Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspiracy

Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:00 am

Julian ASSANGE
by Afshin Rattansi
November 21, 2016



Afshin Rattansi goes underground with Julian Assange. We talk to the founder of Wikileaks about how his recent DNC leaks have no connection to Russia.

Excerpt:

[AFSHIN RATTANSI] Any Russian connections between Hillary Clinton and Russia? Any Russia connections there?

[JULIAN ASSANGE] Hillary Clinton has done quite well strategically to try and draw a connection between Trump and Russia, because she has so many connections of her own. Now, my analysis of Trump and Russia is that there is no substantial connection. Why do I say that? Because Trump was trying to invest in Russia before Putin in the 1990s. And after Putin. In fact, nearly all the way up to the present moment. And he’s had no success! He did not manage to build hotels and so on in Russia. So that shows how insubstantial his contacts are.

There’s an extremely well-documented pattern of when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, those people – companies, governments – who wanted a decision by the Secretary of State in their favor, making large donations to the Clinton Foundation, or in some other cases, business deals with the people around Hillary Clinton.

Now, one particular instance is the approval by Secretary Clinton of selling 20% of the U.S. uranium reprocessing rights to a Russian company to be exported to Russia. So at that time, a large donation was made by those Russian interests to the Clinton Foundation. In addition, Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, was on the board of a company named Joule Unlimited, and Joule Unlimited held some of these rights, and received a $ 35 million investment from Russia!

[AFSHIN RATTANSI] That’s a Russian government company?

[JULIAN ASANGE] And also, Russians were on the board also with Podesta.

[AFSHIN RATTANSI] So the kind of email revelations from Wikileaks reveal that Hillary Clinton is a Kremlin stooge?

[JULIAN ASANGE] I wouldn’t say “Kremlin Stooge,” but there is a much deeper connection on record with Hillary Clinton and Russia than we have with, that we are presently aware of with, Donald Trump.

[AFSHIN RATTANSI] Well, some journalists would argue that it’s actually the subject of the revelations that’s more interesting to the American voter about the election, while the media is fascinated whether the Kremlin is working with you, whether you work for the Kremlin, basically.

[JULIAN ASANGE] No, but I think it’s a genuine question you should ask the sources of information. The least, however, in case of Wikileaks publications. Why do I say that? Well, the principal reason why you want to know the source of some statement is to understand whether it’s true or not, even a big issue in the case of other media organizations who are simply making claims and not publishing original documents. I give you an example, a very, very interesting example.

I’ve done some research on the Turkish coup. Now, it’s not spoken about in the West, but within Turkey, the Turkish newspapers, are publishing elements of a theory that the United States was directly involved in the coup. The U.S. Intelligence backed Fethullah Gülen who is based in Pennsylvania as the head of the Gulen cult that has been implicated in the coup. In fact, according to the Turkish government, he is the leading actor in the coup.

[AFSHIN RATTANSI] He’s wanted by President Erdogan?

[JULIAN ASANGE] Yes, and he put out extradition requests. But one of the key independent points of evidence, not coming from interrogation in Turkey where people might have been placed under duress, is that in the middle of the coup, NBC published that Erdogan was on his way to Germany to seek asylum. And they say this was told to them by a U.S. military source. So what the hell is going on there? Because that went all the way around the world, and was used to further the chances of success of the coup within Turkey, because if the president has fled, then he’s lost control.
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:58 am

Intelligence figures fear Trump reprisals over assessment of Russia election role
by Spencer Ackerman in New York
@attackerman
Sunday 11 December 2016

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• Wyden: CIA, agencies and Congress must ‘guard against political pressure’
• Rex Tillerson: appointment that would confirm Putin’s US election win

Legislators overseeing the CIA and other intelligence agencies have told the Guardian they will be vigilant about reprisals from Donald Trump over an internal assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to ensure Trump’s victory.

Fears of retaliation rose within US intelligence agencies over a tense weekend that saw Trump publicly dismiss not only the assessment but the basic competence of the intelligence apparatus.

“When the president-elect’s transition team is attempting to discredit the entire intelligence community [IC], it has never been more important for the IC and Congress to guard against possible political pressure or retaliation against intelligence analysts,” Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, told the Guardian.

Like his Democratic colleagues on the panel, Wyden is pressing Barack Obama for additional public disclosures revealing Russian electoral interference. Such pressure has placed the CIA and other intelligence agencies between the incoming president to whom they will soon answer and a chorus of legislators, mostly but not exclusively Democrats, who consider the Russia hack a national emergency.

It is not possible to gauge precisely how deep fears of retaliation run within the intelligence world. Two currently serving intelligence officers told the Guardian this weekend they had not heard their colleagues express such concerns.

One noted that civil-service laws prevented Trump from launching a purge, but also called attention to a report that Trump is combing through the energy department bureaucracy to identify people “who have attended climate change policy conferences”.

Former intelligence officers told the Guardian they considered retaliation by Trump to be all but a certainty after he is sworn into office next month. Trump still has several appointments to make at the highest levels of the intelligence apparatus, picks which are likely to be bellwethers for the new president’s attitudes toward the agencies.

There is not just smoke here. There is a 10-alarm fire, the sirens are wailing, the Russians provided the lighter fluid
Glenn Carle, former CIA officer


“There is not just smoke here. There is a blazing 10-alarm fire, the sirens are wailing, the Russians provided the lighter fluid, and Trump is standing half-burnt and holding a match,” said Glenn Carle, a retired CIA officer and interrogator.

“The facts hurt, Trump won’t like the truth, and he will without question seek to destroy those individuals or organizations that say or do anything that he thinks harm his precious grandiosity.”

After congressional Democrats called for additional briefings and public disclosures about an intelligence consensus that Russia made a deliberate decision to intervene in the election, Barack Obama ordered a new review of the evidence.

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that intelligence sources believe the Russians decided to penetrate the Democratic National Committee’s digital networks with the goal of aiding Trump, not merely to spread uncertainty about the outcome of the election.

In response, Trump attacked the credibility of the intelligence agencies on which he will rely for early warning of security emergencies and geopolitical developments. His transition team said in a statement: “These are the same people who said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.”

Adam Schiff, the leading Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Trump “cannot abide the idea that Russian hacking helped his campaign” and was lashing out in a manner that undermined confidence in his handling of intelligence.

“If Trump is willing to disregard sound intelligence now, and demean the hard-working and patriotic Americans who produced it, I fear what he will do as president when confronted with unpleasant truths,” Schiff said.

“Will he accept the best insights of our agencies, or punish them for daring to contradict his assumptions?”

Trump’s clash with the CIA comes at a moment of acute turmoil within intelligence circles. Obama officials jeopardized the tenure of National Security Agency chief Mike Rogers in a seemingly thwarted bureaucratic reorganization of the US surveillance and cybersecurity apparatus. Congressional sources have told the Guardian they expect to hold a public hearing on the issue in January.

Should Trump go through with the reshuffle, it will leave him appointing an NSA director as well as a director of national intelligence, after James Clapper announced his resignation last month. Trump has also been noncommittal about retaining the FBI director, James Comey, whose bureau houses significant sympathy for Trump.

Congressional Republicans are in an uncomfortable position, between a president of their own party and Russia, a traditional adversary.

Devin Nunes, a California Republican who chairs the House intelligence committee, said on Saturday Russian electoral hacking was “no surprise”. He also blamed Obama for coming late to the threat out of “delusions of ‘resetting’ relations with Russia” – a policy that Trump is also pursuing.

On Sunday, anti-Trump GOP hawks Lindsey Graham and John McCain offered a different path, joining with leading Democratic senators Chuck Schumer and Jack Reed to plead for a bipartisan inquiry into the alleged Russian hacking, which they said endangered the country.

“We have an obligation to inform the public about recent cyberattacks that have cut to the heart of our free society,” the senators said in a joint statement.

“Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks.”

Also on Sunday, Elijah Cummings, the Maryland Democrat on the investigations-heavy House oversight committee, pressured the Republican committee chairman, Jason Chaffetz, and speaker of the house Paul Ryan to “join us now in our effort to launch a robust and truly bipartisan investigation of Russian interference in our election that puts our nation’s interests over the interests of any political party”.

Carle, the retired CIA officer, said Trump’s temperament had played into Russia’s hands and put the president-elect on a collision course with the CIA.

He said: “Look, in my professional assessment as an intelligence officer, Trump has a reflexive, defensive, monumentally narcissistic personality, for whom the facts and national interest are irrelevant, and the only thing that counts is whatever gives personal advantage and directs attention to himself.

“He is about the juiciest intelligence target an intelligence office could imagine. He groans with vulnerabilities. He will only work with individuals or entities that agree with him and build him up, and he is a shockingly easy intelligence ‘target’ to manipulate.”

Were Trump an intelligence officer himself, Carle said, “he would be removed and possibly charged with having accepted the clandestine support of a hostile power to the harm of the United States”.

A senior intelligence official who was not cleared to talk to reporters supported the push to declassify additional material on the “serious matter” of the alleged Russian electoral interference, since “it happened on our watch”.
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Mon Dec 12, 2016 6:09 am

OPEN LETTER FROM MILITARY LEADERS
September 6, 2016

The 2016 election affords the American people an urgently needed opportunity to make a
long-overdue course correction in our national security posture and policy. As retired senior
leaders of America’s military, we believe that such a change can only be made by someone who
has not been deeply involved with, and substantially responsible for, the hollowing out of our
military and the burgeoning threats facing our country around the world. For this reason, we
support Donald Trump’s candidacy to be our next Commander-in-Chief.

