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Donald Trump’s ‘travel ban’ Executive Order: Full text and analysis

Donald Trump’s Executive Order imposing temporary bans on entry to the US from certain designated countries is in itself by no means an unprecedented or unusual document. The harsh and chaotic implementation of the policy, however, goes beyond the text of the Order and is causing injustice and severe hardship. However, that probably works to President Trump’s advantage.

Alexander Mercouris

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US President Trump’s Executive Order tightening visa rules for citizens of certain Middle East travelling to the US has been the centre of massive media and international attention since he signed it on Friday.

The Executive Order has been called many things. I have seen it referred to as a “rant”, called a visa ban, or a ban on Muslims from certain countries entering the US. I have read claims that it is illegal and even unconstitutional and that it provides grounds for Donald Trump’s impeachment. I have also heard it called racially discriminatory, a betrayal of the US’s traditional policy of welcoming refugees, and a document that in violates the principle in the US constitution that the US government and US law take no account of religious affiliations by discriminating against Muslims in favour of Christians.

Lastly I have also heard that the Executive Order was drafted in a hurry, and without proper legal advice.

In order to understand the Executive Order and to see whether any of these charges are true, it is necessary to read it first. This point ought to be obvious, but it is not something most of the commentators any longer seem to do. However, on the simple principle that before commenting on a text one should read it first, I now provide the full text.

PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, including the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Purpose.

The visa-issuance process plays a crucial role in detecting individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States. Perhaps in no instance was that more apparent than the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 Americans. And while the visa-issuance process was reviewed and amended after the September 11 attacks to better detect would-be terrorists from receiving visas, these measures did not stop attacks by foreign nationals who were admitted to the United States.

Numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001, including foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee resettlement program. Deteriorating conditions in certain countries due to war, strife, disaster, and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States. The United States must be vigilant during the visa-issuance process to ensure that those approved for admission do not intend to harm Americans and that they have no ties to terrorism.

In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Sec. 2. Policy.

It is the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States; and to prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes.

Sec. 3. Suspension of Issuance of Visas and Other Immigration Benefits to Nationals of Countries of Particular Concern.

(a) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, shall immediately conduct a review to determine the information needed from any country to adjudicate any visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA (adjudications) in order to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat.

(b) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, shall submit to the President a report on the results of the review described in subsection (a) of this section, including the Secretary of Homeland Security’s determination of the information needed for adjudications and a list of countries that do not provide adequate information, within 30 days of the date of this order. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide a copy of the report to the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence.

(c) To temporarily reduce investigative burdens on relevant agencies during the review period described in subsection (a) of this section, to ensure the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals, pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

(d) Immediately upon receipt of the report described in subsection (b) of this section regarding the information needed for adjudications, the Secretary of State shall request all foreign governments that do not supply such information to start providing such information regarding their nationals within 60 days of notification.

(e) After the 60-day period described in subsection (d) of this section expires, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the President a list of countries recommended for inclusion on a Presidential proclamation that would prohibit the entry of foreign nationals (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas) from countries that do not provide the information requested pursuant to subsection (d) of this section until compliance occurs.

(f) At any point after submitting the list described in subsection (e) of this section, the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security may submit to the President the names of any additional countries recommended for similar treatment.

(g) Notwithstanding a suspension pursuant to subsection (c) of this section or pursuant to a Presidential proclamation described in subsection (e) of this section, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.

(h) The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall submit to the President a joint report on the progress in implementing this order within 30 days of the date of this order, a second report within 60 days of the date of this order, a third report within 90 days of the date of this order, and a fourth report within 120 days of the date of this order.

Sec. 4. Implementing Uniform Screening Standards for All Immigration Programs.

(a) The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall implement a program, as part of the adjudication process for immigration benefits, to identify individuals seeking to enter the United States on a fraudulent basis with the intent to cause harm, or who are at risk of causing harm subsequent to their admission. This program will include the development of a uniform screening standard and procedure, such as in-person interviews; a database of identity documents proffered by applicants to ensure that duplicate documents are not used by multiple applicants; amended application forms that include questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent; a mechanism to ensure that the applicant is who the applicant claims to be; a process to evaluate the applicant’s likelihood of becoming a positively contributing member of society and the applicant’s ability to make contributions to the national interest; and a mechanism to assess whether or not the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States.

(b) The Secretary of Homeland Security, in conjunction with the Secretary of State, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, shall submit to the President an initial report on the progress of this directive within 60 days of the date of this order, a second report within 100 days of the date of this order, and a third report within 200 days of the date of this order.

Sec. 5. Realignment of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for Fiscal Year 2017.

(a) The Secretary of State shall suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days. During the 120-day period, the Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of Homeland Security and in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, shall review the USRAP application and adjudication process to determine what additional procedures should be taken to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States, and shall implement such additional procedures. Refugee applicants who are already in the USRAP process may be admitted upon the initiation and completion of these revised procedures. Upon the date that is 120 days after the date of this order, the Secretary of State shall resume USRAP admissions only for nationals of countries for which the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence have jointly determined that such additional procedures are adequate to ensure the security and welfare of the United States.

