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European Parliament calls on members to adopt Israel-related definition of antisemitism

If Americans Knew | June 2, 2017

The European Jewish Press reports that the European Parliament has adopted a resolution calling on all member states to adopt a definition of anti-Semitism that contains Israel-centric items.

The resolution was adopted at its plenary session in Brussels and officially endorses the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. The definition consists of a synopsis followed by guidelines that include Israel related items originally created by an Israeli governmental minister in 2003. This formulation has since been disseminated around the world.

For more information see: International campaign is criminalizing criticism of Israel as ‘antisemitism’

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 2 Comments

‘WikiLeaks’ Vault 7 cache shows US – not Russia – hacked past French elections’

RT | June 2, 2017

Any establishment-anointed political candidate wants to say they are under attack by the Russians because it gives them credibility, former MI5 intelligence officer Annie Machon told RT. Political analyst Adam Garrie joins the discussion.

Guillaume Poupard, the head of the National Cybersecurity Agency of France (ANSSI), said on Thursday there’s no trace of a Russian hacking group being behind the attack on Emmanuel Macron’s presidential election campaign.

According to him, the hack was “so generic and simple that it could have been practically anyone.”

RT:  Where does this statement by France’s cybersecurity chief leave the claims of Macron’s team on Russian hacking?

Annie Machon: It leaves rather a lot of egg on their faces. It appears that this attack was of such of low technical level it could have been done by a script kiddie from their mom’s basement. So rather than this hysteria about: ‘The Russians must have done it, the Russians must have done it,’ which reminds me to a certain extent of the Monty Python script that ‘you must always expect a Spanish Inquisition.’ It is beyond parody. We have a situation now where he was trying to make political hay. It seems to me that any establishment-anointed political candidate now wants to immediately say they are under attack by the Russians because it gives them credibility. It is just crazy.

Now, the one thing we do know from this is that the one country that actually has hacked the French election was the USA, and that was back in the presidential election of 2012 where they were not only intercepting the electronic communications, they were actually running human agents in the political parties. We know this because of disclosures through the Vault 7 cache that WikiLeaks put out a month or two ago. For everyone to go around blaming the Russians, when in fact the Americans have been doing this for years, is rather rich?

RT:  Why were members of Macron’s team so sure about Russia’s involvement? Do they know something France’s cybersecurity chief doesn’t?

AM: Obviously not. I think they were just jumping on the bandwagon because it was the sort of cool thing to do. After the fake buildup of the ‘Russians hacked the American elections,’ which started by the way with a leak from the DNC [Democratic National Committee] that was given to WikiLeaks, and somehow it moved into ‘Russians hacked the American election.’

Suddenly it has become established fact in the mainstream media in the West that the Russians are going to hack every Western democratic election. That is patently not the case in France, and it is also patently not the case in Germany, where there has also been a similar panic about Russia trying to hack the forthcoming chancellor’s elections in the autumn this year. In fact, the BND [Federal Intelligence Service] and BfV [Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution,] the two major intelligence agencies in Germany, put out a report in February saying there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever the Russians were trying to do this. Merkel didn’t like that result. She told her intelligence agencies to go away and to find more evidence and to find a case to say that they were indeed trying to interfere in the German elections. It is collective hysteria.

‘Low-level hack’

Adam Garrie, political analyst

RT:  Why were members of the Macron team so sure about Russia’s involvement in hacking the campaign? Do they know something France’s cybersecurity chief doesn’t?

AG: I strongly doubt that. They barely seem to know how to beat Marine Le Pen. But with a little help from their friends in the mainstream media, France and elsewhere they managed to just about accomplish that. It is simply the restating of a tired, old narrative; they have very little else to say. Macron as a man, if you can even really call him that in terms of his personality, is more of a viceroy, more of a governor general than he is a president. Putin, at the press conference he had at Versailles with Macron, questioned whether France is able to even independently conduct its foreign policy in Syria, independent of NATO and the US-led coalition. So these people that really don’t have much to offer their own country, let alone their political masters, are just churning out the narrative again and again. You’ve seen it with Hillary Clinton in America, and her supporters, and you see something similar in France. And likewise, the allegations are based – Donald Trump, probably accurately, said it could have been a 400-pound man in his bedroom somewhere. As the French authorities said today, it was probably the work of a lone hacker, and the hack itself wasn’t at the level of sophistication that would have even required state operators to be behind it.

