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What Russia said to Israel after the Palmyra raid

Claims which draw on a comment of Syria’s UN ambassador Bashar Jaafari that Russia has threatened to shoot down Israeli aircraft bombing Syria are completely wrong and misunderstand the nature of Russia’s relationship with both Israel and Syria. Russia has taken on no commitment to defend Syria from Israel, and has no wish to jeopardise its very good relations with Israel by threatening to do so.

Andrew Korybko

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A lot of speculation is swirling around nowadays concerning the words of Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari in relation to Israel’s illegal and aggressive airstrikes against the Syrian Arab Army near Palmyra last weekend.

Many people are interpreting Jaafari’s comment as conveying the idea that President Putin supposedly issued a threat to the new Israeli Ambassador, who was unprecedentedly summoned to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs just a day after presenting his credentials.

Before diving into what he really meant and why people are so confused, let’s take a look at Jaafari’s exact words.

As first reported by the Israeli media outlet Haaretz and then popularly shared by multipolar alternative media website 21st Century Wire, here’s what Jaafari said:

““Putin sent a clear message,” said Bashar Jaafari, speaking on Syrian television. “The fact is that the Israeli ambassador [to Russia] was summoned for a conversation only a day after he submitted his credentials [to the Russian Foreign Ministry last Thursday], and was told categorically that this game is over.” Syria’s use of anti-aircraft fire against Israel last Thursday night has changed the rules of the game, too, Jaafari said, adding that Syria will not stand idly by in the face of an Israeli threat.”

Nothing in this statement indicates that Russia threatened Israel with military retaliation if it continued to bomb Syria, though some people are spreading rumours that the ominous phrases “clear message” and “was told categorically that this game is over” apparently infer that such an idea was nevertheless conveyed.  That’s not true, first off because Ambassador Jaafari represents the Syrian Arab Republic and not the Russian Federation, and secondly because Russia is a strong and confident enough power to directly issue or convincingly imply such a powerful point itself.

So what did Jaafari really mean, then?

It’s indisputable that Russia was very displeased with what happened, hence why the Ambassador was summoned during his second official day on the job, but nobody knows what the exact nature of the “clear message” that he received really was. Did Ambassador Jaafari quote what he was told by his trusted Russian counterparts, or was he summarizing what he heard when he said that the Israel Ambassador “was told categorically that this game is over”? Another possibility is that this is just Ambassador Jaafari’s impression of what happened and that he wasn’t briefed on the specific contents of the conversation.

Now here’s where things get a bit tricky.

If one accepts the presumption that the Russians shared detailed information with the Syrians about their confidential scolding of the Israeli Ambassador, then the question naturally arises about whether or not such supposedly secret information concerning Russian-Syrian relations is also shared with the Israeli side as well. That would be very disturbing, to say the least, though thankfully there aren’t any grounds for reasonably speculating upon that. To put the shoe on the other foot, there’s also no evidence to argue that Russia shares Israeli secrets with Syria either.

Therefore, it is responsible to conclude that Ambassador Jaafari is just relating his impressions about what he thinks transpired, and not being a Russian surrogate in saying something which others are absurdly suggesting that the Kremlin itself might be too afraid to imply.

Now, about the whole “game is over” quip, that’s a pretty ambiguous yet loaded statement which means wildly different things to different people. It’s trendy right now to pretend that Ambassador Jaafari is hinting that Russia told Israel that it will never allow Tel Aviv to bomb targets inside of Syria ever again, possibly even threatening it with military retaliation if it dares to repeat its crimes. On the other hand, his statement could also be read as meaning that Russia scolded Israel without backing it up by military threats.

It’s difficult to get down to the bottom of what Russia told the Israeli Ambassador after last weekend’s attack and subsequent summoning, but an indication could possibly be seen in Russia’s attitude towards the US after its September 2016 hour-long bombing of the Syrian Arab Army in Deir ez Zor. At the time Russia immediately took its objections to the UN, going over the head of the US Ambassador in Moscow, and not even bothering to summon him.  Given that the scope and scale of the Deir ez Zor attack was much worse than what happened just recently in Palmyra, it wouldn’t make sense for Russia to treat Israel’s crimes worse than the US’, which is why Russia responded in the opposite way to Tel Aviv than it did to Washington and only summoned the Ambassador instead of going to the UN.

