Category Archives: Intelligence

What Are We To Believe? by Justin Raimondo

We have no idea whether or not we  can believe the intelligence community’s intelligence regarding North Korea. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Fake news plus phony “intelligence” equal disaster

The Washington Post has published a story claiming that the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Un has succeeded in miniaturizing a nuclear warhead small enough to fit onto an intercontinental ballistic missile. It’s another “leak” coming from an intelligence community that seemingly does little these days but leak like a sieve. Which raises the question: Should we believe them?

What we are dealing with is a national security bureaucracy that is not only highly politicized – that’s not really anything new – but is also engaged in an extended campaign to accomplish specific political objectives. The leaks coming out of Washington have had a clear political purpose – to a) discredit President Donald Trump, and b) push us closer to some sort of conflict on the international stage. And of course the two are not mutually exclusive: indeed, they are congruent. For a war on the Korean peninsula, for example, would define –and, I would submit, discredit – Trump’s presidency, as many thousands would die in a conflagration of unimaginable horror.

The Post quotes a single sentence of a Defense Intelligence Agency assessment dated July 28:

“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles.”

That’s it: that’s the whole thing. The Post hasn’t actually seen the document: it was read to reporters by the leaker. Oh, and “Two U.S. officials familiar with the assessment verified its broad conclusions.”

What “broad conclusions”? The conclusions drawn by this article aren’t in the least bit broad, but are instead quite specific. Are they true? We just don’t know, and, what’s more, we cannot know. Indeed, we know almost nothing about this alleged “assessment.” We don’t know the identity of the leakers. We don’t know their motives. Based on the sparse information we have, we cannot evaluate the veracity of this latest “revelation,” and this is doubly true not only due to the laconic nature of the reporting, but also because of the journalistic context in which it appears.

To continue reading: What Are We To Believe?

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North Korea: fire, fury and fear, by Pepe Escobar

The problem with a completely discredited intelligence community is that we have no idea of what we can and cannot believe from them. From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:

Beware the dogs of war. The same intel “folks” who brought to you babies pulled from incubators by “evil” Iraqis as well as non-existent WMDs are now peddling the notion that North Korea has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead able to fit its recently tested ICBM.

That’s the core of an analysis completed in July by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Additionally, US intel believes that Pyongyang now has access to up to 60 nuclear weapons. On the ground US intel on North Korea is virtually non-existent – so these assessments amount to guesswork at best.

But when we couple the guesswork with an annual 500-page white paper released earlier this week by the Japanese Defense Ministry, alarm bells do start ringing.

The white paper stresses Pyongyang’s “significant headway” in the nuclear race and its “possible” (italics mine) ability to develop miniaturized nuclear warheads able to fit on the tips of its missiles.

This “possible” ability is drowned in outright speculation. As the report states, “It is conceivable that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has already considerably advanced and it is possible that North Korea has already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear bombs into warheads and has acquired nuclear warheads.”

Western corporate media would hardly refrain from metastasizing pure speculation into a “North Korea has miniaturized nuclear weapons” frenzy consuming the cable news cycle/ newspaper headlines. Talk about hearts and minds comfortably numbed by the fear factor.

The Japanese white paper, conveniently, also escalated condemnation of China over Beijing’s actions in both the East and South China seas.

To continue reading: North Korea: fire, fury and fear

JFK Killing: Lies & Russophobia, by Finian Cunningham

CIA “disclosures,” especially about the CIA itself, should be considered disinformation until proven otherwise. Finian Cunningham explores recent disclosures about JFK’s assassination. From Cunningham at informationclearinghouse.com:

Information Clearing House” – The assassination of President John F Kennedy in 1963 was a seminal event in modern American history. Yet 54 years on, the official US state continues covering up the shocking truth about the killing of one of its most popular leaders.

A recent release of secret memos from the Central Intelligence Agency is a classic case of disinformation put out to further contaminate public knowledge about how and why the president was murdered in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

American news journal, Politico, headlined an article about the latest declassified information: “How the CIA came to doubt the official story of JFK’s murder”.

From a casual glance, one might think that “at last” some new insight into the Kennedy assassination may be forthcoming and on the role played by Lee Harvey Oswald, the young ex-marine accused of pulling the trigger. Not a bit of it.

The latest batch of CIA memos – penned around 1975 – do not in any way “undermine the [official] Warren Commission’s finding that Oswald killed Kennedy with shots fired from his perch on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository… and that there was no credible evidence of a second gunman.”

