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11 January 2017

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mike

Colonel -

We heard completely different things on the Mattis confirmation. He never accepted that notion, and there was nothing meek about his answer. He knew going in that Gillibrand had already vowed to vote against his waiver.

turcopolier

mike

I happen to agree with Mattis that women do not belong in the combat arms but if he knew for sure that she would vote against him why not defy her on this. BTW I would like to see her participate in putting up a wet GP medium tent or break track on a tank. I looked at one of my earlier comment in which "operatives" appeared and have changed the word to "people." pl

mike

Colonel -

I happen to agree with both you and Mattis re: women in combat arms. I believe Mattis shut Gillibrand down without open defiance, a skill that Trump should learn.

I was more interested in Tillerson's answer to Senator Merkely. Apparently he wants to provide the Saudis with more help in bombing Yemen.

kooshy

Mike, IMO it was Obama's WH who leaked the 2 pages was handed over to DT. IMO, the risk of getting exposed for everybody else (appointed or elected) at this time, just 2 days before President elect becomes POTUS is too high to do this leak, since IMO soon he will find out who did the leak.

David Habakkuk

All,

It seems that British ‘securocrats’ are getting themselves into something of a muddle on the subject of Christopher Steele and the Trump dossier.

A report in yesterday’s ‘Guardian’, by Nick Hopkins and Luke Harding, was headlined ‘Donald Trump dossier: intelligence sources vouch for author’s credibility: Ex-MI6 officer Christopher Steele, named as writer of Donald Trump memo, is “highly regarded professional.”’

(See https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/12/intelligence-sources-vouch-credibility-donald-trump-russia-dossier-author .)

An interesting paragraph:

‘Over a career that spanned more than 20 years, Steele performed a series of roles, but always appeared to be drawn back to Russia; he was, sources say, head of MI6’s Russia desk. When the agency was plunged into panic over the poisoning of its agent Alexander Litvinenko in 2006, the then chief, Sir John Scarlett, needed a trusted senior officer to plot a way through the minefield ahead – so he turned to Steele. It was Steele, sources say, who correctly and quickly realised that Litvinenko’s death was a Russian state “hit”.’

It appears likely that Steele was Litvinenko’s ‘handler’, who was codenamed ‘Martin’ in accounts presented to Sir Robert Owen’s inquiry.

There is an interesting contrast between this account and that given by Luke Harding of the interviews supposedly recorded by Detective Inspector Brent Hyatt of Scotland Yard shortly before Litvinenko’s death on 23 November 2006.

If these are to be believed, immediately following his drinking green tea with his supposed assassins, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, in the Pine Bar of the Millennium Hotel on 1 November 2006, Litvinenko concluded that he was likely to have been the victim of an assassination attempt.

However, according to the interviews, up until 20 November, not only was MI6 not ‘plunged into panic’, nobody there was even aware that there was anything wrong with Litvinenko.

From the summary of the transcripts by Luke Harding:

‘The interview abruptly stops. It’s 5.16pm. Hyatt dials the long telephone number, reaches “Martin”, and tells him that Litvinenko is gravely ill in hospital, the victim of an apparent poisoning by two mysterious Russians. It appears to be the first time that MI6 – an organisation famed for its professionalism – learns of Litvinenko’s plight.’

(https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/19/alexander-litvinenko-the-man-who-solved-his-own-murder )

If an MI6 agent is in acute pain, and the victim of a poisoning attempt, one might think that one of the first things that he – or his wife – would do would be to contact his ‘handler’. One might also think that Scotland Yard would not conduct its first interview with on 18 November.

So, what are we supposed to think happened? Perhaps, when he was crying out in pain and desperate to see his attackers caught, Litvinenko said – or no, Steele is a busy man, we wouldn’t want to bother him really, would we? But then, apparently the wife of the ‘handler’ died of cirrhosis in 2009. So perhaps he was on a bender, and only sobered up after a week or so.

The whole story about 'Martin' only being told on 20 November is quite patently a fabrication, which implies that the interviews were forged. As Sir Robert Owen must know this, he is a crooked judge.

The glaringly obvious explanation is that MI6 were indeed ‘plunged into panic’, not on 20 November, but very soon after the Pine Bar meeting, when they discovered that Litvinenko had ingested polonium. Of course, this implies that whole notion that he believed he had been deliberately poisoned in the Pine Bar is absolute hokum.

So Litvinenko’s death was not a Russian state ‘hit’ at all. It was the result of competing intelligence agencies pushing 'information operations' too far, and things running out of control. When it became clear that this had led to a container of polonium being opened in a central London hotel bar in 'happy hour', everyone involved wanted to hide what had happened.

Rather than being ignorant, Sir John Scarlett, Christopher Steele and the lot of them were running around like headless chickens, trying to work out how to cover up what they had been doing. At the moment, some of them having got themselves into more hot water, the ‘securocrats’ in London seem to be once again running around like headless chickens, uncertain whether to try to justify Steele or distance themselves from him.

The actual truth is that he was part of a gang of dirty disinformation peddlers, who were attempting régime change in Russia, and some of whom subsequently appear to have turned their attention to trying to destroy Trump. As often, ‘information operations’ are conducted transnationally. Those against Putin, including the attempt to produce ‘evidence’ demonstrating that he had attempted to supply Al Qaeda with a ‘suitcase nuke’, clearly involved people in Washington, as well as London.

Given the revelation that the former British Ambassador to Moscow, Sir Andrew Wood, was involved with John McCain in transmitting Steele’s ‘dossier’ to James Comey after Trump’s victory, it is very much an open question how far the involvement in this operation on both sides of the Atlantic goes. The use of sources outside the United States to give a spurious plausibility to ‘information operations’ is, of course, hardly new.

(On Wood's role, see the ‘Independent’ report, at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-russia-dossier-leak-sir-andrew-wood-john-mccain-british-ambassador-spy-a7524931.html .)

What is beyond belief disgusting about these people is that they still feel themselves entitled to a high moral tone. So Sir Andrew Wood tells the ‘Independent’ that he and McCain ‘spoke about the kind of activities the Russians can be engaged in.’ Perhaps they should have talked about ‘the kind of activities the British can be engaged in.’

As to Luke Harding’s notion of MI6 as ‘famed for its professionalism’ is a bad joke. The organisation is both utterly incompetent and corrupt.

The way things are going, I think I may end up writing a sequel to the ‘Smiley’ sequence, in which, very very occasionally, Karla has a tiny twinge of conscience, but Smiley himself is an absolute and unmitigated villain, as well as a dolt.

Jack

Thanks David.

It seems the Borg on both sides of the Atlantic are deeply involved in many information operations. Some, like the take down of Trump during the election campaign, clearly did not work. They may be concerned that all their entanglements and deception operations may be brought to light after Trump gets his hands on the levers of power. But Trump has also nominated many Borgists.

There's no doubt something sinister going on.

ex-PFC Chuck

Curiously, most of my friends and acquaintances regard me as one of the most ironical people they know. But like everyone else, once in a while I misinterpret something, especially when I have nothing to go on but the written word. As for education, I earned a BA from a medium size, Midwestern liberal arts college with majors in Physics and Philosophy. I also studied at a protestant seminary for a year before deciding that that career path wasn’t for me. I have been a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers for over forty years. In the early 1970s my then employer asked me to represent the company’s interests on an IEEE-sponsored committee that was charged with formulating ANSI standards pertaining to the automation and control of electric utility substations, which was one of our major markets. Since IEEE membership was required for participation, I joined and have been a member ever since. My positions during the first half of my career were in marketing, sales and product management roles for NYSE listed firms. During the latter half I was with a small consulting firm whose niche was to help utility companies intelligently buy the kinds of equipment and software that my previous employers were selling to them.

