Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump and delegation at the Vatican, Pope spoke to Melania in Italian-Daily Mail

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"After they emerged from their talks, Francis was grinning from ear to ear as he met other members of the first family. 

'What do you give him to eat?' he asked Melania Trump in Italian, referring to the president's hulking size. 'A lot of Pizza?''

'Pizza!?' a delighted Melania responded, laughing. 

The Pope blessed a rosary in her hand before greeting Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other U.S. officials."...


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Devout Muslim mass murderer of children at UK concert is son of Libyan refugees who are believed to have returned to their Libyan homeland. Abedi grew up in tight-knit Libyan community in Manchester, recently traveled to Libya. Ariana Grande has canceled remaining dates of her 'Dangerous Woman' tour-Mark Steyn

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"Few of us have gotten things as disastrously wrong as May and Merkel and Hollande and an entire generation of European political leaders who insist that remorseless incremental Islamization is both unstoppable and manageable....Poland and Hungary and Slovakia do not have Islamic terrorism because they have very little Islam. France and Germany and Belgium admit more and more Islam, and thus more and more terrorism. Yet the subject of immigration has been all but entirely absent from the current UK election campaign." Killer Abedi is the son of Libyan refugees.
 
May 23, 2017, ""Dangerous Woman" Meets Dangerous Man," Mark Steyn, Steyn on Britain

"The pop star Ariana Grande has canceled the remaining dates of her "Dangerous Woman" tour following the murder of 22 fans (at the time of writing) and the injury of dozens more at her concert in Manchester. The Manchester Royal Infirmary reports that half the victims brought to the hospital overnight are children. The killer was a suicide bomber. Theresa May says the police believe they know his identity. The usual, predictable details will follow. [UPDATE: He's Salman Abedi, the Manchester-born son of Libyan refugees and another "known wolf".]

As The Independent's headline has it:

"There's only one way Britain should respond to attacks such as Manchester. That is by carrying on exactly as before." 

That's not actually the "only" way Britain could respond, but it seems the way to bet, judging from the responses of the political class. "Carry on" is a very British expression....Her Majesty's viceroy declines to let his eye be caught by these vulgar attention-seeking jihadists....

Easier said than done, alas. A couple of hours ago, as I write, the Arndale shopping center in Manchester was evacuated, somewhat chaotically, with hundreds of customers stampeding for the exits lest they be the cause of The Independent's next carry-on editorial.

The Arndale was the scene of the last big terror attack - in 1996, when the IRA totaled it. Two hundred people were injured, but nobody died, and you don't have to be a terror apologist like Jeremy Corbyn to find the bad old days of Irish republicanism almost quaint by comparison. A few weeks ago the BBC reported that "approximately 850 people" from the United Kingdom have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for Isis and the like. That's more volunteers than the IRA were able to recruit in thirty years of the "Troubles", when MI5 estimated that they never had more than a hundred active terrorists out in the field. This time maybe it's the exotic appeal of foreign travel, as opposed to a month holed up in a barn in Newry.

Carrying on in Germany, Angela Merkel pronounced the attack "incomprehensible". But she can't be that uncomprehending, can she? Our declared enemies are perfectly straightforward in their stated goals, and their actions are consistent with their words. They select their targets with some care. For a while, it was Europe's Jews, at a Brussels museum and a Toulouse school and a Copenhagen synagogue and a Paris kosher supermarket. But Continentals are, except for political photo-ops on Holocaust Memorial Day, relatively heartless about dead Jews, and wrote off such incidents as something to do with "Israeli settlements" and "occupation" and of no broader significance.

So they moved on to slaughter 49 gays in a nightclub in Orlando - the biggest mound of gay corpses ever piled up in American history and the worst terror attack on American soil since 9/11. But all the usual noisy LGBTQWERTY activists fell suddenly silent, as if they'd all gone back in the closet and curled up in the fetal position. 

And those Democrats who felt obliged to weigh in thought it was something to do with the need for gun control...

So they targeted provocative expressions of the infidel's abominable false religion, decapitating a French priest at Mass and mowing down pedestrians at a Berlin Christmas market. But post-Christian Europe takes Christianity less seriously than its enemies do, and so that too merited little more than a shrug and a pledge to carry on.

So they selected symbols of nationhood, like France's Bastille Day, Canada's Cenotaph, and the Mother of Parliaments in London. But taking seriously assaults on your own nation's symbols would require you to take your nation seriously, and most western citizens are disinclined to do so. As the great universal talismanic anthem of the age has it, "Imagine there's no countries/It's easy if you try..."

So the new Caliphate's believers figured out that what their enemy really likes is consumerism and pop music. Hence the attacks on the Champs-Élysées and the flagship Åhléns department store in Stockholm, and the bloodbath at the Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris and now at Ariana Grande's "Dangerous Woman" tour. 

In the decade since the Canadian Islamic Congress launched their "flagrant Islamophobia' lawsuits over my book, various comrades such as Ezra Levant and Douglas Murray have noted, correctly, that a principled commitment to free speech has always been a minority concern - and an even smaller minority with respect to free speech about Islam. As the most learned imam John Kerry put it with respect to the Charlie Hebdo massacre, there was "a sort of particularised focus and perhaps even a legitimacy – not a legitimacy, but a rationale..." Those cartoonists, they were all wearing short skirts and asking for it.

Conversely, most other western citizens believe that, to invert Trotsky, if you're not interested in Islam, Islam won't be interested in you. Ariana Grande was eight at the time of 9/11, and most of her fans even younger. They have passed their entire sentient lives in the age of Islamic terror, yet somehow assume it's something compartmentalized and sealed off from them.  

"Dangerous Woman" is meant to be an attitude, nothing more - an edgy pose in a pop culture that lost any edge long ago; a great T-shirt, like the ones last night scavenged from the merchandising stands and used to bandage the wounded. It must come as a shock to realize there are those who take your ersatz provocations as the real thing, and are genuinely provoked by them.

