Category Archives: Intelligence

Another Mega Group Spy Scandal? Samanage, Sabotage, and the SolarWinds Hack, by Whitney Webb

What’s really going on with the SolarWinds Hack? From Whitney Webb at unz.com:

The devastating hack on SolarWinds was quickly pinned on Russia by US intelligence. A more likely culprit, Samanage, a company whose software was integrated into SolarWinds’ software just as the “back door” was inserted, is deeply tied to Israeli intelligence and intelligence-linked families such as the Maxwells.

In mid-December of 2020, a massive hack compromised the networks of numerous US federal agencies, major corporations, the top five accounting firms in the country, and the military, among others. Despite most US media attention now focusing on election-related chaos, the fallout from the hack continues to make headlines day after day.

The hack, which affected Texas-based software provider SolarWinds, was blamed on Russia on January 5 by the US government’s Cyber Unified Coordination Group. Their statement asserted that the attackers were “likely Russian in origin,” but they failed to provide evidence to back up that claim.

Since then, numerous developments in the official investigation have been reported, but no actual evidence pointing to Russia has yet to be released. Rather, mainstream media outlets began reporting the intelligence community’s “likely” conclusion as fact right away, with the New York Times subsequently reporting that US investigators were examining a product used by SolarWinds that was sold by a Czech Republic–based company, as the possible entry point for the “Russian hackers.” Interest in that company, however, comes from the fact that the attackers most likely had access to the systems of a contractor or subsidiary of SolarWinds. This, combined with the evidence-free report from US intelligence on “likely” Russian involvement, is said to be the reason investigators are focusing on the Czech company, though any of SolarWinds’ contractors/subsidiaries could have been the entry point.

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The Unwelcome Return of the Real Purveyors of Violence, by Ron Paul

The media talk about the fake coup January 6, but not the many real coups in foreign lands which which Biden administration have been involved. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

With the mainstream media still obsessing about the January 6th “violent coup attempt” at the US Capitol Building, the incoming Biden Administration looks to be chock full of actual purveyors of violent coups. Don’t look to the mainstream media to report on this, however. Some of the same politicians and bureaucrats denouncing the ridiculous farce at the Capitol as if it were the equivalent of 9/11 have been involved for decades in planning and executing real coups overseas. In their real coups, many thousands of civilians have died.

Take returning Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, for example. More than anyone else she is the face of the US-led violent coup against a democratically-elected government in Ukraine in 2014. Nuland not only passed out snacks to the coup leaders, she was caught on a phone call actually plotting the coup right down to who would take power once the smoke cleared.

Unlike the fake Capitol “coup,” this was a real overthrow. Unlike the buffalo horn-wearing joke who desecrated the “sacred” Senate chamber, the Ukraine coup had real armed insurrectionists with a real plan to overthrow the government. Eventually, with the help of incoming Assistant Secretary of State Nuland, they succeeded – after thousands of civilians were killed.

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Afghanistan and the CIA Heroin Ratline, by Pepe Escobar

The CIA reinstated the heroin ratline it established in Vietnam in Afghanistan. From Pepe Escobar at lewrockwell.com:

The Persian Gulf harbors an array of extremely compromising secrets. Near the top is the Afghan heroin ratline – with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) positioned as the golden node of a transnational, trillion dollar heroin money laundering operation.

In this 21st century Opium War, crops harvested in Afghanistan are essentially feeding the heroin market not only in Russia and Iran but especially in the US. Up to 93% of the world’s opium comes from Afghanistan.

Contrary to predominant Western perception, this is not an Afghan Taliban operation. The key questions — never asked by Atlanticist circles — are who buys the opium harvests; refines them into heroin; controls the export routes; and then sell them for humongous profit compared to what the Taliban have locally imposed in taxes.

The hegemonic narrative rules that Washington bombed Afghanistan in 2001 in “self-defense” after 9/11; installed a “democratic” government; and after 16 years never de facto left because this is a key node in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), against al-Qaeda and the Taliban alike.

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The Two Faces Of The US Empire, by Caitlin Johnstone

There’s Hollywood, and then there’s reality. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The Biden/Harris inauguration event is going to be a star-studded celebration spanning an unprecedented five days, a giddy orgy of excitement at a murderous oligarchic empire having a new face behind the front desk after promising wealthy donors that nothing will fundamentally change.

