Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Intelligence Community Collected and Shared Information about Trump Transition People



By Adam Dick

Early information arising from a US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee investigation into possible United States government spying on Donald Trump and people associated with him appears to show that information about individuals associated with Trump and his presidential transition was collected through surveillance by, and was widely distributed in, the US intelligence community.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters Wednesday that “on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition” and that “details about US persons associated with the incoming administration — details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value — were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting.”

Nunez also stated in a press release Wednesday that he has “asked the Directors of the FBI, NSA, and CIA to expeditiously comply with my March 15 letter, and to provide a full account of” related surveillance activities.

Nunes’ discussion of the information being “incidentally collected” and then being widely distributed despite having little or no apparent foreign intelligence value highlights a reason to reject the common claim that people who have done nothing wrong have no reason to worry about mass surveillance. When you allow surveillance to run wild, then information that has nothing to do with the supposed purposes of the surveillance, such as protecting Americans from terrorist attacks, can be easily and frequently swept up and shared.

It is naïve to believe that none of the people who obtain the surveillance-derived information will then use it to their advantage, even if that results in harm to the people “incidentally” surveilled. It is also naïve to assume that surveillance efforts will not be adjusted here and there to make sure that more of the desired, but definable as “incidentally collected,” information is obtained and shared.

The above originally appeared at The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Vladimir Putin Utterly Destroys BBC Reporter

Everyone that thinks Russia is a threat to the United States should watch this.

 

-RW 

(ht LewRockwell.com)

HOT British Parliament on Lock Down




BREAKING

A woman is dead and others ‘catastrophically’ injured after 4×4 mowed down a dozen people on Westminster Bridge before a knifeman stormed Parliament grounds and stabbed a cop before being shot by police.

UPDATE

London Metropolitan Police: "There are a number of casualties, including police officers"

UPDATE 2

Moments after car runs over civilians in Westminster -

North Korea Launches Missile, But Test Appears to Fail

 North Korea fired a missile off its east coast on Wednesday, but the test apparently was a failure, South Korean military officials said.
North Korea launched the missile from near an air base in Wonsan, a port city, the South Korean Defense Ministry said in a brief statement. “We believe the test was a failure,” the ministry added, providing no further details, such as the type of missile launched.
This is not going to end well. The United States continues to taunt North Korea and Kim Jung-un is not backing down.

 -RW 

Congressman Adam Schiff's Witchhunt Question Put to the Director of the FBI

Roger Stone
By Robert Wenzel

On Monday FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as part of the committee's investigation into whether the Russian government attempted to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Most of the questioning and testimony provided an object lesson in how the government can spin nothing into an alleged great scandal.

Perhaps the most instructive question and answer series on how this is done was a series of questions put to Comey by Congressman Adam Schiff.

It went like this:
SCHIFF: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I just want to follow up with a few questions about Roger Stone that I had started with earlier before I passed it to my colleagues. Director Comey, are you aware that Roger Stone played a role in the Trump campaign?

COMEY: I'm not going to talk about any particular person here today, Mr. Schiff.
SCHIFF: I'm going to continue to ask these questions because among other things, I want to make sure you are aware of these facts whether you're able to comment on them political dirty tricks?

COMEY: I'll give you the same answer, sir.

SCHIFF: I mentioned before that Mr. Stone was in direct communication with a creature of Russian GRU, Guccifer 2.0 and that's something the intelligence assessment talked about, the role of Guccifer 2.0.

Mr. Stone on August 17, are you aware, received communication from Guccifer 2.0 that said, quote "I'm pleased to say that you are great. Please tell me if I can help you any how. It would be a great pleasure to me." Are you aware of that communication from essentially Russian GRU through Guccifer to Mr. Stone?

COMEY: I have to give you the same answer.
What's this, Roger Stone communicating with the Russian GRU?

The exchange that went on between Stone and Guccifer 2.0 indicates otherwise. It was Stone reaching out to Guccifer after Guccifer had leaked some DNC and DCCC emails. Keyword: after.

There is no indication that Stone had contact with Guccifer 2.0 before the emails were leaked. Indeed, the exchange (via direct message twitter) between Stone and Guccifer would suggest they hadn't.

And there is no indication that Stone had any inkling at the time that Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian operative if indeed he is one.

Here's the essence of exchange. It starts off with Stone welcoming Guccifer 2.0 back to Twitter after his account had been reinstated. He tells Guccifer 2.0 that he is delighted that Guccifer's twitter account is restored."Fuck the state and its MSM lackeys," Stone adds.

Then Guccifer writes “wow. thank u for writing back, and thank u for an article about me!!! do u find anything interesting in the docs i posted?”

Guccifer wrote to Stone, referring to an article Stone wrote for Breitbart News on Aug. 5 which attributed the DNC breach to Guccifer.

“i’m pleased to say that u r great man. please tell me if i can help u anyhow. it would be a great pleasure to me,” Guccifer wrote in a message to Stone.

On August 16, Stone had posted on Twitter a link to a story he authored about how the presidential election could be “rigged against Donald Trump” through the manipulation of electronic voting machines. Stone sent a direct message to Guccifer asking him to Retweet.

Note: This is just smart marketing. It was attempting to get his article out in front of Guccifer's followers.

Guccifer did retweet  and sent Stone this message:

“done.”

In a further direct message, Guccifer tweeted without a response from Stone:

"I am pleased to say u r great man

"and I think I am going to read ur books"

And then a final direct message from Guccifer asking a question about Democratic turnout and how many Democrats might cross over to vote for Trump.

Again no response from Stone.

So that's it. A reach out by Stone and a successful attempt by Stone to get his name in front of Guccifer's followers.

This is what Congressman Schiff wasted time on asking the head of the FBI director about. This "intelligence assessment."

Here's my assessment: The Twitter exchange shows how sophisticated of a networking man and marketer Stone is.

Stone's a player, he reaches out to anyone he considers a player. That's networking 101. David Rockefeller, R.I.P., had collected a contact list of 150,000 (I wonder who is on that contact list). This is what the pros do.

Stone got Guccifer to retweet an article that Stone wrote. That's genius marketing. End of story. End of tweets.

I wish I was half the marketing genius that Stone is.

So while U.S. military escalation continues in Yemen and Syria, and North Korea is taunted, Schiff wastes his Congressional time attempting to spin an absurd narrative that Stone is colluding with Vladimir Putin because he got Guccifer to retweet his article. How sad is this?

FULL DISCLOSURE: I occasionally communicate with Roger. Recently on an unrelated topic, he retained me to do a research project for him. According to a DNA test, I am 3% Russian.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of  EconomicPolicyJournal.com and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. The Robert Wenzel podcast is on  iphone and stitcher.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ron Paul vs. Donald Trump



In 2011, there was speculation that Donald Trump might run for president against Barack Obama in 2012.

At that time I commented on what a President Trump would look like and contrasted it with a Ron Paul presidency.

It may be valuable to revisit that essay now (here). I wouldn't change a word.

-RW 

The Fallacy of White Privilege

It's too bad that Ben Shapiro is a neocon, when he stays away from promoting war he is excellent as below.




-RW 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Fox News Pulls Judge Napolitano Off the Air



Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano is being kept off the air indefinitely amid the controversy over his unverified claims that British intelligence wiretapped Trump Tower at the behest of former President Obama, reports Stephen Battaglio at The Los Angeles Times.

Notes Battaglio:
Napolitano was conspicuously missing from the network’s coverage of the confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch — an event in which he typically would have played a significant role. He has not been on the air since Thursday.

People familiar with the situation who could speak only on the condition of anonymity said Napolitano is not expected to be on Fox News Channel any time in the near future.
 -RW 

The Neocons Strike Back: Kagan Family On The Warpath (Again)

Another important discussion from my favorite online policy show, The Ron Paul Report:

 

-RW 

VIDEO European Border Changes Over the Last 1,000 Years

European borders have always been changing. Why does the United States have to get involved in this?

This video is fascinating.

 


-RW

NY Attorney General Hires Prosecutor Likely to Target Trump

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, serial Trump harasser 
New York state’s attorney general, to date one of the most vocal antagonists of President Donald Trump, is preparing to escalate his office’s litigation against the president’s administration.-The Wall Street Journal
Oh, this is good.

I love to see G2G battles, the less time they have to harass us.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has hired a prosecutor who served under fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to focus on public corruption cases, including those involving the Trump administration, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

.Schneiderman’s decision to hire Howard Master reportedly signals that he plans to target Trump and his administration. Master previously served under Bharara, who was fired after refusing to resign at Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s request.

Master worked on high-profile cases at the Department of Justice, including the prosecution of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

-RW 

HOT REPORT: NSA Whistleblower Goes Public About Massive Trump Surveillance

This appears to be a solid report. It includes data that Trump, his first wife, Trump's father and Alex Jones have been under surveillance since the George W. Bush administration.

If it proves accurate, this is a major bombshell.

 

Here's the hard report:

BREAKING! DOCUMENTS SHOW OBAMA SURVEILED ENTIRE TRUMP FAMILY FOR 8 YEARS

 -RW 

Former Police Chief Says He Was Detained at JFK Airport Because of His Name



Welcome to Trump World.

This is really worse than "Papers please!"

The Washington Post reports:
A former Alexandria deputy police chief says he was detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport and held for 90 minutes earlier this month because of his name.

Hassan Aden, 52, of Alexandria spent 26 years with the Alexandria Police Department before leaving in 2012 to become chief of police in Greenville, N.C. He retired from the 250-person force in 2015.

Aden says he was returning from Paris on March 13, where he had been celebrating his mother’s 80th birthday.

When he arrived at customs at JFK, he expected to be handed back his passport and told “welcome home” like everyone else. Instead, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer asked him: “Are you traveling alone?” Aden replied he was and the officer said, “Let’s take a walk,” in Aden’s recollection.

“I was like ‘oh boy, here we go’ ” said Aden, an Italian-born naturalized American citizen who has lived in the United States for 42 years.

He said he was escorted to a makeshift office, prohibited from using his cellphone and given little information about the reason for the holdup. At one point, Aden said, he asked an officer how much time could pass for a detention to be considered reasonable. The officer replied that Aden wasn’t being detained.

But inside the room, where there were three desks staffed by CBP employees and two dozen chairs, signs read “Remain seated at all times” and “Use of telephones strictly prohibited.”

“Two signs that this was not voluntary; this was indeed a detention,” Aden said.

Aden said he told an officer that he was a retired police chief and a career law enforcement officer, but the man said that he had “no control” over the situation and that it “didn’t matter” what his job was. Another officer explained that someone on a “watch list” had been using Aden’s name as an alias, and his information was being cross-checked with another agency, Aden said.
I was told over the weekend by an immigration attorney that Homeland Security agents in general feel embolden by President Trump and are becoming much more aggressive in general. They hold the view that the Trump administration won't challenge them when they step over the line when it comes to illegal stops.

As for harassment at US international airports of incoming Americans and others, you have to wonder how bad it really is. Only the high profile stops are getting reported, seemingly on a weekly basis, such as Muhamed Ali Jr., the French holocaust historian Henry Russo, and now retired Police Chief Aden, but there are certainly multiple stops and harassments of individuals who don't have the notoriety to warrant coverage in the media of their stops and harassment.

Trump world is a world of bullies but, hey he's good on transgender federal bathroom regulation.

 -RW 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

MORE ESCALATION Trump Goes Out of His Way to Comment on Kim Jung-un



In response to the comments by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the response by North Korean President Kim Jung-un, which I reported on in the post: Kim Jung-un to Tillerson: Fuck You, President Trump has now added his take.

Not good folks, Trump is escalating and the Korean kid does not appear as though he is going to back down. This could get real bad.

 -RW 

Kim Jung-un to Tillerson: Fuck You



By Robert Wenzel

In perhaps the most horrific start by any United States Secretary of State, Trump administration Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited South Korea this past week and taunted North Korean President Kim Jung-un.

“I think it’s important to recognize that the political and diplomatic efforts of the past 20 years to bring North Korea to the point of denuclearization have failed,” Tillerson said Thursday during his visit.

“We’re exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table,” he said the following day at a news conference in Seoul with Yun Byung-se, the South Korean foreign minister. He went on and said that while the U.S. did not want military conflict, threats “would be met with an appropriate response.”

“If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe requires action, that option is on the table,” he said.

And thus the senior U.S. "diplomat"  jettisoned discussions and a diplomatic approach with Kim without out ever having talked to the North Korean leader.

It is remarkable to have to state this but Dennis Rodman in 2014, without trying, had done more to ease tensions between the United States and North Korea than Tillerson.

So what has Tillerson accomplished by taunting the crazed kid leader of North Korea?

An in your face response from the Korean kid.

The Austrailian reports:
North Korea has tested a powerful new rocket engine, state media said Sunday, with leader Kim Jong-un hailing the successful test as a “new birth” for the nation’s rocket industry.

The test was apparently timed to coincide with the visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Beijing on Saturday, where he warned that regional tensions had reached a “dangerous level”.

State news agency said Kim had overseen the operation, and “emphasised that the whole world will soon witness what eventful significance the great victory won today carries”, KCNA reported, hinting that the North could use the new engine to launch a rocket to put a satellite in orbit.

Rocket engines are easily re-purposed for use in missiles.

Outside observers say that the nuclear-armed Pyongyang’s space program is a fig leaf for weapons tests.
I do not expect Trump or Tillerson to call in Rodman to attempt to cool things down. Tillerson's comments in South Korean appeared to have done just what they were meant to do, provoke the 33-year leader.

This past week in the EPJ Daily Alert and at a recent private meeting, I put the odds of the U.S. going to war with North Korea in the near term at 50-50. It has to be higher than that now.

I will not shed any tears if North Korea is attacked. Thirty-three-year old nut jobs playing with nukes does scare me but it really shouldn't have to come to this. The kid could be sweet talked.

Trump seemingly has forgotten he wrote a book called The Art of the Deal. He is surrounded by too many generals. Not one of them comes close to displaying the wisdom, principle, and insight of  Major General Smedley Butler.

The U.S. would probably win a war against North Korea. I don't think the military will screw this up like they did Vietnam but it may not be easy if North Korean troops don't turn tail and run at the first sound of US military Air Force bombers like Iraqi soldiers did.

Eric Margolis explains:
North Korea’s one million-man armed force is large but obsolescent.  Its great strength in heavy artillery partly compensates for its totally obsolete, 1960’s vintage air force. Key combat elements of the DPRK army are dug deep into the rocky hills just north of the DMZ, with thousands of heavy North Korean guns facing south. In the event of war, the North claims it will destroy South Korea’s capital, Seoul, that is only 30km away and has 20 million residents.

US estimates of war in Korea made a decade ago, suggest America would incur 250,000 casualties in a war that would cost one million Korean deaths. That’s why the US has shied away from the direct attack on North Korea. Unlike Iraqis, Syrians, Libyans and Somalis, North Koreans know how to fight back and are amply armed for a defensive war.

The US would certainly be tempted to use tactical nuclear weapons against North Korean troops and guns deeply dug into the mountainous terrain. Without them, air power, America’s usual trump card, would lose much of its destructive potential.  No doubt, all North Korea would be ravaged by US air power, as it was during the 1950’s Korean War. South Korea plans massive air, missile and commando attacks on North Korean military HQ and against leader Kim Jung-un’s hideaway.

US war plans call for amphibious landings along North Korea’s long, vulnerable coastline. This threat forces the North to deploy large numbers of regular army and militia troops on both coasts.

North Korea’s air force and little navy would be vaporized on the first day of hostilities. But it is likely that the DPRK would be able to fire a score or more of medium-ranged missiles at Japan. If the war goes nuclear, Japan looks almost certain to suffer a nuclear attack, along with Guam. Tokyo and Osaka are prime targets.

North Korean forces might be able to push south to Seoul, but likely no further in the face of fierce attacks by the US and South Korean air power operating from bases further south. The North’s powerful commando force of some 100,000 troops would attack key South Korean targets, including its vital air bases shared with the US. Such raids would be highly disruptive but not decisive unless the DPRK used chemical and/or biological weapons to shut down South Korea’s air bases and its ports at Busan and Inchon.

The US and South Korea could certainly win such a war but it would be very bloody and expensive.
Yes, the title of this article is crude and rude but it is nothing compared to the ugly violence and destruction and bloodshed if Tillerson and Trump get us into war with the Korean kid.

 Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of  EconomicPolicyJournal.com and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. The Robert Wenzel podcast is on  iphone and stitcher.

UPDATE
1:24 AM 03-19-17

Overnight, Tillerson has changed his tone.

Has he thought anything about he wants to really deal with North Korea?

This is amateur night on the nuclear stage,

The Financial Times reports:
Rex Tillerson toned down anti-Pyongyang rhetoric during a visit to Beijing on Saturday, pledging to work together with his Chinese hosts to “make a course correction” in nuclear-armed North Korea.
“I think we share a common view and a sense that tensions in the peninsula are quite high right now and that things have reached a rather dangerous level,” the US secretary of state said following a meeting with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi.
“We will work together to see if we cannot bring the government in Pyongyang to a place where they want to make a different course, make a course correction, and move away from the development of nuclear weapons.”
The remarks followed an unusually bellicose statement during a visit to Seoul on Friday, where following a visit to the demilitarised zone between South and North Korea, Mr Tillerson said “all options are on the table” including military, for dealing with the North’s nuclear threat.
However, speaking in Beijing on Saturday Mr Tillerson appeared to tailor a milder message to his audience

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Decline of Kellyanne Conway



From a new profile by Olivia Nuzzi:
 “Being a liberal is no longer fashionable,” Conway told the Atlantic Monthly in 1996, just before the impeachment mania that made partisan punditry so entertaining. “It went out with bell-bottoms. We’re never going to be Stepford Democrats. Most of us make Ayn Rand look like a leftist.”
---
Asked about that statement now, she looked embarrassed by her younger self. “That comment is a bit naïve and certainly inaccurate,” she said, emphasizing that she’s not a libertarian but a “social conservative” as well as “a national-security conservative” and “an economic conservative — that’s really what motivates me.”
 -RW 

Are Sanctuary Cities a Form of Decentralization?

NY Cynic asks at the post, Sanctuary Cities List Grows to Nearly 500:
Question: Would you consider the concept of Sanctuary City a form of decentralization?
An excellent question. Yes, it is. It is extremely limited in scope and thus far from a full decentralization from a greater government body but it is a small decentralization step.

-RW