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Mon, 29 May 2017
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Quenelle - Golden

Je ne suis pas St Petersburg: Western bitterness on display as capitals choose not to honor Russian victims of terror attack

© Carlo Allegri / Reuters
FILE PHOTO. New York January 11, 2015.
Russia has sacrificed just as much blood, sweat and tears as any country in the fight against terrorism, yet when an apparent terrorist attack kills and maims dozens, this time in St. Petersburg, something seemed missing in the global response.

On my first visit to New York City 10 years ago, I was instantly struck by the number of Russians I encountered. The taxi driver who met me at JFK Airport was a Russian immigrant, and the radio station playing in his Yellow Cab was broadcasting in the Russian language. When I exited the taxi near Central Park, the first conversation I heard in this bustling city of 12 million people was between a Russian woman and a little girl as they were waiting for the light to change at an intersection. And this Russian presence goes far beyond New York City.

From Miami to Manhattan, Russian immigrants are heavily represented in American communities, universities and companies. I would guess that in the United States, as well as across Europe, most people know at least one person from Russia. So following Monday's terrorist attack on Russia's second largest city, which killed 11 people and injured dozens, one would expect there to have been an outpouring of solemn, heart-felt tributes to the victims of the blast, right?

Well, yes and no.

Comment: Victims of terrorism are only honored in the West when its leaders deem it politically expedient for its subjects to emote.


Peter Lee: The Atlanticist-MI5 Trump pile-on - what it all means

I try to keep a certain distance from the anti-Trump circus. But I do want to put some thoughts on record, given the obsession with Trump's Russia connection and what I see is a determined effort to minimize the British/NATO angle in the attack on Trump.

My personal feeling is that there are significant swaths of the European establishment that derive their mission and meaning from serving as allies to the United States in an anti-Trump effort: the British government and intelligence services, NATO, various right-leaning European governments, their think tanks, in other words, the Atlanticists.

They didn't like Trump because he was more interested in dealing directly and positively with Russia on matters of US strategic concern in the Middle East and Asia and much less interested in perfecting the Atlanticist Euro-centric anti-Russian containment/deterrence apparatus and backing crazy EU/NATO expansion stunts like the Ukraine operation.

Perhaps similar to Trump's interest in dealing with China instead of doing pivot. Difference is, Atlanticist lobby is much more entrenched in Washington, the NATO alliance is miles ahead of the "box of sand" Asian containment network, and Great Britain is America's primary intelligence partner.


Former Obama insider, Evelyn Farkas, reveals she was involved in "helping to spy on Trump for Obama"

Farkas admitted to having first hand knowledge that the Obama administration spied on a US presidential candidate’s transition team in order to gather “intelligence” for political use, information which was then leaked to the media through Obama January executive order 12333.
Evelyn Farkas says Barack Obama was indeed spying on candidate Trump.

#Obamagate picks up more speed, as the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Obama White House, Evelyn Farkas, has admitted that Donald Trump was spied on, and that Obama tried to hide both the source, and how the information was being disseminated to "the hill."

Farkas was on MSNBC's Morning Joe, when she made the stunning revelation that she was involved in "helping to spy on Trump for Obama."

Farkas unknowingly ratted out her former boss Barack Obama on the liberal left propaganda outlet, MSNBC...
"I was urging my former colleagues, and, and frankly speaking the people on the Hill [Democrat politicians], it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can - get as much intelligence as you can - before President Obama leaves the administration.

Because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior [Obama] people who left; so it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy, um, that the Trump folks - if they found out HOW we knew what we knew about their, the Trump staff, dealing with Russians - that they would try to compromise those sources and methods; meaning we no longer have access to that intelligence.

So I became very worried because not enough was coming out into the open and I knew that there was more. We have very good intelligence on Russia; so then I had talked to some of my former colleagues and I knew that they were also trying to help get information to [Democrat] politicians.

