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27 May 2017

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Ghostship

Ah, Bellingcat - it strikes me that they decide on the conclusion and then "fix" the evidence to validate that conclusion - anything that invalidates that conclusion is ignored. In that respect, they're just like Blair's infamous "dodgy dossier".
It almost like a religious cult - what they are doing is so good that if they lie in the process then so what.

ked

Patrick, is there anything new under the intel sun? I think your argument's chronology begins far too recently.
There is an underlying trend, agnostic in nature, that's made a mess of fact-gathering and analysis on all fronts.
- facts are created as-desired based upon non-scientific criteria... belief (& desire & will) defines evidence.
- logic is a tool in service to the creation of proofs for pre-selected conclusions - which are emotional constructs driven by beliefs.
I note a state of civilization that's moved further from Enlightened Science towards Engineered Emotions.

Brunswick

Booman Tribune noted that the latest Intel "leaks" exposed the US ability to monitor Russian secure communications,

And points out that the Intel Community wouldn't "burn" that asset, unless they thought that Trump/Russia was the greater danger.

Rather than taking a "wait and see" attitude, a lot of people are staking out "extremist" positions and investing a lot in defence of Trump.

If it turns out that Trump is a "useful Idiot", and some members of Team Trump were much more than that, I don't think they are going to quietly pack their bags and move to Russia, they can't pretend Trump Who like they did with BushII,

Gonna be interesting to watch, no matter what happens.

LeaNder

There are indications from her e-mails that then US Secretary of State Clinton listened more to private advisors and newspaper editorials than intelligence sources.

Strictly, I met a rather large amount of dubious actors in the post 9/11 universe, via a web guide, I have to admit. They seemed quite eager to helping or making a business out OSINT.

But while I haven't read Clinton's emails, or related matters, I found a narrative--don't ask me by whom--pretty convincing or realistic. She met a couple of expats. Were? Was it Italy?

Bemused Deplorable

The alphabet agencies in the US have become totally politicized and worse than a bad joke, but this didn't begin under Obama: remember how Cheney had the intel cooked to "justify" his wars in the Middle East under Shrub. And it probably goes back to at least Bush Sr, who was head of the CIA at one point in his career.

I don't know how one would put the toothpaste back in the tube at this point. Cleaning out the Obama leakers would be a good start, but getting back to a time when intel analysts worked like Patrick described may be beyond doing now.

VietnamVet

PA

I was never anywhere near intelligence in my 42 years with the federal government. But, I agree totally with Colonel Lang that this is unprecedented.

I also agree that it is not being done by the career employees. In the federal science agencies, the worker-bees are pointing out that science facts are being wiped off the internet and are hoping to get a buy-out and retire.

Whoever is leaking to corporate media is high enough up to know what they are doing is illegal, have access to classified information, and feel the risk is worth the reward. They are actively seeking to remove Donald J. Trump as President. The only ones driven ideologically are Eastern European descendants with generational hatred of Russians; plus, upper management who are on the globalist corporate revolving door payroll who need to keep the profits from the new Cold War flowing and the USA as the sole hegemon.

This is a conflict between nationalists and globalists. If there was any collusion with the Trump Administration; I think the first thing that the Russian Ambassador would have told Jared Kushner that he is now in the battle of his life and his survival is at stake. In fact, I don’t think the Trump Administration has grasped yet the danger that they are in. When pointed out by The Powers That Be, they flip-flop their election promises 180 degrees, every-time.

mauisurfer

bradley for president
still can't believe dems chose gore/leiberman
today's trainwreck was easily avoidable

Ray McGovern says:
The relentless expansion of NATO greatly bothered former Sen. Bill Bradley, a longtime expert on Russia and a sober-minded policy analyst. On Jan. 23, 2008, in a talk before the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, he sounded an almost disconsolate note, describing NATO expansion a “terribly sad thing” … a “blunder of monumental proportions. …

“We had won the Cold War … and we kicked them [the Russians] when they were down; we expanded NATO. In the best of circumstances it was bureaucratic inertia in NATO – people had to have a job. In the worst of circumstances it was certain … irredentist East European types, who believe Russia will forever be the enemy and therefore we have to protect against the time when they might once again be aggressive, thereby creating a self-fulfilling prophesy.”

As tensions with Russia heightened late last decade, Sen. Bradley added, “Right now we are confronted with something that could have easily been avoided.”

Patrick Armstrong

Of course there has always been pressure from the top; there is no Golden Age of Purity. But I think the proportion changed in the Obama Admin to something very high indeed. As to Saddam and his WMD, well he did have and use Mustard and nerve agents, he did have a nuke and bio program. The question was did he still; a question that I think reasonable people could disagree about. The fact that one (reasonable) answer was made more certain than it should have is not, IMO, quite the same as entirely making it up.

Patrick Armstrong

If this is what you're t6alking about, I would give it zero credibility. http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2017/5/27/10331/3082

The fact, if it is a fact - iff it is a fact: it is the WaPo after all -- that JK phoned the Russian Ambo and somebody overheard him says nothing at all about the RF Emb's secure comms with Moscow Centre.

ToivoS

There is no way that I have any inside views on this problem Patrick describes. But from a formal analysis of career advancement inside a bureaucracy wouldn't this kind of development encourage young analysts to gather their information from the net after determining the political views of their superiors? They could then report back any false flags that the clandestine services planted. What could go wrong with that?

