The Russian hacking that never happened 3

The Nation weekly journal is generally on the side of the Others: the Democrats, the socialists, the statists, the Islam-promoters, the politically correct, the “social justice warriors”.

So if THEY say that there was no Russian hacking of the DNC during the 2016 election year and can prove it – which it seems they can and have – then the conspiracy to spin a “narrative” that presidential candidate Donald Trump plotted with “the Russians” to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House, is over.

We quote the meaty parts of the article by Patrick Lawrence at The Nation:

It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised — a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.

The president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia’s energy sector. Striking this close to the core of another nation’s economy is customarily considered an act of war, we must not forget. In retaliation, Moscow has announced that the United States must cut its embassy staff by roughly two-thirds. All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.

All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.

Lost in a year that often appeared to veer into our peculiarly American kind of hysteria is the absence of any credible evidence of what happened last year and who was responsible for it. It is tiresome to note, but none has been made available. Instead, we are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception. These officials profess “high confidence” in their “assessment” as to what happened in the spring and summer of last year—this standing as their authoritative judgment. Few have noticed since these evasive terms first appeared that an assessment is an opinion, nothing more, and to express high confidence is an upside-down way of admitting the absence of certain knowledge. This is how officials avoid putting their names on the assertions we are so strongly urged to accept — as the record shows many of them have done.

We come now to a moment of great gravity.

There has been a long effort to counter the official narrative we now call “Russiagate”.  This effort has so far focused on the key events noted above, leaving numerous others still to be addressed. Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:

  • There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year — not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak — a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.
  • Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source—claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.

This article is based on an examination of the documents these forensic experts and intelligence analysts have produced, notably the key papers written over the past several weeks, as well as detailed interviews with many of those conducting investigations and now drawing conclusions from them. …

 

Qualified experts working independently of one another began to examine the DNC case immediately after the July 2016 events. Prominent among these is a group comprising former intelligence officers, almost all of whom previously occupied senior positions. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), founded in 2003, now has 30 members, including a few associates with backgrounds in national-security fields other than intelligence. The chief researchers active on the DNC case are four: William Binney, formerly the NSA’s technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis and designer of many agency programs now in use; Kirk Wiebe, formerly a senior analyst at the NSA’s SIGINT Automation Research Center; Edward Loomis, formerly technical director in the NSA’s Office of Signal Processing; and Ray McGovern, an intelligence analyst for nearly three decades and formerly chief of the CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch. Most of these men have decades of experience in matters concerning Russian intelligence and the related technologies. …

Until recently there was a serious hindrance to the VIPS’s work, and I have just suggested it. The group lacked access to positive data. It had no lump of cyber-material to place on its lab table and analyze, because no official agency had provided any. …

Based on the knowledge of former officials such as Binney, the group knew that (1) if there was a hack and (2) if Russia was responsible for it, the NSA would have to have evidence of both. Binney and others surmised that the agency and associated institutions were hiding the absence of evidence behind the claim that they had to maintain secrecy to protect NSA programs. … [but] “Everything that they say must remain classified is already well-known,” Binney said …

Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations wherein each could build on the work of others. In this a small, new website called www.disobedientmedia.com proved an important catalyst. Two independent researchers selected it, Snowden-like, as the medium through which to disclose their findings. One of these is known as Forensicator and the other as Adam Carter. On July 9, Adam Carter sent Elizabeth Vos, a co-founder of Disobedient Media, a paper by the Forensicator that split the DNC case open like a coconut.

By this time Binney and the other technical-side people at VIPS had begun working with a man named Skip Folden. Folden was an IT executive at IBM for 33 years, serving 25 years as the IT program manager in the United States. He has also consulted for Pentagon officials, the FBI, and the Justice Department. Folden is effectively the VIPS group’s liaison to Forensicator, Adam Carter, and other investigators, but neither Folden nor anyone else knows the identity of either Forensicator or Adam Carter. … Unanimously, however, all the analysts and forensics investigators interviewed for this column say Forensicator’s advanced expertise, evident in the work he has done, is unassailable. They hold a similarly high opinion of Adam Carter’s work.

Forensicator is working with the documents published by Guccifer 2.0, focusing for now on the July 5 intrusion into the DNC server. The contents of Guccifer’s files are known — they were published last September — and are not Forensicator’s concern. His work is with the metadata on those files. These data did not come to him via any clandestine means. Forensicator simply has access to them that others did not have. It is this access that prompts Kirk Wiebe and others to suggest that Forensicator may be someone with exceptional talent and training inside an agency such as the FBI. “Forensicator unlocked and then analyzed what had been the locked files Guccifer supposedly took from the DNC server,” Skip Folden explained in an interview. “To do this he would have to have ‘access privilege’, meaning a key.” …

Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public in the paper dated July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate — the time a remote hack would require. The metadata established several facts in this regard with granular precision: On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second.

These statistics are matters of record and essential to disproving the hack theory. No Internet service provider, such as a hacker would have had to use in mid-2016, was capable of downloading data at this speed. Compounding this contradiction, Guccifer claimed to have run his hack from Romania, which, for numerous reasons technically called delivery overheads, would slow down the speed of a hack even further from maximum achievable speeds.

What is the maximum achievable speed? Forensicator recently ran a test download of a comparable data volume (and using a server speed not available in 2016) 40 miles from his computer via a server 20 miles away and came up with a speed of 11.8 megabytes per second — half what the DNC operation would need were it a hack. Other investigators have built on this finding. Folden and Edward Loomis say a survey published August 3, 2016, by www.speedtest.net/reports is highly reliable and use it as their thumbnail index. It indicated that the highest average ISP speeds of first-half 2016 were achieved by Xfinity and Cox Communications. These speeds averaged 15.6 megabytes per second and 14.7 megabytes per second, respectively. Peak speeds at higher rates were recorded intermittently but still did not reach the required 22.7 megabytes per second.

“A speed of 22.7 megabytes is simply unobtainable, especially if we are talking about a transoceanic data transfer,” Folden said. “Based on the data we now have, what we’ve been calling a hack is impossible.” Last week Forensicator reported on a speed test he conducted more recently. It tightens the case considerably. “Transfer rates of 23 MB/s (Mega Bytes per second) are not just highly unlikely, but effectively impossible to accomplish when communicating over the Internet at any significant distance,” he wrote. “Further, local copy speeds are measured, demonstrating that 23 MB/s is a typical transfer rate when using a USB–2 flash device (thumb drive).”

Time stamps in the metadata provide further evidence of what happened on July 5. The stamps recording the download indicate that it occurred in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone at approximately 6:45 pm. This confirms that the person entering the DNC system was working somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. In theory the operation could have been conducted from Bangor or Miami or anywhere in between — but not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone. Combined with Forensicator’s findings on the transfer rate, the time stamps constitute more evidence that the download was conducted locally, since delivery overheads — conversion of data into packets, addressing, sequencing times, error checks, and the like — degrade all data transfers conducted via the Internet, more or less according to the distance involved.

In addition, there is the adulteration of the documents Guccifer 2.0 posted on June 15, when he made his first appearance. This came to light when researchers penetrated what Folden calls Guccifer’s top layer of metadata and analyzed what was in the layers beneath. They found that the first five files Guccifer made public had each been run, via ordinary cut-and-paste, through a single template that effectively immersed them in what could plausibly be cast as Russian fingerprints. They were not: The Russian markings were artificially inserted prior to posting.“It’s clear,” another forensics investigator self-identified as HET, wrote in a report on this question, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.

To be noted in this connection: The list of the CIA’s cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to. (The tool can also “de-obfuscate” what it has obfuscated.) It is not known whether this tool was deployed in the Guccifer case, but it is there for such a use. …

VIPS has assembled a chronology that imposes a persuasive logic on the complex succession of events just reviewed. It is this:

  • On June 12 last year, Julian Assange announced that WikiLeaks had and would publish documents pertinent to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
  • On June 14, CrowdStrike, a cyber-security firm hired by the DNC, announced, without providing evidence, that it had found malware on DNC servers and had evidence that Russians were responsible for planting it.
  • On June 15, Guccifer 2.0 first appeared, took responsibility for the “hack” reported on June 14 and claimed to be a WikiLeaks source. It then posted the adulterated documents just described.
  • On July 5, Guccifer again claimed he had remotely hacked DNC servers, and the operation was instantly described as another intrusion attributable to Russia. Virtually no media questioned this account.

It does not require too much thought to read into this sequence. With his June 12 announcement, Assange effectively put the DNC on notice that it had a little time, probably not much, to act preemptively against the imminent publication of damaging documents. Did the DNC quickly conjure Guccifer from thin air to create a cyber-saboteur whose fingers point to Russia? There is no evidence of this one way or the other, but emphatically it is legitimate to pose the question in the context of the VIPS chronology. WikiLeaks began publishing on July 22. By that time, the case alleging Russian interference in the 2016 elections process was taking firm root. In short order Assange would be written down as a “Russian agent”.

