Guccifer 2: From January to May, 2016

Within the small community conducting technical analysis of the DNC hack, there has been ongoing controversy over whether Guccifer 2 (G2) was a false flag for the Russians, whether G2 was located in the US rather than Russia, whether the G2 files were copied locally rather than hacked, whether G2 was a false flag for the DNC (didn’t hack any documents at all).

In today’s post, I’ll try to shed a little light on the puzzle by presenting a case that metadata  from G2’s cf.7z dossier  shows that, between at least January 7, 2016 and May 4, 2016, Guccifer 2 copied numerous documents (primarily from the Democratic Party of Virginia – DPVA) within a few minutes of the documents being saved.  This strongly suggests to me that Guccifer 2 was a genuine hacker who had indeed installed malware on a Democrat computer, which was then used to automatically exfiltrate documents.

Unlike the ngpvan.7z previously analysed by Forensicator, the copying structure of cf.7z is formidably complex, with evidence of both Unix-type and Windows-type copying, possibly in multiple stages. 

Stale Documents

Forensicator’s analysis of the ngpvan.7z dossier was restricted to the 7z (or directory) modification dates and times in the 7z archive i.e. the modification times displayed by the 7z software.  In the ngpvan.7z dossier, all documents had directory modification dates of July 5, 2016 and modification times within one 14-minute session.   In addition to their properties in 7z, the documents (pdf, docx, xlsx) also have metadata from their original software. I’ve manually opened and examined document modification times of examples from all ngpvan.7z directories, without finding a single document that wasn’t extremely stale  (2008-2011).

There are many stale documents in the cf.7z dossier as well, though typically somewhat less stale (2013-2014). Some documents even came from the same July 5, 2016 copy operation as ngpvan.7z (as previously discussed at CA here and Forensicator here.)  The July 5 copying incident appears to me to be an internal re-arrangement of Guccifer 2’s inventory of documents, rather than an exfiltration event, as G2 was almost certainly expelled from DNC computers by July 5.

“Bulk” Unix Copying

The July 5 copy incident was an example of “bulk” Unix-style copying i.e. copies linked together in one copying session with the same modification date and sequential modification times. Prior to the July 5 incident, there were previous sessions with “bulk” copying on  April 18, May 23, June 4, June 6 and June 20.  These typically retrieved stale documents, but the June 4 session was an exception: it included the most recent documents in the entire G2 corpus – documents dated to June 1 and June 2, 2016 not just by metadata but by contents e.g. Orange Pod Press Clips 6.1.16.docx in the Intern Sandbox directory.

There are also examples of “fossilized” bulk copying e.g. Insurance Benefits Summary directory where the document modification times (in addition to 7z modification times) show the sequential modifications characteristic of a bulk Unix copy. In this case, the bulk Unix copy appears to have been followed by a Windows-type copy (preserving the document modification times to the 7z modification times).

Same-Day Copies – Timezone Issues

Unlike ngpvan.7z, the cf.7z dossier contained numerous documents from 2015 and first half 2016, including numerous documents with identical 7z and document modification dates. However, the modification times presented problems as shown in the table below: the document modification time and 7z modification time were exactly four hours apart. The minutes and seconds matched exactly, but not the hours. This shows that a Window-type copying operation has taken place after which 7z interprets the modification time incorrectly. My surmise is that 1) the document modification time is saved as absolute seconds in local time; 2) the 7z software presumes that the absolute seconds are in UTC i.e. the document is 10:31 UTC rather than 10:31 Eastern; 3) 7z then displays the directory modification time in local time (6:31 Eastern), 4 hours “earlier” than the corresponding document modification time.

Complicating matters further, 7z handles timezone metadata for pdf documents differently than docx or xlsx documents.  The next table shows directory and document modification times for selected pdf, docx and xlsx documents when inspected in Eastern (columns 6-7) and UTC (columns 8-9).  Pdf documents display the same local time in both Eastern and UTC (and all other timezones) i.e. different absolute times, while docx and xlsx documents display different local times in Eastern and UTC timezones (but a constant absolute time).

Constructing a Database of Metadata

In order to advance from manual inspection and collation to analysis of the full population, I constructed a database as follows.

The R function file.info is able to extract directory modification times (also creation and access times, not relevant here). I was able to locate an R packages (pdftools) which extracts pdf metadata, including document modification and creation times, but I was unable to locate a corresponding package for Word or Excel (though one probably exists.)

I first extracted the 7z dossier from 7z into a Windows directory after first setting my computer to UTC. (I originally did this in Eastern, but eventually settled on UTC with the objective of simplifying analysis.) Using R, I then sequentially extracted document names in each directory down all directory and subdirectory trees, keeping track of the directory tree and document name.  This resulted in 2105 documents without unpacking the zip directories (which contained stale documents anyway.)

I then added a column in which I distinguished pdf, docx and xlsx documents using grep: there were 815 doc, 597 pdf and 356 xls.  There were also a few txt, xml and miscellaneous documents, which I didn’t consider for the analysis.

I then extracted the directory modification time (as a POSIXct object) for each document using the R-function file.info. This enables a separate extraction of timezone. The timezone for all documents was shown as EDT and/or EST  even when I set the computer to UTC. I’m not sure whether this is an artifact of my usual computer setting (Eastern) or whether it is additional evidence that G2 operated in Eastern time (evidence of which has been presented previously by Forensicator and myself.) Someone may be able to shed light on this for me.

I then extracted document modification and creation times for the 597 pdf’s. Not all pdf documents had readable document modification times and/or some retrieved pdf document dates were in the 22nd century and clearly an artifact. These dates were set to NA. This left a dataset of 530 pdf documents with both document modification times and directory modification times.

The next graph shows the number of days between document modification date and 7z modification date for these 530 pdf documents. The “stale” documents are typically 3-4 years old (with some nearly 10 years old). There are nearly 200 pdf documents with less than 50 days between document and 7z modifications, including 122 documents in which modification dates are identical. 

From the same-day inventory, we wish to exclude Windows-type copying (using Forensicator’s distinction) which is uninformative because the copy modification metadata simply preserves the document modification metadata. The pdf’s in the Insurance Benefits Summary directory (shown in the first example above) are of this type.  This excluded 20 documents and left a dataset of 102 documents with modification dates ranging from January 7, 2016 to May 4, 2016. An extract showing the first five examples is shown below (otime- directory modification time; dtime – document modification time; ozone- directory timezone).  In each case, the directory modification time is 3-12 minutes after the document was saved (document modification time). All but two EST documents fit this pattern.

However, for documents with EDT timezones, the 7z modification time is “earlier” than the document modification time. The anomaly seems to be something to do with a difference between EST and EDT, but it is not just that: a bodge of an additional hour gets rid of some discrepancies, but many documents are still 10-30 minutes “early”. I’m presently stumped.

Again, we know that the 7z modification time cannot be earlier than the document modification time.  Even without being able to precisely pin down the reason for the discrepancy, we can still safely record the range of dates on which we’ve observed documents with identical directory and document modification dates and non-identical modification times – from January 7, 2016 to May 4, 2016.

xlsx and docx Documents

I did a spot check of xlsx and docx documents (doing manual comparison) – not especially thorough. Examples in the spot check with 2015 modification dates were all Windows-type copying (exactly the same modification time “modulo” hours – to borrow a math term) and thus uninformative on the copy date.

Discussion

The short time interval between a document being saved (document modification time) and being copied to an archive used in compilation of cf.7z indicates to me that these particular documents were not exfiltrated manually, but instead with some sort of “eavesdropping” software. (This observation applies only to this subset of documents, not to “batch” copying.)

The range of observed dates seems interpretable to me:

The terminus ab quo date of January 7, 2016 for automated eavesdropping is only a couple of weeks after a computer security incident in which Sanders supporters obtained access to NGP files that were supposed to be private to Hillary Clinton supporters  (incident described by DNC here). Guccifer 2 claimed to Vice magazine to have obtained access to DNC computers through a “0-day exploit of NGP VAN soft”, after which he claimed to have “installed shell-code into the DNC server”. In the same interview, he claimed to have first hacked them in summer 2015.  Guccifer 2’s claim to have accessed DNC servers through a 0-day exploit of NGP VAN software commending in summer 2015 has been widely repudiated e.g. ThreatConnect here. It seems entirely possible to me that Guccifer 2’s access began in December 2015 or January 2016 rather than summer 2015 – statements in a hacker interview ought to be considered, but deception and misdirection needs to be allowed for. It also seems possible to me that the NGP-VAN incident in December 2015 might have functioned similarly to the Mole incident in Climategate – an analogy that will not have any meaning to anyone other than long-time Climate Audit readers but may nonetheless be useful. The Mole incident resulted in numerous Climate Audit readers looking through and parsing the University of East Anglia website and FTP site for clues. A couple of readers reported falling through trapdoors into unexpected areas of the computer, but chose not to investigate. My guess is that Mr FOIA did so as well, but, unlike the other readers, continued into the UEA computer, eventually discovering the backup email server. I can readily imagine a computer nerd/geek/hacker being drawn to the DNC computer by the NGP VAN incident and gaining access (just as Mr FOIA obtained access to UEA.)  Such a scenario is consistent with the terminus ab quo of January 7 (but obviously not proven by this).

The terminus ad quem date is May 4, 2016, only a couple of days prior to Crowdstrike’s installation of Falcon software. Although Crowdstrike was unsuccessful in interrupting the leak of DNC emails, it would be odd if their anti-hacking software didn’t do anything. Based on these dates, perhaps Crowdstrike did indeed interrupt Guccifer 2’s automatic eavesdropping, but without preventing access entirely (based on subsequent batch copying sessions on May 23, June 6 and June 10 plus emails continuing to May 25.)

To my eye, there is convincing evidence that G2 actually hacked Democrat Party computers from at least January 2016 on. This is inconsistent with Adam Carter’s theory that G2 was a false flag operation by Crowdstrike and the DNC – the metadata points to too early a start to support such a theory. G2 metadata also points too early for G2 to be a false flag by Fancy Bear/APT28 who are said to have gained access only in April 2016.

The hacking dates of Guccifer 2 more plausibly connect to the dates assigned to the user of the tools ascribed to Cozy Bear/APT 29.  This  in turn points to a very specific attribution question: how unique are the tools ascribed to the “Cozy Bear” group (as opposed to the Fancy Bear group)? Are they generic enough to be available to a lone wolf hacker, making unique attribution subject to great uncertainty?

No bleaching of metadata: in the Climategate CG-1 release, Mr FOIA (a lone individual, not an intelligence service) bleached all metadata showing date of access and download of the emails, but neglected to bleach directory timestamp metadata for numerous documents.  See discussion and compilation at ijish.livejournal.com ^ . The timestamp information showed that Mr FOIA’s access to documents began on or about Sept 15, 2009 (a month after the Mole Incident) and ended on November 16, 2009. It also showed that Mr FOIAuploaded documents specifically pertaining to Yamal within a few hours of a widely publicized Climate Audit post on Yamal. In CG-2, Mr FOIA bleached all directory timestamp information. In contrast, G2 did not bleach any directory metadata – for some reason, omitting a precaution taken by Mr FOIA.

G2 and the Russian “Clown Outfit”:  In Climategate, while Mr FOIA bleached directory metadata, he did not change or modify any internal document (pdf, doc, xls) metadata on modification times, default language or anything else. Nor did Guccifer 2 for any of the documents in cf.7z, ngpvan.7z or any of the documents released at the G2 blog from July on. However, as discussed endlessly, in G2’s announcement blogpost, he attached four documents (1.doc, 2.doc, 3.doc and 5.doc) which had been materially altered earlier on June 15 with the sole purpose of adding “Russian” metadata (see recent CA review here ^).  A distinction between directory metadata and document metadata has been emphasized over and over in this post and I hope that this highlights the baroque-ness of G2’s “Russian” alterations on June 15. Some commenters, even so-called “experts” such as Thomas Rid, have grossly misled their readers on these alterations: Rid claimed that later G2 releases “were now scrubbed of the sort of distinguishing metadata that had allowed analysts to trace the leak back to Russian intelligence”.  What total rubbish.  No such metadata was “scrubbed” in cf.7z or other later releases. The situation is the opposite to what Rid describes: the “distinguishing metadata” had been manually added to a few early documents on June 15.

My own working hypothesis is that G2 was a lone wolf hacker. This is a surmise only. This surmise is NOT proven by the analysis provided above, but I do not believe that it is inconsistent with the information marshalled here. I’ll try to outline why I believe G2 to have been a lone wolf hacker on another occasion.


1153 Comments

  1. MrPete
    Posted Oct 2, 2017 at 2:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Interestingly, MS Office and PDF documents have internal timestamps for creation, editing, etc. That’s completely separate from the *file* create/modify timestamps. I have tools that can examine the internal info and restore it to the file official stamps…

    File create timestamps only reflect the file itself, not the contents (ie if you copy a file the new copy normally has a fresh create timestamp.)

    Modify timestamps normally are retained across copying.

    A few exceptions:
    * FTP transfers or other remote upload/downloads: it depends on detail settings. Default usually does not preserve timestamps
    * There are lots of utility apps that make copies and preserve timestamps

  2. Follow the Money
    Posted Oct 2, 2017 at 6:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Guccifer 2 copied numerous documents (primarily from the Democratic Party of Virginia – DPVA) within a few minutes of the documents being saved.”

    Do the non-DPVA documents of cf.7z indicate they were likely to be held by the DNC alone? Could the hacking (convincingly argued here) be on a separate DVPA computer rather than a DNC computer? (Meaning Crowdstrike saw someone else). Would they share homes?

    And, for example, could the ngpvan.7z derive from an internal access or outside hack on a different DNC computer back in 2011?

  3. Lurker
    Posted Oct 2, 2017 at 9:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

    > To my eye, there is convincing evidence that G2 actually hacked Democrat Party computers from at least January 2016 on.

    But why CrowdStrike or Threatconnect never provided any details about this NGP VAN Zero-day Attack hack or asserted specifically how G2 hacked DNC?

    Crowdstrike only mentioned:
    On June 14th:
    “At DNC, COZY BEAR intrusion has been identified going back to summer of 2015, while FANCY BEAR separately breached the network in April 2016.”
    “The COZY BEAR intrusion relied primarily on the SeaDaddy implant”
    “FANCY BEAR adversary used different tradecraft, deploying X-Agent malware with capabilities to do remote command execution, file transmission and keylogging.”
    src: https://www.crowdstrike.com/blog/bears-midst-intrusion-democratic-national-committee/

    On June 15th
    “Whether or not this posting is part of a Russian Intelligence disinformation campaign, we are exploring the documents’ authenticity and origin.”

    They never stated any further results from this “exploring” and never said that Guccifer 2.0 hack was Fancy bear X-Agent or Cosy Bear SeaDaddy.

    Crowdstrike yearly report doesnt mention Guccifer 2.0 at all. src: https://go.crowdstrike.com/rs/281-OBQ-266/images/Report2016CyberIntrusionServicesCasebook.pdf

    But in IC reports we find assessment that G2 was part of GRU/Fancy Bear/APT 28

    “We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU ) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim dataobtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks.”

    “We assess with high confidence that the GRU used the Guccifer 2.0 persona, DCLeaks.com , and WikiLeaks to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets.

    1. Guccifer 2.0, who claimed to be an independent Romanian hacker, made multiple contradictory statements and false claims about his likely Russian identity throughout the election. Press reporting suggests more than one person claiming to be Guccifer 2.0 interacted with journalists.

    2. Content that we assess was taken from e – mail accounts targeted by the GRU in March 2016 appeared on DCLeaks.com starting in June.”

    src: https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf

    Seems like they Assume that Guccifer 2.0 was part of GRU operation only because they think he was connected to DCLeaks, which was shown to not be necessary true by Adam: http://g-2.space/dcl/

    Enhanced Analysis of GRIZZLY STEPPE Activity only Mentions Guccifer 2.0 once, citing
    ThreatConnect report that was proven to have mistakes,mentined VPN service did not use “cloned server” but default IP accesible to all clients of Elite-VPN: http://g-2.space/#4 see:(Update 12 March)

    src: https://www.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/AR-17-20045_Enhanced_Analysis_of_GRIZZLY_STEPPE_Activity.pdf

    ThreatConnect – ThreatConnect follows Guccifer 2.0 to Russian VPN Service – APT28
    https://www.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/AR-17-20045_Enhanced_Analysis_of_GRIZZLY_STEPPE_Activity.pdf

    Thomas Rid, doesnt seem really reliable information
    “Between June 2015 and November 2016, at least six front organizations sprung up as outlets 4 for compromised files by GRU: Yemen Cyber Army, Cyber Berkut, Guccifer 2.0, DC Leaks, Fancy Bea rs Hack Team, and @ANPoland.”
    src: https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/sites/default/files/documents/os-trid-033017.pdf

    Threatconnect wrote they doubt in anything Guccifer 2.0 said about his hack or how he obtained his documents.
    “The NGP VAN Zero-day Attack Vector Seems Off”
    “Guccifer 2.0’s Actions are Atypical Hacktivist Behaviors”
    “Inconsistencies Between Guccifer 2.0’s Statements and Actions”
    “Questions About Guccifer 2.0’s Persona and Backstory”
    src: https://www.threatconnect.com/blog/guccifer-2-0-dnc-breach/#NGP

    • Follow the Money
      Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 3:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Funny thing about being a Romanian hacker with Russian whiskers, in the Steele Dossier the last document of December ’16 claims the Russians (and Trump) were using Romanian hackers.

      I think the writer incorporated the G2 story into his own.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 4:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

        The writer of the Steele dossier incorporated numerous public details which give the memoranda more weight to a credulous reader than they deserve. AFAIK, anything in the dossier that is true was known publicly; and anything in the dossier that was not drawn from public sources and which can be crosschecked (e.g. Michael Cohen in Prague) is false.

