Evan Osnos, David Remnick, Joshua Yaffa
The New Yorker, Mar06|17
Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War
just gotta' get this one thing off my chest: Somebody please tell them
insufferably pompous comma cows at The New Yorker ( Mary Norris, I'm
lookin' at you) that umlauts are verboten in English; even in
Germany only Nazis use them in English words. I have checked seven
digital dictionaries and three analog ones and not a single one spells
"cooperate" "coöperate" or "reelection"
"reëlection." The NYer's sophomoric pendanticism. Sad.
OK, now where was I? Right . . . I wasn't
anywhere because I haven't begun this commentary yet.
What I was about to say before being so
rudely interrupted by the umlaut louts was that I have read better pieces
in the NYer than this one by Osnos, Remnick and Yaffa, and by that I mean
many pieces and much better. But I have never read a better explanation of Putin's
hatred of the US
anywhere; moreover, I am writing this grammatically grotesque sentence to
rattle the comma cows' cage. I return you now to our regularly scheduled
O.R.&Y., like every reputable NY'er
writer, open by throwing a sharp jab at the reader's verbal cortex:
On April 12, 1982, Yuri Andropov, the
chairman of the K.G.B., ordered foreign-intelligence operatives to carry
out “active measures”—aktivniye meropriyatiya—against the
reëlection [sic] campaign of President Ronald Reagan.
But their backstory goes much farther back
final years of the Soviet Union, for there are occasional flashbacks to 1917 and
the Russian Revolution. And yet O.R.&Y. keep their focus on the
Russian shenanigans in the 2016 election, if I may use the term
"election" loosely. Their objective is to trace Putin's rise
from a KGB hack in East Germany to one of the most powerful and wealthy
men in the world, who is, incidentally, pissed off at the US and really
pissed off at Hillary, who tried to ruin his election in 2012. And it's a pretty good story, too, even though it leaves
out a lot of the bodies floating in the Moskva River. (As I write this line the body of one of Putin's
opponents, Denis Foronenkov, has not yet reached room temperature
in Kiev where he was just
murdered in broad daylight.)
NY'er writers don't have quite the deadline
pressure that journalists working actual beats have. NY'er writers can
sit back for a week or two and wait for those facts that sort of stagger in
late at night after all the rest have been put to bed. But even still,
trying to figure out what's going on in this volatile world of ours in
near-real time is a fool's folly. For instance, would O.R.&Y. be
presenting this as a story about the hacking of the Democrats from the
outside if they had taken time to analyze new information pointing to a
pack of Pakistani IT workers called the Awan
brothers, now subjects of a criminal probe, who were working for Debbie
Schultz and other Democrats when the DNC/Podesta leaks went down?
I guess what I'm saying is that this New
Yorker article is worthwhile for historical background going back to 1917 or
1989, but as far as it's conclusions and insinuations about what happened
in 2016, I wouldn't trust it no matter how many umlauts it uses.
Philip Giraldi, The Unz Review, Mar07|17
Unz Review piece Giraldi focuses on the US/GoY tag-team beating up on
the UN. As is always the case with Giraldi, it's probably best just
to let him speak for himself. Here are some snips to give you a feel for
where he is going in this article.
In fact, even though the individual neocons
have largely been outed from the foreign and security policy positions
they once dominated it would not be completely inappropriate to suggest
that their legacy of military interventionism lives on in terms of what
the Trump administration has been so far promoting to keep America
“safe.” Where all of this will go is anyone’s guess.
On Sunday New York Governor Andrew Cuomo met
with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss “trade and
security issues” without anyone complaining that he was in violation of
the Logan Act, which apparently only applies if you are talking to
Ambassador Haley has
also denounced the international body in general terms, stating that
she was “underscore[ing] the ironclad support of the United States for
Israel,” adding that “I am here to emphasize that United
States is determined to stand up to the U.N.’s anti-Israel bias.” And
if anyone failed to understand, on March 1st, U.S. envoy to the
U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva Erin Barclay told
the group that it must drop its “obsession with Israel” or risk
Washington withdrawing from the organization. The suggestion that the U.S.
might consider departing came, incidentally, directly from Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who
proposed such action to Donald Trump to “delegitimize” the U.N.