(b) Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality. Where necessary and appropriate, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall recommend legislation to the President that would assist with such prioritization.

(c) Pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.

(d) Pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the entry of more than 50,000 refugees in fiscal year 2017 would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I determine that additional admissions would be in the national interest.

(e) Notwithstanding the temporary suspension imposed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may jointly determine to admit individuals to the United States as refugees on a case-by-case basis, in their discretion, but only so long as they determine that the admission of such individuals as refugees is in the national interest — including when the person is a religious minority in his country of nationality facing religious persecution, when admitting the person would enable the United States to conform its conduct to a preexisting international agreement, or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship — and it would not pose a risk to the security or welfare of the United States.

(f) The Secretary of State shall submit to the President an initial report on the progress of the directive in subsection (b) of this section regarding prioritization of claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution within 100 days of the date of this order and shall submit a second report within 200 days of the date of this order.

(g) It is the policy of the executive branch that, to the extent permitted by law and as practicable, State and local jurisdictions be granted a role in the process of determining the placement or settlement in their jurisdictions of aliens eligible to be admitted to the United States as refugees. To that end, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall examine existing law to determine the extent to which, consistent with applicable law, State and local jurisdictions may have greater involvement in the process of determining the placement or resettlement of refugees in their jurisdictions, and shall devise a proposal to lawfully promote such involvement.

Sec. 6. Rescission of Exercise of Authority Relating to the Terrorism Grounds of Inadmissibility.

The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall, in consultation with the Attorney General, consider rescinding the exercises of authority in section 212 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182, relating to the terrorism grounds of inadmissibility, as well as any related implementing memoranda.

Sec. 7. Expedited Completion of the Biometric Entry-Exit Tracking System.

(a) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall expedite the completion and implementation of a biometric entry-exit tracking system for all travelers to the United States, as recommended by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

(b) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to the President periodic reports on the progress of the directive contained in subsection (a) of this section. The initial report shall be submitted within 100 days of the date of this order, a second report shall be submitted within 200 days of the date of this order, and a third report shall be submitted within 365 days of the date of this order. Further, the Secretary shall submit a report every 180 days thereafter until the system is fully deployed and operational.

Sec. 8. Visa Interview Security.

(a) The Secretary of State shall immediately suspend the Visa Interview Waiver Program and ensure compliance with section 222 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1222, which requires that all individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa undergo an in-person interview, subject to specific statutory exceptions.

(b) To the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, the Secretary of State shall immediately expand the Consular Fellows Program, including by substantially increasing the number of Fellows, lengthening or making permanent the period of service, and making language training at the Foreign Service Institute available to Fellows for assignment to posts outside of their area of core linguistic ability, to ensure that non-immigrant visa-interview wait times are not unduly affected.

Sec. 9. Visa Validity Reciprocity.

The Secretary of State shall review all nonimmigrant visa reciprocity agreements to ensure that they are, with respect to each visa classification, truly reciprocal insofar as practicable with respect to validity period and fees, as required by sections 221(c) and 281 of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1201(c) and 1351, and other treatment. If a country does not treat United States nationals seeking nonimmigrant visas in a reciprocal manner, the Secretary of State shall adjust the visa validity period, fee schedule, or other treatment to match the treatment of United States nationals by the foreign country, to the extent practicable.

Sec. 10. Transparency and Data Collection.

(a) To be more transparent with the American people, and to more effectively implement policies and practices that serve the national interest, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall, consistent with applicable law and national security, collect and make publicly available within 180 days, and every 180 days thereafter:

(i) information regarding the number of foreign nationals in the United States who have been charged with terrorism-related offenses while in the United States; convicted of terrorism-related offenses while in the United States; or removed from the United States based on terrorism-related activity, affiliation, or material support to a terrorism-related organization, or any other national security reasons since the date of this order or the last reporting period, whichever is later;

(ii) information regarding the number of foreign nationals in the United States who have been radicalized after entry into the United States and engaged in terrorism-related acts, or who have provided material support to terrorism-related organizations in countries that pose a threat to the United States, since the date of this order or the last reporting period, whichever is later; and

(iii) information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, including honor killings, in the United States by foreign nationals, since the date of this order or the last reporting period, whichever is later; and

(iv) any other information relevant to public safety and security as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, including information on the immigration status of foreign nationals charged with major offenses.

(b) The Secretary of State shall, within one year of the date of this order, provide a report on the estimated long-term costs of the USRAP at the Federal, State, and local levels.

Sec. 11. General Provisions.

(a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP

THE WHITE HOUSE, January 27, 2017

The Executive Order is written in standard American legal English, which is different from legal English used in Britain, and as is always the way with such documents, is verbose and longwinded, which makes it difficult to follow. A number of points however immediately stand out.

The Executive Order was clearly drafted by legal draftsmen who are obviously lawyers. The claim legal advice was not sought is plainly wrong. As is usually the case with Executive Orders it refers to and draws authority from earlier legislation, including laws passed by Congress. The words “Islam”, “Muslim” and “Christian” appear nowhere in it.

The Executive Order claims to be driven by a fear of terrorism, specifically that terrorists may successfully evade existing control mechanisms in order to enter the US and commit terrorism there.