For the past eight years, America’s armed forces have been subjected to a series of ill-considered
and debilitating budget cuts, policy choices and combat operations that have left the
superb men and women in uniform less capable of performing their vital missions in the future
than we require them to be.

Simultaneously, enemies of this country have been emboldened, sensing weakness and
irresolution in Washington and opportunities for aggression at our expense and that of other
freedom-loving nations.

In our professional judgment, the combined effect is potentially extremely perilous. That
is especially the case if our government persists in the practices that have brought us to this
present pass.

For this reason, we support Donald Trump and his commitment to rebuild our military, to
secure our borders, to defeat our Islamic supremacist adversaries and restore law and order
domestically. We urge our fellow Americans to do the same.

1. General Burwell B. Bell III, US Army, Retired
2. General Alfred G. Hansen, US Air Force, Retired
3. Admiral Jerry Johnson, US Navy, Retired
4. General Crosbie “Butch” Saint, US Army, Retired
5. Lieutenant General William G. Boykin, US Army, Retired
6. Lieutenant General Marvin Covault, US Army, retired
7. Lieutenant General Gordon E, Fornell, US Air Force, Retired
8. Lieutenant General Harley Hughes, US Air Force, Retired
9. Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, US Air Force, Retired
10. Lieutenant General Timothy A. Kinnan, US Air Force, Retired
11. Lieutenant General Hugh G. Smith, US Army, Retired
12. Lieutenant General David J. Teal, US Air Force, Retired
13. Lieutenant General William E. Thurman, US Air Force, Retired
14. Vice Admiral Mike Bucchi, US Navy, Retired
15. Vice Admiral Edward Clexton, Jr. US Navy, Retired
16. Vice Admiral R.F. Schoultz, US Navy, Retired
17. Vice Admiral Donald Thompson, US Coast Guard, Retired
18. Vice Admiral Jerry Unruh, US Navy, Retired
19. Major General Joe Arbuckle, US Army, Retired
20. Major General John Bianchi, CSMR, Retired
21. Major General Henry D. Canterbury, US Air Force, Retired
22. Major General Jeffrey Cliver, US Air Force, Retired
23. Major General Tommy F. Crawford, US Air Force, Retired
24. Major General Felix Dupre, US Air Force, Retired
25. Major General Neil Eddins, US Air Force, Retired
26. Major General David W. Eidsaune, US Air Force, Retired
27. Major General William A. Gorton, US Air Force, Retired
28. Major General Kenneth Hagemann, US Air Force, Retired
29. Major General Gary L. Harrell, US Army, Retired
30. Major General Geoffrey Higginbothan, US Marine Corps, Retired
31. Major General John D. Logeman, Jr., US Air Force, Retired
32. Major General Homer S. Long, US Army, Retired
33. Major General Billy McCoy, US Air Force, Retired
34. Major General Robert Messerli, US Air Force, Retired
35. Major General John Miller, US Air Force, Retired
36. Major General Ray O’Mara, US Air Force, Retired
37. Major General George W.“Nordie” Norwood, US Air Force, Retired
38. Major General Robert W. Paret, US Air Force MC, Retired
39. Major General James W. Parker, US Army, Retired
40. Major General Richard Perraut, US Air Force, Retired
41. Major General Sidney Shachnow, US Army, Retired
42. Major General Mark Solo, US Air Force, Retired
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44. Major General Kenneth W. Weir, US Marine Corps, Retired
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55. Rear Admiral J. Adrian Jackson, US Navy, Retired
56. Rear Admiral Frederick C. Johnson, US Navy, Retired
57. Rear Admiral Jack Kavanaugh, SC, US Navy, Retired
58. Rear Admiral Charles R.Kubic, US Navy, Retired
59. Rear Admiral Rich Landolt, US Navy, Retired
60. Rear Admiral William J. McDaniel, MD, US Navy, Retired
61. Rear Admiral E.S. McGinley II, US Navy, Retired
62. Rear Admiral Douglas M. Moore Jr. SC US Navy. Retired
63. Rear Admiral John A. Moriarty, US Navy, Retired
64. Rear Admiral David R. Morris, US Navy, Retired
65. Rear Admiral Ed Nelson, US Coast Guard, Retired
66. Rear Admiral Philip R. Olsen, US Navy, Retired
67. Rear Admiral Robert S. Owens, US Navy, Retired
68. Rear Admiral W.W. Pickavance, Jr., US Navy, Retired
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70. Rear Admiral Brian C. Prindle, US Navy, Retired
71. Rear Admiral William J. Ryan, US Navy, Retired
72. Rear Admiral William L. Schachte, Jr., US Navy JAGC, Retired
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78. Brigadier General Remo Butler, US Army, Retired
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:01 pm

With Saudi and Russian ties, Clinton machine’s tentacles are far reaching, according to Panama Papers
by Ben Norton
April 8, 2016

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A key gear in the Clinton machine that has sucked in hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying on behalf of the Saudi absolute monarchy has also worked for Russia’s biggest bank.

The Podesta Group is one of the most influential Democratic Party-linked lobbyists in the U.S. And it is headed by a top Hillary Clinton fundraiser who has been referred to as the “Hillary moneyman.”

Sberbank, the largest financial institution in Eastern Europe, hired the Podesta Group to help powder up its public image, The Observer reports.

This is just one of the many findings in the so-called Panama Papers, a trove of 11.5 million documents that expose how political and economic elites from around the planet are stashing their money in secretive tax havens.

In March, the Podesta Group registered with the U.S. government as a lobbyist for Sberbank.

The bank plays an enormous role in the Russian economy. It controls almost 30 percent of Russia’s aggregate banking assets
, employs a quarter-million people and “is functionally an arm of the Kremlin, although it’s ostensibly a private institution,” The Observer notes.

Many right-wing publications and neoconservative figures have jumped on this story in hopes of trying to tie the Clintons to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the preferred trumped up bogeyman in the U.S. establishment today.

Hillary Clinton herself is not directly implicated, just one of her biggest campaign bundlers. What is more important about the story, however, is not that it exposes some kind of nefarious Russian plot — as questionable “NSA spook” author John Schindler appears to suggest with Cold War-esque hand-wringing in his Observer article — but rather that the Clinton machine is ultimately loyal to the dollar and to the dollar alone.

In this political universe, the biggest bank in Russia — a U.S. enemy — is joined by the theocratic dictatorship in Saudi Arabia — a close U.S. ally.

The Podesta Group has a hefty contract with the Saudi regime, for which the firm provides “public relations” services on behalf of King Salman’s royal court.

Saudi Arabia paid the Podesta Group an initial “project fee” of $200,000, along with unspecified further payment, according to documents filed with the Justice Department Foreign Agents Registration Act office.

Tony Podesta, CEO of the Podesta Group, co-founded the public affairs firm in 1998 with his brother John, himself a prominent Clinton operative.

John Podesta has played a variety of roles in the Clinton machine. He served as chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, and is now the chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

Prominent Democrat Party-aligned Washington think tank the Center for American Progress was also founded by John Podesta, who was its first president.

The Panama Papers reveal a bit more about the Saudi royal family, which has used a series of British Virgin Islands shell companies to take out at least $34 million worth of mortgages for houses in London and “a luxury yacht the length of a football field.”

The Podesta Group is by no means the only D.C.-based lobbying firm that shills for the Saudis. A slew of other Washington lobbyists join the Podesta Group in working on behalf of the theocratic Saudi regime, which governs according to a strict, fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law; funds and exports extremism throughout the world; regularly beheads dissidents; and refuses to grant basic rights to women.

At the 2016 Summit on Saudi Arabia, the first international conference to challenge the U.S. relationship with the Saudi regime, Saudi human rights lawyer Abdulaziz al-Hussan recalled that, when he worked as a human rights lobbyist in the West, he was constantly “depressed by how nobody wanted to say anything about human rights in Saudi, because of all the money.”

Al-Hussan condemned “hypocrite governments in the West, who support the violation of human rights for business interests.”


Yet the Podesta Group is by no means the only part of the Clinton machine with ties to Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi regime is one the largest donors to the Clinton Foundation. It has poured between $10 million and $25 million into the organization, which has been accused of carrying out an international money laundering scheme.

Perhaps most egregious of all, huge arms deals approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department also happened to place weapons in the hands of governments that donated money to the Clinton Foundation — including the autocratic Gulf regimes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar — an investigation the International Business Times found.

Moreover, Bill Clinton has garnered enormous fees for speeches in Saudi Arabia, investigative reporter Michael Isikoff points out, including $600,000 for two talks while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.

In his report on the Clinton machine’s ties to Saudi Arabia, Isikoff also notes that two “of the Clinton lobbyist-bundlers, Richard Sullivan and David Jones, are principals in a firm that, until late last year, represented the Russia Direct Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth fund co-founded by Vladimir Putin when he was prime minister.”

All of these actors are moving parts in the enormous Clinton machine, which has its tentacles everywhere, and — as journalist Matt Taibbi infamously wrote of Goldman Sachs — “relentlessly jams its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

Ben Norton is a politics reporter and staff writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:34 am

The CIA’s Absence of Conviction
by Craig Murray
11 Dec, 2016

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I have watched incredulous as the CIA’s blatant lie has grown and grown as a media story – blatant because the CIA has made no attempt whatsoever to substantiate it. There is no Russian involvement in the leaks of emails showing Clinton’s corruption. Yes this rubbish has been the lead today in the Washington Post in the US and the Guardian here, and was the lead item on the BBC main news. I suspect it is leading the American broadcasts also.