The subservient role dutifully played by
every U.S. president since JFK when dealing with Tel Aviv has resulted in
defining United States national interests in terms of Israeli perceptions.
The real irony is that even though Trump is giving the Israelis everything
they want and is bowing to the Israel Lobby and Jewish groups at every
opportunity, it is still not enough. It is never enough. . . Because even though he has showered benefits
on Israel his love for the Jewish people is “insufficient.” [Bernard-Henri] Levy
explains, “This love is precisely what is required of an American
president in dealings affecting Israel.”. . . While it is possible to
dismiss Levy as a completely self-serving bullshit artist who badly needs a
haircut and a bath, he is far from alone. Also on the left there is the
renowned Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard University.
As Bernard-Henri Levy has made
clear and the Talmud asserts, Jewish lives are more important than those of
gentiles, so it is fit and proper that Americans should fight and die to
make sure that Israel might prosper.
[This Levy dude is one bad hombre and Exhibit
"A" for why there
is so much antisemitism in
Europe. His NYT pieces will promote it here. Someone needs to build a
wall around him and make him pay for it. - DOB]
Iona Craig, The Intercept,
in Al Ghayil
I have not
kind to America's latest dead military hero, Ryan Owens,
and his killer-colleagues who shot up a Yemeni village, killing 25 Yemeni
civilians, including an 8 yo American citizen and eight other kids under
the age of 13. The SEALs raid, botched as it was, was characterized
by DTDuck as "highly successful," quoting his DOD mogul, Mad
Dog Mattis. And Sean Spicer went so far as to assert that the raid
was “a very, very well thought out and executed effort.”
The audacity of their mendacity does not
bode well for the future of this administration, for the
stupidity/incompetence of the SEALs Yemen raid is on a par with
Operation Eagle Claw, the Jimmy Carter cluster-fuck of a raid on Tehran in
Now comes Iona Craig's excellent reporting
directly from al Ghayil, the Yemeni village that Owens and his buddies
shot up. Among the new pieces of information about this all-American
debacle, Craig tells us that:
The first to die in the assault was a
13-yo named Hasser al Dhahab;
In what seemed to be blind panic, the
gunships bombarded the entire village, striking more than a dozen
buildings, razing stone dwellings where families slept, and wiping out
more than 120 goats, sheep, and donkeys;
Dozens of UAE Apache gunships are
currently stationed in Emirati-run military bases across Yemen;
A $70M Osprey was destroyed;
This was not the first time the
gullible Americans had been duped by false intel from the Yemini
Apaches have returned to the village,
"carrying out indiscriminate shelling" even though the
village is now all but empty.
While acknowledging that memories grow
faint after 50 years, from my recollections as an ex-Marine who humped a
radio for Force Recon raids in Vietnam, judging from Craig's
description of the SEALs' raid it appears to me that it was certainly not
a "very, very well thought out and executed effort."
Kids, listed by age, killed by the US SEALs in the Feb29
botched raid. Source: Bureau
of Investigative Journalism
And so it goes, Kurt . . .
See additional excellent reporting on the
botched SEALs raid by Namir Shabibi and Nasser al Sane for Bureau
of Investigative Journalism
Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept,
Paul Is Right: NSA Routinely Monitors Americans’ Communications Without
piece is presented here ahead of Phil Giraldi's only
because it was published first. Giraldi's Mar14 piece, below, should
probably be read before this one unless you already have the basic background
on WikiLeaks' data-dump early this month. GG is focusing less on technology and more
on the FISA courts and their ground-rules.
This piece is even more
timely now than when it was published, and I say that for two reasons.
First, there is DTDuck's goof-ball
accusation that Obama tapped "the wires" in Trump Tower during Trump's campaign.
And the reason I mention it is that in today's news Rep. Devin Nunes, head of the
House Intel Committee, dropped the bomb-shell that
DTDuck could very well have been recorded as a result of the same
back-door FISA rules that GG explains in detail in this article.
The other reason GG's article is more timely
now than when it was published is that the House Intel Committee grilled
FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Adm. Michael Rogers
this week. During that inquisition Comey and Rogers were asked who
has authority to unmask a redacted name in a classified report. In
other words, when the FBI is recording a conversation between a foreign
actor and an American, the report will redact, or mask, the name of the
American. Who has the authority to subsequently reveal the identity
of that American?
Comey and Rogers said that each agency has
a very tiny group of people with the authority to unmask. As I
recall, Comey estimated that in the FBI there would be 20 or less people
with that authority. And yet GG's article quotes Rand Paul as
quoting General Michael Hayden, former Director if NSA, as saying
even low-level employees can unmask redacted names, and that is probably
how Michael Flynn's conversations with Russians were outed. So
we've got a major disagreement between the present and the former NSA
Directors over this vital bureaucratic fact.
Furthermore, according to Paul, Obama was
tapped 1,227 times through the FISA backdoor. Well now, durn, ain't that a
pisser? Because when he was questioned by the Intel Committee,
Rogers said that no one, not even the President, can order a tap on any
American person without a warrant. But, if you are the President
talking to someone who is being tapped pursuant to a valid warrant, then
your own conversation is fair game, it's just that your identity must be
masked. And that makes the dispute between Hayden and Rogers over who can
unmask a person recorded by a tap very, very interesting -- is it
restricted to a very small group of people, or is it any low-level mule in
GG takes this whole FISA backdoor
phenomenon to a new level. Not a higher level, a lower one. Low as
in cesspool low. For GG argues very convincingly that the 2008 FISA
law actually designed the backdoor to allow the spooks to spy
on just about anyone. I don't know what the status of the issue is now,
and GG doesn't mention it, but not too many years ago there was a lot of
yada about the principle that if the spooks could legitimately tap a
person pursuant to a warrant, then they could also separately tap everyone that person talked to, and
everyone the next person talked to. It was bloody
If a foreign guy "F" is being
tapped according to a valid warrant and "F" talks to an American
"A," then the warrant is automatically extended to "A"
and everyone "A" talks to. If "A" then calls the pizza
shop "P", then the warrant is extended to "P" and
everyone "P" talks to, which is the whole freaking city.
I think most Americans don't know, and
probably don't care, how much damage the 9/11 attacks have done to the US
Constitution and to the privacy and personal rights of
Americans. The damage those fuck-wit Muslims did to America has gone far
beyond the loss of 3000 lives and the destruction and damage to some
estate. Americans' freedoms are sliding badly because Americans are
And the number one reason American freedoms
are taking such a hit is because the federal judges -- mostly, but not
only, the FISA judges -- are failing America. They are, of course, afraid
to push back against the spy organizations because if they start
scrutinizing FISA warrants, or start taking the gags off of the press and
bureaucrats, or start questioning the constitutionality of the Patriot Act
and other draconian legislation -- if they try to do their jobs and stop
America from sliding farther into a faux-democratic totalitarian funk and
if another massive attack happens, the politicians will blame the
I cannot see any way out of this dilemma.
America has screwed over poor countries and poor people for generations, particularly poor
countries and poor people who tend to be Muslim. The Koreans and Vietnamese
never retaliated, for whatever reason. The Central Americans never retaliated, for whatever reason. But with respect to the Muslim countries,
the chickens are coming home to roost. In another 20 years
Americans' personal freedoms will be too battered and beaten to recognize.
Philip Giraldi, Unz Review, Mar14|17
is the CIA hack all about?
If by now you
aren't turning your router off when not using it, then you missed the memo
-- the memo being the WikiLeaks disclosure
that the CI has access to every device that is connected to the
internet. IOW, that whole 1984 thing about Big Brother
watching you through your TV is finally here, big time, thanks mostly to
the so-called Constitutional law scholar Barrack Obama and his
In this piece, Giraldi extends the BiBo
scare even further: Jeff Bezos -- who owns Amazon and the WaPo --
has been pushing to get Alexa and Amazon Echo not just into
every home in the country, but into every room in every home, including
the bathroom. At the same time Bezos is providing $600M
worth of cloud data storage for the CIA. Never mind that WaPo has
been the CIA's Mockingbird
for decades, now you have BiBo plus Bezos invading your home and listening
to every word, whisper, fight, fart, and flush.
Nor should we forget that Google recently
spent $3.2bn on an energy company, Nest, that sells smart internet-based
energy tech for homes. Smart as in the tech records which rooms in a
house people are occupying in real-time. IOW, Google will have the advantage to
look inside your house and see where you are at all times. So while you
are sitting on the crapper humming old James Taylor songs, Google will
know where you are and Amazon will be recording every
Giraldi's article is particularly helpful
in understanding the interplay between the CIA and the NSA and their
excuses for spying on everyone and their techniques, as revealed by
It really just makes ya' think: what a
bunch of moron sheep we would all be were it not for Snowden and Assange.
Just think how much we now know that we would never have known. Just think
how people know what questions to ask and what rocks to look under.
We're still sheep, but at least we're not dumb sheep.
If you haven't already figured out what all
the yada about spying TVs and vacuum cleaners is about, this piece by Philip
probably as good a place to start as anywhere. It's borderline
outdated already, but it's clearly written. In order to get to the next
layer of complexity have a look at Greenwald's piece, just above, which
focuses on the backdoor bullshit of FISA.
Jack Ravenwood, The Unz Review,
JFK, and the Deep State
is what all Americans need: a helpful history of the deep ugliness of the
all the way back to John F. Kennedy, which is to say almost all the way back to its
inception. It's a concise history of the CIA that connects a lot of dots and
makes some very interesting juxtapositions between DTDuck's relationship
with the CIA and JFK's.
One of Ravenwood's more worrisome
juxtapositions is JFK's and DTDuck's noise about getting along
with Russia, as if Russia isn't the mortal enemy of the US that the CIA
claims it is. Ravenwood points out how JFK fired CIA director Allen
Dulles and two of his deputies, and how it was not long after the
Cuban missile crisis that Kennedy negotiated peace with Russia and was
even -- horrors of horrors -- making overtures to Castro. Nine
months later JFK was lying on a stainless steel table staring at the
ceiling with half of his head blown away.
Trump’s recent clash with the CIA certainly
brings to mind JFK’s confrontation with them after the Bay of Pigs. After
privately accusing the CIA of lying to him and giving him false information,
he fired Director Allen Dulles and Deputy Directors Charles Cabell and
Richard Bissell. He said that he would like to “smash the CIA into a
thousand pieces and scatter them to the winds.”.
You gotta' wonder whether DTDuck puts his
phone down long enough to read up on the history of his predecessors . . .
or his CIA.
To my mind, the least believable assertion
made by Ravenwood is that what defines the "Deep State" is a desire for
war with Russian and Iran, which will blossom into WWIII. It is just too
hard for me to conceive of a group of individuals who would desire a
nuclear war that they would not be able to control, much less limit. What,
are they dug so deeply into the mountain that they are assured to survive
anything that could happen? Will they be able to stay there for
generations until the planet and everything on it stops glowing?
Another interesting point Ravenwood puts out
there is they way the illicit drug business in the US follows the CIA's
wars. Quoting Peter Dale Scott:
When the U.S. was involved in covert
operations in southeast Asia in the 1960s and 1970s, we had a heroin
epidemic on this continent. In the 1980s, when some of the same people were
involved in a covert operation in Central America, we had a cocaine
epidemic. That’s not a coincidence.
Of course all of this brings to mind Michael
Hastings' suspicious car "accident" and Gary Webb's suspicious "suicide,"
the latter of which Ravenwood mentions.
But applying second and third derivative sort
of thinking as one must do when contemplating what the spooks are really up
to, one might reasonably wonder whether the people who publish criticism of the Deep State
and live to a ripe old age aren't really planted to create false-flag diversion from the truth. By
a sort of operational definition, anyone who is a real threat to the CIA, like
Hastings and Webb, would be off'd.
With respect to useful diversions, I would note that in
Ravenwood's review of America's problems with its
own government and the international ramifications of those problems, Israel
is not once mentioned until the comments section.
Send it: denis [at sign] logophere [ full stop] com