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US leaks of classified intelligence about Manchester terror attack strain US relations with allies

Britain outraged at leaking by US of classified information about Manchester terror attack, providing further proof that because of Russiagate scandal culture of leaking of classified information in US has taken hold.

Alexander Mercouris

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A few weeks ago, shortly after US President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in the Oval Office of the White House, the Washington Post ran a story about how Trump supposedly leaked classified intelligence about an ISIS plot to use laptops to bring down civilian airplanes during this meeting to Lavrov.

Supposedly the leak compromised intelligence information provided to the US by a third country, potentially damaging the US’s intelligence relationship with that country.

In response to that story I pointed out that Trump had actually compromised nothing, and that the intelligence information was not compromised by Trump during his private meeting with Lavrov but by the Washington Post and the intelligence sources which had provided it with the story, which by publicising the incident informed the Russians, the third country, ISIS and the whole world of it.

Indeed on the strength of the Washington Post story Petri Krohn writing for The Duran effortlessly did what every intelligence analyst around the world would have been able to do, which is join up the dots, identifying the third country as Israel, which apparently has a mole in Raqqa at the very highest level of the ISIS leadership.

This is now being reported all over the world – including in the Israeli media – and there is now widespread media commentary about it.

The story of the Israeli mole within ISIS may be true, in which case it is overwhelmingly likely that ISIS has identified him by now, in which case he is almost certainly already dead, having probably been tortured by ISIS before they killed him.  In that case the Washington Post and the intelligence sources who gave it the story have his blood on their hands.

I would however refer to this comment of Petri Krohn’s, which makes a point which I find at least interesting, and which certainly repays further investigation

But is the Israeli agent actually a mole?

mole would by definition be someone trying to undermine ISIS. Israeli policy seems to be the opposite, using ISIS in its war against the Syrian state. There has been much speculation about Israeli-ISIS cooperation, but little concrete facts. But if one considers the hysteria surrounding the alleged leak and takes at face value every statement in the newspaper of record, far reaching speculation becomes possible.

The Washington Post suggests that the source embedded in ISIS is actually working against Russia and its ally Syria. Why else would Russia want to identify or disrupt it?

“Officials said the capability could be useful for other purposes, possibly providing intelligence on Russia’s presence in Syria. Moscow would be keenly interested in identifying that source and perhaps disrupting it”.

If I may speculate about the true secret behind the WaPo story, it is this: ISIS military activity is lead by Israeli military advisors. It would be natural for them to report on real threats to Israeli and US security. Leaking such information will not expose them as Israeli agents, but will put a strain on ISIS-Israel relations.

I understand this is pure speculation, but why – if Russia and the West are actually on the same side on the war on ISIS – does the possibility of cooperation with Russia raise such hysteria?

Putting all this aside, the media today in Britain is full of stories of British outrage at the leak to the New York Times of classified information relevant to the British investigation into the ISIS terror attack in Manchester.

It seems this information was not intended for publication and the British authorities believe – whether rightly or wrongly – that its publication will compromise their investigation and their attempt to track down and destroy the ISISI terrorist cell which is now admitted to exist and which was behind the Manchester attack.

What the pathologically anti Trump media in Britain and elsewhere are not saying is that whoever was responsible for the leak of this information to the New York Times, it cannot have been Donald Trump, and the leak cannot have happened at his instigation or with his agreement.

Quite apart from the fact that it is doubtful that Trump – currently on his travels in the Middle East and Europe – has seen this information, it beggars belief that he would leak or authorise the leak of any classified intelligence information to the New York Times, with which he has an ongoing feud over the Russiagate allegations, and which he regularly calls a ‘fake news’ outlet.

That means that the leak must have been the work of someone else, almost certainly from within the same community of officials within the US intelligence community who have spent the last couple of months feverishly leaking to the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN against Donald Trump.

Obviously this particular leak did not target Donald Trump.  What it shows is that the result of months of leaking of classified intended to damage Donald Trump is that a culture of leaking has taken hold, with the result that certain US intelligence officials now take a completely reckless approach to their handling of classified information, even when it is provided by US allies.

That is what the leaking of the classified information about the supposed Israeli mole to the Washington Post showed, and it has just been shown again by the leaking of classified information about the British investigation into the ISIS terror attack in Manchester to the New York Times.

In fact we can take this one step further.  The investigation into the ISIS terrorist cell in Britain is being led by the British police, and it seems it was they who shared the information about the investigation which has just been leaked with the US.  It seems that the British police are so upset by the leak that they are refusing to share more information about the investigation unless they are given firm assurances that it will not be leaked again.

The partner police agency in the US to the British police is of course the FBI, and it is likely that the US agency with which the British police shared information about their investigation would have been the FBI.  That points to the FBI as the likely source of the leak.

One of the key facts which caused relations between Donald Trump and former FBI Director Comey to collapse was Comey’s resistance to Trump’s repeated requests for an investigation of the leaks of classified information which have been going on ever since he was elected President.  This despite the fact that each and every one of these leaks is a crime in itself, whilst after 10 months of investigation the Russiagate investigation over which Comey has been presiding has failed to uncover a single one.

The Washington Post story about the supposed Israeli mole, and the New York Times story about the British anti ISIS investigation, show the disastrous results of Comey’s refusal to take Trump’s repeated requests for an investigation of the leaks seriously.

The leaks have now damaged US relations with its two closest allies, Israel and Britain.  Meanwhile there are good reasons to think that the latest leak came from within the FBI, pointing to a culture of sharing classified information with the media having taken hold within the FBI itself.

Meanwhile the Washington Post and the New York Times – glorying in what they ridiculously call a “golden age of journalism” – are colluding in a process which is not only destabilising the political situation within the US itself, but which is now also compromising the US’s relations with its allies.

It is to these lengths that the Russiagate mania has brought the US.  One wonders how much more damage will have to be done before responsible people in the US finally recognise this, and before this ridiculous affair is finally brought to a stop.

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Peace on Korean Peninsula within reach, if only Trump can remove Pompeo & Bolton (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 152.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the results of the Putin-Kim summit in Vladivostok, Russia, aimed at boosting bilateral ties between the two neighboring countries, as well as working to contribute to a final peace settlement on the Korean peninsula.

Putin’s meeting with Kim may prove to be a pivotal diplomatic moment, as North Korea continues to work towards normalizing ties with the U.S. amidst ongoing denuclearization talks with the Trump White House.

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Via the BBC…

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un needs international security guarantees if he is to end his nuclear programme.

Such guarantees would need to be offered within a multinational framework, he added, following talks near Vladivostok in Russia’s far east.

Mr Kim praised the summit as a “very meaningful one-on-one exchange”.

Mr Putin said North Korea’s leader was “fairly open” and had “talked freely on all issues that were on the agenda”.

The meeting followed the breakdown of talks between the US and North Korea in February, when Mr Kim met US President Donald Trump in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

Those talks reportedly stalled over North Korea’s demand for full economic sanctions relief in return for some denuclearisation commitments – a deal the US was not willing to make.

Speaking after the talks on Thursday, Mr Putin said he wanted to see full denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

But he said this could only be achieved through respect for international law.

“We need to restore the power of international law, to return to a state where international law, not the law of the strongest, determines the situation in the world,” he said.

Mr Kim greeted Russian officials warmly when he arrived in Russia on Wednesday.

The North Korean leader was entertained by a brass band in Vladivostok before he got inside a car flanked by bodyguards, who – in now familiar scenes – jogged alongside the vehicle as it departed.

What do we know about the summit?

According to the Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin believes the six-party talks on North Korea, which are currently stalled, are the only efficient way of addressing the issue of nuclear weapons on the peninsula.

Those talks, which began in 2003, involve the two Koreas as well as China, Japan, Russia and the US.

“There are no other efficient international mechanisms at the moment,” Mr Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

“But, on the other hand, efforts are being made by other countries. Here all efforts merit support as long as they really aim at de-nuclearisation and resolving the problem of the two Koreas.”

What do both sides want?

This visit is being widely viewed as an opportunity for North Korea to show it has powerful allies following the breakdown of the talks with the US in February.

The country has blamed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the collapse of the Hanoi summit. Earlier this month North Korea demanded that Mr Pompeo be removed from nuclear talks, accusing him of “talking nonsense” and asking for someone “more careful” to replace him.

The summit is also an opportunity for Pyongyang to show that its economic future does not depend solely on the US. Mr Kim may try to put pressure on Moscow to ease sanctions.

Analysts say the summit is an opportunity for Russia to show that it is an important player on the Korean peninsula.

President Putin has been eager to meet the North Korean leader for quite some time. Yet amid the two Trump-Kim summits, the Kremlin has been somewhat sidelined.

Russia, like the US and China, is uncomfortable with North Korea being a nuclear state.

How close are Russia and North Korea?

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union (of which Russia is the main successor state) maintained close military and trade links with its communist ally, North Korea, for ideological and strategic reasons.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, trade links with post-communist Russia shrank and North Korea leaned towards China as its main ally.

Under President Putin, Russia recovered economically and in 2014 he wrote off most of North Korea’s Soviet-era debt in a major goodwill gesture.

While it is arguable how much leverage Russia has with the North today, the communist state still regards it as one of the least hostile foreign powers.

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Putin meets Kim for the first time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at the historic meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the city of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.

The meeting marks the first ever summit between the two leaders.

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Via RT…

Leaders of Russia and North Korea sat down for a historic summit in Vladivostok, expressing hope it will revive the peace process in the Korean Peninsula and talks on normalizing relations with the US.

The summit on Russky Island, just off Vladivostok, started a little late because President Vladimir Putin’s flight was delayed. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had made the trip by train, arriving on Wednesday.

In brief public remarks before the talks, the two leaders expressed hope the summit will help move forward the reconciliation process in the Korean Peninsula. Putin welcomed Kim’s contributions to “normalizing relations” with the US and opening a dialogue with South Korea.

Kim said he hoped the Vladivostok summit would be a “milestone” in the talks about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, but also build upon “traditionally friendly ties” between Russia and North Korea.

The North Korean leader also made a point of thanking Putin for flying all the way to Vladivostok for the meeting. The Far East Russian city is only 129 kilometers from the border with North Korea.

The historic summit takes place less than two months after Kim’s second summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi fell apart without a breakthrough on denuclearization. The US rejected North Korea’s request for partial sanctions relief in return for moves to dismantle nuclear and missile programs; Washington insists on full disarmament before any sanctions are removed.

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the main subject of the Kim-Putin summit, but there will also be talks about bilateral relations, trade, and humanitarian aid. The first one-on-one meeting is scheduled to last about an hour, followed by further consultations involving other government officials.

Following the summit, Putin is scheduled to visit China.

 

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Kim And Putin: Changing The State Of The Board In Korea

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


Today is a big day for Korea. The first face-to-face summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un takes place.

At the same time the 2nd annual Belt and Road Forum kicks off in Beijing.

This meeting between Putin and Kim has been in the works for a while but rumors of it only surfaced last week. But don’t let the idea that this was put together at the last minute fool you.

It wasn’t.

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

I know that sounds bold. But hear me out.

And while no one seems to think this meeting is important or that anything of substance will come from it I do. It is exactly the kind of surprise that Putin loves to spring on the world without notice and by doing so change the board state of geopolitics.

  • Russia’s entrance into Syria in 2015, two days after Putin’s historic speech at the U.N. General Assembly
  • 2018’s State of the Union address where he announced hypersonic missiles, embarrassing the U.S. Militiary-Industrial Complex which accelerated the Bolton Doctrine of subjugating the world
  • Flying 2 TU-160 nuclear-armed bombers to Venezuela, creating panic in D.C. leading to the ham-fisted regime change operations there.
  • Nationalization of Yukos.
  • The operation to secure Crimea from U.S. invasion by marines aboard the U.S.S Donald Cook during the Ukrainian uprising against Viktor Yanukovich.

Both Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping are angry at the breakdown of the talks in Hanoi back in February. It was clear that everyone expected that meeting to be a rubber stamp on a deal already agreed to by all parties involved.

In fact the two meetings between Kim and Trump were only possible because Trump convinced them of his sincerity to resolve the ‘denuclearization’ of North Korea which would clear a path to rapid reunification.

It’s why they went along with the U.S.’s increased sanctions on North Korea as administered through the U.N. in 2017.

That John Bolton and Mike Pompeo destroyed those talks and Trump was unwilling or unable (who cares at this point, frankly, useless piece of crap that he is) to stop them embarrassed and betrayed them.

They are now done with Trump.

He’ll get nothing from either of them or Kim until Trump can prove he’s in charge of his administration, which he, clearly, is not.

And they will be moving forward with their own agenda for security and Asian economic integration. So I don’t think the timing of this meeting with that of the Belt and Road Forum is an accident.

And that means moving forward on solving the Korea problem without Trump.

It is clear from the rhetoric of Putin’s top diplomat, the irreplaceable Sergei Lavrov, that Russia’s patience is over. They are no longer interested in what Trump wants and they will now treat the U.S. as a threat, having upped their military stance towards the U.S. to that of “Threat.”

If Bolton wants anything from Russia at this point he best be prepared to start a war or piss off.

This is also why Russia took the gloves off with Ukraine in the run up to the Presidential elections, cutting off energy and machinery exports with Ukraine.

To put paid Putin’s growing impatience with U.S. policies, he just issued the order to allow residents of Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics to apply for Russian passports.

This will send Bolton into apoplexy. Angela Merkel of Germany will be none too pleased either. Putin is now playing hardball after years of unfailing politeness.

It’s also why Lavrov finalized arms and port deals all over the Middle East in recent weeks, including those with Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and India.

Bolton, Pompeo and Pence are ideologues. Trump is a typical Baby Boomer, who lives in a bubble of his own design and believes in an America that never existed.

None of them truly understand the fires they are stoking and simply believe in the Manifest Destiny of the U.S. to rule the world over a dim and barbaric world.

Putin, Xi, Rouhani in Iran and Kim in North Korea are pragmatic men. They understand the realities they live in. This is why I see Putin willing tomorrow to sit down with Kim and flaunt the U.N. sanctions and begin the investment process into North Korea that should have begun last year.

Putin would not be making these moves if he didn’t feel that Bolton was all bark and no bite when it came to actual war with Russia. He also knows that Germany needs him more than he needs Germany so despite the feet-dragging and rhetoric Nordstream 2 will go forward.

Trade is expanding between them despite the continued sanctions.

Putin may be willing to cut a deal with President-elect Zelensky on gas transit later in the year but only if the shelling of the LPR and DPR stops and he guarantees no more incidents in the Sea of Azov. This would also mollify Merkel a bit and make it easier for her politically to get Nordstream 2 over the finish line.

There are moments in history when people go too far. Bolton and Pompeo went too far in Hanoi. He will pay the price now. Putin and Kim will likely agree to something in Vladivostok that no one is expecting and won’t look like much at first.

But the reality is this summit itself marks a turning point in this story that will end with the U.S. being, in Trump’s transactional parlance, a “price taker” since it has so thoroughly failed at being a “price maker.”

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