Let’s remember that the US reportedly targeted the Syrian Arab Army for a full hour during its September 2016 attack, meaning that the hostile aircraft were over the target area for a long enough time for them to be pinpointed and taken out by Russia’s S-400 air-defence systems…but they weren’t. This is because Russia’s mandate in Syria is only to fight terrorism and not to protect the country’s external borders from state aggression or intervene in backing up the Syrian Arab Army. This was reinforced when Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov remarked in early May 2016 that:

Assad is not our ally, by the way. Yes, we support him in the fight against terrorism and in preserving the Syrian state. But he is not an ally like Turkey is the ally of the United States.”

If Russia won’t overstep its legal mandate in Syria and shoot down aggressive US jets which are bombing the Syrian Arab Army for roughly an hour and killing nearly 100 people, why would it shoot down Israeli jets which are causing comparatively less damage over a much shorter period of time?

And, if Russia didn’t publicly convey any implicit threat to the US to deter it from ever committing its crimes again (which the US has since repeated on several lower-profile instances against civilians), why would it use Syrian Ambassador Jaafari to slyly issue such a threat towards Israel?

The short answer is that Russia wouldn’t, and that’s why it never happened, and that’s the wrong interpretation for people to have made.

Now let’s talk about how the “rules of the game” changed.

This last part of Ambassador Jaafari’s comment is obviously in reference to “Syria’s use of anti-aircraft fire against Israel”, not anything related to what Russia speculatively told the Israeli Ambassador, as Jaafari finishes his remark by emphasising that “Syria will not stand idly by in the face of an Israeli threat.”

This should be loudly applauded by all sincere supporters of the Syrian Arab Republic because it demonstrates that Damascus is confident enough in its capabilities to finally take on Israel every time that it launches a similar sort of aggression.  Israeli Defense Minister Lieberman was so distraught by this that he freaked out and threatened to destroy Syria’s air defence systems if Damascus carries through on its promise to defend itself, evidently proving that the Syrians’ S-200 response last weekend got under the Israelis’ skin.

The “rules of the game” have certainly changed, Ambassador Jaafari is right, but supportive observers shouldn’t overreact and get too carried away in describing the new situational context.

Some people are pairing Al Masdar’s reporting that Syria informed Russia prior to its S-200 response to the Israeli aggressors with Ambassador Jaafari’s statement about the new “rules of the game” in order to imagine that Moscow gave Damascus the authorisation to respond to Tel Aviv.

This is a categorically wrong understanding of the facts. For starters, Russia doesn’t – and shouldn’t – have the right to give the final say to the Syrian Arab Army’s military command over whether or not they can respond to external aggression. That is a sovereign choice of Syria and her representatives only, not Russia. Moreover, even if this hypothetical situation was indeed the case, then Russia would have told Syria to stand down and not fire at the Israeli jet.

If Moscow wants all external aggressors out of Syria’s airspace, it could easily down them itself with its S-400 missiles, whether directly or by giving these systems to the Syrians and by having the Syrians themselves use this up-to-date world-class equipment instead of the relatively outdated S-200.

But then why did Syria inform Russia before shooting at the Israeli jet?

Well, that’s easy to explain, and it has to do with respect for one’s allies.

Syria acknowledges that Russia has very close relations with Israel, and that any sudden crisis between Moscow’s two partners would inevitably come to involve Russia to some extent or another. Prior to acting against the Israeli aggressors, Damascus let Moscow know what it was doing so that it could be prepared to diplomatically deal with the fallout and hopefully restrain Tel Aviv from launching the sort of “retaliatory” strike that Defense Minister Lieberman later threatened. It was wise and polite for the Syrians to tell the Russians what they were about to do, but they by no means were seeking the Russians’ prior approval. They were just notifying them.

As it turns out, a convincing piece of evidence has just emerged on none other than RT which casts serious doubt on the claims that Ambassador Jaafari’s statement should be implicitly understood as conveying threats from Russia to Israel. The outlet reported that Netanyahu just announced that he “informed Putin of Israel’s intentions” and that “if there is feasibility from an intelligence and military standpoint – we attack and so it will continue.”

