Category Archives: Uncategorized

why aren’t warning voices in israeli media about jared & bibi?

Kushner to Serve as Mideast Peace Broker
Amir Tibon, Haaretz, Jan 16 2017

1458037213Donald, Ivanka and Jared, Jun 2016. (Photo: Mike Segar/Reuters)

President Trump has reportedly confirmed that he intends to appoint his son-in-law Jared Kushner as a mediator who will try to broker a peace agreement (with whom? – RB) in the Middle East. Trump made the confirmation, which he had mentioned as an option in the past, in an interview with The Times of London published on Sunday night. Trump officially announced last week that Kushner, 35, will serve as an adviser in his White House, an appointment that could face legal difficulties, since anti-nepotism laws in Pindosi specifically forbid government officials to promote or appoint their own sons-in-law within the government agencies they work for. Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, is considered one of the closest people to the president-elect and played a major role in his election victory. Trump did not provide specific details last week regarding what Kushner’s exact fields of responsibility in the administration would be, but his statement in the Times interview fits with a number of past remarks in which he mentioned his son-in-law, an Orthodox Jew, as his possible envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process (what’s that? – RB). He made one such reference in a briefing to the editorial board of the NYT. Kushner, however, is not the only appointee who seems to enjoy Trump’s trust on this issue. Last month Trump announced that Jason Greenblatt, a New York-based attorney who served as his adviser on Israel during the presidential campaign, will also deal with negotiations in the Middle East, in his capacity as a special adviser on international agreements. Greenblatt has worked for Trump’s companies for decades. It remains to be seen how exactly he and Kushner will divide the peace-brokering (the what? – RB) responsibilities. In his interview with the NYT, Trump also urged the Britain to veto any new UNSCR critical of Israel, saying:

(The Iran deal is) one of the dumbest deals I’ve ever seen. They have sanctions on Russia. Let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it.

Here is the first page of the Times interview, again… this is all I’ve got:

trump-times-interview-3

Jan 16, 2017 | 4:54am EST

Kremlin says too early to react to Trump nuclear cuts offer
Polina Devitt, Reuters, Jan 16 2017

The Kremlin said on Monday it was too early to comment on a proposal by Trump to do a deal with Moscow on nuclear arms cuts in exchange for Faschingstein lifting sanctions imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis. Trump told the Times of London in an interview published online on Sunday that he would propose offering to end sanctions imposed on Russia for its annexation of Crimea in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal with Putin. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in a conference call with reporters, said Russia would wait until Trump took office before commenting on any proposed deals. There were currently no talks on possible nuclear arms cuts with Pindoastan, and Russia did not intend to raise the sanctions issue itself in negotiations with foreign countries, said Peskov. He also dismissed media reports of a planned meeting between Putin and Trump, saying:

All these statements about preliminary agreements about a meeting do not correspond to reality. Right now there are no agreements, drafts or any preparations underway for a meeting, because the president and Mr Trump have not discussed this in any way.

Asked if the Kremlin agreed with Trump’s view that NATO is obsolete, Peskov said the Kremlin had long been making the same point.

justin feels a bit nervous & so do i

An Inauguration Day Surprise? Obama laying down landmines for Trump administration
Justin Raimondo, Antiwar.com, Jan 16 2017

Is the Obama administration out to provoke a military conflict with Russia in the days before Donald J. Trump takes the oath of office? In Jul 2014, Pindostan announced the start of “Operation Atlantic Resolve” in response to the vote by Crimea to rejoin the Russian Federation, which took place nearly three years ago. Now the Obama administration has announced that 6,000 more Pindosi troops will be deployed, initially in Germany and Poland, and eventually fanning out to Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Romania, and Slovakia. Accompanying them will be 144 Bradley fighting vehicles, 87 M1A1 tanks, heavy artillery, and aircraft. Europe hasn’t seen such an increase in the Pindosi troop presence since the fall of the Soviet Union. Coming as it does with mere days left in Obama’s term of office, this action invites all sorts of speculation. But one need not speculate as to whether this is a political move. Clearly, the idea is to box in President Trump, who has expressed his desire to improve relations with Russia. The mere expression of such a view has provoked a storm of abuse from the War Party, and a relentless campaign of calumny orchestrated by the CIA to the effect that Trump is “Putin’s puppet.” The deranged Democrats, looking for some way to excuse why their weak and widely disliked candidate lost the election, have explained it all away by claiming that a Russian conspiracy “stole” the White House from Hillary Clinton by revealing truthful and embarrassing information via Wikileaks. It doesn’t matter that there’s no evidence for this contention. In alliance with anonymous “boxtop,” spooks, and “journalists” who believe everything the CIA tells them, this has become the elite consensus. This sets the stage for what may be Trump’s first foreign policy crisis. If President Trump, upon taking office, withdraws the troops, the anti-Russia hysterics will scream bloody murder. If he doesn’t, the risk of an “incident” occurring on the border with Russia increases, as does the risk of an all-out conflict with a nuclear-armed adversary. This underscores the recklessness of the Obama administration and the NeverTrumpers: they are willing to risk WW3 in order to sabotage Trump’s peace agenda. Despicable is too mild a term to describe their actions. In an editorial decrying this precipitous move, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette avers :

The deployment of Pindo personnel and military assets should not be used by anyone as a domestic political tool.

That’s a nice sentiment, but one that betrays an alarming degree of naiveté: not only this administration, but practically every administration in our history has formulated US foreign policy almost exclusively in response to political pressures, both domestic and foreign. Facts on the ground have little if anything to do with how and why policy is made.  This decoupling of policy-making from the facts of reality not only increases the danger of war, it makes conflict virtually inevitable. By either failing to see or deliberately ignoring what is actually occurring, rather than what their propagandists would like us to believe is happening, the warlords of Washington run the risk of accidentally sparking WW3. So what are the facts on the ground in Eastern Europe? As thousands of Pindo and NATO troops mass on the Russian border with Poland, the Russians have deployed S-400 anti-aircraft missiles around Moscow and also in Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave that borders Poland and Lithuania. In response to the development of missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, which could quickly be converted into offensive cruise missiles, the Russians earlier reinforced Kaliningrad with nuclear capable Iskander missiles. These have a range of 440 miles, enough to hit Berlin. The injection of thousands of US troops into the volatile Balkans region could easily lead to a conflict with Russian troops in, say, Transnistria, a breakaway province of Moldova, which borders Ukraine. A slice of territory between Transnistria and Ukraine could be the tripwire that catapults Pindo troops, hundreds of whom are in Ukraine on a “training” mission, into action against the Russians. The Ukrainians, who actively intervened in the US election to prevent Trump from taking the White House, have every reason to cause trouble, and every opportunity to do so. They continue their covert operations in Crimea, sabotaging infrastructure as well as escalating their attacks on the rebellious eastern provinces. A provocation on Kiev’s part could easily throw the whole region into crisis mode and greet incoming President Trump with the prospect of a runaway conflict set into motion before he even takes the reins in Washington. The CIA, with its long tentacles stretched out into every hotspot on earth, is engaging in open warfare with the President-elect. Is it really impossible to imagine that they would arrange for a nice little crisis to “celebrate” Pres Trump’s inauguration? These people are reckless, treasonous, and utterly without conscience. They are, in short, capable of anything. With four days left until Trump becomes the 45th POTUS, the threat of war has never loomed larger. UN Ambassador Samantha Power, on her Twitter feed, declared:

We may be in for an Inauguration Day surprise.

words from mattis (4 days old)

Mattis Cautions Against ‘Stumbling’ into Cyberwar
Heather Kuldell, Defense One, Jan 13 2017

Retired Gen James Mattis called for a comprehensive cyber doctrine to respond to cyber-attacks when testifying during his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday. Any such doctrine would be a multi-agency effort that could include the Defense, State, Treasury and Homeland Security departments, and he hoped it could be accomplished within 18 months, Mattis told the Senate panel. The cyber domain, new or not, still requires urgent responses, he said. Answering a question about what constitutes an act of cyberwar, Mattis said:

It is also important that our adversaries know what we will not tolerate, and by making it clear, you are less apt to have somebody stumble into a situation where new we are forced to take action.

A cyber-attack, however, does not need to be deemed an act of war to trigger a response, Mattis wrote in his questionnaire. Mattis also said he was “philosophically OK” with elevating CYBERCOM into a unified command, promising to give the matter his personal attention. Mattis pushed to replace, refurbish and modernize the equipment of armed forces while also mapping out a strategy for the future force 10 to 15 years from now. The department will need to harvest ideas from civilian leaders about artificial intelligence, biotechnology and other fields, possibly through programs like the Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental. Mattis, who left military service four years ago, will need a waiver to bypass the 7-year buffer period. The Senate passed the waiver with a vote of 81 to 17.

this story is all about setting up for the inauguration

Security force for Trump’s inauguration contemplates truck attacks, dirty bombs
Rob Hotakainen, McClatchy, Jan 16 2017

Braced for protests by 99 groups and a new “global terrorist environment,” security officials plan to take the unprecedented step of ringing the inauguration of Pres Trump with buses, dump trucks and heavy vehicles loaded with cement to thwart any terrorists who might try to plow vehicles through the crowds. With memories fresh of vehicle attacks in France and Germany, the Secret Service will lead a massive security force of 28,000 to protect a crowd that could reach 900,000 on Inauguration Day, Johnson said. Perhaps most visible will be the cordon of large vehicles that will be used to seal the perimeter of the National Mall, a step Johnson described as “more fortified” than usual. DHS Secretary of Jeh Johnson said Friday:

We know of no specific credible threat directed toward the inauguration. But lack of a threat is only part of the story. That is a precaution that we are doubling down on in particular this inauguration.

The security force will include 10,000 personnel from the DHS, which oversees the Secret Service, and others from a slew of federal agencies, including the FBI, Federal Park Police, Federal Capitol Police, the TSA, FEMA and the Federal Protective Service. More than 3,200 police officers from across the country have volunteered to help. And 44 states, along with the District of Columbia, will deploy more than 7,500 National Guard soldiers and airmen to help with security. That includes 20 members of the Washington State National Guard’s 10th Civil Support Team, who will conduct radiation sweeps to make sure no one sneaks in a dirty bomb. They’ve made similar searches for any signs of radioactive material during the Pope’s visit in 2015 and last year’s Super Bowl in San Francisco. First Sgt Paul Gautreaux said:

If you can get a radiation source through there and actually create some kind of explosion, you could do a lot of damage. But our equipment is going to pick it up.

Officials noted that the military has served a key role in every presidential inauguration since 1789, when George Washington took the oath. Florida is sending 341 Guard members, including a team that will provide religious support. Missouri, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky and Mississippi are sending mobile kitchens and military cooks. And South Carolina has lined up 30 to help with crowd control. Capt Michael Meissner, the officer in charge of the South Carolina group and the mayor of Pacolet, a town of 2,200 in South Carolina’s Spartanburg County, said:

I’ve never been involved in an inauguration. It’s a pretty big honor.“We all will be trained, so we should be able to deal with anything that comes our way. The big thing is you’ve got to be positive.

Security will be especially tight after one of the most bitterly-fought elections in history and a possible weekend crowd that could exceed 1 million for both the inauguration and protests, including the Women’s March on Washington on Jan 21 that promises to draw tens of thousands of participants itself. National Guard Maj Michael Odle said:

While we’re prepared for any rise in tensions, we’re entering the inauguration with the mindset that this will be another peaceful transfer of power.

Odle said Guard members will be deputized as special members of the police force next Thursday at a ceremony at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland, where pro football’s Washington Redskins play. Lt-Col Ricky Thomas, the commander of the Washington state team, said:

This mission that we have here is amazing. It’s the real deal. We supported the Pope, we supported the Super Bowl, but this goes above and beyond. It’s going to be historic.

Overall, roughly 90 Guard members will be assigned to radiation sweeps. While the Washingon state team has long been recognized for its expertise, mainly because of its work at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the team will be aided by similar units from Texas, North Dakota and the Virgin Islands. Washington and Pennsylvania will provide the most Guard members, nearly 2,000 and 1,562, respectively, while Idaho is sending none. Odle said that a handful of states aren’t participating because the Guard issued a request for help and filled the 7,500 slots on a “first-come, first-served” basis. He said:

Once we hit our cap, we don’t need any more support or assistance.

While freezing weather has complicated previous inaugurations, the early forecast for Trump’s big day calls for temperatures in the 50s. That would mean fewer headaches for First Lt Taylor Wagner of Tallahassee, the operations officer for the Florida unit who will keep track of shift changes and the rotation of personnel assigned to manage the crowd. He said:

We don’t want them out there too long in the cold. But most of our job is just keeping the crowd moving in the right direction and try not to get trampled. We’re very proud to be serving the citizens of Pindostan.

Guard members say they’ll be ready for anything. Gautreaux said:

Can someone slip through the cracks? Sure I’m a little concerned, but I don’t lose any sleep over it at nighttime. There’s always that little bit of fear there: What could happen. Could things go wrong? But I’m confident.

Thomas said his biggest worry is that protesters “might get out of control.” He said:

There’s the risk of terrorists, but my primary concern would be for protesters. There’s a lot of stuff going on, a lot of moving parts, but the team that we have here is highly trained and we have full confidence that we’ll be able to handle anything that comes our way.

On Friday, Jeh Johnson said federal officials had used social media and permit applications to track down 99 groups, “some pro, and some con,” that are expected to protest over a three-day period next weekend. 63 of those protests are planned for Inauguration Day itself. The official inaugural festivities are set to begin Thursday with a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Ceremony and a “welcome concert” at the Lincoln Memorial, and they’ll conclude Saturday with a national prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral. Johnson, speaking to reporters at the multi-agency command center in suburban Virginia that will serve as communications hub for all security forces, said that security planners must be concerned both with protesters and the possibility of “violent extremism.” He said:

The global terrorist environment is very different … even from 2013 We know of no specific, credible threat directed toward the Inauguration. However, that is only part of the story.

He revealed that at least 700,000 people were expected and that 99 different organizations intended to demonstrate near the area. Johnson declined to estimate the total cost of security but said:

I’m sure it’s a huge number.

For Senior Master Sgt Monica Brown of the 113th Wing of the DC Air National Guard, the 2017 inauguration will be her eighth in a row, a string of service that began in 1989. She’s hoping that no one gets hurt and that people put aside politics for the day. Brown said:

I think we’ll be fine. I’m hoping it’s much ado about nothing, after all is said and done. … I look at is as you’re part of history. And no matter who you voted for, that’s the commander-in-chief.

there’s always the possibility of a race war started on purpose by covert ops

Three People Shot Following MLK Parade In Miami
Tyler Durden, Jan 16 2017

Police and fire rescue crews are on the scene after at least three people were shot at Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Park on Martin Luther King Jr Day. According to Miami-Dade Police, three people sustained gunshot wounds at the park, located at 6011 NW 32nd Avenue, in Northwest Miami-Dade, Monday afternoon. Two other people were hurt, but how they were injured and the extent is unknown.

All three victims have been transported to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. One of the victims was transported as a trauma alert according to WSVN Miami.

.@MiamiPD officers carry a woman that appeared to have been shot at the MLK Jr. Memorial Park. pic.twitter.com/qtwHFiaTYi

— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) January 16, 2017

7News reporter Ann Keil and photographers were about 100 feet away from the scene of the shooting, along Northwest 32nd Avenue and Northwest 62nd Street. They heard between four and six shots.

Around 4 p.m., several law enforcement agencies and fire rescue vehicles were seen flooding the area. They have since cleared the entire area and have ordered everyone, including vendors, to flee the area. According to Keil, at least two women looked like they had been shot in the leg. Moments later, a man was seen on the floor in handcuffs. It is unknown whether a suspect or suspects have been detained at this time. A number of fire rescue vehicles were seen driving throughout the neighborhood. Footage from a live helicopter camera showed a black man being arrested and taken away inside a police cruiser.

mlk-arrest

This remains an active scene.

‘donkey dong’ putin conquers another western heart

 

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Jeremy Corbyn Accused of Being Russian “Collaborator” for Questioning NATO Troop Build-Up on Border
Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, Jan 16 2017

Jeremy Corbyn called for a “de-escalation” of tensions between NATO and Russia, adding in a BBC interview on Thursday:

I want to see a de-militarisation of the border between them.

Along with Pindostan, Blighty has been rapidly building up its military presence in the Baltic region, including states which border Russia, and is now about to send another 800 troops to Estonia, 500 of which will be permanently based. In response, Russia has moved its own troops within its country near those borders, causing serious military tensions to rise among multiple nuclear-armed powers. Throughout 2016, the Russian and Pindosi militaries have engaged in increasingly provocative and aggressive maneuvers against one another. This week, Pindostan began deploying 4,000 troops to Poland, “the biggest deployment of Pindosi troops in Europe since the end of the cold war.” It was in this context that Corbyn said:

It is unfortunate that troops have gone up to the border on both sides. (I want to see) better relations between Russia, NATO and the EU (and) better relationships between both sides. There cannot be a return to a Cold War mentality.

The response to Corbyn’s call for better relations and de-escalation of tensions with Moscow was swift and predictable. The armed forces minister for Britain’s right-wing government, Mike Penning, accused Corbyn of being a collaborator with the Kremlin:

These comments suggest that the Labour leader would rather collaborate with Russian aggression than mutually support the rest of the NATO vassals. As with Trident, everything Labour says and does shows that they cannot be trusted with Britain’s national security.

This is the same propagandistic formulation that has been used for decades in the west to equate opposition to militarism with some form of disloyalty or treason: if you oppose military confrontation with a foreign adversary or advocate better relations with it, then you are accused of harboring secret sympathy and even support for those foreign leaders, and are often suspected of being an active “collaborator” with (or “stooge” for) them. This lowly smear tactic was deployed over and over during the Cold War with regard to those who argued for improved relations or a reduction of conflict with Moscow, but it has been repeatedly used since then as well, every time it comes time to confront a new Foreign Villain: those opposed to the invasion of Iraq were pro-Saddam; those who opposed intervention in Libya were Gaddafi apologists; those who objected to GWOT programs are terrorist sympathizers, etc etc. But this template has recently become supercharged, more widely invoked than ever, as a result of the starring role Russia now plays in Pindo domestic politics, when many Democrats blame Russian influence for Clinton’s defeat. Putin now occupies the role of Prime Villain in western discourse, and this Cold War rhetorical template, whereby anyone opposing confrontation is a Kremlin operative or stooge, has thus been resurrected with extraordinary speed and ease. The compelling justifications for Corbyn’s concerns about NATO/Russia tensions are self-evident. Pindostan and Russia have massive arsenals of nuclear weapons. As Lawrence Krauss detailed in the New Yorker in October, the two countries have come horrendously close to full-on, earth-destroying nuclear war on several occasions in the past, and the systems they still maintain are conducive to apocalyptic error through miscommunication, misperception and error, let alone direct military confrontation. As Krauss noted:

In general, during the Obama presidency, we have only deepened our dangerous embrace of nuclear weapons. At the moment, around a thousand nuclear weapons are still on a hair-trigger alert; as they were during the Cold War, they are ready to be launched in minutes in response to a warning of imminent attack.

It is not hyperbole to say that perhaps nothing is more reckless, more dangerous, than ratcheting up tensions between these two countries. That’s what makes it so repellent and toxic to demonize those such as Corbyn as “collaborators” or traitors merely because they oppose this escalation and belligerence. But this is the script that once again is quickly becoming mainstream orthodoxy in both Faschingstein and London. Let us, for a moment, imagine if this framework were applied consistently rather than manipulatively. Democrats have been alarmed by the preliminary belligerence of Trump and his top aides toward nuclear-armed China: accepting a call from Taiwan’s president, openly questioning the decades-old “One China” policy, suggesting that Pindostan would militarily interveneto prevent Chinese control over nearby uninhabited islands, as was also suggested by the current head of PACOM. But applying the prevailing Russia logic to these concerns, should one not accuse these Democrats objecting to confrontation with China of being “collaborators” with and apologists for the dictatorial regime in Beijing, which imprisons dissidents and tortures ethnic and religious minorities? Should we publicly ponder whether the liberal writers demanding that Trump cease his aggressive posture are being clandestinely paid by the Chinese Politburo or merely acting as “useful idiots” for it? Should those objecting to Trump’s belligerent policies be accused of siding with a dictatorial regime over their own president and country? Of course none of those things should happen, because it is not only rational but morally compulsory to be deeply wary of those who seek to escalate tensions between countries with large nuclear arsenals. At the very least, one should be free to debate these policies without being smeared as a traitor. That applies to China, and it applies to Russia. And those who voice such concerns should not, as Corbyn just was, have their loyalties and integrity be impugned by our new Cold Warriors.

maybe my case of coercive telepathy isn’t the only one

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MoA Comments 

there’s quite a lot of people in the pindosi apparatus that should be hanged for treason (lisa goldman would be a good first choice, damn the bitch)

Trump Has Considerable Authority to Revamp the Intelligence Community
Charles Clark, Defense One, Jan 15 2017

The dust-up over Russian interference in the election and resulting skepticism of President-elect Donald Trump has spawned speculation that the incoming president will revise the 12-year-old structure of the post-9/11 intelligence community. A WSJ front-page story on Jan 4 reported that Trump was preparing such a reorganization, though it was dismissed by his press spokesman Sean Spicer. Still, it prompted anxiety among intelligence professionals whose studied consensus on the Russian actions was waived aside by Trump. One former acting DCI insisted in an op-ed that Trump’s dismissal of the community’s conclusions as politically biased would drive away talent. Whatever the president-elect and his team are preparing to do after Jan 20, the debate has resurrected decade-old questions about the ODNI. Is its staff bloated? Is it successfully sharing intel among the 16 agencies in the intelligence community? Is Trump right to complain that key agencies such as the CIA in the past have gotten too many estimates wrong? A Jan 6 WSJ editorial argued that a shake-up would be useful to cut central staff “bloat” and move toward a structure similar to that of the military’s joint chiefs of staff, where representatives from each service work together. While acknowledging room for improvement in Senate testimony last week, DNI Clapper has touted ODNI’s progress in integrating the 17 agencies to coordinate output while preserving operational independence. Trump thus far has been guided mostly by former DIA chief Lt-Gen Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, who has been critical of many mainstream intelligence findings. The president-elect was also urged by former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani to appoint his own intelligence group to reexamine the evidence of Russian hacking. Trump has since named former Sen Dan Coats to be the new DNI. Coats presumably would run any effort at reorganization. Interviews with veteran observers of the structure set up under the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act say that Trump would have both a chief executive’s leeway and statutory restrictions in what he might do to reorganize his White House team’s relationship with the office that Clapper will soon vacate. That office has a staff of about 1,800. Some 40% are “core staff” working joint duty either under Clapper or as detailees to other organizations. The remaining 60% plus an unknown number of contractors work at various specialized centers such as the National Counter-Terrorism Center, the National Counter-Intelligence and Security Center, and the National Counter-Proliferation Center. The core staff is proportionately about the size of the CIA’s former community management unit before the 2004 creation of ODNI. Jew Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor with a focus on federal jurisdiction, constitutional law and national security law, said:

You have to draw a distinction between what Trump can do formally and what he can do practically. There are relatively strict formal limits on how much he could do to marginalize or dismantle ODNI, but practically, because so much of this enterprise is about access, it is the president who chooses whom to listen to. The 2004 law simply recognized the potential logjam that arises from having 16 intelligence agencies that, if all reported directly to the president, would mean chaos that all agree would be bad for efficient government and effective supervision of intelligence activities. Questions about Trump’s plans for the intel community parallel questions about his plans in other contexts. Just how much respect will Trump and his staffers have for the value of the bureaucracy? It depends on when they actually take the keys, how well Flynn and Coats get along and whether there is a perception that ODNI is somehow interfering with the White House. Overall, there is not a lot he can do without Congress as a formal matter, but plenty he can do informally. It is both within the presidential prerogative and good government to make sure that agencies like ODNI are efficient. But cutting off the chicken’s head does nothing to trim the chicken.

Paul Pillar, a veteran CIA analyst of 28 years and now affiliated with Georgetown University’s Center for Security studies, said:

Any significant changes in terms of the powers of the DNI, the relative powers and roles of the ODNI versus constituent agencies within the community would have to be a matter of legislation. The 2004 law essentially split the job of the DCI into two separate jobs. Following the law’s passage, however, government attorneys spent many hours hammering out how exactly the legislation defined the DNI’s role in relation to the CIA director’s role. That was one of the law’s deficiencies. But Trump could probably do a fair amount by executive fiat, in areas such as staffing procedures and use of short-term seconded officers from other intelligence agencies. I hope any reforms are kept completely separate from presidential vindictiveness (sic – RB).

Pillar is on record as having been critical of the 2004 legislation which, he said, was “simply a way of responding to the anguish of 9/11.” He wasn’t surprised that the ODNI grew rather than serve merely as a coordinating body. Though he respects Clapper, he doesn’t see the setup used for the past decade as a “significant improvement over the previous set-up. He said:

ODNI’s accomplishments are in narrow areas such as modernization of information technology and compatibility of databases. Who talks to whom, particularly in counter-terrorism, was not affected by what the upper reach of the organization chart looks like. The people at CIA and FBI knew quite well who their counterparts were, and worked on the same problems and communicated with them at all times.

George Jameson, a consultant who spent more than 33 years at CIA and the greater intelligence community as a senior counsel, policy director and manager of congressional affairs, said:

He could do several things unilaterally, such as reviewing executive orders and other directives and regulations to determine what changes should be made in line with whatever goals he has. Changes could be made to enhance powers of the ODNI, which doesn’t necessarily mean making it bigger but making it stronger, to improve coordination and collaboration across the intel community. Or Trump could reduce the ODNI’s power while enhancing power elsewhere. The consequences could be far-ranging, such as less helpful coordination, less insight into what individual agencies are doing, recreation of a bureaucracy elsewhere. The intel community’s budget depends greatly on the Office of Management and Budget, and Congress can also cut it. An example of a presidential document open to change is EO 12333, signed by President Reagan in 1981 to extend powers and responsibilities of intelligence agencies and direct the leaders of federal agencies to co-operate fully with CIA requests for information. It tasks CIA with oversight of covert action, but the DNI has an explicit role and must keep Congress informed. The president could change that tomorrow if he wants the National Security Council to do it. Other directives address approval of warrants under the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, the role of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and declassification. Any place the DNI has a role, the president can change it, but he risks running afoul of the statute if he crosses certain lines. For example, that 2004 law specifically requires the DNI to write reports on narcotics in National Parks and to monitor use of tunnels by illegal immigrants. The powers of the National Counter-Terrorism Center are divided because it reports directly to the president on anti-terrorism planning but to ODNI on intelligence, but Trump could decide to reduce the ODNI’s role. Currently the ODNI has top authority to declassify documents, but the White House could return that authority to individual agencies of the NSC. What is the goal? I urge that any change be designed to improve national security interests, whether that means decreasing or increasing ODNI’s authority, and should favor good process over bad process. Trump should ask himself, at what point does cutting or changing something turn out to be counter-productive? If the main goal is improving efficiency and the national security interest, use a scalpel, not a sledgehammer.

Chuck this in here from MoA Comments:

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these aren’t spies, this is a kidon death squad

Algeria claims Israeli spy network uncovered
Roi Kais, Ynet, Jan 13 2017

According to Arab media reports, the network is uncovered in south Algeria; communication devices are also found; spies from other countries in Africa, such as Ethiopia and Kenya, are allegedly involved. Arab media outlets reported on Friday that an international spy network operating for Israel was uncovered in Algeria. According to the reports, the network composed 10 members and was based in southern Algeria. The members included operatives from Libya, Mali, Ethiopia, Liberia, Nigeria and Kenya. Algerian security forces also seized sophisticated radios used to transmit information by the spies. Those spies arrested are being held in temporary detention under a court order that accuses them of espionage, creating anarchy in the country and harming national security. Only last month, of Mohammad al-Zawahri, a flight engineer who specialized in unmanned aerial vehicles, was assassinated in Tunisia. According to reports, al-Zawahri had been assisting Hamas terrorism efforts, and Israel was behind the incident.

Tunisian media reporting Mossad assassinates Hamas official
Roi Kais, Liad Osmo, Ynet, Dec 16 2016

Tunisian media outlets are reporting that Mossad is behind the assassination of Mohammad al-Zawahri, a flight engineer specializing in unmanned aerial vehicles; al-Zawahri was shot to death at close range in his car Thursday. Tunisian media outlets are reporting that the Mossad is responsible for the assassination of Mohammad al-Zawahri, a flight engineer who was shot to death Thursday at close range in his car in the city of Sfax. Tunisian journalist Burhan Basis writes that al-Zawahri left Tunisia in 1991 for Syria, where he made contact with Hamas and eventually became a close associate who supplied the terrorist organization with his technical expertise. Al-Zawahri was an engineer who worked in the development of UAVs. According to Basis, he was under Mossad surveillance until his murder on Thursday. Additionally, Gulf media site al-Khaleej Online is reporting from “well-informed sources” that over the last few years, al-Zawahri had received a series of threatening phone calls due to his work on unmanned aerial vehicles and his support for the Palestinian cause. As such, the same sources claim that foreign security agencies were involved in the assassination. Tunisian media outlets are also reporting that several suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder. Five hours after the assassination, the Tunisian National Security Commissioner, Abd’al-Rahman Balhaj Ali, announced his resignation without specifying why. Political sources in Tunisia have not ruled out the possibility that the resignation came against the backdrop of the assassination. The IDF believes that Hamas will make extensive use of UAVs in the next confrontation with Israel despite limitations in materials and technology. As an alternative, Hamas has been using kites fitted with cameras to gather intelligence on what is happening near the border.

conveniently, we can remove bibi without forcing the donald to condemn him first

Netanyahu accuses media of ‘unprecedented’ campaign to oust him
Times of Israel, Jan 16 2017

Netanyahu on Sunday accused the media of conducting an “orchestrated campaign of unprecedented scope” in an attempt to bring down his government. Netanyahu was responding to an ongoing series of leaks from within the two ongoing police investigations into him, amid allegations he tried to negotiate a quid pro quo deal with a powerful media mogul and that he and his wife received thousands of shekels worth of luxury gifts from an Israeli, Hollywood-based film producer. Netanyahu said in statement posted on his Facebook page:

In the past few days the media has orchestrated a campaign of unprecedented scope to bring down my Likud government. This campaign is intended to put pressure on the Attorney General and others in the prosecution so that they will indict me.

He accused the media of leaking daily quotes, cherry-picked from hours of taped conversations, which he said were either taken out of context or just lies, all while he remains unable to defend himself due to legal restrictions imposed by the ongoing investigation. He wrote:

I can’t defend myself. I can’t tell the public the true story behind these matters, which make it clear that there was never any crime here.

The latest suspicions reported Sunday are that Netanyahu personally tried to help broker the full or partial sale of Israel’s best-selling daily, Yediot Ahronot, to various international businessmen and publishers, as part of his dealings with Yediot’s publisher, Arnon Mozes. Mozes was questioned for eight hours on Sunday by officers, who are investigating various corruption allegations against Netanyahu, including the suspicion that he and Mozes hatched an illicit bargain under which Yediot would give Netanyahu favorable coverage in return for the prime minister pushing legislation to neuter Yedioth’s rival, the pro-Netanyahu daily Israel ha-Yom. In recent days Channel 2 has been publishing leaked excerpts from hours of taped conversations he reportedly had with Mozes in 2014, where they were supposedly negotiating the terms of the agreement, which never came to fruition. Netanyahu wrote that since he is barred from going into details of the investigation, he could only restate facts that were public knowledge. He wrote:

Everyone knows that I was strongly opposed to the ‘Israel Hayom bill’ which was proposed and sponsored by others long before the 2013 elections. For months I stopped the bill going for a preliminary vote.

He said that he himself voted against the bill along with most of the Likud lawmakers. Netanyahu claimed that one of the reasons he called early elections in 2015 was the strong support for the bill which he opposed. He wrote:

Because of this, nothing happened. Israel ha-Yom remains unchanged, blooming and flourishing. Whereas the bad press I received from Yediot Ahronot and Ynet did not stop for even a moment. Therefore all these charges … are false. As is the second case, as will be revealed in the fullness of time.

Netanyahu, who is reportedly to be questioned a third time under caution later this week, has denied any wrongdoing. According to Sunday’s TV report, Netanyahu personally reached out to Australian billionaire James Packer, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Springer Press CEO Mattias Dopfner to try to help broker a deal for them to buy or invest in Yediot. Mozes is then believed to have met with several of those potential buyers. Arnon Milchan, the Israeli Hollywood producer who is at the center of a second corruption probe against Netanyahu, also played a role in brokering some of those contacts, a Channel 2 TV report said. If police can establish that Mozes indeed held such meetings after Netanyahu had prepared the ground, that could constitute decisive evidence upon which to base charges of bribery. New leaks Sunday from recorded conversations between Netanyahu and Mozes indicated that the two discussed the logistics of ensuring that coverage favorable to Netanyahu appear in Yediot in the run up to the 2015 elections. The two men reportedly discussed which emissary of Netanyahu’s would speak with which senior Yediot editors late at night to ensure that the desired material appeared in the next day’s edition and on Yediot’s website, Ynet. In one quote from the reported transcripts of their conversations, Mozes tells Netanyahu to delegate somebody to “speak to Ron Yaron,” Yediot’s editor-in-chief. Netanyahu suggests Nir Hefetz, a spox of his who used to work for the paper, but Mozes rejects the choice, because Hefetz is known to have ambitions to become editor of Yediot. Mozes says that Netanyahu is welcome to discuss urgent matters with him directly during the day. Another reported comment from Mozes appears to indicate that he and Netanyahu have secretly dealt on getting favorable coverage of Netanyahu into Yedioth in previous election cycles in 1996, 1999 and 2009; this despite the fact that Netanyahu has often publicly indicated that Mozes is something of a nemesis. Mozes reportedly says:

We’ve been in this situation before, we did it. This is our fourth election cycle … 96, 99, 2009 and now.

Netanyahu won three of those elections, losing to Ehud Barak in 2009. Noting that the 2015 elections are only three and a half months away, Mozes reportedly tells Netanyahu:

We have to get going quickly because I need to move the ship. I’ll speak to Ron on Sunday. I’ll tell Ron on Sunday that he’ll be contacted. It’s a start.

Netanyahu agrees, saying:

Turn the ship around!

Leaks from the same conversations reported on Saturday by Channel 2 revealed the prime minister discussing with Mozes which journalists at Yediot were unacceptably hostile to him, and the newspaper mogul pondering how to marginalize them. Netanyahu is said to have told police investigators when questioned under caution, that he recorded the conversations because he believed Mozes was trying to extort him. He never had so much as “half an intention” of implementing any deal with Mozes, Channel 2 on Saturday quoted Netanyahu as insisting. Excerpts from transcripts of the conversations leaked on Saturday night also featured Netanyahu declaring that what he expects under the deal with Yediot is “moderation” in its coverage of him, “to reduce the level of hostility toward me from 9.5 to 7.5.” Mozes replies:

That’s clear to me. I’ve got it. We have to ensure that you’ll be prime minister.

Other previously released excerpts have featured the two men discussing how to pass legislation that would reduce the impact of Israel ha-Yom, but relating to Netanyahu’s alleged side of the bargain. In the leaks released on Saturday night, Mozes offers to hire right-wing journalists even before a law is passed in order to begin to change Yediot’s anti-Netanyahu tone. Mozes says:

Give me a right-winger! I’ve been saying this to you for a long time!

Netanyahu replies defensively:

I can’t produce them from thin air!

Mozes muses that “there’ll be an earthquake” when Yediot shifts the tone of its coverage, and he says:

We have to be smart about how we do it.

In an excerpt quoted last week, Mozes set out the terms of the deal to Netanyahu as follows:

If we can come to an agreement on the law, I will do all I can to make sure you stay here as long as you want. I’m looking you in the eye, and saying this as clearly as I can.

No deal between the two was ever implemented. Speaking at a meeting of Likud ministers Sunday morning, Netanyahu said:

These biased leaks are meant to mislead the public and distort the truth as if there were offenses when there were none.

In a second corruption case against Netanyahu, regarding cigars, champagne and other gifts he and his wife, Sara, allegedly received from Arnon Milchan, the Channel 2 report Saturday said Netanyahu has acknowledged to friends that as previously reported, he asked Jackass Kerry to help secure a long-term Pindosi visa for Milchan. The very fact that he made the request, Netanyahu is said to have told friends, shows that there was nothing secretive or illicit about it. This was just the kind of favor one does for good friends. Sara Netanyahu gave testimony in that case last Wednesday, and on Sunday accused police investigators of being thuggish in their dealings with her and treating her with disrespect. Opposition MKs on Saturday castigated Netanyahu’s alleged attempts to cut a deal for favorable coverage with Yediot, with one ex-minister saying he had “come to the end of the road,” and a Labor MKcalling him “the first mafia prime minister of Israel.”