        • Follow the Money
          Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

          I read the June 23, 2017 article you mentioned.

          My feeling is we are witnesses to the greatest “trolling” ever. It is clearly the Fusion GPS documents at play.

          These select CIA people who believed the dossier–how did they feel when Comey released it and most everybody laughed at it? Are Comey’s weird actions a reflection that he believed it too?

    • mpainter
      Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 5:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

      From the IC report issued January 6, 2017 (as copied by Lurker above)

      “We assess with high confidence that the GRU used the Guccifer 2.0 persona, DCLeaks.com , and WikiLeaks to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets.”

      Wikileaks immediately issued a statement denying that Russia was their source and indeed, claimed that the Wikileaks emails were provided by a DNC insider with legal access to the DNC server. This statement was contrary to their former policy of not commenting on sources, neither affirming nor denying speculation on these. One is faced with two alternative conclusions:
      One, that Assange and Craig Murray both are li*ars or two, the U.S. IC is incompetent, or worse.

      Note the date of the IC report, January 6, coincides with Comey’s meeting with Trump and the revelation through media outlets of the dirty dossier on Trump. It should be noted that the IC report itself was a singular event, contrary to the IC practice of never disclosing publicly its conclusions. It is easy to conclude that the U.S. IC and Comey coordinated on a campaign to publicly discredit and undermine Trump on the eve of his inauguration.

      • Lurker
        Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 12:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

        I want to add here, that US intelligence agencies showed no real interest to investigate this hacking properly.
        I have seen 4 entities that are mentioned in report, saying they were never contacted by any agency and asked for logs.

        1. elite-VPN:
        http://g-2.space/#4
        Elite-VPN, Rusisan owned VPN provider with servers in France that Guccifer 2.0 was using, claims they heard about this from media, and were never contacted by any US agency. And they claim ThreaetConnect made some crucial mistakes in their report (never corrected them)

        2. Julian Assange Wikileaks:
        Claimed multiple times that no US agency contacted him or WL regarding any information.

        > Julian Assange @JulianAssange Oct 4
        > US Senate Intelligence Committee is ridiculous. Did not approach me or WikiLeaks for testimony or information, at all, ever. Unprofessional.

        3. FBI never seized DNC servers. They completely relied on CrowdStrike reports.
        Here’s an excerpt from the report:
        *“The FBI, having asked multiple times at different levels, was refused access to the DNC server(s). It is not apparent that any law enforcement agency had access.
        *The apparent single source of information on the purported DNC intrusion(s) was from Crowdstrike.
        *Crowdstrike is a cyber security firm hired by the Democratic Party.

        https://nef4rhc.wordpress.com/

        https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/09/14/the-russian-hacking-story-continues-to-unravel/

        4. A bit unrelated but still:
        > Mr. Fomenko is the owner of a server rental company called King Servers used by hackers in an incursion on computerized election systems in Arizona and Illinois this year.
        > “We have the information, but nobody contacted us,” said Vladimir M. Fomenko
        > “The analysis of the internal data allows King Services to confidently refute any conclusions about the involvement of the Russian special services in this attack,” he said in his statement.
        > The clients, though, had left a trail through their contact with his billing page, he said.
        > It was these addresses, he said, that he would be willing to share with the F.B.I., if “somebody wants to sort this out.”
        > No foreign official has taken up his offer to supply server logs, billing information, and other data that may help to identify the hackers, Russian or otherwise.

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2017/02/21/exclusive-vladimir-fomenko-the-only-russian-with-known-links-to-u-s-political-hacking-speaks-out/#3a9266aa6fee

        I think any half serious investigator would contact all this sources and ask them for their logs and accessible metadata information. FBI apparently didnt bother.

        • Lurker
          Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 1:20 AM | Permalink

          One more interesting detail:
          Roger Stone, having just testified before a closed-door meeting before Congress regarding the DNC security breach on September 26

          > “The most interesting about the hearing was that, in my statement, I strongly asserted my suspicion that the Russians never hacked the DNC and, of course, one of the central arguments, to that effect, is that the DNC refused to turn over their computer servers to the FBI, instead having it inspected by CrowdStrike, a forensic IT firm controlled directly and paid by the DNC.
          114218876441

          > When I said that, Congresswoman Speier from California corrected me and told me that the DNC servers had been turned over to the FBI, and then Congressman Schiff essentially confirmed that, after which, Trey Gowdy said, ‘wait a minute, James Comey came before this committee, secretary Johnson came before this committee, and testified under oath that the servers were not turned over to the FBI, so what are you talking about?’
          114218876441

          > Schiff tried to change the subject and said, ‘well, we’ve got a lot of information that we learned during the recess and maybe we should talk about this privately.’ Gowdy seemed furious and stormed out of the hearing, so somebody’s lying.”

          http://www.rightsidenews.com/us/politics/roger-stone-schiff-speer-says-dnc-handed-server/amp/

          Seems like some people are either not aware of fact that FBI never examined DNC servers or they intentionally lie about this, hoping that this bit of information will be lost in history.

        • Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

          Lurker, for your #2, Julian Assange’s tweet does not say “no US agency contacted him or WL regarding any information.” It says the US Senate Intelligence Committee did not contact them. Do you have a source showing where he says intelligence agencies didn’t contact him rather than one saying a Senate committee did not?

          In regard to #3, how do you reconcile your claim the FBI “completely relied on CrowdStrike reports” when the DNC has publicly stated it turned over forensic images of its computer system to the FBI, images which would be exact copies of the machines the FBI would want to examine? Also, why do you claim to provide “an excerpt from the report” while quoting a blog post which explicitly states the items you quote “were not included in one or the other above reports”?

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

          Here Brandon, this should help you get up to speed. In fact, I recommend that you read the whole posting/comments from last month. Mr Pete posted this:

          Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 10:04 PM | Permalink | Reply
          A byte-for-byte copy of a drive is insufficient as a forensic copy, at the FBI level and above.

          It’s sufficient for those who only want to see what is *currently* written.

          However, AFAIK (as a former drive recording technology expert in the commercial realm) there are most likely classified methods available to detect what may have previously been written to the drive.

          My conclusion: most definitely The FBI should have taken possession of the actual disks.

          Steve: very useful comment. The contrast with police taking Climategate server is pretty striking, especially given the fallout of DNC attribution.

        • Lurker
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

          Brandon Shollenberger

          Yes I know that my #2 claim was not supported by links.
          I have in my mind that Assange said something similar before US Senate Intelligence Committee investigation. But I am not sure where I have read that.

          Maybe I have remembered this incorrectly and I heard Craig Murray saying this as this is related to same leak.

          Here is one link where Craig Murray states he was not contacted by US investigators, despite saying publicly that he has evidence that WL published emails were not result of hack but leak.

          http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/07/julian-assange-associate-not-contacted-investigators-tell-leaks-not-hacks/

          One more important thing that many “conspiracy theorists” get wrong. Craig Murray never said he personally received leaked emails during that meeting in woods near university.
          He stated in replies to comments on his blog and on video that he never received any thumb drive. Meeting seem to be just to confirm authenticity of source.


          https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/12/russian-bear-uses-keyboard/comment-page-1/#comment-643257
          https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/12/russian-bear-uses-keyboard/comment-page-1/#comment-643236

        • Jaap Titulaer
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 2:38 AM | Permalink

          @Brandon

          In regard to #3, how do you reconcile your claim the FBI “completely relied on CrowdStrike reports” when the DNC has publicly stated it turned over forensic images of its computer system to the FBI, images which would be exact copies of the machines the FBI would want to examine? Also, why do you claim to provide “an excerpt from the report” while quoting a blog post which explicitly states the items you quote “were not included in one or the other above reports”?

          Where did you get this: “DNC has publicly stated it turned over forensic images of its computer system to the FBI”?
          Link please.
          All information that I have seen directly contradicts this.

        • Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

          Jaap Titulaer:

          Where did you get this: “DNC has publicly stated it turned over forensic images of its computer system to the FBI”?
          Link please.
          All information that I have seen directly contradicts this.

          I don’t understand how this could possibly be true. How could all information you have seen directly contradict this when the comment you posted immediately before this one cites a source which says:

          Moreover, the data set in 2016 was under the exclusive control of a single entity — CrowdStrike. While select malware samples were farmed out to like-minded vendors, for the most part outside analysis of the DNC cyber penetration was limited to the information provided by CrowdStrike in its initial report. Even the FBI found itself in the awkward position of being denied direct access to the DNC servers, having instead to make use of “forensic images” of the server provided by CrowdStrike, along with its investigative report and findings.

          I don’t understand how you can cite a source which says the same thing I did then 13 minutes later turn around and say everything you have seen directly contradicts what I said.

        • Jaap Titulaer
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 3:30 AM | Permalink

          Well the name and subtitle of the report on medium kind of indicates that they are not buying anything from CrowdStrike…
          “Data that would shed light on claims of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election remains out of investigators’ hands.”

          I just needed a copy from a quote from Carr that I’ve read many months ago. That happened to be in the linked report as well.
          I must say I did kind of skip the claim made by CS (I really should do a better close read next time). Anyways the claim by CS is a ludicrous.

          They mention ““forensic images” of the server” and link to the source for that, which is titled:
          “Hacked computer server that handled DNC email remains out of reach of Russia investigators” (by The Washington Times), dated 2017-07-05.
          And there is says:

          In an email to The Times, CrowdStrike defended its record and said criticisms about its DNC work and interaction with U.S. law enforcement agencies are unfounded.

          “In May 2016 CrowdStrike was brought to investigate the DNC network for signs of compromise, and under their direction we fully cooperated with every U.S. government request,” a spokesman wrote. The cooperation included the “providing of the forensic images of the DNC systems to the FBI, along with our investigation report and findings. Those agencies reviewed and subsequently independently validated our analysis.”

          So CS claims to have supplied ‘forensic images’. A rather odd claim to make after more than a year.
          So I do not think that they really mean Forensic Disk Images, I think this person will later claim (when asked under oath) that he is misunderstood and meant ‘forensic samples’ or ‘forensic file images’…
          So files or even just parts of files. Files are of course parts of the entire disk, so you can call them (parts of) parts of (disk) images…

          And Comey said in a Hearing under oath (just a few days after this report in TWP) something quite different.
          See my post on this here: https://climateaudit.org/2017/10/06/whiskers-on-software-part-1/#comment-775825

          Ergo: The DNC did not turn over the server(s) to the FBI so that the FBI could examine them.
          And the FBI also did not receive the content, so neither did they get full disk images.

          And we can also say that the FBI did not even receive significant enough content (enough files) to claim under oath that they had received content. Apart from the report by CS they (the FBI) may have received some additional files or fragments, in so far not already included in the report itself. But that’s it.

          Also: if they (CS & DNC) had really given the FBI actual full forensic disk images of all servers (dating from PRIOR to the server wipe & reinstall, of course), then why would they (CS & DNC) still not allow the FBI to look at the same servers for themselves?
          That makes no sense.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 4:18 AM | Permalink

          Thanks, Jaap Titulaer. CrowdStrike does not strike me as honest; neither does Comey, but Comey is admitting something that does him no credit and he seems truthful in his testimony regarding this particular.

          Shawn Henry is a factor in all of this. He joined CrowdStrike in 2012 from the FBI where he was high in that organization, close to Mueller. In short, he was Mueller’s protege and rose to the top under Mueller. So there are swamp creatures slithering all over this CrowdStrike/DNC/FBI affair. I have no doubt that CrowdStrike felt that, because of their advantageous position in the swamp, they were licensed to strain the fabric of truth in this whole business.

        • Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

          Jaap Titulaer:

          Ergo: The DNC did not turn over the server(s) to the FBI so that the FBI could examine them.
          And the FBI also did not receive the content, so neither did they get full disk images.

          You are free to conclude that. Given the host of this site has openly called James Comey a liar I’m not sure how ready people here would be to accept a single remark without any detail or specifity as true. I know I’m not convinced. Until someone provides more information/detail, I’m not going to draw conclusions.

          What I will say if the DNC and Crowdstrike have falsely claimed to have provided forensic images of the DNC systems to law enforcement, people should be making a big fuss about it. If you want to discredit someone’s narrative, showing they’ve (basically) lied about what they turned over to the authorities is a good way to do it.

          Also: if they (CS & DNC) had really given the FBI actual full forensic disk images of all servers (dating from PRIOR to the server wipe & reinstall, of course), then why would they (CS & DNC) still not allow the FBI to look at the same servers for themselves?
          That makes no sense.

          It makes perfect sense to me they might not want to give up dozens (or more) computers and other devices, especially since they were in the middle of campaign season. It’s not like they could just hand over a single server tower. A full forensic analysis would require examining every device on their network. That’d create a huge headache and cost a fair amount of money as they’d need to get replacements.

          I haven’t seen anything to suggest the FBI promised to do an in situ analysis during off-hours to minimize the disruption their investigation might cause. If they did and the DNC turned that down, that would raise red flags for me. Turning down an offer by the FBI to take every device you have for an indefinite period of time doesn’t raise red flags for me though.

          I’ve seen companies cooperate with law enforcement after a cyberintrusion where the law enforcement involvement caused more disruption and difficulty than the cyberintrusion itself did. That’s one of the reasons law enforcement doesn’t get called after attacks sometimes.

        • MikeN
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

          In the middle of a campaign, I think it would be unwise to allow the government access to your documents. Some of the material could reach the other side.

      • Frank
        Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 1:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

        mpainter concluded: “One is faced with two alternative conclusions: One, that Assange and Craig Murray both are li*ars or two, the U.S. IC is incompetent, or worse.”

        There is, of course, a third possibility. The US IC has dealt incompetently with this issue AND Assange and Craig Murray are dissembling about their source. Unlike the Western press and FOIA, WikiLeaks makes no attempt to limit disclosures to material that will usefully inform the public. Given their willingness to create damage for no useful purpose, I see no reason to believe they would reject material they suspected might have been hacked by a non-Western intelligence service, nor would I expect them to seek out and tell the truth about such sources.

        mpainter writes: “Note the date of the IC report, January 6, coincides with Comey’s meeting with Trump and the revelation through media outlets of the dirty dossier on Trump. It should be noted that the IC report itself was a singular event, contrary to the IC practice of never disclosing publicly its conclusions.

        After the election, we know that President Obama instructed his administration to distribute the intelligence about Russian collusion as widely as possibly (while still maintaining security), so that it would be impossible for the incoming Trump administration to bury the issue. So the release of the IC report on January 6 may be the result of a decision within the President’s authority, not a rogue operation launched from within the IC.

        There is nothing unprecedented about the IC disclosing conclusions. Declassified versions of parts of National Intelligence Estimates and other documents are often released.

        mpainter: “It is easy to conclude that the U.S. IC and Comey coordinated on a campaign to publicly discredit and undermine Trump on the eve of his inauguration.”

        We should also remember that President Obama ordered the IC to brief President Trump about the Steele Dossier and other information that was circulating in the press and in Congress – allegedly so he would be prepared to deal with its likely disclosure. In earlier comment, I made an argument – albeit not widely accepted – that many departing Obama political appointees were more likely than Comey or the professional IC to disclose that briefing to CNN.

        For all we know, President Obama could have authorized release of information about Mr. Trump, but hoped he could avoid the blame. Scooter Libby was authorized by Cheney to leak information about Valerie Plame in the absurd hope that it would discredit public statements made by her husband.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

          contrary to the IC practice of never disclosing publicly its conclusions.

          the IC also issued an unclassified assessment on the 2013 Ghouta chemical incident and subsequently on the 2017 Khan Sheikhoun chemical incident. My interest in Syria arose because I searched for another example of an intel assessment besides the unsatisfying intel assessment on the DNC hack, thus encountering another very unsatisfying intel assessment and prompting an interest in the Syria situation, which I presently believe to be very different from the situation presented by US administrations and media, which in this latter case, do little more than PR for the US military and intelligence agencies.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

          Frank, there will be verification of the claims of Assange and Murray, rest assured. See my comment concerning Rohrabacher at the bottom of the thread.

          Concerning Obama’s involvement, I feel assured that the truth on that will also emerge.

          Concerning Scooter Libby, he was convicted of a crime regarding his exposure of Plame. and sentenced to prison. Did he actually commit the crime at the “authorization” of Cheney?

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

          Steve, it’s occurred to me that in each instance POTUS authorized the Intelligence release. Regarding the sarin incidents in Syria, because a “red line” had been crossed and action was considered (but not taken under Obama). Regarding the “Russian interference” IC statement, Obama had determined on the expulsion of Russian diplomats. None of these IC releases were meant as more than public justification, a sort of eyewash. But this raises the question of the reality behind the public posturing.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

          None of these IC releases were meant as more than public justification, a sort of eyewash

          Nor was the IC release on the DNC hack.

  4. Lurker
    Posted Oct 2, 2017 at 9:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    My previous comment is awaiting moderation due to too many links (sources)

    Here is backup: https://zerobin.net/?865bb7b798e5a0ab#SW97BXaNwaT8IFWkeLv0JTS8PMNsExToEtpIMWtRDiU=

  5. mpainter
    Posted Oct 2, 2017 at 9:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Lurker, you say “Seems like they Assume that Guccifer 2.0 was part of GRU operation only because they think he was connected to DCLeaks,..”
    <<<<<>>>>
    But, in the IC assessment which you quote :
    “1. Guccifer 2.0, who claimed to be an independent Romanian hacker, made multiple contradictory statements and false claims about his likely Russian identity throughout the election.”

    Note how this simply assumes a Russian identity for G2
    Nowhere does the quoted assessment (per Lurker) offer any rationale for such an assumption.

    What are we to make of the U.S. intelligence community, given such an example of their work?