It orders an all-encompassing review of immigration and border controls whilst imposing a 90-day ban on entries from certain countries designated by earlier Orders (see below). It also suspends the entry of refugees into the US for 120 days pending a further review, whilst capping the total number of refugees to be admitted to the US in the 2017 fiscal year to 50,000. Refugees from Syria – identified as a country of particular terrorist danger – are banned from entering the US indefinitely, and will only be readmitted once the President is satisfied that there are procedures in place sufficient to screen them properly.

One part of the Executive Order which has attracted the most attention is a particular provision which allows the US authorities to prioritize certain cases during the period of the 120 day refugee ban, including those which involve cases of persecution of people from religious minorities. This is assumed to refer to Christians fleeing persecution by Muslims in the Middle East.

Having read this document through, I am at something of a loss to understand the controversy around it. As someone who has experience of entry and refugee law, none of the things in the Executive Order seem too exceptional or unusual.

All countries jealously guard their rights as to what persons they admit, save for those countries which have agreed by treaty to limit these rights (the states that make up the European Union are obvious examples). Countries also typically jealously guard their rights to decide who if anyone should be granted refugee or asylum status.

If German Chancellor Angela Merkel really did lecture President Trump on the refugee convention on Sunday – as some reports suggest – then it seems she may have misunderstood the refugee convention since it is not primarily concerned with determining criteria for grants of asylum or with creating obligations for the entry of refugees into a particular country, but is rather concerned with the rights of refugees once their status as refugees has been recognised. As it happens the US has not ratified the refugee convention anyway, but only its first protocol.

I would add that the one Western country which is in clear-cut breach of its obligations under the refugee convention is Britain, which is preventing Julian Assange from exercising his right as a refugee to travel to Ecuador, which is the country which has granted him asylum.

I am not familiar with US asylum and entry law so I do not know whether the Executive Order in any way breaches that law. However, I have to say on the face of it that I think that is unlikely.

It is by no means unheard of or even unusual for countries to tighten up their visa entry rules or to ban entries from particular countries whilst those rules are being changed. Nor is it unheard of for countries to ban entry of people from conflict zones, and to refuse to entertain applications for asylum from there.

Former US President Obama, for example, banned asylum applications from Iraq for a 6 month period in 2011, again because of terrorism fears. As for the 50,000 person cap on refugees in the 2017 fiscal year, as I understand it, it is standard US practice to impose such a cap and Trump’s cap falls somewhere between the lower cap imposed by George W. Bush and the higher cap imposed by Barack Obama.

To the extent that Trump’s Executive Order imposes visa bans and limits asylum claims from certain countries for limited periods, or in Syria’s case indefinitely, it seems to me that it breaks no fundamentally new ground. However there have been some other claims: that it turns away people who have already been granted asylum status – or who were about to be – and that it prevents entry to the US of individuals who previously had a right to enter and remain there. There are numerous reports that such things have actually been happening.

If so then all I can say is that there seems to be no permission for such practices in the Executive Order, which so far as I can see takes away no one’s legal right to enter and stay in the US if that right is already granted. Whether an Executive Order can in fact as a matter of law take away such legal rights I do not know but strongly doubt.

I suspect that what has happened is that in the early days of the new administration, with the relevant departments such as Homeland Security still not under the proper control of their newly appointed chiefs, officials lower down the command chain are not getting proper guidance from their superiors, and are choosing to avoid taking risks with their careers by interpreting the Executive Order beyond the meaning of its text. Doubtless one factor in causing them to act in this way is that they believe that this is how Trump wants them to act,

Whilst all this is causing severe and arguably unnecessary distress, the effect should diminish over the next few days as the newly appointed chiefs of the various departments finally get a grip on the situation. In the meantime there remains recourse to the courts to enforce the legal rights the Executive Order both cannot and does not attempt to take away, but which it seems some officials, confused about the meaning of the Order, may be violating. According to news reports, there have been several occasions of this actually happening.

What of the other criticisms of the Executive Order: that it discriminates against Muslims in favor of Christians, and that is being enforced against citizens of the wrong countries because it includes Iran – which does not export terrorism – but not countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Pakistan – which do?

Taking the second point first, the list of countries to which the Executive Order applies was previously drawn up by the Obama administration, with the Executive Order simply taking over this list. Iran is on the list because the US has long considered Iran to be a country which supports terrorism because of its support for Hezbollah and Hamas, which the US considers to be terrorist organizations. For the record, I do not consider Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization, whilst Hamas appears to me to be one of those organizations – like Fatah, the IRA and the FARC – which have used terrorism in the past but which are evolving into legitimate political movements. However I don’t expect the US government to agree with that, and I am sure it will not do so whoever is the President.

As for Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Pakistan, whether they will ever be included in the list remains to be seen, but the Executive Order itself says that the list should be reviewed and if necessary expanded. For the record, my opinion is that these countries are excluded from the list because they are longstanding allies of the US, not because Donald Trump has business interests in them, as some journalists have been saying.

On the subject of the Executive Order’s supposed discrimination against Muslims in favor of Christians, as I have pointed out (see above) the Executive Order nowhere mentions “Islam”, “Muslims” or “Christians”. What it does is allow the US authorities as an exception to prioritize grants of asylum to individuals belonging to persecuted religious minorities in the target countries during the period of the entry bans.

