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Demonization of Putin

Unending series of neoliberal MSM witch hunt and false flag operations by Western intelligence agencies
designed to weaken and discredit Russian leader

Reuters/David W Cerny

PseudoScience > Who Rules America > Pathological Russophobia of the US elite

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Europe has manufactured an artificial "Russian enemy"
 in order to create an artificial "European identity"

Guy Mettan

Demonization of Putin is integral part of policy of the US and British elite toward Russia, designed to weaken, and, if possible, dismember the Russian state. It is also an instrument of increasing national unity by creating a demonized external enemy.

Russophobia of the US elite should be understood in the context of Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism as Russia represent an obstacle for complete domination of the globe by the US neoliberal empire. Nothing personal here, just business. Recent statements by Putin made at Valday club in Sochi (October 24, 2014) also do not produce any love to Putin from the global and first of all the USA neoliberal elite as well as London-based financial oligarchy. Not accidentally for both the US and GB elite Putin is a "Great Satan".

Like anti-Semitism, Russophobia is based on standard mechanism of Demonization (Wikipedia):

In colloquial usage, the term demonization is used metaphorically to refer to propaganda directed on delitimization of particular individual or group.

Delegitimization is the psychological process which undermines or marginalizes an individual or entity by presenting value judgments as facts which are construed to devalue legitimacy. The ultimate goal of justifying harm or war.

The concept applies to a wide spectrum of social contexts but generally means categorization of individual or groups into extreme social categories which are ultimately excluded from society. Delegitimization provides the moral and the discursive basis to harm the delegitimized group, even in the most inhumane ways.

It is related to stereotyping in a sense that it leads to prejudice when people emotionally react to the name of the person, ascribe evil intention and characteristic to the person or group without evaluating objective evidence.

As always in such cases three-letter agencies are in the vanguard of such complains (Is the CIA Running a Defamation Campaign Against Putin - Russia Insider)

A major topic in the Russian media is mystification with how Putin is portrayed in the Western media. Wildly popular at home, and seen as a decent, modest, an admirable person, and Russians don't understand how there can be such a disconnect with Western impressions.

Recently, leading Russian commentators and politicians have been suggesting that this can only be explained by a deliberate campaign to defame Putin, by governments or other groups.

Yesterday, at a briefing to foreign journalists, Sergey Ivanov, Putin's chief of staff, arguably the 2nd most powerful man in Russia, spoke of an "information war" consisting of "personal attacks" on Putin.

The western media hit a new low...
>The day before another member of Putin's inner circle, Vyasheslav Volodin, made similar remarks, telling foreign journalists "an attack on Putin is an attack on Russia."

The logic, they argue, is that by defaming the leader of a country, you weaken his power domestically by undermining popular support for him, and internationally, by rallying popular opinion to support policies against that country. The ultimate goal, they argue, is to weaken the country itself. They also talk about regime change.

They argue that if one looks at the facts, that there is evidence of ongoing character assassination which cannot be explained by a vague popular zeitgeist in the West, but is more likely the result of a dedicated effort to introduce this defamation into the news flow.

Newsweek has been one of the most virulent Putin-bashers for years

The issue of manipulation of news by intelligence services has been in the news recently with revelations that the CIA and German Secret Service (GSS) have long-running programs to influence how media executives and top journalists convey and interpret the news, including direct cash payments.

Here are some examples they point to:

RI sat down with The Saker, a leading analyst of Russia in international affairs, and asked him what he thinks:

So, is there any credence to this line of thinking, or is this conspiracy theorists running wild?

There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the US is waging a major psyop war against Russia, although not a shooting war, for now, and that what we are seeing is a targeted campaign to discredit Putin and achieve "regime change" in Russia or, should that fail, at the very least "regime weakening" and "Russia weakening".

And the Economist has been the very worst of them all...

So this is a US government program?

Yes, Putin is absolutely hated by certain factions in the US government two main reasons:

1. He partially, but not fully, restored Russia's sovereignty which under Gorbachev and Yeltsin had been totally lost … Russia then was a US colony like Ukraine is today … and,

2. He dared to openly defy the USA and its civilizational model.

… a free and sovereign Russia is perceived by the US "deep state" as an existential threat which has to be crushed. … this is a full-scale political assault on Russia and Putin personally.

So what the Russians are saying, that the constant personal attacks against Putin in the global media are partly the result of deliberate efforts by US intelligence services, … basically, planted stories…

Yes, absolutely

It seems like “Operation Mockingbird” all over again… Are you aware of other instances aimed at Putin?

(Editors Note: Operation Mockingbird was a CIA program started in the 1950s to influence the US media, which was gradually exposed by investigative journalists starting in the late 60s, culminating in sensational televised congressional hearings in 1975 which shocked the nation, forcing the program’s termination. Critics maintain that the same tactics have continued since, under different programs. Wikipedia)

Yes, of course. Since this defamation has very little traction with the Russian public … Putin's popularity is higher than ever before .., there is an organized campaign to convince them that Putin is "selling out" Novorussia, that he is a puppet of oligarchs who are making deals with Ukrainian oligarchs to back-stab the Novorussian resistance…

… So far, Putin's policies in the Ukraine have enjoyed very strong support from the Russian people who still oppose an overt military intervention…

… but if Kiev attacks Novorussia again - which appears very likely - and if such an attack is successful - which is less likely but always possible - then Putin will be blamed for having given the Ukrainians the time to regroup and reorganize.

Warm and fuzzy...

So you are saying that if the Ukrainian military strengthens its position enough to deliver a serious blow to the East Ukrainians, the US can use this as a method to strike at Putin’s support base…

Yes, that’s right ... there are a lot of "fake patriots" in Russia and abroad who will reject any negotiated solution and who will present any compromise as a "betrayal". They are the "useful idiots" used by western special services to smear and undermine Putin.

Is it limited to government special ops, or are there other groups who might have an interest in doing this?

Yes, well here is something that most people in the west don’t appreciate… there is a major behind-the scenes struggle among Russian elites between what I call the "Eurasian Sovereignists" (basically, those who support Putin) and what I call the "Atlantic Integrationists" (those whom Putin refers to as the "5th column).

The western media talks about this as the struggle between Russian liberals and conservatives, reformers and reactionaries, right?

Well its sort of like that, but not exactly…

The former see Russia's future in the Russian North and East and want to turn Russia towards Asia, Latin America and the rest of the world, while the latter want Russia to become part of the "North Atlantic" power configuration.

The Atlantic Integrationists are now too weak to openly challenge Putin - whose real power base is his immense popular support - but they are quietly sabotaging his efforts to reform Russia while supporting anti-Putin campaigns.

Regarding the revelations of CIA activities in Germany, do you think this is going on in other countries, in the US?

I am sure that this is happening in most countries worldwide. The very nature of the modern corporate media is such that it makes journalists corrupt.

As the French philosopher Alain Soral says "nowadays a reporter is either unemployed or a prostitute". There are, of course, a few exceptions, but by and large this is true.

This is not to say that most journalists are on the take. In the West this is mostly done in a more subtle way - by making it clear which ideas do or do not pass the editorial control, by lavishly rewarding those journalists who 'get it' and by quietly turning away those who don't.

If a journalist or reporter commits the crime of "crimethink" he or she will be sidelined and soon out of work.

There is no real pluralism in the West where the boundaries of what can be said or not are very strictly fixed.

Ok, but is it like what has been revealed in Germany, …similar specific operational programs in France, the UK, Italy, Latin America, etc.

Yes, one has to assume so – it is in their interests to have them and there is no reason for them not to.

As for the CIA, it de-facto controls enough of the corporate media to "set the tone". As somebody who in the past used to read the Soviet press for a living, I can sincerely say that it was far more honest and more pluralistic than the press in the USA or EU today.

Joseph Goebbels or Edward Bernays could not have imagined the degree of sophistication of modern propaganda machines.

If the US is doing it, can't one assume other governments are too? Are the Russians doing it against western leaders?

I think that all governments try to do that kind of stuff. However, what makes the US so unique it a combination of truly phenomenal arrogance and multi-billion dollar budgets.

The US "deep state" owns the western corporate media which is by far the most powerful media on the planet. Most governments can only do that inside their own country ... to smear a political opponent or discredit a public figure, but they simply do not have the resources to mount an international strategic psyop campaign. This is something only the US can do.

So foreign governments are at a great disadvantage in this arena vis-a-vis the US?

Absolutely.

Quotes from Putin speech and answers to the questions at the meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club

 


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[Jun 20, 2019] Scary Fast How hypersonic missiles are touching off a new global arms race

Jun 20, 2019 | publicintegrity.org

Last year, the nation was confronted with a brief reminder of how Cold War-era nuclear panic played out, after a state employee in Hawaii mistakenly sent out an emergency alert declaring that a "ballistic missile threat" was "inbound." The message didn't specify what kind of missile -- and, in fact, the United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command at two sites in Alaska and California may have some capability to shoot down a few incoming ballistic missiles -- but panicked Hawaii residents didn't feel protected. They reacted by careening cars into one another on highways, pushing their children into storm drains for protection and phoning their loved ones to say goodbye -- until a second message, 38 minutes later, acknowledged it was an error.

Hypersonics pose a different threat from ballistic missiles, according to those who have studied and worked on them, because they could be maneuvered in ways that confound existing methods of defense and detection. Not to mention, unlike most ballistic missiles, they would arrive in under 15 minutes -- less time than anyone in Hawaii or elsewhere would need to meaningfully react. How fast is that, really? An object moving through the air produces an audible shock wave -- a sonic boom -- when it reaches about 760 miles per hour. This speed of sound is also called Mach 1, after the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach. When a projectile flies faster than Mach's number, it travels at supersonic speed -- a speed faster than sound. Mach 2 is twice the speed of sound; Mach 3 is three times the speed of sound, and so on. When a projectile reaches a speed faster than Mach 5, it's said to travel at hypersonic speed.

One of the two main hypersonic prototypes now under development in the United States is meant to fly at speeds between Mach 15 and Mach 20, or more than 11,400 miles per hour. This means that when fired by the U.S. submarines or bombers stationed at Guam, they could in theory hit China's important inland missile bases, like Delingha, in less than 15 minutes. President Vladimir Putin has likewise claimed that one of Russia's new hypersonic missiles will travel at Mach 10, while the other will travel at Mach 20. If true, that would mean a Russian aircraft or ship firing one of them near Bermuda could strike the Pentagon, some 800 miles away, in five minutes. China, meanwhile, has flight-tested its own hypersonic missiles at speeds fast enough to reach Guam from the Chinese coastline within minutes.

One concept now being pursued by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency uses a conventional missile launched from air platforms to loft a smaller, hypersonic glider on its journey, even before the missile reaches its apex. The glider then flies unpowered toward its target. The deadly projectile might ricochet downward, nose tilted up, on layers of atmosphere -- the mesosphere, then the stratosphere and troposphere -- like an oblate stone on water, in smaller and shallower skips, or it might be directed to pass smoothly through these layers. In either instance, the friction of the lower atmosphere would finally slow it enough to allow a steering system to maneuver it precisely toward its target. The weapon, known as Tactical Boost Glide, is scheduled to be dropped from military planes during testing next year. Under an alternative approach, a hypersonic missile would fly mostly horizontally under the power of a "scramjet," a highly advanced, fanless engine that uses shock waves created by its speed to compress incoming air in a short funnel and ignite it while passing by (in roughly one two-thousandths of a second, according to some accounts). With its skin heated by friction to as much as 5,400 degrees, its engine walls would be protected from burning up by routing the fuel through them, an idea pioneered by the German designers of the V-2 rocket.

The unusual trajectories of these missiles would allow them to approach their targets at roughly 12 to 50 miles above the earth's surface, in an attacker's sweet spot. That's below the altitude at which ballistic missile interceptors -- such as the costly American Aegis ship-based system and the Thaad ground-based system -- are now designed to typically operate, yet above the altitude that simpler air defense missiles, like the Patriot system, can reach. They would zoom along in the defensive void, maneuvering unpredictably, and then, in just a few final seconds of blindingly fast, mile-per-second flight, dive and strike a target such as an aircraft carrier from an altitude of 100,000 feet.

Officials will have trouble, moreover, predicting exactly where any strike would land. Although the missiles' launch would probably be picked up by infrared-sensing satellites in its first few moments of flight, Griffin says they would be roughly 10 to 20 times harder to detect than incoming ballistic missiles as they near their targets. And during their flight, due to their maneuverability, the perimeter of their potential landing zone could be about as big as Rhode Island. Officials might sound a general alarm, but they'd be clueless about exactly where the missiles were headed. "We don't have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us," Gen. John E. Hyten, commander of United States Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March 2018. The Pentagon is just now studying what a hypersonic attack might look like and imagining how a defensive system might be created; it has no settled architecture for it, and no firm sense of the costs.

Developing these new weapons hasn't been easy. A 2012 test was terminated when the skin peeled off a hypersonic prototype, and another self-destructed when it lost control. A third hypersonic test vehicle was deliberately destroyed when its boosting missile failed in 2014. Officials at Darpa acknowledge they are still struggling with the composite ceramics they need to protect the missiles' electronics from intense heating; the Pentagon decided last July to ladle an extra $ 34.5 million into this effort this year.

The task of conducting realistic flight tests also poses a challenge. The military's principal land-based site for open-air prototype flights -- a 3,200-acre site stretching across multiple counties in New Mexico -- isn't big enough to accommodate hypersonic weapons. So fresh testing corridors are being negotiated in Utah that will require a new regional political agreement about the noise of trailing sonic booms. Scientists still aren't sure how to accumulate all the data they need, given the speed of the flights. The open-air flight tests can cost up to $100 million.

The Air Force's portion of this effort is being managed from its largest base, Eglin, located in the Florida panhandle, under the direction of the 96 th Test Wing, whose official slogan is "Make It Happen." But the most recent open-air hypersonic-weapon test was completed by the Army and the Navy in October 2017, using a 36,000-pound missile to launch a glider from a rocky beach on the western shores of Kauai, Hawaii, toward Kwajalein Atoll, 2,300 miles to the southwest. The 9 p.m. flight created a trailing sonic boom over the Pacific, which was expected to top out at an estimated 175 decibels, well above the threshold at which noise causes physical pain. The effort cost $160 million, comparable to 6 percent of the total hypersonics budget proposed for 2020.

[Jun 19, 2019] Washington's Dr. Strangeloves by Stephen F. Cohen

Notable quotes:
"... What is the significance of this story, apart from what it tells us about the graver dangers of the new US-Russian Cold War, which now includes, we are informed, a uniquely fraught "digital Cold War"? Not so long ago, mainstream liberal Democrats, and the Times itself, would have been outraged by revelations that defense and intelligence officials were making such existential policy behind the back of a president. No longer, it seems. There have been no liberal, Democratic, or for the most part any other, mainstream protests, but instead a lawyerly apologia justifying the intelligence-defense operation without the president's knowledge. ..."
"... As I have often emphasized, the long historical struggle for American-Russian (Soviet and post-Soviet) détente, or broad cooperation, has featured many acts of attempted sabotage on both sides, though most often by US intelligence and defense agencies. ..."
"... Now the sabotaging of détente appears be happening again. As the Times article makes clear, Washington's war party, or perhaps zealous Cold War party, referred to euphemistically by Sanger and Perlroth as "advocates of the more aggressive strategy," is on the move. ..."
"... Détente with Russia has always been a fiercely opposed, crisis-ridden policy pursuit, but one manifestly in the interests of the United States and the world. No American president can achieve it without substantial bipartisan support at home, which Trump manifestly lacks. What kind of catastrophe will it take -- in Ukraine, the Baltic region, Syria, or somewhere on Russia's electric grid -- to shock US Democrats and others out of what has been called, not unreasonably, their Trump Derangement Syndrome, particularly in the realm of American national security? Meanwhile, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has recently reset its Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.thenation.com

Occasionally, a revelatory, and profoundly alarming, article passes almost unnoticed, even when published on the front page of The New York Times . Such was the case with reporting by David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth , bearing the Strangelovian title "U.S. Buries Digital Land Mines to Menace Russia's Power Grid," which appeared in the print edition on June 16. The article contained two revelations.

First, according to Sanger and Perlroth, with my ellipses duly noted, "The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia's electric power grid. Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue " The operation "carries significant risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow." Though under way at least since 2012, "now the American strategy has shifted more toward offense with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before." At this point, the Times reporters add an Orwellian touch. The head of the U.S. Cyber Command characterizes the assault on Russia's grid, which affects everything from the country's water supply, medical services, and transportation to control over its nuclear weapons, as "the need to 'defend forward,'" because "they don't fear us."

Nowhere do Sanger and Perlroth seem alarmed by the implicit risks of this "defend forward" attack on the infrastructure of the other nuclear superpower. Indeed, they wonder "whether it would be possible to plunge Russia into darkness." And toward the end, they quote an American lawyer and former Obama official, whose expertise on the matter is unclear, to assure readers sanguinely, "We might have to risk taking some broken bones of our own from a counter response. Sometimes you have to take a bloody nose to not take a bullet in the head down the road." The "broken bones," "bloody nose," and "bullet" are, of course, metaphorical references to the potential consequences of nuclear war.

The second revelation comes midway in the Times story: "[President] Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place 'implants' inside the Russian grid" because "he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials." (Indeed, Trump issued an angry tweet when he saw the Times report, though leaving unclear which part of it most aroused his anger.)

What is the significance of this story, apart from what it tells us about the graver dangers of the new US-Russian Cold War, which now includes, we are informed, a uniquely fraught "digital Cold War"? Not so long ago, mainstream liberal Democrats, and the Times itself, would have been outraged by revelations that defense and intelligence officials were making such existential policy behind the back of a president. No longer, it seems. There have been no liberal, Democratic, or for the most part any other, mainstream protests, but instead a lawyerly apologia justifying the intelligence-defense operation without the president's knowledge.

The political significance, however, seems clear enough. The leak to the Times and the paper's publication of the article come in the run-up to a scheduled meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 meeting in Japan on June 28–29. Both leaders had recently expressed hope for improved US-Russian relations. On May 4, Trump again tweeted his longstanding aspiration for a "good/great relationship with Russia"; and this month Putin lamented that relations " are getting worse and worse " but hoped that he and Trump could move their countries beyond "the games played by intelligence services."

As I have often emphasized, the long historical struggle for American-Russian (Soviet and post-Soviet) détente, or broad cooperation, has featured many acts of attempted sabotage on both sides, though most often by US intelligence and defense agencies. Readers may recall the Eisenhower-Khrushchev summit meeting that was to take place in Paris in 1960, but which was aborted by the Soviet shoot-down of a US spy plane over the Soviet Union, an intrusive flight apparently not authorized by President Eisenhower. And more recently, the 2016 plan by then-President Obama and Putin for US-Russian cooperation in Syria, which was aborted by a Department of Defense attack on Russian-backed Syrian troops.

Now the sabotaging of détente appears be happening again. As the Times article makes clear, Washington's war party, or perhaps zealous Cold War party, referred to euphemistically by Sanger and Perlroth as "advocates of the more aggressive strategy," is on the move. Certainly, Trump has been repeatedly thwarted in his previous détente attempts, primarily by discredited Russiagate allegations that continue to be promoted by the war party even though they still lack any evidential basis. (It may also be recalled that his previous summit meeting with Putin was widely and shamefully assailed as "treason" by influential segments of the US political-media establishment.)

Détente with Russia has always been a fiercely opposed, crisis-ridden policy pursuit, but one manifestly in the interests of the United States and the world. No American president can achieve it without substantial bipartisan support at home, which Trump manifestly lacks. What kind of catastrophe will it take -- in Ukraine, the Baltic region, Syria, or somewhere on Russia's electric grid -- to shock US Democrats and others out of what has been called, not unreasonably, their Trump Derangement Syndrome, particularly in the realm of American national security? Meanwhile, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has recently reset its Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight.

This commentary is based on Stephen F. Cohen's most recent weekly discussion with the host of The John Batchelor Show . Now in their sixth year, previous installments are at TheNation.com . Ad Policy Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. A Nation contributing editor, his new book War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate is available in paperback and in an ebook edition.

[Jun 19, 2019] Investigation Nation Mueller, Russiagate, and Fake Politics by Jim Kavanagh

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... You might think the Democratic Party would be horrified at this result, which one conservative analyst calls: "one of the greatest self-defeating acts in history." You might think Democrats would now move quickly and decisively toward a strategy of offering a substantive political alternative, and abandon this awful own-goal Mueller/Russiagate tack that has already helped Trump immensely (and which they are not going to turn their way). That is obviously what would happen if the Democrats' main goal was to defeat Trump. But it isn't. ..."
"... As discussed above, the Democratic establishment's' main goal throughout this was not to "get" Trump, but to channel its own voters' disgust with him into support for some halcyon, liberal, status quo ante-Trump, and away from left demands for a radical change to the social, economic, and political conditions that produced him and his clueless establishment opponent in 2016. The Democrats' goal was, and is, not to defeat Trump, but to stave off the left. ..."
"... The Democrats' main goal in all this is not to impeach, or stop the re-election of, Donald Trump; it's to prevent the nomination and election of Bernie Sanders, or anyone like him. ..."
"... You mean the five million people who voted for Obama in 2012, in the 90% of counties that voted for Obama either in 2008 or 2012, but would not vote for Hillary in 2019, aren’t streaming back into—are indeed still streaming out of—the Democratic Party, despite all the Mueller investigation has done for them? Imagine that. ..."
"... What has Russiagate/The Mueller Investigation wrought? It’s either a shrewd political gambit sure to take down Trump, or it’s ridiculous political theater leading Democrats, and the country, over another cliff. Double-down or leave that table? ..."
Apr 12, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org
So the Mueller investigation is over. The official "Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election" has been written, and is in the hands of Attorney General William Barr, who has issued a summary of its findings. On the core mandate of the investigation, given to Special Counsel Mueller by Rod Rosenstein as Acting Attorney General in May of 2017 -- to investigate "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump" -- the takeaway conclusion stated in the Mueller report, as quoted in the Barr summary, is that "[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.1"

In the footnote indicated at the end of that sentence, Barr further clarifies the comprehensive meaning of that conclusion, again quoting the Report's own words: "In assessing potential conspiracy charges, the Special Counsel also considered whether members of the Trump campaign 'coordinated' with Russian election interference activities. The Special Counsel defined 'coordination' as an 'agreement -- tacit or express -- between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference'."

Barr restates the point of the cited conclusion from the Mueller Report a number of times: "The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election the Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the IRA [Internet Research Agency, the indicted Russian clickbait operation] in its efforts."

Thus, the Mueller investigation found no "conspiracy," no "coordination," -- i.e., no "collusion" -- "tacit or express" between the Trump campaign or any U.S. person and the Russian government. The Mueller investigation did not make, seal, or recommend any indictment for any U.S. person for any such crime.

This is as clear and forceful a repudiation as one can get of the "collusion" narrative that has been insistently shoved down our throats by the Democratic Party, its McResistance, its allied media, and its allied intelligence and national security agencies and officials. Whatever one wants to say about any other aspect of this investigation -- campaign finance violations, obstruction of justice, etc. -- they were not the main saga for the past two+ years as spun by the Russiagaters. The core narrative was that Donald Trump was some kind of Russian agent or asset, arguably guilty of treason and taking orders from his handler/blackmailer Vladimir Putin, who conspired with him to steal the 2016 election, and, furthermore, that Saint Mueller and his investigation team of patriotic FBI/CIA agents were going to find the goods that would have the Donald taken out of the White House in handcuffs for that.

Keith Olbermann's spectacular rant in January 2017 defined the core narrative and exemplified the Trump Derangement Syndrome that powered it: an emotional, visceral hatred of Donald Trump wrapped in the fantasy -- insisted upon as "elemental, existential fact" -- that he was "put in power by Vladimir Putin." A projection and deflection, I would say, of liberals' self-hatred for creating the conditions -- eight years of war and wealth transfer capped off by a despised and entitled candidate -- that allowed a vapid clown like Trump to be elected. It couldn't be our fault! It must have been Putin who arranged it!

Here's a highlight of Keith's delusional discourse. But, please watch the whole six-minute video below. They may have been a bit calmer, but this is the fundamental lunacy that was exuding from the rhetorical pores of Rachel, Chris, and Co. day after day for two+ years:

The military apparatus of this country is about to be handed over to scum, who are beholden to scum, Russian scum! As things are today January 20th will not be an inauguration but rather the end of the United States as an independent country. Donald John Trump is not a president; he is a puppet, put in power by Vladimir Putin. Those who ignore these elemental, existential facts -- Democrats or Republicans -- are traitors to this country. [Emphases in original. Really, watch it.]

https://www.youtube.com/embed/IAFxPXGDH4E

This -- Trump's secret, treasonous collusion with Putin, and not hush money or campaign finance violations or "obstruction of justice" or his obvious overall sleaziness -- was Russiagate.

Russiagate is Dead! Long Live Russiagate!

And it still is. Here's the demonstration in New York last Thursday, convened by the MoveOn/Maddow #Resistance, singing from "the hymnal" about how Trump is a "Russian whore" who is "busy blowing Vladimir":

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9YZ9kiJ88LM

This is delusional lunacy.

Here are the three lines of excuse and denial currently being fired off by diehard Russiagaters in their fighting retreat, and my responses to them.

1. The Mueller Report is irrelevant, anyhow. 'Cause either A) Per Congressional blowhard Adam Schiff: There already "is direct evidence" proving Trump-Russia collusion, dating from before the Mueller Investigation, so who cares what that doesn't find; or B) (My personal favorite) Per former prosecutor and CNN legal expert Renato Mariotti: Of course there is no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, and it's "your fault" for letting Trump fool you into thinking Mueller's job was to find it. (The Mueller "collusion" investigation was a red herring orchestrated/promoted by Trump! I cannot make this up.)

Mueller's report will almost certainly disappoint you, and it's not his fault. It's your fault for buying into Trump's false narrative that it is Mueller's' job to prove "collusion," a nearly impossible bar for any prosecutor to clear.

My piece in @TIME : https://t.co/VQ2WhhC996

-- Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) March 1, 2019

This is, of course, the weakest volley. It's absurd, patent bad faith, for Russiagaters to pretend that they knew, thought, or suggested the Mueller investigation was irrelevant. It is they who have been insisting that the integrity and super-sleuthiness of the "revered" Robert Mueller himself was the thing that would nail Donald Trump for Russian collusion. To now deny that any of that was important only acknowledges how thoroughly they have been fooling the American people and/or themselves for two years. Either Adam Schiff had the goods on Trump's traitorous Russian collusion two years ago, in which case he's got a lot of explaining to do about why he's been stringing us along with Mueller, or Schiff is just bluffing. Place your bets.

Russiagaters in 2017: YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT MUELLER KNOWS
Russiagaters in 2018: YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT MUELLER KNOWS
Russiagaters in 2019: Shut up Mueller, what would you know.

-- Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) March 22, 2019

2. The Mueller Report didn't exonerate Trump entirely. It was agnostic about whether Trump was guilty of "obstruction of justice," and there are probably many nasty things in the report that may not be provably criminal, but nonetheless demonstrate what a slimeball Trump is.

No, Russiagaters will not get away with denying that the core purpose of the Mueller investigation was to prove Trump's traitorous relation to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government, which helped him win the 2016 election. They will not get away with denying that, if the Mueller investigation failed to prove that, it failed in its main purpose, as they constantly defined and reinforced it, with table-pounding, hyperventilating, and -- a few days ago! -- disco-dancing to "the hymnal."

They will not get away with trying to appropriate, as if it were their point all along, what the left critics of Russiagate have been saying for two+ years -- that Donald Trump is a slimeball grifter whose culpability for politically substantive and probably legally actionable crimes and misdemeanors should not be hard to establish, without reverting to the absurd accusation that he's a Russian agent.

These are the left critics of Russiagate and Trump, whom Russiagaters deliberately excluded from all their media platforms, in order to make it seem that only right-wing Trump supporters could be skeptical of Russiagate -- the left critics Russiagaters then excoriated as "Trump enablers" and "Putin apologists" for speaking on the only media platforms that would host them. Among them, Glenn Greenwald and Aaron Maté (who just deservedly won the I.F. Stone prize for his Russiagate coverage) were the most prominent, but many others, including me, made this point week after week (Brian Becker, Dave Lindorff, Dan Kovalik, Daniel Lazare, Ted Rall, to name a few). As I put it in an essay last year: "There are a thousand reasons to criticize Donald Trump That Donald Trump is a Russian agent is not one of them. There are a number of very good justifications for seeking his impeachment That he is a Kremlin agent is not one of them."

So, it's a particularly slimy for Russiagaters to slip into the position that we Russiagate skeptics have been enunciating, and they have been excluding, for two years, without acknowledging that we were right and they were wrong and accounting for their effort to edit us out.

3. But we haven't seen the whole Mueller Report! Barr may be fooling us! Mueller's own team says so! You are now doing what you accused us of doing for two years -- abandoning proper skepticism about Republicans like Barr and even Mueller (Yup. He's a suspicious Republican now!), and assuming a final result we have not yet seen.

This is the one the Russiagaters like the most. Gotcha with your own logic!

Well, let's first of all thank those who are saying this for, again, recognizing that we Russiagate critics had the right attitude toward such an investigation: cautious skepticism as opposed to false certainty. And let's linger for a moment or more on how belated that recognition is and what its delay cost.

But let's also recognize that what's being expressed here is the last-minute hope on the part of the Russiagaters that the Mueller report actually does contain dispositive evidence of Trump's treasonous Russian collusion. Because, again, that is the core accusation that hopeful Russiagaters are still singing about, and nobody ever argued that evidence of other hijinks was unlikely.

Well, that hope can only be realized if one or both of the following are true: 1) Barr's quotes from the report exonerating Trump of collusion are complete fabrications, or 2) Mueller both wrote those words even though they contradict the substance of his own report and declined to indict a single U.S. person for such "collusion" even though he could have.

Sure, in the abstract, one or both of those conditions could be true. But there is no evidence, none, that either is. The New York Times (NYT) report that set everyone aflutter about the "concern" from "some members of Mr. Mueller's team" is anonymous, unspecified, and second-hand. Read it carefully: The NYT did not report what any member of Mueller's team said, but what "government officials and others familiar with their simmering frustrations" said. Those "officials and others interviewed [not members of the Mueller team itself] declined to flesh out" to the NYT what "some of the special counsel's investigators" were unhappy about. To that empty hearsay, the NYT appends the phrase "although the report is believed to examine Mr. Trump's efforts to thwart the investigation" -- suggesting, but not stating, that obstruction of justice issues are the reasons for the investigators' "vexation." The NYT cannot state, because it does not know, anything. It is reporting empty hearsay that is evidence of nothing, but is meant to keep hope alive.

"[T]he report is believed to examine" is a particularly strange locution. Is the NYT suggesting that the Mueller report might not have examined obstruction of justice possibilities? Or is it just getting tangled up in its attempt to suggest this or that? Hey, it could just as well be true that Barr's characterization of what the Mueller Report says about "obstruction of justice" is a misleading fabrication. Maybe Mueller actually exonerated Trump of that. If you mistrust Barr's version of what the Mueller Report says about collusion, why not equally mistrust what it says about obstruction of justice?

There is no evidence that Barr's summary is radically misleading about the core collusion conclusion of the Mueller Report. The walls are closing in, alright, on that story. The I'm just being as cautious now as you were before! line is the opposite of the reasonable skepticism is claims to be; it's Russiagaters clinging to a wish and a belief that something they want to be true is, despite the determinate lack of any evidence.

It's not just the words; it's the melody, and the desperation in the voices. The core Trump-blowing-Vladimir collusion song that #Resisters are still singing is a fantastical fiction and the people still singing it are the pathetic choir on the Russiagate Titanic. And while they're singing as they sink, Trump is escaping in the lifeboat they have provided him. The single most definite and undeniable effect of the Mueller investigation on American politics has been to hand Donald Trump a potent political weapon for his 2020 re-election campaign. A real bombshell.

It would be funny, if it weren't so funny:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/qjUvfZj-Fm0

But it's worse than that. The falsity of the Trump-as-a-Russian-agent narrative does not depend on any confidence in Mueller and his report or Barr and his summary. The truth is there was no Russiagate investigation, in the sense of a serious attempt to find out whether Donald Trump was taking orders from, or "coordinating" with, Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

No person in their right mind could believe that. Robert Mueller doesn't believe it. Nancy Pelosi doesn't believe it. Adam Schiff doesn't believe it. John Brennan, James Clapper, and the heads of intelligence agencies do not believe it. Not for a second. No knowledgeable international affairs journalist or academic who thinks about it for two minutes believes it. Sure, some politicians and media pundits did work themselves up into a state where they internalized and projected a belief in the narrative, but few of them really believed it. They were serving the Kool-Aid. Only the most gullible sectors of their target audience drank it.

With some exceptions, to be sure (Donald Trump among them), the people in the highest echelons of the state-media-academic apparatus are just not that stupid. And, most obvious and important, Vladimir Putin is not that stupid, and they know he is not. Vladimir Putin would never rely on Donald Trump to be his operative in a complex operation that required shrewdly playing and evading the US intelligence and media apparatuses. Nobody is that stupid. Thinking about it that way for a second dissipates the entire ridiculous idea. (Not to mention that Trump ended up enacting a number of policies -- many more than Obama! -- contrary to Russian interests.)

The obvious, which many people in the independent media and none in the mainstream media (because it is so obvious, and would have blown their game) have pointed out, is that any real investigation of Russiagate would have sought to talk with the principals who had direct knowledge of who is responsible for leaking the infamous DNC documents: Julian Assange and former British ambassador Craig Murray ("I know who leaked them. I've met the person who leaked them."). They were essentially two undisputed eyewitnesses to the crime Mueller was supposed to be investigating, and he made no effort to talk to either of them. Ipso facto, it was not really an investigation, not a project whole purpose was to find the truth about whatever the thing called "Russiagate" is supposed to be.

The Eternal Witch-hunt

It was a theater of discipline. Its purpose, which it achieved, was to discipline Trump, the Democratic electorate, and the media. Its method was fishing around in the muck of Washington consultants, lobbyists, and influence peddlers to generate indictments and plea bargains for crimes irrelevant to the core mandate. Not hard, in a carceral state where prosecutors can pin three felonies a day on anyone.

The US establishment, especially its national security arm, was genuinely shocked that their anointed candidate, Hillary, who was, as Glen Ford puts it "'all in' with the global military offensive" that Obama had run through Libya, Syria, and the coup in Ukraine, was defeated by a nitwit candidate who was making impermissibly non-aggressive noises about things like Russia and NATO, and who actually wanted to lose. For their part, the Democrats were horrified, and did not want to face the necessary reckoning about the complete failure of their candidate, and the best-of-all-possible-liberaloid-worlds strategy she personified.

