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Which Of These Poses The Greater Threat To The Country? | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on September 27, 2020

What we witnessed was not just an attempted coup, it was a window into the inner-workings of a secret government operating independently from within the state. And the sedition was not confined to a few posts at the senior levels of the FBI, CIA, NSA, or DOJ. No. The corruption has saturated the entire structure, seeping down to the lower levels where career bureaucrats eagerly perform tasks that are designed to damage or incriminate elected officials. How did it ever get this bad?

And who is calling the shots? We still don’t know.

https://www.zerohedge.com/political/which-these-poses-greater-threat-country

 

Authored by Mike Whitney,

“The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.”

– Joseph Conrad

Here’s your political puzzler for the day: Which of these two things poses a greater threat to the country:

  1. An incompetent and boastful president who has no previous government experience and who is rash and impulsive in his dealings with the media, foreign leaders and his critics?

  2. Or a political party that collaborates with senior-level officials in the Intel agencies, the FBI, the DOJ, the media, and former members of the White House to spy on the new administration with the intention of gathering damaging information that can be used to overthrow the elected government?

 

The answer is “2”, the greater threat to the country is a political party that engages in subversive activity aimed at toppling the government and seizing power. In fact, that’s the greatest danger that any country can face, an enemy from within. Foreign adversaries can be countered by diplomatic engagement and shoring up the nation’s military defenses, but traitors–who conduct their activities below the radar using a secret network of contacts and connections to inflict maximum damage on the government– are nearly unstoppable.

What the Russiagate investigation shows, is that high-ranking members of the Democrat party participated in the type of activities that are described above, they were part of an illicit coup d’etat aimed at removing Donald Trump from office and rolling back the results of the 2016 elections. It is a vast understatement to say that the operation was merely an attack on Donald Trump when, in fact, it was an attack on the system itself, a full-blown assault on the right of ordinary people to choose their own leaders. That’s what Russiagate is really all about; it was an attempt to torpedo democracy by invoking the flimsy and unverifiable claim that Trump was an agent of the Kremlin.

None of this, of course, has been discussed in a public forum because those platforms are all privately-owned media that are linked to the people who executed the junta. But for those who followed events closely, and who know what actually happened, there has never been a more serious crime in American history. What we discovered was that the permanent bureaucracy, the media and the Democrat party are riddled with strategically-placed quislings and collaborators that are willing to sabotage their own government if they are so directed. The question that immediately comes to mind is this: Who concocted this plot, who authorized the electronic eavesdropping, the confidential informants, the widespread spying, the improperly obtained warrants, the fake news, and the endless leaks to the media? Who?

What we witnessed was not just an attempted coup, it was a window into the inner-workings of a secret government operating independently from within the state. And the sedition was not confined to a few posts at the senior levels of the FBI, CIA, NSA, or DOJ. No. The corruption has saturated the entire structure, seeping down to the lower levels where career bureaucrats eagerly perform tasks that are designed to damage or incriminate elected officials. How did it ever get this bad?

And who is calling the shots? We still don’t know.

Let me pose a theory: The operation might have been concocted by former CIA-Director John Brennan, but Brennan surely is not the prime instigator, nor is Clapper, Comey or even Obama. The real person or persons who initiated the coup will likely never be known. These are the Big Money guys who operate in the shadows and who have a stranglehold on the Intelligence agencies. These are the gilded Mandarins who have their tentacles wrapped firmly around the entire state-power apparatus and who dictate policy from their leather-bound chairs at their high-end men’s clubs. These are the people who decided that Donald Trump “had to go” whatever the cost. They pulled out all the stops, engaged their assets across the bureaucracy, and launched a desperate 3 and half year-long regime change operation that blew up in their faces leaving behind a trail carnage from Washington, DC to Sydney, Australia. In contrast, Trump somehow slipped the noose and escaped largely unscathed. He was pummeled mercilessly in the media, disparaged by his political rivals, and raked over the coals by the chattering classes, but — at the end of the day– it was Trump who was left standing.. Trump– who took on the entire political establishment, the Intel agencies, the FBI, the mainstream media, and the Democratic party– had beaten them all at their own game. Go figure??

 

Keep in mind, the Democrats have known that the Mueller probe was a fraud from as early as 2017 when the President of Crowdstrike, Shawn Henry, (who provided cyber security for the DNC) admitted to Congress that there was no forensic evidence that the DNC emails had been hacked by Russia or anyone else.

Think about that for a minute: The entire Mueller investigation was based on the assumption that Russia hacked into the DNC servers and stole the emails. We now know that never happened. The cyber-security team that conducted the investigation of the DNC computers admitted in sworn testimony before Congress that there was no evidence of “exfiltration” or pilfering of any kind. Repeat: There was no proof of hacking, no proof of Russian involvement, and no proof of foul play. The entire foundation upon which the Russia investigation was built, turned out to be false. More importantly, Democrat members of the Intelligence Committee knew it was false from the get-go, but opted to let the charade continue anyway. Why?

Because the truth didn’t matter, what mattered was getting rid of Trump by any means necessary. That’s why they used “opposition research” (Note– “Oppo” research is the hyperbolic nonsense political parties use to smear a political opponent.) to illegally obtain warrants to spy on members of the Trump team. It’s because the Democrat leadership will do anything to regain power.

By the way, we also have evidence that the warrants that were used to spy on Trump were obtained illegally. The FISA court was deliberately misled so the FBI could carry out its vendetta on Trump. Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith “did willfully and knowingly make and use a false writing and document, knowing the same to contain a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and entry in a matter before the jurisdiction of the executive branch and judicial branch of the Government of the United States.” Bottom line: Clinesmith deliberately altered emails so that FISA applications could be renewed and the spying on the Trump campaign could continue.