If what the gossipers are saying is true and Ambassador Jaafari was for some unexplainable reason the public middleman in Russian-Israeli diplomacy and tasked by President Putin to deliver thinly veiled threats to Netanyahu, then the “clear message” that some people presume that he meant appears to have been completely ineffective.

Other people have invented an outrageous conspiracy theory that Netanyahu never actually said those words because there’s no video recording of him uttering them, thereby making this “fake news”. As promoters of such conspiracy theories are prone to do, they didn’t think this conspiracy out fully because otherwise they’d realise that there would be serious consequences if RT – a publicly funded international broadcaster of global renown – was tricked into disseminating “fake news” about President Putin and Netanyahu. In such a theoretical circumstance, they’d be compelled to issue a public retraction, yet none has been forthcoming. The reason why? The story and the quotes are true, no matter if scores of internet denizens say otherwise.

If Netanyahu didn’t actually speak with President Putin and just made it all up in order to trick RT and the rest of the world like some people ludicrously allege, then Russia would have naturally summoned the Israeli Ambassador to complain about it, which also hasn’t happened.

This brings the discussion to its final point, which is asking why – since it’s true that Netanyahu talked with President Putin and declared that he will continue to attack Syria whenever it’s “feasible from an intelligence and military standpoint” – Russia would passively allow this to continue happening.

The answer might be too shocking for many people to accept, but it might have to do with what President Putin himself publicly and proudly proclaimed in a joint press conference with Netanyahu in June 2016:

“We talked about the need to jointly fight against international terrorism. Israel knows by first-hand experience what it is and fights against terrorism. In this sense, we are true allies, our countries have enough experience in the fight against extremism. We will boost contacts with Israeli partners in this sphere,” Putin said.”

Russia and Israel aren’t just allies, but “true allies”, and they are “jointly fighting against international terrorism”.

Does this mean that Moscow believes Tel Aviv’s claims that Hezbollah is a “terrorist group” and that Israel only focuses on bombing it, not the Syrian Arab Army, every time that it invades Syria’s airspace?

No, it doesn’t, but Russia also isn’t going to get involved in this big Middle East mess any more than it already is, hence why it agreed to the creation of a military coordination mechanism with Israel during Netanyahu’s September 2015 visit to Moscow, which incidentally was around one week before Russia began its “surprise” anti-terrorist intervention in Syria.

Russia accepts that Israel will periodically carry out “surgical strikes” in Syria under the pretext of targeting Hezbollah, and since Moscow isn’t going to wage war to stop Tel Aviv, the next best thing that its decision makers believe that they can do is passively allow this to happen, and then mitigate any inadvertent clashes during such events.

The most likely reason why the Israeli Ambassador was summoned for the first-time ever in response to one of these many bombings is because the latest one occurred in very close proximity to Russian forces operating in the area, thereby putting them in immediate danger of being hit in the airstrikes themselves or being attacked by the terrorist offensive that Israel hoped to unleash afterwards.

This was needlessly irresponsible, as Russia sees it, hence why it had to embarrass Israel by summoning its Ambassador in response. Moreover, the very fact that such a close-call occurred between the Russian and Israeli militaries raises concern in Moscow that the previously agreed upon military coordination mechanism isn’t working how it is supposed to.  This puts Russian servicemen – the only military forces whose lives Moscow is legally responsible for in Syria – at grave risk, and explains the urgency with which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Israeli Ambassador.

Ambassador Jaafari was right – Putin did send a “clear message” and said “categorically that this game is over” – though not in the way that people, including His Excellency himself, might initially be led to believe, but in the sense that Israeli strikes in Syria will be much more closely (albeit discretely) coordinated with Russia from here on out in order to avoid any similar incidents which could inadvertently kill Russian servicemen.

This isn’t unsubstantiated conjecture, but is solidly backed up by what Foreign Minister Lavrov openly hinted at five days after the scandalous attack occurred. As reported by Sputnik:

“Russia will judge the implementation of the Russian-Israeli cooperation agreement on Syria by Israel’s actions, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday.

He added that during Netanyahu’s last visit to Russia earlier in March, the agreement between him and Putin had been clearly and fully confirmed, and that Russia “will judge how accurately this arrangement is carried out by our Israeli partners not on the basis of what they say but how they act,” Lavrov stressed.

