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The real significance of the ODNI report on “Russia’s election interfering”

I have to confess that my first reaction was to simply ignore this report as an irrelevant load of nonsense.

The Saker

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Published with the permission of the author. First appeared on The Saker

Then I listed to a Ukrainian blogger, Anatoli Sharii, making fun of this report for over 10 minutes.  Listening to him my first reaction was “can’t be – Sharii is in overkill mode”. But then Sharii began quoting the report at length and I simply could not believe my eyes (I was reading the original English text which Sharii had translated into Russian): every word Sharii said was true.

That’s when I decided to download this document and read it. Here it is embedded for you to read.  Please do read the full text.  It is absolutely amazing:

Before we go into the details, I also recommend that you go through the following two examples of how the US corporate media “helpfully” provided their readers with a “guide” to better understand/interpret this report:

CNN: 10 most damning findings from report on Russian election interference

VOX: The key findings from the US intelligence report on the Russia hack, decoded

Again, even if it is painful, I recommend that you read the full text of the “guides” provided by these media outlets.

Now let’s turn to the contents.

First, remember what the stated goal of this report was: to convince President-Elect Donald Trump that the Russians had actively interfered in the US Presidential elections.  Since Donald Trump openly and repeatedly expressed his deepest skepticism about this entire issue, this report is the best the Neocons got to try to make him change his mind.

Second, there is this key sentence in the first page of the report: “while the conclusions in the report are all reflected in the classified assessment, the declassified report does not and cannot include the full supporting information, including specific intelligence and sources and methods.”

Translated in plain English this means this: “while we cannot tell you exactly how we know what we know, lest the bad guys find out about a super-secret intelligence gathering methods, we promise you that the conclusions made public today are supported by our research.”  In other words, while “sources and methods” are kept secret, the conclusions made public do faithfully summarize our findings.

In even simpler words we could say “our conclusions are exhaustive, there are no other findings kept secret, only our methods and means have been classified”.  Basically this means that, this is all the Neocons got.

So what does the report say:

  1. The Russians were critical of the US democracy process (page ii)
  2. Putin & Co preferred Trump over Clinton (page ii)
  3. The Russian media (state and private) was critical of Clinton (page ii)
  4. The Russian military intelligence agency GRU is behind well know hackers (page ii and iii)
  5. The Russians obtained access to US electoral boards but that did not affect the vote count (page iii)
  6. The Russians will use that experience in the future against US allies (page iii)

That’s it.  Seriously.  That’s all they got.  The rest of the report is just a kind of vague discussion filled with “we assess”, “we believe” and other such “estimative language” (explained on page 13 of the report).  The most amazing thing is that in the 25 pages of the report there is not ONE SINGLE ELEMENT OF PROOF.  Absolutely nothing.

What we have are what I can only call “political complaints” (points 1 through 3 above) and totally unsubstantiated allegation of illegal monitoring of various US servers/networks/computers.  And that, my friends, is absolutely stunning.  Why? Because in the first instance the US intel agencies are complaining that the Russians are using their God given right to express their opinions and preferences and while in the second instance the US complains that Russia is doing exactly that which the biggest US intel agency – the NSA – has been officially (and secretively) created to do: monitor others.

About half the report is basically a long, paranoid rant about how effective RT and Sputnik are and how popular they have become in the West.  Seriously, they are trying to convince Trump that the Russians are bad bad bad by saying that RT has good talkshows!  This simply blows my mind.

As for whether the GRU is in any way linked to Guccifer or DCLeaks.com – this is plain laughable and they might as well claim that the Martian intelligence services are linked to Wikileaks or that Russian time-travel machines were involved in the assassination of JFK.  Frankly, this is as lame as it is pathetic.

I don’t know what Trump was thinking when he listened to this load of bovine excreta, but I know that had I been in his position I would have literally kicked the folks presenting this report down the stairs of my house and that I would have immediately fired all the persons and offices linked to the drafting of this text.  Why?

Because as somebody who wrote analytical reports himself I know that this report is so bad and vague that it would have been unacceptable even coming from a first year junior analyst, nevermind top intelligence officials.  Second, because this report contains absolutely no actionable intelligence whatsoever.  So the Russian don’t like Hillary and they say so.  What’s the big deal?

Hillary was the most incompetent and russophobic Secretary of State in US history and had she been elected the risks of thermonuclear war would have been immense.  Does it really surprise anybody that most Russians (including yours truly) absolutely hate, despise and fear her?

What is Trump suppose to do now: call Putin and tell him “Vladimir, please tell RT not to criticize US public figures?!”.  And what was Trump supposed to answer if Putin replied to him “Donald, the USA has been deeply interfering inside Russia, you ran our country in the 1990s, you rigged out elections, your snipers shot our people from the roof of your embassy in 1993 and your media has been demonizing me personally for years now – and you want me to tone down RT?!”.