Comment: Potential 'smoking gun' showing Obama administration spied on Trump team, source says


The 'Peaceful Revolution' narrative in Syria by the West was a lie from the beginning

This week is the 6th anniversary of the beginning of the Syrian conflict. Despite the mounting evidence and the collapse of Washington and London's failed project, many liberal 'humanitarian interventionists' in the West are still clinging to the imaginary storyline of 'freedom fighters' in Syria battling against an evil authoritarian tyrant in their fragile bid to preserve their dream of a progressive liberal democratic future in the Middle East. A fairy tale for the ages...

From the beginning of hostilities in 2011, the US, UK, France, the EU, Turkey, Jordan, Israel and the Gulf monarchies, led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar - have all been pumping the fraudulent narrative of a 'Syrian Revolution', which was meant to be the latest peaceful installment of the fabled 'Arab Spring.' This ornate lie has been refined and recycled across all US mainstream, European and Gulf media outlets for the last 6 years, custom designed to give the false impression that "Assad is a brutal dictator" - and justifying the Western and Gulf-backing of religious extremist militants, followed by a protracted US-led 'Coalition' bombing campaign in Syria (all of which have been illegal under international law, and, US law for that matter).

In truth, US-led plans to overthrown the Syrian government and reshape the country along sectarian lines goes way back...

Eye 1

Zakharova: "A child is pretty much murdered under the camera lights" - Swedish doctors denounce White Helmets snuff films

© RT
"White Helmets Oscar is a farce" - Maria Zakharova
The White Helmets. The biggest propaganda heist in the six year history of the dirty war against Syria is unravelling. The glamour of an Oscar is not enough to disguise the sordid details of the White Helmet ties to Al Qaeda (Nusra Front in Syria) and various other extremist, atrocity committing groups embedded in Syria by the NATO and Gulf state regimes. No amount of money laundering is going to wash their image clean after the latest series of reports from Swedish Doctors for Human Rights, exposing macabre, medical malpractice and suspected use of drugged or dead children as props in a propaganda campaign to unseat the Syrian government and to destabilize an entire nation & its people.

Comment: This is deplorable, the lowest of the low. These 'humanitarians'-by-day and terrorists-by-night are committing unspeakable acts on children for use in their snuff films that win an Oscar in the US. Can the West become any more bizarre and twisted than it is today?

Star of David

An analysis of Israel's ill-judged raid on Syria

Iranian S-200 surface to air missile
Israel's raid appears to have been intended to disrupt the ongoing offensive against ISIS but has provoked a powerful response.

The Russians have now formally confirmed earlier media reports that following the Israeli air raid on Syria on Friday the Israeli ambassador in Moscow was called in to the Russian Foreign Ministry to be handed a stern lecture and a stiff protest.

Moscow's confirmation of the Russian protest to Israel, and the fact that the Israeli ambassador was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry within hours of the raid taking place, shows how seriously the Russians are treating this incident.

What is most interesting - and worrying - about this incident is not whether or not an Israeli aircraft was shot down. The Syrians regularly claim to have shot down Israel aircraft, and the Israelis equally regularly deny this was the case. The Syrians have provided no evidence of any Israeli aircraft being shot down, and it is unlikely one was.

Rather what is worrying about this incident is that the Syrians claim that the air raid targeted Syrian military facilities near Palmyra - deep inside Syria - and that the Syrians were sufficiently concerned about the air strike that they in turn attempted to shoot the Israeli aircraft down whilst they were flying over Israeli territory.

Comment: This is hardly the first Israeli raid on Syria, but hopefully the consequences of this latest incident will make it think long and hard about making any future attacks.


Obama Kills on Tuesdays: Interview with Croatian author Vedrana Rudan

Under Obama, ten times more people were killed by US drones than under the Bush administrations. So far, under Trump, drone strikes have increased even further.

The US is a rogue state from the point of view of millions of people around the world who suffer death and destruction in the guise of American 'freedom and democracy'. Behind the ruse is greed and a lust for power. Will the ordinary people of world finally see the simple truth behind the noble-sounding rhetoric?