This comes at a time when Americans are now reporting that they trust corporations more than they trust their own government or media, when pundits are gleefully proclaiming in The New York Times that “CEOs have become the fourth branch of government” as they pressure the entire political system to smoothly install Biden, when the leading contender for the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division is an Obama holdover who went from the administration to working for both Amazon and Google, and when Americans are being paced into accepting an increasing amount of authoritarian changes for their own good.

And this manic celebration and increasing brazenness of corporate power are of course overlaid atop an unceasing river of human blood as the globe-spanning empire continues to smash any nation which disobeys it into compliance so as to ensure lasting uncontested planetary hegemony.

But hey, at least they voted out fascism.

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Silicon Valley and WEF-Backed Foundation Announce Global Initiative for COVID-19 Vaccine Records, by Whitney Webb

This will scare the crap out of you, a Whitney Webb trademark. From Webb at unlimitedhangout.com:

Silicon Valley’s most influential companies, alongside healthcare companies, US intelligence contractors and the Commons Project Foundation, recently launched the Vaccination Credential Initiative. The initiative’s ambitions reach far beyond vaccines and will have major implications for civil liberties.

On Thursday, tech giants with deep ties to the US national-security state—Microsoft, Oracle, and the MITRE Corporation—announced that they had partnered with several health-care companies to create the Vaccination Credential Initiative (VCI) to advance the implementation of digital COVID-19 vaccination records.

According to a Reuters report, the VCI “aims to help people get encrypted digital copies of their immunization records stored in a digital wallet of their choice” because the “current system [of vaccination records] does not readily support convenient access and sharing of verifiable vaccination records.”

The initiative, on its website, notes that the VCI is a public-private partnership “committed to empowering individuals with digital vaccination records” so that participants can “protect and improve their health” and “demonstrate their health status to safely return to travel, work, school and life while protecting their data privacy.” The initiative is essentially built on a common framework of digital vaccination “wallets” called SMART Health Cards that are meant to “work across organizational and jurisdictional boundaries” as part of a new global vaccination-record infrastructure.

The host of the VCI website and one the initiative’s key backers is the Commons Project Foundation. That foundation, in partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF), runs the Common Trust Network, which has three goals that are analogous to those of VCI. As listed on the WEF website, the network’s goals are (1) to empower individuals by providing digital access to their health information; (2) to make it easier for individuals to understand and comply with each destination’s requirements; and (3) to help ensure that only verifiable lab results and vaccination records from trusted sources are presented for the purposes of cross-border travel and commerce.

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Endless Interventionist Clichés: Washington’s Bipartisan War Party is Never at a Loss on Why War Is Necessary, by Doug Bandow

The War Party has never seen a war it didn’t like, and always has a glib explanation of why the war being fought with other people’s money and lives is vital, crucial, essential, etc. to America’s “interests.” From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

Starting last Spring the coronavirus pandemic kept me at home, encouraging me to watch webinars. Many webinars. Washington, D.C.’s gaggle of think tanks have filled online space with seemingly endless discussions of what to do about the world. With an emphasis on do.

Members of the infamous Blob, the Washington foreign policy establishment, bridle at criticism of their uniformity of views. Why, they insist, they argue about everything. Like whether we should sanction a country before bombing it. Whether the post-invasion occupation of a nation will require 50,000 or 100,000 troops.

Whether the U.S. should remove a government from power or merely create a “political process” that ensures its departure. Whether American officials should limit themselves to being hypocritical or whether it is okay for them to be sanctimonious as well. And whether rejecting just one of Washington’s righteous demands is a casus belli, or at least two denials are necessary.

Absolutely, there is an incredible diversity of views within the Blob.

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Do you realize now what you have done? US gets the kind of ‘democracy’ it championed overseas, by Nebojsa Malic

The US’s regime change chickens have come home to roost. Needless to say, the CIA’s approved candidate won the staged election. From Nebojsa Malic at rt.com:

Do you realize now what you have done? US gets the kind of ‘democracy’ it championed overseas
A crowd of protesters stormed Congress protesting a presidential election they claimed had been fraudulent. When this happened in Serbia in 2000, the US called it democracy. When it happened in Washington, DC – not so much.

Scenes from the US Capitol on Wednesday, as protesters backing President Donald Trump disrupted the joint session of Congress meeting to certify the election of Democrat Joe Biden, looked very much like Belgrade in October 2000.

The sight was later repeated in Ukraine – twice, in 2004 and 2014 – Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, and several Central Asian former Soviet republics. On every occasion, the US backed the “people power,” because American NGOs and embassies were supporting what became known as “color revolutions.”

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The Julian Assange Pardon Drive, by binoy Kampmark

Julian Assange’s best hope is probably a pardon from Trump. From binoy Kampmark at off-guardian.org:

The odds are stacked against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks publisher who faces the grimmest of prospects come January 4.

On that day, the unsympathetic judicial head of District Judge Vanessa Baraitser will reveal her decision on the Old Bailey proceedings that took place between September and October this year.

Despite Assange’s team being able to marshal an impressive, even astonishing array of sources and witnesses demolishing the prosecution’s case for extradition to the United States, power can be blindly vengeful.

Such blindness is much in evidence in a co-authored contribution to The Daily Signal from this month. The authors are insipidly predictable: national security and technology types with comic strip names (Charles “Cully” Stimson; Klon Kitchen) and rule of law advocates who seemingly campaign against their own brief (John G. Malcolm).

Having not bothered to read the evidence submitted at the extradition trial, the authors are obedient to a fictitious record. This includes allegations that WikiLeaks harmed US diplomatic relations; the stubborn libel that Assange’s actions, far from exposing US atrocities, led to a loss of life; and the disruption of essential “intelligence sources and methods”. (Accountability can be expensive.)

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The Kafkaesque Imprisonment of Julian Assange Exposes U.S. Myths About Freedom and Tyranny, by Glenn Greenwald

If you want to gauge a society, see how it treats people who tell the truth. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

The real measure of how free is a society is not how its mainstream, well-behaved ruling class servants are treated, but the fate of its actual dissidents.

A billboard van calling for an end to extradition proceedings against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange waits at traffic lights in Parliament Square in London, England, on September 14, 2020. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Persecution is not typically doled out to those who recite mainstream pieties, or refrain from posing meaningful threats to those who wield institutional power, or obediently stay within the lines of permissible speech and activism imposed by the ruling class.

Those who render themselves acquiescent and harmless that way will — in every society, including the most repressive — usually be free of reprisals. They will not be censored or jailed. They will be permitted to live their lives largely unmolested by authorities, while many will be well-rewarded for this servitude. Such individuals will see themselves as free because, in a sense, they are: they are free to submit, conform and acquiesce. And if they do so, they will not even realize, or at least not care, and may even regard as justifiable, that those who refuse this Orwellian bargain they have embraced (“freedom” in exchange for submission) are crushed with unlimited force.

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Biden’s Politics of Impunity, by Ramona Wadi

Just like previous administrations, a Biden administration will have a lot of well-bred, well-dressed, well-spoken torturers, goons, and killers. From Ramona Wadi at strategic-culture.org:

Two former U.S. intelligence officials serving under the Obama administration are set to return to important roles under President-Elect Joe Biden. Mike Morell and Avril Haines, the former Acting CIA director and Deputy CIA director respectively, have been nominated by Biden to serve as CIA Director and National Intelligence Director. The nominations have already elicited criticism of an extended narrative of the “War on Terror”, as opposed to Biden’s electoral rhetoric on ending wars.

In 2014, a report published by the U.S. Senate Democrats revealed the extent of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation tactics” – a polite euphemism for the torture of detainees, which also included waterboarding. Morell objected to the torture label. “When people call it torture, I react strongly because it says my officers tortured people – they did not torture anybody.” Waterboarding, a torture tactic that simulates drowning, was considered by Morell as “one of the two most effective of all the harsh techniques” employed by the CIA against detainees suspected of affiliation with Al-Qaeda and terror plots.

Morell’s contention with waterboarding and torture is contradictory, to say the least, as expressed in a 2016 documentary. “Should a country, the United States of America, which stands for human rights in the world, which stands for human dignity, probably more than any country – do these techniques to another human being? That’s a really reasonable question.” A reasonable question with a flawed premise – the U.S. is hardly an example of human rights advocacy. Its manipulation of democracy to justify foreign intervention and endless wars does not constitute adherence to human rights and the promotion of human dignity. In using waterboarding as part of its torture techniques, U.S. politics exposed its justification of human rights violations by distinguishing between state-sanctioned violence, and terror.

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