Archive | June 7th, 2018

Setting the Stage for the Kim-Trump Singapore Summit

NOVANEWS

Setting the Stage for the Kim-Trump Singapore Summit: The White House Meeting of Donald Trump with Kim Yong-chol

  • On June 1, 2018 the President of the USA Donald Trump had a meeting with Kim Yong-chol, the Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the head of the United Front Work Department. He was formerly the Director of the Reconnaissance General Bureau. During the meeting, which lasted 80 minutes, Kim Yong-chol handed Donald Trump a letter from Kim Jong-un. Before the meeting, Kim Yong-chol had a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Given the high status of its participants, the meeting was as historic as the visit by the head of the South Korean National Intelligence Service to Pyongyang in 1972. That, however, was a secret visit, while Kim Yong-chol’s visit was widely publicized.

Until recently, Kim Yong-chol, more than any other figure in the North Korean regime, was seen by the USA as a political pariah. The South Korean intelligence services accused him of organizing the attack on the Cheonan corvette, which South Korea claims was sunk by an unseen North Korean submarine.

The contents of the letter have not yet been disclosed. The Wall Street Journal, citing a civil servant familiar with its contents, reported that it was “fairly basic” – and that it contained neither any threats nor any signs of a willingness to capitulate. As for the content of the conversation, President Trump described it as “about almost everything”, including sanctions. They did not talk about the human rights situation in North Korea, but in general the meeting went “very well”.

Nevertheless, it seems that this direct contact with a representative of the DPRK leadership has helped make things a bit clearer in Mr. Trump’s head, who had earlier been led to believe by South Korean sources that Kim Jong-un was ready to resign. Immediately after the end of the meeting, Donald Trump announced that the USA and the DPRK had agreed to hold a bilateral summit on June 12 in Singapore, and that he was optimistic about the North Korean leader’s willingness to denuclearize.

Mr. Trump also said that, given the normalization of dialogue, he no longer wanted to use the phrase “maximum pressure” in relation to the DPRK. That does not necessarily mean that the USA’s position has changed, however. As a representative of the White House said,

“We have sanctions on, they are very powerful and we would not take those sanctions off unless North Korea denuclearized.”

However, the American President also stated that he will not initiate any new sanctions against North Korea. That is despite the fact that the USA had “hundreds of sanctions” ready to be imposed on the DPRK.

“But I said, why would I do that when we’re talking so nicely?”, Mr Trump said.

And, most importantly, Mr Trump stated in an interview with Reuters that he had never said that agreement on the denuclearization of the DPRK would be reached in one meeting.

“I think it’s going to be a process – relations are developing, and that’s a very good thing.”

Donald Trump also pointed out that the denuclearization would have an effect on North Korea’s rocket potential.

Image result for Kim Yong-chol + trump

Finally, the US President said that he does not, as yet plan to sign any documents during the summit.

Image on the right: Donald Trump with Kim Yong-chol

The President of the USA is thus recognizing that the Singapore summit will just be the beginning of the negotiation process, and the question is not going to be resolved in a single meeting. The author of this article agrees – since there is no question of capitulation, a one-day summit is not going to produce many results. The most that can be done in the meeting will be to draft a road map for future cooperation and define the level of reconciliation which the parties will work towards. That is a fairly important reply, which shows that Mr. Trump has taken some steps towards a more pragmatic view of the situation. It seems that the US President understands that “checkmate in one move” is not going to happen, and so he is preparing a safety net for himself. If the first summit is not a complete success then it can at least be stated with confidence that it was just a first step (and in order for it to happen, Kim Jong-un has already made a number of concessions) and that the future meetings may be successful.

It should be noted that on the same day Kim Jong-un met Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, and he reaffirmed his commitment to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and expressed a hope that, little by little, this issue would be resolved. The leader of the DPRK emphasized that all questions relating to the improvement in relations between North Korea and the USA, and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, would need to be addressed on a stage by stage basis, and that approaches should be found that would be in the interest of both parties in the new conditions.

In Singapore and Panmunjom simultaneous meetings were held between representatives of the USA and the DPRK. In Singapore the parties discussed protocol and security issues, while in Panmunjom they discussed the main questions on the agenda of the summit between the two leaders, which, it has been announced, will start at 9 a.m. in the Capella Hotel on the island of Sentosa, Singapore. At first, many people expected the summit to be held at the Shangri-La hotel, where the Chinese leader Xi Jinping met with his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou in 2015 – the first meeting between the leaders of the two countries since 1949. But, when the choice of venue was being discussed the Capella emerged as the preferred option. This is because access to the site can be completely blocked off by closing the bridge and the other access roads to Sentosa island, where the hotel is located.

At the same time the American intelligence service is compiling a dossier on the leader of the DPRK, by interviewing everyone they can who has met him, but the lack of reliable sources of information is making their task difficult. The collection of information is complicated by the fact that they do not have enough local agents, and by the difficulty of cyber espionage in North Korea, a country where the Internet is virtually non-existent. They see Kim Jong-un as a “rational actor”, whose priority is to ensure the preservation of his own regime and ruling dynasty. He is pitiless enough to have his own relatives assassinated, but now feels that his position is secure and is ready to enter into talks.

According to the Washington Post, citing a source who is familiar with the situation, it is still uncertain who will pay for the North Korean leader’s stay in the Singapore hotel. Apparently, the US wants Singapore to pay his expenses.

On May 21 it was reported that the White House had already commissioned souvenir medallions, bearing the profiles of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un against the a background of their national flags, in honor of the talks between the USA and North Korea.

What is the meaning of all this? It seems to the present author, in view of Mr. Trump’s aggressive negotiating style and reckless approach to doing business, that he sees the summit as a kind of test of his personal skills, and wants to see if he can push Kim Jong-un around in the context of a one-to-one meeting. The problem is that if he tries to talk to him like one businessman to another then he may find this strategy fails. Kim Jong-un sees himself as an anointed leader and does not make any distinction between his own personal fulfillment and the good of his country.

It seems as if Mr. Trump both believes that the attempt to normalize relations with Pyongyang should have been made 5, 10 or even 20 years ago, and also that, if, in the past, America had been “paying them [the DPRK] extortion money for 25 years” (the present author has questioned this idea in a number of articles on the NEO site) he will not let anyone trick him.

It is also possible that Mr. Trump is thinking about President Nixon’s historic visit to China, which enabled America to bring Mao round onto its side at a time when the USSR and Beijing were at a standoff. The present author considers that the level of tension between the PRC and DPRK is not so high, and he will probably not be permitted to establish diplomatic relations with North Korea, upgrading it from its current status of “currently unrecognized state”, (as the USA did back in the 1970s with Mao’s China).

Mr. Trump is fairly optimistic. On one occasion, when asked whether the DPRK is really committed to the idea of denuclearization, Mr. Trump answered:

“Well, I think they want to do that. I know they want to do that.”

They also want to “develop as a country” and in a press conference held together with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on April 24, Donald Trump said of Kim Jong-un,

“He really has been very open and, I think, very honorable from everything we’re seeing.”

However, on April 19, in a press conference held after a meeting with the Japanese premier Shinzo Abe, Mr. Trump said,

“if the meeting, when I’m there, is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave…”, and the present author was rather surprised at his volte-face in first “cancelling the summit” and then, later, reinstating it.