"Carrying on exactly as before", as The Independent advises, will not be possible. A few months ago, I was in Toulouse, where Jewish life has vanished from public visibility and is conducted only behind the prison-like walls of a fortress schoolhouse and a centralized synagogue that requires 24/7 protection by French soldiers; I went to Amsterdam, which is markedly less gay than it used to be; I walked through Molenbeek after dark, where unaccompanied women dare not go. You can carry on, you can stagger on, but life is not exactly as it was before. Inch by inch, it's smaller and more constrained.

And so it will prove for cafe life, and shopping malls, and pop concerts. Maybe Ariana Grande will be back in the UK - or maybe she will decide that discretion is the better part of a Dangerous Woman's valor. But there will be fewer young girls in the audience - because no mum or dad wants to live for the rest of their lives with the great gaping hole in your heart opening up for dozens of English parents this grim morning. And one day the jihad will get lucky and the bomb will take with it one of these filthy infidel "shameless" pop whores cavorting on stage in her underwear. You can carry on exactly as before, but in a decade or two, just as there are fewer gay bars in Amsterdam and no more Jewish shops on the Chaussée de Gand, there will be less music in the air in western cities. Even the buskers, like the one in Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens today serenading a shattered city with "All You Need Is Love", will have moved on, having learned that it's a bit more complicated than that. 

I am currently reading Douglas Murray's fine book, The Strange Death of Europe, which lays out, unsparingly, the central illusion of the last half-century - that you could demographically transform the composition of hitherto more or less homogeneous nation states on a scale no stable society has ever attempted, and that there would be no consequences except a more vibrant range of local restaurants. Mrs May declared this morning on the steps of Downing Street that she had held a top-level security meeting, or what they call in Britain a "COBRA", which sounds like something scary enough to do battle with SPECTRE; in that sense, it's a very butch acronym for a bit of bureaucratic furniture labeling (Cabinet Office Briefing Room A). 

But I'll bet the mood around the table was one of fatalism and resignation, outside a few micro-adjustments to the budget of counter-terrorism agencies and the number of CCTV cameras and the amount of security checks at "sensitive" "high-value" targets like department stores, and theatres, and restaurants and football grounds and pubs and chip shops and...

But the arithmetic is not difficult: Poland and Hungary and Slovakia do not have Islamic terrorism because they have very little Islam.  

France and Germany and Belgium admit more and more Islam, and thus more and more terrorism. 

Yet the subject of immigration has been all but entirely absent from the current UK election campaign. 

Thirty years ago, in the interests of stopping IRA terrorism, the British state was not above preventing the internal movement within its borders of unconvicted, uncharged, unarrested Republican sympathizers seeking to take a ferry from Belfast to Liverpool. 



  
It's just a fact of life - like being blown up when you go to a pop concert.

All of us have gotten things wrong since 9/11. But few of us have gotten things as disastrously wrong as May and Merkel and Hollande and an entire generation of European political leaders who insist that remorseless incremental Islamization is both unstoppable and manageable. 

It is neither--and, for the sake of the dead of last night's carnage and for those of the next one, it is necessary to face that honestly. 

Theresa May's statement in Downing Street is said by my old friends at The Spectator to be "defiant", but what she is defying is not terrorism but reality. So too for all the exhausted accessories of defiance chic: candles, teddy bears, hashtags, the pitiful passive rote gestures that acknowledge atrocity without addressing it - like the Eloi in H G Wells' Time Machine, too evolved to resist the Morlocks.

As I asked around Europe all last year: What's the happy ending here? In a decade it will be worse, and in two decades worse still, and then in three decades people will barely recall how it used to be, when all that warmth and vibrancy of urban life that Owen Jones hymns in today's Guardian is but a memory, and the music has died away, and Manchester is as dull and listless as today's Alexandria. If Mrs May or Frau Merkel has a happier ending, I'd be interested to hear it. If not, it is necessary not to carry on, but to change, and soon - before it's too late." image above from Mark Steyn

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Abedi’s parents were Libyan refugees to UK but are believed to have returned to Libya in 2011: 

May 24, 2017, "Salman Abedi named as the Manchester suicide bomber--what we know about him," UK Telegraph,

 
Salman Abedi, 22, who was reportedly known to the security services, is thought to have returned from Libya as recently as this week.

A school friend told The Times: "He went to Libya three weeks ago and came back recently, like days ago."

Abedi born in Manchester and grew up in tight-knit Libyan community that was known for its strong opposition to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime....

[Abedi] had worshipped at a local mosque that has, in the past, been accused of fund-raising for jihadists.

Abedi’s older brother Ismail had been a tutor at Didsbury mosque’s Koran school....

Born in 1994, the second youngest of four children, Abedi’s parents were Libyan refugees who fled to the UK to escape Gaddafi.

His mother, Samia Tabbal, 50, and father, Ramadan Abedi, a security officer, were both born in Tripoli but appear to have emigrated to London before moving to the Whalley Range area of south Manchester where they had lived for at least a decade....

His (Abedi's) trips to Libya, where it is thought his parents returned in 2011 following Gaddafi’s overthrow, are now subject to scrutiny including links to jihadists....

At the Abedi family home in Elsmore Road, a non-descript red-brick terrace, neighbours told how Abedi had become increasingly devout and withdrawn.

Lina Ahmed, 21, said: They are a Libyan family and they have been acting strangely. A couple of months ago he [Salman] was chanting the first kalma [Islamic prayer] really loudly in the street. He was chanting in Arabic. 

“He was saying ‘There is only one God and the prophet Mohammed is his messenger’.’

A family friend, who described the Abedis as “very religious”, said most of the family had returned to Libya, leaving only Salman and his older brother Ismail behind.

“They have not been there for quite a while. Different people come and go,” said Alan Kinsey, 52, a car-delivery driver who lives across the street. Mr Kinsey’s wife, Frances, 48, a care worker, said she believed that the parents had left before Christmas and just one or two young men had been living in the property.