So, "within 24 hours of her concession speech" Hillary's campaign team (Robby Mook and John Podesta) created a "script they would pitch to the press and the public" to explain why she lost. "Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument." A few months later, a coalition of congressional Democrats,, establishment Republicans, and intelligence/natsec professionals pressured Trump (who, we can now see clearly, is putty in the hands of the latter) to initiate a Special Counsel investigation. Its ostensible goal was to investigate Russian collusion, but its real goals were:

1) To discipline Trump, preventing any backpedaling on NATO/imperialist war-mongering against Russia or any other target. Frankly, I think this was unnecessary. Trump never had any depth of principle in his remarks about de-escalating with Russia and Syria. He was always a staunch American exceptionalist and Zionist. Nobody has forced him (that's a right-wing fantasy) to attack Syria, appoint John Bolton, recognize Israeli authority over Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, or threaten Iran and Venezuela. But the natsec deep state actors did (and do) not trust Trump's impulsiveness. They probably also thought it would be useful to "send a message" to Russia, which, in their arrogance, they think they can, but they cannot, "discipline," as I've discussed in a previous essay.

2) To discipline the media, making "Russian collusion," as Off-Guardian journalist Kit Knightly says, "a concept that keeps everyone in check." Thus, a Russophobia-related McCarthyite hysteria was engendered that defined any strong anti-interventionist or anti-establishment sentiment as Russian-sown "divisiveness" and "Putin apologetics." This discipline was eagerly accepted by the mainstream media, which joined in the related drive to demand new forms of censorship for independent and internet media. The epitome of this is the mainstream media's execrable, tacit and sometimes explicit acceptance of the US government's campaign to prosecute Julian Assange.

3) To discipline and corral the Democratic constituency. Establishment Dems riled up outraged progressives with deceptive implied promises to take Trump down based on the collusion fiction, which excused Hillary and diverted their attention from the real egregious failures and crimes that led their party to political ruin, and culminated in the election of Trump in the first place. This discipline also instituted a #Resistance to Trump that involved the party doing nothing substantively progressive in policy -- indeed, it allowed embracing Trump's most egregious militarism and promoting an alliance with, a positive reverence for, the most deceptive and reactionary institutions of the state.

Finally, incorporating point 2, perhaps the main point of this discipline -- indeed of the whole Mueller enterprise -- was to stigmatize the leftists and socialists in and around the party, who were questioning the collusion fiction and calling critical attention to the party's failures, as crypto-fascist "Trump enablers" or "Putin's useful idiots." It's all about fencing out the left and corralling the base.

Note the point regarding the deceptive implications about taking down Trump. Though they gave the opposite impression to rile up their constituents, Democratic Congressional leaders, for the reasons given above and others I laid out in a previous essay, did not think for a second they were going to impeach Trump. They were never really after impeaching Trump; they were and are after stringing along their dissatisfied progressive-minded voters. They, not Trump, were and are the target of the foolery.

We should recognize that Russiagate/The Mueller Investigation achieved all of these goals, and was therefore a great success. That's the case whatever part of the Mueller Report is summarized and released, and whoever interprets it. The whole report with all of the underlying evidence cannot legally be released to the public, and the Democrats know that. So, even if the House gets it, the public will only ever see portions doled out by various interested parties.

Thus, it will continue to be a great success. There will be endless leaks, and interpretations of leaks, and arguments about the interpretations of leaks based on speculation about what's still hidden. The Mueller Investigation has morphed into the Mueller Report, a hermeneutical exercise that will go on forever.
The Mueller Investigation never happened and will never end.

It wasn't an investigation. It was/is an act of political theater, staged in an ongoing dramatic festival where, increasingly, litigation substitutes for politics. Neither party has anything of real, lasting, positive political substance to offer, and each finds itself in power only because it conned the electorate into thinking it offered something new. That results in every politician being vulnerable, but to a politically vacuous opposition that can only mount its attacks on largely politically irrelevant, often impossible to adjudicate, legalistic or moralistic grounds. Prosecutorial inquiry becomes a substitute for substantive political challenge.

It's the template that was established by the Republicans against Bill Clinton, has been adapted by the Democrats for Trump and Russiagate, and will be ceaselessly repeated. What's coming next, already hinted at in William Barr's congressional testimony, will be an investigation of FISAGate -- an inquiry into whether the FISA warrants for spying on the Trump campaign and administration were obtained legally ("adequately predicated"). And/or UkraineGate, about the evidence "Ukrainian law enforcement officials believe they have of wrongdoing by American Democrats and their allies in Kiev, ranging from 2016 election interference to obstructing criminal probes," involving Tony Podesta (who worked right alongside Paul Manafort in Ukraine), Hillary Clinton's campaign, Joe Biden and his son, et. al. And/or CampaignGate, the lawsuit claiming that Hillary's national campaign illegally took $84 million of "straw man" contributions made to state Democratic campaigns. And/or CraigGate, involving powerful Democratic fixer and Obama White House Counsel, Gregory Craig, who has already been referred to federal prosecutors by Mueller, and whose law firm has already paid a $4.6 million-dollar fine for making false statement and failing to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act -- for work he did in Ukraine with -- who else? -- Paul Manafort.

There are Gates galore. If you haven't heard about any of these simmering scandals in the way you've heard incessantly about, you know, Paul Manafort, perhaps that's because they didn't fit into the "get Trump" theme of the Mueller Investigation/Russiagate political theater. Rest assured the Republicans have, and will likely make sure that you do. If you think the Republicans do not have at least as much of a chance to make a serious case with some of these as Mueller did with Trump, you are wrong. If you think the Republicans will pursue any of these investigations because they have the same principled concern as the Democrats about foreign collusion in US elections, or the legality of campaign contributions or surveillance warrants, you are right. They have none. Like the Democrats, they have zero concern for the ostensible issues of principle, and infinite enthusiasm for mounting "gotcha" political theater.

Neither party really wants, or knows how, to engage in a sustained, principled debate on substantive political issues -- things like universal-coverage, single-payer health insurance, a job guarantee, a radical reduction of the military budget, an end to imperialist intervention, increasing taxes on the wealthy and lowering them for working people, a break from the "overwhelming" and destructive influence of Zionism, to name a few of the policies the Democratic congressional leadership could have insisted on "investigating" over the last two years..

Instead, both parties' political campaigns rely on otherizing appeals based on superficial identity politics (white-affirmative on the one hand, POC-affirmative on the other) and, mainly, on bashing the other party for all the problems it ignored or exacerbated, and all the terrible policies it enacted, when it was in power -- and for the version of superficial, otherizing identity politics it supposedly based those policies on (the real determinants of class power remaining invisible). What both parties know how and will continue to do is mount hypocritical legalistic and moralistic "investigations" of illegal campaign contributions, support from foreign governments, teenage make-out sessions, personal-space violations, et. al., that they are just "shocked, shocked" about.

It's Investigation Nation. Fake politics in the simulacrum of a democratic polity. Indeed, someone, of some political perspicuity, might just notice, if only for a flash, that the people who do pretty well politically are often the ones who frankly don't give a crap about all that. Maybe because they're talking to people who don't give a crap about all that. But we wouldn't want to confuse ourselves thinking on that for too long.

Which brings us to the last point about Russiagate/The Mueller Investigation mentioned above. It may not (or may!) have been an intended goal, but it has been its most definite political effect: The Mueller Investigation has been a great political gift to Donald Trump. #Resisters and Russiagaters can wriggle around that all they want. They can insist that, once we get the whole Report, we'll turn the corner, the bombshell will explode, the walls will close in -- for real, this time. Sure.

But even they can't deny that's the case right now. Trump is saying the Mueller investigation was a political counterattack against the result of the election, masquerading as a disinterested judicial investigation; that it was based on a flimsy fiction and designed to dig around in every corner of his closets to find nasty and incriminating things that were entirely irrelevant to the ostensible mandate of the investigation and to any substantive, upfront political critique -- a "witchhunt," a "fishing expedition." And he is right. And too many people in the country know he's right. At this point, even most Russiagaters themselves know it -- though they don't care, and will never admit it.

So now Trump, who could have been attacked for two years politically on substance for betraying most of the promises that got him elected -- more aggressive war, more tax cuts for the wealthy, threatening Medicare and Social Security -- has instead been handed, by the Democrats, the strongest arrow he now has in his political quiver. As Matt Taibbi says: "Trump couldn't have asked for a juicier campaign issue, and an easier way to argue that 'elites' don't respect the democratic choices of flyover voters. It's hard to imagine what could look worse."

You might think the Democratic Party would be horrified at this result, which one conservative analyst calls: "one of the greatest self-defeating acts in history." You might think Democrats would now move quickly and decisively toward a strategy of offering a substantive political alternative, and abandon this awful own-goal Mueller/Russiagate tack that has already helped Trump immensely (and which they are not going to turn their way). That is obviously what would happen if the Democrats' main goal was to defeat Trump. But it isn't.

As discussed above, the Democratic establishment's' main goal throughout this was not to "get" Trump, but to channel its own voters' disgust with him into support for some halcyon, liberal, status quo ante-Trump, and away from left demands for a radical change to the social, economic, and political conditions that produced him and his clueless establishment opponent in 2016. The Democrats' goal was, and is, not to defeat Trump, but to stave off the left.

What they are doing with the Mueller Investigation/Russiagate is what they did in the primaries in 2016: Then, they deliberately promoted Trump as an opponent, while working assiduously to cheat their own leftist candidate; now, they gin up a fictional spy story whose inevitable collapse helps Trump, but on which they will double down, in order to continue branding "divisive" leftists who challenge any return to their version of status-quo normalcy as the Kremlin's "useful idiots."

The Democrats' main goal in all this is not to impeach, or stop the re-election of, Donald Trump; it's to prevent the nomination and election of Bernie Sanders, or anyone like him.

Russiagate Forever

Here's Tim Ryan's presidential campaign kickoff speech in Youngstown, Ohio, a poster city of late American capitalist deindustrialization, explaining to the voters what is causing the destruction of their lives and towns. After complaining that "We have politicians and leaders today that want to divide us. They want to put us in one box or the other. You know, you can't be for business and for labor," he elaborates:

Yup, it’s those Russians, you see, sowing division through certain “politicians and leaders,” who are preventing us from fixing our healthcare, education, economic and government systems. This—doubling down on Russiagate—is the centrist Democrats’ idea of a winning political appeal. I consider it utterly delusional.

I heard last week from a friend in Western Pennsylvania, not too far from Youngstown. She’s a good person who is trying to organize Democrats in the area to beat Trump in 2020, and, pleading for advice, she expressed her exasperation: “They’re leaving the party!”

You mean the five million people who voted for Obama in 2012, in the 90% of counties that voted for Obama either in 2008 or 2012, but would not vote for Hillary in 2019, aren’t streaming back into—are indeed still streaming out of—the Democratic Party, despite all the Mueller investigation has done for them? Imagine that.

What has Russiagate/The Mueller Investigation wrought? It’s either a shrewd political gambit sure to take down Trump, or it’s ridiculous political theater leading Democrats, and the country, over another cliff. Double-down or leave that table?

Place your bets.

[Jun 19, 2019] The Warm War Russiamania at the Boiling Point by Jim Kavanagh

Notable quotes:
"... Theresa May's immediate conclusion that the Russian government bears certain and sole responsibility for the nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals is logically, scientifically, and forensically impossible. ..."
"... Teresa May is lying, everyone who seconds her assertion of false certainty is lying, they all know they are lying, and the Russians know that they know they are lying. ..."
"... "War" is what they seem to want it to be. For the past 18 to 24 months, we've also been inundated with Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner's ominous "We have been attacked. We are at war," video, as well as the bipartisan ( Hillary Clinton , John McCain ) insistence that alleged Russian election meddling should be considered an "act of war" equivalent to Pearl Harbor . Indeed, Trump's new National Security advisor, the warmongering lunatic John Bolton, calls it , explicitly "a casus belli , a true act of war." ..."
"... Even the military is getting in on the act. The nerve-agent accusation has been followed up by General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, accusing Russia of arming the Taliban! It's noteworthy that this senior American military general casually refers to Russia as "the enemy": "We've had stories written by the Taliban that have appeared in the media about financial support provided by the enemy." ..."
"... The economic war against Russian is being waged through a series of sanctions that seem impossible to reverse, because their expressed goal is to extract confession, repentance, and restitution for crimes ascribed to Russia that Russia has not committed, or has not been proven to have committed, or are entirely fictional and have not been committed by anyone at all. We will only stop taking your bank accounts and consulates and let you play games with us if you confess and repent every crime we accuse you of. No questions permitted. ..."
Apr 02, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
Is it war yet?

Yes, in too many respects.

It's a relentless economic, diplomatic, and ideological war, spiced with (so far) just a dash of military war, and the strong scent of more to come.

I mean war with Russia, of course, although Russia is the point target for a constellation of emerging adversaries the US is desperate to entame before any one or combination of them becomes too strong to defeat. These include countries like Iran and China, which are developing forces capable of resisting American military aggression against their own territory and on a regional level, and have shown quite too much uppitiness about staying in their previously-assigned geopolitical cages.

But Russia is the only country that has put its military forces in the way of a U.S. program of regime change -- indirectly in Ukraine, where Russia would not get out of the way, and directly in Syria, where Russia actively got in the way. So Russia is the focus of attack, the prime target for an exemplary comeuppance.

Is it, then, a new Cold War, even more dangerous than the old one, as Stephen F. Cohen says ?

That terminology was apt even a few months ago, but the speed, ferocity, and coordination of the West/NATO's reaction to the alleged nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals, as well as the formation of a War Cabinet in Washington, indicates to me that we've moved to another level of aggression.

It's beyond Cold. Call it the Warm War. And the temperature's rising.

The Nerve of Them

There are two underlying presumptions that, combined, make present situation more dangerous than a Cold War.

One is the presumption of guilt -- or, more precisely, the presumption that the presumption of Russian guilt can always be made, and made to stick in the Western mind.

The confected furor over the alleged nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals demonstrates this dramatically.

Theresa May's immediate conclusion that the Russian government bears certain and sole responsibility for the nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals is logically, scientifically, and forensically impossible.

False certainty is the ultimate fake news. It is just not true that, as she says: "There is no alternative conclusion other than the Russian state is culpable." This falsity of this statement has been demonstrated by a slew of sources -- including the developers of the alleged "Novichok" agent themselves, a thorough analysis by a former UN inspector in Iraq who worked on the destruction of chemical weapons, establishment Western scientific outlets like New Scientist (" Other countries could have made 'Russian' nerve agent "), and the British government's own mealy-mouthed, effective-but-unacknowledged disavowal of that conclusion. In its own words, The British government found: "a nerve agent or related compound," " of a type developed by Russia." So, it's absolutely, positively, certainly, without a doubt, Russian-government-produced "Novichok" .or something else.

Teresa May is lying, everyone who seconds her assertion of false certainty is lying, they all know they are lying, and the Russians know that they know they are lying. It's a

https://www.youtube.com/embed/lErlHLCNM_s?autoplay=0list=WL

It boggles the -- or at least, my -- mind how, in the face of all this, anyone could take seriously her ultimatum, ignoring the procedures of the Chemical Weapons Convention , gave Russia 24 hours to "explain" -- i.e., confess and beg forgiveness for -- this alleged crime.

Indeed, it's noteworthy that France initially, and rather sharply, refused to assume Russian guilt, with a government spokesman saying, "We don't do fantasy politics. Once the elements are proven, then the time will come for decisions to be made." But the whip was cracked -- and surely not by the weak hand of Whitehall -- demanding EU/NATO unity in the condemnation of Russia. So, in an extraordinary show of discipline that could only be ordered and orchestrated by the imperial center, France joined the United States and 20 other countries in the largest mass expulsion of Russian diplomats ever.

Western governments and their compliant media have mandated that Russian government guilt for the " first offensive use of a nerve agent " in Europe since World War II is to be taken as flat fact. Anyone -- like Jeremy Corbyn or Craig Murray -- who dares to interrupt the "Sentence first! Verdict afterwards!" chorus to ask for, uh, evidence, is treated to a storm of obloquy .

At this point, Western accusers don't seem to care how blatantly unfounded, if not ludicrous, an accusation is. The presumption of Russian guilt, along with the shaming of anyone who questions it, has become an unquestionable standard of Western/American political and media discourse.

Old Cold War McCarthyism has become new Warm War fantasy politics.

Helled in Contempt

This declaration of diplomatic war over the Skripal incident is the culmination of an ongoing drumbeat of ideological warfare, demonizing Russia and Putin personally in the most predictable and inflammatory terms.

For the past couple of years, we've been told by Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Marco Rubio, and Boris Johnson that Putin is the new Hitler. That's a particularly galling analogy for the Russians. Soviet Russia, after all, was Hitler's main enemy, that defeated the Nazi army at the cost of 20+ million of its people -- while the British Royal Family was not un-smitten with the charms of Hitlerian fascism , and British footballers had a poignant moment in 1938 Berlin saluting the Fuhre.:

"War" is what they seem to want it to be. For the past 18 to 24 months, we've also been inundated with Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner's ominous "We have been attacked. We are at war," video, as well as the bipartisan ( Hillary Clinton , John McCain ) insistence that alleged Russian election meddling should be considered an "act of war" equivalent to Pearl Harbor . Indeed, Trump's new National Security advisor, the warmongering lunatic John Bolton, calls it , explicitly "a casus belli , a true act of war."

Even the military is getting in on the act. The nerve-agent accusation has been followed up by General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, accusing Russia of arming the Taliban! It's noteworthy that this senior American military general casually refers to Russia as "the enemy": "We've had stories written by the Taliban that have appeared in the media about financial support provided by the enemy."

Which is strange, because, since the Taliban emerged from the American-jihadi war against Soviet forces in Afghanistan, and the Taliban and Russia have "enduring enmity" towards each other, as Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network puts it . Furthermore, the sixteen-year-long American war against the Taliban has depended on Russia allowing the U.S. to move supplies through its territory, and being "the principal source of fuel for the alliance's needs in Afghanistan."

So the general has to admit that this alleged Russian "destabilising activity" is a new thing: "This activity really picked up in the last 18 to 24 months When you look at the timing it roughly correlates to when things started to heat up in Syria. So it's interesting to note the timing of the whole thing."

Yes, it is.

The economic war against Russian is being waged through a series of sanctions that seem impossible to reverse, because their expressed goal is to extract confession, repentance, and restitution for crimes ascribed to Russia that Russia has not committed, or has not been proven to have committed, or are entirely fictional and have not been committed by anyone at all. We will only stop taking your bank accounts and consulates and let you play games with us if you confess and repent every crime we accuse you of. No questions permitted.

This is not a serious framework for respectful international relations between two sovereign nations. It's downright childish. It paints everyone, including the party trying to impose it, into an impossible corner. Is Russia ever going to abandon Crimea, confess that it shot down the Malaysian jet, tricked us into electing Donald Trump, murdered the Skripals, is secretly arming the Taliban, et. al .? Is the U.S. ever going to say: "Never mind"? What's the next step? It's the predicament of the bully.

This is not, either, an approach that really seeks to address any of the "crimes" charged. As Victoria Nuland (a Clintonite John Bolton) put it on NPR, it's about, "sending a message" to Russia. Well, as Russia's ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov said , with this latest mass expulsion of diplomats, the United States is, "Destroying what little remained of US-Russian ties." He got the message.

All of this looks like a coordinated campaign that began in response to Russia's interruption of American regime-change projects in Ukraine and especially Syria, that was harmonized -- over the last 18 to 24 months -- with various elite and popular motifs of discontent over the 2016 election, and that has reached a crescendo in the last few weeks with ubiquitous and unconstrained " enemization " [1] of Russia. It's hard to describe it as anything other than war propaganda -- manufacturing the citizenry's consent for a military confrontation.

Destroying the possibility of normal, non-conflictual, state-to-state relations and constituting Russia as "the enemy" is exactly what this campaign is about. That is its "message" and its effect -- for the American people as much as for the Russia government. The heightened danger, I think, is that Russia, which has for a long time been reluctant to accept that America wasn't interested in "partnership", has now heard and understood this message, while the American people have only heard but do not understand it.

It's hard to see where this can go that doesn't involve military conflict. This is especially the case with the appointments of Mike Pompeo, Gina Haspel, and John Bolton -- a veritable murderers' row that many see as the core of a Trump War Cabinet. Bolton, who does not need Senate confirmation, is a particularly dangerous fanatic, who tried to get the Israelis to attack Iran before even they wanted to, and has promised regime change in Iran by 2019. As mentioned, he considers that Russia has already given him a " casus belli. " Even the staid New York Times warns that, with these appointments, "the odds of taking military action will rise dramatically."

The second presumption in the American mindset today makes military confrontation more likely than it was during the Cold War: Not only is there a presumption of guilt, there is a presumption of weakness . The presumption of guilt is something the American imperial managers are confident they can induce and maintain in the Western world; the presumption of weakness is one they -- or, I fear, too many of them -- have all-too blithely internalized.

This is an aspect of the American self-image among policymakers whose careers matured in a post-Soviet world. During the Cold War, Americans held themselves in check by the assumption, that, militarily, the Soviet Union was a peer adversary, a country that could and would defend certain territories and interests against direct American military aggression -- "spheres of interest" that should not be attacked. The fundamental antagonism was managed with grudging mutual respect.

There was, after all, a shared recent history of alliance against fascism. And there was an awareness that the Soviet Union, in however distorted a way, both represented the possibility of a post-capitalist future and supported post-colonial national liberation movements, which gave it considerable stature in the world.

American leadership might have hated the Soviet Union, but it was not contemptuous of it. No American leader would have called the Soviet Union, as John McCain called Russia, just "a gas station masquerading as a country." And no senior American or British leader would have told the Soviet Union what British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson told Russia last week: to "go away and shut up."

This is a discourse that assumes its own righteousness, authority, and superior power, even as it betrays its own weakness. It's the discourse of a frustrated child. Or bully. Russia isn't shutting up and going away, and the British are not -- and know they're not -- going to make it. But they may think the Big Daddy backing them up can and will. And daddy may think so himself.

Like all bullies, the people enmeshed in this arrogant discourse don't seem to understand that it is not frightening Russia. It's only insulting the country, and leading it to conclude that there is indeed nothing remaining of productive, non-conflictual, US-Russian "partnership" ties. The post-Skripal worldwide diplomatic expulsions, which seem deliberately and desperately excessive, may have finally convinced Russia that there is no longer any use trying. Those who should be frightened of this are the American people.

The enemy of my enemy is me.

The United States is only succeeding in turning itself into an enemy for Russians. Americans would do well to understand how thoroughly their hypocritical and contemptuous stance has alienated the Russian people and strengthened Vladimir Putin's leadership -- as many of Putin's critics warned them it would. The fantasy of stoking a "liberal" movement in Russia that will install some nouveau-Yeltsin-ish figure is dissipated in the cold light of a 77% election day. Putin is widely and firmly supported in Russia because he represents the resistance to any such scheme.

Americans who want to understand that dynamic, and what America itself has wrought in Russia, should heed the passion, anger, and disappointment in this statement about Putin's election from a self-described "liberal" (using the word, I think, in the intellectual tradition, not the American political, sense), Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT TV (errors in translation by another person):

Essentially, the West should be horrified not because 76% of Russians voted for Putin, but because this elections have demonstrated that 95% of Russia's population supports conservative-patriotic, communist and nationalist ideas. That means that liberal ideas are barely surviving among measly 5% of population.

And that's your fault, my Western friends. It was you who pushed us into "Russians never surrender" mode

[W]ith all your injustice and cruelty, inquisitorial hypocrisy and lies you forced us to stop respecting you. You and your so called "values."

We don't want to live like you live, anymore. For fifty years, secretly and openly, we wanted to live like you, but not any longer.

We have no more respect for you, and for those amongst us that you support, and for all those people who support you.

For that you only have yourself to blame.

In meantime, you've pushed us to rally around your enemy. Immediately, after you declared him an enemy, we united around him .

It was you who imposed an opposition between patriotism and liberalism. Although, they shouldn't be mutually exclusive notions. This false dilemma, created by you, made us to chose patriotism.

Even though, many of us are really liberals, myself included.

Get cleaned up, now. You don't have much time left.

In fact, the whole "uprising"/color revolution strategy throughout the world is over. It's been fatally discredited by its own purported successes. Everybody in the Middle East has seen how that worked out for Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and the Russians have seen how it worked out for Ukraine and for Russia itself . In neither Russia nor Iran (nor anywhere else of importance) are the Americans, with their sanctions and their NGOs and their cookies ,going to stoke a popular uprising that turns a country into a fractured client of the Washington Consensus. More fantasy politics.

The old new world Washington wants won't be born without a military midwife. The U.S. wants a compliant Russia ( and "international community") back, and it thinks it can force it into being.

Fear Knot

Consider this quote from The Saker , a defense analyst who was born in Switzerland to a Russian military family, "studied Russian and Soviet military affairs all [his] life," and lived for 20 years in the United States. He's been one of the sharpest analysts of Russia and Syria over the last few years. This was his take a year ago, after Trump's cruise missile attack on Syria's Al Shayrat airfield -- another instant punishment for an absolutely, positively, proven-in-a day, chemical crime:

For one thing, there is no US policy on anything.

The Russians expressed their total disgust and outrage at this attack and openly began saying that the Americans were "недоговороспособны". What that word means is literally "not-agreement-capable" or unable to make and then abide by an agreement. While polite, this expression is also extremely strong as it implies not so much a deliberate deception as the lack of the very ability to make a deal and abide by it. But to say that a nuclear world superpower is "not-agreement-capable" is a terrible and extreme diagnostic.

This means that the Russians have basically given up on the notion of having an adult, sober and mentally sane partner to have a dialog with.

In all my years of training and work as a military analyst I have always had to assume that everybody involved was what we called a "rational actor". The Soviets sure where. As were the Americans.

Not only do I find the Trump administration "not agreement-capable", I find it completely detached from reality. Delusional in other words.

Alas, just like Obama before him, Trump seems to think that he can win a game of nuclear chicken against Russia. But he can't. Let me be clear here: if pushed into a corner the Russian will fight, even if that means nuclear war.

There is a reason for this American delusion. The present generation of American leadership was spoiled and addled by the blissful post-Soviet decades of American impunity.

The problem is not exactly that the U.S. wants full-on war with Russia, it's that America does not fear it. [2]

Why should it? It hasn't had to for twenty years during which the US assumed it could bully Russia to stay out of its imperial way anywhere it wanted to intervene.

After the Soviet Union broke up (and only because the Soviet Union disappeared) the United States was free to use its military power with impunity. For some time, the U.S. had its drunken stooge, Yeltsin, running Russia and keeping it out of America's military way. There was nary a peep when Bill Clinton effectively conferred on NATO (meaning the U.S. itself) the authority to decide what military interventions were necessary and legitimate. For about twenty years -- from the Yugoslavia through the Libya intervention -- no nation had the military power or politico-diplomatic will to resist this.

But that situation has changed. Even the Pentagon recognizes that the American Empire is in a "post-primacy" phase -- certainly "fraying," and maybe even "collapsing." The world has seen America's social and economic strength dissipate, and its pretense of legitimacy disappear entirely. The world has seen American military overreach everywhere while winning nothing of stable value anywhere. Sixteen years, and the mighty U.S. Army cannot defeat the Taliban. Now, that's Russia's fault!

Meanwhile, a number of countries in key areas have gained the military confidence and political will to refuse the presumptions of American arrogance -- China in the Pacific, Iran in the Middle East, and Russia in Europe and, surprisingly, the Middle East as well. In a familiar pattern, America's resultant anxiety about waning power increases its compensatory aggression. And, as mentioned, since it was Russia that most effectively demonstrated that new military confidence, it's Russia that has to be dealt with first.

The incessant wave of sanctions and expulsions is the bully in the schoolyard clenching his fist to scare the new kid away. OK, everyone's got the message now. Unclench or punch?

Let's be clear about who is the world's bully. As is evident to any half-conscious person, Russia is not going to attack the United States or Europe. Russia doesn't have scores of military bases, combat ships and aircraft up on America's borders. It doesn't have almost a thousand military bases around the world. Russia does not have the military forces to rampage around the world as America does, and it doesn't want or need to. That's not because of Russia's or Vladimir Putin's pacifism, but because Russia, as presently situated in the political economy of the world, has nothing to gain from it.

Nor does Russia need some huge troll-farm offensive to "destabilize" and sow division in Western Europe and the United States. Inequality, austerity, waves of immigrants from regime-change wars, and trigger-happy cops are doing a fine job of that. Russia isn't responsible for American problems with Black Lives Matter or with the Taliban.

All of this is fantasy politics.

It's the United States, with its fraying empire, that has a problem requiring military aggression. What other tools does the U.S. have left to put the upstarts, Russia first, back in their places?

It must be hard for folks who have had their way with country after country for twenty years not to think they can push Russia out of the way with some really, really scary threats, or maybe one or two "bloody nose" punches. Some finite number of discrete little escalations. There's already been some shoving -- that cruise missile attack, Turkey's downing of a Russian jet, American attacks on Russian personnel (ostensibly private mercenaries) in Syria -- and, look, Ma, no big war. But sometimes you learn the hard way the truth of the reverse Mike Tyson rule: "Everyone has a game plan until they smack the other guy in the face."

Consider one concrete risk of escalation that every informed observer is, and every American should be, aware of.

The place where the United States and Russia are literally, geographically, closest to confrontation is Syria. As mentioned, the U.S. and its NATO ally, Turkey, have already attacked and killed Russians in Syria, and the U.S. and its NATO allies have a far larger military force than Russia in Syria and the surrounding area. On the other hand, Russia has made very effective use of its forces, including what Reuters calls "advanced cruise missiles" launched from planes, ships , and submarines that hit ISIS targets with high precision from 1000 kilometers.

Russia is also operating in accordance with international law, while the U.S. is not. Russia is fighting with Syria for the defeat of jihadi forces and the unification of the Syrian state. The United States is fighting with its jihadi clients for the overthrow of the Syrian government and the division of the country. Russia intervened in Syria after Obama announced that the U.S. would attack Syrian army troops, effectively declaring war. If neither side accepts defeat and goes home, it is quite possible there will be some direct confrontation over this. In fact, it's hard to imagine that there won't.

A couple of weeks ago Syria and Russia said the U.S. was planning a major offensive against the Syrian government, including bombing the government quarter in Damascus. Valery Gerasimov, head of Russia's General Staff, warned: "In the event of a threat to the lives of our servicemen, Russia's armed forces will take retaliatory measures against the missiles and launchers used." In this context, "launchers" means American ships in the Mediterranean.

Also a couple of weeks ago, Russia announced a number of new, highly-advanced weapons systems. There's discussion about whether some of the yet-to-be-deployed weapons announced may or may not be a bluff, but one that has already been deployed, called Dagger ( Kinzhal, not the missiles mentioned above), is an air-launched hypersonic cruise missile that files at 5-7,000 miles per hour, with a range of 1200 miles. Analyst Andrei Martyanov claims that: "no modern or perspective air-defense system deployed today by any NATO fleet can intercept even a single missile with such characteristics. A salvo of 5-6 such missiles guarantees the destruction of any Carrier Battle Group or any other surface group, for that matter." Air-launched. From anywhere.

The U.S. attack has not (yet) happened, for whatever reason (Sputnik reporter Suliman Mulhem, citing "a military monitor," claims that's because of the Russian warnings). Great. But given the current state of America's anxiously aggressive "post-primacy" policy -- including the Russiamania, the Zionist-driven need to destroy Syria and Iran, and the War Cabinet -- how unlikely is that the U.S. will, in the near future, make some such attack on some such target that Russia considers crucial to defend?

And Syria is just one theater where, unless one side accepts defeat and goes home, military conflict with Russia is highly likely. Is Russia going to abandon the Russian-speaking people of the Donbass if they're attacked by fascist Kiev forces backed by the U.S.? Is it going to sit back and watch passively if American and Israeli forces attack Iran? Which one is going to give up and accept a loss: John Bolton or Vladimir Putin?

Which brings us to the pointed question: What will the U.S. do if Russia sinks an American ship? How many steps before that goes full-scale, even nuclear? Or maybe American planners (and you, dear reader) are absolutely, positively sure that will never happen, because the U.S. has cool weapons, too, and a lot more of them, and the Russians will probably lose all their ships in the Mediterranean immediately, if not something worse, and they'll put up with anything rather than go one more step. The Russians, like everybody, must know the Americans always win.

Happy with that, are we? Snug in our homeland rug? 'Cause Russians won't fight, but the Taliban will.

This is exactly what is meant by Americans not fearing war with Russia (or war in general for that matter). Nothing but contempt.

The Skripal opera, directed by the United States, with the whole of Europe and the entire Western media apparatus singing in harmony, makes it clear that the American producers have no speaking role for Russia in their staging of the world. And that contempt makes war much more likely. Here's The Saker again, on how dangerous the isolation the U.S. and its European clients are so carelessly imposing on Russia and themselves is for everybody:

Right now they are expelling Russian diplomats en mass e and they are feeling very strong and manly.

The truth is that this is only the tip of a much bigger iceberg. In reality, crucial expert-level consultations, which are so vitally important between nuclear superpowers, have all but stopped a long time ago. We are down to top level telephone calls. That kind of stuff happens when two sides are about to go to war. For many months now Russia and NATO have made preparations for war in Europe. Very rapidly the real action will be left to the USA and Russia. Thus any conflict will go nuclear very fast. And, for the first time in history, the USA will be hit very, very hard, not only in Europe, the Middle-East or Asia, but also on the continental US.

Mass diplomatic expulsions, economic warfare, lockstep propaganda, no interest whatsoever in respectfully addressing or hearing from the other side. What we've been seeing over the past few months is the "kind of stuff that happens when two sides are about to go to war."

The less Americans fear war, the less they respect the possibility of it, the more likely they are to get it.

Ready or Not

The Saker makes a diptych of a point that gets to the heart of the matter. We'd do well to read and think on it carefully:

1/ The Russians are afraid of war. The Americans are not.

2/ The Russians are ready for war. The Americans are not.

Russia is afraid of war. More than twenty million Soviet citizens were killed in WWII, about half of them civilians. That was more than twenty times the number of Americans and British casualties combined. The entire country was devastated. Millions died in the 872-day siege of Leningrad alone, including Vladimir Putin's brother. The city's population was decimated by disease and starvation, with some reduced to cannibalism. Wikileaks calls it "one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history [and] possibly the costliest in casualties." Another million-plus died in the nine-month siege of Stalingrad.

Every Russian knows this history. Millions of Russian families have suffered from it. Of course, there was mythification of the struggle and its heroes, but the Russians, viscerally, know war and know it can happen to them . They do not want to go through it again. They will do almost anything to avoid it. Russians are not flippant about war. They fear it. They respect it.

The Americans are not (afraid of war). Americans have never experienced anything remotely as devastating as this. About 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War, 150 years ago. (And we're still entangled in that!) The American mainland has not been attacked by a significant military force since the War of 1812. Since then, the worst attacks on American territory are two one-off incidents (Pearl Harbor and 9/11), separated by seventy years, totaling about six-thousand casualties. These are the iconic moments of America Under Siege.

For the American populace, wars are "over there," fought by a small group of Americans who go away and either come back or don't. The death, destruction, and aroma of warfare -- which the United States visits on people around the world incessantly -- is unseen and unexperienced at home. Americans do not, cannot, believe, in any but the most abstract intellectual sense, that war can happen here , to them. For the general populace, talk of war is just more political background noise, Morgan Freeman competing for attention with Stormy Daniels and the Kardashians.