It is necessary, however to bear in mind how little room for maneuvering Mr. Trump has: if the summit fails to bring satisfactory results this will be used against him by his many opponents, both among his own Republican Party, and among the Democrats. Readers may judge for themselves whether Mr. Trump should have held back from adopting a more pragmatic approach, given that the US Democratic Party had sent him a letter telling him that under no circumstances should the sanctions against North Korea be lifted until it had completely closed its missile and nuclear programs. The members of the Democratic party consider that, before the sanctions can be lifted, North Korea needs to stop producing uranium and plutonium for military purposes, completely close down its nuclear test site and the related infrastructure, and also stop testing ballistic missiles.

Readers will remember, and it is important to make this clear, that the decision to hold the summit with the North Korean leader was not just a voluntary concession, but was taken in accordance with an established procedure.

That is to say, Mr. Trump is continually having to prove that he is not giving in to Kim Jong-un. Thus, on April 22, he was forced to respond to allegations by certain media outlets that Washington had made important concessions to Pyongyang, and that the latter, in contrast, had not agreed to give anything up. He pointed to North Korea’s announcement that it was releasing 3 US citizens accused of spying, and to the demolition of its nuclear test site, and emphasized that while North Korea had done everything it had been requested to do, the USA had not made any concessions of an equivalent significance.

John Bolton, the United States’ National Security Adviser, is not in favor of holding the summit. According to media reports, he was absent from the meeting between Mr. Trump and Kim Yong-cho because Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, had advised Mr. Trump that his presence would be “counterproductive”. It is therefore likely that some attempt will be made to sabotage the summit or disavow its achievements, by means of ill-considered declarations or actions.

Mr. Trump may find the summit a severe test of his patience: he gets impatient with long briefing sessions, and his suite often has to decide exactly what information to give him, and how to stop him making purely instinctive decisions.

Nevertheless, the present author looks forward to the meeting between the two leaders. On June 5, speaking about the upcoming summit in Singapore, Donald Trump declared that it would be a very important “couple of days”, which led experts from South Korea to speculate that maybe the summit will be extended, or discussions will continue after it has finished. There have even been speculations that Donald Trump may be considering the possibility of holding a three-party summit, between the USA and both Koreas, and even that the end of the Korean war may be officially declared. As for the intended agenda of the summit, and its results, the present author will write about these matters once this long-awaited meeting has taken place.

Posted in USA, North Korea, South KoreaComments Off on Setting the Stage for the Kim-Trump Singapore Summit

Mystery “Grim Reaper” CIA Officer Thrust into Spotlight Ahead of Kim Summit

NOVANEWS

While President Donald Trump seems intent to make a deal with North Korea seemingly at any cost, the CIA has apparently deployed one of its most hawkish North Korea hands to be at the president’s side during the summit, allowing the intelligence community to rein in any of the president’s excesses as it angles for a historic diplomatic achievement.

In a piece published late Wednesday, Bloomberg profiles Andrew Kim, a CIA officer who first came to prominence when he was photographed sitting alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during Pompeo’s first meeting with Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang.

Kim

Source: Zero Hedge

Kim has become an integral part of the White House’s North Korea team – a role that is unusual for an intelligence official.

“It does seem unusual,” said Bruce Klingner, the former CIA deputy division chief for Korea and now a fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Just as the policy community isn’t supposed to infect the intelligence community, the intel community provides information to enable policy makers to make the best informed decisions possible but are not supposed to provide advice.”

Born and raised in South Korea, Kim is distantly related through his mother’s side of the family to Chung Eui-yong, South Korea’s national security adviser. He also briefly attended the same prestigious Seoul high school as Suh Hoo, the leader of Korea’s national intelligence service. Somehow, he ended up leading the CIA station in Seoul, and has since become known as the “Grim Reaper” for his extremely hawkish views on North Korea.

Pompeo

Source: Zero Hedge

Pompeo, who led the CIA before becoming Secretary of State, is said to trust Kim so absolutely that he now includes him in in nearly every meeting on North Korea. Kim has directly briefed President Trump, and is set to attend the Singapore summit on June 12. During Pompeo’s meeting with Kim Jong Un, Kim monitored the North Korean translators to make sure they were feeding accurate translations to the North Korean leader.

Fellow North Korea hawks will probably welcome Kim’s presence, given Kim’s proven skepticism.

“The North Korean side regards diplomacy as war by other means,” said Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute. “The North Korean government doesn’t do ‘win-win,’ it doesn’t do ‘getting to yes.’”

Notably, Kim has the approval of both Republicans and Democrats – a rare feat in modern times.

James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence in the Obama administration, waved off questions about Kim during an interview in Washington earlier this week, then relented just a bit.

“He’s excellent, he’s really excellent,” Clapper said. “He’s very realistic about North Korea.”

But Kim has done far more than serve as translator. He’s used his knowledge of North Korean politics to help the White House discern Kim Jong Un’s intentions heading into the Singapore Summit. His elevation has “pushed seasoned diplomats and policy-makers to the sidelines” as he’s become involved in “almost all levels of the government strategy toward North Korea.”

“He is in effect the connective tissue right now across the dialogues with the North Koreans,” said Rexon Ryu, a partner at the Asia Group and former White House official and Pentagon chief of staff. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the reality is Andy is perhaps the most influential player right now.”

The question is: Will having a CIA-trained hawk in the negotiating room be an obstacle to peace? Or will he help Trump strike a better deal?

*

Featured image is from Twitter/FMT.

Posted in USA, North Korea, South KoreaComments Off on Mystery “Grim Reaper” CIA Officer Thrust into Spotlight Ahead of Kim Summit

From G8 to G7 to G6+1

NOVANEWS

In March 2014, G8 member states expelled Russia over nonexistent “aggression” in Ukraine, along with Crimea’s reunification with the Russian Federation, correcting a historic mistake.

On Monday, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said

“this forum has been losing its importance because given the changing political and economic situation, other platforms, such as the G20, where Russia is an active member, have been becoming more important.”

Last April, Kremlin envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said without Russian involvement,

“the G7 is increasingly irrelevant.”

The self-styled seven major industrialized democracies are profoundly undemocratic. The world’s second largest economy, China, certain to become its dominant one, is denied participation.

Last April, G7 foreign ministers America, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada, along with EU political chief Federica Mogherini, met for two days in Toronto.

Russophobic Big Lies were featured. Host Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland falsely accused Russia of destabilizing activities, adding:

“The G7 countries are committed to preventing, stopping and responding to foreign interference.”

“There are consequences for those who seek to undermine our democracies,” disgracefully pointing fingers at Russia – ignoring US-dominated NATO high crimes of war and against humanity, partnered with Israel and other rogue states.

Russophobic UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said

“(w)hat we decided…was that we were going to set up a G7 group that would look at Russian malign behavior in all its manifestations – whether it’s cyber warfare, whether it’s disinformation, assassination attempts, whatever it happens to be, and collectively try to call it out.”

The Tory regime he represents is allied with US aggression in multiple war theaters. So are other G7 members Canada, France, Germany, and Italy.

On June 8 and 9, G7 and EU leaders are meeting in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada. Because of Trump’s “America first” policies on trade, the JCPOA pullout, hostility toward Russia, climate, and other issues, the forum is increasingly the G6+1.

Traditional US allies are increasingly frustrated in dealings with Washington. Trump’s hardline National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow, tried putting a brave face on forum discord, “regard(ing) this as…a family quarrel,” downplaying increasing US isolation on key world issues.

US-imposed tariffs on Canada and EU countries weigh heavily on talks. Brussels filed legal proceedings against Washington at the World Trade Organization (WTO), arguing that Trump violated trade rules.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker called

“unilateral US tariffs…unjustified and at odds with World Trade Organization rules. This is protectionism, pure and simple.”