What the newest release of CIA documents appear to “disclose” is that the agency was involved in a “benign cover-up” by influencing the 1964 Warren Commission to conclude that Oswald acted alone in killing the president. What appears to be revealed now is the CIA had deeper concerns that the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro may have indirectly motivated Oswald. The CIA refers to a New Orleans newspaper article published two months before JFK’s murder, in which Castro is quoted denouncing covert American operations against his own life.

That news report, says the CIA in a 1975 memo, may have inspired Oswald as an American supporter of the Cuban socialist revolution to proceed to Dallas and plot against the US president as an act of revenge.

Other “intriguing glimpses”, as Politico describes the latest declassification from the US National Archives, include CIA misgivings that alleged meetings by Oswald with Cuban and Russian officials in Mexico City weeks prior to JFK’s assassination were not adequately followed up by Warren commission investigators.

 

To continue reading: JFK Killing: Lies & Russophobia

Google: Search Engine or Deep State Organ?, by Michael Krieger

This is third part of a broad examination of Google’s power and policies (there are links below to Parts One and Two).  From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Today’s post should be read as Part 3 of my ongoing series about the now infamous Google memo, and what it tells us about where our society is headed if a minority of extremely wealthy and powerful technocratic billionaires are permitted to fully socially engineer our culture to fit their ideological vision using coercion, force and manipulation. For some context, readPart 1 and Part 2.

I struggled with the title of this piece, because ever since the 2016 election, usage of the term “deep state” has become overly associated with Trump cheerleaders. I’m not referring to people who voted for Trump, whom I can both understand and respect, I’m talking about the Trump cultists. Like most people who mindlessly and enthusiastically attach themselves to political figures, they tend to be either morons or opportunists.

Nevertheless, just because the term has been somewhat tainted doesn’t mean I deny the existence of a “deep state” or “shadow government.” The existence of networks of unelected powerful people who formulate and push policy behind the scenes and then get captured members of Congress to vote on it is pretty much undeniable. I don’t believe that the “deep state” is a monolithic entity by any means, but what seems to unite these various people and institutions is an almost religious belief in U.S. imperial dominance, as well as the idea that this empire should be largely governed by an unaccountable oligarchy of billionaires and assorted technocrats. We see the results of this worldview all around us with endless wars, an unconstitutional domestic surveillance state and the destruction of the middle class. These are the fruits of deep state ideology, and a clear reason why it should be dismantled and replaced by genuine governance by the people before they lead the U.S. to total disaster.

To continue reading: Google: Search Engine or Deep State Organ?

A New Twist in Seth Rich Murder Case, by Joe Lauria

A very good summary of the DNC leaked email case. From Joe Lauria at consortiumnews.com:

Exclusive: The U.S. mainstream media dismisses any link between the murder of DNC official Seth Rich and leaked DNC emails as a “conspiracy theory” – while blaming Russia instead – but a new possibility has arisen, writes Joe Lauria.

With U.S.-Russia tensions as dangerously high as they’ve been since the worst days of the Cold War, there is potential new evidence that Russia was not behind a hack of the Democratic National Committee, although Congress and the U.S. mainstream media accept the unproven allegation of Russia’s guilt as indisputable fact.

Slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich

The possible new evidence comes in the form of a leaked audiotape of veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in which Hersh is heard to say that not Russia, but a DNC insider, was the source of the Democratic emails published by WikiLeaks just before the start of the Democratic National Convention in late July 2016.

Hersh said on the tape that the source of the leak was former DNC employee Seth Rich, who was murdered on a darkened street in a rough neighborhood of Northwest Washington D.C. two weeks before the Convention, on July 10, 2016. But Hersh threw cold water on a theory that the murder was an assassination in retaliation for the leak. Instead, Hersh concurs with the D.C. police who say the murder was a botched robbery.

Mainstream news outlets have mocked any linkage between Rich’s murder and the disclosure of the DNC emails as a “conspiracy theory,” but Hersh’s comments suggest another possibility – that the murder and the leak were unrelated while Rich may still have been the leaker.

In dismissing the possibility that Rich was the leaker, mainstream media outlets often ignore one of the key reason why some people believe that he was: Shortly after his murder, WikiLeaks, which has denied receiving the emails from the Russian government, posted a Tweet offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the solution of the mystery of who killed Rich.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder and publisher, brought up Rich’s murder out of context in an interview with Dutch TV last August. “Whistle-blowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often very significant risks,” Assange said. “As a 27-year-old, works for the DNC, was shot in the back, murdered just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington.”