“During Israel’s prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu’s] second to latest visit to Moscow he and President [of Russia Vladimir] Putin achieved a clear agreement about the way Russian and Israeli militaries could cooperate in relation to the situation in Syria,” Lavrov said, commenting on last week’s Israeli strikes on the Syrian Armed Forces posts near Damascus.”

It’s difficult to imagine any way that this could sensibly be understood other than acknowledging that an “agreement” “about the way Russian and Israeli militaries could cooperate in relation to the situation in Syria” was “clearly and fully confirmed” “during Netanyahu’s second to latest visit to Russia earlier in March”, and considering that Syria has no formal relations with Israel and doesn’t even officially recognize it, it’s fair to conclude that Damascus had no input in the negotiations over this accord.

That’s not by any stretch of the imagination to infer that Russia is “working behind Syria’s back” (or worse, “backstabbing it”), but just to draw attention to the fact that both sides don’t always coordinate each and every single decision, no matter how large (geopolitical/military, as this one is) or small (tactical, for example) they may be. 

To wrap everything up, people can’t continue imagining that Russia is some sort of anti-Zionist crusader state. For better or for worse, that’s simply not true, and the bilateral military coordination agreement that President Putin and Netanyahu reaffirmed earlier this month over Syria — as revealed by none other than Foreign Minister Lavrov — is proof of that.

Ambassador Jaafari is one of history’s best diplomats and a masterful wordsmith, so it’s extraordinarily bizarre that anyone would conspiratorially interpret what should have ordinarily been an uncontroversial statement as a secret message of military hostility from Russia to Israel by means of this globally respected Syrian diplomat (and not Russia’s own).

Given that it’s regrettably the case that scores of misguided individuals misunderstood what Ambassador Jaafari had to say, the only recourse left however for individuals who sincerely desire to correct their false perception is to urgently invest the time in independently researching Russian-Israeli relations.

This is the only way for people to educate themselves about the high-level and comprehensive strategic nature of ties between Moscow and Tel Aviv, which in turn will prevent them from embarrassingly falling for cartoonish mischaracterizations about his powerful partnership.

Ignorance feeds on itself, and the less that someone knows about the truth, the easier it is that they’ll be misled by ideological dogmatists and social media charlatans with an agenda.

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution. 

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VIPS Fault Mueller Probe, Criticize Refusal to Interview Assange

The bug in Mueller’s report released on Thursday is that he accepts that the Russian government interfered in the election. Trump should challenge that, says VIPS.

Consortium News

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Via ConsortiumNews.com:


MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: The Fly in the Mueller Ointment

April 16, 2019

Mr. President:

The song has ended but the melody lingers on. The release Thursday of the redacted text of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election” nudged the American people a tad closer to the truth on so-called “Russiagate.”

But the Mueller report left unscathed the central-but-unproven allegation that the Russian government hacked into the DNC and Podesta emails, gave them to WikiLeaks to publish, and helped you win the election. The thrust will be the same; namely, even if there is a lack of evidence that you colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin, you have him to thank for becoming president. And that melody will linger on for the rest of your presidency, unless you seize the moment.

Mueller has accepted that central-but-unproven allegation as gospel truth, apparently in the lack of any disinterested, independent forensic work. Following the odd example of his erstwhile colleague, former FBI Director James Comey, Mueller apparently has relied for forensics on a discredited, DNC-hired firm named CrowdStrike, whose credibility is on a par with “pee-tape dossier” compiler Christopher Steele. Like Steele, CrowdStrike was hired and paid by the DNC (through a cutout).

We brought the lack of independent forensics to the attention of Attorney General William Barr on March 13 in a Memorandum entitled “Mueller’s Forensic-Free Findings”, but received no reply or acknowledgement. In that Memorandum we described the results of our own independent, agenda-free forensic investigation led by two former Technical Directors of the NSA, who avoid squishy “assessments,” preferring to base their findings on fundamental principles of science and the scientific method. Our findings remain unchallenged; they reveal gaping holes in CrowdStrike’s conclusions.

We do not know if Barr shared our March 13 Memorandum with you. As for taking a public position on the forensics issue, we suspect he is being circumspect in choosing his battles carefully, perhaps deferring until later a rigorous examination of the dubious technical work upon which Mueller seems to have relied.