This is in accordance with the Executive Order’s stated objective. The Executive Order explicitly targets Sunni Muslim Jihadi terrorists who it says are a threat to the US. Sunni Muslim Jihadi terrorists are known for their relentless persecution of non-Sunnis – including not just Christians but also Shia Muslims and people belonging to other faiths – in all the targeted countries, all of which apart from Iran have majority Sunni Muslim populations. Since people from these persecuted non-Sunni minorities by definition cannot be Sunni Muslim Jihadi terrorists, there is no logical reason to include them in the entry bans, and the Executive Order permits grants of asylum to them during the period of the entry bans where they can prove that they are who they say they are.

In summary, the Executive Order itself does not justify the apocalyptic claims made about it. In itself, it is by no means an extraordinary or unusual document. It is open to anyone who wishes to argue that it treats persons coming to the US from the countries it targets in a harsh and arbitrary way. For the record that is my view. However that is arguably true of Western refugee and border control law and policy as a whole, and in that respect, the Executive Order is no different.

One can moreover provide a justification or rationalization for the Executive Order.

President Trump has committed the US to a policy of wiping out Jihadi terrorism “from the face of the earth”. He has indicated that a major military campaign against ISIS is in the works. The invariable response of ISIS to any military action taken against it is to launch terrorist attacks against the civilian populations of the countries that are carrying out the military action against it.

There is no reason to think that ISIS’s response to military action by the US would be any different, and in light of that President Trump and his officials are in a strong position to argue that they are simply taking an essential precaution to protect US civilians in light of the military action against ISIS that they say they are going to take.

If it is possible to make a case for the Executive Order, even its defenders should admit that its implementation has been grossly unjust and chaotic, and that this has caused – and is causing – great hardship to many people.

I doubt that President Trump or his advisers much care about that. Tightening up border controls to exclude dangerous Jihadi terrorists from the US is a popular policy. They probably welcome the scenes the harsh implementation of the policy in its first days is causing. It shows to President Trump’s electoral base that he is in earnest about what he is doing.

By contrast, those who are leading the campaign against the Executive Order risk maneuvering themselves into a position where they appear to be soft on terrorists entering the US. President Trump and the tough-minded political professionals around him are probably quietly pleased.

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Kaspersky Lab snags former NSA contractor stealing hacking tools

Semi-buried article did see publication on Politico and Fox News, but Kaspersky Lab was not vindicated for its help in solving this case.

Seraphim Hanisch

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In a time known for Smear Campaigns of the Strangest Kind, we have seen Russia blamed for being there, for interfering and preventing the election of Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Presidency, putting Donald Trump in the White House instead. One of Russia’s companies, Kaspersky Lab, has a particularly notable history of late; that is to say, this computer security company has found itself on the receiving end of quite frankly, illegal levels of slander and punishment without cause from the US government. Kaspersky Lab owner and CEO tried very hard to come to the US to discuss these matters with a Congressional committee, only to have the meeting shelved into limbo.

However, the truth made itself manifest when it became known that Kaspersky Lab actually helped the American FBI catch Harold T. Martin III, who was found to be attempting to steal some of the American government’s most sensitive hacking tools. This fact emerged on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, when sources familiar with this investigation spoke to The Politico magazine. Politico says the following in its report:

[Kaspersky Lab’s] role in exposing Martin is a remarkable twist in an increasingly bizarre case that is believed to be the largest breach of classified material in U.S. history.

It indicates that the government’s own internal monitoring systems and investigators had little to do with catching Martin, who prosecutors say took home an estimated 50 terabytes of data from the NSA and other government offices over a two-decade period, including some of the NSA’s most sophisticated and sensitive hacking tools.

The revelation also introduces an ironic turn in the negative narrative the U.S. government has woven about the Russian company in recent years.

Under both the Obama and Trump administrations, officials have accused the company of colluding with Russian intelligence to steal and expose classified NSA tools, and in 2016 the FBI engaged in an aggressive behind-the-scenes campaign to discredit the company and get its software banned from U.S. government computers on national security grounds. But even while the FBI was doing this, the Russian firm was tipping off the bureau to an alleged intelligence thief in the government’s own midst.

“It’s irony piled on irony that people who worked at Kaspersky, who were already in the sights of the U.S. intelligence community, disclosed to them that they had this problem,” said Stewart Baker, general counsel for the NSA in the 1990s and a current partner at Steptoe and Johnson. It’s also discouraging, he noted, that the NSA apparently still hasn’t “figured out a good way to find unreliable employees who are mishandling some of their most sensitive stuff.”

The Politico piece as well as Fox News’ variant still seem somewhat determined to keep that negative narrative in place, with Fox assessing that the FBI had a “strange bedfellow” in the investigation, and what appears to be an absolutely enormous presumption in Politico’s piece:

The first message sent on Aug. 13, 2016, asked one of the researchers to arrange a conversation with “Yevgeny” — presumably Kaspersky Lab CEO Eugene Kaspersky, whose given name is Yevgeny Kaspersky. The message didn’t indicate the reason for the conversation or the topic, but a second message following right afterward said, “Shelf life, three weeks,” suggesting the request, or the reason for it, would be relevant for a limited time.

However, there are many people in the world named “Yevgeny” (Evgeny, or Eugene) in Russia, and presumably many Evgenys in Kaspersky Lab itself. The notion that the CEO of the company would be involved in this appears to be an absolutely enormous leap of logic.

The maintenance of a negative narrative about Kaspersky Lab has been one of the most frustratingly effective examples of American propaganda in use since Russia overall became increasingly used as America’s newest scapegoat.

This is also not the first time that Kaspersky Lab saved the day for an American intelligence agency. In 2017 the same company’s services found 122 viruses on an NSA employee’s computer.

Kaspersky Lab itself is a highly sophisticated company based in Moscow, Russia, specializing in securing computers against malware, viruses, ransomware and all manner of invasive efforts by the bad guys out on the ‘Net, and among the providers of such services it consistently rates among the best in the industry, including in US surveys. While US retailers Best Buy, Office Depot and the US government have banned selling or running Kaspersky Lab software, European allies of the US have not even breathed the slightest bit of discontent with the AV provider. The narrative is the only thing that is actually wrong, and since Evgeny Kaspersky’s education was largely at the Academy that trained former KGB personnel, (now called FSB), the anti-Russia narrative in the US the acronym “KGB” is usually enough to alarm most low-information American news readers and watchers. 

However, logic and awareness of life in modern Russia, point to the fact that getting an education on security at the FSB Academy ought to be equivalent to the same education at the CIA. Who would know better about how to create security than those people specially trained to compromise it? However the propaganda vantage point that Kaspersky afforded the US government in its drive to get rid of President Donald Trump made the Russian company too juicy a target to ignore.

Over the last year or two, however, this narrative has slowly been falling apart, with this Politico article being a significant, though still small vindication of the company’s prowess and abilities.

That a Russian Internet Security company could succeed where American enterprises failed, and especially where it helped the Americans catch a man who was stealing very powerful hacking tools, is a significant story, indeed.

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Neofascist Push for Europe’s Implosion Is Not in EU Members National Interest

The European Union must become for the people by the people.

Gilbert Mercier

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Via News Junkie Post


The European Union is under numerous existential threats. On one hand, there are the internal threats, with the rise to power of the so-called nationalist-populist eurosceptics — which are in reality racist neofascists — in Austria, Hungary, Poland, and to a lesser extent Italy, with the Interior Minister Matteo Salvini being an influential part of the country’s coalition government, as well as the recent gain in political clout of anti-EU far-right parties such as the Rassemblement National of Marine Le Pen, in France. On the other hand, there are the external threats, which used to be diffuse and secretive but are becoming more and more overt, from the Trump administration in the United States through the unofficial operative Steve Bannon, as well as, to a much lesser extent, Russia, perhaps China, and also, for some odd reason, even Iran’s Islamic Republic on monetary issues. Go figure. It seems that a downgrade, or even dismantlement, of the EU as a geopolitical major player suits the needs of other leading world powers. There is a cautionary tale here for all Europeans, especially those like the Gilets Jaunes who reject the Europe of bankers and technocrats. It is a geopolitical cautionary tale about reforming what you have and not jumping to conclusions and doing a tabula rasa of a European Union adventure that is 62 years in the making.

In an era of Cold War redux, the EU is a geopolitical imperative

The birth of the EU was in 1957. It was signed into existence in the Treaty of Rome by the six founding members: Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg and West Germany. Naturally, this must be understood in the context of a post-Yalta world, which effectively started the split of world affairs and influences between the two empires born out of the ashes of World War II: the United States of America, of course, and the USSR, which have agreed to disagree on ideologies, but have come to a tacit understanding about their spheres of influence. The constant conflicts between the two blocks have manifested themselves through various proxy wars, always at the expense of third parties. From a military standpoint, the US came up with NATO in 1949, using the fear of the supposed Soviet threat to subjugate its European so-called allies, which became not much more than vassals. Behind the legendary Iron Curtain, Stalin’s USSR had the Warsaw Pact.

Since the Ukrainian crisis, five years ago, we have reentered a Cold War logic, and again Russia is painted by Western mainstream media as the biggest threat to the supposed free world — whatever this means in the propagandist lexicon — and Vladimir Putin as the ultimate bogeyman head of state. At the time of the treaty of Rome, it took some courage for the six founding members to take this initiative, considering that all of them had US troops de facto occupying their respective countries. This very timid start in the mid-1950s was followed by attempts to make the EU, not only an economic union but a political force.

Let us fast forward to the current legal framework of the EU: the Treaty of Lisbon, still in force today, which is an amendment of the Maastricht Treaty of 1993. The Treaty of Lisbon was signed in Portugal on December 13, 2007; however, it took two years to be ratified by all EU members, and it became a legally binding agreement for all members on December 1, 2009. It is the current cornerstone of the EU’s political framework. In this treaty, which of course, BREXIT has put to a serious test, Article 50 established the provision that “Any member state may decide to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirement.” In the case of BREXIT, this was after an exit of the EU was voted on by British citizens, and this narrowly won a referendum.