Pressed by the interviewer to say whether Rich was the source of the DNC emails, Assange said WikiLeaks never reveals its sources. Yet, it appeared to be an indirect way of naming Rich, while formally maintaining WikiLeak’s policy. An alternative view would be to believe that Assange is cynically using Rich’s death to divert the trail from the real source.

But Assange is likely one of the few people who actually knows who the source is, so his professed interest in Rich’s murder presents a clue regarding the source of the leak that any responsible news organization would at least acknowledge although that has not been the case in many recent mainstream articles about the supposed Seth Rich “conspiracy theory.”

To continue reading: A New Twist in Seth Rich Murder Case

Is Trump Winning? by Robert Gore

Mainstream analysis has been wrong for so long, why start believing it now?

SLL has run a series of articles (“Plot Holes,” “Trump and Vault 7,” “Calling a Bluff?” “Let’s Connect the Dots,” “Powerball, Part One,” “Powerball, Part Two”) advancing interrelated hypotheses. We’ve asserted that President Trump is far smarter and the powers that be far stupider and weaker than current consensus estimates. Trump’s primary motivation is power. The nonstop vilification campaign against him has little to do with policy differences and instead reflects establishment fears that Trump will investigate, expose, and punish its criminality. The upshot of these hypotheses: Trump is winning and has consolidated his power.

Reader reaction to this non-mainstream and admittedly speculative line of thinking has been mixed and often skeptical. However, we’ll press on, because our hypotheses have yielded testable predictions, most of which have been borne out. From “Powerball, Part Two”:

To answer a question posed in Part One: if Trump has consolidated power both at home and abroad, don’t hold your breath waiting for a swamp draining. The most effective power is often power of which only a few know. Those he has by the short hairs would be most helpful to him—sub rosa—if they’re still in government. If such is the case, don’t be surprised if the Russia probe fades away, Trump’s nominal opposition consigns itself to rote denunciation, the Deep State sits still for his Middle Eastern policy changes, and he gets more of his agenda through than anyone expects.

Even the Washington Post has admitted the Russia probe is “crumbling.”  Trump and Sessions know Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller won’t find much because there’s nothing there, although there may be a sacrificial offering or two to propitiate the investigatory gods. Trump read Sessions the riot act via Twitter and a Wall Street Journal interview about not investigating Hillary Clinton, intelligence community leaks to the press, and Ukrainian efforts to sabotage his presidential campaign. He’s been roundly condemned for publicly criticizing Sessions, but here’s a speculative leap: perhaps publicly criticizing Sessions was not really what Trump was doing.

Perhaps Trump was giving his attorney general political cover to pursue investigations against high-profile Democrats who cannot help Trump, sub rosa or otherwise. Investigations of Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Fusion GPS, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz would demoralize the Democrats, preoccupy and harass key players, expose criminality, and electrify Trump’s base. Providing Sessions further cover, twenty Republican representatives have sent a letter to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein demanding the appointment of a second Special Counsel to look into potentially illegal acts by Clinton, Lynch, and former FBI director James Comey.

After recusing himself from the Russiagate investigation, which he knows is pointless, and being “scolded” by Trump, Sessions is now a sympathetic, squeaky-clean figure; even Democrats have expressed support. He has far more latitude to pursue the investigations his boss wants him to pursue. Most of the ensuing criticism will be directed at Trump, which will bother Trump not at all (although there will undoubtedly be answering Twitter blasts).

Trump has quietly (when Trump does anything quietly, take note) made two sea changes in US policy in Syria. At the G20 summit, he negotiated a cease fire with Vladimir Putin for southwest Syria. Last week he ended a CIA program that armed Syrian jihadists fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Both changes are anathema to the US Deep State, the mainstream media, and US allies Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Israel, and Turkey, yet other than “rote denunciation,” they have been surprisingly docile. The latter change could presage abandonment of a pillar of US foreign and military policy since President Carter supplied arms and other aid to the mujahideen in Afghanistan during their successful fight against the Soviet Union. The US may be out of the business of arming Islamic insurgents against regimes it seeks to change.