Because of major G6 disagreements with Trump, a unified final statement may not be signed for the first time ever.

Trump intends cutting short his G7 participation, heading to Singapore on Saturday, ahead of his June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

On June 7, he fired off the following hostile remarks, tweeting:

“Why isn’t the European Union and Canada informing the public that for years they have used massive Trade Tariffs and non-monetary Trade Barriers against the US. Totally unfair to our farmers, workers & companies.” Take down your tariffs & barriers or we will more than match you!”

“Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant, bringing up the relationship that the US and Canada had over the many years and all sorts of other things…but he doesn’t bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300% on dairy – hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture!”

“Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the US massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers. The EU trade surplus with the US is $151 Billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out.”

Many of his tweets combine unacceptable rage with glaring inaccuracies. Most of his remarks combine bluster and bravado. On issues mattering most, his rhetoric lacks credibility.

As commander-in-chief of America’s military with his finger on the nuclear trigger, he may be eager to squeeze it at his discretion.

On trade, it’s unclear what’s bluster and posturing or real. Ahead of G7 talks, he roared:

“Take down your tariffs and barriers or we will more than match you!”

G7 hostility toward Russia, along with Trump’s agenda on trade, the JCPOA, climate, EU collaboration with Moscow on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project Washington opposes, and other issues has driven a wedge between America under Trump and other G7 nations.

Washington is becoming increasingly isolated in dealings with other major world nations over its unacceptable policies. Claiming they’re for national security is bunkum. Alleged threats against the US are invented, not real.

Western unity is frayed. Major differences between the G6 and America are unresolved. New Italian Prime Minister Guisippe Conte called for ending EU sanctions on Russia.

EU Commission president Jean-Claude Junker urged normalizing relations with Moscow somewhat, not entirely.

“This Russia bashing has to be brought to an end…We have to reconnect with Russia,” he said.

At his annual marathon Q & A session on Thursday, Putin called Western containment of Russia wrongheaded.

“So are the notorious sanctions (targeting) Russia’s (economic) development,” he said.

Sounding an optimistic tone, he said nations “eventually develop (the) awareness (that) constructive cooperation” is mutually beneficial, adding:

“You can see what is happening in many countries. At the political level there everybody points to the need for establishing normal relations with Russia.”

Washington remain the major obstacle, militantly hostile to Moscow. Putin’s optimism may be premature.

Nothing ahead suggests positive geopolitical change overall – notably with endless US-led wars of aggression raging in multiple theaters, resolving them nowhere in sight.

 

Posted in USA, Europe, RussiaComments Off on From G8 to G7 to G6+1

Trumps Withdrawal from Iran Nuclear Deal Plays to Pakistan’s Strategic Advantage

NOVANEWS

One Door Closes, Another Opens: Trumps Withdrawal from Iran Nuclear Deal Plays to Pakistan’s Strategic Advantage

Pakistan Should Silently Celebrate Trump’s Pullout From The Iranian Deal

 

Trump’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal actually plays to Pakistan’s strategic advantage and should be silently celebrated by its decision makers.

The whole world is wondering what will happen next after Trump pulled the US out of the Iranian nuclear deal, but while there is a lot of fear mongering in the press about what to expect and plenty of condemnation over what just happened, the reality is that this is a fortuitous move for Pakistan that should be silently celebrated by its decision makers for the following reasons:

Trump’s Attempts To Weaken Iran Might Actually Strengthen It

Provided that Iran understands what just happened in the manner that will be described below and more or less adheres to the following scenario forecast, then the Islamic Republic might actually be strengthened by what Trump just did and not weakened, even if the mainstream media misleadingly portrays it otherwise in its attempts to manufacture a false perception among the global masses.

The US Has Proven Itself To Be Untrustworthy

Unlike it may have been in times past, there is now irrefutable evidence that the US cannot be trusted to honor even public agreements that it helped negotiate, to say nothing of secret ones behind closed doors, which should give pause to any Pakistani representatives the next time that the US approaches them about a so-called “deal”.

Pakistan’s Rapprochement With Russia Is Validated

Now that the US has proven itself to be utterly untrustworthy, Pakistan’s rapprochement with Russia is validated because everyone can now see the wisdom in Islamabad choosing to balance its erstwhile close relationship with Washington through a comprehensive diversification of relations with Moscow.

Indian-Iranian Relations Might Soon Suffer

The US’ re-sanctioning of Iran and threat to do so against any companies that continue to conduct certain types of business with the Islamic Republic might hit Indian infrastructure projects in Chabahar and pertaining to the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) especially hard, and New Delhi can no longer be counted on as a reliable long-term purchaser of Tehran’s energy resources.

Iran Now Knows Who Its Real Friends Are, And Pakistan Is One Of Them

After the US expectedly scrapped the nuclear deal and the high probability exists that India might limit its hitherto strategic relations with Iran under pressure from its newfound Washington ally, Tehran finally knows who its real friends are, and this revelation can lead to a renaissance of Iranian-Pakistani relations that prevents third-party provocateurs from sabotaging their relations like they did in the past.

Iran Might Pivot From West Asia to Central-South Asia

Faced with a worsening of full-spectrum pressure against it on the western flank, Iran might seek a “pressure valve” through intensifying its cooperation with Central Asia and Pakistan, particularly as it relates to potentially pairing Chabahar with Gwadar and establishing the tangible infrastructural foundation of CPEC’s western branch, or W-CPEC+.

Pakistan Could Prospectively Play The Central Role In Facilitating Iranian-Chinese Trade

With China’s reported high-speed Silk Road railway plans for Central Asia yet to break ground and CPEC already being open for business, there’s a very real chance that Pakistan can prospectively play the central role in facilitating Iranian-Chinese trade through W-CPEC+ and accordingly boost its Eurasian geostrategic significance in response.

If India Downscales Its Cooperation With Iran, Pakistan Could Replace The NSTC With The RPEC

It remains to be seen, but provided that India downscales its cooperation with Iran in the face of American pressure just like it did in pulling out of the Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft agreement with Russia recently, then Pakistan could replace the NSTC with a Russia-Pakistan Economic Corridor (RPEC) that becomes part of the northern vector of CPEC, or N-CPEC+.

The Post-Deal Deepening Of Iran’s Ties With Pakistan-China-Russia Would Strengthen Eurasia

Iran’s unprecedented strategic reliance on neighboring Russia following Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the Islamic Republic’s projected pivot towards Pakistan and China could form the integrational basis for the so-called “Golden Ring” of multipolar Great Powers that might naturally extend to include each party’s close Turkish partner as well.

Multipolar Support For Iran Would Weaken The US’ Unipolar Hegemony

The collective support that the aforementioned four Great Powers could provide to Iran during this crucial time would symbolically represent the emergence of a multipolar world order that’s prepared to counter the US’ unipolar hegemony in areas of shared concern, with this possibly being a test run for more sustained cooperation in dealing with other crises such as the long-running one in Afghanistan.

Pakistan Is Slated To Play A Pivotal Role In These World-Changing Processes

Pakistan’s geostrategic position as the Zipper of Eurasia makes it poised to play the pivotal role in these world-changing processes of supercontinental integration and multipolarity, though the next step must be that its leadership reaches out to Iran and makes it aware of this grand vision in order to probe the pace at which Tehran wants to proceed.

