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As Trump Cozies Up To Russia, US Deploys Troops To Poland and States That Gave US Intel That Russia Pushed Money Into Trump Campaign

January 13, 2017

As Trump leans in to Putin, a daily bromance through Twitter, Obama deploys troops to Poland to help secure the border as Russia inexorably edges closer.

American soldiers rolled into Poland on Thursday, fulfilling a dream some Poles have had since the fall of communism in 1989 to have U.S. troops on their soil as a deterrent against Russia.

Some people waved and held up American flags as U.S. troops in tanks and other vehicles crossed into southwestern Poland from Germany and headed toward the town of Zagan, where they will be based. Poland’s prime minister and defense minister will welcome them in an official ceremony Saturday.

“This is the fulfilment of a dream,” said Michal Baranowski, director of the German Marshall Fund think tank in Warsaw. “And this is not just a symbolic presence but one with a real capability.”

U.S. and other Western nations have carried out exercises on NATO’s eastern flank in past years, but the new deployment — which includes some 3,500 U.S. troops — marks the first-ever continuous deployment to the region by a NATO ally.It is part of a larger commitment by President Barack Obama to protect a region that grew deeply nervous when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and then began backing separatist rebels in Ukraine’s east.

The link above focuses on the Golden Showers element of Trump (read about the Golden Showers here: Russian Documents Leaked Showing Trump’s Campaign Links to Russia And “Perverted Sexual Acts” “Golden Shower Presidency”), but setting Trump aside for just a moment, let’s take a look at the significance of NATO-backed troops moving into Poland.  Why is it so important that US troops move into Poland? Putin considers it an act of aggression, moving into his back yard, if you will. It appears he already believes Russia controls Poland, as he has taken this latest installment of US troops as an insult.

“These actions threaten our interests, our security,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday. “Especially as it concerns a third party building up its military presence near our borders. It’s not even a European state.

How near is Poland to Russian borders?

Actually, Poland doesn’t directly border Russia, but it’s telling that Putin believes that US troops in Poland are at its border. Sounds like Russia believes that US troops in Poland are in its borders.

When Russia first started talking about nuclear arms, Obama promised Poland that the US would match it, but Poland feels that this latest move is yet another round of promises by the US that fall short of real protection.

Poles still feel betrayed by Obama’s “reset” with Russia early on in his administration, which involved abandoning plans for a major U.S. missile defense system in Poland and replacing it with plans for a less ambitious system, still not in place.

All recent U.S. presidents have thought there can be a grand bargain with Russia,” said Marcin Zaborowski, a senior associate at Visegrad Insight, an analytic journal on Central Europe. “Trump has a proclivity to make deals, and Central and Eastern Europe have reason to worry about that.”

Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski expressed hope this week that any new effort at reconciliation with Russia “does not happen at our expense.”

The armored brigade combat team arriving in Poland hails from Fort Carson, Colorado. The troops arrived last week in Germany and are gathering in Poland before units will fan out across seven countries from Estonia to Bulgaria. A headquarters unit will be stationed in Germany. After nine months they will be replaced by another unit.

In a separate but related mission, NATO will also deploy four battalions to its eastern flank later this year, one each to Poland and the three Baltic states. The U.S. will also lead one of those battalions.

Baltic states were also the region from which intelligence accounts from Russian interference were verified. I wrote about this in the Golden Showers post:

Last April, the CIA director was shown intelligence that worried him. It was – allegedly – a tape recording of a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into the US presidential campaign.

It was passed to the US by an intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States. The CIA cannot act domestically against American citizens so a joint counter-intelligence taskforce was created.

In other words, those very states to which we are now sending troops were the same states that had intercepted intel info that money from the Kremlin was going directly to the US presidential campaign of Donald Trump.  The information about the money flow from Russia to the US came from none other than our allies in the Baltic States.

How back can hacking be? Trump declared “hacking is bad,” but his simplistic rendition means he is no match for a former KGB operative like Putin. Newsweek reports that Russian hacking is more extensive than finding out that Clinton got debate questions before Trump:

The Russian penetration in the United States is far more extensive than previously revealed publicly, although most of it has been targeted either at government departments or nongovernment organizations connected to the Democratic Party. Russian hackers penetrated the White House, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the State Department. The State Department cyberattack, which began in 2014 and lasted more than a year, was particularly severe, with Russian hackers gaining entry into its unclassified system, including emails. (Hillary Clinton left the State Department in 2013, which means that if she had used its unclassified email system rather than her private server—a decision that has dogged her throughout the campaign—any of her emails on the government system could have been obtained by Russian hackers.)

The breadth of the cyberattacks of nongovernmental organizations is astonishing. Russian hackers have obtained emails and other information out of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, but also have struck at organizations with looser ties to the party, including think tanks such as the Brookings Institution, where some of Clinton’s longtime friends and colleagues work.

Dismissing the intelligence information that determined Russia had “kompromat” on Trump requires disbelieving European states to whom we have just delivered military troops. While the United States blithely determined there was no factual merit to the intelligence briefings, Trump’s organization had been disseminating Russian media to the United States media outlets at news to cover:

Even as Trump was disputing the role played by the Kremlin in the hacking, his campaign was scouring sites publicly identified by American intelligence as sources for Russian propaganda. Ten days before the third debate, Newsweek published an article disclosing that a document altered by Russian propagandists and put out on the internet—ultimately published by Sputnik—had been cited by Trump at a rally as fact. (The information distributed on the internet placed words that had appeared in Newsweek into the mouth of Sidney Blumenthal, a Clinton confidante. Taken in that context, they suggested that her closest allies believed she bore responsibility for the attack on the American mission in Benghazi, Libya.)

Subsequently, Sputnik, which took down that article, published another one essentially denying the news organization was controlled by the Kremlin and attacking Newsweek. Before the day was out, the Trump campaign was emailing links to the article from the Russian propaganda site to multiple reporters, urging them to pursue the story.

Before we launch into our denial diatribe again, let’s just remember that troops haven’t entered the Baltic states like this since the Cold War. It’s as though the US government is run by two different arms attached to the same body. Trump is Putin’s mouthpiece, and Obama deploys troops to push back against Putin. Think that the US deployment is a joke? No joke when tanks are sent in. The chilling statement echoed by Germany of war, is starting to look more and more real, even as Putin and Trump puppets deny the reality.

While Trump denounces Golden Showers as “fake news,” which may occupy him for years to come, we are inexorably drawn closer and closer toward the flame of war. It’s as simple as distracting a crying baby, and with Trump, it appears nothing else is needed. Compliment him or attack him, any attention given, and Trump immediately becomes fixated on the attention and its inescapable ego stroking. Trump argues about “fake news” while NATO deploys troops to bolster Baltic states. It’s as though Trump can’t even feel his own hands when they move from the from of his face.

Luckily for Americans, Trump’s cabinet picks, who aren’t agreeing with him, have responded to this threat of military troops. NATO is hoping that Trump being just one person, that the US will continue to back NATO efforts to push back against Russia’s expansion through Europe. The Guardian, a UK based news outlet, has already moved on from salacious Trump details and is more focused on the pressing matters of Russian aggression and the newly appointed cabinet response to troop deployment Poland, namely hoping that US troops won’t be prematurely withdrawn:

That prediction was reinforced by Trump’s proposed defence secretary, James Mattis, and his proposed secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who backed Nato during Senate confirmation hearings.

Mattis, in rhetoric at odds with the president-elect, said the west should recognise the reality that Putin was trying to break Nato.

Tillerson, who has business dealings in Russia, described Russia’s annexation of Crimea as “as an act of force” and said that when Russia flexed its muscles, the US must mount “a proportional show of force”.

Nato was caught out by the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has struggled to cope with Russia’s use of hybrid warfare, which combines propaganda, cyberwarfare and the infiltration of regular troops disguised as local rebels.

Of course everyone in the US is distracted with Trump’s sexual perversion and maybe won’t acknowledge Russia’s advances. However, the CIA nominee from Trump’s cabinet is a former veteran who fought in the last Cold War against Russia, and he doesn’t underestimate Russia. The NYTimes reports that Pompeo, Trump’s CIA nominee, is literally a Cold War veteran:

 The first battle that Representative Mike Pompeo prepared to fight was against the Russians, when he commanded a tank platoon in Germany in the twilight of the Cold War. On Thursday, he made clear he was ready to take on America’s old adversary if confirmed as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

…The question hanging over Mr. Pompeo, and America’s 17 intelligence agencies, is how to handle a president who embraces President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia while the agency tries to keep Russia in check. So far, nothing in the C.I.A.’s 69-year history has prepared it to deal with a president who is as openly derisive of its work as Mr. Trump.

