. Arnold , Dec 27, 2017 6:20:14 AM | 86
So, it seems Pierre Omidyar sold out Greenwald; that's just peachy...
john , Dec 27, 2017 6:40:27 AM | 87
the Snowden('snowed in') saga is yet to be written, or perhaps, like much verity, will NEVER be written. eluding the intelligence hounds for a couple of weeks while shooting a nice HD video with a couple of prominent journalists never passed my smell test...

,,,

...and what might seem a minor quibble with Grieved's:

Manning with the video of the mercs shooting the civilians was the last time this happened, I think

those weren't mercs, dude, they were US Army.

John , Dec 27, 2017 9:50:53 AM | 90
Re#56 - Grieved

I agree that the Snowden info was the paradym changer that showed to me in unmistakable imagery,
that my country was an outlaw nation hellbent on economic empire and had shifted from liberty to total
Control mechanisms.

The Snowden info together with the missing 28 pages from the 911 committee findings sent me on a
truth mission; reading everything from "CIA Rouges Killed JFK, Russ Baker's book on the Bush
family, to Fahrenheit 911.

This former Neocon keeps trying to wash himself in the pure waters of the truth but cannot wash clean his guilt
for once voting for and defending such trash.

So I continue reading sites like MOA and others seeking the truth and speaking out to those in my life.

john , Dec 27, 2017 10:11:12 AM | 91
John says:

I agree that the Snowden info was the paradym changer that showed to me in unmistakable imagery,
that my country was an outlaw nation hellbent on economic empire and had shifted from liberty to total
Control mechanisms

"Earth-shattering!" Bah! Humbug!

Penelope , Dec 27, 2017 11:09:22 AM | 95
Brabantian @ 83, Yes, the huge amount of publicity given Snowden was an obvious tip-off that he is a hoax. All other whistleblowers get no publicity at all. Plus, everything that Snowden "disclosed" was already known. Perhaps he's out there to give credibility to lies as yet untold. Already his "asylum" promotes the fiction of East vs West opposition. It is a play and we are the audience, stuck in Plato's cave.
wendy davis , Dec 27, 2017 12:00:01 PM | 98
'Snowden says he took no secret files to russia', NYSlimes 10/13

He argued that he had helped American national security by prompting a badly needed public debate about the scope of the intelligence effort. "The secret continuance of these programs represents a far greater danger than their disclosure," he said. He added that he had been more concerned that Americans had not been told about the N.S.A.'s reach than he was about any specific surveillance operation.

" So long as there's broad support amongst a people, it can be argued there's a level of legitimacy even to the most invasive and morally wrong program, as it was an informed and willing decision," he said . "However, programs that are implemented in secret, out of public oversight, lack that legitimacy, and that's a problem. It also represents a dangerous normalization of 'governing in the dark,' where decisions with enormous public impact occur without any public input."
Pffffft.

Zo, will congress renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Section 702 when they're back in town?

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/world/snowden-says-he-took-no-secret-files-to-russia.html

WJ , Dec 27, 2017 2:11:30 PM | 110
There's a lot going on in this post and comment thread. I have no strong opinion about the disputed status/role of either Snowden or Greenwald that are being discussed above, but I do think it very likely that the Intercept was originally started as what is often referred to (I believe following the Nixon tapes) as a "limited hangout" operation.

It was intended to "expose" certain truths the CIA/NSA knew were already implied by earlier revealed and published documents and by this means was to distract the public (as if) and journalists (all three of them) from probing more deeply into the history, scope, and current operations of these and related programs. I would not be surprised if it turned out somehow that the real objective of this was to block the inquiry into or exposure of special access Intel operations during or prior to 9/11 which would blow up entirely the official narrative of that epochal event.

But I would like to bring up one fact that bears on the ongoing discussion of Snowden and Greenwald but has not been mentioned yet (I believe) in this thread. That is the NSA's reported identification of (I believe) at least two other possible leakers or whistleblowers simultaneous with or just after Snowden. I recall there being several reports about the arrest or possible detainment of one possible leaker in particular whose identity has never (to my knowledge) come to light. Does anybody remember better than I do this intriguing but often forgot facet of the NSA / Snowden affair?

The existence, identity, and (unknown?) fate of this possible NSA leaker bears on the questions being asked above about Snowden and Greenwald in obvious ways. If there really was such a leaker or potential leaker who had at the time not yet been apprehended by the NSA, then it is at least certainly possible that Snowden's own leaks were co-opted (willingly or not) by the CIA/NSA to render the revelations of the other not-yet-identified leaker anticlimactic and redundant. In this way, it is possible that Snowden's leaks, as filtered through Greenwald, the Guardian, and the Post, were themselves a kind of limited hangout operation.

Note what they produced: Obama admitted a discussion was needed, Clapper was dutifully brought before Congress, lied to them, and was not punished at all for it, and some peripheral laws were tweaked (and then untweaked) to give the impression that something had been discovered, discussed, and addressed, with the hope that now everybody would stop thinking too much about the NSA etc. This is exactly what happened, and it's exactly what limited hangouts are designed to do.

I would be interested in hearing more information from others here about those one or two other unidentified NSA leakers. What ever happened with that story? Was the identity of both leakers ever revealed?

nottheonly1 , Dec 27, 2017 5:57:15 PM | 123
@Red Ryder #69
...

As many other here stated, what WAS revealed, to was already known to a large degree. What WAS revealed, did not stir up the public sentiment beyond a ripple. It is the absence of any whatsoever consequence to his revelations that does not make sense. For the first part, of his living here in Hawai'i and subcontractor work for the NSA via Booz Allen Hamilton, reads like a cheap version of a spy b-picture. Compared to the surrounding circumstances of Daniel Ellsberg, Snowden's story appeared to be staged - if only to me. The more became known, the less did people pay attention to Libya and Syria. The distractive value of the unfolding Snowden whistle blowing was enormous.

...

nottheonly1 , Dec 27, 2017 6:30:36 PM | 125
@Red Ryder #69
...

I have always been flabbergasted about the naivety of the general public in regards to the abilities, capabilities and determination of the so called 'establishment' - aka Plutocracy, when it comes to the choice of means to achieve their psychopathic goals. What is out of reach, or undoable to those that willingly accept the death of millions of innocent people in the ME and the world over?

The utter destruction of sovereign Nations that don't fall in line? Organizing coup d'etats like local fundraisers for soup kitchens? Looking at the track record of the American establishment, nothing, absolutely nothing is ever off the table.

A staged NSA leak story that turns out to become more inconceivable and more suspicious by the day. And it matters not. Not more than Assange spending his days in an Ecuadorian exile until the plot line demands to change.

Therefore, the most sinister scenario includes a wholly staged Snowden storyline, with the participation of Russia. This is not to say that this is the way it is, but not discounting the possibility that it could be. On more than one occasion, Russian behavior, be it either reactionary, or proactive has been inconclusive. A fool who would think that it is all just theater on the expense of millions of innocent people and humanity as a whole.

No one has ever been able to predict the future in detail. Mankind is left to make sense of the present and with constant misinformation and distraction, that appears to be impossible.

Thanks to You and the other knowledgeable commenters.

All the best for 2018.

fast freddy , Dec 27, 2017 6:44:05 PM | 126
There is a good case that both Snowjob and Assange are Limited Hangouts. Each has exposed little beyond that which was already known. Neither offers any criticism of Israel's occupation of Palestine and the Yinon Plan.

What they have done is to get the worlds' citizenry to understand that domestic surveillance is a normal condition which should be expected and accepted.

Grieved , Dec 27, 2017 7:45:07 PM | 132
@126 What they have done is to get the worlds' citizenry to understand that domestic surveillance is a normal condition which should be expected and accepted.

This could also be stated as, "What they have done is to get the worlds' citizenry to understand that domestic surveillance is a normal condition which should be expected and guarded against ."

I think the world has changed since Snowden. Within the IT community, the sense of security and its requirements has been changed. What's missing so far is a discernible response. Wait a few more short years, until Chinese computing oustrips western encryption by an order of magnitude, and sooner than that when Russian hardware and software made for the consumer market is invulnerable to NSA technology. There's no sense trying to protect oneself from NSA at present because it will only draw attention. But when the Russian kit is on the market, let's just see who in the west buys it. I predict large sales.

dh , Dec 27, 2017 7:52:50 PM | 133
@132 Didn't Kaspersky just get banned in the US?
Grieved , Dec 27, 2017 8:13:41 PM | 137
I'm always wary of talk about limited hangouts. A case can usually be made that such talk is itself intended for the same purpose - to lull the recipient into despair and passivity.

When we say that we've all been gamed by theater, it's another way of saying not to fight back. But the Devil doesn't get it all his way all the time. And the rulers of the Earth always have to work through agents, and they are so frigging human that plans often go slightly, or greatly, awry.

We see more botched conspiracy action than seems credible. So a case can be made that the carelessness itself is part of the subliminal message that resistance is futile. But is it really intentional, or is it simply making the best of a bad job? Was Kennedy really gunned down in daylight as a message to all of us that we'd better not resist, because the power was total? Or was it just the way the state criminals think, that the way to kill a president is the same playbook that always worked before, and still they botched the hit with all kinds of missed shots and clumsy actions? Their secret weapon was media complicity - this allowed a multitude of sins, and without it we'd have known 50 years ago who killed Kennedy.

And it WAS a secret weapon. It took a long time for this to become obvious. We see the media all along has been completely mediocre, but since it has long given wall-to-wall coverage, it never had to get very good in order to send the daily propaganda message. Come the Internet, everyone sees how sloppy the media's work is. But does this raise the quality of the media lies? It seems not - the opposite in fact, the readers get far smarter than the writers.

The greatest trick the Devil pulled was not convincing the world he didn't exist, it was convincing the world that evil was clever, when in fact it's very mediocre. Evil performs badly. It will continue to perform badly. It can be resisted and overcome. This takes time.

I always enjoy the words of fictional Lazarus Long: "Of course the game is rigged. But don't let that stop you playing. If you don't play, you can't win."

David Park , Dec 27, 2017 9:39:05 PM | 138
Here is my little experience with the surveillance state: I am a user of the Mathematica computer program developed and sold by Wolfram Research Inc. They have a web site for users to exchange information called Wolfram Community. It is mostly about asking and answering questions about the use of Mathematica or sharing Mathematica tricks. About a year ago a series of about half a dozen ads for programmers appeared which were clearly link to expanding the surveillance state. Here is one of them:

Programming Ad

I replied by quoting the U.S. Constitution 4th Amendment and saying "Yes it was relevant to the advertisement."

Within 10 minutes my reply was deleted. I received an email from Wolfram Research saying: "We work very hard to foster positive environment on Wolfram Community and cannot allow any discussions outside the Wolfram Community guidelines. This means discussions that stray way beyond Wolfram Technologies topics."

So what is positive about advertisements on a community forum for the surveillance state and what is negative about the 4th Amendment? And the advertisements had little direct relevance to Mathematica. But I suppose they had their reasons.

[Dec 27, 2017] The remarkable thing is to see the complete disappearance of the anti-war left.

Dec 27, 2017 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Christian Chuba , 26 December 2017 at 10:36 AM

A comment on Trump's national security doctrine, I read it as 'U.S. uber alles'.

The remarkable thing is to see the complete disappearance of the anti-war left. On CNN, their reaction was, Trump is talking the talk but not walking the walk. They were miffed that he had a polite phone conversation with Putin. It's not enough to send weapons to Ukraine, call the Russians and Chinese revisionist powers, have aggressive air patrols near Crimea, maintain sanctions in perpetuity, have a massive increase in Defense spending, and expand NATO, you have to be rude to Putin on every possible occasion, perhaps even allow a terrorist attack.

Some see this as a big fake out to satisfy the Neocons, he's got me eating grass too (picture Defensive End missing a Running Back in a football game). I guess we just have to wait to see what the next 3yrs bring.

BTW this link shows the flight pattern of U.S. surveillance aircraft as they take off from Bulgaria and fliesl along the coast of Sevastopol http://russia-insider.com/en/us-keeps-loitering-coast-russian-naval-base-sevastopol-russia-adds-second-s-400-air-defense-battery

Lyttenburgh , 26 December 2017 at 06:16 PM
On the new National Security Doctrine – excellent! The US does not mince words and states clearly, that both China and Russia are "resurgent" and "revisionist powers", who "threaten the world order". The US dominated unipolar world order that's it. Which, again, is true.

If Obama/Clinton had their way, Russia will be listed among the "threats to the national security" such as ISIL, Ebola and DPRK. Well – who remembers about Ebola's outbreak and ISIL is losing its memeticness by hour. The esteemed members of the establishment (the legislative branch) also would have liked to see Russia among such "top priority national security threats" as Iran and DPRK.

Instead we, Russia, are in China's company. Not bad, not bad at all. Cuz the US can't negotiate with Iran, North Korea and ISIL without losing a face. With China – now, here a sort of détente is possible.

D , 26 December 2017 at 07:23 PM
@EE

"Apparently they've collectively forgotten that it all started out as a con for the rubes."

Exactly. And that condition seems to appertain to the formation of most domestic and foreign policies emanating from Washington these day. That's what you get in a country where folks like to gorge themselves on the swill of cable news and talk radio.

[Dec 24, 2017] Evidence of Google blacklisting of left and progressive sites continues to mount - World Socialist Web Site

Notable quotes:
"... Psychology Today ..."
"... The WSWS will continue to expose and fight Google's program of political censorship, but we need the help of our readers. Please share this article by email and social media, ..."
"... donate to the WSWS ..."
"... sign up for email updates ..."
"... The author also recommends: ..."
Dec 24, 2017 | www.wsws.org

Evidence of Google blacklisting of left and progressive sites continues to mount

By Andre Damon
8 August 2017

A growing number of leading left-wing websites have confirmed that their search traffic from Google has plunged in recent months, adding to evidence that Google, under the cover of a fraudulent campaign against fake news, is implementing a program of systematic and widespread censorship.

Truthout, a not-for-profit news website that focuses on political, social, and ecological developments from a left progressive standpoint, had its readership plunge by 35 percent since April. The Real News , a nonprofit video news and documentary service, has had its search traffic fall by 37 percent. Another site, Common Dreams , last week told the WSWS that its search traffic had fallen by up to 50 percent.

As extreme as these sudden drops in search traffic are, they do not equal the nearly 70 percent drop in traffic from Google seen by the WSWS.

"This is political censorship of the worst sort; it's just an excuse to suppress political viewpoints," said Robert Epstein, a former editor in chief of Psychology Today and noted expert on Google.

Epstein said that at this point, the question was whether the WSWS had been flagged specifically by human evaluators employed by the search giant, or whether those evaluators had influenced the Google Search engine to demote left-wing sites. "What you don't know is whether this was the human evaluators who are demoting you, or whether it was the new algorithm they are training," Epstein said.

Richard Stallman, the world-renowned technology pioneer and a leader of the free software movement, said he had read the WSWS's coverage on Google's censorship of left-wing sites. He warned about the immense control exercised by Google over the Internet, saying, "For people's main way of finding articles about a topic to be run by a giant corporation creates an obvious potential for abuse."

According to data from the search optimization tool SEMRush, search traffic to Mr. Stallman's personal website, Stallman.org, fell by 24 percent, while traffic to gnu.org, operated by the Free Software Foundation, fell 19 percent.

Eric Maas, a search engine optimization consultant working in the San Francisco Bay area, said his team has surveyed a wide range of alternative news sites affected by changes in Google's algorithms since April. "While the update may be targeting specific site functions, there is evidence that this update is promoting only large mainstream news organizations. What I find problematic with this is that it appears that some sites have been targeted and others have not."

The massive drop in search traffic to the WSWS and other left-wing sites followed the implementation of changes in Google's search evaluation protocols. In a statement issued on April 25, Ben Gomes, the company's vice president for engineering, stated that Google's update of its search engine would block access to "offensive" sites, while working to surface more "authoritative content."

In a set of guidelines issued to Google evaluators in March, the company instructed its search evaluators to flag pages returning "conspiracy theories" or "upsetting" content unless "the query clearly indicates the user is seeking an alternative viewpoint."

The WSWS will continue to expose and fight Google's program of political censorship, but we need the help of our readers. Please share this article by email and social media, donate to the WSWS , and sign up for email updates .

The author also recommends:

Google blocked every one of the WSWS's 45 top search terms
[4 August 2017]

Google's new search protocol is restricting access to 13 leading socialist, progressive and anti-war web sites
[2 August 2017]

New Google algorithm restricts access to left-wing, progressive web sites
[27 July 2017]

[Dec 24, 2017] Next Phase in Forcing Biometric Tracking on Consumers by Don Quijones

Notable quotes:
"... representations ..."
"... By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at Wolf Street. Originally published at Wolf Street . ..."
"... By Don Quijones ..."
"... in vitro gametogenesis ..."
Dec 24, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Lambert here: Let's remember that these are not biometrics, but representations of biometrics, with varying degrees of granularity and quality. And not all metrics uniquely identify a person over their life-time; Yves points out that her gait has changed multiple times over her adult life.

By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at Wolf Street. Originally published at Wolf Street .

In 2018, banks in Mexico will face new regulations that will oblige them to collect biometric data (finger prints and iris scans) on all of their customers. Whenever a customer asks for a new home or car loan, cashes in a paycheck, applies for a credit card or opens a new savings account, the bank in question will have to request the customer's digital fingerprints and then match those fingerprints with data against information in the database of the National Electoral Institute.

Foreign-owned subsidiaries of global banks like BBVA and Citi are thrilled with the initiative arguing that it will help them combat identity theft. Most high street lenders in Mexico have already agreed to help build a single biometric database, says Marcos Martínez, president of Mexico's Banking Association (ABM).

The ultimate goal is to develop a unique identification system that will work alongside the government's national ID scheme, which is in the final stages of development. According to the former Secretary of Finance and Public Credit (and now presidential candidate for the governing PRI party), José Antonio Meade, by the summer of 2018 all Mexicans will have a single biometric identification number.

These developments are moving fast and quietly. And as is the case with biometric programs being tried and tested all over the world right now, from the uncharted backwaters of long-forgotten war zones to the bustling metropolises of the West or East, no one is being consulted along the way.

Most national passports these days include biometric data. Driver licenses in the US (which serve as de facto ID cards) already have them or soon will. Meanwhile, millions -- perhaps soon billions -- of people have volunteered their digital fingerprints to log into their smartphones and other digital devices. In other words, we're already giving away our most private data to work, communicate, cross borders or get on planes.

China has taken biometrics to a whole new level, using facial recognition technology to validate identities in virtually all forms of transaction, including the use of toilet paper in public bathrooms.

What sets the biometrics program in Mexico apart from what is happening in most other countries is that it is the country's financial regulators and private banks -- and not the government -- that are requiring this, though the government is not far behind. The development of a single biometrics database to be used by banks and other financial institutions raises serious questions about financial security as well as data privacy.

"Biometrics are tricky," Woodrow Hartzog, an Associate Professor of Law at Samford University told WIRED. "They can be great because they are really secure. It's hard to fake someone's ear, eye, gait, or other things that make an individual uniquely identifiable. But if a biometric is compromised, you're done. You can't get another ear."

Unfortunately, as recent data leaks have shown, most databases remain incredibly porous. In this year's hack of the U.S. consumer credit bureau Equifax , the personal data that was stolen included names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, mortgage data, and payment history data, including to utilities, wireless service providers, and the like.

This, in itself, is highly compromising data that can be of huge value in the wrong hands. But imagine what could have happened if the database had included U.S. consumers' most personal data of all -- the biological traits that make them unique?

If the United States' biggest consumer credit bureau can be hacked and key data on 143 million US consumers stolen with such apparent ease, what are the chances that a similar or even worse fate could befall Mexico's newly created biometrics data bank? It's not like Mexico is short of enterprising criminals with lots of liquid funds to hire gifted, mercenary hackers -- or pull off an inside job.

Hackers are already engineering ways to spoof biometric authentication. Researchers were able to break into Apple's Touch ID system with just a small piece of Play Doh.

The scariest thing about this mad rush by corporations, banks, credit card companies, governments and (yes!) some consumers to embrace biometrics is not the speed at which it's happening, which is scary enough, but the complete lack of public debate taking place about the thorny issues it throws up. Those include the threat it poses to privacy and anonymity, the fact that use of data about your body parts is largely unregulated (and many companies want to keep it that way), or the deceptively public nature of biometrics.

"A password is inherently private," says Alvaro Bedoya, Professor of Law at Georgetown University. "The whole point of a password is that you don't tell anyone about it. A credit card is inherently private in the sense that you only have one credit card."

Biometrics, on the other hand, are inherently public, he argues. "I do know what your ear looks like, if I meet you, and I can take a high resolution photo of it from afar," says Bedoya. "I know what your fingerprint looks like if we have a drink and you leave your fingerprints on the pint glass." And that makes them easy to hack. Or track.

But this juggernaut has now been put in motion, and it's unlikely to be stopped because the biggest benefits will be enjoyed by the governments, banks, and corporations that are busily rolling out these schemes for their own purposes. By Don Quijones .

Mark P. , December 24, 2017 at 7:37 am

Or consider DNA sampling-based biometric credentialization and put it together with possibilities of the technology of in vitro gametogenesis , which is coming down the line

'Disruptive reproductive technologies' by Cohen, Daly, Adashi
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/79fd/eca33b683e49e4bdeb898ec46ddd178a1f5b.pdf

'Babies From Skin Cells? Prospect Is Unsettling to Some Experts'
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/health/ivg-reproductive-technology.html

christine , December 24, 2017 at 7:52 am

Well, this isn't quite as frightening in Mexico as in other places because a large portion of the population doesn't even have bank accounts. The government tried to get them to open them and if they did, most of them were closed within a year. People don't trust banks. Much of Mexico, and not just the poor campesinos, pays in cash. I live here and my transactions are almost all in cash no official tracks, even my rent to my wealthy landlord. Many businesses/people, will not accept credit or debit cards. They don't have Smartphones either in many cases. San Miguel de Allende is putting in smart parking meters (ha, ha, ha..good luck with that) and they are having to figure out how employees who need to go downtown to Centro are going to manage without Smartphones. Mexico is more unruly for the rulers to manage than other more "civilized" places. I like it a lot for this and many other reasons.

SpringTexan , December 24, 2017 at 8:16 am

Thanks for the perspective, Christine. You are making me want to move to Mexico. :-)

QuarterBack , December 24, 2017 at 9:32 am

There is a systematic factor that is accelerating the demands on identification and authentication that is a byproduct from the double-edged sword of advancements in communications and information technology. From the earliest days of the printing press and the telegraph, these technologies have made it increasingly more possible to conduct business with people that you have never, and may never, meet. Computers and the Internet have affected a state change in commerce where it is now practical to interact with a counterparty that is not human at all.

The Internet is accelerating a 'disintermediation of everything' that will only increase the demand and importance of technologies to service identification and authentication.. identification is naming who (and now including what) is a actor in a process, and authentication is how that identification can be verified and trusted.

These concepts are not new. Early civilizations had this problem with messages carried from afar, and thence invented penned signatures, wax seals, passwords, and cyphers. Our modern Internet age has accelerated the speed and weight of reliance on theses transactions. Modern commerce has brought about technologies like biometrics and captchas.