Barr’s Notification to Congress

As you know, the big attention-getter came on March 24 when Attorney General William Barr included in his four-page summary a quote from Mueller’s report: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Understandably, that grabbed headlines — the more so, since most Americans had been convinced earlier by the media that the opposite was true.

There remains, however, a huge fly in the ointment. The Mueller report makes it clear that Mueller accepts as a given — an evidence-impoverished given — that the Russian government interfered in the election on two tracks:

Track 1 involves what Barr, echoing Mueller, claims “a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency (IRA)” did in using social media “to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election.” A careful look at this allegation shows it to be without merit, despite Herculean efforts by The New York Times, for example, to put lipstick on this particular pig.  After some rudimentary research, award winning investigative reporter Gareth Porter promptly put that pig out of its misery and brought home the bacon. We do not believe “Track 1” merits further commentary.

Track 2 does need informed commentary, since it is more technical and — to most Americans — arcane. In Barr’s words: “The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks. Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election.”

We are eager to see if Mueller’s report contains more persuasive forensic evidence than that which VIPS has already debunked. In Barr’s summary, the only mention of forensics refers to “forensic accountants” — a far cry from the kind of forensic investigators needed to provide convincing proof of “hacking” by the Russian government.

But They Were Indicted!

Circular reasoning is not likely to work for very long, even with a U.S. populace used to being brainwashed by the media. Many Americans had mistakenly assumed that Mueller’s indictment of Russians — whether they be posting on FaceBook or acting like intelligence officers — was proof of guilt. But, as lawyers regularly point out, “one can easily indict a ham sandwich” — easier still these days, if it comes with Russian dressing.

Chances have now increased that the gullible folks who had been assured that Mueller would find collusion between you and Putin may now be a bit more circumspect — skeptical even — regarding the rest of the story-line of the “Russian hack,” and that will be even more likely among those with some technical background. Such specialists will have a field day, IF — and it is a capital “IF” — by some miracle, word of VIPS’ forensic findings gets into the media this time around.

The evidence-impoverished, misleadingly labeled “Intelligence Community Assessment” of January 6, 2017 had one saving grace. The authors noted: “The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation — malicious or not — leaves a trail.” Forensic investigators can follow a trail of metadata and other technical properties. VIPS has done that.

A “High-Class Entity?”

If, as we strongly suspect, Mueller is relying for forensics solely on CrowdStrike, the discredited firm hired by the DNC in the spring of 2016, he is acting more in the mold of Inspector Clouseau than the crackerjack investigator he is reputed to be. It simply does not suffice for Mueller’s former colleague James Comey to tell Congress that CrowdStrike is a “high-class entity.” It is nothing of the sort and, in addition to its documented incompetence, it is riddled with conflicts of interest. Comey needs to explain why he kept the FBI away from the DNC computers after they were said to have been “hacked.”

And former National Intelligence Director James Clapper needs to explain his claim last November that “the forensic evidence was overwhelming about what the Russians had done.” What forensic evidence? From CrowdStrike? We at VIPS, in contrast, are finding more and more forensic evidence that the DNC emails were leaked, not hacked by the Russians or anyone else — and that “Guccifer 2.0” is an out-and-out fraud. Yes, we can prove that from forensics too.

But the Talking Heads Say …

Again, if Mueller’s incomplete investigation is allowed to assume the status of Holy Writ, most Americans will continue to believe that — whether you colluded the Russians or not — Putin came through for you big time. In short, absent President Putin’s help, you would not be president.

Far too many Americans will still believe this because of the mainstream-media fodder — half-cooked by intelligence leaks — that they have been fed for two and a half years. The media have been playingthe central role in the effort of the MICIMATT (the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank) complex to stymie any improvement in relations with Russia. We in VIPS have repeatedly demonstrated that the core charges of Russian interference in the 2016 election are built on a house of cards. But, despite our record of accuracy on this issue — not to mention our pre-Iraq-war warnings about the fraudulent intelligence served up by our former colleagues — we have gotten no play in mainstream media.

Most of us have chalked up decades in the intelligence business and many have extensive academic and government experience focusing on Russia. We consider the issue of “Russian interference” of overriding significance not only because the allegation is mischievously bogus and easily disproven. More important, it has brought tension with nuclear-armed Russia to the kind of dangerous fever pitch not seen since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, when the Russian provocation was real — authentic, not synthetic.