RT:  Do you think all these Russian hacking allegations during the presidential race had much impact on the final choice of the new president?

AG: I agree with President Putin on this. All of these hacks and allegations of hacks have very little impact on the actual electoral results. People are going to look first and foremost in all countries at domestic issues. Unless you’re in the war-zone that’s what the priorities are going to be for voters. They are going to look at tax; they are going to look at healthcare. They are going to look at living standards, wages, employment, etc. – these sorts of things. This idea that somehow magically Russia is pulling the political strings of various candidates in different Western countries is simply absurd. And I personally give the average voter – whether in France or America – more credit than the mainstream media is willing to give him.

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

How Kuwait Lobbied Hillary Clinton to Nix Criminal Probe of Defense Contractor

By Russell Mokhiber | CounterPunch | June 2, 2017

In 2009, Kuwait called on then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to intervene with the Justice Department and help nix a criminal fraud case against a Kuwait defense contractor Agility Public Warehousing Company.

The case ended up settling just last week, with the company pleading guilty to theft of government property and paying $95 million for overcharging the Pentagon on food contracts.

In November 2009, the Justice Department criminally indicted Agility and joined a False Claims Act whistleblower lawsuit.

In a letter to Clinton dated December 5, 2009, then Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Sabah writes that “in consideration of the special relations between our two friendly countries, we ask that this dispute be settled amicably without having to resort to criminal adjudication.”

Kuwait has donated between $5 million and $10 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation became a major issue in the Presidential campaign last year.

Agility was the prime vendor to feed U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq, Iran and Jordan from between 2003 and 2010, securing $8.5 billion worth of prime-vendor food contracts.

As part of the global settlement, Agility will pay $95 million to resolve civil fraud claims, forgo administrative claims against the United States seeking $249 million in additional payments under its military food contracts, and plead guilty to a criminal misdemeanor offense for theft of government funds.

The Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency will also release a claim of $27.9 million against Agility and lift its suspension of Agility, as the company has been suspended from federal government contracting for the last seven years after being indicted.

An administrative agreement entered between the Defense Logistic Agency and Agility requires oversight of an Agility entity by an independent corporate monitor and the maintenance of an ethics and compliance program with a number of detailed requirements.

The civil claims and criminal charges arise out of allegations originally raised in a civil whistleblower lawsuit against Agility and another Kuwaiti company, The Sultan Center Food Products Company.

Kamal Mustafa Al Sultan, a former vendor of Agility, filed the lawsuit under the False Claims Act, which permit private individuals to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery.

Al Sultan will receive a $38.85 million for his work in bringing the case to justice.

The government alleged that Agility and TSC knowingly overcharged the Department of Defense for locally available fresh fruits and vegetables that Agility purchased through The Sultan Center and falsely charged the full amount of Center’s invoices despite agreeing that Agility would pay 10 percent less than the amount billed.

The United States also alleged that Agility failed to disclose and pass through rebates and discounts it obtained from U.S.-based suppliers, as required by its contracts.

“This is one of the largest military procurement fraud cases in the history of the False Claims Act, passed by Abraham Lincoln to combat war profiteers and one of the largest whistleblower awards ever in a military-procurement fraud case,” said Raymond Moss, Al Sultan’s lawyer. “Mr. Al Sultan’s unrelenting perseverance to see justice done for U.S. taxpayers and the troops who bravely fought in the two Iraq Wars to protect Kuwait, is awe inspiring and a classic David vs. Goliath story. This case proves the power and efficacy of the False Claims Act to right wrongs and expose and deter fraud anywhere in the world.”

The filing of Al Sultan’s lawsuit in 2005 — and its resulting Justice Department investigation — resulted in sweeping governmental changes in prime food vendor contracts to reflect greater pricing transparency, prohibitions on kickbacks and rebates and prompt payment discounts, saving the U.S. government and taxpayers billions of dollars, Moss said.

Moss said that Al Sultan’s whistleblower lawsuit also spawned the initiation of other Department of Justice investigations, whistleblower lawsuits, prosecutions settlements and convictions against other prime vendors and their suppliers for similar conduct.

“Raymond Moss and his team at Moss & Gilmore were highly effective, skilled and tenacious advocates over this entire 13 year battle,” Al Sultan said. “They never took their foot off the gas and, with Department of Justice, went toe to toe against six of the largest and most powerful law firms in the country.”