Note that captchas are needed to address the new state change of commerce where is is necessary to discern between a human and robot. Biometrics are much more flawed and vulnerable than he marketplace comprehends, but the need for reliable machine identification and authentication is dangerously, potentially catastrophically, behind the curve. It is not hard to imagine the terrible ramifications of fly-by-wire systems responding to unauthorized control input. It is also now possible to convincingly fake human narratives, audio, and even visual representations of humans and physical events and surroundings. The level of fictional reality that can be used to control the herd, will make "fake news" look like a children's story.

oh , December 24, 2017 at 9:43 am

A few years ago I went into a USBank branch where I have an account to get a document notorized. The person who notarized my signature asked me for the fingerprint of my index finger. I felt it was unnecessay but I agreed. From that time on I've been going to the local credit union to get any document notarized.

I wonder who made these policies at USBank? Quite an invasion of one's privacy IMHO.

johnnygl , December 24, 2017 at 10:56 am

Another creepy thing usbank does is self-insures, with regard to health insurance. They collect employee premiums, and barely ever have to pay claims because they have hefty deductibles, co-insurance, and narrow networks. They had the horrible obama-care style plans BEFORE the HCA even got off the ground. And the bank gets to profit from them!

Anon , December 24, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Every employer with more than a certain amount of insurance-eligible employees (i.e. large and many medium-sized corporations) self-insures.

chuck roast , December 24, 2017 at 9:58 am

I called Fidelity a while back to clear up some financial business, and the fellow asked me if I wanted to participate in their voice recognition program whereby I would no longer need passwords. After I repacked my exploded head, I informed the poor soul that I considered the tenor of my voice to be of no concern to any corporation and to never ask me that question again.
We're doomed doomed.

MtnLife , December 24, 2017 at 10:04 am

I just met a woman whose entire car (IIRC it was a CRV) was controlled by biometrics. Her thumb unlocks her doors and trunk as well as starting the car. She said she got it because her significant other wouldn't let her drive his vehicle so she made it so he couldn't drive hers. Ridiculous if you ask me. No other people can drive the car or even go get something out of it for her because there is no key . No backup way to do anything outside of the dealership.

Lord Koos , December 24, 2017 at 1:31 pm

A very bad idea if there is an emergency

Jean , December 24, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Or she needs valet or attended parking lot parking. How do mechanics test drive the vehicle? Oh yeah, she's now stuck at the expensive Honda dealer that'll have a special override code instead of a cheaper local garage–which by the way can be used for maintenance without invalidating the warranty.

jsn , December 24, 2017 at 5:16 pm

I'll wager all the dealer has to do to access the car is plug in a usb cable and hit a few keys. They can likely hack in remotely and probably would if the woman called with the need. I'll bet that access is "really secure" too.

paddlingwithoutboats , December 24, 2017 at 10:06 am

"The scariest thing about this mad rush by corporations, banks, credit card companies, governments and (yes!) some consumers to embrace biometrics is not the speed at which it's happening, which is scary enough, but the complete lack of public debate taking place about the thorny issues it throws up. Those include the threat it poses to privacy and anonymity, the fact that use of data about your body parts is largely unregulated (and many companies want to keep it that way), or the deceptively public nature of biometrics."

Which leads to what happens when there is a mass hack and data catastrophe of these forms of personal identification? Well, it would be so easy to implement a more/more strategy of everyone must have implants now that their birth identifiers are hacked. Line 'em up for a li'l surgery and on we go.

Jake , December 24, 2017 at 10:48 am

Signatures? How are they considered as , public or private?

Joel , December 24, 2017 at 10:48 am

The phrase I don't see mentioned here is "two factor authentication." If the fingerprint is part of two factor authentication, there is no security issue.

That is, if the fingerprint requires a password for confirmation, the same way that an ATM card requires a password, then it's simply an extra layer of security on top of the password. Used that way, it is far more secure than passwords alone.

The real concern is yet more surveillance.

grayslady , December 24, 2017 at 10:54 am

Yesterday, I watched again Citizen Four . It's a movie I think everyone should watch once a year in order to remember that personal freedom is right up there with economic well-being in importance. Biometrics is a terrifying concept that brings far fewer benefits than risks.

Joel , December 24, 2017 at 12:20 pm

Whenever I am about to complain about customs and immigration and security hassles at an airport I think of all the hostility Laura Poitras and other brave activists have had to endure.

Jean , December 24, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Is there some reason that people cannot copyright their personal data?

[Dec 24, 2017] De Facto Travel Restrictions Now Exist For Americans by Paul Craig Roberts

Notable quotes:
"... Reprinted with permission from PaulCraigRoberts.org . ..."
Dec 21, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org
Green Party presidential Candidate Jill Stein is being investigated by the Senate Intelligence (sic) Committee for "Russian connections."

What has brought Russiagate to Jill Stein? The answer is that she attended the 10th Anniversary RT dinner in Moscow as did the notorious "Russian collaborator" US General Michael Flynn. RT is a news organization, a far better one than exists in the West, but if you were one of the many accomplished people who attended the anniversary dinner, you are regarded by Republican Senator Richard Burr from North Carolina as a possible Kremlin agent.

What is going on here? Stein sums it up: "we must guard against the potential for these investigations to be used to intimidate and silence principled opposition to the political establishment."

Here I sit considering two interesting invitations. One is to speak at the main Plenary Session of the Moscow Economic Forum in April. The other is to speak at the Summit for Global Challenges in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan in May. The very minute I accept, the NSA will notify its mouthpieces, the New York Times, PropOrNot's promoter the Washington Post, Senator Burr, and Special Russiagate Prosecutor Robert Mueller. Would I be renditioned to Israel or Eqypt or Saudi Arabia and tortured until I confessed that I was a member of the Trump-Flynn-Jill Stein Kremlin spy network?

As the United States is no longer a free country governed by a Constitution that protects civil liberty, that possibility cannot be discounted. What is for sure is that if I accept these invitations, the US Establishment will discredit my voice when I write about US/Russia relations. Indeed, that was the intention of the PropOrNot Washington Post story that attacked 200 truth-tellers as "Russian agents/dupes." Many of those so attacked have experienced slower growth in their readership. After all, Americans and Europeans are insouciant. They are actually sufficiently stupid to believe what governments and print and TV media tell them.

I, too, was invited to RT's 10th Anniversary celebration in Moscow. Imagining the celebration would be grand balls in palaces and myself, decked out in white tie with my French Legion of Honor dancing with those beautiful RT women, I almost accepted. But I learned in time that the event was conferences and speeches and decided to forego a Moscow winter.

Otherwise I would be in the dock with Trump, Flynn, and Jill Stein and whomever the Washington Gestapo settles on next.

Russiagate is an orchestrated hoax. That has now become so apparent that even insouciant Americans are catching on, even those low IQ ones who sit in front of TV news. I often disparage Congress, but here is a member who is admirable, Republican Representative Jim Jordan from Ohio.

Watch the short video and delight in the power and force with which Rep. Jordan goes after the piece of crap US deputy attorney general the Twitter President has in office. When the President of the United States has to rely on a congressman to call out the Justice Department and the FBI for its criminal actions and for its treason to overthrow both democracy and the elected government of the United States, you know we have elected a president who is too scared to defend himself. Roger Stone is correct, if Trump were a real man, Mueller, Comey, Hillary, Obama, and the rest of the criminal scum would be arrested, prosecuted and sentenced for their vast crimes, crimes that exceed those of anyone in prison today.

But Trump is nothing but talk. No action.

How much longer can I give interviews to Russian and Iranian media before the Washington Gestapo gives me a midnight knock on my door.

Whatever America is, it is not a free country.

If Trump wants to make America great again, he must shatter the CIA, FBI, NSA, and media into a thousand pieces. The concentrated power that President Eisenhower warned Americans about in 1961 is far too great for liberty to survive.

Instead, the weakest president in American history actually read the speech handed to him by the ruling neocon military/security complex and declared Russia and China inimical to Washington's interests.

Americans are too insouciant to understand it, but this was a declaration of war against two countries, which when combined are more than a match for Washington.

Neither Russia nor China, much less an alliance between them, will accept Washington's hegemony.

If the hubris-crazed fools in Washington persist, we are all going to die.

Reprinted with permission from PaulCraigRoberts.org .

[Dec 22, 2017] When Sanity Fails - The Mindset of the Ideological Drone by The Saker

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... North Korea's air defenses are so weak that we had to notify them we were flying B1 bombers near their airspace–they didn't even know our aircraft were coming. This reminds me of the "fearsome" Republican Guard that Saddam had in the Persian Gulf. Turns out we had total air superiority and just bombed the crap out of them and they surrendered in droves. ..."
"... We have already seen what happens when an army has huge amounts of outdated Soviet weaponry versus the most technologically advanced force in the world. It's a slaughter. Also, there has to be weaponry up the USA's sleeve that would be used in the event of an attack. Don't forget our cyber warfare abilities that would undoubtedly be implemented as well. This writer seems to always hype Russia's capabilities and denigrate the US's capabilities. Sure, Russia has the capacity to nuke the US into smithereens, and vice versa. But if its a head to head shooting war, the US and NATO would dominate. FACT. ..."
"... Commander's intent: ..."
"... Decapitate the top leadership and remove retaliatory capability. ..."
"... Massive missile/bombing campaign (including carpet) of top leadership locations, tactical missile locations and DMZ artillery belt. Destruction of surface fleet and air force. ..."
"... Advance into DMZ artillery belt up to a range of 240 mm cannon. Not further (local tactical considerations taken into account of course). ..."
"... Phase three: "break the enemy's will to fight" and destroy the "regime support infrastructure" ..."
"... I guess an American attack on North Korea would consist of preemptive strategic nuking to destroy the entire country before it can do anything. Since North Korea itself contributes essentially nothing to the world economy, no one would lose money. ..."
"... These examples perfectly illustrate the kind of mindset induced by what Professor John Marciano called "Empire as a way of life" [1] which is characterized by a set of basic characteristics: ..."
"... there has to be ..."
"... would undoubtedly ..."
"... the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts ..."
"... A perfect illustration of that is the famous quote " it became necessary to destroy the town to save it ..."
"... I watch CNN, but I'm not sure I can tell you, the difference in Iraq and Iran, but I know Jesus and I talk to God ..."
"... this applies to the vast majority of US politicians, decision-makers and elected officials, hence Putin's remark that " It's difficult to talk with people who confuse Austria and Australia ". ..."
"... As a result, there is no more discernible US diplomacy left: all the State Department does is deliver threats, ultimatums and condemnations. Meaningful *negotiations* have basically been removed form the US foreign policy toolkit. ..."
"... That belief is also the standard cop out in any conversation of morality, ethnics, or even the notions of right and wrong. An anti-religious view par excellence . ..."
"... The US policies towards Russia, China and Iran all have the potential of resulting in a disaster of major magnitude. The world is dealing with situation in which a completely delusional regime is threatening everybody with various degrees of confrontation. This is like being in the same room with a monkey playing with a hand grenade. Except for that hand grenade is nuclear. ..."
"... This situation places a special burden of responsibility on all other nations, especially those currently in Uncle Sam's cross-hairs, to act with restraint and utmost restraint. That is not fair, but life rarely is. It is all very well and easy to declare that force must be met by force and that the Empire interprets restraint as weakness until you realize that any miscalculation can result in the death of millions of people. I am therefore very happy that the DPRK is the only country which chose to resort to a policy of hyperbolic threats while Iran, Russia and China acted, and are still acting, with the utmost restraint. ..."
"... they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners ..."
"... If the U.S. attacks North Korea or Iran we will become a pariah among nations (especially once the pictures start pouring in). We will be loathed. Countries may very well decide that we are not worthy of having the world's reserve currency. In that case the dollar will collapse as will our economy. ..."
"... Maybe it's just me, but it seems that NK is just another tyranny in a long list of tyrannies throughout millennia, and like all of them it will just implode on its own. Therefore, the best thing you can do is simply to ignore it (thus denying the tyrant an external threat to rally the populace) and wait for the NK people to say enough is enough. ..."
"... I agree with the logic that as Americans become dumber the ability to have a powerful military also degrades, however an increasingly declining America also makes it more dangerous. As ever more ideologues rule the corridors of power and the generally stupid population that will consent to everything they are told, America will start involving itself in ever more reckless conflicts. This means they despite being a near idiocracy, the nuclear weapons and military bases all over world make America an ever greater threat for the world ..."
Dec 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

My recent analysis of the potential consequences of a US attack on the DPRK has elicited a wide range of reactions. There is one type of reaction which I find particularly interesting and most important and I would like to focus on it today: the ones which entirely dismissed my whole argument. The following is a selection of some of the most telling reactions of this kind:

Example 1:

North Korea's air defenses are so weak that we had to notify them we were flying B1 bombers near their airspace–they didn't even know our aircraft were coming. This reminds me of the "fearsome" Republican Guard that Saddam had in the Persian Gulf. Turns out we had total air superiority and just bombed the crap out of them and they surrendered in droves.

We have already seen what happens when an army has huge amounts of outdated Soviet weaponry versus the most technologically advanced force in the world. It's a slaughter. Also, there has to be weaponry up the USA's sleeve that would be used in the event of an attack. Don't forget our cyber warfare abilities that would undoubtedly be implemented as well. This writer seems to always hype Russia's capabilities and denigrate the US's capabilities. Sure, Russia has the capacity to nuke the US into smithereens, and vice versa. But if its a head to head shooting war, the US and NATO would dominate. FACT.

Example 2:

Commander's intent:

Decapitate the top leadership and remove retaliatory capability.

Execution:

Phase one:

Massive missile/bombing campaign (including carpet) of top leadership locations, tactical missile locations and DMZ artillery belt. Destruction of surface fleet and air force.

Phase two:

Advance into DMZ artillery belt up to a range of 240 mm cannon. Not further (local tactical considerations taken into account of course).

Phase three: "break the enemy's will to fight" and destroy the "regime support infrastructure"

Phase four: Regime change.

There you go .

Example 3:

I guess an American attack on North Korea would consist of preemptive strategic nuking to destroy the entire country before it can do anything. Since North Korea itself contributes essentially nothing to the world economy, no one would lose money.

These examples perfectly illustrate the kind of mindset induced by what Professor John Marciano called "Empire as a way of life" [1] which is characterized by a set of basic characteristics:

First foremost, simple, very simple one-sentence "arguments" . Gone are the days when argument were built in some logical sequence, when facts were established, then evaluated for their accuracy and relevance, then analyzed and then conclusions presented. Where in the past one argument per page or paragraph constituted the norm, we now have tweet-like 140 character statements which are more akin to shouted slogans than to arguments (no wonder that tweeting is something a bird does – hence the expression "bird brain"). You will see that kind of person writing what initially appears to be a paragraph, but when you look closer you realize that the paragraph is really little more than a sequence of independent statements and not really an argument of any type. A quasi-religious belief in one's superiority which is accepted as axiomatic .

Nothing new here: the Communists considered themselves as the superior for class reasons, the Nazis by reason of racial superiority, the US Americans just "because" – no explanation offered (I am not sure that this constitutes of form of progress). In the US case, that superiority is cultural, political, financial and, sometimes but not always, racial. This superiority is also technological, hence the " there has to be " or the " would undoubtedly " in the example #1 above. This is pure faith and not something which can be challenged by fact or logic. Contempt for all others . This really flows from #2 above. Example 3 basically declares all of North Korea (including its people) as worthless. This is where all the expressions like "sand niggers" "hadjis" and other "gooks" come from: the dehumanization of the "others" as a preparation for their for mass slaughter. Notice how in the example #2 the DPRK leaders are assumed to be totally impotent, dull and, above all, passive.

The notion that they might do something unexpected is never even considered (a classical recipe for military disaster, but more about that later). Contempt for rules, norms and laws . This notion is well expressed by the famous US 19th century slogan of " my country, right or wrong " but goes far beyond that as it also includes the belief that the USA has God-given (or equivalent) right to ignore international law, the public opinion of the rest of the planet or even the values underlying the documents which founded the USA. In fact, in the logic of such imperial drone the belief in US superiority actually serves as a premise to the conclusion that the USA has a "mission" or a "responsibility" to rule the world. This is "might makes right" elevated to the rank of dogma and, therefore, never challenged. A very high reliance on doublethink . Doublethink defined by Wikipedia as " the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts ".

A perfect illustration of that is the famous quote " it became necessary to destroy the town to save it ". Most US Americans are aware of the fact that US policies have resulted in them being hated worldwide, even amongst putatively allied or "protected" countries such as South Korea, Israel, Germany or Japan. Yet at the very same time, they continue to think that the USA should "defend" "allies", even if the latter can't wait for Uncle Sam's soldiers to pack and leave. Doublethink is also what makes it possible for ideological drones to be aware of the fact that the US has become a subservient Israeli colony while, at the same time, arguing for the support and financing of Israel.

A glorification of ignorance which is transformed into a sign of manliness and honesty. This is powerfully illustrated in the famous song " Where were you when the world stopped turning " whoso lyrics include the following words " I watch CNN, but I'm not sure I can tell you, the difference in Iraq and Iran, but I know Jesus and I talk to God " (notice how the title of the song suggests that New York is the center of the world, when when get hit, the world stops turning; also, no connection is made between watching CNN and not being able to tell two completely different countries apart). If this were limited to singers, then it would not be a problem, but this applies to the vast majority of US politicians, decision-makers and elected officials, hence Putin's remark that " It's difficult to talk with people who confuse Austria and Australia ".

As a result, there is no more discernible US diplomacy left: all the State Department does is deliver threats, ultimatums and condemnations. Meaningful *negotiations* have basically been removed form the US foreign policy toolkit.

A totally uncritical acceptance of ideologically correct narratives even when they are self-evidently nonsensical to an even superficial critical analysis. An great example of this kind of self-evidently stupid stories is all the nonsense about the Russians trying to meddle in US elections or the latest hysteria about relatively small-size military exercises in Russia .

The acceptance of the official 9/11 narrative is a perfect example of that. Something repeated by the "respectable" Ziomedia is accepted as dogma, no matter how self-evidently stupid. A profound belief that everything is measured in dollars . From this flow a number of corollary beliefs such as "US weapons are most expensive, they are therefore superior" or "everybody has his price" [aka "whom we can't kill we will simply buy"]. In my experience folks like these are absolutely unable to even imagine that some people might not motivated by greed or other egoistic interests: ideological drones project their own primitive motives unto everybody else with total confidence.

That belief is also the standard cop out in any conversation of morality, ethnics, or even the notions of right and wrong. An anti-religious view par excellence .

Notice the total absence of any more complex consideration which might require some degree of knowledge or expertise: the imperial mindset is not only ignoramus-compatible, it is ignoramus based . This is what Orwell was referring to in his famous book 1984 with the slogan "Ignorance is Strength". However, it goes way beyond simple ignorance of facts and includes the ability to "think in slogans" (example #2 is a prefect example of this).

There are, of course, many more psychological characteristics for the perfect "ideological drone", but the ones above already paint a pretty decent picture of the kind of person I am sure we all have seen many times over. What is crucial to understand about them is that even though they are far from being a majority, they compensate for that with a tremendous motivational drive. It might be due to a need to repeatedly reassert their certitudes or a way to cope with some deep-seated cognitive dissonance, but in my experience folks like that have energy levels that many sane people would envy. This is absolutely crucial to how the Empire, and any other oppressive regime, works: by repressing those who can understand a complex argument by means of those who cannot. Let me explain:

Unless there are mechanisms set in to prevent that, in a debate/dispute between an educated and intelligent person and an ideological drone the latter will always prevail because of the immense advantage the latter has over the former. Indeed, while the educated and intelligent person will be able to immediately identify numerous factual and logical gaps in his opponent's arguments, he will always need far more "space" to debunk the nonsense spewed by the drone than the drone who will simply dismiss every argument with one or several slogans. This is why I personally never debate or even talk with such people: it is utterly pointless.

As a result, a fact-based and logical argument now gets the same consideration and treatment as a collection of nonsensical slogans (political correctness mercilessly enforces that principle: you can't call an idiot and idiot any more). Falling education standards have resulted in a dramatic degradation of the public debate: to be well-educated, well-read, well-traveled, to speak several languages and feel comfortable in different cultures used to be considered a prerequisite to expressing an opinion, now they are all treated as superfluous and even useless characteristics. Actual, formal, expertise in a topic is now becoming extremely rare. A most interesting kind of illustration of this point can be found in this truly amazing video posted by Peter Schiff:

One could be tempted to conclude that this kind of 'debating' is a Black issue. It is not. The three quotes given at the beginning of this article are a good reminder of this (unless, of course, they were all written by Blacks, which we have no reason to believe).

Twitter might have done to minds what MTV has done to rock music: laid total waste to it.

Consequences:

There are a number of important consequences from the presence of such ideological drones in any society. The first one is that any ideology-based regime will always and easily find numerous spontaneous supporters who willingly collaborate with it. Combined with a completely subservient media, such drones form the rontline force of any ideological debate. For instance, a journalist can always be certain to easily find a done to interview, just as a politician can count on them to support him during a public speech or debate. The truth is that, unfortunately, we live in a society that places much more emphasis on the right to have an opinion than on the actual ability to form one .

By the way, the intellectually challenged always find a natural ally in the coward and the "follower" (as opposed to "leader types") because it is always much easier and safer to follow the herd and support the regime in power than to oppose it. You will always see "stupid drones" backed by "coward drones". As for the politicians , they naturally cater to all types of drones since they always provide a much bigger "bang for the buck" than those inclined to critical thinking whose loyalty to whatever "cause" is always dubious.

The drone-type of mindset also comes with some major weaknesses including a very high degree of predictability, an inability to learn from past mistakes, an inability to imagine somebody operating with a completely different set of motives and many others. One of the most interesting ones for those who actively resist the AngloZionist Empire is that the ideological drone has very little staying power because as soon as the real world, in all its beauty and complexity, comes crashing through the door of the drone's delusional and narrow imagination his cocky arrogance is almost instantaneously replaced by a total sense of panic and despair. I have had the chance to speak Russian officers who were present during the initial interrogation of US POWs in Iraq and they were absolutely amazed at how terrified and broken the US POWs immediately became (even though they were not mistreated in any way). It was as if they had no sense of risk at all, until it was too late and they were captured, at which point they inner strength instantly gave way abject terror. This is one of the reasons that the Empire cannot afford a protracted war: not because of casualty aversion as some suggest, but to keep the imperial delusions/illusions unchallenged by reality . As long as the defeat can be hidden or explained away, the Empire can fight on, but as soon as it becomes impossible to obfuscate the disaster the Empire has to simply declare victory and leave.

Thus we have a paradox here: the US military is superbly skilled at killing people in large numbers, but but not at winning wars . And yet, because this latter fact is easily dismissed on grounds #2 #5 and #7 above (all of them, really), failing to actually win wars does not really affect the US determination to initiate new wars, even potentially very dangerous ones. I would even argue that each defeat even strengthens the Empire's desire to show it power by hoping to finally identify one victim small enough to be convincingly defeated. The perfect example of that was Ronald Reagan's decision to invade Grenada right after the US Marines barracks bombing in Beirut. The fact that the invasion of Grenada was one of the worst military operations in world history did not prevent the US government from handing out more medals for it than the total number of people involved – such is the power of the drone-mindset!

