A Peace Agenda for the New Administration

The looming advent of the Trump administration in Washington threatens to worsen an already deeply troubling international situation.  Bitter wars are raging, tens of millions of refugees have taken flight, relations among the great powers are deteriorating, and a new nuclear arms race is underway.  Resources that could be used to fight unemployment, poverty, and climate change are being lavished on the military might of nations around the world―$1.7 trillion in 2015 alone.  The United States accounts for 36 percent of that global total.

Given this grim reality, let us consider an alternative agenda for the new administration―an agenda for peace.

Focus: The Trump Dossier - Jan 13, 2017


Note: Why the intelligence community included a two page summary of the ‘Trump dossier’ in the presidential and congressional briefing? The Trump dossier is unsubstantiated, contains falsities, outlandish claims, inaccuracies and typos. Veteran intelligence officials call it a complete fraud which 'violated basic standards for intelligence reporting.’ A disinformation analyst at the US Navy’s call it a forgeryMedia critics call it dodgy. In a statement intelligence chief James Clapper wrote that ‘the IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions. However, part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security.’ Does this pile of garbage really affect national security? The Telegraph reports that the alleged author of the Trump dossier Christopher Steele had contact with the FBI in July 2017 to discuss the content of it. The intelligence agencies had ample time to verify the veracity of the dossier, make an analysis and reach final conclusions. Why they did not make an investigation if they felt that the dossier was worth of it. By enclosing the summary of the dossier in the presidential briefing the intelligence community publicized it and validated it even if they had not reached any judgement about it. The New York Times states that 'putting the summary in a report that went to multiple people in Congress and the executive branch made it very likely that it would be leaked.’ Below are analyses of the Trump dossier published in the media.


Intel vets say Trump ‘dossier' is a ‘complete fraud' - The Daily Caller


‘Forgery!’ Donald Trump spy file is ‘bogus,’ security expert claims - radaronline.com


The Trump dossier is fake — and here are the reasons why. 'A sad state of affairs where an anonymous report, full of bizarre statements, captures the attention of the world media' - Forbes


Spy fiction or malware? A closer look at a ‘dodgy’ Russia dossier on Trump – World Tribune


Credibility of Donald Trump 'dirty dossier' is undermined by basic errors, claims former British spy - Daily Mail Online


VIDEO: Former UK Security Minister raises doubts over Trump dossier - Daily Mail Online


Michael Cohen, an attorney for the president-elect, denies allegations contained in a dossier published by BuzzFeed News: 'It Is fake news meant to malign Mr. Trump' - The Atlantic


Russian tech expert named in Trump report says US intelligence never contacted him about the accusations, which he says are false - McClatchy DC


Russians named in Trump dossier dismiss claims, They were incredulous over allegations of ties to Kremlin-led efforts to interfere with U.S. elections - WSJ


UK spy ‘gathered' Trump intel without going to Russia - The Daily Caller


Theresa May says Trump dossier author has not worked for Britain for years - Reuters


Chris Steele’s friends describe a 007 figure but MI6 call him ‘an idiot’ - Support


Alleged Trump dossier author Christopher Steele met the FBI to discuss the background to the file he had compiled - The Telegraph 


Democrats accuse FBI director of stonewalling on Trump-Russia ties, as more call for him to step down - The Washington Post


US intel sources warn Israel against sharing secrets with Trump administration, fear will be leaked to Russia—and from Russia to its close ally Iran - Ynetnews News


Spy agencies around the world are digging into Trump’s Moscow ties - BuzzFeed News


REPORT: Full text of the Trump dossier - BuzzFeed News


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)


Tomgram: Rajan Menon, The Iranian Connection in the Age of Trump

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: There will be no post for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The next TD post will be Tuesday, January 17th. Tom]

Imagine the Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Peace

The idea has been floated and endlessly reintroduced in legislation since the founding of the United States of creating a Department of Peace. These efforts even resulted in 1986 in the creation of the USI”P” — the U.S. Institute of “Peace” which this week held events with Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, Madeleine Albright, Chuck Hagel, William Perry, Stephen Hadley, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Susan Rice, John Kerry, and Michael Flynn, and which in 2015 rejected proposals from the peace movement to have anything to do with advocating for peace. So the push to create a Department of Peace rolls on, generally ignoring the existence of the USI”P.”