So, let’s summarize:

  1. The Democrats knew there was no proof the emails were stolen; thus, they knew the Russia probe was a hoax.

  2. The Democrats knew that their fraudulent “opposition research” was being used to illegally obtain warrants to spy on the Trump camp. This makes them accessory to a crime.

  3. Finally, the Democrats continue to spread (virtually) the same Russia-Trump collusion allegations today that they did before the Mueller investigation released its report. The lies and disinformation have persisted as if the “nation’s most expensive and exhaustive investigation” had never taken place. What does this tell us about the Democrats?

On a superficial level, it tells us that they can’t be trusted because they don’t tell the truth. But on a deeper level, it expresses the party’s Ruling Doctrine, which is to control the public by means of deceit, disinformation, propaganda and lies. Only the powerful and well-connected are entitled to know the truth, everyone else must be subjected to fabrications that are crafted in a way that best coincides with the overall objectives of ruling elites. That’s why the Democrats stick with the shopworn mantra that Trump is in bed with Russia. It doesn’t matter that the theory has been thoroughly discredited and disproved. It doesn’t even matter that the theory was never the slightest bit believable to begin with. What matters is that party leaders are preventing ordinary people from knowing the truth, which is an essential part of their governing doctrine. It’s surprising that this doesn’t piss-off more Democrats, after all, it’s the ultimate expression of contempt and condescension. When someone lies to your face relentlessly, repeatedly and shamelessly, they are expressing their loathing for you. Can’t they see that?

But maybe you think this is overstating the case? Maybe you think the Dems are just trying to “cover their backside” on a matter that is purely political?

Okay, but answer this: Were the Democrats involved in a plot to overthrow the President of the United States?

Yes, they were.

Is that treason?

Yes, it is.

Then, are we really prepared to say that treason is “purely political”?

No, especially since Russiagate was not a one-off, but just the first shocking example of how the Democrats operate. If we examine the Dems approach to the Covid-19 crisis, we see that their policy is actually more destructive than the 4-year Russia fiasco.

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‘The Day Has Arrived’ Snowden Hails Appeals Court Ruling Slamming NSA Metadata Harvesting as Illegal – Sputnik International

Posted by M. C. on September 4, 2020

I wouldn’t be in a big hurry to take the tape off your cell and computer cameras.

https://sputniknews.com/us/202009031080353545-the-day-has-arrived-snowden-hails-appeals-court-ruling-slamming-nsa-metadata-harvesting-as-illegal/

by

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on 2 September lauded the ruling by the US Court of Appeals that the mass surveillance programme conducted by the National Security Agency, including bulk collection of phone records, was illegal. The ACLU called described it as a “victory for our privacy rights”.

Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee turned whistleblower Edward Snowden responded on Wednesday to a ruling by the US Court of Appeals that the US National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programme, including the bulk collection of citizens’ phone records, was illegal.

​The programme, believed to have been discontinued in 2015 when Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, had extended beyond the scope of what Congress allowed under a foundational surveillance law, ruled a panel of judges, acknowledging that it was possibly a violation of the US Constitution.

The former NSA contractor tweeted that he had been “charged as a criminal for speaking the truth”.

Snowden was referring to the trove of classified intelligence data detailing the sweeping American domestic surveillance programme that he had leaked in 2013 and for which he is wanted in the US on charges of espionage and treason.

Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International USA's Security & Human Rights Program, holds up a photo of Edward Snowden during a news conference to call upon President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden before he leaves office, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, in New York. Human and civil rights organizations, including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, launched a public campaign to persuade Obama to pardon the former National Security Agency contractor, who leaked classified details in 2013 of the U.S. government's warrantless surveillance program before fleeing to Russia.
© AP Photo / Mary Altaffer
Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International USA’s Security & Human Rights Program, holds up a photo of Edward Snowden during a news conference to call upon President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden before he leaves office, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, in New York. Human and civil rights organizations, including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, launched a public campaign to persuade Obama to pardon the former National Security Agency contractor, who leaked classified details in 2013 of the U.S. government’s warrantless surveillance program before fleeing to Russia.

Snowden tweeted that he was now being “credited” for his actions to “expose the illegal spying practices” conducted by US intelligence agencies.

NSA Phone-spying Unlawful

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had made its ruling, written by Judge Marsha Berzon, on Wednesday, to acknowledge that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act didn’t permit the bulk collection of phone users’ call records.

“The metadata collection exceeded the scope of Congress’s authorisation,” the judge is cited by Business Insider as saying.

The court also upheld convictions of four members of the Somali diaspora. for sending, or conspiring to send, $10,900 to Somalia to support a foreign terrorist organisation, concluding that the NSA’s phone record collection was not relevant to their convictions.

The federal appeals court additionally concluded there was no evidence the sweeping surveillance programme resulted in the arrests of any suspected terrorists.

After the NSA’s programme to harvest phone records was first leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 and triggered public outrage, US intelligence officials publicly defended it by insisting it had helped thwart terror attacks.

“To the extent the public statements of government officials created a contrary impression, that impression is inconsistent with the contents of the classified record,” says the ruling.

There has been no official comment from the NSA.

After the US Court of Appeals made its ruling, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) tweeted that the move was a “victory for privacy rights”.

Mass Snooping Exposed

In June 2013, Edward Snowden leaked classified material to The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers pertaining to a domestic mass surveillance programme that collected telephone, email and internet browsing data, despite this being prohibited by US law without a court order.

After the revelations and subsequent public outrage, the US Congress passed the Freedom Act in 2015 to significantly restrain the legality of mass data collection.

Since June 2013, Edward Snowden has been wanted in the United States on two counts of violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property.

Having initially fled to Hong Kong, the threat of extradition to his home country forced him to seek refuge in Russia. In 2014 the whistleblower was granted a three-year residence permit which was prolonged in 2017.