Posted in USA, Pakistan & KashmirComments Off on Trumps Withdrawal from Iran Nuclear Deal Plays to Pakistan’s Strategic Advantage

Running Amok? Donald Trump Facilitates Civilian Drone Deaths

NOVANEWS

Running Amok? Donald Trump Facilitates Civilian Drone Deaths, Continues Attacks in Seven Countries ‘and Elsewhere’

The NGO CAGE, which campaigns against discriminatory state policies and advocates observance of due process and the rule of law, reminds readers that in October 2017, US President Donald Trump replaced the Obama rules pertaining to drone strikes with his own ‘rules’ called the “Principles, Standards, and Procedures,” or PSPs.

It reports that according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) these laws “make it easier to kill more people in more places outside recognized battlefields, posing grave risks of death and injury to civilians”:

“They do this by eliminating the requirement that a person must present a “continuing, imminent” threat to the United States before being targeted for killing. There is also no longer a high-level vetting process required for each individual strike. This means strikes can be okayed by other officials of lower rank. This means there are fewer lines of command to follow in the event of deaths, less chance of objectivity, and less likelihood of accountability”.

The current US administration has adopted a more secretive approach to drone strikes

It has denied requests for information or, as in October 2017, halted the reporting of strikes to the Bureau for Investigative Journalism and other NGOs that document drone casualties. Last month, the US Air Force, according to the Bureau, “ordered an overhaul of its public affairs operations aimed at preventing the release of information deemed sensitive”. This is all being done, naturally, for the sake of “practicing sound operational security”.

Case histories

In August last year, a US drone strike near the Somalian town of Jilib killed seven civilians. They were all from the same family and they included women and children. The family was not a prominent (read ‘wealthy’) one, so they had no recourse to justice.

Initially it made local newspapers and pictures of the human remains were circulated on Somali media. Now this information is unavailable.

A local online news report acknowledges the civilian deaths but does not mention the cause as an American drone strike. Rather the ‘planes’ were ‘unidentified’. CENTCOM, the central point for US ‘operations’ in Africa, released a PR, claiming – in contrast to the local media reports – that those killed were al-Shabaab militants. Local officials echoed their paymasters with slightly less severity and insisted those killed were ‘extremists’.

In the same month Reuters reported that Somali government officials said 10 men and boys killed in a joint U.S.-Somali raid were civilians and blood money will be paid to the families. U.S. Africa Command confirmed the presence of U.S. troops in the raid, carried out under the expanded powers that Donald Trump granted to U.S. troops in Somalia in March.

 “The 10 people were civilians. They were killed accidentally… The government and relatives will discuss about compensation. We send condolence to the families,” said lawmaker Mohamed Ahmed Abtidon at a public funeral held for the 10, who were killed in a raid in Bariire village on Friday.

Hina Shamsi (right), Director of the ACLU National Security Project, writes:

“Now, the Trump administration is killing people in multiple countries, with strikes taking place at a virtually unprecedented rate—in some countries the number has doubled or tripled in Trump’s first year in office.

The U.S. is conducting strikes in recognized wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, but also in operations governed by the secret rules whose public release our new lawsuit demands — those conducted outside “areas of active hostilities” in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Nigeria, and elsewhere.

Untold, officially unrecognized numbers of civilians have died and continue to die at increasing rates. Most strikes take place in majority-Muslim countries, and most of the civilians killed are brown or Black.”

In such areas, people live in poverty, hunger and a state of perpetual terror wrought by a US-led ‘war’. CAGE observes, “as a result, for some, the lure of fighting back through violent groups (‘blowback’)will be too strong to resist”.

The Washington Post agrees:

Human rights organizations and even some former U.S. military commanders argue that drone strikes inadvertently increase terrorism by exerting a “blowback” effect. Their logic is simple. Drone strikes kill more innocent civilians than terrorists, which radicalizes affected populations and motivates them to join terrorist groups to retaliate against the United States”.

CAGE also believes that:

“Until we have a global acknowledgement at government level that all lives are equal and precious, and all countries have the right to govern themselves in a manner they see most fit for their people, we – the population of the world – will continue to witness ongoing and increasing cycles of violence”.

CAGE calls for an end to extrajudicial killings by drone or otherwise, in favour of a dialogue-based approach to end violence and full accountability for war crimes for all perpetrators of civilian deaths and terror, adding:

“The people of Somalia and other countries around the world deserve nothing less”.

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Al Shabaab and ISIS-Daesh: Why Did an American Sacrifice His Life for AFRICOM in Somalia?

NOVANEWS

Al Shabaab’s killing of an American soldier in southern Somalia brings AFRICOM back into the limelight and restarts the conversation about why US troops are even still there in the first place.

The news came in on Friday that Al Shabaab terrorists had killed an American soldier in southern Somalia and injured four others during an attack against US troops and some of their African allies near the port city of Kismayo. This isn’t the first time that something like this has happened, and its sporadic occurrence over the years has restarted the conversation about why US troops are still in the Horn of Africa country to begin with despite the highly publicized Mogadishu debacle in 1993 that permanently scarred the American psyche. The official reason is that they’re there at the request of the host government in order to assist in its anti-terrorist operations, but the real explanation has more to do with strengthening the US’ continental-wide network of informal bases and special forces rapid deployment troops that operate under the shadowy aegis of AFRICOM.

Al Shabaab And Daesh: A Specious Comparison

Short for Africa Command, AFRICOM is “Pentagon-speak” for the US military’s operations all across that landmass, and thousands of American troops are already active in dozens of countries and several combat missions at any given time despite there only officially being one US base on the continent in Djibouti. Along with the Sahel region and especially the portion near the MalianNigerien border, the Horn of Africa and specifically Somalia occupy the center of the Pentagon’s focus because of the prevalence of terrorist groups there, though the situation in the latter shouldn’t be completely compared to the former. Daesh openly operates in West Africa, whereas it has yet to officially enter into the Somalian battlespace even though its reported Al Shabaab partner is equally as extreme as they are.

The crucial difference, however, is that Al Shabaab has no desire for plotting extra-regional attacks in Europe, for example, but it does endeavor to carve out what could be described as a regional caliphate comprised of the ethnic Somalis living in the borderland regions of Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya, capitalizing as it has on the ethno-nationalism that has an historical tendency of galvanizing the masses. That being said, the group’s mixture of militantly imposed fundamentalist Islam has lost it the appeal that its purely secular nationalist forerunners enjoyed, though that doesn’t make Al Shabaab any less of a regional threat than Daesh. Although they don’t have any global ambitions, Al Shabaab could in theory catalyze an extra-regional crisis if it were to be successful enough in its Horn of Africa campaign that it sparked a large-scale migrant exodus to Europe.

Lead From The Front

That scenario, however, isn’t too likely to ever happen because it would probably be nipped in the bud well before it ever got to that point, as was seen most clearly in 2006 when the US encouraged Ethiopia to invade Somalia in order to dislodge the Islamic Courts Union from which Al Shabaab later emerged in the aftermath. The US’ “Lead From  Behind” proxy management of the region and elsewhere in the world would initially make one wonder why it feels compelled to do the “heavy lifting” directly by putting its own soldiers’ lives on the line if it could just “contract” this task out to others, but that impression overlooks the geostrategic changes that have taken place in the time since, specifically Ethiopia’s de-facto alliance with China in becoming its most important African partner.