I try to imagine what a senate confirmation hearing would look like for a nominee for Secretary of Peace. I picture the nominee being rolled in by his attendants and the questioning beginning something like this:

Focus: Syria - Jan 11, 2017


US State Dept: Syrian Kurds a force on the ground and must be in peace talk ‘at some point’ - Rudaw


VIDEO: US State Dept spokesman: Syrian Kurds a force on the ground and must be in peace talk ‘at some point’ - YouTube


No room for ‘terrorist’ Kurdish YPG at Syria talks, says Turkish deputy PM - hurriyetdailynews.com


Turkey expects US solidarity on terrorist YPG, FETO: FM - aa.com


Turkish foreign minister Cavusoglu op-ed: Turkey deserves better from the United States - The Washington Post


Turkey's war on Syrian Kurds under scrutiny, The Turkish Army announces the death of 291 YPG fighters during military operations in northern Syria - ARA 


Kurdish PYD ready to table proposals for Constitution referendum talks in Astana peace talks - Sputnik


Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF): We are not PKK - Rudaw


Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) statement confirming that it has no affiliation or ties to PKK - U.S. Central Command on Twitter


Interview with Kurdish PYD leader Salih Muslim - ekurd


Two Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fronts meet northwest of Raqqa, continue push for city - Rudaw


ISIS counter-attacks against US-backed YPG forces near Raqqa - southfront.org


Kurds arrest ISIS supporters northeast Syria - ARA News


Syrian Kurdish-led forces seize historic castle from Islamic State less than 20 miles from Raqqa - ekurd


I Fought ISIS with the Kurds in Syria. This is what it was like - The Tower


4-year-old among 3 child soldiers in new Isis video showing execution of alleged Kurdish YPG spies in Syria - ibtimes.co.uk


Syrian women speak of ISIS atrocities in Manbij - ARA News


US special forces raid ISIS stronghold in Deir el-Ezor near Raqqa, reportedly killing dozen - CBS News


French Security Council calls liberation of Syria's Raqqa national priority - Sputnik


---------------------------------------------------

 

Tillerson: US must prioritize defeating Daesh (ISIS) in Syria before dealing with Assad - Sputnik


VIDEO: Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson at confirmation hearing: 'Syrian Kurds... have been our greatest allies’ in the fight against ISIS - YouTube


French presidential hopeful Fillon considers dialogue with Assad to resolve Syria crisis - Sputnik


Iraq PM Al-Abadi sends message to Assad about the war on terrorism - AWD News


Assad says Syria not putting conditions on peace talks, asked if that included his position as president Assad said ‘yes' but any new constitution must be put to a referendum - CBC


Assad willing to grant amnesty to armed groups, adding that 'this is the maximum that one can offer' - almasdarnews.com


Improved U.S.-Russia ties positive for Syria, Assad says - Bloomberg


Assad welcomes French presidential candidate Fillon’s views on Syria - France 24


VIDEO: Bashar al-Assad answers French media questions - YouTube


TRANSCRIPT: Bashar al-Assad answers French media questions - Syrian Arab News Agency


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Focus: The Pentagon - Jan 10, 2017

 

F-35 needs rigorous Trump team review, Pentagon tester says citing its 'well-documented deficiencies in critical combat capabilities’ - Bloomberg


DOT&E FY2016 Annual Report: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - DOT&E


F-35 delayed — again — despite CEO's promise to Trump - Washington Examiner


Letter of Sen. McCain to Lockheed Martin CEO on the new F-35 delay - mccain.senate.gov


The most expensive F-35 variant has hit another major snag that could take years to fix, due to its nose gear during catapult-assisted takeoffs - SFGate


The Navy's F-35 may need a new landing gear - popularmechanics.com


Recent F-35 fire unrelated to previous problems: General - Defensetech


Cancel plans to purchase additional F-35 joint strike fighters and instead purchase F-16s and F/A-18s - Congressional Budget Office