By any balanced reckoning, the official case purporting to assign a systematic hacking effort to Russia, the events of mid-June and July 5 last year being the foundation of this case, is shabby to the point taxpayers should ask for their money back. The Intelligence Community Assessment [ICA], the supposedly definitive report featuring the “high confidence” dodge, was greeted as farcically flimsy when issued January 6. Ray McGovern calls it a disgrace to the intelligence profession. It is spotlessly free of evidence, front to back, pertaining to any events in which Russia is implicated. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, admitted in May that “hand-picked” analysts from three agencies (not the 17 previously reported) drafted the ICA. There is a way to understand “hand-picked” that is less obvious than meets the eye: The report was sequestered from rigorous agency-wide reviews. This is the way these people have spoken to us for the past year.

Behind the ICA lie other indefensible realities. The FBI has never examined the DNC’s computer servers — an omission that is beyond preposterous. It has instead relied on the reports produced by Crowdstrike, a firm that drips with conflicting interests well beyond the fact that it is in the DNC’s employ. Dmitri Alperovitch, its co-founder and chief technology officer, is on the record as vigorously anti-Russian. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which suffers the same prejudice. Problems such as this are many.

In effect, the new forensic evidence considered here lands in a vacuum. We now enter a period when an official reply should be forthcoming. What the forensic people are now producing constitutes evidence, however one may view it, and it is the first scientifically derived evidence we have into any of the events in which Russia has been implicated. … The cost of duplicity has rarely been so high.

How has the Democratic Part reacted to the revelation, in a usually supportive magazine, that they have been proved to have lied?

Flat denial, and accusation that the revelation is itself  a “conspiracy  theory”:

[The Nation’s] Editor’s note: After publication, the Democratic National Committee contacted The Nation with a response, writing, “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration. It’s unfortunate that The Nation has decided to join the conspiracy theorists to push this narrative.” 

We await with keen interest – animated we confess by more than a little Schadenfreude – the reaction of: the Mainstream Media, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Robert Mueller, James Comey, Julian Assange, Guccifer 2.o, Vladimir Putin, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

Collusion? 1

Was there collusion between the Obama administration and the Kremlin to entrap members of Donald Trump’s family and campaign team ?

John Solomon and Jonathan Easley write at The Hill:

The Russian lawyer who penetrated Donald Trump’s inner circle was initially cleared into the United States by the Justice Department under “extraordinary circumstances” before she embarked on a lobbying campaign last year that ensnared the president’s eldest son, members of Congress, journalists and State Department officials, according to court and Justice Department documents and interviews.

This revelation means it was the Obama Justice Department that enabled the newest and most intriguing figure in the Russia-Trump investigation to enter the country without a visa.

Just five days after meeting in June 2016 at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and then Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Moscow attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya showed up in Washington in the front row of a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Russia policy, video footage of the hearing shows.

She also engaged in a pro-Russia lobbying campaign and attended an event at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., where Russian supporters showed a movie that challenged the underpinnings of the U.S. human rights law known as the Magnitsky Act, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has reviled and tried to reverse.

The Magnitsky Act imposed financial and other sanctions on Russia for alleged human rights violations connected to the death of a Russian lawyer who claimed to uncover fraud during Putin’s reign. Russia retaliated after the law was passed in 2012 by suspending Americans’ ability to adopt Russian children.

At least five congressional staffers and State Department officials attended that movie showing, according to a Foreign Agent Registration Act complaint filed with the Justice Department about Veselnitskaya’s efforts.

And Veselnitskaya also attended a dinner with the chairman of the House subcommittee overseeing Russia policy, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and roughly 20 other guests at a dinner club frequented by Republicans.

In an interview with The Hill on Wednesday, Rohrabacher said, “There was a dinner at the Capitol Hill Club here with about 20 people. I think I was the only congressman there. They were talking about the Magnitsky case. But that wasn’t just the topic. There was a lot of other things going on. So I think she was there, but I don’t remember any type of conversation with her between us. But I understand she was at the table.”

Rohrabacher said he believed Veselnitskaya and her U.S. colleagues, which included former Rep. Ronald Dellums (D-Calif.), were lobbying other lawmakers to reverse the Magnitsky Act and restore the ability of Americans to adopt Russian children that Moscow had suspended.

“I don’t think this was very heavily lobbied at all compared with the other issues we deal with,” he said.

As for his former congressional colleague Dellums, Rohrabacher said he recalled having a conversation about the Magnitsky Act and the adoption issue: “Ron and I like each other … I have to believe he was a hired lobbyist but I don’t know.”

Veselnitskaya did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday at her Moscow office. Dellums also did not return a call to his office seeking comment.

But in an interview with NBC News earlier this week, Veselnitskaya acknowledged her contacts with Trump Jr. and in Washington were part of a lobbying campaign to get members of Congress and American political figures to see “the real circumstances behind the Magnitsky Act”.

That work was a far cry from the narrow reason the U.S. government initially gave for allowing Veselnitskaya into the U.S. in late 2015, according to federal court records.

The Moscow lawyer had been turned down for a visa to enter the U.S. lawfully but then was granted special immigration parole by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch for the limited purpose of helping a company owned by Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, her client, defend itself against a Justice Department asset forfeiture case in federal court in New York City.

During a court hearing in early January 2016, as Veselnitskaya’s permission to stay in the country was about to expire, federal prosecutors described how rare the grant of parole immigration was as Veselnitskaya pleaded for more time to remain in the United States.

“In October the government bypassed 
the normal visa process and gave a type of extraordinary 
permission to enter the country called immigration parole,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Monteleoni explained to the judge during a hearing on Jan. 6, 2016.

“That’s a discretionary act that the statute allows the attorney general to do in extraordinary circumstances. In this case, we 
did that so that Mr. Katsyv could testify. And we made the 
further accommodation of allowing his Russian lawyer into the 
country to assist,” he added.

The prosecutor said the Justice Department was willing to allow the Russian lawyer to enter the United States again as the trial in the case approached so she could help prepare and attend the proceedings.

The court record indicates the presiding judge asked the Justice Department to extend Veselnitskaya’s immigration parole another week until he decided motions in the case. There are no other records in the court file indicating what happened with that request or how Veselnitskaya appeared in the country later that spring.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in New York confirmed Wednesday to The Hill that it let Veselnitskaya into the country on a grant of immigration parole from October 2015 to early January 2016.

Justice Department and State Department officials could not immediately explain how the Russian lawyer was still in the country in June for the meeting with Trump Jr. and the events in Washington.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has demanded the U.S. government provide him all records on how Veselnitskaya entered and traveled in the U.S., a request that could shed additional light on her activities.

Interviews with a half dozen Americans who came in contact with Veselnitskaya or monitored her U.S. activities in 2016 make clear that one of her primary goals was to see if the Congress and/or other political leaders would be interested in repealing the 2012 Magnitsky Act punishing Russia or at least ensure the Magnitsky name would not be used on a new law working its way through Congress in 2016 to punish human rights violators across the globe.

“There’s zero doubt that she and her U.S. colleagues were lobbying to repeal Magnitsky or at least ensure his name was removed from the global law Congress was considering,” said U.S. businessman William Browder, who was the main proponent for the Magnitsky Act and who filed a FARA complaint against Veselnitskaya, Dellums and other U.S. officials, claiming they should have registered as foreign agent lobbyists because of the work.

The 2012 law punished Russia for the prison death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Moscow lawyer and accountant who U.S. authorities allege uncovered a massive $230 million money laundering scheme involving Russian government officials that hurt U.S. companies.

Magnitsky became a cause celeb in the United States after his mysterious death in a Russian prison, but Russian officials have disputed his version of events and in 2011 posthumously convicted him of fraud in Russia.

It is that alternate theory of the Magnitsky fraud cause that Veselnitskaya and her U.S. allies tried to get into the hands of American officials, including Rohrabacher, the Trump team and other leaders.

Browder’s complaint, which alleges that Washington lobbyists working with Veselnitskaya failed to register as foreign agents, is still pending at the Justice Department. It identified several events in Washington that Veselnitskaya and her allies attended or staged in June 2016.

All of them occurred in the days immediately after the Russian lawyer used a music promoter friend to get an audience June 9 with Trump Jr. promising dirt on then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton but instead using the meeting to talk about Magnitsky and the adoption issue, according to Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya.

On June 13, 2016, Veselnitskaya attended the screening of an anti-Magnitsky movie at the Newseum, which drew a handful of congressional staffers and State Department officials, according to Browder’s complaint.

The next day, she appeared in the front row of a hearing chaired by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), sitting right behind a former U.S. ambassador who testified on the future of U.S-Russia policy.

Rohrabacher said he recalled around the same time a conversation with Dellums about Magnitsky and the adoption issue and then attending a dinner that included Veselnitskaya at the Capitol Hill Club with about 20 people.

Sources close to the lobbying effort to rename the Magnitsky Act, conducted over the summer of 2016, said it fizzled after only a month or two. They described Veselnitskaya, who does not speak English, as a mysterious and shadowy figure. They said they were confused as to whether she had an official role in the lobbying campaign, although she was present for several meetings.

The sources also described their interactions with Veselnitskaya in the same way that Trump Jr. did. They claimed not to know who she worked for or what her motives were.

“Natalia didn’t speak a word of English,” said one source. “Don’t let anyone tell you this was a sophisticated lobbying effort. It was the least professional campaign I’ve ever seen. If she’s the cream of the Moscow intelligence community then we have nothing to worry about.