Trump never commanded a platoon of tanks against Russia, and it appears that Pompeo is not swayed by Trump’s bromance with Putin or Trump’s Golden Showers distraction. Pompeo appears committed to keeping Russia in check, despite NATO fears that the President Elect won’t understand Russia’s moves:

Mr. Pompeo may have somewhat assuaged those concerns on Thursday when he was asked at his Senate confirmation hearing if the C.I.A., under his leadership, would continue to pursue intelligence on Russian hacking — allegations that have come amid a swirl of unsubstantiated rumors about links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

“I will continue to pursue foreign intelligence with vigor no matter where the facts lead,” Mr. Pompeo said. He added that he would do this “with regard to this issue and each and every issue.”

The C.I.A. under his leadership, he said, would provide “accurate, timely, robust and cleareyed analysis of Russian activities.”

Perhaps the Republicans won’t let Trump slide on Russian war tactics, but while Putin may have sent in a clown when he pushed to elect Trump, Putin may have underestimated other Americans who remember all too well the last time they engaged with Russia. Putin has made lots of enemies, and one man, no matter what news-grabbing headlines he may command, even as salacious as sexual perversion, can hold the attention of the country when troops are deployed. This is a much more arresting sight, wouldn’t you say?

News commentators have also noticed escalating tensions between the US government and Russian government, outside of the Trump/Putin tango, and I am not the only one forecasting dangerous times ahead. PressTV commentators note that US troop deployment could be viewed as a ramp in more hostile relations:

Press TV has spoken to Brian Becker, member of the ANSWER Coalition, as well as Brent Budowsky, columnist with The Hill, to discuss this issue.

Brian Becker sees the US troop deployment to Poland as a very “provocative” move, adding that Washington and NATO have been “relentlessly” pushing eastward toward Russia’s border since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“25 years ago when the Soviet Union collapsed, there was an agreement – ratified again in 1996 – that the United States would not take advantage of the end of the Soviet Union by expanding NATO into Eastern and Central European states that had been Russia’s principal allies. And in fact, it has done just that. It has pushed relentlessly,” he said.

He also opined that Russia has no intention of invading the Baltic States, but that it perceives the United States’ continuation of setting up missile shields in those countries as an attempt to gain “military superiority.”

The analyst went on to say that the United States initially positioned the missile shield systems in Poland and Romania under the pretext of stopping Iran’s nuclear threat which never really existed.

Therefore, he argued, now that the United States and the P5+1 countries have signed the nuclear agreement with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Washington must remove those missile shields.

He further stated if the United States has no intention to start a war, there is no reason for it to carry out military exercises with NATO on Russia’s doorstep.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Becker noted that NATO troop deployment to Eastern Europe is like a “gravy train” that will connect the commercial interests in the region to the US military-industrial complex.

He also asserted that it is not the people of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia who have called for NATO troops to come in and save them from the “Russian menace,” rather the right-wing governments of those countries.

ANSWER stand for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, and bills itself as a US organization, but the quote above was published by PressTV.ir, an Islamic Republic of Iran news organization. ANSWER’s stated mission is to end war; however, Iran has used that information to portray the US as engaging in war against Russia, which would only serve Iran well if it could also inflame tensions between the US and Russia, distract both countries who want to stamp out ISIS. Iran has nothing to lose by highlighting tensions between the US and Russia in hopes to destabilize them further.

Lest we Americans miss what has been happening, troops were sent to Poland back in April 2014, when Russia moved into the Ukraine, and more troops were deployed in October 2016 when Russia amped up nuclear arms missiles plans:

NATO defense ministers are meeting throughout Wednesday and Thursday to map out plans for each of the groups.

‘Close to our borders, Russia continues its assertive military posturing,’ said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday.

‘This month alone, Russia has deployed nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad and suspended a weapons-grade plutonium agreement with the United States.

‘And Russia continues to destabilize eastern Ukraine with military and financial support for the separatists.

This above pronouncement was published by the UK on Oct. 26, 2016, when the Americans were eclipsed by Russian hacking scandals and its Presidential election. The Russians distract Americans from electing Clinton while moving troops closer to Baltic states and preparing nuclear arms.

Americans played along, jumped on the bandwagon to fight Clinton, all the while playing into the Kremlin’s hands. Thank goodness NATO wasn’t distracted enough to miss Russia’s nuclear ams proliferation during that time. While Trump played the Clinton “hacking scandal,” Putin played with nuclear arms:

The pictures were revealed online by chief designers from the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau.

A message posted alongside the picture said: ‘In accordance with the Decree of the Russian Government ‘On the State Defense Order for 2010 and the planning period 2012-2013’, the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau was instructed to start design and development work on the Sarmat. ‘

The RS-28 Sarmat missile is said to contain 16 nuclear warheads and is capable of destroying an area the size of France or Texas, according to Russian news network Zvezda, which is owned by Russia’s ministry of defence.

The weapon is also able to evade radar.

Putin is capable of playing a shell in cups game, and Trump is only capable of watching one hand at a time. Unfortunately, Americans were bogged down by shaming Clinton, and couldn’t admit that Russian interference might have been subterfuge all along. I wondered why Russia would go to such lengths to antagonize Americans, and whenever Russia starts a campaign like this, I am always looking for the end game. What did Russia really want? Aside from hacking Clinton’s email? Russia wanted a distraction, cover for its nuclear arms program.

Trump Debate Question Scandal and Golden Showers vs. Putin Nuclear Arms Development. According to The Daily Mail.UK, this is what Putin has been working on, proving his ability to multitask far exceeds Trump’s:

It is expected to have a range of 6,213 miles (10,000 km), which would allow Moscow to attack European cities as well as reaching cities on America’s west and east coasts.

 Dr Sutyagin points out that the SS-18 missiles which the Russians currently rely on were designed in 1988 during the Soviet Union and were built at a factory in Dnipropetrovsk, in what is now the Ukraine.

He said: ‘Not only are they too fast but they have got rid of the predictable flight path.

‘It manouevres all the way so it is terribly difficult for any missile defence system to shoot it down.’

The Russian Defence Ministry plans to put the Sarmat into service in late 2018 and remove the last SS-18 by 2020.

The Sarmat has been in development since 2009 and is scheduled to start replacing the old ICBMs in 2018.

The new missile is said to be undergoing testing near Miass in Russia.

While the US is engaged in managing their clown, Iran uses propaganda to claim the US has declared war with Russia, Russia is developing nuclear warheads in the Ukraine, which Russia just happened to invade when it needed to upgrade its old nuclear weapons in the Ukrainian plant. Russia has had a plan all along: use propaganda to distract the US, use propaganda to get ISIS to fight the US and weaken it, use propaganda to destabilize the Presidential election and all the while, use the distraction as cover to build its nuclear weapons while it invades the Baltic states and moves across Europe. Once KGB, always KGB. Let’s not underestimate this man and call him a mere chauvinist, let’s just call him dangerous. And really, America, let’s wake up to the reality that he planning for war.

Amid Russian Hacking and Interference In US 2016 Presidential Election Justice Department Begin Investigation of FBI Influencing Elections With “Improper Considerations”

January 12, 2017

If all of you at home have been wondering why the US FBI has not reported on the explosive allegations of Russian involvement in Trump’s campaign, his sexual predilection for Golden Showers, or the fact that the Russians hacked the Democratic emails, news reports have just been released showing the Justice Department fears the FBI may have been influencing elections with “improper considerations,” or in other words “Russian shit has hit the fan.” The US Justice Department is investigating why the FBI chose to release documents the Russians hacked on Clinton’s email, but protected Trump:

The Justice Department is opening an investigation into whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s decisions during the 2016 presidential campaign were appropriate, Reuters reports.

According to a statement released by the department’s inspector general, the review will examine the following:

  • Allegations that Department or FBI policies or procedures were not followed in connection with, or in actions leading up to or related to, the FBI director’s public announcement on July 5, 2016, and the director’s letters to Congress on October 28 and November 6, 2016, and that certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations;
  • Allegations that the FBI deputy director should have been recused from participating in certain investigative matters;
  • Allegations that the Department’s assistant attorney general for legislative affairs improperly disclosed nonpublic information to the Clinton campaign and/or should have been recused from participating in certain matters;
  • Allegations that department and FBI employees improperly disclosed nonpublic information; and
  • Allegations that decisions regarding the timing of the FBI’s release of certain Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents on October 30 and November 1, 2016, and the use of a Twitter account to publicize same, were influenced by improper considerations.

The Justice Department’s announcement on Thursday follows growing evidence that FBI Director James Comey’s decision to inform members of Congress that it had comes across a new batch of emails connected to the Hillary Clinton campaign swung the election in favor of Donald Trump.

Why Didn’t We Hear About Trump’s Golden Shower In August? Links To The Golden Shower Memo Circulated in August 2016

January 12, 2017

Trump attacked news organizations, CNN and BuzzFeed during his “press conference,” and I use the term loosely, because it routinely turned into a press jab or Clinton punch, not exactly a briefing on foreign policy. He claimed that the memo that was leaked about his Golden Shower was “fake news,” and he yelled about how it should never have been released. BuzzFeed’s decision to release the memo has been called “controversial.” I covered the details of the memo yesterday, and you can click here to read it: Russian Documents Leaked Showing Trump’s Campaign Links to Russia And “Perverted Sexual Acts” “Golden Shower Presidency” 

What I want to know: Why were Americans the last to know?

I checked multiple international reports, and BBC and Reuters both confirm that the documents were called “unsubstantiated” by CNN but don’t offer any veracity of their own. Unsurprisingly since the BBC is “British Broadcasting,” the reports investigating the MI-6 British operative who provided the dossier are less damaging, more thoughtful in their nuance.

The BBC reports on the warrant requested to determine whether or not Russia contributed to Trump’s campaign, thereby deflecting the British operative’s report and emphasizing that the US government felt there was a serious enough Russian breach to request a warrant three times from international agencies to investigate that link, an investigation whose full report has not been published:

Last April, the CIA director was shown intelligence that worried him. It was – allegedly – a tape recording of a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into the US presidential campaign.

It was passed to the US by an intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States. The CIA cannot act domestically against American citizens so a joint counter-intelligence taskforce was created.

The taskforce included six agencies or departments of government. Dealing with the domestic, US, side of the inquiry, were the FBI, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Justice. For the foreign and intelligence aspects of the investigation, there were another three agencies: the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency, responsible for electronic spying.

Lawyers from the National Security Division in the Department of Justice then drew up an application. They took it to the secret US court that deals with intelligence, the Fisa court, named after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They wanted permission to intercept the electronic records from two Russian banks.

Their first application, in June, was rejected outright by the judge. They returned with a more narrowly drawn order in July and were rejected again. Finally, before a new judge, the order was granted, on 15 October, three weeks before election day.

Neither Mr Trump nor his associates are named in the Fisa order, which would only cover foreign citizens or foreign entities – in this case the Russian banks. But ultimately, the investigation is looking for transfers of money from Russia to the United States, each one, if proved, a felony offence.

I don’t doubt that we will find evidence of MORE Russian interference in our elections. It’s already happened, but what I wonder is: what happens if it’s determined that Russians contributed to Trump’s campaign. The investigation into the foreign banks hasn’t been completed, but if the US intelligence agencies knew about possible Russian money transfers, as did an international court, why try to hide Trump’s alleged links to Russia from the American people? Why vilify a news agency that only put out there what the international community has known since August2016?

Why rely on intelligence agencies and spies when cold hard cash might just open up this whole ordeal? The BBC reports that the American pornography outlets are putting a million dollar price tag on serving up Trump’s other “head,” to prove he was in compromising positions, which would just validate the whole ordeal, FBI not included:

If a tape exists, the Russians would hardly give it up, though some hope to encourage a disloyal FSB officer who might want to make some serious money. Before the election, Larry Flynt, publisher of the pornographic magazine Hustler, put up a million dollars for incriminating tape of Mr Trump. Penthouse has now followed with its own offer of a million dollars for the Ritz-Carlton tape (if it exists). 

It is an extraordinary situation, 10 days before Mr Trump is sworn into office, but it was foreshadowed during the campaign.

During the final presidential debate, Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump a “puppet” of Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin. “No puppet. No puppet,” Mr Trump interjected, talking over Mrs Clinton. “You’re the puppet. No, you’re the puppet.”

In a New York Times op-ed in August, the former director of the CIA, Michael Morell, wrote: “In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr Putin had recruited Mr Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

Agent; puppet – both terms imply some measure of influence or control by Moscow.

Michael Hayden, former head of both the CIA and the NSA, simply called Mr Trump a “polezni durak” – a useful fool.

Because Golden Showers and Puppet are both distracting terms, I want to redirect you to the phrasing used by the BBC, the most important phrasing: ” before the election…” American pornography outlets knew of the existence of this alleged sexual dossier before the American public. So why is everyone blog-shaming  BuzzFeed?

BBC points out that the reports were credible enough to warrant a Presidential briefing by the CIA and FBI, so why is everyone blaming the former British operative for providing them?

The claims of Russian kompromat on Mr Trump were “credible”, the CIA believed. That is why – according to the New York Times and Washington Post – these claims ended up on President Barack Obama’s desk last week, a briefing document also given to Congressional leaders and to Mr Trump himself.

Mr Trump did visit Moscow in November 2013, the date the main tape is supposed to have been made. There is TV footage of him at the Miss Universe contest. Any visitor to a grand hotel in Moscow would be wise to assume that their room comes equipped with hidden cameras and microphones as well as a mini-bar.

At his news conference, Mr Trump said he warned his staff when they travelled: “Be very careful, because in your hotel rooms and no matter where you go you’re going to probably have cameras.”

Just so we don’t leave out any inflammatory comments to other companies, Trump then asked, via Twitter, of course, whether or not we were living in Nazi, Germany. The Germans were not thrilled with this comment, just as the British aren’t happy that when it’s convenient to trash a British operative, the incoming US President will do so if the information relates to him.

The BBC goes on to point out that other Eastern European agencies had knowledge of the “Golden Showers” tape and Russian interference over the summer of 2016:

And the former MI6 agent is not the only source for the claim about Russian kompromat on the president-elect. Back in August, a retired spy told me he had been informed of its existence by “the head of an East European intelligence agency”.

Later, I used an intermediary to pass some questions to active duty CIA officers dealing with the case file – they would not speak to me directly. I got a message back that there was “more than one tape”, “audio and video”, on “more than one date”, in “more than one place” – in the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow and also in St Petersburg – and that the material was “of a sexual nature”.

The US news media completely discounts the fact that international intelligence communities may be able to validate the information, that if it was ripe for the picking, more than one international intelligence agency may have the same information that Americans are just now finding out about. It’s like an extramarital affair when the wife is always the last to know, and then someone yells at the informant asking: “Who told her?” Why are the American people the last to know about this?

Reuters, a UK based news organization gave a more thorough background of  the man who wrote the dossier, Christopher Steele,  and pointed out that the US intelligence community had used information Steele collected in the past to issue indictments in various cases of corruption between a soccer organization (football) and the World Cup.

Christopher Steele, who wrote reports on compromising material Russian operatives allegedly had collected on U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, is a former officer in Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, according to people familiar with his career.

Former British intelligence officials said Steele spent years under diplomatic cover working for the agency, also known as MI-6, in Russia and Paris and at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.

After he left the spy service, Steele supplied the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with information on corruption at FIFA, international soccer’s governing body.

 It was his work on corruption in international soccer that lent credence to his reporting on Trump’s entanglements in Russia, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

Emails seen by Reuters indicate that, in the summer of 2010, members of a New York-based FBI squad assigned to investigate “Eurasian Organized Crime” met Steele in London to discuss allegations of possible corruption in FIFA, the Swiss-based body that also organizes the World Cup tournament.

People familiar with Steele’s activities said his British-based company, Orbis Business Intelligence, was hired by the Football Association, Britain’s domestic soccer governing body, to investigate FIFA. At the time, the Football Association was hoping to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cups. British corporate records show that Orbis was formed in March 2009.

Amid a swirl of corruption allegations, the 2018 World Cup was awarded to Moscow and Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 competition.

The FBI squad whose members met Steele subsequently opened a major investigation into alleged soccer corruption that led to dozens of U.S. indictments, including those of prominent international soccer officials.

Senior FIFA officials, including long-time president Sepp Blatter, were forced to resign.

International news organizations are correctly pointing out that the US Intel community will use Steele’s information to take down World Cup corruption, but when it comes to a US President, the FBI claims Steele’s work is “unverified.”

Steele’s dealings with the FBI on Trump, initially with the senior agent who had started the FIFA probe and then moved to a post in Europe, began in July. However, Steele cut off contact with the FBI about a month before the Nov. 8 election because he was frustrated by the bureau’s slow progress.

The FBI opened preliminary investigations into Trump and his entourage’s dealings with Russians that were based in part on Steele’s reports, according to people familiar with the inquiries.

However, they said the Bureau shifted into low gear in the weeks before the election to avoid interfering in the vote. They said Steele grew frustrated and stopped dealing with the FBI after concluding it was not seriously investigating the material he had provided.

American seem to be caught flat-footed, even while the rest of Europe is taking notice and trying to block Russian attempts to interfere with their own elections. For a threat that is considered “fake news,” the rest of the world is stepping up to fight it. Strange that when there is direct evidence that Russia hacked the US election to influence it, the US appears the last to know and the last to admit it happened. Across the world, other countries are setting up surveillance to monitor Russian activities specifically:

The EU foreign service is slated to expand a 30-person strategic communications office set up in March 2015 to counter what it sees as fake news and Russian campaigns for influence.

The second EU source said the effort was “a badly under-funded, tiny team with close to no support”, and added Brussels did not see Russian intervention as a priority.

Individual members are now setting up their own offices to monitor and respond to disinformation, including the Czech Republic, which set up a 20-member team on Jan. 1.

Berlin is considering an office to evaluate fake news, but that effort has already run into political concerns that the government is setting up a “truth ministry” that would limit free speech or influence national elections.

German intelligence cited the high-profile case of a German-Russian girl who Russian media said was kidnapped and raped by migrants in Berlin, a claim later refuted by German authorities. The case underscored mutual suspicion between Moscow and Berlin.

Some other countries banned Russian-language television from broadcasting for spreading disinformation or inciting hatred. Lithuania, Latvia, Britain, Estonia and Denmark have also urged the EU to create news sources for Russian speakers.

In Latvia, facing municipal elections in June, officials cite a barrage of propaganda aimed at 500,000 Russian speakers and a cooperation agreement between the pro-Russian opposition party Harmony with Putin’s United Russia party.

Lithuania this week said it had barred construction of a data center for cloud computer operations last year over concerns it could be infiltrated by Russian intelligence once it was connected by fiber-optic cable to Russia…

German officials say a hack in December of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) used methods seen in a 2015 hack of the German parliament that was linked to APT28, a Russian hacker group, blamed for U.S. election hacks.

“We are already at war, and for many years,” Darius Jauniskis, head of Lithuania’s counter-intelligence State Security Department told Reuters in an interview.

Cyber security is a pressing concern for NATO, whose ambassadors discussed specific fears raised by Germany about Russian election interference in December, two diplomats said.

France and Germany recently set up cyber warfare units, and NATO officials have told Reuters they suspect Russia sponsors attacks against their networks before key summits.

“We are already at war…” Seems the Americans have been the last to know.

Russian Documents Leaked Showing Trump’s Campaign Links to Russia and “Perverted Sexual Acts” “Golden Shower Presidency”

January 11, 2017

Document Cloud has the documents from Russian operatives linking President Elect Trump’s campaign operatives and himself to Russian interference. The link I just provided gives a dossier of Russian operative reports linking Trump’s involvement with Putin back 5 years, at least. According to reports, Trump’s senior campaign director, Carter Page, held secret meetings in Russia regarding their support of Trump as a US presidential candidate.

According to the source, “kompromat” was gained on Trump and his “perverted” sexual acts while Trump was in Russian, orchestrated by the equivalent of the KGB, in order to have blackmail material to control Trump.  Business Insider quoted some of the most damning reports, which Trump has declared “fake news,” but for all of us wondering what has happened to the investigation of Russia’s interference and just how far it reached, this news is unsurprising:

The operative claimed that Russian intelligence sources said they had “compromised” Trump during his visits to Moscow and could “blackmail him” with evidence of his conduct, which included “perverted sexual acts arranged and monitored” by the Russian federal security service (FSB).

But the Russians, the operative says in the dossier, ” promised not to use the ‘kompromat’ they hold on Trump as leverage, given high levels of voluntary cooperation forthcoming from his team.”

The memo asserts that the Kremlin has “been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years.  Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance.”

When Comey, head of the FBI was questioned during a hearing about the validity of the intelligence reports on Trump, Comey dodged:

When asked about reports that Trump’s campaign had contact with Russia during the election, Comey told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Tuesday that he could “not comment in an open forum” on whether his agency is pursuing an investigation into the alleged ties.

Is there any more “open forum” than the presidency? The presidency which Trump is supposed to handle in mere weeks?

According to the report, not only is Trump’s team involved in Russia now, Trump’s team collected and sourced intelligence information for Russian officials for the last 8 years. Premier Peskov is apparently to be made the scapegoat for the fallout of Russian interference, the fact that sanctions have been ordered, that Russians have been deported from the US, and that the investigations have led to international comment. The documents linking Russian interference to the US election are dated 5 August 2016 (see page 14 of the document), months before the election took place. The FBI knew about Russian interference, but only put Clinton in the crosshairs, strategically before the election.

The New York Daily News has published information that the documents are unsubstantiated, but it focuses entirely on the sexual acts, not the collusion with the Russian government:

A two-page summary of the unsubstantiated allegations was presented to Trump and President Obama last week in meetings with the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency and director of national intelligence, CNN reported Tuesday.

A longer document that the summary was allegedly based on was published in full by BuzzFeed News on Tuesday. It said that during a 2013 trip to the Russian capital, Trump made Russian prostitutes defile a Ritz-Carlton bed where President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama had stayed on a previous occasion.

It said the incident was captured on surveillance cameras.

Putin’s team calls U.S. probe into Russian hacking a ‘witch hunt’

The accusations in the BuzzFeed documents are unconfirmed, though Trump did travel to Russia in 2013 when he hosted the Miss Universe pageant there. The Obamas traveled to Moscow in July 2009.

Pesky, in a panic, says that there was no compromising information on Trump. Of course, Russia has also denied interfering in US elections, even when Russian operatives breached the DNC, so protestations of innocence are tough to believe. CNN reports that Peskov says the information provided by operatives is “pulp fiction”:

During a conference call on Wednesday, Peskov said the claims were false. “No, the Kremlin does not have ‘Kompromat’ on Trump,” he said in response to a question from CNN. “The information does not correspond to reality and it is complete fiction.”
Peskov added: “The fabrication of such lies in terms of the previous open part of the report, and this one which is a comparable lie, it’s called pulp fiction in English.”
“Clearly there are those who are creating hysteria, who are trying to support this witch hunt, and President-elect Trump himself described it like this.”
Not only did the report say that the Kremlin had supported Trump’s campaign, but it also stated that the Kremlin paid for trips to Moscow for other US officials, with the express purpose of creating an alliance with them. Russian officials have been asking US officials how they can “support them,” perhaps leading to a wider probe of Russia’s interference in US politics.
Instead of belittling the reports, and instead of immediately believing Trump, who has been so cozy with Russia from the beginning that it has drawn ire, let’s just imagine what might happen if Trump is found to have a Russian connection. If that is true, not only would the Russians have succeeded in electing the US President of their choice, proving their might in digital espionage, but then they can also prove that they can topple that candidate when they choose. It’s a position of incredible power. In effect, then, Russia has destabilized the entire US political system with nothing more than a few covert operatives working on laptops.
Here’s the other important piece of the picture: the operative finding Russian information was British, not part of the United States, and therefore more likely to be believable. The operative has provided credible intelligence information to the US government in the past, and is well-respected in his field. It would be virtually impossible to verify this information without access to classified intelligence documents, but our international allies have provided us with information on the Russian spies and interference, so it’s not linked to any political party here in the States.
The irony of Comey, US head of FBI, releasing unsubstantiated information on a political candidate without verification, is not lost on most in the US. Come famously released information on Clinton months after he got the intel, right before the election, to stunning effect, but now he claims he can’t answer investigative questions regarding Trump:
…then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to contact FBI Director James Comey.
He wrote in a letter in October: “It has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government — a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States.”
At a senate hearing on Tuesday, Comey refused to comment on whether the agency was investigating any potential connections between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“I would never comment on investigations,” Comey told Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who repeatedly pushed the FBI director to release any information it had before Inauguration Day.
Sen. Angus King of Maine, an Independent, alluded to Comey’s decision to go public on the FBI’s additional investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails in the closing stages of the 2016 campaign. “The irony of you making that statement I cannot avoid,” King said.
After the hearing, Wyden tweeted: “Director Comey refused to answer my question about whether the FBI has investigated Trump campaign contacts with Russia.”
When do we get rid of Comey? When do ethics investigations start? With FBI investigations like this, why do we need enemies abroad?
 What is Trump’s response? He tweets all of his responses, actually, and he calls it “fake news,” again:
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?
Go ahead and just lump the Germans in here, who have been thus far “just standing there,” geographical location and all. Misdirect, misdirect…
So, what does Trump do when cornered about having Russian allegiance? He asks Russia if they are involved, and then tweets that they are not:
Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is “A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE.” Very unfair!
Ah, the internet is a beautiful thing… Trump tweets that the Russian ties he supposedly has aren’t verified by Russia. The sheer stupidity amazes me, but then I don’t think I am alone in these things.
“Golden Showers Presidency” Who knew pee could change the world?
Fox News, an ardent supporter of Trump and neoconservatives in the past, had unwittingly but accurately tweeted this gem…
President-elect Donald Trump’s plane given a water salute as it takes off from NY to the White House for his meeting with President Obama (11/10/16)
I. Can’t. Stop. Laughing. The news has gotten wonderful.
Here’s what you may have missed: As CNN acknowledges, those same claims were first reported before the election. Now CNN is reporting that FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and Adm. Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, have presented information summarizing the claims to Obama and Trump. That shows that the intelligence community takes the allegations seriously enough to investigate them, summarize them, and brief the president and his successor on them.
I don’t think Trump ever felt he would be under such a microscope when he pushed to be president, but sexual misbehavior is part of what propelled him to the top in the first place. Is it worse if sexual “perversion” takes place in Moscow? Worse if it’s with prostitutes? Worse if it’s with Russian prostitutes? Only the FBI can tell us what that tipping point is. Trump, who loves to “grab women by their pussy,” might have been letting loose a bigger stream of intel than even he knew.
Why publish the report? Well, it has been circulating for months, and the American public never knew. People claimed they couldn’t verify the information, which they couldn’t unless they had a KGB operative on their side, and at a certain point, everyone else had seen it, so why not?
HuffPost claims that the document was published because Trump keeps picking on the Intelligence Community (US Intelligence Agency), and he also derides the media for its publications, so this is a kind of last-minute shot to undermine him:

But the timing is especially interesting. Trump has been criticizing the intelligence community’s work on Russian interference in last year’s election. “My take is that this is the IC trolling Trump,” one former top intel official who works on Russia issues speculated. “Because Trump stupidly picked a fight with the IC, they’re just releasing stuff to generate bad headlines.”

On Tuesday night, Mother Jones updated its original story. “In Mother Jones’ original report,” the editors noted, “we did not publish the memos drafted by the intelligence official or cite specific details from the documents because the allegations could not be confirmed.”

“I didn’t publish all of the memos because the allegations in them couldn’t be confirmed, and I couldn’t confirm the FBI was mounting a thorough investigation of these allegations,” David Corn, my ex-boss and the author of the piece, told me Tuesday. “So I thought it was responsible to note the memos’ existence and characterize the information within them without providing all the details. Even Donald Trump deserves fairness.”

Realistically, if the dossier had been circulating for months with top US officials, and Senator Jon McCain verified its existence,

The report was verified, but now everyone is wondering if there are videos of Presidential Golden Showers. Do the Golden Showers matter as much as the link to the Kremlin? Apparently Golden Showers are more easily verified or discussed than links to Russian governmental agencies with the US President. Talk about taboo.
How about the planning for coronation day, I mean inauguration…
So what we’ve done instead of trying to surround him with what people consider A-listers is we are going to surround him with the soft sensuality of the place. It’s a much more poetic cadence than having a circus-like celebration that’s a coronation. That’s the way this president-elect wanted it. I think it will be contributive. It will be beautiful. The cadence of it is going to be “let me get back to work.”
I love America.
Soft and warm sensuality? Body temp warm, maybe? Shower him in sensuality? I can’t stop…
The Guardian, which is a UK news agency, had this to say, namely that the British operative who reported this wasn’t lying:

An official in the US administration who spoke to the Guardian described the source who wrote the intelligence report as consistently reliable, meticulous and well-informed, with a reputation for having extensive Russian contacts. 

Some of the reports – which are dated from 20 June to 20 October last year – also proved to be prescient, predicting events that happened after they were sent.

One report, dated June 2016, claims that the Kremlin has been cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump for at least five years, with the aim of encouraging “splits and divisions in western alliance”.

Why ask Russia if the information about Russia is a lie, Trump? Why not ask Britain, the country that employed the operative?

Senator Jon McCain had seen the information and had the report independently investigated, but Trump, apparently, is afraid to do the same. The Guardian, the UK news source, states that Jon McCain “dispatched an emissary overseas to meet the source,” more than Trump or Obama did:

The Guardian can confirm that the documents reached the top of the FBI by December. Senator John McCain, who was informed about the existence of the documents separately by an intermediary from a western allied state, dispatched an emissary overseas to meet the source and then decided to present the material to Comey in a one-on-one meeting on 9 December, according to a source aware of the meeting. The documents, which were first reported on last year by Mother Jones, are also in the hands of officials in the White House.

McCain is not thought to have made a judgment on the reliability of the documents but was sufficiently impressed by the source’s credentials to feel obliged to pass them to the FBI.

The Senate armed services committee, which Senator McCain chairs, launched an inquiry last week into Russian cyber-attacks during the election.

McCain was reluctant to get involved, according to a colleague, for fear the issue would be dismissed as a personal grudge against Trump. He pushed instead for the creation of a special Senate committee to look into connections between campaign staff and Moscow, but the proposal was blocked by the Republican leadership.

McCain told the NBC programme Meet the Press on Sunday: “I would like to see a select committee. Apparently that is not in agreement by our leadership. So we will move forward with the armed services committee and I’m sure foreign relations and intelligence committee will as well.”

But the senator added: “It is possible if enough information comes out, that that decision could be reversed. I still think it’s the best way to attack the issue.”

All the hype about the information being unverified neglects the fact that the source has been verified by a United States Senator, a well-respected veteran, and a political conservative, nixing the idea that this was motivated by the Democratic party. The Guardian reports that Trump’s aides, and now his pick for foreign policy advisor, Carter Page were also part of the Russian collaboration, and the FBI had been investigating Page’s visits to Russia:

Another report, dated 19 July last year said that Carter Page, a businessman named by Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers, had held a secret meeting that month with Igor Sechin, head of the Rosneft state-owned oil company and a long-serving lieutenant of Vladimir Putin. Page also allegedly met Igor Divyekin, an internal affairs official with a background in intelligence, who is said to have warned Page that Moscow had “kompromat” (compromising material) on Trump.

Two months later, allegations of Page’s meetings surfaced in the US media, attributed to intelligence sources, along with reports that he had been under FBI scrutiny.

Page, a vociferous supporter of the Kremlin line, was in Moscow in July to make a speech decrying western policy towards Russia. At the time he declined to say whether he had been in contact with Russian officials, but in September he rejected the reports as “garbage”.

Page has not denied he was in Russia, nor has he denied having ties with Russia, but he says that the reports are “garbage.” Apparently the FBI requested a warrant to monitor, ostensibly, Page’s interaction with Russian officials but was initially denied for requesting a warrant that was too broad. Details haven’t yet surfaced as to whether or not the investigation leading to the original warrant request was completed:

The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The Fisa court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.

A month after Trump’s surprise election victory, Page was back in Moscow saying he was meeting with “business leaders and thought leaders”, dismissing the FBI investigation as a “witch-hunt” and suggesting the Russian hacking of the Democratic Party alleged by US intelligence agencies, could be a false flag operation to incriminate Moscow.

Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, appears to have been coordinating Trump’s campaign statements to coincide with Russian interests while the campaign was actively running, timing campaign announcements to suit agreements Trump’s campaign made with Russian operatives, as reported by The Guardian:

Another of the reports compiled by the former western counter-intelligence official in July said that members of Trump’s team, which was led by campaign manager Paul Manafort (a former consultant for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine), had knowledge of the DNC hacking operation, and in return “had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue and to raise US/Nato defence commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine”.

A few days later, Trump raised the possibility that his administration might recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea and openly called on Moscow to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.

In August, officials from the Trump campaign intervened in the drafting of the Republican party platform, specifically to remove a call for lethal assistance to Ukraine for its battle against Moscow-backed eastern rebels.

Manafort stepped down in August as campaign manager and the campaign steadily distanced itself from Page. However, Trump’s praise of Putin and defence of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine and Syria remained one of the few constants in his campaign talking points.

Why use The Guardian’s information as a main source? The operative who broke the links to Trump and Russia was employed by the British, in the UK.

I couldn’t resist that addition by Reason.com, who attacks BuzzFeed’s publication of the Trump dossier. Of course, if everyone else has seen the dossier, why not the American public? Reason.com says it wouldn’t publish the dossier without its own verification, but a sitting US Senator already verified the source, so I feel free to publish away. Let’s make America great again with “soft sensuality,” “golden showers,” and a Russian mafia. Only in America.

Amid 4.8 Million Miscounted Michigan Votes Michigan Supreme Court Colludes With Russia and Declares There Is No Problem

January 11, 2017

The Michigan Supreme Court ended Jill Stein’s recount efforts in Michigan, claiming that since she lost so terribly, any allegations of Michigan’s elections being hacked wouldn’t be investigated. Actually, the judgment rested on the fact that Jill Stein wasn’t “injured” by failing to look into Michigan voting irregularities, so no investigation would be allowed. This reeks of partisan bullshit, because all over Michigan, voting “irregularities,” or just plain mistakes, meant that at first, a federal judge out of Detroit ordered 4.8 million votes recounted. The Michigan Supreme Court halted any investigatory efforts to determine why so many Michigan votes were miscounted. and when the recount process started, 60% of Detroit’s votes were deemed ineligible, according to reports by The Detroit News :

Overall, state records show 10.6 percent of the precincts in the 22 counties that began the retabulation process couldn’t be recounted because of state law that bars recounts for unbalanced precincts or ones with broken seals.

The problems were the worst in Detroit, where discrepancies meant officials couldn’t recount votes in 392 precincts, or nearly 60 percent. And two-thirds of those precincts had too many votes.

“There’s always going to be small problems to some degree, but we didn’t expect the degree of problem we saw in Detroit. This isn’t normal,” said Krista Haroutunian, chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers.

The new report, compiled by Wayne County elections officials, sheds light on the extent of the problems and shows a systematic tendency toward counting more votes than the previous Wayne County report, which didn’t specify if precincts had over-counted or under-counted ballots.

Republican state senators last week called for an investigation in Wayne County, including one precinct where a Detroit ballot box contained only 50 of the 306 ballots listed in a poll book, according to an observer for Trump.

City officials have told state officials that ballots in that precinct were never taken out of a locked bin below the voting machine tabulator on Election Day, said Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams.

“That’s what we’ve been told, and we’ll be wanting to verify it,” Woodhams said. “At any rate, this should not have happened.”

The state is not calling the audit an investigation, “but based on what we find, it could lead to more,” he said.

Why not have an audit with this many problems? What would possess the Michigan Supreme Court to use a procedural stance to stop an investigation into obvious election malfunctions? There are no outward explanations for determining why some votes were over counted and others under counted:

Of the data available, though, machines tallied at least 388 more ballots, according to a Detroit News analysis of the records. That’s 0.16 percent of the 248,000 ballots cast in the city that voted for Clinton 95 percent to 3 percent over Trump.

Haroutunian said she didn’t know what to make of the trend toward over-counting because there was no explanation from Detroit poll workers. The city had another 34 precincts that were out of balance, but they included explanations for the discrepancies.

Under state law, those precincts could be recounted because there were explanations. The law states that original results stand in precincts that can’t be recounted.

Washtenaw County Elections Director Ed Golembiewski said discrepancies tend to “even themselves out” — there are usually about as many precincts whose machines report more votes than fewer votes. But he said the large number of precincts with over-votes in Detroit isn’t necessarily significant.

“It’s usually human error,” Golembiewski said. “I have not seen anyone intentionally try to run an extra ballot. You aren’t going to rig an election three ballots at a time. You’re going to need a far more systematic and thorough approach than a couple of people here and there stuffing three extra ballots.”

Jill Stein wasn’t wrong to assume that there were such widespread voting irregularities. The recount effort unearthed multiple voting irregularities, so why did the Michigan Supreme Court halt it? Is the Michigan Supreme Court colluding to elect Trump to obfuscate a Clinton win in Michigan?

Last week, Baxter told The News 87 optical scanners broke on Election Day. He said many jammed when voters tried repeatedly to stuff single ballots into scanners, which can result in erroneous vote counts if poll workers don’t adjust counters.

Former Detroit mayoral candidate Tom Barrow, who has challenged the city’s elections process for years, said blaming workers is a cop-out. According to city protocol, all precincts are supposed to be balanced when the ballot boxes are sealed at the end of the night, he said.

“The city is responsible. Janice Winfrey is responsible,” Barrow said. “This didn’t happen because of crazy, dyslexic senior citizens who are working as poll workers, like they want to portray this. That’s people who are trying to deny responsibility.”

He has asserted on social media that Winfrey cost Clinton the election in Michigan.

Here is a breakdown of the irregularities in Detroit’s 662 precincts:

■236 precincts in balance — equal numbers of voters counted by workers and machines

■248 precincts with too many votes and no explanation (77 were 1 over; 62 were 2 over, 37 were 3 over, 20 were 4 over, 52 were 5 or more over).

■144 precincts with too few votes and no explanation (81 were 1 under, 29 were 2 under; 19 were 3 under; 7 were 4 under; 8 were 5 or more under)

■34 precincts out of balance but with an explanation

Here is the thing, back in July, July 28, 2016, to be exact, Congress issued a report to state elections boards reporting  cyber attacks had already taken place. Some voter registration polls had been hacked, according to Congressional leaders, and a bipartisan notice was sent to all states to offer federal assistance to help prevent or thwart election hacking, meaning that the federal government had already confirmed reports of cyber hacking before the election even started:

“We urge the states to take full advantage of the robust public and private sector resources available to them to ensure that their network infrastructure is secure from attack,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid wrote Wednesday.

Back in July, it was reported that voter registration lists had already been hacked:

The bipartisan letter follows reports that more than a dozen states’ voter registration rolls have been targeted by hackers, according to CNN, including successful hacks in Illinois and Arizona. 

In the bipartisan letter, sent to Todd Valentine, president of the National Association of State Election Directors, congressional leaders also underscored that the Department of Homeland Security is ready to provide cybersecurity help to states that request it.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Central Intelligence Agency have both confirmed that Russian hackers interfered with the 2016 Presidential Election, so why is the Michigan Supreme Court denying any hacking could have occurred? Just recently, Congress had a hearing in which the US intelligence community determined that not only did Russia interfere in the United States election to undermine confidence, but it interfered to the point of choosing a US President, a collusion the Michigan Supreme Court seems to have joined. It’s not far-fetched, at least two Michigan Supreme Court justices had to recuse themselves from ruling on Michigan voting recount efforts because they are on Trump’s list of nominees for specialized appointments. The Michigan Supreme Court acknowledged its own bias, and the security community stated that Russia pushed to elect Trump, according to reports in the Washington Post, so it’s not unfair to state that the Michigan Supreme Court used a procedural ruling to halt investigations because the Michigan Supreme Court is in collusion with Russia and Trump:

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”

The CIA shared its latest assessment with key senators in a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill last week, in which agency officials cited a growing body of intelligence from multiple sources. Agency briefers told the senators it was now “quite clear” that electing Trump was Russia’s goal, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

The CIA presentation to senators about Russia’s intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.

The key issue here when weighing what part the Michigan Supreme Court played in this drama is whether or not the Michigan Supreme Court justices has plausible deniability, or in other words, did they have the information that Russian hacks had occurred and then lied and said they didn’t? It looks like the Michigan Supreme Court must have, because even the White House knew of the cyber attacks, and while it failed to sanction Russia, it’s not possible that Michigan Supreme Court justices could claim they didn’t know about the security problems that Congress, the FBI and CIA all confirmed:

The reluctance of the Obama White House to respond to the alleged Russian intrusions before Election Day upset Democrats on the Hill as well as members of the Clinton campaign.

Within the administration, top officials from different agencies sparred over whether and how to respond. White House officials were concerned that covert retaliatory measures might risk an escalation in which Russia, with sophisticated cyber-capabilities, might have less to lose than the United States, with its vast and vulnerable digital infrastructure.

The White House’s reluctance to take that risk left Washington weighing more-limited measures, including the “naming and shaming” approach of publicly blaming Moscow.

Russian hacking has been a proven problem since July of 2016, and there is no way for the Michigan Supreme Court justices to deny knowing anything about it.According to the Washington Post, the Obama administration needed Congress to issue a report to avoid allegations of political interference; however, there is no reason for the Michigan Supreme Court, given all of the information available, to obstruct an investigation into clear and widespread voting problems in Michigan to rule additional hacking, not that hacking never occurred, because that was proven, but that it didn’t occur on election day in Michigan.

By mid-September, White House officials had decided it was time to take that step, but they worried that doing so unilaterally and without bipartisan congressional backing just weeks before the election would make Obama vulnerable to charges that he was using intelligence for political purposes.

Instead, officials devised a plan to seek bipartisan support from top lawmakers and set up a secret meeting with the Gang of 12 — a group that includes House and Senate leaders, as well as the chairmen and ranking members of both chambers’ committees on intelligence and homeland security.

Obama dispatched Monaco, FBI Director James B. Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to make the pitch for a “show of solidarity and bipartisan unity” against Russian interference in the election, according to a senior administration official.

Specifically, the White House wanted congressional leaders to sign off on a bipartisan statement urging state and local officials to take federal help in protecting their voting-registration and balloting machines from Russian cyber-intrusions.

Though U.S. intelligence agencies were skeptical that hackers would be able to manipulate the election results in a systematic way, the White House feared that Russia would attempt to do so, sowing doubt about the fundamental mechanisms of democracy and potentially forcing a more dangerous confrontation between Washington and Moscow.

In a state where millions of votes were miscounted, and balloting machines didn’t work, hacking could have been as simple as breaking the ballot boxes or jamming them, making votes uncountable, something that already has been proven to have happened with widespread regularity in Detroit. Either the Michigan Supreme Court is calling Congressional leaders, the FBI and CIA liars, or they are just obstructing an investigation into Michigan’s millions of miscalculated votes to push a partisan election through bogus means. There is no way to plausibly deny hacking in this past election when the CIA and FBI reported hacking had been confirmed as of July 28, 2016, three and half months before the elections began.

Russians admitted that they supported Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, and interfered with the United States elections:

As for the “we” part, Putin has repeatedly denied that Russia was interfering with the U.S. elections, although he has allowed that leaks of hacked Democratic Party emails benefited the public. (Markov, the unofficial Kremlin adviser, suggested Wednesday that Russia “may have helped” WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group that published the emails, but he did not specify how he knew or what that meant.)
Putin’s denial didn’t stop Russians from having fun with the idea that their leaders just might have swung the election of the leader of the free world.

“It turns out that the United Russia has won the elections in the United States!” Russian media quoted Viktor Nazarov, governor of the Omsk region, as telling a meeting.

“Judging by the hysterics in West, Vladimir Putin has won the U.S. elections,” pro-Kremlin satirist Mikhail Zadornov said on Twitter, where the Russian-language hashtag “RussiachoosesTrump” was gaining traction.

In a poll  on the Echo of Moscow, the radio station asked its listeners, “Did Putin have a hand in Trump’s victory?” While 60 percent answered no on Wednesday night, 32 percent, nearly 6,000 people, responded “yes.”

Russian media reported that “United Russia” won the U.S. elections, and still the Michigan Supreme Court declares no knowledge of hacking? Not buying it. Those media reports were published on November 2, 2016, well before last Friday’s ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court to obstruct investigations into election tampering.

The next question, whether or not Russian media can be trusted, can be evaluated by looking at what it allows to be published. In a country that censors its press before any publication takes place, there is no such thing as an “accidental leak,” or an accidental media commentary about something like “Vladimir Putin has won the US elections.” For example, before anything is published, Russian censors approve the content, meaning that those Twitter comments had definitely been approved. Here is how a Russian journalist describes publishing in Russia:

… a media environment that Freedom House ranks as “not free” and Reporters Without Borders describes as a “stifling atmosphere for independent journalists.”

recent survey of Russian journalists published on the website OpenDemocracy found that 72 percent of respondents “had encountered instances of censorship in their work.” In July, journalists of the news outlet RBC were told by new management that they needed to observe in their coverage an unseen “solid double line” they should never cross.

Russian media critics, it must be said, heap huge portions of doubt over whether anyone funded by the state can publish freely.

“You cannot work for a state-owned publication and have an independent line,” said Tatyana Malkina, a veteran Russian journalist.

Russian Hackers Accessed US Voting Machines: US Assertion That Presidential Election Was Safe Focuses Perception Not Reality

January 4, 2017

The firm setting security for US voting machines reported Russian hackers got a hold of passwords to US voting machines and tried to sell them online. Supposedly this only happened after the election, and allegedly the “bad guys” were caught; however, nothing delegitimizes a presidency like a voting hack and a poorly worded Twitter campaign. Which does the public have more tolerance for? Russian hacking.

The U.S. agency charged with ensuring that voting machines meet security standards was itself penetrated by a hacker after the elections in November, according to a security firm working with law enforcement on the matter.

The security firm, Recorded Future, was monitoring underground electronic markets where hackers buy and sell wares and discovered someone offering logon credentials for access to computers at the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, company executives said.

Posing as a potential buyer, the researchers engaged in a conversation with the hacker, said Levi Gundert, vice president of intelligence at the company, and Andrei Barysevich, director of advanced collection.

Eventually they discovered that the hacker had obtained the credentials of more than 100 people at the Commission after exploiting a common database vulnerability, the researchers said.

The hacker was trying to sell information about the vulnerability to a Middle Eastern government for several thousand dollars, but the researchers alerted law enforcement and said Thursday that the hole had been patched.

While the Trump presidency complacency in the face of human rights violations has been compared to the rise of Nazism, with perception being more important than reality, it’s not surprising that Americans trust the Trump Twitter feed more than they do the FBI revelations of hacking in the US election.

So, we are led to believe that the voting machine hacking that US judges denied could happen when Jill Stein asked for a recount, notably in Pennsylvania where it was denied, actually happened. Here is where the perception of reality, i.e. that the US voting machines couldn’t be hacked because judges didn’t know how it could be done, determined policy equaling no recount when the reality is, the machines were hacked. Perception vs. reality seems to be the predominant feature of a Trump presidency and the American public.

The American public and judiciary want to believe that US voting machines weren’t hacked, and so therefore assert it couldn’t happen, all the while ignoring the reality that it already happened. Perception, in this case, was easier to stomach than reality, and so perception, or wishful thinking, creates an alternate reality. Creating that alternate reality based on perception is what led to Nazis taking over Eastern Europe. Perception: all those outside of Germany posed a threat to Germany’s independence and patriotism. Reality: Nazism posed the most extreme threat to Germany’s independence and patriotism.

Perception: the 2016 US Election couldn’t be hacked. Reality: Not on only was the election influenced by Russian spies, but US voting machines were hacked:

In the case of the election commission, the hacker used methods including an SQL injection, a well-known and preventable flaw, obtaining a list of usernames and obfuscated passwords, which he was then able to crack.

Though much of the Commission’s work is public, the hacker gained access to non-public reports on flaws in voting machines.

In theory, someone could have used knowledge of such flaws to attack specific machines, said Matt Blaze, an electronic voting expert and professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

The researchers were confident that the hacker moved to sell his access soon after getting it, meaning that he was not inside the system before election day. Further, the U.S. voting process is decentralized and there were no reports of widespread fraud in November.

Huffington Post published the article quote above, and while it has sources for its assertions that the hacker gained “non-public flaws,” there are no citations to support its assertion that “there were no reports of widespread fraud in November,” not that fraud didn’t occur, just that it wasn’t widespread. How can we trust that? And that is the point: if we want to believe that hacking didn’t take place, then we act as if it didn’t take place, and suddenly we can ignore the reality that US voting machines were hacked. Ergo, perception trumps reality.

The NYTimes calls the Russian hack the equivalent of the best weapon ever:

While there’s no way to be certain of the ultimate impact of the hack, this much is clear: A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.

GRAPHIC

Following the Links From Russian Hackers to the U.S. Election

The Obama administration announced sanctions against Russia and released a report that states that the Russian government deployed computer hackers to attack the Democratic Party’s computers.

Tadaaaa…Russian hacking in a quick and easy-to-understand graphic.
Perhaps Russian had a shot in the dark? A daring attack that was not well-orchestrated? Nope, perception, again is not the reality:
“There shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind,” Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency and commander of United States Cyber Command, said at a postelection conference. “This was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance, this was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily,” he said. “This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”
 Reality vs. Perception hit the D.N.C., too, with the perception that they were safe, when in fact, reality proved that hackers had infiltrated.

There were aspirations to ensure that the D.N.C. was well protected against cyberintruders — and then there was the reality, Mr. Brown and his bosses at the organization acknowledged: The D.N.C. was a nonprofit group, dependent on donations, with a fraction of the security budget that a corporation its size would have.

“There was never enough money to do everything we needed to do,” Mr. Brown said.

The D.N.C. had a standard email spam-filtering service, intended to block phishing attacks and malware created to resemble legitimate email. But when Russian hackers started in on the D.N.C., the committee did not have the most advanced systems in place to track suspicious traffic, internal D.N.C. memos show.

The NYTimes called it “aspirations” of security. I call it perceptions, but the reality is that no one was secure. All of the information regarding the initial reports of election hacking was disbelieved by a temp employee who didn’t take it seriously:

Mr. Tamene’s initial scan of the D.N.C. system — using his less-than-optimal tools and incomplete targeting information from the F.B.I. — found nothing. So when Special Agent Hawkins called repeatedly in October, leaving voice mail messages for Mr. Tamene, urging him to call back, “I did not return his calls, as I had nothing to report,” Mr. Tamene explained in his memo.

In November, Special Agent Hawkins called with more ominous news. A D.N.C. computer was “calling home, where home meant Russia,” Mr. Tamene’s memo says, referring to software sending information to Moscow. “SA Hawkins added that the F.B.I. thinks that this calling home behavior could be the result of a state-sponsored attack.”

There is no credible way to assert that our perception of safety is real when there is no basic attempt to even investigate safety breaches. Here is the reality, Dear Readers: hacking is nothing new. It’s been happening to the US government for 20 years now, according the the NY Times:

Their first major attack was detected on Oct. 7, 1996, when a computer operator at the Colorado School of Mines discovered some nighttime computer activity he could not explain. The school had a major contract with the Navy, and the operator warned his contacts there. But as happened two decades later at the D.N.C., at first “everyone was unable to connect the dots,” said Thomas Rid, a scholar at King’s College in London who has studied the attack.

Investigators gave it a name — Moonlight Maze — and spent two years, often working day and night, tracing how it hopped from the Navy to the Department of Energy to the Air Force and NASA. In the end, they concluded that the total number of files stolen, if printed and stacked, would be taller than the Washington Monument.

Whole weapons designs were flowing out the door, and it was a first taste of what was to come: an escalating campaign of cyberattacks around the world.

But for years, the Russians stayed largely out of the headlines, thanks to the Chinese — who took bigger risks, and often got caught. They stole the designs for the F-35 fighter jet, corporate secrets for rolling steel, even the blueprints for gas pipelines that supply much of the United States. And during the 2008 presidential election cycle, Chinese intelligence hacked into the campaigns of Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain, making off with internal position papers and communications. But they didn’t publish any of it…

The Russians grew stealthier and stealthier, tricking government computers into sending out data while disguising the electronic “command and control” messages that set off alarms for anyone looking for malicious actions. The State Department was so crippled that it repeatedly closed its systems to throw out the intruders. At one point, officials traveling to Vienna with Secretary of State John Kerry for the Iran nuclear negotiations had to set up commercial Gmail accounts just to communicate with one another and with reporters traveling with them.

The devil is in the details, so who is “G-ucifer”? (Spelling because auto-correct won’t let me spell Lucifer with a “G,” some kind of mind control there…) “G-ucifer” is a Russian hacker, with ties to the Russian government, “cloaked” by Google Translate and Microsoft Word, I kid you not. I can’t make this shit up.

On a whim, Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, a writer for Motherboard, the tech and culture site of Vice, tried to contact Guccifer 2.0 by direct message on Twitter.

“Surprisingly, he answered right away,” Mr. Franceschi-Bicchierai said. But whoever was on the other end seemed to be mocking him. “I asked him why he did it, and he said he wanted to expose the Illuminati. He called himself a Gucci lover. And he said he was Romanian.”

That gave Mr. Franceschi-Bicchierai an idea. Using Google Translate, he sent the purported hacker some questions in Romanian. The answers came back in Romanian. But when he was offline, Mr. Franceschi-Bicchierai checked with a couple of native speakers, who told him Guccifer 2.0 had apparently been using Google Translate as well — and was clearly not the Romanian he claimed to be.

Cyberresearchers found other clues pointing to Russia. Microsoft Word documents posted by Guccifer 2.0 had been edited by someone calling himself, in Russian, Felix Edmundovich — an obvious nom de guerre honoring the founder of the Soviet secret police, Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky. Bad links in the texts were marked by warnings in Russian, generated by what was clearly a Russian-language version of Word.

We have Russian hackers at the DNC, and we have Russian hackers in voting machines. Clearly Russian hackers have a leg up on this cyberattack bit, one for which Trump, who is so old he thinks nuclear weapons are the only form of attack, literally can’t even comprehend. Great, elect the idiot who doesn’t understand cyber attacks, and the US is a ripe peach for the plucking.

Case in point: Russian malware was just used to hack into a computer that, while not connected to the grid at the time, was a company laptop for an electric company:

An employee at Burlington Electric Department was checking his Yahoo email account Friday and triggered an alert indicating that his computer had connected to a suspicious IP address associated by authorities with the Russian hacking operation that infiltrated the Democratic Party. Officials told the company that traffic with this particular address is found elsewhere in the country and is not unique to Burlington Electric, suggesting the company wasn’t being targeted by the Russians. Indeed, officials say it is possible that the traffic is benign, since this particular IP address is not always connected to malicious activity.

Perception, reality, perception, reality….

On Friday evening, The Post published its report, and Burlington Electric released a statement identifying itself as the utility in question and saying the firm had “detected the malware” in a single laptop. The company said in its statement that the laptop was not connected to its grid systems.

In case you were confused, The Post corrected its own story to say the laptop was NOT connected to the grid, but while everyone else seems to breathe a sigh of relief, I am left to wonder why an electrical company’s laptop was hacked. Why hack an electrical company if not to disrupt power service?

Perception, reality, perception, reality… According to joyful trumpets by competing news organizations of “fake news,” declarations of the The Post publishing the wrong story, Russian malware on a laptop could be “benign,” and is not “unique” to that infected electrical company laptop. Perception: because it’s not unique, it’s not dangerous. Reality: a hacker was able to get into an electrical company’s laptop that just happened to not be synced at that moment. Perception and reality here, becoming more and more of a dangerous game….

Impossible Sentence: Texas Republican Electoral College Member Won’t Vote For Trump

December 7, 2016

I didn’t think that sentences like this existed, oxymorons of the linguistic world, but Trump in an election year makes it all possible:

A Republican member of the Electoral College from Texas has promised to vote against Donald Trump during the college’s meeting Dec. 19, saying the president-elect “shows daily he is not qualified for office.”

Say it aloud; savor it on your tongue. I don’t think beauties like that will happen again after Trump. A Republican won’t vote for a Republican. Turns out that this Republican makes Trump look like a liberal (which, strangely enough, Trump used to be a Democrat).

The Federalist Papers, Suprun wrote, argue that the Electoral College is tasked with ensuring candidates are “qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence.” Trump, he said, does not meet these standards, and should therefore be rejected from the White House. 

“Mr. Trump,” Suprun wrote, “lacks the foreign policy experience and demeanor needed to be commander in chief … Mr. Trump urged violence against protesters at his rallies during the campaign. He speaks of retribution against his critics.”

Suprun added that he has “poured countless hours” into serving his party, and will continue to do so. “But I owe no debt to a party,” he wrote. “I owe a debt to my children to leave them a nation they can trust.”

With his promise, Suprun becomes the Republican party’s first potential “faithless elector” this presidential election, The Guardian reports. Previously, seven of the nation’s 538 electors ― all Democrats in states won by Hillary Clinton ― had voiced their intent to break their pledge.

Our 2016 Presidential Elections make our Hollywood industry appear tame. In a move that makes the 2016 Presidency anyone’s guess, the Hamilton group plan to vote against party, meaning Trump won’t have all of the Electoral College votes he planned to have on Election Night, also meaning that the already slim margin by which Trump supposedly won the Electoral College votes is even narrower.

The renegade group believes it is the responsibility of the 538 electors who make up the electoral college to show moral courage in preventing demagogues and other threats to the nation from gaining the keys to the White House, as the founding fathers intended.

“I stand behind Hamilton electors,” Guerra said in a statement to the Guardian. “I promised those who elected me that I would do everything I could to keep Donald Trump out of office.”

Guerra is one of 12 electors in Washington state who on 19 December have been mandated to vote for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, as part of the electoral college. Within the arcane structures of American democracy, the election of the president is not direct by all the people, but passes indirectly through the electors who are in turn expected to vote for the candidate that won their state.

Clinton took Washington state by 53% to Trump’s 37%. Instead of following the electoral college norm of voting for Clinton, Guerra will cast what is in effect a protest vote directed at Trump – she will write in an “alternative Republican” of a more moderate political stripe than the president-elect as a way of highlighting her deep fears about his presidency in the hope of encouraging Republican electors in red states to follow suit.

“I’m only 19 and this is my first time being involved in politics, but I hope that my willingness to put my country before my party will show that my generation cares about all Americans,” Guerra said.

Along with Guerra and Robert Satiacum, who has also indicated that he intends not to vote for Clinton, Chiafolo faces a $1,000 fine from Washington state for not following party ranks in the electoral college vote. He said he was considering bringing a lawsuit in federal court to challenge the fine, following the argument that any attempt to prevent electors voting according to their conscience was unconstitutional.

A fine of  $1,000 is a paltry sum compared with electing a man as President who has already enjoyed bullying international relations in order to gain attention in the last two weeks.

Apparently, the Electoral College member who resigned, as opposed to voting for Trump, has found that his choice was met with threats, and members of the Electoral College only confirm the volatility of this years elections:

Trump is expected to receive 306 electoral votes when the college votes on Dec. 19. That means that in addition to Suprun, 36 GOP electors would have to jump ship to drop Trump below the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. 

It may be a long shot, but it’s exactly what Suprun is pushing for.

“The election of the next president is not yet a done deal,” he wrote. “Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country. Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional duty to vote their conscience.”

“Fifteen years ago, I swore an oath to defend my country and Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Suprun added. “On Dec. 19, I will do it again.”