A little simple logic demolishes the CIA’s claims. The CIA claim they “know the individuals” involved. Yet under Obama the USA has been absolutely ruthless in its persecution of whistleblowers, and its pursuit of foreign hackers through extradition. We are supposed to believe that in the most vital instance imaginable, an attempt by a foreign power to destabilise a US election, even though the CIA knows who the individuals are, nobody is going to be arrested or extradited, or (if in Russia) made subject to yet more banking and other restrictions against Russian individuals? Plainly it stinks. The anonymous source claims of “We know who it was, it was the Russians” are beneath contempt.

As Julian Assange has made crystal clear, the leaks did not come from the Russians. As I have explained countless times, they are not hacks, they are insider leaks – there is a major difference between the two. And it should be said again and again, that if Hillary Clinton had not connived with the DNC to fix the primary schedule to disadvantage Bernie, if she had not received advance notice of live debate questions to use against Bernie, if she had not accepted massive donations to the Clinton foundation and family members in return for foreign policy influence, if she had not failed to distance herself from some very weird and troubling people, then none of this would have happened.

The continued ability of the mainstream media to claim the leaks lost Clinton the election because of “Russia”, while still never acknowledging the truths the leaks reveal, is Kafkaesque.

I had a call from a Guardian journalist this afternoon. The astonishing result was that for three hours, an article was accessible through the Guardian front page which actually included the truth among the CIA hype:

The Kremlin has rejected the hacking accusations, while the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has previously said the DNC leaks were not linked to Russia. A second senior official cited by the Washington Post conceded that intelligence agencies did not have specific proof that the Kremlin was “directing” the hackers, who were said to be one step removed from the Russian government.

Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, who is a close associate of Assange, called the CIA claims “bullshit”, adding: “They are absolutely making it up.”

“I know who leaked them,” Murray said. “I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things.

“If what the CIA are saying is true, and the CIA’s statement refers to people who are known to be linked to the Russian state, they would have arrested someone if it was someone inside the United States.


“America has not been shy about arresting whistleblowers and it’s not been shy about extraditing hackers. They plainly have no knowledge whatsoever.”


But only three hours. While the article was not taken down, the home page links to it vanished and it was replaced by a ludicrous one repeating the mad CIA allegations against Russia and now claiming – incredibly – that the CIA believe the FBI is deliberately blocking the information on Russian collusion. Presumably this totally nutty theory, that Putin is somehow now controlling the FBI, is meant to answer my obvious objection that, if the CIA know who it is, why haven’t they arrested somebody. That bit of course would be the job of the FBI, who those desperate to annul the election now wish us to believe are the KGB.

It is terrible that the prime conduit for this paranoid nonsense is a once great newspaper, the Washington Post, which far from investigating executive power, now is a sounding board for totally evidence free anonymous source briefing of utter bullshit from the executive.

In the UK, one single article sums up the total abnegation of all journalistic standards. The truly execrable Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian writes “Few credible sources doubt that Russia was behind the hacking of internal Democratic party emails, whose release by Julian Assange was timed to cause maximum pain to Hillary Clinton and pleasure for Trump.” Does he produce any evidence at all for this assertion? No, none whatsoever. What does a journalist mean by a “credible source”? Well, any journalist worth their salt in considering the credibility of a source will first consider access. Do they credibly have access to the information they claim to have?

Now both Julian Assange and I have stated definitively the leak does not come from Russia. Do we credibly have access? Yes, very obviously. Very, very few people can be said to definitely have access to the source of the leak. The people saying it is not Russia are those who do have access. After access, you consider truthfulness. Do Julian Assange and I have a reputation for truthfulness? Well in 10 years not one of the tens of thousands of documents WikiLeaks has released has had its authenticity successfully challenged. As for me, I have a reputation for inconvenient truth telling.

Contrast this to the “credible sources” Freedland relies on. What access do they have to the whistleblower? Zero. They have not the faintest idea who the whistleblower is. Otherwise they would have arrested them. What reputation do they have for truthfulness? It’s the Clinton gang and the US government, for goodness sake.

In fact, the sources any serious journalist would view as “credible” give the opposite answer to the one Freedland wants. But in what passes for Freedland’s mind, “credible” is 100% synonymous with “establishment”. When he says “credible sources” he means “establishment sources”. That is the truth of the “fake news” meme. You are not to read anything unless it is officially approved by the elite and their disgusting, crawling whores of stenographers like Freedland.

The worst thing about all this is that it is aimed at promoting further conflict with Russia. This puts everyone in danger for the sake of more profits for the arms and security industries – including of course bigger budgets for the CIA. As thankfully the four year agony of Aleppo comes swiftly to a close today, the Saudi and US armed and trained ISIS forces counter by moving to retake Palmyra. This game kills people, on a massive scale, and goes on and on.
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:52 am

Obama Loses His War on Whistleblowers
by Craig Murray
12 Dec, 2016

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Obama has waged a vicious War on Whistleblowers, the details of which are insufficiently known to the public. High level security officials, true American patriots like Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou have been handcuffed, dragged through the courts and jailed. William Binney had guns pointed at himself and his wife in their home. Chelsea Manning endures constant persecution and humiliation which meets the bar of cruel and degrading punishment. Edward Snowden pines in exile. These are just the highest profile examples. Hillary Clinton was the driving force behind Obama’s hard line attacks on whistleblowers.

Under Obama, whistleblowers face a total of 751 months behind bars — compared to 24 months for all other whistleblowers combined since the American Revolution. The protection of free speech and truth-telling has been wrenched away under Obama.

I am proud to be a whistleblower myself, and like Drake, Kiriakou, Binney, Manning and Snowden a recipient of the annual Sam Adams award. We have another recipient – Julian Assange – who is a most useful ally indeed.

Whistleblowers seemed a soft target. Indeed seven years into his Presidency Obama seemed to be winning the War on Whistleblowers hands down, leaving them serving time or marginalised and cast out from society.

But Obama/Clinton miscalculated massively. If you set up the super surveillance state, hoovering up all the internet traffic of pretty well everybody, that is not just going to affect the ordinary people whom the elite despise. There is also going to be an awful lot of traffic intercepted from sleazy members of the elite connected to even the most senior politicians, revealing all their corruption and idiosyncracies. From people like John Podesta, to take an entirely random example. And once the super surveillance state has intercepted and stored all that highly incriminating material, you never know if some decent human being, some genuine patriot, from within the security services is going to feel compelled to turn whistleblower.

Then they might turn for help to, to take another entirely random example, Julian Assange.

Obama/Clinton have perished politically as an example of the ultimate in political hubris. Downed by their own surveillance super state. Obama/Clinton’s War on Whistleblowers resulted in the most humiliating of defeats, and now they are political history. This is karma for their persecution of some of the best people in their nation. Good riddance.

All nothing to do with any Russians.

Disclaimer – though I reference fellow holders of the Sam Adams award, this does not indicate a joint effort or that individual award holders or the Sam Adams Associates necessarily agree with actions taken.
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:29 pm

RT beats internet to break #Podestaemails6 & everybody loses their minds (conspiracy theory warning)
by RT.com
13 Oct, 2016

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RT breaking the latest Podesta emails before WikiLeaks sparked accusations of collusion with the whistleblowing organization. Actually, no conspiracies were involved – just good journalism.

Having discovered over 1,800 emails date-stamped October 13 on the WikiLeaks site, RT sprung into action.

RT America ✔ @RT_America
#BREAKING: #WikiLeaks releases 6th #Podesta #email batch http://on.rt.com/7rtd #PodestaEmails6
6:09 AM - 13 Oct 2016


Wikileaks followed shortly after by tweeting that #PodestaEmails6 were now available.

WikiLeaks ✔ @wikileaks
RELEASE: The Podesta Emails Part 6 (almost 2000 new emails) https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/?q ... archresult … #HillaryClinton #PodestaEmails #PodestaEmails6
6:38 AM - 13 Oct 2016


Despite the documents being public when discovered by RT, accusations soon began that it was proof that Russia and WikiLeaks are somehow working together. Christopher Miller, a journalist for the US government-backed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, set the wheels of suspicion in motion.

Christopher Miller ✔ @ChristopherJM
Earlier today, @RT_com tweeted & pubbed a story on fresh @wikileaks Podesta emails dump before WL posted them to the site & tweeted a link.
7:41 AM - 13 Oct 2016


Hillary Clinton’s Press Secretary Brian Fallon then followed suit, tweeting that the work by RT journalists was part of a conspiracy “in service of Trump”.

Brian Fallon ✔ @brianefallon
More evidence of Russian collusion with @Wikileaks in service of Trumphttps://twitter.com/ChristopherJM/ ... 29313?s=03
8:47 AM - 13 Oct 2016


WikiLeaks even stepped in to clarify that the emails were available, just not tweeted, and that RT had not acquired them in any other way.

13 Oct
Christopher Miller ✔ @ChristopherJM
Earlier today, @RT_com tweeted & pubbed a story on fresh @wikileaks Podesta emails dump before WL posted them to the site & tweeted a link. pic.twitter.com/nHb0GIq4Am


WikiLeaks ✔ @wikileaks
@ChristopherJM @RT_com No they didn't. The release was visible to anyone looking at https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/?q ... archresult … well before our first tweet.
9:30 AM - 13 Oct 2016


Wikileaks - The Podesta emails
WikiLeaks series on deals involving Hillary Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta. Mr Podesta is a long-term associate of the Clintons and was President Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff from 1998 until...
wikileaks.org


Brian Fallon was contacted by an RT journalist. We offered to explain to him how the team broke the news. He has not responded.
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:28 pm

Ex-British ambassador who is now a WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Clinton emails - they were handed over to him at a D.C. park by an intermediary for 'disgusted' Democratic whistleblowers
by Alana Goodman
Dailymail.com
Dec 20th 2016

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A Wikileaks envoy today claims he personally received Clinton campaign emails in Washington D.C. after they were leaked by 'disgusted' whisteblowers - and not hacked by Russia.

Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and a close associate of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, told Dailymail.com that he flew to Washington, D.C. for a clandestine hand-off with one of the email sources in September.

'Neither of [the leaks] came from the Russians,' said Murray in an interview with Dailymail.com on Tuesday. 'The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.'

His account contradicts directly the version of how thousands of Democratic emails were published before the election being advanced by U.S. intelligence.

Murray is a controversial figure who was removed from his post as a British ambassador amid allegations of misconduct. He was cleared of those but left the diplomatic service in acrimony.

'Torture intelligence' criticised
by BBC News
11 October, 2004

The UK ambassador to Uzbekistan has criticised MI6 for using intelligence allegedly gained through torture, according to newspaper reports.

In a confidential internal document leaked to the Financial Times, Craig Murray said Uzbek officials abused prisoners to extract information.

The intelligence was used by MI6 after being passed on by the CIA, he alleges.

Mr Murray has been an outspoken critic of the regime's human rights record throughout his two years as ambassador.

The private Foreign Office memo reportedly shows Mr Murray's concerns about Britain's use of intelligence gained by such means.

The Foreign Office has responded saying the British government, including intelligence agencies, has never used torture to obtain information or incited others to do so.

According to the Financial Times, Mr Murray says "Torture dupes are forced to sign up to confessions showing what the Uzbek government wants the US and UK to believe."

And he claims the Uzbeks exaggerate the activity of local militants and their links with al-Qaeda.

He reportedly says MI6 has a yen for highly-coloured material that exaggerates the threat and he concludes "we are selling our souls for dross".

Mr Murray has been a vocal critic of Uzbekistan's human rights record.

In his first speech upon taking the job he said: "Uzbekistan is not a functioning democracy, nor does it appear to be moving in the direction of democracy".


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

Murray's claims about the origins of the Clinton campaign emails comes as U.S. intelligence officials are increasingly confident that Russian hackers infiltrated both the Democratic National Committee and the email account of top Clinton aide John Podesta.

In Podesta's case, his account appeared to have been compromised through a basic 'phishing' scheme, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

U.S. intelligence officials have reportedly told members of Congress during classified briefings that they believe Russians passed the documents on to Wikileaks as part of an influence operation to swing the election in favor of Donald Trump.

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

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

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

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

His account cannot be independently verified but is in line with previous statements by Wikileaks - which was the organization that published the Podesta and DNC emails.

Wikileaks published the DNC messages in July and the Podesta messages in October. The messages revealed efforts by some DNC officials to undermine the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was running against Hillary Clinton.

Others revealed that Clinton aides were concerned about potential conflicts and mismanagement at the Clinton Foundation.

Murray declined to say where the sources worked and how they had access to the information, to shield their identities.

He suggested that Podesta's emails might be 'of legitimate interest to the security services' in the U.S., due to his communications with Saudi Arabia lobbyists and foreign officials.

Murray said he was speaking out due to claims from intelligence officials that Wikileaks was given the documents by Russian hackers as part of an effort to help Donald Trump win the U.S. presidential election.

'I don't understand why the CIA would say the information came from Russian hackers when they must know that isn't true,' he said. 'Regardless of whether the Russians hacked into the DNC, the documents Wikileaks published did not come from that.'

Murray was a vocal critic of human rights abuses in Uzbekistan while serving as ambassador between 2002 and 2004, a stance that pitted him against the UK Foreign Office.

He describes himself as a 'close associate' of Julian Assange and has spoken out in support of the Wikileaks founder who has faced rape allegations and is currently confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Assange has similarly disputed that charges that Wikileaks received the leaked emails from Russian sources.

'The Clinton camp has been able to project a neo-McCarthyist hysteria that Russia is responsible for everything,' Assange told John Pilger during an interview in November.

'Hillary Clinton has stated multiple times, falsely, that 17 US intelligence agencies had assessed that Russia was the source of our publications. That's false – we can say that the Russian government is not the source.'

The Washington Post reported last Friday that U.S. intelligence agencies had 'identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails.'

The paper said U.S. senators were presented with information tying Russia to the leaks during a recent briefing by intelligence officials.

'It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia's goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,' a senior U.S. official familiar with the briefing told the Post. 'That's the consensus view.'

The paper said U.S. senators were presented with information tying Russia to the leaks during a recent briefing by intelligence officials.

'It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia's goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,' a senior U.S. official familiar with the briefing told the Post. 'That's the consensus view.'

The Obama administration has been examining Russia's potential role in trying to influence the presidential election. Officials said Russians hacked the Republican National Committee, but did not release that information in a deliberate effort to damage Clinton and protect Donald Trump.

Several congressional committees are also looking into the suspected Russian interference.

While there is a consensus on Capitol Hill that Russia hacked U.S. political groups and officials, some Republicans say it's not clear whether the motive was to try to swing the election or just to collect intelligence.

'Now whether they intended to interfere to the degree that they were trying to elect a certain candidate, I think that's the subject of investigation,' said Sen. John McCain on CBS Face the Nation. 'But facts are stubborn things, they did hack into this campaign.'

President elect Donald Trump raised doubts about the reports and said this was an 'excuse' by Democrats to explain Clinton's November loss.

'It's just another excuse. I don't believe it,' said Trump on Fox News Sunday.
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:10 am

Why Vladimir Putin's Russia Is Backing Donald Trump
by Kurt Eichenwald
11/4/16

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In phone calls, meetings and cables, America’s European allies have expressed alarm to one another about Donald Trump’s public statements denying Moscow’s role in cyberattacks designed to interfere with the U.S. election. They fear the Republican nominee for president has emboldened the Kremlin in its unprecedented cybercampaign to disrupt elections in multiple countries in hopes of weakening Western alliances, according to intelligence, law enforcement and other government officials in the United States and Europe.

While American intelligence officers have privately briefed Trump about Russia’s attempts to influence the U.S. election, he has publicly dismissed that information as unreliable, instead saying this hacking of incredible sophistication and technical complexity could have been done by some 400-pound “guy sitting on their bed” or even a child.

Officials from two European countries tell Newsweek that Trump’s comments about Russia’s hacking have alarmed several NATO partners because it suggests he either does not believe the information he receives in intelligence briefings, does not pay attention to it, does not understand it or is misleading the American public for unknown reasons. One British official says members of that government who are aware of the scope of Russia’s cyberattacks both in Western Europe and America found Trump’s comments “quite disturbing” because they fear that, if elected, the Republican presidential nominee would continue to ignore information gathered by intelligence services in the formulation of U.S. foreign policy.

Trump’s behavior, however, has at times concerned the Russians, leading them to revise their hacking and disinformation strategy. For example, when Trump launched into an inexplicable attack on the parents of a Muslim-American soldier who died in combat, the Kremlin assumed the Republican nominee was showing himself psychologically unfit to be president and would be forced by his party to withdraw from the race. As a result, Moscow put its hacking campaign temporarily on hold, ending the distribution of documents until Trump stabilized, both personally and in the polls, according to reports provided to Western intelligence.

America’s European partners are also troubled by the actions of several people close to Trump’s campaign and company. Trump has been surrounded by advisers and associates with economic and familial links to Russia. The publicized connections and contacts between former campaign manager Paul Manafort with Ukraine have raised concerns. Former Trump adviser Carter Page is being probed by American and European intelligence on allegations that he engaged in back-channel discussions with Russian government officials over the summer. Page did travel to Moscow, but he denies any inappropriate contact with Russian officials. The allies are also uneasy about retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, a Trump adviser who was reportedly considered a possible running mate for the GOP nominee. Last December, Flynn attended a dinner at the Metropol Hotel in honor of the 10th anniversary of RT, a Russian news agency that has been publicly identified by American intelligence as a primary outlet for Moscow’s disinformation campaigns. Flynn, who was two seats away from Russian President Vladimir Putin at the dinner, has frequently appeared on RT, despite public warnings by American intelligence that the news agency is used for Russian propaganda.

Image
Balance of Power 2016: DIA's Trump vs. CIA's PropOrNot
by Tara Carreon


The military’s resistance dates back to the summer of 2013, when a highly classified assessment, put together by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya. A former senior adviser to the Joint Chiefs told me that the document was an ‘all-source’ appraisal, drawing on information from signals, satellite and human intelligence, and took a dim view of the Obama administration’s insistence on continuing to finance and arm the so-called moderate rebel groups. By then, the CIA had been conspiring for more than a year with allies in the UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to ship guns and goods – to be used for the overthrow of Assad – from Libya, via Turkey, into Syria. The new intelligence estimate singled out Turkey as a major impediment to Obama’s Syria policy. The document showed, the adviser said, ‘that what was started as a covert US programme to arm and support the moderate rebels fighting Assad had been co-opted by Turkey, and had morphed into an across-the-board technical, arms and logistical programme for all of the opposition, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State. The so-called moderates had evaporated and the Free Syrian Army was a rump group stationed at an airbase in Turkey.’ The assessment was bleak: there was no viable ‘moderate’ opposition to Assad, and the US was arming extremists.

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. Turkey wasn’t doing enough to stop the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons across the border. ‘If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,’ Flynn told me. ‘We understood Isis’s long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.’ The DIA’s reporting, he said, ‘got enormous pushback’ from the Obama administration. ‘I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.’