*

Update:

Kristina Wong reports at Breitbart that the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who asked to meet with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower in June 2016, and did so for 20 minutes, had worked for years with Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS. That was the firm that produced the lying, absurd, and now entirely discredited dossier it made up for the Democrats to use against Donald Trump.

Plot after plot was laid to establish a connection between Donald Trump and Russia. One after another they have failed.

Meanwhile the very real collusion between the Democrats and Russians, and the treacherous sale of US uranium deposits to Russia that Hillary Clinton accepted bribes to permit when she was secretary of state, are apparently being disregarded by the Trump administration. Why?

 

Trump puts Putin over a barrel 1

President Trump’s great Warsaw speech was chiefly important for his saying this:

“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.”

He said rightly that our Western civilization is the greatest ever achieved, and warned that if it is lost it will never come again.

And he declared his determination that it will survive.

But that wasn’t all he said that was important.

It is possible, even probable, that with that one splendid speech he has put an end to Vladimir Putin’s plan to realize his imperialist ambition, to reconstitute the Russian empire as it was in the time of the Soviet Union.

How might he have done that?

Larry Kudlow explains how at Townhall:

With energy prices falling, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has essentially been in a recession over the past four years. With oil at $50 a barrel or less, Russian budgets plunge deeper into debt. It’s even doubtful the Russians have enough money to upgrade their military-energy industrial complex.

Through crafty media relations and his own bravado, a deluded Putin struggles to maintain the illusion that Russia is a strong economic power. But it ain’t so. Not even close.

Now, Russia still has a lot of oil and gas reserves. And it uses this to bully Eastern and Western Europe. It threatens to cut off these resources if Europe dares to complain about Putin power grabs in Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, the Baltics, and elsewhere.

But enter President Donald Trump. In his brilliant speech in Warsaw, Poland, earlier this week, he called Putin’s energy bluff.

In an absolutely key part of the speech, he took direct aim at Vladimir Putin’s energy bullying.

Trump said, “We are committed to securing your access to alternative sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.” 

President Donald Trump has quickly made it clear that Barack Obama’s war on business is over. He’s also made it clear, through regulatory rollbacks of breathtaking scope, that the Obama war on fossil fuels is over. Trump wants America to achieve energy dominance. He withdrew from the costly Paris climate accord, which would have severely damaged the American economy. He directed the EPA to rescind the Obama Clean Power Plan, which would have led to skyrocketing electricity rates. He fast-tracked the Keystone XL pipeline. He reopened the door for a modernized American coal industry. He’s overturning all the Obama obstacles to hydraulic fracturing, which his presidential opponent Hillary Clinton would have dramatically increased. And he has opened the floodgates wide to energy exports.

Right now, U.S. oil reserves are almost in parity with those of Saudi Arabia. We have the second-most coal reserves in the world. There are enough U.S. gas reserves to last us a century. We have already passed Russia as the world’s top natural-gas producer. We are the world’s top producer of oil and petroleum hydrocarbons. And exports of liquified national gas are surging, with the Energy Department rapidly approving new LNG projects and other export terminals.

All these America-first energy policies are huge economic-growth and high-wage-job producers at home. But in the Warsaw speech, Trump made it clear that America’s energy dominance will be used to help our friends across Europe. No longer will our allies have to rely on Russian Gazprom supplies with inflated, prosperity-killing prices.

In short, with the free-market policies he’s putting in place in America’s energy sector and throughout the U.S. economy, the business-man president fully intends to destroy Russia’s energy-market share. And as that takes hold, Russia’s gas-station economy will sink further.

And as that takes hold, Bully-boy Putin will have to think twice about Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltics. He’ll have to think twice about his anti-American policies in the Middle East and North Korea. And he’ll have to think twice about his increasingly precarious position as the modern-day Russian tsar.

And the world may yet become a safer place.

Trump has Putin over a barrel.

Posted under Diplomacy, Energy, Poland, Russia, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, July 10, 2017

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Failure of the rule of law? 1

Is it not obvious that crimes have been committed by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI Director James Comey, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?

And that they are getting away with them?

Deroy Murdock writes at Townhall:

James Comey, Loretta Lynch, and the Clintons should do time for their crimes. So should the unnamed leakers who give away state secrets as if they were handing out leaflets at a busy street corner.

While the relentless Russiagate probe continues its futile search for lawbreaking among Team Trump, actual crimes already have occurred at the highest levels of the Deep State and among former Democratic officials. These perpetrators should be prosecuted. 

Someone violated federal law by unmasking former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s name from National Security Agency transcripts or other surveillance records of his conversations with Russian ambassador to Washington Sergey Kislyak. As part of the presidential transition, it was perfectly normal for Flynn to speak with Kislyak and other foreign emissaries. It also is no surprise that the NSA and other American intelligence agencies cup their ears when Kislyak speaks.

However, the identities of Americans in such conversations are supposed to remain confidential. Whoever unmasked Flynn in such documents violated the federal Espionage Act of 1917, 18 U.S. Code § 793. It prohibits the improper handling and transmission of “information respecting the national defense”.

The anti-Flynn leaks also appear to breach 18 U.S. Code § 798, which forbids disclosure of classified data “concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government.”  …

Leaking seems to be Washingtonians’ favorite indoor activity. And Comey got in on the fun, too. Referring to his memo-to-file about a private Oval Office meeting with Trump, Comey said, “I need to get that out into the public square,” as if that were his job.

… and as if there was something so incriminating in what the president said that it simply had to be broadcast to the nation.

But surely if there had been something of that sort, it would have been the right procedure for the FBI to bring to the attention of the Justice Department?

It is not normal FBI procedure to leak details of an investigation to the press rather than use it to build a criminal case.

A president cannot be charged with a criminal offense, but if there is proof that he has committed crimes, or has said something that could be interpreted as criminal, he could be impeached. But only by Congress, not by the readers of a  Communist Youth organ such as the New York Times.

Yet the Dirctor of the FBI wanted it to reach the NYT at all costs. So he leaked it through the conduit of a leftist academic.

Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8: “I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter.” This “close friend who is a professor at Columbia law school,” is named Daniel C. Richman. …

“I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel,” Comey explained.

Shazzam!

Comey’s leaked memo hit the front pages, and Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named a special counsel: Comey’s mentor and one-time boss, former FBI chief Robert Mueller.

Comey and Mueller’s toasty relationship raises legitimate worries about Mueller’s capacity for disinterest in a case that involves the dismissal and public ostracism of his protégé of at least 14 years. …

How can Mueller be objective about his bosom buddy, who now is at the epicenter of this entire probe?

Also troublesome: Mueller’s team includes attorneys who maxed out in donations to Hillary and Obama, defended Hillary against Freedom of Information Act requests, and even represented a Clinton staffer at the heart of E-mailgate. …

According to Political Insider, “In total, Mueller’s team has made $52,650 in political donations since 1997, 95 percent of which ($49,900) went to Democrats.”

Among some 100,000 attorneys in the Washington, D.C. Bar, was Mueller really unable to employ lawyers who neither have worked for the Clintons nor underwritten their campaigns? Could he not have hired professionals unconnected to either the Clintons or the Trumps? Was that really so hard?

Or maybe Mueller deliberately assembled a kennel full of Hillary-loving legal Rottweilers.

Whatever Mueller’s objectives, he has crafted at a minimum — a major appearance of impropriety. If Team Mueller fairly, honestly, and properly discovers wrongdoing among Team Trump, Republicans may dismiss his findings as the crooked output of a rigged system. But if Mueller correctly exonerates Trump & Co., Democrats may scream that the special counsel chickened out, to avoid being accused of running a politically tainted probe. Either way, such second-guessing would erode confidence in American justice.

For his part, Comey’s leak to Professor Richman looks like a violation of, at least, 18 U.S. Code § 641, which bars the unauthorized conveyance of “any record” belonging to the U.S. government. Comey should be brought back before Congress and forced to spell out any and every such leak he ever made, describe the documents he spilled, the dates he did so, etc. Each one of those instances should constitute an individual count in an indictment for breaking the Espionage Act.

According to Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch instructed him to refer benignly to E-mailgate as a “matter” rather than an “investigation”. While that latter word was more politically volatile, it also was accurate. After all, Comey ran the Federal Bureau of Investigation, not the Federal Bureau of Matter.

According to Circa.com’s John Solomon and Sara A. Carter, Comey told senators behind closed doors about “a communication between two political figures that suggested Lynch had agreed to put the kibosh on any prosecution of Clinton”, never mind evidence of Hillary’s crimes.

Comey reportedly showed Lynch that do-not-prosecute record. As one source familiar with Comey’s comments told Solomon and Carter, “the attorney general looked at the document then looked up with a steely silence that lasted for some time, then asked him if he had any other business with her and if not that he should leave her office”. …

Coupled with Lynch’s notorious “golf clubs and grandkids” pow-wow with Bill Clinton on her official plane at Phoenix Airport last June 27, just five days before the FBI questioned Hillary (inexplicably, not under oath), Lynch’s behavior reeks of obstruction of justice.

Comey stated last July 5 that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against Hillary Clinton in E-mailgate. This claim instantly was refuted by reasonable former federal prosecutors including Sidney Powell, Andrew McCarthy, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and Michael Mukasey. They all stated why Hillary deserved indictment.