The American left and the reality of 911: Beyond their wildest dreams

Noam Chomsky: Bastion of the intellectual left in the US - and hopelessly ignorant of 911
On November 23, 1963, the day after John F. Kennedy's assassination, Fidel Castro gave a talk on Cuban radio and television.[1] He pulled together, as well as he could in the amount of time available to him, the evidence he had gathered from news media and other sources, and he reflected on this evidence.

The questions he posed were well chosen: they could serve as a template for those confronting complex acts of political violence. Were there contradictions and absurdities in the story being promoted in the U.S. media? Who benefitted from the assassination? Were intelligence agencies claiming to know more than they could legitimately know? Was there evidence of foreknowledge of the murder? What was the main ideological clash in powerful U.S. circles and how did Kennedy fit in? Was there a faction that had the capacity and willingness to carry out such an act? And so on. But beneath the questions lay a central, unspoken fact: Castro was able to imagine—as a real possibility and not as mere fantasy—that the story being promoted by the U.S. government and media was radically false. He was able to conceive of the possibility that the killing had not been carried out by a lone gunman on the left sympathetic to Cuba and the Soviet Union, but by powerful, ultra-right forces, including forces internal to the state, in the United States. Because his conceptual framework did not exclude this hypothesis he was able to examine the evidence that favored it. He was able to recognize the links between those wishing to overthrow the Cuban government and take more aggressive action toward the Soviet Union and those wishing to get Kennedy out of the way.

In the immediate wake of the assassination, and after the Warren Commission's report appeared in 1964, few among the elite left leadership in the U.S. shared Castro's imagination. Vincent Salandria, one of key researchers and dissidents, said: "I have experienced from the beginning that the left was most unreceptive to my conception of the assassination."[2]

Comment: Listen to the SOTT Radio Network interview with the author:

The Truth Perspective: Interview with Graeme MacQueen: The 2001 Anthrax Deception and the intimidation of legislatures

Bad Guys

'The State Cannot Convict Itself': Operation 'Gladio' & the Crimes of U.S. Empire

The key institutions of Western societies have lost their credibility. They fail to merit either the respect or loyalty of the domestic populations they purport to serve.

Testing the validity of this assertion requires examination of Western institutions from a holistic rather than fragmentary perspective. This is easier said than done.

There exists a massive amount of near real-time web based information available for us to process daily if we are attempting to keep abreast of world events. This often leaves us diligently evaluating recent events, while lacking the opportunity to step back and assemble these discrete events into a more comprehensible whole.

The assassinations of the entire elite level of progressive leadership in the United States during the 1960s (JFK, Malcolm X (image left), MLK & RFK within a 5 year period).In Europe this includes the later assassinations of Aldo Moro and Olaf Palme.

Following is but a partial list of the crimes of the U.S. empire (with the routine complicity of many Western European governments) over the decades since the end of WWII. It is important to briefly review them as the intersection of these orchestrated criminal actions casts light on the lack of legitimacy of Western governments and institutions:

Eye 1

WikiLeaks Vault 7 CIA hacking release: Highlights and updates

WikiLeaks has published what it claims is the largest ever release of confidential documents on the CIA. It includes more than 8,000 documents as part of 'Vault 7', a series of leaks on the agency, which have allegedly emerged from the CIA's Center For Cyber Intelligence in Langley, and which can be seen on the org chart below, which Wikileaks also released,

A total of 8,761 documents have been published as part of 'Year Zero', the first in a series of leaks the whistleblower organization has dubbed 'Vault 7.' WikiLeaks said that 'Year Zero' revealed details of the CIA's "global covert hacking program," including "weaponized exploits" used against company products including "Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones."

WikiLeaks tweeted the leak, which it claims came from a network inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.