Americans are supremely insouciant about war: They threaten countries with it incessantly, the government routinely sells it with lies, and the political parties promote it opportunistically to defeat their opponents -- and nobody cares. For Americans, war is part of a game. They do not fear it. They do not respect it.

The Russians are ready for war. The Nazi onslaught was defeated -- in Soviet Russia, by Soviet Citizens and the Red Army -- because the mass of people stood and fought together for a victory they understood was important. They could not have withstood horrific sieges and defeated the Nazis any other way. Russians understand, in other words, that war is a crisis of death and destruction visited on the whole of society, which can only be won by a massive and difficult effort grounded in social solidarity. If the Russians feel they have to fight, if they feel besieged, they know they will have to stand together, take the hits that come, and fight to the finish. They will not again permit war to be brought to their cities while their attacker stays snug. There will be a world of hurt. They will develop and use any weapon they can. And their toughest weapon is not a hypersonic missile; it's that solidarity, implied by that 77%. (Did you read that Simonyan statement?) They may not be seeking it, but, insofar as anybody can be, they are ready to fight.

Americans are not (ready for war): Americans experience the horror of wars as a series of discrete tragedies visited upon families of fallen soldiers, reported in human-interest vignettes at the end of the nightly news. Individual tragedies, not a social disaster.

It's hard to imagine the social devastation of war in any case, but American culture wants no part of thinking about that concretely. The social imagination of war is deflected into fantastic scenarios of a super-hero universe or a zombie apocalypse. The alien death-ray may blow up the Empire State Building, but the hero and his family (now including his or her gender-ambivalent teenager, and, of course, the dog) will survive and triumph. Cartoon villains, cartoon heroes, and a cartoon society.

One reason for this, we have to recognize, is the victory of the Thatcherite/libertarian-capitalist "no such thing as society" ideology. Congratulations, Ayn Rand, there is no such thing as American society now. It's every incipient entrepreneur for him or herself. This does not a comradely, fighting band of brothers and sisters make.

Furthermore, though America is constantly at war, nobody understands the purpose of it. That's because the real purpose can never be explained, and must be hidden behind some facile abstraction -- "democracy," "our freedoms," etc. This kind of discourse can get some of the people motivated for some of the time, but it loses its charm the minute someone gets smacked in the face.

Once they take a moment, everybody can see that there is nobody with an army threatening to attack and destroy the United States, and if they take a few moments, everybody can see how phony the "democracy and freedom" stuff is and remember how often they've been lied to before. There's just too much information out there. (Which is why the Imperial High Command wants to control the internet.) Why the hell am I fighting? What in hell are we fighting for? These are questions everybody will ask after, and too many people are now asking before, they get smacked in the face.

This lack of social understanding and lack of political support translates into the impossibility of fighting a major, sustained war that requires taking heavy casualties -- even "over there," but certainly in the snug. American culture might be all gung-ho about Seal Team Six kicking ass, but the minute American homes start blowing up and American bodies start falling, Hoo-hah becomes Uh-oh , and it's going to be Outta here .

Americans are ready for Hoo-hah and the Shark Tank and the Zombie Apocalypse. They are not ready for war.

You Get What You Play For

"Russiagate," which started quite banally in the presidential campaign as a Democratic arrow to take down Trump, is now Russiamania -- a battery of weapons wielded by various sectors of the state, aimed at an array of targets deemed even potentially resistant to imperial militarism. Trump himself -- still, and for as long as he's deemed unreliable -- is targeted by a legal prosecution of infinite reach (whose likeliest threat is to take him down for something that has nothing to do with Russia). Russia itself is now targeted in full force by economic, diplomatic, ideological -- and, tentatively, military -- weapons of the state. Perhaps most importantly, American and European people, especially dissidents, are targeted by a unified media barrage that attacks any expression of radical critique, anything that "sows division" -- from Black Lives Matter, to the Sanders campaign, to "But other countries could have made it" -- as Russian treachery.

The stunning success of that last offensive is crucial to making a war more likely, and must be fought. To increase the risk of war with a nuclear power in order to score points against Donald Trump or Jill Stein -- well, only those who neither respect, fear, nor are ready for war would do such a stupid and dangerous thing.

It's impossible to predict with certainty whether, when, or with whom a major hot war will be started. The same chaotic disarray and impulsiveness of the Trump administration that increases the danger of war might also work to prevent it. John Bolton may be fired before he trims his moustache. But it's a pressure-cooker, and the temperature has spiked drastically.

In a previous essay , I said that Venezuela was a likely first target for military attack, precisely because it would make for an easy victory that didn't risk military confrontation with Russia. That's still a good possibility. As we saw with Iraq Wars 1 (which helped to end the "Vietnam Syndrome") and 2 (which somewhat resurrected it), the imperial high command needs to inure the American public with a virtually American-casualty-free victory and in order to lure them into taking on a war that's going to hurt.

But the new War Cabinet may be pumped for the main event -- an attack on Iran. Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton are all rabid proponents of regime-change in Iran. We can be certain that the Iran nuclear deal will be scrapped, and everyone will work hard to implement the secret agreement the Trump administration already has with Israel to "to deal with Iran's nuclear drive, its missile programs and its other threatening activities" -- or, as Trump himself expresses it: "cripple the [Iranian] regime and bring it to collapse." (That agreement, by the way, was negotiated and signed by the previous, supposedly not-so-belligerent National Security Advisor, H. R. McMaster.)

Still, as I also said in the previous essay, an attack on Iran means the Americans must either make sure Russia doesn't get in the way or make clear that they don't care if it does. So, threatening moves -- not excluding probing military moves -- against Russia will increase, whether Russia is the preferred direct target or not.

The siege is on.

Americans who want to continue playing with this fire would do well to pay some respectful attention to the target whose face they want to smack. Russia did not boast or brag or threaten or Hoo-Hah about sending military forces to Syria. When it was deemed necessary -- when the United States declared its intention to attack the Syrian Army -- it just did it. And American10-dimensional-chess players have been squirming around trying to deal with the implications of that ever since. They're working hard on finding the right mix of threats, bluffs, sanctions, expulsions, "Shut up and go away!" insults, military forces on the border, and "bloody nose" attacks to force a capitulation. They should be listening to their target, who has not tired of asking for a "partnership," who has clearly stated what his country would do in reaction to previous moves (e.g., the abrogation of the ABM Treaty and stationing of ABM bases in Eastern Europe), whose country and family have suffered from wartime devastation Americans cannot imagine, who therefore respects, fears, and is ready for war in ways Americans are not, and who is not playing their game:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9QxWYIAtCMU

Notes.

[1] Ironically, given current drivers of Russiamania, this is a reference to remarks by Janet Napolitano. " The Enemization of Everything or an American Story of Empathy & Healing? "

[2] Though it's ridiculous that it needs to be said: I'm not talking here about the phony fear engendered by the media presentation of the "strongman," "brutal dictator" Vladimir Putin. This is part and parcel of comic-book politics -- conjuring a super-villain, who, we all know, is destined to be defeated. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jim Kavanagh

Jim Kavanagh edits The Polemicist .

[Jun 18, 2019] 7 times Putin apparently trounced US at St. Petersburg Forum

Notable quotes:
"... 'US hegemony contradicts aims of humanity's future' ..."
"... 'US dollar used as a pressure tool' ..."
"... 'Arms twisting and intimidation' ..."
"... "Waging first technological war of digital era" ..."
"... The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is also under fire from the US, despite being in line with the national interests of Russia and all participating European nations. "But it doesn't fit the logic and the interests of those, who got used to [their] own exceptionalism and permissiveness; who got used to their bills being paid by others." ..."
"... 'Unjust system will never be stable' ..."
"... Any system based on obvious injustice will never be stable and balanced. ..."
Jun 07, 2019 | www.rt.com

Vladimir Putin had a lot to say about the US at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, warning that Washington's policies may turn global economy into battle royal and suggesting that dollar's role should be revised.

Even though the Russian president didn't always identify the US or the Donald Trump administration by name, he didn't mince words about America's aggressive economic policies either.

  1. 'US hegemony contradicts aims of humanity's future'

    Washington's desperate attempts to maintain its hegemony on the international arena put the current globalist model of the world at risk of "turning into a spoof, a parody of itself," the Russian president pointed out.

    When universal international rules are replaced by laws; administrative and judicial mechanisms of a single country or a group of influential states, like the US is now doing by extending its jurisdiction on the whole world – such model contradicts not only the logic of international communications and the realities of the emerging multipolar world, but more importantly – it doesn't fit the tasks of humanity's future.

  2. 'US dollar used as a pressure tool'

    "Deep changes require adaptation of international financial organizations, reconsidering the role of the US dollar, which after it became international reserve currency, turned into the tool of pressure of the country, which issues it, on the rest of the world today," Putin said.

    The US authorities "are themselves undermining their advantages, created by the Bretton Woods system. The trust in the dollar is declining."

    Another negative outcome of the policy of sanction and pressure pursued by the US could be "the fragmentation of the global economic space; unrestricted economic egoism and attempts to push own interests forward through force."

    This is the way to endless conflicts; to trade wars and maybe not only trade ones. Figuratively speaking, a fight without rules – a battle royal.

  3. 'Arms twisting and intimidation'

    The Americans and their allies got used to being privileged, but "when this comfortable system started shaking, when their competitors grew some muscle, the ambitions and the desire to maintain its dominance at all cost got the better" of the West.

    "States that previously advocated the principles of freedom of trade, fair and open competition, started speaking the language of trade wars and sanctions, blatant economic raiding, arm twisting, intimidation, eliminating competitors by so-called non-market methods."

  4. "Waging first technological war of digital era"

    Putin delved into "the situation around the company Huawei," which saw its products and services banned in the US over unsubstantiated claims of spying for the Chinese government.

    There are attempts being made not just to put it under pressure, but to brazenly force it out of the global market. In some circles, this is even called the first technological war of the coming digital era.

    The rapid digital transformation was seemingly aimed at "opening new horizons for everyone, who is ready for the change," but the moves by Washington show that "barriers are being erected here too" and it's a reason for serious concern.

    The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is also under fire from the US, despite being in line with the national interests of Russia and all participating European nations. "But it doesn't fit the logic and the interests of those, who got used to [their] own exceptionalism and permissiveness; who got used to their bills being paid by others."

  5. 'Unjust system will never be stable'

    The US push for monopoly propels the problem of inequality to "a new level" both on state and individual level. "An attempt is being made to create two worlds, separated from each other by a constantly expanding abyss. When one has access to state-of-the-art systems of education and healthcare as well as modern technologies, while the others have no perspectives, no chance to even get out of poverty and the third – simply left fighting for survival."

  6. Any system based on obvious injustice will never be stable and balanced.

See also:

[Jun 18, 2019] Wikileaks CIA Stole Russian Malware, Uses It to Misdirect Attribution of Cyber Attacks

Notable quotes:
"... So perhaps the DNC was hacked by the CIA and it was blamed on the Russians. ..."
"... How can we trust any investigation when the investigation can be doctored to scapegoat Russia? This is embarrassing. ..."
"... Clapper is a known perjurer. ..."
"... Of course it was the Obama CIA, pros like the Russians or Chinese, never leave behind "fingerprints" they are smart enough to cover their tracks. As a cyber analyst I can tell you that when you see "fingerprints or breadcrumbs" leading to a source, it's usually deceptive and intentional. Let that sink in! ..."
Jun 12, 2019 | russia-insider.com

From the Wikileaks "Year Zero" dump:

The CIA's Remote Devices Branch 's UMBRAGE group collects and maintains a substantial library of attack techniques 'stolen' from malware produced in other states including the Russian Federation.

With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the "fingerprints" of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from.

UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques.

Everyone knew it. Now we have proof. "Fingerprints" are meaningless. It's now clear that the CIA is able to "pose" as "Russian hackers" whenever it so chooses. Just something to think about. All allegations of "digital fingerprints" left behind by Russian hackers must now be dismissed as either fake or meaningless


ChasMoDee 2 years ago ,

So perhaps the DNC was hacked by the CIA and it was blamed on the Russians.

Disco Obama ChasMoDee 2 years ago ,

How can we trust any investigation when the investigation can be doctored to scapegoat Russia? This is embarrassing.

disqus_ayvQwhvS6h Disco Obama 2 years ago ,

Since 2002. You sheep have had the wool pulled over since 2002. It's been 15 years. Imagine how much you won't find out til the next 15.

Tom 2 years ago ,

So the CIA obtained FISA Warrants for the millions of devices hacked? Guess we now know how Trump Tower was wiretapped when DNI Clapper said there was no such order given.

JackBootedThug✓ Tom 2 years ago ,

Clapper is a known perjurer.

American Freeman 2 years ago ,

Now we know how Obama's administration got through the FISA Court to tape Trump.

4ever&anon 2 years ago ,

So! It now becomes clear what Obama and the Democrats were planning for the Trump Administration. They could hack away at anything and everything and leave Russian "fingerprints" to make it appear that the Russians did it. It's really no telling what is already planted. Thst's why some Democrat's seem so supremely confident that Trump will be impeached.

I don't think that it's really sunk in for most people that this was a plan for World Domination by a force more evil than the average person could ever imagine. We're still in grave danger but thank Heaven for Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Not only have they saved America but perhaps the whole world from domination that heretofore couldn't even be imagined except in science fiction.

Our problem will now be how to build enough gallows to accomodate the traitors and seditionists who have participated in this dark plan.

Mike John Elissen 2 years ago ,

Hysteria in Oceania. The same goons blaming Russia for robbing the local candy store (without producing evidence) are robbing the candy factory 24/7. All of a sudden, the MSM has found issues and terms like `non-verified documents` and `non-verifiable, anonymous sources` to be of the utmost importance, in contrast to when they were copy-pasting the ` information` about Russian hacking. I wonder how much time it takes for the Ministries of Information and their docile press-clowns to (again) turn the story around and blame WikiLeaks for being a `Russian tool` to discard their own obvious crimes.

Elevator2TheTop 2 years ago ,

This whole Russian hacking thing is sounding more and more like the anti-Muslim video that sparked the Benghazi attacks.

Bad Hombre 2 years ago ,

They wiretapped the entire Trump team thinking they would come up with an October surprise...and found NOTHING. If they had ANYTHING, it would have been used prior to the election. And, since Hillary was supposed to win, the illegal wire taps would never have been disclosed.

Now Trump has exposed the Obama admin and democrats are hyperventilating over Russia to deflect from the crimes they committed.

ruadh Bad Hombre 2 years ago ,

We always knew that, were told we were crazy, now we have proof. The MSM has been gas-lighting us. I wonder how many red pills you have to swallow to get to the other side of this Rabbit Hole?

middleclasstaxpayer 2 years ago ,

It seems our government really is the most corrupt entity on this planet.

lou Guest 2 years ago ,

Well BO moved to Washington so it will be easy for the Press to shout these questions at him at his home or a restaurant or a ballgame. We need answers BO, and right now. No BS. anymore. Or go back to Indonesia and hide out.

Peter Shoobridge ن ruadh 2 years ago ,

It's really not fun. The intelligence agencies are unaccountable and cloak their criminality with the secrecy of national security. They're not going to back down. They're ruthless. And they kill people for sport. This will not end well unless the military is called in to round them up, which has huge risks of its own...

TGFD 2 years ago ,

TGFD here.
As far as I'm concerned. death becomes anyone in the effing CIA. Same goes for their parasitic family members. Death's image would look good on them.
There is NO secret in the CIA that I would not expose if I could.

I never heard of the term, "Deep State" prior to 2 months ago, and I don't like what I hear, either. I pray that somehow, God will enable TRUMP to vanquish all the filth in the deep state.

William Dickerson 2 years ago ,

I knew it - the documents I looked over, the IP addresses I checked, the supposed "malware" that the US said "was the same as we know Russia had used" and more - and it just did not add up.

Now to be sure the American population is dumb when it comes to technology - and they usually blindly believe what the CIA, and media, tells them. But me - being in IT for some decades and having worked with Russian people for 6 years (in an electronics engineering company founded by a Russian immigrant to the U.S.) and being a network security administrator for a small government agency, something smelled odd.

The IP addresses - hahaha - really? Try again - up until the spring of 2016 American company Verizon routed 1 million stolen IP addresses - used by cyber-criminals in the USA........ so guess where some of those IP addresses REALLY belonged. Further, the "CIA" and other spooks included - honestly? TOR exit node addresses. If you use TOR browser, you will find some of those same addresses in your own logs (unless you are smart and either purge or don't log, etc.)
So try again, U.S. spooks - the malware? HAHA - what a JOKE. Really. I mean older software that John Q. Public can download for FREE? Sorry, Russians are far far smarter and they'd not use OLD software that works on WordPress based on PHP servers when the target isn't based on blogging software.

Sorry, silly Americans - including and especially McCain and others in our congress who are, say what? members of INTELLIGENCE committees? Really?

You help guide the intelligence and security operations of a major country and you fall for the BS that was presented to you? Did you not ask questions? I did - I did my own research and I guess that proves I'm as smart or smarter than any member of and house or Senate intelligence committee. Do these people even know where the power button is on their computer? Smart - they hire unvetted IT people to take care of congressional computers....... and some of the equipment ends up missing, and these people have full free access as admins to computers used by congressional members of armed services committees and more!

That's how smart our U.S. congress is. Hire your brother-in-laws IT geek, give 'em full admin access, let them come and go freely........... and fall for intelligence reports about Russian hacking...... all the while our own CIA is doing MORE and WORSE.

While this topic is still fresh (thanks to the Democrats) - election interference - Election or campaign interference scores according to political scientist Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University: Russia - 36 times, U.S.A - 81 times

The USA's score number doesn't include military coups and regime change efforts following the election of candidates the U.S. didn't like, notably those in Iran, Guatemala and Chile. Nor does it include general assistance with the electoral process, such as election monitoring.

So who exactly is it that interferes or "Helps" with elections? Yeah, I thought so.

President Vladimir Putin must go home each night shaking his head in disbelief at how gullible we are here.

By the way - Podesta was NOT HACKED. He fell for a simple phishing scam. Yes, the email wasn't even very well done. It appeared more like it came out of Nigeria than any professional group, it was lame, didn't even look real, didn't sound real and the URL or link was so obvious, geesh, a fool could have seen it was phishing. Oh, wait, we're talking Podesta here. The man gave away his password (which for a while was indeed 'password'. Worse - he used what for his campaign work? Did you say GMAIL? You have to be kidding! A free consumer email, based in the cloud, and not only that, at least 3 others had account access to his Gmail. He kept documents, calendar, task lists and more in it. The phishing scammer got access to his Gmail inbox, sent items, attachments, calendar, Google Drive, Google Docs, you name it! No hacking needed since this is CLOUD BASED. No one had to touch his computer or iPad.

I really laughed when I found in those emails the admin credentials for his Wi-Fi, and even more funny - the admin credentials for his building security system. Yes, all that in his cloud-based Gmail account. As Bugs Bunny would say- what a maroon!

No wonder he's mad and trying to blame everyone else. He has to know he was scammed and he fell for it and it was all HIS FAULT, no one else but him. Using Gmail for such important work is STUPID as it is - but then to fall for phishing. He got what he deserved, and if it was Russians, tell those teenagers congratulations! That's all it took to phish Podesta - the skill set of KIDS in their early teens.

I could go on about the stupidity involved in all of this, but won't (I hear a collective sigh of relief!)

rayg 2 years ago ,

So, did the Russians hack the election? Or did the Obama CIA hack the election and just did a pizz-poor job of it? Or perhaps Obama really did not want Hillary to win.

This might make those congressional investigations into the alleged hacking of the election by Russians a lot more interesting. That is, of course, assuming that the investigations are really about finding the truth.

Michael K rayg 2 years ago ,

Obama Hates Hillary but could not openly control her. With Trump elected he could work openly to damage his administration, and with the help of MSM demonize him, and make him look like a tool of the Russians as well as his appointees. Notice, there was no talk of Russian hacking prior to the election. The "intelligence" agencies waited for the election results to come out with their charges.

Use delaying tactics to prevent approval of appointees, attack and possibly remove approved appointees eroding confidence in the current government. With the help of RINOs delay legislation. Pay protestors to protest everything Trump does using labels such as sexist, racist, Nazi, etc.

Obama's and DNC's goal: Prevent any progress till the mid term elections and try and overturn the balance in Congress to get the liberal agenda back on track. Get poised for the 2020 election and run a more palatable candidate than Hillary.

Gonzogal Michael K 2 years ago ,

"Obama's and DNC's goal: Prevent any progress till the mid term elections and try and overturn the balance in Congress to get the liberal agenda back on track. Get poised for the 2020 election and run a more palatable candidate than Hillary."

Or, according to Obomber's club make it so that Trump "either resigns or is impeached"
http://www.zerohedge.com/ne...
http://www.zerohedge.com/ne...

Geoff Caldwell 2 years ago ,

Let's unpack this. All those rumors about the Obama's hating the Clinton's? TRUE BUT, he couldn't let DOJ go through with indictment so instead gets Clapper, Brennan and the boys to use Russian fingerprints to hack and then sits back and watches the chaos unfold. When you go back to how he got his start in Chicago its exactly how he operates.

Marsha Moore 2 years ago ,

I am furious. I read the original re CIA attempting to influence French elections. But this is CLEAR TREASON by Obama Administration. I NEVER trusted Brennen. violation for CIA to operate inside US.

rlqretired 2 years ago ,

Looks like this is an example of Obama/CIA preparation for Treason?

The thing that really pisses me off is that the factual basis for all of this criminal and treasonous activity by the Obama Administration, that is being exposed today, remains covered-up by everyone in a position of responsibility to expose it. That factual basis is that every identification document Obama has presented to prove he is a citizen of the USA is a forgery. Based upon the totality of his record as president he is an agent of foreign Islamic allegiance and everything he has done in the Middle East always ends up in favor of radical Islam and refuses to even acknowledge radical Islamic terrorism exists. The same goes for his refusal to acknowledge domestic Islamic terrorism exists.

Factual answers for these three questions will clear up why we are having this treasonous activity. (1) Why does Obama have and need a forged birth certificate as he posted on his POTUS website? (2) Why does Obama's first officially issued copy of his Selective Service Registration Card have a forged 2 digit postal stamp? (3) Why is Obama using a SS# that was first issued to someone else? These three questions must be answered by Congress as the researched information verifying forgery is readily available and will expose the basis of this treason.

Play Hide
Spyplane 2 years ago ,

Let's not forget that logging into an email server because of a weak password and getting a copy of emails does not scream CIA. Also John Podesta's email password was extremely weak. So it did not take a covert CIA hacking program to initiate. We keep hearing Russia hacked our election. Yet have ZERO proof! First the majority of election machines are decentralized and not connected to internet. There was not a single instance where vote the count was effected. This was also immediately stated by Obamas DNI. Claiming they ran a propaganda attack on Hillary Clinton is pathetic. They are claiming the American people did not see who Hillary Clinton truly was. The opposite is true.

Hillary Clinton had made her own propaganda against herself. She is who the American people see. Not what the Russians programmed Us to see. The American people made a choice based on her actions no one else's. The liberals continually attacking someone with false claims without proof is a standard Liberal / Alyinsky strategy. It requires no proof if all liberal extremist continually repeat the same attack which is then amplified by the Liberal propaganda media (CNN, MSNBC, CBS, The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC, etc)

The Russian collusion claim is the exact same scenario. Make the claim which we already knew the Trump campaign speaks with Russian diplomats. Most people in politics interact with all countries diplomat and ambassadors. So instantly the claim is impossible to debunk. The Liberal party has become a party willing to use any and all tactics to avoid listening to the American people. This whole Russian drama is created to go against what the American people voted for. The democrat party is as much a threat to The United States as Communism ever was. It has been said if fascism ever comes back to the United States it will come in the form of liberalism. So the American people have a choice.

Use common sense and stop the liberal extremist party from destroying our democracy or deal with the consequences of America becoming ineffective and divided. The majority of the Democrat party and it's supporters have become so ideologically perverted they have lost sight of morality and what America stands for.

The Russians have not hypnotized Americans to vote for Donald Trump. It wasn't possible for the Russians to manipulate voter data and yes the Trump campaign speaks with Russian diplomats.

But it was the same Russian ambassador that Obama left in the country while expelling all others. The same Russian ambassador Obama scheduled meetings with for Jeff sessions. The same rushing ambassador that all Democrat spend time with. Make a claim that's true then find a way to turn it negative.

Typical Saul Alinsky. Everyone needs to remember anything the Liberals attack someone for the opposite is true.

Today Is The Day We Get Trump Spyplane 2 years ago ,

The point of the Wikileaks is that "proof" is easily manufactured.

DanJR 2 years ago ,

And now you know that the CIA (via Obama's orders or tacit approval) was the one that created the ruse of Trump emailing a Russian bank as a pretext to persuade FISA judges to sign off on the warrants to keep surveillance on him and his contacts.

If I were Obama I'd be seeking the nearest airport and fly to any country offering asylum... it's good night, good riddance for him and the rest of the Deep State Globalists.

seanster5977 2 years ago ,

Kind of funny where this started. Remember Hillary stole a server from the government secure server facility and set it up in her basement without proper security software and monitoring for hacking. Proven. And she had idiots in her staff so stupid they used passwords like "p@ssword". Proven. So any 11 year old computer expert could have hacked that server.

And she lied about the content of the messages being transferred. Top secret and classified info was lost due to her illegal actions. But Comey gave the pig a pass.

LH 2 years ago ,

Of course it was the Obama CIA, pros like the Russians or Chinese, never leave behind "fingerprints" they are smart enough to cover their tracks. As a cyber analyst I can tell you that when you see "fingerprints or breadcrumbs" leading to a source, it's usually deceptive and intentional. Let that sink in!

[Jun 16, 2019] Trump and the Taiwan Gambit Dissident Voice

Jun 16, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

Trump and the Taiwan Gambit

by Peter Koenig / June 15th, 2019

Taiwan has become a new "eastern pivot" for Donald Trump. Against all international laws and UN charters, he is approaching Taiwan, as indicating to the world that regardless of the established world rules which make Beijing, the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), the official and legitimate Authority of China, with Taiwan being a part of China – the self-styled emperor, Mr. Trump, pretends he prefers dealing with Taiwan as an independent country. By doing so, he intends to invite others to do likewise. Trump wants to make Taiwan an 'ally' – dreaming of setting up a US base on the island, thus further encircling China. It is the old game, divide to reign. But he can't be as ignorant as to believe it will actually work. It's just one more thing to annoy PRC. Frankly, seen from a step back, it looks more like attempting to dump one of those primitive Trumpish 'diplomatic' bombshells on PRC's back. Provoking the Dragon?

Dragons can be lethal, especially if exposed to nonstop strings of insults and debasement, attacks, and threats, sanctioned with trade wars, subjecting US$ 200 billion worth of Chinese exports into the US with 25% import tax, and, mind you, Trump just issued a new threat –raising the ante to US$ 300 billion, in case China refuses to attend the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan on 28-30 June 2019. Can you imagine the insolence, ordering President Xi to attend the G20 summit?!? The man has indeed no manners, diplomatic or otherwise.

Trump further bragged on Monday, 10 June, that China will make a deal with the United States " because they're going to have to ." And what would be the deal? He never explained. He added, " China has lost trillions of dollars since he, Trump, was elected president ." Imagine this impunity in recklessness! Well, surely, President Xi Jinping will not be duped or blackmailed by Trump.

On another front, Trump threatened Mexican's new President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, AMLO for short, with a 5% tariff on Mexican agricultural exports to the United States, if illegal immigration to the US would not stop. AMLO approached President Trump with an open letter, saying that he seeks peace and not confrontation, dialogue not war, and that AMLO's government will do whatever is in its power to stop illegal migration to the US.

He stated, correctly, that a trade war would do more harm than good to both nations. Trump then dropped the threat, with worldwide publicity, to make sure his 'goodness' is recognized the world over. However, just a few days ago, Trump threatened Mexico again with the 5% tax, in case AMLO's promise doesn't hold and poor Mexicans keep illegally crossing the border into the great Promised Land (no, not Israel, but the western extension of Israel).

Of course, this tariff has nothing to do with trade. It is punishment, a sheer demonstration of supremacy. And, never mind, Trump probably doesn't understand that California's agriculture thrives on the low-wage illegal Mexican and Central American immigrants.

It is nevertheless amazing that the (western) world stands by and dares say NOTHING. The threats of sanctions seem to be effective. Anybody, or any nation that refuses to go along with Washington's thuggish criminal behavior, may be subject to punishment, be it by trade and/or financial sanctions, or outright military intervention. There is no international law, no rules of the community of nations, no political common sense that is respected by Trump and his handlers, and the world is afraid. Even though so far most of the threats have amounted to nothing more than ridiculous blabber and saber rattling.

More threats were thrown at Iran, with more sanctions and economic strangulations if Iran doesn't "behave". Actually there are hardly any explanations given what "good vs. bad behavior" would mean for the US, other than Washington's repeated empty accusations of Iran being a nuclear threat, disregarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or nuclear deal signed in 2015, freeing Iran of any further accusation of wanting to become a nuclear power (which, by the way was a farce in the first place – the subject for another essay).

This so-called nuclear deal was signed by the 5 UN Security Council members, including the US. But as we know, under pressure from Netanyahu, Trump reneged last year from the deal – and since then horrendous sanctions of economic strangulations and foreign asset confiscations – outright theft, in clear text – were imposed by the US on Iran, with ongoing pressure on the EU to do likewise. According to Trump – and his two minion mouth-pieces, Pompeo and Bolton – more are to come.

To that, Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, stated that Iran will not be blackmailed and added the philosophical observation that Trump's economic wars around the globe will eventually backfire. Well, yes. Trump's reckless playing with tariffs, sanctions and other punishments around the globe will eventually drive everybody away from dealing and trading with the US, including away from the western monetary system. It's the silver lining of the dark-dark US cloud. It's economics 101.

Propelled by German business interests (but at the same time limited by Washington [and Brussels] on what he is allowed to say), German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, visited Iran a few days ago to seek a compromise for Germany and other EU members to still hold on to the Nuclear Deal, because Germany's economy wants to deal with Iran, yet, seeking concessions from Iran that may assuage Washington. But Iran's Foreign Minister, Zarif, didn't fall for it. The meeting ended in nothing. Good so, because there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that any ally (except Israel) could do to change the Bully's mind on Iran.

Frankly, does Trump seriously believe he possesses all that power over other world leaders? Or is he, Trump, just a convenient lackey of a force much stronger behind him, a force that controls both the Pentagon and, more importantly, the western financial and banking system – the Zionist designed western dollar-based monetary system. This Ponzi scheme has been able for the last 100 years or so – and as we witness, every day more – to usurp the world, holding it hostage, with artificially created economic booms and busts, with economic sanctions, strangulations, confiscation, with the theft of nations' foreign assets and even their reserve funds, if they don't bend to the will of the self-proclaimed super power USA.

Yes, it's a fading super power, but it still has control over its forced allies and vassals – many of whom, by now are sick and tired of their ally- cum -vassal status, as they realize what their losses are. They believed in economic, diplomatic and military privileges, but are gradually awakening to reality. Progressively they see the empire as what it is, a shiny, blustering, preposterous house of cards that may come crashing down at any time. Their anger and courage of Washington's vassalic allies is slowly raising, and they will eventually break out from their repressive situation. When that happens – and Trump is hastening that moment with his erratic 'sanction-prone' behavior around the world – a grand geopolitical shift for the better may take place.

With this partial backdrop of what the globe is facing – Taiwan is just becoming the latest peon in the war for preparation of Washington's big WAR – dominating China and Russia. Making Taiwan – which is legally and by all international rules part of PRC – a US ally and vassal, would further close the US power circle around the East Asian space. Trump may believe he is moving closer to 'checkmate', dominating the formidable Russia-China alliance.

With all the flattering and roses the leaders of Taiwan may get from Trump, do they realize that their role will just be that of one more enabler to enhance the empire's dominion and increase the US's wealth by helping it steal more of the world's resources?

In the end, Taiwan may just become a mess, a chaotic island with lots of loose ends, with people pulling in different directions, as they realize that their government has been "bought" to give away their partial sovereignty and well-being, and they will raise up.

Taiwan, just look around the world! The latest example being Sudan. Orchestrated chaos is controlling Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria? And look what is being planned, so far without success, in Venezuela? Taiwan will just be another pawn on Zbigniew Brzezinski's legendary Grand Geopolitical Chessboard.

The US has been fomenting worldwide hostility against China and Russia for the last 100 years, and especially since WWII, intensified by the fake and false Cold War, made possible thanks to an all-western-dominating AngloZionist lie-propaganda machine.

We know about "Russia Gate", the never-ending bashing of President Putin and Russia. The more subtle US attempts to destabilize China have started soon after China had become fully self-sufficient and autonomous, when she gradually opened her borders to integrate into the world with exports and attracting foreign investments in the 1980's. The so-called Nixon ' ouverture ' to China, Nixon's one-week trip in 1972 to Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai, was perhaps the first attempt by Washington to use the huge Chinese market for US exports, and at the same time constraining China's rapid and foreseeable economic growth. Indeed, China grew exponentially and in 1986 gained observer status at GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), a precursor to WTO, and started negotiating membership of the World Trade Center of which she eventually became a member in 2001.

Trade, Chinese highly competitive exports was then – and is today – a key issue for the US goal of world hegemony. In anticipation or rather to prevent China from becoming a world economic powerhouse, Tiananmen Square protests were introduced in 1989. The lead-up to the so-called massacre was a huge false flag. A student protest movement, funded by the US State Department, through the infamous NED (National Endowment for Democracy – an "NGO" specialized in "regime change" operations – see also Venezuela). The 4th of June crackdown had been prepared months before, guided by the bloody hands of US Secret Services, CIA, NSA, and most probably MI6. The "students" had no common cause for the protest, just a sudden desire for more "freedom", "reforming the communist party" without citing specifics they wanted reformed.

The 4th of June 2019 anniversary of the 'massacre' 30 years ago, is used by the western media to propagate against Chinese "tyranny". The news of the massacre was repeated every hour on the hour by almost all radio and TV stations throughout Europe, lest you might forget, and the too-young-to-remember – should learn and be prepared for the coming Chinese monster. That's the goal of the corporate presstitute. And they may succeed, as sleeping people have no clue of the truth, nor are they interested in abandoning their comfort and facing the inconvenient truth.

Let's just juxtapose the forced memory of Tiananmen Square with real atrocities being perpetrated by the west, as these lines go to press. Take Yemen, devastated by the west and its proxies, chiefly Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with weapons and funding from the US, the UK and France. Yemen is a non-aggressive peaceful country. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the last 4 years of this atrocious war, most of them children and women, thousands from cholera and other water and improper hygiene related diseases; two thirds of the population suffer from famine. The related death toll is in the tens of thousands. This is exacerbated by the Red Sea Port of Hudaydah , the gateway for most of Yemen's imports, being shut by Saudi and Qatari armed forces, so that not even emergency aid enters the country. The UN calls it the largest humanitarian crisis in recent history. You hardly hear anything in the western news about this western-funded and executed atrocious mass killing.