Comey said that Hillary should have stayed free because she had no criminal intent to violate the Espionage Act. However, to be convicted under this statute, one need not possess criminal intent. …

Hillary could be convicted merely for handling classified documents in a “grossly negligent” fashion. She certainly did this. …

Beyond E-mailgate, the Clinton Foundation’s bribes-for-favors scandal has gone entirely unpunished. Hillary approved the Kremlin’s purchase of 20 percent of U.S. uranium supplies. She permitted Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation to acquire Uranium One Inc. This is the sort of cloak-and-dagger Russian collusion about which Democratic mouths have foamed since last fall. The $145 million that Uranium One’s investors pumped into the Clinton Foundation before, during, and after this grotesque deal epitomizes the pay-to-play bonanza for which Hillary should be tossed in the clink. Ditto the $500,000 fee that Kremlin-controlled Renaissance Capital handed Bill Clinton for a one-hour speech while Hillary decided to green-light this transaction. Remember: the Clintons literally gave Vladimir Putin access to the active ingredient in hydrogen bombs — extracted from American soil. …

And “giving aid and comfort” to the enemy is treason according to the Constitution.

The House Government Oversight Committee should hold public hearings and subpoena Comey, Lynch, and the Clintons and make them testify publicly about these crimes, under penalty of perjury.

After that, President Trump should keep a promise that he made in the October 9 debate against Hillary: “If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation.”

Prosecuting Comey for leaking government papers, Lynch for sandbagging the E-mailgate probe, and the Clintons and Clintonites for running their bribes-for-favors scams would not signal American devolution into a banana republic. Rather, this would reinvigorate a core principle of American constitutional republicanism: Equal Justice Under Law.

On all that is wrong with James Comey’s buddy Robert Mueller being appointed to sniff out an unknown crime in the Trump administration, Andrew McCarthy writes:

So I’ve been wondering: Why on earth does a prosecutor, brought in to investigate a case in which there is no apparent crime, need a staff of 14 lawyers?

Or, I should say, “14 lawyers and counting.” According to the press spokesman for special counsel Robert Mueller — yeah, he’s got a press spokesman, too — there are “several more in the pipeline.”

Concededly, none of Mueller’s recruits requires Senate confirmation, as do Justice Department officials — notwithstanding that the former may end up playing a far more consequential role in the fate of the Trump administration. But does it seem strange to anyone else that, by comparison, the president of the United States has managed to get — count ’em — three appointees confirmed to Justice Department positions in five months?

A special counsel, the need for whom is far from obvious, has in just a few days staffed up with four times the number of lawyers. And all for a single investigation that the FBI has described as a counterintelligence probe — i.e., not a criminal investigation, the kind for which you actually need lawyers.  

Oh, and about those three Justice Department appointees: One of them, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has already recused himself from the investigation in question — the department’s most high profile undertaking. Another, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, is reportedly weighing whether he, too, should bow out. Perhaps he figures he has already done quite enough, having sicced a special-counsel investigation on the Trump Administration by flouting both the regulation that requires a basis for a criminal investigation before a special counsel is appointed, and the regulation that requires limiting the special counsel’s jurisdiction to the specific factual matter that triggers this criminal investigation.

The way this is supposed to work is: the Justice Department first identifies a likely crime, and then assigns a prosecutor to investigate it. Here, by contrast, there are no parameters imposed on the special counsel’s jurisdiction. Mueller is loosed—with 14 lawyers and more coming—to conduct what I’ve called a “fishing expedition”.

But it is actually worse than that … Mueller’s probe is the functional equivalent of a general warrant: a boundless writ to search for incriminating evidence. It is the very evil the Fourth Amendment was adopted to forbid: a scorch-the-earth investigation in the absence of probable cause that a crime has been committed.

For now, Mueller appears utterly without limits, in his writ and in his resources. As the ease with which he has staffed up shows, it is not hard to recruit lawyers. All you need is money. Mueller has a bottomless budget, thanks to a bit of Treasury Department chicanery known as “permanent, indefinite appropriations”. 

Under the Constitution’s Appropriations Clause, no funding is supposed to be paid out of the treasury unless Congress has approved it in advance. Under the Framers’ design, with an eye toward limited, accountable government, every spending initiative must compete with every other one when Congress enacts a budget. Lawmakers must decide what we can and can’t afford when they draw on what is supposed to be the finite pot of money confiscated from taxpayers. We are supposed to know what we are underwriting and what it will cost.

The Swamp, ever resistant to such restraints, has developed a scheme known as “indefinite appropriations”. These are slush funds for future contingencies. A good example is the “Judgment Fund” which President Obama raided to underwrite nearly $2 billion in ransom payments demanded by Iran, the sweetener he needed to close the infamous nuclear deal.

And that sounds like treason too.

It is an Orwellian game. What makes an appropriation an appropriation is that Congress provides a definite amount of funding suitable to the task it has approved. If it turns out more is needed, the executive branch is supposed to come back to Congress — ask for it and justify why it should be prioritized over other needs.

Mueller’s special counsel investigation is somehow under no such restrictions, according to the Justice Department. He unilaterally decides how much staffing he needs. And unlike a normal prosecutor’s office, the special counsel does not have to apportion his resources over hundreds of cases. He can direct all of them at one investigative target.

In this instance, the target is Trump, and the resources — apart from what will be scores of FBI agents — include 14 lawyers (going on 15 … going on 16…).

These lawyers, overwhelmingly, are Democrats. … Mueller’s staffers contribute to Trump’s political opponents, some heavily. The latest Democratic talking-point about this unseemly appearance is that hiring regulations forbid an inquiry into an applicant’s political affiliation. That’s laughable. These are lawyers Mueller has recruited. They are not “applicants”. We’re talking about top-shelf legal talent, accomplished professionals who have jumped at the chance of a gig they do not need but, clearly, want. …

Notice that, consistent with the familiar ethical canon that lawyers must avoid even the appearance of impropriety, the standard here is based not on the lawyer’s personal rectitude or his subjective belief that he can administer the law impartially. The issue is: What would this look like to fair-minded observers?

Consequently, if this boundless investigation careens into a criminal prosecution, Mueller could have some major soul-searching to do. I thus confess to being taken aback that he has exacerbated the problem, rather than trying to mitigate it, with his staffing decisions. Into an investigation that was already fraught with political tension, the special counsel has recruited partisans — to politicians who describe themselves not as a loyal opposition but as the Trump “Resistance”. What are fair-minded people to make of that?

Not just one or two recruits, but 14 lawyers, with more to come. …

Why does special counsel Mueller need 14 lawyers (and more coming) for a counterintelligence investigation, as to which the intelligence professionals — agents, not lawyers — have found no “collusion with Russia” evidence after over a year of hard work? What will those lawyers be doing with no limits on their jurisdiction, with nothing but all the time and funding they need to examine one target, Donald Trump?

The Mueller investigation itself has the smell of corruption about it.

The law is the house in which we live. If its timbers are rotten, what will become of us? 

Russian connections: the hornet’s nest 1

When the Democrats decided to try and make a case that Donald Trump, at the time he was a candidate for the presidency, was a traitor to America in league with the Russians – as a ruse of course, they knew there was no such case in truth –  they poked a hornet’s nest and they will be stung.

The Democrats, not the Republicans, have wooed the Russians.

From Front Page, by Lloyd Billingsley:

“In 2015, Russian intelligence agencies penetrated the computers of political organizations, think tanks and other U.S. institutions in what looked like a foreign intelligence-gathering operation, but this is not the first time we were hacked by Russia. This particular action was ‘so extraordinary’ because ‘President Vladimir Putin decided to become an active participant in the U.S. election and attempt to influence its result for Donald Trump and against Hillary Clinton’. Further, ‘this is not idle speculation or the partisan characterization of ambiguous events – it is the consensus conclusion of all our intelligence agencies’.”

Suddenly the nation learnt – from candidate Hillary Clinton in one of the last debates she had with Donald Trump, when she recited the talking points fed to her – that there are 17 US intelligence agencies. And the impression that the Democrats wanted to give was that all 17 of them – including, for instance, the Coast Guard’s – had independently come to the conclusion that Russia was interfering in the US elections.  Later it was revealed – not by Democrats – that one of President Obama’s last dirty deeds was to arrange for the spread of intelligence among all the agencies. Why? To make it seem that they corroborated each other, and to make it easier for willing agents to “leak” stories, true or false, to the Democrat-supporting media without being easily tracked down if by any remote chance a Republican administration or non-Democratic investigative journalist might try to find the leaker.

That [the quotation] is Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, in a March 26 Sacramento Bee commentary headlined, “Independent commission needed to investigate Russian hacking of our democracy.”

Schiff wonders, “When did the Russians decide to turn intelligence gathering into data weaponization, and why? What was the U.S. government response and how do we protect ourselves in the future? And did the Russians have the help of U.S. citizens in this compromise of our democracy, including people associated with the campaign they assisted?”

In classic style, the California Democrat provides no evidence for what he assumes up front to be true. [And] he fails to provide any contrast between Democrats and Republicans in recent actions involving Russia, some of them strategic.