Sober minds resolved that crisis more than a half-century ago, and we all got to live another day. These days sober minds seem few and far between and a great deal is at stake. On the intelligence/forensics side, we have proved that the evidence adduced to “prove” that the Russians hacked into the DNC and Podesta emails and gave them to WikiLeaks is spurious. For example, we have examined metadata from one key document attributed to Russian hacking and shown that it was synthetically tainted with “Russian fingerprints.”

Who Left the Bread Crumbs?

So, if it wasn’t the Russians, who left the “Russian” bread-crumb “fingerprints?” We do not know for sure; on this question we cannot draw a conclusion based on the principles of science — at least not yet. We suspect, however, that cyber warriors closer to home were responsible for inserting the “tell-tale signs” necessary to attribute “hacks” to Russia. We tacked on our more speculative views regarding this intriguing issue onto the end of our July 24, 2017 Memorandum to you entitled “Intelligence Veterans Challenge Russia Hack Evidence.”

We recall that you were apprised of that Memorandum’s key findings because you ordered then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo to talk to William Binney, one of our two former NSA Technical Directors and one of the principal authors of that Memorandum. On October 24, 2017, Pompeo began an hour-long meeting with Binney by explaining the genesis of the odd invitation to CIA Headquarters: “You are here because the president told me that if I really wanted to know about Russian hacking I needed to talk to you.”

On the chance Pompeo has given you no report on his meeting with Binney, we can tell you that Binney, a plain-spoken, widely respected scientist, began by telling Pompeo that his (CIA) people were lying to him about Russian hacking and that he (Binney) could prove it. Pompeo reacted with disbelief, but then talked of following up with the FBI and NSA. We have no sign, though, that he followed through. And there is good reason to believe that Pompeo himself may have been reluctant to follow up with his subordinates in the Directorate of Digital Innovation created by CIA Director John Brennan in 2015. CIA malware and hacking tools are built by the Engineering Development Group, part of that relatively new Directorate.

Obfuscation’

A leak from within the CIA, published on March 31, 2017 by WikiLeaks as part of the so-called “Vault 7” disclosures, exposed a cyber tool called “Marble,” which was used during 2016 for “obfuscation” (CIA’s word). This tool can be used to conduct a forensic attribution double game (aka a false-flag operation); it included test samples in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Korean, and Russian. Washington Post reporter Ellen Nakashima, to her credit, immediately penned an informative article on the Marble cyber-tool, under the catching (and accurate) headline “WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations.” That was apparently before Nakashima “got the memo.” Mainstream media have otherwise avoided like the plague any mention of Marble.

Mr. President, we do not know if CIA’s Marble, or tools like it, played some kind of role in the campaign to blame Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we know how candid the denizens of CIA’s Directorate of Digital Innovation have been with the White House — or with former Director Pompeo — on this touchy issue. Since it is still quite relevant, we will repeat below a paragraph included in our July 2017 Memorandum to you under the sub-heading “Putin and the Technology:”

“We also do not know if you have discussed cyber issues in any detail with President Putin. In his interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, he seemed quite willing – perhaps even eager – to address issues related to the kind of cyber tools revealed in the Vault 7 disclosures, if only to indicate he has been briefed on them. Putin pointed out that today’s technology enables hacking to be “masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin” [of the hack] … And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack. Hackers may be anywhere,” he said. “There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can’t you imagine such a scenario? … I can.”

As we told Attorney General Barr five weeks ago, we consider Mueller’s findings fundamentally flawed on the forensics side and ipso facto incomplete. We also criticized Mueller for failing to interview willing witnesses with direct knowledge, like WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange.

Political Enemies & Mainstream Media (Forgive the Redundancy)

You may be unaware that in March 2017 lawyers for Assange and the Justice Department (acting on behalf of the CIA) reportedly were very close to an agreement under which Assange would agree to discuss “technical evidence ruling out certain parties” in the leak of the DNC emails and agree to redact some classified CIA information, in exchange for limited immunity. According to the investigative reporter John Solomon of The Hill, Sen. Mark Warner, (D-VA) vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, learned of the incipient deal and told then-FBI Director Comey, who ordered an abrupt“stand down” and an end to the discussions with Assange.