In the case of the BREXIT win, which could turn out to be disastrous for the welfare of British people, and even the influence of the former British Empire, it was not the immensely and famously nefarious hand of Vladimir Putin that was involved, as claimed by many in the UK, but actually the hand of Steve Bannon, through the shady firm, Cambridge Analytica, using the vast assets of the Mercer hedge fund. This hedge fund is the financial entity that powers Alt-Right sites such as Breitbart and many others. This being said, to be fair, Mercer’s nemesis George Soros, for his part, invested heavily in the No-BREXIT vote. Where there foreign influences in the BREXIT vote? Yes, but it was a Robert Mercer vs George Soros confrontation that involved two conflicting visions of globalization, each one as toxic as the other. But Bannon, Mercer and Co.’s instrument, who is now operating in Europe to trigger similar scenarios, such as FREXIT for France, is in reality working for the neocon US world domination program, which is the so-called Project for the New American Century.

In a better-known fight between financial puppet masters, it was Bob Mercer’s cash and Steve Bannon’s media savvy that arguably elected Donald Trump US president in 2016, against a Clinton campaign that was partially financed by the billionaire George Soros. In both cases, Soros lost. Regardless of the pseudo-ideological bickering, and Bob Mercer phony libertarian views, US imperialism is still the hallmark of US foreign policy, just as it has been since 1945. Allies are truly vassals, and States that attempt to be independent are not fair competitors but enemies. A politically strong European Union, with its own military, independently of NATO, would be a perceived threat to the American Empire.

The neocon United States of Trumpism: Main enemy of the EU

A recent event in Washington went almost unnoticed by European observers, although it was symbolically of great importance. The Trump administration decided to downgrade the status of the European Union’s official foreign representation from an embassy to mere delegation with an office. This is an important illustration of the current US administration’s view of the EU as being something cumbersome and redundant in its foreign policy lexicon and agenda. This stand of Trumpism, really controlled by the neocon John Bolton, is reminiscent of what another neocon, this time Donald Rumsfeld, called, in the build up to George W. Bush’s 2003 Iraq war, the Old Europe. A more compliant New Europe was wanted, as opposed to the not-so-subservient Old Europe, personified by then French President Jacques Chirac, who was unwilling to join the folly of Iraq’s invasion. France was not then part of NATO.

Let’s face it. The neocons are fully in charge of Trump’s foreign policy and are pursuing more than ever their agenda. Their goal is uncontested US world domination by any means necessary: political, economic through various sanctions on whatever countries they define as enemy states, and of course, in cases of last resort, through the armed fist of US imperialism, which is NATO. Those are the US policy imperatives defined almost a quarter century ago in the neocons’ bible and opus: The Project for the New American Century. Rain or shine, the neocons still control the US foreign policy agenda.

Instead of imploding the EU, Europeans should exit NATO

What the demagogues of the European far-Right in Italy, Hungary, Austria, and Poland, as well as neoliberal governments in Germany, Spain, and the UK are not telling their populations while they posture about nationalism, is the simple fact that their countries are actually occupied by US troops. In the case of Poland, they are even eager to host more American occupiers. The unapologetic ultra neocon deep-pocketed think tank, The Heritage Foundation, which is providing a lot of top-position appointees to the Trump administration, gloats about the US empire’s military strength in Europe, and of course frames the narrative in terms of deterrent against semi-fictional potential Russian aggressions.

Today, 74 years after the end of World War II, the number of US troops stationed in the European Union is absolutely staggering. About 65,000 active US troops are deployed in Europe, in around 17 main operating bases mainly in Germany, Italy (Mr. Salvini, how about Italian sovereignty?), the United Kingdom and Spain. Deployments are in the works in Poland as well, at the request of the far-Right government. The Gilets Jaunes and some European politicians are correct: the respective EU nations should break free from their servitude to giant multinational corporations, financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank, as well as nefarious state players such as Saudi ArabiaQatar and the United Arab Emirates. But the real masters are not in Bruxelles, they are somewhere in the United States, around Washington DC, shuffling between the Pentagon, the White House, the CIA and of course Wall Street.

Despite the claims of the US administrations, either Democrat or Republican, and their allies/vassals in Europe and Canada, NATO’s wars in AfghanistanIraqLibya and Syriawere not necessarily meant to be won on the battlefield, but rather to become a semi-permanent occupation of various countries mainly for the exploitation of natural resources. This first-wreck-then-exploit strategy has been especially applied in the Middle East by toppling Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi. In both Iraq and Libya, two failed states were, either on purpose or by default, engineered by NATO. Because of Russia, Hezbollah, and Iran, the same plan, with the minute variation of using ISIS as a proxy, didn’t work at all against Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Afghanistan has been called the graveyard of empires: rightly so in the cases of Alexander the Great, the British Empire and the Soviets. NATO, and especially Europeans should have known better than to venture into such a dangerous land as invaders. However, America Empire Inc. and its financial, economical and military might thought that they could break the will of the Pashtuns. They didn’t.