False flags from Tiananmen Square , to 9/11, to the Ukraine Maidan, to the sporadic string of terror killings in Europe and the United States, by ISIS / IS Al-Qada and associated groups – all funded by the empire and its proxies and vassals – to the more recent 'regime change' or Color Revolution type protests in Hong Kong, the Umbrella Revolution of 2014 and street protests of the last week, with thousands of protesters in the street against a Beijing initiated extradition law to be introduced by Hong Kong's legislation are all US / western instigated, funded and guided so as to provoke and destabilize China. And foremost, demonize China in the eyes of the western world. Most western countries have extradition laws for criminals to be turned over to the jurisdiction of the country where they may have committed the crime. But that's not mentioned by the corporate lie-propaganda.

These permanent aggressions against the world power China, a world power with a pacific non-expansive life philosophy, could badly backfire. Just imagine, Beijing may eventually get sick and tired of Washington and its vassal-allies meddling in PRC's internal affairs, could easily repeal Hong Kong's semi autonomy and incorporate the city fully into the territory of the PRC – complete with Chinese laws, obligations and benefits. As simple as that. What would Washington do? What would the west do? Scream murder? Well, they do that already, so it couldn't be much worse. A military aggression on China? Hardly. The West wouldn't dare. Attacking China is attacking Russia. There is a strong alliance between the two countries, one that was made even stronger by several new agreements signed between Presidents Putin and Xi during the recent St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Similar provocations are planned and take place with Taiwan. In April 2019 the US sent two destroyers into the Taiwan Straits, claimed by mainland China as their territorial waters. Germany, which according to their armistice status' obligation of non-confrontation and non-aggression, is considering sending a war ship to join the US and French warships in an attempt to demonstrate to the world that these are international waters.

What if such provocations, rather than gathering more world recognition of Taipei's self-styled autonomy, they prompt President Xi Jinping to close in on Taiwan and actually absorb the island as a PRC owned territory? This would just conform to what Taiwan nominally already is since 25 October 1971, when the UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 declared The Peoples Republic of China as the sole legal China.

Switch to another corner of the world with a different but very much connected scenario. Early this morning, 13 June, in the Strait of Oman, about 25 km from the coast of Iran, a Japanese-owned and a Norwegian oil tanker (the owner of which is an old friend of Iran's) were attacked. Explosions and fire broke out, some seamen were injured, and 44 were actually rescued in the Gulf of Oman by Iranian ships. As of now, it is not clear what happened and who the perpetrators were. Never mind, Pompeo immediately accused Iran for the attacks – and keeps doing so, stating falsely that video evidence – never offered to be seen by the public – showed it was Iran. Why would Iran attack a Japanese oil tanker, while Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is visiting Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran on Thursday, the very day of the attacks, for talks to maintain the treaties of the Nuclear Deal?

World! Let's face it. Only an idiot will believe that Iranians are so idiotic as to attack foreign vessels in the Gulf, clients and friends of Iran. If this smells like a false flag – it is a false flag. Carried out by whom? Could be the Saudis, Israel, the Emirates, Mossad, the CIA, MI6 any one of the puppet allies of the emperor.

People, where are we going? As a result of this incident oil prices rose immediately by up to 4% for fear that worse might happen, namely that Iran might close the Strait of Hormuz through which about 25% of the world's hydrocarbon are shipped. A closure could have oil prices jump to USD$ 200 / barrel or more – and sink the world in the worst recession of recent history. In the meantime, Wall Street bankers, notably Goldman Sachs, who have ample experience with oil price manipulation, are already playing with oil futures which under such a scenario could bring them hundreds of billions while the rest of the world goes belly up.

On another, but very much related topic: Many, especially unaligned countries, are losing trust in the US and especially in the US-dollar. They are quietly switching their reserves to Chinese yuans and / or gold. Trump's handlers know about it. They may be contemplating as a last resort a new kind of gold standard. Losing out on dollar hegemony is one of the reasons they are pushing The Donald into a trade war with China. The (US) expectation is that a trade war with China would debase the Chinese currency, thereby discredit it and make it unattractive as a reserve money.

Creating a conflict between PRC and Taiwan, might, from a US point of view, have the same effect, degrading the yuan, in addition to bringing other Asian countries on board, those who are themselves worried about their territorial waters; i.e., the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia.

And yet, in an opposite corner of the world, namely in the swamp of Washington, the same Pompeo who just found another reason to increase sanctions on Iran, is utterly upset that his plans in Venezuela didn't work out, because the stupid opposition cannot unite, cannot be trusted. That would leave only the 'military option' on the table – but that military option is too risky with Venezuela being supported by her strong allies, Russia and China.

Friends – what you must be aware of – all the dots of conflicts, wars, threats, harassments, false flags, sanctions and otherwise punishments, lies and lies and lies around the world, are dots that must be connected. Only then will you get the Big Picture – and to understand the Big Picture is crucial. It is at once hilarious for the phantasy it portrays and catastrophic for the danger it presents. For the owners of this Big Picture, the Washington Swamp and Israel, it represents the illusion and desire to achieve the US-Pentagon-Banking plan within the PNAC (), a wishful thinking of Full Spectrum Dominance.

This Big Picture is best portrayed by Chris Black's latest master piece: This Outlaw Power: America's Intent is to Dominate China, Russia and the World .

• First published by the New Eastern Outlook .

[Jun 16, 2019] When false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies.

Jun 16, 2019 | www.politico.com

Leda Cosmides at the University of California, Santa Barbara, points to her work with her colleague John Tooby on the use of outrage to mobilize people: "The campaign was more about outrage than about policies," she says. And when a politician can create a sense of moral outrage, truth ceases to matter. People will go along with the emotion, support the cause and retrench into their own core group identities. The actual substance stops being of any relevance.

Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies.

... ... ...

As the 19th-century Scottish philosopher Alexander Bain put it, “The great master fallacy of the human mind is believing too much.” False beliefs, once established, are incredibly tricky to correct. A leader who lies constantly creates a new landscape, and a citizenry whose sense of reality may end up swaying far more than they think possible.

[Jun 15, 2019] U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia s Power Grid by David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth

Comments published by NYT draw a very sad picture of paranoid, brainwashed society. Very few critical comments (less then a dozen), while number of jingoistic and otherwise stupid comments is in the hundreds). This is very sad, if not tragic.
Petty CIA-controlled provocateurs from Grey Prostitute. Hacking national grid means war.. Bolton needs to be fired for jingoism and stupidity.
I am pretty sure that two of those warmongering neocons David E. Sanger Nicole Perlroth ( MadCow disease.
Do those two presstitutes and their handlers accurately calculated possible reaction from Moscow on such "revelations"?
From comments: "It is horrible to think that we have our of control counterintelligence agencies with their own agenda operating as independent forces capable of dragging the country into international conflict "
From comments: "Aggressive malware intrusions into foreign countries' sensitive (and sovereign) computer systems is now seen as a standard security procedure. "Gunboat diplomacy" is not an apt metaphor, as gunboats remained at discreet distances from borders. Our cyber policy is more akin to placing bombs in the public squares of foreign cities with threats to detonate. "
Notable quotes:
"... But in a public appearance on Tuesday, President Trump's national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the United States was now taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort "to say to Russia, or anybody else that's engaged in cyberoperations against us, 'You will pay a price.'" ..."
"... Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place "implants" -- software code that can be used for surveillance or attack -- inside the Russian grid. ..."
"... Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction -- and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister. ..."
"... The intent of the operations was described in different ways by several current and former national security officials. Some called it "signaling" Russia, a sort of digital shot across the bow. Others said the moves were intended to position the United States to respond if Mr. Putin became more aggressive. ..."
"... Already, such attacks figure in the military plans of many nations. In a previous post, General Nakasone had been deeply involved in designing an operation code-named Nitro Zeus that amounted to a war plan to unplug Iran if the United States entered into hostilities with the country. ..."
"... How Mr. Putin's government is reacting to the more aggressive American posture described by Mr. Bolton is still unclear. "It's 21st-century gunboat diplomacy," said Robert M. Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas, who has written extensively about the shifting legal basis for digital operations. "We're showing the adversary we can inflict serious costs without actually doing much. We used to park ships within sight of the shore. Now, perhaps, we get access to key systems like the electric grid." ..."
"... successful attack on Iranian centrifuges as one example ..."
"... Not willing to discuss it with the President but happy to chat about it with reporters..? ..."
"... This scenario sounds like something straight out of Dr, Strangelove. All sides and all actors need to realize that this is a no win game, with the very real possibility of serious harm to the lives and livelihoods of millions of people hanging in the balance. ..."
"... It's a macho power game that can easily escalate into unintended and out-of-control consequences. As with prior successful nuclear test ban negotiations & treaties we need to step back and consider what's truly in the long-term national interests of all concerned. The citizens of all the countries involved are not pawns to be played with like disposable chess pieces, in a power game with no real winners. ..."
"... This turn of events is truly disturbing, as it presents the seriousness, now, of how cyberwar is more likely a prelude to actual war ..."
"... Restated, the Commander In Chief is not briefed on military operations for fear of betrayal. I feel like I'm going nuts. Someone please tell me what is going on in this country! ..."
Jun 15, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

WASHINGTON -- The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia's electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said.

In interviews over the past three months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia's grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow's disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections.

Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue, after years of public warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. that Russia has inserted malware that could sabotage American power plants, oil and gas pipelines, or water supplies in any future conflict with the United States.

But it also carries significant risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow. Advertisement

The administration declined to describe specific actions it was taking under the new authorities, which were granted separately by the White House and Congress last year to United States Cyber Command, the arm of the Pentagon that runs the military's offensive and defensive operations in the online world.

But in a public appearance on Tuesday, President Trump's national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the United States was now taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort "to say to Russia, or anybody else that's engaged in cyberoperations against us, 'You will pay a price.'"

Power grids have been a low-intensity battleground for years. Since at least 2012, current and former officials say, the United States has put reconnaissance probes into the control systems of the Russian electric grid. But now the American strategy has shifted more toward offense, officials say, with the placement of potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before. It is intended partly as a warning, and partly to be poised to conduct cyberstrikes if a major conflict broke out between Washington and Moscow.

The commander of United States Cyber Command, Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, has been outspoken about the need to "defend forward" deep in an adversary's networks to demonstrate that the United States will respond to the barrage of online attacks aimed at it. President Trump's national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the United States was taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort to warn anybody "engaged in cyberoperations against us." Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

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President Trump's national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the United States was taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort to warn anybody "engaged in cyberoperations against us." Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

"They don't fear us," he told the Senate a year ago during his confirmation hearings.

But finding ways to calibrate those responses so that they deter attacks without inciting a dangerous escalation has been the source of constant debate.

Mr. Trump issued new authorities to Cyber Command last summer, in a still-classified document known as National Security Presidential Memoranda 13, giving General Nakasone far more leeway to conduct offensive online operations without receiving presidential approval.

But the action inside the Russian electric grid appears to have been conducted under little-noticed new legal authorities, slipped into the military authorization bill passed by Congress last summer. The measure approved the routine conduct of "clandestine military activity" in cyberspace, to "deter, safeguard or defend against attacks or malicious cyberactivities against the United States."

Under the law, those actions can now be authorized by the defense secretary without special presidential approval.

"It has gotten far, far more aggressive over the past year," one senior intelligence official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity but declining to discuss any specific classified programs. "We are doing things at a scale that we never contemplated a few years ago."

The critical question -- impossible to know without access to the classified details of the operation -- is how deep into the Russian grid the United States has bored. Only then will it be clear whether it would be possible to plunge Russia into darkness or cripple its military -- a question that may not be answerable until the code is activated. Sign Up for On Politics With Lisa Lerer

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Both General Nakasone and Mr. Bolton, through spokesmen, declined to answer questions about the incursions into Russia's grid. Officials at the National Security Council also declined to comment but said they had no national security concerns about the details of The New York Times's reporting about the targeting of the Russian grid, perhaps an indication that some of the intrusions were intended to be noticed by the Russians.

Speaking on Tuesday at a conference sponsored by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Bolton said: "We thought the response in cyberspace against electoral meddling was the highest priority last year, and so that's what we focused on. But we're now opening the aperture, broadening the areas we're prepared to act in."

He added, referring to nations targeted by American digital operations, "We will impose costs on you until you get the point." Gen. Paul Nakasone, the commander of United States Cyber Command, was given more leeway to conduct offensive online operations without obtaining presidential approval.

Gen. Paul Nakasone, the commander of United States Cyber Command, was given more leeway to conduct offensive online operations without obtaining presidential approval. Credit Erin Schaff for The New York Times

Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place "implants" -- software code that can be used for surveillance or attack -- inside the Russian grid.

Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction -- and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.

Because the new law defines the actions in cyberspace as akin to traditional military activity on the ground, in the air or at sea, no such briefing would be necessary, they added.

The intent of the operations was described in different ways by several current and former national security officials. Some called it "signaling" Russia, a sort of digital shot across the bow. Others said the moves were intended to position the United States to respond if Mr. Putin became more aggressive.

So far, there is no evidence that the United States has actually turned off the power in any of the efforts to establish what American officials call a "persistent presence" inside Russian networks, just as the Russians have not turned off power in the United States. But the placement of malicious code inside both systems revives the question of whether a nation's power grid -- or other critical infrastructure that keeps homes, factories, and hospitals running -- constitutes a legitimate target for online attack.

Already, such attacks figure in the military plans of many nations. In a previous post, General Nakasone had been deeply involved in designing an operation code-named Nitro Zeus that amounted to a war plan to unplug Iran if the United States entered into hostilities with the country.

How Mr. Putin's government is reacting to the more aggressive American posture described by Mr. Bolton is still unclear. "It's 21st-century gunboat diplomacy," said Robert M. Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas, who has written extensively about the shifting legal basis for digital operations. "We're showing the adversary we can inflict serious costs without actually doing much. We used to park ships within sight of the shore. Now, perhaps, we get access to key systems like the electric grid."

Russian intrusion on American infrastructure has been the background noise of superpower competition for more than a decade.

A successful Russian breach of the Pentagon's classified communications networks in 2008 prompted the creation of what has become Cyber Command. Under President Barack Obama, the attacks accelerated. But Mr. Obama was reluctant to respond to such aggression by Russia with counterattacks, partly for fear that the United States' infrastructure was more vulnerable than Moscow's and partly because intelligence officials worried that by responding in kind, the Pentagon would expose some of its best weaponry.

At the end of Mr. Obama's first term, government officials began uncovering a Russian hacking group, alternately known to private security researchers as Energetic Bear or Dragonfly. But the assumption was that the Russians were conducting surveillance, and would stop well short of actual disruption.

That assumption evaporated in 2014, two former officials said, when the same Russian hacking outfit compromised the software updates that reached into hundreds of systems that have access to the power switches.

"It was the first stage in long-term preparation for an attack," said John Hultquist, the director of intelligence analysis at FireEye, a security company that has tracked the group.

In December 2015, a Russian intelligence unit shut off power to hundreds of thousands of people in western Ukraine. The attack lasted only a few hours, but it was enough to sound alarms at the White House.

A team of American experts was dispatched to examine the damage, and concluded that one of the same Russian intelligence units that wreaked havoc in Ukraine had made significant inroads into the United States energy grid, according to officials and a homeland security advisory that was not published until December 2016. Advertisement

"That was the crossing of the Rubicon," said David J. Weinstein, who previously served at Cyber Command and is now chief security officer at Claroty, a security company that specializes in protecting critical infrastructure.

In late 2015, just as the breaches of the Democratic National Committee began, yet another Russian hacking unit began targeting critical American infrastructure, including the electricity grid and nuclear power plants. By 2016, the hackers were scrutinizing the systems that control the power switches at the plants. In 2012, the defense secretary at the time, Leon E. Panetta, was warned of Russia's online intrusions, but President Barack Obama was reluctant to respond to such aggression by Moscow with counterattacks. Credit Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

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In 2012, the defense secretary at the time, Leon E. Panetta, was warned of Russia's online intrusions, but President Barack Obama was reluctant to respond to such aggression by Moscow with counterattacks. Credit Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

Until the last few months of the Obama administration, Cyber Command was largely limited to conducting surveillance operations inside Russia's networks. At a conference this year held by the Hewlett Foundation, Eric Rosenbach, a former chief of staff to the defense secretary and who is now at Harvard, cautioned that when it came to offensive operations "we don't do them that often." He added, "I can count on one hand, literally, the number of offensive operations that we did at the Department of Defense."

But after the election breaches and the power grid incursions, the Obama administration decided it had been too passive.

Mr. Obama secretly ordered some kind of message-sending action inside the Russian grid, the specifics of which have never become public. It is unclear whether much was accomplished.

"Offensive cyber is not this, like, magic cybernuke where you say, 'O.K., send in the aircraft and we drop the cybernuke over Russia tomorrow,'" Mr. Rosenbach said at the conference, declining to discuss specific operations.

After Mr. Trump's inauguration, Russian hackers kept escalating attacks.

Mr. Trump's initial cyberteam decided to be far more public in calling out Russian activity. In early 2018, it named Russia as the country responsible for " the most destructive cyberattack in human history ," which paralyzed much of Ukraine and affected American companies including Merck and FedEx.

When General Nakasone took over both Cyber Command and the N.S.A. a year ago, his staff was assessing Russian hackings on targets that included the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation , which runs a nuclear power plant near Burlington, Kan., as well as previously unreported attempts to infiltrate Nebraska Public Power District's Cooper Nuclear Station, near Brownville. The hackers got into communications networks, but never took over control systems.

In August, General Nakasone used the new authority granted to Cyber Command by the secret presidential directive to overwhelm the computer systems at Russia's Internet Research Agency -- the group at the heart of the hacking during the 2016 election in the United States. It was one of four operations his so-called Russia Small Group organized around the midterm elections. Officials have talked publicly about those, though they have provided few details.

But the recent actions by the United States against the Russian power grids, whether as signals or potential offensive weapons, appear to have been conducted under the new congressional authorities.

As it games out the 2020 elections, Cyber Command has looked at the possibility that Russia might try selective power blackouts in key states, some officials said. For that, they said, they need a deterrent.

In the past few months, Cyber Command's resolve has been tested. For the past year, energy companies in the United States and oil and gas operators across North America discovered their networks had been examined by the same Russian hackers who successfully dismantled the safety systems in 2017 at Petro Rabigh, a Saudi petrochemical plant and oil refinery.

The question now is whether placing the equivalent of land mines in a foreign power network is the right way to deter Russia. While it parallels Cold War nuclear strategy, it also enshrines power grids as a legitimate target.

"We might have to risk taking some broken bones of our own from a counterresponse, just to show the world we're not lying down and taking it," said Robert P. Silvers, a partner at the law firm Paul Hastings and former Obama administration official. "Sometimes you have to take a bloody nose to not take a bullet in the head down the road." David E. Sanger reported from Washington, and Nicole Perlroth from San Francisco


Bitsy Fort Collins, CO 6h ago Times Pick

See the Zero Days documentary, available on several streaming services, if you want to better understand this issue and its origins and early applications (successful attack on Iranian centrifuges as one example). This cat has been out of the bag for some time.
Dubliner Dublin 6h ago Times Pick
Not willing to discuss it with the President but happy to chat about it with reporters..? If the President didn't know about it he does now, so it's hardly a successful strategy. I would presume this is more a way to convince the public that something is being done. Whether there is reality behind it is a different issue.
Stan Chaz Brooklyn,New York 6h ago Times Pick
This scenario sounds like something straight out of Dr, Strangelove. All sides and all actors need to realize that this is a no win game, with the very real possibility of serious harm to the lives and livelihoods of millions of people hanging in the balance.

It's a macho power game that can easily escalate into unintended and out-of-control consequences. As with prior successful nuclear test ban negotiations & treaties we need to step back and consider what's truly in the long-term national interests of all concerned. The citizens of all the countries involved are not pawns to be played with like disposable chess pieces, in a power game with no real winners.

David Henderson Arlington, VA 6h ago Times Pick
On the cyber playing field, the U.S. has so far shown itself still in the minor leagues against other nations. If the U.S. is so bold as to reveal action against Russia's power grid, we'd be best advised to stock up on candles and batteries.
B. Rothman NYC 6h ago Times Pick
And here is yet another reason for the US to get off the use of public utilities alone for the production of electricity. A big goal for national security ought to be the decentralization of electrical production. Businesses and many individual households could do this and create a manufacturing boom at the same time. Too bad the guys in charge are so fixated on making energy money in way only.
newsmaned Carmel IN 6h ago Times Pick
What's most disturbing about this article is that Trump hasn't been told much about it, out of concern he could screw it up. It raises the question of how much the president is actually The President or just an obstacle to be managed while parts of the federal government are haring off on their own into uncharted waters.
TMah Salt Lake City 10h ago Times Pick
The US Military revealing that they have done this means that they believe that they have established superiority with this malware, and also the ability to re-establish it if needed. Else, why would they reveal it. If you think what a patchwork the controls on US Power systems, dams, and other key infrastructure are, Russia's must be in much worse shape. Their national systems are likely made up largely of outdated infrastructure, with controls that are a patchwork. Their economy is the size of Italy's, yet they funnel inordinate amounts of money to their armed forces, starving other areas. Their economy is based on petroleum and natural gas, using technology and expertise from European and American companies --just imagine what opportunities that provides.
Bruce1253 San Diego 10h ago Times Pick
We are extremely vulnerable here. The US power grid is made up of a series of local systems that are tied together with high voltage interconnects that allow power to be sent from one system to another to balance loads. Those interconnects are powered by a few, very few, specialized transformers.

These transformers are huge, expensive, and take a long time to build. Disruption of these transformers would have devastating consequences. Several years ago we got a taste of this in SoCal. There was a region wide power outage. The back up generators for business's promptly kicked in, no problem. The power outage lasted longer than their fuel supply, you could not drive to the gas station to get more fuel, all of SoCal was without power. One by one these businesses and other critical operations shutdown. Now try to imagine you life with no power at all for just a short time, say a week. . . .

Telly55 St Barbara 10h ago Times Pick
This turn of events is truly disturbing, as it presents the seriousness, now, of how cyberwar is more likely a prelude to actual war. But what it most alarming is that we have a President who cannot be trusted to honor the institutional frameworks around National Security and our own Intelligence Institutions and organization. It is the height of incredulity to know that his narcissism, coupled with his sense of authoritarian marriage to wealth and delusions of Royalty, is the weakest point, now, in our security as a nation. So--given these new developments: what about all those earlier attempt to create "back channels" with Russia???

Does Trump feign arrogance and disinterest in reading and keeping up on Security and Intelligence briefings--so that he can assimilate what he chooses to "hear/grasp" and then operate on such information as it might fit is grifter family's greed and faux aristocratic delusions? There is much to worry us--and it is worse than daily lies...

William Romp, Vermont | June 15

It is telling that the language of military "defense" has become indistinguishable from that of military offense. Aggressive malware intrusions into foreign countries' sensitive (and sovereign) computer systems is now seen as a standard security procedure. "Gunboat diplomacy" is not an apt metaphor, as gunboats remained at discreet distances from borders. Our cyber policy is more akin to placing bombs in the public squares of foreign cities with threats to detonate.

Absent in this discussion is the distinction between military targets of cyber warfare and civilian targets, if such distinctions remain. America prepares to unplug millions of Russian citizens, including the elderly and children, plus hospitals and other sensitive civilian infrastructure targets, in order to "inflict pain" (on foreign citizens) and "send a message" (to foreign politicians). The abandonment of moral principles formerly displayed by American institutions is striking.

The failure of leadership on all sides is even more striking. Having spent many months in Russia and China I can tell you (as can anyone who has travelled beyond the tourist destinations) that the people there hold largely positive feelings toward Americans and other foreigners. A small minority of xenophobes and racists dominate the leadership, as in America, and form foreign policies that are at odds with the citizenship, at odds with moral justice, and at odds with humanity.

Viv, .|10h ago

@William Romp

In the abstract, of course people hold positive views of their "enemy" nations. In practice, it is not at all true.

You don't need to travel to Russia to find Russians who have been victims of American xenophobia and bigotry. They're right there in America.

Americans has never really held to "moral" standards of war.

To this day you have people believing that dropping atomic bombs on civilians was the right thing to do because it "minimized" loss of life. This is absurd.

To this day you have people believing that it was okay to not only finance the mujahadeen in Afghanistan, but indoctrinate their children to be war fighters.

There's nothing to be proud about this "moral" leadership.

Tim Rutledge, California | June 15

Won't they just do the same to us? This is the strategy?

DaWill, 11 hours ago

"Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction - and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister."

Restated, the Commander In Chief is not briefed on military operations for fear of betrayal. I feel like I'm going nuts. Someone please tell me what is going on in this country!

Carlos Fiancé Oak Park, Il | June 15
I appreciate this article. The US media breathlessly report on Russia spending a few hundred thousand on Facebook, but rarely do they recount all the ways the US meddles with Russia, as well as a host of other countries. "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone", as Jesus (doubtfully) said.

Pete, CA|11h ago, @HonorB14U

Actually, everything you could think of in American 'technology' is the result of government, usually military, development projects. The internet and everything associated with it came out of DARPA. American advances in solid state integrated circuitry are the results of satellite, rocketry, i.e. military development.

Castanet, MD-DC-VA | June 15

Another theatre of war where Pandora's unintended consequences plays a major role. We hope the better angels will be able to keep the balance. And put the lid back on the box, and put the box away forever.

Norman, NYC|9h ago

@TMah

Outdated infrastructure is less vulnerable to cyberattacks. It's not connected to the internet. It's like the railroads in Atlas Shrugged. When the latest technology is left dysfunctional, you can go back to the manual controls.

If I was designing digital equipment that's so complicated it's essentially a black box and you can't understand what's going on inside, I'd design it with a fallback to simpler controls, even manual controls.

C.O., Germany|11h ago

For me it is really amazing that so many believe in the meddling of Russia in the US-election in 2016. I at least have never seen or read about concrete evidence that they did. What was apparent, however, was the misuse of social media like Facebook and Co in the election. They are open to everyone who can speak English, and everyone can use fake names. I am sure there were indeed waves of misinformation among voters in the US. But every reasonable person could have read American newspapers or watched American television to correct fake news if they pop up. In addition, I think that FoxNews, Trump's and Steve Bannon's disruptive and manipulative ideology and the massive campaign funds have been much more effective for Trump's victory. To blame it all on Russia is really too simple and in the end rather dangerous. To call for "persistent presence" inside Russian and its digital systems, as Bolton does, moreover shows that the US is not an innocent victim but up to the state of art. Frightening.

N. Smith, New York City|6h ago

It speaks volumes that Donald Trump was not informed and purposely kept out of the loop about these cyber operations against Russia's power grid.
But it's not surprising.

Especially when only a few days ago before walking it back, this President said that he'd have no problem taking advantage of any available information to undercut his opponent, obviously forgetting that Russia already took him up this invitation in the 2016 elections.

No doubt they're primed to do it again. Sooner or later Americans will come to the realization that Vladimir Putin is an ex-KGB operative who plans to restore Russia to its former Soviet glory. And the Cold War never ended.

Phil, Brooklyn | 4h ago

So your argument is that it's a good thing that the military is staging attacks against a nuclear power, basically without any oversight from any branch of government?

Paul, Virginia | June 15

The use of cyber attacks is another slippery road to actual shooting war. Some says that cyber warfare would deter or prevent nations from actually going to war with each other. This is wishful thinking for the national survival instinct would force a nation on the verge of being plunged into darkness and thus cyber defeat to resort to nuclear weapons or maximum conventional warfare which could easily lead to the use of nuclear weapons.
The world's leading powers should come together, discuss, and agree to a treaty outlawing the use of cyber attacks against other nations' power grids and other online systems essential for human welfare. The world cannot afford another arm race similar to the nuclear arm race after WW II that has since placed the survival of the human race on the vagaries of a few men.

Michael, Evanston, IL|June 15

@M. Casey Yes, and we have been doing it to them (and others) for some time. So it is a perfectly reasonable response to wonder if this won't simply escalate. And I hardly assume that this is a transparent process in which we will even know what is going on.

TPH, Colorado|11h ago

@David Henderson Actually, the US has been deeply involved in cyber-warfare for over nine years. In June 2010, the US attacked Iran with a cyber-attack and, together with Israel, completely took out the Iranian military nuclear facility in Natanz with the cyber-worm 'Stuxnet'. That attack destroyed over 1,000 nuclear centrifuges and pushed the Iranian nuclear program back by at least two years. The type of attacks on civilian power plants now being discussed would be a cakewalk in comparison. Nearly ten years of continuing development has taken place since -- not just in the US -- and the tech people working for and with the US government are some of the best in the world.

If the US has decided to start implanting the latest 2019 malware in the Russian power grid, they have a real reason for concern. It will be far more damaging and difficult to stop than anything the Russians have yet to develop.

[Jun 15, 2019] In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen NSA Tool Wreaks Havoc by Nicole Perlroth and Scott Shane

The idea that NonPetya was developed using NSA exploit EternalBlu is most probably false
Notable quotes:
"... Some F.B.I. and Homeland Security officials, speaking privately, said more accountability at the N.S.A. was needed. A former F.B.I. official likened the situation to a government failing to lock up a warehouse of automatic weapons. ..."
"... "I disagree completely," said Tom Burt, the corporate vice president of consumer trust, insisting that cyberweapons could not be compared to pickup trucks. "These exploits are developed and kept secret by governments for the express purpose of using them as weapons or espionage tools. They're inherently dangerous. When someone takes that, they're not strapping a bomb to it. It's already a bomb." ..."
"... Brad Smith, Microsoft's president, has called for a "Digital Geneva Convention" to govern cyberspace, including a pledge by governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than keeping them secret to exploit for espionage or attacks. ..."
May 25, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

For nearly three weeks, Baltimore has struggled with a cyberattack by digital extortionists that has frozen thousands of computers, shut down email and disrupted real estate sales, water bills, health alerts and many other services.

But here is what frustrated city employees and residents do not know: A key component of the malware that cybercriminals used in the attack was developed at taxpayer expense a short drive down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at the National Security Agency, according to security experts briefed on the case.

Since 2017, when the N.S.A. lost control of the tool , EternalBlue, it has been picked up by state hackers in North Korea, Russia and, more recently, China, to cut a path of destruction around the world, leaving billions of dollars in damage. But over the past year, the cyberweapon has boomeranged back and is now showing up in the N.S.A.'s own backyard.

It is not just in Baltimore. Security experts say EternalBlue attacks have reached a high , and cybercriminals are zeroing in on vulnerable American towns and cities, from Pennsylvania to Texas, paralyzing local governments and driving up costs. Advertisement

The N.S.A. connection to the attacks on American cities has not been previously reported, in part because the agency has refused to discuss or even acknowledge the loss of its cyberweapon, dumped online in April 2017 by a still-unidentified group calling itself the Shadow Brokers . Years later, the agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation still do not know whether the Shadow Brokers are foreign spies or disgruntled insiders.

Thomas Rid, a cybersecurity expert at Johns Hopkins University, called the Shadow Brokers episode "the most destructive and costly N.S.A. breach in history," more damaging than the better-known leak in 2013 from Edward Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor.

"The government has refused to take responsibility, or even to answer the most basic questions," Mr. Rid said. "Congressional oversight appears to be failing. The American people deserve an answer."

The N.S.A. and F.B.I. declined to comment.

Since that leak, foreign intelligence agencies and rogue actors have used EternalBlue to spread malware that has paralyzed hospitals, airports, rail and shipping operators, A.T.M.s and factories that produce critical vaccines. Now the tool is hitting the United States where it is most vulnerable, in local governments with aging digital infrastructure and fewer resources to defend themselves.

On May 7, city workers in Baltimore had their computers frozen by hackers. Officials have refused to pay the $100,000 ransom. Credit .

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On May 7, city workers in Baltimore had their computers frozen by hackers. Officials have refused to pay the $100,000 ransom. Credit .

Before it leaked, EternalBlue was one of the most useful exploits in the N.S.A.'s cyberarsenal. According to three former N.S.A. operators who spoke on the condition of anonymity, analysts spent almost a year finding a flaw in Microsoft's software and writing the code to target it. Initially, they referred to it as EternalBluescreen because it often crashed computers -- a risk that could tip off their targets. But it went on to become a reliable tool used in countless intelligence-gathering and counterterrorism missions. Advertisement

EternalBlue was so valuable, former N.S.A. employees said, that the agency never seriously considered alerting Microsoft about the vulnerabilities, and held on to it for more than five years before the breach forced its hand.

The Baltimore attack , on May 7, was a classic ransomware assault. City workers' screens suddenly locked, and a message in flawed English demanded about $100,000 in Bitcoin to free their files: "We've watching you for days," said the message, obtained by The Baltimore Sun . "We won't talk more, all we know is MONEY! Hurry up!"

Today, Baltimore remains handicapped as city officials refuse to pay, though workarounds have restored some services. Without EternalBlue, the damage would not have been so vast, experts said. The tool exploits a vulnerability in unpatched software that allows hackers to spread their malware faster and farther than they otherwise could.

North Korea was the first nation to co-opt the tool, for an attack in 2017 -- called WannaCry -- that paralyzed the British health care system, German railroads and some 200,000 organizations around the world. Next was Russia, which used the weapon in an attack -- called NotPetya -- that was aimed at Ukraine but spread across major companies doing business in the country. The assault cost FedEx more than $400 million and Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, $670 million.

The damage didn't stop there. In the past year, the same Russian hackers who targeted the 2016 American presidential election used EternalBlue to compromise hotel Wi-Fi networks. Iranian hackers have used it to spread ransomware and hack airlines in the Middle East, according to researchers at the security firms Symantec and FireEye.

"It's incredible that a tool which was used by intelligence services is now publicly available and so widely used," said Vikram Thakur, Symantec's director of security response. Sign Up for The Daily Newsletter

Every Friday, get an exclusive look at how one of the week's biggest news stories on "The Daily" podcast came together.

One month before the Shadow Brokers began dumping the agency's tools online in 2017, the N.S.A. -- aware of the breach -- reached out to Microsoft and other tech companies to inform them of their software flaws. Microsoft released a patch, but hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide remain unprotected. Microsoft employees reviewing malware data at the company's offices in Redmond, Wash. EternalBlue exploits a flaw in unpatched Microsoft software.

Hackers seem to have found a sweet spot in Baltimore, Allentown, Pa., San Antonio and other local, American governments, where public employees oversee tangled networks that often use out-of-date software. Last July, the Department of Homeland Security issued a dire warning that state and local governments were getting hit by particularly destructive malware that now, security researchers say, has started relying on EternalBlue to spread.

Microsoft, which tracks the use of EternalBlue, would not name the cities and towns affected, citing customer privacy. But other experts briefed on the attacks in Baltimore, Allentown and San Antonio confirmed the hackers used EternalBlue. Security responders said they were seeing EternalBlue pop up in attacks almost every day.

Amit Serper, head of security research at Cybereason, said his firm had responded to EternalBlue attacks at three different American universities, and found vulnerable servers in major cities like Dallas, Los Angeles and New York.

The costs can be hard for local governments to bear. The Allentown attack, in February last year, disrupted city services for weeks and cost about $1 million to remedy -- plus another $420,000 a year for new defenses, said Matthew Leibert, the city's chief information officer.