Why did Comey and Warner put the kibosh on receiving “technical evidence ruling out certain parties” [read Russia]? We won’t insult you with the obvious answer. Assange is now in prison, to the delight of so many — including Mrs. Clinton who has said Assange must now “answer for what he has done.”

But is it too late to follow up somehow on Assange’s offer? Might he or his associates be still willing to provide “technical evidence” showing, at least, who was not the culprit?

You, Mr. President, could cause that to happen. You would have to buck strong resistance at every turn, and there all manner of ways that those with vested interests and a lot of practice in sabotage can try to thwart you — with the full cooperation of most media pundits. By now, you know all too well how that works.

But you are the president. And there may be no better time than now to face them down, show the spurious nature of the concocted “evidence” attempting to put you in “Putin’s pocket,” and — not least — lift the cloud that has prevented you from pursuing a more decent relationship with Russia.

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Bogdan Dzakovic, former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

James George Jatras, former U.S. diplomat and former foreign policy adviser to Senate leadership (Associate VIPS)

Larry Johnson, former CIA Intelligence Officer & former State Department Counter-Terrorism Official, (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)

John Kiriakou, former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003

Clement J. Laniewski, LTC, U.S. Army (ret.)

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.)

Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, former Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA presidential briefer (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East & CIA political analyst (ret.)

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)

Peter Van Buren,U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Robert Wing, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (former) (associate VIPS)

Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War

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Ukraine’s president-in-waiting Zelensky vows to end conflict in Donbass with ‘POWERFUL INFOWAR’

Zelensky vowed to “act within the Normandy format,” referring to the French-German-Russian-Ukrainian talks on war in Donbass, saying that “we will continue the Minsk process, we will restart it.”

RT

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Via RT…


Comedian-turned-politician Volodymyr Zelensky, set for a landslide win in Ukraine’s presidential vote, stayed true to character at his first press conference, dropping some flashy promises but refusing to go into boring detail.

Shortly after claiming electoral victory, Zelensky held a Q&A session with reporters at his campaign HQ in a Kiev business center. While the official results of the elections have yet to be announced, multiple exit polls suggest he secured more than 72 percent of votes.

Zelensky addressed the media in an easy-going manner. He spoke in a mix of Ukrainian and Russian, switching between the two languages, sometimes in one sentence. He also talked English a bit. But if the press hoped to shed light on the policies of the incoming president and his team, the conference actually generated more questions than answers.

Bringing the civil war in eastern Ukraine to an end appears to be one of the top priorities for Zelensky.

Promising to announce some kind of a plan shortly, he asked the reporters for help in the upcoming “infowar” that he says would help end the conflict, which, since 2014, has been raging between Kiev’s troops and the rebel self-proclaimed republics.

We will launch a very powerful information war to end the war in Donbass.

He then vowed to “act within the Normandy format,” referring to the French-German-Russian-Ukrainian talks on war in Donbass, saying that “we will continue the Minsk process, we will restart it.”

Next up, Zelensky did not rule out – even if half-jokingly – that the outvoted president Petro Poroshenko could gain a government post if the public “asks so.”

Do you want me to appoint him? Then I will ask society… If they tell me that they want to see Petro Poroshenko in one post or another – maybe, I don’t know.

Zelensky added, though, that he would like to try “new people” first. But the very team of the soon-to-be president still remains a mystery, as he’s refusing to provide any names, be it the new administration, the judiciary, or the country’s military.

“We have very serious acting generals who have authority in the army, you will definitely see them. I have no right to give the names of these people now, as there is an agreement with the generals,” Zelensky said cryptically, likewise not revealing his candidate for prosecutor general.

For now, Zelensky and his Servant of the People party – notably named after his own comedy show where he played a schoolteacher-turned-president – are promising to introduce the team “in the near future.”

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The Triumph of Evil

What is going on is that American oil companies want to recover their control over the revenue streams from Venezuela’s vast oil reserves.

Paul Craig Roberts

Published

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Authored by Paul Craig Roberts:


Today (April 17) I heard a NPR “news” report that described the democratically elected president of Venezuela as “the Venezuelan dictator Maduro.” By repeating over and over that a democratically elected president is a dictator, the presstitutes create that image of Maduro in the minds of vast numbers of peoples who know nothing about Venezuela and had never heard of Maduro until he is dropped on them as “dictator.”

