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DOJ Bloodhounds on the Scent of John Brennan

By Ray McGovern – Consortium News – June 13, 2019

The New York Times Thursday morning has bad news for one of its favorite anonymous sources, former CIA Director John Brennan.

The Times reports that the Justice Department plans to interview senior CIA officers to focus on the allegation that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian intelligence to intervene in the 2016 election to help Donald J. Trump. DOJ investigators will be looking for evidence to support that remarkable claim that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report failed to establish.

Despite the collusion conspiracy theory having been put to rest, many Americans, including members of Congress, right and left, continue to accept the evidence-impoverished, media-cum-“former-intelligence-officer” meme that the Kremlin interfered massively in the 2016 presidential election.

One cannot escape the analogy with the fraudulent evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. As in 2002 and 2003, when the mania for the invasion of Iraq mounted, Establishment media have simply regurgitated what intelligence sources like Brennan told them about Russia-gate.

No one batted an eye when Brennan told a House committee in 2018, “I don’t do evidence.”

Leak Not Hack

Brennan: Is the jig up? ( LBJ Library photo/ Jay Godwin)

As we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity have warned numerous times over the past two plus years, there is no reliable forensic evidence to support the story that Russia hacked into the DNC. Moreover, in a piece I wrote in May, “Orwellian Cloud Hovers Over Russia-gate,” I again noted that accumulating forensic evidence from metadata clearly points to an inside DNC job — a leak, not a hack, by Russia or anyone else.

So Brennan and his partners, FBI Director James Comey and National Intelligence Director James Clapper were making stuff up and feeding thin but explosive gruel to the hungry stenographers that pass today for Russiagate obsessed journalists.

Is the Jig Up?

With Justice Department investigators’ noses to the ground, it should be just a matter of time before they identify Brennan conclusively as fabricator-in-chief of the Russiagate story. Evidence, real evidence in this case, abounds, since the Brennan-Comey-Clapper gang of three were sure Hillary Clinton would become president. Consequently, they did not perform due diligence to hide their tracks.

Worse still, intelligence analysts tend to hang onto instructions and terms of reference handed down to them by people like Brennan and his top lieutenants. It will not be difficult for CIA analysts to come up with documents to support the excuse: “Brennan made me do it.”

The Times article today betrays some sympathy and worry over what may be in store for Brennan, one of its favorite sons and (anonymous) sources, as well as for those he suborned into making up stuff about the Russians.

The DOJ inquiry, says the Times, “has provoked anxiety in the ranks of the C.I.A., according to former officials. Senior agency officials have questioned why the C.I.A.’s analytical work should be subjected to a federal prosecutor’s scrutiny.” Attorney General William Barr is overseeing the review but has assigned the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, John Durham, to conduct it.

No Holds Barred

Barr is approaching this challenge with a resoluteness and a calm candor rarely seen in Washington — particularly when it comes to challenging those who run the intelligence agencies.

The big question, once again, is whether President Donald Trump will follow his customary practice of reining in subordinates at the last minute, lest they cross the vindictive and still powerful members of the Deep State.

Happily, at least for those interested in the truth, some of the authors of the rump, misnomered “Intelligence Community Assessment” commissioned by Obama, orchestrated by Brennan-Clapper-Comey, and published on January 6, 2017 will now be interviewed. The ICA is the document still widely cited as showing that the “entire intelligence community agreed” on the Russia-gate story, but this is far from the case. As Clapper has admitted, that “assessment” was drafted by “handpicked analysts” from just three of the 17 intelligence agencies — CIA, FBI, and NSA.

U.S. Attorney Durham would do well to also check with analysts in agencies — like the Defense Intelligence Agency and State Department Intelligence, as to why they believe they were excluded. The ICA on Russian interference is as inferior an example of intelligence analysis as I have ever seen. Since virtually all of the hoi aristoi and the media swear by it, I did an assessment of the Assessment on its second anniversary. I wrote:

“Under a media drumbeat of anti-Russian hysteria, credulous Americans were led to believe that Donald Trump owed his election victory to the president of Russia, whose “influence campaign” according to the Times quoting the intelligence report,helped “President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton.”

Hard evidence supporting the media and political rhetoric has been as elusive as proof of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 2002-2003. This time, though, an alarming increase in the possibility of war with nuclear-armed Russia has ensued — whether by design, hubris, or rank stupidity. The possible consequences for the world are even more dire than 16 years of war and destruction in the Middle East. …

The Defense Intelligence Agency should have been included, particularly since it has considerable expertise on the G.R.U., the Russian military intelligence agency, which has been blamed for Russian hacking of the DNC emails. But DIA, too, has an independent streak and, in fact, is capable of reaching judgments Clapper would reject as anathema. Just one year before Clapper decided to do the rump “Intelligence Community Assessment,” DIA had formally blessed the following heterodox idea in its “December 2015 National Security Strategy”:

“The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine. Moscow views the United States as the critical driver behind the crisis in Ukraine and believes that the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Yanukovych is the latest move in a long-established pattern of U.S.-orchestrated regime change efforts.”