“As the great ancient Roman politician and lawyer Cicero once said, ‘Any man can make a mistake, only a fool keeps making the same one,’” Al Sultan said.

The company was represented in the criminal case by Richard Marmaro of Skadden Arps, Kristin Tahler of Quinn Emanuel and Richard Deane Jr. of Jones Day,

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Rwanda’s tragedy used to fool people, slander others

By Yves Engler · June 2, 2017

Rwanda’s tragedy has been exploited for many purposes. Add slandering a pro-Palestinian activist to the list.

Since I wrote this article about the Jewish Defense League last month, Toronto’s Alex Hundert has repeatedly labeled me anti-Semitic. The self-declared “anti-fascist” tweeted at Pacific Free Press, Rabble, the NDP and others to “cut ties” with me.

In response to this article the former Upper Canada College student harangued at least one prominent woman for posting it on her Facebook page. Hundert told her — wait for it — I’m anti-Semitic. Lacking in evidence or maybe sensing diminishing returns with that smear he added that I’m a Rwandan genocide denier.

If he means a researcher and writer on foreign affairs who always questions official government narratives/propaganda then I guess a “no contest” plea would be appropriate. The common portrayal of the Rwandan Genocide in Canada omits important context and is factually incorrect in substantial ways. It is also logically hollow, only believable because of widespread racism and anti-Africanism. (According to the most outlandish aspect of the official story, Hutu extremists murdered the Hutu presidents of Rwanda and Burundi and much of the Hutu-led Rwandan military command, which brought the Hutu to their weakest point in three decades, and then decided to begin a long planned systematic extermination of Tutsi.)

Do I believe hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Tutsi were slaughtered in mid-1994? Yes, definitely.

Was there a long planned high-level effort to wipe out all Tutsi? Probably not.

Were tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of Hutu also slaughtered in mid-1994? It’s likely.

Was Paul Kagame, the person widely hailed for ending the killing, instead the individual most responsible for the mass slaughter? Probably, since his forces invaded Rwanda from Uganda, engaged in a great deal of killing and blew up the presidential plane that unleashed the genocidal violence.

It’s telling Hundert would seek to smear me as a Rwanda genocide denier, rather than criticize my other controversial views such as that the private automobile should be eliminated, or that former Prime Minister Lester Pearson was a war criminal or that Canadian peacekeeping is often a form of imperialism. Maybe it’s because the label “genocide denier” hints at some type of hatred rather than a political disagreement. Or maybe Hundert hopes to associate me with Nazi Holocaust denial, which we’ll see more about below.

Fundamentally Hundert chose the issue because most Canadians know little about Rwanda and, to the extent they know anything about the country, they’ve heard an extremely one-sided media account of the complex tragedy that engulfed Rwanda and Burundi in the mid-1990s. News consumers are generally familiar with a Rwanda fairy tale focused on a white Canadian saviour. According to serial Kagame-Rwanda propaganda spreader Gerald Caplan, “the personal relationship so many Canadians feel with Rwanda can be explained in two words: Roméo Dallaire.” In a forthcoming book about left Canadian foreign policy I detail how, in their haste to laud a Canadian military “hero”, progressives have echoed a highly simplistic version of Rwanda’s tragedy, which has legitimated Africa’s most blood-stained dictator, Paul Kagame.

Beyond aligning with liberal Canadian foreign policy mythology, Hundert is tapping into the US Empire’s narrative. Washington and London’s support for the Uganda backed Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), as well as Kagame’s more than two-decade long rule in Kigali, explains the dominance of the Rwandan Genocide story. According to Edward Herman and David Peterson in Enduring Lies: The Rwandan Genocide in the Propaganda System, 20 Year Later, “[US and British] support, combined with the public’s and the media’s distance from and unfamiliarity with central African affairs, made the construction and dissemination of false propaganda on Rwanda very easy.”

After the Cold War, Washington viewed Kagame’s RPF as an imperial proxy force in a French-dominated region. A trio of authors explain in The Congo: Plunder and Resistance: “The plan expressed clearly by the White House at the time was to use the Rwandan army as an instrument of American interests. One American analyst explained how Rwanda could be as important to the USA in Africa as Israel has been in the Middle East.” Over the past two decades Kagame has repeatedly invaded the Congo, which has as much as $24 trillion in mineral riches.

