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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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Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort’s corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Via Zerohedge


Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a “black ledger” of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Hill’s John Solomon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. –The Hill

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill’s John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.” –The Hill

What The Hill doesn’t mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort’s Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan, who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn’t mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko’s expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton’s State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle. –Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. –Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election.

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump’s election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The party’s head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon’s guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.

Watch:

Meanwhile, you can also check out Stranahan’s take on Leshchenko being left out of the loop.

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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.

RT

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Via RT


Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran

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Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-arms/germany-not-satisfied-with-readiness-of-submarines-some-aircraft-idUSKBN1QS1G7) the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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