We have another paradox here: history shows that if the US gets entangled in a military conflict it is most likely to end up defeated (if "not winning" is accepted as a euphemism for "losing"). And yet, the United States are also extremely hard to deter. This is not just a case of " Fools rush in where angels fear to tread " but the direct result of a form of conditioning which begins in grade schools. From the point of view of an empire, repeated but successfully concealed defeats are much preferable to the kind of mental paralysis induced in drone populations, at least temporarily, by well-publicized defeats . Likewise, when the loss of face is seen as a calamity much worse than body bags, lessons from the past are learned by academics and specialists, but not by the nation as a whole (there are numerous US academics and officers who have always known all of what I describe above, in fact – they were the ones who first taught me about it!).

If this was only limited to low-IQ drones this would not be as dangerous, but the problem is that words have their own power and that politicians and ideological drones jointly form a self-feeding positive feedback loop when the former lie to the latter only to then be bound by what they said which, in turn, brings them to join the ideological drones in a self-enclosed pseudo-reality of their own.

What all this means for North Korea and the rest of us

I hate to admit it, but I have to concede that there is a good argument to be made that all the over-the-top grandstanding and threatening by the North Koreans does make sense, at least to some degree. While for an educated and intelligent person threatening the continental United States with nuclear strikes might appear as the epitome of irresponsibility, this might well be the only way to warn the ideological drone types of the potential consequences of a US attack on the DPRK. Think of it: if you had to deter somebody with the set of beliefs outlined in #1 through #8 above, would you rather explain that a war on the Korean Peninsula would immediately involve the entire region or simple say "them crazy gook guys might just nuke the shit out of you!"? I think that the North Koreans might be forgiven for thinking that an ideological drone can only be deterred by primitive and vastly exaggerated threats.

Still, my strictly personal conclusion is that ideological drones are pretty much "argument proof" and that they cannot be swayed neither by primitive nor by sophisticated arguments. This is why I personally never directly engage them. But this is hardly an option for a country desperate to avoid a devastating war (the North Koreans have no illusions on that account as they, unlike most US Americans, remember the previous war in Korea).

But here is the worst aspect of it all: this is not only a North Korean problem

The US policies towards Russia, China and Iran all have the potential of resulting in a disaster of major magnitude. The world is dealing with situation in which a completely delusional regime is threatening everybody with various degrees of confrontation. This is like being in the same room with a monkey playing with a hand grenade. Except for that hand grenade is nuclear.

This situation places a special burden of responsibility on all other nations, especially those currently in Uncle Sam's cross-hairs, to act with restraint and utmost restraint. That is not fair, but life rarely is. It is all very well and easy to declare that force must be met by force and that the Empire interprets restraint as weakness until you realize that any miscalculation can result in the death of millions of people. I am therefore very happy that the DPRK is the only country which chose to resort to a policy of hyperbolic threats while Iran, Russia and China acted, and are still acting, with the utmost restraint.

In practical terms, there is no way for the rest of the planet to disarm the monkey. The only option is therefore to incapacitate the monkey itself or, alternatively, to create the conditions in which the monkey will be too busy with something else to pay attention to his grenade. An internal political crisis triggered by an external military defeat remains, I believe, the most likely and desirable scenario (see here if that topic is of interest to you). Still, the future is impossible to predict and, as the Quran says, " they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners ". All we can do is try to mitigate the impact of the ideological drones on our society as much as we can, primarily by *not* engaging them and limiting our interaction with those still capable of critical thought. It is by excluding ideological drones from the debate about the future of our world that we can create a better environment for those truly seeking solutions to our current predicament.

-- -- -

1. If you have not listened to his lectures on this topic, which I highly recommend, you can find them here:

Paul b , December 22, 2017 at 12:28 pm GMT

If the U.S. attacks North Korea or Iran we will become a pariah among nations (especially once the pictures start pouring in). We will be loathed. Countries may very well decide that we are not worthy of having the world's reserve currency. In that case the dollar will collapse as will our economy.
Third world nationalist , December 22, 2017 at 12:36 pm GMT
North Korea is a nationalistic country that traces their race back to antiquity. America on the other hand is a degenerated country that is ruled over by Jews. The flag waving American s may call the Koreans gooks but if we apply the American racial ideology on themselves, the Americans are the the 56percent Untermensch. While the north Koreans are superior for having rejected modern degeneracy.
Andrei Martyanov , Website December 22, 2017 at 2:08 pm GMT

that the Empire interprets restraint as weakness

A key point, which signifies a serious cultural degeneration from values of chivalry and honoring the opposite side to a very Asiatic MO which absolutely rules current US establishment. This, and, of course, complete detachment from the realities of the warfare.

Sean , December 22, 2017 at 2:48 pm GMT
It is all talk, because China makes them invulnerable to sanctions and NK has nukes. The US will have to go to China to deal with NK and China will want to continue economically raping the US in exchange. That is why China gave NK an H bomb and ICBM tech ( it's known to have gave those same things to Pakistan). The real action will be in the Middle East. The Saudi are counting on the US giving them CO2 fracking in the future, and Iran being toppled soon. William S. Lind says Iran will be hit by Trump and Israel will use the ensuing chaos to expel the West Bank Palestinians (back to the country whose passports they travel on).
VICB3 , December 22, 2017 at 4:49 pm GMT

Maybe it's just me, but it seems that NK is just another tyranny in a long list of tyrannies throughout millennia, and like all of them it will just implode on its own. Therefore, the best thing you can do is simply to ignore it (thus denying the tyrant an external threat to rally the populace) and wait for the NK people to say enough is enough.

Don't think that would ever happen? Reference 'How Tyrannies Implode' by Richard Fernandez: https://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2016/02/27/how-tyrannies-implode/?print=true&singlepage=true

There's no doubt in my mind that Kim will end up like Nikolae Ceaușescu in Romania, put up against a wall by his own military and shot on TV. All anyone has to do is be patient and not drink the Rah-Rah Kool-Aid.*

Just a thought.

VicB3

*Was talking with a 82nd Major at the Starbucks, and mentioned NK, Ceausecu, sitting tight, etc. (Mentioned we might help things along by blanketing the whole country with netbooks, wi-fi, and even small arms.) Got the careerist ladder- climber standard response of how advanced our weapons are, the people in charge know what they're doing, blah blah blah. Wouldn't even consider an alternative view (and didn't know or understand half of what I was talking about). It was the same response I got from an Air Force Colonel before the U.S. went into Afghanistan and Iraq and I told him the whole thing was/would be insanely stupid.

His party-line team-player response was when I knew for certain that any action in NK would/will fail spectacularly for the U.S., possibly even resulting in and economic collapse and civil war/revolution on this end.

Wish I didn't think that, but I do.

pyrrhus , December 22, 2017 at 5:03 pm GMT
Excellent post. But the US public education "system", while awful, is not the main reason that America is increasingly packed with drones and idiots. IQ is decreasing rapidly, as revealed in the College Board's data on SAT scores over the last 60 years .In addition, Dr. James Thompson has a Dec.15 post on Unz that shows a shocking decline in the ability of UK children to understand basic principles of physics, which are usually acquired on a developmental curve. Mike Judge's movie 'Idiocracy' appears to have been set unrealistically far in the future ..
In short, the current situation can and will get a lot worse in America. On the other hand, America's armed forces will be deteriorating apace, so they are becoming less dangerous to the rest of the world.
anonymous , Disclaimer December 22, 2017 at 6:10 pm GMT
The good thing about democracy is that anyone can express an opinion. The bad thing about democracy is that anyone can express an opinion. I have to laugh at all the internet commandos and wannabe Napoleons that roost on the internet giving us their advice. It's easy to cherrypick opinions that range from uninformed to downright stupid and bizarre. Those people don't actually run anything though, fortunately. Keep in mind that half the population is mentally average or below average and that average is quite mediocre. Throw in a few degrees above mediocre and you've got a majority, a majority that can and is regularly bamboozled. The majority of the population is just there to pay taxes and provide cannon fodder, that's all, like a farmer's herd of cows provides for his support. Ideological drones are desired in this case. It's my suspicion that the educational system is geared towards producing such a product as well as all other aspects of popular culture also induce stupefying effects. Insofar as American policy goes, look at what it actually does rather than what it says, the latter being a form of show biz playing to a domestic audience. I just skip the more obnoxious commenters since they're just annoying and add nothing but confusion to any discussion.
Randal , December 22, 2017 at 6:41 pm GMT
@VICB3

but it seems that NK is just another tyranny in a long list of tyrannies throughout millennia, and like all of them it will just implode on its own
.
There's no doubt in my mind that Kim will end up like Nikolae Ceaușescu in Romania, put up against a wall by his own military and shot on TV.

All things come to an end eventually, and I agree with you that the best course of action for the US over NK would be to leave it alone (and stop poking it), but this idea that "tyrannies always collapse" seems pretty unsupported by reality.

Off the top of my head all of the following autocrats died more or less peacefully in office and handed their "tyranny" on intact to a successor, just in the past few decades: Mao, Castro, Franco, Stalin, Assad senior, two successive Kims (so much for the assumption that the latest Kim will necessarily end up like Ceausescu). In the past, if a tyrant and his tyranny lasted long enough and arranged a good succession, it often came to be remembered as a golden age, as with the Roman, Augustus.

I suspect it might be a matter of you having a rather selective idea of what counts as a tyranny (I wouldn't count Franco in that list, myself, but establishment opinion is against me there, I think). You might be selectively remembering only the tyrannies that came to a bad end.

neutral , December 22, 2017 at 7:24 pm GMT
@pyrrhus

so they are becoming less dangerous to the rest of the world

I agree with the logic that as Americans become dumber the ability to have a powerful military also degrades, however an increasingly declining America also makes it more dangerous. As ever more ideologues rule the corridors of power and the generally stupid population that will consent to everything they are told, America will start involving itself in ever more reckless conflicts. This means they despite being a near idiocracy, the nuclear weapons and military bases all over world make America an ever greater threat for the world.

neutral , December 22, 2017 at 7:35 pm GMT

The good thing about democracy is that anyone can express an opinion.

Not sure if this is a joke or not. In case you are serious, you clearly have not been following the news, from USA to Germany all these so called democracies have been undertaking massive censorship operations. From jailing people to shutting down online conversations to ordering news to not report on things that threaten their power.

Dana Thompson , December 22, 2017 at 9:37 pm GMT
A bizarre posting utterly detached from reality. Don't you understand that if a blustering lunatic presses a megaton-pistol against our collective foreheads and threatens to pull the trigger, it represents a very disquieting situation? And if we contemplate actions that would cause a million utterly harmless and innocent Koreans to be incinerated, to prevent a million of our own brains from being blown out, aren't we allowed to do so without being accused of being vile bigots that think yellow gook lives are worthless? Aren't we entitled to any instinct of self preservation at all?
What the Korean situation obviously entails is a high-stakes experiment in human psychology. All that attention-seeking little freak probably wants is to be treated with respect, and like somebody important. Trump started out in a sensible way, by treating Kim courteously, but for that he was pilloried by the insanely-partisan opposition within his own party – McCain I'm mainly thinking of. That's the true obstacle to a sane resolution of the problem. I say if the twerp would feel good if we gave him a tickertape parade down Fifth Avenue and a day pass to Disneyland, we should do so – it's small enough a concession in view of what's at stake. But if rabid congress-critters obstruct propitiation, then intimidation and even preemptive megadeath may be all that's left.
peterAUS , December 22, 2017 at 10:37 pm GMT
@Dana Thompson

Agree.

I suspect the true conversation about the topic will start when all that becomes really serious. I mean more serious than posting the latest selfie on a Facebook. Hangs around that warhead miniaturization/hardening timetable, IMHO. Maybe too late then.

VICB3 , December 23, 2017 at 12:07 am GMT
@Randal

Just be patient.

Also, one man's tyranny is another mans return to stability. For better or worse, Mao got rid of the Warlords. Franco got rid of the Communists and kept Spain out of WWII. The Assads are Baath Party and both secular and modernizers.

Stalin? Depends on who you talk to, but the Russians do like a strong hand.

Kim? His people only have to look West to China and Russia, or def. to the South, to know that things could be much better. And more and more he can't control the flow of information. That, and the rank and file of his army have roundworms. And guns.

At some point, the light comes on. And that same rank and file with guns tells itself "You know, we could be doing better."

And then it's "Live on TV Time!"

Hope this helps.

Just a thought.

VicB3

Santoculto , December 23, 2017 at 12:27 am GMT
Double think is not just a question of ignorance or self contradiction because often it's important to make people embrace COMPLEXITY instead CONFUSION believing the late it's basically the first

METWO#

Erebus , December 23, 2017 at 12:59 am GMT
@peterAUS

Saker and his legion of fanboys here didn't "attack" the text but the writer.

In the first place, there's nothing in the text to "attack". It's a laundry list of disconnected slogans and so is not a different point of view at all. Released from the confines of the author's gamer world, it evaporates into nothing. I pointed this out to you at some length elsewhere.

In the second, it appears you missed the point of the article. Hint: it's stated in the title. The article's about the mindsets of the authors of such "texts", and not about the texts themselves.

It appears that I am sort of a "dissident" here.

You flatter yourself. To be a dissident requires, at the very least, comprehension of the argument one is disagreeing with. Your "texts" are the equivalent of shouting slogans and waving placards. It may work for a street protest, but is totally out of place on a webzine discussion forum. Hence your screeds here do not constitute real dissension, but trolling.

Simple, really.

[Dec 22, 2017] Facebook Handing Over More Info To US Government This Is What Facebook Was Designed To Do Zero Hedge

Dec 22, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

Every year, Facebook gets tens of thousands of requests for data from governments worldwide , including search warrants, subpoenas, or calls to restrict certain kinds of content. And, according to a new report, those requests are increasing at an alarming rate.

According to QZ.com , in the United States, the requests rose by 26% from the last six months of 2016 to the first six months of 2017, while globally, requests increased by about 21%. Since 2013, when the company first started providing data on government requests, the US number has been steadily rising - it has roughly tripled in a period of four years.

This is alarming many and causing a concern about privacy. Joe Joseph, from the Daily Sheeple , isn't sugarcoating the reality of Facebook either. "Duh. This is exactly what Facebook was designed to do," says Joseph.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/MExnMcgiMk0

"You have to remember that Zuckerberg had "seed money" and that seed money came from CIA front companies that put a lot of resources into this and basically think about it as like, sowing seeds; if you will. They knew that Facebook was gonna bear fruit.

I don't think they realized just how big it would become. But I can tell you that they get so much information and intel from social media: I don't think that it would go away even if we wanted it to ."

The government keeps requesting the information, and Facebook continues to comply with the government's demands.

In the first six months of 2013, it granted the government - which includes the police - 79% of requests ("some data was produced" in these cases, the company says); in the first six months of 2017, that share rose to 85%. "We continue to carefully scrutinize each request we receive for account data -- whether from an authority in the U.S., Europe, or elsewhere -- to make sure it is legally sufficient," Chris Sonderby, the company's general counsel, wrote in a post . "If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back, and will fight in court, if necessary."

But Joseph thinks Facebook is just trying to pacify the easily manipulated sheeple of society.

"This is pretty troubling when you think about what you put out there, what they collect, and Facebook only being one of the many avenues that they have," Joseph says.

"The United States is collecting your data. Whether you like it or not. They are scooping up everything. And they're taking it and they're storing it in their facility at Bluffdale, Utah which has the capacity at this time to store every communication on the face of this earth for the next one hundred years."

"It's unbelievable," Joseph continues. "This is stuff that is unacceptable to me, but I'm sure, to a lot of you. And these companies have really gone too far they can reconstruct your life and make anyone they want a patsy ."

[Dec 20, 2017] It seems like the intelligence agencies are spending more time monitoring politicians and public than Al Queda.

Notable quotes:
"... Freedom Watch lawyer Larry Klayman has a whistle-blower who has stated on the record, publicly, he has 47 hard drives with over 600,000,00 pages of secret CIA documents that detail all the domestic spying operations, and likely much much more. ..."
"... The rabbit hole goes very deep here. Attorney Klayman has stated he has been trying to out this for 2 years, and was stonewalled by swamp creatures, so he threatened to go public this week. Several very interesting videos, and a public letter, are out there, detailing all this. Nunes very likely saw his own conversations transcripted from surveillance taken at Trump Tower (he was part of the transition team), and realized the jig was up. Melania has moved out of Trump Tower to stay elsewhere, I am sure after finding out that many people in Washington where watching them at home in their private residence, whichi is also why Pres Trump sent out those famous angry tweets 2 weeks ago. Democrats on the Committee (and many others) are liars, and very possibly traitors, which is probably why Nunes neglected to inform them. Nunes did follow proper procedures, notifying Ryan first etc, you can ignore the MSM bluster there ..observe Nunes body language in the 2 videos of his dual press briefings he gave today, he appears shocked, angry, disturbed etc. ..."
"... This all stems from Obama's Jan 16 signing of the order broadening "co-operation" between the NSA and everybody else in Washington, so that mid-level analysts at almost any agency could now look at raw NSA intercepts, that is where all the "leaks" and "unmasking" are coming from. ..."
"... AG Lynch, Obama, and countless others knew, or should have known, all about this, but I am sure they will play the usual "I was too stupid too know what was going on in my own organization" card. ..."
Mar 23, 2017 |
fresno dan March 22, 2017 at 6:56 pm

So I see where Nunes in a ZeroHedge posting says that there might have been "incidental surveillance" of "Trump" (?Trump associates? ?Trump tower? ?Trump campaign?)
Now to the average NC reader, it kinda goes without saying. But I don't think Trump understands the scope of US government "surveillance" and I don't think the average citizen, certainly not the average Trump supporter, does either – the nuances and subtleties of it – the supposed "safeguards".

I can understand the rationale for it .but this goes to show that when you give people an opportunity to use secret information for their own purposes .they will use secret information for their own purposes.

And at some point, the fact of the matter that the law regarding the "incidental" leaking appears to have been broken, and that this leaking IMHO was purposefully broken for political purposes .is going to come to the fore. Like bringing up "fake news" – some of these people on the anti Trump side seem not just incapable of playing 11th dimensional chess, they seem incapable of winning tic tac toe .

Was Obama behind it? I doubt it and I don't think it would be provable. But it seems like the intelligence agencies are spending more time monitoring repubs than Al queda. Now maybe repubs are worse than Al queda – I think its time we have a real debate instead of the pseudo debates and start asking how useful the CIA is REALLY. (and we can ask how useful repubs and dems are too)

craazyboy March 22, 2017 at 8:45 pm

If Obama taped the information, stuffed the tape in one of Michelle's shoeboxes, then hid the shoebox in the Whitehouse basement, he could be in trouble. Ivanka is sure to search any shoeboxes she finds.

Irredeemable Deplorable March 23, 2017 at 2:57 am

Oh the Trump supporters are all over this, don't worry. There are many more levels to what is going on than what is reported in the fakenews MSM.

Adm Roger of NSA made his November visit to Trump Tower, after a SCIF was installed there, to .be interviewed for a job uh-huh yeah.

Freedom Watch lawyer Larry Klayman has a whistle-blower who has stated on the record, publicly, he has 47 hard drives with over 600,000,00 pages of secret CIA documents that detail all the domestic spying operations, and likely much much more.

The rabbit hole goes very deep here. Attorney Klayman has stated he has been trying to out this for 2 years, and was stonewalled by swamp creatures, so he threatened to go public this week. Several very interesting videos, and a public letter, are out there, detailing all this. Nunes very likely saw his own conversations transcripted from surveillance taken at Trump Tower (he was part of the transition team), and realized the jig was up. Melania has moved out of Trump Tower to stay elsewhere, I am sure after finding out that many people in Washington where watching them at home in their private residence, whichi is also why Pres Trump sent out those famous angry tweets 2 weeks ago. Democrats on the Committee (and many others) are liars, and very possibly traitors, which is probably why Nunes neglected to inform them. Nunes did follow proper procedures, notifying Ryan first etc, you can ignore the MSM bluster there ..observe Nunes body language in the 2 videos of his dual press briefings he gave today, he appears shocked, angry, disturbed etc.

You all should be happy, because although Pres Trump has been vindicated here on all counts, the more important story for you is that the old line Democratic Party looks about to sink under the wieght of thier own lies and illegalities. This all stems from Obama's Jan 16 signing of the order broadening "co-operation" between the NSA and everybody else in Washington, so that mid-level analysts at almost any agency could now look at raw NSA intercepts, that is where all the "leaks" and "unmasking" are coming from.

AG Lynch, Obama, and countless others knew, or should have known, all about this, but I am sure they will play the usual "I was too stupid too know what was going on in my own organization" card.

Lambert Strether Post author March 23, 2017 at 4:08 am

> Was Obama behind it? I doubt it and I don't think it would be provable

I think he knew about it. After fulminating about weedy technicalities, let me just say that Obama's EO12333 expansion made sure that whatever anti-Trump information got picked up by the intelligence community could be spread widely, and would be hard to trace back to an individual source .

[Dec 19, 2017] Do not Underestimate the Power of Microfoundations

Highly recommended!
Nice illustration of ideologically based ostrakism as practiced in Academia: "Larry [Summers] leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People - powerful people - listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: they don't criticize other insiders."
Notable quotes:
"... A more probable school of thought is that this game was created as a con and a cover for the status quo capitalist establishment to indulge themselves in their hard money and liquidity fetishes, consequences be damned. ..."
"... The arguments over internal and external consistency of models is just a convenient misdirection from what policy makers are willing to risk and whose interests they are willing to risk policy decisions for ..."
"... Mathematical masturbations are just a smoke screen used to conceal a simple fact that those "economists" are simply banking oligarchy stooges. Hired for the specific purpose to provide a theoretical foundation for revanschism of financial oligarchy after New Deal run into problems. Revanschism that occurred in a form of installing neoliberal ideology in the USA in exactly the same role which Marxism was installed in the USSR. With "iron hand in velvet gloves" type of repressive apparatus to enforce it on each and every university student and thus to ensure the continues, recurrent brainwashing much like with Marxism on the USSR universities. ..."
"... To ensure continuation of power of "nomenklatura" in the first case and banking oligarchy in the second. Connections with reality be damned. Money does not smell. ..."
"... Economic departments fifth column of neoliberal stooges is paid very good money for their service of promoting and sustaining this edifice of neoliberal propaganda. Just look at Greg Mankiw and Rubin's boys. ..."
"... "Larry [Summers] leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People - powerful people - listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: they don't criticize other insiders." ..."
Apr 04, 2015 | Economist's View

Darryl FKA Ron -> pgl...

At the risk of oversimplifying might it not be as simple as stronger leanings towards IS-LM and kind are indicative of a bias towards full employment and stronger leanings towards DSGE, microfoundations, and kind are indicative of a bias towards low inflation?