Alongside his role as a US client, Kagame has drawn close to Israel. Trained at the US Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Kagame visited Israel for the first time in 1996 and Africa’s most bloodstained dictator has been back repeatedly. In March Kagame was the only international head of state and first-ever African leader to speak at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual conference. On May 21 Kagame received the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Prize for Outstanding Friendship with the Jewish People at a New York event with Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer and Alan Dershowitz. In 2013 the “butcher ofAfrica’s Great Lakes” shared a New York stage with staunch Zionists Elie Wiesel, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.

“He is the only living man to stop a genocide,” said Boteach to the Jewish Forward in 2014. “You need to look at the criticism on Rwanda through the same lens you look at criticism against Israel.” (After National Security Adviser Susan Rice criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for speaking to Congress about the Iran nuclear agreement without President Obama’s approval, Boteach placed an ad in the New York Times which read “Susan Rice has a blind spot: Genocide … both the Jewish people’s and Rwanda’s”.)

Pro-Israel Jewish groups have bequeathed Kagame the genocide moniker. Author of Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa: From Tragedy to Useful Imperial Fiction, Robin Philpot explains that long-time director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel, Efraim Zuro, and former US Holocaust Memorial Museum project director, Michael Berenbaum, were invited to a conference in Kigali a year after the mass slaughter in Rwanda. Philpot notes, “Efraim Zuro then became an advisor to the Rwandan government in its hunt for génocidaires, and from then on Zionists throughout the world were willing to share the use of the term ‘genocide’ with Rwandan Tutsis. Israel has very jealously guarded the use of that term; they have, for example, never agreed to share it with Armenians, largely because of Israel’s strategic alliance with Turkey.”

But, those who draw an analogy between the 6 million killed in the Shoah and the hundreds of thousands slaughtered in Rwanda are partaking in something akin to Nazi Holocaust denial (or extreme minimization). European Jews were targeted because of their religion/ethnicity, the violence was state organized and it mostly flowed from an ideology promoted from above.

The context in Rwanda was different. Speaking the same language, sharing the same culture and practising the same religion, the Tutsi/Hutu divide is historically a caste-type distinction the Belgians racialized. “Prior to colonization,” explains Ann Garrison, “the Tutsi were a cattle owning, feudal ruling class, the Hutu a subservient peasant class. Belgian colonists reified this divide by issuing ID cards that labeled Rwandans and Burundians as Hutu, Tutsi, or Twa [1% of the population].”

The genocidal killings were not a long planned attempt to exterminate all Tutsi, which even the victors’ justice dispensed by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) effectively concluded. Instead, it was the outgrowth of a serious breakdown in social order that saw hundreds of thousands slaughtered by relatively disorganized local commands fearful of a foreign invasion that eventually conquered Rwanda and drove a quarter of the population out of the country. Probably an equal — and possibly a greater — number of Hutu were killed.

Jews didn’t end up in power in European countries after World War II, nor did the Herero in Namibia, Armenians in Turkey, indigenous people in North America, Maya in Guatemala, etc. Rwanda is a peculiar case where the minority — 10% of population — targeted for extermination ended up ruling after the bulk of the violence subsided.

Of course, Hundert doesn’t care about what happened in Rwanda. He’s labeling me a genocide denier because I’ve challenged Canada’s contribution to Palestinian dispossession. Hundert seems particularly bothered by my linking pro-Israel Jewish organizations to fascistic, anti-Muslim groups, which pits his “anti-fascism” against his liberal-Zionism.

The Rwandan tragedy is often invoked in Canada for ulterior purposes. The Romeo Dallaire fairy tale is part of developing a “do-gooder” foreign policy mythology designed to lull Canadians into backing interventionist policies. More generally, a highly simplistic account of the Rwanda Genocide has repeatedly been invoked to justify liberal imperialism, particularly the Responsibility to Protect doctrine.

Maybe I should be honoured that Rwanda is now cited as a reason to suppress my writing.

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 2 Comments

What Did John Brennan and Anonymous Sources Really Say?

Speaking to a Russian becomes treasonous

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • May 30, 2017

The Washington Post and a number of other mainstream media outlets are sensing blood in the water in the wake of former CIA Director John Brennan’s public testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. The Post headlined a front page featured article with Brennan’s explosive testimony just made it harder for the GOP to protect Trump. The article states that Brennan during the 2016 campaign “reviewed intelligence that showed ‘contacts and interaction’ between Russian actors and people associated with the Trump campaign.” Politico was also in on the chase in an article entitled Brennan: Russia may have successfully recruited Trump campaign aides.