‘Our policy of arming the opposition to Assad was unsuccessful and actually having a negative impact,’ the former JCS adviser said. ‘The Joint Chiefs believed that Assad should not be replaced by fundamentalists. The administration’s policy was contradictory. They wanted Assad to go but the opposition was dominated by extremists. So who was going to replace him? To say Assad’s got to go is fine, but if you follow that through – therefore anyone is better. It’s the “anybody else is better” issue that the JCS had with Obama’s policy.’ The Joint Chiefs felt that a direct challenge to Obama’s policy would have ‘had a zero chance of success’. So in the autumn of 2013 they decided to take steps against the extremists without going through political channels, by providing US intelligence to the militaries of other nations, on the understanding that it would be passed on to the Syrian army and used against the common enemy, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State.

Germany, Israel and Russia were in contact with the Syrian army, and able to exercise some influence over Assad’s decisions – it was through them that US intelligence would be shared. Each had its reasons for co-operating with Assad: Germany feared what might happen among its own population of six million Muslims if Islamic State expanded; Israel was concerned with border security; Russia had an alliance of very long standing with Syria, and was worried by the threat to its only naval base on the Mediterranean, at Tartus. ‘We weren’t intent on deviating from Obama’s stated policies,’ the adviser said. ‘But sharing our assessments via the military-to-military relationships with other countries could prove productive. It was clear that Assad needed better tactical intelligence and operational advice. The JCS concluded that if those needs were met, the overall fight against Islamist terrorism would be enhanced. Obama didn’t know, but Obama doesn’t know what the JCS does in every circumstance and that’s true of all presidents.’

Once the flow of US intelligence began, Germany, Israel and Russia started passing on information about the whereabouts and intent of radical jihadist groups to the Syrian army; in return, Syria provided information about its own capabilities and intentions. There was no direct contact between the US and the Syrian military; instead, the adviser said, ‘we provided the information – including long-range analyses on Syria’s future put together by contractors or one of our war colleges – and these countries could do with it what they chose, including sharing it with Assad. We were saying to the Germans and the others: “Here’s some information that’s pretty interesting and our interest is mutual.” End of conversation. The JCS could conclude that something beneficial would arise from it – but it was a military to military thing, and not some sort of a sinister Joint Chiefs’ plot to go around Obama and support Assad. It was a lot cleverer than that. If Assad remains in power, it will not be because we did it. It’s because he was smart enough to use the intelligence and sound tactical advice we provided to others.’

The public history of relations between the US and Syria over the past few decades has been one of enmity. Assad condemned the 9/11 attacks, but opposed the Iraq War. George W. Bush repeatedly linked Syria to the three members of his ‘axis of evil’ – Iraq, Iran and North Korea – throughout his presidency. State Department cables made public by WikiLeaks show that the Bush administration tried to destabilise Syria and that these efforts continued into the Obama years. In December 2006, William Roebuck, then in charge of the US embassy in Damascus, filed an analysis of the ‘vulnerabilities’ of the Assad government and listed methods ‘that will improve the likelihood’ of opportunities for destabilisation. He recommended that Washington work with Saudi Arabia and Egypt to increase sectarian tension and focus on publicising ‘Syrian efforts against extremist groups’ – dissident Kurds and radical Sunni factions – ‘in a way that suggests weakness, signs of instability, and uncontrolled blowback’; and that the ‘isolation of Syria’ should be encouraged through US support of the National Salvation Front, led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian vice president whose government-in-exile in Riyadh was sponsored by the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood. Another 2006 cable showed that the embassy had spent $5 million financing dissidents who ran as independent candidates for the People’s Assembly; the payments were kept up even after it became clear that Syrian intelligence knew what was going on. A 2010 cable warned that funding for a London-based television network run by a Syrian opposition group would be viewed by the Syrian government ‘as a covert and hostile gesture toward the regime’.

But there is also a parallel history of shadowy co-operation between Syria and the US during the same period. The two countries collaborated against al-Qaida, their common enemy. A longtime consultant to the Joint Special Operations Command said that, after 9/11, ‘Bashar was, for years, extremely helpful to us while, in my view, we were churlish in return, and clumsy in our use of the gold he gave us. That quiet co-operation continued among some elements, even after the [Bush administration’s] decision to vilify him.’ In 2002 Assad authorised Syrian intelligence to turn over hundreds of internal files on the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria and Germany. Later that year, Syrian intelligence foiled an attack by al-Qaida on the headquarters of the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, and Assad agreed to provide the CIA with the name of a vital al-Qaida informant. In violation of this agreement, the CIA contacted the informant directly; he rejected the approach, and broke off relations with his Syrian handlers. Assad also secretly turned over to the US relatives of Saddam Hussein who had sought refuge in Syria, and – like America’s allies in Jordan, Egypt, Thailand and elsewhere – tortured suspected terrorists for the CIA in a Damascus prison.

It was this history of co-operation that made it seem possible in 2013 that Damascus would agree to the new indirect intelligence-sharing arrangement with the US. The Joint Chiefs let it be known that in return the US would require four things: Assad must restrain Hizbullah from attacking Israel; he must renew the stalled negotiations with Israel to reach a settlement on the Golan Heights; he must agree to accept Russian and other outside military advisers; and he must commit to holding open elections after the war with a wide range of factions included. ‘We had positive feedback from the Israelis, who were willing to entertain the idea, but they needed to know what the reaction would be from Iran and Syria,’ the JCS adviser told me. ‘The Syrians told us that Assad would not make a decision unilaterally – he needed to have support from his military and Alawite allies. Assad’s worry was that Israel would say yes and then not uphold its end of the bargain.’ A senior adviser to the Kremlin on Middle East affairs told me that in late 2012, after suffering a series of battlefield setbacks and military defections, Assad had approached Israel via a contact in Moscow and offered to reopen the talks on the Golan Heights. The Israelis had rejected the offer. ‘They said, “Assad is finished,”’ the Russian official told me. ‘“He’s close to the end.”’ He said the Turks had told Moscow the same thing. By mid-2013, however, the Syrians believed the worst was behind them, and wanted assurances that the Americans and others were serious about their offers of help.

In the early stages of the talks, the adviser said, the Joint Chiefs tried to establish what Assad needed as a sign of their good intentions. The answer was sent through one of Assad’s friends: ‘Bring him the head of Prince Bandar.’ The Joint Chiefs did not oblige. Bandar bin Sultan had served Saudi Arabia for decades in intelligence and national security affairs, and spent more than twenty years as ambassador in Washington. In recent years, he has been known as an advocate for Assad’s removal from office by any means. Reportedly in poor health, he resigned last year as director of the Saudi National Security Council, but Saudi Arabia continues to be a major provider of funds to the Syrian opposition, estimated by US intelligence last year at $700 million.

In July 2013, the Joint Chiefs found a more direct way of demonstrating to Assad how serious they were about helping him. By then the CIA-sponsored secret flow of arms from Libya to the Syrian opposition, via Turkey, had been underway for more than a year (it started sometime after Gaddafi’s death on 20 October 2011).​* The operation was largely run out of a covert CIA annex in Benghazi, with State Department acquiescence. On 11 September 2012 the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed during an anti-American demonstration that led to the burning down of the US consulate in Benghazi; reporters for the Washington Post found copies of the ambassador’s schedule in the building’s ruins. It showed that on 10 September Stevens had met with the chief of the CIA’s annex operation. The next day, shortly before he died, he met a representative from Al-Marfa Shipping and Maritime Services, a Tripoli-based company which, the JCS adviser said, was known by the Joint Staff to be handling the weapons shipments.]

By the late summer of 2013, the DIA’s assessment had been circulated widely, but although many in the American intelligence community were aware that the Syrian opposition was dominated by extremists the CIA-sponsored weapons kept coming, presenting a continuing problem for Assad’s army. Gaddafi’s stockpile had created an international arms bazaar, though prices were high. ‘There was no way to stop the arms shipments that had been authorised by the president,’ the JCS adviser said. ‘The solution involved an appeal to the pocketbook. The CIA was approached by a representative from the Joint Chiefs with a suggestion: there were far less costly weapons available in Turkish arsenals that could reach the Syrian rebels within days, and without a boat ride.’ But it wasn’t only the CIA that benefited. ‘We worked with Turks we trusted who were not loyal to Erdoğan,’ the adviser said, ‘and got them to ship the jihadists in Syria all the obsolete weapons in the arsenal, including M1 carbines that hadn’t been seen since the Korean War and lots of Soviet arms. It was a message Assad could understand: “We have the power to diminish a presidential policy in its tracks.”’

The flow of US intelligence to the Syrian army, and the downgrading of the quality of the arms being supplied to the rebels, came at a critical juncture. The Syrian army had suffered heavy losses in the spring of 2013 in fighting against Jabhat al-Nusra and other extremist groups as it failed to hold the provincial capital of Raqqa. Sporadic Syrian army and air-force raids continued in the area for months, with little success, until it was decided to withdraw from Raqqa and other hard to defend, lightly populated areas in the north and west and focus instead on consolidating the government’s hold on Damascus and the heavily populated areas linking the capital to Latakia in the north-east. But as the army gained in strength with the Joint Chiefs’ support, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey escalated their financing and arming of Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State, which by the end of 2013 had made enormous gains on both sides of the Syria/Iraq border. The remaining non-fundamentalist rebels found themselves fighting – and losing – pitched battles against the extremists. In January 2014, IS took complete control of Raqqa and the tribal areas around it from al-Nusra and established the city as its base. Assad still controlled 80 per cent of the Syrian population, but he had lost a vast amount of territory.

CIA efforts to train the moderate rebel forces were also failing badly. ‘The CIA’s training camp was in Jordan and was controlled by a Syrian tribal group,’ the JCS adviser said. There was a suspicion that some of those who signed up for training were actually Syrian army regulars minus their uniforms. This had happened before, at the height of the Iraqi war, when hundreds of Shia militia members showed up at American training camps for new uniforms, weapons and a few days of training, and then disappeared into the desert. A separate training programme, set up by the Pentagon in Turkey, fared no better. The Pentagon acknowledged in September that only ‘four or five’ of its recruits were still battling Islamic State; a few days later 70 of them defected to Jabhat al-Nusra immediately after crossing the border into Syria.

In January 2014, despairing at the lack of progress, John Brennan, the director of the CIA, summoned American and Sunni Arab intelligence chiefs from throughout the Middle East to a secret meeting in Washington, with the aim of persuading Saudi Arabia to stop supporting extremist fighters in Syria. ‘The Saudis told us they were happy to listen,’ the JCS adviser said, ‘so everyone sat around in Washington to hear Brennan tell them that they had to get on board with the so-called moderates. His message was that if everyone in the region stopped supporting al-Nusra and Isis their ammunition and weapons would dry up, and the moderates would win out.’ Brennan’s message was ignored by the Saudis, the adviser said, who ‘went back home and increased their efforts with the extremists and asked us for more technical support. And we say OK, and so it turns out that we end up reinforcing the extremists.’

But the Saudis were far from the only problem: American intelligence had accumulated intercept and human intelligence demonstrating that the Erdoğan government had been supporting Jabhat al-Nusra for years, and was now doing the same for Islamic State. ‘We can handle the Saudis,’ the adviser said. ‘We can handle the Muslim Brotherhood. You can argue that the whole balance in the Middle East is based on a form of mutually assured destruction between Israel and the rest of the Middle East, and Turkey can disrupt the balance – which is Erdoğan’s dream. We told him we wanted him to shut down the pipeline of foreign jihadists flowing into Turkey. But he is dreaming big – of restoring the Ottoman Empire – and he did not realise the extent to which he could be successful in this.’

One of the constants in US affairs since the fall of the Soviet Union has been a military-to-military relationship with Russia. After 1991 the US spent billions of dollars to help Russia secure its nuclear weapons complex, including a highly secret joint operation to remove weapons-grade uranium from unsecured storage depots in Kazakhstan. Joint programmes to monitor the security of weapons-grade materials continued for the next two decades. During the American war on Afghanistan, Russia provided overflight rights for US cargo carriers and tankers, as well as access for the flow of weapons, ammunition, food and water the US war machine needed daily. Russia’s military provided intelligence on Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts and helped the US negotiate rights to use an airbase in Kyrgyzstan. The Joint Chiefs have been in communication with their Russian counterparts throughout the Syrian war, and the ties between the two militaries start at the top. In August, a few weeks before his retirement as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Dempsey made a farewell visit to the headquarters of the Irish Defence Forces in Dublin and told his audience there that he had made a point while in office to keep in touch with the chief of the Russian General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov. ‘I’ve actually suggested to him that we not end our careers as we began them,’ Dempsey said – one a tank commander in West Germany, the other in the east.

When it comes to tackling Islamic State, Russia and the US have much to offer each other. Many in the IS leadership and rank and file fought for more than a decade against Russia in the two Chechen wars that began in 1994, and the Putin government is heavily invested in combating Islamist terrorism. ‘Russia knows the Isis leadership,’ the JCS adviser said, ‘and has insights into its operational techniques, and has much intelligence to share.’ In return, he said, ‘we’ve got excellent trainers with years of experience in training foreign fighters – experience that Russia does not have.’ The adviser would not discuss what American intelligence is also believed to have: an ability to obtain targeting data, often by paying huge sums of cash, from sources within rebel militias.

A former White House adviser on Russian affairs told me that before 9/11 Putin ‘used to say to us: “We have the same nightmares about different places.” He was referring to his problems with the caliphate in Chechnya and our early issues with al-Qaida. These days, after the Metrojet bombing over Sinai and the massacres in Paris and elsewhere, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that we actually have the same nightmares about the same places.’

Yet the Obama administration continues to condemn Russia for its support of Assad....

-- Military to Military – Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war, by London Review of Books


At around the same time and continuing until a final call on 20 December, American intelligence agents monitoring the telephones of the Iranian Embassy in Beirut heard an informant named David Lovejoy brief the Iranian charge d'affaires about the movements of a five-man CIA/DIA team which had arrived in Lebanon to work on the release of American hostages and which planned to fly home from Frankfurt on Pan Am Flight 103 on 21 December.

On 18 December, the BKA was tipped off about a bomb plot against Pan Am 103 in the next two or three days. This information was passed to the American Embassy in Bonn, which advised the State Department, which in turn advised its other embassies of the warning. (The tip possibly originated with confederates of al-Kassar in a last-ditch attempt to divert Jibril away from Frankfurt, or at least away from Pan Am, by promoting tighter security checks and a higher police profile at the airport.)

On 20 December, the Mossad passed on a similar warning, this time relating specifically to Flight 103 next day.

At 15:12 on 21 December, airport staff began loading passenger baggage aboard the Boeing 727 that was to fly the first leg of Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Heathrow. About an hour before its departure at 16:53, a BKA agent was said to have reported 'suspicious behaviour' in the baggage-handling area, but no action was taken.

With 128 passengers and an estimated 135 pieces of luggage, the 727 arrived at Heathrow on time. Forty-nine passengers, most of them American, then boarded the Maid of the Seas for the trans-Atlantic leg of the flight, their bags being stowed on the port side of the forward cargo hold. A further 210 passengers with baggage, beginning their journey in London, now joined the flight, but after the State Department's warnings to embassy staffs, the aircraft was hardly more than two-thirds full when it took off at 18:25, 25 minutes late.

At 19:03, when the bomb exploded in the forward cargo hold on the port side, the 747 broke up into five main pieces that plunged down on Lockerbie, scattering bodies, baggage and wreckage over an area of 845 square miles.

-- Trail of the Octopus: From Beirut to Lockerbie -- Inside the DIA, by Donald Goddard with Lester K. Coleman


Western intelligence has also obtained reports that a Trump associate met with a pro-Putin member of Russian parliament at a building in Eastern Europe maintained by Rossotrudnichestvo, an agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that is charged with administering language, education and support programs for civilians. While the purpose of that meeting is unclear, and there is no evidence that Trump was aware it took place, it has become another fact that has alarmed officials from at least one NATO ally. Finally, Trump’s repeated glowing statements about Putin throughout the campaign—and his shocking comment that the Russians were not in Crimea—have perplexed some foreign officials, who fear that under a Trump presidency, the United States would no longer stand with Western Europe in regard to Moscow.

Trump and his campaign have also spread propaganda created as part of the Kremlin's effort, relying on bogus information generated through traditional Russian disinformation techniques. In one instance, a manipulated document was put out onto the internet anonymously by propagandists working with Russia; within hours, Trump was reciting that false information at a campaign rally. The Trump campaign has also spread claims from Sputnik, another news outlet identified by American intelligence as part of the Russian disinformation campaign. For example, almost immediately after the posting of an article by Sputnik attacking this Newsweek reporter, the Trump campaign emailed a link to the piece to American reporters, urging them to pursue the same story.

Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, did not respond to emails from Newsweek on Monday and Thursday asking how it became aware of the Sputnik story so quickly, why it almost immediately promoted information from the Russian propaganda site to U.S. reporters, and what led the Republican nominee to disregard the intelligence he has been provided in briefings about Moscow’s propaganda and hacking campaign.

American intelligence officials know Russia used cyberattacks and misinformation to interfere with recent elections in Western Europe, including the German elections last month that resulted in victories for right-wing populists, and the United Kingdom’s vote in June on Brexit, a referendum that called for Britain to leave the European Union.

Western intelligence and law enforcement say tens of thousands of people have been working with Russia on its hacking and disinformation campaign for many years. They include propagandists and cyberoperatives stationed in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk, located in the southwestern part of Siberia. Operations have also been conducted in the United States, primarily out of New York City, Washington, D.C., and Miami. Those involved include a large number of Russian émigrés, as well as Americans and other foreign nationals. Intelligence operations in Europe and the U.S. have determined that the money these émigrés receive for their work is disguised as payments from a Russian pension system. One U.S. official says there is evidence many of these Americans and foreign nationals do not know they are part of Russia’s propaganda operation.

Here is how Moscow operates its campaigns: Hackers pilfer information from a variety of organizations both inside and outside Western governments; that is distributed to individuals who feed it into what a source told a European intelligence expert was a “pipeline.” This so-called pipeline can involve multiple steps before hacked information is disclosed through the media or online. For example, that source reported that documents in the United States intended to disrupt the American election are distributed through WikiLeaks. However, there are so many layers of individuals between the hackers and that organization there is a strong possibility that WikiLeaks does not know with certainty the ultimate source of these records; throughout 2016, the site has been posting emails from various Democratic Party organizations that were originally obtained through Russian hacking.

The Russian penetration in the United States is far more extensive than previously revealed publicly, although most of it has been targeted either at government departments or nongovernment organizations connected to the Democratic Party. Russian hackers penetrated the White House, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the State Department. The State Department cyberattack, which began in 2014 and lasted more than a year, was particularly severe, with Russian hackers gaining entry into its unclassified system, including emails. (Hillary Clinton left the State Department in 2013, which means that if she had used its unclassified email system rather than her private server—a decision that has dogged her throughout the campaign—any of her emails on the government system could have been obtained by Russian hackers.)

The breadth of the cyberattacks of nongovernmental organizations is astonishing. Russian hackers have obtained emails and other information out of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, but also have struck at organizations with looser ties to the party, including think tanks such as the Brookings Institution, where some of Clinton’s longtime friends and colleagues work.

Once the documents are obtained by hackers and then distributed, a large group of propagandists around the world begin promoting them on social media—in comments sections of websites and other locations online—hoping to generate negative news stories that undermine Democratic officials, particularly Clinton.

The Kremlin’s campaign is motivated not so much to support Trump as it is to hurt the Democratic nominee. During Clinton’s time as secretary of state, Putin publicly accused her of interfering in Moscow’s affairs. For example, her statement that Russian parliamentary elections in December 2011—which involved blatant cheating—were “neither free nor fair” infuriated Putin. He was also encouraged by the relentlessly positive comments about him by Trump, even after the Republican nominee began receiving criticism within his own party for sounding too supportive of the Kremlin, according to information obtained from within Russia by a Western intelligence source.

Both Trump and Clinton were monitored by Russian intelligence during their visits to Moscow over the years, according to American and European intelligence sources, in hopes of gathering kompromat—compromising material about a politician or public figure. The dossier on Clinton mainly contains recordings of conversations and intercepted phone calls; the intelligence source said the dossier has been controlled by Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman. When she was secretary of state, however, Clinton knew her conversations in Moscow might be recorded, so the dossier appears to have been used mainly for intelligence rather than to embarrass her with allies, the source said. The Kremlin also has both video and audio recordings of Trump in a kompromat file. Newsweek could not confirm if there is anything compromising in those recordings.

This massive Russian campaign has led to significant disputes within the Kremlin. Russian officials originally believed it could be conducted without any significant blowback from the United States. According to information obtained by the Western intelligence source, Sergei Ivanov, the chief of staff for the presidential executive office in the Kremlin, came to believe this summer that the hacking and disinformation campaign, which has been orchestrated in part by Peskov, had gone too far. Articles implying that Russian had been trying to split the supporters of Democratic primary runner-up Bernie Sanders and Clinton while building up Trump set off fears among Peskov and others that they would be held responsible for the backlash from the United States, according to the information obtained by the Western intelligence source.

Ivanov was also furious that Peskov led what he considered to be an ill-conceived and botched attempt to use the hacking and disinformation campaign to interfere in the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July. The web of relationships involving Turkey, Western Europe, the United States, Syria and Trump is complex, and Ivanov expressed disbelief that an attempt to interfere with the coup was undertaken without examining the possible ramifications. The Incirlik air base in Turkey has been used as a primary staging area for American bombers engaged in attacks on the Islamic State group in both Syria and Iraq; Russia supports President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president who is fighting off a variety of rebel outfits, including ISIS, which has led the Kremlin to authorize bombing campaigns there. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan despises Trump and his associates because of the Republican nominee’s anti-Muslim rhetoric (in March, one of Trump’s Turkish business partners was indicted in what some Erdogan critics described as retribution). Erdogan has told associates he will not cooperate militarily with a Trump administration, according to a Middle Eastern financier in direct contact with senior Turkish officials.

By interfering in the Turkish coup with propaganda efforts, one faction in the Kremlin believes Moscow might have squandered the advantages to be gained from Erdogan’s contempt for Trump, according to both European and Middle Eastern intelligence sources. If Erdogan is angry at the next American president, the ability of the United States to engage in military action in Syria would be severely limited. If Russian interference in the coup leads Erdogan to turn his fury on Moscow, the Americans might maintain access to the air base.

Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian prime minister, is also deeply concerned about the cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns, according to information obtained by a Western intelligence source. He wants to maintain a close relationship with the United States so he can travel to America both officially and privately. As a result, he is refusing to support Peskov or to strongly combat U.S. charges about the hacking campaign.

Despite these qualms, Putin remained satisfied with the campaign, regardless of the outcome of the U.S. election, according to information obtained by the Western intelligence source. Should Clinton win, he has told associates, her administration would be bogged down trying to heal divisions within the United States brought about by releases and misrepresentations of hacked information, and would have little time or political capital to confront Russia’s efforts in Syria, Ukraine and other locales.

By August, however, fears began to emerge within the Kremlin that the effort was falling apart. Trump’s attacks on the parents of a slain Muslim American soldier following the father’s speech at the Democratic convention created dismay in the Kremlin. Top Russian officials came to believe Trump would be forced to withdraw from the race because of his psychological state and apparent unsuitability for the presidency, according to information obtained by the Western intelligence source. In particular, Kremlin officials feared they could not predict what impact it might have on Russia should Trump step aside. As a result, the Russians decided to stop forwarding material through channels to WikiLeaks, although some material was already in the pipeline.

Ivanov expressed his belief that, while the United States has failed to split the Russian elite with sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, the cyberattacks had created political division in the United States. Still, he had strong concerns about the impact of continuing the campaign in the aftermath of Trump’s attack on the parents who had lost a child in war. By that time, though, the internal controversy over the cyberattacks and disinformation campaign had taken its toll, and a decision was reached to “sweep it all under the rug,” according to a report obtained by Western counterintelligence officials. On August 12, Ivanov—a close ally of Putin for decades—was forced out of office by the Russian strongman and replaced by Anton Vaino, who had been the deputy chief of staff.

Two days later, The New York Times reported that Manafort, then Trump’s campaign manager, may have illegally received $12.7 million from Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions; Manafort has denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyer, Richard Hibey, said his client never received any such payments. Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign not long after the article ran. According to information obtained from inside Russia by Western intelligence, Putin later met with Yanukovych in secret near Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad. Yanukovych assured Putin there was no documentary trail showing payments to Manafort, although Putin told associates he did not believe the Ukrainian president, according to the information obtained by the Western intelligence source.

By October, “buyer’s remorse” had set in at the Kremlin, according to a report obtained by Western counterintelligence. Russia came to see Trump as too unpredictable and feared that, should he win, the Kremlin would not be able to rely on him or even anticipate his actions.

On October 7, the Obama administration finally broke its silence on America’s knowledge about the Russian campaign. “These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process,” Jeh Johnson, the secretary of homeland security, and James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said in a statement. “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.” The White House stated that Obama was considering a “proportional response”—a statement that suggested the United States would be launching cyberattacks against Russia. (Shortly afterward, Ukrainian hackers began posting emails and other documents obtained from inside the Kremlin, although it is not clear if this effort was done in coordination with the American government.)

Less than two weeks later—despite his intelligence briefings about the Russian hacking and disinformation campaign, despite the public statements by top American intelligence officials confirming its existence and despite the White House proclamation that it was preparing to respond to the unprecedented interference by Moscow—Trump once again dismissed all of the evidence and came to Russia’s defense. Intelligence and other government officials in Britain were horrified, according to one person with direct knowledge of the reaction there.

The incident that so stunned the British officials was largely overlooked in the United States, where media analysts were more focused on Trump’s refusal to say whether he would accept the outcome of the election. Instead, it came in the course of a discussion during the third presidential debate, when the two candidates talked about the Russian hacking.

Clinton: We've never had a foreign government trying to interfere in our election. We have 17—17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin and they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing. And I think it's time you take a stand...

Trump: She has no idea whether it's Russia, China or anybody else.

Clinton: I am not quoting myself.

Trump: She has no idea.

Clinton: I am quoting 17...

Trump: Hillary, you have no idea.

Clinton: ...17 intelligence—do you doubt 17 military and civilian...

Trump: And our country has no idea.

Clinton: ...agencies.

Trump: Yeah, I doubt it. I doubt it.

Clinton: Well, he'd rather believe Vladimir Putin than the military and civilian intelligence professionals who are sworn to protect us. I find that just absolutely...

Trump: She doesn't like Putin because Putin has outsmarted her at every step of the way.

The words that so shocked the British were “our country has no idea,” and “I doubt it.” All of the NATO allies are sure Russia is behind the hacking. All of America’s intelligence agencies are, too. The foreign intelligence services had been sharing what they knew about this with the Americans, and Trump had been told about it. But he blithely dismissed the conclusion of not only the United States but its allies as well, based on absolutely nothing. Trump had no apparent means of developing his own information to contradict the findings of intelligence agencies around the world. And that he would so aggressively fight to clear Putin and cast aspersions on all Western intelligence agencies, left the British officials slack-jawed.

“They didn’t know what to think,” says one former British official who has spoken to numerous members of the government about Trump’s comments in that debate. “A lot of people are now trying to connect the dots of all the data [in the intelligence files] to try and understand Trump.... There certainly are a lot of conspiracy theories being bandied about, but no question there is a lot of concern about what’s going on in Trump’s head...and whether we would be able to work with him.”

Even as Trump was disputing the role played by the Kremlin in the hacking, his campaign was scouring sites publicly identified by American intelligence as sources for Russian propaganda. Ten days before the third debate, Newsweek published an article disclosing that a document altered by Russian propagandists and put out on the internet—ultimately published by Sputnik—had been cited by Trump at a rally as fact. (The information distributed on the internet placed words that had appeared in Newsweek into the mouth of Sidney Blumenthal, a Clinton confidante. Taken in that context, they suggested that her closest allies believed she bore responsibility for the attack on the American mission in Benghazi, Libya.)

Subsequently, Sputnik, which took down that article, published another one essentially denying the news organization was controlled by the Kremlin and attacking Newsweek. Before the day was out, the Trump campaign was emailing links to the article from the Russian propaganda site to multiple reporters, urging them to pursue the story.