The European Union must become for the people by the people 

In December 2010, I was, to my knowledge, the first analyst to forecast the collapse of the current dominant global empire. The out-of-control madness of Trumpism might be providing a helping hand in that process. Perhaps a redefined European Union, for the people by people, following the impulse of the Gilets Jaunes movement leading the way, will help us to free ourselves from the shackles of a globalization that only serves to profit a minute portion of the population worldwide. The European Union can be built upon rather than destroyed, and perhaps, once it finally stops serving as the little helper of corporate imperialism, it could become an inspiration of real conviviality for other continents, a truly multi-ethnic and multi-cultural association of people, more than States, which departs from the dead end that is our global capitalist system.

Editor’s Notes: Gilbert Mercier is the author of The Orwellian Empire. Photographs one by Theophilos Papadopoulos, two by Looking for Poetry, five by Gage Skidmore; six by Ian Glover, seven by Jason, eight from the archives of Resolute Support Media, nine from the archives of NATO, eleven by Radiowoodand composites ten and twelve byJared Rodriguez.

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China’s Ambassador to Canada Exposes the White Supremacist Five Eyes Surveillance State

This is the deep state that has been dedicated to overthrowing American President Donald Trump since MI6 and their junior partners in America began organising Russia-gate in 2015.

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In a January 9, 2019 op-ed in Ottawa’s Hill Times, China’s Ambassador to Canada, Lu Shaye did what no other mainstream media outlet has been willing to do since the untimely arrest of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou occurred while she was boarding a plane in Vancouver on December 1st. Much dispute has arisen over the arrest and China’s response with its own arrest of two Canadians suspected of espionage in Beijing.

In an article entitled Why the double standard on justice for Canadians, Chinese? Ambassador Lu cut through the noise being created by the media and western political class by exposing the over bloated western surveillance state known as the Five Eyes which he properly identified as the outgrowth of the unconstitutional Patriot Act, the Prism surveillance system which has annihilated all semblance of privacy among trans-Atlantic nations.

After describing the double standard applied by Canadian elites who have constructed a narrative that always paints China as the villain of the world while portraying the west as “free and democratic” Ambassador Lu stated: 

“these same people have conveniently ignored the PRISM Program, Equation Group, and Echelon—global spying networks operated by some countries that have been engaging in large-scale and organized cyber stealing, and spying and surveillance activities on foreign governments, enterprises, and individuals. These people also took a laissez-faire attitude toward a country that infringes on its citizens’ privacy rights through the Patriot Act. They shouted for a ban by the Five Eyes alliance countries…. on the use of Huawei equipment by these countries’ own enterprises”

For those who may not be aware, the Five Eyes is the name given to the British GCHQ-controlled surveillance structure that involves the four primary Anglo-Saxon Commonwealth countries (Britain, Canada, Australian and New Zealand) along with the United States. This is the deep state that has been dedicated to overthrowing American President Donald Trump since MI6 and their junior partners in America began organising Russia-gate in 2015-when it became apparent that Trump had a serious chance of defeating the Deep State candidate Hillary Clinton.

As many patriotic whistle blowers such as Bill Binney, Ray McGovern, and Edward Snowden have exposed throughout recent years, the Five Eyes system that the Ambassador referenced was formed in the “post-911 world order” as a means of overriding each nations’ constitutional protection of its own citizens’ by capitalising on a major legal loop hole (viz: Since it is technically illegal for American intelligence agencies to spy on Americans without warrant, and for CSIS  to do the same to Canadians, it is claimed that it is okay for British/Canadian intelligence agencies to spy on Americas and visa versa).

The Chinese Ambassador didn’t stop there however, but went one step further, ending his op-ed with a controversial claim which has earned him much criticism in the days since its publication. It was in his closing paragraph that Ambassador Lu made the uncomfortable point that the double standards employed against China and the west’s willingness to ignore the Five Eyes “is due to Western egotism and white supremacy”. Is this the “belligerent and unfounded name calling” that his detractors are labelling it, or is there something more to it?

When we look to the origins of the Five Eyes, which goes back MUCH further than September 11, 2001, we can clearly see that Lu Shaye is touching a very deep and truthful nerve.

Cecil Rhodes and the Racist Roots of the Deep State

19th Century spokesman for the British Empire, Cecil Rhodes wrote his infamous “Seventh Will” in 1877 where, speaking on behalf of an empire dying in the midst of the global spread of republican institutions, called for the formation of a new plan to re-organise the Empire, and re-conquer all colonial possessions that had been contaminated by republican ideas of freedom, progress, equality and self-determination[1]. Rhodes stated:

“I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race. Just fancy those parts that are at present inhabited by the most despicable specimens of human beings what an alteration there would be if they were brought under Anglo-Saxon influence, look again at the extra employment a new country added to our dominions gives. I contend that every acre added to our territory means in the future birth to some more of the English race who otherwise would not be brought into existence…. Why should we not form a secret society with but one object the furtherance of the British Empire and the bringing of the whole uncivilised world under British rule for the recovery of the United States for the making the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire…”[2]

Race Patriot” Cecil Rhodes from Punch Magazine lording over Africa

The Rhodes Trust was set up at his death in 1902 to administer the vast riches accrued during Rhodes’ exploitation of diamond mines in Africa. Steered by Lord Alfred Milner, it was this Trust which gave birth to the Round Table Movement and Rhodes Scholarship Fund which themselves have been behind the creation of a century’s worth of indoctrinated technocrats who have permeated all branches of government, finance, military, media, corporate and academia- both in America and internationally [3].

