October 22, 2016

The Fact That 17 Intelligence Agencies Confirmed Russia is Behind the Email Hacks Isn’t Actually…a Fact, 20 Oct 2016 by Mark Jeftovic

The Fact That 17 Intelligence Agencies Confirmed Russia is Behind the Email Hacks Isn’t Actually…a Fact,  20 Oct 2016

Briefly, because I’m trying to get some work done instead expending energy on this horrific, disgusting election cycle…
In last night’s debate Clinton stated that “17 intelligence agencies have confirmed that Russia is behind the email hacks” which were then turned over to Wikileaks.
Nevermind that the mainstream media and the elites are very selective about when to condemn hacked document dumps. 

As I wrote yesterday before the debate:
It is interesting to note the difference in the treatment of email dumps based on whether it criticizes or supports the Establishment.

In the Panama Papers, hacked emails revealed mass tax avoidance schemes executed primarily by non-insulated political outsiders. Obama deemed it “important stuff” and called for international tax reform in the wake of the revelations contained therein.

But when the Podesta emails reveal ongoing, systemic, baked-in wrong-doing on the part of anointed political favourites, the bogeyman of “Russian state-sponsored hackers” is trotted out, hell-bent on throwing the election and Obama (as per the aforementioned quote) starts talking about “folks needing some kinda Ministry of Truthiness”.

As I also covered yesterday, Glenn Greenwald exhaustively back-traced where the ‘Russia-hacked-the-election’ meme came from and that it was pure spin. The original author who set the entire farce in motion later admitted it was all a mistake, and in his own ‘Mea Culpa’ revealed that according to the subtext of extensive emails from a Newsweek reporter pressuring him to allow the lie to live, it was US intelligence agencies pushing to spread this narrative. (NSA whistleblower William Binney said the hack itself was the act of a disgruntled employee within a US intelligence agency).

The “17 agencies that actually confirmed” it was the Russians? Well it turns out that was one guy, namely DCI James Clapper: the head of US intelligence. The same man who committed perjury before congress after his NSA surveillance program was leaked.  
He  issued a statement that included the phrase:
We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.

The very next sentence is also of interest:
Some states have also recently seen scanning and probing of their election-related systems, which in most cases originated from servers operated by a Russian company. However, we are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian Government.
The word “confirmed” does not appear anywhere in this statement.
So when HRC stated the “17 intelligence agencies have confirmed” I was anticipating what that would turn up in the “fact checking” apparatus, which allegedly exists to objectively test the assertions of both candidates in real time.
The “fact checking” around this statement would be comical if not infuriatingly Orwellian: ABC called it “a true fact”

The New York Times fact check on this debate, at first glance would lead one to believe all the lies and misdirection to be coming from one side of the the podiums, Trump’s. But they did not even touch Clinton’s “17 intelligence agencies have confirmed” statement, instead they took an accusation by Clinton, levelled at Trump, dressed it up as a “fact” (by it’s inclusion in the NYT’s edition of the “Debate Fact Checks”), presumably “fact checked” it and then ceremoniously blessed it as “True”:

Again, the media narrative around all this is now completely oblivious to the actual content of those leaks. Including that the Democrats staged anti-Trump rallies which has since been corroborated by the fact that Dems employed paid agents provocateurs at Trump rallies to incite violence.

The media gave a previous administration a free pass when they started a war in Iraq based on a lie (one that was also presumably “confirmed” by intelligence agencies). Now they are full-on complicit in this one as the USgears up for a cyberwar with Russia over another lie.

October 20, 2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte aligns Philippines with China, says U.S. has lost

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands after a signing ceremony held in Beijing, China October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool

By Ben Blanchard | BEIJING  

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced his "separation" from the United States on Thursday, declaring he had realigned with China as the two agreed to resolve their South China Sea dispute through talks.
Duterte made his comments in Beijing, where he is visiting with at least 200 business people to pave the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance as relations with longtime ally Washington deteriorate.

"In this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States," Duterte told Chinese and Philippine business people, to applause, at a forum in the Great Hall of the People attended by Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.
"Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also. America has lost."

Duterte's efforts to engage China, months after a tribunal in the Hague ruled that Beijing did not have historic rights to the South China Sea in a case brought by the previous administration in Manila, marks a reversal in foreign policy since the 71-year-old former mayor took office on June 30.
His trade secretary, Ramon Lopez, said $13.5 billion in deals would be signed during the China trip.

"I've realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world - China, Philippines and Russia. It's the only way," Duterte told his Beijing audience.

Duterte's remarks will prompt fresh concern in the United States, where the Obama administration has seen Manila as a key ally in its "rebalance" of resources to Asia in the face of a rising China.
The administration agreed a deal with Duterte's predecessor granting U.S. forces rotational access to bases in the Philippines and further doubts will be raised about the future of this arrangement.
However, a White House spokesman stressed the traditional bonds between Washington and Manila when asked about Duterte's comments and stuck to a U.S. approach of seeking to play down the Philippine leader's repeated attacks.

"The U.S.-Philippines alliance is built on a 70-year history, rich people-to-people ties, including a vibrant Filipino-American diaspora, and a long list of shared security interests," spokesman Ned Price said.
"We also remain one of the Philippines' strongest economic partners; the current stock of U.S. foreign direct investment stands above $4.7 billion."
A few hours after Duterte's speech, his top economic policymakers released a statement saying that, while Asian economic integration was "long overdue", that did not mean the Philippines was turning its back on the West.

"We will maintain relations with the West but we desire stronger integration with our neighbors," said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia in a joint statement. "We share the culture and a better understanding with our region."


China has pulled out all the stops to welcome Duterte, including a marching band complete with baton-twirling band master at his official greeting ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People, which is not extended to most leaders.
President Xi Jinping, meeting Duterte earlier in the day, called the visit a "milestone" in ties.
Xi told Duterte that China and the Philippines were brothers and they could "appropriately handle disputes", though he did not mention the South China Sea in remarks made in front of reporters.
"I hope we can follow the wishes of the people and use this visit as an opportunity to push China-Philippines relations back on a friendly footing and fully improve things," Xi said.
Following their meeting, during which Duterte said relations with China had entered a new "springtime", Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said the South China Sea issue was not the sum total of relations.
"The two sides agreed that they will do what they agreed five years ago, that is to pursue bilateral dialogue and consultation in seeking a proper settlement of the South China Sea issue," Liu said.
China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbors Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.
In 2012, China seized the disputed Scarborough Shoal and denied Philippine fishermen access to its fishing grounds.
Liu said the shoal was not mentioned and he did not answer a question about whether Philippine fishermen would be allowed there. He said both countries had agreed on coastguard and fisheries cooperation, but did not give details.


Duterte's tone toward Beijing is in stark contrast to the language he has used against the United States, after being infuriated by U.S. criticism of his bloody war on drugs.
He has called U.S. President Barack Obama a "son of a bitch" and told his to "go to hell", while alluding to severing ties with the old colonial power.
On Wednesday, to the cheers of hundreds of Filipinos in Beijing, Duterte said Philippine foreign policy was veering toward China.
"I will not go to America anymore. We will just be insulted there," Duterte said. "So time to say goodbye my friend."
The same day, about 1,000 anti-U.S. protesters gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Manila calling for the removal of U.S. troops from the southern island of Mindanao.
Duterte's abrupt pivot from Washington to Beijing is unlikely to be universally popular at home, however. On Tuesday an opinion poll showed Filipinos still trust the United States far more than China.
Duterte on Wednesday said the South China Sea arbitration case would "take the back seat" during talks, and that he would wait for the Chinese to bring up the issue rather than doing so himself.
Xi said issues that could not be immediately be resolved should be set aside, according to the Chinese foreign ministry.
China has welcomed the Philippines approaches, even as Duterte has vowed not to surrender any sovereignty to Beijing, which views the South China Sea Hague ruling as null and void.
China has also expressed support for his drug war, which has raised concern in Western capitals about extrajudicial killing.

(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Writing by Michael Martina and Ryan Woo; Editing by Nick Macfie and Alex Richardson)

October 19, 2016

ANALYSIS Let's not kid ourselves, Canada is in the War Business: Neil Macdonald CBC

Why the Canadian government hasn't criticized Saudi Arabia for its brutal attacks in Yemen
By Neil Macdonald, CBC News Posted: Oct 19, 2016 

A man who lost his relatives in a Saudi-led airstrike cries in Yemen's capital Sanaa on Sept. 21, 2015. Canada has sold Saudi Arabia billions of dollars' worth of light-armoured vehicles and has had little to say about its customer's attacks in Yemen, which the UN says have killed and wounded hundreds of children. (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters)

Neil Macdonald
Senior Correspondent
Neil Macdonald is a Senior Correspondent for CBC News, currently based in Ottawa. Prior to that he was the CBC's Washington correspondent for 12 years, and before that he spent five years reporting from the Middle East. He also had a previous career in newspapers, and speaks English and French fluently, and some Arabic.

For the record, Stéphane Dion's office says he has so far been unable to find any evidence that the Saudi military is using lethal Canadian weapons platforms to slaughter civilians.
Hence, billions of dollars' worth of weaponized armoured vehicles manufactured in Ontario are flowing as planned to the Saudis, despite Dion's stern warning in April that:
"Should I become aware of credible information of violations related to this equipment, I will suspend or revoke the permits" that he had just signed.
"We are watching this closely," he said, "and will continue to do so."

The office of Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion (above) says he's so far been unable to find any evidence the Saudi military has used Canadian-made weapons to target civilians in Yemen. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)
Asked this week how Dion's monitoring has been carried out, his press secretary, Chantal Gagnon, replied: "Several ways. On the ground, you know, we have people. An embassy in Saudi Arabia."
Well, there's that, then.

Call the UN

But perhaps Dion should put in a call to the United Nations, where Canada is lobbying so strenuously to become a more influential player.
If he did, he would find there's evidence to suggest the Saudis are carrying out war crimes in neighbouring Yemen, never mind using their security forces to crush internal dissent.

Smoke rises from the community hall where Saudi-led warplanes struck a funeral in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, on Oct. 9. (Khaled Abdullah/Reuters)
Such is the extent of the Saudis' ferocity that even its keenest sponsor, the United States, is worrying about being complicit in war crimes.
This past summer, the UN's human rights office reported that the Saudi-led coalition attacks, ostensibly against Houthi rebels in Yemen, have killed at least 3,800 Yemeni civilians.
A UN annual report on children and armed conflict said the coalition was responsible for 60 per cent of child deaths and injuries in Yemen last year, killing 510 and wounding 667. Attacks on schools and hospitals accounted for most of that.

A girl lies on a hospital bed in Saada after she survived a Saudi-led airstrike last week, which medical sources said killed six of her family members. (Naif Rahma/Reuters)

The UN in fact blacklisted the Saudi-led coalition as a result, which includes United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Sudan, at least until the Saudis used crude defunding threats to cow Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

At about the same time, we now learn from Reuters, the Obama administration was warned by its own State Department officials that its support for the Saudi campaign — aerial refuelling of Saudi bombers, provision of armaments, military advisers — could make it a "co-belligerent," a finding that would oblige Washington under international law to determine whether it is liable for war crimes.
According to Reuters, U.S. government lawyers decided not to take a conclusive view on that nasty question, and, despite significant bipartisan efforts in Congress to block it, the latest U.S. sale of $1.2 billion in weaponry to Riyadh has gone ahead.

The Obama administration was reportedly warned by State Department officials that its support for the Saudi military campaign against Yemen could make it a 'co-belligerent,' a finding that would oblige Washington under international law to determine whether it is liable for war crimes. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

But it is at least clear that U.S. legislators on both sides of the aisle are increasingly uncomfortable being allied to a fundamentalist, totalitarian regime that tramples human rights, sponsors jihadist preaching and wages war with little or no regard for civilian life.

In Canada, mostly silence

Meanwhile, in Canada, there is both official and political silence.
All three national political parties were on record during last year's election as supporting the sale of the Canadian armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, if for no other reason than the jobs the project provides in southern Ontario. Since then, the NDP has spoken up about Saudi human rights violations, and the party now says the deal should be suspended so it can be reassessed.

And so enthusiastic is the Liberal government about its wealthy Arabian partner that the Canadian military is allowing General Dynamics to use a military base to test the vehicles Canada is shipping, which come equipped with heavy guns and cannon.
(Actually, the Department of National Defence gave its permission in the summer of 2015, while Stephen Harper was in power and months before Dion signed the final approvals for the deal. The testing, however, has been delayed.)

The engineering tests will be conducted on the mammoth LAV VI, an updated and more lethal version of the LAV III, pictured here, which was the Canadian Army's principal fighting vehicle during the Afghan war. (Mark Spowart/Canadian Press)
Did Canada ever share the U.S. State Department's concerns about complicity in atrocities in Yemen? We don't know. The Canadian government is far more secretive than the Americans about such matters.
We do know that Canadian-made vehicles were used in the bloody repression of Bahrain's Shia population a few years ago. Whether they are deployed in Yemen is unclear, and it's a safe bet the Canadian government isn't terribly interested in finding out.
We also know that last summer, Canada quietly rewrote the rules governing the export of arms to other countries. No longer do such exports hinge on whether the recipient nation is a human rights abuser.
Instead, the Canadian rules now strive to "balance the economic and commercial interests of Canadian business" with this country's "national interest."
In other words, we've stopped pretending.
"The wording was changed to reflect the reality of how these things have always worked," says Thomas Juneau, a former DND strategic analyst who now teaches international affairs at the University of Ottawa. "We pretend that we're boy scouts, but a lot of what we do is not different from what other countries do. If that sounds like a definition of hypocrisy, well, there you are."
In fact, says Juneau, "you'd be hard-pressed to find any significant Canadian statements about the war in Yemen. Canada doesn't want to be seen to be criticizing an ally and good customer, and at the same time doesn't want to be seen as closely associated with it. The middle ground, then, is silence."

Thomas Juneau, a former strategic analyst for the Defence Department, says you'd be 'hard-pressed' to find any significant statements about the war in Yemen from Justin Trudeau's government. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)
Well, maybe not total silence.
After the Saudis blasted a Yemeni funeral home to smithereens on Oct. 8, killing 140 civilians and injuring more than 500, Dion issued a sort-of terse sort-of rebuke.

Calling on "all parties in Yemen" not to let things escalate, Canada demanded that the "Saudi-led coalition move forward on its commitment to investigate."

That must have scorched a few royal behinds in Riyadh.

The fact is, war is business. And Canada is now fully open for it. Even if, somehow, we "become aware of credible information of violations."

Peter Kuznik et al - American Exceptionalism and US Imperialism

Peter Kuznick, Professor of History and Director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University, is author of Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists As Political Activists in 1930s America (University of Chicago Press), co-author with Akira Kimura of Rethinking the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Japanese and American Perspectives (Horitsu Bunkasha, 2010), co-author with Yuki Tanaka of Genpatsu to hiroshima - genshiryoku heiwa riyo no shinso (Nuclear Power and Hiroshima: The Truth Behind the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Power (Iwanami, 2011), and co-editor with James Gilbert of Rethinking Cold War Culture (Smithsonian Institution Press). A New York native, he received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1984. He was active in the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War movements and remains active in antiwar and nuclear abolition efforts. In 1995, he founded American University’s Nuclear Studies Institute. That year, on the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombings, his Institute co-hosted a major exhibit with the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which displayed many of the artifacts that were originally supposed to be part of the Smithsonian’s ill-fated Enola Gay exhibit. Every summer, since 1995, he has taken Institute students on a study-abroad class in Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. The Institute was named the most creative and innovative summer program in North America by the North American Association of Summer Sessions. In 2003, Kuznick organized a group of scholars, writers, artists, clergy, and activists to protest the Smithsonian's celebratory display of the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum annex. As part of this effort, he cofounded the Committee for a National Discussion of Nuclear History and Current Policy and the Nuclear Education Project with Hiroshima Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba and professors Mark Selden and John Dower. His current projects include a book on scientists and the Vietnam War and another that looks at how the evolving understanding that nuclear war could lead to annihilation of all life on the planet has shaped the behavior and views of military strategists, policymakers, and the public. He and Oliver Stone co-authored the 10 part Showtime documentary film series and book both titled The Untold History of the United States. He regularly provides commentary for all the major U.S. and international media and has begun his fourth three-year term as Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer.

HSBC: There's Now a Very High Chance of a 'Severe Fall' In U.S. Stocks

HSBC: There's Now a Very High Chance of a 'Severe Fall' In U.S. Stocks
The technicals don't look good.

Yesterday's big stocks drop may have just been the beginning.

Or so says HSBC Holdings Plc technical analyst Murray Gunn. In a new note, Gunn says he is now on alert for a big dip in U.S. equities. "With the U.S. stock market selling off aggressively on October 11, we now issue a RED ALERT," he writes. "The possibility of a severe fall in the stock market is now very high," he adds, noting that volatility has continued to rise since the end of the summer and the recent sell-off was seen across many areas of the market, and not just select groups.

Also causing some concern for Gunn is the intensity of the selling pressure, measured by what's called the Traders Index, an indicator that combines both market breadth and the trading volume of advancing stocks versus declining stocks. The higher the index, the more bearish that day's trading.

Earlier this week, Ben Laidler, global equity strategist at HSBC Holdings Plc told Bloomberg TV in an interview that the stock market is exposed to "a dangerous combination" of risk factors that investors aren't looking at closely enough. Reasons for his caution included high earnings expectations, economic-policy uncertainty as well as the upcoming U.S. election and the Italian referendum. "We think markets are pretty vulnerable," he concluded. 

Other firms have issued similar warnings, with Citigroup Inc. Head FX Strategist Steven Englander telling clients that investors aren't adequately hedging U.S. election risk and technical analysts at UBS AG calling for a top in the S&P 500 following the recent bond market sell-off that pushed yields on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury above 1.7 percent. 

The key levels that Gunn and his team are watching are 17,992 in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and 2,116 in the S&P 500. (As of 10:15 a.m. in New York, the Dow was trading at 18,147 and the S&P 500 at 2,140.) "As long as those levels remain intact, the bulls still have a slight hope," they write. "But should those levels break and the markets close below (which now seems more likely), it would be a clear sign that the bears have taken over and are starting to feast," they conclude.