IN general I consider over-simplification a fault, if and only if, it is a rigidly adhered to final position. This is to say that over-simplification is always a good starting point and never a good ending point. If in the end your problem was simple to begin with, then the simplified answer would not be OVER-simplified anyway. It is just as bad to over-complicate a simple problem as it is to over-simplify a complex problem. It is easier to build complexity on top of a simple foundation than it is to extract simplicity from a complex foundation.

A lot of the Chicago School initiative into microfoundations and DSGE may have been motivated by a desire to bind Keynes in a NAIRU straight-jacket. Even though economic policy making is largely done just one step at a time then that is still one step too much if it might violate rentier interests.

Darryl FKA Ron -> Barry...

There are two possible (but unlikely) schools of (generously attributed to as) thought for which internal consistency might take precedence over external consistency. One such school wants to consider what would be best in a perfect world full of perfect people and then just assume that is best for the real world just to let the chips fall where they may according to the faults and imperfections of the real world. The second such school is the one whose eyes just glaze over mesmerized by how over their heads they are and remain affraid to ask any question lest they appear stupid.

A more probable school of thought is that this game was created as a con and a cover for the status quo capitalist establishment to indulge themselves in their hard money and liquidity fetishes, consequences be damned.

Richard H. Serlin

Consistency sounds so good, Oh, of course we want consistency, who wouldn't?! But consistent in what way? What exactly do you mean? Consistent with reality, or consistent with people all being superhumans? Which concept is usually more useful, or more useful for the task at hand?

Essentially, they want models that are consistent with only certain things, and often because this makes their preferred ideology look far better. They want models, typically, that are consistent with everyone in the world having perfect expertise in every subject there is, from finance to medicine to engineering, perfect public information, and perfect self-discipline, and usually on top, frictionless and perfectly complete markets, often perfectly competitive too.

But a big thing to note is that perfectly consistent people means a level of perfection in expertise, public information, self-discipline, and "rationality", that's extremely at odds with how people actually are. And as a result, this can make the model extremely misleading if it's interpreted very literally (as so often it is, especially by freshwater economists), or taken as The Truth, as Paul Krugman puts it.

You get things like the equity premium "puzzle", which involves why people don't invest more in stocks when the risk-adjusted return appears to usually be so abnormally good, and this "puzzle" can only be answered with "consistency", that people are all perfectly expert in finance, with perfect information, so they must have some mysterious hidden good reason. It can't be at all that it's because 65% of people answered incorrectly when asked how many reindeer would remain if Santa had to lay off 25% of his eight reindeer ( http://richardhserlin.blogspot.com/2013/12/surveys-showing-massive-ignorance-and.html ).

Yes, these perfect optimizer consistency models can give useful insights, and help to see what is best, what we can do better, and they can, in some cases, be good as approximations. But to say they should be used only, and interpreted literally, is, well, inconsistent with optimal, rational behavior -- of the economist using them.

Richard H. Serlin -> Richard H. Serlin...
Of course, unless the economist using them is doing so to mislead people into supporting his libertarian/plutocratic ideology.

dilbert dogbert

As an old broken down mech engineer, I wonder why all the pissing and moaning about micro foundations vs aggregation. In strength of materials equations that aggregate properties work quite well within the boundaries of the questions to be answered. We all know that at the level of crystals, materials have much complexity. Even within crystals there is deeper complexities down to the molecular levels. However, the addition of quantum mechanics adds no usable information about what materials to build a bridge with.

But, when working at the scale of the most advanced computer chips quantum mechanics is required. WTF! I guess in economics there is no quantum mechanics theories or even reliable aggregation theories.

Poor economists, doomed to argue, forever, over how many micro foundations can dance on the head of a pin.

RGC -> dilbert dogbert...

Endless discussions about how quantum effects aggregate to produce a material suitable for bridge building crowd out discussions about where and when to build bridges. And if plutocrats fund the endless discussions, we get the prominent economists we have today.

Darryl FKA Ron -> dilbert dogbert...

"...I guess in economics there is no quantum mechanics theories or even reliable aggregation theories..."

[I guess it depends upon what your acceptable confidence interval on reliability is. Most important difference that controls all the domain differences between physical science and economics is that underlying physical sciences there is a deterministic methodology for which probable error is merely a function of the inaccuracy in input metrics WHEREAS economics models are incomplete probabilistic estimating models with no ability to provide a complete system model in a full range of circumstances.

YOu can design and build a bridge to your load and span requirements with alternative models for various designs with confidence and highly effective accuracy repeatedly. No ecomomic theory, model, or combination of models and theories was ever intended to be used as the blueprint for building an economy from the foundation up.

With all the formal trappings of economics the only effective usage is to decide what should be done in a given set of predetermined circumstance to reach some modest desired effect. Even that modest goal is exposed to all kinds of risks inherent in assumptions, incomplete information, externalities, and so on that can produce errors of uncertain potential bounds.

Nonetheless, well done economics can greatly reduce the risks encountered in the random walk of economics policy making. So much so is this true, that the bigger questions in macro-economics policy making is what one is willing to risk and for whom.

The arguments over internal and external consistency of models is just a convenient misdirection from what policy makers are willing to risk and whose interests they are willing to risk policy decisions for.]

Darryl FKA Ron -> Peter K....

unless you have a model which maps the real world fairly closely like quantum mechanics.

[You set a bar too high. Macro models at best will tell you what to do to move the economy in the direction that you seek to go. They do not even ocme close to the notion of a theory of everything that you have in physics, even the theory of every little thing that is provided by quantum mechanics. Physics is an empty metaphor for economics. Step one is to forgo physics envy in pursuit of understanding suitable applications and domain constraints for economics models.

THe point is to reach a decision and to understand cause and effect directions. All precision is in the past and present. The future is both imprecise and all that there is that is available to change.

For the most part an ounce of common sense and some simple narrative models are all that are essential for making those policy decisions in and of themselves. HOWEVER, nation states are not ruled by economist philosopher kings and in the process of concensus decision making by (little r)republican governments then human language is a very imprecise vehicle for communicating logic and reason with respect to the management of complex systems. OTOH, mathematics has given us a universal language for communicating logic and reason that is understood the same by everyone that really understands that language at all. Hence mathematical models were born for the economists to write down their own thinking in clear precise terms and check their own work first and then share it with others so equipped to understand the language of mathematics. Krugman has said as much many times and so has any and every economist worth their salt.]

likbez -> Syaloch...

I agree with Pgl and PeterK. Certain commenters like Darryl seem convinced that the Chicago School (if not all of econ) is driven by sinister, class-based motives to come up justifications for favoring the power elite over the masses. But based on what I've read, it seems pretty obvious that the microfoundation guys just got caught up in their fancy math and their desire to produce more elegant, internally consistent models and lost sight of the fact that their models didn't track reality.

That's completely wrong line of thinking, IMHO.

Mathematical masturbations are just a smoke screen used to conceal a simple fact that those "economists" are simply banking oligarchy stooges. Hired for the specific purpose to provide a theoretical foundation for revanschism of financial oligarchy after New Deal run into problems. Revanschism that occurred in a form of installing neoliberal ideology in the USA in exactly the same role which Marxism was installed in the USSR.
With "iron hand in velvet gloves" type of repressive apparatus to enforce it on each and every university student and thus to ensure the continues, recurrent brainwashing much like with Marxism on the USSR universities.

To ensure continuation of power of "nomenklatura" in the first case and banking oligarchy in the second. Connections with reality be damned. Money does not smell.

Economic departments fifth column of neoliberal stooges is paid very good money for their service of promoting and sustaining this edifice of neoliberal propaganda. Just look at Greg Mankiw and Rubin's boys.

But the key problem with neoliberalism is that the cure is worse then disease. And here mathematical masturbations are very handy as a smoke screen to hide this simple fact.

likbez -> likbez...

Here is how Rubin's neoliberal boy Larry explained the situation to Elizabeth Warren:

"Larry [Summers] leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People - powerful people - listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: they don't criticize other insiders."

Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance

Syaloch -> likbez...

Yeah, case in point.

[Dec 18, 2017] Gaius Publius: Explosive WikiLeaks Release Exposes Massive, Aggressive CIA Cyber Spying, Hacking Capability

Notable quotes:
"... Donald Trump is deep in the world of spooks now, the world of spies, agents and operatives. He and his inner circle have a nest of friends, but an even larger, more varied nest of enemies. As John Sevigny writes below, his enemies include not only the intel and counter-intel people, but also "Republican lawmakers, journalists, the Clintons, the Bush family, Barack Obama, the ACLU, every living Democrat and even Rand Paul." ..."
"... A total of 8,761 documents have been published as part of 'Year Zero', the first in a series of leaks the whistleblower organization has dubbed 'Vault 7.' WikiLeaks said that 'Year Zero' revealed details of the CIA's "global covert hacking program," including "weaponized exploits" used against company products including " Apple's iPhone , Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs , which are turned into covert microphones." ..."
"... According to the statement from WikiLeaks, government hackers can penetrate Android phones and collect "audio and message traffic before encryption is applied." ..."
"... "CIA turned every Microsoft Windows PC in the world into spyware. Can activate backdoors on demand, including via Windows update "[.] ..."
"... Do you still trust Windows Update? ..."
"... As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. ..."
"... "Richard Clarke, the counterterrorism chief under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, told the Huffington Post that Hastings's crash looked consistent with a car cyber attack.'" Full and fascinating article here . ..."
"... Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive. ..."
"... Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force - its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities. ..."
"... By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other "weaponized" malware. Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified. ..."
"... I learned this when I was in my 20s. The Catholic Church was funding my early critique of American foreign aid as being imperialist. I asked whether they thought I should go into politics. They said, "No, you'd never make it". And I said, "Why?" and they said, "Well, nobody has a police record or any other dirt on you." I asked what they meant. They said, "Unless they have something over you to blackmail you with, you're not going to be able to get campaign funding. Because they believe that you might do something surprising," in other words, something they haven't asked you to do. So basically throughout politics, on both sides of the spectrum, voters have candidates who are funded by backers who have enough over them that they can always blackmail. ..."
"... The campaign to frame up and discredit Trump and his associates is characteristic of how a police state routinely operates. A national security apparatus that vacuums up all our communications and stores them for later retrieval has been utilized by political operatives to go after their enemies – and not even the President of the United States is immune. This is something that one might expect to occur in, say, Turkey, or China: that it is happening here, to the cheers of much of the media and the Democratic party, is beyond frightening. ..."
"... 4th impressions – I went looking for the "juicy bits" of interest to me – SOHO routers, small routers – sadly its just a table documenting routers sold around the world, and whether these guys have put the firmware in their Stash Repository. Original firmware, not hacked one. But the repository isn't in the vault dump, AFAIK. ..."
"... The WikiLeaks docs show that CIA has developed means to use all personal digital device microphones and cameras even when they are "off," and to send all of your files and personal data to themselves, and to send your private messages to themselves before they are encrypted. They have installed these spyware in the released version of Windows 10, and can easily install them on all common systems and devices. ..."
"... So we have a zillion ways to spy and hack and deceive and assassinate, but no control. I think this is what the military refers to as "being overtaken by events." ..."
"... My godfather was in the CIA in the late sixties and early seventies, and he said that outside of the President's pet projects there was no way to sift through and bring important information to decision makers before it made the Washington Post (he is aware of the irony) and hit the President's breakfast table. ..."
"... To what extent do these hacks represent the CIA operating within the US? To what extent is that illegal? With the democrats worshipping the IC, will anyone in an official position dare to speak out? ..."
"... Schumer said that as he understands, intelligence officials are "very upset with how [Trump] has treated them and talked about them ..."
"... The CIA's internal security is crap, too. Really a lot of people should be fired over that, as well as over Snowden's release. We didn't hear of it happening in the NSA, though I'm not sure we would have. Given Gaius's description of Trump's situation, it seems unlikely it will happen this time, either. One of my hopes for a Trump administration, as long as we're stuck with it, was a thorough cleanout of the upper echelons in the IC. It's obviously long overdue, and Obama wasn't up to it. But I used the past tense because I don't think it's going to happen. Trump seems more interested in sucking up to them, presumably so they won't kill him or his family. That being one of their options. ..."
"... "The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability ." [My emphasis]. It seems to characterize an organization that operates outside of any control and oversight – and one that is intentionally structuring itself that way. That worries me. ..."
"... It's a dangerous world out there and only our brave IC can protect us from it. Come on. Stop blaming the victim and place the blame where it belongs–our IC and MIC. I say stop feeding the beast with your loyalty to a government that has ceased to be yours. ..."
"... "These CIA revelations in conjunction with those of the NSA paints a pretty dark future for privacy and freedom. Edward Snowden made us aware of the NSA's program XKEYSCORE and PRISM which are utilized to monitor and bulk collect information from virtually any electronic device on the planet and put it into a searchable database. Now Wikileaks has published what appears to be additional Big Brother techniques used by a competing agency. Say what you want about the method of discovery, but Pandora's box has been opened." ..."
Mar 09, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
March 9, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. The first release of the Wikileaks Vault 7 trove has curiously gone from being a MSM lead story yesterday to a handwave today. On the one hand, anyone who was half awake during the Edward Snowden revelations knows that the NSA is in full spectrum surveillance and data storage mode, and members of the Five Eyes back-scratch each other to evade pesky domestic curbs on snooping. So the idea that the CIA (and presumably the NSA) found a way to circumvent encryption tools on smartphones, or are trying to figure out how to control cars remotely, should hardly come as a surprise.

However, at a minimum, reminding the generally complacent public that they are being spied on any time they use the Web, and increasingly the times in between, makes the officialdom Not Happy.

And if this Wikileaks claim is even halfway true, its Vault 7 publication is a big deal:

Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.

This is an indictment of the model of having the intelligence services rely heavily on outside contractors. It is far more difficult to control information when you have multiple organizations involved. In addition, neolibearlism posits that workers are free agents who have no loyalties save to their own bottom lines (or for oddballs, their own sense of ethics). Let us not forget that Snowden planned his career job moves , which included a stint at NSA contractor Dell, before executing his information haul at a Booz Allen site that he had targeted.

Admittedly, there are no doubt many individuals who are very dedicated to the agencies for which they work and aspire to spend most it not all of their woking lives there. But I would assume that they are a minority.

The reason outsiders can attempt to pooh-pooh the Wikileaks release is that the organization redacted sensitive information like the names of targets and attack machines. The CIA staffers who have access to the full versions of these documents as well as other major components in the hacking toolkit will be the ones who can judge how large and serious the breach really is. 1 And their incentives are to minimize it no matter what.

By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

CIA org chart from the WikiLeaks cache (click to enlarge). "The organizational chart corresponds to the material published by WikiLeaks so far. Since the organizational structure of the CIA below the level of Directorates is not public, the placement of the EDG [Engineering Development Group]and its branches is reconstructed from information contained in the documents released so far. It is intended to be used as a rough outline of the internal organization; please be aware that the reconstructed org chart is incomplete and that internal reorganizations occur frequently."

* * *

"O brave new world, that has such people in it."

Bottom line first. As you read what's below, consider:

Now the story.

WikiLeaks just dropped a huge cache of documents (the first of several promised releases), leaked from a person or people associated with the CIA in one or more capacities (examples, employee, contractor), which shows an agency out-of-control in its spying and hacking overreach. Read through to the end. If you're like me, you'll be stunned, not just about what they can do, but that they would want to do it, in some cases in direct violation of President Obama's orders. This story is bigger than anything you can imagine.

Consider this piece just an introduction, to make sure the story stays on your radar as it unfolds - and to help you identify those media figures who will try to minimize or bury it. (Unless I missed it, on MSNBC last night, for example, the first mention of this story was not Chris Hayes, not Maddow, but the Lawrence O'Donnell show, and then only to support his guest's "Russia gave us Trump" narrative. If anything, this leak suggests a much muddier picture, which I'll explore in a later piece.)

So I'll start with just a taste, a few of its many revelations, to give you, without too much time spent, the scope of the problem. Then I'll add some longer bullet-point detail, to indicate just how much of American life this revelation touches.

While the cache of documents has been vetted and redacted , it hasn't been fully explored for implications. I'll follow this story as bits and piece are added from the crowd sourced research done on the cache of information. If you wish to play along at home, the WikiLeaks torrent file is here . The torrent's passphrase is here . WikiLeaks press release is here (also reproduced below). Their FAQ is here .

Note that this release covers the years 2013–2016. As WikiLeaks says in its FAQ, "The series is the largest intelligence publication in history."

Preface - Trump and Our "Brave New World"

But first, this preface, consisting of one idea only. Donald Trump is deep in the world of spooks now, the world of spies, agents and operatives. He and his inner circle have a nest of friends, but an even larger, more varied nest of enemies. As John Sevigny writes below, his enemies include not only the intel and counter-intel people, but also "Republican lawmakers, journalists, the Clintons, the Bush family, Barack Obama, the ACLU, every living Democrat and even Rand Paul." Plus Vladimir Putin, whose relationship with Trump is just "business," an alliance of convenience, if you will.

I have zero sympathy for Donald Trump. But his world is now our world, and with both of his feet firmly planted in spook world, ours are too. He's in it to his neck, in fact, and what happens in that world will affect every one of us. He's so impossibly erratic, so impossibly unfit for his office, that everyone on the list above wants to remove him. Many of them are allied, but if they are, it's also only for convenience.

How do spooks remove the inconvenient and unfit? I leave that to your imagination;they have their ways. Whatever method they choose, however, it must be one without fingerprints - or more accurately, without their fingerprints - on it.

Which suggests two more questions. One, who will help them do it, take him down? Clearly, anyone and everyone on the list. Second, how do you bring down the president, using extra-electoral, extra-constitutional means, without bringing down the Republic? I have no answer for that.

Here's a brief look at "spook world" (my phrase, not the author's) from " The Fox Hunt " by John Sevigny:

Several times in my life – as a journalist and rambling, independent photographer - I've ended up rubbing shoulders with spooks. Long before that was a racist term, it was a catch-all to describe intelligence community people, counter intel types, and everyone working for or against them. I don't have any special insight into the current situation with Donald Trump and his battle with the IC as the intelligence community calls itself, but I can offer a few first hand observations about the labyrinth of shadows, light, reflections, paranoia, perceptions and misperceptions through which he finds himself wandering, blindly. More baffling and scary is the thought he may have no idea his ankles are already bound together in a cluster of quadruple gordian knots, the likes of which very few people ever escape.

Criminal underworlds, of which the Trump administration is just one, are terrifying and confusing places. They become far more complicated once they've been penetrated by authorities and faux-authorities who often represent competing interests, but are nearly always in it for themselves.

One big complication - and I've written about this before - is that you never know who's working for whom . Another problem is that the hierarchy of handlers, informants, assets and sources is never defined. People who believe, for example, they are CIA assets are really just being used by people who are perhaps not in the CIA at all but depend on controlling the dupe in question. It is very simple - and I have seen this happen - for the subject of an international investigation to claim that he is part of that operation. [emphasis added]

Which leads Sevigny to this observation about Trump, which I partially quoted above: "Donald Trump may be crazy, stupid, evil or all three but he knows the knives are being sharpened and there are now too many blades for him to count. The intel people are against him, as are the counter intel people. His phone conversations were almost certainly recorded by one organization or another, legal or quasi legal. His enemies include Republican lawmakers, journalists, the Clintons, the Bush family, Barack Obama, the ACLU, every living Democrat and even Rand Paul. Putin is not on his side - that's a business matter and not an alliance."

Again, this is not to defend Trump, or even to generate sympathy for him - I personally have none. It's to characterize where he is, and we are, at in this pivotal moment. Pivotal not for what they're doing, the broad intelligence community. But pivotal for what we're finding out, the extent and blatancy of the violations.

All of this creates an incredibly complex story, with only a tenth or less being covered by anything like the mainstream press. For example, the Trump-Putin tale is much more likely to be part of a much broader "international mobster" story, whose participants include not only Trump and Putin, but Wall Street (think HSBC) and major international banks, sovereign wealth funds, major hedge funds, venture capital (vulture capital) firms, international drug and other trafficking cartels, corrupt dictators and presidents around the world and much of the highest reaches of the "Davos crowd."

Much of the highest reaches of the .01 percent, in other words, all served, supported and "curated" by the various, often competing elements of the first-world military and intelligence communities. What a stew of competing and aligned interests, of marriages and divorces of convenience, all for the common currencies of money and power, all of them dealing in death .

What this new WikiLeaks revelation shows us is what just one arm of that community, the CIA, has been up to. Again, the breadth of the spying and hacking capability is beyond imagination. This is where we've come to as a nation.

What the CIA Is Up To - A Brief Sample

Now about those CIA spooks and their surprising capabilities. A number of other outlets have written up the story, but this from Zero Hedge has managed to capture the essence as well as the breadth in not too many words (emphasis mine throughout):

WikiLeaks has published what it claims is the largest ever release of confidential documents on the CIA It includes more than 8,000 documents as part of 'Vault 7', a series of leaks on the agency, which have allegedly emerged from the CIA's Center For Cyber Intelligence in Langley , and which can be seen on the org chart below, which Wikileaks also released : [org chart reproduced above]

A total of 8,761 documents have been published as part of 'Year Zero', the first in a series of leaks the whistleblower organization has dubbed 'Vault 7.' WikiLeaks said that 'Year Zero' revealed details of the CIA's "global covert hacking program," including "weaponized exploits" used against company products including " Apple's iPhone , Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs , which are turned into covert microphones."

WikiLeaks tweeted the leak, which it claims came from a network inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.

Among the more notable disclosures which, if confirmed, " would rock the technology world ", the CIA had managed to bypass encryption on popular phone and messaging services such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram. According to the statement from WikiLeaks, government hackers can penetrate Android phones and collect "audio and message traffic before encryption is applied."

With respect to hacked devices like you smart phone, smart TV and computer, consider the concept of putting these devices in "fake-off" mode:

Among the various techniques profiled by WikiLeaks is "Weeping Angel", developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), which infests smart TVs , transforming them into covert microphones. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a 'Fake-Off' mode , so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In 'Fake-Off' mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.

As Kim Dotcom chimed in on Twitter, "CIA turns Smart TVs, iPhones, gaming consoles and many other consumer gadgets into open microphones" and added "CIA turned every Microsoft Windows PC in the world into spyware. Can activate backdoors on demand, including via Windows update "[.]

Do you still trust Windows Update?

About "Russia did it"

Adding to the "Russia did it" story, note this:

Another profound revelation is that the CIA can engage in "false flag" cyberattacks which portray Russia as the assailant . Discussing the CIA's Remote Devices Branch's UMBRAGE group, Wikileaks' source notes that it "collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.["]

As Kim Dotcom summarizes this finding, " CIA uses techniques to make cyber attacks look like they originated from enemy state ."

This doesn't prove that Russia didn't do it ("it" meaning actually hacking the presidency for Trump, as opposed to providing much influence in that direction), but again, we're in spook world, with all the phrase implies. The CIA can clearly put anyone's fingerprints on any weapon they wish, and I can't imagine they're alone in that capability.

Hacking Presidential Devices?

If I were a president, I'd be concerned about this, from the WikiLeaks " Analysis " portion of the Press Release (emphasis added):

"Year Zero" documents show that the CIA breached the Obama administration's commitments [that the intelligence community would reveal to device manufacturers whatever vulnerabilities it discovered]. Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA's cyber arsenal are pervasive [across devices and device types] and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals.

