Thursday, March 9, 2017

Today's Links

"Our highly levered financial system is like a truckload of nitroglycerin on a bumpy road." Bill Gross


The WikiLeaks documents expose the United States as the world’s greatest “rogue state” and “cyber criminal.” The monstrous US espionage network, paid for with hundreds of billions in tax dollars, uses diplomatic posts to hide its activities from its “allies,” spies on world leaders, organizes kidnappings and assassinations and aims to influence or overturn elections all over the world...

The WikiLeaks documents show that the United States seeks to cover up its illicit operations by planting false flags indicating that its geopolitical adversaries, including Russia and China, bear responsibility for its crimes... Washington's Secret War on the World--CIA revelations expose US operation to 'rule through stealth, coercion and force




1--That's Gross--The bond king dissects Trump


Gross warned investors against putting too much faith in the "the Trump mirage of 3-4 percent growth and the magical benefits of tax cuts and deregulation."
Trump has pushed an agenda of lower taxes, less regulation and $1 trillion of spending for infrastructure improvements. Gross, though, thinks a system that relies so much on credit is in danger of imploding.
"The U.S. and indeed the global economy is walking a fine line due to increasing leverage and the potential for too high (or too low) interest rates to wreak havoc on an increasingly stressed financial system," he said. "Be more concerned about the return of your money than the return on your money in 2017 and beyond."

2--GOP not able to roll back Dodd Frank?


Congress is bogged down by high-profile fights over replacing Obamacare and rewriting tax laws, leaving little capacity for a battle over Wall Street....

Reality is setting in on Capitol Hill that rolling back the Dodd-Frank banking law won’t be quick or easy -- even though it’s a priority for Republican President Donald Trump, who says the measure is hurting the economy. Bank stocks have rallied partly because investors expect change..

Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress, don’t have a plan for rewriting financial rules that would be likely to attract support from Democrats, something that’s needed to advance most major bills in the Senate. Democrats say the existing laws are needed to prevent another financial meltdown and protect investors....

Trump, who has called Dodd-Frank a "disaster," signed an executive order last month instructing regulators to examine financial rules and file a report on their findings. ...

Hensarling introduced his Financial Choice Act last year, which takes a red pen to most of the post-crisis rules, including eliminating the Volcker Rule’s ban on certain investments, the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s ability to label firms that pose risks to the wider financial system, and regulators’ ability to intervene when banks fail....

Changes to the Dodd-Frank Act are second-tier agenda items and are unlikely to pass Congress in the near term," said Brian Gardner, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette and Woods, who expects more activity to happen at the banking agencies. “Improvement in the regulatory regime is likely to be subtle and not seen by the public."

3--Proof the Russia hacking story is fake


You may recall that the spy agencies claimed they found Russian fingerprints on docs that supposedly led to the "hacking" of the DNC. These included, for example, letters from a Russian keyboard, as if the Russians were so clumsy as to leave such clues behind. Smart people knew this was all a pack of lies and Craig Murray, a Wiki official, reported that the information trove came from a disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporter.
Buried in the huge stash of data recently captured by Wikileaks is this:

Quote: 
CIA uses Russian malware, leaves fake “fingerprints” to “misdirect attribution” of cyber attacks.

As the Syrian conflict enters its sixth year, the outcome of the scramble for Islamic State’s de facto capital will shape the balance of power in the Middle East for the foreseeable future.

With the self-styled caliphate rapidly shrinking in Iraq after the loss of much of Mosul, the fall of Raqqa and Islamic State’s remaining territories in Syria has become just a matter of time. The contest over who gets these spoils, however, threatens to unleash a new spiral of violence that could draw regional and global powers deeper into the conflict.

The three forces aiming for Raqqa—Sunni Arab rebels, the Syrian regime and Kurdish-led militias—all view control over that area as giving them crucial leverage in any political settlement of the war.
The complicated dynamic is further muddled by the strategic calculations of their main sponsors, whose own interests extend far beyond the power struggle inside

5--Russia rebuffs US claims it violated arms control deal, follows intl obligations – Kremlin


6--Marines establish US outpost in E Syria


Hundreds of US Marines have arrived in Syria to establish an outpost in support of the operation to retake the city of Raqqa, the de-facto Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) capital in the country, the US-led coalition confirmed on Thursday

We are talking about an additional 400 or so forces in total, and they will be there for a temporary period," coalition spokesman US Air Force Colonel John Dorrian said, as cited by Reuters.
The deployment is an addition to the existing 500 US forces already in Syria and is aimed at accelerating the defeat of IS in its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa city, Dorrian said...