Officials in Western Europe say they are dismayed that they now feel compelled to gather intelligence on a man who could be the next president of the United States but believe they have no choice. Moscow is seen as a direct threat to their interests—both in its aggressive efforts to reshape global alliances and for its power to damage Western Europe, which obtains almost 40 percent of its natural gas from Russia. Should the United States, the last remaining superpower, tilt its policies away from NATO to the benefit of Russia, the alliance between America and Western Europe could be transformed in unprecedented ways. And so, for perhaps the first time since World War II, countries in Western Europe fear that the American election, should Trump win, could trigger events that imperil their national security and do potentially irreparable harm to the alliances that have kept the continent safe for decades.
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Re: Clinton Journalist Has Meltdown After His Russian Conspi

Postby admin » Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:25 pm

Much Ado About Nothing: The ODNI report on Russian “hacking” is short on proof: It’s respected voices like these that are missing from the current debate about Russia.
by Derek Royden
January 16, 2017

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“The secret of politics? Make a good treaty with Russia.” —Otto Von Bismark


On Friday, January 6th, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) finally released the de-classified portion of a report on alleged Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential campaign. The document, which carries the weighty title, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections”, is a slim 25 pages (with many of them blank or half blank)..

This brevity may be due, in part, to the fact that the report is drawn from a larger document (reportedly 50 pages) that the authors assure us offers more proof but that, due to the classified nature of its contents and what it may reveal about intelligence sources and methods, was only given to “the President and to recipients approved by the President.”

There is nothing in the publicly available report that remotely resembles a smoking gun. In fact, reading through it, one almost immediately realizes that there’s going to be more opinion, or, as the analysts who created it call it, “assessment”, than concrete proof. This is especially true in regards to the more serious hacking allegations, which we’ve been led to believe were ordered by the Russian President himself.

A bullet point under the heading “Determining Attribution in Cyber Incidents”, reads, “An assessment of attribution usually is not a simple statement of who conducted an operation, but rather a series of judgements that describe whether it was an isolated incident, who was the likely perpetrator, that perpetrator’s possible motivations, and whether a foreign government had a role in ordering or leading the operation.”

The use of the terms ‘assessment’, ‘judgements’, ‘likely’ and ‘possible’ show that these kinds of ‘attributions’ are far from an exact science. In fact, later in the report the authors offer a further hedge, stating their, “judgements are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact.”

After their implied success in influencing the election we are told that Russia’s use of ‘weaponized information’ is only going to intensify, as the Kremlin will persist in their efforts to influence the U.S. and other Western countries’ internal politics. The report goes on to say that, “immediately after Election Day we assess Russian intelligence began a spearphishing campaign targeting U.S. Government employees and individuals associated with U.S. think tanks and NGOs in national security, defense and foreign policy fields.”

Not even the most anecdotal of proofs, something which would not harm intelligence gathering or methods, is offered that such a campaign exists.

Besides, I would suggest that these highly educated individuals take the time to learn a little bit about basic internet security so that they don’t hand their data to ‘phishing’ schemes like the one that apparently successfully targeted Clinton campaign Chair John Podesta’s GMail account. Or, to put it bluntly, as most people who use this new fangled technology know: don’t click on a link in your email if you don’t know where it came from.

The flimsy evidence presented in the assessment doesn’t mean that Russian security services aren’t involved in hacking or phishing schemes targeting influential people, or these two hacks in particular. This is something that I honestly believe all intelligence agencies, including those of the U.S. and other NATO countries, would do if they have the capability and can avoid culpability. Collecting this kind of information is, after all, one of the main goals of signals intelligence (SIGINT), to the practitioners of which the internet must seem like a dream come true.

It’s often almost impossible to prove who is responsible for these kinds of attacks, whether they’re private or state sponsored, but this doesn’t stop the finger of blame from being pointed at perceived enemies.

What we do know in the case of the Podesta emails is that supposed Russian involvement was used to distract the public from the vital information contained in the leaks. This included the release of Hillary Clinton’s speeches to Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street interests that her campaign refused to share with voters.

These speeches showed that her “public” and “private” positions on major issues often differed and that the no-fly zone she was calling for in Syria “would kill a lot of Syrians”, things that American voters had a right to know before electing her to the highest office in the land, regardless of who her opponent was or where the documents came from.

RT and Kremlin ‘influence’ operations

The bulk of the report focuses on what the authors call an ‘influence campaign’ designed to target the 2016 election. In spite of this stated emphasis, most of the examples given are drawn from 2013 and earlier, presumably to show that the alleged meddling is part of a long term Russian campaign to increase the American publics’ well founded suspicions in terms of their political leadership.

This is especially true of the portions of the report that purport to analyze state run Russian broadcaster RT (Russia Today) and its U.S. counterpart RT America, the main subject of a third of the document. The attack on RT, which is hardly monolithic in its influence, brings to mind the kind of report the KGB might have written about Voice of America in Soviet times.

RT, to its credit, has brought in a number of talented voices offering diverse opinions and coverage of issues not represented on America’s cable news networks or major newspapers, including progressive icon Thom Hartmann, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and even legendary interviewer Larry King.

One of the most interesting journalists featured on the network was Abby Martin, who hosted a show called ‘Breaking the Set’ that was often fearless in its critique of American foreign policy and covered news stories that corporate media was unwilling to touch. The show, which went off the air two years ago, is high-lighted as proof of the network’s ‘anti-American’ propaganda.

For some reason, the authors also seem to think that the network’s airing of a documentary about Occupy Wall Street in the run up to the election in 2012 is convincing enough to support the idea of a Kremlin directed “influence operation”.

The Russian government’s intention to sow discord is apparently revealed by the documentary’s framing of the peaceful movement “as a fight against ‘the ruling class’”, which, “described the current U.S. political system as corrupt and dominated by corporations”. Something any number of left commentators would have told you without needing to consult with Moscow.

Readers are also expected to see something nefarious in the fact that RT editor in chief Margarita Simonyn told independent TV channel Dozdh in an interview quoted by the authors that coverage of Occupy Wall Street, “gave RT a significant audience boost”. Not exactly a surprise considering the network was one of the few news outlets that actually covered the protests that sprang up across the country in the Fall of 2011.

Another strange argument made in the report is that RT had undue influence over the 2012 election by hosting 3rd party debates prior to the vote. Rather than being applauded for giving a voice to candidates who were completely ignored by almost every major American news source, a trend that continued through the 2016 campaign, the network is vilified for offering them a platform.

Even worse than stories about Occupy Wall Street or 3rd party debates, at least in the eyes of the authors, are reports deemed ‘anti-fracking’ that highlight, “environmental issues and impacts on public health” from the exploitation of shale gas. These segments are produced, they tell us, to protect the interests of Russian energy giant Gazprom, which, whether the charge is true or not, shouldn’t detract from the need to report on the very real dangers associated with this form of energy extraction.

Massive failure, all around

It’s hard to believe that most people in the West, especially those interested in news, turn to RT for coverage of Russia’s internal affairs just as its doubtful many Russians turn to CNN, which has both corporate sponsors and government sources to please, for an unbiased account of troubles facing the United States.

In the case of state run networks there is always an implied bias, whether one is watching RT, Canada’s CBC or the UK government funded BBC. For the critical reader or viewer this is almost always a good thing in that it can convey the official thinking of the state in question.

Liberal Democrats have long positioned themselves as the voice of reason in American politics but the recent hysteria about Russia shows that the party’s leaders refuse to weigh the actual evidence that’s presented in sensationalistic reports like this.

If they could just remove their eyes from their own navels for a moment they might realize that they got in line behind a candidate who had trouble connecting with voters when she actually bothered to address them at all, a collective delusion that cost these incrementalist Democrats the election.

The reaction to the report on many websites that describe themselves as progressive further demonstrates how cynical some of the people claiming to speak for the U.S. ‘left’ are when it comes to the Democratic Party. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that so many are willing to unquestionably take the word of U.S. intelligence agencies led by James Clapper, a man who lied under oath to Congress about NSA spying on American citizens, when it suits their politics of capitulation to power.

These letter agencies, especially the CIA, have a long history of lying to the public, often with disastrous results. The most obvious recent example of this was the stories that were spread by unnamed intelligence officials to compliant reporters about yellowcake and WMDs in the lead up to the 2003 Iraq war, a calamity that just keeps on giving in terms of human misery.

The kind of hyperbole that greeted the report may be expected from perpetually agitated Republican hawks like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who are going along on this current anti-Russia ride, but not from the Democratic Congressional leadership who the American people must rely on to oppose what may be the most rightwing U.S. Congress in modern history..

It isn’t out of any love for Russia’s leadership, which has a very poor record of its own when it comes to domestic critics and adversarial journalists, that the flaws in this report need to be exposed. It’s the threat represented by the continuing antagonism between the world’s biggest nuclear powers, an end to which is the one possible silver lining to the otherwise terrifying prospect of a Donald Trump presidency.

In a recent piece on the website Politico, former Secretary of Defense and long term Washington insider Bill Perry, who is almost 90, claimed that the risks of a nuclear confrontation are higher now than at any time since the fall of the Soviet Union. He was quoted as saying, “I am not suggesting that this Cold War and this arms race is identical to the old one but in many ways, it is just as bad, just as dangerous. And totally unnecessary.”

It’s respected voices like these that are missing from the current debate about Russia and they are a sorely needed antidote to the paranoia that seems to have gripped the American political establishment in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s loss to the least popular Presidential candidate in American electoral history.
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