turcopolier

ex PFC Chuck

Sorry. I should stop being ironic but I naturally think that way and express myself accordingly. It has caused me a lot of trouble. pl

Keith Harbaugh

California:
Hillary Clinton 8,021,534
Donald Trump 4,196,371
A difference of ~3.8M
I.e., take away California and Trump won the popular vote.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election_in_California,_2016#Results_2

English Outsider


Sir Andrew Wood on BBC Radio 4 at 7.50 this morning. Starts at 1hr 51 on the link.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/b088sh82

turcopolier

David Habakkuk

I find the notion of a "plot" between MI-6 and the IC barons to be "appealing" esthetically, probably too appealing. This makes sense to me with Clapper (never a dependable ally)trying to hedge his bets. presumably may's government would have been needed for approval? There is a heavy handed effort over here to de-legitimize Trump. I just heard Congressman John Lewis say that Trump was not legitimately elected. pl

divadab

IN Quebec until as recently as the seventies, native people were officially referred to as "sauvages" and the legal age of marriage was 12 for women and 14 for men - "le revanche des berceaus" meant keeping the birthrate up. The church gave medals to mothers of over 15 children - I knew a girl in my youth who was the 18th of nineteen children and while this was a high number in a particular town, it was not at all uncommon.

And boys were apprenticed as young as nine in rural communities. A nine-year old is perfectly capable of good work. I was driving a tractor at 10 and a car at 12 - I look at some of the pampered and nerfed youth of today and weep for my weakened society.

The Beaver

David,

We are back circa 2002/2003 with the Italian Letter and Yellow Cake from the SIS building

Mark Logan


Seems clear Clapper slipped it into the briefing for precisely the effect it got. Sneaky bugger! Perhaps...it is unwise to mess with short timers...as retaliation for the public humiliation Trump laid on them for saying things he didn't like. Or perhaps it was a practical demonstration of fake news being a sword with two edges...a message for Flynn??

At any rate I enjoyed the irony of Trump vehemently denouncing "fake news". May his staff take note.

hans

Col. Relished, as only a 6 year old can. But awestruck, mostly. Part of my family went to Eagle Lake, Texas instead of the north woods, so I had kin on that side too. Evar never said Rebs or Johnnies - he always said Traitors, with a capital T. Almost spit it out.

Two WW1 vets were often there, and a few others. Grandpa would have these steak fries, or fish fries depending on what was at hand, every couple of months until he died in '60.

Once we all went to a cantonment of the 8th Wisconsin one miserable 100 degree day in July and I got to see what a 3 inch rifle could do to an outhouse at 1,000 yards followed up by some fire from an 8 inch mortar. Between the screaming of the rifle and the thump-roar of the mortar my imagination filled in the details. My home town is only ten square blocks; about an afternoon of such fire would pretty much erase it

The 1st war vets, Charlie Steffens and Bill Schilling had both been gassed and wounded - Charlie looked like someone had parted his hair with an axe and Bill was missing an ear. Sy Lange, who was my Russian teacher, had burn scars on his arms and shoulders that looked like heavy rope. Sy was a German tank commander in Ukraine.

By the time Bill brought out his schnapps and Sy got his cognac open and grandpa put another log in the pot bellied stove the air was getting pretty blue. Uncle Art drove a D6 cat out in the islands, building airstrips, and his cat was armored up with steel plate cuz of snipers. One time there was a nest of Japanese that wouldn't surrender and he'd tell about
how he buried 'em alive, screaming, grinding back and forth until there was no more sound. Art was the roughest, toughest sonofabitch you'd never ever want to piss off, and there he'd sit, tears running down his face. Then Sy would hand him the cognac. And then it would be quiet, for a long time, and we'd listen to the wood hiss and crackle in the stove.

Never heard anyone call these guys heroes - and they'd of snorted if anyone had. But they were to me. And I think of them often and feel privileged to have their memories.

ex-PFC Chuck

No offense.

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