Since the days of Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, which Democrats derided as “Star Wars”, Russia had denounced U.S. efforts to shield itself and European allies from missile attack. The Russian protests got particularly loud when the Bush administration worked out a missile defense pact with Poland and the Czech Republic.

One of President Obama’s first actions was to cancel missile defense for U.S. allies Poland and the Czech Republic. Even the New York Times called it a “security reversal”. Mitt Romney called it a “gift to Russia” and more gifts were on the way in the “re-set” of relations.

“We want to ensure that every question the Russian military or Russian government asks is answered.” That was U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. Secretary Clinton touted “deep cooperation between our countries” and agreed to the most intrusive arrangement the United States ever accepted.

A week after the departure of Dmitry Medvedev, when the FBI busted 10 Russian spies operating in the United States, the Democrats’ Russian re-set team promptly swept it “under the rug”. 

Putin followed Medvedev and the Democrats’ Russian re-set team did nothing to stop the imperialist autocrat from gobbling up part of Ukraine. Likewise, with continual American retreat, the Democrats’ Russian re-set team effectively made Putin the master of the Middle East.

It was all, to paraphrase Ian Fleming, “to Russia with love’. Yet as Nancy Pelosi claims, Putin had a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton, and as Adam Schiff explains, Putin opted to oppose Hillary Clinton and back Donald Trump in the 2016 election. That narrative emerged only after Trump’s victory last November, with good reason.

The Democrats and their allies in the old-line establishment media are “progressives”, who have somehow escaped the conditioning that affects the masses and know where history is progressing. Therefore, if progressive candidate Hillary Clinton fails to win, the reason must be interference by Russia.

Meanwhile, the administration of President Donald Trump, to counter a surge in missile launches by North Korea, announced the deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) in South Korea by the end of 2017. As the Washington Times reported, this move by Trump “angered not only North Korea but also China and Russia, which see the system’s powerful radars as a security threat”. 

Chinese, North Korean and Russian anger did not prompt the Trump administration to back down. The Stalinist North Korean regime has been missile-rattling for years, with the ultimate target the United States. No Democrat administration, least of all the Russian re-set team, ever deployed the purely defensive THAAD in South Korea. Instead they opted for “strategic patience”, also known as doing nothing.

Adam Schiff has yet to explain why the all-powerful Russian spooks were unable to produce Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 emails, which she kept on an unsecured server in her house. Revealing those would have killed her candidacy in a second. …

Adam Schiff is unable to consider the reality that Hillary Clinton lost because voters perceived her as shrill, corrupt, untrustworthy, and incompetent.

And because enough of them wanted Donald Trump to be president.

*

Hillary Clinton had corrupt dealings with the Russians which she should be answering for in a court of law. And her campaign chairman, John Podesta, had fishy relations with them too:

*

And here’s the famous picture of Obama whispering conspiratorially to Dmitry Medvedev in March 2012:

Soros the earthly satan and his pet news agency 2

George Soros is an evil man. Go here, to Discover the Networks, to read about the evil he does, the many subversive and insurrectionist movements he funds.

From the days of his early youth spent helping the Nazis implement the Holocaust, to his sponsoring now in his old age the Muslim-organized marches of (pathetically stupid) women to protest the election of President Trump in America, he has unwaveringly pursued his satanic aim – the wrecking of Western civilization.

But the news agency Reuters likes him and his works.

We emphasize examples of their bias in the story they tell of how the Hungarian government’s effort to ward off the flood of Muslim immigrants* –  now overwhelming western Europe – is being impeded by George Soros.

Reuters reports and opines:

When his government lost a lawsuit in the European Court of Human Rights last week over its detention and expulsion of two migrants from Bangladesh, Hungary’s rightwing prime minister blamed the usual suspect: a billionaire in New York.

“The usual suspect”  is of course a reference to the famous line of dialogue in the film Casablanca, in which the French police chief gives orders to his men to  “round up the usual suspects” in order to deceive the Nazi occupiers of the French territory that he is serving them when he isn’t. The “usual suspects” are innocent of the crime they are being rounded up to answer for. The use of the phrase by Reuters conveys their belief in George Soros’s innocence.

“It is a collusion of human traffickers, Brussels bureaucrats and the organizations that work in Hungary financed by foreign money,” Viktor Orban told public radio on Friday.

“Let’s call a spade a spade: George Soros finances them.”

Yes, it is such a collusion, and Soros is financing it.

Across former Communist states of east and central Europe, leaders with a hardline bent have turned their wrath in recent months against Soros, a Hungarian-American financier who funds liberal charities and non-governmental organizations worldwide through his Open Society Foundations (OSF).

A more Orwellian use of the phrase “open society” could not be devised by the author of 1984 himself.

The campaign against Soros in countries formerly dominated by Moscow appears to follow a template set by Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose own crackdown on foreign-funded charities drove Soros’s foundation out of Russia two years ago.

Reuters would have us weep for poor Soros and his foundation. And, they imply, if he’s a victim of Putin, he must be a good guy.

And now, with President Donald Trump in the White House, anti-Soros campaigners in Eastern Europe say they have also drawn inspiration from the United States, particularly from rightwing U.S. media like the website Breitbart, which has long vilified Soros as a liberal hate figure.

A nice, good, liberal person, just “vilified” out of sheer spite and reasonless hate – in the opinion of Reuters.

Breitbart’s former chairman Steve Bannon now serves as a senior White House adviser to Trump.

“Our inspiration comes from the United States, from the American conservative organizations, media and congressmen with the same views, especially the new administration of President Trump,” said Cvetlin Cilimanov, the editor of the main state news agency in Macedonia, who co-founded a group called Operation Stop Soros in January.

Macedonia, a former Yugoslav republic north of Greece, has been embroiled in a political crisis that began two years ago with street demonstrations and forced nationalist prime minister Nikola Gruevski to resign last year after a decade in power. Gruevski, who still controls the biggest bloc in parliament and is expected to return to power, blames Soros for his downfall.

So now, despite the acid tones and slanted reporting of Reuters, we begin to get a glimpse of what Soros has actually been up to:

“Soros turns Macedonian NGOs into a modern army,” he [Gruevski] told local magazine Republika in January. “They crush you. They make you a criminal, a thief, traitor, idiot, a monster, whatever they want. Then you have to go to elections.”

“He doesn’t only do that in Macedonia but in a great number of countries.”

In Romania, ruling Social Democrat party leader Liviu Dragnea told a TV interviewer in January that Soros and “the foundations and structures that he has funded since 1990 have financed evil in Romania”.

Soros has also been attacked by members of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party and politicians elsewhere in the region.

And according to Reuters they are all wrong; they speak purely out of malice; they are lying.

… Hundreds of groups worldwide have accepted [OSF]  money over the years, allowing conspiracy theorists and other foes to paint Soros as the center of a vast web.

He is the center of a vast web.

 In countries like Hungary, so many human rights groups have sought OSF grants at some point that politicians can use the association with Soros to attack whole swathes of civil society.

The “whole swathes” are Soros funded organizations out to destroy the nation-state of “countries like Hungary”:

“Fake NGOs of the Soros empire are sustained to suppress national governments in favor of global capital and the world of political correctness,” Szilard Nemeth, a deputy leader of Orban’s ruling Fidesz party, said in January.

“These organizations must be repressed by all means and I think they must be culled altogether. I think there is an international opportunity to do that now.” …

Opposition to immigration has been the core of  Orban’s political message since 2015, when more than a million migrants and refugees entered the EU through the Balkans. Hungary was initially their main entry point into the bloc’s border-free zone, although nearly all proceeded on to Germany and other countries further north. Orban built a fence to keep them out.

Meanwhile, Soros prioritized support for charities that help migrants and asylum seekers. At the height of the flow in 2015, his OSF put out a statement saying: “The Hungarian crisis demonstrates the dangers radical populist regimes pose not only to the hundreds of thousands of refugees, but also to the values of Europe and to the humanity of the local populations.”

“Values of Europe”. “Humanity”. With these words the great liar prettifies his agenda, which in plain terms is the domination of Europe by Islam. And Reuters compliantly quotes him.

But Orban’s message still hammers home the need to keep out migrants, and he portrays rights groups as part of a plot to abolish nation states and flood Europe with foreigners.

Which is, of course, exactly what the “rights groups”, created and funded by George Soros, are bent on doing.

Hungary’s Helsinki Committee, a rights group founded in 1989 that has accepted Soros funding, helped defeat the government in court in Strasbourg. It argued that two Bangladeshi migrants had been unlawfully detained at a makeshift transit zone on the Hungarian-Serbian border and expelled with no regard to their future safety, in violation of their rights.

Orban has proposed new rules governing asylum due to take effect in coming days that his opponents say ignore the principles of the Strasbourg ruling.

Helsinki co-Chair Marta Pardavi says she expects to file many more cases on behalf of migrants who are in similar positions, which could generate a systemic intervention by Strasbourg and a tooth-and-nail fight with the government.

“Our position, which Orban has called ‘pretty human rights nonsense’ has just won in Strasbourg,” she said. “If I were the Hungarian government I would be considering the necessary legislative amendments now.”

Fortunately, they are.

Pardavi said her organization, made up mainly of lawyers, would not be intimidated by a government crackdown, but other groups were likely to be less resilient, and the crackdown could deter activism in the country more broadly.