Nicolas Maduro Moros was elected president of Venezuela in 2013 and again in 2018. Previously he served as vice president and foreign minister, and he was elected to the National Assembly in 2000. Despite Washington’s propaganda campaign against him and Washington’s attempt to instigate violent street protests and Maduro’s overthrow by the Venezuelan military, whose leaders have been offered large sums of money, Maduro has the overwhelming support of the people, and the military has not moved against him.

What is going on is that American oil companies want to recover their control over the revenue streams from Venezuela’s vast oil reserves. Under the Bolivarian Revolution of Chavez, continued by Maduro, the oil revenues instead of departing the country have been used to reduce poverty and raise literacy inside Venezuela.

The opposition to Maduro inside Venezuela comes from the elites who have been traditionally allied with Washington in the looting of the country. These corrupt elites, with the CIA’s help, temporarily overthrew Chavez, but the people and the Venezuelan military secured his release and return to the presidency.

Washington has a long record of refusing to accept any reformist governments in Latin America. Reformers get in the way of North America’s exploitation of Latin American countries and are overthrown.

With the exceptions of Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua, Latin America consists of Washington’s vassal states. In recent years Washington destroyed reform governments in Honduras, Argentina and Brazil and put gangsters in charge.

According to US national security adviser John Bolton, a neoconservative war monger, the governments in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua will soon be overthrown. New sanctions have now been placed on the three countries. Washington in the typical display of its pettiness targeted sanctions against the son of the Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega. https://www.rt.com/news/456841-bolton-russia-venezuela-threat/

Ortega has been the leader of Nicaragua since for 40 years. He was president 1985-1990 and has been elected and reelected as president since 2006.

Ortega was the opponent of Somoza, Washington’s dictator in Nicaragua. Consequently he and his movement were attacked by the neoconservative operation known as Iran-Contra during the Reagan years. Ortega was a reformer. His government focused on literacy, land reform, and nationalization, which was at the expense of the wealthy ruling class. He was labeled a “Marxist-Leninist,” and Washington attempted to discredit his reforms as controversial leftist policies.

Somehow Castro and Ortega survived Washington’s plots against them. By the skin of his teeth so did Chavez unless you believe it was the CIA that gave him cancer. Castro and Chavez are dead. Ortega is 74. Maduro is in trouble, because Washington has stolen Venezuela’s bank deposits and cut Venezuela off the international financial system, and the British have stolen Venezuela’s gold. This makes it hard for Venezuela to pay its debts.

The Trump regime has branded the democratically twice-elected Maduro an “illegitimate” president. Washington has found a willing puppet, Juan Guaido, to take Maduro’s place and has announced that the puppet is now the president of Venezuela. No one among the Western presstitutes or among the vassals of Washington’s empire finds it strange that an elected president is illegitimate but one picked by Washington is not.

Russia and China have given Maduro diplomatic support. Both have substantial investments in Venezuela that would be lost if Washington seizes the country. Russia’s support for Maduro was declared by Bolton today to be a provocation that is a threat to international peace and security. Bolton said his sanctions should be seen by Russia as a warning against providing any help for the Venezuelan government.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo and vice president Pence have added their big mouths to the propaganda against the few independent governments in Latin America. Where is the shame when the highest American government officials stand up in front of the world and openly proclaim that it is official US government policy to overthrow democratically elected governments simply because those governments don’t let Americans plunder their countries?

How is it possible that Pompeo can announce that the “days are numbered” of the elected president of Nicaragua, who has been elected president 3 or 4 times, and the world not see the US as a rogue state that must be isolated and shunned? How can Pompeo describe Washington’s overthrow of an elected government as “setting the Nicaraguan people free?”

The top officials of the US government have announced that they intend to overthrow the governments of 3 countries and this is not seen as “a threat to international peace and security?”

How much peace and security did Washington’s overthrow of governments in Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, and the attempted overthrow of Syria bring?

Washington is once again openly violating international law and the rest of the world has nothing to say?

There is only one way to describe this: The Triumph of Evil.

“The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” — William Butler Yeats

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