The precise money quote by Brennan that the two articles chiefly rely on is “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and US persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals. It raised questions in my mind whether or not Russia was able to gain the co-operation of those individuals.”

Now first of all, the CIA is not supposed to keep tabs on American citizens and tracking the activities of known associates of a presidential candidate should have sent warning bells off, yet Brennan clearly persisted in following the trail. What Brennan did not describe, because it was “classified,” was how he came upon the information in the first place. We know from the New York Times and other sources that it came from foreign intelligence services, including the British, Dutch and Estonians, and there has to be a strong suspicion that the forwarding of at least some of that information might have been sought or possibly inspired by Brennan unofficially in the first place. But whatever the provenance of the intelligence, it is clear that Brennan then used that information to request an FBI investigation into a possible Russian operation directed against potential key advisers if Trump were to somehow get nominated and elected, which admittedly was a long shot at the time. That is how Russiagate began.

But where the information ultimately came from as well as its reliability is just speculation as the source documents have not been made public. What is not speculative is what Brennan actually said in his testimony. He said that Americans associated with Trump and his campaign had met with Russians. He was “concerned” because of known Russian efforts to “suborn such individuals.” Note that Brennan, presumably deliberately, did not say “suborn those individuals.” Sure, Russian intelligence (and CIA, MI-6, and Mossad as well as a host of others) seek to recruit people with access to politically useful information. That is what they do for a living, but Brennan is not saying that he has or saw any evidence that that was the case with the Trump associates. He is speaking generically of “such individuals” because he knows that spies, inter alia, recruit politicians and the Russians presumably, like the Americans and British, do so aggressively.

At a later point in his testimony Brennan also said that “I had unresolved questions in my mind about whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons, involved in the campaign or not, to work on their behalf, again, either in a witting or unwitting fashion,” clearly meant to imply that some friends of Trump might have become Russian agents voluntarily but others might have cooperated without knowing it. It is a line that has surfaced elsewhere previously, most notably in the demented meanderings of former acting Director of Central Intelligence Michael Morell. As the purpose of recruiting an intelligence agent is to have a resource that can be directed to do things for you, the statement is an absurdity and Brennan and Morell, as a former Director and acting Director of the CIA, should know better. That they don’t explains a lot of things about today’s CIA.

Brennan confirms his lack of any hard evidence when he also poses the question “whether or not Russia was able to gain the co-operation of those individuals.” He doesn’t know whether the Americans were approached and asked to cooperate by Russian intelligence officers and, even if they were, he does not know whether they agreed to do so. That means that the Americans in question were guilty only of meeting and talking to Russians, which was presumably enough to open an FBI investigation. One might well consider that at the time and even to this day Russia was not and is not a declared enemy of the United States and meeting Russians is not a criminal offense.

In his testimony, Brennan also hit the main theme that appears to be accepted by nearly everyone inside the beltway, namely that Russia sought to influence and even pervert the outcome of the 2016 election. Interpreting his testimony, the Post article asserts that “Russia was engaged in an ‘aggressive’ and ‘multifaceted ‘effort to interfere in our election.” As has been noted frequently before, even though this assertion has apparently been endorsed by nearly everyone in the power structure AKA (also known as) “those who matter,” it is singularly lacking in any actual evidence.

Nor has any evidence been produced to support the claim that it was Russia that hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server, which now is accepted as Gospel, but that is just one side to the story being promoted. Last Wednesday, the New York Times led off its front page with a piece entitled Top Russian Officials Discussed How to Influence Trump Aides Last Summer. Based, as always, on anonymous sources citing “highly classified” intelligence, the article claimed that “American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers…” The “discussions,” which are presumably NSA intercepts of phone calls, reportedly focused on two aides in particular, Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, both of whom had established relationships with Russian businessmen and government officials.

The article goes on to concede that “It is unclear, however, whether Russian officials actually tried to directly influence Mr. Manafort and Mr. Flynn…,” and that’s about all there is to the tale, though the Times wanders on for another three pages, recapping Brennan and the Flynn saga lest anyone has forgotten. So what do we have? Russians were talking on the phone about the possibility of influencing an American’s presidential candidate’s advisers, an observation alluded to by Brennan and also revealed in somewhat more detail by anonymous sources. Pretty thin gruel, isn’t it? Isn’t that what diplomats and intelligence officers do?