Comment: More coverage on SOTT: Some interesting tweets from Snowden and WikiLeaks with more details on what Vault 7 reveals:

The tech industry is responding.

"The technology built into today's iPhone represents the best data security available to consumers, and we're constantly working to keep it that way," it said.

"Our products and software are designed to quickly get security updates into the hands of our customers, with nearly 80% of users running the latest version of our operating system.

"While our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS, we will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities.

"We always urge customers to download the latest iOS to make sure they have the most recent security update."
"Protecting consumers' privacy and the security of our devices is a top priority at Samsung," it said.

"We are aware of the report in question and are urgently looking into the matter."
"We are aware of the report and are looking into it," a spokesman from Microsoft said.
Google declined to comment.

Peppered throughout the leaks are CIA hackers' disparaging comments about numerous anti-virus products, including Comodo, Kaspersky Lab, Avira, AVG, F-Secure, and Bitdefender - which confirm Snowden's tweet above, that the CIA seems to have identified security flaws and kept them to themselves.

Now tech firms are "scrambling for fixes" in light of the leaks. Router producer Cisco was one of the CIA's primary targets. Fox news seems to be one of the only mainstream news outlets covering the leaks semi-seriously, with Laura Ingraham calling the leaks "really damning if ... true."

After the news that the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt is used as a covert hacking base, Germany's prosecutor now says that if there is enough evidence in Vault 7, an investigation will be launched.
"We will initiate an investigation if we see evidence of concrete criminal acts or specific perpetrators. We're looking at it very carefully," a spokesman for the federal prosecutor's office said, Reuters reported Wednesday.

A German Foreign Ministry spokesman told Reuters that the authenticity of the documents was still to be verified and that Berlin would be in touch with Washington.
Update: Anonymous "US intelligence and law enforcement officials" have allegedly told Reuters that the CIA was aware of the impending leak since the end of last year, and their investigation is focusing on contractors as the source of the leak:
The unnamed officials also confirmed that an internal investigation by the agency into the source of the leak is focused primarily on contractors, who the agency believe passed the documents to WikiLeaks.

They also stated their belief that the 8,761 documents contained within the current "Year Zero" leak, the first of the "Vault 7" series, appear to be authentic.
WikiLeaks says that the classified information contained in the leaked documents was "lost" by the CIA and subsequently "circulated among former US government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner."

One of those individuals is then said to have provided the whistleblowing website with the relevant content.
Update (March 9): More recent coverage: Check out this telling quote, reported by Reuters:
U.S. cyber security expert Robert Graham said WikiLeaks provided enough detail to recognize some known vulnerabilities.

"One anti-virus researcher has told me that a virus they once suspected came from the Russians or Chinese can now be attributed to the CIA, as it matches the description perfectly to something in the leak," Graham said in a blog post.
Dennis Kucinich writes for Fox News that Vault 7 is proof that the U.S. is "sliding down the slippery slope toward totalitarianism". (Anti-Trumpers, please note that these leaks cover CIA activity during the Obama administration.)

In his rescheduled press conference, Assange said that WikiLeaks will give tech companies exclusive access to the hacking tools in order to beef up security. Once the fixes are made, WL will publish more details. Assange revealed that the information came from an "isolated computer" that wasn't connected to Langley's network - an "historic act of devastating incompetence."
CNN asked whether it was legal for the CIA to do this, per US law, provided the hacking techniques are used overseas. In response, Assange referenced the CIA's history of "behaving badly" inside the US as well.

"It is an unusual time in the United States to see an intelligence agency so heavily involved in domestic politics," Assange said, when asked if the CIA was experiencing turmoil within its ranks.

When questioned about redactions, Assange said 78,000 pieces of information were withheld, consisting of IP addresses of both target and attack machines. The IPs will be investigated and identified before the redaction is removed.