The Washington Post, which was the first to break the news citing anonymous defense officials, stated that the marines will be working to establish an outpost from which they can fire artillery in support of the fight for Raqqa 

7--‘We are looking at “1984”’--CIA techniques are an attack on democracy


Annie Machon, former MI5 intelligence officer, recalled that “last year, there was the biggest botnet attack ever, which took down the Internet across Western America, then across Eastern America, and them across some of the Western Europe.”
"And this botnet was built on smart devices within people’s homes. Not their computers, not their phones, but on things like smart fridges, smart computers, that sort of thing, and smart televisions, as well. It is utterly feasible that all these devices have already been hacked and they are used to spy on us.”...

Machon warned the new technological realities “is very dangerous for fully functioning democracy. Because once you lose the sense that you have privacy to talk, to write, to watch, to read, then suddenly you might start self-censoring yourself in the sense that you inhibit what you do. So you can’t fully inform yourself, be fully informed participatory citizen in a democracy. It is a very dangerous path to go down.”

8--Evil Incarnate-- FBI's Comey announces repeal of 4th amendment  The traitors among us


FBI Director James Comey has given a keynote speech at a prestgious cybersecurty conference in Boston, in which he warned US citizens that they should not expect "absolute privacy" in their lives.

"Even our communications with our spouses, with our clergy members, with our attorneys are not absolutely private in America," Comey said.
Despite widespread concerns over whether individual privacy rights are being infringed upon by the US Government, Comey went further and argued in favor of weakening encryption technology to allow the FBI greater access to consumer devices....

Citing the example, Director Comey pressed for further rights to be afforded to the FBI, to enable them to unlock more technology as part of their investigations.


9--WikiLeaks revelations raise new questions about the death of journalist Michael Hastings


One of the the 8,761 internal CIA documents leaked by WikiLeaks on Tuesday reveals that the agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence has been exploring methods to hack into vehicle systems since at least 2014. As WikiLeaks noted in its release accompanying the documents, “The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.”

While the anti-secrecy organization makes no specific charges in this regard, this information raises new troubling questions about the car crash that killed journalist Michael Hastings in June of 2013.

Hastings, who was 33 when he died, was the Rolling Stone reporter who wrote an article in 2010 that led to the removal of General Stanley McChrystal from his post as ranking US commanding officer in Afghanistan. Hastings perished at around 4:30 a.m. after losing control of his car and crashing into a tree while traveling at about 100 mph.

At the time of his death, Hastings was investigating another major figure within the Obama administration’s military and intelligence apparatus, then-CIA Director John Brennan. At the time, police declared that there was no “foul play” involved in the accident. Before the accident, however, Hastings had informed his colleagues that he was under government surveillance. He also suspected that his own vehicle had been tampered with, having asked a neighbor to lend him a car....

Going further, it would apparently also be possible for the CIA to attack a car (or a factory, or a train) and make it seem as if another country did it

10--The WikiLeaks revelations and the crimes of US imperialism

Whenever the State Department, the CIA or unnamed “intelligence officials” proclaim another alleged “cyber” provocation by Washington’s geopolitical rivals, news anchors breathlessly regurgitate the allegations as fact, accompanying them with potted infographics and footage of masked men in darkened rooms aggressively typing away at computer keyboards.

But the official narrative of a benevolent and well-intentioned US government coming under attack from hordes of Russian and Chinese hackers, spies and “internet trolls” was upended Tuesday with the publication by WikiLeaks of some 9,000 documents showing the methods used by the Central Intelligence Agency to carry out criminal cyber-espionage, exploitation, hacking and disinformation operations all over the world.

The documents reveal that the CIA possesses the ability to exploit and control any internet-connected device, including mobile phones and “smart” televisions. These tools, employed by an army of 5,000 CIA hackers, give the agency the means to spy on virtually anyone, whether inside or outside the United States, including foreign governments, “friend” and foe alike, as well as international organizations such as the United Nations...

The WikiLeaks documents expose the United States as the world’s greatest “rogue state” and “cyber criminal.” The monstrous US espionage network, paid for with hundreds of billions in tax dollars, uses diplomatic posts to hide its activities from its “allies,” spies on world leaders, organizes kidnappings and assassinations and aims to influence or overturn elections all over the world...

The WikiLeaks documents show that the United States seeks to cover up its illicit operations by planting false flags indicating that its geopolitical adversaries, including Russia and China, bear responsibility for its crimes...

The documents expose the CIA’s use of the US Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany as a base for its spying and cyber operations throughout Europe, employing a network of intelligence personnel including CIA agents, NSA spies, military secret service personnel and US Department of Homeland Security employees. Many of these operatives were provided with cover identities and diplomatic passports in order to hide their operations from the German and European governments....

The types of spying and disruption mechanisms revealed in the documents constitute a key instrument US foreign policy, which works to subvert the democratic rights of people all over the planet in the interest of US imperialism. No methods, whether spying, hacking, blackmail, murder, torture, or, when need be, bombings and invasion, are off the table.

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