It would appear that the New York Times’ editors are unaware that the United States routinely interferes in elections worldwide and that the action taken in various places including Ukraine goes far beyond phone conversations. In some other places like Libya, Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan the interference is particularly robust taking place at the point of a bayonet, but the Times and Washington Post don’t appear to have any problem when the regime change is being accomplished ostensibly to make the world more democratic, even if it almost never has that result.

How one regards all of the dreck coming out of the Fourth Estate and poseurs like John Brennan pretty much depends on the extent one is willing to trust that what the government, its highly-politicized bureaucrats and the media tell the public is true. For me, that would be not a lot. The desire to bring down the buffoonish Donald Trump is understandable, but buying into government and media lies will only lead to more lies that have real consequences, up to and including the impending wars against North Korea and Iran. It is imperative that every American should question everything he or she reads in a newspaper, sees on television “news” or hears coming out of the mouths of former and current government employees.

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton’s Deceptive Blame-Shifting

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | June 1, 2017

Hillary Clinton has grown even more insistent that she was not at fault for her stunning election defeat last November, claiming that 1,000 Russian “agents” and their American collaborators were a decisive factor, a bizarre twist that further locks the Democrats into their evidence-light “Russia-gate” obsession.

In comments at a California technology conference on Wednesday, Clinton also repeated one of her favorite falsehoods – that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously concluded that Russia hacked Democratic emails and ran a covert influence campaign against her.

Referring to a report released by President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence (DNI) on Jan. 6, Clinton asserted that “Seventeen agencies, all in agreement, which I know from my experience as a Senator and Secretary of State, is hard to get. They concluded with high confidence that the Russians ran an extensive information war campaign against my campaign, to influence voters in the election. They did it through paid advertising we think; they did it through false news sites; they did it through these thousand agents; they did it through machine learning, which you know, kept spewing out this stuff over and over again. The algorithms that they developed. So that was the conclusion.”

But Clinton’s statement is false regarding the unanimity of the 17 agencies and misleading regarding her other claims. Both former DNI James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan acknowledged in sworn testimony last month that the Jan. 6 report alleging Russian “meddling” did not involve all 17 agencies.

Clapper and Brennan stated that the report was actually the work of hand-picked analysts from only three agencies – the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation – under the oversight of the DNI’s office. In other words, there was no consensus among the 17 agencies, a process that would have involved some form of a National Intelligence Estimate (or NIE), a community-wide effort that would have included footnotes citing any dissenting views.

Instead, as Clapper testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on May 8, the Russia-hacking claim came from a “special intelligence community assessment” (or ICA) produced by selected analysts from the CIA, NSA and FBI, “a coordinated product from three agencies – CIA, NSA, and the FBI – not all 17 components of the intelligence community,” the former DNI said.

And, as Clapper explained, the “ICA” was something of a rush job beginning on President Obama’s instructions “in early December” and completed by Jan. 6. Clapper continued: “The two dozen or so analysts for this task were hand-picked, seasoned experts from each of the contributing agencies.”

However, as any intelligence veteran will tell you, if you hand-pick the analysts, you are really hand-picking the conclusion since the agency chiefs would know who was, say, a hardliner on Russia and who could be trusted to deliver the desired product.

On May 23, in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, former CIA Director John Brennan confirmed Clapper’s account about the three agencies involved.

“It wasn’t a full inter-agency community assessment that was coordinated among the 17 agencies, and for good reason because of the nature and the sensitivity of the information trying, once again, to keep that tightly compartmented,” Brennan said.

In other words, Clinton’s beloved claim that all 17 intelligence agencies were in agreement on the Russian “hacking” charge – an assertion that the “fact-checking” group Politifact has certified as “true” and that has been repeated endlessly by the mainstream U.S. news media – is not true. It is false. Gee, you might even call it “fake news.”

The Mysterious ‘Agents’

But Clinton’s false claim about the intelligence consensus was not her only dubious assertion. Her reference to the 1,000 Russian “agents” is not contained in the Jan. 6 report, either. It apparently derived from unconfirmed speculation from Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, who mentioned this claim at a news conference on March 30, admitting that he didn’t know if it was true.

Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: “We know about the hacking, and selective leaks, but what really concerns me as a former tech guy is at least some reports – and we’ve got to get to the bottom of this – that there were upwards of a thousand internet trolls working out of a facility in Russia, in effect taking over a series of computers which are then called botnets, that can then generate news down to specific areas.

“It’s been reported to me, and we’ve got to find this out, whether they were able to affect specific areas in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, where you would not have been receiving off of whoever your vendor might have been, Trump versus Clinton, during the waning days of the election, but instead, ‘Clinton is sick’, or ‘Clinton is taking money from whoever for some source’ … fake news.”

Of course, many stories about Clinton being sick or her taking money from special interests weren’t “fake news.” In late 2012, she suffered from a blood clot and – during the 2016 campaign – she was staggered by a bout of pneumonia. She also was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches to Wall Street and other groups.

Warner didn’t specify where his information about the “trolls” came from but it paralleled a claim by freelance journalist Adam Chen who asserted in a podcast with Longform that Russian “trolls” began writing favorably about Trump in late 2015. (The CIA/FBI/NSA report also apparently alluded to the same report without mentioning the name of the journalist or specifying the number of alleged “trolls.”)

“I created this list of Russian trolls when I was researching,” Chen said, referring to a 2015 reporting project that he turned into a rather thinly sourced New York Times Magazine article accusing a Russian oligarch of funding a professional “troll” operation in St. Petersburg, Russia. “I check on it once in a while, still. And a lot of them have turned into conservative accounts, like fake conservatives. I don’t know what’s going on, but they’re all tweeting about Donald Trump and stuff.”

Although such “troll” and “hacking” complaints are treated as a one-way street – coming only from the evil Russians – the reality is that U.S. intelligence agencies, their allies and U.S.-government-funded “non-governmental organizations” have mounted similar operations against Russia and other targets.

It is always difficult to nail down precisely where such operations are originating, but the Russians have cited previous cases of malicious hacking aimed at senior officials, including Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, whose accounts were hacked in 2013 and 2014 including publication of a false resignation and a confession of wrongdoing.

In 2015, the “Panama Papers,” a vast trove of documents purloined from a Panamanian law firm, became an investigative project that involved a USAID-funded news outlet and led to attacks on President Vladimir Putin for corruption even though his name did not appear in the documents.

So, this high-tech spy-vs.-spy game – if that’s what it is – does not appear to be originating entirely from the Russian side of the street. But the U.S. intelligence community is not going to divulge what it knows about the attacks against Russia, only what it can “assess” about Russia’s possible attacks against Western targets.

No Self-Criticism

Neither, of course, are Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party eager to engage in a serious self-criticism about how they managed to blow an extremely winnable race against an extraordinarily flawed candidate in Donald Trump. Rather than look at their own missteps and misjudgments, they are presenting themselves as innocent victims.

In Wednesday’s interview – after misrepresenting what the Jan. 6 report actually said – Clinton suggested that the Trump campaign must have colluded with the Russians in “weaponizing” the data.

“How did they know what messages to deliver?” Clinton asked. “Who told them? Who were they coordinating with, or colluding with? … [The Russians] were conveying this weaponized information and the content of it. … So the Russians — in my opinion and based on the intel and the counterintel people I’ve talked to — could not have known how best to weaponize that information unless they had been guided. … Guided by Americans and guided by people who had polling and data information.”

Although Clinton lacked any proof of this convoluted accusation, she cited as her “best example” the fact that “within one hour, one hour of the ‘Access Hollywood’ tapes being leaked [in which Trump was caught boasting about groping women], within one hour, the Russians — let’s say WikiLeaks, something — dumped the John Podesta emails.”

However, if you changed the context of this claim slightly – and made a similar jump in logic – you would surely be labeled a nutty conspiracy theorist, but instead Clinton has drawn nods of agreement for this wholly unsubstantiated speculation.

Yet, besides blaming the Russians and WikiLeaks for her loss, Clinton spread the blame even wider, for instance, to The New York Times for focusing too much on her decision to use a private email server while Secretary of State – “they covered it like it was Pearl Harbor” – and for the Times’ Nate Silver publishing optimistic odds on her chances for victory. “I also think I was the victim of a very broad assumption I was going to win,” she said.

Clinton also placed blame on the Democratic National Committee for lacking money and sophisticated technology. “I get the nomination. So I’m now the nominee of the Democratic Party. I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party,” she said. “I mean it was bankrupt; it was on the verge of insolvency; its data was mediocre to poor, nonexistent, wrong. I had to inject money into it.”