Assange said further material to be released would be recent but would not identify a time from which it came. He said WikiLeaks have more material on the "throwing off" mechanism used by the hacks to cover their traces. Tuesday's leak revealed details of the CIA's ability to hide its own hacking fingerprint and attribute it to others.
Assange said 'Vault 7' contained too much work for WikiLeaks to do on its own. He said the latest leak has a number of exploits of code that it needs to disarm before it can be published, rendering it useless to "cyber mafia." He did not give details on when it would be published.
When asked by ABC if he had ever been paid by either the Russian government or RT he answered "No, but quite interesting to see ABC taking that line." Criticising mainstream media, Assange described it as a "pretty sad question" which tried to divert from the publication of the CIA's documents.
Assange also addressed the need for a "Digital Geneva Convention", hinting at WikiLeaks cooperation with the tech community toward that end. Some more highlights:
  • 'CIA has a history of attacking, not only overseas targets...but a habit of behaving badly inside the United States.'
  • Huge problem: CIA can gain access to journalists computers and smartphones to uncover sources.
  • Is the CIA interested in you? The interest for the CIA to attack you may not be that high. You may know someone, who knows someone, who works in the French government.
  • There cannot be meaningful oversight over US intelligence agencies.
  • CIA hacking is done in secret and cannot be regulated. They are archaic and complex process. CIA cannot even control its cyber weapons arsenal. CIA cannot control how its cyber weapons arsenal is used.
  • Can you trust that a Dell, Apple or Microsoft computer exported from US is safe from CIA attacks? Obama broke promises to protect tech industry from vulnerabilities.
  • German CIA hacker base used to attack targets throughout Europe, Africa and Middle East. It is a massive complex.
  • CIA created a number of viruses. HammerDrill sits on a computer and waits to attack via CD-ROM.
  • Invite someone into your company to give presentation, CIA has virus to infect via presentation software.
  • CIA has even created virus software which is the virus to infect system.
Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer and NSA whistleblower William Binney weighed in on Fox:

An excerpt from the interview:
Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer: "ATP2829, the so-called Russian tool that we used to hack the DNC. Sean, we did it. Not me, our guys. Former members of NSA, retired intelligence officers use these tools to break in there and get the information out. That's what the Democrats don't want to talk about, because it doesn't fit their narrative."

Sean Hannity: "You know that for a fact. You know the Democrats did it, or that former operatives did it using the malware techniques, they put the Russians' fingerprints and they can appear that the Russians...you're telling me...The whole Russian story that the media has been running with for month and months and months, that it was our people that did it, and they just put the fingerprints of the Russians."

Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer: "That's right. I don't have proof, but this is what I have heard."

"The evidence is not that the Russians did it, but that it was a Russian tool."
Update (March 11): VP Pence says the administration will use "the full force of the law" to go after the Vault 7 leaker(s), calling the release a "very serious offense" that "comprises" the "security" of the American people. Which just goes to show he's a moron. Trump and his team have the moral high ground when they go after malicious leakers who are interfering in democracy, i.e., the ones who are leaking serious (but relatively mundane) information with the goal of destabilizing the administration. But leaks such as Vault 7 expose actual criminality. It's an act of whistle-blowing that exposes how the security of the American people is already compromised, by the CIA. The administration should be cutting the CIA down, not going after the leakers.

Ex-CIA officer John Kiriakou has the right idea:
John Kiriakou: I think they [the leaks] probably have come from the CIA contractor or former CIA contractor. And this contractor frankly believes he has evidence of waste, fraud, abuse or illegality - which is the definition of whistleblowing. And that is why he took this information to WikiLeaks.
JK: I left the agency in 2004, and my resignation was official in 2005, and I will tell you the truth I don't even recognize the place anymore. When I was in the agency the mission was really quite simple - it was to recruit spies, to steal secrets and then to analyze those secrets and provide the analysis to the policymaker to make the best in foreign policy. Now the CIA is a paramilitary organization, it is a cyber-military organization.

RT: Is this what we have to do to keep the country safe from being hit again?