    • Lurker
      Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 1:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I was guessing how IC decided that Guccifer 2.0 was part of GRU/Fancy Bear/APT 28 and not part of FSB/Cosy bear/APT 29.

      It seems that based on fact that Guccifer 2 had password to not public part of DCLeaks.com, they assumed this means he admins this page.
      And DCLeaks page was attributed to GRU/Fancy Bear/APT 28 previously.
      So they just connected those dots based on fallacious arguments. DCLeks shared their passwords with journalists too, so it is possible G2 got that password because he provided documents to DCLeaks, not because he managed that webpage.
      http://g-2.space/dcl/

  6. AntonyIndia
    Posted Oct 2, 2017 at 10:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    1) The apparent confidence and readiness (worldpress account etc.) of G2 hint at a long preparation time.
    2) Adding obvious and absurd Russian metadata to only 4 files does point to a non political hacker – as a joke.
    3) Claiming the DNC hack openly and immediately after full target reset on a worldpress site indicates more pride than political angle, as does the lame selection of files.
    4) Advantages of super fast attribution of the DNC breach to “Russia”: supply those Democrats with a good deflection away from their own internal troubles; distract from the DNC’s lack of IT security; give private Crowdstrike free global advertisement; please elements in Homeland security who are obsessed with Russia over other treats; make pro Western Ukraine supporters happy.
    5) The easy of accessing various servers /e-mail accounts shows the lack of security amongst the US Establishment. 6) The lack of interest of “public” homeland security in the cyber defence of their political “superiors”.

  7. Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 12:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, nice analysis. Question: how do you know the systematic archiving following any saves was a hacker tool rather than a common local backup script running? https://www.organicweb.com.au/15111/general-technology/windows8-batch-backup/
    http://alex.boyne-aitken.co.uk/2009/04/06/using-7-zip-and-batch-files-to-perform-backups-automatically/

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 7:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

      excellent point. I don’t know this. Will re-consider.

      • Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 9:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve, would you agree that if the meta-data can be analyzed to reveal the fingerprint of an automatic backup script running locally rather than a fingerprint that would be produced by a hacker’s malware that would show the archive source came from an insider?

        • Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

          Ron Graf, one common theory for the Climategate hacker is he obtained the material by accessing a backup server. Historically speaking, backup servers are one of the most common targets for data theft as they often contain more data but have less security. If it turns out the metadata on these files comes from backups being made (which to me seems far more likely than a hacker tool stealing every new document as it got saved), I don’t think that would shed any light on who was responsible for disseminating the material.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

          I agree that the possibility of a backup server is an interesting point which needs to be considered and might be an alternative explanation to the timestamps, but evaluating the point requires consideration of how the extra copy step would impact the modification times which no one has turned their mind to yet.

          First, some backup methodologies create compressed files, rather than mirrors. So it would require that the DNC have some sort of mirror backup – an empirical detail that is not known to us, but is knowable to someone.

          Second, does the backup to the mirror use “Windows” copying in which document modification times are preserved or “Unix” copying in which the directory modification time is set to the copy time (using the terms to distinguish copy impacts, rather than to make statements about the server setup.)

          If the directory modification time in the destination matches the document modification time, then we’re left with the same problem that we started with: why are the 7z modification times a few minutes after the document modification time?

          This leaves an internal backup in which the directory modification time is set to the copying time (“Unix type”), but then requires a Windows-type copying step at exfiltration in which the modification time is preserved. This results in a contradiction, since the most recent copy step for the document subset in question was a Unix-type copy on the same day.

          This is obviously fresh territory – maybe someone can think up some other possibility. But, on reflection, I don’t see how invocation of a putative backup server impacts the analysis of the post.

    • Jaap Titulaer
      Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 8:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I also thought about a common backup script or system. That would explain a number of files which get copied shortly after creation.
      Backup tools may change or set file creation and/or modification times after copy, whereas a hacking tool need not.
      And zipping (using ZIP or 7z) is quite common when doing backups.

      >> If the directory modification time in the destination matches the document modification time, then we’re left with the same problem that we started with: why are the 7z modification times a few minutes after the document modification time?

      That would be the backup script or system in action. First it copies files to a temp directory, then zips them (often before putting the zip on the archive location). Only question is whether this temp directory is on the originating system (probably a Windows or Apple PC or laptop) or on the backup location. In case the backup location is a simple NAS, then the OS of that system typically is Linux, not Windows.

      We have: create directory, copy files (1…n), create zip; plus at some time files are moved away from source system (during copy of files or during copy of directory or after creation of zip). Note that the directory times may change simply because the contents have changed (also on Windows).
      I would guess that all steps are taken on a Windows machine, after which the zipped files are copied to a Linux NAS. That would be the fastest option.
      Slower but also possible is mirroring the files (from Windows) onto the NAS (Linux) directly, where the NAS then creates zip files from the copied directories after some time, then deletes the mirrored directories (or just the files) to free up space.

  8. Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 8:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I am not sure my evidence G2 was Clinton campaign was clear.

    1) Guccifer 2.0 takes credit for DNC hack and also that WL will “publish them soon”. https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/3davvy/guccifer-20-claims-responsibility-for-dnc-hack-releases-documents

    2) At that point in time WL had only claimed to be releasing documents “related to Hillary Clinton.” And the news media reported that they were from her bleached private server, mainly because the Assange interviewer wrongly assumed that. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/07/will-a-wikileaks-email-get-clinton-imprisoned.html

    3) Guccifer 2.0 shows unique knowledge that WL was referring to the DNC hacked documents as the upcoming release.

    4) Besides the destroyed Clinton server emails that everyone was focused on then there are other email which are better defined as “Clinton related emails” than the DNC hack, the Clinton campaign director, John Podesta’s emails. These were hacked one month before the DNC hack, unbeknownst to all but the Clinton campaign at the time of the WL, DNC and G2 announcements. So, G2 could have been the one to reveal this hack had he done it. He had documents from it. We know this becuase the released some of them on his debut but falsely credits them to the DNC hack.

    There is only one actor that could be G2 that would account for the above: the Clinton campaign.

    • Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 9:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Why would Guccifer 2.0 saying Wikileaks would release the DNC material, after the DNC had already acknowledged it had been hacked by two separate groups, be evidence of anything? Wikileaks had been accused of servicing a Russian agenda, and Russia was just accused of hacking into the DNC servers. It would hardly a stretch to guess the e-mails would show up there.

      And it’s not like there was any downside to the statement. Guccifer 2.0 told many lies with little consequence. This was a statement which, even if false, would have been impossible to show as false for at least months (how soon is “soon”?). If it were a guess, it would be one with practically no downside.

      I know as soon as I heard the DNC announce it had been hacked by Russians, I expected Wikileaks to publish material from it. I don’t think that’s evidence I had any special knowledge.

      • mpainter
        Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 9:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Brandon, Julian Assange and Craig Murray both affirmed that the DNC/Podesta material did not come from Russia but a DNC insider who had legal access to the computer.

        If this not be true, then you need to show why.

        Brandon, you are simply repeating the refrain of the MSM : the Russians are coming, the Russians are coming. Except for you, no one at CA don’t swallow MSM on this:

        “I know as soon as I heard the DNC announce it had been hacked by Russians, I expected Wikileaks to publish material from it. I don’t think that’s evidence I had any special knowledge.”

        It’s evidence that you have swallowed uncritically the MSM and reflexively exclude any other possibilities.

        • Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

          mpainter, I do not need to prove why something a person says, without offering any evidence, is false. I certainly don’t need to do so in regard to a claim I never said was false.

          It’s evidence that you have swallowed uncritically the MSM and reflexively exclude any other possibilities.

          It is interesting my immediate expectation upon hearing about this story turned out to be completely correct, and you portray that as proof my views are due to close-mindedness/bias/gullibility. I wonder how many correct predictions can be blamed on such.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

          Brandon, you say “..my immediate expectation upon hearing about this story turned out to be completely correct,..”
          ===== =====

          Ah, you are right because you said it was so, thusly. Mr. “completely correct”.

          But, according to Murray and Assange, your assumption that the Russians were the WL source is false. Big problem for you which you simply ignore.

        • Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

          bmcburney, aye. When I saw Wikileaks say they had Clinton-related material they were going to release then a couple days later the DNC announced it had been hacked, it seemed likely the two were connected. And even if they weren’t, Wikileaks publishing one set of material related to Clinton would make it likely they’d be in the market for other material related to Clinton.

          mpainter:

          But, according to Murray and Assange, your assumption that the Russians were the WL source is false. Big problem for you which you simply ignore.

          I have never said the Russians were the source of Wikileaks, though if I were going to say so, I’d follow it up by saying it is in Wikileaks best interest to deny a connection with Russia, and I have no reason to doubt Julian Assange would lie about this, particularly if he thought doing so would protect a source. He has certainly misled people about things before (as demonstrated in this very fork).

          But I wouldn’t say that sort of thing as I don’t claim to know Russia was the source of this material. What I will say is absent any evidence, I have no reason to believe a person when they claim their source of evidence is what they claim it was.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 2:14 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, if I understand you correctly, you now admit that your assumption was incorrect that the Russians were the WL source.

        • Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

          mpainter, that understanding cannot possibly be based on what I’ve written so I have no idea how you’ve reached it. You would likely find things work better for you if you tried to read what people say instead of what you imagine them to say.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

          Well, Brandon, so far you neither repudiate nor deny that Russia is the WL source, having above stated your assumption that Russia was indeed the source, according to your reflexive response. You, yourself seem to have a problem understanding what you mean.

          You say: “…it is in Wikileaks best interest to deny a connection with Russia, and I have no reason to doubt Julian Assange would lie about this,…”.
          ==== ====

          So Craig Murray and Julian Assange both are li*ars except maybe they are telling the truth this time?

        • Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

          AntonyIndia, I don’t know why you ask a question like that. I said if Wikileaks had any integrity, they would have contacted the DNC about its breach. I then said I’d be willing to bet money Wikileaks contacted the DNC about their breach. That means I said I’d be willing to bet money Wikileaks did what they would do if they had any integrity (while offering an additional reason they may have done it).

          I don’t see how you take that as me saying Wikileaks did not have integrity. Me saying I’m willing to bet Wikileaks did the right thing should not be evidence I think Wikileaks lacks integrity.

      • bmcburney
        Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 1:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

        “I know as soon as I heard the DNC announce it had been hacked by Russians, I expected Wikileaks to publish material from it. I don’t think that’s evidence I had any special knowledge.”

        Indeed, especially since Wikileaks announced they had documents before the DNC announced they were hacked.

        • Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

          Oops, didn’t see this was in a separate fork bmcburney. My response is above.

        • bmcburney
          Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

          “When I saw Wikileaks say they had Clinton-related material they were going to release then a couple days later the DNC announced it had been hacked, it seemed likely the two were connected.”

          Of course, since the DNC was also aware the Wikileaks announcement and would have been interested in finding something to discredit it, the announcement and especially the Russian attribution was very much in their interest. At a minimum then, they are extremely fortunate that G2 came along in short order to validate the claim. My impression is that most hackers are not quite so accommodating.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

          “…most hackers are not quite so accommodating.”
          ==== =======

          Especially on timing. G2 appeared the day after the CrowdStrike announcement that the Russians had raided the DNC computer. This created a controversy on the heels of the first news, and the controversy continued, with reminders from G2 to keep it in before the public, accomodatingly. This all smacks of orchestrated publicity. Accommodating also in how the clumsiness of G2 tilted the field against him. Quite a controversy. Accommodatingly resolved against the claims of G2, so it seems to many.

        • Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

          bmcburney, I’m not sure Guccifer 2.0 coming along, identifying himself as the hacker and explicitly stating he was not Russian validated the DNC claim to have been hacked by Russians. If anything, I suspect Guccifer 2.0 claiming not to be Russian cast more doubt on the narrative of Russian hacking than there would have been otherwise. Without Guccifer 2.0’s involvement, there would have been nothing to cast doubt on the idea the Russians were involved when the DNC first made its announcement.

          I just don’t see how people would have been less inclined to believe the Russian narrative if the DNC and Crowdstrike were saying it was Russians and nobody else had information/evidence they could use to disagree.

        • bmcburney
          Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

          Brandon,

          Obviously, your description of the circumstances omits G2’s deliberate adoption of the “Russian Whiskers” and his claim (denied by Wikileaks) to be the Wikileaks source. If these facts are included the meaningful portion of the “Russian narrative” falls apart and the fact that “people” are less inclined to believe it is easy to understand.

          I assume, and I think every sensible person assumes, that the “Russian Intelligence Community” has been hacking or attempting to hack the DNC and others since the internet was invented. If the “Russian narrative” claims stopped with an assertion that the Russians hacked the DNC, I think this would not provoke much controversy. Based on the available evidence I, personally, believe those claims to be unfounded (because APT28 and APT29 tools are now available to all) but the “Russian hacking” conclusion, taken in isolation, is certainly plausible.

          But the claims don’t stop there and would not have much salience if they did. It is not merely a “Russian hacking” narrative but a “Russian election hacking” narrative which has produced the hysteria and investigations. For that, G2 must be Russian and must be the Wikileaks source but, in fact, he is neither. G2’s nominal claim to be Romanian is obviously preposterous and I find it hard to believe that it was made with the expectation that anyone would believe it. G2’s whiskers are obviously not an accident are the only connection between Russian hacking, which must occur all the time, and “unprecedented” Russian attempts to influence the 2016 US Presidential election.

        • Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

          Brandon, if you go back and read the news of June 14, 2016, the day of the DNC announcement the Russians hacked them, and one day before G2 claims credit, I challenge you to find a single article that says that connects the two. This is because the MSM on the WL June 12 news parroted mistaken reports that Assange claimed he had Clinton private server hacked emails. This is because Assange’s interviewer jumped that conclusion and Assange could not correct his as he is careful not to confirm and deny anything more than he planned to announce.

        • Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

          bmcburney, Crowdstrike and the DNC had said the Russians were behind the hack before Guccifer 2.0 showed up. If he had never shown up, what would lhave played out is: 1) The DNC announces it had been hacked by the Russians; 2) Wikileaks post material stolen from the DNC. That’d create a very simple narrative nobody would have any real basis to challenge. I don’t see why Guccifer 2.0’s appearance helps it.

          If the DNC announces Russians hacked them then material from their servers is released, the natural conclusion the public would draw is, the Russians released the material.

          For that, G2 must be Russian and must be the Wikileaks source but, in fact, he is neither.

          While you may believe he is neither, it is not a “fact” that he is neither.

          Based on the available evidence I, personally, believe those claims to be unfounded (because APT28 and APT29 tools are now available to all)

          The groups identified as APT-28 and APT-29 have used many, many different tools. I’m not sure what you mean when you say they “are now available to all.” Are you saying every tool they use is publicly available? If so, that strains credulity. The groups have been known to use a variety of zero day exploits, meaning unless they’ve run out, they have tools the public does not have access to. Even ignoring zero day exploits, we don’t even know all the tools these groups use so it’d be impossible to know all their tools are publicly available.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

          bmcburney, Crowdstrike and the DNC had said the Russians were behind the hack before Guccifer 2.0 showed up. If he had never shown up, what would lhave played out is: 1) The DNC announces it had been hacked by the Russians; 2) Wikileaks post material stolen from the DNC. That’d create a very simple narrative nobody would have any real basis to challenge. I don’t see why Guccifer 2.0’s appearance helps it.

          I agree with Brandon on this point.

          BTW here’s an interesting 2015 article in which one security analyst argues that a widely publicized attribution of an “APT28” incident to Russia was actually a Nigerian phishing scam. There are some interesting downstream connections to this that I’m looking at.
          http://krebsonsecurity.com/2015/05/security-firm-redefines-apt-african-phishing-threat/

        • Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

          Ron Graf, you can challenge me to find examples of the media being intelligent all you want, but I can’t say I’m interested. That the media didn’t make a connection I made instantly doesn’t mean the connection was difficult to make. If it was obvious to me, I am confident it was obvious to many other people. That remains true even if the media is, in general, lazy and dumb.

        • bmcburney
          Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

          Brandon and Steve,

          The existing “Russian election hacking” narrative is impossible without G2 because nobody at the DNC or Crowdstrike has any basis for claiming that a Russian hacker is the Wikileaks source. The DNC/Crowdstrike can only properly claim that the DNC was hacked which, although plausible, doesn’t prove there wasn’t a leak. It doesn’t even make a leak less likely. I have no doubt that the DNC’s approved narrative would find supporters among true believers but it wouldn’t convince anyone who wasn’t already a committed supporter.

          Your assertion that “nobody would have any real basis to challenge” the “simple narrative” is obviously false. Wikileaks has explicitly and consistently claimed the source is a leaker, not a hacker. Not only does Wikileaks have a basis for contradicting the DNC’s “simple narrative” it is the ONLY entity in the entire world which has any basis for making any statement about the Wikileaks source. This is why it is possible to state, as a fact, that the Wikileaks source is not a hacker and is not a Russian. The burden is on you to find any evidence (outside of G2’s assertions and the “Russian whiskers”) which proves Wikileaks is lying. I contend there is none. Absent G2’s timely appearance (and timely disappearance), the actual situation would be exactly the opposite of the situation you describe above; nobody would have any real basis to challenge Wikileaks’ attribution.