Trump should cancel the failed F-35 fighter jet program, it 'showcases all that is wrong about our military's vendor-dominated, crony-capitalist procurement system’ - National Review


Blog: It's past time to kill the F-35, Stairway Press has just published a book about it - AmericanThinker


Could Trump really replace the F-35 with a Super Hornet? - popularmechanics.com


'One our adversaries should fear': US Air Force General Pleus describes how the F-35 is above and beyond the competition - Business Insider


Super Hornet ‘not interchangable' with F-35, says US Air Force Secretary - defensenews.com


F-35 pilot: 'Preposterous' to think an F-18 could do the the F-35's job - Business Insider


F-35 pilot: The common conception of dogfighting is way off, and the F-35 can excel at it - Business Insider


U.S. Air Force pilot: F-35 could beat Russia's stealth PAK-FA or China's J-31 in a fight - The National Interest Blog


This is how the F-35 is being tested against Russian and Chinese air defenses - wearethemighty.com


The F-35 Stealth Fighter has a super gun that can fire an insane 3,300 round per minute - The National Interest Blog


Marine Corps deploys first F-35 squadron to Japan: 'A true force multiplier' - Washington Times


Marine Corps F-35B integrates with NIFC-CA - Intercepts cruise missile target - Scout


Lockheed Martin's F-35: The U.S. Navy's secret missile defense system? - The National Interest Blog


America's military has a big problem: It's dead broke - The National Interest


Appeals court rules no transparency on Pentagon's top contractors - yahoo.com


Restoring America’s defenses: A Memo to the President-elect by Director of Central Intelligence (nominee) Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence (nominee) Coates - American Spectator


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)


Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, The Best Defense

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Talk Nation Radio: Millions Lose Their Minds Over Russia

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-millions-lose-their-minds-over-russia

This week on Talk Nation Radio: millions of Americans lose their everloving minds over unproven accusations against Russia, the ACLU and CAIR publish claim that war on Iraq has been to protect the U.S. Bill of Rights, and a torture report gets buried.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

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Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
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The Yanks Are Coming -- Unwanted

By Victor Grossman
 
Hit that old song again, loud and clear! “Over there, over there, Send the word, send the word, That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming…”
 
Yes, sirree! Shades of 1918 and the Battle of the Marne! Shades of 1944 and the beaches of Normandy! But no, not just shades and not just words have already been sent.
 
2017 had hardly begun in Germany’s port of  Bremerhaven when 4000 lads and lasses in Yankee uniform disembarked and unloaded three shiploads, over 2,500 tanks, trucks and other combat vehicles, and sent them on by rail, on ferries through the Baltic or clanking along those Autobahn highways through North Germany. So many memories!

Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, How We Got Here

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week,

Focus: Russia - Jan 8, 2017


McCain, Graham call for greater sanctions against Russia, say Trump in conflict with congressional Republicans if he doesn't get tougher on Putin - USAToday


McCain, Graham still have questions about Tillerson - POLITICO


Senator Menendez raises concerns on secretary of state nominee Tillerson over Russia, says he remains open to his nomination - dailyprogress.com


VIDEO: Full Interview: Lindsey Graham and John McCain On NBC's 'Meet The Press' - YouTube


McConnell: Trump's Russia hopes will quickly be dashed - Washington Examiner


VIDEO: McConnell predicts Trump's hope of better U.S.-Russia relationship will be 'will be dashed pretty quickly' - YouTube


House Intel Chair Nunes and committee's ranking Democrat Schiff: US friendship with Russia may not be possible - newsmax.com


VIDEO: Devin Nunes full Interview on 'Fox News Sunday' - YouTube


Pentagon chief Carter: We shouldn't 'limit ourselves' in response to Russia, 'I don’t think it should be a military, or purely military response' - TheHill


Pentagon chief Carter: Russian efforts in fight against ISIS 'virtually zero' - TheHill


VIDEO: Ash Carter interview On NBC's 'Meet The Press' - YouTube


Obama worried some citizens have more confidence in Vladimir Putin than fellow Democrats, says 'Putin is not on our team' - Orlando Sentinel


VIDEO: Obama on  ABC’s 'This Week’ says he didn't underestimate Putin but did misjudged Russia’s ability to tamper in the American electoral process YouTube


Reince Priebus says Trump accepts Russia is to blame for election-season hacking - slate.com


VIDEO: Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus says President elect Donald Trump accepts that Russia were behind the election hacking campaign - YouTube


Daniel Ellsberg hopes Trump, Putin can avoid doomsday scenario - San Francisco Chronicle


Russia election hack update: WikiLeaks will respond to CIA report Monday - ibtimes.com


 

----------------------------------------------------------

 

Note: Senators McCain, Graham and Klobuchar trip to Ukraine, the Baltics states and Georgia during the New Year 2017 holidays.

 

U.S. Senators vow no 'Faustian bargain' with Russia, pledge to target Putin ‘harder' - rferl.org


VIDEO: Interview with senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Aimee Klobuchar - YouTube


US senators McCain and Graham praise frontline Ukrainian marines in the Donetsk region, slam Putin – POLITICO


VIDEO: Sen. McCain in Donetsk region, Ukraine: Putin, we will defeat you in 2017 - YouTube


VIDEO: Poroshenko gives John McCain and US senators tour of Donetsk frontline on NYE - YouTube


VIDEO: Poroshenko awards Orders of Ukraine to US Senators McCain and Graham - YouTube

 

McCain calls for permanent US troops in Baltics - AFP


VIDEO: Senator McCain wants permanent US military presence in the Baltics - YouTube


US Senator McCain meets Lithuanian Prime Minister, reaffirms NATO support - Sputnik


John McCain reaffirms U.S. security guarantee against Russia during visit to Georgia - Democracy & Freedom Watch


VIDEO: U.S. Senator McCain visits Georgia's breakaway region frontier on the border to South Ossetia - rferl.org


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Allegations Against Russia Less Credible Every Day

The U.S. government has now generated numerous news stories and released multiple "reports" aimed at persuading us that Vladimir Putin is to blame for Donald Trump becoming president. U.S. media has dutifully informed us that the case has been made. What has been made is the case for writing your own news coverage. The "reports" from the "intelligence community" are no lengthier than the New York Times and Washington Post articles about them. Why not just read the reports and cut out the middle-person?

The New York Times calls the latest report "damning and surprisingly detailed" before later admitting in the same "news" article that the report "contained no information about how the agencies had collected their data or had come to their conclusions." A quick glance at the report itself would have made clear to you that it did not pretend to present a shred of evidence that Russia hacked emails or served as a source for WikiLeaks. Yet Congresswoman Barbara Lee declared the evidence in this evidence-free report "overwhelming." What should progressives believe, the best Congresswoman we've got or our own lying eyes?

Focus: NATO and Russia - Jan 6, 2016

 

Hundreds of U.S. tanks, trucks and other military equipment arrive in Germany to be deployed in eastern Europe as part of a NATO buildup - Reuters


Fort Carson: About 4,400 soldiers in the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team deploys to Europe for Operation Atlantic Resolve - TheDenverChannel.com


VIDEO: US military shipment arrives in Germany, ahead of NATO exercises - YouTube


New nuclear-armed subs get Pentagon OK before Obama leaves White House, a potential $126 billion project that the Navy calls its top priority - Bloomberg


NATO and Russia in game of cat and mouse in Baltic skies - AFP


NATO: Russian aircraft intercepted 110 times above Baltic in 2016 - newsweek.com


Germany continues augmenting Baltic air policing - NATO HQ Aircom


US sends elite commandos to reassure Baltic states while NATO beefs up defenses - Daily Mail Online


This is how NATO members are preparing for a possible Russian aggression in Baltic Sea - ibtimes.com


Defense minister: Turkey ‘can end US use of (Incirlik) base if interests hurt’, row between Ankara and Washington over relations with the Syrian Kurdish party PYD - hurriyetdailynews.com


Turkey Defense Ministry report reveals İncirlik Air Base links to putschist F-16 pilots - Daily Sabah


ISIS jihadist admits: 'We want to attack Incirlik airbase' - pjmedia.com


In Turkey, US hand is seen provoking nearly every crisis - The Boston Globe


---------------------------------------------

 

Senators finalizing new Russia sanctions for next week, in response to hacking as well as ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria - TheHill


AUDIO: Senator Cardin details bill on Russian sanctions - WBAL Radio 1090 AM


Key Senate Republicans hesitant about Russia sanctions - Washington Examiner


Kerry: 'Very dangerous' for Trump to reverse sanctions on Russia - TheHill


Report: Anti-Russian sanctions annihilated 400,000 jobs in Europe - Fort Russ


Russia begins withdrawal from Syria, The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier naval group will be the first to leave the conflict area: official - TheHill


New satellite evidence of Russian Iskander M Missile deployment in Syria - Defense Update


Duterte hopes Russia will become Philippines' ally and protector - Reuters


Philippines’ Duterte open to Russian navy joint drill - newsweek.com


VIDEO: Duterte tours Russian warship: Come to Philippines more often - YouTube


Russian warship visit to Philippines part of broader pivot to Asia: analyst - ABS-CBN News


Russia's economy may be weak but its military is on a spending spree - afr.com


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

More Clapp-trap: Senate Hearing on Russian Election Mischief Again Fails to Prove Anything

By Dave Lindorff

 

            The Russian hacking hysteria in the US media and, surprisingly, among educated liberals (who should know better after years of government lies and deceit, particularly about foreign affairs), is becoming increasingly embarrassing.

Why Release the Torture Report Now

A young man was tortured in Chicago this week. It wasn’t an act of the Chicago police. It was live streamed on Facebook. And the President of the United States declared it an horrific hate crime.

The President did not advise “looking forward” rather than enforcing the law. Nor did he hold open the possibility that the crime might have served some higher purpose. In fact, he didn’t excuse the crime in any way that might help recommend it for imitation by others.

Yet this same president has forbidden the prosecution of U.S. government torturers for the past 8 years and has now seen fit to keep a four-year-old Senate report on their torture secret for at least 12 years more.

Big win for Hep-C infected inmates: Federal Judge Orders Pennsylvania to Provide Anti-Viral Hep-C Treatment to Mumia Abu-Jamal

By Dave Lindorff

 

            In a stunning conclusion to a year-and-a-half legal drama, a federal judge in Scranton, has ordered the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to quit stalling and to begin treating prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal with the latest available and highly effective anti-viral drugs for curing him of a raging and life-threatening case of Hepatitis C.

Tomgram: Nick Turse, Special Ops, Shadow Wars, and the Golden Age of the Gray Zone

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Tomgram: Engelhardt, It Can Happen Here (In Fact, It Did!)

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Nobel Laureates Urge President Obama to Bring Justice to the Exiled Chagossian People before Leaving Office

Washington, DC, January 5, 2017 -- Seven Nobel Laureates, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, are urging fellow Nobel Laureate President Barack Obama to use his last days in office to help end five decades of exile suffered by the Chagossian people, who were displaced from their homes on the British-controlled island of Diego Garcia by a U.S. military base.

“Only you now have the power to help the Chagossians return to their ancestral homeland” in the Indian Ocean, the Laureates tell President Obama. By helping the people return home, Obama can “cement [his] legacy as a defender of human rights,” the Nobel winners’ letter points out (full text below).

The Chagossians are descendants of enslaved Africans and indentured Indians whose ancestors lived on Diego Garcia and in the rest of the Chagos Archipelago since the time of the American Revolution. The Chagossians have been living in impoverished exile since the U.S. and U.K. governments forcibly removed them between 1968 and 1973 while establishing the U.S. base on Diego Garcia. For almost 50 years, the two governments have refused Chagossian demands to go home. In signing the letter, Archbishop Tutu described the people as “marginalised and ill-used children of God.”

Yes, Positivity, Pangloss, Partisanship, Propaganda, and Populism

Eight years ago Yes! Magazine published a political platform of progressive policies, along with polling showing strong majority support for each proposal. Now, eight years later, we can show almost total failure to advance any of the proposals, most of which were focused on the U.S. federal government.

Where there have been any small successes, they have mostly come at the state or local level or outside the United States. New York State just took a step toward free college and Washington State toward shutting down fossil fuels while everyone was watching Donald Trump's twitter feed. Most of the world's nations are working on a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons from the earth, while Obama's government has invested heavily in new nukes and (far more offensively, I'm told) Trump has tweeted about them.

The general federal-level failure in the United States is very clearly because the U.S. government in Washington D.C. is a financially corrupted and anti-democratic structure, and because the U.S. public is generally disinclined to hold it accountable. The United States enjoys remarkably less activism than many other countries, and suffers as a result.

A huge reason for the activism shortage is partisan loyalty. Of that minority of people who will do anything at all, many will only make demands of or protest members of one political party. For the other party all is forgiven. And most policy positions are utterly expendable at the slightest shift in the party line. Witness the current Democratic fever for believing the CIA on faith and desiring hostility toward Russia.

On No-Guts-Obama Leaving Behind an Imperial Graveyard in Afghanistan

 

 


Obama’s Deadly Afghan Acquiescence

 

 

 

From his first days, President Obama showed a lack of guts when confronted by powerful insiders. He backed down even when that meant squandering U.S. soldiers in the futile Afghan War “surges,” says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern.

Occasionally a New York Times writer like Mark Landler will be permitted to step up to the plate and write a sensible article about President “No Guts Obama” and how he caved in to folks whom he lacked the political courage to cross.

Talk Nation Radio: Dave Webb on Keeping Weapons and Nuclear Power Out of Space

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-dave-webb-on-keeping-weapons-and-nuclear-power-out-of-space

Dave Webb is a member of the World Beyond War Coordinating Committee and chair of the UK Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), and well as Vice President of the International Peace Bureau (IPB) and the Convenor of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space: http://space4peace.org

Webb is an Emeritus Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Leeds Beckett University (previously  Leeds Metropolitan University). Webb has been involved in the campaign to scrap the UK Trident nuclear weapons system and has also focused on campaigning to close two U.S. bases in Yorkshire (where he lives) – Fylingdales (a missile defence radar base) and Menwith Hill (the huge NSA spy base).

We discuss the upcoming 25th Annual Global Network Conference & Protest: "Pivot Toward War: US Missile Defense & the Weaponization of Space" to be held on April 7-9, 2017, in Huntsville, Alabama: http://space4peace.org

 

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from LetsTryDemocracy or Archive.

Pacifica stations can also download from Audioport.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://TalkNationRadio.org

and at
https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/tracks

The Democratic Party Line That Could Torch Civil Liberties… and Maybe Help Blow Up the World

By Norman Solomon

Many top Democrats are stoking a political firestorm. We keep hearing that Russia attacked democracy by hacking into Democratic officials’ emails and undermining Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Instead of candidly assessing key factors such as longtime fealty to Wall Street that made it impossible for her to ride a populist wave, the party line has increasingly circled around blaming Vladimir Putin for her defeat.

Of course partisan spinners aren’t big on self-examination, especially if they’re aligned with the Democratic Party’s dominant corporate wing. And the option of continually fingering the Kremlin as the main villain of a 2016 morality play is clearly too juicy for functionary Democrats to pass up -- even if that means scorching civil liberties and escalating a new cold war that could turn radioactively hot.

Focus: Russian Hacking - Jan 2, 2017


According to both private cybersecurity firms and US intelligence agencies, there is no doubt that Russian group "Fancy Bear" (also known as Sofacy, APT 28, Sednit, Tsar Team or other names) hacked the Democratic party. Is Fancy Bear an agent of the Russian military intelligence service? I believe it is. Fancy Bear is well known by the cybersecurity experts and has been studied in the past at length. Since 2007, targets of Fancy Bear’s hacking have been Georgia and the Caucasus, Eastern European governments and militaries, Ukraine, US, Germany, UK, NATO, OSCE, Soros, etc. Lately it hacked the World Anti-Doping Agency in response to the WADA's recommendation to ban all Russian athletes from the Olympic games in Brazil. While China hacking conducts intellectual property theft, cybersecurity firm FireEye found that Fancy Bear 'has been targeting privileged information related to governments, militaries and security organizations that would likely benefit the Russian government.’ Another cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike states that Fancy Bear’s profile "closely mirrors the strategic interests of the Russian government."


During the years Fancy Bear’ hacking activity has grown in size, sophistication and scope. FireEye reports that Fancy Bear has continuously evolved its malware "using flexible and lasting platforms indicative of plans for long-term use and sophisticated coding practices;" it also uses obfuscation techniques to hide or disguise the code's true purpose and to prevent it from being detected. CrowdStrike has shown that Fancy Bear has the ability to run multiple and extensive intrusion operations concurrently; while it was hacking US political organizations was at the same time involved targeting European military organizations. CrowdStrike on Fancy Bear and another Russian hacking group "Cozy Bear": "Their tradecraft is superb, operational security second to none and the extensive usage of 'living-off-the-land' techniques enables them to easily bypass many security solutions they encounter. In particular, we identified advanced methods consistent with nation-state level capabilities including deliberate targeting and 'access management' tradecraft — both groups were constantly going back into the environment to change out their implants, modify persistent methods, move to new Command & Control channels and perform other tasks to try to stay ahead of being detected." This is not lone wolf or kiddie stuff. This level of activity requires a complex structure that only the Russian government can provide. The New York Times reports that Russian officials recruit programmers "placing prominent ads on social media sites, offering jobs to college students and professional coders.” Fancy Bear developers use the Russian language and operate during business hours consistent with the time zone of Russia’s major cities.


Also Cozy Bear was involved in the hacking of the Democratic party. Recently, after the American presidential elections, it attacked several Russia-focused think tanks in Washington DC who advise the US government. Crowdstrike said Cozy Bear has also been in the past behind attacks against the White House, State Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff. For convenience, here I only focus on Fancy Bear. Enclosed is publicly available documentation. Additional classified material may be in the hand of the US intelligence agencies.


In September 2015 Obama signed an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping in which both countries agreed not to hack the other’s private sector firms. After that there was a dramatic drop in Chinese state-sponsored hacking; around 90 percent of the cyber attacks disappeared in 2016. CrowdStrikes calls those Chinese hacking statistics "the biggest accomplishment we’ve had in the cyber domain in the last 30 years." Hopefully Trump will be able to do the same with Putin cutting down the Russian hacking. To this end, opening a friendly dialogue and establishing cooperation with Moscow will certainly help. Russians feel threatened by the West and their fears are the root causes of their cyberspionage surge.


REPORT: Bears in the Midst: Intrusion into the Democratic National Committee - CrowdStrike 


Findings from analysis of DNC intrusion malware - Threat Geek


Russian-linked group leaks US lawmakers’ phone numbers, emails - Nextgov.com


ThreatConnect follows Guccifer 2.0 to Russian VPN Service - ThreatConnect


Faketivists: Fancy Bears in disguise - ThreatConnect Blog


How hackers broke into John Podesta and Colin Powell’s Gmail accounts - Motherboard


Threat Group-4127 (Fancy Bear) targets Google accounts - SecureWorks


Russian hackers of DNC said to nab secrets from top NATO general, Soros - Bloomberg


Can a BEAR fit down a rabbit hole? Nexus between attacks against US State Election Boards and spearphishing campaign against Turkish, Ukrainian governments - ThreatConnect


Fancy Bears possibly involved in the hacking of OSCE which is monitoring a ceasefire between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists - softpedia.com


Fancy Bear tracks Ukraine troop movements via trojanized app - Infosecurity Magazine


Fancy Bear hack of Ukrainian artillery fighters shows future of war - Motherboard


REPORT: Danger Close: Fancy Bear Tracking of Ukrainian Field Artillery Units - CrowdStrike


Russian 'Fancy Bear' hackers targeted BBC election broadcasts and government departments - Daily Mail Online


Experts: Same Russians hacked World Anti-Doping Agency, Democrats - NBC News


REPORT: ThreatConnect Identifies FANCY BEAR World Anti-Doping Agency Breach - ThreatConnect


Fancy Bear hackers use a new Mac Trojan against aerospace industry – Cyber Defense Magazine


Fancy Bear goes all out to beat Adobe, MSFT zero-day patches - Ars Technica


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FBI-DHS report provides insight into Russian malicious cyber activity - eweek.com


REPORT: GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity - us-cert.gov


Critiques of the DHS/FBI’s GRIZZLY STEPPE Report – Robert M. Lee


Meet Fancy Bear, the Russian group hacking the US election - BuzzFeed News


All signs point to Russia being behind the DNC hack - Motherboard


Russian government likely to be behind APT 28 (Fancy Bear): Bitdefender - scmagazineuk.com


REPORT: APT28 (Fancy Bear) Under the Scope: A Journey into Exfiltrating Intelligence and Government Information - bitdefender.com


APT28: A Window into Russia's cyber espionage operations? APT28 is most likely sponsored by the Russian government based on numerous factors - FireEye Inc


How Russia recruited elite hackers for its cyberwar - The New York Times


Obama curbed Chinese hacking, but Russia wont be so easy - WIRED


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Fantasies About Russia Could Doom Opposition to Trump

To many Democrats for whom killing a million people in Iraq just didn't rise to the level of an impeachable offense, and who considered Obama's bombing of eight nations and the creation of the drone murder program to be praiseworthy, Trump will be impeachable on Day 1.

Indeed Trump should be impeached on Day 1, but the same Democrats who found the one nominee who could lose to Trump will find the one argument for impeachment that can explode in their own faces. Here's a "progressive" Democrat:

"In his dalliance with Vladimir Putin, Trump’s actions are skirting treason. ... By undermining further investigation or sanctions against the Russian manipulation of the 2016 election, Trump as president would be giving aid and comfort to Russian interference with American democracy."

There's a bit of a nod there -- in the word "investigations" -- to the lack of any evidence that Russia manipulated any U.S. election, yet that manipulation is stated as fact, and a failure to support further sanctions as punishment for it becomes "aid and comfort." What level of punishment exactly constitutes the absence of aid and comfort? And how does that level of punishment compare with the level likely to produce war or nuclear holocaust? Who knows.

Failure to sufficiently punish a foreign government, even for an actual proven offense, has never been a high crime and misdemeanor. The United States is in fact bound by the Hague Convention of 1899, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and the United Nations Charter to take any such dispute to arbitration and to settle it by pacific means. But that would require producing some evidence rather than mere allegations. Lawless "punishment" is much easier.

But further evidence can emerge to counter the claim. The lack of evidence for the claim can weigh ever more heavily on public opinion. And the dangers of creating further hostility with Russia can enter the consciousness of additional people.

Meanwhile, we have a man planning to be president later this month whose business dealings clearly violate the U.S. Constitution in terms of not only foreign but also domestic corruption. That's a perfectly overwhelming case for impeachment and removal from office that doesn't require opposing a single incident of mass murder or offending a single Pentagon contractor.

Beyond that, Trump is becoming president after election day intimidation, the partisan-based removal of voters from the rolls, and opposition to attempting to count paper ballots where they existed. He's arriving with the stated policies of unconstitutionally discriminating against Muslims, murdering families, stealing oil, torturing, and proliferating nuclear weapons.

In other words, Donald Trump will be from Day 1 an impeachable president, and Democrats will have already spent months building their campaign around the one thing that won't work. Imagine what will happen after all their hearings and press conferences, when their supporters find out that they aren't even accusing Vladimir Putin of hacking into election machines, that in fact they are accusing unknown individuals of hacking into Democrats' emails, and that they are then vaguely speculating that those individuals could have been sources for WikiLeaks, thereby informing the U.S. public of what was quite obvious and ought to have been widely reported for the good of the U.S. government, namely that the DNC rigged its primary.

By the time the Democrats beat themselves to the floor with this charade, more facts will likely have come out regarding WikiLeaks' actual source(s), and more hostility will likely have been stirred up with Russia. The war hawks have already got Trump talking up nuclear escalation.

Luckily there is an ace in the hole. There is something else that Democrats will be eager to hold Trump accountable for. And give Trump a month and he'll produce it. I'm referring, of course, to that greatest fear of Our Beloved Founding Fathers, the ultimate high crime and misdemeanor: the presidential sex scandal.

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