Sunday, January 15, 2017

Beavis, Butthead and The Russian Dossier

January 10 CNN published an article about a 2-page intelligence report based on 35 pages of memos allegedly assembled by a former British intelligence agent.  This report claimed that Russian intelligence had compromising material on Donald Trump of a sexual nature and that Trump supporters were in constant contact with the Russian government.  The implication is that Trump is a tool of the Russians.   The CNN article stressed the sensitivity of the synopsis stating it was only “shared at the most senior levels of the government.”  They also stressed that the source of the information was credible.  The article is filled with references to CNN’s access: “multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN,” “US intelligence officials consider credible,” “multiple sources tell CNN,” and “some officials said.”  CNN obviously has access.  It is also most certainly illegal.  These leaks revealed the close relationship the media and intelligence elites have in their efforts to destroy Trump.

This was all a very effective anti-Trump effort, but then something went terribly wrong.  Shortly after the CNN report was published, BuzzFeed published the 35 pages of memos the article was based on.  The remarkable thing about these memos is that they are so poorly done that it has often been suggested that they are some kind of joke.  Clarice Feldman stated, “the dossier is so ridiculous, if anyone in the Intelligence Community fell for it, he’s too stupid to allow in place.”  John Bolton claimed, “I haven’t found anybody, including friends who are experienced in both diplomacy and military and intelligence affairs, who haven’t just laughed at most of it.”  Bob Woodward stated, “That is a garbage document.”  Vice President Biden told reporters that he and President Obama did not ask the intelligence community to corroborate the claims because they didn’t take them seriously.  Even Piers Morgan commented, “The moment I heard about it, my gut reaction was that it was utter nonsense.”  A writer for Global Research concluded, “Any media or intelligence agency that claims it could or did not judge the content of 35 papers is obfuscating in an attempt to give them additional weight. The easily verifiable content is so obviously false that the few not immediately verifiable claims in it can not be taken serious.”

This dossier was reportedly assembled by Christopher Steele, a former MI-6 agent.  Although CNN described Steele as “credible,” Feldman described him as a “dumpster diver for Democrats.”  Judging from the quality of the dossier this is actually a compliment.  It also suggests that Steele may not have been the author.  The adolescent nature of the charges and the obvious format errors make it appear to be a hoax that was meant to be exposed.  It appears more like the work of "Cracka with Attitude," the 16-year old who broke into James Clapper’s personal email account rerouting the calls intended for Clapper to the Free Palestine Movement. 

The obvious format errors begin on the first page.  The page is labeled  CONFIDENTIAL/SENSITIVE SOURCE.”  Sensitive sources are never confidential.  They are never SECRET or even simply TOP SECRET.  They would have an additional classification.  Although this is not a government document, someone with experience in intel would never classify a sensitive source as confidential.  Donald Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen naturally told reporters that the allegations in the report were absolutely false.  He said, “It’s so ridiculous on so many levels.   Clearly, the person who created this did so from their imagination or did so hoping that the liberal media would run with this fake story for whatever rationale they might have.”  On page 18 of the memos, Cohen is reported to be in Prague meeting with Russian officials.  Cohen has never been in Prague.  Gerard Vanderleun provides an extremely entertaining debunking of the “peegate” allegation. 

Many aspects of this incident are comical, however, they could have deadly consequences.  Aside from the revelation that our intelligence agencies are run by utter incompetence, the lives of our military are at stake.  The intel leadership is well aware of the fact that these memos are bogus.  Their incompetence lies in their belief that they could pass them off as legitimate. 