He described the package of dangerous computer code that hit Allentown as "commodity malware," sold on the dark web and used by criminals who don't have specific targets in mind. "There are warehouses of kids overseas firing off phishing emails," Mr. Leibert said, like thugs shooting military-grade weapons at random targets. Advertisement

The malware that hit San Antonio last September infected a computer inside Bexar County sheriff's office and tried to spread across the network using EternalBlue, according to two people briefed on the attack.

This past week, researchers at the security firm Palo Alto Networks discovered that a Chinese state group, Emissary Panda, had hacked into Middle Eastern governments using EternalBlue.

"You can't hope that once the initial wave of attacks is over, it will go away," said Jen Miller-Osborn, a deputy director of threat intelligence at Palo Alto Networks. "We expect EternalBlue will be used almost forever, because if attackers find a system that isn't patched, it is so useful." Adm. Michael S. Rogers, who led the N.S.A. during the leak, has said the agency should not be blamed for the trail of damage. Credit Erin Schaff for The New York Times

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Until a decade or so ago, the most powerful cyberweapons belonged almost exclusively to intelligence agencies -- N.S.A. officials used the term "NOBUS," for "nobody but us," for vulnerabilities only the agency had the sophistication to exploit. But that advantage has hugely eroded, not only because of the leaks, but because anyone can grab a cyberweapon's code once it's used in the wild.

Some F.B.I. and Homeland Security officials, speaking privately, said more accountability at the N.S.A. was needed. A former F.B.I. official likened the situation to a government failing to lock up a warehouse of automatic weapons.

In an interview in March, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, who was director of the N.S.A. during the Shadow Brokers leak, suggested in unusually candid remarks that the agency should not be blamed for the long trail of damage. Advertisement

"If Toyota makes pickup trucks and someone takes a pickup truck, welds an explosive device onto the front, crashes it through a perimeter and into a crowd of people, is that Toyota's responsibility?" he asked. "The N.S.A. wrote an exploit that was never designed to do what was done."

At Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash., where thousands of security engineers have found themselves on the front lines of these attacks, executives reject that analogy.

"I disagree completely," said Tom Burt, the corporate vice president of consumer trust, insisting that cyberweapons could not be compared to pickup trucks. "These exploits are developed and kept secret by governments for the express purpose of using them as weapons or espionage tools. They're inherently dangerous. When someone takes that, they're not strapping a bomb to it. It's already a bomb."

Brad Smith, Microsoft's president, has called for a "Digital Geneva Convention" to govern cyberspace, including a pledge by governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than keeping them secret to exploit for espionage or attacks.

Last year, Microsoft, along with Google and Facebook, joined 50 countries in signing on to a similar call by French President Emmanuel Macron -- the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace -- to end "malicious cyber activities in peacetime."

Notably absent from the signatories were the world's most aggressive cyberactors: China, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Russia -- and the United States.

[Jun 15, 2019] Two filthy NYT neocons try to provoke Russia to attack the USA power grid

Looks like NYT provocation. Coordinated with whom? With Brennan and his cabal?
I wonder what will be reaction of Russian authorities and military intelligence on reading this stupid provocation. Hopefully they will not overreact.
Notable quotes:
"... I think they're revealing it because it may be for Russian ears, but not necessarily true or as good as stated. Misinformation abounds, especially when they're letting the press in. Mass destruction anyone? In Reply to Socrates ..."
"... While Obama and Trump are obviously different in some ways, this article reveals yet another continuity between their administrations. Burgeoning attacks on a foreign country's power grid, and little need for prior approval and oversight. ..."
"... Given the timing and the decision to talk about something so classified just now, I take this to be a threat aimed at Iran. "General Nakasone had been deeply involved in designing an operation code-named Nitro Zeus that amounted to a war plan to unplug Iran if the United States entered into hostilities with the country." The leak is an escalation, a threat. ..."
"... This will not end well. The unspoken assumption behind this issue is that the US assumes it must have dominance in all relations to other countries, and that moral outrage for such acts do not apply to us, because we are the "good guys" of course. ..."
"... It's always the big-mouth in the bar that starts the bar fight, then he sneaks out the side door while the rest of us get hit with beer bottles. ..."
"... What about attaching a price to the US's misdeeds, there are plenty of them, Iraq, and all the other US forced regime changes or attempted regime change as in Syria and Venezuela. ..."
"... Giving the military the authority to decide if and when a cyber attack occurs seems unconstitutional. And it seems very dangerous. Just because the actions originate on computer networks doesn't mean it's not violence against a foreign power. Even though everyone is dancing around the issue, a cyber attack is an act of war. Congress is supposed to make decisions on attacks by the military. It seems very Dr. Strangelove-like to me. Very risky giving a military commander the authority to start a war. ..."
"... Of course, the problem with all these "implants" and zero-day exploits is that once they are out there, they are readily deconstructed, repurposed, and turned back to bite us in new form, as has already happened on numerous occasions. ..."
"... To this day you have people believing that it was okay to not only finance the mujahadeen in Afghanistan, but indoctrinate their children to be war fighters. There's nothing to be proud about this "moral" leadership. ..."
"... Sure, the US can install malware deep inside Russia's grid. But that doesn't mean that the American cyberwar gambit is effective. And it doesn't mean that the US has the capacity to prevent Russia from using malware to inflict even deeper damage on the American grid. ..."
"... To understand exactly who is probably getting the better of who in this conflict, we need to ask ourselves what motivates Russia and America to fight this conflict. The answer doesn't bode well for Americans. Russia, which has been on the defensive since the fall of the USSR three decades ago, is fighting to protect its sovereignty against American encroachment. ..."
"... We could have mandated IPV6 with its better security model twenty years ago. We could encourage end-to-end encryption to secure networks. We could have directed the NSA and other security agencies to search out and fix bugs in software libraries instead of building backdoors that are now open to everyone. Instead everything gets converted to a weapon. Fear reigns supreme. Then we go to war and the merchants of death make huge profits ..."
"... The U.S. escalates cyber attacks on Russia's power grid. However, the Pentagon [and NSA] will not brief Trump because he might "countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials" as he did before with the Russians. Folks, we're running an unchecked cyber war against a global nuclear power without the involvement of POTUS who isn't interested, doesn't care, and is too busy complaining about CNN on Twitter. We are a banana republic and no one is minding the store ..."
"... I just don't get it. The New York Times publishing what surely must be classified information about a secret incursion by the U.S. government into the Russian power grid! And Julian Assange is criminally charged for doing the same thing? ..."
"... The US is certainly a very offensive country. The US Is considered The Exceptional World Leader. I don't know if the world can survive such leadership. The US is going to drown in its military superiority, and settle into a state of violent mediocrity with a poorly educated, somewhat unhealthy citizenry with loads of of weaponry, poor mental health and lots of drug addiction and a country with the world's highest rate of incarceration and lousy infrastructure. ..."
"... And for all of those who are blaming Russia, kindly remember how the U.S. started all this with the creation and deployment of Stuxnet against Iran. ..."
"... This reminds me of the Cold War. We were sold a bill of goods about Russia's capacity to harm us when, we the US was actually the aggressor, JFK sold this under the brand of "Missile Gap". The United States is, as usual, the aggressor here. The US Empire wants to control the world. Any independent nation will be considered a threat and not be tolerated. This demonization of Russia is an embarrassment and worse, is extremely dangerous, The Russian bear is not to be trifled with, despite American fantasies. ..."
"... The world needs a Cyber Geneva Convention. Immediately if not years ago. All the tunnel vision patriotic cheering in these comments is very alarming. Think about where Cyber War could go, what it could do, who it would harm. ..."
"... This is the path to the military itself becoming a danger to the state through ill-considered unilateral action. ..."
"... "Defend forward?" A new entry in the Newspeak dictionary... We are partying like it's 1984. ..."
"... "Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction..." So the commander of United States Cyber Command, Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, decided to undertake an overt act of war and not tell his Commander in Chief because he thought he might disagree? If true, Trump should fire this guy tomorrow, if not court-martial him for insubordination. ..."
"... Something's wrong with this article. A newspaper is telling the world that the US is messing around with Russia's power grid? Shouldn't this be super confidential? Basically now Russians are allowed to re tagliate in any way for what the USA is doing. What would be the reaction of the US if the situation was reversed? A bunch of blackouts in NYC, Chicago, San Francisco and the Russians saying "we did it"? Our military would bomb them right away! ..."
"... GREAT ! A military junta within the Trump regime...what could go wrong. ..."
"... There is a real danger in deploying cyber-mines in adversary systems. All code can be broken and used in retaliation. Even so-called "encapsulated" code can be disassembled. STUXNET was disassembled and repurposed as ransom-ware. ..."
Jun 15, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

Bruce Rozenblit Kansas City, MO 11h ago

This is very disturbing and it threatens the security of the entire planet. Cyber warfare is cheap. As this technology continues to develop, no nation, no industry, no utility will be safe. Just as many nations want the bomb, many will want this capability and they don't have to spend much to have it. The economic and human costs of disrupting power flows could be huge. This isn't a video game. It is real warfare. We should be extremely cautious with the application of these cyber tools. Do we want to live in a world where nation states are actively trying to cripple any infrastructure they can get at? Talk about the war of all against all. It is also very troubling that organizations within our government can carry out these incursions without specific orders from the top of our command structures. We can't have the dept. of this or that conducting assaults on other nations on their own. Everyone can see where that aircraft carrier is, but no one can see that malware hiding in a water treatment center. These weapons cause us to lose our ability of command and control. That's the real danger here, loss of command and control. We already have president who has command but no control. We don't need a dozen agencies with the same problem.
alanore or 9h ago
@TMah

I think they're revealing it because it may be for Russian ears, but not necessarily true or as good as stated. Misinformation abounds, especially when they're letting the press in. Mass destruction anyone? In Reply to Socrates

Socrates Downtown Verona. NJ 8h ago
@Marcus Aurelius

"the action inside the Russian electric grid appears to have been conducted under little-noticed new legal authorities, slipped into the military authorization bill passed by Congress last summer. " That bipartisan bill, now law, is known as "H.R.5515 - The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019", was reluctantly signed by Donald Trump; he hated the law because it was named after an American patriot and hero that he hated.

JDM South Bend, IN June 15
While Obama and Trump are obviously different in some ways, this article reveals yet another continuity between their administrations. Burgeoning attacks on a foreign country's power grid, and little need for prior approval and oversight.
David G. Wisconsin 11h ago
How did we ever survive for half a century without putting our power grid on the internet? Get our power back off the internet, create some extra jobs to do what computers do now, raise prices a couple of percent to cover the new employees, and avoid the worry about hacking the grid. 2 Replies
Mark Thomason Clawson, MI 6h ago
Given the timing and the decision to talk about something so classified just now, I take this to be a threat aimed at Iran. "General Nakasone had been deeply involved in designing an operation code-named Nitro Zeus that amounted to a war plan to unplug Iran if the United States entered into hostilities with the country." The leak is an escalation, a threat.
William Wroblicka Northampton, MA 4h ago
It seems to be common knowledge that our country's electric grid has been infiltrated by the Russians. What I don't understand, given this situation, is why the compromised systems can't be purged of any malware that might be present and the security holes that allowed it to be installed in the first place patched.

Retail software companies (e.g., Microsoft) are finding security vulnerabilities in and releasing updates to their products all the time. What's so different about industrial software systems?

Scott Newton San Francisco , Ca 6h ago
This will not end well. The unspoken assumption behind this issue is that the US assumes it must have dominance in all relations to other countries, and that moral outrage for such acts do not apply to us, because we are the "good guys" of course. Almost anything that another country can be accused of (interfering in elections, cyber-espionage, stealing trade secrets and technology) is something almost surely done by the US first to others. I applaud the NYT for reporting this, but reporters should question the reasoning behind it a bit more. 1 Reply
itsmildeyes philadelphia 8h ago
It's always the big-mouth in the bar that starts the bar fight, then he sneaks out the side door while the rest of us get hit with beer bottles. Sure wish the bouncer had stopped DJT and his entourage at the door.
CK Rye 11h ago
@Socrates - But keep in mind: just any blue will NOT do. Reject Neoliberals without hesitation! In

Reply to Mauichuck

KC Okla 4h ago
They're what? My son graduated in 2002 and we've been at war or trying to start one ever since. Can we not do anything but build weapons of death and destruction and look for ways to put them to use? This war thing is getting out of control.
Lucy Cooke California 8h ago
@GV

What about attaching a price to the US's misdeeds, there are plenty of them, Iraq, and all the other US forced regime changes or attempted regime change as in Syria and Venezuela.

The US has wrecked lots of countries with its superior military and awesome financial clout. The US is going to drown in its military superiority, and settle into a state of violent mediocrity with a poorly educated, somewhat unhealthy citizenry with loads of of weaponry, poor mental health and lots of drug addiction and a country with the world's highest rate of incarceration and lousy infrastructure.

If the US would just drown quickly, before it destroys the livability of the world, perhaps Europe, Russia and China could cooperate enough to save the world.

Michael Chicago 11h ago
Giving the military the authority to decide if and when a cyber attack occurs seems unconstitutional. And it seems very dangerous. Just because the actions originate on computer networks doesn't mean it's not violence against a foreign power. Even though everyone is dancing around the issue, a cyber attack is an act of war. Congress is supposed to make decisions on attacks by the military. It seems very Dr. Strangelove-like to me. Very risky giving a military commander the authority to start a war. 1 Reply
LiorSamson Mass 6h ago
Of course, the problem with all these "implants" and zero-day exploits is that once they are out there, they are readily deconstructed, repurposed, and turned back to bite us in new form, as has already happened on numerous occasions.

Those of us in the cybersecurity community have been sounding the alarm for more than a decade, whether in professional papers, the general press, or in fictionalized accounts. With escalation, we are virtually inviting the Russians to mount counterattacks, the cost of which could be incalculable. Our natural gas transmission network may be even more vulnerable than our power grid, as an industry insider confessed to me prompting the writing of Gasline in 2013. Of course, now we have Trump on the trigger and...

Clearwater Oregon June 15
I can't wait until this US president is gone so that our future Executive branch can directly and positively (not out of self interest or hind-covering denial) get back to the the table with Russia and bring about real change on both sides. If we don't, one has to assume that all types of cold war warfare can lead to a thermonuclear exchange.

That has always been the potential endgame since 1948. Did you think that was no longer possible after 1991? You, like myself, were being naive. I think it's more possible now than ever before. For we have two authoritarians, each carrying a football named, Doom. 1 Reply

Viv . 11h ago
@William Romp In the abstract, of course people hold positive views of their "enemy" nations. In practice, it is not at all true. You don't need to travel to Russia to find Russians who have been victims of American xenophobia and bigotry. They're right there in America. Americans has never really held to "moral" standards of war. To this day you have people believing that dropping atomic bombs on civilians was the right thing to do because it "minimized" loss of life. This is absurd.

To this day you have people believing that it was okay to not only finance the mujahadeen in Afghanistan, but indoctrinate their children to be war fighters. There's nothing to be proud about this "moral" leadership. In Reply to Viv

Ted McGuire 3h ago
Sure, the US can install malware deep inside Russia's grid. But that doesn't mean that the American cyberwar gambit is effective. And it doesn't mean that the US has the capacity to prevent Russia from using malware to inflict even deeper damage on the American grid.

To understand exactly who is probably getting the better of who in this conflict, we need to ask ourselves what motivates Russia and America to fight this conflict. The answer doesn't bode well for Americans. Russia, which has been on the defensive since the fall of the USSR three decades ago, is fighting to protect its sovereignty against American encroachment.

The US, meanwhile, isn't fighting because it has to. America is fighting Russia simply to aggrandize its own power, and to expand its influence over world affairs. In my opinion, Russia is the power that has greater motivation to win this fight. For this reason, any American effort to defeat Russia by using cyberwarfare is likely to trigger a devastating Russian response. The US should quit while it's ahead. 1 Reply

rbitset Palo Alto 4h ago
Reagan talked about a missile shield, a Star Wars defense, that would make nuclear weapons obsolete. Almost 40 years later we know that was a pipe dream. But we can be safe in cyberspace. Many of the tools are there. A few more might need to be invented. What stands in the way? A U.S. government that wants, claims to need, to spy on everyone including its citizens stands in the way. Businesses that want to vacuum up and sell everyone's information stand in the way. Hardware companies that want to lease you a networked service instead of a stand alone device stand in the way.

We could have mandated IPV6 with its better security model twenty years ago. We could encourage end-to-end encryption to secure networks. We could have directed the NSA and other security agencies to search out and fix bugs in software libraries instead of building backdoors that are now open to everyone. Instead everything gets converted to a weapon. Fear reigns supreme. Then we go to war and the merchants of death make huge profits.

Bruce1253 San Diego 8h ago
@B. Rothman Micro grids would be helpful, yes, but what about large businesses? Say the ones who make the fuel for your home furnace, or that power the compressors for your natural gas? Or that power the giant freezers at the plant that makes your french fries? My point is that we are really interconnected, and vulnerable to attacks as described in this article. This is the kind of thing that gives the cyber security pro at you local utility nightmares. We are balanced on a ball. In Reply to Eric Peterson
Dave Madison. WI 11h ago
@M. Casey - Here we go with "timidity" and Obama. At the time, and in keeping with the strategy to withhold knowledge of our cyber reach into their systems, Obama's decision probably made sense. Such a thoughtful approach would have benefited us in the phony, "Weapons of Mass Destruction" war against Iraq, which cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. Such a thoughtful approach, which is anathema to chest-pounding chickenhawks, would have also been useful in Vietnam. And the Falklands. And Beirut. And Cuba and... In Reply to JM
Pelasgus Earth 5h ago
Electricity generation and reticulation worked perfectly satisfactorily before the internet, so why does it need to be connected to the internet? The obvious solution to attacks on systems is to cut the internet out of the equation. 2 Replies
Barbara SC 8h ago
@Bruce1253 I have lived through hurricanes that caused power outages for a week or more. Puerto Ricans can tell us just what it's like right now, given the damage they experienced recently. Our forebears lived without power for centuries. We would survive, but we wouldn't enjoy it. In Reply to Larry L
Mark Kinsler Lancaster, Ohio USA 2h ago
Some thoughts from an obsolete old power engineer:

(1) For the most part our power grid can be run by people at the substations and generating plants. There are always manual overrides--to wit: big levers with handles that actuate big switches. This is not a new development, for the systems were initially designed for manual operation. The digital relays were added later.

(2) The whole business makes power guys cringe, for they've been trained to keep the system going. But if necessary, every section of the power grid can be brought back to life by the employees.

(3) No public utility can operate reliably in a war or anywhere else that's lacking basic civil behavior. I'm surprised that cell phones have done so well in combat zones, for they rely on cables to link the towers.

JAS3rd Florida 11h ago
Overdue indeed. Unfortunately, if the U.S. doesn't do it, we would just disadvantage ourselves.
Aaron VanAlstine DuPont, WA 6h ago
The U.S. escalates cyber attacks on Russia's power grid. However, the Pentagon [and NSA] will not brief Trump because he might "countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials" as he did before with the Russians. Folks, we're running an unchecked cyber war against a global nuclear power without the involvement of POTUS who isn't interested, doesn't care, and is too busy complaining about CNN on Twitter. We are a banana republic and no one is minding the store
ldc Woodside, CA 7h ago
@Mark. Ok, but it is inconceivable that either the national security apparatus or his own advisors would have conspired to keep Obama in the dark because they didn't trust him. In Reply to Mark
Hardbop50 Ohio 4h ago
It's clear that most American, including many Times' readers don't understand Putin's strategy toward the U.S. and other democracies of western Europe. The real danger is his attack on our political system and democratic values. While an aggressive cyber defense and hardening of targets is important, cyber operations also need to undermine Russians' confidence in Putin and his government. There are plenty of ways to spread fake news and paranoia in Russia social and political media. The sanctions are our best "weapon". They hurt Russian economy and threaten wealthy oligarchs. If they didn't, why would Putin try so hard to squash them. Unfortunately, the President fails to enforce or expand them. Any guesses why he undermines sanctions?
Mike Ransmil San Bernardino June 15
that's not nice of the US.---disrupting Russia's power [grid]. They will not be happy about this. Donald can expect a phone call from Vladimir, expressing his displeasure!
Eugene NYC 6h ago
The problem, as usual is management. It is not possible underestimate management. Those of us on Long Island were without power after Sandy. In portions of The Rockaways, some 20' or more above sea level, National Grid turned off the power for 15 days. So we know what it is like to have no power. Having solar cells on the roof is no solution because LIPA / PSEG-LI REQUIRES the system to shut down if grid power drops!

But the real question must be, why is the electrical grid vulnerable? Do the control systems use PCs, or rock solid IBM z/OS architecture? Has any z/OS system ever been compromised? Why aren't individual electric systems designed to operate off the regional and therefore national grid in the event of a failure? And whatever happened to synchronous encrypted communication over secure leased lines? These problems are not difficult to solve. They only require a desire. Mr. Cuomo, are you listening?

Ross Stuart NYC 7h ago
I just don't get it. The New York Times publishing what surely must be classified information about a secret incursion by the U.S. government into the Russian power grid! And Julian Assange is criminally charged for doing the same thing? 2 Replies
Doremus Jessup On the move 8h ago
George Orwell would have a great time with all this.
Lucy Cooke California 11h ago
The US is certainly a very offensive country. The US Is considered The Exceptional World Leader. I don't know if the world can survive such leadership. The US is going to drown in its military superiority, and settle into a state of violent mediocrity with a poorly educated, somewhat unhealthy citizenry with loads of of weaponry, poor mental health and lots of drug addiction and a country with the world's highest rate of incarceration and lousy infrastructure.

If the US would just drown quickly, before it destroys the livability of the world, perhaps Europe, Russia and China could cooperate enough to save the world. Or, if enough citizens vote for Senator Bernie Sanders for President, the US could refresh its world leadership with a sane, even wise foreign policy and provide citizens with quality education for all, health care for all, better infrastructure, and, mostly, A FUTURE TO BELIEVE IN. 1 Reply

Mike Iker Mill Valley, CA 7h ago
It's been pointed out for years that our much higher level of internet control of our systems makes us more vulnerable to cyber attacks that Russia or China or Iran and certainly N. Korea. If this story is getting out, and based on the thesis that nothing happens by accident in the political world, the source must think that our defenses are strong enough to more than offset our inherent vulnerabilities. I hope that's true.
Roger Alaska June 15
The fact that we have implanted code is well-known, or at least should be. To say there has been only a handful of offensive operations is either purposely deceitful or shows the lack of access by the person quoted.
Lauren SW Virginia 6h ago
"Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction -- and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister." Sigh.... our prez. Our number one threat to National Security.
Charles M Saint John, NB, Canada 11h ago
@HonorB14U Always? Who went first into space? If you were a trained technical person in control systems you'd know the names of lots of Russians who made fundamental break-throughs in understanding - more Russian names than I can recall American names. In Reply to HonorB14U
free range upstate 6h ago
This mutual insanity results from the disease people all around the world suffer from: the nation-state. Nation-states, in their modern form only four hundred years old, have taken the world hostage through feverish calls to nationalism and patriotism, deliberately confusing in our minds cultural identity with the nation-state. But cultural identity is not dependent on the nation-state! Either we find a way to free our cultural identities from those in power or, if and when this insane posturing leads to war, we pay the ultimate price of losing our lives.
Woof NY 11h ago
@jrinsc Re to freeze Russian oligarchs out of their ill-gotten assets. London is where Russian oligarchs store their assets See link below No US government has taken on the "City" (UK equivalent of Wall Street) on that issue https://www.economist.com/leaders/2018/10/11/londons-financial-flows-are-polluted-by-laundered-money 16 Replies
Lawrence Colorado 4h ago
Upgrading the grid to be more resilient to hacking and also to better accommodate wind and solar would be a significant, smart, long term investment. It would improve something we all use that really needs improving. It would help reduce our carbon footprint. It would generate good jobs here in America. So instead the GOP spent a trillion dollars on tax breaks for very wealthy people which the corporate kind used mostly for stock buy backs.
Doug Karo Durham, NH 8h ago
If both countries didn't have stable geniuses in charge, I would be pretty worried. If the stability of one of the leaders was not the case, I would be even more worried.
Ron Vermont 11h ago
So all these attacks we're trading have all gone through proper quality control procedures to make sure they don't disrupt anything by accident? Not likely. And with the UK, China, North Korea and others all doing the same, both the large controlling computers and the small embedded control system components are going to start failing due to all the malware they're being asked to hold. Malware will attack expecting it is attacking clean manufacturer supplied software/firmware, but if someone else has already modified it, how will these systems react? This seems like a mutual game of Russian Roulette. Any time an opponent makes a mistake something will break somewhere.
maureen f. Albuquerque, NM 11h ago
The scariest thing about this escalation is that nobody really knows which country--the U.S., Russia, or China--has the best cyber-weapons and cyber-defenses until the cyber-war actually begins. And for all of those who are blaming Russia, kindly remember how the U.S. started all this with the creation and deployment of Stuxnet against Iran. 2 Replies
RL Groves Amherst, MA 2h ago
This reminds me of the Cold War. We were sold a bill of goods about Russia's capacity to harm us when, we the US was actually the aggressor, JFK sold this under the brand of "Missile Gap". The United States is, as usual, the aggressor here. The US Empire wants to control the world. Any independent nation will be considered a threat and not be tolerated. This demonization of Russia is an embarrassment and worse, is extremely dangerous, The Russian bear is not to be trifled with, despite American fantasies.
Floyd New Mexico 4h ago
Why would information of such intelligence operations be publically announced as it has? Baffling. 1 Reply
Ned OSJL 11h ago
The world needs a Cyber Geneva Convention. Immediately if not years ago. All the tunnel vision patriotic cheering in these comments is very alarming. Think about where Cyber War could go, what it could do, who it would harm.
Saba Albany June 15
@M Congress should be at the helm of formulating an overall policy. The power to make war has moved from Congress to the President, and some Presidents have had an attitude of leave it up to the generals. So, the departments have gained power in some cases. Rightfully, Congress should create defensive and offensive policy which the President should endorse and the Cabinet should carry out. In Reply to TJ
J. von Hettlingen Switzerland 6h ago
John Bolton has a long history as a Russia hawk. It seems he's now in involved in ramping up cyber attacks on Russia's power grid, sending the message "You will pay a price" for cyberoperations – like election interference – against the US. ...
James San Clemente, CA 8h ago
I can understand why the U.S. would want to have this capability and to let the Russians know about it for the purposes of deterrence, but still, the news fills me with dread. The U.S. power infrastructure is far from perfect, but as anyone who has lived and worked in Russia knows, their system is much less reliable and far more prone to breakdowns. In addition, for anyone who watched the recent HBO series "Chernobyl," the idea of messing with the power grid in Russia is a little alarming. Russia still operates several RBMK reactors, and although there are repeated assurances that they are safe now, I wouldn't want to put that theory to the test by fiddling with the system. I'm sure our guys are all well aware of this, but, just sayin'...
Joseph Los Angeles 7h ago
And we'd be the first to complain if they did this to us. How about if humans finally stopped behaving like vindictive petulant 8 year olds. We're all stuck on this rock, so get along!
JohnW13 California June 15
Perhaps the most disturbing reveal in this article is that Trump has delegated an undisclosed amount of authority to engage in offensive military action by launching a cyber attack, potentially amounting to an act of war, without direct presidential oversight and approval. Trump issued "National Security Presidential Memoranda 13, giving General Nakasone far more leeway to conduct offensive online operations without receiving presidential approval." 9 Replies
Eric Peterson Napa, CA. 8h ago
@B. Rothman Individual decentralization of your home or business or a factory when the grid power goes out would be a wise move for many. This would most likely be solar or wind and possibly a generator as well, all backed by a battery. The interesting part comes in when your system is connected with the power companies grid. Will it be interactive? If it is then if the power company is hacked you are also hacked. If your system only comes on when the grid power goes off you would not be connected to the power companies grid communication and therefor you would not be hacked. An independent distributed system would keep your power on. Only used when the grid power was off. You would not be able to send excess power to the grid or get paid for excess power from solar or wind. Think military base or critical infrastructure. If all critical systems are isolated they stand alone and cannot be taken down by cyber war fare. This is a redundant system but it does keep the power on when everything else goes down. The only way I can see around this is to be connected to the power grid on a two way communication that is secured and verified to be hack free at all times. Not likely in this day of cyber war. It may be possible to shut down communication to the grid as soon as power goes down, thus isolating the location from any further attack or control by the outside. Then get conformation that it was not an attack, just an ordinary power outage and then reconnect. Simple. In Reply to Eric Peterson
Jo Williams Keizer 11h ago
Power grids as legitimate targets. Affecting hospitals, schools, civilian homes. After 9/11 there was discussion as to whether the Geneva Conventions on war should be modified, and also discussions on designating captured terrorists as POWs or....enemy combatants. A follow up article on how these ...agreements on war....might cover cyber attacks, would be helpful. Shutting off the power to a hospital- or all the hospitals, doctor's offices, clinics in a major city- how many die? Nuclear power plants as targets? If its war, call it war. At least we possible victims will know we aren't just disposable pawns in cyber gamesmanship.
Michael Pittsburgh June 15
Until recently I would be concerned if our military was acting independently of presidential direction or oversight and if the president or presidential advisors were not kept informed of initiatives our military and security forces were undertaking against other nations. Now I am thankful for it. As for the U.S. embedding malware and other malicious software in Russian, Chinese, North Korean, Iranian, Saudi, Israeli, and other potentially hostile nation infrastructure systems, we should be prepared to send them all back to campfires and candles at a moment's notice.
Nick Wright Halifax, NS 6h ago
The article reveals that the military is withholding information from the president about actions it's taking against another country, because it doesn't trust him. Predictably in the current political climate, everyone focuses on what it says about President Trump and fails to consider what it says about the military; i.e., that it feels it has a mandate to decide, at its own discretion, what military action against other nations is in the country's best interests. The military didn't trust President Obama either -- to the extraordinary extent of public insubordination by its top leadership.

How do we know that it obeyed his directive not to wage cyberwarfare against Russia, or any other country? We now have no reason to believe that it did. It doesn't matter that the military distrusts the current and previous president for different reasons. It will defy a strong, competent president as easily as it will sideline a weak, incompetent president. This is the path to the military itself becoming a danger to the state through ill-considered unilateral action.

Meredith New York 8h ago
@Andrzej Warminski...they'd call it 'un-American' to freeze US oligarchs out of ill gotten assets. Russia has its oligarchs, we have ours. Ours get protection for spiraling profits and power by mega donations to the lawmakers we elect, and our own Supreme Court legalized this Constitutional 1st A -Free Speech. This obvious collusion of big money and politics is avoided in our news media, famous for it's 1st Amendment protections from censorship. Russia has it's state media, and we have ours. FOX news functions as the GOP state media, consulting with Trump, and broadcasting his messages daily. Then social media further amplifies this across the country. 16 Replies
R. Fenwick U.S. South 11h ago
@David G. Generally increased use of the internet in any industry is a way to cut labor costs. In the pre-internet days, grid workers were likely paid more in today's dollars and jobs were more plentiful. In Reply to R. Fenwick
Doug Marcum Oxford, Ohio 7h ago
"Defend forward?" A new entry in the Newspeak dictionary... We are partying like it's 1984.
B. Honest Puyallup WA 7h ago
@JohnW13 It bothers me the Most that Mr Bolton is in the line of command there, for some ungodly reason. He is the type that would have flown drones, himself, to do a false flag attack like that. That they were above waterline is telling. I wonder what Iran found when they took whatever it was that attached itself to that tanker. I am sure that will be interesting indeed. 9 Replies
Lawrence Linn Phoenix 4h ago
"Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction..." So the commander of United States Cyber Command, Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, decided to undertake an overt act of war and not tell his Commander in Chief because he thought he might disagree? If true, Trump should fire this guy tomorrow, if not court-martial him for insubordination.
AR San Francisco 8h ago
The Chinese! The Russians! They started it! Anyone who believes fairy tales from the Pentagon or Washington about this is a fool. Let's see at the end of the 'Cold War' Washington promised not expand NATO if the Russians et al handed over much of their nukes. They handed them over and Clinton, etc. marched NATO right up to the Russian border. George Kennan warned it was the greatest strategic error post WWII.

Who knows what nasty things Washington is really up to. Like the mysterious Venezuelan blackouts right at the height of their coup operation. Washington's unending saber-rattling and war mongering can never be trusted. What a horrifying thought that they would cut off heat and power to millions of Russian people in the winter. It will be ordinary people who pay the price on all sides.