As an example, specific CIA malware revealed in "Year Zero" [that it] is able to penetrate, infest and control both the Android phone and iPhone software that runs or has run presidential Twitter accounts . The CIA attacks this software by using undisclosed security vulnerabilities ("zero days") possessed by the CIA[,] but if the CIA can hack these phones then so can everyone else who has obtained or discovered the vulnerability. As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable.

Does or did the CIA do this (hack presidential devices), or is it just capable of it? The second paragraph implies the latter. That's a discussion for another day, but I can say now that both Lawrence Wilkerson, aide to Colin Powell and a non-partisan (though an admitted Republican) expert in these matters, and William Binney, one of the triumvirate of major pre-Snowden leakers, think emphatically yes. (See Wilkerson's comments here . See Binney's comments here .)

Whether or not you believe Wilkerson and Binney, do you doubt that if our intelligence people can do something, they would balk at the deed itself, in this world of "collect it all "? If nothing else, imagine the power this kind of bugging would confer on those who do it.

The Breadth of the CIA Cyber-Hacking Scheme

But there is so much more in this Wikileaks release than suggested by the brief summary above. Here's a bullet-point overview of what we've learned so far, again via Zero Hedge:

Key Highlights from the Vault 7 release so far:

Also this scary possibility:

Journalist Michael Hastings, who in 2010 destroyed the career of General Stanley McChrystal and was hated by the military for it, was killed in 2013 in an inexplicably out-of-control car. This isn't to suggest the CIA, specifically, caused his death. It's to ask that, if these capabilities existed in 2013, what would prevent their use by elements of the military, which is, after all a death-delivery organization?

And lest you consider this last speculation just crazy talk, Richard Clarke (that Richard Clarke ) agrees: "Richard Clarke, the counterterrorism chief under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, told the Huffington Post that Hastings's crash looked consistent with a car cyber attack.'" Full and fascinating article here .

WiliLeaks Press Release

Here's what WikiLeaks itself says about this first document cache (again, emphasis mine):

Press Release

Today, Tuesday 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks begins its new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named "Vault 7" by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.

The first full part of the series, "Year Zero", comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election .

Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized "zero day" exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.

"Year Zero" introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of "zero day" weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.

Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force - its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities.

By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other "weaponized" malware. Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.

In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public , including whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.

Once a single cyber 'weapon' is 'loose' it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that "There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber 'weapons'. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such 'weapons', which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of "Year Zero" goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective."

Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the "Year Zero" disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of 'armed' cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such 'weapons' should analyzed, disarmed and published.

Wikileaks has also decided to redact and anonymise some identifying information in "Year Zero" for in depth analysis. These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in "Vault 7" part one ("Year Zero") already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.

Be sure to click through for the Analysis, Examples and FAQ sections as well.

"O brave new world," someone once wrote . Indeed. Brave new world, that only the brave can live in.

____

1 Mind you, the leakers may have had a comprehensive enough view to be making an accurate call. But the real point is there are no actors who will be allowed to make an independent assessment.

34 0 42 1 0 This entry was posted in Banana republic , Guest Post , Legal , Politics , Surveillance state , Technology and innovation on March 9, 2017 by Yves Smith .
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Subscribe to Post Comments 64 comments Code Name D , March 9, 2017 at 2:38 am

That's all I needed.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/10/fbi-chief-given-dossier-by-john-mccain-alleging-secret-trump-russia-contacts

Senator John McCain passed documents to the FBI director, James Comey, last month alleging secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow and that Russian intelligence had personally compromising material on the president-elect himself.

The material, which has been seen by the Guardian, is a series of reports on Trump's relationship with Moscow. They were drawn up by a former western counter-intelligence official, now working as a private consultant. BuzzFeed on Tuesday published the documents, which it said were "unverified and potentially unverifiable".

The Guardian has not been able to confirm the veracity of the documents' contents,

Emphases mine. I had been sitting on this link trying to make sense of this part. Clearly, the Trump Whitehouse has some major leaks, which the MSM is exploiting. But the start of this article suggests that para-intelligence (is that a word? Eh, it is now) was the source of the allegedly damaging info.

This is no longer about the deep-state, but a rouge state, possibly guns for higher, each having fealty to specific political interests. The CIA arsenal wasn't leaked. It was delivered.

salvo , March 9, 2017 at 3:13 am

hmm.. as far as I can see, noone seems to care here in Germany anymore about being spied on by our US friends, apart from a few alternative sources which are being accused of spreading fake news, of being anti-american, russian trolls, the matter is widely ignored

visitor , March 9, 2017 at 3:40 am

I have read a few articles about the Vault 7 leak that typically raise a few alarms I would like to comment on.

1) The fact that the

CIA had managed to bypass encryption on popular phone and messaging services

does not mean that it has broken encryption, just that it has a way to install a program at a lower level, close to the operating system, that will read messages before they are encrypted and sent by the messaging app, or just after they have been decrypted by it.

As a side note: banks have now largely introduced two-factor authentication when accessing online services. One enters username (or account number) and password; the bank site returns a code; the user must then enter this code into a smartphone app or a tiny specialized device, which computes and returns a value out of it; the user enters this last value into the entry form as a throw-away additional password, and gains access to the bank website.

I have always refused to use such methods on a smartphone and insist on getting the specialized "single-use password computer", precisely because the smartphone platform can be subverted.

2) The fact that

"Weeping Angel", developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB), [ ] infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones.

is possible largely because smart TVs are designed by their manufacturers to serve as spying devices. "Weeping Angel" is not some kind of virus that turns normal devices into zombies, but a tool to take control of existing zombie devices.

The fact that smart TVs from Vizio , Samsung or LG constitute an outrageous intrusion into the privacy of their owners has been a known topic for years already.

3) The

CIA [ ] also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks

is not a "scary possibility" either; various demonstrations of such feats on Tesla , Nissan , or Chrysler vehicles have been demonstrated in the past few years.

And the consequences have already been suggested (killing people by disabling their car controls on the highway for instance).

My take on this is that we should seriously look askance not just at the shenanigans of the CIA, but at the entire "innovative technology" that is imposed upon (computerized cars) or joyfully adopted by (smartphones) consumers. Of course, most NC readers are aware of the pitfalls already, but alas not the majority of the population.

4) Finally this:

He's so impossibly erratic, so impossibly unfit for his office,

Trump is arguably unfit for office, does not have a clue about many things (such as foreign relations), but by taxing him of being "erratic" Gaius Publius shows that he still does not "get" the Donald.

Trump has a completely different modus operandi than career politicians, formed by his experience as a real-estate mogul and media star. His world has been one where one makes outrageous offers to try anchoring the negotiation before reducing one's claims - even significantly, or abruptly exiting just before an agreement to strike a deal with another party that has been lured to concessions through negotiations with the first one. NC once included a video of Trump doing an interactive A/B testing of his slogans during a campaign meeting; while changing one's slogans on the spot might seem "erratic", it is actually a very systematic market probing technique.

So stop asserting that Trump is "unpredictable" or "irrational"; this is underestimating him (a dangerous fault), as he is very consistent, though in an uncommon fashion amongst political pundits.

Yves Smith Post author , March 9, 2017 at 5:53 am

While I agree that it's worth pointing out that the CIA has not broken any of the major encryption tools, even Snowden regards being able to circumvent them as worse, since people using encryption are presumably those who feel particularly at risk and will get a false sense of security and say things or keep data on their devices that they never never would if they thought they were insecure.

Re Gaius on Trump, I agree the lady doth protest too much. But I said repeatedly that Trump would not want to be President if he understood the job. It is not like being the CEO of a private company. Trump has vastly more control over his smaller terrain in his past life than he does as President.

And Trump is no longer campaigning. No more a/b testing.

The fact is that he still does not have effective control of the Executive branch. He has lots of open positions in the political appointee slots (largely due to not having even submitted candidates!) plus has rebellion in some organizations (like folks in the EPA storing data outside the agency to prevent its destruction).

You cannot pretend that Trump's former MO is working at all well for him. And he isn't showing an ability to adapt or learn (not surprising at his age). For instance, he should have figured out by now that DC is run by lawyers, yet his team has hardly any on it. This is continuing to be a source of major self inflicted wounds.

His erraticness may be keeping his opponents off base, but it is also keeping him from advancing any of his goals.

visitor , March 9, 2017 at 6:59 am

I believe we are in agreement.

Yes, not breaking encryption is devious, as it gives a false sense of security - this is precisely why I refuse to use those supposedly secure e-banking login apps on smartphones whose system software can be subverted, and prefer those non-connected, non-reprogrammable, special-purpose password generating devices.

As for Trump being incompetent for his job, and his skills in wheeling-dealing do not carrying over usefully to conducting high political offices, that much is clear. But he is not "erratic", rather he is out of place and out of his depth.

RBHoughton , March 9, 2017 at 9:00 pm

I am writing this in the shower with a paper bag over my head and my iPhone in the microwave.

I have for years had a password-protected document on computer with all my important numbers and passwords. I have today deleted that document and reverted to a paper record.

Ivy , March 9, 2017 at 10:09 am

Please tell readers more about the following for our benefit:

"single-use password computer"

visitor , March 9, 2017 at 11:34 am

That is an example of the sort of thing I am talking about.

PhilM , March 9, 2017 at 11:35 am

I think he means a machine dedicated to high-security operations like anything financial or bill-pay. Something that is not exposed to email or web-browsing operations that happen on a casual-use computer that can easily compromise. That's not a bad way to go; it's cheaper in terms of time than the labor-intensive approaches I use, but those are a hobby more than anything else. It depends on how much you have at stake if they get your bank account or brokerage service password.

I take a few basic security measures, which would not impress the IT crowd I hang out with elsewhere, but at least would not make me a laughingstock. I run Linux and use only open-source software; run ad-blockers and script blockers; confine risky operations, which means any non-corporate or non-mainstream website to a virtual machine that is reset after each use; use separate browsers with different cookie storage policies and different accounts for different purposes. I keep a well-maintained pfSense router with a proxy server and an intrusion detection system, allowing me to segregate my secure network, home servers, guest networks, audiovisual streaming and entertainment devices, and IoT devices each on their own VLANs with appropriate ACLs between them. No device on the more-secured network is allowed out to any port without permission, and similar rules are there for the IoT devices, and the VoIP tools.

The hardware to do all of that costs at least $700, but the real expense is in the time to learn the systems properly. Of course if you use Linux, you could save that on software in a year if you are too cheap to send a contribution to the developers.

It's not perfect, because I still have computers turned on :) , but I feel a bit safer this way.

That said, absolutely nothing that I have here would last 30 milliseconds against anything the "hats" could use, if they wanted in. It would be over before it began. If I had anything to hide, really, I would have something to fear; so guess I'm OK.

jrs , March 9, 2017 at 2:36 pm

open source software often has a lot of bugs to be exploioted. Wouldn't it be easier to just do banking in person?

visitor , March 9, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Banks discourage that by

a) charging extortionate fees for "in-person" operations at the counter;

b) closing subsidiaries, thus making it tedious and time-consuming to visit a branch to perform banking operations in person;

c) eliminating the possibility to perform some or even all usual operations in any other form than online (see the advent of "Internet only" banks).

In theoretical terms, all this is called "nudging".

cfraenkel , March 9, 2017 at 12:07 pm

They're key fobs handed to you by your IT dept. The code displayed changes every couple of minutes. The plus is there's nothing sent over the air. The minus is the fobs are subject to theft, and are only good for connecting to 'home'. And since they have a cost, and need to be physically handed to you, they're not good fit for most two factor login applications (ie logging into your bank account).

see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSA_SecurID

meme , March 9, 2017 at 3:53 am

I watched (fast forwarded through, really) Morning Joe yesterday to see what they would have to say about Wikileaks. The show mostly revolved around the health care bill and Trump's lying and tweeting about Obama wiretapping him. They gave Tim Kaine plenty of time to discuss his recent trip to London talking to "some of our allies there" saying that they are concerned that "all the intelligence agencies" say the Rooskies "cyber hacked" our election, and since it looks like we aren't doing anything when we are attacked, they KNOW we won't do anything when they are attacked. (more red baiting)

The only two mentions I saw was about Wikileaks were, first, a question asked of David Cohen, ex Deputy Director of the CIA, who refused to confirm the Wikileaks were authentic, saying whatever tools and techniques the CIA had were used against foreign persons overseas, so there is no reason to worry that your TV is looking at you. And second, Senator Tom Cotton, who didn't want to comment on the contents of Wikileaks, only saying that the CIA is a foreign intelligence service, collecting evidence on foreign targets to keep our country safe, and it does not do intelligence work domestically.

So that appears to be their story, the CIA doesn't spy on us, and they are sticking with it, probably hoping the whole Wikileaks thing just cycles out of the news.

Direction , March 9, 2017 at 4:23 am

Thanks for mentioning Hastings. His death has always been more than suspicious.

skippy , March 9, 2017 at 5:46 am

Elite risk management reduction tool goes walkabout inverting its potential ..

disheveled . love it when a plan comes together ..

james wordsworth , March 9, 2017 at 5:50 am

The unwillingness of the main stream media (so far) to really cover the Wikileaks reveal is perhaps the bigger story. This should be ongoing front page stuff .. but it is not.

As for using ZeroHedge as a source for anything, can we give that a rest. That site has become a cesspool of insanity. It used to have some good stuff. Now it is just unreadable. SAD

And yes I know the hypocrisy of slamming ZH and the MSM at the same time we live in interesting times.

Yves Smith Post author , March 9, 2017 at 7:52 am

Your remarks on ZH are an ad hominem attack and therefore a violation of site policies. The onus is on you to say what ZH got wrong and not engage in an ungrounded smear. The mainstream media often cites ZH.

NC more than just about any other finance site is loath to link to ZH precisely because it is off base or hyperventilating a not acceptably high percent of the time, and is generally wrong about the Fed (as in governance and how money works). We don't want to encourage readers to see it as reliable. However, it is good on trader gossip and mining Bloomberg data.

And I read through its summary of the Wikileaks material as used by Gaius and there was nothing wrong with it. It was careful about attributing certain claims to Wikileaks as opposed to depicting them as true.

3urypteris , March 9, 2017 at 12:14 pm

My rules for reading ZH:
1- Skip every article with no picture
2- Skip every article where the picture is a graph
3- Skip every article where the picture is of a single person's face
4- Skip every afticle where the picture is a cartoon
5- Skip every article about gold, BitCoin, or high-frequency trading
6- Skip all the "Guest Posts"
7- ALWAYS click through to the source
8- NEVER read the comments

It is in my opinion a very high noise-to-signal source, but there is some there there.

sunny129 , March 9, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Finding the TRUTH is NOT that easy.

Discerning a 'news from noise' is NEVER that easy b/c it is an art, developed by years of shifting through ever increasing 'DATA information' load. This again has to be filtered and tested against one's own 'critical' thinking or reasoning! You have to give ZH, deserved credit, when they are right!

There is no longer a Black or white there, even at ZH! But it is one of the few, willing to challenge the main stream narrative 'kool aid'

TheCatSaid , March 9, 2017 at 6:14 am

In addition to the "para-intelligence" community (hat tip Code named D) there are multiple enterprises with unique areas of expertise that interface closely with the CIA The long-exposed operations, which include entrapment and blackmailing of key actors to guarantee complicity, "loyalty" and/or sealed lips, infect businesses, NGOs, law enforcement agencies, judges, politicians, and other government agencies. Equal opportunity employment for those with strong stomachs and a weak moral compass.

Romancing The Loan , March 9, 2017 at 8:43 am

Yes I can't remember where I read it but it was a tale passed around supposedly by an FBI guy that had, along with his colleagues, the job of vetting candidates for political office. They'd do their background research and pass on either a thick or thin folder full of all the compromising dirt on each potential appointee. Over time he said he was perturbed to notice a persistent pattern where the thickest folders were always the ones who got in.

nobody , March 9, 2017 at 10:10 am

Michael Hudson :

I learned this when I was in my 20s. The Catholic Church was funding my early critique of American foreign aid as being imperialist. I asked whether they thought I should go into politics. They said, "No, you'd never make it". And I said, "Why?" and they said, "Well, nobody has a police record or any other dirt on you." I asked what they meant. They said, "Unless they have something over you to blackmail you with, you're not going to be able to get campaign funding. Because they believe that you might do something surprising," in other words, something they haven't asked you to do. So basically throughout politics, on both sides of the spectrum, voters have candidates who are funded by backers who have enough over them that they can always blackmail.

craazyboy , March 9, 2017 at 8:20 am

I find the notion that my consumer electronics may be CIA microphones somewhat irritating, but my imagination quickly runs off to far worse scenarios. (although the popular phase, "You're tax dollars at work." keeps running thru my head like a earworm. And whenever I hear "conservatives" speak of their desire for "small government", usually when topics of health care, Medicare and social security come up, I can only manage a snort of incredulousness anymore)

One being malware penetrating our nuke power plants and shutting down the cooling system. Then the reactor slowly overheats over the next 3 days, goes critical, and blows the surrounding area to high heaven. We have plants all around the coast of the country and also around the Great Lakes Region – our largest fresh water store in a drought threatened future.

Then the same happening in our offensive nuke missile systems.

Some other inconvenient truths – the stuxnet virus has been redesigned. Kaspersky – premier anti malware software maker – had a variant on their corporate network for months before finally discovering it. What chance have we?

In China, hacking is becoming a consumer service industry. There are companies building high power data centers with a host of hacking tools. Anyone, including high school script kiddies, can rent time to use the sophisticated hacking tools, web search bots, and whatever, all hosted on powerful servers with high speed internet bandwidth.

Being a bit "spooked" by all this, I began to worry about my humble home computer and decided to research whatever products I could get to at least ward off annoying vandalism. Among other things, I did sign up for a VPN service. I'm looking at the control app for my VPN connection here and I see that with a simple checkbox mouse click I can make my IP address appear to be located in my choice of 40 some countries around the world. Romania is on the list!

flora , March 9, 2017 at 11:11 am

"my consumer electronics may be CIA microphones "

I haven't tested this, so can't confirm it works, but it sounds reasonable.
http://www.komando.com/tips/390304/secure-your-webcam-and-microphone-from-hackers

craazyboy , March 9, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Actually, I very much doubt that does work. The mic "pickup" would feed its analog output to a DAC (digital to analog converter) which would convert the signal to digital. This then goes to something similar to a virtual com port in the operating system. Here is where a malware program would pick it up and either create a audio file to be sent to an internet address, or stream it directly there.

The article is just plugging in a microphone at the output jack. The malware got the data long before it goes thru another DAC and analog amp to get to the speakers or output jack.

craazyboy , March 9, 2017 at 12:46 pm

s/b "plugging in a earbud at the output jack". They're confusing me too.

flora , March 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

ah. thanks for vetting.

Stephen Gardner , March 9, 2017 at 2:53 pm

It's actually a input/output jack or, if you will, a mic/headphone jack.

Stephen Gardner , March 9, 2017 at 2:52 pm

It depends on how it is hooked up internally. Old fashioned amateur radio headphones would disable the speakers when plugged in because the physical insertion of the plug pushed open the connection to the speakers. The jack that you plug the ear buds into might do the same, disconnecting the path between the built-in microphone and the ADC (actually it is an ADC not a DAC). The only way to know is to take it apart and see how it is connected.

Pat , March 9, 2017 at 8:27 am

The CIA is not allowed to operate in the US is also the panacea for the public. And some are buying it. Along with everyone knows they can do this is fueling the NOTHING to see here keep walking weak practically non existent coverage.

Eureka Springs , March 9, 2017 at 8:31 am

At what point do people quit negotiating in terrorism and errorism? For this is what the police, the very State itself has long been. Far beyond being illegitimate, illegal, immoral, this is a clear and ever present danger to not just it's own people, but the rule of law itself. Blanket statements like we all know this just makes the dangerously absurd normal I'll never understand that part of human nature. But hey, the TSA literally just keeps probing further each and every year. Bend over!

Trump may not be the one for the task but we the people desperately need people 'unfit', for it is the many fit who brought us to this point. His unfit nature is as refreshing on these matters in its chaotic honest disbelief as Snowden and Wiki revelations. Refreshing because it's all we've got. One doesn't have to like Trump to still see missed opportunity so many should be telling him he could be the greatest pres ever if (for two examples) he fought tirelessly for single payer and to bring down this police state rather than the EPA or public education.

This cannot stand on so many levels. Not only is the fourth amendment rendered utterly void, but even if it weren't it falls far short of the protections we deserve.

No enemy could possibly be as bad as who we are and what we allow/do among ourselves. If an election can be hacked (not saying it was by Russia).. as these and other files prove anything can and will be hacked then our system is to blame, not someone else.

What amazes me is that the spooks haven't manufactured proof needed to take Trump out of office Bonfire of The Vanities style. I'd like to think the people have moved beyond the point they would believe manufactured evidence but the Russia thing proves otherwise.

These people foment world war while probing our every move and we do nothing!

If we wait for someone fit nothing will ever change because we wait for the police/media/oligarch state to tell us who is fit.

Anon , March 9, 2017 at 2:40 pm

being "unfit" does not automatically make someone a savior.

Stephen Gardner , March 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm

But being fit by the standards of our ruling class, the "real owners" as Carlin called them is, in my book, an automatic proof that they are up to no good. Trump is not my cup of tea as a president but no one we have had in a while wasn't clearly compromised by those who fund them. Did you ever wonder why we have never had a president or even a powerful member of congress that was not totally in the tank for that little country on the Eastern Mediterranean? Or the Gulf Monarchies? Do you think that is by accident? Do you think money isn't involved? Talk about hacked elections! We should be so lucky as to have ONLY Russians attempting to affect our elections. Money is what hacks US elections and never forget that. To me it is laughable to discuss hacking the elections without discussing the real way our "democracy" is subverted–money not document leaks or voting machine hacks. It's money.

Why isn't Saudi Arabia on Trump's list? Iran that has never been involved in a terrorist act on US soil is but not Saudi Arabia? How many 911 hijackers came from Iran? If anything saves Trump from destruction by the real owners of our democracy it is his devotion to the aforementioned countries.

Allegorio , March 9, 2017 at 4:00 pm

The point again is not to remove him from office but to control him. With Trump's past you better believe the surveillance state has more than enough to remove him from office. Notice the change in his rhetoric since inauguration? More and more he is towing the establishment Republican line. Of course this depends on whether you believe Trump is a break with the past or just the best liar out there. A very unpopular establishment would be clever in promoting their agent by pretending to be against him.

Anyone who still believes that the US is a democratic republic and not a mafia state needs to stick their heads deeper into the sands. When will the low information voters and police forces on whom a real revolution depends realize this is anyone's guess. The day is getting closer especially for the younger generation. The meme among the masses is that government has always been corrupt and that this is nothing new. I do believe the level of immorality among the credentialed classes is indeed very new and has become the new normal. Generations of every man for himself capitalist philosophy undermining any sense of morality or community has finally done its work.