Simplicius

Mr Armstrong,

Sadly this will not be news to any Brits. We had the whole 'dodgy dossier' episode in the lead up to the Iraq war which 'sexed up' intelligence to suit the agenda of Blair & his cabal. The Chilcot report acknowledged that known uncertainties had been 'spun' and that untrustworthy source intelligence had been presented as factual beyond doubt. The rot is so deep that ex-MI6 staff now apparently produce the pre-sexed up stuff to order. They call it 'Business Intelligence' I believe.

Patrick Armstrong

Some years back I was interviewing candidates for my outfit (not Int, per se, but analysis). One of the questions was "you do a report and your boss disagrees, now what do you do?" Correct answer (to an old fart like me) was you talk, you argue, you defend but you don't cave unless he gives a strong argument. One candidate's answer was to brightly say "you change it to fit".
Ahhhh. Modern education where th only thing you learn is The Correct Answer.
In short, I'm sure you're right. One of the things I took out of the final was "written by 25-year-olds in the basement".
I can just see it.

Account Deleted

PA

In the previous post pl says WaPo article implies (decrypted) intercepts of Kislyak's comms to Moscow were the source, not an intercept of JK's conversation with him - hence the apparent bombshell. Perhaps you could share your views on that post.

FB Ali

Patrick,

Thank you for this (and your many other similar contributions on your website).

I am sure that, for many of us, voices of sanity such as yours (and Col Lang's), are all that keep us still frequenting the public commons.

Walker

Thank you for the beautiful explication of intelligence analysis. It's a reminder of why this site is so worth visiting.

On the other hand, this take on the intelligence assessment of Saddam's WMD seems too kind. Even before the invasion, practically every piece of evidence made public (aluminum tubes, "yellow cake" from Niger, Powell's UN speech, etc) had been discredited. It was a dodgy dossier in the US as well.

different clue

Brunswick,

Booman has long been famous as a Clinton supporter. I would regard his explanation as a retro-excuse to cover up his real belief that burning America's ability to monitor Russian secure communications was worth doing in order to restore Clinton to the throne which is rightfully hers.

But he can't say it that way. Maybe not even to himself.

different clue

Simplicius,

I remember on a past thread David Habakkuk writing a very long comment explaining in part how the Chilcot report was itself a qualified limited hangout in the Nixonian sense. I don't remember when it was. The only way I could think of to find it would be to read all of David Habakkuk's comments from 1-3 years ago . . . beginning with the visibly longest one and then the next-longest one and then the next-longest one after that . . . and so on till the relevant comment is found.

Brunswick

If there is a there there, some of it will in a year or two, play out in court, some of it in the House and Senate.

and there is probably a there, there,

These are not leaks to try to get intel out into the public and past the White House Office of Special Plans,

These are not Team B leaks to make the "other party" look weak in Defence and boost US Missile Plans,

Bart

Mr Armstrong,

Check out this video from a popular Turkish series. Watch from the 1 hour mark, do you notice anything. And you can check the date when it was made.

mauisurfer

I once worked for a very wise man, his rule was:
I will listen to all you have to say, I will argue with you whenever I disagree so you will know exactly my views. But once I decide, it will NEVER go beyond the two of us.
He also said that he never discussed his work with anyone not even his wife, because he wanted to be able to truthfully say that any leak could not have come from him.
I thought that very reasonable.

optimax

What did you see?

Bandit


Judge to Kerry, "where is the incontrovertible evidence that Russia took down MH17?"

Kerry to judge, "it is a state secret, that, if revealed, would jeopardize the very foundations of our government. Take my word for it."

Judge to Kerry, "Ok, no problem."

LeaNder

I think your argument's chronology begins far too recently.

Me too, ked. Maybe since I sense this underlying idea, all will be good as long as Trump is given a chance to mend relation with Russia. Everything else will neatly fall fall into line. I am a big fan of the German General a.D. Harald Kujat, by the way, whom he links to. Not only concerning Russia but on Syria too. Not sure, if had been hadn't I read Pat's blogs for such a long time.

OK, so troubles started with Obama. Fair enough. But how again did the elusive Abu Musab al-Zarqawi get into Colin Powell's infamous speech at the UN? Not that he drew as much attention at the time, or definitively less then Curveball, the Niger yellow cake, the GB student's paper or more generally the mushroom clouds. But he surely helped to establish the link between 9/11 and Iraq. Iraq as the world's top sponsor of terrorism. Do we shift to Iran being the same now?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Musab_al-Zarqawi#2001_.E2.80.93_resistance_to_U.S._invasion_of_Afghanistan

Bart

From the 1:01:46 mark it is the Jihadi John video down to every fine detail that was filmed before he appeared on the scene but was not yet aired. They also made a mistake with the Japanese hostage showing two different light sources.

leveymg

So far, we have seen nothing that's patently illegal except the leaks.

Never before have so many security clearances been violated for so little. “Russia-gate” is nine parts attempted Washington political coup, with only a fraction of one part the quantity and quality of evidence that would normally be required to successfully prosecute a real foreign espionage operation.

It’s almost as if there are no rules in this game, and nobody really cares anymore.

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