Mr Kinsey said a huge flag, possibly Iraqi or Libyan, had been hanging from their house. “There was a large Iraqi flag hanging out the window but we never thought anything or it,” added Mr Kinsey, “We thought it was about football or a protest at home or something.”

Neighbours woke up to the reality that the quiet young man next door had blown himself up, murdering at least 22 innocent victims."...

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From CBS News link in Mark Steyn article:

"The bomb wielded by Abedi was designed to kill and maim as many people as possible; many of the survivors suffered shrapnel wounds and ball bearings were found at the scene.

There was security at the concert, but the bomber apparently didn't try to get into the venue, instead blowing himself up in an entrance foyer area as concertgoers flooded out of the arena...to cause maximum carnage.".....







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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Former CIA chief Brennan answers, "No, sir," when asked before House committee today if he's heard of any attempts to stop or stall Flynn investigation-Daily Caller

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Former CIA chief Brennan answers, "No, sir," when asked if he's heard of any attempts to interfere with Flynn investigation. Brennan still has the highest security clearance.

May 23, 2017, "Brennan Shoots Down Claim Trump Tried to Kill Flynn Probe," Daily Caller, Richard Pollock

"Brennan was President Barack Obama’s CIA Director from March 2013 to the end of his administration on January 20, 2017. He retains the nation’s highest security clearance and it is common for former intelligence community (IC) leaders to stay in touch with former colleagues.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat and ranking minority member of the House intelligence committee, raised the issue of alleged Trump attempts to drop the investigation of Flynn in Tuesday’s hearing.

"“In respect to a number of allegations made recently that the president of his aides may have sought to enlist the help of members the IC [intelligence community] or Director Comey himself to drop the Flynn investigation,” Schiff said. “Have any members of the IC shared with you their concerns that the president was attempting to enlist the help of people within the intelligence community to drop the Flynn investigation?”
 
No sir,” Brennan replied.

Brennan did not limit his answer to his time as Obama’s CIA chief as he did in other responses to the committee, but confidently described his remarks to apply to the present day."...



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Defendant BuzzFeed fails in attempt to have libel charges against it in anti-Trump dossier case dismissed. Miami fed. judge says BuzzFeed must respond to Gubarev's libel charges by June 9. Gubarev also has slander lawsuit pending in London against former British spy Christopher Steele-Washington Times, 5/22/17

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May 22, 2017, "Federal judge rules against BuzzFeed in libel lawsuit over anti-Trump dossier," Washington Times, Rowan Scarborough

"A federal judge in Florida ruled Monday that a libel lawsuit over the infamous anti-Donald Trump dossier will remain in her Miami courtroom. 

U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled against a motion filed by the defendant Buzzfeed, which asked that the case be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The news website also had sought a change of venue to New York where it is headquartered.

Buzzfeed posted the complete 35-page dossier written by former British spy Christopher Steele on Jan. 10.

Mr. Steele accused Russian-born tech entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev of taking part in an elaborate illegal hacking campaign against the Democratic Party during the 2016 election. Mr. Steele said Mr. Gubarev used botnets to bombard the Democrats’ computers with porn and bugging devices.

Mr. Gubarev, founder of server-provider and Florida-based Webzilla, called the dossier fiction and filed a libel suit against Buzzfeed. He also filed a slander suit in London against Mr. Steele, who admitted in a court filing first reported by The Washington Times that he never verified the charge information.

The dossier was circulated in Washington by Democratic-tied Fusion GPS, which paid Mr. Steele.

Judge Ungaro signed an order dismissing Buzzfeed’s argument that trying the case in Florida presented a hardship for Editor Ben Smith and other employees.

She also ordered Buzzfeed to file an answer to Mr. Gubarev charges by June. 9.

“Although we’re confident that the case is strong no matter where it’s tried, we like the Southern District of Florida as a venue,” said Evan Fray Witzer, one of Mr. Gubarev’s attorneys. “They have smart, no-nonsense judges who like to move cases along quickly, which is what we want. The faster this case gets to trial, the faster Mr. Gubarev’s good name and reputation can be vindicated.”

Mr. Gubarev contends that the allegations against him that Buzzfeed posted are false and that no one from the newssite contacted him for his side of the story."




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Monday, May 22, 2017

Negligence by Democrat National Committee is sufficient cause for lawsuits. DNC knowingly disregarded professional computer security advice, thus providing customers and shareholders cause to sue-Bloomberg, July 2016

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Financial details about Democrat donors purported to be from DNC computers were published in June 2016 by Guccifer 2.0.. This kind of information, assuming it's authentic, could be used by injured parties as grounds to sue the DNC since it knowingly disregarded warnings about security shortcomings on its computers.

7/27/2016, "Democrats Ignored Cybersecurity Warnings Before Theft," Bloomberg, Michael Riley

"The Democratic National Committee was warned last fall (2015) that its computer network was susceptible to attacks but didn’t follow the security advice it was given, according to three people familiar with the matter....

Computer security consultants hired by the DNC made dozens of recommendations after a two-month review, the people said. Following the advice, which would typically include having specialists hunt for intruders on the network, might have alerted party officials that hackers had been lurking in their network for weeks--hackers who would stay for nearly a year. 


Instead, officials didn’t discover the breach until April (2016). The theft ultimately led to the release of almost 20,000 internal e-mails through WikiLeaks last week on the eve of the convention....
  
Cyber-security assessments can be a mixed blessing. Legal experts say some general counsels advise organizations against doing such assessments if they don’t have the ability to quickly fix any problems the auditors find, because customers and shareholders could have cause to sue if an organization knowingly disregards such warnings....


The security review commissioned by the DNC (in 2015) was perhaps the most detailed of a series of missed warnings....

The consultants briefed senior DNC leaders on the security problems they found, the people familiar with the matter said. It’s unclear whether Wasserman Schultz was present. Now, she is likely to face criticism over not only the content of the e-mails -- including one in which a party official proposes pushing stories in the news media questioning Sanders’s Jewish faith -- but also the failure to take steps to stop the theft in the first place.