HBE , March 9, 2017 at 8:47 am

Go take a jaunt over to huffpo, at the time of this post there was not a single mention of vault 7 on the front page. Just a long series of anti trump administration articles.

Glad to know for sure who the true warmongers were all along.

Arizona Slim , March 9, 2017 at 8:50 am

We need another Church Commission.

Eureka Springs , March 9, 2017 at 8:59 am

No.. The Church commission was a sweep it under the rug operation. It got us FISA courts. More carte blanche secrecy, not less. The commission nor the rest of the system didn't even hold violators of the time accountable.

We have files like Vault 7. Commissions rarely get in secret what we have right here before our eyes.

Arizona Slim , March 9, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Well, how about a Truth and Reconciliation Commission?

Foppe , March 9, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Cute but the ANC lost the war by acceding to WTO entry (which "forbade" distributive politics, land/resource redistribution, nationalizations, etc.).

River , March 9, 2017 at 10:59 am

Need Langley surrounded and fired upon by tanks at this point.

Err on the side of caution.

DJG , March 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm

River: Interesting historic parallel? I believe that the Ottomans got rid of the Janissaries that way, after the Janissaries had become a state within a state, by using cannons on their HQ

From Wiki entry, Janissaries:

The corps was abolished by Sultan Mahmud II in 1826 in the Auspicious Incident in which 6,000 or more were executed.[8]

polecat , March 9, 2017 at 12:53 pm

"Nuke it from orbit it's the only way to be sure . "

knowbuddhau , March 9, 2017 at 9:01 am

Took less than a minute to download the 513.33MB file. The passphrase is what JFK said he'd like to do to CIA: SplinterItIntoAThousandPiecesAndScatterItIntoTheWinds.

"The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer." Henry Kissinger, 1975.

Stormcrow , March 9, 2017 at 9:35 am

Here is Raimondo's take:
Spygate
http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/03/07/spygate-americas-political-police-vs-donald-j-trump/

The campaign to frame up and discredit Trump and his associates is characteristic of how a police state routinely operates. A national security apparatus that vacuums up all our communications and stores them for later retrieval has been utilized by political operatives to go after their enemies – and not even the President of the United States is immune. This is something that one might expect to occur in, say, Turkey, or China: that it is happening here, to the cheers of much of the media and the Democratic party, is beyond frightening.

The irony is that the existence of this dangerous apparatus – which civil libertarians have warned could and probably would be used for political purposes – has been hailed by Trump and his team as a necessary and proper function of government. Indeed, Trump has called for the execution of the person who revealed the existence of this sinister engine of oppression – Edward Snowden. Absent Snowden's revelations, we would still be in the dark as to the existence and vast scope of the NSA's surveillance.

And now the monster Trump embraced in the name of "national security" has come back to bite him.

We hear all the time that what's needed is an open and impartial "investigation" of Trump's alleged "ties" to Russia. This is dangerous nonsense: does every wild-eyed accusation from embittered losers deserve a congressional committee armed with subpoena power bent on conducting an inquisition? Certainly not.

What must be investigated is the incubation of a clandestine political police force inside the national security apparatus, one that has been unleashed against Trump – and could be deployed against anyone.

This isn't about Donald Trump. It's about preserving what's left of our old republic.

Perhapps overstated but well worth pondering.

SplinterItIntoAThousandPiecesAndScatterItIntoTheWinds. , March 9, 2017 at 10:06 am

Yeah I downloaded it the day it came out and spent an hour or so looking at it last night. First impressions – "heyyy this is like a Hackers Guide – the sort I used in the 80s, or DerEngel's Cable Modem Hacking" of the 00s.

2nd impressions – wow it really gives foundational stuff – like "Enable Debug on PolarSSL".

3rd impressions – "I could spend hours going thru this happily ".

4th impressions – I went looking for the "juicy bits" of interest to me – SOHO routers, small routers – sadly its just a table documenting routers sold around the world, and whether these guys have put the firmware in their Stash Repository. Original firmware, not hacked one. But the repository isn't in the vault dump, AFAIK.

Its quite fascinating. But trying to find the "juicy stuff" is going to be tedious. One can spend hours and hours going thru it. To speed up going thru it, I'm going to need some tech sites to say "where to go".

flora , March 9, 2017 at 11:21 am

It seems clear that Wikileaks has not and will not release actual ongoing method "how-to" info or hacking scripts. They are releasing the "whats", not the tech level detailed "hows". This seems like a sane approach to releasing the data. The release appears to be for political discussion, not for spreading the hacking tools. So I wouldn't look for "juicy bits" about detailed methodology. Just my guess.

That said, love what you're doing digging into this stuff. I look forward to a more detailed report in future. Thanks.

Sam F , March 9, 2017 at 10:10 am

Yves, I think that you much underestimate the extremity of these exposed violations of the security of freedom of expression, and of the security of private records. The WikiLeaks docs show that CIA has developed means to use all personal digital device microphones and cameras even when they are "off," and to send all of your files and personal data to themselves, and to send your private messages to themselves before they are encrypted. They have installed these spyware in the released version of Windows 10, and can easily install them on all common systems and devices.

This goes far beyond the kind of snooping that required specialized devices installed near the target, which could be controlled by warrant process. There is no control over this extreme spying. It is totalitarianism now.

This is probably the most extreme violation of the rights of citizens by a government in all of history. It is far worse than the "turnkey tyranny" against which Snowden warned, on the interception of private messages. It is tyranny itself, the death of democracy.

Outis Philalithopoulos , March 9, 2017 at 10:58 am

Your first sentence is a bit difficult to understand. If you read Yves' remarks introducing the post, she says that the revelations are "a big deal" "if the Wikileaks claim is even halfway true," while coming down hard on the MSM and others for "pooh-pooh[ing]" the story. Did you want her to add more exclamation points?

susan the other , March 9, 2017 at 10:59 am

So we have a zillion ways to spy and hack and deceive and assassinate, but no control. I think this is what the military refers to as "being overtaken by events."

It's easy to gather information; not so easy to analyze it, and somehow impossible to act on it in good faith. With all this ability to know stuff and surveil people the big question is, Why does everything seem so beyond our ability to control it?

We should know well in advance that banks will fail catastrophically; that we will indeed have sea level rise; that resources will run out; that water will be undrinkable; that people will be impossible to manipulate when panic hits – but what do we do? We play dirty tricks, spy on each other like voyeurs, and ignore the inevitable. Like the Stasi, we clearly know what happened, what is happening and what is going to happen. But we have no control.

NotTimothyGeithner , March 9, 2017 at 11:34 am

My godfather was in the CIA in the late sixties and early seventies, and he said that outside of the President's pet projects there was no way to sift through and bring important information to decision makers before it made the Washington Post (he is aware of the irony) and hit the President's breakfast table.

Arizona Slim , March 9, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Do you mean to say that the CIA leaked like a sieve? That's my understanding of your post.

Old Jake , March 9, 2017 at 6:05 pm

AS, I would interpret it as saying that there was so much coming in it was like trying to classify snowflakes in a snowstorm. They could pick a few subject areas to look at closely but the rest just went into the files.

Leaking like a sieve is also likely, but perhaps not the main point.

Andrew , March 9, 2017 at 11:14 am

The archive appears to have been circulated among government hackers and contractors in a authorized manner

There, that looks the more likely framing considering CIA & DNI on behalf of the whole US IC seemingly fostered wide dissimilation of these tools, information. Demonstration of media control an added plus.

Cheers Yves

Stormcrow , March 9, 2017 at 11:20 am

The Empire Strikes Back

WikiLeaks Has Joined the Trump Administration
Max Boot
Foreign Policy magazine

https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/03/08/wikileaks-has-joined-the-trump-administration/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New+Campaign&utm_term=%2AEditors+Picks

I guess we can only expect more of this.

Todd Pierce , on the other hand, nails it. (From his Facebook page.)
The East German Stasi could only dream of the sort of surveillance the NSA and CIA do now, with just as nefarious of purposes.

lyman alpha blob , March 9, 2017 at 11:42 am

Perhaps the scare quotes around "international mobster" aren't really necessary.

In all this talk about the various factions aligned with and against Trump, that's one I haven't heard brought up by anybody. With all the cement poured in Trump's name over the years, it would be naive to think his businesses had not brushed up against organized crime at some point. Question is, whose side are they on?

JTMcPhee , March 9, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Like all the other players, the "side" they are on is them-effing-selves. And isn't that the whole problem with our misbegotten species, writ large?

Then there's this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1Hzds9aGdA Maybe these people will be around and still eating after us urban insects and rodents are long gone? Or will our rulers decide no one should survive if they don't?

Skip Intro , March 9, 2017 at 12:55 pm

To what extent do these hacks represent the CIA operating within the US? To what extent is that illegal? With the democrats worshipping the IC, will anyone in an official position dare to speak out?

tegnost , March 9, 2017 at 1:05 pm

Well we know chuckie won't speak out..

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/312605-schumer-trump-being-really-dumb-by-going-after-intelligence-community

FTA "Schumer said that as he understands, intelligence officials are "very upset with how [Trump] has treated them and talked about them.""

Oregoncharles , March 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm

I've long thought that the reason Snowden was pursued so passionately was that he exposed the biggest, most embarrassing secret: that the National "Security" Agency's INTERNAL security was crap.

And here it is: "Wikileaks claims that the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal "

The CIA's internal security is crap, too. Really a lot of people should be fired over that, as well as over Snowden's release. We didn't hear of it happening in the NSA, though I'm not sure we would have. Given Gaius's description of Trump's situation, it seems unlikely it will happen this time, either. One of my hopes for a Trump administration, as long as we're stuck with it, was a thorough cleanout of the upper echelons in the IC. It's obviously long overdue, and Obama wasn't up to it. But I used the past tense because I don't think it's going to happen. Trump seems more interested in sucking up to them, presumably so they won't kill him or his family. That being one of their options.

Stephen Gardner , March 9, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Ah, that's the beauty of contracting it out. No one gets fired. Did anyone get fired because of Snowden? It was officially a contractor problem and since there are only a small number of contractors capable of doing the work, well you know. We can't get new ones.

tiebie66 , March 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm

What I find by far the most distressing is this: "The CIA had created, in effect, its "own NSA" with even less accountability ." [My emphasis]. It seems to characterize an organization that operates outside of any control and oversight – and one that is intentionally structuring itself that way. That worries me.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Republic is lost because we didn't stand guard for it. Blaming others don't cut it either – we let it happen. And like the Germans about the Nazi atrocities, we will say that we didn't know about it.

JTMcPhee , March 9, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Hey, I didn't let it happen. Stuff that spooks and sh!tes do behind the Lycra ™ curtain happens because it is, what is the big word again, "ineluctable." Is my neighbor to blame for having his house half eaten by both kinds of termites, where the construction is such that the infestation and damage are invisible until the vast damage is done?

Stephen Gardner , March 9, 2017 at 4:08 pm

And just how were we supposed to stand guard against a secret and unaccountable organization that protected itself with a shield of lies? And every time some poor misfit complained about it they were told that they just didn't know the facts. If they only knew what our IC knows they would not complain.

It's a dangerous world out there and only our brave IC can protect us from it. Come on. Stop blaming the victim and place the blame where it belongs–our IC and MIC. I say stop feeding the beast with your loyalty to a government that has ceased to be yours.

Studiously avoid any military celebrations. Worship of the military is part of the problem. Remember, the people you thank for "their service" are as much victims as you are. Sadly they don't realize that their service is to a rotten empire that is not worthy of their sacrifice but every time we perform the obligatory ritual of thankfulness we participate in the lie that the service is to a democratic country instead of an undemocratic empire.

It's clearly a case of Wilfred Owen's classic "Dulce et Decorum Est". Read the poem, google it and read it. It is instructive: " you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori." Make no mistake. It is a lie and it can only be undone if we all cease to tell it.

nonsense factory , March 9, 2017 at 8:57 pm

Here's a pretty decent review of the various CIA programs revealed by Wikileaks:

http://www.libertyforjoe.com/2017/03/what-is-vault-7.html

"These CIA revelations in conjunction with those of the NSA paints a pretty dark future for privacy and freedom. Edward Snowden made us aware of the NSA's program XKEYSCORE and PRISM which are utilized to monitor and bulk collect information from virtually any electronic device on the planet and put it into a searchable database. Now Wikileaks has published what appears to be additional Big Brother techniques used by a competing agency. Say what you want about the method of discovery, but Pandora's box has been opened."

[Dec 18, 2017] Prepare! Pursue!! Prevail!!! by Brian Cloughley

Dec 15, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org
The waves, the artificial tides of anti-Russian propaganda continue to beat upon the ears and eyes of Western citizens, spurred by US politicians, bureaucrats and tycoons whose motives vary from duplicitous to blatantly commercial. It is no coincidence that there has been vastly increased expenditure on US weaponry by Eastern European countries.

Complementing the weapons' build-up, which is so sustaining and lucrative for the US industrial-military complex, the naval, air and ground forces of the US-NATO military alliance continue operations ever closer to Russia's borders.

Shares and dividends in US arms manufacturing companies have rocketed, in a most satisfactory spinoff from Washington's policy of global confrontation, and the Congressional Research Service (CRS) records that "arms sales are recognized widely as an important instrument of state power. States have many incentives to export arms. These include enhancing the security of allies or partners; constraining the behavior of adversaries; using the prospect of arms transfers as leverage on governments' internal or external behavior; and creating the economics of scale necessary to support a domestic arms industry."

The CRS notes that arms deals "are often a key component in Congress's approach to advancing US foreign policy objectives," which is especially notable around the Baltic and throughout the Middle East, where US wars have created a bonanza for US weapons makers -- and for the politicians whom the manufacturers reward so generously for their support. (Additionally, in 2017 arms manufacturers spent $93,937,493 on lobbying Congress.)

Some countries, however, do not wish to purchase US weaponry, and they are automatically categorized as being influenced by Russia, which is blamed for all that has gone wrong in America over the past couple of years. This classification is especially notable in the Central Asian Republics.

The US military's Central Command (Centcom) states that its "area of responsibility spans more than 4 million square miles and is populated by more than 550 million people from 22 ethnic groups, speaking 18 languages . . . and confessing [ sic; probably 'professing'] multiple religions which transect national borders. The demographics create opportunities for tension and rivalry." Centcom is deeply engaged in the US wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, while supporting Saudi Arabia in its war on Yemen, and the extent of its influence in the Pentagon's self-allotted geographical Area of Responsibility is intriguing, to say the least. Some of its priorities were revealed in March 2017 by the Commander of this enormous military realm, General Joseph Votel, in testimony to the Armed Services Committee of the House of Representatives in Washington.

General Votel's description of US "responsibilities" was astonishing in its imperialistic arrogance.

As Commander of Centcom, General Votel gave the Armed Services Committee a colorful tour of his territory, describing nations in terms ranging from condescendingly supportive to patently insolent, and he devoted much time to describing relations with countries abutting Russia, Iran and China, which nations, he declared , are trying "to limit US influence in the sub-region." That "sub-region" includes many countries immediately on the borders of Russia, Iran and China, and averaging 7,000 miles (11,000 kilometers) from Washington.

First he dealt with Kazakhstan with which the US has its "most advanced military relationship in Central Asia" in furtherance of which Washington is "making notable progress . . . despite enduring Russian influence." It is obviously unacceptable to the Pentagon that Russia wishes to maintain cordial relations with a country with which it has a border of 6,800 kilometers. Then General Votel went into fantasyland by claiming that "Kazakhstan remains the most significant regional contributor to Afghan stability . . ." which even the members of the Congressional Committee would have realized is spurious nonsense.

But more nonsense was to follow, with General Votel referring to Kyrgyzstan in patronizing terms usually associated with a Viceroy or other colonial master of a region that Votel describes as "widely characterized by pervasive instability and conflict," which he failed to note were caused by the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He told the Committee that Kyrgyzstan "sees political pressure from its larger, more powerful neighbors, including Russia, hosting a small Russian airbase outside the capital, Bishkek. Despite ongoing challenges in our bilateral and security cooperation, we continue to seek opportunities to improve our mil-to-mil relationship." He did not explain why Kyrgyzstan should be expected to embrace a military alliance with United States Central Command, but Viceroys don't have to provide explanations.

Votel then moved to describe Tajikistan with which "our mil-to-mil relationship is deepening despite Moscow's enduring ties and the presence of the military base near Tajikistan's capital of Dushanbe, Russia's largest military base outside of its borders." Not only this, says Votel, but China (having a 400 kilometer border with Tajikistan) has had the temerity to have "initiated a much stronger military cooperation partnership with Tajikistan, adding further complexity to Tajikistan's multi-faceted approach to security cooperation."

No : China hasn't added any complexity to Tajikistan's circumstances. What has complicated their relations is the fact that Afghanistan is in a state of chaos, following the US invasion of 2001, and drugs and terrorists cross the border (1,300 kilometers long) from Afghanistan into Tajikistan, which is trying to protect itself. During its sixteen years of war in Afghanistan there has been no attempt by the United States to secure that border.

None of these countries wants to be forced into a military pact with the United States, and Turkmenistan (border with Afghanistan 750 kilometers) has made it clear it doesn't want to be aligned with anyone. But General Votel states that its "UN-recognized policy of 'positive neutrality' presents a challenge with respect to US engagement." No matter what is desired by Turkmenistan, it seems, there must always be a way for the United States Central Command to establish military relations and, as General Votel told the Defence Committee, "we are encouraged somewhat by Turkmenistan's expressed interest in increased mil-to-mil engagement with the US within the limits of their 'positive neutrality' policy."

In the minds (to use the word loosely) of General Votel and his kind, it doesn't matter if a country wants nothing whatever to do with the United States' military machine, and wants very much to be left alone to get on with its affairs without interference. Adoption of such a policy by any nation presents a "challenge" and the United States, which in this region is overseen by General Votel's Central Command, is determined to seek military "engagement" irrespective of what is desired by governments. Arms sales would swiftly follow.

Votel's tour of his area of responsibility covered Afghanistan, about which his most absurd assertion was "I believe what Russia is attempting to do is they are attempting to be an influential party in this part of the world. I think it is fair to assume they may be providing some sort of support to [the Taliban] in terms of weapons or other things that may be there."

There was not a shred of evidence provided, but the Committee accepted his pronouncement without question. If an allegation is made about Russia it doesn't matter if it is false. It must be believed. But unfortunately for the imperial Votel and his deferential audience, a person with some sense of truth and balance came up two months later with a statement rubbishing Votel's unfounded and provocative accusation. In May the Director of the US Defence Intelligence Agency told a Senate Committee that "We have seen indication that [Russia] offered some level of support [to the Taliban], but I have not seen real physical evidence of weapons or money being transferred." The mainstream media gave no publicity to the truth, and continue to blame Russia for all the ills that befall the US Empire, at home and overseas.

The state of affairs was summed up admirably by Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation on December 4 when he wrote that "Central to any national-security state is the need for official enemies, ones that are used to frighten and agitate the citizenry. If there are no official enemies, the American citizenry might begin asking some discomforting questions: What do we need a national-security state for? Why not abolish the CIA and dismantle the military-industrial complex and the NSA. Why can't we have our limited-government, constitutional republic back?"

The Motto of the Pentagon's Central Command is "Prepare, Pursue, Prevail." and the Central Asian Republics would be well-advised to bear in mind these threats and think hard about the underlying motif of the US military-industrial complex which is "Propagandize, Provoke, Profit."

[Dec 14, 2017] Tech Giants Trying to Use WTO to Colonize Emerging Economies

Notable quotes:
"... The initiative described in this article reminds me of how the World Bank pushed hard for emerging economies to develop capital markets, for the greater good of America's investment bankers. ..."
"... By Burcu Kilic, an expert on legal, economic and political issues. Originally published at openDemocracy ..."
"... Today, the big tech race is for data extractivism from those yet to be 'connected' in the world – tech companies will use all their power to achieve a global regime in which small nations cannot regulate either data extraction or localisation. ..."
"... One suspects big money will be thrown at this by the leading tech giants. ..."
"... Out of idle curiosity, how could you accurately deduce my country of origin from my name? ..."
Dec 14, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

December 14, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. Notice that Costa Rica is served up as an example in this article. Way back in 1997, American Express had designated Costa Rica as one of the countries it identified as sufficiently high income so as to be a target for a local currency card offered via a franchise agreement with a domestic institution (often but not always a bank). 20 years later, the Switzerland of Central America still has limited Internet connectivity, yet is precisely the sort of place that tech titans like Google would like to dominate.

The initiative described in this article reminds me of how the World Bank pushed hard for emerging economies to develop capital markets, for the greater good of America's investment bankers.

By Burcu Kilic, an expert on legal, economic and political issues. Originally published at openDemocracy

Today, the big tech race is for data extractivism from those yet to be 'connected' in the world – tech companies will use all their power to achieve a global regime in which small nations cannot regulate either data extraction or localisation.

n a few weeks' time, trade ministers from 164 countries will gather in Buenos Aires for the 11th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC11). US President Donald Trump in November issued fresh accusations of unfair treatment towards the US by WTO members , making it virtually impossible for trade ministers to leave the table with any agreement in substantial areas.

To avoid a 'failure ministerial," some countries see the solution as pushing governments to open a mandate to start conversations that might lead to a negotiation on binding rules for e-commerce and a declaration of the gathering as the "digital ministerial". Argentina's MC11 chair, Susana Malcorra, is actively pushing for member states to embrace e-commerce at the WTO, claiming that it is necessary to " bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots ".

It is not very clear what kind of gaps Malcorra is trying to bridge. It surely isn't the "connectivity gap" or "digital divide" that is growing between developed and developing countries, seriously impeding digital learning and knowledge in developing countries. In fact, half of humanity is not even connected to the internet, let alone positioned to develop competitive markets or bargain at a multilateral level. Negotiating binding e-commerce rules at the WTO would only widen that gap.

Dangerously, the "South Vision" of digital trade in the global trade arena is being shaped by a recent alliance of governments and well-known tech-sector lobbyists, in a group called 'Friends of E-Commerce for Development' (FED), including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, and, most recently, China. FED claims that e-commerce is a tool to drive growth, narrow the digital divide, and generate digital solutions for developing and least developed countries.

However, none of the countries in the group (apart from China) is leading or even remotely ready to be in a position to negotiate and push for binding rules on digital trade that will be favorable to them, as their economies are still far away from the technology revolution. For instance, it is perplexing that one of the most fervent defenders of FED's position is Costa Rica. The country's economy is based on the export of bananas, coffee, tropical fruits, and low-tech medical instruments, and almost half of its population is offline . Most of the countries in FED are far from being powerful enough to shift negotiations in favor of small players.

U.S.-based tech giants and Chinese Alibaba – so-called GAFA-A – dominate, by far, the future of the digital playing field, including issues such as identification and digital payments, connectivity, and the next generation of logistics solutions. In fact, there is a no-holds-barred ongoing race among these tech giants to consolidate their market share in developing economies, from the race to grow the advertising market to the race to increase online payments.

