Sunday, July 9, 2017

Today' links

Gareth Porter: "...the history of the US government’s claim that Russian intelligence hacked into election databases reveals it to be a clear case of politically motivated analysis by the DHS and the Intelligence Community. Not only was the claim based on nothing more than inherently inconclusive technical indicators but no credible motive for Russian intelligence wanting personal information on registered voters was ever suggested."




1--China-Russo stragegic alliance terminates NWO


The real big story
And then, there’s the big story of the G-20 in Hamburg, which actually started three days earlier in Moscow, in a full-fledged official summit between Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Xi repeatedly extolled the “strategic alliance”, or “the fast-growing, pragmatic cooperation”, or even the “special character” of China’s ties with Russia.
Putin once again pledged to support the New Silk Roads, or One Belt, One Road initiative (Obor), “by all means”, which includes its interpenetration with the Eurasia Economic Union (EEU).
The Russian Direct Investment Fund and the China Development Bank established a joint $10 billion investment fund.

Gazprom and China’s CNPC signed a key agreement for the starting date of gas deliveries via the Power of Siberia pipeline; December 20, 2019, according to Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller. And that will be followed by the construction of Power of Siberia-2.
They kept discussing a military cooperation roadmap.
And at a closed Kremlin meeting the night before their official summit, in which they clinched yet another proverbial raft of deals worth billions of dollars, Putin and Xi developed a common North Korea strategy; “dialogue and negotiation”, coupled with firm opposition to the THAAD missile system being installed in South Korea.

Xi, in an interview to TASS, had already expounded on US missile defense – an absolute top priority for the Kremlin – “disrupting the strategic balance in the region”.
This was Putin and Xi’s third meeting in 2017 alone. At the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana, Putin had already hinted that this one, in Moscow, would be “a major event in bilateral relations.”
The giveaway: that’s where they not only deepened their joint strategy for Eurasia integration but also coordinated their common approach to Trump at the G-20. This is what a strategic partnership is all about.


2--Trouble in North Korea


as Korea expert Christine Ahn argued on Democracy NOW, would require President Trump to do what he claims to be good at: negotiating, making a deal. Something very like this view was formally articulated to President Trump in a June 28 letter from such policy experts as former secretary of state George Schultz, former defense secretary William Perry, and former senator Richard Lugar:
As experts with decades of military, political, and technical involvement with North Korean issues, we strongly urge your administration to begin discussions with North Korea…. Talking is not a reward or a concession to Pyongyang and should not be construed as signaling acceptance of a nuclear-armed North Korea. It is a necessary step to establishing communication to avoid a nuclear catastrophe. The key danger today is not that North Korea would launch a surprise nuclear attack. Kim Jong Un is not irrational and highly values preserving his regime. Instead the primary danger is a miscalculation or mistake that could lead to war.

3--The "white helmets" fraud


The techniques used by the White Helmets are not only technically wrong, but dangerous to anyone who might actually be trapped… In my opinion, the videos are pure theater, either staged to impress an unwitting audience, or actually conducted with total disregard for the wellbeing of any real victims.”

Ritter also cites the lack of training in hazardous chemicals, best observed in the videos provided by the White Helmets regarding their activity at Khan Sheikhun on April 4th. He notes “As was the case with their ‘rescues’ of victims in collapsed structures, I believe the rescue efforts of the White Helmets at Khan Sheikhun were a theatrical performance designed to impress the ignorant and ill-informed… Through their actions…the White Helmets were able to breathe life into the overall narrative of a chemical weapons attack, distracting from the fact that no actual weapon existed….”
But perhaps the most serious charge against the White Helmets consists of the evidence that they actively participated in the atrocities, to include torture and murder, carried out by their al-Nusra hosts. There have been numerous photos of the White Helmets operating directly with armed terrorists and also celebrating over the bodies of execution victims and murdered Iraqi soldiers. The group has an excellent working relationship with a number of jihadi affiliates and is regarded by them as fellow “mujahideen” and “soldiers of the revolution.” 

4--CNN's Ratings Collapse As Primetime Shows Draw Less Viewers Than Re-Runs Of "Yogi Bear"


5--The FBI was never given permission by the DNC, to take a look at the hacked server.


The "hacked DNC server" is unavailable to Russia investigators, and CrowdStrike is at the center of the scandal....The FBI was never given permission by the DNC, to take a look at the hacked server....

CrowdStrike’s most famous finding — that Russian-supported hackers penetrated the DNC server — has triggered the most questions.
Last year, that finding was wrapped into the assessment from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which first raised alarms about Russian meddling.

It is perhaps the key piece of forensic evidence in Russia’s suspected efforts to sway the November presidential election, but federal investigators have yet to get their hands on the hacked computer server that handled email from the Democratic National Committee.
Indeed, the only cybersecurity specialists who have taken a look at the server are from CrowdStrike, the Irvine, California-based private cybersecurity company that the DNC hired to investigate the hack — but which has come under fire itself for its work....

.
“The DNC,” Mr. Johnson said at the time, “did not feel it needed DHS’ assistance at that time. I was anxious to know whether or not our folks were in there, and the response I got was the FBI had spoken to them, they don’t want our help, they have CrowdStrike.”
In January, Mr. Comey told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the FBI issued “multiple requests at different levels” to assist the DNC with a cyberforensic analysis. Those requests were also denied. ...

The White House has highlighted what it says is the DNC’s reluctance to accept help dealing with the server hack. President Trump, in a May 7 tweet, wondered: “When will the Fake Media ask about the Dems dealings with Russia & why the DNC wouldn’t allow the FBI to check their server or investigate?”...