Shame on them. It looks like they just did the review to check a box but didn’t do anything with it,” said Ann Barron-DiCamillo, who was director of US-Cert, the primary agency protecting U.S. government networks, until last February. If they had acted last fall, instead of those thousands of e-mails exposed it might have been much less.”...

The review found problems ranging from an out-of-date firewall to a lack of advanced malware detection technology on individual computers, according to two of the people familiar with the matter.

The firm recommended taking special precautions to protect any financial information related to donors and internal communications including e-mails, these people said.

The DNC paid $60,000 for the assessment, according to federal filings."... 







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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Egypt and UAE view all Islamists including Muslim Brotherhood as a threat, knew Obama admin. didn't share their view. 'That is a problem'-NY Times op-ed, Sept. 2014, Dennis Ross, advisor to Obama, Hillary, Bill Clinton, George HW Bush, Jimmy Carter, and Reagan

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Sept. 2014 NY Times op-ed

9/11/2014, "Islamists Are Not Our Friends," NY Times Op-Ed, Dennis Ross, 9/12/14 print ed. 

"A new fault line has emerged in Middle Eastern politics, one that will have profound implications for America’s foreign policy in the region. This rift is not defined by those who support or oppose the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), or by conflict between Sunnis and Shiites and the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It is characterized by a fundamental division between Islamists and non-Islamists.

On one side are the Islamists — both Sunni and Shiite. ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood represent the Sunni end of the spectrum, while the Islamic Republic of Iran and its militias, including Hezbollah (in Lebanon and Syria) and Asaib Ahl al-Haq (in Iraq), constitute the other. Many of these Islamists are at war with one another, but they are also engaged in a bitter struggle with non-Islamists to define the fundamental identity of the region and its states. What the Islamists all have in common is that they subordinate national identities to an Islamic identity. 

To be sure, not all are as extreme as ISIS, which seeks to obliterate sovereign nations under the aegis of a caliphate. But the Muslim Brotherhood is committed to the Umma, the larger Muslim community. One reason behind the popular revolt against its rule in Egypt was that the Brotherhood violated a basic principle of national identity: It was Islamist before it was Egyptian.

Now, (Egypt) President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi sees his country engaged in an existential conflict with the Muslim Brotherhood. He is backed financially by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Mr. Sisi also collaborates closely with Algeria, and has support from Morocco and Jordan.

During the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip, there were demonstrations against Israel in Europe but not in the Arab states. Unlike Turkey and Qatar, which support the Muslim Brotherhood, the other Sunni states in the region wanted to weaken Hamas, the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing. 

Those states were alienated when Washington (Obama) turned to Qatar and Turkey as possible mediators of a cease-fire in the recent conflict. 

The Arab Awakening of 2011 did not usher in an era of democracy, nor could it. The institutions of civil society were too weak; the political culture of winner-take-all too strong; sectarian differences too powerful; and a belief in pluralism too inchoate. Instead, the awakening produced political vacuums and a struggle over identity.

President Obama is right to note the old order’s disappearance in the region and the time it’s taking for a new one to emerge. The administration is struggling to define an effective strategy — but the Islamist vs. non-Islamist divide creates an opening. 

The non-Islamists include the traditional monarchies, authoritarian governments in Egypt and Algeria, and secular reformers who may be small in number but have not disappeared. 

They do not include Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria; he is completely dependent on Iran and Hezbollah and cannot make decisions without them. 

Today, the non-Islamists want to know that the United States supports them. For America, that means not partnering with Iran against ISIS, though both countries may avoid interfering with each other’s operations against the insurgents in Iraq. 

It means actively competing with Iran in the rest of the region, independently of whether an acceptable nuclear deal can be reached with Tehran. It means recognizing that Egypt is an essential part of the anti-Islamist coalition, and that American military aid should not be withheld because of differences over Egypt’s domestic behavior. 

America should also coordinate with Egypt and the U.A.E. when they bomb Islamist targets in Libya, or elsewhere. Coordination will make their military operations more effective, as well as provide America with greater ability to influence their actions. (And Washington would want to be able to head off military acts that it sees as ill-advised.) 

The Obama administration worries about the consequences of excluding all Islamists. It worries, too, about appearing to give a blank check to authoritarian regimes, when it believes there need to be limits and that these regimes are likely to prove unstable over time. But as Egypt and the U.A.E. showed with the airstrikes on Islamists in Libya, some of America’s traditional partners are ready to act without us, convinced that the (Obama) administration does not see all Islamists as a threat — and that America sees its interests as different from theirs. 

That is a problem. 

These non-Islamists are America’s natural partners in the region. They favor stability, the free flow of oil and gas, and they oppose terrorism. The forces that threaten us also threaten them. 

The Obama administration needs to follow three principles in these partnerships. 

First, focus on security and stability. Nothing, including tolerant, pluralist societies, is possible without it. 

Second, do not reach out to Islamists; their creed is not compatible with pluralism or democracy. In Tunisia, the Ennahda party surrendered power only when it realized its policies had produced such a backlash that the party’s very survival was threatened. Islamists, even apparent moderates like those of Ennahda [Tunisia], must be left with no choice but coexistence.

Turkey is a special case because it is a NATO ally. There is much we can do with Turkey when it comes to fighting ISIS, but the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, should understand that his support for the Muslim Brotherhood limits what we will do with him and necessarily isolates Turkey from its neighbors. 

Third, America’s support for non-Islamist partners does not require surrendering our voice or supporting every domestic policy. We should press them on pluralism, minority rights and the rule of law. 

The new fault line in the Middle East is a real opportunity for America. Yes, the United States will face challenges and have to manage tensions between our values and our interests. No strategy is free of risk, but joining with our natural partners offers the best way forward." 

"Dennis B. Ross, a counselor and fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, was the United States chief negotiator for the Arab-Israeli conflict from 1993 to 2001 and a special assistant to the president for the Middle East and South Asia from 2009 to 2011." 