The good news is that Trump did the right thing: he ridiculed this absolutely laughable report and reiterated his desire for a good relationship with Russia:

However, this should not be the end of the story.  Not only is this report a botched and pathetic attempt at serving the narrow political interests of the Neocons, it is also am immense stain on the already battered reputation of the US intelligence community. We already had Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons, we already had the zig-zaging nonsense about the Iranian military nuclear program, and now we have this Kindergarten level direct interference in internal US politics.

If the USA was some kind of tiny and irrelevant country like, say, Estonia, that would be no big deal.  But when the US tax payer spends many billions to fund not one, not two or three, but 16 intelligence agencies and all they can produce is this kind of total crap, this is a problem.  A problem made worse by the fact that this kind of “intelligence” is what the President will use to have to make critical decisions, including the one to go to war or even to use nuclear weapons.

So funny as this all is, this is also scary.  It appears that the US intelligence community has been so totally politicized that it is unable to fulfill its most important task: inform US decision makers.

Yet again I come to the same conclusion: Trump needs to crack down hard, very hard, on the US intelligence community, especially the CIA.  The entire community must be reformed and dramatically reduced in size.  In intelligence matters, bigger is not better, and a bloated immense intelligence community of 16 agencies is something not a single country in history has every tried.  This is not only a total waste of resources, this is outright dangerous.

For years now the Russian have been complaining about what they politely called the “lack of professionalism” of their US colleagues.  No doubt that now they will openly begin to deplore the “lack of professionalism” of the US intelligence services.  Why?  Because Russia’s security very much depends on the US intelligence community truthfully and competently reporting about Russia to the US President.

A competent US intel community would tell the President that Russia is no threat whatsoever and that working with Russia on the basis of healthy self-interest, basic common sense and mutual respect would be in the interest of both countries.  But right now the US intel community is only making matters worse, and that harms both the USA and Russia.

Trump should appoint somebody at the head of the FBI with “a cold head, a burning heart and clean hands” (to borrow the expression of Felix Derzhinskii) and order a massive crack-down on Congress, the US media and the US intelligence community.  Just like Putin did it in Russia, and how the US dealt with the likes of Al Capone, he can probably get most of them on charges of corruption, obstruction of justice, fraud, abuse of power, criminal conspiracy to defraud, etc. Congress (which always felt above the law) and the intel community (which uses secrecy to hide corruption) should be especially vulnerable to such tactics.

For Trump and, I would argue, for the USA as a country, it is vital to purge the top levels of power from such incompetent and dishonorable clowns.  Besides, they will not leave Trump alone nor will they give him a fair chance to prove himself.  And the Neocons cannot be appeased, they always want more.  Unless Trump takes immediate action against them as soon as he enters the White House his Presidency will be doomed, as will the future of the USA.

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European Court of Justice rules Britain free to revoke Brexit unilaterally

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Britain can reverse Article 50.

RT

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Via RT…


The UK is free to unilaterally revoke a notification to depart from the EU, the European Court has ruled. The judicial body said this could be done without changing the terms of London’s membership in the bloc.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) opined in a document issued on Monday that Britain can reverse Article 50, which stipulates the way a member state leaves the bloc. The potentially important ruling comes only one day before the House of Commons votes on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU.

“When a Member State has notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, as the UK has done, that Member State is free to revoke unilaterally that notification,” the court’s decision reads.

By doing so, the respective state “reflects a sovereign decision to retain its status as a Member State of the European Union.”

That said, this possibility remains in place “as long as a withdrawal agreement concluded between the EU and that Member State has not entered into force.” Another condition is: “If no such agreement has been concluded, for as long as the two-year period from the date of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU.”

The case was opened when a cross-party group of British politicians asked the court whether an EU member such as the UK can decide on its own to revoke the withdrawal process. It included Labour MEPs Catherine Stihler and David Martin, Scottish MPs Joanna Cherry Alyn Smith, along with Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer.

They argued that unilateral revocation is possible and believe it could provide an opening to an alternative to Brexit, namely holding another popular vote to allow the UK to remain in the EU.

“If the UK chooses to change their minds on Brexit, then revoking Article 50 is an option and the European side should make every effort to welcome the UK back with open arms,” Smith, the SNP member, was quoted by Reuters.

However, May’s environment minister, Michael Gove, a staunch Brexit supporter, denounced the ECJ ruling, insisting the cabinet will not reverse its decision to leave. “We will leave on March 29, [2019]” he said, referring to the date set out in the UK-EU Brexit deal.

In the wake of the landmark vote on the Brexit deal, a group of senior ministers threatened to step down en masse if May does not try to negotiate a better deal in Brussels, according to the Telegraph. The ministers demanded that an alternative deal does not leave the UK trapped within the EU customs union indefinitely.