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‘Trump Must Back Iraq Withdrawal Promise With Action’ – Ron Paul’s 31 August Column

Posted by M. C. on September 1, 2020

Unfortunately there is a pattern in this Administration where President Trump announces the withdrawal of troops from one of the seemingly endless conflicts we are involved in and an Administration official – often Pompeo – “clarifies” the president’s statement to mean the opposite of what the president has just said.

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/fauciout-114989?e=4e0de347c8

Aug 31 – Earlier this month, while meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister, President Trump reaffirmed his intent to remove all US troops from Iraq. “We were there and now we’re getting out. We’ll be leaving shortly,” the president told reporters at the time.

Although President Obama should never have sent US troops back into Iraq in 2016, it is definitely well past time to remove them as quickly as possible.

Over the weekend, the Administration announced it would be drawing down troops currently in Iraq from 5,200 to 3,500. That’s a good start.

One big roadblock to finally leaving Iraq alone is President Trump’s de facto Secretary of War, Mike Pompeo. Although he’s supposed to be the top US diplomat, Pompeo is a bull in a china shop. He seems determined to start a war with Iran, China, Russia, Venezuela, and probably a few more countries.

Unfortunately there is a pattern in this Administration where President Trump announces the withdrawal of troops from one of the seemingly endless conflicts we are involved in and an Administration official – often Pompeo – “clarifies” the president’s statement to mean the opposite of what the president has just said.

When the president was questioned over the weekend about a timetable for the US withdrawal from Iraq, he turned to Pompeo for an answer. Pompeo’s response did not inspire much hope. “As soon as we can complete the mission,” said Pompeo. What is the mission? Does anyone know? Aside from “regime change” for Iran, that is.

At his speech accepting the Republican Party’s nomination for re-election last week, Trump declared, “unlike previous administrations, I have kept America OUT of new wars — and our troops are coming home.” That sounds good, but how can he achieve that goal if the people he hires to carry out that policy not only disagree with him but seem to be working against him?

The US invasion of Iraq 17 years ago was correctly described at the time by the late NSA Director Bill Odom as “the greatest strategic disaster in American history.” After a relentless barrage of lies about former US ally Saddam Hussein having “weapons of mass destruction,” the US attack and destruction of Iraq did not bring the peace and prosperity promised by the neocon war promoters.

Instead, the US “liberation” of Iraq killed a million Iraqis, most of whom were civilians. It destroyed Iraq’s relatively prosperous economy. It did not result in a more peaceful or stable Middle East. The US had no idea how to remake Iraqi society and in picking and choosing who could participate in post-invasion Iraq the US helped facilitate the rise of al-Qaeda and ISIS. A secular Iraq had been turned into a sectarian incubator for terrorists and extremists. And the biggest winner in the war was Iran, who the US has demonized as an enemy for over four decades.

Yes, General Odom was right. It was a strategic disaster. Turning the US into a global military empire is also a strategic disaster. Trump’s promise to bring troops home from overseas wars sounds very good. But it’s time to see some real action. That might mean some people who disagree with the president need to be fired.

Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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Deep State Smashes Journalist for Truth-Telling – PaulCraigRoberts.org

Posted by M. C. on August 19, 2020

The journalist who produced the video and her husband have been arrested on false charges. Unlike Julian Assange they released no classified information.  Both whistleblowers are clearly identified.  The Deep State is simply shutting down any information about it.  Whatever the United States is, it most certainly is not a democracy with an accountable government.

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2020/08/18/deep-state-smashes-journalist-for-truth-telling/

Paul Craig Roberts

The link I posted to the ShadowGate Documentary—https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2020/08/15/shadow-gate-documentary-released/ —was taken down by Youtube.  The documentary is embedded in this article—https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/08/infowars-reporter-millie-weaver-arrested-weekend-shortly-releasing-shadowgate-new-documentary-social-media-psychological-warfare-used-american-public/ .

I recommend that you watch it and save it.

There is a full press attempt underway to keep the documentary from the public.  Youtube lied that the documentary violated their policy on hate speech.  There is no hate in the documentary.  The film violated social media’s policy of withholding truth from the people.

The documentary presents two whistleblowers who were involved in the collection and use of illicitly obtained information.  This type of information was used in the attempt to derail Trump’s presidency.

The documentary shows that the Deep State includes private security firms who have access to the information that NSA collects allegedly for national security purposes, but really in order to control our perceptions and behavior.  When chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and high ranking members of the national security apparatus leave their position they become heads of private security firms to which NSA data is diverted.  The documentary will give you an idea of the size and depth of the Deep State.  You can see the details of The Matrix into which they have put us.

The journalist who produced the video and her husband have been arrested on false charges. Unlike Julian Assange they released no classified information.  Both whistleblowers are clearly identified.  The Deep State is simply shutting down any information about it.  Whatever the United States is, it most certainly is not a democracy with an accountable government.

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Huawei, Tik-Tok and WeChat, by Larry Romanoff – The Unz Review

Posted by M. C. on August 11, 2020

That part is okay, but how can the CIA and NSA approach Huawei and ask the company to build back doors into its equipment so the US can spy on China – among all other countries?

https://www.unz.com/lromanoff/huawei-tik-tok-and-wechat/

First, let’s dispel the combined notion that China spies on everyone and the US spies on no one. There is so much public evidence to destroy both these assertions that I won’t bother repeating them here. I will however remind readers that a few years ago China more or less banned Windows 8 from the country because it was discovered that the O/S had a built-in NSA back door.[1] It seems that Germany reported on this first, but the devastating proof was at an IT conference where a Microsoft executive was interrupted during a speech with precisely this accusation.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] He did not deny it because the person making the accusation was the person who discovered it and had with him the proof, but refused to discuss it and changed the subject.

But this is hardly news. Forty years ago it was proven that all Xerox copy machines delivered to foreign embassies and consulates in the US were “espionage-ready”.[10][11] Also, for at least 20 years, and perhaps much more, it was common knowledge that when any foreign embassies, consulates, banks and other corporations ordered computers and similar hardware from US suppliers, those shipments were intercepted by UPS, delivered to the CIA and/or NSA for installation of “extra” hardware and software before delivery to their destinations. This was one of the confirmations by Edward Snowden.[12][13][14][15] Any search on this will give you millions of hits unless Google chooses that moment to lose its memory.

Huawei

Trump’s problems with Huawei are twofold. The most obvious is that China is eating America’s lunch when it comes to innovation and invention and Trump would like to slow this down by destroying Huawei and is clearly making every possible effort in this regard, including bullying and threatening half the known world against using Huawei’s products. But this is the small part of the problem; the real issue is espionage. There is no practical value in disputing the assertion that Cisco and other American hardware and software firms install back doors to all their equipment for the convenience of CIA and NSA access. But suddenly Huawei is replacing Cisco and those other American firms with its better and less expensive equipment.

That part is okay, but how can the CIA and NSA approach Huawei and ask the company to build back doors into its equipment so the US can spy on China – among all other countries? There is no solution to this problem other than to trash Huawei’s reputation by accusing it of being an espionage threat and having the company’s equipment banned. And this applies not only to the US, but to the entire Five Eyes Espionage Network, involving the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.[16] Briefly, this was set up to break laws while pretending no laws were being broken. It is generally against the law for a government to spy on its own citizens, but that law doesn’t apply to a foreign government. So Canada spies on Australian citizens and sends the information to the Australian spooks who can claim they did nothing wrong. Rinse and repeat. The sad part is that the “intelligence” received is usually of little interest to the four minor participants but all of it is shared with the US who are frothing to spy on the entire world and to take possession of “every communication” of every kind in the entire world. Thus, it isn’t sufficient to ban Huawei only from the US because this company’s equipment would castrate the NSA’s effort in the other four nations. Thus, US bullying to ensure each of its five eyes is Huawei-free. And that’s the entire story, like it or not.

Tik-Tok

Tik-Tok is nothing of consequence, except that it is in direct competition with similar American platforms and has proven too popular and too competitive to be permitted to survive. This is just a cheap, below-the-belt and illegal-as-hell shot at China. No threat, no nothing. However, as with all similar IT products and platforms it contains much personal information especially useful for marketing, which has so far been the private property of people like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Thus, Trump kills two birds with one stone: either simply kill Tik-Tok on some trumped-up accusation (if you’ll excuse the expression) of espionage, or force a sale to an American company. Either way, China loses massively while the political oppression and marketing value of that personal information remains safely in trusted American hands.

WeChat

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Spying on Journalists – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2020

For starters, it is far easier to spy unlawfully than it is to obtain a search warrant. As well, the feds have established a vast network of domestic spies — the 60,000-person strong National Security Agency. It captures all electronic data, voice and text, communicated within the United States — without warrants and with few complaints.

All this directly assaults the right to privacy, but the feds do it anyway. The spying is so normal that a deputy DHS secretary ordered it in Portland without seeking approval up his chain of command.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/08/andrew-p-napolitano/spying-on-journalists/

By

Last week, this column argued that the only constitutional role for armed federal forces in Portland, Oregon, was to assist U.S. marshals in protecting federal property and personnel there — in this case, the federal courthouse and those who come to it. The column also argued that under the U.S. Constitution, the feds have no lawful role in policing streets unless requested to do so by the governor or legislature of any state.

In Portland’s case, the governor of Oregon and the mayor of Portland both asked acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf to bring his forces home. He agreed to do so when Oregon’s governor offered to beef up security at the federal courthouse.

Yet, the federal forces were doing more than just protecting federal property. They were agitating the peaceful demonstrators in Portland’s streets by firing an internationally banned variant of tear gas repeatedly and indiscriminately into crowds for hours at a time every night. The feds were also spying on journalists who were in the crowds of protestors reporting on what they observed.

Here is the backstory.

The Supreme Court has held, for many generations, that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects the “right to be let alone.” Today, we call this privacy.

Those who wrote the Constitution were acutely aware of the proclivities of government to monitor the communications and behavior of folks it hates and fears. King George III sent British troops and government agents into the homes of colonists under various pretexts, the most notorious of which was to examine letters, papers and pamphlets to ascertain if the king’s tax on them had been paid.

This Stamp Act tax cost more to enforce than it generated in revenue. Was the king dumb or dumb like a fox? Probably the latter; the true purpose of the tax was not to raise money but to remind the colonists that the king could cross the thresholds of their homes — a right he did not have in Great Britain — through the use of his soldiers and agents. And, while inside the home, his agents could discover who was agitating for secession.

With memories of these royal abuses fresh in their minds, the members of the first Congress — led by James Madison — approved and passed the Fourth Amendment. The states ratified it as part of the Bill of Rights. Madison also drafted the Ninth Amendment, which reflects the existence in all people of natural human rights — knowable by the exercise of reason and insulated from government intrusion. Among those rights is privacy.

May the government lawfully invade the right to privacy? Under the Fourth Amendment, it may do so only pursuant to search warrants issued by a judge, and the judge may only issue a search warrant after taking testimony under oath demonstrating that it is more likely than not that the place to be searched will yield evidence of criminal behavior. Plus, the warrant must specify the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.

The language and requirements in the Fourth Amendment are the most specific in the Constitution. Madison insisted upon this so it would be both an obstacle to the new American government doing to its citizens what the king and his agents had done to the colonists, and an inducement to the government to focus law enforcement on probable causes of crime rather than spying on political enemies.

Now, back to the feds in Portland.

We know from their admissions that the feds compiled dossiers on numerous journalists covering their activities in Portland. We also know that some data in those dossiers came from public sources and some did not. The governmental acquisition of data from nonpublic, nongovernment sources without search warrants constitutes spying.

The government spies routinely on Americans today — so much so that the revelation of it ceases to shock.

Why would the feds do this?

For starters, it is far easier to spy unlawfully than it is to obtain a search warrant. As well, the feds have established a vast network of domestic spies — the 60,000-person strong National Security Agency. It captures all electronic data, voice and text, communicated within the United States — without warrants and with few complaints.

All this directly assaults the right to privacy, but the feds do it anyway. The spying is so normal that a deputy DHS secretary ordered it in Portland without seeking approval up his chain of command.

The government also spies to intimidate — and this brings us back to Portland. When the government discovers personal information that it has no right to acquire without a warrant — information devoid of criminal evidence, information that the Fourth Amendment bars the government from obtaining without a warrant — and then tells you it has this information, it chills your freedom.

Chilling can make you pause before exposing or criticizing the government. The Supreme Court has characterized this as a violation of both the Fourth Amendment and the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.

To Wolf’s credit, he either fired or transferred (it is unclear which) the deputy secretary who ordered DHS agents to spy on journalists in Portland. Yet, when ordered, they readily complied with the order. That’s how commonplace federal spying has become — and how easy.

The folks who did this should all lose their jobs. Why? Because it is unlawful to obey an unlawful order.

Or have our constitutional rights been so emasculated that the government doesn’t know the difference?

Andrew P. Napolitano [send him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written nine books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty. To find out more about Judge Napolitano and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit creators.com.

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The Evil, Immoral, Vicious, and Hypocritical Embargo Against Cuba – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on July 24, 2020

A dark irony, of course, is that the embargo has enabled the U.S. government to wield and exercise the same type of economic control over the American people that the Cuban socialist regime exercises over the Cuban people. It’s called adopting socialism to oppose socialism.

https://www.fff.org/2020/07/20/the-evil-immoral-vicious-and-hypocritical-embargo-against-cuba/?utm_source=FFF%2BDaily&utm_campaign=ddd8480a92-FFF%2BDaily%2B07-20-2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1139d80dff-ddd8480a92-317323329

by

The banality of evil that characterizes the U.S. national security state is demonstrated perfectly by the continuation of its deadly economic embargo against Cuba, which has been ongoing for some 60 years.

What’s the point of the embargo? After all, the Pentagon’s, CIA’s, and NSA’s official enemy Fidel Castro died years ago. Why continue to intentionally inflict harm on the Cuban people?

And make no mistake about it: Inflicting harm on the Cuban people is the purpose of the embargo. Its aim is to impoverish or starve Cubans into ousting their post-Castro regime and installing another pro-U.S. right-wing brutal dictatorship similar to the one that Castro ousted from power in the Cuban revolution.

In fact, the first embargo that the U.S. implemented against Cuba was during the reign of the crooked, corrupt, and brutal pro-U.S. right-wing dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. That was an arms embargo. U.S. officials didn’t want weaponry imported into Cuba because that might enable the Cuban people to oppose Batista in a violent revolution.

During his reign, Batista partnered with the Mafia, the premier criminal organization that was smuggling drugs into the United States. As part of their partnership agreement, Batista let the Mafia operate gambling casinos in Cuba. As part of that cozy relationship, Batista would have his henchmen kidnap underaged girls in Cuba and turn them over to the Mafia, which would then provide them as perks to the high-rollers in its casinos. That’s one of the things that brought on the Cuban Revolution.

That’s the guy that the U.S. national-security state was hell-bent on keeping in power. Thus, it should surprise no one that the CIA, like Batista, later entered into partnership with the Mafia, knowing full well that the Mafia was engaged in massive criminal activity. The purpose of the CIA-Mafia partnership was assassination. They were working together to assassinate Castro.

It stands to reason that the Mafia would try to assassinate Castro. It has lost all its casinos to Castro’s nationalization. And it was in the business of killing people.

But the U.S. government? In the business of murder? And in partnership with the biggest criminal organization in the world?

Don’t forget something important here: Castro, Cuba, and the Cuban people have never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. No invasion. No terrorist attacks. No assassinations.

In fact, it has always been the other way around. In the more than six decades of bad relations between Cuba and the U.S., it has always been the U.S. government that has been the aggressor. An invasion, terrorist attacks, assassination attempts, and the embargo, all on the part of the U.S. government.

U.S. national-security state officials always justified such actions under the notion that Cuba was the spearhead of a worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the United States, one that was supposedly based in Moscow. It was always a ridiculous notion but that was the mindset of CIA, NSA, and Pentagon officials during the Cold War — that Cuba’s communist regime posed a grave threat to U.S. “national security.”

But the Cold War ended more than 30 years ago. Do the CIA, NSA, and Pentagon still think that the United States is in danger of falling to the Cuban communists?

Of course not. Now, it’s just sheer viciousness. Now, it’s just a matter of doing everything possible to oust the current regime in Cuba from power and restoring a Batista-like dictatorship, one that will be loyal and deferential to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.

The viciousness is demonstrated by the fact that the embargo doesn’t just criminalize Americans who do business with Cuba. It also targets foreign companies who do so. If they are caught doing so, they are targeted for prosecution or economic banishment here in the United States. In the minds of U.S. officials, it’s more imperative than ever to squeeze as many Cubans as possible into death and suffering.

Needless to say, the embargo has made things significantly worse for the Cuban people during the COVID-19 crisis. That’s fine with U.S. officials. The more Cubans who die, the greater the chance of an internal regime-change operation.

Sure, there is no doubt that Cuba’s socialist economic system is a major factor in the economic suffering of the Cuban people. But there is also no doubt that the U.S. embargo has served as the other side of a vise that has squeezed the economic lifeblood out of the Cuban people.

A dark irony, of course, is that the embargo has enabled the U.S. government to wield and exercise the same type of economic control over the American people that the Cuban socialist regime exercises over the Cuban people. It’s called adopting socialism to oppose socialism.

When will the evil, immoral, vicious, and hypocritical U.S. embargo against Cuba be lifted? When a critical mass of the American people, including those who go to church every Sunday, have a crisis of conscience and demand that it be lifted.


This post was written by:

 

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.

Be seeing you

 

 

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How the Pentagon failed to sell Afghan government’s bunk ‘Bountygate’ story to US intelligence agencies  | The Grayzone

Posted by M. C. on July 11, 2020

The Times reported first on June 28, then again on June 30, that a large amount of cash found at a “Taliban outpost” or a “Taliban site” had led U.S. intelligence to suspect the Russian plot.  But the Times had to walk that claim back, revealing on July 1 that the raid that turned up $500,000 in cash had in fact targeted the Kabul home of Rahmatullah Azizi, an Afghan businessmen said to have been involved in both drug trafficking and contracting for part of the billions of dollars the United States spent on construction projects.

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/07/07/pentagon-afghan-bountygate-us-intelligence-agencies/

Another New York Times Russiagate bombshell turns out to be a dud, as dodgy stories spun out by Afghan intelligence and exploited by the Pentagon ultimately failed to convince US intelligence agencies.

By Gareth Porter

The New York Times dropped another Russiagate bombshell on June 26 with a sensational front-page story headlined, “Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says.”  A predictable media and political frenzy followed, reviving the anti-Russian hysteria that has excited the Beltway establishment for the past four years.

But a closer look at the reporting by the Times and other mainstream outlets vying to confirm its coverage reveals another scandal not unlike Russiagate itself: the core elements of the story appear to have been fabricated by Afghan government intelligence to derail a potential US troop withdrawal from the country. And they were leaked to the Times and other outlets by US national security state officials who shared an agenda with their Afghan allies.

In the days following the story’s publication, the maneuvers of the Afghan regime and US national security bureaucracy encountered an unexpected political obstacle: US intelligence agencies began offering a series of low confidence assessments in the Afghan government’s self-interested intelligence claims, judging them to be highly suspect at best, and altogether bogus at worst.

In light of this dramatic development, the Times’ initial report appears to have been the product of a sensationalistic disinformation dump aimed at prolonging the failed Afghan war in the face of President Donald Trump’s plans to withdraw US troops from it.

The Times quietly reveals its own sources’ falsehoods

The Times not only broke the Bountygate story but commissioned squads of reporters comprising nine different correspondents to write eight articles hyping the supposed scandal in the course of eight days. Its coverage displayed the paper’s usual habit of regurgitating bits of dubious information furnished to its correspondents by faceless national security sources. In the days after the Times’ dramatic publication, its correspondent squads were forced to revise the story line to correct an account that ultimately turned out to be false on practically every important point.

The Bountygate saga began on June 26, with a Times report declaring, “The United States concluded months ago” that the Russians “had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year.” The report suggested that US intelligence analysts had reached a firm conclusion on Russian bounties as early as January. A follow-up Times report portrayed the shocking discovery of the lurid Russian plot thanks to the recovery of a large amount of U.S. cash from a “raid on a Taliban outpost.” That article sourced its claim to the interrogations of “captured Afghan militants and criminals.”

However, subsequent reporting revealed that the “US intelligence reports” about a Russian plot to distribute bounties through Afghan middlemen were not generated by US intelligence at all.

The Times reported first on June 28, then again on June 30, that a large amount of cash found at a “Taliban outpost” or a “Taliban site” had led U.S. intelligence to suspect the Russian plot.  But the Times had to walk that claim back, revealing on July 1 that the raid that turned up $500,000 in cash had in fact targeted the Kabul home of Rahmatullah Azizi, an Afghan businessmen said to have been involved in both drug trafficking and contracting for part of the billions of dollars the United States spent on construction projects.

The Times also disclosed that the information provided by “captured militants and criminals” under “interrogation” had been the main source of suspicion of a Russian bounty scheme in Afghanistan. But those “militants and criminals” turned out to be thirteen relatives and business associates of the businessman whose house was raided.

The Times reported that those detainees were arrested and interrogated following the January 2020 raids based on suspicions by Afghan intelligence that they belonged to a “ring of middlemen” operating between the Russian GRU and so-called “Taliban-linked militants,” as Afghan sources made clear.

Furthermore, contrary to the initial report by the Times, those raids had actually been carried out exclusively by the Afghan intelligence service known as the National Directorate of Security (NDS). The Times disclosed this on July 1. Indeed, the interrogation of those detained in the raids was carried out by the NDS, which explains why the Times reporting referred repeatedly to “interrogations” without ever explaining who actually did the questioning.

Given the notorious record of the NDS, it must be assumed that its interrogators used torture or at least the threat of it to obtain accounts from the detainees that would support the Afghan government’s narrative. Both the Toronto Globe and Mail and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) have documented as recently as 2019 the frequent use of torture by the NDS to obtain information from detainees.  The primary objective of the NDS was to establish an air of plausibility around the claim that the fugitive businessman Azizi was the main “middleman” for a purported GRU scheme to offer bounties for killing Americans.

NDS clearly fashioned its story to suit the sensibilities of the U.S. national security state. The narrative echoed previous intelligence reports about Russian bounties in Afghanistan that circulated in early 2019, and which were even discussed at NSC meetings. Nothing was done about these reports, however, because nothing had been confirmed.

The idea that hardcore Taliban fighters needed or wanted foreign money to kill American invaders could have been dismissed on its face. So Afghan officials spun out claims that Russian bounties were paid to incentivize violence by “militants and criminals” supposedly “linked” to the Taliban.

These elements zeroed in on the April 2019 IED attack on a vehicle near the U.S. military base at Bagram in Parwan province that killed three US Marines, insisting that the Taliban had paid local criminal networks in the region to carry out attacks.

As former Parwan police chief Gen. Zaman Mamozai told the Times, Taliban commanders were based in only two of the province’s ten districts, forcing them to depend on a wider network of non-Taliban killers-for-hire to carry out attacks elsewhere in the province. These areas included the region around Bagram, according to the Afghan government’s argument.

But Dr. Thomas H. Johnson of the Naval Postgraduate School, a leading expert on insurgency and counter-insurgency in Afghanistan who has been researching war in the country for three decades,  dismissed the idea that the Taliban would need a criminal network to operate effectively in Parwan.

“The Taliban are all over Parwan,” Johnson stated in an interview with The Grayzone, observing that its fighters had repeatedly carried out attacks on or near the Bagram base throughout the war.

With withdrawal looming, the national security state plays its Bountygate card

Senior U.S. national security officials had clear ulterior motives for embracing the dubious NDS narrative. More than anything, those officials were determined to scuttle Trump’s push for a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan. For Pentagon brass and civilian leadership, the fear of withdrawal became more acute in early 2020 as Trump began to demand an even more rapid timetable for a complete pullout than the 12-14 months being negotiated with the Taliban.

It was little surprise then that this element leapt at the opportunity to exploit the self-interested claims by the Afghan NDS to serve its own agenda, especially as the November election loomed. The Times even cited one “senior [US] official” musing that “the evidence about Russia could have threatened that [Afghanistan] deal, because it suggested that after eighteen year of war, Mr. Trump was letting Russia chase the last American troops out of the country.”

In fact, the intelligence reporting from the CIA Station in Kabul on the NDS Russia bounty claims was included in the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) on or about February 27 — just as the negotiation of the U.S. peace agreement with the Taliban was about to be signed. That was too late to prevent the signing but timed well enough to ratchet up pressure on Trump to back away from his threat to pull all US troops out of Afghanistan.

Trump may have been briefed orally on the issue at the time, but even if he had not been, the presence of a summary description of the intelligence in the PDB could obviously have been used to embarrass him on Afghanistan by leaking it to the media.

According to Ray McGovern, a former CIA official who was responsible for preparing the PDB for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the insertion of raw, unconfirmed intelligence from a self-interested Afghan intelligence agency into the PDB was a departure from normal practice.

Unless it was a two or three-sentence summary of a current intelligence report, McGovern explained, an item in the PDB normally involved only important intelligence that had been confirmed.  Furthermore, according to McGovern, PDB items are normally shorter versions of items prepared the same day as part of the CIA’s “World Intelligence Review” or “WIRe.”

Information about the purported Russian bounty scheme, however, was not part of the WIRe until May 4, well over two months later, according to the Times. That discrepancy added weight to the suggestion that the CIA had political motivations for planting the raw NDS reporting in the PDB before it could be evaluated.

This June, Trump’s National Security Council (NSC) convened a meeting to discuss the intelligence report, officials told the Times. NSC members drew up a range of options in response to the alleged Russian plot, from a diplomatic protest to more forceful responses. Any public indication that US troops in Afghanistan had been targeted by Russian spies would have inevitably threatened Trump’s plan for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

At some point in the weeks that followed, the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency each undertook evaluations of the Afghan intelligence claims. Once the Times began publishing stories about the issue, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe directed the National Intelligence Council, which is responsible for managing all common intelligence community assessments, to write a memorandum summarizing the intelligence organizations’ conclusions.

The memorandum revealed that the intelligence agencies were not impressed with what they’d seen. The CIA and National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) each gave the NDS intelligence an assessment of “moderate confidence,” according to memorandum.

An official guide to intelligence community terminology used by policymakers to determine how much they should rely on assessments indicates that “moderate confidence” generally indicates that “the information being used in the analysis may be interpreted in various ways….” It was hardly a ringing endorsement of the NDS intelligence when the CIA and NCTC arrived at this finding.

The assessment by the National Security Agency was even more important, given that it had obtained intercepts of electronic data on financial transfers “from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account,” according to the Times’ sources.  But the NSA evidently had no idea what the transfers related to, and essentially disavowed the information from the Afghan intelligence agency.

The NIC memorandum reported that NSA gave the information from Afghan intelligence “low confidence” — the lowest of the three possible levels of confidence used in the intelligence community.  According to the official guide to intelligence community terminology, that meant that “information used in the analysis is scant, questionable, fragmented, or that solid analytical conclusions cannot be inferred from the information.”

Other intelligence agencies reportedly assigned “low confidence” to the information as well, according to the memorandum. Even the Defense Intelligence Agency, known for its tendency to issue alarmist warnings about activities by US adversaries, found no evidence in the material linking the Kremlin to any bounty offers.

Less than two weeks after the Times rolled out its supposed bombshell on Russian bounties, relying entirely on national security officials pushing their own bureaucratic interests on Afghanistan, the story was effectively discredited by the intelligence community itself. In a healthy political climate, this would have produced a major setback for the elements determined to keep US troops entrenched in Afghanistan.

But the political hysteria generated by the Times and the hyper-partisan elements triggered by the appearance of another sordid Trump-Putin connection easily overwhelmed the countervailing facts. It was all the Pentagon and its bureaucratic allies needed to push back on plans for a speedy withdrawal from a long and costly war.

Gareth Porter

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist who has covered national security policy since 2005 and was the recipient of Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in 2012.  His most recent book is The CIA Insider’s Guide to the Iran Crisis co-authored with John Kiriakou, just published in February.