Such “activism” urgently needs to be deterred. May Hungary yet succeed in curing itself of the lethal Soros disease.

We long for Soros himself to be indicted for subversion in the US, fined billions of dollars, and locked up.

Then Reuters could frame the print news in black, and soak its pages with tears.

.

*Yesterday, in our post (immediately below) Western feminists are for the subjugation of women, we approved the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s opposition to the Islamic jihad, in particular in Nigeria. It seems that the two organizations – Reuters the news agency and the Thomson Reuters Foundation – do not have consistently matching principles and policies.

The Russian menace 4

The Democrats and the Left in general, emotionally unable to accept that they have been massively defeated in the recent general election, bring up one excuse after another to explain how the Republicans managed to get control of the Presidency, the House of Representatives and the Senate, all but 16 governorships, and a majority of state Legislatures.

One of the more persistent – and most laughably implausible  – excuses is that “the Russians” helped Trump to win by leaking (genuine and dishonorable) emails that had passed among members of the Democratic candidates’ team.

What is funny about this is that for decades the Left was pro-Russian, most ardently when it was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Now the fact that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, was head of an arm of the KGB,  is held against him by the former fans.

The same excuse, that the Russians are interfering in the election process, is being prepared for the likely toppling from power of the German government, a coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU), and the Social Democrats (SPD), led by Chancellor Angela Merkel. (In practice, all of them are socialist parties.)

This government has wrecked Germany, not yet as an economy, but as a nation. It is now a country in which women are afraid to go into public places for fear of being raped and murdered by Muslim immigrants, and where free speech is proscribed to protect the ever-growing Muslim population, and the government itself from criticism for having let in the Muslim hordes claiming to be”refugees”.

Those who would speak out, and do, against the influx of the “refugees” are routinely called “far right” or “hard right” – implying “racist” and “Nazi” (since the Left has got away with labeling Hitler’s National Socialist party as rightists).

The Financial Times of January 30 (only accessible online to subscribers), carries an article by Stefan Wagstyl headed Russia’s next target?, in which it is asserted that [many] Germans are “braced for Russian interference in this year’s federal election”, and that this has already been happening “during election campaigns in three regions” where “emotions were running high about the flow of one million refugees into Germany and support was surging for the hard right Alternative for Germany party [AfD]“.

The writer proceeds:

Now Berlin fears that Moscow could be planning another intervention …

Notice how a first intervention – in the US – is at this point treated as a fact –

… ahead of September’s Bundestag poll with the aim of undermining Ms Merkel. The chancellor herself has warned that thatRussian internet-based misinformation could “play a role in the campaign”. … Berlin’s concerns are heightened by US intelligence agencies; claims that Moscow interfered in the US presidential election through hacking into Democratic party computers and releasing information aimed at damaging Hillary Clinton to the benefit of Donald Trump.

So those unproved allegations, though alluded to as mere “claims”, are used as if they were established fact by politicians who wish they were true.

Why do they want them to be true?

An electoral defeat for Ms Merkel – or even a serious setback – would be a huge victory for Russian president Vladimir Putin. He is keen to break western unity on the sanctions imposed over Russian aggression in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea – unity largely orchestrated and upheld by Ms Merkel. In the longer term, he wants to divide the EU, split NATO and push back an alliance that has extended its reach deep into territory once controlled by Moscow.

Next comes one of the shining illusions of the Left:

Moreover, Ms Merkel is seen in Moscow as the pre-eminent representative of a liberal order that Mr Putin has long feared might undermine his authoritarian grip on Russia. If she can be humbled, her values could also be tarnished.

While we don’t dispute that the Russian government under Putin is authoritarian, we quarrel with the assumption that Merkel’s government is not.

That assumption is so embedded, it accounts for much of the bewilderment as to how Donald Trump ever came to be elected, and the conviction that all opposition to the ruling elite of Europe is “hard left”.  Wagstyl mentions that “her supporters, led by former US President Barack Obama, see Ms Merkel as a liberal beacon in a world of rising nationalism highlighted by Mr Trump’s victory, the UK’s Brexit vote and surging support for far-right leader Marine le Pen”.

So he sees “liberal” as the sweet opposite of naughty “nationalism”; and  the UK’s and US’s choice of independent nationhood and patriotism as identical to Marine le Pen’s movement – which can fairly be called “hard right” even by those of us who are sympathetic to all organized resistance to the  national-suicidal policies of the ruling elite. “Hard right” implies “fascist”. But if the word “fascist” means anything, it means authoritarian, and what are the ruling elite if not authoritarian?

Yet even the Russians still call the EU “liberal” – although, Wagstyl notices, they recognize that the days of such “liberalism” are numbered:

Sergei Karaganov, a foreign policy specialist close to the Kremlin, wrote this month that the world was witnessing the end of EU-style liberal politics. “The old world order is destroyed. We must start building a new one.”

It was perfectly honorable to want to “transfer western values east” into “post-Soviet Russia” through “a plethora of organizations, headed by the German-Russian Forum, financed mostly by German business, and the Petersburg Dialog, funded mainly by the German foreign ministry”. But now, the organizations are being used to channel influence the other way.

“Under Putin, these networks have taken on a different, more nefarious goal: to alter the rules of bilateral relations, influence German policy toward eastern Europe and Russia and impact EU decisions …”

An acknowledgment is made that the present attitude of the “liberal” globalists with Russia was not always thus. The “German political world” is “increasingly critical of Putin’s authoritarian rule” ( but not its own). And “elite opinion has grown wary of Moscow’s charms”.

As it is through the internet  that Russia can now “reach the general population” and influence the way it votes, the fear is growing of cyber attack.

German officials are especially concerned about the hacking of government networks for political ends. [There was] a 2015 attack on the Bundestag when huge amounts of data were removed [stolen]. The BfV intelligence agency blames this raid on a cyber group known as APT28 that is thought to be managed by the Russian secret service [our italics]. … The Kremlin has repeatedly denied that it played any role in US political hacking or the Bundestag attack and dismissed suggestions that it interfered in other countries’ elections.

And –

German security officials concede that they they cannot prove that the Kremlin was ultimately behind the Bundestag hack.

They only think it is “very likely”.

“The chancellor’s chances of losing the Bundestag poll are considered to be small. But” -Wagstyl sounds note of caution – “so  were Mr Trump’s chances of winning the White House.” And he concedes: “No one knows whether the Kremlin tipped the balance there, or what it might attempt in Germany.”

The drift of the entire article, however, is that the Kremlin wants to tip the balances, has tried to tip them, has succeeded in the US, and that if Ms Merkel’s “liberal” government falls, it will most likely be because of Russian interference. 

One good thing that emerges clearly from all this anxious suspicion is that the ruling elite is feeling very insecure. And well it might. The people over whom they exert their “liberal” power are rebelling, and are more than likely to unseat those “liberals” who established and dominated the old world order; who brought alien masses flooding into Europe without the consent of the people they rule – the people whom they are now smearing with insults, trying to silence with tyrannical legislation, and who may be about to dethrone them.

We hope they do dethrone them.

It must not be the Russians who then build a new world order. Theirs would be at least as bad as the old.

We hope for the success of western populism – of the Trumpist popular revolution – in Germany and throughout Europe.

The Democrats don’t love Russia any more 1

Our anti-Trump media accepted the January 6 report, Declassified Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections, because it was designed to convey the impression that Trump was favored by the Russians.

But it is the Democrats who have long enjoyed (if that is the right word) a warm relationship with Russian regimes in both their Soviet Socialist and crony-capitalist mode. At least the Dems wanted to. Whether the Russians ever reciprocated the warm feeling remains a matter of conjecture. Skeptics and Republicans will have one opinion, Democrats and other Leftists another.

We quote from an article by Cliff Kincaid at GOPUSA:

The Russians obtained favored nation trading status under President Obama, giving them access to U.S. capital, and New START, a nuclear weapons agreement giving Moscow a strategic advantage.

Historically, the Russians have always found the Democrats to be friendlier to their global ambitions.

Professor Paul Kengor broke a story on how “the liberals’ lover-boy”, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), had “reached out to Victor Chebrikov at the KGB and Yuri Andropov at the Kremlin” to work against President Ronald Reagan.

Remember that, you who are outraged by the notion – born in your own minds – that President-elect Trump conspired with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton in the recent election.

Such a charge [of Trump-Putin conspiracy] was welcomed by the liberal media, in particular because it allowed them to divert attention away from the substance of the WikiLeaks revelations that showed how major journalists worked hand-in-glove with Hillary Clinton-for-president staffers. These disclosures were in emails hacked from the account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee.

Not even the persons most eager to smear Donald Trump claimed that the scandalous contents of the purloined emails (see here and here) were not true or not genuine. In fact the intelligence report positively states that they are true.

The IC report says that WikiLeaks, an alleged Russian agent, disseminated truthful information. “Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries,” the report says.

This is quite a turnaround for the Russians. In the past the Russians would alter or forge documents to make people look bad. This time, the Russians revealed the truth. … Of course, the Russians do not provide accurate and truthful information to their own people and they conduct propaganda and disinformation campaigns targeting foreign audiences. Their alleged illegal hacking into the private accounts of Americans cannot be justified. But Podesta and other Democrats can be criticized for failing to safeguard their own information and virtually inviting foreign hacking.