Deft—by this analysis—as Trump has been, his biggest challenge lies ahead. The government is bankrupt, and demographics will push it ever-deeper in the hole. The global economy is struggling under monstrous and unsupportable debt. Fiat money something-for-nothing has a sell-by date, sooner or later the stock market and economy will head south. Historically, there’s been a tight correlation between stocks, the economy, and presidential popularity.

Can Trump dodge this bullet? Here’s another speculative leap: he is already laying the groundwork. He’s claiming credit for the stock market’s rally since he was elected. That may not be as foolish as it seems. When the market and economy falter, he will claim they went up on hopes for his program, and will blame Congress and the Federal Reserve for dashing those hopes.

Most people blame the Republican-controlled Congress, not Trump, for the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump proposes, but Congress disposes and Trump has made sure everyone knows that Congress is responsible. In the same vein, he signed the veto-proof Russian sanctions bill while at the same time excoriating Congress for passing it. He has an easier job making his case than a President whose party controls Congress normally would. Trump is a Republican in name only and ran just as hard against the Republican establishment as he did against Hillary Clinton.

Look for him to lambast Congress when it botches tax reform and the debt ceiling. He could be hoping for such miscues. Debt ceiling contretemps may set off financial market conniptions. Trump will sigh and tweet: If only Congress had passed my health care and tax reforms and given me a clean debt ceiling increase, none of this would have happened. If the Federal Reserve continues to raise its federal funds target rate and shrinks its balance sheet, he’ll include Janet Yellen in his tweets.

These hypotheses yield testable predictions. Mueller’s investigation will come a cropper, but investigations of high-profile and no sub rosa value leakers and Democrats—up to and perhaps including Hillary Clinton—will lead to indictments and either plea bargained settlements or convictions. Trump will take credit for the stock market until it reverses. He will continue to harshly criticize Congressional failures and blame them when financial markets and the economy head south. This may come to a head if Congress fails to pass a clean debt ceiling increase by the end of September. Trump will also point his finger at the Federal Reserve. This is a high risk strategy, given the longstanding psychological linkage between presidential popularity, the strength of the economy, and stock market indices. It’s probably the only strategy available to Trump. Time will tell if it works.

The war in Syria has crested; ISIS, though still capable of substantial mischief, has lost. The refugee flow has already reversed, an estimated half a million refugees have returned, which, as noted in “Powerball, Part Two,” gives European leaders some breathing room. Assad will stay in power unless Russia, not the US, sees fit to remove him. The embers of conflict will smolder for years, but Trump will not be fanning them by arming anti-Assad groups or escalating US military involvement. He will continue to use shows of force and diplomatic maneuvers to try to resolve other hot spots—North Korea, Iran, the South China Sea, Ukraine, Afghanistan—and will shy away from exclusively military solutions. He is deeply displeased with the war in Afghanistan and is calling for a rethink that may ultimately lead to withdrawal.

All this is speculative, but it continues a line of analysis whose predictions have been for the most part confirmed. However, borrowing from the ubiquitous financial disclaimer: past performance is no guarantee of future accuracy.

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Intel Vets Challenge ‘Russia Hack’ Evidence, by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

Independent cyber investigators have examined the metadata into the intrusion, erroneously called a hack, into the DNC’s servers in July 2016. Their conclusion: it was a downloaded leak, not a hack. From VIPS at consortiumnews.com:

In a memo to President Trump, a group of former U.S. intelligence officers, including NSA specialists, cite new forensic studies to challenge the claim of the key Jan. 6 “assessment” that Russia “hacked” Democratic emails last year. 

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?

Executive Summary

Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers, and then doctored to incriminate Russia.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (right) talks with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, with John Brennan and other national security aides present. (Photo credit: Office of Director of National Intelligence)

After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device, and that “telltale signs” implicating Russia were then inserted.

Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying and doctoring were performed on the East coast of the U.S. Thus far, mainstream media have ignored the findings of these independent studies [see hereand here].

Independent analyst Skip Folden, a retired IBM Program Manager for Information Technology US, who examined the recent forensic findings, is a co-author of this Memorandum. He has drafted a more detailed technical report titled “Cyber-Forensic Investigation of ‘Russian Hack’ and Missing Intelligence Community Disclaimers,” and sent it to the offices of the Special Counsel and the Attorney General. VIPS member William Binney, a former Technical Director at the National Security Agency, and other senior NSA “alumni” in VIPS attest to the professionalism of the independent forensic findings.

To continue reading: Intel Vets Challenge ‘Russia Hack’ Evidence