Although Addis Ababa will undoubtedly behave proactively to protect its security interests in the future, it’s no longer the regional proxy for the US as it once was, which has changed the entire strategic equation for America. Instead of depending on the Horn of Africa giant, the US has realized that it’s better to engage in “surgical” drone and special forces interventions from time to time as well as cooperate with the rising Arab hegemon of the UAE, which has rapidly established several bases in the region and most notably in the de-facto independent northwestern region of Somaliland. Although Abu Dhabi and Mogadishu don’t’ get along right now precisely because of the aforementioned development, that actually works to America’s advantage because it keeps Somalia weak and therefore dependent on AFRICOM support, which has become all the more important in the context of the African Union’s phased military downscaling in the country.

The Central African Republic Model

Keeping Somalia reliant on US military support is actually advantageous for America because it allows the Pentagon to indefinitely remain in the country and keep an eye on its Turkish partners who have just recently opened up a base outside the capital. Furthermore, the regional ideology of Somali Nationalism is still alive, albeit publicly dormant at the moment and somewhat discredited because of Al Shabaab’s exploitation of it, though it could always be repackaged and rearticulated at a later date by new US proxies if it ever desires to weaponize this for geostrategic purposes in destabilizing the increasingly Chinese-friendly governments of neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya. The “lazy” approach would be to guide Al Shabaab in those two directions just like it did with Daesh against Syria and Iraq, but a more credible and potentially effective approach can’t be discounted in the future.

It should be reminded that this isn’t just groundless speculation about American strategy either but the application of the Central African Republic (CAR) model onto the region. To explain, the “NGO”-drivenviral video campaign of “Kony 2012” six years ago created the pretext for AFICOM to hunt down the warlord in the quadri-national space between his native UgandaSouth Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and the CAR, and interestingly enough, by the end of that year Muslim “rebels” were on the warpath rampaging across the last-mentioned country on the way to topple President Bozizie who had just recently signed mining agreements with China. In all likelihood, AFRICOM forces used the cover of “catching Kony” to train these same “rebel” in the eastern CAR just like they could possibly do one day with Somalian ones in Ethiopia and Kenya from bases in their eponymous country.

Concluding Thoughts

AFRICOM’s flexible use of anti-Silk Road Hybrid War instruments all throughout the continent is why the US has surreptitiously deployed its forces in Somalia and many other countries on the landmass, with these soldiers never actually being used so much for strengthening their host governments as they are for keeping them in a weak and dependent relationship on their American overlords. “Anti-terrorist cooperation” is the cover for this vassal-lord relationship, the narrative of which is exploited through decontextualized “victories” from time to time and an over-exaggeration of any given threat’s relevance to the US’ direct national security interests, as is the case in both instances with Somalia. The American who just sacrificed his life for AFRICOM in Somalia didn’t do it save his homeland from an “imminent terrorist plot” or even to prevent a terrorist victory sometime far off in the future that could set off another Migrant Crisis in Europe, but to give his country better Unconventional Warfare leverage against China in the New Cold War.

Posted in USA, SomaliaComments Off on Al Shabaab and ISIS-Daesh: Why Did an American Sacrifice His Life for AFRICOM in Somalia?

Motion in British Parliament to Condemn the Slaughter of Palestinian Civilians ?

NOVANEWS

Motion in British Parliament to Condemn the Slaughter of Palestinian Civilians Receives Fewer Signatures than Motion to ‘Cherish British Hedgehogs’ in the Same Week

An Early Day Motion to condemn the slaughter of 63 Palestinian civilians at the hands of the British-equipped Israeli Defence Force received only 28 signatures in the House of Commons, 3 fewer than a motion to ‘cherish Hedgehogs as a valuable part of native British wildlife’ by regulating various traps taken two days before.

Not a single member of the incumbent Conservative Party signed the motion. Only 18 of 257 Labour Parliamentarians signed it, though Easington MP Grahame Morrissponsored the bill. The Green Party’s only MP Caroline Lucas signed it, with the rest of the signatures representing Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrat representatives.

[There were 28 signatures on 08/06/2018, but it remains open at the time of writing and liable to change.]

Though hedgehog solidarity is no doubt a noble cause, it surely pales in comparison to the 10,000 Gazan civilians who were shot during protests over the last three months? Two weeks after this motion failed to gain traction, Netanyahu’s forces – who were unperturbed by cowardly responses from their key Western allies – shot down 21-year-old Palestinian nurse Razan al-Najar as she wore a ‘clearly identifiable medical jacket’ in broad daylight. She leaves behind a fiancé; her cousin was also shot dead by the IDF on the same day.

Israel’s ‘everything I don’t like is Hamas’ approach remains unquestioned; its preferred narrative of a meek and innocuous underdog protecting its borders from terrorists (they aren’t borders, they’re chicken coup fences; Gaza is part of Israel) remains gospel thanks in large part to their US cheerleaders and UK apologists.

Scratch under the surface, and the Conservative Party’s blanket refusal to acknowledge the genocide of Palestinians has a very clear motive: according to a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary 80% of its MPs are tied to the Likud-associated Conservative Friends of Israel; only last November was Priti Patel ousted from Theresa May’s cabinet for failing to declare meetings with Benjamin Netanyahuand lobbyists.

In 2015, the year David Cameron gained a Conservative majority in parliament for the first time since 1992, the UK sold £20 million worth of weapons to Israel; in 2017 the figure was £221 million, a 1100% increase. Amongst the various crude explosives and more advanced targeting technologies that swapped hands between the two nations were components used in sniper rifles. The British contribution to Israeli long-range anti-personnel weaponry has played an integral part in the picking-off of children, journalists and medics on the Gaza side of the fence by the IDF: ‘the most moral army the world has ever known’ according to  former Commander of British forces in Afghanistan Richard Kemp.

Entrenched interests within the British political system mean that – until the BDS movement is galvanised to stoke real public pressure on our leaders – Palestinian children will remain behind hedgehogs in the pecking order for the foreseeable future.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, UKComments Off on Motion in British Parliament to Condemn the Slaughter of Palestinian Civilians ?

For Lasting Peace, President Moon Must Lead South Korea Out of America’s Orbit

Featured image: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un embrace each other after releasing a joint statement at the truce village of Panmunjeom, Friday. / Korea Summit Press Pool

It didn’t take much for the leaders of the two Koreas to put an end to the decades-long culture of crisis pervading the Korean Peninsula. With a phone call, a quick drive to the North Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone, and a public embrace, South Korean President Moon Jae-inand North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un emphasized the absurdity of the barrier wedged between a people with a common history, culture and language.

It was the United States’ aversion to diplomacy that encouraged Moon and Kim into one another’s arms on May 26th, and it may ultimately have been the impetus needed for South Korea to take the lead in ensuring this peace process — a top priority of the current administration — is a success.

Moon’s agreement to meet with Kim so soon after Trump unilaterally called off the Singapore summit was nothing short of an act of defiance against the US administration, something no South Korean president before him would have had the domestic backing to do.

With images of their embrace broadcast around the world, North Korea’s genuine interest in diplomacy became undeniable and the onus was immediately put on the United States to reopen the summit. Failure to do so would throw into stark relief what few politicians, media members or regular South Korean people have been willing to acknowledge — that the United States has been the most to blamefor antipathy between the two Koreas since the Korean War.

Forced to follow suit, Trump eventually declared the summit will go ahead after all. Though his decision should be applauded, the process remains a lengthy one with no clear end in sight — at least not a positive ending — if America alone is permitted to determine its outcome. After all, it is extremely risky to trust the United States, and the North Koreans know it.