Chris Rurally Isolated 1h ago
I have found that nobody listens to my critique of technology by which I state that 1) we no longer possess the skills that technology does for us, 2) our division of labor has become so extreme due to technological advancements that nobody really knows how to do anything but their one job, shopping and driving, and 3) should we lose power, we lose petroleum too, and without both we lose our society in just a few days. Food goes bad immediately, water pressure drops in cities precipitously, and people can't go to work, school or entertainment -- they can't do anything but wait for the power to come back on. But they don't wait, they loot, they attack, they scavenge, they make trouble. Anybody with a personal supply of food and water are targets. None of this is hyperbole or paranoia, yet those who make such slanders are driven by fearsome possibilities they NEVER want to face. Power outages would be akin to full-scale bombing of whole cities. The Defense Department knows this, but the citizenry does not.
Luca F Philadlphia 7h ago
Something's wrong with this article. A newspaper is telling the world that the US is messing around with Russia's power grid? Shouldn't this be super confidential? Basically now Russians are allowed to re tagliate in any way for what the USA is doing. What would be the reaction of the US if the situation was reversed? A bunch of blackouts in NYC, Chicago, San Francisco and the Russians saying "we did it"? Our military would bomb them right away!
Larry L Dallas, TX 8h ago
@Bruce1253, fragmented systems are inherently more resilient because one system going down does not mean everything else goes down. But having fragmented CONTROLS over INTERCONNECTED systems is more problematic. Lack of coordination will mean that if a problem occurs, there will be lack of oversight and will not be able to react quickly enough to contain the situation. As someone else also mentioned: old pre-Internet systems are actually far more secure because they are off the grid. Attempts by companies to make things more efficient (and profitable) actually makes them less secure. 9 Replies
polymath British Columbia 11h ago
"As Washington's strategy shifts to offense ..." What does the word "Washington" mean? It *used* to mean the U.S. gov't -- when it used to speak with more or less one voice. But it doesn't speak with one voice anymore. So, what does it mean now?
Bubba CA 2h ago
Here's the thing - if electricity goes out for any protracted time in the U.S., people will die. Many people, and quickly. The fragile veneer of social cohesion will be the first, and fatal, casualty.
dsbarclay Toronto 7h ago
If you are going to start covert operations that attack Russia's essential power grid, why brag about it? American geeks conducting cyber war can't keep a secret is one answer. Its certainly the wrong thing to do; it gives Putin more ammunition in his propaganda war against the West, and ensures he remain the 'savior' of mother Russia for the people.
HANK Newark, DE 8h ago
GREAT ! A military junta within the Trump regime...what could go wrong. I'm sure these attacks are devastating to Russian citizens, but how will it compare when the Russians are finally successful with similar attacks on us? They've already shown us what happens when they blow up and election.
Debbie Atlanta 6h ago
This brings to mind the devastating power outage in Venezuela recently. Maduro blamed the US for cyberattacking the grid. And others blamed the failing system itself. We may never know but the effects seen there are a sample of what could happen anywhere in the world with this new technology. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2019/03/09/could-venezuelas-power-outage-really-be-a-cyber-attack /
Lucy Cooke California 8h ago
@GV and, I suppose the way the game is played, Putin, and any other leader of a country who has suffered because of the US actions, and that list is long, should attach a price to our misdeeds. The word "price" always reminds me of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright saying, when asked about the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children due to US sanctions, "The price was worth it". With the US has The Exceptional World Leader, the world may not survive in a livable state. We need more Nelson Mandelas and Mikhail Gorbachevs. GV, do you know much Russian history? Putin's misdeeds are so minor compared to the killing of hundreds of thousands and wrecking of countries by the US... Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia 14 Replies
Vic Malen Offshore 2h ago
What is wrong with this law system? Open demand on attacking energy sources which could lead to casualties, property and environmental damage is an international criminal case and such officials must be investigated and charged immediately to avoid subsequent collateral effects.
Angelsea Maryland 4h ago
There is a real danger in deploying cyber-mines in adversary systems. All code can be broken and used in retaliation. Even so-called "encapsulated" code can be disassembled. STUXNET was disassembled and repurposed as ransom-ware. To be effective in Internet-connected systems, any attack-code must emulate "normal" behavior. To do this, publicly available programming code, such as, Java, Perl, etc., is used as components of the attack-code. Once the encapsulation of the code is broken, and it will be, the code can be reverse-engineered, defended against, and repurposed to use against us. CYBERCOM, tread lightly.
Socrates Downtown Verona. NJ 7h ago
@TMah Russian hackers are generally superior to American hackers. This won't end well. 9 Replies
markd michigan 8h ago
Is it just me or shouldn't this kind of program be, you know, black? Eyes only, top secret. The US would have a lot more to lose than Russia if we lost the East Coast for a few weeks. We don't stockpile transformers which are the backbones of the grid so if Russia overloaded a few thousand of them we'd be down for months. We shouldn't "overbound our steps" as Stan Laurel used to say. 1 Reply
Righty America 8h ago
@Bruce1253 exactly. We experienced the giant blackout of 2003. You really can't imagine how damaging this can be until you experience it. We lived somewhat near the interstate and hundreds of people had to pull off at our exit - they were low on gas, and there was no way to get gas. In the city, we know someone who was stuck in a subway under the East River for hours not even knowing what had happened, then had to crawl through dirty tunnels to get up to the streets. These are just the relatively minor things that happen in the first few hours. People were generally helpful, but I can't imagine that lasting over a few days. we don't need to be tested like this. We need to be protected. 9 Replies
Old Maywood Arlington, VA 8h ago
Think on this for just a bit... These authorities were delegated downwards and the plans are largely being kept from Trump because the military and other national security authorities don't trust him not to tell Russia about them. That's right, the military does not trust Trump not to tell Russia or "put Russia first." The good news is that as long as this story stays in the newspapers and not on TV, Trump will never know about it.
AR San Francisco 11h ago
Yes but is a useful narrative created by the Clinton campaign to justify their electoral debacle. It also serves as a useful tool to seek to deligitimize Trump (like the Republicans with Whitewater and 'birther' angles-- both parties equally rotten liars). What is most dangerous is the Democrats resurrection of McCarthyite and jingoistic denunciations of 'foreign' influences (like BLM), and calls for greater and greater censorship of the media and social media. While that seems attractive when applied to rightists, they are fools not to understand it will be enforced against the left first and foremost. In Reply to Dan K
Ed Watters San Francisco 2h ago
Yeah, and I'm pretty certain that Venezuela's accusations of US online attack on their power grid has merit.
sonnel Isla Vista, CA 7h ago
Oh great, American politicians who think power originates in the plug on the wall making decisions about things that neither their IQ nor their training allow them to understand. I can hear our President saying, "we just turned off power to the bad guys' houses and crime dens". Meanwhile, our top leaders will never report how many die in the hospitals or accidents that their messing with the power grids in other countries have caused. Just like... bombing Iraq. Collateral damage: out of sight, out of mind.
Marcus Aurelius Terra Incognita 11h ago
@Socrates As usual, the article read in its entirety tells a different story about what the President's involvement actually was and why presidential briefing wasn't required. "Mr. Trump issued new authorities to Cyber Command last summer, in a still-classified document known as National Security Presidential Memoranda 13, giving General Nakasone far more leeway to conduct offensive online operations without receiving presidential approval." And as to what the -- again, as usual, "anonymous") officials purportedly aside: "Because the new law defines the actions in cyberspace as akin to traditional military activity on the ground, in the air or at sea, no such briefing would be necessary, they added." In Reply to Mauichuck
Blank Venice 8h ago
@jrinsc Wisely our military and intelligence 'leaders' restrict information flow to Individual-1. He is very Kirkland Russian asset. Remember that he passed Top Secret information to Russians in the Oval Office as a Russian press entourage looked on. 16 Replies
A Goldstein Portland 8h ago
This is a new definition of war in the 21st century, cyber-war, and I suspect that most Americans, especially Trump supporters are nearly clueless about what is at stake. With Putin and other authoritarian rulers, we must put on display our capabilities in more than nuclear warheads and naval powers. I trust the U.S. intelligence agencies and military much more than the executive branch of government. This is not my preference but it reflects the unprecedented time in which we are living.
Frank Raleigh, NC 7h ago
From yesterdays article on US doing trying to start a war with Iran. That was regarding oil tankers that were attacked in the Gulf of Oman. Your editorial on that yesterday stated that we need to stay on top of this tanker violence because of: "American objectives in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere across the region." Those tankers are not American and the serial lying about the middle east and Russia and of course Venezuela are pathetic. All of this combined with climate change, world population growth and a news media that is only doing the "Manufacturing Consent" thing for the corporations including military industrial complex can only lead to world disaster. It is existential. Russia has been interfering with our military recently and that is another horrid example of why Donald Trump is the worst president we have ever had. A very dangerous man who surrounds himself with the most ignorant, hysterical, people who support the military industrial complex over anything else. Billions and billions of money is given to the military by the congress whenever they ask. We do not look for peace; we look to support the MIC at all costs and those COSTS ARE VERY, VERY HIGH AND GLOOMY. Attacking Russian power plants? Faking news for Venezuela and Iran? "American objectives in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere across the region?" Wake up folks. It's up to you; no one else can save us!
Susan Anderson Boston 8h ago
@jrinsc And, of course, Trump and Senate Republicans will reverse the freezing, as has been done in the past. 16 Replies
Raven Earth 2h ago
Imagine a world where one country tried to tell every other country in the world who to be friends with, who to trade with, who their rulers should be, what products they should buy and from whom, what laws they should pass, what meetings they should attend, how to live, etc, etc. And imagine this same world where the people who lived in this bully of a country thought they and their country had the God-given right to tell other people in other countries how to live. Sounds like some future dystopian hellscape, right? Surprise! It's not. This is 'Murica! in the 21st century on planet Earth.
Leslie Amherst 7h ago
How can we aggress in this manner and then be so indignant when it is done to us?? I hate this!! I don't want to be a citizen of a country that attacks others. I want peace! Defense is understandable; attack is not.
Aram Hollman Arlington, MA 2h ago
The newer and more digital a system is, the more vulnerable it is to hacking. The older and less digital it is, the less vulnerable. That probably makes us more vulnerable than Russia, but our somewhat obsolete infrastructure (the one we need to spend $1 trillion on) may be less vulnerable than expected due to its obsolescence. The inherent immorality of going after power plants, refineries, and other non-military targets is that the effects target civilians. The fact that one nation may have done so (Russia, to Ukraine's electricity during a winter) does not justify another nation doing the same.
J Denver 7h ago
This entire notification is a message for one person... Trump. This is the intelligence agencies using their newfound powers that lack White House oversight, to signal to the White House that the intelligence agencies are DEEP inside Russia's systems and that they will know if Trump shows up inside those systems during the next election cycle. They can't stop Russia from waging cyber war... and they can't stop Trump from welcoming help from or siding with Russia... but they can send a message that they will know if this administration "goes there"... again...
ebmem Memphis, TN 4h ago
@Stan Chaz MAD [mutual assured destruction] between Russia and the United States prevented nuclear devastation because both sides knew they couldn't win. We are in a different universe now. Russia, with its poor economy one fifth of the US is no longer a superpower, although it is rebuilding its network of client states [with some like Cuba and Venezuela dying on the vine, and other former satellites like Ukraine and Georgia resisting their reacquisition by Russia.] China is also a growing player, expanding its wealth an political and economic strength. Various quasi stateless terrorist groups can damage the US and not experience appropriate retaliation because they have no official governments or homelands to hold accountable. In Reply to Ron
LibertyLover California 8h ago
@David Henderson I would suggest going back and reading some of the material Edward Snowden revealed about the NSA. Those capabilities will be oriented toward this objective now rather than just conventional espionage. The expertise is second to none. For that matter, read the DOJ indictment of the 12 GRU officers who hacked the DNC. The amount of detail described there will make you understand their capabilities. It's as if they were in the room with them. 7 Replies
Bob M Whitestone, NY 7h ago
This is very concerning on why the Trump administration would disclose this to the public. What's their motive? More concerning is that Trump in his infinite wisdom had the idea of setting up a joint cyber security task force with none other than Russia. Weird.
Loyd Collins Laurens,SC 7h ago
@Telly55 And this from the article. Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction -- and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister. 4 Replies
WeHadAllBetterPayAttentionNow Southwest 11h ago
I am not so sure I believe much in this. Bragging about such a program would be counterproductive. Meanwhile, our Republican president and Senate continue to deny Russian interference in our elections and do nothing about it.
Chris San Francisco 7h ago
Anyone who thinks that our military is not constantly fighting our enemies doesn't know anything about the military. Some version of this kind of thing has been ongoing throughout history. They are very good at it, often the best in the world. That the US officials would reveal this information can be nothing but part of a strategy related to global objectives, including but not limited to Russia. The revelation itself can be considered a kind of weapon, though, of course, the general public is not privy to it's purpose. I trust the competence of our military almost completely, but I do not trust their ability to set national policy. They control some enormous hammers, and there are many things in the world that could look like a nail. The erosion of civilian oversight described in this article is terrifying. Unfortunately we're all getting used to that.
Dan K Louisville, CO 11h ago
@C.O. I would suggest that you read the Mueller Report. In Reply to Dan K
stan continople brooklyn 8h ago
If I was Russia, I'd demonstrate my prowess by making the NYC subway system run on time. That would cause absolute panic.
chambolle Bainbridge Island 7h ago
All of which begs the question, why on earth do we spend about $750 billion a year on military hardware and personnel, when our adversaries have learned to do as much damage as they want without firing a shell, torpedo or missile? And, it would appear -- and one would hope -- so can we. It cost Russia next to nothing to commence the unraveling of America's political system - a few hackers sitting in cubicles, each with a laptop and an internet connection accomplished that, with the help of Fox News, facebook, instagram, you tube and, above all, an uneducated, bible-thumping American populace uninterested in facts and seemingly incapable of rational thought.
Mike LaFleur Minneapolis, MN 7h ago
To whom it may concern: This article would be far more credible if it listed the names of the companies that make and sell the vulnerable power plant operating systems, transmission line management systems, and the power distribution systems. Which systems are vulnerable? Emerson's? ABB's? Siemens? Who's switch gear is vulnerable? Are they infiltrating the operating systems, the sensors, communications, the actuators, or maybe even the metering? Even the US electric grid is, for the most part, very unsophisticated. Grid operators have very limited visibility into what is happening on the grid. In most of the US, when there is a power outage, linemen are dispatched in trucks to visually look for downed wires with their eyes!!! No computers needed. Combine the fact that Trump shows no interest in fighting election interference with the improbability of vast penetration into the electric grid and all you have left is a paper tiger named John Bolton. This article is likely fake news. Mike
dominic KL 7h ago
I don't quite understand this, if US know that Russia is illegally hacking in to US power grids you either remove the malware or lodge a complaint with with the UN or whatever international authorities involved. If you hack back then you are no better then Russia.
Stuart Alaska 8h ago
@tim k If there was no such thing as global warming your point would be a cogent one. Unfortunately, we can't ignore that fact. 14 Replies
george coastline 7h ago
HOW TO WIN AN ELECTION WITHOUT STEALING ANY EMAILS 1 Restrict early voting in key swing states 2 Pass laws discouraging absentee ballots in those same states 3 On election day, turn off the power in the core of every large city where democrats usually win by large margins, heavily suppressing turnout 4 Count the ballots: Trump wins the state and is re-elected President.
HonorB14U Michigan 7h ago
America decides our wins and losses; not Russia! We decide how much we lose and what success we win on.
Michael Feeley Honolulu 4h ago
Maybe we could do something really useful and sabotage Facebook and Twitter. Now there's an idea that would improve the quality of life.
Michael Tyndall San Francisco 11h ago
My concern with US cyber warfare is the possibility the same code is turned around and used against us or our allies (I think we still have those outside outside our favored Sunni and right wing autocracies). The possibility of boomerang cyber mischief isn't confined to governments either. Remember the stolen NSA hacking tools that ended up on the dark web? Those have been turned against municipal governments and individuals in the form of ransom ware. Perhaps we can limit such risks by forming the most sophisticated cyber weapons as binary tools. Ones where the full capability isn't effective without two secret parts, only one part of which is installed in an adversary's infrastructure. But once fully deployed, there's still the risk the weapon is identified, preserved, and later redeployed against us. I think there are also ways for our adversaries to guard against erasure protocols within cyber weapons. Lastly, we still don't know if our president is a Russian asset. Maybe he just really likes murderous kleptocrats and autocrats like Putin, Kim, MBS, MBZ, and Duterte. Maybe he just has to talk privately with no one else from our side listening. Either way, none of our current top secrets or foreign intelligence assets may be safe while he's in office, or even after he leaves (unless he's in jail).
B. Honest Puyallup WA 8h ago
@maureen f. Israel released Stuxnet, just a minor correction there. That is actually more problem than had we done it, Israel is more unstable than we are, and that says something. In Reply to B. Honest
Jim Georgia 6h ago
What was published here is not classified and if you read the article, you will know that administration officials had no problem with the publication of this work. Assange, on the other hand, definitely published stolen classified information and may have solicited and facilitated its acquisition -- a crime. In Reply to Jim
Alex E elmont, ny 7h ago
I thought that Trump is a stooge of Putin, so, he won't take any action against Russia. This is the misinformation NY Times and other fake news have been telling Americans and the world. Now by releasing this classified information they are jeopardizing American National security. No wonder they are called enemies of the people. 2 Replies
Andy Salt Lake City, Utah 7h ago
Escalating attacks? Or informing Russia of their weaknesses? Cyber assault is inherently centered around stealth. Sounds to me like Trump is intentionally tipping our hand. A submarine isn't much use if you teach your enemy how to find it. The description presented here more closely resembles a joint exercise. However, the US is the only one providing intelligence. Surprise, surprise. Unilaterally providing intelligence to Putin no less.
J Darby Woodinville, WA 7h ago
Good news, I hope we're hitting the cyber bullies as hard or harder than they're hitting us. And it's wise to let trump in on as little as possible.
pb calif 8h ago
This sounds like a coverup story for Trump and the GOP. If it were true, it would have been classified. Gimme a break! Vote them out!
Jomo San Diego 8h ago
Just think what will happen when Russia plants malware into all our self-driving cars.
Mark Conway Naples FL 4h ago
I don't understand why Trump allows such threatening behavior toward one of his closest allies. Isn't he in control of his own government?
Frank Seattle 6h ago
US taxpayers still paying for government officials to create new malware that will eventually be turned against US taxpayers. Thanks "public servants".
Mary Lake Worth FL 7h ago
@M Trump has made unpresented changes much like a fascist dictator, which he wants to be. It's just a wing and a prayer that our government hasn't ceased to function effectively, due to long-standing norms and those who would resist his worst impulses. All Russia would need is another cosy private meeting with Trump to have him bragging about this new secret weapon to deliver all this for Comrad Putin to use on us. Flattery is the way to his heart and there goes everything that should be kept under wraps for security. 8 Replies
md green Topanga, Ca. 8h ago
@GV Couldn't agree more! And it would make the Straits of Hormuz attach a much different issue. What's it going to take to get this oil addicted country to switch to renewables? I guess we'll find out. 14 Replies
Rebel in Disguise TO, Canada 8h ago
This doesn't bode well for Putin's next job performance appraisal of the POTUS he worked so hard to put into power. Trump's been kept in the dark by Americans who aren't subservient to Putin.
New World NYC 8h ago
I keep 14 days worth of water, food, and candles in my apt. I live on the 12th floor and twice a week I use the stairs to get up to my apt. I also keep a shotgun and cash
David Oak Lawn 4h ago
You see how Donald Trump's Iran claims were eaten up by the mainstream media. Now you see how Trump is playing both sides. He claims he wants to be lenient with Russia (which is a fool's errand) but his administration is getting tougher with Russia. Trump is easy to manipulate because he is so beholden to so many interests. Sorry to say it, but this makes him an attractive candidate to powerful interests.
Tim Nelson Seattle 8h ago
The best defense is a good offense, and a vital part of this American offensive capability is to keep the details out of the hands of this president. I have long waited to hear of how we are actively and effectively responding to Russian aggression, but in this age of Trump I have feared his ability to undermine any steps on our part. Of course he is beholden to the regime that got him elected. It is essential to counter the aggression of authoritarian regimes like Putin's and just as important to rid America in 2020 of the authoritarian menace that is Donald Trump.
TTC USA 2h ago
I thought America was the country that always played by the rules, and we're upset because we've been taken advantage of for too long. But apparently we're attacking another nation's power grid. Hypocrites we are. It's better if we're just honest with ourselves. Admit that we spin facts to feed our narrative, to justify the damage we cause to other nations. Next nation to justify going to war with? China. Cause only we can be #1.
uga muga miami fl 4h ago
Finally something presidential about Trump. They say there's a lot of symbolism to the presidency and this piece reflects an instance where he's president in name only.
K. H. Boston 8h ago
GOOD! About time we started punching back. Russia is mistaken if it thinks it can wantonly interfere in other countries (Salisbury, 2016, etc.) without repercussion. Good job boys.
Duane McPherson Groveland, NY 7h ago
Well, if the US decides to engage in some covert cyber-warfare then we should be safe, because the NSA has some really powerful hacking tools. So I'm sleeping easy tonight. Oh, wait, you say those tools got misplaced and lost? Never mind then, just buy some candles for light and a Coleman stove to cook on. You'll be fine; it'll be fun, just like camping out. In your own kitchen.
T OC 4h ago
It is time to go on the offensive in this Cold War. We've been on the losing defensive side of this way too long.
shiningstars122 CT 11h ago
Its obvious that we need to protect our online infrastructure in ways we have never done before, which a majority of the US economy uses. If this is not the case I get nervous if we start kicking the hornets next and we are not fully prepared for the response. As a consumer I am very wary of buying and using " smart" products in my home. It is obvious that the private sector has not even fortified their own firewalls to protect themselves. Do you think that Alexsa or that new refrigerator will have the level of encryption and protection guess against even the most basic cyber attack. I think a parallel approach is to fortify our own network in ways that have not occurred before, but sadly too much of these illegal breaches are based on human error and when it comes to that one you will never be fully secure. It is clear the rules of engagement for cyber warfare need to be discussed and treaties need to be put in play to protect civilians, who sadly in warfare always pay the highest prices when our maligned leaders, like the one currently holding office, go off the deep end.
Easy Goer Louisiana 8h ago
@Bruce1253 Agree. However, imagine your life without any power, for good? Everyone involved, whether they be American, Russian, Chinese, Korean, etc. is playing a deadly chess game, and humanity are the pawns. 9 Replies
steve CT 7h ago
So now we are going to attack other countries power grids , to hurt citizens like it seems we did to Venezuela to try and install our puppet Gaido, because we want to control their oil the largest in the world. We did not like their election of President Maduro so we tried to overthrow him because he wasn't willing to be controlled, like the 73% of dictators around the world that are our allies that we sell arms too. We have never cared about other countries elections, I also wonder if our elections are rigged, with our electronic machines supplied by questionable corporations. Now we are blaming the Russian government for what a troll farm company did in Russia buying election ads for clickbait so they could profit. This sounds like the 1950's red scare. Russia should be our friend just like Iran, except we ally with countries like Saudi Arabia the largest financier of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and that spreads Wahhabism. This is all so our Military Industrial Complex can profit needing ever larger weapons systems. Peace is not profitable it seems for our Oligarchy.
Robert Richardson Halifax June 15
If the US is openly pursuing this course, and succeeds, I would expect Putin to hit back in kind, by shutting down the power grids of America's less prepared allies. Like Canada, where our aging power grid is already struggling, without being attacked. 1 Reply
PE Seattle 11h ago
I'm not sure we want to perpetuate this tactic as fair game in war. Do we want our power grid hacked? This puts regular people at risk of have no electricity, no heat, no AC. Our war is not with regular people. Our war is with oligarchs.
Marc Chicago 7h ago
"Under the law, those actions [cyber espionage against U.S. adversaries] can now be authorized by the defense secretary without special presidential approval." Because Donny would pick up the phone to tattle to his BFF Vlad.
New World NYC 4h ago
One day we're all gonna wake up and look at our bank statements, 401Ks and our Etrade accounts and see a $0.00 balance. Then what ?
stefanie santa fe nm 7h ago
I thought the stable genius did not reveal what he was doing in terms of attacking another country. And if his good bro, Putin, said nothing was going on, why is the US attacking Russia? (sarcasm).
John Grillo Edgewater, MD 8h ago
What an absurd, clearly unprecedented, and highly dangerous state this country is in when the Commander-in-Chief, as reported herein, cannot be trusted by our own military and intelligence leaders with probably compartmentalized, top secret classified information about our cyber warfare capabilities and plans against Russia for fear that he could very well compromise the operation. Isn't this yet another reason why Trump should be removed from office by impeachment? What his own Administration's national security people are saying is that their leader cannot be trusted with the most sensitive information held by the government. If this Fake President is a threat to the nation on a scale of that profound magnitude, he cannot and must not be allowed to remain in office. Congress, are you listening???
C. Gregory California 2h ago
"Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail..." Um, isn't it normal procedure to brief the president of the United States about major changes in military strategy like this? I mean, the president is supposedly "commander in chief." How about Congress, or at least the relevant Congressional committees? Are they being kept in the loop? Or are Bolton and Co. just winging it on their own? If so, that's quite disturbing.
rjh NY 4h ago
So if a Russian nuclear plant has a meltdown or other catastrophe, will they be justified in wondering if the US caused it? Also, the malware against Iran spread to other countries even thought that was not intended to do so.
saucier Pittsburgh 7h ago
Wasn't their just an excellent show on HBO that shows what happens when you mess with controlling power? No, not Game of Thrones. Chernobyl. Nuclear comprises 20% of Russia's electricity generation. Do we really want our fingerprints all over the crime scene should something go wrong? Can't we mess with computer controlled vodka distillation instead?
Norman McDougall Canada 8h ago
Let me understand this. The same USA that is outraged by Russian election hacking is simultaneously conducting cyber-attacks on Russian infrastructure? This situation would be merely ironic if it weren't so callously hypocritical.
just Robert North Carolina 8h ago
It would be nice to think that the self proclaimed 'genius Trump knows something about the cyber war we are fighting or at least trust the experts on the front lines of this war. As it is he looks into Putin's eyes and declares him without sin and denies that Russia used cyber space to hack our 2016 elections and even declares that this information can be used to help his campaign. He prevaricates a little, but we heard you the first time, Mr.Trump. Our intelligence agencies may be planting these bugs in the Russian electric grid, but what we need is a leader who has the intelligence and wisdom to guide its use.
larry dc 8h ago
So CyberCommand doesn't brief the President because (1) they don't think the law requires them to do so, (2) and they don't trust him with important information? This is deeply disturbing on multiple fronts.
Larry L Dallas, TX 7h ago
@Barbara, in the past, before urbanism, it was possible to survive because you could live off the land. This is not a possibility in the middle of NYC, DC or SF. 9 Replies
joshbarnes Honolulu, HI 8h ago
It will all end in tears, I know it.

[Jun 15, 2019] Is The US Preparing For War With Russia

Jun 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Leonid Salvin via Oriental Review,

The RAND Corporation recently published a document entitled Overextending and Unbalancing Russia. Assessing the Impact of Cost-Imposing Options . The study is the collective effort of experienced diplomats, including former Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and US Ambassador to the European Union James Dobbins; a professor (Brookings Institution, American Enterprise Institute, National Defence University) and military intelligence branched lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, Raphael Cohen; and seven other RAND researchers who specialise in international relations, the military industry, intelligence, politics, and technology.

It is a practical recommendation for how the US can use Russia's weakness and vulnerability to further limit its political and economic potential.

It is also a kind of summary of a much more extensive monograph of some 300-odd pages entitled Extending Russia. Competing from Advantageous Ground by the same authors.

So what, exactly, are these influential political analysts suggesting to the American establishment?

Their full spectrum of operations is divided into four sections – economic, geopolitical, ideological and informational, and military measures. It is clear that the experts approached the development of their strategy rationally by measuring the potential costs for the US itself.

The economic section consists of four options that Russia has already been directly affected by in previous years. The first of these is expanding the production and export of US energy resources, which would affect global prices and therefore limit Russia's profits. The second is strengthening sanctions, where the involvement of other countries in such a process is seen as essential. Next is helping Europe find new gas suppliers, including for LNG supplies. And, finally, encouraging migration from Russia to other countries, especially with regard to skilled workers and educated young people. It is assumed that the first three options would be the most beneficial to the US, although imposing deeper sanctions could bring certain risks.

In the section on geopolitical measures, the US experts propose six geopolitical scenarios aimed at weakening Russia. They don't just involve the Russian Federation, either, but neighbouring countries as well. Each scenario has certain risks, costs, and an expected impact.

According to the Americans, helping Ukraine by supplying the country with weapons would exploit Russia's greatest vulnerability . But any increase in the supply of US weapons and advice to Ukraine would need to be carefully calibrated in order to increase the costs to Russia of supporting its existing commitments without provoking a much wider conflict in which Russia, by reason of proximity, would have significant advantages.

Syrian Democratic Forces trainees, representing an equal number of Arab and Kurdish volunteers, stand in formation at their graduation ceremony in northern Syria, August 9, 2017.

This is the first option. The RAND experts believe that this will be the most beneficial, but that its possible realisation will also involve high risks.

The second option is to increase support to the Syrian rebels. This could jeopardise other US policy priorities, however, such as combating radical Islamic terrorism, and could destabilise the entire region even further. It might not even be possible, given the radicalisation, fragmentation, and decline of the Syrian opposition.

The RAND experts obviously understand all the possible dangers involved in this scenario, but, reading between the lines, it is easy to see that this option is basically implying the use of terrorist groups in the geopolitical interests of the US. There is nothing new about this method in and of itself, but it can be rather costly to implement and comes with considerable risks, and, in the best case scenario, the likelihood of success is moderate. It could also upset America's traditional allies, as happened during the Iraq invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

The third option is promoting liberalisation in Belarus. The authors admit that this is unlikely to succeed, however, and could provoke a strong response from Russia, which would lead to a general worsening of the security situation in Europe and be a setback for US policy. As with the first option, it comes with high risk, but the benefits could also be considerable. Needless to say that what is really being referred to here is a colour revolution in the Republic of Belarus. The country's leadership should pay attention to this recommendation by the RAND Corporation and ask the US diplomats in Minsk for comment.

Expanding ties in the South Caucasus, which competes economically with Russia, is the fourth option, but it would be difficult to implement because of geography and history.

The fifth scenario is reducing Russia's influence in Central Asia, which could also prove difficult and disproportionately expensive for the US.

And the sixth, and final, scenario is organising an uprising in Transnistria and expelling Russian troops, which would be a blow to Russia's prestige. This could also have the opposite effect, however, since Moscow would save money, but it could well lead to additional costs for the US and its allies.

Muscovites protesting the war in Ukraine and Russia's support of separatism in the Crimea on the Circular Boulevards in Moscow on March 15, 2014

It should be noted that all six scenarios are aimed at Russia's neighbours. They are a kind of re-working of the old Anaconda strategy unleashed on Russia's borders.

The section on ideological and informational measures is aimed at the Russian Federation's domestic policies and is essentially interfering in the country's affairs. There are just four scenarios, but they speak for themselves: undermining faith in the electoral system; creating the idea that the political elite does not serve the interests of society; instigating protests and non-violent resistance; and undermining Russia's image abroad.

Tellingly, the proposed military measures against Russia have the largest number of options and are separated into three strategic areas – air, sea, and land.

It states that repositioning bombers to within striking distance of key Russian strategic targets would have a high likelihood of success and would undoubtedly attract Moscow's attention and cause unease. The costs and risks associated with this option would be fairly low, as long as the bombers are based out of range of most of Russia's ballistic and ground-based cruise missiles.

Marines assigned to the Thunderbolts of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251 remove a training AGM-88 HARM from an F/A-18C Hornet on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).

Reposturing fighter jets so that they are closer to their targets than bombers. Although the RAND experts believe that such actions could worry Moscow more than the option with the bombers, the probability of success is low but the risks are high. Since each aircraft would have to fly several sorties during a conventional conflict because of low payload, there is a risk that they could be destroyed on the ground and their deployment airfields could be shut down early on.

Deploying additional tactical nuclear weapons to parts of Europe and Asia could increase Russia's worry, which could lead to a significant increase in investment in its air defences. In combination with the 'bomber' option, it has a high probability of success, but deploying a large number of these weapons could make Moscow react in ways that go against the interests of the US and its allies.

Repositioning US and allied ballistic missile defence systems to better deter Russian ballistic missiles would also make Moscow uneasy, but it would probably be the least effective option since Russia has plenty of missiles that could be used for any upgrades. US and allied targets would also remain at risk.

A U.S. sailor aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) fires a torpedo at a simulated target during Valiant Shield 2014 in the Pacific Ocean September 18, 2014.

The report also suggests developing new low-observable, long-range bombers or significantly increasing the number of those types that are already causing unease in Moscow. There is also mention of high numbers of autonomous or remotely piloted strike aircraft.

As the RAND experts point out, the key risk of these options is an arms race, which could lead to cost-imposing strategies directed against the United States. For example, investing in ballistic missile defence systems and space-based weapons would alarm Moscow, but Russia could defend itself against such developments by taking measures that would probably be considerably cheaper than the cost of these systems to the United States.

With regard to a maritime confrontation, RAND suggests increasing the presence of US and allied navies in those zones considered potentially dangerous because of Russia. It is probably safe to assume that this is referring to the Baltic Sea, the Arctic, and the Black Sea/Mediterranean Basin. The report also mentions increasing investment in research and developing new types of weapons that could strike Russian nuclear submarines. At the same time, it would be a good idea for the US itself to increase the fleet of submarines in its nuclear triad. And, finally, with regard to the Black Sea, the report suggests using NATO to develop an access denial strategy – probably through the deployment of long-range, anti-ship missiles – in order to increase Russia's defence spending in Crimea.

On land, the report's authors believe that there should be an increase in the number of European NATO troops deployed directly on the Russian border. They also emphasise the importance of increasing the size and scale of NATO exercises in Europe, which would send a clear signal to Russia. Another option is to develop intermediate-range missiles but not deploy them, which would force Russia to upgrade its missile programme (an additional cost). And, finally, the report suggests investing in new technologies (weapons based on new physical principles such as lasers) aimed at countering Russian air defence systems.

Exercise Artemis Strike was a German-led tactical live-fire exercise with live Patriot and Stinger missiles at the NATO Missile Firing Installation in Chania, Greece, from October 31 to November 9, 2017

As can be seen, all four sections are complementary in their diversity. The Pentagon has already been working on some innovations in the last few years as part of the Third Offset Strategy , while the current and new budget suggests that, one way or another, the US will continue to build up its military power.

Together with other advisory documents for high-level decision makers in the US, this report by RAND experts is evidence of a large-scale campaign being carried out against Russia. It is surprising, however, that all of the recommendations, especially those included in the military section, are virtually pointing to the preparation of a war with Russia. It calmly talks about what the US can do about existing arms limitation treaties, how to use NATO, and how to use Ukraine in the war with Russia, especially on land and in the Black Sea theatre of operations. There is no doubt that the recommendations themselves were passed on to US decision-making centres a long time before April 2019, when the monograph was published. All that remains is to monitor the implementation of these scenarios and take the appropriate countermeasures.