On Sunday, Will Quince resigned as parliamentary private secretary in the Ministry of Defense, saying in a Telegraph editorial that “I do not want to be explaining to my constituents why Brexit is still not over and we are still obeying EU rules in the early 2020s or beyond.”

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Seven Days of Failures for the American Empire

The American-led world system is experiencing setbacks at every turn.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


On November 25, two artillery boats of the Gyurza-M class, the Berdiansk and Nikopol, one tugboat, the Yany Kapu, as well as 24 crew members of the Ukrainian Navy, including two SBU counterintelligence officers, were detained by Russian border forces. In the incident, the Russian Federation employed Sobol-class patrol boats Izumrud and Don, as  well as two Ka-52, two Su-25 and one Su-30 aircraft.

Ukraine’s provocation follows the advice of several American think-tanks like the Atlantic Council, which have been calling for NATO involvement in the Sea of Azov for months. The area is strategically important for Moscow, which views its southern borders, above all the Sea of Azov, as a potential flash point for conflict due to the Kiev’s NATO-backed provocations.

To deter such adventurism, Moscow has deployed to the Kerch Strait and the surrounding coastal area S-400 batteries, modernized S-300s, anti-ship Bal missile systems, as well as numerous electronic-warfare systems, not to mention the Russian assets and personnel arrayed in the military districts abutting Ukraine. Such provocations, egged on by NATO and American policy makers, are meant to provide a pretext for further sanctions against Moscow and further sabotage Russia’s relations with European countries like Germany, France and Italy, as well as, quite naturally, to frustrate any personal interaction between Trump and Putin.

This last objective seems to have been achieved, with the planned meeting between Trump and Putin at the G20 in Buenos Aires being cancelled. As to the the other objectives, they seem to have failed miserably, with Berlin, Paris and Rome showing no intention of imposing additional sanctions against Russia, recognizing the Ukrainian provocation fow what it is. The intention to further isolate Moscow by the neocons, neoliberals and most of the Anglo-Saxon establishment seems to have failed, demonstrated in Buenos Aires with the meeting between the BRICS countries on the sidelines and the bilateral meetings between Putin and Merkel.

On November 30, following almost two-and-a-half months of silence, the Israeli air force bombed Syria with three waves of cruise missiles. The first and second waves were repulsed over southern Syria, and the third, composed of surface-to-surface missiles, were also downed. At the same time, a loud explosion was heard in al-Kiswah, resulting in the blackout of Israeli positions in the area.

The Israeli attack was fully repulsed, with possibly two IDF drones being downed as well. This effectiveness of Syria’s air defenses corresponds with Russia’s integration of Syria’s air defenses with its own systems, manifestly improving the Syrians’ kill ratios even without employing the new S-300 systems delivered to Damascus, let alone Russia’s own S-400s. The Pantsirs and S-200s are enough for the moment, confirming my hypothesis more than two months ago that the modernized S-300 in the hands of the Syrian army is a potentially lethal weapon even for the F-35, forbidding the Israelis from employing their F-35s.

With the failed Israeli attack testifying to effectiveness of Russian air-defense measures recently deployed to the country, even the United States is finding it difficult to operate in the country. As the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War confirms:

“Russia has finished an advanced anti-access/area denial (A2AD) network in Syria that combines its own air defense and electronic warfare systems with modernized equipment. Russia can use these capabilities to mount the long-term strategic challenge of the US and NATO in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Middle East, significantly widen the geographic reach of Russia’s air defense network. Russia stands to gain a long-term strategic advantage over NATO through its new capabilities in Syria. The US and NATO must now account for the risk of a dangerous escalation in the Middle East amidst any confrontation with Russia in Eastern Europe.”

The final blow in a decidedly negative week for Washington’s ambitions came in Buenos Aires during the G20, where Xi Jinping was clearly the most awaited guest, bringing in his wake investments and opportunities for cooperation and mutual benefit, as opposed to Washington’s sanctions and tariffs for its own benefit to the detriment of others. The key event of the summit was the dinner between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump that signalled Washington’s defeat in the trade war with Beijing. Donald Trump fired the first shot of the economic war, only to succumb just 12 months later with GM closing five plants and leaving 14,000 unemployed at home as Trump tweeted about his economic achievements.

Trump was forced to suspend any new tariffs for a period of ninety days, with his Chinese counterpart intent on demonstrating how an economic war between the two greatest commercial powers had always been a pointless propagandistic exercise. Trump’s backtracking highlights Washington’s vulnerability to de-dollarization, the Achilles’ heel of US hegemony.

The American-led world system is experiencing setbacks at every turn. The struggle between the Western elites seems to be reaching a boil, with Frau Merkel ever more isolated and seeing her 14-year political dominance as chancellor petering out. Macron seems to be vying for the honor of being the most unpopular French leader in history, provoking violent protests that have lasted now for weeks, involving every sector of the population. Macron will probably be able to survive this political storm, but his political future looks dire.

The neocons/neoliberals have played one of the last cards available to them using the Ukrainian provocation, with Kiev only useful as the West’s cannon fodder against Russia. In Syria, with the conflict coming to a close and Turkey only able to look on even as it maintains a strong foothold in Idlib, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States are similarly unable to affect the course of the conflict. The latest Israeli aggression proved to be a humiliation for Tel Aviv and may have signalled a clear, possibly definitive warning from Moscow, Tehran and Damascus to all the forces in the region. The message seems to be that there is no longer any possibility of changing the course of the conflict in Syria, and every provocation from here on will be decisively slapped down. Idlib is going to be liberated and America’s illegal presence in the north of Syria will have to be dealt with at the right time.

Ukraine’s provocation has only strengthened Russia’s military footprint in Crimea and reinforced Russia’s sovereign control over the region. Israel’s recent failure in Syria only highlights how the various interventions of the US, the UK, France and Turkey over the years have only obliged the imposition of an almost unparalleled A2AD space that severely limits the range of options available to Damascus’s opponents.

The G20 also served to confirm Washington’s economic diminution commensurate with its military one in the face of an encroaching multipolar environment. The constant attempts to delegitimize the Trump administration by America’s elites, also declared an enemy by the European establishment, creates a picture of confusion in the West that benefits capitals like New Delhi, Moscow, Beijing and Tehran who offer instead stability, cooperation and dialogue.

As stated in previous articles, the confusion reigning amongst the Western elites only accelerates the transition to a multipolar world, progressively eroding the military and economic power of the US.

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Is Silicon Valley Morphing Into The Morality Police?

Who gets to define what words and phrases protected under the First Amendment constitute hate — a catchall word that is often ascribed to any offensive speech someone simply doesn’t like?

The Duran

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Authored by Adrian Cohen via Creators.com:


Silicon Valley used to be technology companies. But it has become the “morality police,” controlling free speech on its platforms.

What could go wrong?

In a speech Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said:

“Hate tries to make its headquarters in the digital world. At Apple, we believe that technology needs to have a clear point of view on this challenge. There is no time to get tied up in knots. That’s why we only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division and violence: You have no place on our platforms.”

Here’s the goliath problem:

Who gets to define what words and phrases protected under the First Amendment constitute hate — a catchall word that is often ascribed to any offensive speech someone simply doesn’t like?

Will Christians who don’t support abortion rights or having their tax dollars go toward Planned Parenthood be considered purveyors of hate for denying women the right to choose? Will millions of Americans who support legal immigration, as opposed to illegal immigration, be labeled xenophobes or racists and be banned from the digital world?

Yes and yes. How do we know? It’s already happening, as scores of conservatives nationwide are being shadow banned and/or censored on social media, YouTube, Google and beyond.

Their crime?

Running afoul of leftist Silicon Valley executives who demand conformity of thought and simply won’t tolerate any viewpoint that strays from their rigid political orthodoxy.

For context, consider that in oppressive Islamist regimes throughout the Middle East, the “morality police” take it upon themselves to judge women’s appearance, and if a woman doesn’t conform with their mandatory and highly restrictive dress code — e.g., wearing an identity-cloaking burqa — she could be publicly shamed, arrested or even stoned in the town square.

In modern-day America, powerful technology companies are actively taking the role of the de facto morality police — not when it comes to dress but when it comes to speech — affecting millions. Yes, to date, those affected are not getting stoned, but they are being blocked in the digital town square, where billions around the globe do their business, cultivate their livelihoods, connect with others and get news.

That is a powerful cudgel to levy against individuals and groups of people. Wouldn’t you say?

Right now, unelected tech billionaires living in a bubble in Palo Alto — when they’re not flying private to cushy climate summits in Davos — are deciding who gets to enjoy the freedom of speech enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and who does not based on whether they agree with people’s political views and opinions or not.

You see how dangerous this can get — real fast — as partisan liberal elites running Twitter, Facebook, Google (including YouTube), Apple and the like are now dictating to Americans what they can and cannot say online.

In communist regimes, these types of folks are known as central planners.

The election of Donald Trump was supposed to safeguard our freedoms, especially regarding speech — a foundational pillar of a democracy. It’s disappointing that hasn’t happened, as the censorship of conservative thought online has gotten so extreme and out of control many are simply logging off for good.

A failure to address this mammoth issue could cost Trump in 2020. If his supporters are blocked online — where most voters get their news — he’ll be a one-term president.

It’s time for Congress to act before the morality police use political correctness as a Trojan horse to decide our next election.

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