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War in Syria: $4 million to train one SFR fighter

In June of last year the Obama administration allocated $500 million to train, supervise and equip 3,000 Syrian Free Rebels (SFR), a group of opposition fighters committed to overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. However, a year has passed causing “mission creep” to the war theater, adding the task of defeating ISIS to the menu. As a result the Department of Defense Secretary Ash Carter reports only 60 SFR fighters have been trained to fight tens of thousands of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists.

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Trump strikes Syria in retaliation for chemical attack

On Thursday night, while dining with Chinese president Xi Jin Ping, President Trump announced the US had launched Tomahawk cruise missiles into Syria for an alleged chemical attack that reportedly killed 80 civilians. The USS Porter and USS Ross fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a military air base near Homs, Syria. The stagecraft went off without a hitch and many world allies congratulated the military strike, but for those frienemies, it’s a wait and see approach.

Watch One America News TV segment here

Using a back channel form of communication, the “deconfliction channel,” Russia warned there would be consequences. However, the Kremlin didn’t employ its anti-missile defensive batteries deployed in Syria.

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Trump strikes Syria in retaliation for chemical attack

On Thursday night, while dining with Chinese president Xi Jin Ping, President Trump announced the US had launched Tomahawk cruise missiles into Syria for an alleged chemical attack that reportedly killed 80 civilians. The USS Porter and USS Ross fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a military air base near Homs, Syria. The stagecraft went off without a hitch and many world allies congratulated the military strike, but for those frienemies, it’s a wait and see approach.

Watch One America News TV segment here

Using a back channel form of communication, the “deconfliction channel,” Russia warned there would be consequences. However, the Kremlin didn’t employ its anti-missile defensive batteries deployed in Syria.

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Interview with CRN Radio on CIA “Vault 7” and reporter Michael Hastings’ death-a “cold case”

Michael Hastings: collection of articles

Interview with CRN Radio on CIA “Vault 7” and reporter Michael Hastings’death-a “cold case”  Listen/watch here And here

Included are photos of official documents collected throughout my quest to uncover the facts surrounding the death of national security reporter Michael Hastings.

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The CIA to provide new details into Hastings’ death

Oct 6, 2013

WikiLeaks: CIA May be Hacking Cars to Murder People

It seems the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) could, at least in theory, murder you by hacking into your car’s computer, according to the pro-transparency group Wikileaks. And now, with some of the rogue agency’s hacking tools and methods available on cyberspace, any common criminal with some computer knowledge might be able to do so as well. It remains unclear whether the CIA, which brags about its mass murder, has actually murdered anyone by hacking their car. But reasonable suspicions about the possibility have been floating around for years — especially since the suspicious “car crash” death of journalist Michael Hastings, who was involved in exposing CIA and NSA crimes. Keep Reading

Latest WikiLeaks release revives interest in mysterious death of US journalist

There is growing evidence that, prior to his tragic death in June 2013, award-winning investigative journalist Michael Hastings had been looking into material that formed part of what WikiLeaks would eventually publish as the CIA ‘Vault 7’ documents. Other evidence indicates that Hastings may have come upon a secret hacking organization set up by the CIA, that is also referenced in ‘Vault 7′. Fellow journalist Barrett Brown, meanwhile, continues to raise serious questions about Hastings’ death.

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Details of reporter Hastings’ death remains elusive

It’s been nearly three weeks since Michael Hastings was killed in a fiery car accident in West Los Angeles. The award-winning journalist earned his stripes as a wartime reporter and captured fame with his 2010 Rolling Stone story that forced General Stanley McChrystal to resign as commander of the US forces in Afghanistan.

According to City News Service Hastings, 33, “was driving south on Highland Avenue when he apparently lost control of the compact (2013 Mercedes Benz CLK250) near Melrose Avenue and crashed into palm trees in the median about 4:20 a.m. Tuesday (June 18). The car’s engine reportedly ended up about 200 feet away from the impact site.”

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Metamorphosis of secular Turkey to Islamic dictatorship – cause for concern

The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka’s bizarre book we had to read in high school, back in the olden days, where a man awoke one morning as a cockroach – I know, a weird analogy, but the evolution of Turkey from a modern secular country to an Islamic dictatorship did not happen overnight.

Sometimes revolution is sudden and violent and sometimes it is a gradual slide always couched in terms of national security and preserving the nation.

Turkey has followed the latter. For the past five years or so, my colleague Kimberly Dvorak (links here and here), has been chronicling the metamorphosis of Turkey from NATO member and EU applicant to an oppressive, Islamic dictatorship. The very event Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, feared the most.

Turkey’s evolution from a secular to Islamic state was gradual, at first, a move against

journalists that published “lies” about Erdogan’s private wealth, a preemptory strike against the military to prevent a coup d’état, imprisonment of attorneys and judges who would question the legality of Erdogan’s methods, police who would enforce judicial decrees, and academics who would protest against the regime. Erdogan even went so far as to frame a false flag coup d’état to justify the final consolidation of power against the military and Kurdish party.

Then along came the Syrian insurrection. Erdogan quickly dumped his old friend, Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and embraced the refugees of war as he allowed the US to export weapons from Libya to arm al-Qaeda’s fight to overthrow Assad. Even the original “Arab Spring” rebels abandoned their fight to prevent Syria from becoming the apocalyptic Sunni-Shia battleground.

But Syria offered Erdogan the perfect excuse to consolidate his power by using the fight against ISIS as a means to crackdown on the Kurds within and without Turkey.

But Turkey matters to the West because it is the gateway to Europe, which has been the targeted prize of the Ottomans for a thousand years and opens Europe’s 300 millions of Christian Europeans to Islam.

Turkey is a NATO member, possessed of the battle plans and secrets that protect Europe from attack from the East but not from within. Turkey has demonstrated its intent by demanding billions of Euros to stem the tide of Muslim refugees from flooding an already staggered Europe.

Turkey is now partnering with Russia to turn the Black Sea into a Russian lake and to build the South Stream gas pipeline to provide Turkey with a Russian gas supply – a powerful tool for political posturing for Turkey against the EU.

Is all this hype about Russian hacking just a move by the US government and the Department of Homeland Security to gain control over US elections to “protect us” from hacking? Ever wonder how dictators always have such convincing margins of victory?

Of course, Russia, China, Iran and even our allies are hacking into our systems just as we are hacking into theirs, just ask German Chancellor Angela Merkel who had her private cell phone hacked by the US. Spying has a long-standing history in statecraft.

Indeed, news reports surfaced prior to the election of concerns over widespread voter fraud and hacking, but thankfully the Department of Homeland Security stepped up and said it would assume responsibility for elections across the US. That’s reassuring!

But there has been no credible evidence that anybody hacked into our voting machines or systems, despite many of them being purchased from George Soros’ owned companies. If hacking were truly a concern then voters have many options available to secure our electoral processes.

The best way to prevent hacking of elections is to use paper ballots that are sequentially numbered, hand count ballots with verifiers, and a really novel idea – require voter lists that are vetted against multiple sources and require IDs at the polling place. Sure it will take longer to count ballots, but the integrity will be validated. Of course, ballots can be counterfeited but diligence in registration and balloting at local polling places is the best safeguard. Verifying voter tallies at each level would make hacking obvious.

The counter-ID arguments are smokescreens for the disestablishment of the poor. The poor, even homeless, have ATM cards, ETF deposits, and ID to enter the systems. It is not undemocratic to ensure the people voting are entitled to vote. Anything else is ballot stuffing.

So the lesson learned from Turkey is that a secular country can be transformed into an authoritarian dictatorship through the implementation of the tools of the state.

But can you imagine the lunacy of the people ceding control of our right of electing our leaders to the very government our Constitution was crafted to protect us against the imposition of dictatorship? Voting is the final check and balance on the direction of our government.

The last three national elections have shown that 60% of the people believe the government is on the wrong path and the elections demonstrated the commitment to changing that course.

Let Turkey serve as a wake-up call for us all that revolution can occur in a modern republic when the people lack diligence over the actions of the state. We must insist our elections are controlled at the local and state levels if we are to have any hope of preserving our Constitutional republic.

Semper fi, Colonel sends

Hack, hack, hack, did Russia meddle?

This week in an open door Senate hearing, the nation’s top intelligence director James Clapper, told lawmakers that the Russian government used a multi-faceted campaign of hacking, fake news and propaganda to sway US voters before they went to the ballot box for the 2016 presidential election.

Watch Kimberly’s CW6 News TV segment here

“I don’t think we’ve ever encountered a more aggressive or direct campaign to interfere with our election process,” said James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence a political appointee of President Obama.

On Friday, intelligence officers made their way to Trump Tower to brief the incoming president. Three agencies of the 17- member Intel community claimed their unclassified Russian hacking report would provide ironclad evidence the Ruskies have been up to no good when it comes to America’s elections.

Nevertheless, the lackluster details of the report were leaked to NBC News and that prompted a famous President-elect Donald Trump Tweet that read: “I am asking the chairs of the House and Senate committees to investigate top secret intelligence shared with NBC prior to me seeing it.”

Not only does the report lack a smoking gun, the Intel report found only two (CIA & FBI) of the three agencies reported high confidence, while the NSA said it was moderately confident that Russia interfered in the elections. Hardly the blockbuster Americans were expecting. However, the 25-page report (including lots of empty pages) was littered with so-called fake news that “apparently” swayed voters, even though the Director of National Intelligence Clapper repeatedly told Capitol Hill lawmakers they found no evidence Russia hacked voting machines nor could they confirm Vladimir Putin swayed voters.

Clapper did say there were ample examples of Russian-run media outlets providing plenty of stories that were unkind to Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. The funny thing about the “fake news” is that the root of the stories was anchored in fact. The Democrat National Committee, Hillary Clinton, and John Podesta all had their email accounts hacked and the information was released to WikiLeaks who found ample readers wanting to know what was really going on behind the scenes at the DNC. Despite the Democrats complaints, WikiLeaks has a bi-partisan history and has hit both political parties as well as receiving scorn from both parties. For example, WikiLeaks released all of GOP Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s emails, unsavory details about the unpopular war in Iraq that Army Private Bradley/Chelsea Manning removed from government computers as well as the massive surveillance state the US maintains.

Regarding election enthusiasm, there is no question the Russian’s exploited the 2016 election. They aggressively took information that was somewhat known within the journalistic world but wasn’t really being widely reported. Once the information made it to WikiLeaks a lot of journalists were able to confirm the damning information. As a result of the fact that the Obama administration has consistently slowed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process, leaving many journalists unable to correctly report the news.

Another point, when the Russian government saw the released hacked emails, it was easy to write the slant based on “true email facts.” The IC report relies on Russian TV “RT” that is a Russian state-run outlet as the main boogieman. Of course, the various Intel talking heads tried to debunk WikiLeaks, but so far, they have yet to get a story wrong.

As for the so-called “fake news,” it’s based on “facts.” Unless the Main Stream Media (MSM) forgot to report the story, Putin didn’t tell Mrs. Clinton to use a “home-brewed” unencrypted, private email server that was separate from the State Department. Nor did he counsel Clinton to mix State Department business with Clinton Foundation business and he certainly did not tell Clinton to fundraise rather than campaign, the fault rests with the former Secretary of State. On the other hand, Podesta allegedly fell for a phishing campaign that convinced him to reveal his email password opening all of his emails to hackers, although WikiLeaks reported the leaks were from an insider.

Nobody knows for certain how the oodles of scandals that followed Clinton around like the plague changed the minds of voters; America has become a very polarized country. If anything the Russian influence highlighted and exploited the glaring facts that the journalistic world may not be a fair broker. The leaked emails demonstrated that the MSM might not be reporting all the information that comes their way.

The voters spoke loud and clear. A Rasmussen poll found last week that 48 to 31 percent of the American electorate believe the MSM media is still reporting Trump unfairly and are turning the channel.

Chances are if the majority of Americans read the IC report, “Key Judgments Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election” they would see the politicized Intel community highlights “Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the US- led liberal democratic order, but these activities demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.”

The declassified IC report claims the conclusions reached, mirror the highly classified assessment but “does not include the full supporting information on key elements of the influence campaign.”

  • Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment. NSA has moderate confidence.
  • Moscow’s approach evolved over the course of the campaign…When it appeared that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency.
  • Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyber activity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or “trolls.”
  • Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber-operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties.
  • Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data.
  • Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards.
  • Russia’s state-run propaganda machine contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences. We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its Putin-ordered campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts worldwide, including against US allies and their election process.

Incoming National Security Advisor for President-elect Trump, Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn has been worried about the intelligence communities’ increasing politicization and leadership’s new trend of telling the Commander in Chief what he wants to hear rather than the cold hard facts. In 2010, he penned a position paper titled “Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan” The tough-talking general believes the IC needs to refocus its energy on human intelligence and “in the field” operations to better access what the enemy is feeling and doing. “Because the United States has focused the overwhelming majority of collection efforts and analytical brainpower on insurgent groups, our intelligence apparatus still finds itself unable to answer fundamental questions about the environment in which we operate and the people we are trying to protect and persuade,” Gen Flynn wrote. “I felt the Intel system was way too politicized, especially in the Defense Department.”

In closing, there can be little doubt that Russia has engaged in both and cyber-sabotage and cyber-espionage against America and its allies. But America’s flirtation with coining news you don’t agree with, as “fake news” doesn’t mean it is true or not.

The US should heed the warning from Adolf Hitler’s chief propagandist, Joseph Goebel’s slogan, “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.”