* * *

Full RAND brief below:

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/411164498/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&show_recommendations=false&access_key=key-W6qKRgl7gft0hGsjMjjG

[Jun 15, 2019] Why Didn't Mueller Investigate Seth Rich

Parteigenosse Mueller mission was to derail Trump. Investigation of real DNC scandal was outside of scope of this tool of the Deep State. From comments: "Mueller was brought in as the Cleaner! It is a massive cover-up for which most of those who are complicit should be behind bars! "
Mueller report was concocted with only goal: to sink Trump. Objective investigation of events was beyond the scope. Moreover it looks like Mueller investigators were instrumental in setting an entrapment for members of Trump team and as such might be criminally liable for this abuse of their status.
Images deleted.
Notable quotes:
"... No one knows who killed Rich in Washington, D.C., on July 10, 2016. All we know is that he was found at 4:19 a.m. in the Bloomingdale neighborhood "with apparent gunshot wound(s) to the back" according to the police report . Conscious and still breathing, he was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5:57. ..."
"... Rich's mother, Mary, told local TV news that her son struggled with his assailants: "His hands were bruised, his knees are bruised, his face is bruised, and yet he had two shots to his back, and yet they never took anything . They took his life for literally no reason. They didn't finish robbing him, they just took his life." ..."
"... But cops said shortly after the killing that they had no immediate indication that robbery was a motive. Despite his mother's report of two shots in the back, all the local medical examiner would say is that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the torso. According to Rich's brother, Aaron , Seth "was very aware, very talkative," when police found him lying on the pavement. Yet cops have refused to say if he described his assailant. A month later, they put out a statement that "there is no indication that Seth Rich's death is connected to his employment at the DNC," but refused to elaborate. ..."
"... all the Mueller report did was replace one conspiracy theory with another involving the Kremlin and its minions that is equally unconvincing. ..."
"... there's nothing in the Mueller report indicating that the special counselor independently reviewed the forensic evidence or questioned family members and friends. ..."
"... He certainly didn't interview Assange, the person in the best position to know who supplied the data, even though Craig Murray, the ex-British diplomat who serves as an unofficial WikiLeaks spokesman, says the WikiLeaks founder would have been "very willing to give evidence to Mueller" while holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, "which could have been done by video-link, by interview in the Embassy, or by written communication." ..."
"... This was as close as Assange could come to confirming that Rich was tied up with the leak without actually saying it. Hours later, WikiLeaks tweeted about the $20k reward. ..."
"... Four months after that, Craig Murray told the Libertarian Institute's Scott Horton: "Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that he [Rich] was the source of the leaks. What I'm saying is that it's probably not an unfair indication to draw that WikiLeaks believe[s] that he may have been killed by someone who thought he was the source of the leaks." (Quote begins at 11:20 .) ..."
"... But if speculation refuses to die, it's for a simple reason. If the DNC email disclosure was a hack, then Rich clearly had nothing to do with it, which means his death was no more than a robbery gone awry. But if it was a leak, then – based on broad hints dropped by Assange and Murray – it looks like the story could well be more complicated. This proves nothing in and of itself. But it guarantees that questions will grow as long as the Washington police make zero progress in its investigation and the Mueller report continues to fall apart. ..."
"... And that's just what's happening. Mueller's account of how Russian intelligence supposedly supplied WikiLeaks with stolen data makes no sense because, according to the report's chronology, the transfer left WikiLeaks with just four days to review some 28,000 emails and other electronic documents to make sure that they were genuine and unaltered – a clear impossibility. ..."
"... The FBI assessment that Paul Manafort associate Konstantin Kilimnik "has ties to Russian intelligence" – which Mueller cites (vol. 1, p. 133) in order to justify holding Manafort in solitary confinement during the Russia-gate investigation – is similarly disintegrating amid reports that Kilimnik actually served as an important State Department intelligence source. ..."
"... "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." Arthur Conan Doyle ..."
"... No need for arrests, extradition requests, or 17 espionage charges. A simple email phone call might just do the trick... It shows once again that Trump is a similar fascist as Hillary and the DNC! ..."
"... Why would an assassin leave him alive on the sidewalk? ..."
"... Today we've learned that the FBI didn't, inexplicably, go and grab the DNC server but also never even saw the report from Crowdstrike that was used as the basis for blaming everything on Russia. ..."
"... Of course, the FBI admitted that it never examined the DNC servers and just revealed in court that it never saw a detailed report from Crowdstrike showing that Russians hacked the server. That's why Mueller never investigated. He knew it was a lie but one the entire 3 years, Obama admin, Hillary, the DNC & corrupt cabal depend on maintaining. ..."
"... If you followed the story, the Rich family was very much doubted this was a random robbery until political operators had a long chat with them. Their stories changed and cooperation with the independent investigation ended. This neighborhood has cameras everywhere. Suddenly, none of them worked. ..."
"... Not only did the FBI never get the DNC server for forensic investigation, it turns out the FBI never even got a finalized report on "DNC hacking" from Crowdstrike. Every conclusion drawn by the various agencies within the Intelligence Community is based on a redacted copy of a draft report from Crowdstrike, and this report was never finalized from its draft form. And even the draft was never unredacted for the FBI. ..."
"... 'Why Didn't Mueller Investigate Seth Rich?' Occam's razor. Why would a paid lackey disobey direct orders by the chief architects of this Criminal Conspiracy and risk his own life in the process? It makes no sense on any level. ..."
Jun 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Daniel Lazare via ConsortiumNews.com,

The idea that the DNC email disclosures were produced by a hack - not a leak - makes less and less sense...

After bungling every last aspect of Russia-gate since the day the pseudo-scandal broke, the corporate press is now seizing on the Mueller report to shut down debate on one of the key questions still outstanding from the 2016 presidential election: the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.

No one knows who killed Rich in Washington, D.C., on July 10, 2016. All we know is that he was found at 4:19 a.m. in the Bloomingdale neighborhood "with apparent gunshot wound(s) to the back" according to the police report . Conscious and still breathing, he was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5:57.

[ Image deleted ]
Slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. (LinkedIn)

Police have added to the confusion by releasing information only in the tiniest dribs and drabs. Rich's mother, Mary, told local TV news that her son struggled with his assailants: "His hands were bruised, his knees are bruised, his face is bruised, and yet he had two shots to his back, and yet they never took anything . They took his life for literally no reason. They didn't finish robbing him, they just took his life."

But cops said shortly after the killing that they had no immediate indication that robbery was a motive. Despite his mother's report of two shots in the back, all the local medical examiner would say is that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the torso. According to Rich's brother, Aaron , Seth "was very aware, very talkative," when police found him lying on the pavement. Yet cops have refused to say if he described his assailant. A month later, they put out a statement that "there is no indication that Seth Rich's death is connected to his employment at the DNC," but refused to elaborate.

The result is a scattering of disconnected facts that can be used to support just about any theory from a random killing to a political assassination. Nonetheless, Robert Mueller is dead certain that the murder had nothing to do with the emails -- just as he was dead certain in 2003 that Iraq was bristling with weapons of mass destruction " pos[ing] a clear threat to our national security .

Scene of the crime. (YouTube)

Mueller's Theory About Assange 'Dissembling'

Mueller is equally positive that, merely by expressing concern that the murder may have had something to do with the release of thousands of DNC emails less than two weeks later, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was trying to protect the real source, which of course is Russia.

Here's how the Mueller report puts it:

"Beginning in the summer of 2016, Assange and WikiLeaks made a number of statements about Seth Rich, a former DNC staff member who was killed in July 2016. The statements about Rich implied falsely that he had been the source of the stolen DNC emails. On August 9, 2016, the @WikiLeaks Twitter accounted posted: 'ANNOUNCE: WikiLeaks has decided to issue a US$20k reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.'

Likewise, on August 25, 2016, Assange was asked in an interview, 'Why are you so interested in Seth Rich's killer?' and responded, 'We're very interested in anything that might be a threat to alleged WikiLeaks sources.' The interviewer responded to Assange's statement by commenting, 'I know you don't want to reveal your source, but it certainly sounds like you're suggesting a man who leaked information to WikiLeaks was then murdered.'

Assange replied, 'If there's someone who's potentially connected to our publication, and that person has been murdered in suspicious, circumstances, it doesn't necessarily mean that the two are connected. But it is a very serious matter that type of allegation is very serious, as it's taken very seriously by us'" (vol. 1, pp. 48-49).

Mueller: Says Assange's real source was Russia. (All Your Breaking News Here via Flickr)

This is what the Mueller report calls "dissembling." The conclusion caused jubilation in corporate newsrooms where hostility to both Russia and WikiLeaks runs high. "The Seth Rich conspiracy theory needs to end now," declared Vox.com. "The special counsel's report confirmed this week that Seth Rich was not the source," said The New York Times . "The Mueller report might not end the debate over what President Donald Trump did," the Poynter Institute's Politifact added ,"but it has scuttled one conspiracy theory involving a murdered Democratic party staffer and WikiLeaks."

One Conspiracy Theory for Another

But all the Mueller report did was replace one conspiracy theory with another involving the Kremlin and its minions that is equally unconvincing.

Remarkably, there's nothing in the Mueller report indicating that the special counselor independently reviewed the forensic evidence or questioned family members and friends.

He certainly didn't interview Assange, the person in the best position to know who supplied the data, even though Craig Murray, the ex-British diplomat who serves as an unofficial WikiLeaks spokesman, says the WikiLeaks founder would have been "very willing to give evidence to Mueller" while holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, "which could have been done by video-link, by interview in the Embassy, or by written communication."

Bike rack and plaque outside DNC headquarters. (Johanna745, CC0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Murray says Mueller's team made no effort to contact him either even though he has publicly stated that he met clandestinely with an associate of the leaker near the American University campus in Washington.

Why not? Because Mueller didn't want anything that might disturb his a priori assumption that Russia is the guilty party. If he had bucked the intelligence community finding – set forth in a formal assessment in January 2017 – that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign aimed at undermining Hillary Clinton's candidacy -- it would have been front-page news since an anti-Trump press had already accepted the assessment as gospel. ButMueller is far too much of an establishmentarian to do anything so reckless.

So he selected evidence in support of the official theory that "[t]he Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion," as the report states on its very first page. And since Assange had consistently maintained that the data was the result of an inside leak rather than internal hack and that "[o]ur source is not the Russian government," he cherry picked evidence to show that Assange is a liar, not only about Russia but about Seth Rich.

Cryptic Exchange

It's a self-serving myth that corporate media have swallowed whole because it serves their interests too. One problem in exposing it, however, is Assange's pledge – intrinsic to the WikiLeaks mission – to safeguard the identities of whistleblowers who furnish it with information. The upshot has been a good deal of beating around the bush. A month after the murder, the WikiLeaks founder appeared on a Dutch program called "Nieuwsuur" and took part in a cryptic exchange with journalist Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal:

Assange during exchange with Rosenthal. (YouTube)

Assange: Whistle blowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often very significant risks. There's a 27-year-old – works for the DNC – who was shot in the back, murdered, just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington, so .

Rosenthal: That was just a robbery, I believe, wasn't it?

Assange: No, there's no finding, so –

Rosenthal: What are you suggesting?

Assange: I'm suggesting that our sources take risks, and they become concerned to see things occurring like that.

Rosenthal: But was he one of your sources then? I mean –

Assange: We don't comment about who our sources are.

Rosenthal: But why make the suggestion about a young guy being shot in the streets of Washington?

Assange: Because we have to understand how high the stakes are in the United States and that our sources, you know, face serious risks. That's why they come to us – so we can protect their anonymity.

Rosenthal: But it's quite something to suggest a murder. That's basically what you're doing.

This was as close as Assange could come to confirming that Rich was tied up with the leak without actually saying it. Hours later, WikiLeaks tweeted about the $20k reward.

Four months after that, Craig Murray told the Libertarian Institute's Scott Horton: "Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that he [Rich] was the source of the leaks. What I'm saying is that it's probably not an unfair indication to draw that WikiLeaks believe[s] that he may have been killed by someone who thought he was the source of the leaks." (Quote begins at 11:20 .)

Thanks to such foggy rhetoric, it was all but inevitable that conspiracy theories would ignite. Two months after the killing, an ultra-conservative talk-radio host named Jack Burkman – best known for organizing a protest campaign against the Dallas Cowboys' hiring of an openly gay football player named Michael Sam – approached members of the Rich family and offered to launch an investigation in their behalf.

The family said yes, but then backed off when Burkman grandly announced that the murder was a Kremlin hit. Things turned even more bizarre a year later when Kevin Doherty, an ex-Marine whom Burkman had hired to look into the case, lured his ex-boss to a Marriott hotel in Arlington, Virgina, where he shot him twice in the buttocks and then tried to run him down with a rented SUV. Doherty received a nine-year sentence last December.

The rightwing Washington Times meanwhile reported that WikiLeaks had paid Seth and Aaron Rich an undisclosed sum, a story it was forced to retract , and Fox News named Seth as the source as well. (A sympathetic judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Rich family on technical grounds.) But still the speculation bubbled on, with conservative nuts blaming everyone from ex-DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to acting DNC chairwoman Donna Brazile, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, and Bill and Hillary themselves.

All of which plays into the hands of a corporate press happy to write off any and all suspicion as a product of alt-right paranoia.

But if speculation refuses to die, it's for a simple reason. If the DNC email disclosure was a hack, then Rich clearly had nothing to do with it, which means his death was no more than a robbery gone awry. But if it was a leak, then – based on broad hints dropped by Assange and Murray – it looks like the story could well be more complicated. This proves nothing in and of itself. But it guarantees that questions will grow as long as the Washington police make zero progress in its investigation and the Mueller report continues to fall apart.

And that's just what's happening. Mueller's account of how Russian intelligence supposedly supplied WikiLeaks with stolen data makes no sense because, according to the report's chronology, the transfer left WikiLeaks with just four days to review some 28,000 emails and other electronic documents to make sure that they were genuine and unaltered – a clear impossibility. (See " The 'Guccifer 2.0' Gaps in Mueller's Full Report ," April 18.)

The FBI assessment that Paul Manafort associate Konstantin Kilimnik "has ties to Russian intelligence" – which Mueller cites (vol. 1, p. 133) in order to justify holding Manafort in solitary confinement during the Russia-gate investigation – is similarly disintegrating amid reports that Kilimnik actually served as an important State Department intelligence source.

So the idea of a hack makes less and less sense and an inside leak seems more and more plausible, which is why questions about the Rich case will not go away.

Bottom line: you don't have to be a loony rightist to suspect that there is more to the murder than Robert Mueller would like us to believe.


Reaper , 6 minutes ago link

"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." Arthur Conan Doyle

The FBI/Mueller/Comey are the Federal Key Stone Cops.

CanadaGoose , 8 minutes ago link

Mueller was brought in as the Cleaner! It is a massive cover-up for which most of those who are complicit should be behind bars!

Kotzbomber747 , 15 minutes ago link

Question: why is the Trump Administration still actively PERSECUTING Julian Assange?

"...Craig Murray, the ex-British diplomat who serves as an unofficial WikiLeaks spokesman, says the WikiLeaks founder would have been "very willing to give evidence to Mueller" while holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, "which could have been done by video-link, by interview in the Embassy, or by written communication."

No need for arrests, extradition requests, or 17 espionage charges. A simple email phone call might just do the trick... It shows once again that Trump is a similar fascist as Hillary and the DNC!

DaBard51 , 20 minutes ago link

Mueller: "The [Wikileaks] statements about Rich implied falsely that he had been the source of the stolen DNC emails."

For this assertion, what evidence did Mueller find?

<crickets>

When nine hundred years old you become, look this good you will not.

mpcascio , 23 minutes ago link

I'm sure the Kenyan was deep in the mix.

847328_3527 , 16 minutes ago link

The best thing a person can do if anything happens to them is try to document it and send it to a friendly media outlet since the police and FBI may cover it up. Perhaps dump it directly on to the internet so at least some folks hear/see the truth before it all vanishes.

gay troll , 23 minutes ago link

Why would an assassin leave him alive on the sidewalk?

chunga , 22 minutes ago link

Why didn't the red team make him do it, or do it themselves?

Today we've learned that the FBI didn't, inexplicably, go and grab the DNC server but also never even saw the report from Crowdstrike that was used as the basis for blaming everything on Russia.

fackbankz , 19 minutes ago link

Mueller is a lifelong dirty cop and cover up artist. That's why.

fackbankz , 20 minutes ago link

The killers are most likely dead themselves.

neidermeyer , 14 minutes ago link

Guatemalans or MS-13 subcontractors to the CIA who would have been killed after the job.

SummerSausage , 23 minutes ago link

Of course, the FBI admitted that it never examined the DNC servers and just revealed in court that it never saw a detailed report from Crowdstrike showing that Russians hacked the server. That's why Mueller never investigated. He knew it was a lie but one the entire 3 years, Obama admin, Hillary, the DNC & corrupt cabal depend on maintaining.

curbjob , 32 minutes ago link

The author quotes Seth Rich's brother to support his theory.

According to Rich's brother, Aaron , Seth "was very aware, very talkative," when police found him lying on the pavement.

... but then fails to quote his brothers press statement ?

Which is:

The special counsel has now provided hard facts that demonstrate this conspiracy is false. I hope that the people who pushed, fueled, spread, ran headlines, articles, interviews, talk and opinion shows, or in any way used my family's tragedy to advance their political agendas -- despite our pleas that what they were saying was not based on any facts -- will take responsibility for the unimaginable pain they have caused us. We will continue to pursue justice for Seth's murderers, as well as those who used his murder to advance their personal or political agendas by advancing false conspiracy theories

Aaron Rich

SummerSausage , 29 minutes ago link

If you followed the story, the Rich family was very much doubted this was a random robbery until political operators had a long chat with them. Their stories changed and cooperation with the independent investigation ended. This neighborhood has cameras everywhere. Suddenly, none of them worked.

curbjob , 20 minutes ago link

So you're saying the family was coerced into changing their story?

MadelynMarie , 20 minutes ago link

yes, I thought the family spokesperson was from the DNC

pelican , 24 minutes ago link

Where was SA Peter Strzok when he was murdered? Just wondering

RiverDrifter , 4 minutes ago link

Feel like I'm reading a question from the future.....

navy62802 , 28 minutes ago link

Not only did the FBI never get the DNC server for forensic investigation, it turns out the FBI never even got a finalized report on "DNC hacking" from Crowdstrike. Every conclusion drawn by the various agencies within the Intelligence Community is based on a redacted copy of a draft report from Crowdstrike, and this report was never finalized from its draft form. And even the draft was never unredacted for the FBI.

The whole thing was a sham from the start, as many people suspected. The Mueller operation was never seeking to uncover truth; it was an impeachment investigation by any other name. Why Mueller didn't carry it over the goal line will forever remain a mystery to me.

SummerSausage , 22 minutes ago link

Yet that did not stop Mueller from a pre-dawn raid of Stone's house with 27 armed officers & CNN claiming he helped Wikileaks get the DNC emails from Russian hackers. It isn't stopping the corrupt cabal from prosecuting Stone & Assange for that continued lie.

Consuelo , 25 minutes ago link

'Why Didn't Mueller Investigate Seth Rich?' Occam's razor. Why would a paid lackey disobey direct orders by the chief architects of this Criminal Conspiracy and risk his own life in the process? It makes no sense on any level.

DudleyjouWrite , 26 minutes ago link

The many 'Mueller' questions: Whitey Bulger, Cause of death‎: ‎Blunt force trauma

Freddie , 26 minutes ago link

Funny how we hear about all the great whistle blower-leakers in Wastergate and the wonder cub reporters aka CI$$A shills like Woodward, Bernstein and Ben Bradley who were and are CI$$A puppets. Watergate was Deepstate Rockefellers/Rothschilds taking Nixon out for tariffs and ending the gravy train Vietnam war with endless opium and heroin.

But when you have Seth Rich murdered and Wiki Leaks saying he is the guy then "democracy dies in the darkness" with the fake *** USA news media aka Operation Mockingbird Wa Post, NY Times, AP and the rest.

joego1 , 29 minutes ago link

The FBI never saw the forensic report on DNC computer. https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/06/15/doj-admits-fbi-never-saw-crowdstrike-report-on-dnc-russian-hacking-claim/ They really really didn't want to know the truth.

chunga , 16 minutes ago link

The significance of that can't be overstated. The investigations that have been going on NON-STOP for three years are all fake and *everybody* in DC knows it.

MartinG , 26 minutes ago link

page 48 of the mueller report does mention seth rich as the source of the hack. As quoted by Julian Assange and Mueller casually mentioned that it's untrue with no further investigation.

[Jun 15, 2019] The queen of RussiaGate is going to be asking questions at the debates

MadCow disease of neoliberal MSM is spreading...
Jun 15, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

snoopydawg on Tue, 06/11/2019 - 5:01pm

@skod

So a flaming Russia conspiracist is going to moderate the first Democratic presidential debates. What a joke https://t.co/6QWPrS2cZk

-- Michael Tracey (@mtracey) June 11, 2019

Pluto's Republic on Tue, 06/11/2019 - 5:25pm
Scenes we'd like to see:

@snoopydawg

Anyone want to bet that she will ask someone a question about what they will do to keep Russia from interfering with the election again?

I would love to see that. All answers will be the wrong answer.

[Jun 14, 2019] This is Crystal Clear -- Find the Creator of the Guccifer 2.0 Hoax, and You Find the Murderer of Seth Rich by veganmark

Notable quotes:
"... Let's start with this very reasonable supposition: Guccifer 2.0 is an entity operating within US time zones who has gone out of his way to pose as a Russian hacker who was the source for the Wikileaks DNC/Podesta releases. ..."
"... villain du jour ..."
"... The subsequent mysterious death of Shawn Lucas by a weird drug cocktail might also be related. Shawn had been the process server for the class-action lawsuit against the DNC. According to Sy Hersh's FBI source, Seth indicated that he had allies who were aware of the drop box he was providing Wikileaks. It would have been necessary to eliminate these allies. Was Shawn one of these allies, and did the creator of G2.0 know this? Shawn, who was not known to be a drug user, died suddenly about a month after Seth. ..."
"... So who created G2.0? G2.0 appears to have worked in coordination with Crowdstrike. One day after Crowdstrike announced that the DNC had been hacked (with Russia the chief suspect) and that the hackers had grabbed a file of Trump Opposition Research, G2.0 makes his first public appearance, claiming to be the hacker, posting Trump Opposition Research -- and purposely leaving "Russian fingerprints" on the meta-data of his release. ..."
"... Crowdstrike was also in a position to concoct the "Russian hack" that they claimed to be investigating. Cyberanalysts have determined that two-thirds of the allegedly "Russian malware" which Crowdstrike "found" on the DNC servers had in fact been compiled subsequent to the date that Crowdstrike was brought in to investigate the "hack". In other words, there is reason to believe that Crowdstrike itself concocted this "hack" -- likely because they had been warned that Wikileaks was going to release leaked DNC emails. ..."
"... Also notable is the fact that Shawn Henry, co-founder of Crowdstrike, is a master of cyberfuckery. Prior to founding Crowdstrike, Henry served under Robert Mueller as head of FBI counterintelligence -- in which capacity he engaged in efforts to entrap and discredit Julian Assange. Indeed, others have suspected that Henry was behind G2.0, in light of the fact that G2.0's behavior was reminiscent of that of "Sabu" (Hector Monsignor), a hacker who, after secretly being arrested by the FBI during Henry's tenure there, worked under FBI direction to entrap other hackers. And the G2.0 hoax is clearly another - so far, highly successful - attempt to smear Assange. ..."
"... @The Voice In the Wilderness ..."
"... After the Popodouplous interview by Mark Steyn, there was clarity after following Russiagate since it really started before the election of 2016. The deep state actors were trying to setup some significant figure in the Trump as having ties with the Russian government. ..."
"... The irony is that we have McCarthyism once again and not one Russian is guilty of what they are being accused of. They were set up as the fall guys, and of course in the future nuclear war. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Let's start with this very reasonable supposition: Guccifer 2.0 is an entity operating within US time zones who has gone out of his way to pose as a Russian hacker who was the source for the Wikileaks DNC/Podesta releases. The notion that this absurdly preening entity is a GRU hacker is idiotic.

The Mueller report's tale of how G2.0 allegedly transferred the DNC emails to Wikileaks is absurd on its face -- which is to say, Mueller is acting as an accomplice to G2.0 in his fraud.

The evident purpose of the G2.0 fraud was to detract attention from the incriminating content of the DNC/Podesta releases, by blaming those releases on Russian government hackers operating in cahoots with Julian Assange. This accomplishes 3 goals dear to the hearts of the Deep State actors behind G2.0: minimizing the damage to Hillary's campaign inflicted by the released emails; smearing the reputation of Assange, who has made an unparalleled contribution to unmasking the egregious crimes of the Western Deep State; and further defaming "the Russians", the villain du jour which our Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think Tank* complex needs to justify the continuing rape of American taxpayers on behalf of our grotesque overspending on military hardware and our bloated global military empire.

But what was the evident fly-in-the-ointment for this brilliantly diabolic plan? The ACTUAL source of the Wikileaks releases could have blown it sky high. And if G2.0 and the Russian hacking tale had been unmasked prior to the election, the blowback on Hillary's campaign would have been enormous. Which is why the creators of G2.0 needed to eliminate the source.

There are a number of reasons to suspect that Seth Rich was the source, or a confederate of the source:

Hints dropped by Assange;

Award for info on Seth's killer offered by Wikileaks;

Wikileaks re-tweeting essays speculating that Seth was the leaker;

Craig Murray's repeated assurances that DNC/Podesta releases resulted from leaks, not hacks;

Kim Dotcom's claim that he helped Seth with the leak;

Sy Hersh's secretly recorded phone call in which he stated that a trusted source within the FBI claims to have seen an FBI memo describing an FBI analysis of Seth's laptop -- this revealed that Seth had offered to sell DNC emails to Wikileaks, and subsequently conveyed the docs to Wikileaks via drop box;

Claims by Ed Butowsky, Larry Johnson, and Bill Binney indicating that they have sources inside the intel community verifying that Seth was the leaker -- in conjunction with brother Aaron;

Jared Beck's claim that both Seth and Shawn Lucas were planning to testify in the class-action lawsuit against the DNC -- speaks to Seth's possible motive for leaking;

Claim by Rod Wheeler that, according to a source inside the DC police, the police have been ordered to "stand down" on the Seth Rich investigation;

Frenzied reaction of Donna Brazile on learning that Wheeler was investigating the Seth Rich murder - and her overt lie regarding her whereabouts on the morning of the murder.

https://caucus99percent.com/content/why-did-donna-lie-again

Some have speculated that, in line with an email by John Podesta, Seth was murdered "to make an example of him". I reject this explanation. They could have made an example by firing him and suing him. As it stands, no example was made, as the DNC claims that Russians, not Seth, were responsible for the Wikileaks DNC releases.

If the puppetmaster of G2.0 knew or believed that Seth was the leaker, Seth had to be murdered to insure success of the G2.0 hoax.

(The alternative is that G2.0 did not know that, and that Seth was beaten up and murdered in a robbery so "botched" that no valuables were taken. Yeah, right!)

The subsequent mysterious death of Shawn Lucas by a weird drug cocktail might also be related. Shawn had been the process server for the class-action lawsuit against the DNC. According to Sy Hersh's FBI source, Seth indicated that he had allies who were aware of the drop box he was providing Wikileaks. It would have been necessary to eliminate these allies. Was Shawn one of these allies, and did the creator of G2.0 know this? Shawn, who was not known to be a drug user, died suddenly about a month after Seth.

Curiously, the day after Seth died, and again the day after Shawn died, the DNC made payments of about $100K to Crowdstrike. Sheer coincidence? Maybe.

So who created G2.0? G2.0 appears to have worked in coordination with Crowdstrike. One day after Crowdstrike announced that the DNC had been hacked (with Russia the chief suspect) and that the hackers had grabbed a file of Trump Opposition Research, G2.0 makes his first public appearance, claiming to be the hacker, posting Trump Opposition Research -- and purposely leaving "Russian fingerprints" on the meta-data of his release. Unfortunately, this little dog-and-pony show turned out to be a screw-up, as it was subsequently revealed that (by the DNC itself!) that the Opposition Research document had been an attachment in Podesta's emails, and hadn't been hacked from the DNC. It is also notable that releasing Trump Opposition Research would do nothing to damage the chances of Hillary -- the alleged intent of the mythical Russian hackers. Indeed, nothing that G2.0 subsequently released was notably harmful to Hillary.

Crowdstrike was also in a position to concoct the "Russian hack" that they claimed to be investigating. Cyberanalysts have determined that two-thirds of the allegedly "Russian malware" which Crowdstrike "found" on the DNC servers had in fact been compiled subsequent to the date that Crowdstrike was brought in to investigate the "hack". In other words, there is reason to believe that Crowdstrike itself concocted this "hack" -- likely because they had been warned that Wikileaks was going to release leaked DNC emails.

https://caucus99percent.com/content/how-did-crowdstrikeguccifer-20-know-...

It bears repeating that the latest dated DNC email which Wikileaks published was written on April 25th -- several weeks after Crowdstrike had been brought in to investigate the alleged hack. Anti-hacking programs do not stop leaks .

Also notable is the fact that Shawn Henry, co-founder of Crowdstrike, is a master of cyberfuckery. Prior to founding Crowdstrike, Henry served under Robert Mueller as head of FBI counterintelligence -- in which capacity he engaged in efforts to entrap and discredit Julian Assange. Indeed, others have suspected that Henry was behind G2.0, in light of the fact that G2.0's behavior was reminiscent of that of "Sabu" (Hector Monsignor), a hacker who, after secretly being arrested by the FBI during Henry's tenure there, worked under FBI direction to entrap other hackers. And the G2.0 hoax is clearly another - so far, highly successful - attempt to smear Assange.

https://caucus99percent.com/content/shawn-henry-crowdstrike-was-fingered...

Whether or not Crowdstrike concocted G2.0, we need to find out who did -- the answer should be highly pertinent to unraveling Seth's murder.

And let's bear in mind that the creator of G2.0 has also played an integral role in concocting a Second Cold War with Russia - luring an entire generation of "leftists" into hating both Russia and Wikileaks, on completely spurious grounds. The evil of that is HUGE.

*Ray McGovern's brilliant formulation.


Linda Wood on Tue, 06/11/2019 - 2:56pm

I think your assertiveness

about hammering on these points is productive of narrowing in on the truth, whatever it may be. That's my awkward way of saying that you're not just on to something but that your precision, where you're hammering, is getting to the truth. I say that as a person who isn't convinced that Seth Rich was the DNC leaker, but who thinks he may have been murdered because he was a potential witness in a DNC voter suppression lawsuit , which amounts to the same thing really.

The strength of your outlook for me is that you emphasize the stupidity of the G2.0 revelations, the stupidity of Russian cyber-fingerprints, the vapidity of the released Opposition Research, and the timeliness of this junk evidence. It matches in tone and stupidity the evidence used to convince the American people that Saddam gave the anthrax to Mohamed Atta in Prague. Turns out Atta was not in Prague, turns out the anthrax was not Saddam's, but ours, turns out the Vice President of the United States lied about it on camera. Doesn't matter. Once the scene of the transfer to Atta was fixed in the minds of some American people, even if just a few Americans half believed it, the narrative was written.

The other strength of your essay for me is your hammering on Seth Rich's murder as eliminating a possible contradiction of the Russia narrative. The death of his associate Lucas only adds to that possibility. Clearly Seth Rich's murder was timely and important. It could very well have been a random street crime, but why he was out on the street in the middle of the night just before the filing of a lawsuit that could have involved him and the DNC is worth asking. The problem is that the media, and as far as we can tell, our government, are not asking.

I just want to thank you again for focusing on the weak points of the narrative. Each time you do, I think you bring us closer to the truth.

Here is a good report on the false evidence generated on the anthrax attack.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BP2G-cejYhI

The Voice In th... on Tue, 06/11/2019 - 5:30pm
Murder seems to follow Her Highness around, doesn't it?

up 11 users have voted.

Bob In Portland on Wed, 06/12/2019 - 2:30pm
@The Voice In the Wilderness Yes, but I'd suggest it's

@The Voice In the Wilderness

Yes, but I'd suggest it's because she's lived a career in the Deep State. Hilz never really was a Dem. She was an undercover Republican/CIA when she started out. In 1968 she started the year as a volunteer for Clean Gene McCarthy, the "anti-Vietnam" Dem candidate who went on to endorse Ronald Reagan.

She then went to the the Republican convention in Miami, then spent that summer as an intern for House Republicans, where she wrote a speech about Vietnam for Representative Melvin Laird. Melvin Laird was Nixon's Secretary of Defense, who oversaw a lot of the bludgeoning of Southeast Asia.

So when she was anti-war with McCarthy was she really anti-war (subsequently there have been stories about how infiltrated McCarthy's '68 campaign was riddled with CIA infiltrators), or was she pro-war, writing speeches for Mel Laird? I suggest she never gave a shit about all those napalmed deplorables in Southeast Asia. It was a pose. I'd don't think that Bill was anti-war either. Like a lot of future politicians he didn't want his ass shot there.

She and Bill worked their way up the ladder among CIA-owned politicians. Ultimately, they were in place to deliver the Democratic Party to the Agency.

[comment:body]

MrWebster on Tue, 06/11/2019 - 9:04pm
The unwilling patsy are the Russians

After the Popodouplous interview by Mark Steyn, there was clarity after following Russiagate since it really started before the election of 2016. The deep state actors were trying to setup some significant figure in the Trump as having ties with the Russian government.

This include Flynn, the meeting at Trump Towers, and Popodouplos. So many details now fall in place like the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya meeting with Fusion after the Trump Tower meeting. Say what?

Or just bullshit like US intelligence found out GRU agents were doing the hacking because some GRU master computer jock forgot to login into his VPN. G2 does seem to be an invention.

The irony is that we have McCarthyism once again and not one Russian is guilty of what they are being accused of. They were set up as the fall guys, and of course in the future nuclear war.

As for Seth Rich all I can speculate is that he was involved somehow. And if his murder was not random, he was about to blow apart the entire conspiracy to such a level, action had to be taken against him.

[Jun 14, 2019] 'Make Russia Prostrate Again' Is the Only Thing US Democrats and Republicans Can Agree on

Jun 14, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Despite the deep schism that separates America's deranged political duopoly, they do share a common foreign policy pet project, and that is to prevent Russia from ever shining again on the global stage in all fields of endeavor.

One of Donald Trump's main pledges on the 2016 campaign trail was to rekindle the dying embers of US-Russia relations, which had been undergoing a mini Ice Age under Barack Obama, his ballyhooed 'reset' notwithstanding. But before Trump was ever put to the test of romancing Russia, he was sidelined by one of the most malicious political stunts of the modern age.

It is only necessary to recall the 2016 Winter of Our Discontent when the Democratic leader sent 35 Russian diplomats and their families packing just before New Year's Eve in retaliation for Russia's alleged involvement in hacking the Democratic National Committee's computers. Before Trump ascended the throne, those unfounded claims lit the fuse on 'Russiagate,' the debacle which continues to undermine not just US-Russia relations, but the entire US political system.

Yet would things have turned out any differently between Washington and Moscow had the Democrats graciously accepted defeat in 2016 without feeling the need to blame remote Russia? I am not sure.

Today, observers reason that the US Republicans have no choice but to 'get tough' on Russia in an effort to dispel Democrat-generated rumors of excessive coziness with the Kremlin. Last year, for example, Trump bested Obama on the Russia front when he expelled 60 Russian diplomats in response to an alleged assassination attempt on former British spy, Sergey Skripal; an astonishing move on the part of the US conservative, but with so much riding on the line was it really a surprise?

And what was it exactly that was 'riding on the line'? Aside from good relations between the world's two premier nuclear powers, not to mention thwarting nuclear Armageddon as Prime Minister Theresa May very unwisely issued an ultimatum to Russia over the matter, there is the question of hundreds of billions of dollars of business contracts – from gas supplies to military hardware. Tycoon Trump would sooner win over European gas supplies than the plains of Central Asia, for example, the geopolitical lynchpin so dear to the hearts of US policymakers, like the late Zbigniew Brzezinski. This is where so many people misread Donald Trump: His heart and mind is devoted to the business deals, not the military steals. But that doesn't necessarily make his moves are any less dangerous.

From President Trump's perspective, Russia is a 500-pound cigar-chomping guy at the negotiating table with an ego and stature equal to his own that must be vanquished lest The Deal be lost and he – Donald J. Trump, CEO and Founder of The Trump Organization – look like a second-rate negotiator and fraud. Similar to the methods a belligerent globalist, Trump the inveterate businessman will do anything to achieve leverage in the pursuit of profit.

This is where Trump was only too happy to oblige the British with their extremely suspect Skripal story because vilifying the Russians, once again, would give the US an upper hand in stealing business away from Moscow, most notably in the realm of European gas supplies. Presently, the Trump administration is trying hard to halt progress on Nord Stream 2, an ambitious 11 billion euro ($12.4 billion) project to construct a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.

Speaking from Kiev this week, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Washington, once again endorsing the spirit of free competition and enterprise, was preparing to introduce sanctions on foreign companies involved in the project.

But that's just the beginning.

To show how low the Americans would stoop to get a piece of this lucrative European market, which the Russian's have been dutifully supplying for many decades, they've gone for some dramatic rebranding , calling LNG supplies "freedom gas." You know, the byproduct of 'freedom fries.'

"Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America's allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy," said US Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes.

Dmitry Peskov, official spokesman of the Russian president, scoffed at such cynical attempts by Washington to strong-arm nations into accepting its preferred version of the 'free market.'