Some on Capitol Hill have an even harsher take. Rep. Louie Gohmert, a conservative Texas Republican and a former prosecutor, said DNC and CrowdStrike are acting like defendants with something to hide in declining to allow government investigators access to the server.

6--The 12 baseless claims that form Russiagate


So, an anti-Putin DNC hired an anti-Putin security specialist, who, to absolutely no one’s surprise, “immediately” determined that the break-in was the work of hackers “closely linked to the Russian government’s powerful and highly capable intelligence services.”...

Moreover, in view of the failure of the US’s own investigative agencies to examine the actual evidence, there can be no certainty that the hacking of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers as alleged even took place, much less that the Russians were responsible for it.
In summary, the evidence for claim (1) is thin and fiercely contested, and whilst it would be wrong to say that there is no evidence for claim (1) at all, it is doubtful that such evidence as there is would satisfy a court, so that no great weight should be placed upon it


7--Maria Zakharova, Russia's Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, How the US threatened Russia


8--New study shows Clinton lost election because of growing working class opposition to war


Young people living in rural and semi-rural areas hit by decades of deindustrialization and nonstop cuts to social programs make up the bulk of the armed forces of US imperialism. High unemployment and low education often leave the military or National Guard as the only stable work options. Many regions with high recruitment rates also suffer under the weight of the opioid crisis and heavy rates of drug and alcohol abuse. While 7,000 soldiers died in Iraq and Afghanistan, tens of thousands of veterans have killed themselves; a total of 20 each day.

But efforts by the Democratic and pseudo-left press to ignore the growth of anti-war sentiment are not, as Kriner and Shen claim, an “oversight.” The stock portfolios of the wealthiest 10 percent of the population depend on a constant supply of working class youth whose bodies and minds can be sacrificed to secure resources and cheap labor for the banks and corporations to exploit abroad


9--Trump-Putin meeting deepens divisions in US establishment on Russia policy


Trump speaks for a faction that wants to wean Russia away from China and Iran in order to focus US aggression on China. His opponents, the dominant sections of the intelligence apparatus, in alliance with the Democratic Party and a section of Republicans, want to escalate the confrontation with Russia in both Syria and Eastern Europe. It sees neutralizing Russia as an essential precondition for settling accounts with US imperialism’s most serious rival, China.
The Democrats, working hand in glove with the CIA, have been conducting an hysterical campaign on the basis of concocted allegations that the Russian government intervened in the US election in favor of Trump, whose campaign supposedly colluded with Moscow.


10--Get ready for a world currency


11--Pseudo-left silent on Seymour Hersh’s exposĂ© of US strike against Syria


11--Trump’s attack on the press


12--Foisting Blame for Cyber-Hacking on Russia


Cyber-criminal efforts to hack into U.S. government databases are epidemic, but this ugly reality is now being exploited to foist blame on Russia and fuel the New Cold War hysteria...

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a record of spreading false stories about alleged Russian hacking into US infrastructure, such as the tale of a Russian intrusion into the Burlington, Vermont electrical utility in December 2016 that DHS later admitted was untrue. There was another bogus DHS story about Russia hacking into a Springfield, Illinois water pump in November 2011.
So, there’s a pattern here...

the apparent interest of the hackers in copying the data suggested that the hacking was “possibly for the purpose of selling personal information.”
Ozment ‘s testimony provides the only credible motive for the large number of states found to have experienced what the intelligence community has called “scanning and probing” of computers to gain access to their electoral databases: the personal information involved – even e-mail addresses – is commercially valuable to the cybercriminal underworld....

And it’s not just state voter registration databases that cybercriminals are after, according to Menzel. “Every governmental data base – driver’s licenses, health care, you name it – has people trying to get into it,” he said.
Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan told Mother Jones that her I.T. specialists had detected 193,000 distinct attempts to get into the state’s website in September 2016 alone and 11,000 appeared to be trying to “do harm.”...

The day after Comey’s testimony ABC headlined, “Russia Hacking Targeted Nearly Half of States’ Voter Registration Systems, Successfully Infiltrating 4.” The story itself revealed, however, that it was merely a suspicion held by “knowledgeable” sources.
Similarly, NBC News headline announced, “Russians Hacked Two US Voter Databases, Officials Say.” But those who actually read the story closely learned that in fact none of the unnamed sources it cited were actually attributing the hacking to the Russians....

Then, on Jan. 6 came the “intelligence community assessment” – produced by selected analysts from CIA, FBI and National Security Agency and devoted almost entirely to the hacking of e-mail of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. But it included a statement that “Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple state or local election boards.” Still, no evidence was evinced on this alleged link between the hackers and Russian intelligence...

a June 5 story brought the voter-data story back into the headlines. The story, published by The Intercept, accepted at face value an NSA report dated May 5, 2017, that asserted Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, had carried out a spear-phishing attack on a US company providing election-related software and had sent e-mails with a malware-carrying word document to 122 addresses believed to be local government organizations.
But the highly classified NSA report made no reference to any evidence supporting such an attribution. The absence of any hint of signals intelligence supporting its conclusion makes it clear that the NSA report was based on nothing more than the same kind of inconclusive “indicators” that had been used to establish the original narrative of Russians hacking electoral databases....

the history of the US government’s claim that Russian intelligence hacked into election databases reveals it to be a clear case of politically motivated analysis by the DHS and the Intelligence Community. Not only was the claim based on nothing more than inherently inconclusive technical indicators but no credible motive for Russian intelligence wanting personal information on registered voters was ever suggested.

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