To add to the confusion there are other sources that would like to contribute to this kerfuffle.  Multiple reliable sources who wish to remain anonymous have revealed the identities of the two youths who are responsible for the “golden shower” allegation.  They go by the nicknames of Beavis and Butthead.  Four intelligence chiefs have strenuously denied that these two are the source of the information.  They have also denied that they have received job offers from Ringling Brothers. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Donald Trump is not Ronald Reagan

Reagan Would Not Think Kindly of Trump’s Assault on the Intelligence Community
by Laurence Jurdem

Laurence Jurdem is an independent scholar who received his Ph.D. in U.S. History from Fordham University. For more information, please visit the author's website

A report released Friday by U.S. intelligence officials, stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin “ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.” The conclusions of the study are in sharp conflict with President-Elect Donald Trump’s assertion that there was no proof Moscow had hacked the Democrats or interfered with the election. Mr. Trump’s harsh critique of the American intelligence system could lead to long-term problems between the White House and America’s spy agencies. Despite the president-elect’s claim that he is now receiving intelligence updates, he has in the past ridiculed the idea of daily intelligence briefings from national security officials, because, as he said last month: "I don't have to be told the same thing and the same words every single day for the next eight years.” By constantly belittling and criticizing American intelligence organizations, the incoming president has displayed an attitude that is directly in conflict with the chief executive with whom Mr. Trump is frequently compared by conservatives – Ronald Reagan.
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I am retired from the DIA so I speak with a certain amount of insight.  I would like to reassure you that problems between the White House and America’s spy agencies are unlikely.  Donald Trump is not “constantly belittling and criticizing American intelligence organizations.”  You state, “Mr. Trump seems to have had difficulty understanding . . . it was important he be kept up to date on the latest national security information.”  You state Trump criticizes the intelligence community, “simply because he did not agree with their findings regarding the question of Russian cyberespionage.”

President-elect Trump has criticized the Obama appointed leaders of the intelligence agencies.  He does not disagree with them “simply” because of their stance on Russian cyberespionage.  He is critical of them because he has been a target of their unsubstantiated claims that he was the beneficiary of that espionage.  A successful businessman knows the value of intelligence.  If he was not satisfied with the quality of the information there was a reason.

Should we have confidence in the Obama appointed leadership of the intelligence agencies?  50 analysts working for the U.S. Central Command have lodged a formal complaint about their reports on ISIS being “inappropriately altered” by senior officials.  Career analysts do not do this.  They do not endanger their careers over minor matters.  The national director of intelligence, James Clapper, lied under oath during a congressional hearing.  I can promise you that intelligence community shredders will be working non-stop until January 20.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Donald Trump and Climate Change

Response to an op-ed in the New York Times by Nicholas Kristof: As Donald Trump Denies Climate Change, These Kids Die of It

Mass starvation is not the proper subject for satire.  Yet, Kristof’s article pushes the limits.  The article is an attack on the United States and Donald Trump in particular.  “American technology helped create the problem.” The problem being the drought in Madagascar.  Kristof’s recurring accusation is the U.S. is responsible: “We Americans may be inadvertently killing her infant son,” and “The United States single-handedly accounts for more than one-quarter of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions over the last 150 years.”
Kristof recognizes that much of the food aid comes from American, yet his “pride is mixed with guilt.”  He informs us, “I flew halfway around the world and then drove for two days to get to these villages, pumping out carbon the whole way.”  He does not really feel guilty.  Otherwise he would sell his expensive Canon camera, miss a few meals, and don sackcloth and ashes.  He will not do this because he is entitled.  Like the leaders of Madagascar he does without little because he is part of the caring elite.

Kristof lets us know that “In America, climate change costs families beach homes.”  In Madagascar it costs children their lives.  Climate change is “disproportionately caused by carbon emissions from America.”  The greatest contributor of carbon emissions is mainland China.  Kristof makes no mention of this.  He also makes no mention of the July 3, 2008 statement Obama made about “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

“Africa’s drought and food crisis have gone largely unnoticed.”  One of the reasons the media is not interested in covering the food crisis is because they are partially responsible.  The press played a large part in the destruction of Rhodesia, the breadbasket of southern Africa.  Zimbabwe has been suffering from droughts since 1979.  Like expectancy has declined from the 60s to the mid 30s.   

Kristof suggests that a villager has more knowledge than Trump, “The most basic starting point is for the American president-elect to acknowledge what even illiterate Madagascar villagers understand: Climate change is real.”  This reporter should be nominated for the New York Times’ prestigious Walter Duranty Award.