An e-commerce agenda that claims unprecedented development for the Global South is a Trojan horse move. Beginning negotiations on such topics at this stage – before governments are prepared to understand what is at stake – could lead to devastating results, accelerating liberalization and the consolidation of the power of tech giants to the detriment of local industries, consumers, and citizens. Aware of the increased disparities between North and South, and the data dominance of a tiny group of GAFA-A companies, a group of African nations issued a statement opposing the digital ambitions of the host for MC11. But the political landscape is more complex, with China, the EU, and Russia now supporting the idea of a "digital" mandate .

Repeating the Same Mistakes?

The relationships of most countries with tech companies are as imbalanced as their relationships with Big Pharma, and there are many parallels to note. Not so long ago, the countries of the Global South faced Big Pharma power in pharmaceutical markets in a similar way. Some developing countries had the same enthusiasm when they negotiated intellectual property rules for the protection of innovation and research and development costs. In reality, those countries were nothing more than users and consumers of that innovation, not the owners or creators. The lessons of negotiating trade issues that lie at the core of public interest issues – in that case, access to medicines – were costly. Human lives and fundamental rights of those who use online services should not be forgotten when addressing the increasingly worrying and unequal relationships with tech power.

The threat before our eyes is similarly complex and equally harmful to the way our societies will be shaped in the coming years. In the past, the Big Pharma race was for patent exclusivity, to eliminate local generic production and keep drug prices high. Today, the Big Tech race is for data extractivism from those who have yet to be connected in the world, and tech companies will use all the power they hold to achieve a global regime in which small nations cannot regulate either data extraction or data localization.

Big Tech is one of the most concentrated and resourceful industries of all time. The bargaining power of developing countries is minimal. Developing countries will basically be granting the right to cultivate small parcels of a land controlled by data lords -- under their rules, their mandate, and their will -- with practically no public oversight. The stakes are high. At the core of it is the race to conquer the markets of digital payments and the battle to become the platform where data flows, splitting the territory as old empires did in the past. As the Economist claimed on May 6, 2017: "Conflicts over control of oil have scarred the world for decades. No one yet worries that wars will be fought over data. But the data economy has the same potential for confrontation."

If countries from the Global South want to prepare for data wars, they should start thinking about how to reduce the control of Big Tech over -- how we communicate, shop, and learn the news -- , again, over our societies. The solution lies not in making rules for data liberalization, but in devising ways to use the law to reduce Big Tech's power and protect consumers and citizens. Finding the balance would take some time and we are going to take that time to find the right balance, we are not ready to lock the future yet.

Jef , December 14, 2017 at 11:32 am

I thought thats what the WTO is for?

Thuto , December 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm

One suspects big money will be thrown at this by the leading tech giants. To paraphrase from a comment I made recently regarding a similar topic : "with markets in the developed world pretty much sewn up by the tripartite tech overlords (google, fb and amazon), the next 3 billion users for their products/services are going to come from developing world". With this dynamic in mind, and the "constant growth" mantra humming incessantly in the background, it's easy to see how high stakes a game this is for the tech giants and how no resources will be spared to stymie any efforts at establishing a regulatory oversight framework that will protect the digital rights of citizens in the global south.

Multilateral fora like the WTO are de facto enablers for the marauding frontal attacks of transnational corporations, and it's disheartening to see that some developing nations have already nailed the digital futures of their citizens to the mast of the tech giants by joining this alliance. What's more, this signing away of their liberty will be sold to the citizenry as the best way to usher them into the brightest of all digital futures.

Mark P. , December 14, 2017 at 3:30 pm

One suspects big money will be thrown at this by the leading tech giants.

Vast sums of money are already being thrown at bringing Africa online, for better or worse. Thus, the R&D aimed at providing wireless Internet via giant drones/balloons/satellites by Google, Facebook, etc.

You're African. Possibly South African by your user name, which may explain why you're a little behind the curve, because the action is already happening, but more to the north -- and particularly in East Africa.

The big corporations -- and the tech giants are competing with the banking/credit card giants -- have noted how mobile technology leapt over the dearth of last century's telephony tech, land lines, and in turn enabled the highest adoption rates of cellphone banking in the world. (Particularly in East Africa, as I say.) The payoffs for big corporations are massive -- de facto cashless societies where the corporations control the payment systems –and the politicians are mostly cheap.

In Nigeria, the government has launched a Mastercard-branded national ID card that's also a payment card, in one swoop handing Mastercard more than 170 million potential customers, and their personal and biometric data.

In Kenya, the sums transferred by mobile money operator M-Pesa are more than 25 percent of that country's GDP.

You can see that bringing Africa online is technically a big, decade-long project. But also that the potential payoffs are vast. Though I also suspect China may come out ahead -- they're investing far more in Africa and in some areas their technology -- drones, for instance -- is already superior to what the Europeans and the American companies have.

Thuto , December 14, 2017 at 4:58 pm

Thank you Mark P.

Hoisted from a comment I made here recently: "Here in South Africa and through its Free Basics programme, facebook is jumping into bed with unsuspecting ISPs (I say unsuspecting because fb will soon be muscling in on their territory and becoming an ISP itself by provisioning bandwidth directly from its floating satellites) and circumventing net neutrality "

I'm also keenly aware of the developments in Kenya re: safaricom and Mpesa and how that has led to traditional banking via bank accounts being largely leapfrogged for those moving from being unbanked to active economic citizens requiring money transfer facilities. Given the huge succes of Mpesa, I wouldn't be surprised if a multinational tech behemoth (chinese or american) were to make a play for acquiring safaricom and positioning it as a triple-play ISP, money transfer/banking services and digital content provider (harvesting data about users habits on an unprecedented scale across multiple areas of their lives), first in Kenya then expanded throughout east, central and west africa. I must add that your statement about Nigeria puts Mark Zuckerberg's visit there a few months back into context somewhat, perhaps a reconnaissance mission of sorts.

Out of idle curiosity, how could you accurately deduce my country of origin from my name?

Mark P. , December 14, 2017 at 6:59 pm

Out of idle curiosity, how could you accurately deduce my country of origin from my name?

Though I've lived in California for decades, my mother was South African and I maintain a UK passport, having grown up in London.

Mark P. , December 14, 2017 at 3:34 pm

As you also write: "with markets in the developed world pretty much sewn up by the tripartite tech overlords (google, fb and amazon), the next 3 billion users for their products/services are going to come from developing world."

Absolutely true. This cannot be stressed enough. The tech giants know this and the race is on.

Mattski , December 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Been happening with food for 50 years.

[Dec 13, 2017] 'You are being programmed,' former Facebook executive warns by Rozina Sini

Dec 13, 2017 | www.bbc.com

A former Facebook executive has criticised the social network for ripping society apart during a question and answer session.

Chamath Palihapitiya, who worked as Facebook's vice president for user growth, was speaking at an event run by the Stanford Graduate School of Business on 10 November in which he described feeling "tremendous guilt' in helping the company attract two billion users.

His comments echoed remarks by Sean Parker, one of the early pioneers of Facebook, who spoke on 8 November , saying the social network provided "a dopamine hit and a social validation feedback loop, that exploited a vulnerability in human psychology."

However, coverage this week has seen thousands responding to Palihaptiya's words.

"We have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works," he told the audience.

He advised people take a "hard break" from social media, describing its effect as "short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops."

'You are being programmed'

"We curate our lives around this perceived sense of perfection, because we get rewarded in these short term signals: Hearts, likes, thumbs up," Palihaptiya said.

"We conflate that with value and we conflate it with truth, and instead what it really is is fake, brittle popularity that's short term and leaves you even more vacant and empty before you did it.

"You don't realise it but you are being programmed."

Palihapitiya said he could not offer a solution but deals with the problem himself by not using social media anymore, something which he says has caused tension with his family and friends.

[Dec 11, 2017] How Russia-gate Met the Magnitsky Myth by Robert Parry

Highly recommended!
Looks like Browder was connected to MI6. That means that intellignece agances participated in economic rape of Russia That's explains a lot, including his change of citizenship from US to UK. He wanted better protection.
Notable quotes:
"... The Russian lawyer, Natalie Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump Jr. and other advisers to Donald Trump Sr.'s campaign, represented a company that had run afoul of a U.S. investigation into money-laundering allegedly connected to the Magnitsky case and his death in a Russian prison in 2009. His death sparked a campaign spearheaded by Browder, who used his wealth and clout to lobby the U.S. Congress in 2012 to enact the Magnitsky Act to punish alleged human rights abusers in Russia. The law became what might be called the first shot in the New Cold War. ..."
"... Despite Russian denials – and the "dog ate my homework" quality of Browder's self-serving narrative – the dramatic tale became a cause celebre in the West. The story eventually attracted the attention of Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, a known critic of President Vladimir Putin. Nekrasov decided to produce a docu-drama that would present Browder's narrative to a wider public. Nekrasov even said he hoped that he might recruit Browder as the narrator of the tale. ..."
"... Nekrasov discovered that a woman working in Browder's company was the actual whistleblower and that Magnitsky – rather than a crusading lawyer – was an accountant who was implicated in the scheme. ..."
"... Ultimately, Nekrasov completes his extraordinary film – entitled "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes" – and it was set for a premiere at the European Parliament in Brussels in April 2016. However, at the last moment – faced with Browder's legal threats – the parliamentarians pulled the plug. Nekrasov encountered similar resistance in the United States, a situation that, in part, brought Natalie Veselnitskaya into this controversy. ..."
"... That was when she turned to promoter Rob Goldstone to set up a meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. To secure the sit-down on June 9, 2016, Goldstone dangled the prospect that Veselnitskaya had some derogatory financial information from the Russian government about Russians supporting the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr. jumped at the possibility and brought senior Trump campaign advisers, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, along. ..."
"... By all accounts, Veselnitskaya had little or nothing to offer about the DNC and turned the conversation instead to the Magnitsky Act and Putin's retaliatory measure to the sanctions, canceling a program in which American parents adopted Russian children. One source told me that Veselnitskaya also wanted to enhance her stature in Russia with the boast that she had taken a meeting at Trump Tower with Trump's son. ..."
"... But another goal of Veselnitskaya's U.S. trip was to participate in an effort to give Americans a chance to see Nekrasov's blacklisted documentary. She traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post. ..."
"... There were hopes to show the documentary to members of Congress but the offer was rebuffed. Instead a room was rented at the Newseum near Capitol Hill. Browder's lawyers. who had successfully intimidated the European Parliament, also tried to strong arm the Newseum, but its officials responded that they were only renting out a room and that they had allowed other controversial presentations in the past. ..."
"... Their stand wasn't exactly a profile in courage. "We're not going to allow them not to show the film," said Scott Williams, the chief operating officer of the Newseum. "We often have people renting for events that other people would love not to have happen." ..."
"... So, Nekrasov's documentary got a one-time showing with Veselnitskaya reportedly in attendance and with a follow-up discussion moderated by journalist Seymour Hersh. However, except for that audience, the public of the United States and Europe has been essentially shielded from the documentary's discoveries, all the better for the Magnitsky myth to retain its power as a seminal propaganda moment of the New Cold War. ..."
"... Over the past year, we have seen a growing hysteria about "Russian propaganda" and "fake news" with The New York Times and other major news outlets eagerly awaiting algorithms that can be unleashed on the Internet to eradicate information that groups like Google's First Draft Coalition deem "false." ..."
"... First Draft consists of the Times, the Post, other mainstream outlets, and establishment-approved online news sites, such as Bellingcat with links to the pro-NATO think tank, Atlantic Council. First Draft's job will be to serve as a kind of Ministry of Truth and thus shield the public from information that is deemed propaganda or untrue. ..."
"... From searches that I did on Wednesday, Nekrasov's film was not available on Amazon although a pro-Magnitsky documentary was. I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available. ..."
"... Why are so many people–corporate executives, governments, journalists, politicians–afraid of William Browder? Why isn't Andrei Nekrasov's film available via digital versatile disk, for sale on line? Mr. Parry, why can't you find it? Oh, wait: You did! Heaven forbid we, your readers, should screen it. Since you, too, are helping keep that film a big fat secret at least give us a few clues as to where we can find it. Throw us a bone! Thank you. ..."
"... Hysterical agit-prop troll insists that world trembles in fear of "genuine American hero" William Browder. John McCain in 2012 was too busy trembling to notice that Browder had given up his US citizenship in 1998 in order to better profit from the Russian financial crisis. ..."
"... Abe – and to escape U.S. taxes. ..."
"... Excellent report and analysis. Thanks for timely reminder regarding the Magitsky story and the fascinating background regarding Andrei Nekrasov's film, in particular its metamorphosis and subsequent aggressive suppression. Both of those factors render the film a particular credibility and wish on my part to view it. ..."
"... I am beginning to feel more and more like the citizens of the old USSR, who, were to my recollection and understanding back in the 50's and 60's:. Longing to read and hear facts suppressed by the communist state, dependent upon the Voice of America and underground news sources within the Soviet Union for the truth. RU, Consortium news, et. al. seem somewhat a parallel, and 1984 not so distant. ..."
"... Last night, After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson, i was inspired to watch episode 2 of The Putin Interviews. I felt enlightened. If only the Establishment Media could turn from promoting its agenda of shaping and suppressing the news into accurately reporting it. ..."
"... Media corruption is not so new. Yellow journalism around the turn of the 19th century, took us into a progression of wars. The War to End All Wars didn't. Blame the munitions makers and the Military Industrial Complex if you will, but a corrupt medial, at the very least enabled a progression of wars over the last 120 or so years. ..."
"... Nekrasov, though he's a Putin critic, is a genuine hero in this instance. He ulitimately put his preconceptions aside and took the story where it truly led him. Nekrasov deserves boatloads of praise for his handling of Browder and his final documentary film product. ..."
"... "[Veselnitskaya] traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post." The other day I saw photos of her sitting right behind Amb. McFaul in some past hearing. How did she get a seat on the front row? ..."
"... "The approach taken by Brennan's task force in assessing Russia and its president seems eerily reminiscent of the analytical blinders that hampered the U.S. intelligence community when it came to assessing the objectives and intent of Saddam Hussein and his inner leadership regarding weapons of mass destruction. The Russia NIA notes, 'Many of the key judgments rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior.' There is no better indication of a tendency toward 'group think' than that statement. ..."
"... "The acknowledged deficit on the part of the U.S. intelligence community of fact-driven insight into the specifics of Russian presidential decision-making, and the nature of Vladimir Putin as an individual in general, likewise seems problematic. The U.S. intelligence community was hard wired into pre-conceived notions about how and what Saddam Hussein would think and decide, and as such remained blind to the fact that he would order the totality of his weapons of mass destruction to be destroyed in the summer of 1991, or that he could be telling the truth when later declaring that Iraq was free of WMD. ..."
"... Magnitsky Act in Canada has been based on made-up `facts` as Globe & Mail reporting proves. Not news, but deepens my concern about Canada following the Cold War without examination. ..."
"... Bill Browder's grandfather was Earl Browder, leader of the CPUSA from the the late 30s to late 40s. His father was also a communist. Bill jr parlayed those connections with the Soviet apparatchiks to gain a foothold in looting Russia of its state assets during the 1990s. No he was not a communist but neither were the leaders of the Soviet Union at the time of its dissolution (in name yes, but in fact not). ..."
"... I've also heard that it was the Jewish commissars who, when the USSR fell apart, rushed off to grab everything they could (with the help of outside Jewish money) and became the Russian oligarchs we hear about today. This is probably what Britton is getting at: "His father has a communist past." You go from running the government to owning it. Anti-Putin because Putin put a stop to them. ..."
"... backwardsevolution: I worked with a Soviet emigre engineer – Jewish – on the same project in an Engineering design and construction company during early 1990's. He immigrated with his family around 1991. In Soviet Union, there being no private financial institutions or lawyers so to speak , many Jews went into science and engineering. A very interesting person, we were close work place friends. His elder brother had stayed behind back in Russia. His brother was in Moscow and involved in this plunder going on there. He used to tell me all these hair raising first hand stories about what was going on in Russia during that time. All the plunder flowed into the Western Countries. ..."
"... I have read all the comments up to yours you have told it like it was in Russia in those years. Browder was the king of the crooks looting Russia. ..."
"... I remember reading Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," but I just could not get through the chapter on the USSR falling apart. I started reading it, but I didn't want to finish it (and I didn't) because it just made me angry. The West was too unfair! Russia was asking for help, but instead the West just looted. I'd say that Russia was very lucky to have someone like Putin clean it up. ..."
"... The Canadian Minister Chrysta Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago " -- Birds of a feather flock together. Mrs. Chrystal Freeland has a very interesting background for which she is very proud of: her granddad was a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator denounced by Jewish investigators: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/27/a-nazi-skeleton-in-the-family-closet/ ..."
Jul 13, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

Exclusive: A documentary debunking the Magnitsky myth, which was an opening salvo in the New Cold War, was largely blocked from viewing in the West but has now become a factor in Russia-gate, reports Robert Parry.

Near the center of the current furor over Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 is a documentary that almost no one in the West has been allowed to see, a film that flips the script on the story of the late Sergei Magnitsky and his employer, hedge-fund operator William Browder.

The Russian lawyer, Natalie Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump Jr. and other advisers to Donald Trump Sr.'s campaign, represented a company that had run afoul of a U.S. investigation into money-laundering allegedly connected to the Magnitsky case and his death in a Russian prison in 2009. His death sparked a campaign spearheaded by Browder, who used his wealth and clout to lobby the U.S. Congress in 2012 to enact the Magnitsky Act to punish alleged human rights abusers in Russia. The law became what might be called the first shot in the New Cold War.

According to Browder's narrative, companies ostensibly under his control had been hijacked by corrupt Russian officials in furtherance of a $230 million tax-fraud scheme; he then dispatched his "lawyer" Magnitsky to investigate and – after supposedly uncovering evidence of the fraud – Magnitsky blew the whistle only to be arrested by the same corrupt officials who then had him locked up in prison where he died of heart failure from physical abuse.

Despite Russian denials – and the "dog ate my homework" quality of Browder's self-serving narrative – the dramatic tale became a cause celebre in the West. The story eventually attracted the attention of Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, a known critic of President Vladimir Putin. Nekrasov decided to produce a docu-drama that would present Browder's narrative to a wider public. Nekrasov even said he hoped that he might recruit Browder as the narrator of the tale.

However, the project took an unexpected turn when Nekrasov's research kept turning up contradictions to Browder's storyline, which began to look more and more like a corporate cover story. Nekrasov discovered that a woman working in Browder's company was the actual whistleblower and that Magnitsky – rather than a crusading lawyer – was an accountant who was implicated in the scheme.

So, the planned docudrama suddenly was transformed into a documentary with a dramatic reversal as Nekrasov struggles with what he knows will be a dangerous decision to confront Browder with what appear to be deceptions. In the film, you see Browder go from a friendly collaborator into an angry adversary who tries to bully Nekrasov into backing down.

Blocked Premiere

Ultimately, Nekrasov completes his extraordinary film – entitled "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes" – and it was set for a premiere at the European Parliament in Brussels in April 2016. However, at the last moment – faced with Browder's legal threats – the parliamentarians pulled the plug. Nekrasov encountered similar resistance in the United States, a situation that, in part, brought Natalie Veselnitskaya into this controversy.

Film director Andrei Nekrasov, who produced "The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes."

As a lawyer defending Prevezon, a real-estate company registered in Cyprus, on a money-laundering charge, she was dealing with U.S. prosecutors in New York City and, in that role, became an advocate for lifting the U.S. sanctions, The Washington Post reported.

That was when she turned to promoter Rob Goldstone to set up a meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. To secure the sit-down on June 9, 2016, Goldstone dangled the prospect that Veselnitskaya had some derogatory financial information from the Russian government about Russians supporting the Democratic National Committee. Trump Jr. jumped at the possibility and brought senior Trump campaign advisers, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, along.

By all accounts, Veselnitskaya had little or nothing to offer about the DNC and turned the conversation instead to the Magnitsky Act and Putin's retaliatory measure to the sanctions, canceling a program in which American parents adopted Russian children. One source told me that Veselnitskaya also wanted to enhance her stature in Russia with the boast that she had taken a meeting at Trump Tower with Trump's son.

But another goal of Veselnitskaya's U.S. trip was to participate in an effort to give Americans a chance to see Nekrasov's blacklisted documentary. She traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post.

There were hopes to show the documentary to members of Congress but the offer was rebuffed. Instead a room was rented at the Newseum near Capitol Hill. Browder's lawyers. who had successfully intimidated the European Parliament, also tried to strong arm the Newseum, but its officials responded that they were only renting out a room and that they had allowed other controversial presentations in the past.

Their stand wasn't exactly a profile in courage. "We're not going to allow them not to show the film," said Scott Williams, the chief operating officer of the Newseum. "We often have people renting for events that other people would love not to have happen."

In an article about the controversy in June 2016, The New York Times added that "A screening at the Newseum is especially controversial because it could attract lawmakers or their aides." Heaven forbid!

One-Time Showing

So, Nekrasov's documentary got a one-time showing with Veselnitskaya reportedly in attendance and with a follow-up discussion moderated by journalist Seymour Hersh. However, except for that audience, the public of the United States and Europe has been essentially shielded from the documentary's discoveries, all the better for the Magnitsky myth to retain its power as a seminal propaganda moment of the New Cold War.

Financier William Browder (right) with Magnitsky's widow and son, along with European parliamentarians.

After the Newseum presentation, a Washington Post editorial branded Nekrasov's documentary Russian "agit-prop" and sought to discredit Nekrasov without addressing his many documented examples of Browder's misrepresenting both big and small facts in the case. Instead, the Post accused Nekrasov of using "facts highly selectively" and insinuated that he was merely a pawn in the Kremlin's "campaign to discredit Mr. Browder and the Magnitsky Act."

The Post also misrepresented the structure of the film by noting that it mixed fictional scenes with real-life interviews and action, a point that was technically true but willfully misleading because the fictional scenes were from Nekrasov's original idea for a docu-drama that he shows as part of explaining his evolution from a believer in Browder's self-exculpatory story to a skeptic. But the Post's deception is something that almost no American would realize because almost no one got to see the film.

The Post concluded smugly: "The film won't grab a wide audience, but it offers yet another example of the Kremlin's increasingly sophisticated efforts to spread its illiberal values and mind-set abroad. In the European Parliament and on French and German television networks, showings were put off recently after questions were raised about the accuracy of the film, including by Magnitsky's family.

"We don't worry that Mr. Nekrasov's film was screened here, in an open society. But it is important that such slick spin be fully exposed for its twisted story and sly deceptions."

The Post's gleeful editorial had the feel of something you might read in a totalitarian society where the public only hears about dissent when the Official Organs of the State denounce some almost unknown person for saying something that almost no one heard.

New Paradigm

The Post's satisfaction that Nekrasov's documentary would not draw a large audience represents what is becoming a new paradigm in U.S. mainstream journalism, the idea that it is the media's duty to protect the American people from seeing divergent narratives on sensitive geopolitical issues.

Over the past year, we have seen a growing hysteria about "Russian propaganda" and "fake news" with The New York Times and other major news outlets eagerly awaiting algorithms that can be unleashed on the Internet to eradicate information that groups like Google's First Draft Coalition deem "false."