          It is certainly possible that APT28 and APT29 have tools which are not already known and, although there is no evidence suggesting any such thing, I obviously cannot contradict your speculation that tools not previously attributed to APT28 and APT29 were found on the DNC’s servers. If this occurred, however, Crowdstrike would not be able to attribute the hack or the use of the unknown tools to APT28 and APT29. THIS IS WHY REPUTABLE CYBER SECURITY FIRMS DON’T MAKE ATTRIBUTIONS. Honestly, I think if Crowdstrike told you they invented a time machine which allowed them to attribute the Kennedy assassination to Elvis Presley you would contend that the “simple narrative” must be true since we have no definitive evidence that Elvis wasn’t on the grassly knoll.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

          There’s a very important element in the development in the story that you’re overlooking in this summary. The earliest memoranda in the fraudulent Steele Dossier purported to link Russia – and indeed Putin personally – to the DNC hack, as well as purporting to link the Trump campaign to collusion to hack the DNC. I am convinced that these fraudulent memoranda were the supersecret “intelligence” alluded to in the June 23 WaPo story on Brennan’s and Obama admin’s hair-on-fire investigation of the Trump campaign commencing August 2016, ultimately leading to the October 6, 2016 IC “assessment”.

          I think that the dossier was far more important to “attribution” than G2, whose evidence was either secondary or disregarded by the IC. I am also convinced that the IC assessment does not have any smoking communications evidence and instead relies entirely on “expert” judgement using unworthy evidence and totally without merit.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

          Brandon Scholenberger: “bmcburney, Crowdstrike and the DNC had said the Russians were behind the hack before Guccifer 2.0 showed up. If he had never shown up, what would lhave played out is: 1) The DNC announces it had been hacked by the Russians; 2) Wikileaks post material stolen from the DNC. That’d create a very simple narrative nobody would have any real basis to challenge. I don’t see why Guccifer 2.0’s appearance helps it.”
          === ===== ===

          No, it would not have played that way. G2 was instrumental in magnifying the DNC event and fixing in the public mind that the Wikileaks source was a hack by a Russian operative. Remember, U.S. IC public conclusion that G2. was Russian intelligence operative, this conclusion on flimsy basis. Now do you see?

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, you say “.. we don’t even know all the tools these groups use so it’d be impossible to know all their tools are publicly available.”
          === === ===

          Yet CrowdStrike identified the DNC hacker as Russian intelligence based on the tools used. I think that it can be concluded that CrowdStrike is either dishonest or incompetent. Your assertion that “we don’t even know” flies in the face of CrowdStrike’s positive declaration that it was the Russians.

        • Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 7:56 PM | Permalink

          Brandon: “I just don’t see how people would have been less inclined to believe the Russian narrative if the DNC and Crowdstrike were saying it was Russians and nobody else had information/evidence they could use to disagree.”

          I hope you would agree the DNC was not compelled to announce they were hacked just as they were not compelled to allow the FBI to investigate it. The timing of their announcement, being just two days after Assange’s announcement shows a considered reaction to control the narrative because they had knowledge that the leaks were in fact not Clinton server as reported, Clinton campaign or some other Clinton emails, but the DNC emails. With Trump’s and Putin’s glowing comments about each other, Clinton had a perfect opportunity to smear Trump by connecting him through Russia to the WL, especially since the DNC likely was truly hacked by Russia (Cozy Bear). It is very similar to Clinton’s quick thinking during the Benghazi when (mid-attack) she floated the idea that it could be flagged as a protest since there truly was a protest in Egypt a day earlier, even Victoria Nuland said no, it’s an attack.

          G2 serves to solidly sinks the hook in the media connecting the DNC hack to the WL story and also to Russia. Crowdstrike and DNC aid this by including a specific piece of evidence, that Fancy Bear only exfiltrated the Trump oppo, the same document G2 releases the next day, along with other documents that one would only know were not connected to the DNC WL five weeks later when WL published the DNC leak.

          Brandon, the G2 appearance, along with the Steele dossier, in hindsight, to me, is very transparent. I’m sorry you see it all as unconnected coincidences.

        • Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 8:29 PM | Permalink

          bmcburney, I guess you and I just will not agree on this issue. I don’t think Guccifer 2.0’s involvement pushed the Russia narrative to any meaningful extent, and I don’t think your view of how people would have reacted is plausible. If the DNC announced Russia hacked it then Wikileaks released material from the DNC, I don’t think average people would consider ideas like you suggest.

          I think it is completely farfetched to suggest the general population would have seriously considered the idea Russia hacked the DNC but then a separate person leaked material Russia could have stolen. The idea only a person who was “already a committed supporter” would make believe Wikileaks got its material from Russia seems absurd. I suspect this speaks toward a bias on your part more than a bias on anyone else’s. Consider how you say:

          Your assertion that “nobody would have any real basis to challenge” the “simple narrative” is obviously false. Wikileaks has explicitly and consistently claimed the source is a leaker, not a hacker. Not only does Wikileaks have a basis for contradicting the DNC’s “simple narrative” it is the ONLY entity in the entire world which has any basis for making any statement about the Wikileaks source.

          Previously, you described it as a fact Guccifer 2.0 was not the Wikileaks source. That was untrue. Similarly, here you say Wikileaks has a basis for claiming their source wasn’t RUssia, but that’s only true if their source was not Russia. Your statements here rest on the assumption Russia was not the source, an assumption you present as fact like you did before. You seem to defend this behavior by saying:

          This is why it is possible to state, as a fact, that the Wikileaks source is not a hacker and is not a Russian.

          But that is not remotely reasonable. That Wikileaks claims its source was not Russia in no way means it is okay to claim it is a fact Russia was not the source. That you seem to believe it is suggests your statements about other people’s bias may stem in part from projection.

          It is certainly possible that APT28 and APT29 have tools which are not already known and, although there is no evidence suggesting any such thing, I obviously cannot contradict your speculation that tools not previously attributed to APT28 and APT29 were found on the DNC’s servers.

          I never speculated anything of the sort. You seem determined to paint people whose views you disagree with as biased, to the point where you imagine they say things which they’ve never said just to support that view. If you wish to imagine I said things I’ve never even hinted at in order to decide I’m close-minded, you can, but I think you’ll just be wasting everyone’s time.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 8:37 PM | Permalink

          Steve I’ve a comment held in moderation. If you can’t find it, I’ll repost it, thanks.

        • Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

          Ron Graf:

          I hope you would agree the DNC was not compelled to announce they were hacked just as they were not compelled to allow the FBI to investigate it. The timing of their announcement, being just two days after Assange’s announcement shows a considered reaction to control the narrative because they had knowledge that the leaks were in fact not Clinton server as reported, Clinton campaign or some other Clinton emails, but the DNC emails.

          I wouldn’t agree as I think the DNC was perfectly capable of making the same connection I made, and I am certain any competent cybersecurity company would. I can’t imagine why you would believe neither Crowdstrike nor the DNC would guess Wikileaks had DNC material. That media reports didn’t figure it out in no way means people intimately involved in the issue could not.

          Even if I accepted the premise the DNC must have had some source of information like you suggest, I wouldn’t consider that evidence of any involvement on their part. It is quite common for people to talk to those they are going to report on in advance. Even when that isn’t done in an official sense, gossip and backchannel communication is commonplace in politics and journalism.

          Heck, if Wikileaks has any integrity, it would have contacted the DNC upon receiving the material to make sure the DNC knew it had been hacked. Anything else would be unethical. It’s not just a matter of integrity either. If Wikileaks failed to inform the DNC of the breach and it turned out the DNC was unaware, allowing the breach to continue, Wikileaks could be criminally liable an accessory. I’d bet money not only did Wikileaks contact the DNC, but them doing so played a role in the DNC announcing it had been hacked.

          Brandon, the G2 appearance, along with the Steele dossier, in hindsight, to me, is very transparent. I’m sorry you see it all as unconnected coincidences.

          I find it remarkable how discussions of these issues are playing out given “skeptics” raised hell when people labeled them conspiracy theorists. You can be as “sorry” as you want in your condescending manner, but the reality is you have nothing resembling a coherent case for the views you scorn others for not sharing.

        • Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

          Brandon: “I’d bet money not only did Wikileaks contact the DNC, but them doing so played a role in the DNC announcing it had been hacked.”

          Save your money. Assange’s first rule is not to endanger his sources. I could just imaging Assange trying to extract a promise from Debbie W Schultz to not go to police or media or take any action against a leaker, which is what he strenuously maintains was not a hacker, and definitely not Russian.

        • Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 8:21 AM | Permalink

          The reason the DNC would not allow the FBI access to their server is because that is where the trail begins to the identity of the leaker. If the only evidence of intrusion were Apt 28/29 they would gladly turn it over, especially at the DNC convention when WL embarrassed them or now when they are under completely different leadership. Actually, Mueller should be demanding it now to build Russia evidence for case against Trump.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

          Brandon,
          Demanding integrity on US cyber issues from a foreign entity like Wikileaks? They will follow the lead on cyber integrity from the NSA, CIA, FBI etc. whenever they start I guess. Could be long wait as they mislead (+ illegally spied upon) Congress, the Senate, the US public, friendly foreign governments & their leaders etc.
          “Unethical” does not exist in Homeland Security’s dictionary: Wikileaks can only have > 0 ethics.

        • bmcburney
          Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 9:11 AM | Permalink

          Steve,

          I have not “overlooked” the Steele dossier, I just don’t see how it can be relevant to the subject under discussion.

          I also suspect that the Steele dossier was an important impetus for the FBI’s investigation prior to the election (although I don’t see how we can know that since the FBI refuses to share that information even with Congress). As it circulated behind the scenes among anti-Trump politicians and journalists I can see how it might have “tilted” news coverage against Trump (although coverage was already quite tilted without it). However, the Steele dossier was only made public on January 10, 2017, so I don’t see how it could possibly contribute to the “simple narrative” which Brandon espouses.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

          leaving aside issues related to the “simple narrative”, I think that there is substantial evidence that early memoranda from the Steele dossier were given to CIA and FBI and that they were relied on by CIA and FBI. It is possible to discern its effect in some news articles based on leaks. The argument is an interesting narrative that I’ve been meaning to write up. It’s a narrative that also underpins the argument that Comey misled and deceived Trump right from the outset.

        • Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

          Ron Graf, notifying a person or organization their system has been breached does not endanger a source. Competent journalists go to the owner of leaked/hacked/whatever material they receive before running a story. Suggesting Wikileaks would do the same is hardly remarkable. As for your claim to know the only reason the DNC would not turn over servers is what you say, let’s just say you don’t know anywhere near as much about things as you seem to think you do. That the DNC turned over image files of their drives is completely reasonable image files are what forensic analyses are done on (except in certain extreme scenarios).

          AntonyIndia, I haven’t demanded integrity from Wikileaks. I simply pointed out what they would do if they had any integrity was contact the DNC to notify it material had been stolen from their network so that they could secure it. I then pointed out even if Wikileaks had no integrity, they would likely still do this to avoid legal liability.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 10:28 AM | Permalink

          B. Sholenberger says:”I then pointed out even if Wikileaks had no integrity, they would likely still do this to avoid legal liability.”
          === ==== ===

          Not hardly. Show me a journalist or a media source that has such concerns. There is no “legal liability” involved.

          Also: “I simply pointed out what they would do if they had any integrity was contact the DNC to notify it material had been stolen from their network so that they could secure it.”
          === ==== ====

          “So they could secure it” as when the DNC summoned CrowdStrike who watched for a month while daily material was heisted from their server.
          And who, besides yourself, says that Wikileaks lacks integrity or that Julian Assange and Craig Murray are li*ars?

        • bmcburney
          Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

          Brandon,

          I suppose we all have our biases and blind spots. Rather than have our discussion devolve into name calling and competitive psychoanalysis, let’s try and concentrate on what the evidence tells us regarding our dispute.

          You initially claimed that “nobody would have any real basis to challenge” the “simple narrative” that Russian intelligence was the Wikileaks source. In response, I pointed out that Wikileaks not only had a “basis” to challenge the DNC’s “narrative” regarding that point, they actually did so. In response you assert “that’s only true if their source was not Russia.” Nonsense. Wikileaks obviously has better information that anyone else regarding the identity of the Wikileaks source. Under any circumstances, Wikileaks would have a “basis” to challenge the “simple narrative” and the DNC/Crowdstrike would literally have no “basis” to deny anything Wikileaks said on the subject.

          Let’s look at the problem a little differently. Wikileaks says the source is not Russia, is there anyone who claims otherwise? As far as I know, the answer is “no, nobody”, not even the DNC, not even the FBI, not even Brandon Shollenberger has any reason to believe Russia was the source of the Wikileaks DNC release. Indeed, the only fact or circumstance which suggests that Russia is the Wikileaks source is G2’s “Russian whiskers” (even G2 claims he is not Russian). So, against whatever probative value you may find in the “Russian whiskers” we have Wikileaks’ statements, the timing of the selection and exfiltration of documents in the Wikileaks DNC archive from the DNC, the “curation” of documents found in the Wikileaks DNC archive and other matters. Without refuge in petty epistemology I say it is a FACT that Russia was not the Wikileaks DNC source. If you say otherwise, cite your evidence and explain your reasons.

          You contend that you “don’t think Guccifer 2.0’s involvement pushed the Russia narrative to any meaningful extent” and that my “view of how people would have reacted is [not] plausible.” You contend that as long the DNC claimed it was hacked “average people would [not even] consider ideas like [I] suggest.” You claim that “it is completely farfetched to suggest the general population would have seriously considered the idea” You say “I suspect this speaks toward a bias on your part more than a bias on anyone else’s.” Unless I am very much mistaken, however, Trump actually won the election and did so despite G2 and the whiskers and the FBI’s farcical investigation and the Steele dossier operating in the background. And if you don’t think G2’s involvement “pushed the Russia narrative to any meaningful extent” why have you spent so much time commenting on this completely “meaningless” event? Why have you been defending the DNC’s “simple narrative” to the last ditch and beyond?

          Please re-read you prior comment. You did speculate about unknown tools which APT28 and APT29 might have left on the DNC servers.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

          McBurney says: ” Without refuge in petty epistemology I say it is a FACT that Russia was not the Wikileaks DNC source. If you say otherwise, cite your evidence and explain your reasons.”
          === === ===

          Yes, a fact according to the most authoritative source available. Brandon, once again you are called to cite your reasons why Wikileaks is wrong in this. So far, you offer nothing except to insinuate that Julian Assange is a li*ar.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

          As in climate, I prefer to focus analysis on points which can be examined factually in the hopes of making some progress on controversy, and, avoid opinions on credibility as much as possible. Obviously there may not be enough open source information to reach a conclusion.

        • Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

          bncburney:

          You initially claimed that “nobody would have any real basis to challenge” the “simple narrative” that Russian intelligence was the Wikileaks source. In response, I pointed out that Wikileaks not only had a “basis” to challenge the DNC’s “narrative” regarding that point, they actually did so. In response you assert “that’s only true if their source was not Russia.” Nonsense. Wikileaks obviously has better information that anyone else regarding the identity of the Wikileaks source. Under any circumstances, Wikileaks would have a “basis” to challenge the “simple narrative” and the DNC/Crowdstrike would literally have no “basis” to deny anything Wikileaks said on the subject.

          This isn’t true at all. If Russia were in fact the source for Wikileaks in this case, then Wikileaks would have no basis for challenging the narrative which said Russia was its source. That they might better information than anyone else, namely the absolute knowledge Russia was their source, would in no way mean they’d have a basis for challenging a narrative they knew to be true.

          Without refuge in petty epistemology I say it is a FACT that Russia was not the Wikileaks DNC source.

          This is nonsense. You have nothing but the fact Wikileaks says Russia was not its source as your basis for saying Russia was not its source. That someone says something is true never makes what they say a fact. A person’s testimony may make something probable, or even highly likely, but it can never establish something as fact.

          Unless I am very much mistaken, however, Trump actually won the election and did so despite G2 and the whiskers and the FBI’s farcical investigation and the Steele dossier operating in the background.

          I have no idea how you think this responds to the many claims of mine you quoted. It does not. Whether or not Trump won the election has absolutely nothing to do with anything I said.

          And if you don’t think G2’s involvement “pushed the Russia narrative to any meaningful extent” why have you spent so much time commenting on this completely “meaningless” event?

          This is a silly strawman. Whether or not Guccifer 2.0’s interactions with the public and media caused any meaningful increase in how many people believed Russia was involved with Wikileaks publishing this material in no way determines whether or not his actions were “meaningless.” A person could believe his actions were meaningful for many other reasons, including the possibility the person believes Guccifer 2.0’s actions caused people to, overall, doubt that narrative, not believe it. Another reason a person might think Guccifer 2.0’s actions were meaningful is they might believe those actions could help shed light on what really happened. I am sure there are other reasons people might think this issue meaningful. On top of all this, there is no prohibition on people discussing topics they might find interesting, whether or not they believe those topics to be meaningful.

          Why have you been defending the DNC’s “simple narrative” to the last ditch and beyond?

          Again, it would help if you read what I say instead of what you imagine I say. I haven’t defended any narrative. Other than repeatedly insisting we must take things as fact simply because Wikileaks says they are true and nobody can prove otherwise, your responses seem to contain little but you misunderstanding/misrepresenting the things I’ve said.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

          “This is nonsense. You have nothing but the fact Wikileaks says Russia was not its source as your basis for saying Russia was not its source. That someone says something is true never makes what they say a fact. A person’s testimony may make something probable, or even highly likely, but it can never establish something as fact.”
          === ==== ====

          Wikileaks is the most authoritative source. If you do not accept their declaration as the truth, then why. For the nth time. The jury accepts testimony as facts and convicts thereupon. That is our position; a jury. Repeat, Wikileaks is the most authoritative source. Both Craig Murray and Julian Assange affirm that it was a DNC insider who leaked the material and that the source was not a Russian hack.

        • bmcburney
          Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, — snip

          Steve: I havent been diligent in editing snide comments about other commenters, but it’s a longstanding blog policy. Please avoid. Brandon, too, please.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 1:41 AM | Permalink

          Brandon,
          “Assange chastises companies that haven’t responded to CIA vulnerability offers” http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/324749-assange-chastises-companies-who-havent-responded-to-cia-vulnerability
          Some vulnerabilities that the CIA hunted for and collected in US software, but did not report to the makers were notified in advance by Wikileaks to them on March 17th 2017. Response from US companies except Mozilla towards Wikileaks: nada. Microsoft murmured a bit towards the CIA.
          Who had more integrity here?

        • MikeN
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

          > does not have any smoking … evidence and instead relies entirely on “expert” judgement using unworthy evidence and totally without merit.

          Sounds like you are speaking from experience.

      • Jaap Titulaer
        Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 10:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

        @ Brandon

        {I’m commenting to something you said below, but there is no reply button there …]

        >> The groups identified as APT-28 and APT-29 have used many, many different tools.

        A common misunderstanding but NO.
        An APT# is a pattern of specific tool usage, a process, a fingerprint. They are NOT groups (Surprised? Read on).
        In turn such fingerprints (aka IOC or TTP) are assumed to be linked to certain hacker groups (Threat Actors), but such linkage is indirect and uncertain.
        So although the term APT was intended to represent a (initially unknown) group, the numbered versions are merely fingerprints.

        Because some of the same/similar tools are used by many groups (like the ones that give an APT-28 fingerprint), the attribution to a specific hacker collective can be quite doubtful.

        You certainly can’t say that a numbered APT uses ‘many different tools’. Of course each pattern or process may use a set of tools, but any numbered APT always uses the same set. After all it is the fingerprint of the set of tools used which indicates which APT#.

        The same APT# can be faked by other groups (e.g. NSA and CIA are both known to be able to do this, see the leaks of their tool-set, look for ‘attribution’).

        They can also be faked by firms like Crowdstrike. But it’s not so easy to fake install such tool-sets (really install, but fake the timeline or method of entry or just fake some of the side effects). Hence the fact that the FBI forensic team was not allowed access to the DNC servers is very troubling. At the very least it means that there is no valid evidence which can be used in court, so if the DNC has really been hacked they have made certain that the hackers can never be prosecuted….

        >> [The groups identified as APT-28 and APT-29 have used many, many different tools.] I’m not sure what you mean when you say they “are now available to all.” Are you saying every tool they use is publicly available? If so, that strains credulity.

        All of the tools used IN the fingerprints APT-28 and APT-29 are known, because it is that specific set which defines them.

        So anyone who likes to act like them can do that. Anyone who likes to use some part of their tools can also do that, as the programs or code they use is (to a large extent) in public domain. Of course in both cases that person must really know what they are doing. Some parts of re-use may be a bit tricky, say an IP address/domain.
        An extended example, including setting up a fake domain linked to APT-28 (which example funny enough is now really linked to APT-28 …) is here: https://blog.0day.rocks/lets-get-fancy-with-false-flags-28eaabefeff6

        • Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

          Jaap Titulaer:

          A common misunderstanding but NO.
          An APT# is a pattern of specific tool usage, a process, a fingerprint. They are NOT groups (Surprised? Read on).

          This is not really true. There is no formal body which decides what is and is not an APT. There isn’t even a formal definition of what qualifies as an APT. Some people might wish APTs were limited to what you describe, but the reality is that’s not how the term is widely used. At it stands, the use of APTs to identify groups is widely accepted.

          In fact, I’m not sure the term was ever accepted to mean what you claim as The APT1 report by Mandiant specified the APT it discussed as a group, one it suggested was linked to the Chinese army. FireEye’s report naming APT-28 identifies it as a “threat group,” repeatedly referring to it as a group of people with motivations and human characteristics. In fact, the report refers to the APT’s malware and how the group has modified and updated it over the years, making your claim:

          You certainly can’t say that a numbered APT uses ‘many different tools’. Of course each pattern or process may use a set of tools, but any numbered APT always uses the same set. After all it is the fingerprint of the set of tools used which indicates which APT#.

          Simply incorrect. Whether you like my usage or not, it is what is commonly used. My reference to APT-28 as a group is perfectly in line with how APT-28 was defined from day one. I haven’t read the report defining APT-29, but I imagine it is no different in this regard.

        • Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 10:12 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, a fingerprint suggests exclusivity. I believe they would be more correctly called a modus operandi because it could be used by anyone with access to the required tools. Were the tools used the exclusive property of any alleged “group”? If not, it could have been anyone.

          At one time, it is highly likely that the APTs did exclusively belong to a certain group, but once they’re out in the wild, they no longer represent a group, just a method.

        • Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

          DaveJR, the “fingerprints” used in creating APTs go beyond simple tools and methodologies. It might be possible to convince people an attack was carried out by a particular APT via deception, doing so would not be as simple as using the same malware as those groups.

          But the point at hand is not about that. The point at hand is a number of people are falsely claiming APT-28/APT-29 refer to tools used in certain attacks. That is simply not true. APT-28 and APT-29 are identified as groups, not inanimate tools. The tools, methodologies and targets of those groups (and other things) are used to find patterns in order to attribute attacks to those groups, but the APTs are the groups themselves.

          That said, if you want to look at the “fingerprint” metaphor, consider how fingerprints are used as evidence in criminal investigations. When using databases, patterns in a fingerprint found at a crime scene are compared to patterns found in fingerprints stored in databases. Potential matches are spat out by the computer, and then an expert manually examines the two data sets and decides if they are a match. When a fingerprint found at a crime scene is compared to a specific person, an expert examines both data sets and decides if they are a match.

          In forensics, recovered fingerprints are not an absolute that clearly match. They are sets of data examined for similarities. The more similarities there are, the more certain the expert is of these being a match. The same is true in cyberattacks. Attribution isn’t made just by what tool was used in an attack. Many different points of data are examined, and it is how the total data sets line up that determines if there is or is not a match.

          (Of course, like anything, the experts making these calls can make mistakes/be biased etc.)

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

          If one considers the totality of APT28-APT29 behavior as their fingerprint – as Brandon reasonably argues, then one also has to include the fact that (to my knowledge) they’ve never released emails or documents to the public. In early discussion of the matter – before hysteria, many people presumed that DNC’s security was so abysmal that they’d probably been hacked, but considered that it was also possible that Wikileaks source was not APT28-APT29.

          As I recall, leaks leading up to the intel assessment were that they’d be able to exactly trace, naming names, how the documents got from hackers to Wikileaks, but the actual assessment was a nothingburger on this aspect.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

          Brandon is essentially correct until he get’s to the part where he makes the analogy to fingerprint analysis. That’s BS. A modus operandi is not a fingerprint. End of story.

          I will help you. The best evidence supporting the high confidence in identifying the hackers is coming from signal intelligence.

          http://bgr.com/2016/12/29/did-russia-hack-the-election/

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

          The article relies on a supposed attribution by Crowdstrike of a supposed hack of Ukrainian artillery. That’s been thoroughly discredited by Jeffrey Carr and others as another bogus Alperovitch assertion.

          It has been frequently asserted that NSA ought to be able to locate exfiltration but they’ve never produced the evidence. I recently quoted a knowledgeable specialist who concluded that the attribution had ultimately relied on human intelligence. Which implies reliance on the Steele Dossier.

          Unclassified intel assessments tend to imply/state access to NSA. However, in the intel assessment of 2013 Ghouta chemical incident, the intel assessment made assertions about rocket origins which were subsequently shown from open source information to be flatly wrong.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

          Brandon says “The tools, methodologies and targets of those groups (and other things) are used to find patterns in order to attribute attacks to those groups, but the APTs are the groups themselves”

          No longer,Brandon. Things have changed and no longer can particular tools and methods being confidently attributed to a specific group. For example, no longer can the APT 28 tools and methods being attributed to the GRU with confidence, CrowdStrike’s self promotions notwithstanding.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

          Steve says “…thoroughly discredited by Jeffrey Carr and others as another bogus Alperovitch assertion.”
          === === ===
          I recall reading that Alperovitch has retracted his claims in that artillery affair. He made the mistake of pronouncing on a matter that could be investigated by others.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

          Steve, the article said:

          “After a security company proved there’s a link between the malware used against the DNC and cyber attacks against the Ukrainian army, a new report reveals the actual reason why the NSA knows whenever Russia hacks the US. And yes, it’s as scary as you’d expect it to be.”

          The “new report” reveals the “actual reason”. NSA signals intelligence. The NSA is not going to reveal the evidence. The new report is not connected to the Ukrainian BS. Did you read the article beyond that paragraph? Snowden revealed their methods. But they still are not going to confirm it.

          As I have mentioned before, the FBI notified DNC back in Sept 2015, that they were being attacked by Russians. FBI repeated those warnings to DNC up until the time the DNC finally realized they were hacked. The FBI warnings were based on NSA sigint.

          I remember the quote you recently cited. I re-quoted it, including the part you left off. I don’t recall that the quote mentioned the Steele dossier or said that the assessment had ultimately relied on human intel. Don’t you mean you inferred reliance on the Steel dossier?

          Do you have some evidence that the 2013 Ghouta assessment reflects badly on NSA sigint, in relation to tracking down hackers?

          I would like to see the actual evidence that NSA, CYBERCOM, CCIC, DHS, CIA and whatever relied upon, but they ain’t going to show it. They have taken oaths to keep their methods and the specifics of what they know secret. Spook stuff. If they have something that points to someone other than the Russians, I think Trump would order them to reveal it. So, I am currently satisfied that it was probably the Russians. I haven’t seen any convincing evidence pointing to anyone else. Please show it if you got it.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

          Steve, my reply to you went into moderation. I can usually figure out why and modify. Not this time. Please check it.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

          Add on to comment in moderation:

          http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/05/09/nsa-director-rogers-says-no-reduction-in-russian-attempts-to-interfere-in-elections.html

          “During further questioning, Rogers said the National Security Agency became aware of Russian attempts to interfere with political institutions in the summer of 2015.

          He said that when he came aware of Russian actions, he informed the FBI, and also in his role as head of the U.S. Cyber Command, informed the Pentagon to make sure its systems were optimized in order to be able to withstand such an attack.”

          This is related to the FBI informing DNC of Russian attacks in Sept. 2015, and several times after that.

        • Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 5:09 PM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre:

          If one considers the totality of APT28-APT29 behavior as their fingerprint – as Brandon reasonably argues, then one also has to include the fact that (to my knowledge) they’ve never released emails or documents to the public.

          This seems strange as one of the more notable things attributed to APT-28 was the theft of medical documents from various athletes held by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). A day after the attack was acknowledged by WADA, a site whose name and title identified its creators as FancyBear (APT-28) came online.

          The site made a statement claiming people cheated to win in the Olympics. To support this, it provided documents for several American athletes who competed in the 2016 Olympics, falsely alleging them to have been guilty of doping. Documents for athletes from other countries were released in several batches in the weeks which followed. The WADA has stated some of these documents were altered/falsified.

          That was in September of 2016, mere months after the DNC hack was announced. It is one of the few attacks attributed to APT-28 known to involve the theft of documents, and it had more than a passing similarity to the DNC incident. Additionally, the WADA was only targeted after it recommended Russian athletes be barred from an event due to the widespread doping of their athletes.

          That seems like the sort of thing anyone talking about attribution of attacks to APT-28/APT-29 should be aware of.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

          fair response. Are there any other such incidents to your knowledge?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

          (I’ll try this again)

          Steve, the article said:

          “After a security company proved there’s a link between the malware used against the DNC and cyber attacks against the Ukrainian army, a new report reveals the actual reason why the NSA knows whenever Russia hacks the US. And yes, it’s as scary as you’d expect it to be.”

          The “new report” reveals the “actual reason”. NSA signals intelligence. The NSA is not going to reveal the evidence. The new report is not connected to the Ukrainian story. Did you read the article beyond that paragraph? Snowden revealed their methods. But they still are not going to confirm it.

          As I have mentioned before, the FBI notified DNC back in Sept 2015, that they were being attacked by Russians. FBI repeated those warnings to DNC up until the time the DNC finally realized they were penetrated. The FBI warnings were based on NSA sigint.

          I remember the quote you recently cited. I re-quoted it, including the part you left off. I don’t recall that the quote mentioned the Steele dossier or said that the assessment had ultimately relied on human intel. Don’t you mean you inferred reliance on the Steel dossier?

          Do you have some evidence that the 2013 Ghouta assessment reflects badly on NSA sigint capabilities, in relation to tracking down the DNC perps?

          I would like to see the actual evidence that NSA, CYBERCOM, CCIC, DHS, CIA and whatever relied upon, but they ain’t going to show it. They have taken oaths to keep their methods and the specifics of what they know secret. If they have something that points to someone other than the Russians, I think Trump would order them to reveal it. So, I am currently satisfied that it was probably the Russians. I haven’t seen any convincing evidence pointing to anyone else. Please show it if you got it.

        • Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre:

          fair response. Are there any other such incidents to your knowledge?

          Nope. I don’t know of any other confirmed cases of APT-28 successfully pulling off an attack which involved stealing any documents (confirmed as in confirmed documents were stolen, not that the attribution was necessarily correct). The other attacks I know of attributed to APT-28 either weren’t reported as having been a success or involved sabotage instead of theft. For APT-29, I know of no examples (unless one counts the DNC case).

          The groups could have carried out attacks that haven’t been publicized, and it’s possible there are publicized cases I’ve missed. As it stands though, these are the only two cases I know of where either group was publicly said to have stolen any material. In both cases, a day after the announcement, a new web site popped up and documents started being shared.

          That’s nothing conclusive, and what I find more interesting is the lack of examples. I think it’s interesting how few publicized examples there are of APT-28/APT-29 succeeding in attacks. most reports are about attempts, with no report of success. Are these groups getting away with attacks, are they not succeeding much or is this a case of most attacks not getting reported?

        • Jaap Titulaer
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 2:25 AM | Permalink

          At one time, it is highly likely that the APTs did exclusively belong to a certain group, but once they’re out in the wild, they no longer represent a group, just a method.

          Thanks Dave, that is exactly what I was trying to say. And yeah modus operandi is a better term.

          Once an APT# is made public you can no longer be sure that any subsequent activity with the same ‘modus operandi’ really is the same group. Prior to publication it is a good guess, but not thereafter.
          The security companies issue bulletins among each other and later publicly to their clients. Next come discussions on the attacks by APT-x on congresses. By this time the approach is in the wild and can no longer be associated with any group with any kind of certainty.

          Apparently APT-28 has now become conflated with the (probably) Nigerian phishing scams and with a (French? Pakistani? Iranian?) C&C server (176.31.112.10) which was used in the attack against the Bundestag (see https://netzpolitik.org/2015/digital-attack-on-german-parliament-investigative-report-on-the-hack-of-the-left-party-infrastructure-in-bundestag/).
          That conflation stems from the (bad) ‘research’ done by root9B.

          And see also in general what Carr had to say about the fingerprint parts (from https://medium.com/@HFINetwork/dumbstruck-how-crowdstrike-conned-america-on-the-hack-of-the-dnc-ecfa522ff44f):

          “Part of the evidence supporting Russian government involvement in the DNC and related hacks (including the German Bundestag and France’s TV5 Monde),” Carr writes, “stemmed from the assumption that X-Agent malware was exclusively developed and used by Fancy Bear. We now know that’s false, and that the source code has been obtained by others outside of Russia.” Carr cites at least two examples, one a security company, the other a hacker collective, of the X-Agent malware existing “in the wild.” If these two entities have the X-Agent malware, Carr notes, “then so do others, and attribution to APT28/Fancy Bear/GRU based solely upon the presumption of ‘exclusive use’ must be thrown out.”

          X-Agent was always the one malware CrowdStrike could turn to as demonstrating an exclusive Russian attribution?—?every other malware detected in the DNC penetration was publicly available. Now it appears that X-Agent, too, was “in the wild,” available to any enterprising hacker to use as he or she saw fit.

        • Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

          Jaap Titulaer, that quote from Jeffrey Carr is one of the many examples of him relying upon obvious misdirections. He says:

          “Part of the evidence supporting Russian government involvement in the DNC and related hacks (including the German Bundestag and France’s TV5 Monde),” Carr writes, “stemmed from the assumption that X-Agent malware was exclusively developed and used by Fancy Bear. We now know that’s false, and that the source code has been obtained by others outside of Russia.”

          Trusting that both of the sources he cite actually have obtained a copy of the code, what that shows is merely that sources other than APT-28 have obtained copies of the code. That does not show anyone other than APT-28 has developed or used the code. In terms of hte latter, it is important to note Carr ignores a qualifier Crowdstrike included when making this claim – in the public record.

          CrowdStrike said there is no public record of anyone but APT-28 using or developing certain software. That some other people have obtained copies of the code does not mean prove what CrowdStrike said wrong. In fact, that those are the best examples Carr can come up with indicates CrowdStrike’s claim is true.

          Whether or not one finds Crowdstrike’s argument convincing, distorting it in such an obvious way to claim we know it to be false is silly. But that’s always been Carr’s modus operandi. He doesn’t know anywhere near as much as he pretends. Misrepresenting things in trivially obvious ways is how he gets by.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

          Brandon, your reasoning fails, it seems. CrowdStrike’s qualifier of “no public record” of any user other than APT 28 is circular since they identify as APT 28 all instances of certain malware. You missed that circularity. In short, CrowdStrike ignores the fact that APT malware is “in the wild”, as do you. And really, that is what sustains your arguments in this matter: your pretense that APT 28 malware is somehow still not available worldwide.

          Also, “no public record” is a pretty narrow scope. Successful use of any malware does not enter the public record.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

          To finish my comment, Carr’s reasoning is sound. He shows that it is no longer possible to attribute certain malware activities to specific “groups” with any confidence, your pretense that he is arguing a different conclusion notwithstanding. Carr is right.

        • Jaap Titulaer
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 8:07 AM | Permalink

          Here is what Carr probably was talking about when he said a security company had the source code. Or perhaps it is just yet another example…

          En Route with Sednit
          Part 2: Observing the Comings and Goings

          by ESET
          October 2016

          What ESET calls the Sednit group is also known as APT28, Fancy Bear and Sofacy.

          Xagent is described starting at page 10 of this report. On page 11 it is noted that this is what was found in 2016 at the DNC.
          Now please look at page 12:

          During our investigations, we were able to retrieve the complete Xagent source code for the Linux operating system.
          To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time this Xagent source code has been found and documented by security researchers.
          This source code is a fully working C++ project, which was used by Sednit operators to compile a binary in July 2015 (at least). The project contains around 18,000 lines of code among 59 classes; a partial directory listing of the source files is shown in Figure 4.”

          And later on page 13:

          According to its internal version numbering, this source code is version 2 of Xagent, while currently distributed Windows and Linux binaries are version 3.
          Nevertheless, there appear to be only minor differences between the two versions, and the source code matches the core logic of the most recent
          samples on both Windows and Linux platforms. Also, the iOS version of Xagent found by Trend Micro [13] — not documented in this white paper — is based on this source code, according to our own analysis.
          Therefore, we decided to present an analysis of Xagent mainly based on the source code, and not on binaries, to ease the explanations.

          So sometime before, or at the latest in, October 2016 ESET already has full source code for the Linux version of Xagent.
          And numerous security companies have various binary examples of Xagent.

          This means that any group with access to what these security companies have or who collect malware in a similar way as to what these companies do will have access to Xagent. The companies get binary examples not just from customers who’ve become victim, but also by using special victim PC’s that connect to known malicious websites in order to get infected.

          Such binaries can often be re-used as they work using external parameters (e.g. IP & port of the C&C server).
          And if not, no worries. Binary versions can be decompiled, changed and recompiled.
          Compilation from the actual source code is of course even simpler…

        • Jaap Titulaer
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

          Here’s another one, also using Xagent, this is on the Android malware used against Ukraine, so attribution to Russia is likely, but was it APT 28? Focal Point doubts that.

          Focal Point Releases Malware Analysis of Android X-Agent Implant
          May 2017

          However, Focal Point has raised questions about the attribution to the FancyBear threat actor. X-Agent has been “in the wild” since 2012, is relatively easy to obtain, and has been well-documented, including in our report below. Further, ESET was able to obtain the source code for a report in 2016 . With the implant’s known availability, any number of threat actors, in addition to FancyBear, could have been in possession of the implant during the Russian-Ukrainian conflict from 2014-2016.

          Focal Point’s report concludes that, while it’s likely that the malware can be attributed to a Russian-affiliated actor, there is simply not enough public evidence to link that malware to FancyBear in particular.

          Details about this are in their report (bottom of web-page).
          Here is what they say on page 22 (I can’t copy & paste it, as it is secured; all typos are mine).

          X-Agent has been in the wild since at least 2012. Its command and control protocol has been well documented, and it’s easy to obtain a copy of the implant. It’d be fairly easy to reverse engineer a known sample and re-implement its protocol and functionality.

          Then it discusses the ESET october 2016 report.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 1:26 PM | Permalink

          Jaap Titulaer, once again, thanks.
          Rather startling claim that “X-Agent” has been in the wild for five years.

        • MikeN
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

          Jaap, if I were a campaign manager, and I found out my servers had been hacked, I would not hand over the server to the FBI for examination. There is too much on there, that I would not trust would stay within the investigation instead of being leaked by a partisan working for the FBI.

  9. bmcburney
    Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 1:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve,

    “My own working hypothesis is that G2 was a lone wolf hacker. This is a surmise only. This surmise is NOT proven by the analysis provided above, but I do not believe that it is inconsistent with the information marshalled here. I’ll try to outline why I believe G2 to have been a lone wolf hacker on another occasion.”

    The Adam Carter analysis still seems more convincing to me. If G2 was a lone wolf hacker, the DNC/Crowdstrike has been incredibly lucky. This lone wolf just happened to appear, at just at the right time, with a supply of meaningless DNC documents, a (sanitized?) version of the DNC’s Trump opposition file and a feeble Boris Badenov disguise. I think I will always favor a cui bono analysis over most computer metadata analysis because metadata is so easy to fake.

    That having been said, the weakness of any cui bono style analysis is that sometimes coincidences do happen and sometimes people do get lucky (or unlucky). I admit you make a very reasonable case and I now see what you mean about some of these details not really fitting a false flag. I agree it doesn’t “feel” like the metadata discussed in your post has been faked, the observations seem too subtle for that.

    I also think there is only one “l” in “marshaled” (unless this is one of those Canadian spelling things).

  10. Dan
    Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 6:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hi all. I used to lurk here for years, but backed off some after Climategate confirmed a lot of things many of us suspected. Anyhoo, I know this post is off topic but I didn’t know where or how else to post it. I didn’t want to bother SM with an email, so here goes:

    I’m trying to shed some light on the hockey stick controversy with an online acquaintance (of the alarmist variety) who seems willing to look at the details. We are discussing the Wiki article on the HS debate, and the following statement is of current interest: ” McIntyre and McKitrick’s code selected 100 simulations with the highest “hockey stick index” from the 10,000 simulations they had carried out, and their illustrations were taken from this pre-selected 1%.” The footnote for this is Mann’s 2012 book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, pp. 242–243, 362–363. Assuming that is an accurate assessment of what the book says, I have been trying to find any kind of blog post or other info that addresses this point. I’ve been able to find info at CA for every other point up to now, but it seems maybe this quote from Mann’s book was not discussed here.

    Does anyone know where SM or RM has responded to Mann’s statement, or if anyone else has replied to it online?

    • Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 9:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Dan:

      We are discussing the Wiki article on the HS debate, and the following statement is of current interest: ” McIntyre and McKitrick’s code selected 100 simulations with the highest “hockey stick index” from the 10,000 simulations they had carried out, and their illustrations were taken from this pre-selected 1%.” The footnote for this is Mann’s 2012 book, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, pp. 242–243, 362–363. Assuming that is an accurate assessment of what the book says, I have been trying to find any kind of blog post or other info that addresses this point. I’ve been able to find info at CA for every other point up to now, but it seems maybe this quote from Mann’s book was not discussed here.

      Offhand, I don’t know where Steve McIntyre may have discussed this particular issue, but I’ve discussed it a number of times. Nuances and details of what effect this selection criterion had have been discussed as well. The short version is, yes, that paper selected figures which bestshowed the effect in question. The paper did not claim to offer a random sample though. The purpose of the examples was to show what the effect could be in a clear manner.

      The point was to show how a process was biased toward “finding” hockey sticks; the point was not to quantify that bias. Using a random sample would have shown the process was biased as well, but the examples wouldn’t have been as clear. Using non-random samples to demonstrate a point like this is fine as long as the authors are clear that they’re not using random samples (which they were in this case).

      If people accept the process was biased, then they could argue about how much of an effect that bias has. In that case, using non-random samples could create problems. But when all you’re doing is trying to demonstrate a problem exists, showing the clearest examples of it is reasonable.

      Also, if I can be forgiven a bit of self-promotion, I would recommend you and your acquaintance try reading this short eBook I wrote. It doesn’t cover the issue you ask about here, but I believe it is the best introduction to the hockey stick debate available for people new to the topic. If you don’t want to purchase it, a free PDF version can be found here (though it has a couple editing issues not present in the final version).

      I wrote it and a follow-up eBook to try to give people an accessible resource for understanding the hockey stick debate. I’d like to think I succeeded.

      • Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 9:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

        By the way, if you’d like to see what effect the decision to use a non-random sample had, you should take a look at this post. A frequent critic of our host named Nick Stokes claimed what they did was wrong, created a version of the figure he says is what they should have shown.

        In his emulation he allowed hockey sticks which went up or went down. The orientation of principal components (the type of proxy created via this process) is irrelevant to Mann’s methodology. By only using the top 1% of hockey sticks, M&M effectively limited their hockey sticks to ones in a positive orientation. Stokes did not do this on the basis that step was not explicitly written into the code (even though it is inherent to the process the code used). As that post shows, the visual impact Stokes highlighted almost completely disappears when one flips hockey sticks to all share the same orientation (as they would under Mann’s methodology).

        You can see for yourself what effect the decision to use a non-random sample was. It definitely has a visual impact in terms of “neatness.” It doesn’t change the point though. Whether you sue a random or non-random sample, the results will be biased toward showing a hockey stick.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, thanks for chipping in. The bi-modal orientation of random HS was clearly shown in our Figure 2, dishonestly disregarded by Stokes. In mathematical terms, PCs do not have an orientation anyway. Both orientations are eigenvectors.

        • Manniac
          Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 5:28 AM | Permalink

          Seeing Steve M’s graphic reminded me of this…

      • Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 9:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Dan –
        As a postscript to Brandon’s comment (with which I concur), I’ll add a referencee to a CA article on the “hockey stick index”.

        Rather than focus on the selection of the exemplary series, I would direct your friend to Figure 2 of the paper, which shows that the PC1 “hockey stick index” is distributed in an entirely different fashion when processed with the MBH method vs. the conventional method. This figure is based on the entire set of 10,000 random series.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 10:43 PM | Permalink

          I’d forgotten about the t-statistic post. It was a good way of translating our original findings into very conventional statistics.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 10:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Mann’s book came out a long time after the original exchanges on the topic. You ask:

      McIntyre and McKitrick’s code selected 100 simulations with the highest “hockey stick index” from the 10,000 simulations they had carried out, and their illustrations were taken from this pre-selected 1%.

      The issue didn’t come up in any of the original exchanges and thus was not covered in the voluminous early discussions. I’ve never tried to respond to Mann’s book. It contains so much garbage and misinformation that it is impossible and uninteresting for me to respond to every spitball with my age and energy.

      The point is not relevant to any of the main conclusions of the article, summarized in the abstract as follows:

      it has not been previously noted in print that, prior to their principal components (PCs) analysis on tree ring networks, they carried out an unusual data transformation which strongly affects the resulting PCs. Their method, when tested on persistent red noise, nearly always produces a hockey stick shaped first principal component (PC1) and overstates the first eigenvalue. In the controversial 15th century period, the MBH98 method effectively selects only one species (bristlecone pine) into the critical North American PC1, making it implausible to describe it as the “dominant pattern of variance”. Through Monte Carlo analysis, we show that MBH98 benchmarks for significance of the Reduction of Error (RE) statistic are substantially under-stated and, using a range of cross-validation statistics, we show that the MBH98 15th century reconstruction lacks statistical significance.

      The figure summarizing our simulations showing the weird bias in Mann’s algorithm was our Figure 2 shown below, with caption clearly stating that it was taken from 10000 simulations. When Mann’s claim that our figures were based on “100 simulations” is assessed against this figure, it is flatly untrue.

      In response to our 2003 article, Mann et al said that the HS was the “dominant” pattern of variance, but, without using the defective Mann principal components technique, it wasn’t, as we showed in our Figure 3. Again, this figure has nothing to do with a supposed selection of 100 simulations.

      We showed that Mann’s PC1 was nothing more than bristlecone pine chronologies, the HS shape of which was specifically said by the original authors to NOT be a temperature proxy. As we reported soon afterwards, Mann had done a sensitivity study which showed that he did not get a HS shape without the stripbark bristlecones, but failed to disclose that in MBH98. The MBH98 hockeystick depended on the bristlecones – data that the originating specialists said was not a temperature proxy and the NAS panel said should be “avoided” in reconstructions – recommendations that have been snubbed by specialists. The results in the table showing this do not depend on “100 simulations”.

      MBH98 had claimed to consider statistical significance using both RE and r^2 tests and in their Figure 3, showed both RE and r^2 results for the AD1820 step. Mann’s Supplementary Information failed to disclose that very bad verification r2 results were obtained in early periods. We showed the miserable verification r2 statistic (0.02) for the AD1400 step – rather contradicting Mann’s grandiose claims of “99% statistical significance”. These results do not depend on “100 simulations”.

      Mann had claimed “99% significance” for his results. In the computer code accompanying the article (a level of documentation then unprecedented in the field), I had extracted and plotted up top percentile HSI simulations for comparison to Mann’s “99% significant” HS, but did not use this inventory for Figure 2 or statistical comparisons as clearly shown in the computer scripts archived with the article. I used one of these examples in Figure 1, but could just as easily have chosen any other simulation with no impact on the effect of the figure. Efforts by Mann and his acolytes to contest the data mining property of his PC method ought to have abandoned when the 2006 NRC Committee reproduced the effect under very simple conditions. It’s ludicrous that Mann and his acolytes continue to deny the error to this day.

      The statistical findings of our article were based on the full population of 10,000 simulations; claims to the contrary are untrue.

  11. nyarvin
    Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 7:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    A technical point: under Unix, “ctime” is not actually the file creation time; instead it’s the inode change time. It’s useful for things like incremental backups, where you might have a file with an old mtime (modification time) but a new ctime, which might be a file that has recently been copied onto the system with a command that preserved the modification time, but which is still new to this system so deserves to be added to the incremental backup. The user can set mtime to anything, but cannot mess with ctime.

    Windows, I believe, actually does have a “file creation time” which is literally that.

    It’s those sorts of differences that I’d originally figured you were relying on in differentiating between Unix and Windows copying; I am disappointed to find that instead it’s details of the modification dates, which don’t seem like they could be at all reliable as indications of what sort of system they were done on.

    Steve: Nobody has tried to analyse cf7z metadata. To some extent, I’m pointing out what I’ve noticed and if someone else with more knowledge of technical details can shed light, so much the better.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 3, 2017 at 10:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I wasn’t trying to draw conclusions about the type of system being used. I think that you may have been wrongfooted by terms that I adopted from Forensicator: “Unix” and “Windows” copy – to distinguish copying which respectively resulted in a modification time set to the copying time versus copying which left the modification time unchanged.

      I focused on documents for which 7z directory and pdf document modification dates were the same, but modification times were different – not to shed insight on types of system, but because the pattern seemed very odd to me and arguably an indication of some sort of “eavesdropping” and exfiltration. The pattern is entirely different than the ngpvan pattern analysed by Forensicator and worth understanding.

      If you are unsatisfied by efforts to explain, I’m sorry, but it would be more helpful to either offer a better explanation.

      • Norman Yarvin
        Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 12:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

        In Unix, “cp” sets a new modification date, but “cp -a” (a for “archive”) preserves the old ones. Unix “tar” preserves modification dates by default, as does rsync. I get that you’re just borrowing “Forensicator”‘s terminology, and using it with hesitation, as in “Unix-style” or “Windows-style” rather than simply “Unix” or “Windows”; I’m just suggesting that this is one piece of terminology which is best not borrowed.

        I don’t have a better explanation for the situation in general here; I’m just making a narrow technical point. (I don’t particularly care who the hacker was; even if it was Russia, it’s not like the DNC’s security was so good that only a nation-state could penetrate it — far from it.)

        Steve: thanks for this clarification. Do you have suggestion for terminology?

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

          it’s not like the DNC’s security was so good that only a nation-state could penetrate it — far from it.

          One of the reasons why the DNC and FBI had to treat the matter with kid gloves in July 2016 was because they had just laundered the charges against Hillary, including turning a blind eye to the destruction of server logs under orders by Cheryl Mills, thereby preventing any investigation of hacking of the Clinton server – which would have been just as damaging to her if found.

          It amazes me that US police should undertake an armed pre-dawn raid on Paul Manafort, while giving Cheryl Mills immunity to grant access to documents that the FBI could have obtained a warrant for.

        • MikeN
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

          They would have had to obtain a subpoena, and for that they needed a grand jury, which would mean they had to admit that Hillary was under criminal investigation.

  12. Dan
    Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 10:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I haven’t been here in awhile, but I can see CA continues to be awesome! Thanks.

    The guy I am discussing all this with, Sofla, has been an ardent supporter of the AGW theory, yet he has never heard of CA. One of the problems he has is that he believes people like the Hockey Team are all above board and are doing things by the book…peer review is the gold standard and mere blog posts are not up to those standards, blah blah. However, since being introduced to CA he does seem willing to dig in and find the real facts. The only way for us to do that is to prove or disprove specific statements in the Wiki article he posted as evidence. We have been trying to agree on the issue of covariance vs correlation matrices as related to a supposed “exaggeration” of the hockey stick shape in MM05. While he ponders a response, I moved ahead to what he considers a devastating (lol) comment from Mann — the one discussed here.

    So, I’m trying to keep things as specific as possible as he doesn’t believe anything anybody says without nailing down the evidence. In this case, Mann’s comment is true in one sense but it doesn’t mean what Mann is trying to make it seem.

    I am going to invite Sofla to continue his education at CA and see what comes of it. I’m hoping he will engage here and learn from the horses’ mouth rather than through my filter.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 11:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

      the issue of covariance and correlation matrices impacts whether bristlecones are in the PC4 or PC2 in the NOAMER network with bristlecones. If bristlecones are excluded, the issue doesn’t arise because none of the remaining proxies give rise to a HS. Our E&E article has much more detail than the GRL article.

      The ability of Mann’s algorithm to make HS out of red noise attracted a lot of interest because it was an unexpected result and had some academic interest. Academics tended to be uninterested in mundane issues like strip bark bristlecones, though the data issues were always central to my own perspective.

      • mpainter
        Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 12:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve says :”Academics tended to be uninterested in mundane issues like strip bark bristlecones..”
        === ===

        Let’s talk about scientists, rather than academics. Concerning the Mannian Hockey stick, the strip bark bristlecone data would have been cause for any scientist to dismiss Mann’s study as of no value. The issue is not so much mundane as determinative, especially taken in conjunction with Mann’s weighting of the bc data and his reliance on one cedar in the Gaspe, this conclusion readily obtained without any reference to proper statistics.

        One must keep in mind the general level of scientific quality found in the works of the paleoclimate reconstructionists, also keeping in mind that there are good scientists and poor scientists and this difference is mostly a reflection of individual judgement. I have heard it stated, by more than one scientist of established preeminence in his field, that the most important personal quality of a scientist is…not intelligence, but personal integrity.

        • Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

          The quote about not seeing a problem when your job depends on it seems very applicable to the treemometer crowd.

          They embarked on a line of research entirely dependent on one of the most ridiculous assumptions I’ve come across: that biology and environment are “stationary” over hundreds of years. That temperature changes have no effect on any other factors which might alter tree growth patterns. This assumption is even challenged by the overarching paradigm they work under: climate change.

    • MikeN
      Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 11:40 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Dan, this devastating comment from Mann is something he got from someone else, either Nick Stokes or Deep Climate, and he is repeating it even though he knows it is irrelevant because it sounds so convincing. To clarify, the statement is true but irrelevant, because the conclusions reached are not based on a random sample of the top 100, but the entire set of simulated data. Only the picture was taken from the top 100 for visual effect. Another counter was to take these hockey sticks produced by random data and not flip them so it is harder to notice the effect, even though Mann’s algorithm flips everything to a positive orientation.

      If you are looking to convince someone, perhaps looking at Mann 08 with upside down data would be more effective. Mann then denied he used anything upside down, and almost every defender has followed suit. It is pretty easy to look at the Matlab code and see that Mann’s defense is wrong. It used to be even easier when Kaufmann had an Excel spreadsheet for his Arctic warming paper with the upside-down data that could be compared to the original, but he issued a correction.

      Skeptical Science has not posted a rebuttal, probably because Robert Way told them Mann is wrong on their internal forum which was hacked, and indeed said so about all of the hockey stick criticisms.

  13. Dan
    Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 10:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    One more thing. I often see mention of Mann’s flawed statistical technique, affectionately termed the Mannomatic. I know he centered the data on approximately the 20th century data only, but is there a rundown of exactly what else he did that was not kosher? How important was the improper centering compared to the other problems? (Note, I have only basic college level stats education, so I’m straining to keep up with a lot of this, interesting as it is).

    I realize his methods had not been released for a long time. Was his complete code ever released?

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 11:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

      there are many different problems in the field. Hard to summarize. Only place where defects are described is at Climate Audit, but it’s hard to wade through everything there.

      MBH98-99 ultimately stands or falls on whether stripbark bristlecone chronologies are, magically, uniquely accurate proxies for NH temperature or whether there HS shape is due to something local (as we argued.) Mann tried to make the MBH98 debate about the “right” number of principal components to retain in an analysis – thereby making the debate sound mathematical and out of reach of most readers. (Using non-Mannian principal components, the distinctive HS-shape of the bristlecones was demoted to a lower order principal component.) But that was disinformation fog. If bristlecones are invalid proxies, his principal component pettifogging was moot.

      The NRC 2006 panel said that stripbark chronologies should be “avoided” in temperature reconstructions. That ought to have ended efforts to salvage MBH98 and further use of stripbark bristlecone chronologies. But the stubborn climate academics resisted. Mann et al 2008, while purporting to adhere to NRC recommendations, used stripbark bristlecone chronologies anyway. And their use by other academics increased (not decreased) in apparent solidarity with MAnn’s use of defective data. Mann et al 2008 was relied on in the most recent IPCC report (AR5) with the odd result that Mann’s stripbark bristlecones were additionally used to reconstruct Southern Hemisphere temperatures. The entire discipline is beyond stupid.

      Mann purported to show that he could “get” a HS without bristlecones in Mann et al 2008, but this reconstruction relied on contaminated sediments from Finland (Tiljander et al) – another Mannian horror story. Gavin Schmidt and others obtusely defended Mann on this.

      The code issue is complicated. Code for Mann’s PC calculations was on an FTP site which Mann made public following publication of our 2003 paper (falsely claiming at the time that it had always been public.) Examination of this fortran code enabled me to identify the error in Mann’s principal components calculations. MAnn later deleted this information, which is only available because I saved it. Following widely publicized refusal to show other parts of his code (even on front page of WSJ), Mann grudgingly produced some of his code when asked by the House Energy and Commerce Committee (over cacaphonous screeching by academic community.) His production was incomplete e.g. it didn’t show his algorithm for retention of principal components – a battleground issue. 12 years later, Mann has still not produced it. In 1998, Mann failed to report adverse verification r2 statistics (which he calculated at the time and knew to be adverse). To this day, he has refused to report these results. Wahl and Ammann confirmed the observation of McIntyre and McKitrick 2005 that the reconstruction failed this relevant test (though they claimed that this didn’t matter.)

      Earlier this year, I made an amicus brief in the litigation between Mann and Steyn which might interest you as well (short because of word limits, but probably no harm in being short).
      http://www.climateaudit.info/legal/litigation/mann%20v%20steyn/20170126%20McIntyre%20Amicus%20Brief.pdf

      • jddohio
        Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 9:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve,

        The brief was concise, clear and very well done. Has the court ruled on the re-hearing issue yet? These are usually longshots, but a concise guide to the problems with Mann’s work is very useful.

        JD

    • MikeN
      Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 11:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

      There is also a CO2 effect that was adjusted for. The meaning of this adjustment as done by Mann was CO2 in 1900 caused changes to trees in the past.

  14. Dan
    Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 2:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steyn is my second favorite Canadian. :o) I’m glad to see he has you as a resource.

    Last question. One of my favorite posts (other than Tiljander) was the Starbuck’s hypothesis and the Almagre expedition. Did anybody ever find the exact location of the Gaspe tree(s)? Did anybody go out there for a resample?

    Thanks so much for all the replies!

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 4:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I think that I geolocated the Gaspe trees (generally) in a photo in a hiker’s blog. I might have tagged it with “gaspe”.

      Among other things, I marvel at both Steyn’s encyclopaedic knowledge of popular music that he writes about so stylishly and his verbal dexterity – nice to see him as a regular guest on Tucker Carlson and elsewhere.

  15. Dan
    Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 9:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    @Brandon, Harold and Steve:

    I think I understand a little better. Please review my summary and let me know where if I’m going wrong somewhere:

    MM05 performed 10,000 simulations (can someone remind me what the simulated data was?) using both the Mannomatic and “conventional” methods. The HSI (later recognized, essentially, as a t-statistic) was created as a way to see what each method did to the data. While the conventional method showed a normal distribution of HSI, the Mannomatic proved to generate either upward or downward hockey sticks from simulated data, as shown in the two HSI peaks in Figure 2.

    Brandon is saying that MM chose the best examples of hockey stick-ness to illustrate in their paper, but the fact is that nearly ALL (97%) of the Mannomatic simulations generated a hockey stick to one degree or another. Choosing the best examples for illustration has nothing to do with 1% or 100 out of 10,000.

    I am unclear about how the simulation works. I know that if we remove the hockey stick shaped data sets from Mann’s actual data set, then the Mannomatic cannot generate hockey stick PC’s. How, then, does it do so in the simulations? I know I’m missing something important about how the simulations work.

    Thanks.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 9:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

      if pseudoproxy network is red noise, the pseudoproxies have autocorrelation i.e. pseudo-trends here and there. The Mannomatic will heavily weight all series with greater 20th century trends and assign positive or negative signs so that they match. The method will extract whatever blade it can in the 20th century. In earlier centuries, the autocorrelation wears off and everything cancels out. It’s a nonsensical method and should have been disavowed by climate scientists years ago.

      People with some math skill who are not climate scientists readily understand the defect, but climate scientists purport not to understand.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 9:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Choosing the best examples for illustration has nothing to do with 1% or 100 out of 10,000.

      Yes. Brandon understood exactly how the example was chosen. In retrospect, I’d have chosen the example differently as examples from lower percentiles showed the effect just fine – as one can see with the sharpness of the bimodal distribution edges. Nick Stokes and his ilk have zero interest in understanding the phenomenon.

      • Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 10:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

        I don’t think Stokes is that stupid. He does understand. His performances are for the benefit of those who don’t. When “the cause” is not on the line, he can be quite erudite. When it is, he will be as dumb as a doorknob if that’s what it takes not to award the “opposition” any points.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

          Yes, exactly. “dumb as a doorknob if that’s what it takes not to award the “opposition” any points” accurately describes his many comments at Climate Audit. I’ve used the term “intentionally obtuse” to describe the performance of intelligent climate academics purporting not to understand critiques that everyone else understands. Words apply to Gavin Schmidt’s defence of Mann’s upside down mud.

    • MikeN
      Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 11:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Dan, you might want to check out Jeff Id at The Air Vent from Sept 2008 on. The link to Hockey Stick posts is grossly incomplete, so you have to go thru the archives in order. There is one particular chart I am looking for that summarizes the problem with Mann’s algorithm pretty well. I get the impression you would not be overwhelmed by the details in Jeff’s posts, but I am looking for a much simpler one.

  16. Dan
    Posted Oct 4, 2017 at 10:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Fantastic.

    At the risk of overstaying my welcome in this thread, and notwithstanding the other logical arguments against MBH98 already posted above by Steve, I have to throw out one last objection in Wiki, as related to red noise:

    Red noise for surrogate datasets should have the characteristics of natural variation, but the statistical method used by McIntyre and McKitrick produced “persistent red noise” based on 20th century warming trends which showed inflated long-term swings, and overstated the tendency of the MBH98 method to produce hockey stick shapes. Their use of this persistent red noise invalidated their claim that “the MBH98 15th century reconstruction lacks statistical significance”, and there was also a data handling error in the MM05 method. Studies using appropriate red noise found that MBH98 passed the threshold for statistical skill, but the MM05 reconstructions failed verification tests.

    So it seems they understand your Figure 2 but claim it isn’t valid because you had persistent red noise instead of “natural variation” red noise. I guess the wrong kind of red noise. Is that even a thing? I’d hate to think our understanding of temperatures over the last millenia hinges on what kind of red noise is used for testing methods.

    • Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 9:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Dan, there’s an interesting aspect to that argument given the red noise used by Michael Mann and others which Steve can probably fill you in on. It is deal with math and hypocrisy of Mann and his defenders. For a simpler response, I’d suggest considering what that argument says. Effectively, it says, “Yes the MBH methodology for generating principal components is biased, but McIntyre and McKitrick exaggerated how severe that bias is.” I don’t think anyone should find that comforting.

      As for the statement:

      Studies using appropriate red noise found that MBH98 passed the threshold for statistical skill, but the MM05 reconstructions failed verification tests.

      This is completely misleading. M&M05 did not offer an alternative reconstruction. They asked what happens if you don’t use certain problematic proxies. To get an answer, they performed a sensitivity test in which they reran the calculations without those problematic proxies. They did not say the results of sensitivity tests were “right” and should be used as reconstructions. They said, “If you remove these two problematic proxies, this is what happens.”

      Saying the result you get without those two problematic proxies fails to pass verification tests (not that MBH’s tests had any real value) does nothing to rebut what McIntyre and McKitrick said. In fact, it supports their point. Without those two problematic proxies, the shape of the curve is vastly different and the results fail to pass verification tests. In other words, this argument further confirms the reliance of MBH on bristlecone proxies and the Gaspe series (which was included both on its own and in the NOAMER network with the bristlecone proxies).

      Arguing about what type of red noise is most appropriate does nothing to challenge that Mann’s implementation of PCA was wrong and biased in a way that mined for hockey sticks. Even if it did, that issue does nothing to change the fact MBH’s hockey stick shape was entirely dependent upon two proxies, both of which were known to have serious problems – including the person who collected one saying it wasn’t a temperature proxy at all.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 1:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

        +1

      • Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 2:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

        These climatic responses at upper treeline may be of limited value or biological significance in making inferences about climate-tree growth relationships if the hypothesized fertilization effects of anthropogenically induced CO2 processes resulting from the Industrial Revolution [Graybill and Idso 1993] are real…https://climateaudit.org/2005/10/03/graybill-and-funkhouser-1993-on-bristlecones/

      • Dan
        Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 6:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Brandon and Steve. I understand exactly what you are saying and it makes sense. Two follow up questions to help those determined only to debate the specific statements made in Wikipedia, and not understand the larger picture (yet):

        1) There is one thing nagging at me, and maybe the answer is over my head. They say that MM got incorrect results during their simulation because they used “persistent” instead of “natural variation” red noise. I understand about red noise being autocorrelated because it is simulating tree ring data. Is there a real difference between the two, or is making a distinction just a dodge? This seems similar to Hughes’ claim that a correlation and not covariance matrix should have been used. (Steve’s rebuttal shows that even Hughes’ references claiming superiority of the correlation matrix actually seem to argue for the covariance matrix).

        2)So when Steve showed a “before and after” of the MBH hockey stick with and without bristlecones, this analysis was done recreating Mann’s own methods? In other words, Steve had figured out enough of the Mannomatic to use it himself? (I understand Mann did the same thing as shown in the Censored directory).

  17. Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 10:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

    This post says:

    Complicating matters further, 7z handles timezone metadata for pdf documents differently than docx or xlsx documents. The next table shows directory and document modification times for selected pdf, docx and xlsx documents when inspected in Eastern (columns 6-7) and UTC (columns 8-9). Pdf documents display the same local time in both Eastern and UTC (and all other timezones) i.e. different absolute times, while docx and xlsx documents display different local times in Eastern and UTC timezones (but a constant absolute time).

    As there is no reason why PDF timestamps should be treated differently than those of any other file. I tried replicating the result but couldn’t. I took screengrabs of the timestamped shown within the Properties tab with two different time zones. You can see them here. I got the same result for the time shown within the directory listing as well.

    Anyone who is seeing PDF timestamps treated differently than those of other files is experiencing some sort of bug. I’d suggest finding a different version of your software.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 2:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Brandon, what you’ve shown is not inconsistent with what I reported. You’ve not replicated my recipe – which wasn’t as clear as it might have been. You’ve shown what I called the “directory” modification times in two different timezones, presumably Central and Eastern. Now extract the documents in each different time zone and open up. See if you get the same relative local time despite changing time zones.

      • Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 8:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Are you talking about the internal metadata contained within the files? You hadn’t mentioned extracting files prior to that part of the post, and, 7z doesn’t touch internal metadata so it has no effect on this. If we’re talking about internal metadata, the surmise you describe here is wrong:

        My surmise is that 1) the document modification time is saved as absolute seconds in local time; 2) the 7z software presumes that the absolute seconds are in UTC i.e. the document is 10:31 UTC rather than 10:31 Eastern; 3) 7z then displays the directory modification time in local time (6:31 Eastern), 4 hours “earlier” than the corresponding document modification time.

        That is not how internal timestamps for these file types are stored. They don’t use seconds elapsed since an epoch like system timestamps do. They set fixed times, sometimes with information about timezones, sometimes not. As an example, here is the modified timestamp for the PDF file I used in my example above:

        D:20150529164653-04’00’

        The D specifies the type of variable. The colon indicates the start of the variable. 2015 is the year. 05 is the month. 29 is the day of month. 16 is the hour of day. 46 is the minutes. 53 is the seconds. The – indicates what follows is subtracted from UTC. 04 indicates the offset from UTC (specified as negative by the previous symbol). ’00’ indicates the number of minutes offset from UTC (some zones use offsets smaller than an hour).

        This is the full extent of information which can be contained in a PDF modified timestamp. Almost all of it is optional. The only value which must be set (and can obviously be set incorrectly) is the year. Everything else is optional. If some of that information is missing, that can cause issues. If the timezone information was absent, there would be no way to know what timezone was correct and thus the program might assume the timezone of the system it is on. If the timezone was specified, as in this PDF file, the program would know what timezone to use and thus might disregard the system’s time zone.

        .docx files use a similar format for their modified metadata. I don’t happen to have a tool installed to extract it at the moment though. If you extracted it, I suspect what you’d find is the .docx files in this archive don’t have timezone information set. That would be the reason for the discrepancy you see. It has nothing to do with 7z. It would happen with any sort of copying.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, thanks for the details. I haven’t claimed to knowledge of how the dates and times are exchanged, but I saw what I saw and collated it carefully. I’ll post up some screenshots to make sure that I’ve explained it correctly.

          Whatever the reason, the ~10 minute offsets in modification times remain puzzling.

        • Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

          The pertinent point is if you want to examine metadata, it is best to look at the raw metadata. Relying on other programs/systems to interpret the raw data for you leads to apparently discrepancies. Once you’ve examined the raw metadata to understand what it says, then you can look for a way to work with it which doesn’t introduce discrepancies. Or alternatively, you can make adjustments to fix any discrepancies that get introduced.

          Anyway, I commented on that discrepancy because it seemed the easiest to examine/resolve. For differences of a small amount of time, the first thing to rule out is some disagreement between the software creating the files and the system in terms of when timestamps get set. That can happen, but I’d say it is safe to rule that out given the number and different types of files involved.

          That makes the most likely explanation the files were copied shortly after being created. That could be because of a legitimate automated program, such as backup software. It could be because of malware that copied files after they were saved. It could also be that people copied/e-mailed or otherwise transferred the files shortly after they were saved.

          I haven’t collated the internal metadata so I can’t say which is most likely, but my default assumption would be the last of those options, possibly with the files being transferred from workstations to a shared server. That could explain why the time differences are inconsistent – the amount of time people take to transfer files is inconsistent. The reason I’d favor that interpretation is automated programs tend to have regular patterns in their timestamps. I didn’t see any obvious patterns in the system timestamps. If one could find such patterns, I would then favor the possibility of these results being caused by backup software/malware.

        • Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

          Steve, have you searched the doc for document management policy metadata or shared document server properties? I honestly know little on this but see this mentioned by Microsoft. here and I see a list of metadata toolshere.

          Is there a safe download link to cf.7z?