Yet, when Clinton was asked about some of her own “misjudgments,” she slipped back into the defensive posture that contributed to her troubles as a presidential candidate. For instance, regarding why she gave lucrative speeches to Goldman Sachs between her time leaving the State Department and announcing her White House run, she answered coyly, “They paid me.”

When pressed on the point, Clinton retreated behind the sanctity of the 9/11 terror attack and the issue of women’s rights. Reminded that “you’re not somebody who needed that money for the next week’s shopping, and you knew you might run, so why do it?” – she responded:

“The most common thing that I talked about in all those speeches was the hunt for Bin Laden. You know, that was one of the central missions that I felt from the time the towers fell on 9/11 as a Senator from New York.”

Then, Clinton added, “you know, men got paid for the speeches they made. I got paid for the speeches I made. And it [the paid-speech issue] was used, and I thought it was unfairly used.”

Blocking Witnesses

So, while the Democrats dig themselves deeper into the so-far empty pit of blaming Russia for their electoral disaster, the Russia-gate investigation continues to take on other curious aspects, such as an unwillingness to hear from some of Donald Trump’s advisers who have been named in accusations and who have volunteered to testify publicly.

Former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page

On Wednesday, Carter Page, a Navy veteran and businessman who had lived in Russia, announced that his plans to defend himself in testimony next week before the House Intelligence Committee had been placed on hold by the Democrats.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the committee and a major spark plug powering the investigation, offered a curious denial of Page’s complaint while confirming the truth of it.

The New York Times, which has been another advocate for blaming Russia, phrased the postponement of Page’s testimony as if Page were the unreasonable one, reporting:

“Representative Adam Schiff … dismissed accusations from Carter Page, another Trump adviser who is under scrutiny, that the committee is preventing him from testifying. Mr. Schiff …. said the investigation would first review relevant documents before interviewing witnesses.”

In other words, Page, who has been portrayed via intelligence leaks to the news media as essentially a traitor, won’t be given the opportunity to defend his reputation until Schiff and the other Democrats decide the time is ripe.

Yet, it’s not as if the House Intelligence Committee has not taken public testimony about Russia-gate. For instance, former CIA Director Brennan was allowed to speak indirectly about Page and other possibly treasonous Americans amid media reports naming Page as one of those suspected Russian “agents.”

Normal investigations grant the people under attack at least the opportunity to defend themselves and their reputations in a timely fashion, rather than make them live under the cloud of suspicion without having a chance to state their case.

If their sworn testimony is later undermined by evidence developed by investigators, the witnesses can be called back and called out on possible perjury. So, it’s not as if Schiff and the other Democrats are surrendering prerogatives by letting Page testify now rather than later. Indeed, Page would be putting himself in legal jeopardy if he is caught lying.

Even the Republican-driven “Benghazi investigation,” which also had the look of an over-the-top “witch hunt,” gave Secretary of State Clinton and other Obama administration officials multiple opportunities to explain their response to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate.

But, so far, a similar courtesy has not been extended to the targets of the Russia-gate investigation.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

US deploying B-52 bombers to Europe for NATO exercise

Press TV – June 2, 2017

The US Air Force is deploying nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and 800 airmen to Britain that will take part in NATO exercises in June in Eastern Europe near Russia’s border.

The long-range strategic Boeing B-52 Stratofortress will take part in a series of joint exercises that primarily take place in the Baltic Sea, the Arctic and along Russia’s border with several NATO member states.

“Training with allies and joint partners improves coordination between allies and enables the US Air Force to build enduring relationships necessary to confront a broad range of global challenges,” the Air Force said in a press release.

In April, the US Air Force said it is deploying F-35 jets to Estonia, the service’s newest and most expensive fighter jets.

Western countries have moved to step up their military presence in Eastern Europe to deter what they call the Russian “aggression.”

Moscow is wary of NATO’s military build-up near its borders. In response, Russia has beefed up its southwestern military capacity, deploying nuclear-capable missiles to its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad bordering Poland and Lithuania.

The B-52 deployment comes following a NATO summit on May 25 in Brussels where US President Donald Trump accused members of the alliance of not contributing enough to the NATO budget and owing “massive amounts of money” to the US.

Trump was harshly critical of NATO as a presidential candidate, describing the 28-member Western military alliance as “obsolete.”

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment