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Billionaire Sheldon Adelson Aiding Zionist Group’s Push to Oust McMaster

Sputnik – March 8, 2108

US National Security Adviser HR McMaster is reportedly down to his last few weeks in the White House, which, perhaps coincidentally, aligns with a long-standing effort by the oldest Zionist organization in the country to seek McMaster’s ouster.

“General McMaster should not maintain a position where he can continue to undermine President Trump’s policies on Iran, Israel and the fight against ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ — a term that General McMaster believes should not even be used,” the Zionist Organization of America said in a statement last fall.

The ZOA urged “Trump to remove General McMaster from his current position and reassign him to another position,” the statement reads.

The Mint Press News’ Whitney Webb reported March 6 that the organization’s “efforts to axe McMaster as national security adviser gained considerable momentum after securing the support of Zionist billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson.”

​”NBC first reported not that long ago that McMaster was likely to be fired probably within the month,” Webb said during a Wednesday interview with Radio Sputnik’s Fault Lines, “and that this was being orchestrated by John Kelly and James Mattis, and that it was — allegedly, according to NBC, CNN and the mainstream outlets — related to McMaster’s personal beef with Trump.”

“McMaster allegedly called Trump an ‘idiot,'” at one point, the journalist told hosts Lee Stranahan and Garland Nixon.

“But what’s been glossed over is that there’s been this really strong effort by the Zionist Organization of America, which is funded in part by Sheldon Adelson, the big Republican Zionist billionaire donor, who has a lot of control in the Republican Party.”

​”At first Adelson tried to separate himself from this [the ZOA], but then he talked to Safra Catz, CEO of Oracle — the big tech company that’s also a government contractor,” Webb noted.

“In leaked emails, Catz enlightened him as to what McMaster was really all about. And then Adelson decided, ‘oh, I emailed the Zionist Organization of America and support your efforts to have McMaster removed,'” Webb continued.

According to CNN, Catz is among those under consideration to replace McMaster as NSA.

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March 8, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | 6 Comments

Theresa May Recruits Royalty to Thwart BDS

By Stuart Littlewood | Palestine Chronicle | March 8, 2018

Prince William, second in line to the throne, is being sent to the Holy Land by the UK Government “to promote diplomatic and cultural ties”. In effect he’ll be helping to normalize 70 years of Israeli occupation and sanitize the unimaginable cruelty that has gone with it. His trip cuts across the Boycott Divestment & Sanctions movement’s efforts to bring pressure for justice.

Kensington Palace has announced in a tweet that “the Duke of Cambridge will visit Israel, Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian territories in the summer.”

The visit “is at the request of Her Majesty’s Government.”

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately welcomed the news, saying: “It is a historic visit, the first of its kind, and he will be received here with great enthusiasm.” And President Reuven Rivlin wrote on his Twitter account that Prince William will be “a very special guest” and his visit will be “a very special present for our 70th year of independence.”

Royals are supposed to remain aloof from politics, at home and abroad. The Monarch, for good reason, has avoided any state visit to Israel since the entity established itself in treacherous circumstances back in 1948.

So why the sudden change in Palace policy?

Recruiting Prince William to shmooze the Zionists follows the warm welcome extended to Netanyahu by Theresa May to the infamous Balfour Declaration celebrations in London last November and her earlier speech oozing adoration for Israel.

In that speech she attacked the successful BDS campaign calling it unacceptable and warning that her government would “have no truck with those who subscribe to it”.  The Israel lobby meanwhile has agitated furiously for the UK to shut down BDS.

Mrs. May was ticked off for her hostility to BDS by 200 legal scholars and practicing lawyers from all over Europe who pointed out to her that BDS is a lawful exercise of freedom of expression and outlawing it undermines a basic human right protected by international convention.

Any efforts to repress BDS amount to support for Israel’s violations of international law and a failure to honor the solemn pledge by States to ‘strictly respect the aims and principles of the Charter of the United Nations’.

So why is she so stiff-necked about it? After all, Netanyahu is on many a wanted list for crimes against humanity and should, in a sane world, be locked up. What’s more, he is under investigation for corruption in his own country. Israel, as everyone knows, is in flagrant breach of umpteen UN resolutions of the sort that would have brought crippling sanctions down on any other offender.

The international community’s failure to act has left civil society no option but to fill the vacuum with BDS.

All the same Mrs May and the Israel lobby are pressing ahead with their anti-BDS programme and it looks like they’re getting special help from the Royal Family. But if Prince William seeks to undo the efforts of civil society he sets himself against the people.

According to May’s Middle East minister Alistair Burt, the official reason for the royal trip is that it’s “an important and unique opportunity to promote diplomatic and cultural ties in the region”, which is shorthand for enriching big business post-Brexit. So that’s OK then. Don’t let the misery of decades-long military occupation get in the way of new riches, eh?

Kensington Palace’s tweet received this reply from a certain Suzanne Levy, who describes herself as a full-time ‘kook’:

“Fantastic news, but please correct your erroneous terminology. The Palestinian Territories are not occupied by Israel – they are under the rule of Hamas and the PA.”

As if jumping to her kooky instruction the British embassy in Israel released a Hebrew-language version of the Kensington Palace announcement omitting the words “occupied territories” and replacing them with “Israel and the Palestinian Authority”.

In denying the Israeli occupation Ms Levy, like other hasbara trolls, is at odds with the United Nations, international law, world opinion and documented history. Even the UK Government officially refers to Palestine as the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories), so the edit by its own embassy is puzzling.

Unless, of course, it tells the truth and the plan is to prevent Prince William from actually experiencing the Occupied Territories by confining him to the witless ‘Palestinian Authority’. The PA has precious little legitimacy and is led by a ‘quisling tendency’ who have done next to nothing for the Palestinians. Their reward for wasting the nation’s time and wrecking its prospects is a life of comparative luxury, very different from that suffered by the unfortunate people they are supposed to serve. They can be relied upon to give the Prince a suitable skewed view of things.

Here’s acid test number 1. The Occupied Territories include Gaza. So will the Israelis and May allow Prince William to visit there, shoot the breeze with Hamas (whose political wing are not proscribed as  terrorists in the UK and who struggle to run the devastated place after 10 years of vicious blockade, almost daily air strikes, repeated military ground incursions and occupation of its territorial waters and airspace by Israel) and to see for himself the true horror of the humanitarian crisis all this has caused? If the answer is no, the entire visit should be called off. But it won’t be.

Acid test number 2 is this. Prince William will likely succeed to the throne one day and become Defender of the [Christian] Faith, a 500-year-old obligation. As a true Christian – if that is what he is – he’ll know all about the cry for help issued only months ago by the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine to the World Council of Churches and the entire ecumenical movement. It was signed by over 30 organisations in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

They say:

“We are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unlawful Balfour declaration…. A hundred years later and there is still no justice! Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule…. Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leader’s callings – Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality.”

The message ends with these ominous words:

“Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse…. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land.”

William must be allowed to hear direct the serious concerns of the Christian and Muslim communities and take a robust line that involves consequences for the occupier if those concerns are not properly dealt with.

Prince William’s wife Kate (Duchess of Cambridge) is expecting their third child towards the end of April so he’ll probably make the trip without her. But expect the visit to be accompanied by waves of media rapture over the new arrival, with Israel’s propaganda machine working flat-out to milk maximum PR benefits and subliminally stamp the Royal seal of approval on their apartheid regime.

If Prince William does set foot in the Holy Land his mission must obviously be very different to the one described by Alistair Burt or wished for by Netanyahu and May.  If he is seen to lend legitimacy to a grasping, racist enterprise like the Israel project, which shows no respect for human rights or international law, it will surely come to haunt him.

March 8, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 2 Comments

The Only Jewish Ghetto in the Middle East

By Gilad Atzmon | March 8, 2018

AlJazeera reported yesterday that the Israeli parliament has passed a law that allows the Minister of Interior to revoke the residency rights of any Palestinian in Jerusalem on grounds of a “breach of loyalty” to Israel.

Under the new measure, Israel’s Interior Minister, Aryeh Deri, leader of the ultra-Orthodox political party Shas and a convicted criminal , has the authority to revoke the residency documents of any Palestinian whom he deems a “threat.”

It doesn’t take a genius to grasp that this law is racially oriented: it only applies to non-Jews. This type of law follows from the fact that  Israel defines itself as the ‘The Jewish State,’ and operates as a tyrannical Jewish shtetl in which the Palestinians are Goyim du jour –0n a daily basis they  are confronted by the most extreme forms of Jewish exceptionalism (choseness).

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), described the law as “an extremely racist piece of legislation.  By unethically stripping the residency of Palestinians from Jerusalem and depriving the rights of those Palestinians to remain in their own city, the Israeli government is acting in defiance of international law and is violating international human rights and humanitarian laws.”

Aljazeera points out that  “despite Israel’s claims that occupied East Jerusalem is part of its ‘eternal, undivided’ capital, the Palestinians who are born and live there do not hold Israeli citizenship, unlike their Jewish counterparts.” Apparently the ‘un-dividedness’ of Jerusalem only applies to the members of one tribe and the land they manage to grab by force.

Palestinians in Jerusalem are granted “permanent residency” ID cards and temporary Jordanian passports that are only valid as travel documents. This leaves them stateless, stuck in legal limbo – they are not citizens of Israel, nor are they citizens of Jordan or Palestine.

Zionism vowed to fix diaspora Jews by means of a ‘homecoming.’ It promised to make the ‘new Hebrews’ into ‘people like all other people.’ The project has been a total failure. Israel is a humongous racist ghetto. It is a country like no other. It has managed to amplify every symptom Zionism was born to eliminate.

March 8, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Tell Me More About How Google Isn’t Part Of The Government And Can Therefore Censor Whoever It Wants?

By Caitlyn Johnstone | March 8, 2018

When you tell an establishment Democrat that Google’s hiding and removal of content is a dangerous form of censorship, they often magically transform into Ayn Rand right before your eyes.

“It’s a private company and they can do what they like with their property,” they will tell you. “It’s insane to say that a private company regulating its own affairs is the same as government censorship!”

This is absurd on its surface, because Google is not separate from the government in any meaningful way. It has been financially intertwined with US intelligence agencies since its very inception when it received research grants from the CIA and NSA for mass surveillance, pours massive amounts of money into federal lobbying and DC think tanks, has a cozy relationship with the NSA and multiple defense contracts.

“Some of Google’s partnerships with the intelligence community are so close and cooperative, and have been going on for so long, that it’s not easy to discern where Google Inc ends and government spook operations begin,” wrote journalist Yasha Levine in a 2014 Pando Daily article titled “Oakland emails give another glimpse into the Google-Military-Surveillance Complex”.

“The purchase of Keyhole was a major milestone for Google, marking the moment the company stopped being a purely consumer-facing Internet company and began integrating with the US government,” Levine wrote in a recent blog post about his book Surveillance Valley. “While Google’s public relations team did its best to keep the company wrapped in a false aura of geeky altruism, company executives pursued an aggressive strategy to become the Lockheed Martin of the Internet Age.”

And now we learn from Gizmodo that Google has also been helping with AI for the Pentagon’s drone program.

A Google spokesperson reportedly told Gizmodo that the innovations it is bringing to the Defense Department’s Project Maven are “for non-offensive uses only,” which is kind of like saying the beer kegs you delivered to the frat house are for “non-intoxicating use only.” The DoD and its drone program exist to find and kill enemies of the US empire, and Google will be helping them do it.

“The department announced last year that the AI initiative, just over six months after being announced, was used by intelligence analysts for drone strikes against ISIS in an undisclosed location in the Middle East,” reports The Intercept on this story.

Google is not any more separable from the US government than Lockheed Martin or Raytheon are, yet it has been given an unprecedented degree of authority over human speech and the way people communicate and share information. Would you feel comfortable allowing Northrop Grumman or Boeing to determine what political speech is permissible and giving them the authority to remove political Youtube content and hide leftist and anti-establishment outlets from visibility like Google does?

How is this a thing? How is it considered acceptable for a force which has intimately interwoven itself with government power to censor and manipulate political speech in ways the official government would never be allowed to?

The notion that Google is a private company, separate from the government and thus unburdened by obligations of free speech, is not a legitimate one. You don’t get to create a power system where money translates directly into political influence and privatization creates symbiotic relationships between corporations and government agencies, create a beefed up Silicon Valley giant with research grants and contracts to prevent any competition from ever having a chance against it, involve that Silicon Valley giant in the agendas of the US war machine after you’ve helped it dominate the globe, and then legitimately claim it’s just a poor widdle private business that shouldn’t be subject to the legal limitations placed on the US government.

If you believe the government shouldn’t be able to regulate speech, then there’s no legitimate reason to believe that Google should be, because Google is part of the government. You shouldn’t want there to be a loophole where government power can get around constitutional restrictions on its ability to silence dissent by funneling all speech into institutions it created and collaborates with and then quash anti-establishment voices under the pretense of protecting the public from “fake news” and “Russian propaganda”.

There needs to be some sort of measure in place which protects the public from such manipulations. Either remove corporate power from government power or acknowledge that they are fully meshed and expand constitutional protections to the users of any media giant which has enmeshed itself in government power. Pretending corporate power and government power are separate when they are not while exploiting that inseparable symbiosis to silence political dissent is not acceptable.

Government should be a tool of the people to help the people, not a tool of the powerful to oppress and exploit the people. Something’s going to have to change, and we’re going to have to stop asking nicely.

March 8, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 1 Comment

How Israel and its partisans work to censor the Internet

Students at the Israeli military’s Computing and Cyber Defense Academy. Israel is also “scouring Jewish communities abroad for young computer prodigies willing to join its ranks.”
By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | March 8, 2018

Numerous well funded, organized projects by and for Israel work to flood social media with pro-Israel propaganda, while blocking facts Israel dislikes. The projects utilize Israeli soldiers, students, American teens and others, and range from infiltrating Wikipedia to influencing YouTube. Some operate out of Jewish Community Centers in the U.S.

Recently, YouTube suddenly shut down the If Americans Knew YouTube channel. This contained 70 videos providing facts-based information about Israel-Palestine.

People going to the channel saw a message telling them that the site had been terminated for “violating YouTube guidelines”—implying to the public that we were guilty of wrongdoing. And ensuring they didn’t learn about the information we were trying to disseminate.

When we tried to access our channel, we found a message saying our account had been “permanently disabled.” We had received no warning and got no explanation.

After five days, we received a generic message saying YouTube had reviewed our content and determined it didn’t violate any guidelines. Our channel became live once more.

So why was it shut down in the first place? What happened and why?

As it turns out, Israel and Israeli institutions employ armies of Internet warriors—from Israeli soldiers to students—to spread propaganda online and try to get content banned that Israel doesn’t want seen.

Perhaps like our videos of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

What happened

A few days before the termination of our channel, we received a form email from YouTube, telling us we had gotten “one strike” for a short video about a Palestinian man killed by Israeli soldiers. The video was part of our series of videos to make Palestinian victims, usually ignored by US media, visible to Americans.

It takes three minutes to view the video and see that it contains nothing objectionable, unless revealing cruelty and oppression is objectionable:

YouTube’s email claimed we had somehow violated their long list of guidelines but did not tell us which one, or how. It simply stated:

“Your video ‘Ahmad Nasser Jarrar’ was flagged for review. Upon review, we’ve determined that it violates our guidelines. We’ve removed it from YouTube and assigned a Community Guidelines strike, or temporary penalty, to your account.”

Such a penalty is not public and does not terminate the channel.

Three days later, before we’d even had a chance to appeal this strike, YouTube suddenly took down our entire channel. This was done with no additional warnings or explanation.

This violated YouTube’s published policies.

YouTube policies say there is a “three-strike” system by which it warns people of alleged violations three times before terminating a channel. If a channel is eventually terminated, the policies state that YouTube will send an email “detailing the reason for the suspension.”

None of this happened in our case.

We submitted appeals on YouTube’s online form, but received no response. Attempts to find a phone number for YouTube and/or email addresses by which we could communicate with a human being were futile.

YouTube’s power to shut down content without explanation whenever it chooses was acutely apparent. While there are other excellent video hosting sites, YouTube is the largest one, with nearly ten times more views than its closest competitors. It is therefore enormously powerful in shaping which information is available to the public–and which is not.

We spent days working to upload our videos elsewhere, update links to the videos, etc. Finally, having received no response or even acknowledgment of our appeal from YouTube, we decided to write an article about the situation. We emailed YouTube’s press department a list of questions about its process. We have yet to receive any answers.

Finally that evening we received an email with good news:

“After a review of your account, we have confirmed that your YouTube account is not in violation of our Terms of Service. As such, we have unsuspended your account. This means your account is once again active and operational.”

Our channel was visible once more. And YouTube had now officially confirmed that our content doesn’t violate its guidelines. … continue

March 8, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

AfD MPs in Damascus: Media Coverage of Syrian Conflict is Fundamentally Untrue

Sputnik – March 8, 2108

Despite the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommending to withhold the trip to Syria, several members from the AfD took the risk of visiting the war-torn country.

A group of seven politicians from the right-wing party “Alternative for Germany” has visited Syria to find out whether the country is safe, citing a lack of trust in the media’s coverage of the conflict.

“We have set out to Syria in order to receive information about the humanitarian situation in the country on-site. We do not rely exclusively on media coverage, which paints a horrifying picture of the developments, we want to find out what the living conditions are,” Christian Blex, an AfD parliamentarian from the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) told Sputnik.

Shell-Holes from Terrorist Mortar Attack in Cathedral

The delegation entered Syria from Lebanon on March 5, with its first destination being the country’s capital, Damascus. Firstly, the politicians met with religious figures.

“What the state media won’t tell: On February 5, “moderate” terrorists from Eastern Ghouta shelled a Syrian Orthodox Church with mortars. The altar and floor were damaged, fortunately, no one was hurt,” Blex wrote on Twitter.

The group held a meeting with Syrian Grand Mufti Ahmad Hassoun, who reportedly called for Syrian refugees to return home. Christian Blex posted a picture from the meeting on his Twitter:

“His excellence Syria’s Grand Mufti has emphasized how important the separation of various religions from the state is for their peaceful coexistence in this country. It is also of particular importance to him that Christians in Syria have equal rights with people of other religions,” Blex explained.

The delegation managed to speak to the representative of the Patriarch of Damascus, who supported the Grand Mufti’s aspirations.

“We have also visited the cathedral. They showed us shell-holes, caused by the terrorists’ mortar attack on February 5,” said Blex.

Desire to Restore Normal Diplomatic Relations

The AfD delegation also plans to hold meetings with senior Syrian officials and politicians. They have spoken to the minister of state for national reconciliation affairs about the Syrian government’s program, aimed at reintegrating the rebels into peaceful life.

“The government grants amnesty to people willing to reintegrate into peaceful life, as long as they have not committed war crimes. There is a whole array of people, and even cities that are ready to reintegrate, seeking negotiations. […] They also told us about the background of terrorist groups in Syria and foreign influence on these groups: some are financed by Turkey; others are funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar or the United States. We have also found out that the United States maintains its bases in Syria in violation of the norms of international law,” Blex elaborated.

“The meeting with Mr Ali Haidar, the minister for national reconciliation on Tuesday evening. He told us that over 100,000 former militants (fighting against the government) have returned to peaceful life following the amnesty. More than 100 municipalities and towns have been reintegrated into peaceful life.”

Furthermore, it appears that Syria is in dire need of labor and would be glad if those Syrians who left for Germany returned home. Blex has also said that the minister of foreign affairs told the delegation that the officials were aware of Syrians with Islamist background living in Germany.

“He warned us against letting people who may be dangerous into the country. But he also wants to restore normal diplomatic relations with our country,” Blex said, saying that another topic on the agenda was Turkey’s military operation in Afrin, which has spurred outrage among Syrians.

Is Syria a Safe Country of Origin?

The first two days of the trip the group spent in Damascus, with politicians being impressed by the cleanliness of the streets and the peaceful life in the city. However, the AfD members preferred to steer clear of the territories being constantly shelled from Eastern Ghouta.

“I can only say that Damascus is worth visiting. People are polite and the food is very delicious. Nevertheless, keep in mind the old Arab saying: God bless those who pay visits – but short ones,” he wrote on Twitter.

When asked whether Syria was a safe country of origin, Blex said that the first impression was that it was, although said that they could not make a conclusion based on what they had already seen.

“We didn’t see any danger on our way from Lebanese border to Damascus. Certainly, there is some threat closer to the territories, where terrorists are, due to the shelling. But they are limited to several regions in Syria. As soon as we visit Homs and Aleppo, we will have a full picture of the situation. For now, I would share the US’s evaluation and say that Syria is a safe country,” Blex told Sputnik.

“At the fair in Damascus. Usual weekdays. Modern shops. Women in headscarves and without them. It’s hard to believe that tens of thousands of Syrian men are in Germany now, and their families have yet to join them…”

Criticism from German Politicians and Media

While AfD MPs continue their journey through Syria, many colleagues have lashed out at them at home.

“It’s unnatural to meet with the criminal clique, while the dictator Assad uses bombs and poison gas,” said an outraged Michael Brand, human rights representative from the faction CDU/CSU in the Bundestag.

He called the Syrian Grand Mufti “brutal Assad’s Grand Mufti who has called on suicide-bombers to commit terrorist attacks in Europe and has personally approved of thousands of death sentences.”

Rolf Mützenich, expert on foreign policy from the SPD, insisted that the trip would have repercussions in the Bundestag.

“It will be discussed in [parliamentary] committees. The Council of Elders will also check who has financed the trip,” Zeit newspaper cited him as saying.

While other German daily newspapers have also slammed the trip, Christian Blex said that they are distorting the facts, as the Grand Mufti is a very peace-loving and educated person, and the reports about the developments in the country are also one-sided.

“They also report about the government forces’ offensive in Eastern Ghouta all the time. However, they conceal the fact that terrorists from Eastern Ghouta are shelling civilians and hospitals. They do not report it, because such information does not fit well into this black-and-white picture. What a shame, in such a country as Germany, which is a democracy, there is an obvious lack of information flow and honest coverage of events in the area. I believe that German media coverage of Syrian conflict is fundamentally untrue,” he said.

March 8, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

All-Seeing Eye: Google working with Pentagon on using AI for drone improvement

MQ-9 Reaper Drone. FILE PHOTO: © Gene Blevins / Global Look Press
RT | March 7, 2018

Ubiquitous IT giant Google has silently inked a partnership with the Department of Defense to militarize artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, reinvigorating fears of a Terminator-style apocalyptic scenario.

Google has been secretly working with the Pentagon in order to help its 1,100-strong fleet of drones to detect images, faces, and behavioral patterns, and plans to scour through massive amounts of video footage in order to improve bombing accuracy for autonomous drones. The endgame is to improve combat performance by automating the decision-making process in locating and targeting combatants, The Intercept reported on Tuesday.

Project Maven was launched in April 2017 to establish an “Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team,” which advocates using sophisticated algorithm-based technologies to combat rising “competitors and adversaries”.

According to a Pentagon memo, dated April 26, 2017, its objective is to accelerate the process of using big data and machine learning together during combat situations and speed up the process of analyzing collected data. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Work signed off on the initiative.

Project Maven also aims to “augment or automate Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination (PED) for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)” in order to “reduce the human factors burden of [full motion video] analysis, increase actionable intelligence, and enhance military decision-making,” he wrote.

The Pentagon has become increasingly worried that it will become displaced as the world’s top AI developer. At a February 13 hearing, Senators Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island), Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and others lamented Chinese efforts to develop artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing, leaving the US behind.

Another DOD report, “Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap”, notes that there are three primary impetuses driving the push towards AI, which are “department budgetary challenges, evolving security requirements, and a changing military environment.” The report reflects another US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which addressed problems with human-piloted drones, including fatigue, human error, and demoralization.

“Downward economic forces will continue to constrain Military Department budgets for the foreseeable future. Achieving affordable and cost-effective technical solutions is imperative in this fiscally constrained environment,” it also pointed out.

“People and computers will work symbiotically to increase the ability of weapon systems to detect objects,” Marine Corps Colonel Drew Cukor said during a 2017 Defense One Tech summit. “Eventually we hope that one analyst will be able to do twice as much work, potentially three times as much, as they’re doing now. That’s our goal.”

Cukor also mentioned the program would help to identify 38 classes of objects essential to detect in warfare, especially when “fighting” Islamic State militants. He also addressed plans to carry out Project Maven by the end of last year.

“We are in an AI arms race […] It’s happening in industry [and] the big five Internet companies are pursuing this heavily. Many of you will have noted that Eric Schmidt […] is calling Google an AI company now, not a data company,” he said.

Google is no stranger to the Department of Defense. Eric Schmidt, former CEO of its parent company Alphabet, chaired the DOD Defense Innovation Board under the Obama administration.

Some Google employees were outraged that the company would share its technology with the military, according to Gizmodo, while others said the project raised ethical questions about machine learning.

A company spokeswoman told Bloomberg that Google was sharing TensorFlow API with the military for “non-offensive uses only.”

“Military use of machine learning naturally raises valid concerns. We’re actively discussing this important topic internally and with others,” the unnamed spokeswoman said.

Read more:

US drone pilots are ‘stressed’ and ‘demoralized’ – official report

March 8, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , | 3 Comments

False Alarms and Exaggerated Threats

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | March 8, 2018

Three days after the January 13 false alarm of a North Korean nuclear attack on Hawaii, Japan’s public TV broadcaster NHK issued its own false alarm around 7 p.m., warning in error that North Korea had launched a missile at Japan. As reported by CNN, Jan. 17, and by the New York Times, National Public Radio, and Reuters Jan. 16, the shocking message was received by Japanese smart phone users and by NHK TV website viewers.

Like in Hawaii, the Japanese public was amazed to read, according to a translation from Reuters: “NORTH KOREA APPEARS TO HAVE LAUNCHED A MISSILE. THE GOVERNMENT URGES PEOPLE TO TAKE SHELTER INSIDE BUILDINGS OR UNDERGROUND.”

Unlike Hawaii’s scare, which threw the state’s population of 1.4 million into a panic, NHK Japan’s fake news was broadcast nation-wide to about 127 million people. The TV network blamed the terror alert on a “switching error” and corrected it in less than 10 minutes. “We are deeply sorry,” NHK announced on its 9:00 p.m. news Jan. 16.

In Arsenals of Folly, author Richard Rhodes documents how US government “officials frequently and deliberately inflated their estimates of military threats facing the United States, beginning with … exaggerated Soviet military capabilities.” A review in the Feb. 7, 2008 New York Review of Books said, “The exaggeration of foreign threats, however pernicious, is a tactic,” and quotes Rhodes’ study: “Threat inflation was crucial to maintaining the defense budgets… Fear was part of the program …”

The New York Review also noted that in 1998, the US Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States “warned that Iran and North Korea could hit the US with missiles within five years.” Twenty years later, neither country can do so. Still the success of the steady drum beat of anti-North Korea messaging from the White House, State Dept. and the Pentagon is showcased by National Public Radio online which announced: “Both Hawaii and Japan have been increasingly concerned about North Korea’s continued weapons testing. As NPR’s Scott Neuman reported, North Korea ‘routinely conducts test launches of its ballistic missiles over Japanese territory.

But like with most news organizations’ superficial reporting, NPR never asks what North Korea could possibly hope to gain by attacking Japan or the United States. The Reuters report of Japan’s false alarm continued in this vein, noting: “The mistake took place at a tense time in the region following North Korea’s largest nuclear test to date in September and its claim in November that it had successfully tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the entire US mainland.” China, Russia and Pakistan nuclear powers considered hostile to the United States, but today’s fearmongering is pointed instead at North Korea.

Following shooting wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, and throughout the Cold War, the US public learned that well-publicized threats or provocations that became “common knowledge” were in fact unreal, notably the famously false 1957-59 “missile gap” favoring Russia, the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin “incident” which led to the US invasion of Vietnam, and Iraq’s fake weapons of mass destruction that led to the US’s 2003 invasion.

After decades living with the fearsome “Soviet threat,” dozens of news accounts in 2001 reported that “every major assessment from 1974 to 1986 ‘substantially’ overestimated” the Soviet threat, according to an internal CIA review. In 1988, wire services reported that “The Soviet Union is highly unlikely to launch a sudden military attack on NATO forces in Europe, despite Western military leaders’ fear about a Pearl Harbor-type strike, a congressional study said.” On Oct. 1, 1991 the AP reported that “American taxpayers may have wasted tens of billions of dollars arming to confront a Soviet empire that was in a state of decline…”

A 2004 Star-Tribune headline corrected the record noting: “No Iraq Links to Al-Qaida: 9/11 Panel’s Report Contradicts a US Justification for Going to War.” Iraq’s missing arsenal voided the other justification for war, but too late to prevent the waste of many more tens of billions in tax dollars.

Today’s endless “war on terrorism” likewise requires that manufactured fear which be endlessly hyped. Dick Meyer reported for Newsday in 2015 how the threat of terror “is massively exaggerated in both the public and official mind.” This is crucial, as Rhodes wrote in Arsenals of Folly, especially with the new military budget jumping to $786 billion (including $182 billion in military spending outside the Pentagon), $80 billion over last year’s.

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

March 8, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

‘A Fishing Expedition’: Mueller Now Just ‘Trying to Find Dirt on Trump’

Sputnik – 08.03.2018

US Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the alleged ties between the campaign of Donald Trump and Russian actors has taken a turn, as he announced an investigation into George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman who lobbied in Washington on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.

Brian Becker and John Kiriakou of Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear were joined by Jim Kavanagh, a progressive journalist and editor of ThePolemicist.net, to discuss the ramifications of the investigation into Nader.

​”It means, first of all, that the special prosecutor’s investigation has gone way beyond meddling in the elections,” said Kavanagh. “All of these meetings they’re talking about with this guy Nader took place after the election. In the original story a few days ago last week, when The New York Times started to cover this, they said that ‘the special counsel investigation has broadened beyond Russia election meddling to include Emirati influence on the Trump administration. The focus on Nader could also include an examination of how money from multiple countries flowed through and influenced Washington during the Trump era.'”

“So this is about Emirati influence peddling — standard operating procedure in Washington. But it’s about influence peddling from the United Arab Emirates during the Trump era, which is one year and one country. So if you’re going to go down that road of how leaders of other countries and wealthy individuals get meetings in the White House, get to pitch their their positions to the president personally and to his team, well, you’re going to have to have an investigation of all of Washington for the past 50 years,’ Kavanagh observed.

“But no, it’s about Emirati influence peddling during the Trump era, so it’s kind of bizarre that anybody think this is anything but a fishing expedition trying to find dirt on Trump. Who’s trying to peddle influence? This has been going on for decades,” Kavanagh said.

Becker pointed to an informal January 2017 meeting by a Russian businessman with Erik Prince, the founder and former CEO of infamous private military contractor Blackwater (now known as Academi) who is now head of the investment management firm Frontier Resource Group. Prince was not directly involved in the Trump campaign, save a visit to the transition team offices in December 2016.

Nevertheless, this meeting with a Russian businessman has been treated by mainstream outlets as a definitive tie between the Trump team and Russia. As MSNBC personality Stephanie Ruhle put it: “[Prince] went on to tell me he had no idea that that guy would have ties to [Russian President] Vladimir Putin. Let me make something clear: all Russian investors had ties to Vladimir Putin.”

“It is probably is true that Putin knows that guy, because he probably knows a lot of people,” laughed Kavanagh. “Just like Barack Obama knows George Soros or knows Warren Buffett, that doesn’t mean every meeting Warren Buffet takes is on behalf of Barack Obama. This is craziness, a stereotypical, cartoonish notion that every Russian investor is a spy for Vladimir Putin.”

March 8, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | | 1 Comment

The Healthcare Bait-and-Switch: From the Clintons to Obama and Back Again

By Glen Ford | Black Agenda Report | March 8, 2018

On the campaign trail in January of 2016, Hillary Clinton told Iowa voters that Bernie Sanders’ single payer health care proposal was an idea whose time would never come. “People who have health emergencies can’t wait for us to have a theoretical debate about some better idea that will never, ever come to pass ,” said the presumed shoo-in for president. Two years later, one-third of Democrats in the Senate have endorsed Sanders’ Medicare for All Act and half the Democrats in the U.S. House have signed on to Rep. John Conyers’ Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, HR 676 . Polls show 75 percent of Democrats favor “expanding Medicare to provide health insurance to every American,” and 31 percent of the public at-large wants health care to be the first problem the Democrats tackled if they win the White House in 2020.

Predictably, however, Hillary Clinton’s favorite think tank is still trying to make sure single payer health care never happens. The lavishly funded Center for American Progress (CAP) last week unveiled their counterfeit, sound-alike health care plan, dubbed Medicare Extra for All, whose sole purpose is to distract and confuse a public that is demonstrably “ready” for single payer. The CAP scheme, like Obamacare, keeps the private insurance corporations at the center of the money-stream, doesn’t cover everyone, charges fees, co-pays and premiums, doesn’t save much money, and would fail to provide millions with adequate coverage. “CAP’s plan maintains the current tiered system in which some people have private health insurance, those with the greatest needs have public health insurance, some people will have inadequate coverage and others will have no coverage at all,” writes Dr. Margaret Flowers , of Health Over Profit. “By offering a solution that sounds good to the uninformed — ‘Medicare Extra for All’ –but continues to benefit their Wall Street donors,” said Flowers, “Democrats hope to fool people or buy enough support to undermine efforts for NIMA,” or National Improved Medicare for All, the comprehensive single payer plan supported by the activists like Flowers.

National Improved Medicare for All would save half a trillion dollars a year on administrative costs and another $100 billion on reduced drug costs, according to Flowers. “The CAP plan maintains the complicated multi-payer system that we have today,” she said. “At best, it will only achieve 16% of the administrative savings of a single payer system and it will have less power to reign in the high costs of care.”

The CAP scheme would leave the link between employment and health coverage intact, keeping workers ultimately dependent on the whims of their bosses for healthcare coverage. “When people who have private health insurance lose their job or move, they risk losing their health insurance,” said Flowers. “NIMA creates a health system that covers everyone no matter where they are in the United States and its territories.”

The Obama-Scam, Repackaged

The Center for American Progress is running the same bait-and-switch con that Barack Obama played in the set-up to his Affordable Care Act. Bruce Dixon and I were introduced to Obama’s healthcare scam in June of 2003 when we engaged the then candidate for the U.S. Senate in a month-long telephone and email conversation, at The Black Commentator . At the time, Obama was trailing the field of candidates and in need of every Black vote in Illinois. Dixon and I had just learned that Obama had joined the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the corporate money-bag operation for the right wing of the party founded by white southern Democrats including Bill Clinton and Al Gore. On top of that, he’d recently removed his 2002 (mildly) anti-war speech from his campaign website, apparently to get in line with George Bush’s triumphal “Mission Accomplished ” speech, the previous month. Obama denied that he’d become a member of the DLC, and claimed his website was undergoing “routine” updating. (Years later, when the war was clearly lost, Obama’s team would resurrect “The Speech” as proof of his early anti-war credentials.)

Dixon and I decided that the best way to determine if Obama should be in the DLC or not, would be to put him to a three-question “bright line” test on the issues of war, health care and U.S. membership in the NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. If the candidate answered all three questions correctly, then he should not be a member of the DLC. If he failed, then the DLC was where he belonged, and voters should make their decisions, accordingly.

We presented our bright line questions to Obama in the June 19, 2003 , Cover Story of the publication:

1. Do you favor the withdrawal of the United States from NAFTA? Will you in the Senate introduce or sponsor legislation toward that end?

2. Do you favor the adoption of a single payer system of universal health care to extend the availability of quality health care to all persons in this country? Will you in the Senate introduce or sponsor legislation toward that end?

3. Would you have voted against the October 10 congressional resolution allowing the president to use unilateral force against Iraq?

Note that we specified “a single payer system of universal health care.”

Obama used weasel-language to fudge his answers to the Iraq War and NAFTA questions. On health care, he wrote:

“I favor universal health care for all Americans, and intend to introduce or sponsor legislation toward that end in the U.S. Senate, just as I have at the state level. My campaign is also developing a series of interim proposals – such as an expansion of the successful SCHIP program – so that we can immediately provide more coverage to uninsured children and their families.”

Obama left out the words “single payer.” Only after he became president, six years later, would it become clear that his definition of “universal” health care meant only that all Americans would be required to enroll in an insurance program – just as states require that all drivers be insured.

Despite his use of weasel-wording in all three answers, we at The Black Commentator gave Obama a passing grade. “BC is not seeking to martyr Barack Obama on a left-leaning cross,” we wrote.

(Our actual motive in 2003 was fear of being labeled “crabs in a barrel” for undermining the prospects of such an attractive, progressive-sounding, young Black up-and-coming politician—a failure of political nerve for which I will forever be ashamed.)

A year and a half later, in the week before Obama was sworn into the Senate, he told me that the country was not “ready” for single payer. But, if he really believed that, he would not have spent the next four years misleading the people through his calculated misuse of the term “universal.”

“Universal” was Obama’s bait-and-switch to confuse the public, much of which continued to wishfully assumed that he favored some kind of single payer plan. Once he got in office—and after announcing that “all entitlements, including Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, would be “on the table” for cutting under his administration—Obama banished single payer advocates like Rep. Conyers from the White House and quite publicly allowed the for-profit healthcare corporations to write his Affordable Care Act, with its “universal” mandate that added many of millions of new “customers” for the industry.

The Democratic Leadership Council disbanded near the end of Obama’s first term in office. Faux-progressives claimed a victory. “One of the things that’s happening right now in Democratic politics is that progressives are winning the battle for the party,” said Progressive Congress president Darcy Burner. “The corporate-focused DLC type of politics isn’t working inside the Democratic party.”

That was nonsense. The DLC went out of business because it had won its battle for corporate hegemony in the party. By 2011, Obama had revealed himself as a full-blooded austerity (and war) president, and was still seeking his “Grand Bargain” with the Republicans. The “progressives” were defenestrated (thrown out of the White House windows) and humiliated in his first year, and were not to rise again until Bernie Sanders, the nominally non-Democrat, made his bid for the White House in 2016—with single payer healthcare at the tip of his spear.

Sanders’ version of single payer is “highly flawed ,” said Health Over Profit’s Margaret Flowers, who is also co-director of Popular Resistance , but, “the fact that the Democrats are proposing something that sounds like NIMA means we are gaining power.” The legislation “calls for a four-year transition period, during which the newly improved Medicare would first insure all children and adults 55 or older, then expand gradually to cover all adults,” writes the Huffington Post .

The Sanders bill’s endorsers in the Senate include a number of obvious Trojan Horses, such as Cory Booker, a deeply reactionary politician who could have been the “first Obama” had he won prominent office just a few years sooner (see The Black Commentator, April 4, 2002, “Fruit of the Poisoned Tree .”) He was among 13 Democrats that voted against creating a reserve fund to allow Americans to import cheaper drugs from Canada, lamely claiming that it didn’t address consumer protection issues. Booker and others are joining the pro-single payer bandwagon to weaken it from the inside, while his allies in the Clinton camp and their Center for American Progress scheme to extend the life of for-profit healthcare under the Medicare brand.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is the greatest negative motivator for single payer. He last month proposed new rules that would allow sale of short-term insurance policies that omit “essential health benefits”—what Sen. Ron Wyden calls “junk insurance”—to allow the market to work its miracles. But the people are learning that the market will kill you.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com

March 8, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Establishment alarmed as Trump threatens to gut US ‘democracy promotion’ racket

RT | March 7, 2018

The foreign policy establishment in Washington is crying foul after the Trump administration proposed to cut funding for organizations responsible for “promoting democracy abroad,” often in the guise of color revolutions.

The 2019 State Department budget request cuts the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) budget and separates it from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI). Funding for the institutes would be moved to the State Department, where NDI and IRI would have to compete with private contractors, according to the Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin, who described the proposal as “an assault not only on their organizations but also on the pro-democracy mission they are dedicated to.”

“If implemented, the proposal would gut the program, force crippling layoffs and the symbolic meaning would also be shattering, sending a signal far and wide that the United States is turning its back on supporting brave people who share our values,” NED President Carl Gershman told Rogin.

“The work our government does to promote democratic values abroad is at the heart of who we are as a country,” Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), chairman of the IRI’s board of directors, told Rogin. The NDI board is chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

McCain actually wrote a letter protesting the proposal to the Office of Management and Budget in December. It was signed by four other senators, including McCain’s close ally Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida).

Trump’s people “just don’t believe it’s America’s business to push democracy abroad,” Rogin concluded.

His article quickly made the rounds of the Washington establishment circles, where it received praise from former CIA agent and failed presidential candidate Evan McMullin and New Republic columnist Jeet Heer. Nicholas Burns, who served as State Department spokesman under Albright, said the revelations will “make your blood boil.”

.@joshrogin: The Trump administration’s assault on democracy promotion can be expected to continue. Dictatorships are presenting their model as preferable for the developing world. Human rights abuses are rising. Basic freedoms are under attack. https://t.co/IRDT91JZAt

— Evan McMullin (@Evan_McMullin) March 5, 2018

It was Burns’s tweet in particular that attracted derision from critics of US foreign policy, such as journalists Glenn Greenwald, Chris Floyd and Jon Schwarz, and former diplomat Peter Van Buren:

This is the kind of blatant, jingoistic historical revisionism that the Trump era has made fashionable again. The idea that the US had been devoted to “democracy promotion” before Trump – and that this was pioneered by tyrant-hugging Reagan – is simply laughable: https://t.co/JrVqWt3CP7

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 6, 2018

The confusing thing about Harvard, Yale, etc. is that the job of people working there in the hard sciences actually is to describe reality accurately, whereas the job of many humanities professors like Nicholas Burns is to lie about reality https://t.co/e5EQhQfL5O

— Jon Schwarz (@schwarz) March 6, 2018

As well as a number of rank-and-file Twitterati:

The NED was founded in 1983, under the Reagan administration. It is theoretically a non-governmental organization, though the bulk of its funding is provided by the US government and American taxpayers. The status has given NED and its institutes plausible deniability against accusations that the US has been meddling in the politics of other countries.

“A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA,” one of the endowment’s founders, Allen Weinstein, told the Washington Post in September 1991.

One example is the wave of “color revolutions,” starting from Serbia in 2000 to the “Arab Spring” revolts of 2011. Ukraine was subjected to this twice, in 2004 and in 2014. During the unrest in Kiev in November 2004, The Guardian’s Ian Traynor described the process, while heaping praise on the people behind it.

“The operation – engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience – is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people’s elections,” Traynor wrote. “The Democratic party’s National Democratic Institute, the Republican party’s International Republican Institute, the US state department and USAid are the main agencies involved in these grassroots campaigns as well as the Freedom House NGO and billionaire George Soros’s open society institute.”

Though campaigns funded by all these external actors are more astroturf than grassroots, there were few objections, as it was all in the name of democracy.

Traynor concluded his 2004 story by saying the “places to watch” were Moldova and Central Asia. Sure enough, the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan went through a “Pink revolution” in February 2005, while the “Grape revolution” took place in Moldova in April 2009.

The Washington establishment’s obsession with democracy may also be explained by the belief that any non-democratic government is automatically anti-Western, as Luis Fleischman of the neoconservative Center for Security Policy argued last month.

If the regime is pro-American, however, it doesn’t matter whether it’s actually democratic or not. On Tuesday, the director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Mark Dubowitz tweeted that “inclusive authoritarianism” might be a better fit for Middle Eastern countries, as long as they were “tolerant, respectful of individual liberties & minority rights & pro-American.”

Btw, I said a more “inclusive authoritarianism” *might* be better alternative. Tolerant, respectful of individual liberties & minority rights & pro-American. I suggested should be discussed. So spare me the invective & explain why worse than failed M/E democracies. https://t.co/yQJWKQ5V3z

— Mark Dubowitz (@mdubowitz) March 7, 2018

Read more:

‘US is allowed to meddle’: Democracy promotion is ‘US policy’, TV panel concludes

March 8, 2018 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Russia’s New Strategic Capabilities Come As a Shock to US Intelligence Community

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 08.03.2018

The United States of America spends something like $80 billion annually on intelligence gathering and analysis. When the CIA was founded by the National Security Act in 1947 the intention was to create a mechanism that would warn about an imminent threat. The memory of Pearl Harbor in 1941, when Japan attacked the U.S. naval base was still fresh, and the legislation was popularized by the slogan “no more Pearl Harbors.”

In spite of the dedication of considerable resources and manpower, there have been some major intelligence failures in the past seventy years, starting with the inability to anticipate the breakout of the Korean War and including the embrace of false intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. But the most recent failure is perhaps more consequential than either Korea or Iraq.

On March 1st, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke before his country’s Federal Assembly plus a large group of both local and foreign journalists, outlining his plans for the economy and also dealing with other domestic issues should he be reelected later this month. The final third of the presentation was on national defense and, in its substance, was clearly directed at a global audience, particularly the United States.

He explained:

“During all these years since the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty [in 2001] we have been working intensively on advanced equipment and arms, which allowed us to make a breakthrough in developing new models of strategic weapons.”

He was referring to the RS-28 Sarmat ballistic missile, which has almost unlimited range and ultra-high speed, enabling it to employ trajectories including strikes coming over the South Pole that can defeat existing American Anti-Ballistic Defense systems. Russia has also produced and deployed a hypersonic glider weapon system Avangard.

But the real game changer is the Russian ability to negate America’s ability to project power through its navy. The already deployed air-launched Kinzhal anti-ship missile has a range of 2000 kilometers and a hyper-sonic speed that makes it nearly impossible to intercept. The development has made America’s thirteen aircraft carrier groups obsolete. President Putin made clear that Russia now has an overwhelming military advantage in cruise and ballistic missiles that are capable of penetrating U.S. defenses.

The new reality may or may not impel policymakers in Washington to approach Moscow and seek a new round of negotiations for arms control, but the real shock deriving from the Putin announcement is the failure of the intelligence community to anticipate the developments and advise their significance. Some of the new systems were hardly secret, with development of the Sarmat, for example, known to western governments for a number of years.

There will no doubt be a blame game in Washington over the inability to learn of Russia’s arms programs, but the questions that probably will not be asked relate to the intelligence agencies themselves and their capabilities, or lack thereof. It is no secret that organizations like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have seen their basic missions change since 2001. An organization that used to pride itself on its ability to conduct classic espionage operations involving recruiting and running spies suddenly heard from policymakers that those skills were no longer in demand. Many officers who were made redundant or forced to retire were precisely those individuals who had cut their teeth on running operations directed against the old Soviet Union. They had the language and cultural skills necessary to collect information on Russia. With their departure, those capabilities also largely vanished.

Instead of spying, American intelligence agencies working mostly against what was broadly described as “terrorism,” used technology to locate potential targets and kill them. The CIA’s Clandestine Services, once the haven of its spies, became under President Barack Obama, a largely paramilitary operation focused on military solutions rather than espionage. This process was accelerated under Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan, who worked assiduously to reduce the influence of the former spies within the Agency. Brennan reportedly had once wanted to become a spy but was kicked out of the training program as “unsuitable.”

So, has America learned that its intelligence agencies are doing all the wrong things and that the national defense strategy is unsustainable because the Russian-American relationship is now on a new footing? Possibly, but it is perhaps more likely that Washington will avoid asking the hard questions.

March 8, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment