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03 April 2017

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The Beaver

The "White Helmets" and the "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" still seem to be credible sources.

Yep , when one is run by a former MI6 agent and the other one is a 1-person outfit sitting in his basement in Coventry !
Idlib is over-run by the AQ (under different monikers) and like in East Aleppo they have chemicals in their possession. Do a search and see what the Iraqis found in Mosul , are finding in Tal-Afar and don't tell me that those Takfiris in Idlib didn't get those chemicls from the same source: one of the GCC countrues :-(

johnf

I think he was speaking ironically or sarcastically.

As soon as the terrorist subway explosion happened in St Petersburg I wondered how they were going to cover it to not make Putin look good. Then this pre-cooked item suddenly pops up. A similar terrorist attack (by the same people) in The West would cause banner headlines for days.

The Twisted Genius

Fred,

Both of those explanations are possible, but that assumes the Obama administration chose to see the info in the reports as a political matter rather than as a national security or criminal matter. Farkas has said they wanted to preserve info/evidence by spreading it around the government and providing serial numbered lists to Congress. They assumed the Trump administration would bury and destroy any such evidence once they were in office. Judging by the current administration's denials, obfuscations and efforts to derail any investigations of the Russian info op, I think that was a reasonable assumption.

The Twisted Genius

Keith Harbaugh,

As I told Fred, the Obama administration made a deliberate effort to do just that. Farkas has said they wanted to preserve info/evidence by spreading it around the government and providing serial numbered lists to Congress. Loosening those rules was part of that effort and I would assume Obama was at least aware of this if not directing this. They assumed the Trump administration would bury and destroy any such evidence once they were in office. Judging by the current administration's denials, obfuscations and efforts to derail any investigations of the Russian info op, I think that was a reasonable assumption.

Matthew

PCD: And....the Democratic Party, whom I routinely pull the lever for, will not get us to the polls if they continue to mimic the antics of late and not-lamented Joe McCarthy.

Matthew

EO: Let me actually translate the story: The Jihadi offensive in Hama ended in disaster.

Just as the Putin-haters immediately claim Vlad false flags every act of terrorism in Russia, the Jihadi Goebbels always claim a "chemical" attack when they are losing.

jsn

I share your concern with the Constitutional Order.

If we don't start to see some prosecutions for the epic of leaking since November 8th, I'm afraid we'll be making a prophecy of Julius Neyere's quip, "The United States is also a one-party state but, with typical American extravagance, they have two of them."

If Trump fails to penalize this leaking he validates lawlessness, like Obamas' failure to act on torture and universal surveillance, and the result is normalization by both parties of clearly illegal practices. With that, what distinctions the electorate voted on for all practical purposes vanish.

The Twisted Genius

Eric Newhill,

During their congressional testimony, both Comey and Rogers made a point of not commenting on the ongoing CI investigation. Here's two instances:

"KING: On March 15, former acting director of CIA, Mike Morell, who was the acting director under President Obama and put on the record I've had differences with Mike Morell in the past but he was asked about the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians and his answer was there's smoke but there is not fire at all. There's no little camp fire, there's no little candle, there's no spark.
COMEY: I can't comment, Mr. King.
KING: Admiral Rogers.
ROGERS: I'm not going to comment on an ongoing investigation."

"NUNES: The gentleman yields back.
Mr. Comey, this is my final list of questions here. I just want to make sure we get this on the record. Do you have any evidence that any current Trump White House or administration official coordinated with the Russian intelligence services?
COMEY: Not a question I can answer."

The December IC report did say there was no evidence of cooperation between Russian officials and Trump associates. The IC report had far different objectives than the current CI investigation. I think it will be many months before the CI investigation reaches definitive conclusions. If people like Flynn, Manafort, Page or Stone start cooperating, it may be sooner. There may be exonerations all around, but my hunch is that there will some of those folks who come out of this dirty. I seriously doubt Trump himself would ever be implicated in any willful cooperation with the Russian info op.

Nunes characterized the reports as incidental as did Schiff. Some were transcripts of only Russians talking about the election and Trump associates. That would be an odd way of targeting Trump associates with collection. Trump is in a tough situation here. He could declassify and release a synopsis of these reports and prove his point of surveillance of Trump Tower, but that would probably reveal sources and methods. OTOH, he may not want the gist of those reports publicly revealed, so he's relying on innuendo. I assume the FBI investigation already has access to those reports.

johnf

If this is true it makes Clinton's unsafe private email system even more dangerous, and is a possible explanation as to why so many of Kerry (and Obama's) foreign policy initiatives came to nothing:

"Hillary Clinton aides had access to State Dept. after she left, says key lawmaker

When Hillary Clinton resigned as Secretary of State in 2013, she negotiated continuing access to classified and top-secret documents for herself and six staffers under the designation "research assistants," according to a powerful senator who notes that Clinton was later deemed "extremely careless" with such information.

The staff apparently retained access even after Clinton announced her run for president in April 2015, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. The access was ostensibly granted to facilitate work on Clinton's memoir, but Grassley said he was only able to verify it after the Obama administration left the White House.The State Department has not yet responded it an inquiry from Fox News as to whether Clinton, or her staff, including then-chief of staff Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, her traveling chief of staff and former assistant, who went on to become the vice chair of her presidential campaign, and Jake Sullivan, her senior policy advisor, still have access to the classified and top-secret archives and systems."

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/30/hillary-clinton-aides-had-access-to-state-dept-after-left-says-key-lawmaker.html

Jackrabbit

robt willmann: "I am absolutely shocked ... (ROFL)"

You are forgetting that this was not simply "communications of US persons" but of a Presidential campaign. That's what makes it shocking.

ex-PFC Chuck

More on surveillance and the exposure of related misdeeds by a left/right tag team: Headline: "The Real Russiagate: Obama’s Stasi State — Michael Hudson and Paul Craig Roberts"

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/04/03/real-russiagate-obamas-stasi-state-michael-hudson-paul-craig-roberts/

The tl/dr: The Obama administration was listening in to and leaking recordings of phone conversations of Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

Sam Peralta

"Is it common for members of a campaign team to start communicating with foreign governments before they are elected?"

Obama did it during his 2008 campaign. But, that is A-OK, coz its Great Leader. Oh! Trump team spoke to the Roosians, so he is Putin's stooge.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/18/obama.trip/index.html

Mikey

According to a piece on CNN from last night the Intel agencies are required to keep a log of all US persons who are unmasked.

Video and story here:
http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/04/politics/donald-trump-barack-obama-unmasking/

Sam Peralta

It seems Dear Leader used national intelligence services for partisan political purposes. If true, we've now joined without any doubt the ranks of banana republics.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-04/susan-rice-ordered-detailed-spreadsheets-intercepted-phone-calls-trump-team

“What was produced by the intelligence community at the request of Ms. Rice were detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates in perfectly legal conversations with individuals,” diGenova told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group Monday.


“The overheard conversations involved no illegal activity by anybody of the Trump associates, or anyone they were speaking with,” diGenova said. “In short, the only apparent illegal activity was the unmasking of the people in the calls.”

Mikey

Assad 'Gasses' Civilians Days After Tillerson Hints He Can Stay in Power.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/04/04/days-after-tillerson-mouths-russian-line-on-syria-assad-uses-gas.html

This is a strange coincidence. Are the Syrians unconcerned about the world's opinion?

turcopolier

Mikey

The Syrian rebels are masters of propaganda. In short, they lie a lot. pl

LeaNder

Yes, indeed "everybody must get stoned". Among us, nitwits.

On my way back home I read Didier Eribon's Returning to Reims. Considering his age, close to mine, I was a bit surprised that popular music didn't at all surface in the field of music or arts for that matter. Maybe since I was a member of a beat group at the time of interest covered in his book. In other words music more generally, wasn't something elitist for me. There were folks and times that used it as expression. Were musicians pre French revolution worse then the ones afterd? Didn't Mozart borrow a lot from popular music or traditionals still remembered in his time? Or didn't the Beatles borrow a lot from English traditional folk songs?

On the other hand, his personal experience that art was something only for the members of elite families may have kept me from ever joining whatever left wing ideologue circles. More often then not they seemed to consider art as something that had to serve "the masses" or the ones they thought should be moved into their direction. From a German perspective, or Free University Berlin at that point in time, Barricades in Wedding (Berlin district) the "non-plus-ultra".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillars_of_Hercules#History

http://zulu-ebooks.com/download/2-belletristik/739-barrikaden-am-wedding

In any case, his return home and his reflections on family and life post the death of his father about his earlier stern Communist working class family and their later shift to Front Nationale was interesting. Just as his book seemed to never mind national differences present US elections.

Meaning: There are of course a lot of specifically French matters, but his book makes a lot of sense in recent US events too.

Blrturner

I am a Black female. You don't know why names unmasked. You like all Trump supporters don't want to know the truth. It matters if he owes Russians. In eight years of watching Obama there is nothing to support he would do something illegal. His administration was scandal free except for those made up by Republicans.