JK: I don't think so. I think the CIA really should go back to its foundations and do what it does best, and that is to recruit the spies, as I mentioned. There is probably a place for cyber-security or cyber-hacking or whatever it is, but that place is in the NSA, in the Defense Department. This is not something the CIA should be doing. One of the things that trouble me the most is that we have absolutely no assurances whatsoever that the CIA is not using this technology to target American citizens. They say that they are not, but they say a lot of things that have turned out not to be true.
Anti-virus legend John McAfee has likened the CIA's inaction on security holes to not giving sick people antibiotics.
"The CIA has confirmed that they knew of 'zero day' exploits years in advance of the manufacturers of the software finding out," he said. "Basically, by not fixing those faults it puts customers of Google, Apple, Microsoft and many other American manufacturers at risk, it puts their reputation at risks, and it costs us all billions of dollars."
"Seriously, aren't we doing the same thing as having a bunch of ill people in our population, and the CIA has a boatload of penicillin, which could cure us, but they are not going to give it to us, because the enemy may get access to it. Do you see the horror of this?" he said.

McAfee believes that with practices like this, the CIA has failed its mandate to protect the American people.

"If John O. Brennan and Michael Hayden, the past CIA directors under Obama, were here, I would like to say: Shame! Shame on you!" he said.

The developer says the world needs a new paradigm on how to deal with cyberweapons, because they are potentially "many times more devastating" than nuclear weapons, but are by nature capable of being used stealthily or fall into the hands of non-government entities.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has urged the CIA to provide a detailed, transparent response:
"We'd really like the security services in Washington to respond fully and openly to the released documents with specific facts, and if this information is confirmed then it poses a great threat to the world and international security," Zakharova said at a briefing in the Russian capital.

Moscow "occasionally" receives information about the activities of the American special services, she pointed out. Previously, such reports "were always confirmed, but also there always attempts to retouch this information and remove it from the front pages," Zakharova said. "In any case, almost every time this information was confirmed," the ministry's spokeswoman said.
McAfee's Intel Security tech firm has now released toolkits to detect rogue software:
The [CIA] malware, or 'rootkit', is designed to allow access to parts of a computer where it typically wouldn't be allowed and can hide the existence of other activities.

According to the leaked data, the CIA created Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) rootkits to hack into Apple Macbooks. The malicious software can allegedly embed itself in a computer's low-level firmware and runs as the system is booting up. It is also coded to survive system updates, reinstallations, and can restore malware that gets removed.

In response to the WikiLeaks release, Intel Security's Advanced Threat Research team has created a new module for its existing CHIPSEC open-source framework that can detect the rogue EFI. The module can run on Windows, Linux, and macOS.
Assange had offered to work with tech firms on these issues. Many Silicon Valley firms apparently prefer the CIA over cooperating with WikiLeaks, however.
The Financial Times is reporting that many Silicon Valley firms will not be working with Wikileaks to cover up the CIA's access to their big data.

Several tech companies questioned by FT expressed a desire to not cooperate with the whistleblower on the ground of moral or legal barriers of dealing with classified information.

Silicon Valley insiders assume that Assange tried to improve his own reputation through cooperation with tech giants.

FT is reporting that their are several companies that might change their stance and start cooperation with WikiLeaks if more information would be revealed.
Update: This is rich:

In other words, when making a hack look like it was done by a third party: 1) DO leave dates/timestamps that correlate to general foreign (e.g. Russian) core working hours. 2) DO leave data in a binary file that demonstrates foreign (e.g. FSB/GRU) involvement in the creation of use of the binary/tool. 3) DO have data that contains foreign (e.g., Russian) cover terms, compartments, operation code names, and other foreign specific terminology in the binary.

Gee, sounds just like those Russian hacks!

Update: Former CIA deputy director Mike Morell says the Vault 7 leaks are an inside job:
"This data is not shared outside CIA. It's only inside CIA. It's on CIA's top secret network, which is not connected to any other network. So, this has to be an inside job," he said.