Any further questions as to why the Defense Intelligence Agency was kept away from the ICA drafting table?

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. During his 27 years as a CIA analyst, he was Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch, and preparer/briefer of the President’s Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

June 13, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , , | 4 Comments

Iran’s supreme leader ‘has no intention’ to make or use nuclear weapons – Japan’s PM

RT | June 13, 2019

Tehran has no intention of making or using nuclear weapons, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, according to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“Supreme Leader Khamenei made a comment that the country will not and should not make, hold or use nuclear weapons, and that it has no such intentions,” Abe told reporters in Tehran on Thursday following his meeting with Khamenei.

The previous day, Abe called on Iran to play a constructive role in securing peace and stability in the Middle East, saying that Tokyo is determined to do everything it can to help, Reuters reported.

June 13, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 2 Comments

Iran Rescues 44 Sailors From Two Oil Tankers After Suspected Attack in Gulf of Oman − Reports

Sputnik – June 13, 2019

Iranian rescue services saved 44 sailors from tankers after a reported attack and took them to the Iranian port of Jask, the state-run IRNA news agency reported on Thursday.

The US Navy’s 5th Fleet also said that it was assisting two oil tankers targeted in a “reported attack” near the Strait of Hormuz, after the vessels sent distress calls.

It was not immediately clear who attacked the vessels, one of which has been identified as Front Altair, a crude oil tanker owned by Norway’s Frontline and carrying the flag of the Marshall Islands.

According to shipping newspaper Tradewinds, Frontline’s oil tanker had been “torpedoed” off the coast of the Emirate of Fujairah.

Taiwan’s energy firm CPC said it had suspicions that Front Altair, which was carrying 75,000 tonnes of naphtha, was hit by an unknown object.

Meanwhile, shipping company Bernhard Schulte said that its oil tanker Kokuka Courageous was also damaged in the incident. Kokuka was sailing from Saudi Arabia to Singapore with a cargo of methanol.

“The hull has been breached above the water line on the starboard side,” the company said in a statement. “All crew are reported safe and only one minor injury reported.”

Eerlier in the day, Iran’s Press TV said that two successive blasts affected two oil tankers on Thursday morning in what it described as “attacks”.

Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet quoted Oman authorities as saying that at least one tanker had been attacked in Iran’s territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman.

Brent crude climbed 4.5 per cent in the wake of the reports.

Meanwhile, the UK Maritime Trade Operations, a maritime safety group run by the Royal Navy, has warned about an unspecified incident in the Gulf of Oman between the Emirate of Fujairah and Iran’s coast. The group urged “extreme caution”, given the ongoing tensions in the region between the United States and Iran, and said that an investigation is underway.

It comes a month after another apparent attack on vessels in the Gulf. On 12 May, four oil tankers — two Saudi, one Emirati and one Norwegian — were targeted off the coast of Fujairah in what the UAE Foreign Ministry described as acts of sabotage.

The three countries whose ships were damaged said in a joint statement that limped mines had been placed in a “sophisticated and coordinated operation” by divers. The UAE suggested that it was likely the work of a “state actor” but stop short of identifying the culprit.

US officials, however, were quick to point the finger at Iran. “It’s clear that Iran is behind the Fujairah attack. Who else would you think would be doing it? Someone from Nepal?” said US National Security Adviser John Bolton.

In turn, US Secretary of State Pompeo alleged that Iran had attacked the tankers to raise the global price of oil.

Tehran has denied any involvement and called for an investigation.

June 13, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | 2 Comments

Iran Calls Reported Oil Tanker Attack in Gulf of Oman ‘More Than Suspicious’

Sputnik – 13.06.2019

On Thursday morning, reports emerged that two tankers were damaged near the Strait of Hormuz. It comes at a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East and just a month after four vessels were affected in a similar incident off the Emirati coast.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has seemingly hinted that Thursday’s reported attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman had something to do with Japan’s efforts to advance the peace process in the Middle East.

“Reported attacks on Japan-related tankers occurred while PM Shinzo Abe was meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei for extensive and friendly talks,” Zarif tweeted.

“‘Suspicious’ doesn’t begin to describe what likely transpired this morning,” he added.

Iran’s government spokesman, Ali Rabei, said Tehran was ready for regional cooperation to ensure the security of strategic waterways. “All countries in the region should be careful not to fall in the trap of those who benefit from regional insecurity,” he said.

On Thursday, two oil tankers operated by shipping companies Frontline and Bernhard Schulte were damaged in a suspected attack near the Strait of Hormuz, the most important oil artery in the world.

No casualties have been reported; the Bahrain-based US Navy 5th Fleet said it was assisting the tanker, while Iranian rescuers, according to local media, have saved and transported 44 crew members to an Iranian port.

Japan’s Trade Ministry said that the two tankers were carrying “Japan-related” cargo, without providing further details.

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is visiting Iran as part of his effort to reduce tensions between the Islamic Republic and the United States. Abe noted on Wednesday that he and Iranian President Rouhani had ‘bluntly discussed’ how to reduce Iran-US tensions.

A similar yet-unsolved incident took place in the Gulf of Oman in mid-May, when four commercial vessels − among them two Saudi oil tankers − were damaged by limpet mines. UAE investigators blamed the attack on a “state actor” but failed to identify the culprit.

The United States, which is embroiled in an escalating war of words with Iran, was quick to accuse the Islamic Republic of orchestrating the attack, which the latter denied.

June 13, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | | 6 Comments

Pence Goes to War: America Will Be Fighting Forever

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | June 13, 2019

On May 25th Vice President Mike Pence was the featured speaker at the United States Military Academy commencement. His speech was predictably an encomium celebrating both the diversity and the success of the newly commissioned officers as well as of the system at West Point that had produced them, but it also included interesting insights into how he and the other non-veterans who dominate the policy making in the White House see the military.

Most media commentary on the speech was either shocked or pleasantly surprised by Pence’s prediction that the graduating officers would soon be at war. He said “It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life. You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen. Some of you will join the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some of you will join the fight on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific, where North Korea continues to threaten the peace, and an increasingly militarized China challenges our presence in the region. Some of you will join the fight in Europe, where an aggressive Russia seeks to redraw international boundaries by force. And some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere. And when that day comes, I know you will move to the sound of the guns and do your duty, and you will fight, and you will win. The American people expect nothing less. So, wherever you’re called, I urge you to take what you learned here and put it into practice. Put your armor on, so that when — not if — that day comes, you’ll be able to stand your ground.”

Pence may or may not have known that military academy graduates have only a five-year active duty commitment after graduation. Many do not stay in the service after that point, instead using their security clearances and resumes to obtain well paying positions with defense and national security contractors. If Pence was aware of that five-year window, he was implying that he expects multiple wars will involve the United States during his own remaining time in office, assuming that he and President Donald Trump are reelected in 2020. He might even be assuming that war is inevitable no matter who is in the driver’s seat in the White House because America’s numerous enemies, which he identified, cannot otherwise be dissuaded from their “nefarious behavior.”

Pence’s choice of words is revealing. There is a “virtual certainty” of “fight[ing] on a battlefield for America” and that battlefield is global, including both transnational Islamic terrorism and the western hemisphere. The language implies that American security requires “full spectrum dominance” everywhere. It encompasses traditional national enemies, with a Pyongyang that “threatens peace,” a China that is “militarized,” and a Russia that is both “aggressive” and expansionistic. The soldiers must be prepared to fight “when – not if – that day comes.”

First of all, it is discouraging to note that Pence believes that a war or wars must take place, and further, one must have to wonder exactly what scenarios are envisioned by Pence, and also presumably by his boss and colleagues, regarding precisely how war against other nuclear powers will play out. Nor does he entertain what would happen when the rest of the world begins to perceive the United States at its enemy due to its willingness to interfere in everyone’s politics. And the American soldiers would die not knowing what they were fighting for, since they would understand from the onset that it had nothing to do with the defense of the United States.

The speech is, in short, a recognition that the Trump Administration sees perpetual war on the horizon, a viewpoint that is particularly alarming as one can quite easily make the case that the United States is not seriously threatened at all by anyone on Pence’s enemies list and is therefore the aggressor. China is a regional power, Russia does not have the resources or will to reestablish the Soviet Union, and North Korea has only limited capability to attack anyone, even if it should choose to do so. Islamic terrorism is largely a creation of the United States in the first place and maintains its potency by the adverse impact of the continued US presence in Muslim lands. And the suggestion that Venezuela and/or Cuba might be a threat to America is, quite frankly, laughable.

If Mike Pence is seriously interested in looking around to see who has been most interested in starting new wars, he should look to gentlemen named Bush and Obama, not to mention his own colleagues John Bolton and Mike Pompeo. And then there are Washington’s feckless allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, who are keen to advance their own interests by means of piles of dead American soldiers.

Is there no one around to question why exactly American soldiers are sent to die in so many places that can hardly be found on a map? Or to ask what the compelling national interests might be to require sending soldiers to such God-forsaken death pits? One can be sure that the newly minted Army officers that Pence addressed have no desire to be killed in Mali, but it would take a brave young man or woman to speak the truth if asked by a senior officer.

And Pence unfortunately has many friends who believe in force majeure as he does on Capitol Hill. Senator Lindsey Graham appeared on Fox News Sunday the day after the Vice President spoke and said “I would give Cuba an ultimatum to get out of Venezuela. If they don’t, I would let the Venezuelan military know, you got to choose between democracy and Maduro, and if you choose Maduro and Cuba, we are coming after you. This is in our backyard.”

It should be clearly understood Pence, Graham and Pompeo are all calling for wars of choice, where the military is being used as an option rather than diplomacy in a situation where there is no imminent threat. Iraq, Syria and Libya are examples of such wars and all three have turned out very badly. And then there is the moral dimension. By the standard set by the Nuremberg Trials after World War 2, initiating an armed conflict in that fashion is a war crime. Indeed, it is the ultimate war crime as it brings so many evils with it. Mike Pence’s vision of America the perpetual war criminal is not something to be proud of.

June 13, 2019 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | 1 Comment