"Instead of fair competition they prefer to act like in Wild West times," Peskov told RT's Sophie Shevardnadze ahead of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). "They just show the gun and say that no, you guys here in Europe, you are going to buy our natural gas and we don't care that it is at least 30% more expensive than the gas coming from the Russians. This is the case."

Perhaps nowhere else is this effort to 'control the market' more evident than in the realm of military spending, and particularly among NATO states. Currently, European countries spend some $240 billion annually on military weapons and forces, while Russia spends just $66 billion each year. Yet for businessmen like Trump, that is not good enough. Employing the vacuous claim of an 'aggressive Russia,' Trump is passing around the proverbial hat, demanding that NATO members contribute an ever-higher amount of their GDP to military spending. At the same, the eastern border with Russia has become militarized like never before.

Here there is striking convergence on the part of the Democrats and Republicans when it comes to Russia. The Democrats under Barack Obama, accepting the baton passed to them by the Bush administration, dropped a US-made missile defense system in Romania, a stone's throw from the Russian border. Obama's assurances that the Russians would be allowed to participate in the project were casually forgotten. But the Russians, who know a thing or two about military strategy, did not forget. Last year, Vladimir Putin unveiled a number of daunting military breakthroughs, including hypersonic weapons, which the Russian leader explained were developed with the sole purpose of striking a strategic balance between the two nuclear superpowers. And if the world needs more of anything these days, it is certainly balance.

With such ploys in mind, it is easy to see why Moscow has little cause for celebration with either a Democrat or Republican in the White House. Both political parties have long viewed Russia not as a potential partner that could lend tremendous assistance in resolving some of the planet's most intractable problems, but rather as some Cold War foe that needs vilified and vanquished. Of course there is good reason for this decades-long duplicity. The double-pronged attack by the Democrats and Republicans allows Washington to continue to make strategic inroads against Russia, as well as China, while filling the corporate coffers at the same time. It is an age-old strategy – albeit a foolhardy one in an age of nuclear weapons – which is doomed to ultimate failure, if not disaster, if left unchecked. The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation. Tags: NATO Perry Russia Trump US

[Jun 14, 2019] By this stage I wonder if all Skripals neighbours aren't all "ex" spooks

Jun 14, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Cortes June 9, 2019 at 11:24 pm

A real shame that Dr David Kelly took his own life. I'm sure he'd have been able to shed light on the latest news from Wiltshire:

https://www.rt.com/uk/461463-novichok-bb-skripal-house/

By this stage I wonder if all the neighbours aren't all "ex" spooks from hither and yon. Who else would tolerate the nonsense they've been subjected to without reaching out to their learned friends? Good luck with putting a house on the market with that circus going on.

Moscow Exile June 10, 2019 at 3:29 am
Such stringent measures would surely not be taken by HM govt and British security if they had no evidence that those evil Russians had attempted to kill the Skripals with Novichok.

Stands ter reason, don't it?

Mark Chapman June 10, 2019 at 8:15 am
The whole premise just becomes more and more ridiculous – the house is now completely shrouded in tarpaulins, the roof has been removed, it has undergone extensive 'decontamination' – all, all of it obviously for show, for the yokels, because for weeks afterward police personnel guarded the residence while standing just feet away from the door handle which was supposedly the locus of infection. No chemical-warfare protection whatsoever was apparent; they didn't even wear gloves unless it was cold.

They might at least have made up some story that the Deadly Door Handle had been replaced, or even the entire door. Because everyone who went in or out of that house, and there must have been many, touched that door handle, at least some of them with their bare hand. And what ever became of the intrepid detective, Nick what's-his-name? Wasn't the state going to buy his home as well, even though he had scarcely been in it and had gone more or less straight to the hospital after being 'infected'? Only to make a miraculous and complete recovery in days, and then drop off the public radar?

Stupidity abounds. Yet the press just can't let it go, and let it mercifully drop out of sight. It would just be too embarrassing to tacitly admit the British government made it up from start to finish, the entire operation. If the Skripals actually were poisoned with something, and not just acting a role for the British government, then that part must have been HM-government-supplied as well, because nobody who has any experience with police procedure is going to believe they had a culprit and a complete history of the crime in only a couple of hours after its discovery, and a foreign state was responsible.

Murdock June 11, 2019 at 8:14 am
I don't want to be an alarmist but if I had to guess I would say our good friend Officer Nick is probably partying it up with Sergei, Yulia, and their pets in Hades.
Mark Chapman June 11, 2019 at 8:43 am
You never know. He sort of dropped out of the public eye, and of all of them he seemed to be the one whose story would be picked apart first, although all of them were improbable. And I'm sure many, many were interested in interviewing him and questioning him further.

He was released from hospital with no apparent ill effects more than a year ago, on March 23rd, 2018. According to the Telegraph , here,

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/15/police-officer-nick-bailey-returns-active-duty-10-months-salisbury/

he returned to active duty the beginning of 2019, but the story has his Chief confirming this, it is not Bailey himself. That same story remembers that Dawn Sturgess "fell ill in Amesbury months after the incident and died in hospital in July after coming into contact with a perfume bottle believed to have been used in the attack on the Skripals and then discarded." But the perfume bottle described as having been 'used in the attack on the Skripals' was brand-new and still in its store packaging, not to any appearance unusual except for that weird plastic aerator fastened to the bottle. Which, now that I think of it, was supposed to have been not attached to the bottle at all; Charlie Rowley's tale was that he broke the bottle trying to get the applicator on it, which is how he was exposed. But he still gave it to his paramour as a gift, and she was still apparently able to use it to spray herself.

Anyway, so far as I can make out, DS Nick Bailey returned to duty with his former police department last winter, and since then not a peep has been heard from him. The Skripals are still incognito, and Sergei has never been seen again since going into hospital.

Bailey's parents apparently threw a wobbler when the Beeb decided to run a two-part television drama on the attacks, which would doubtless reinforce and reconfirm the government line although it is meant to showcase the quiet courage and resourcefulness of 'ordinary heroes'.

https://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/17673661.parents-of-ds-nick-bailey-hit-out-at-bbc-over-novichok-drama/

No statement from Bailey himself. Meanwhile, he is scheduled to lead off a charity walk for the local hospital on July 7th. So we will see.

https://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/17697751.detective-sergeant-nick-bailey-to-start-stars-appeal-walk-for-wards/

[Jun 14, 2019] Molly McKew, the information-warfare goddess

Jun 14, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

The Mueller Report, recently released, tried its best to imply that there was collusion even as it stated baldly that the investigation had yielded no evidence of collusion. But what struck me with the most force was the manner in which the Democrats – and the entire crowd which has so much invested in having had an illegitimate president foisted upon them by the Godless Russians – simply shook its head, took a deep breath and went right on blathering the same lunatic narrative. The Russians interfered with our democracy. Nothing is safe. Russia is the enemy of democracy, and will not suffer a democracy to live. Get the kids and pack up enough food for traveling, Mabel; we're headed for the mountains – it's "Red Dawn", babycakes.

Amazing as it will sound, America has learned nothing.

Part of it, of course, is America's belief in its own omnipotence; if something came out differently from the way it was planned to come out, then America was tricked. Hoodwinked, by unscrupulous actors. It cannot be that America is subject to the same vagaries and pressures and caprices as the rest of the world; America decides, and so it shall be. Part of it is the diligent pick-and-shovel work that America's political forces do to preserve that illusion; that America is an unstoppable force, so much more than just a big rich country.

So, the premise endures. Russian trolls, acting on the personal orders of Vladimir Putin, generated a storm of hateful social-media messages on race relations in America, in a coordinated strike which included Russian release of Hillary Clinton's personal emails, and America faltered. It scratched its head in doubt, and Donald Trump slipped past the worthy – and oh, so wronged – Mrs. Clinton to seize the presidency with his soiled hands.

Matt Taibbi did some excellent work on the subject , which I admit grudgingly, as I hoped to get something out on America's inability to learn from its mistakes before the heavyweights. Taibbi's writing will make you wonder whether you should laugh or cry, as you wonder how an influential country could survive the embarrassment of the past couple of years, encapsulated by a journalistic mantra which holds that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Russia is guilty as sin, and you can take that to the bank, so the very fact that Mueller will not leak any proof to us must mean that his findings are so devastating, so jaw-dropping, so "shut up !!" that they would break the media. The one possibility which was not considered a possibility at all was that there was nothing, and that the accusations had been fabrication and desperate damage control from the first.

But the frustrated narrative of Russian collusion is the only component which has been discredited to the point that Democrats and Russophobes of all political persuasions must admit there is no happy ending to the promise that Donald Trump was going to be fired so high he would need to go on oxygen. Mueller – probably deliberately – continued to hint that Russia had 'meddled' in the 2016 election, and that the effect had been important enough that democracy is under attack. No longer listening to anyone outside the party-faithful echo chamber, the Democrats now insist that US Attorney-General William Barr resign , for 'misleading the American people about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia".

"Barr's news conference ultimately did nothing to help Trump, because the public has eyes. Americans could read the damning evidence of obstruction of justice and communications with Russians for themselves and make their own judgements."

Democrats continue to try to make up in volume and intensity for the fact that there is no evidence at all of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, nor of obstruction of justice by Trump. The Republicans shout that the Democrats are on a senseless witch hunt, that the report makes clear there was no collusion between Trump and the Russians but are perfectly happy to agree that Russia meddled in the election. For his part, Mueller is happy to drop hints that both obstruction and collusion probably took place – he just couldn't find any proof.

All are loony. Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election at all, at least no further than Europe did. A lengthy list of European political leaders and former leaders publicly expressed their support for Mrs. Clinton's election to the office of President of the United States. In 2008, just one is recorded as having done so ; Mona Sahlin, leader of Sweden's Social Democrats. Interestingly, in the same list of endorsements of Mrs. Clinton in 2008 – right after "Adult Entertainment Artists" – is this one: under "Well-Known Individuals", "Businessman and television personality, Future Presidential Candidate & Rival for the United States presidential election 2016, future President of the United States Donald Trump" .

There's gratitude for you.

The Presidents of Taiwan, Chile, France and Ukraine, the former Presidents of Mexico, France, Kosovo and Ecuador, the Prime Ministers of the Czech Republic, France, Italy, New Zealand and Sweden and former Prime Ministers of Sweden, the UK, Canada, Australia and France all openly expressed their hope that Mrs. Clinton would be elected President of the United States. None of this was considered meddling. I don't recall any official endorsement from Russia, although the international English-speaking media helpfully informed us that Putin hoped Trump would win, because he felt Trump would be more approachable for concessions and because he disliked Mrs. Clinton. When Trump did win, despite wrong guesses by just about every political analyst on the planet, it was considered 'additional evidence' that meddling had taken place, instigated by you-know-who.

Perhaps, in highlighting just how stupid America is making itself look with this painfully stubborn insistence that Russia rolled it in 2016, it would be useful to take another look at what American partisans claimed to already know, and could prove as easily as demonstrating that if you put your hand on a hot stove, you will burn it.

One of my favourite American partisans is the Duchess of Displacement, the Baroness of Bulk, Molly McKew . We took a look at her work a long time ago , on the old blog – just before Trump commenced his term, in fact – or perhaps I should say his first term, since the barking madness of the political landscape in today's America makes it entirely possible he will serve a second, unbelievable as that may sound. In that article, we closed out like this; "Look, we're getting close to the end of this, and it's time for plain speaking. Americans are confused and don't know fact from fiction because their own government feeds them bullshit with a side of spin day in, day out, and you're part of it. There was no Russian interference in the American elections, and you know it." My take on what happened has not changed a bit.

McKew is still regarded – highly, I should imagine, by her feeble-minded peers – as an 'information-warfare expert'. Hardly amazing that she sees information-warfare attacks everywhere. Here's what she claimed to know about Russian election interference and general friggin' in the riggin', a little over a year ago. She bases her conclusions on Mueller's Grand Jury indictment, which was issued more than a year in advance of his report – an indictment in which Mueller claimed the Defendants (a variety of Russian advertising and research agencies operating both in Russia and the United States) " knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other (and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury) to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the government through fraud and deceit for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016."

You know the old quote about how easy it is to get a Grand Jury to indict someone or something.

Something McKew claims is now – meaning as of early 2018 – "undeniable" is that Russia had, and has "a broad, sophisticated system that can influence American opinion, which cost tens of millions of dollars spent over several years to build." She must be talking about RT , although I suggest her cost estimate is a little low. RT, which the west considers a 'propaganda network', cost $30 million to set up, in 2005. Its operating costs now are in the hundreds of millions annually, although 80% of the costs are incurred outside Russia, paying for partner networks who distribute its channels.

We kind of have to give her that one, because it is true that RT's coverage is often at odds with the bullshit du jour that CNN and NBC and FOX are spreading. Bullshit, for example, like CNN's non-stop yammering about the collusion that Mueller could find no evidence ever occurred, and said so. Bullshit like NBC News anchor Brian Williams' recollections about his helicopter being shot down in Iraq – echoes of Hillary 'sniper fire' Clinton – , which never happened . Williams is not a nobody; he was the nation's longest-serving and top-rated news anchor.

I submit, however, that the American people are not subjected to RT's 'propaganda and disinformation' about American propaganda and disinformation against their will; there is a button on the remote called "On/Off" that will free the American enslaved from malign Kremlin influence. Alternatively, they can switch to another channel. I would just point out, though, that if they switch to a popular US news channel, they are very likely to be listening to a broadcast which has been curated by its corporate owners, and who " are unlikely to report news that is broadly hostile to corporate capitalism and the American elite ." That's according to a report entitled "Corporate Control of the Media" (in the USA), printed in 2009.

Warming to her subject, McKew goes on to claim "The Russian efforts described in the indictment focused on establishing deep, authenticated, long-term identities for individuals and groups within specific communities. This was underlaid by the establishment of servers and VPNs based in the US to mask the location of the individuals involved. US-based email accounts linked to fake or stolen US identity documents (driver licenses, social security numbers, and more) were used to back the online identities. These identities were also used to launder payments through PayPal and cryptocurrency accounts. All of this deception was designed to make it appear that these activities were being carried out by Americans."

This might be a good point at which to suggest there is every reason to believe 'these activities' were carried out by Americans. Americans working for national intelligence agencies.

In March 2017, The Washington Post's Ellen Nakashima had an article published which was entitled "WikiLeaks' latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations." It detailed, among other things, a cyber tool called "Marble Framework" . This could be used, it was claimed, to re-assign attribution of material posted on the internet so that it appeared, for forensic purposes, to have originated from a different source. Test samples, it was reported, were included in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi.

The report which encouraged President Trump to ask his CIA Director – Mike Pompeo, at the time, who is currently the National Security Advisor – what he knew about this was co-authored by Skip Folden, who for 25 years was the IT Program Manager for IBM. I think it is safe to say he has some credibility in the field of cyber-forensics. The authors of the report contended that the 'hack' of the DNC's server was not actually a hack at all, but the at-source copying of data directly from the server using a storage device, probably a thumb drive. The data transfer rate, the authors claimed, was far too rapid to have occurred over the internet.

Since then I have seen a couple of 'rebuttals' which claimed that under certain conditions – like if nobody else was using the internet during that time – such copying from a remote source was possible. I never saw anything like proof. Like someone demonstrating how it could be done. Much like the old 'clean pee swap' the completely-discredited McLaren Report claimed the Russians performed on athletes' urine samples; he claimed to know how it was done, but never demonstrated it, and appeared to be unable to do so, as it would have strongly supported his allegations.

Having taken us such an eye-blurring distance on the blarney rollercoaster, Molly at last falls apart. "So anyone trying to tell you there was little impact on political views from the tools the Russians used doesn't know. Because none of us knows. No one has looked . Social media companies don't want us to know, and they obfuscate and drag their feet rather than disclosing information. The analytical tools to quantify the impact don't readily exist. But we know what we see, and what we heard -- and the narratives pushed by the Russian information operation made it to all of our ears and eyes" , she tells us.

So if you saw advertising by Black Lives Matter, or perhaps some other civil-rights organization, pushing a false narrative that blacks are second-class citizens in their own country, then you were exposed to Kremlin propaganda. And it affected how you voted, if you're an American. How much? Nobody knows. What everybody does know, or should, is that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, although not the determinate vote in the electoral college – quite a trick for the Russians to manage.

Let's summarize. Americans were supposedly pushed into voting for Donald Trump by the misuse of stolen data which was all true. The DNC did conspire to rig the primary so that Clinton was the Democratic candidate rather than Bernie Sanders; the Chair of the DNC resigned in disgrace because of the revelations which came to light. Her replacement, Donna Brazile, admitted to having fed the primary debate questions to Clinton in advance , giving her an advantage over Sanders, who was unaware of them as he should have been. At its very core, the Democratic party is as corrupt as the Nigerian prince who keeps e-mailing me to help him hide his ill-gotten fortune. American intelligence and technical professionals with no discernible benefit in making their country look bad insist that no hacking of the DNC's server took place, and that the stolen information which kicked the Democrats' feet out from under them on the eve of the election was not hacked, but stolen by direct physical transfer from the server using a portable storage device. Wikileaks insisted the information it released did not come from the Russians. The serving American intelligence services at the time of the 2016 election had a secret program which was capable of mimicking the origin of posted information on social media so that forensic investigation would find traces of Russian authorship, or other non-American authorship. The CIA has vigorously denied any involvement whatsoever in various international events at the time they occurred, only to admit much later – when it would be pointless to punish it – that they did in fact play an influential role. Data from 2014 established that at that time, 27% of black Americans lived below the poverty line , compared with 11% of all Americans; 38% of black children lived in poverty compared with 22% of all American children. I have seen no compelling evidence that this situation has improved. According to the perfidious Kremlin mouthpiece RT, citing American sources, American blacks are incarcerated at a rate six times as high as the national average .

Molly McKew, the information-warfare goddess, tells us that it is 'undeniable' that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, by making Americans doubt the integrity of their political candidates. In the case of the Democrats – which is by no means intended to spare the Republicans – they were demonstrated by their own repeatedly-verified and admitted shenanigans to understand 'integrity' about as well as the average crab fisherman understands how to calculate the mass of the sun. Everything they were accused of doing, they did. Candidate Hillary Clinton unambiguously lied – as she has done on other occasions – about the security classification of her 'private' emails and completely fabricated consent of the State Department for her to maintain a private email server for the sending and receiving of official message traffic. America does have an uneven scale of justice, law enforcement and standard of living based on race. There is no proof at all which has so far been made public that any of those situations were reported, compelled, exacerbated or invented by Russia, or by anyone from Russia. According to persistent revelations from Kiev, the American Democratic party energetically sought dirt on candidate Trump from Ukrainian sources , not Russian. McKew closes her soliloquy on election interference by maintaining that while it is undeniable that Russian interference occurred, nobody knows the extent to which it influenced the vote, which resulted in a popular win for the candidate who lost the election.

Let me posit another reality. Russia played no part at all in the outcome of the 2016 election, although it certainly was a surprise to most. There is no proof even offered that there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials of any description, and no proof which could not have been fabricated that any coherent social-media campaign originating with Russian operatives took place, or that any such imaginary social-media campaign had anything to do with Trump's victory. The Democrats, by sticking to their ridiculous and incredible narrative of Russian masterminds warping American democracy, are setting themselves up for having their headlights sucked out again by the passing Trump juggernaut in the next election, when they will be totally out of excuses if they do not wake up and do some serious retrenching.

But we are probably going to have to wait for history to teach that lesson to Americans.

[Jun 14, 2019] With Russiagate, we Soviet immigrants were finally forced to reckon with the bigotry of America's elite

Highly recommended!
Jun 14, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al June 8, 2019 at 1:35 am

More good stuff at the link, inc.

Facebook's new public policy manager for Ukraine is nationalist hawk who volunteered with fascist party during US-backed coup

https://thegrayzone.com/2019/06/04/facebook-public-policy-manager-ukraine-kateryna-kruk/

&

With Russiagate, we Soviet immigrants were finally forced to reckon with the bigotry of America's elite

https://thegrayzone.com/2019/05/28/with-russiagate-we-soviet-immigrants-were-finally-forced-to-reckon-with-the-bigotry-of-americas-elite/

We never knew what it was like to have the country's media and political class brand people like us a possible threat. Until now.

By Yasha Levine

Mark Chapman June 8, 2019 at 10:38 am
You can adopt a lot of things about society as given; people will always defend those they know against those they don't. They will always defend their own even when they suspect or even know they are in the wrong. People will mostly help those who are in trouble if it costs them little or nothing to lend their support. And so on – people are mostly predictable as examples of collective will.

And people will often champion the elevation to positions of power of radicals, so long as that person's radical beliefs and policies further their own aims. Going beyond requires that we examine that society for cynicism and naivete. A naive society assumes that once the radical's aims have been achieved – in this case, the joining of the European Union and NATO by Ukraine – the radical will be satisfied, and will become a peaceful and productive servant of freedom and democracy rather than a fierce adherent to his or her own radical policies, but now within European society, where they might not be so welcome. The cynic assumes the radical will be used as long as he or she is useful to reaching the goals the cynics have set for the country, and then shunted aside or otherwise marginalized if he or she is no longer useful.

Which is it, do you think? I vote for cynicism, and I base that judgment on how smoothly the west transitioned from Nadya Savchenko the heroic martyr to Nadya Savchenko the radical anarchist who wanted to blow up the Rada.

moscowexile June 8, 2019 at 8:49 pm
Wonder if Yasha Levine has ever thought of discussing the points he raises in his above linked article with his erstwhile and also present-day fellow country persons Maria Gessen and Yulia "I-can-pronounce-Шереметьево" Ioffe?

[I absolutely refuse to call Gessen "Masha" (Molly)! She's not my pal!]

yalensis June 9, 2019 at 5:26 am
Yasha should not kvetch so much, the current anti-Russian witch hunt won't reach the likes of him. I know some Jewish Russian émigré families in the U.S., they can still skate by on their former "victimhood": They were required to whine about Soviet anti-Semitism, now all that is needed is a supplementary "I hate Putin, Yankee Doodle Dandy", and they're good to go.

These are the ones I actually despise the most, because they are ungrateful wretches. The Soviet Union saved their collective asses from Hitler, and look how they repayed the debt
I don't begrudge them emigrating to the U.S. if they did so for career reasons, maybe they could find better job opportunities, better conditions to raise their kids, etc. They could do that, but nobody really forced them to slime their former country as viciously as they did. And taught their kids to hate everything Russian. Ingrates!

[Jun 13, 2019] A loyal servant of empire -- Crowdstrike CEO -- is well-rewarded for his role in creating Russiagate hysteria by Caitlin Johnstone

Notable quotes:
"... Never mind that to this day the DNC servers have not been examined by the FBI, nor indeed were they examined by the Special Counsel of Robert " Iraq has WMD " Mueller, preferring instead to go with the analyses of this extremely shady outfit with extensive and well-documented ties with the oligarchic leaders of the US-centralized empire. ..."
"... When the Romanian REAL Guccifer got Podesta password (password) by phishing, exposing his pizza and walnut sauce perversions, the US had him jailed. When WikiLeaks made a DNC dump, CrowdStrike concocted Guccifer 2.0, then more leaks Fancy Bear, and more leaks Cozy Bear. All these CrowdStrike fabrications used CIA Vault 7 fingerprints to frame Russia. It is time to execute our ruling demonic warlords. ..."
Jun 13, 2019 | caitlinjohnstone.com

A new article by Forbes reports that the CEO of Crowdstrike, the extremely shady cybersecurity corporation which was foundational in the construction of the official CIA/CNN Russian hacking narrative, is now a billionaire. George Kurtz ascended to the billionaire rankings on the back of soaring stocks immediately after the company went public, carried no doubt on the winds of the international fame it gained from its central protagonistic role in the most well-known hacking news story of all time.

A loyal servant of empire well-rewarded. Never mind that US government insiders like Hillary Clinton had been prepping for escalations against Russia well in advance of the 2016 elections, and that their preexisting agendas to shove a geostrategic obstacle off the world stage benefitted from the hacking narrative as much as George Kurtz did.

Never mind that Crowdstrike is tied to the NATO narrative management firm known as the Atlantic Council, which receives funding from the US government, the EU, NATO, Gulf states and powerful international oligarchs. Never mind either that Crowdstrike was financed with a whopping $100 million from Google , which has had a cozy relationship with US intelligence agencies since its very inception .

Never mind that to this day the DNC servers have not been examined by the FBI, nor indeed were they examined by the Special Counsel of Robert " Iraq has WMD " Mueller, preferring instead to go with the analyses of this extremely shady outfit with extensive and well-documented ties with the oligarchic leaders of the US-centralized empire.

Also never mind that the Crowdstrike analyst who led forensics on those DNC servers had in fact worked for and was promoted by Robert Mueller while the two were in the FBI.

The CEO of the Atlantic Council-tied Crowdstrike, which formed the foundation of the official CIA/CNN Russian hacking narrative, is now a billionaire. I'm telling you, the real underlying currency of this world is narrative and the ability to control it. https://t.co/XsBCvkIDzJ -- Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) June 12, 2019
As I never tire of saying, the real underlying currency in our world is not gold, nor bureaucratic fiat, nor even raw military might.

The real underlying currency of our world is narrative, and the ability to control it.

As soon as you really grok this dynamic, you start noticing it everywhere.

George Kurtz is one clear example today of narrative control's central role in the maintenance and expansion of existing power structures, as well as an illustration of how the empire is wired to reward those who advance pro-empire narratives and punish those who damage them...

... ... ...

Joseph Olson / June 13, 2019
When the Romanian REAL Guccifer got Podesta password (password) by phishing, exposing his pizza and walnut sauce perversions, the US had him jailed. When WikiLeaks made a DNC dump, CrowdStrike concocted Guccifer 2.0, then more leaks Fancy Bear, and more leaks Cozy Bear. All these CrowdStrike fabrications used CIA Vault 7 fingerprints to frame Russia. It is time to execute our ruling demonic warlords.

[Jun 13, 2019] Our Famously Free Press and Madcow disease

Jun 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Our Famously Free...

"MSNBC and New York Times at odds over reporter appearances on Maddow" [ CNN ]. "New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet and MSNBC president Phil Griffin met last week amid tensions between their two news organizations. But the lengthy lunch did not resolve the issues at hand, according to four sources with knowledge of the sit-down. The executives remain at an impasse. The specific issue is about television appearances by Times reporters on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show .

The dust-up dates back to May 30, when Vanity Fair caused a ruckus by reporting that Times management wants reporters to 'steer clear of any cable-news shows that the masthead perceives as too partisan.' 'The Rachel Maddow Show' is evidently one of those shows [ incroyable! ] -- and Maddow is not happy about it.

The prime time host prides herself on her support for newspaper journalists Complicating matters further: Numerous Times reporters are also paid contributors to MSNBC and CNN. For example, Matthew Rosenberg and Mark Mazzetti of The Times, who are also paid by CNN, have both appeared on 'CNN Tonight' in recent days. CNN declined to comment on the booking relationship with The Times."

• It's impossible for me to understand how the beacons of integrity at the Times could appear in a cesspit like The Rachel Maddow Show. T

These are strange times.

[Jun 11, 2019] Rachel Maddow Is Among the Moderators of the First Democratic Debate

So Russiagater was not fired. Madcow was promoted to more freely spead her "Madcow desease" (Neo-McCarthysim actually) into unsuspecting public ...
Notable quotes:
"... Almost none of the "celebrity" tv journalists have earned one sniff of their regard by having a sufficient amount of smarts, insight, and humility it requires to deliver the news. Especially in trying times like these. ..."
"... She's a borderline conspiracy theorist and more of a star than a newswoman. ..."
"... In what alternate universe does Maddow even have a hint of non-bias? She is not a journalist. ..."
"... maddow is all about opinion, hers, and the one given out to msm by the dem party everyday. aka : the meme of the day. maddow is an partisan idiot. always was, always will be ..."
Jun 11, 2019 | www.thecut.com

On Tuesday, NBC announced that its lineup of moderators will include Rachel Maddow of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show , Lester Holt of NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC, José Diaz-Balart of Noticias Telemundo and NBC Nightly News Saturday , Savannah Guthrie of Today , and Chuck Todd of Meet the Press .

... ... ...

UltraViolet Action co-founder and executive director Shaunna Thomas praised the moderator decision to the Cut. "NBC's decision to ensure that four out of the five moderators for the first Democratic presidential primary debate are women or people of color is a huge win for representation at the debates and a welcome change from the status quo," Thomas said in a statement. She also stated that she hopes other networks follow suit.

Cags

Almost none of the "celebrity" tv journalists have earned one sniff of their regard by having a sufficient amount of smarts, insight, and humility it requires to deliver the news. Especially in trying times like these.

joaniesausquoi, 3 hours ago

Whattya got against Rachel, Cags?

Cags, 2 hours ago

She's a borderline conspiracy theorist and more of a star than a newswoman.

Daxter , 6 hours ago (Edited)

In what alternate universe does Maddow even have a hint of non-bias? She is not a journalist.

Having Rachel Maddow moderate is like having Sean Hannity moderate.

indigo710, 5 hours ago

maddow is all about opinion, hers, and the one given out to msm by the dem party everyday. aka : the meme of the day. maddow is an partisan idiot. always was, always will be . "lawer" is spelled "lawyer".

[Jun 11, 2019] Madcow will one of Democratic debates moderator

that's a real insult. Madcow is probably the worst person to sk any question you can imagine... she is kind of female McCarthy re-incarnation -- crazy Russiagater...
Jun 11, 2019 | www.thecut.com

Daxster 6 hours ago

Why have any moderators? They should have an auctioneer instead. He'll quickly determine who is willing to offer us the biggest bribes with our own money, in exchange for a vote.

And we'll learn how many different ways can one say "FREE! FREE! FREE!" 5 hours ago

XXX:

"The questions will be available for a small fee?"
DJT

Daxster, 5 hours ago

What's Donna Brazile selling over in the corner?

[Jun 11, 2019] Luke Harding is back with one of his bullshit exclusives in the Guardian.

This is "Integrity Initiative" at work...
Jun 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Ghost Ship , Jun 11, 2019 11:01:51 AM | 134
That arsehole Luke Harding is back with one of his bullshit exclusives in the Guardian .
Leaked documents reveal Russian effort to exert influence in Africa
Exclusive: Kremlin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin leading push to turn continent into strategic hub, documents show
by Luke Harding and Jason Burke
The only thing you really need to know about the exposé:
The leaked documents were obtained by the Dossier Center, an investigative unit based in London. The centre is funded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian businessman and exiled Kremlin critic.
The Guardian obviously has no shame for publishing such an article but then it has never explained the claims of Manafort meeting with Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy. As for the article, my reaction was "so fucking what?".

The British French and Americans have fucked up large parts of Africa while the Soviet Union/Russia was indirectly responsible for eradicating that cancerous growth, the apartheid state of South Africa, a single act that was better than all the good things that the United Kingdom, France and the United States have ever done in Africa

[Jun 10, 2019] The Arrival of the Anti-Christ, Delayed by Israel Shamir

Notable quotes:
"... It appears Israelis had tempted the Russians into the ambitious meeting by promising to take the US sanctions off Russian back. It is doubtful Israel can deliver on such a promise to start with. Putin is a very experienced statesman, and he won't accept a US promise in lieu of full delivery. Not after the Hanoi failure of Trump-Kim talks, and not before that, either. Anyway, Putin would like to be un-sanctioned, but not at the price the US asks. ..."
"... "Look, here's what I believe. It becomes obvious when you think about it. Judging by NATO's estimates, there won't be a large European war until about 2025. And by 2025, Ukraine, being a large anti-Russian foothold, will evolve into something that will begin dragging us into trouble, connected with various matters including transfer of power. It's not a coincidence that some of our neighbors are getting rid of the Russian inscriptions on their money in 2024. We see that and we should be ready. From where we get the approximate schedule of our actions." ..."
"... " Undoubtedly, the issue of de-Americanization of Europe is critical. There's no Soviet border anymore. I said that yesterday. And there's no line dividing Germany. We must get rid of it up to the Atlantic Ocean. The elimination of either the American presence or the NATO bloc in general. ..."
Jun 10, 2019 | www.unz.com

Last week, at 'Russian Davos', St Petersburg Economic Forum, President Putin reiterated the main points of his memorable Munich Speech . He voiced seven complaints leaving no doubt he is unhappy with American heavy-handedness, with the US attempts to weaponise the dollar, Google, Facebook and knowhow as in case of Huawei. "States that previously advocated the principles of freedom of trade, fair and open competition, started speaking the language of trade wars and sanctions, blatant economic raiding, arm twisting, intimidation, eliminating competitors by so-called non-market methods," – he said. This is not the language of a man who waits for a cue to join the US entourage.

Still, there are other, less pleasant signs.

The 'Russian Bolton', Mr Eugene Satanovsky, the head of pro-Israeli think tank, a former head of a Zionist Jewish body and a frequent commentator on Russian TV had been appointed an adviser to the Russian Defence Minister Mr Sergey Shoygu. His nomination came directly from Kremlin and surprised the ministry officials. A prominent Russian churchman, Fr Chaplin, expressed his satisfaction with Israeli control of Jerusalem, in a column in the Nezavisimaya Gazeta . At the same time, the Russian S-300 did not respond to Israeli bombing runs in Syria.

It appears Israelis had tempted the Russians into the ambitious meeting by promising to take the US sanctions off Russian back. It is doubtful Israel can deliver on such a promise to start with. Putin is a very experienced statesman, and he won't accept a US promise in lieu of full delivery. Not after the Hanoi failure of Trump-Kim talks, and not before that, either. Anyway, Putin would like to be un-sanctioned, but not at the price the US asks.

Israelis want to neutralise Iran, as the Islamic Republic is the only remaining defender of the al-Aqsa Mosque. Amman, ar-Riyad and other Arab capitals will not fight Israel, if Netanyahu were to destroy the Mosque. The Palestinians will fight, but they have no weapons. The last Jewish victim of a Palestinian attack had been wounded by scissors. Iran has weapons and cares for the Mosque. Can Netanyahu convince Putin to neutralise Iran, or pressure Iran to stay away from Palestine? It would be a major feat worthy of a magician.

And now we come to the important point. Instead of receiving two superpower envoys in splendour as [almost] the King of Jews, Bibi Netanyahu will meet them as the head of a transitional government facing new elections and a possible trial. In such a status, it is hard to convince your banker to give you a loan to buy a new car, let alone convincing Putin to switch alliance and Trump to deny Christ.

In the same time, the baby-faced son-in-law Kushner had planned to execute his (and Trump's) Deal of the Century. Even an impregnable Trump and unassailable Netanyahu would have a great difficulty to make this trick. Trump facing impeachment and Bibi facing elections and police investigation have no chance. Probably it is good, too. Russia and China decided to stay away. Mahmud Abbas, the PNA President, refused it, too, and this fraud's flop will preclude Palestine from being sanctioned.

The intended deal had not been officially disclosed; all we have is a leak in a newspaper close to Bibi Netanyahu and financed by Sheldon Adelson, saying it was leaked from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bear with me, gentle reader, and suspend your disbelieve! Though this piece of daydrea