The Round Table Movement, (working in tandem with London’s Fabian Society) didn’t replace the old British Empire’s power structures, so much as re-define their behaviour based upon the re-absorption of America back into the Anglo-Saxon hive. This involved centralising control of the education of their “managerial elite” with special scholarship’s in Oxford  and the London School of Economics- then sending the indoctrinated victims in droves back into their respective nations in order to be absorbed into the British Empire’s governance structures in all domains of private and public influence. In Fabian Society terms, this concept is known as “permeation theory”[4].

Although it sometimes took the early removal of nationalist political leaders from power, via intrigue, coups or assassination, the 20th century was shaped in large measure by the cancerous growth of this British-directed network that sought to undo the republican concept that progress and cooperation were the basis for both sovereignty and international law as laid out in the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 [5].

This is the deep state that President Roosevelt warned of when he said in 1936 “The economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain about is that we seek to take away their power.” This is the deep state that outgoing President Eisenhower warned of when he spoke of the “acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex” in 1961 and that John Kennedy fought against when he fired Allen Dulles and threatened to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter into the winds”. It is what Ronald Reagan contended with when he attempted to break the world out of the Cold War by working with Russia and other nations on Beam defense in 1983. It is this structure that owned Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s entire career, from his 1980s railroading of Lyndon LaRouche into prison to his cover up of the Anglo-Saudi role in 911 as CIA director to his efforts to impeach President Donald Trump today [6].

It is this same complex which is the direct outgrowth of the racist British-run drug wars on China and suppression of India and Africa throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

In Canada, this was the network that destroyed the plans of nationalist Prime Minister John Diefenbaker after he fired the Rhodes Scholar Governor of the Bank of Canada in 1959 during a desperate struggle to take control of the national bank in order to fund his Northern Vision [7]. Earlier, it was this group that Lincoln-admirer Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier warned of after his defeat in 1911 when he said “Canada is now governed by a junta sitting at London, known as “The Round Table”, with ramifications in Toronto, in Winnipeg, in Victoria, with Tories and Grits receiving their ideas from London and insidiously forcing them on their respective parties.”[8]

The lesson to be learned is that the Deep State is not “American” as many commentators have assumed. It is the same old British Empire from which America brilliantly broke free in 1776 and which Cecil Rhodes and Milner led in re-organising on behalf of the monarchy at the beginning of the 20th century. It was racist when Lords Palmerston and Russell ran it in the 19th century and it continues to be racist today.

So when Ambassador Lu says “the reason why some people are used to arrogantly adopting double standards is due to Western egotism and white supremacy – in such a context, the rule of law is nothing but a tool for their political ends and a fig leaf for their practising hegemony in the international arena” he is not being “belligerent or provocative”, but is rather hitting on a fact which must be better understood if the deep state will finally be defeated and nations liberated to work with the new spirit of progress and cooperation exemplified by China’s Belt and Road Initiative which is quickly spreading across the earth.

Footnotes

[1] By 1876, the American Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia showcased to a world audience the success of the “American System of Political Economy” which asserted that the value and behaviour of money was contingent upon the physical productive growth of the nation rather than “British-system free markets”. Lincoln’s system was being adopted across South American nations, Japan, China, India and many European powers as well (including Russia) which had grown tired of being manipulated by British imperial intrigues.

[2] Cecil Rhodes, 1877 Confessions of Faith, University of Oregon

[3] See American System or British Dictatorship part 1 by the author, Canadian Patriot #7, June 2013

[4] For anyone in Canada wishing to learn about this in greater depth, they may wish to ask Canadian technocratic Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland how her experience as a Rhodes Scholar shaped her career.

[5] The Peace of Westphalia: France’s Defense of the Sovereign Nation by Pierre Beaudry, EIR Nov. 29, 2002

[6] Robert Mueller Is an Amoral Legal Assassin: He Will Do His Job If You Let Him by Barbara Boyd, October 1, 2017 larouchepac.com. A common denominator among all of the mentioned American leaders is not only that they waged war on the deep state structures but made constant attempts to work constructively with Russia, China, India and other nations for industrial and scientific development. This policy of “win-win cooperation” is antagonistic to all systems of empire and is the reason why the Empire hates China and the potential created with Trump’s intention to work with both China and Russia.

[7] See John Diefenbaker and the Sabotage of the Northern Vision by the author, Canadian Patriot #4, January 2013

[8] O.D. Skelton, The Life of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, p. 510

 


BIO: Matthew J.L. Ehret is a journalist, lecturer and founder of the Canadian Patriot Review. His works have been published in Executive Intelligence Review, Global Resesarch, Global Times, Nexus Magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books, Veterans Today and Sott.net. Matthew has also published the book “The Time has Come for Canada to Join the New Silk Road” and three volumes of the Untold History of Canada (available on untoldhistory.canadianpatriot.org). He has been associated with the Schiller Institute since 2006.

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