America: An Unreliable Diplomatic Partner with a History of Duplicity

The stated aim of this whole process is, of course, peace through North Korean denuclearization — something the US establishment remains skeptical Kim will ever do. Yet while the North’s commitment to nukes is often stated as the reason why this initiative won’t end successfully, in truth it is America’s long-standing policy of North Korean regime change as well as its overall record of duplicitybetrayaland general lawlessness around the world that makes it impossible for Kim to completely believe any security guarantees the Trump administration may offer as the process moves forward.

The most recent examples involving Libya and Iran stand as more than enough evidence of this, and North Korea also has its own experience with the US failing to abide by agreements — particularly when the George W. Bush administration was in power. The provocative military drill earlier in May and the aggressive rhetoric of top US officials over the past few weeks leading up to the summit cancellation only served to highlight that the US establishment may be wholly disinterested in making a fair deal and sticking to it.

It therefore makes no sense for Kim Jong-un to simply lay down his nuclear shield for what are likely to be ephemeral security and economic guarantees from the US that can be canceled or obstructed on a whim by a future hostile administration or congress. And if the reaction of the establishment media to the diplomatic process is any indication of a Washington consensus, there’s no reason for North Korea to think any deal dependent on the long-term commitment of the United States will stand the test of time.

So even though the peace process will go nowhere if America is to be the Great Decider, it is safe to assume that Kim Jong-un isn’t just doing this for a lark. Conditions have changed internationally and on the Korean Peninsula since North Korea’s last serious attempt to come in from the cold. Internationally, Kim must be aware that America is bleeding out its influence around the world — a fact that is increasingly obvious as economically powerful nations that normally go along with American sanctions begin to push back when it hurts their own economies. At the same time — and more critically — North Korea finally has a negotiating partner in South Korea that has an unprecedented ability and apparent inclination (proven by Moon and Kim’s impromptu second meeting) to be an independent actor in the peace process.

The Path to the Impossible: How Peace Became an Option in South Korea

The president of South Korea completely flipped the script by agreeing to meet Kim on the North Korean side of the DMZ on May 26th. In doing so, he proved to the South Korean people that they no longer have to passively accept the foreign policy whims of the United States. As a result, South Koreans woke up to the prospects of peace after going to bed frustrated, disappointed and concerneddue to Trump’s abrupt cancellation of the summit.

Moon has been empowered by the rapidly changing political dynamics in South Korea. The entire sequence of diplomatic events between the two Koreas leading up to the significant meeting on May 26th would have been purely unthinkable little more than a year ago. After all, Moon is the president that wouldn’t have been had the right-wing Park Geun-hye not been impeached in March last year.

As Park Geun-hye’bizarrely and ineptly corrupt administration collapsed upon itself, it brought downwith it the entire political establishment that dominated politics in the country since the age of military dictatorship — an establishment intimately aligned with the United States. The crimes of Park’s predecessor, the hawkish Lee Myung-bak, were also later exposed and he too now sits behind bars waiting for sentencing. With the anti-North Korean old guard suddenly rendered to the fringes of politics, the younger generation has begun to take control of its political fate and won’t be fooled by the classic red-baiting tactics of the past.

Moon Jae-in easily won the subsequent 2017 presidential election and has enjoyed a remarkably highapproval rating so far, particularly since the peace process began. The right wing is divided, conquered and completely irrelevant. A high number of South Koreans say they trust the motives of Kim Jong-unand so many approve of the peace process that at least one local politician affiliated with Moon’s party is using it as a backdrop to his campaign in the upcoming local elections. It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest Moon might just have the most backing a democratically elected leader has ever had to fulfill a key administrative goal — and there are four years remaining on his term. He will need to use every bit of this leverage to see the peace process to a successful end.

Peace Requires South Korean Independence

With the hyenas from within put down, the South Korean president may now focus on the enemies of peace from without — the United States military establishment and, in particular, officials like John Bolton at the very top of a Trump administration that bears an increasingly striking resemblance to that of George W. Bush.

It was the latter administration that oversaw the destruction of the last nuclear agreement, a development that convinced the North to go nuclear and nixed the Sunshine Policy peace initiative Moon played a part in as chief presidential secretary to former president Roh Moo-hyun. President Moon is therefore very aware of what he is up against.

While Moon’s political backing at home will protect his flank, inter-Korean cooperation will serve as the vanguard as the South Korean president advances against these enemies of peace. It’s still early days, but a nascent web of trust is being woven between the Koreas that will be increasingly difficult to break. They won’t stop working together simply because Trump or other American officials say they shouldn’t.

The two Koreas can therefore collaborate to keep the US at the table with a dogged willingness to ignore or overcome the many challenges likely to be mounted by the American establishment — just as they did with the recent meeting in the DMZ. In doing so, they will eliminate any pretext for the US to drop out of the peace process without alienating the South.

The actions of the Trump administration around the world admittedly suggest it cares little about angering allies by starting trade wars or incentivizing them to strengthen their diplomatic and economic ties with supposed American rivals. Yet there may come a point where enough dominant voices in Trump’s inner circle recognize that axing the peace process could push South Korea — a crucial foothold in America’s mission to militarily encircle China — too far beyond US influence for comfort.

Still, even if the US remains sincere, it will take ironclad security guarantees to convince North Korea to denuclearize, as Russian President Vladimir Putin rightly stated in late May. This is where South Korea must take the lead.

A good start might be the South Korean government publicly declaring that, not only does South Korea decide when war happens on the Korean Peninsula (as Moon already asserted last September), its military will never be a part of a preemptive strike on North Korea, and no future invasion of North Korea will be permitted from South Korean soil. They might also unilaterally ban all future military drillsnear the inter-Korean border that have threatenedKorean stability in the past.

All of these guarantees will require significant changes to the current relationship between the South Korean and American militaries, something Moon can carry through by taking advantage of his political clout at home. He can also use his domestic leverage to work around the US and encourage multilateral security initiatives with China and Russia that, taken as a package, could serve as insurance for North Korea if, or when, the US fails to live up to its side of any future deal.

Could America Backing Out be the Path to True Korean Independence?

However, given the hawkish and domineering nature of the US administration, it seems just as likely that they will refuse anything short of outright North Korean capitulation and eventually back out of talks.

This wouldn’t have to be the end of the game though, because doing so would only confirm to South Koreans that they have little further to be gained by marrying their security to the imperial agenda of the United States. A resulting surge in anti-American sentiment and the continued desire for peace among the South Korean electorate could set the stage for a divorce from America that President Moon alone has the power to lead.

If the US attempts to punish South Korea for their peace initiative and Moon carries his level of public support to a majority victory in the 2020 national assembly elections, it could result in a dramatic departure from America’s shadow — perhaps even the nullification of the US-Korean alliance and the banishing of US troops from South Korean soil.

This may sound like pure fantasy, but consider the possibility that peace with North Korea is Moon’s lifelong goal and something to which he has devoted much of his political career. He already expressed the position during his presidential campaign that South Korea “…should adopt diplomacy in which it can discuss a US request and say no to the Americans.” His statement at the first inter-Korean summit in the DMZ on April 26th was an even more explicit acknowledgment that the Koreas may inevitably be forced to go it alone for peace:

“Today we have dispersed the dark clouds of war from the Korean Peninsula and opened a new path to peace, prosperity and unification. Though we must move forward with the support and cooperation of the international community, we have both agreed that it is South and North Korea who must take the lead in deciding the fate of the Korean people. We also both agree that the historic duty to create a new global order rests with us.” *(quote translated by author)

Moon may therefore be ready and willing if there comes a point when South Korea is forced to actively work against the US and seek additional help from other emerging global powers to push diplomacy with the North forward.