First Draft consists of the Times, the Post, other mainstream outlets, and establishment-approved online news sites, such as Bellingcat with links to the pro-NATO think tank, Atlantic Council. First Draft's job will be to serve as a kind of Ministry of Truth and thus shield the public from information that is deemed propaganda or untrue.

In the meantime, there is the ad hoc approach that was applied to Nekrasov's documentary. Having missed the Newseum showing, I was only able to view the film because I was given a special password to an online version.

From searches that I did on Wednesday, Nekrasov's film was not available on Amazon although a pro-Magnitsky documentary was. I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available.

But the Post's editors were right in their expectation that "The film won't grab a wide audience." Instead, it has become a good example of how political and legal pressure can effectively black out what we used to call "the other side of the story." The film now, however, has unexpectedly become a factor in the larger drama of Russia-gate and the drive to remove Donald Trump Sr. from the White House.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).

Joseph A. Haran, Jr. , July 13, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Why are so many people–corporate executives, governments, journalists, politicians–afraid of William Browder? Why isn't Andrei Nekrasov's film available via digital versatile disk, for sale on line? Mr. Parry, why can't you find it? Oh, wait: You did! Heaven forbid we, your readers, should screen it. Since you, too, are helping keep that film a big fat secret at least give us a few clues as to where we can find it. Throw us a bone! Thank you.

Rob Roy , July 13, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Parry isn't keeping the film viewing a secret. He was given a private password and perhaps can get permission to let the readers here have it. It isn't up to Parry himself but rather to the person(s) who have the rights to the password. I've come across this problem before.

ToivoS , July 13, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Parry wrote: I did find a streaming service that appeared to have the film available.

Any link?? I am willing to buy it.

Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:28 pm

This may not be of much help, as the film is dubbed in Russian. If you want to look for the Russian versions on the internet, search for: "????? ?????? ????????? "????? ???????????. ?? ????????"

https://my.mail.ru/bk/n-osetrova/video/71/18682.html?time=155&from=videoplayer

I'll keep looking for the film with translation into some other language.

Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Sorry, the Russian text did not appear. Try with latin alphabet: Film Andreia Nekrasova "Zakon Magnitskogo. Za kulisami"

Lisa , July 13, 2017 at 6:45 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8d1ylakLMNU

This is the same dubbed version, on youtube.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Hysterical agit-prop troll insists that world trembles in fear of "genuine American hero" William Browder. John McCain in 2012 was too busy trembling to notice that Browder had given up his US citizenship in 1998 in order to better profit from the Russian financial crisis.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Abe – and to escape U.S. taxes.

incontinent reader , July 13, 2017 at 6:24 pm

Well stated.

Vincent Castigliola , July 13, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Mr. Parry,

Excellent report and analysis. Thanks for timely reminder regarding the Magitsky story and the fascinating background regarding Andrei Nekrasov's film, in particular its metamorphosis and subsequent aggressive suppression. Both of those factors render the film a particular credibility and wish on my part to view it.

Is there any chance you can share information regarding a means of accessing the forbidden film?

I am beginning to feel more and more like the citizens of the old USSR, who, were to my recollection and understanding back in the 50's and 60's:. Longing to read and hear facts suppressed by the communist state, dependent upon the Voice of America and underground news sources within the Soviet Union for the truth. RU, Consortium news, et. al. seem somewhat a parallel, and 1984 not so distant.

Last night, After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson, i was inspired to watch episode 2 of The Putin Interviews. I felt enlightened. If only the Establishment Media could turn from promoting its agenda of shaping and suppressing the news into accurately reporting it.

Media corruption is not so new. Yellow journalism around the turn of the 19th century, took us into a progression of wars. The War to End All Wars didn't. Blame the munitions makers and the Military Industrial Complex if you will, but a corrupt medial, at the very least enabled a progression of wars over the last 120 or so years.

Demonizing other countries is bad enough, but wilfully ignoring the potential for a nuclear war to end not only war, but life as we know it, is appalling.

Anna , July 13, 2017 at 5:54 pm

"After watching Max Boot self destruct on Tucker Carlson "
Am I the only one who thinks that Max Boot should have been institutionalized for some time already? He is not well.

Vincent Castigliola , July 13, 2017 at 9:41 pm

Anna,
Perhaps Max can share a suite with John McCain. Sadly, the illness is widespread and sometimes seems to be in the majority. Neo con/lib both are adamant in finding enemies and imposing punishment.

Finding splinters, ignoring beams. Changing regimes everywhere. Making the world safe for Democracy. Unless a man they don't like get elected

Anna , July 14, 2017 at 9:31 am

Max Boot parents are Russain Jews who seemingly instilled in him a rabid hatred for everything Russian. The same is with Aperovitch, the CrowdStrike fraudster. The first Soviet (Bolshevik) government was 85% Jewish. Considering what happened to Russia under Bolsheviks, it seems that Russians are supremely tolerant people.

orwell , July 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Anna, Anti-Semitism will get you NOWHERE, and you should be ashamed of yourself for injecting such HATRED into the rational discussion here.

Cal , July 14, 2017 at 8:03 pm

Dear orwell

re Anna

Its not anti Semitic if its true .and its true he is a Russian Jew and its very obvious he hates Russia–as does the whole Jewish Zionist crowd in the US.

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:02 am

orwell, I wonder why the truth always turns out to be so anti-semitic!?

Taras77 , July 13, 2017 at 11:17 pm

I hope you caught the preceding tucker interview with Ralph Peters, who says he is a retired us army LTC. He came off as completely deranged and hysterical. The two interviews back to back struck me as neo con desperation and panic. My respect for Tucker just went up for taking on these two wackos.

Zachary Smith , July 13, 2017 at 2:51 pm

The fact that the film is being suppressed by everybody is significant to me. I don't know a thing about the "facts" of the Magnitsky case, and a quick look at the results of a Google search suggests this film isn't going to be available to me unless I shell out some unknown amount of money.

If the producers want the film to be seen, perhaps they ought to release it for download to any interested parties for a nominal sum. This will mean they won't make any profit, but on the other hand they will be able to spit in the eyes of the censors.

Dan Mason , July 13, 2017 at 6:42 pm

I went searching the net for access to this film and found that I was blocked at every turn. I did find a few links which all seemed to go to the same destination which claimed to provide access once I registered with their site. I decided to avoid that route. I don't really have that much interest in the Magnitsky affair, but I do wonder why we are being denied access to information. Who has this kind of influence, and why are they so fearful. I'm really afraid that we already live in a largely hidden Orwellian world. Now where did I put that tin foil hat?

orwell , July 14, 2017 at 3:48 pm

The Orwellian World is NOT HIDDEN, it is clearly visible.

Drew Hunkins , July 13, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Nekrasov, though he's a Putin critic, is a genuine hero in this instance. He ulitimately put his preconceptions aside and took the story where it truly led him. Nekrasov deserves boatloads of praise for his handling of Browder and his final documentary film product.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Drew – good comment. It's very hard to "turn", isn't it? I wonder if many people appreciate what it takes to do this. Easier to justify, turn a blind eye, but to actually stop, question, think, and then follow where the story leads you takes courage and strength.

BannanaBoat , July 13, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Especially when your bucking an aggressive billionaire.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 1:49 am

BannanaBoat – that too!

Zim , July 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm

This is interesting:

"In December 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that Hillary Clinton opposed the Magnitsky Act while serving as secretary of state. Her opposition coincided with Bill Clinton giving a speech in Moscow for Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank! for which he was paid $500,000.

"Mr. Clinton also received a substantial payout in 2010 from Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank whose executives were at risk of being hurt by possible U.S. sanctions tied to a complex and controversial case of alleged corruption in Russia.

Members of Congress wrote to Mrs. Clinton in 2010 seeking to deny visas to people who had been implicated by Russian accountant Sergei Magnitsky, who was jailed and died in prison after he uncovered evidence of a large tax-refund fraud. William Browder, a foreign investor in Russia who had hired Mr. Magnitsky, alleged that the accountant had turned up evidence that Renaissance officials, among others, participated in the fraud."

The State Department opposed the sanctions bill at the time, as did the Russian government. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pushed Hillary Clinton to oppose the legislation during a meeting in St. Petersburg in June 2012, citing that U.S.-Russia relations would suffer as a result."

More: http://observer.com/2017/07/natalia-veselnitskaya-hillary-clinton-magnitsky-act/

Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm

Very interesting, Zim.

Bart in Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm

"[Veselnitskaya] traveled to Washington in the days after her Trump Tower meeting and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, according to The Washington Post." The other day I saw photos of her sitting right behind Amb. McFaul in some past hearing. How did she get a seat on the front row?

Now I remember that Post editorial. I was one of only 20 commenters before they shut down comments. It was some heavy pearl clutching.

Cal , July 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm

WOW..excellent reporting.

BobH , July 13, 2017 at 3:35 pm

nice backgrounder for an ever evolving story censorship is censorship by any other name!

BobH , July 13, 2017 at 3:38 pm

afterthought couldn't the film be shown on RT America?

Kiza , July 15, 2017 at 1:11 am

Would that not enable Bowder's employees online to claim that this documentary is Russian state propaganda, which it obviously is not because it would have been made available for free everywhere already just like RT. I believe that Nekrasov does not like RT and RT probably still does not like Nekrasov. The point of RT has never been the truth then the alternative point of view, as they advertised: Audi alteram partem.

Abe , July 13, 2017 at 3:41 pm

"The approach taken by Brennan's task force in assessing Russia and its president seems eerily reminiscent of the analytical blinders that hampered the U.S. intelligence community when it came to assessing the objectives and intent of Saddam Hussein and his inner leadership regarding weapons of mass destruction. The Russia NIA notes, 'Many of the key judgments rely on a body of reporting from multiple sources that are consistent with our understanding of Russian behavior.' There is no better indication of a tendency toward 'group think' than that statement.

Moreover, when one reflects on the fact much of this 'body of reporting' was shoehorned after the fact into an analytical premise predicated on a single source of foreign-provided intelligence, that statement suddenly loses much of its impact.

"The acknowledged deficit on the part of the U.S. intelligence community of fact-driven insight into the specifics of Russian presidential decision-making, and the nature of Vladimir Putin as an individual in general, likewise seems problematic. The U.S. intelligence community was hard wired into pre-conceived notions about how and what Saddam Hussein would think and decide, and as such remained blind to the fact that he would order the totality of his weapons of mass destruction to be destroyed in the summer of 1991, or that he could be telling the truth when later declaring that Iraq was free of WMD.

'President Putin has repeatedly and vociferously denied any Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Those who cite the findings of the Russia NIA as indisputable proof to the contrary, however, dismiss this denial out of hand. And yet nowhere in the Russia NIA is there any evidence that those who prepared it conducted anything remotely resembling the kind of 'analysis of alternatives' mandated by the ODNI when it comes to analytic standards used to prepare intelligence community assessments and estimates. Nor is there any evidence that the CIA's vaunted 'Red Cell' was approached to provide counterintuitive assessments of premises such as 'What if President Putin is telling the truth?'

'Throughout its history, the NIC has dealt with sources of information that far exceeded any sensitivity that might attach to Brennan's foreign intelligence source. The NIC had two experts that it could have turned to oversee a project like the Russia NIA!the NIO for Cyber Issues, and the Mission Manager of the Russian and Eurasia Mission Center; logic dictates that both should have been called upon, given the subject matter overlap between cyber intrusion and Russian intent.

'The excuse that Brennan's source was simply too sensitive to be shared with these individuals, and the analysts assigned to them, is ludicrous!both the NIO for cyber issues and the CIA's mission manager for Russia and Eurasia are cleared to receive the most highly classified intelligence and, moreover, are specifically mandated to oversee projects such as an investigation into Russian meddling in the American electoral process.

'President Trump has come under repeated criticism for his perceived slighting of the U.S. intelligence community in repeatedly citing the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction intelligence failure when downplaying intelligence reports, including the Russia NIA, about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Adding insult to injury, the president's most recent comments were made on foreign soil (Poland), on the eve of his first meeting with President Putin, at the G-20 Conference in Hamburg, Germany, where the issue of Russian meddling was the first topic on the agenda.

"The politics of the wisdom of the timing and location of such observations aside, the specific content of the president's statements appear factually sound."

Throwing a Curveball at 'Intelligence Community Consensus' on Russia By Scott Ritter http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/did-17-intelligence-agencies-really-come-to-consensus-on-russia/

Joe Tedesky , July 13, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Thanks Abe once again, for providing us with news which will never be printed or aired in our MSM. Brennan may ignore the NIC, as Congress and the Executive Branch constantly avoid paying attention to the GAO. Why even have these agencies, if our leaders aren't going to listen them?

Virginia , July 13, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Abe, I'm always amazed at how much you know. Thank you for sharing. If you have your comments in article form or on a site where they can be shared, I'd really like to know about it. I've tried, but I garble the many points you make when trying to explain historical events you've told us about.

Skip Scott , July 14, 2017 at 9:08 am

Thanks Abe. You are a real asset to us here at CN.

John V. Walsh , July 13, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Very good article! The entire Magnitsky saga has become so convoluted and mired in controversy and propaganda that it is very hard to understand. I remember vaguely the controversy surrounding the showing of the film at the Newseum. it is especially impressive that Nekrasov changed his opinion as fcts unfolded.

I will now try to get the docudrama and watch it.
If anyone has suggestions on how to do this, please let me know via a response. here.
Thanks.

Roger Annis , July 13, 2017 at 4:02 pm

A 'Magnitsky Act' in Canada was approved by the (appointed) Senate several months ago and is now undergoing fine tuning in the House of Commons prior to a third and final vote of approval. The proposed law has the unanimous support of the parties in Parliament.

A column in today's Globe and Mail daily by the newspaper's 'chief political writer' tiptoes around the Magnitsky story, never once daring to admit that a contrary narrative exists to that of Bill Browder.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/when-it-comes-to-magnitsky-laws-its-clear-what-russia-is-looking-for/article35678618/

John-Albert Eadie , July 13, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Magnitsky Act in Canada has been based on made-up `facts` as Globe & Mail reporting proves. Not news, but deepens my concern about Canada following the Cold War without examination.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Roger Annis – just little lemmings following the leader. Disgusting. I hope you posted a comment at the Globe and Mail, Roger, with a link to this article.

Britton , July 13, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Browder is a Communist Jew, his father has a Communist past according to his background so I know I can't trust anything he says. Hes just one of many shady interests undermining Putin I've seen over the years. His book Red Notice is just as shady. Good reporting Consortium News. Fox News promotes Browder like crazy every chance they get especially Fox Business channel.

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 5:06 pm

"Browder is a Communist " Hedge Fund managers are hardly Communist – that's an oxymoron.

ToivoS , July 13, 2017 at 6:02 pm

Bill Browder's grandfather was Earl Browder, leader of the CPUSA from the the late 30s to late 40s. His father was also a communist. Bill jr parlayed those connections with the Soviet apparatchiks to gain a foothold in looting Russia of its state assets during the 1990s. No he was not a communist but neither were the leaders of the Soviet Union at the time of its dissolution (in name yes, but in fact not).

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 6:34 pm

ToivoS,

thank you for this background information.

My main intention had been to straighten out the blurring of calling a hedge fund manager communist. Nowadays everything gets blurred by people misrepresenting political concepts. Either the people have been dumbed-down by misinformation or misrepresenting is done in order to keep neo-liberalism the dominant economical model. On many occasions I had read comments of people seemingly believing that Nationalsocialism had been some variant of socialism. Even the ideas of Bernie Sanders had been misrepresented as socialist instead of social democratic ones.

backwardsevolution , July 13, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Joe Average – Dave P. mentioned Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's book entitled "Two Hundred Years Together" the other day. I've been reading a long synopsis of this book. What Britton says appears to be quite true. I don't know about Browder, but from what I've read the Jews were instrumental in the communist party, in the deaths of so many Russians. It wasn't just the Jews, but they played a big part. It's no wonder Solzhenitsyn's book has been "lost in translation", at least into English, for so many years.

I've also heard that it was the Jewish commissars who, when the USSR fell apart, rushed off to grab everything they could (with the help of outside Jewish money) and became the Russian oligarchs we hear about today. This is probably what Britton is getting at: "His father has a communist past." You go from running the government to owning it. Anti-Putin because Putin put a stop to them.

Dave P. , July 13, 2017 at 7:37 pm

backwardsevolution: I worked with a Soviet emigre engineer – Jewish – on the same project in an Engineering design and construction company during early 1990's. He immigrated with his family around 1991. In Soviet Union, there being no private financial institutions or lawyers so to speak , many Jews went into science and engineering. A very interesting person, we were close work place friends. His elder brother had stayed behind back in Russia. His brother was in Moscow and involved in this plunder going on there. He used to tell me all these hair raising first hand stories about what was going on in Russia during that time. All the plunder flowed into the Western Countries.

In recent history, no country went through this kind of plunder on a scale Russia went through during ten or fifteen years starting in 1992. Russia was a very badly ravaged country when Putin took over. Means of production, finance, all came to halt, and society itself had completely broken down. It appears that the West has all the intentions to do it again.

Bruce Walker , July 13, 2017 at 9:29 pm

I have read all the comments up to yours you have told it like it was in Russia in those years. Browder was the king of the crooks looting Russia. Then he got to John McCain with all his lies and bullshit and was responsible for the sanctions on Russia. All the comments aboutBrowders grandfather andCommunist party are all true but hardly important. Except that it probably was how Browder was able to get his fingers on the pie in Russia. And he sure did get his fingers in the pie BIG TIME.

I am a Canadian and am aware of Maginsky Act in Canada. Our Minister Chrystal Freeland met with William Brawder in Davos a few months ago both of these two you could say are not fans of Putin, I certainly don't know what they spoke about but other than lies from Browder there is no reason she should have been talking with him. I have made comments on other forums regarding these two meeting. Read Browders book and hopefully see the documentary that this article is about. When I read his book I knew instantly that he was a crook a charloten and a liar. Just the kind of folk John McCain and a lot of other folks in US politics love. You all have a nice Peacefull day

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:38 am

Joe Average – "I guess that this book puts blame for Communism entirely on the Jewish people and that this gave even further rise to antisemitism in the Germany of the 1930's."

No, it doesn't put the blame entirely on the Jews; it just spells out that they did play a large part. As one Jewish scholar said, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was too much of an academic, too intelligent to ever put the blame entirely on one group. But something like 40 – 60 million died – shot, taken out on boats with rocks around their necks and thrown overboard, starved, gassed in rail cars, poisoned, worked to death, froze, you name it. Every other human slaughter pales in comparison. Good old man, so civilized (sarc)!

But someone(s) has been instrumental in keeping this book from being translated into English (or so I've read many places online). Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago" and his other books have been translated, but not this one. (Although I just found one site that has almost all of the chapters translated, but not all). Several people ordered the book off Amazon, only to find out that it was in the Russian language. LOL

Solzhenitsyn does say at one point in the book: "Communist rebellions in Germany post-WWI was a big reason for the revival of anti-Semitism (as there was no serious anti-Semitism in the imperial [Kaiser] Germany of 1870 – 1918)."

Lots of Jewish people made it into the upper levels of the Soviet government, academia, etc. (and lots of them were murdered too). I might skip reading these types of books until I get older. Too bleak. Hard enough reading about the day-to-day stuff here without going back in time for more fun!

I remember reading Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," but I just could not get through the chapter on the USSR falling apart. I started reading it, but I didn't want to finish it (and I didn't) because it just made me angry. The West was too unfair! Russia was asking for help, but instead the West just looted. I'd say that Russia was very lucky to have someone like Putin clean it up.

Keep smiling, Joe.

backwardsevolution , July 14, 2017 at 12:58 am

Dave P. – I told you, you are a wealth of information, a walking encyclopedia. Interesting about your co-worker. Sounds like it was a free-for-all in Russia. Yes, I totally agree that Putin has done and is doing all he can to bring his country back up. Very difficult job he is doing, and I hope he is successful at keeping the West out as much as he can, at least until Russia is strong and sure enough to invite them in on their own terms.

Now go and tell your wife what I said about you being a "walking encyclopedia". She'll probably have a good laugh. (Not that you're not, but you know what she'll say: "Okay, smartie, now go and do the dishes.")

Chucky LeRoi , July 14, 2017 at 9:56 am

Just some small scale, local color kind of stuff, but living in the USA, west coast specifically, it was quite noticeable in the mid to late '90's how many Russians with money were suddenly appearing. No apparent skills or 'jobs', but seemingly able to pay for stuff. Expensive stuff.

A neighbor invited us to her 'place in the mountains', which turned out to be where a lumber company had almost terra-formed an area and was selling off the results. Her advice: When you go to the lake (i.e., the low area now gathering runoff, paddle boats rentals, concession stand) you will see a lot of men with huge stomachs and tiny Speedos. They will be very rude, pushy, confrontational. Ignore them, DO NOT comment on their rudeness or try to deal with their manners. They are Russians, and the amount of trouble it will stir up – and probable repercussions – are simply not worth it.

Back in town, the anecdotes start piling up quickly. I am talking crowbars through windows (for a perceived insult). A beating where the victim – who was probably trying something shady – was so pulped the emergency room staff couldn't tell if the implement used was a 2X4 or a baseball bat. When found he had with $3k in his pocket: robbery was not the motive. More traffic accidents involving guys with very nice cars and serious attitude problems. I could go on. More and more often somewhere in the relating of these incidents the phrase " this Russian guy " would come up. It was the increased use of this phrase that was so noticeable.

And now the disclaimer.

Before anybody goes off, I am not anti-Russian, Russo-phobic, what have you. I studied the Russian language in high school and college (admittedly decades ago). My tax guy is Russian. I love him. My day to day interactions have led me to this pop psychology observation: the extreme conditions that produced that people and culture produced extremes. When they are of the good, loving , caring, cultured, helpful sort, you could ask for no better friends. The generosity can be embarrassing. When they are of the materialistic, evil, self-centered don't f**k with me I am THE BADDEST ASS ON THE PLANET sort, the level of mania and self-importance is impossible to deal with, just get as far away as possible. It's worked for me.

Joe Average , July 13, 2017 at 8:10 pm

backwardsevolution,

thanks for the info. I'll add the book to the list of books onto my to-read list. As far as I know a Kibbutz could be described as a Communist microcosm. The whole idea of Communism itself is based on Marx (a Jew by birth). A while ago I had started reading "Mein Kampf". I've got to finish the book, in order to see if my assumption is correct. I guess that this book puts blame for Communism entirely on the Jewish people and that this gave even further rise to antisemitism in the Germany of the 1930's.

The most known Russian Oligarchs that I've heard of are mainly of Jewish origin, but as far as I know they had been too young to be commissars at the time of the demise of the USSR. At least one aspect I've read of many times is that a lot of them built their fortunes with the help of quite shady business dealings.

With regard to President Putin I've read that he made a deal with the oligarchs: they should pay their taxes, keep/invest their money in Russia and keep out of politics. In return he wouldn't dig too deep into their past. Right at the moment everybody in the West is against President Putin, because he stopped the looting of his country and its citizens and that's something our Western oligarchs and financial institutions don't like.

On a side note: Several years ago I had started to read several volumes about German history. Back then I didn't notice an important aspect that should attract my attention a few years later when reading about the rise of John D. Rockefeller. Charlemagne (C