I am sick of you white people whining period. You're not entitled to a job. Look at facts people of all colores in America lost with automation and globalization. JOBS... COAL are not coming back.

Again, white people wanted your country back. I personally hope he does keep his campaign promises: border wall.take the land (looking at you White Texans), equal pay.roll it back (looking at you White women), healthcare kill it (looking at you Kentucky 500,000 no more healthcare).

Anything he does to hurt Blacks and Hispanics hurt way more White People, but you all voted for him. Continue Trump to MAGA!!!

English Outsider

Colonel - my apologies. I commented that the SOHR and the White helmets still seem to be regarded as credible sources. I should have added that they still seem to be regarded as credible "by the BBC".

Working out what the BBC's up to at present in its reporting of the Syrian news presents difficulties.

A while ago I attended a lecture given by Frank Gardner, a BBC correspondent. I looked him up before the lecture. He seemed to know his stuff:- some military experience in the Territorials,

://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/52465/supplement/3469

if that's the same Gardner, speaks Arabic and has lived and travelled in various Arab countries, probably has good sources in Intelligence - or various links on the internet hinted as much - and was clearly well-informed, as was confirmed in the lecture. I listened to his assessment of the then Western policy in Iraq - he didn't like it and gave good reasons for his dislike. Not, therefore, just a suit.

They've got the staff, is the point I'm making. People who know their way around. Even assuming that the aim is to mislead, such people should be able to do a much more convincing job than the reporting demonstrated in the BBC link in my post above.

So that's several difficulties. (1) How come the BBC's now no more than a PR operation when reporting foreign news, (2) why is that PR operation such a shambles and (3) PR operation for whom?

MRW

What is RWDS?

binky354

I don't for one minute think Susan came up with this idea on her own. But, ho hum, like all the other investigations of scandals in the Obama Administration, this will go nowhere, just a big waste of money and our energy.

John_Frank

In other news:

As to the claimed chemical weapon's attack, in a series of tweets by Mark Knoller reporting from today's Press Gaggle at the White House:

WH condemns chemical attack in Syria as "reprehensible." @PressSec says "it cannot be ignored by the civilized world."
https://twitter.com/markknoller/status/849288484808470528

Spicer says "heinous actions" by the Assad regime a consequence of weakness and lack of resolution by the Obama Admin.
https://twitter.com/markknoller/status/849289191624253440

Spicer says the WH statement very clear in that the US holds the Assad regime responsible for the chemical attack.
https://twitter.com/markknoller/status/849289448487624704

"The US stands with its allies to condemn this intolerable act," says @PressSec of the Syrian chemical attack.
https://twitter.com/markknoller/status/849289674963247104

Will want to read the actual transcript to see whether the Press Secretary left the President any wiggle room.

Obviously have no idea as quality of intelligence that White House has, and hate to suggest it, but did someone set a trap for the President to lure him into changing course on Syria?

Would it have been better if Press Secretary had said we are deeply troubled about news coming out of Syria and call for an immediate investigation by the UN mandated inspections team and urge all parties to fully co-operate?

Meanwhile, interventionists like John McCain remain outraged that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had the absolute temerity to say it is up to the Syrians to decide whether Bashir al-Assad stays or goes.

The Twisted Genius

Tel,

Thanks for that. I know Comey complained of leaks hampering his CI investigation during his testimony. The links you provided refer to more generalized information that was leaked. I was referring to leaks of call transcripts from Trump associates, most notably Flynn. I haven't found that. And I definitely haven't seen any leaks attributed to Rice and her unmasked reports other than the hints Nunes has been giving out or Trump has been tweeting.

turcopolier

birturner

It does not matter at all if his businesses have loans from Russian banks or individuals. That is how you conduct business. You said at one point that you are an accountant? In large scale business you do not create new enterprises with your own money. Local banks in the area usually are eager to lend you money, both for capitalization and for operating money. That is quite normal. I don't understand why you hate the man so much. pl

Old Microbiologist

I hope not, I am married to one and still hold a TS clearance although on my last interview I was questioned about why I live in a communist country...Hungary, which is part of NATO and the EU. The was an SES who did the interview who obviously knew nothing about the world. No one was all that concerned about Russians, but that was 4 years ago, so maybe things have changed? Still, my TS info is all in my head anyway, so I don't see how they could revoke my clearance. It does raise questions though when we stop being under the yoke of surveillance. But, then again, we are subject to recall as military retirees indefinitely.

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