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More on Dennis Ross: Dennis Ross is a member of the Permanent Political Class--political party is irrelevant. He worked as assistant or advisor to Obama, Hillary, Bill Clinton, Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and George HW Bush: 

"Prior to returning to the Institute in 2011, he (Ross) served two years as special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton."... 
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"Dennis Ross, counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served as President Bill Clinton’s Middle East negotiator and was a special assistant to President Obama from 2009 to 2011."

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Added: May 21, 2017: Trump in Saudi Arabia: Egypt Pres. al-Sisi, Saudi King Salman, and Pres. Trump announce Saudi Counter Terrorism Center:












May 21, 2017, "President Trump and King Salman Open “Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology”," tcth, sundance 



































images above from The Conservative Treehouse

Terror groups named include: Hezbollah, Taliban, and Haqqani Network are among terrorist threats to be addressed, per US Treasury press release:

5/21/17, "With today’s announcements, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and other strategic partners in the Gulf are confronting new and evolving terrorist networks including ISIS, al Qa'ida, Hizballah, Lashkar–e-Tayyiba, the Taliban, and the Haqqani Network. This collaboration will also address a host of other transnational threats emanating throughout the Middle East, including from Iran, the Assad regime, and the situation in Yemen."...


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Comment: My google babysitters aren't happy about this post. They keep vandalizing it.




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Goodfellas: Paulie (Paul Sorvino) says, what do I know about the restaurant business?

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Among favorite Goodfellas scenes: Paulie (Paul Sorvino) says, What do I know about the restaurant business? All I know is how to order a meal. You Tube

"Goodfellas," 1990 


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LA Times predicted Hillary would win with 352 electoral votes including Ohio's because of her get-out-the-vote operation. Trump won Ohio by largest margin of any pres. candidate since 1988-LA Times 11/6/16, Wash. Post 4/15/17, CNN 7/18/16

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Actual totals as of 12/13/2016: Hillary 232 electoral votes, Trump 306 electoral votes, per Politico/AP. LA Times even gave Ohio to Hillary: 4/15/17, "Trump not only flipped the state but also won by the largest margin of any presidential candidate since 1988." Washington Post, William Wan, Youngstown, Ohio. Also, 7/18/2016, "Outside Cleveland, thousands of Democrats are becoming Republicans," CNN, Mahoning County, Ohio

Nov. 6, 2016, "Our final map has Clinton winning with 352 electoral votes. Compare your picks with ours." LA Times, David Lauter and Mark Z. Barabak












"We've updated our electoral map for the final time in this topsy-turvy campaign year. For this version, our goal was no toss-ups. We're giving you our best estimates, based on public polling, state vote histories and the reporting done by our campaign staff, on which way we think each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia will fall this year.

The previous version of the map had five toss-up states. In the end, we're predicting that three of them -- North Carolina, Ohio and Arizona -- will go for Hillary Clinton."...

[Ed. note: All 3 went to Trump....In North Carolina, many were motivated by Trump's opposition to NAFTA and free trade deals. As to ObamaCare, a rural NC resident who voted for Obama said, "My premiums went from $347 a month to $604 a month [because of Obamacare].....I was misled."]

(continuing): "Iowa will go to Donald Trump, we expect. So will Utah....

Our projection would give Clinton 352 electoral votes, while Trump would end up with 186....

Of these last picks, Ohio and Arizona were the hardest. Polls have been close in both states.

Ohio does currently seem like a jump ball, but we lean toward Clinton winning there because of the strength of her get-out-the-vote operation.

In Arizona, we're expecting that the surge in Latino votes that has been visible next door in Nevada will put Clinton over the top. Polls that show Trump winning may be underestimating the size of the Latino turnout. That's what we think, anyway."... 

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Added: Below, 7/18/2016, Youngstown, Ohio sign urges democrat voters to cross over and vote for Trump: "Outside Cleveland, thousands of Democrats are becoming Republicans" 
 













image from CNN

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To: LA Times: North Carolina voters were motivated by Trump's opposition to NAFTA and free trade deals. 32 Robeson County NC industrial plants closed in the first 10 years after NAFTA passed in 1994. Things like that "get out the vote:" 

May 22, 2017, "How Donald Trump seized the mantle of hope and change," Washington Examiner, Daniel Allott, opinion 

"Trump won North Carolina and its 15 electoral votes by claiming seven rural counties that had voted for Barack Obama in 2012. Among them was Robeson County, the state's largest county, and one of its poorest and most violent. 

An easy explanation of Robeson County's transition from blue to red focuses on economic stagnation and cultural despair. But from another vantage point...Trump's 5-point victory had more to do with his ability to tap into the same desire for hope and change that Obama [did]....

Robeson County is the most racially diverse rural county in America: roughly 38 percent American Indian, 33 percent white and 25 percent black. It is also traditionally Democratic. Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 2 to 1. Until last November (2016), the county hadn't voted for a Republican for president since 1972 or for a Republican state senator since Reconstruction after the Civil War.

But the first thing one notices upon entering Robeson County isn't its racial diversity or its politics but its pervasive poverty. What was most evident to us was pervasive loss. It was there in abandoned manufacturing plants we saw along Interstate 95 as we approached Lumberton, the county seat.

Robeson County's median household income of $30,000 is half the national average. Nearly a third of residents live below the poverty line, and two-thirds are classified as low-income, making it one of the most impoverished counties in the nation.

Ask anyone in Robeson County about the causes of this poverty and sooner or later, probably sooner, they'll start talking about NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, any mention of which is usually accompanied by some form of the verb "devastate."

"It is a very economically deprived area. They've really been hit," said Robert Pittinger, Robeson County's new member of Congress.

"The loss of textiles, the loss of manufacturing. It already was a poor county, but [NAFTA] really devastated it."

Signed into law in 1994, NAFTA toppled trade barriers between Mexico, Canada and America. Subsequent trade deals did the same between the U.S. and other countries.

Thirty-two Robeson County industrial plants closed over the following decade, displacing thousands of workers, many in the textile industry. First Sara Lee Knit Products closed three plants and fired 1,275 workers. Then Alamac Knit Fabrics laid off 750 people. 




The shoemaker Converse, once the county's largest private employer with 2,400 employees, shuttered in 2001. One researcher estimated that Robeson County lost as many as 10,000 jobs due to NAFTA, more than any other rural county in America. That's out of a total population of 134,000.

Tech, industrial and other professional jobs are scarce now. More residents find work in the hotel, food and retail industries that serve travelers on Interstate 95, which bisects the county, than in manufacturing. "If it weren't for the interstate, we might not be sitting where we are today," said Phillip Stephens, who heads the Robeson County Republican Party.

Against this backdrop, Trump's pledge to create jobs, protect workers and renegotiate NAFTA, which he assailed as "one of the worst trade deals ever in history," won him an enthusiastic following in Robeson County.

"When Donald Trump made this statement, it was very profound," Stephens said. "He says, 'You guys passed NAFTA, and that's supposed to be free trade, but it's not free trade if it's only free one way.' That one statement resonated with citizens here regardless of their ideology, regardless of their party affiliation, because that transcended ideology. This was economy, which was even more important."

By redefining free trade, Trump inspired hope among Robeson County residents not unlike that which Obama cultivated in 2008. But whereas Obama promised to bring about an era of post-partisan politics and a post-racial society, Trump emphasized something more plausible — economic renewal.

"You mostly hear the word 'hope' associated with President Obama's campaign. I mean, it was a central tenet in his message," Emily Neff-Sharum, who heads the political science department at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in Robeson County, said:

"But when you think about the Trump slogan of 'Make America Great Again,' I think that really resonated with this area, [which] has really struggled since the closing of factories after NAFTA went into effect. For a lot of the country, most people don't really think about NAFTA, but those free-trade agreements, when they started becoming a centerpiece of debate, absolutely hit really close to home in this area," Neff-Sharum said.

"Hope" and "change" were words we heard over and over while traveling through Robeson County as a way for people to explain their support for Trump. Many of those we spoke with said they had once voted for Obama.

We met Mark Locklear, a Lumbee Native American, at his home in Prospect, in the western part of the county.

He said he had been proud to support Obama twice for president, and he still keeps an Obama bobble head and framed portrait of the former first family in his home office. 

But Locklear lost confidence in Obama when he withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq and failed to deliver on his healthcare promises. 

"My premium went from $347 a month to $604 a month [because of Obamacare], which is pretty hard, financially, to maintain," Locklear said. "I was misled."

Trump became the new hope and change candidate for many Robeson County voters, including Locklear. "[Trump] was not your normal politician. He didn't have the political savvy. He talked about draining the swamp in Washington. He was not a politician. He didn't talk like a politician."

Many pundits initially saw Trump's lack of political experience and his combative and erratic style as political liabilities. But they were assets to many voters here. "There [were] a lot of individuals I spoke to who would say, 'Well, this guy isn't liked by Democrats. He isn't liked by Republicans. Maybe this is the guy that is actually standing for me,"' said Jarrod Lowery, who sits on the Lumbee Tribal Council.

Robeson County has learned not to place too much hope in politicians, even unconventional ones, and especially those in Washington. Still, many residents are cautiously hopeful about Trump. "If you're asking me do I have 100 percent trust in Donald Trump, at this point in time, my answer is no," Locklear said. "Has Donald earned the people's respect yet? I don't think so. He hasn't earned mine. But with that being said, he is the president and I am willing to give him a chance." 

"Daniel Allott is deputy commentary editor for the Washington Examiner"

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Comment: LA Times personnel would rather go out of business than see reality. It's quite glamorous to run interference for global slave masters.  

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Big Three, FDR, Stalin, and Churchill, pledge to work together to defeat Nazi Germany, Nov. 28, 1943. FDR excited to meet Stalin

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"President Franklin D. Roosevelt joined British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin at a conference in Tehran. AP Photo," via Politico

"FDR attends Tehran conference: Nov. 28, 1943," Politico, Andrew Glass

"On this day in 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt joined British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin at a conference in Tehran that cemented the pledge of an Allied second front against Nazi Germany in Western Europe.

The leaders, known as the Big Three, chose the Iranian capital as the site for their parley, largely at Stalin’s behest. When first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Roosevelt's daughter Anna voiced a desire to accompany the president, he said no women would be present. Subsequently, they were incensed to learn that Churchill’s wife, Clementine, and Madame Chiang Kai-shek of China had made the trip. 

FDR biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote that rather than feeling any trepidation about the dangers of a secret trip through war zones, Roosevelt was not only eager to meet again with his friend Churchill but also excited at the prospect of meeting Stalin for the first time.

Roosevelt promised Stalin that the Americans and the British would invade Nazi-occupied France, crossing the English Channel, in the spring of 1944. Until that point, Churchill favored a joint strike through the Mediterranean, pushing eastward through the Balkans. That strategy would have presumably secured British interests in the Middle East and India while curbing the Soviet advance into Eastern Europe. For his part, FDR, with the advent of an Allied victory, sought to break up the British Empire; his concessions to Stalin served that goal....

The leaders agreed that the Soviet Union would fight against Japan once the Nazis were beaten. They also promised to offer postwar economic assistance to Iran and guaranteed the host nation’s independence and territorial integrity."



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Trump arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017

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Above, 5/20/17, AP photo, Trump arrives in Saudi Arabia, "Trumps on tour: Donald and Melania (plus Ivanka) are greeted by the Saudi king as they land in Riyadh for his crucial first test abroad," Daily Mail, David Martosko, Scott Campbell, and David Burke

Added: Saudi sand storm:






















Above, 5/20/17, "Our Saudi sandstorm. High winds swept our live location and took out some TV gear. NBC News, Kelly O'Donnell


 

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Despite CrowdStrike's extremely casual treatment of infected DNC computers, waiting over a month to remove hackers, the entire world is forced to rely on CrowdStrike as the sole source of alleged explosive information on DNC email hacking. Not even FBI was allowed access. CrowdStrike on May 5 said it's Russian hackers, then waited over a month before removing the malware-Daily Mail, Washington Post

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FBI was forced to rely on CrowdStrike's word for what happened to DNC computers and DNC emails, though CrowdStrike had knowingly allowed hackers to remain on DNC computers for over a month

1/10/17, "Comey: DNC denied FBI's requests for access to hacked servers," The Hill, Katie Bo Williams

"The bureau made "multiple requests at different levels,” according to Comey....

“We’d always prefer to have access hands-on ourselves if that’s possible,” Comey said, noting that he didn’t know why the DNC rebuffed the FBI’s request....
 

[A senior law enforcement official said],This left the FBI no choice but to rely upon a third party for information. These actions caused significant delays and inhibited the FBI from addressing the intrusion earlier.”"... 
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4 key dates: April-June 2016, involving Crowdstrike and DNC computers, April 29, May 5, May 21, and June 10. Daily Mail (4/5/17) and Washington Post (6/14/2016):

April 29, 2016- Conclusion of CrowdStrike's 5 week investigation into whether Bernie Sanders campaign staffers had breached DNC computers: "According to internal emails, CrowdStrike was already working for the DNC to investigate whether Bernie Sanders campaign staffers had gained unauthorized access to its voter database. That five-week investigation appeared to have wrapped up on April 29, 2016." Daily Mail, 4/5/17 (Comment: During the Bernie investigation, why didn't CrowdStrike remove malware that had been on DNC computers since 2015?)

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May 5, 2016-Crowdstrike called back to the DNC for a malware job, hooked up monitoring software to the DNC system on May 5, 2016. During its May 5 hookup, CrowdStrike says it noticed malware right away (it 'lit up'). But no mention is made of actually removing the malware: "Alperovitch said the company hooked up monitoring software to the DNC system on May 5, 2016 and it 'lit up,' indicating a breach."...(A few days earlier, on April 29, 2016, CrowdStrike had concluded a 5 week job for the DNC investigating whether the Bernie Sanders campaign had gained unauthorized access to its computers. Daily Mail, 4/5/17

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May 21, 2016: "DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, wrote in one May 21 email that Bernie Sanders would 'never be president.'"

This May 21 email smearing Bernie Sanders was among those eventually made public:

*"The vast majority of the email theft appears to have occurred during" the time CrowdStrike was monitoring malware activity on DNC computers (May 5-June 10, 2016). Crowdstrike "monitored the hackers as they pilfered emails and research files," for 5 weeks watched DNC emails walk out the door,  WOULD NOT REMOVE THE MALWARE until June 10, 2016.  Daily Mail 4/5/17
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June 10, 2016-"Over a month passed before CrowdStrike finally booted the hackers out of the system on June 10, 2016." Between May 5 and June 10, 2016, CrowdStrike said "it built an entirely new computer and phone system for the DNC and monitored the hackers as they pilfered emails and research files:"...Daily Mail, 4/5/17

Second source: 6/14/16, Washington Post also reports that DNC malware wasn't removed until the second weekend in June ("over the past weekend") in a "major computer cleanup campaign:"

June 14, 2016, "Some of the hackers had access to the DNC network for about a year, but all were expelled over the past weekend in a major computer cleanup campaign, the committee officials and experts said." Washington Post (June 10, 2016 was a Friday)

Washington Post confirms that CrowdStrike quickly ("within 24 hours") installed software on DNC computers to analyze data. But Crowdstrike didn't begin removing the malware "within 24 hours," instead waited until the second weekend in June (as stated above): 

"Within 24 hours, CrowdStrike had installed software on the DNC’s computers so that it could analyze data that could indicate who had gained access, when and how."

From Washington Post, 6/14/2016:

DNC says it acted "immediately"and "as quickly as possible to kick out the intruders." 

They waited 6 weeks "to kick out the intruders."  (Late April 2016- second weekend in June 2016)




"DNC leaders were tipped to the hack in late April (2016)."...

"DNC leadership acted quickly after the intrusion’s discovery to contain the damage."...

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), DNC chairwoman: 

"When we discovered the intrusion, we treated this like the serious incident it is and reached out to CrowdStrike immediately. Our team moved as quickly as possible to kick out the intruders and secure our network.”"...[The "intruders" weren't "kicked out" until 6 weeks after DNC learned they were there (Knew they were there in late April 2016, knew they weren't removed until second weekend in June 2016)].

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Link to Washington Post article:

6/14/2016, "Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump," Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima   

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Link to Daily Mail article:

4/5/17, "Exclusive: Cybersecurity experts who were first to conclude that Putin hacked presidential election ABANDON some of their claims against Russia - and refuse to co-operate with Congress," Daily Mail, Alana Goodman

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Added:  All US "intelligence community" reports, all global media coverage of an alleged DNC email-Russia event are based on the opinion of a single source, CrowdStrike. "Not even the FBI has been granted access" to DNC computers. This despite that CrowdStrike knowingly allowed hackers to remain on DNC computers for over a month, as noted above. CrowdStrike should have no voice whatsoever in this matter: 

"Not even the FBI has been granted access to the (DNC) servers. U.S. agencies have instead relied on CrowdStrike's work. There is no other known forensic evidence which has been publicly disclosed to link the Kremlin to the attacks, including in a series of intelligence community statements and reports."
Daily Mail, 4/5/17
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Added: "Democrats Ignored Cybersecurity Warnings Before Theft." Bloomberg reported in July 2016 that FBI is investigating the DNC email theft--but, unfortunately the FBI was denied access to DNC computers, was forced to rely entirely on CrowdStrike's opinion: "The bureau made "multiple requests at different levels,according to Comey."...

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining the attack, which law enforcement officials and private security experts say may be linked to the Russian government."...
 
7/27/2016, "Democrats Ignored Cybersecurity Warnings Before Theft," Bloomberg, Michael Riley

"The Democratic National Committee was warned last fall (2015) that its computer network was susceptible to attacks but didn’t follow the security advice it was given, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The missed opportunity is another blow to party officials already embarrassed by the theft and public disclosure of e-mails that have disrupted their presidential nominating convention in Philadelphia and led their chairwoman to resign.

Computer security consultants hired by the DNC made dozens of recommendations after a two-month review, the people said. Following the advice, which would typically include having specialists hunt for intruders on the network, might have alerted party officials that hackers had been lurking in their network for weeks -- hackers who would stay for nearly a year. 

Instead, officials didn’t discover the breach until April (2016). The theft ultimately led to the release of almost 20,000 internal e-mails through WikiLeaks last week on the eve of the convention. 

The e-mails have devastated party leaders. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chairwoman, has agreed to resign at the end of this week’s convention. She was booed off the stage on opening day after the leaked e-mails showed that party officials tried to undermine the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton, who was formally nominated on Tuesday evening. Party officials are supposed to remain neutral on presidential nominations.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining the attack, which law enforcement officials and private security experts say may be linked to the Russian government. President Barack Obama suggested on Tuesday that Russia might be trying to interfere with the presidential race. Russian officials deny any involvement in the hacking and say they’re not trying to influence the election....

The consultants briefed senior DNC leaders on the security problems they found, the people familiar with the matter said. It’s unclear whether Wasserman Schultz was present. Now, she is likely to face criticism over not only the content of the e-mails -- including one in which a party official proposes pushing stories in the news media questioning Sanders’s Jewish faith -- but also the failure to take steps to stop the theft in the first place.

Shame on them. It looks like they just did the review to check a box but didn’t do anything with it,” said Ann Barron-DiCamillo, who was director of US-Cert, the primary agency protecting U.S. government networks, until last February. If they had acted last fall, instead of those thousands of e-mails exposed it might have been much less.

The assessment by Good Harbor Security Risk Management, headed by the former Clinton and Bush administration official Richard Clarke, occurred over two months beginning in September 2015, the people said. It included interviews with key staff members and a detailed review of the security measures in place on the organization’s network, they said.


The review found problems ranging from an out-of-date firewall to a lack of advanced malware detection technology on individual computers, according to two of the people familiar with the matter.

The firm recommended taking special precautions to protect any financial information related to donors and internal communications including e-mails, these people said.

The DNC paid $60,000 for the assessment, according to federal filings.

Mark Paustenbach, a spokesman for the DNC, declined to comment on the Good Harbor report. Emilian Papadopoulos, president of Washington-based Good Harbor, said he couldn’t comment on work done for a specific client.

Missed Warnings 

The security review commissioned by the DNC was perhaps the most detailed of a series of missed warnings. Officials at both the Republican National Committee and the DNC received government briefings on espionage and hacking threats beginning last year, and then received a more specific briefing this spring, according to another person familiar with the matter. 

Cyber-security assessments can be a mixed blessing. Legal experts say some general counsels advise organizations against doing such assessments if they don’t have the ability to quickly fix any problems the auditors find, because customers and shareholders could have cause to sue if an organization knowingly disregards such warnings. 

Papadopoulos said a risk analysis by his firm is designed to “help an organization’s senior leadership answer the questions, ‘What are our unique and most significant cyber security risks, how are we doing managing them, and what should we improve?’”

The firm typically recommends that clients conduct a so-called breach assessment to determine whether hackers are already lurking in the network, Papadopoulos said. He wouldn’t confirm whether such a recommendation was among those delivered to the DNC.

“We give recommendations on governance, policies, technologies and crisis management,” he said. “For organizations that have not had a compromise assessment done, that is one of the things we often recommend.” 

It isn’t certain a breach assessment would have spotted the hackers, according to Barron-DiCamillo, but it would have increased the chances. "Why spend the money to have Good Harbor come in and do the recommendations and then not act on them?,” she asked."


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Added: FBI was denied access to DNC computers, was forced to rely on Crowdstrike opinion about alleged Russia access to DNC emails:

1/10/17, "Comey: DNC denied FBI's requests for access to [allegedly] hacked servers," The Hill, Katie Bo Williams 

"The bureau made "multiple requests at different levels,” according to Comey, but ultimately struck an agreement with the DNC that a “highly respected private company” would get access and share what it found with investigators. 

“We’d always prefer to have access hands-on ourselves if that’s possible,” Comey said, noting that he didn’t know why the DNC rebuffed the FBI’s request.... 

The DNC told BuzzFeed in a statement published last week [Jan. 2017] that the FBI never requested access to its servers after they were breached. 

But a senior law enforcement official disputed that characterization the following day.

“The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated,” the official said. 

This left the FBI no choice but to rely upon a third party for information. These actions caused significant delays and inhibited the FBI from addressing the intrusion earlier.” 

CrowdStrike, the private security firm in question, has published extensive forensic analysis backing up its assessment that the threat groups that infiltrated the DNC were associated with Russian intelligence." 

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Added: Re: "Threat groups," (The Hill, above) aren't groups of people despite what the term may suggest. "Threat groups" are a set of software and related network infrastructure: 

"A common misconception of “threat group” is that it refers to a group of people. It doesn’t. Here’s how ESET [link goes to general site] describes SEDNIT, one of the names for the threat group known as APT28, Fancy Bear, etc. This definition is found on p.12 of part two “En Route with Sednit: Observing the Comings and Goings”:
"As security researchers, what we call “the Sednit group” is merely a set of software and the related network infrastructure, which we can hardly correlate with any specific organization."

Unlike Crowdstrike, ESET doesn’t assign APT28/Fancy Bear/Sednit to a Russian Intelligence Service or anyone else for a very simple reason. Once malware is deployed, it is no longer under the control of the hacker who deployed it or the developer who created it. It can be reverse-engineered, copied, modified, shared and redeployed again and again by anyone. In other words — malware deployed is malware enjoyed!... 

It is both foolish and baseless to claim, as Crowdstrike does, that X-Agent is used solely by the Russian government when the source code is there for anyone to find and use at will."... 

12/30/2016, "FBI/DHS Joint Analysis Report: A Fatally Flawed Effort," Jeffrey Carr 
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