Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Today's Links

 “Today, it is already clear that the US is our enemy, and will remain our enemy for a long time. Russia needs to adjust its state arms program, reflecting the inevitable military-political confrontation with the US. There must be investments in strategic deterrence, in maintaining the system of guaranteed mutual destruction.”    Dmitry Suslov, deputy director of the Russian Council on Foreign and Defense Policy and program director of Putin’s Valdai Discussion Club.

1---Free speech in America? No way...English Translation of Udo Ulfkotte’s “Bought Journalists” Suppressed?

The CIA owns journalists everywhere
Journalists for Hire’s suppression suggests how Ulfkotte’s posthumous censors refuse for this important examination and cleansing to proceed.....

After Ulfkotte obtained his doctorate he was given a job as a reporter at “the leading conservative German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, oddly appointed despite no journalistic training and hundreds of other applicants. Serving as a correspondent throughout the Middle East, Ulfkotte eventually became acquainted with agents from the CIA, German intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Britain’s MI6, and Israel’s Mossad, all of whom valued his ability to travel freely in countries largely closed to the West. His editors readily collaborated in such intelligence gathering operations,”[5] for which journalist possess “non-official cover” by virtue of their profession.

Non-official cover” occurs when a journalist is essentially working for the CIA, but it’s not in an official capacity,” Ulfkotte explains. “This allows both parties to reap the rewards of the partnership, while at the same time giving both sides plausible deniability. The CIA will find young journalists and mentor them. Suddenly doors will open up, rewards will be given, and before you know it, you owe your entire career to them. That’s essentially how it works.”[6]  He likewise ruefully admits to “publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service.”

2--Udo Ulfkotte’s Powerful Message: “German Politicians are US Puppets”. German Journalists are Urged to Bias their Writings in Favor of the US

He has published a book, Gekaufte Journalisten (“Purchased Journalists”), in which he describes how American and German politicians sway the German media, so that those journalists give the desired spin to world events.

3--The Anonymous “Fake News” Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying

4-- Groupthink at the CIA

Hating Russia and Trump is de rigueur

John Brennan  “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.”

In his testimony, Brennan apparently forgot to mention that the CIA is not supposed to keep tabs on American citizens

5--The Saker on pointless Russia sanctions

... the latest US sanctions contain an absolutely unprecedented and, frankly, shocking feature: the new measures strip the President from the authority to revoke the sanctions. In practical terms, if Trump wanted to lift any of these sanctions, he would have to send an official letter to Congress which would then have 30 days to approve or reject the proposed action. In other words, the Congress has now hijacked the power of the Presidency to conduct foreign policy and taken upon itself to micromanage the US foreign policy.

That, my friends, is clearly a constitutional coup d’état and a gross violation of the principles of separation of powers which is at the very core of the US political system.

It also is a telling testimony to the utter depravity of the US Congress which took no such measures when Presidents bypass Congress and started wars without the needed congressional authority, but which is now overtly taking over the US foreign policy to prevent the risk of “peace breaking out” between Russia and the USA.

And Trump’s reaction?

He declared that he would sign the bill.

Yes, the main is willing to put his signature on the text which represents an illegal coup d’état against this own authority and against the Constitution which he swore to uphold.

With this in mind, the Russian reaction is quite simple and understandable: they have given up on Trump.

6--Ken Livingstone blames US for Venezuela’s economic collapse

Meddling by the US and the “establishment elite” has contributed to Venezuela’s economic demise, according to former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who has voiced his support for President Nicolas Maduro and the nation’s Bolivarian Revolution.[.]

Asked by The Times if he supports Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution, the leftist political revival initiated by the late President Hugo Chavez, Livingstone said: “Oh God, yes.”

He said Venezuela’s economic issues stem in part from the country’s reliance on its oil reserves, which made it vulnerable to plunging oil prices, but that other factors have played a part.

“Hugo Chavez did not execute the establishment elite, he allowed them to continue so they’re still there. I think there’s a lot of rumors they’ve been blocking the important food and medicines and things like that, because they control a lot of the companies,” he told the newspaper.

“And America has a long record of undermining any left wing government as well. So I suspect it’s not all just down to the problems of the [Venezuelan] government.”
The US, which is gripped by allegations that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, has a long history of interfering with democratically-elected governments in Latin America.[.]

The 2002 Venezuela coup, which saw Chavez briefly removed from power, was followed by allegations of US involvement and resurrected fears about the country’s ambitions in the region.

After the coup, Chavez asserted numerous times that US government officials knew about plans for the coup and approved of them.

This was backed up by declassified intelligence documents in 2004 that showed the CIA and the administration of George W. Bush had advance knowledge of the coup. They also contained evidence that just weeks before Chavez was arrested, White House officials had met with Pedro Carmona, the business leader who took over the interim government after Chavez.

Bush denied any involvement.
Efforts by the US to intervene included distributing funds to opposition groups through its National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up in 1982, purportedly “dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world.”[.]

7--Venezuela Crisis: Washington Wants 'Its' Country Back

Moreover, when we learn that US Vice President, Mike Pence, has been in direct contact with Venezuelan opposition leaders, our collective memory should immediately transport us back in time to Guatemala in 1954, Indonesia in 1965, Chile in 1973, and of course Ukraine in 2014 — previous examples where the US has actively supported coups that have unseated leaders with the temerity to refuse to obey their imperial overlord.

It really isn't rocket science, especially in the case of a country where a Washington-backed coup was previously attempted and failed in 2002

8--Imperial Folly Brings Russia and Germany Together

Economic war has been declared against Russia for at least three years now. The difference is this latest package also declares economic war against Europe, especially Germany.
That centers on the energy front, by demonizing the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and forcing the EU to buy US natural gas.
Make no mistake; the EU leadership will counterpunch. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission (EC), put it mildly when he said, "America first cannot mean that Europe's interests come last."

9--Trump Intel Chief: North Korea Learned From Libya War to “Never” Give Up Nukes

10--US turns Ukraine into economic wastelands

According to a recent poll by Rating Group Ukraine, 75% of Ukrainians believe their country is 'in a state of collapse'. 60% said they cannot afford to pay their utility bills. 97% said they have been personally affected by price hikes for consumer goods and services. 70% said they fear the situation may lead to large-scale protests like the ones which rocked the country in 2004 and 2014 and precipitated the Orange Revolution and the Maidan coup d'état.

11--Can the Stock Market Continue Its Rise While the U.S. Dollar Slumps?

There’s an old maxim on Wall Street that the trend is your friend, meaning in this case that the downward thrust in the U.S. dollar could become a lasting trend under this President. This possibility has not escaped the Masters of the Universe on Wall Street. The Bloomberg article points out that: “Hedge funds are piling into bearish bets on the dollar, and now have the biggest net short position in four years.”The trajectory of the U.S. dollar is on the same trajectory as President Donald Trump’s approval rating. According to Gallup, the President’s approval rating has gone from 45 percent on January 23, 2017 to 38 percent on July 29, 2017.

12--- The Twisted Genius said... sic semper tyrannis from comments
Unfortunately VIPS built this assessment on the evidence provided by the Forensicator concerning a file in possession of Guccifer 2.0. The key finding was printed in bold by VIPS in their letter. Their claim that a remote hack could not have been the source of the info was based on the belief that the data was copied "at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack."

Richardstevenhack and I had a vigorous conversation about this under one of Publius Tacitus' posts ((What are the Democrats hiding?). My point was that a remote hack can easily achieve those speeds and provided an example from my experiences that achieved those speeds of data transfer. I did this fifteen years ago and did it on a regular basis.

Scott Ritter wrote a column addressing the VIPS letter. Although he fully agrees that the government explanation is totally insufficient, he notes the VIPS forensic evidence is equally insufficient. He contacted the Forensicator who backtracked on his claims. "They [the forensic analysts] have stated that there is no way to use the available metadata to determine where the copying of the data was done. In short, one cannot state that this data proves Guccifer 2.0 had direct access to the DNC server or that the data was located in the DNC when it was copied on July 5, 2016. These same analysts also note that the July 5 date that is pervasive on the metadata probably overwrote all prior modification times, meaning it is impossible to ascertain if there were any prior copy operations." Ritter noted other problems in the VIPS letter.

So the VIPS screwed the pooch on this one just like CrowdStrike screwed the pooch on their analysis of the Ukrainian artillery app. Neither was totally wrong, but they did make serious errors. I have no reason to doubt the professionalism and dedication of those in VIPS. They just made a mistake. I feet the same way about the dedicated professionals of CrowdStrike. All this also points to a key point noted by Ritter and others. There is no forensic data in the public domain to prove anybody's claims. In fact there is no publicly available data of any kind to prove the government's claim. So the wisest words on the subject belong to Jeffery Carr. "I encourage my colleagues to leave attribution to the FBI and the agencies of the Intelligence Community, and I implore everyone else to ask for proof, even from the U.S. government, whenever you read a headline that places blame on a foreign government for an attack in cyberspace."

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