South Korea’s drift outside America’s orbit could also be expedited by an increasingly desperate US establishment lashing out as it loses its hold on the peace process and South Korea, further exposing itself as a malign force in Northeast Asia.

This would merely be an acceleration of a natural development required of South Korea in the long term. China is by far South Korea’s number one export market (accounting for twice the volume of trade to the US) and its greatest source of tourism revenue. It is becoming increasingly untenable for the South, with a military still under the command of the US in wartime, to continue serving as a bastion in the American containment of China. The US standing in the way of the peace process could be enough to wake up South Koreans to the inevitability of their situation.

The anti-peace right-wing suddenly lost its grip on South Korean politics due to the ineptitude and corruption of the Park Geun-hye administration. In the same sense, the Trump administration appears to be accelerating the decline of American influence around the world with its heavy-handed approach to diplomacy and trade policy. If this trend continues on the Korean Peninsula, the peace process may end up being the most significant chapter yet in the decline of the American empire.

Posted in USA, North Korea, South KoreaComments Off on For Lasting Peace, President Moon Must Lead South Korea Out of America’s Orbit

Still Waiting for Evidence of a Russian Hack into U.S. Election

NOVANEWS

More than two years after the allegation of Russian hacking of the 2016 U.S. presidential election was first made, conclusive proof is still lacking and may never be produced, says Ray McGovern.

If you are wondering why so little is heard these days of accusations that Russia hacked into the U.S. election in 2016, it could be because those charges could not withstand close scrutiny. It could also be because special counsel Robert Mueller appears to have never bothered to investigate what was once the central alleged crime in Russia-gate as no one associated with WikiLeaks has ever been questioned by his team.

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity — including two “alumni” who were former National Security Agency technical directors — have long since concluded that Julian Assange did not acquire what he called the “emails related to Hillary Clinton” via a “hack” by the Russians or anyone else. They found, rather, that he got them from someone with physical access to Democratic National Committee computers who copied the material onto an external storage device — probably a thumb drive. In December 2016 VIPS explained this in some detail in an open Memorandum to President Barack Obama.

On January 18, 2017 President Obama admitted that the “conclusions” of U.S. intelligence regarding how the alleged Russian hacking got to WikiLeaks were “inconclusive.” Even the vapid FBI/CIA/NSA “Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections” of January 6, 2017, which tried to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for election interference, contained no direct evidence of Russian involvement.  That did not prevent the “handpicked” authors of that poor excuse for intelligence analysis from expressing “high confidence” that Russian intelligence “relayed material it acquired from the Democratic National Committee … to WikiLeaks.”  Handpicked analysts, of course, say what they are handpicked to say.

Never mind. The FBI/CIA/NSA “assessment” became bible truth for partisans like Rep. Adam Schiff(D-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, who was among the first off the blocks to blame Russia for interfering to help Trump.  It simply could not have been that Hillary Clinton was quite capable of snatching defeat out of victory all by herself.  No, it had to have been the Russians.

Five days into the Trump presidency, I had a chance to challenge Schiff personally on the gaping disconnect between the Russians and WikiLeaks. Schiff still “can’t share the evidence” with me … or with anyone else, because it does not exist.

Image on the right below: Rep. Adam Schiff

WikiLeaks

It was on June 12, 2016, just six weeks before the Democratic National Convention, that Assange announced the pending publication of “emails related to Hillary Clinton,” throwing the Clinton campaign into panic mode, since the emails would document strong bias in favor of Clinton and successful attempts to sabotage the campaign of Bernie Sanders.  When the emails were published on July 22, just three days before the convention began, the campaign decided to create what I call a Magnificent Diversion, drawing attention away from the substance of the emails by blaming Russia for their release.

Clinton’s PR chief Jennifer Palmieri later admitted that she golf-carted around to various media outlets at the convention with instructions “to get the press to focus on something even we found difficult to process: the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the DNC, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.”  The diversion worked like a charm.  Mainstream media kept shouting “The Russians did it,” and gave little, if any, play to the DNC skullduggery revealed in the emails themselves. And like Brer’ Fox, Bernie didn’t say nothin’.

Meanwhile, highly sophisticated technical experts, were hard at work fabricating “forensic facts” to “prove” the Russians did it.  Here’s how it played out:

June 12, 2016: Assange announces that WikiLeaks is about to publish “emails related to Hillary Clinton.”

June 14, 2016: DNC contractor CrowdStrike, (with a dubious professional record and multiple conflicts of interest) announces that malware has been found on the DNC server and claims there is evidence it was injected by Russians.

June 15, 2016: “Guccifer 2.0” affirms the DNC statement; claims responsibility for the “hack;” claims to be a WikiLeaks source; and posts a document that the forensics show was synthetically tainted with “Russian fingerprints.”

The June 12, 14, & 15 timing was hardly coincidence. Rather, it was the start of a pre-emptive move to associate Russia with anything WikiLeaks might have been about to publish and to “show” that it came from a Russian hack.

Enter Independent Investigators

A year ago independent cyber-investigators completed the kind of forensic work that, for reasons best known to then-FBI Director James Comey, neither he nor the “handpicked analysts” who wrote the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment bothered to do.  The independent investigators found verifiable evidence from metadata found in the record of an alleged Russian hack of July 5, 2016 showing that the “hack” that day of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 was not a hack, by Russia or anyone else.

Rather it originated with a copy (onto an external storage device – a thumb drive, for example) by an insider — the same process used by the DNC insider/leaker before June 12, 2016 for an altogether different purpose. (Once the metadata was found and the “fluid dynamics” principle of physics applied, this was not difficult to disprove the validity of the claim that Russia was responsible.)

One of these independent investigators publishing under the name of The Forensicator on May 31 published new evidence that the Guccifer 2.0 persona uploaded a document from the West Coast of the United States, and not from Russia.

In our July 24, 2017 Memorandum to President Donald Trump we stated,

“We do not know who or what the murky Guccifer 2.0 is. You may wish to ask the FBI.”

Our July 24 Memorandum continued:

“Mr. President, the disclosure described below may be related. Even if it is not, it is something we think you should be made aware of in this general connection. On March 7, 2017, WikiLeaks began to publish a trove of original CIA documents that WikiLeaks labeled ‘Vault 7.’ WikiLeaks said it got the trove from a current or former CIA contractor and described it as comparable in scale and significance to the information Edward Snowden gave to reporters in 2013.

“No one has challenged the authenticity of the original documents of Vault 7, which disclosed a vast array of cyber warfare tools developed, probably with help from NSA, by CIA’s Engineering Development Group. That Group was part of the sprawling CIA Directorate of Digital Innovation – a growth industry established by John Brennan in 2015. [ (VIPS warned President Obama of some of the dangers of that basic CIA reorganization at the time.]

Marbled

“Scarcely imaginable digital tools – that can take control of your car and make it race over 100 mph, for example, or can enable remote spying through a TV – were described and duly reported in the New York Times and other media throughout March. But the Vault 7, part 3 release on March 31 that exposed the “Marble Framework” program apparently was judged too delicate to qualify as ‘news fit to print’ and was kept out of the Times at the time, and has never been mentioned since.

“The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima, it seems, ‘did not get the memo’ in time. Her March 31 article bore the catching (and accurate) headline: ‘WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations.’

“The WikiLeaks release indicated that Marble was designed for flexible and easy-to-use ‘obfuscation,’ and that Marble source code includes a “de-obfuscator” to reverse CIA text obfuscation.

“More important, the CIA reportedly used Marble during 2016. In her Washington Post report, Nakashima left that out, but did include another significant point made by WikiLeaks; namely, that the obfuscation tool could be used to conduct a ‘forensic attribution double game’ or false-flag operation because it included test samples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi.”

A few weeks later William Binney, a former NSA technical director, and I commented on Vault 7 Marble, and were able to get a shortened op-ed version published in The Baltimore Sun.

The CIA’s reaction to the WikiLeaks disclosure of the Marble Framework tool was neuralgic. Then Director Mike Pompeo lashed out two weeks later, calling Assange and his associates “demons,” and insisting; “It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

Our July 24 Memorandum continued:

“Mr. President, we do not know if CIA’s Marble Framework, or tools like it, played some kind of role in the campaign to blame Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we know how candid the denizens of CIA’s Digital Innovation Directorate have been with you and with Director Pompeo. These are areas that might profit from early White House review.  [ President Trump then directed Pompeo to invite Binney, one of the authors of the July 24, 2017 VIPS Memorandum to the President, to discuss all this.  Binney and Pompeo spent an hour together at CIA Headquarters on October 24, 2017, during which Binney briefed Pompeo with his customary straightforwardness. ]

“We also do not know if you have discussed cyber issues in any detail with President Putin. In his interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly he seemed quite willing – perhaps even eager – to address issues related to the kind of cyber tools revealed in the Vault 7 disclosures, if only to indicate he has been briefed on them. Putin pointed out that today’s technology enables hacking to be ‘masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin’ [of the hack] … And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack.

“‘Hackers may be anywhere,’ he said. ‘There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can’t you imagine such a scenario? … I can.’

New attention has been drawn to these issues after I discussed them in a widely published 16-minute interview last Friday.

In view of the highly politicized environment surrounding these issues, I believe I must append here the same notice that VIPS felt compelled to add to our key Memorandum of July 24, 2017:

“Full Disclosure: Over recent decades the ethos of our intelligence profession has eroded in the public mind to the point that agenda-free analysis is deemed well nigh impossible. Thus, we add this disclaimer, which applies to everything we in VIPS say and do: We have no political agenda; our sole purpose is to spread truth around and, when necessary, hold to account our former intelligence colleagues.

“We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental.” The fact we find it is necessary to include that reminder speaks volumes about these highly politicized times.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Still Waiting for Evidence of a Russian Hack into U.S. Election

US Media Urge Coup d’Etat in Venezuela

NOVANEWS

US and other Western media violate core principles of what journalism is supposed to be – displaying shocking contempt for truth-telling.

Major media press freedom in America and other Western nations is pure fantasy. Journalist AJ Liebling once said it’s “only for those who own one.”

Michael Parenti’s book titled “Inventing Reality” was the first comprehensive critique of the news media, explaining how it “manipulate(s) the public’s perception of reality,” serving wealth and powerful interests exclusively.

In their book titled “Guardians of Power,” David Cromwell and David Edwards said major media today are in crisis.

Free and open Western societies don’t exist. Fiction substitutes for facts. News is carefully filtered, dissent marginalized, silenced in the mainstream. Supporting powerful interests substitutes for full and accurate reporting.

Wars of aggression are called liberation ones, humanitarian intervention, responsibility to protect, and democracy building.

Civil liberties are suppressed for our own good. Patriotism means going along with policies demanding condemnation – harming and exploiting most people so privileged ones can benefit at their expense.

In their book on the media titled “Manufacturing Consent,” Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky explained the propaganda model, saying news and information pass through a set of “filters.”

Unacceptable “raw material” parts are suppressed. “(O)nly the cleansed residue fit to print (and broadcast on-air)” reaches the public.

What the New York Times calls “All The News That’s Fit to Print” isn’t fit to read – sanitized rubbish, what’s most important left out.

The Times and other major media provide gatekeeper services for institutions of power, manipulating the public mind, defending the indefensible, justifying the unjustifiable, treating readers and viewers like mushrooms – well-watered and in the dark.

The Times and CIA house organ Foreign Policy magazine openly called for toppling Venezuela’s legitimate government by coup d’etat.

Regimes in Washington since the Clinton co-presidency have waged undeclared political and economic war on the country, causing enormous hardships for its people in recent years, falsely blaming its democratically elected government for what’s inflicted on the nation from abroad – wanting US sponsored political tyranny replacing the hemisphere’s model social democracy.

Venezuela’s open, free and fair electoral process is the world’s best, shaming America’s sham system, a money-controlled one-party state with two right wings, taking turns governing – deploring democracy, opposing governance serving everyone equitably, waging imperial wars and color revolutions for unchallenged global dominance, supporting corporate empowerment, along with police state harshness on nonbelievers.

In May, Nicolas Maduro won another six-year term overwhelmingly with two-thirds majority support – a process scores of international monitors from 30 countries called open, free and fair.

The Trump regime shamefully rejected the results. So did media scoundrels. New York Times editorscalled the election a “sham” – a bald-faced lie.

Disgracefully they roared “(t)he question is how to get rid of Mr. Maduro before he completes the destruction of his country” – falsely blaming him for suffocating misery inflicted on its people by US political and economic war.

Instead of denouncing it, Times editors support efforts to topple Venezuela’s democratically elected government. “It’s clear that Mr. Maduro must go,” they roared – added proof that the self-styled newspaper of record is a national disgrace.

Neocon Jose Cardenas was the Bush/Cheney regime’s USAID assistant administrator for Latin America.

In a Foreign Policy op-ed, he openly called for a “coup in Venezuela,” saying “(o)nly nationalists in the military can restore a legitimate constitutional democracy” – code language for wanting money-controlled fascist tyranny replacing Bolivarian social democracy.

Venezuela’s problem is it has too much of what Washington, supportive media scoundrels and hardliners like Cardenas want eliminated, including its sovereign independence US neocons tolerate nowhere.

Falsely claiming Maduro “engineered his re-election,” saying “reasonable observers” called the outcome “a sham vote,” Cardinas urged the Trump regime and its allies to forcibly oust him – wanting Venezuela’s military to do its dirty work.

Bipartisan neocons run America, waging endless wars on humanity at home and abroad, opposing democratic governance, seeking global hegemony, destroying fundamental freedoms, deploring governance serving everyone equitably.

Venezuela and other sovereign independent nations stand in the way of Washington achieving its aims – why they’re targeted for regime change.

In Venezuela, the grand prize is all its oil, the world’s largest reserves, exceeding Saudi Arabia’s, what Washington wants control over to exploit.

Media scoundrels like the NYT and WaPo-owned Foreign Policy support its hegemonic agenda – no matter the human cost, pretending the replacement of Bolivarian fairness serving all Venezuelans equitably with fascist tyranny is democracy building.

US bipartisan rage for global dominance, seeking control over world resources and populations, resembles Nazi Germany’s agenda – wrapped in the American flag, pretending its mission is noble, ignoring enormous harm inflicted on countless millions at home and abroad.

Dark forces run America. Media scoundrels serve their interests – supporting what demands condemnation, a diabolical agenda no just societies tolerate.

Humanity’s greatest threat exists in Washington and capitals of its rogue allies – not in Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, Damascus, Pyongyang, Caracas, or seats of power in other sovereign independent nations.

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Posted in USA, VenezuelaComments Off on US Media Urge Coup d’Etat in Venezuela


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