 

 

 

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How Make Your Vote Count – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on June 13, 2020

Do Not Consent

Voting in the state’s elections continues the racket.  And it will continue.  Your vote would consent to it.   Don’t do it.   Would you vote for new leaders in the Mafia or Ku Klux Klan while believing that doing so will encourage those organizations to play nice?

Don’t let the enemies of freedom get away with equating the state with government.  Government can and should exist without the state.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/06/george-f-smith/how-to-make-your-vote-count/

…The message I’m delivering is pro-government-in-the-market sense only, anti-state.

To sum up, my advice is:

Do not consent to the coercive agencies that are currently installed at all levels of our current system of government, from federal to local.  At the federal level they include the usual enemies such as the DEA, NSA, IRS, and the Federal Reserve.

Do not consent to what’s called taxation, to the right of some people to confiscate your wealth, however great or modest your wealth may be.

Do not consent to the current institutions that thrive on “wars” of all kinds, whether it’s a war on a bug, a drug, or an unfortunate condition of human existence, most of which the state created and intensify the problems they’re alleged to fix, that are done in your name and with your expropriated money.

Do not consent to the vast military – industrial – congressional – media – educational complex that claims to be a defender of your liberty as it murders families overseas and destroys their society’s infrastructures — again, with your expropriated wealth.

Do not consent to the idea that you need to surrender your right to self-defense, including defense against the state.

Do not consent to the criminal invasions of your privacy that the state has made legal.

Do not consent to the state’s educational system as it attempts to train obedient servants of the state while continually dumbing-down the requirements for advancement.

Do not consent to any government that claims the right to enlist your sons or daughters in a war or project against their will.

Do not consent to the state’s war on market giants that achieved their status because consumers voluntarily traded their money for the products or services the businesses offered.  Remember, consumers can and have shut down market giants by taking their business elsewhere.

Do not consent to the practice of state – business “partnerships” that create unfair competitive advantages for the business or industry, while cheating consumers with higher prices and/or inferior products or services — a practice best described as crony capitalism but which for anti-market purposes is usually called capitalism.

Do not consent to any state institution that attempts to dictate how we should live, what we can or cannot consume, read, watch, say, or listen to.

Do not consent to any government that does not secure your property rights, including your right to life.

Voting in the state’s elections continues the racket.  And it will continue.  Your vote would consent to it.   Don’t do it.   Would you vote for new leaders in the Mafia or Ku Klux Klan while believing that doing so will encourage those organizations to play nice?

Don’t let the enemies of freedom get away with equating the state with government.  Government can and should exist without the state.

In this book I’m speaking to adults who wish to take full responsibility for their lives, regardless of their age, medical condition, race, sex, or anything else, who are fighters not wimps, who want to lay the foundation for a better life not just for themselves but for their families and the generations to come, who want to end the acrimonious fighting over the levers of power that would force the winner’s agenda on the rest of us.  If you are in agreement then express your conviction with a thumbs-up to the movie Do Not Consent, coming in late Julyon my YouTube channel, GFS543.

In the meantime, I hope this book will convey the message the movie will dramatize.

Be seeing you

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Fifty Years Later, NSA Keeps Details of Israel’s USS Liberty Attack Secret

Posted by M. C. on June 9, 2020

Over the course of Israel’s remarkable territorial acquisition and
military victory, it allegedly committed a war crime by slaughtering Egyptian prisoners of war in the city of El Arish in the northern Sinai.
Bamford argued in his 2001 book, “Body of Secrets,” that the USS
Liberty’s proximity to the Sinai, and its ability to intercept Israel’s
motives and activities during the Six-Day War, might have prompted
Israel’s attack on the vessel.

https://theintercept.com/2017/06/06/fifty-years-later-nsa-keeps-details-of-israels-uss-liberty-attack-secret/

On June 8, 1967, an Israeli torpedo tore through the side of the unarmed American naval vessel USS Liberty, approximately a dozen miles off the Sinai coast. The ship, whose crew was under command of the National Security Agency, was intercepting communications at the height of the Six-Day War when it came under direct Israeli aerial and naval assault.

Reverberations from the torpedo blast sent crewman Ernie Gallo flying across the radio research room where he was stationed. Gallo, a communications technician aboard the Liberty, found himself and his fellow shipmates in the midst of an attack that would leave 34 Americans dead and 171 wounded.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the assault on the USS Liberty, and though it was among the worst attacks in history against a noncombatant U.S. naval vessel, the tragedy remains shrouded in secrecy. The question of if and when Israeli forces became aware they were killing Americans has proved a point of particular contention in the on-again, off-again public debate that has simmered over the last half a century. The Navy Court of Inquiry’s investigation proceedings following the incident were held in closed sessions, and the survivors who had been on board received gag orders forbidding them to ever talk about what they endured that day.

Now, half a century later, The Intercept is publishing two classified documents provided in the cache of files leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden related to the attack and its aftermath. They reveal previously unknown involvement by Government Communications Headquarters, the U.K. signals intelligence agency; internal NSA communications that seem to bolster a signals intelligence analyst’s account of the incident, which framed it as an accident; as well as a Hebrew transliteration system unique to the NSA that was in use at least as recently as 2006.

NSA’s USS Liberty Incident Classification Guide10 pages

The first document, a formerly unreleased NSA classification guide, details which elements of the incident the agency still regarded as secret as of 2006. The second lists a series of unauthorized signals intelligence disclosures that “have had a detrimental effect on our ability to produce intelligence against terrorist targets and other targets of national concern.” Remarkably, information relevant to the attack on the Liberty falls within this highly secret category.

Though neither document reveals conclusive information about the causes of the assault, both highlight that at the time of their publication — approximately four decades after the incident — the NSA was determined to keep even seemingly minor details about the attack classified. The agency declined to comment for this article.

Read the rest of this entry »

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