Russian intentions in allegedly providing the emails to WikiLeaks are a subject worthy of attention. But the conclusion that the Russians favored Trump over Clinton cannot be sustained by the evidence in the report. The IC report fails miserably in articulating how the Russians use dialectical maneuvers in playing both sides of the political street in the U.S.

One of the glaring omissions in the report on Russian interference in “recent elections” is the failure to address the evidence that RT [Russia Today] television was giving enormously favorable coverage in the 2012 presidential campaign to then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), a libertarian with pro-Russia views on foreign policy. He ran in the Republican presidential primary. …

Of course, Obama won that election, after dismissing his Republican opponent Mitt Romney’s claim that Russia was a geopolitical threat to the United States. Obama had been caught on an open mic before the election promising to be “flexible” in changing his positions to benefit Russia. These comments provide more evidence that Obama was never the anti-Russian figure he postured as in the final days of his second term. …

Obama’s various federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, the FCC and the FEC, refused to take any direct action against RT over the years when it was engaging in anti-Republican activities and supporting the progressive movement.

But when they saw they could use RT as a weapon against Trump, they suddenly became concerned about foreign interference in the U.S. political process.

Although the IC report insists that the Russians had a “preference” for Donald J. Trump for president … back in August of 2015 …  RT was backing “Bolshevik Bernie” Sanders for president. … Yet the intelligence community report makes no mention of RT programs backing Sanders, whose Russian connections included visiting the Soviet Union on his honeymoon. Sanders was a fellow traveler of the Moscow-controlled U.S. Peace Council.

The focus on Trump runs counter to the stated purpose of the report and reflects the political bias therein. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) says that “On December 9, 2016, President Barack Obama directed the Intelligence Community to conduct a full review and produce a comprehensive intelligence report assessing Russian activities and intentions in recent U.S. elections.” (emphasis added). Yet, nothing is said about RT’s involvement in the 2012 contest that Obama won.

The U.S. Intelligence Community is described as “a coalition of 17 agencies and organizations, including the ODNI,” but only three were involved in the report. They were the CIA, FBI and NSA. It is generally believed that CIA Director John Brennan was the guiding force behind the Obama administration effort to blame the Russians for Trump’s election victory. Former CIA officials Michael Morell, Michael Hayden and Philip Mudd had all denounced Trump.

It certainly looks as if the CIA interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Perhaps blaming the Russians was an attempt to get the attention off the agency.

Brennan was accused of converting to Islam when he was stationed in Saudi Arabia. His CIA under Obama’s orders directed the shipment of arms to jihadist groups in the Middle East. At a congressional panel on diversity in hiring, he admitted voting Communist when he was in college.

His focus at the agency has been on hiring people with “diverse” backgrounds, such as transgenders, and he even signed a policy document on a “Diversity and Inclusion Strategy” for the years 2016 to 2019, beyond his tenure as director.

Rather than go down in history with a reputation for defending America, … Brennan “would prefer his legacy be the way he fought to nurture a workforce that reflected America’s diversity”. The Journal added, “During his tenure he has put particular emphasis on promoting the interests of gay, lesbian, and transgender officers. He was the first CIA director to attend an annual social gathering of LGBTQ employees and has been known to wear a rainbow lanyard around the office as a symbol of solidarity.”

It looks like the focus on “diversity” in hiring has taken precedence over getting the facts right about foreign threats. Indeed, some observers, such as former FBI agent John Guandolo, have suggested that President Trump should abolish and replace the CIA with a new organization. “In 15 years they haven’t gotten a strategic analysis of the threat right — yet”  …

The CIA will have to answer to its new director, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Trump’s pick to run the agency.

But the media have a lot to answer for as well.

If WikiLeaks has suddenly became a Russian front or conduit, why are American news organizations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post still included among the “partners” with WikiLeaks in distributing its information? Other partners include the British Guardian, The Intercept, The Nation, McClatchy, The Wall Street Journal, and, of course, RT. 

If WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a Russian agent, why did major U.S. media organizations partner with him? Why did they not investigate him …? Assange was considered a courageous whistleblower by the liberal press. They hailed WikiLeaks for releasing the classified documents that were stolen by Army intelligence analyst Bradley/Chelsea Manning, whose sentence for espionage has been shortened by Obama.

Obama has commuted Bradley’s 35 year sentence, allowing the convict to be freed in May 2017 – iniquitously, and in contradiction to his outrage at the Russian interference that he alleges.

In addition to these issues and questions, some parts of the report lend themselves to a far different interpretation of Russian motives in U.S. politics.

For example, the IC report notes that RT ran a story against fracking, a technique that has sparked U.S. oil and gas production. The report says, “RT runs anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health. This is likely reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.”

The 2016 Democratic Party platform is highly critical of fracking. So does this mean the Democrats are doing the bidding of Putin? The progressive movement is almost completely against fracking. Does that mean that the progressives are puppets of Putin? …

By [an] objective measure of actual policies,Trump will prove to be more harmful to Russia than Hillary Clinton could ever hope to be.

And she surely would not have hoped to be harmful to Russia – not to Russia – when she was still in a position to hope for any effect on international relations. Fortunately, that time has passed.

We had noted RT’s favorable coverage of the Occupy movement. Of course, Occupy Wall Street was a left-wing political movement aligned with the progressives and even encouraged by President Obama. So does this mean that Obama was doing the bidding of the Russians?

The IC report explains how RT bypassed American laws such as the Foreign Agents Registration Act “by using a Moscow-based autonomous nonprofit organization to finance its US operations”. The report goes on, “According to RT’s leadership, this structure was set up to avoid the Foreign Agents Registration Act and to facilitate licensing abroad. In addition, RT rebranded itself in 2008 to deemphasize its Russian origin.” Still, the financing for the channel comes from the Russian government, the report says.

So RT is, and has been, a foreign state-funded entity that should be subject to federal oversight from agencies such as the Department of Justice, the FCC, and the FEC. Yet, only now, after Hillary Clinton has lost the presidential election, has the IC been ordered to release a public report on what the Russian channel has been doing in U.S. elections.

The only thing that has changed over the years is that RT is now somehow considered to be a factor in Hillary Clinton’s defeat.

If the liberal media are now truly concerned about Russian influence in the U.S. political process, rather than just using the issue as a weapon against Trump, they should … review their own “partner” relationship with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

After this review is complete, they should take another look at the IC report and determine why and how agencies like the CIA became adjuncts of the Democratic Party with a partisan bias against the new Republican president.

Since we know that the media and the Democrats work hand-in-glove, perhaps it’s time to investigate the CIA’s relationship with the media.

Yes. Tomorrow, January 20, 2017, will be the day when that becomes possible, and sometime soon may it become an active process!

If it wasn’t Russia, who is disappointed? 2

Outgoing President Obama has accused Russia of hacking Democratic Party emails during the presidential campaign, and leaking them with the intention of interfering in America’s election process.

What the emails revealed should be the subject of scandal, but that is lost in the noise about Russia’s interference.

By accusing Russia, Obama casts a shadow of illegitimacy over Donald Trump’s election to the presidency; an implication that he only won because a foreign power intervened to help him. (Which is nonsense, of course.) 

But did Russians hack and leak those scandalous emails?

From Ars Technica, by Dan Goodin

Talk about disappointments. The US government’s much-anticipated analysis of Russian-sponsored hacking operations provides almost none of the promised evidence linking them to breaches that the Obama administration claims were orchestrated in an attempt to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

The 13-page report, which was jointly published Thursday [December 29, 2016] by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, billed itself as an indictment of sorts that would finally lay out the intelligence community’s case that Russian government operatives carried out hacks on the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Clinton Campaign Chief John Podesta and leaked much of the resulting material. While security companies in the private sector have said for months the hacking campaign was the work of people working for the Russian government, anonymous people tied to the leaks have claimed they are lone wolves. Many independent security experts said there was little way to know the true origins of the attacks.

Sadly, the JAR, as the Joint Analysis Report is called, does little to end the debate. Instead of providing smoking guns that the Russian government was behind specific hacks, it largely restates previous private-sector claims without providing any support for their validity. Even worse, it provides an effective bait and switch by promising newly declassified intelligence into Russian hackers’ “tradecraft and techniques” and instead delivering generic methods carried out by just about all state-sponsored hacking groups.

“This ultimately seems like a very rushed report put together by multiple teams working different data sets and motivations,” Robert M. Lee, CEO and Founder of the security company Dragos, wrote in a critique published Friday. “It is my opinion and speculation that there were some really good [US] government analysts and operators contributing to this data and then report reviews, leadership approval processes, and sanitation processes stripped out most of the value and left behind a very confusing report trying to cover too much while saying too little.”

The sloppiness, Lee noted, included the report’s conflation of Russian hacking groups APT28 and APT29 — also known as CozyBear, Sandworm, Sednit, and Sofacy, among others — with malware names such as BlackEnergy and Havex, and even hacking capabilities such as “Powershell Backdoor”. The mix up of such basic classifications does little to inspire confidence that the report was carefully or methodically prepared. And that only sows more reasons for President elect Donald Trump and his supporters to cast doubt on the intelligence community’s analysis on a matter that, if true, poses a major national security threat.

The writers showed a similar lack of rigor when publishing so-called indicators of compromise, which security practitioners use to detect if a network has been breached by a specific group or piece of malware. As Errata Security CEO Rob Graham pointed out in a blog post, one of the signatures detects the presence of “PAS TOOL WEB KIT”, a tool that’s widely used by literally hundreds, and possibly thousands, of hackers in Russia and Ukraine, most of whom are otherwise unaffiliated and have no connection to the Russian government.

“In other words, these rules can be a reflection of the fact the government has excellent information for attribution,” Graham wrote. “Or, it could be a reflection that they’ve got only weak bits and pieces. It’s impossible for us outsiders to tell.”

Security consultant Jeffrey Carr also cast doubt on claims that attacks that hit the Democratic National Committee could only have originated from Russian-sponsored hackers because they relied on the same malware that also breached Germany’s Bundestag and French TV network TV5Monde. Proponents of this theory, including the CrowdStrike researchers who analyzed the Democratic National Committee’s hacked network, argue that the pattern strongly implicates Russia because no other actor would have the combined motivation and resources to hack the same targets. But as Carr pointed out, the full source code for the X-Agent implant that has long been associated with APT28 was independently obtained by researchers from antivirus provider Eset.

If ESET could do it, so can others,” Carr wrote. “It is both foolish and baseless to claim, as CrowdStrike does, that X-Agent is used solely by the Russian government when the source code is there for anyone to find and use at will.” …

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Thursday’s Joint Analysis Report provides almost no new evidence to support the Obama Administration’s claims Russia attempted to interfere with the US electoral process.

And this is from PowerLine by John Hinderaker:

Evidence for Russian involvement in DNC hack is nonexistent.

The Obama administration insists that Russia’s government was behind the penetration of the Democratic National Committee’s email system (even though it admits that the intrusion was not carried out by the government itself). The administration released a report that purportedly provided evidence in support of this claim, but even an amateur like me could see that the report was surprisingly weak.

Then the experts started to weigh in. Their verdict was that the operation termed “Grizzly Steppe” by the Obama administration could possibly have been carried out by Putin’s regime, but the administration’s report contained no evidence at all that pointed toward Russia, let alone the Russian government.

Now, the internet security experts who are proprietors of Wordfence re-state their conclusions and explain the research they did to support them.

On Friday we published an analysis of the FBI and DHS Grizzly Steppe report. The report was widely seen as proof that Russian intelligence operatives hacked the US 2016 election. We showed that the PHP malware in the report is old, freely available from a Ukrainian hacker group and is an administrative tool for hackers.

We also performed an analysis on the IP addresses included in the report and showed that they originate from 61 countries and 389 different organizations with no clear attribution to Russia. …

If I find something in the DHS/FBI report on my website or network, does it mean that Russia hacked me?

No it does not. 

This has caused serious confusion already among press and US policy makers. A Vermont electrical utility found a sample of what is in the DHS/FBI Grizzly Steppe report on a single laptop. That laptop was not connected to the Electric Grid network. It was reported as Russia hacking the US electrical grid. …

The data in the DHS/FBI Grizzly Steppe report contains “indicators of compromise” (IOCs) which you can think of as footprints that hackers left behind. The IOC’s in the report are tools that are freely available and IP addresses that are used by hackers around the world. There is very little Russia-specific data in the Grizzly Steppe report.

If you find an IOC that is in the report on your network or server, it is unlikely that you have been targeted by Russian Intelligence.

The PHP malware the report provided, for example, is freely available for anyone who wants it.

The article then provides a technical explanation of “how the Wordfence proprietors got to the bottom of what appears to have been an attempt at obfuscation by the Obama administration”.

The Wordfence experts conclude:

[That]  is how we determined that the FBI/DHS report contains an old malware sample that is publicly available and the hacker group that distributes it appears to be Ukrainian.

Other experts have weighed in, pointing out that the administration’s report contains little or no evidence that Russia had anything to do with the DNC hack, e.g. Ars Technica and others … If any technical experts have endorsed the claims in the administration’s report, I am not aware of it.

Nevertheless, the Democratic Party operatives who masquerade as reporters in the U.S. have uncritically swallowed the administration’s line, and are hectoring Donald Trump and his aides to admit that Vladimir Putin was responsible for “hacking the election”. 

President-elect Donald Trump does not strike us as a man easily hectored. And he is very unlikely to “admit” to something he had nothing to do with – and that apparently didn’t happen.

If Obama and the Democrats are hoping he will accuse himself and defend Vladimir Putin, they are doomed to yet another disappointment.

The ruinous presidency of Barack Obama 4

… ends with a diabolical act of treachery.

Bret Stephens writes at the Wall Street Journal:

Barack Obama’s decision to abstain from, and therefore allow, last week’s vote to censure Israel at the U.N. Security Council is a fitting capstone for what’s left of his foreign policy. Strategic half-measures, underhanded tactics and moralizing gestures have been the president’s style from the beginning. Israelis aren’t the only people to feel betrayed by the results.

Also betrayed: Iranians, whose 2009 Green Revolution in heroic protest of a stolen election Mr. Obama conspicuously failed to endorse for fear of offending the ruling theocracy.

Iraqis, who were assured of a diplomatic surge to consolidate the gains of the military surge, but who ceased to be of any interest to Mr. Obama the moment U.S. troops were withdrawn, and only concerned him again when ISIS neared the gates of Baghdad.

Syrians, whose initially peaceful uprising against anti-American dictator Bashar Assad Mr. Obama refused to embrace, and whose initially moderate-led uprising Mr. Obama failed to support, and whose sarin- and chlorine-gassed children Mr. Obama refused to rescue, his own red lines notwithstanding.

Ukrainians, who gave up their nuclear weapons in 1994 with formal U.S. assurances that their “existing borders” would be guaranteed, only to see Mr. Obama refuse to supply them with defensive weapons when Vladimir Putin invaded their territory 20 years later.

Pro-American Arab leaders, who expected better than to be given ultimatums from Washington to step down, and who didn’t anticipate the administration’s tilt toward the Muslim Brotherhood as a legitimate political opposition, and toward Tehran as a responsible negotiating partner.

Most betrayed: Americans.

Mr. Obama promised a responsible end to the war in Iraq. We are again fighting in Iraq. He promised victory in Afghanistan. The Taliban are winning. He promised a reset with Russia. We are enemies again. He promised the containment of Iran. We are witnessing its ascendancy in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. He promised a world free of nuclear weapons. We are stumbling into another age of nuclear proliferation. He promised al Qaeda on a path to defeat. Jihad has never been so rampant and deadly.

These are the results. They would be easier to forgive if they hadn’t so often been reached by disingenuous and dishonorable means.

The administration was deceptive about the motives for the 2012 Benghazi attack. It was deceptive about Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s service record, and the considerations that led it to exchange five Taliban leaders for his freedom. It was deceptive about when it began nuclear negotiations with Iran. It was deceptive about the terms of the deal. It continues to be deceptive about the fundamental aim of the agreement, which has less to do with curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions than with aligning Washington’s interests with Tehran’s.

Now the administration is likely being deceptive about last week’s U.N. vote, claiming it did not promote, craft or orchestrate a resolution that treats the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City as a settlement in illegally occupied territory. Yet in November, John Kerry had a long talk on the subject with the foreign minister of New Zealand, one of the resolution’s sponsors.

“One of the closed-door discussions between United States Secretary of State John Kerry and the New Zealand government today was a potential resolution by the United Nations Security Council on a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict,” the New Zealand Herald reported last month. “‘It is a conversation we are engaged in deeply and we’ve spent some time talking to Secretary Kerry about where the U.S. might go on this,’” the paper added, quoting Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

The Israelis claim to have more evidence along these lines. If so, it means the administration no longer bothers to lie convincingly.

Even this might be excusable, if Mr. Obama at least had the courage of his mistaken convictions, or if his deception were in the service of a worthier end. Instead, we have the spectacle of the U.S. government hiding behind the skirts of the foreign minister of New Zealand — along with eminent co-sponsors, Venezuela, Malaysia and Senegal — in order to embarrass and endanger a democratic ally in a forum where that ally is already isolated and bullied. In the catalog of low points in American diplomacy, this one ranks high.

After the Carter administration pulled a similar stunt against Israel at the Security Council in December 1980, the Washington Post published an editorial that does the paper honor today.

“It cannot be denied,” the editors wrote, “that there is a pack and that it hounds Israel shamelessly and that this makes it very serious when the United States joins it.” The editorial was titled Joining the Jackals.

Unlike Mr. Carter, Mr. Obama hasn’t joined the jackals. He has merely opened the door wide to them, whether at the U.N. or in the skies over Syria or in the killing fields in Ukraine.

The United States abstains: What a fitting finish to this ruinous presidency.

Yes. For America, if not for himself, Obama’s presidency has been a colossal foreign policy failure.

If his domestic policy failures – a long list, headed by his failure to achieve even 3% GDP growth in any year of his two terms and his worsening of race relations  – are added to the record, he surpasses Jimmy Carter to win the title of America’s worst president.

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