        • Jaap Titulaer
          Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

          >> .docx files use a similar format for their modified metadata. I don’t happen to have a tool installed to extract it at the moment though. If you extracted it, I suspect what you’d find is the .docx files in this archive don’t have timezone information set.

          Create a new file using MS Word and type something, then save it.
          Then use 7zip (or similar) to unpack this document, which is a zipped archive containing a few directories with a set of files.
          Go to the directory ‘docProps’, and open the file core.xml in a textfile editor.
          The times for this document are in two tags dcterms:created and dcterms:modified.
          These give the creation and modification times in ISO format, using UTC timezone (‘Z’).

          Example:
          2017-10-06T15:30:00Z2017-10-06T15:30:00Z

          So it will always save documents using UTC, so no specific timezone. That is usually the best option. The program simply determines the difference between the timezone of your computer and UTC, and then stores documents using UTC. When showing the information it will always convert back from UTC to whatever timezone your computer is currently set to.

        • Jaap Titulaer
          Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

          The example did not come out right. Here is the properly ‘escaped’ version that I hope displays as intended.
          <dcterms:created xsi:type="dcterms:W3CDTF">2017-10-06T15:30:00Z</dcterms:created><dcterms:modified xsi:type="dcterms:W3CDTF">2017-10-06T15:30:00Z</dcterms:modified>

  18. mrmethane
    Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 1:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    wikileaks veracity:
    Please correct me if I’m wrong – I believe that to date, wikileaks statements (such as the non-Russian attribution) have been proven to be false. There may be content provided by others that contains errors, untruths and/or damn lies, of course. Any takers?

    • mpainter
      Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 4:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

      MrMethane, you will see no takers, imo, because Wikileaks has not been shown wrong. It is the most credible source that we have regarding the origin of its archives of DNC/Podesta emails. In this affair of public hysteria, whipped up and maintained by various media organs and other interested parties, credibility is the most important means that we have of evaluation.

  19. mrmethane
    Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 1:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I meant NO wikileaks statements….. sorry…

    • Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 7:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

      In a perfect world we would like to have our government to be the most credible source of information to its citizens, checked by an unbiased and independent media. That is the ideal, a dream we aspire to. The reality is the US government’s credibility has only been good when comparison to non-free countries. Especially, regarding domestic politics it’s never been high. There are numerous breaches of trust before and after Watergate by both major political parties. Trump was elected mainly as a house cleaner and swamp drainer. The electorate finally decided an outsider, even a crude and bombastic one, has more wholesome than anyone in the establishment. (But I digress).

      The point is that the DNC establishment start with low credibility and falls from there when under the direction of DWS or Clinton. There is absolutely no reason that either should be believed on the matter of the DNC hack/leak. Both have demonstrated willingness to change their stories to suit the current most favorable narrative. Clinton’s personal email server story changed practically with every telling. More recently DWS first claimed the Awan laptop with her user name was hers and demanded the Capitol Police return it. After Awan was arrested she claimed she had no connection to the laptop but that its contents are protected from disclosure under House rules. She personally hired the lawyer who works for the House of Representative to oversee their rules to block the police from accessing the laptop. The Daily Caller reports:

      Alongside the laptop were a Pakistani ID card, copies of Awan’s driver’s license and congressional ID badge, and letters to the U.S. attorney. Police also found notes in a composition notebook marked “attorney-client privilege.” The laptop had the username “RepDWS”…

      This looks like to me Awan was trying to escape the country clean and making it impossible for him to be bumped off. Because that would lead to a murder investigation that would lead to forensic analysis of the laptop. The laptop was discovered by security personnel in a phone closet in the Rayburn legislative office building, not a building he or DWS had any office or business in. Why? The potential murder investigation would be run by the Capitol Police, not be confused with the heavily Democrat influenced DC Metro Police that allegedly shut down the Seth Rich investigation.

  20. Don Monfort
    Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 5:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Apparently some don’t think that Assange, with a lifetime of U.S. jail time hanging over his head, would lie in an attempt to persuade U.S. intelligence and law enforcement authorities that his operation is not a tool of Russian state actors. Personally, I don’t feel any obligation to believe anything that Assange says that cannot be independently verified.

    • MikeN
      Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 12:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Even if he has no evidence, and no one was willing to accept the offer, merely making the offer serves to exonerate Trump by simply having the offer repeated in the media. The discussion is whether to give him a pardon in exchange for evidence it’s not the Russians, not whether his claims are true.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 2:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

        You are berry smart, mike. I didn’t know the discussion was limited to whatever you said. How long have you been in charge of defining the limits of public discussions? Did you start by doing really well at limiting discussions in your own house? PTA meetings? Anyway, keep up the good work. You fit right in here.

        • MikeN
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

          I am not attempting to limit any discussion anywhere. I think that is the effect of Assange’s offer. If people are talking about the offer, then they have essentially accepted the Trump innocence. It is called ‘thinking past the sale’. Some examples are you go to a car dealer and he asks what color you like. The discussion is no longer whether you are buying the car. Perhaps you wish to blame me for this as well? Another one is every time a candidate says ‘My first day in off ice I will …’ They have been trained to do this by their consultants. Thinking past the sale is one of many weapons in Trump’s arsenal that he has honed over decades, and makes me wonder if the whole deal offer somehow started with him. He pretends not to have heard about the deal when asked, increasing the benefit to him of having people talk about it.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 10:41 PM | Permalink

          Nobody is talking about the offer except that clown Rorhbacher, some of the dumber right wing blogs and silly online publications like the gateway pundit. Even Assange has put the squash on the story. Where is there any exoneration of Trump? Maybe it could be construed as that among some who have already exonerated him? It’s a non-story. Period.

  21. mpainter
    Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 6:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Don M, nobody says that you have to believe Assange, but your claims about him being motivated to dodge U.S. law does not wash. And like Brandon, you ignore Craig Murray who says the same.

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 6:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Do you know where Assange has been for the last several years? I will help you. Hiding in a room in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Why do you think he is holed up there? He likes the food. Do you think admitting to getting the goods from Russian intelligence would help his case? Use your head.

    • mpainter
      Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 6:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I have read the Wikipedia entry on Julian Assange and Wikileaks both. Now, what about Craig Murray.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 6:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

        What about Assange’s associate Craig Murray? I don’t know that clown. I don’t have to believe that he allegedly met somebody in some trees and got the maguffin. Sounds like BS to me. This is simple. You choose to believe who and what you want to believe. It’s a free country.

        Until there is some definitive evidence on who gave wiki the goods, I am not going to worry my handsome little head about it. The important part of the story is that no evidence has been discovered that links Trump or his campaign to the alleged Russian interference in our sacred election.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

          there’s an important difference between verifying evidence that supposedly yields “high confidence” in Russian interference and developing an alternative theory – just as in climate reconstructions. If the evidence is inconclusive, that refutes “high confidence” without necessarily solving the case. In discussing climate issues, I always found discussions more productive when they focused on narrow technical issues rather than jumping into theorizing about the “big picture”. I’d like to encourage that perspective on this set of puzzles as well.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 6:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

      for the purposes of discussion here, can we table discussion of the sanctity/non-sanctity of Assange.

      • mpainter
        Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 6:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Indeed, consider it tabled. In the UK, to table a subject means to introduce it for discussion. In the U.S., it means withdraw it from the agenda. These contrary meanings produced an hour of argument during WW II during a meeting of military chiefs of the respective countries. So, consider it tabled :-).

        Steve: 🙂 we can get back to it later

        • MikeN
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

          Interesting. I read there was a similar dispute over ‘facts being fixed around the policy.’

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

          The British chiefs moved to “table” a certain topic. The U.S. chiefs vehemently objected. They went round and round for an hour until they finally figured out the problem.

  22. Don Monfort
    Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 7:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    We don’t know on what evidence the “high confidence” finding was based. They are not going to tell. Without having access to NSA signal intercepts and other intel resources, alternative theories are developed absent some potentially conclusive pieces of the puzzle. I kinda know how this works from personal experience. It was very likely Russia.
    I didn’t buy when it was coming from Obama’s toadies, but Trump has his people in charge of the agencies now.

    • mpainter
      Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 8:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

      No, we do not know the evidence. Nor do we know how the Trump dossier was employed, whether for intelligence evaluations or to obtain FISA warrants or for other investigative purposes. Nor do we know why Susan Rice unmasked Trump. Nor whether or not it was actually Russia that raided the DNC and Podesta. Nor the origins of the Trump dossier or who paid for it. On the strictest basis, we know nothing. We do know that metadata can be rigged or changed or otherwise misleading. In detective work, one must theorize or you have no frame of reference from which to view your quest. It’s very much like science. And, as in science, one approach may yield results while another leads to a dead end.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 8:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

      None of the agencies has published any details since Trump came in office. It’s only Obama era informatino.

      Computer specialists at the time of the DNI report e.g. here speculated that the DNI assessment must have relied on “human intelligence” rather than technical attribution:

      Granted, trying to reconstruct a digital crime scene absent some of the most important pieces of evidence is a bit like attempting to assemble a jigsaw puzzle with only half of the pieces. But as digital forensics and security expert Jonanthan Zdziarksi noted via Twitter last night, good old fashioned spying and human intelligence seems to have played a bigger role in pinning the DNC hack on the Russians. “The DNI report subtly implied that more weight was put on our intelligence coming from espionage operations than on cyber warfare,” Zdziarski wrote.

      In my opinion, the “human intelligence” in question is nothing more than the fraudulent Steele dossier.

      The whole thing looks to me like an enormous clusterf.

      • Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 9:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

        That isn’t true. As I discussed on a previous thread, the DHS released a follow-up to their December 29th, 2016 report on February 10th, 2017. This follow-up was termed an “enhanced analysis” and provided quite a few details. It also came out three weeks after Donald Trump took office.

        Granted, that follow-up focused on Grizzly Steppe as a whole rather than just one aspect of it (the DNC breach), but the scope was the same as the initial DHS report. If people can conflate matters to paint it as being just about the DNC hack, the inverse is hardly unreasonable.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 7, 2017 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, the date of February 10 is three weeks after Trump’s inauguration. There can be no doubt that this report was produced by Obama appointees before Trump appointees gained effective control of the DHS, hence it is virtually Obama era information.

          Steve: I’ll concede Brandon’s point that information came during Trump admin, but it is a trifling addition and doesn’t change the substantive point that the Intel Assessments remain based on assertion rather than evidence presented to the public

        • Posted Oct 7, 2017 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

          mpainter, that may be true and relevant to some discussion, but I responded to point out what Steve McIntyre said was wrong. If he wishes to correct it and say something else, then perhaps your point would matter.

          That a claim he could have made may be true does not mean the claim he actually made is.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 7, 2017 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

          “That a claim he could have made may be true does not mean the claim he actually made is.”

          Ah…oh.

          But, you see, the report may reasonably be attributed to the previous administration.
          In fact, the report was not unlikely entirely complete before Trump’s inauguration. Somebody probably forgot to issue it. You know these gummint types. Attribution to a successor administration is incorrect in such circumstances because of temporal considerations, i.e., the report may have been intended for earlier release. In fact, someone might have neglected to flip his calendar, and such mistakes notwithstanding, intention is the prime consideration in deciding attribution. Don’t you agree?

        • Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 3:08 AM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre:

          Steve: I’ll concede Brandon’s point that information came during Trump admin, but it is a trifling addition and doesn’t change the substantive point that the Intel Assessments remain based on assertion rather than evidence presented to the public

          Given you have, as far as I’ve been able to tell, not once referred to that February 10th “enhanced analysis,” I am curious why you call it a “trifling addition.” Actually, you criticized the DHS for failing to connect a code exemplar to specific malware, making a point of how WordFence was able to do so, seemingly disregarding the fact the DHS made the same connection in their “enhanced analysis” (and provided more detail). Given that and your clearly false claim above, I have to ask, were you even aware of that follow-up?

          If you were aware of the document and had read it, I struggle to make sense of things you’ve been saying. For instance, “trifling addition”? The document contains a significant amount of detailed information, information you have never even alluded to. I can’t begin to imagine how one would dismiss it as a “trifling addition.”

          I would say things like examinations of ~20 different malware files, including information which uniquely identifies them, qualifies as more than a “trifling addition.” Certainly, passwords used to decrypt malware programs is information beyond what was readily available prior to the DHS publishing this document. I know I got quite a bit of information out of the report when it was first released – information nobody I’ve seen has been discussing. I struggle to see how anyone would read it and think it was an unimportant update.

          As an aside, the document in question also people of the risk of false positives, saying:

          Despite the use of sound production rules, there is still the chance for false positives. In addition, these will complement additional analysis and should not be used as the sole source of attribution.

          Which if you had seen would make your remarks in the form of, “Har, har, they’re so dumb. They don’t know anyone could use those tools” seem rather disingenuous. If you had read this report, it would mean you knew the DHS considered the risk of false positives, warned people of them, said the malware used in an attack cannot be used on its own to identify culprits… and just decided to ignore all that.

          Personally, I think it’s more likely you had never heard of this follow-up to the report you criticized until I brought it up and for some reason chose not to look at it even after I referenced it to you numerous times.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 7:19 AM | Permalink

          Brandon, I don’t know why you say such things. I had taken an interest in the Wordfence article long ago and was aware of the follow up some time ago. I don’t recall whether this was tweaked by some earlier comment of yours, but I’ve known about this supplement for some time now. In my opinion (which I stand by), the DHS supplement did not contain any new information or evidence that supported or established the attribution of the DNC hack. Nor were Jeffrey Carr or other critics of the poor evidence presentation by DHS impacted by the supplement.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

          Brandon is trying very hard not to be testy and insulting. But he can’t help getting angry and making a spectacle of himself when someone disagrees with his brilliant pronouncements.

          The publicly presented evidence for Russian hacking of the DNC is not conclusive and is viewed as unsubstantial by a lot of people, who are more mature and just as clever as fitful Brandon.

          On the other hand, it would be foolish to assume that the publicly revealed evidence is all there is. FBI, CIA, NSA, CYBERCOM, DHS etc. etc. are not going to reveal all that they have. Admiral Mike Rogers, head of NSA and CYBERCOM, is trusted by President Trump and he has persuaded POTUS that it was probably the Russians.

        • Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre:

          Brandon, I don’t know why you say such things. I had taken an interest in the Wordfence article long ago and was aware of the follow up some time ago. I don’t recall whether this was tweaked by some earlier comment of yours, but I’ve known about this supplement for some time now.

          I believe I made it clear why I say such things. If you were aware of that follow-up, then you’ve made a number of remarks which you should have known were, at best, misleading. Some you should have know to be completely false. For instance, you stated the DHS was not able to make the same connection WordFence made even though it did exactly that in the document in question. You even said the DHS’s inability to make that connection “speaks to their limitations.”

          If you’d like, I can a make a list other things you’ve said which the supplement shows to be misleading/false.

          In my opinion (which I stand by), the DHS supplement did not contain any new information or evidence that supported or established the attribution of the DNC hack. Nor were Jeffrey Carr or other critics of the poor evidence presentation by DHS impacted by the supplement.

          That document did not provide direct evidence of anything as that was not the purpose, and most evidence of crimes like these doesn’t get publicly released. If you claim the document was a “trifling addition” because it didn’t provide direct evidence when that was never the purpose of the document, that’s changing the subject. This fork started because you said:

          None of the agencies has published any details since Trump came in office. It’s only Obama era informatino.

          I pointed out this claim was untrue because the DHS had published a document containing substantive information about the nature of the attacks in question on February 10th. You played this point down by claiming the document was a “trifling addition,” but the amount of information in it is not trifling at all. Your claim it is was grossly untrue.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 2:14 PM | Permalink

          Brandon is grossly petulant and wants to criminalize a difference of opinion. Steve is substantially correct. The information published on Feb 10, was Obama era information. Obama’s stooges were still running the agencies, except for Admiral Rogers, who was not an Obama stooge.

          Brandon won’t reply to my comments. He has been pretending to ignore me, since I slapped him around years ago.

        • MikeN
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 12:53 PM | Permalink

          Yes, some details came out in a report after Trump was inaugurated. But to claim Steve is wrong or misleading, they have to be details that are the same details Steve was talking about.

          Steve:
          >> None of the agencies has published any details since Trump came in >>office. It’s only Obama era informatino.
          >>
          Brandon:
          >I pointed out this claim was untrue because the DHS had published a document >containing substantive information about the nature of the attacks in >question on February 10th.

          I go back to see what Steve was replying to:
          >We don’t know on what evidence the “high confidence” finding was based.

          This is the item for which no ‘details’ have been published, now corrected to ‘trifling addition’

          So what is this ‘high confidence’ finding? Previous comment was replying to

          Steve:
          >there’s an important difference between verifying evidence that supposedly yields “high confidence” in Russian interference and developing an alternative theory – just as in climate reconstructions.

  23. Don Monfort
    Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 10:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The agencies are not going to publish the details. That’s how they are supposed to operate. Computer specialists are free to speculate all they want. Since Trump came to office he has stated that he believes that it was probably Russia. POTUS has access to all the evidence and the deliberations. His people are in charge of the agencies.

    So what does Zdziarski really know? Again, the agencies are not going to report to the world the means and the methods they used to come to their determination. If anything, they will misdirect. They are spooks. Let the Russians run around looking for double agents.

    Let’s look at the completion of the Zdziarski quote:
    “The DNI report subtly implied that more weight was put on our intelligence coming from espionage operations than on cyber warfare,” Zdziarski wrote. “As someone who’s publicly called out the FBI over misleading the public and the court system, I believe the DNI report to be reliable. I also believe @CrowdStrike’s findings to be reliable based on the people there and their experience with threat intelligence.”

    The Steele dossier is obviously a fraud. I don’t think that’s the evidence presented to Trump that has convinced him to reluctantly admit it was “probably” Russia.

    This Russia BS will grind along but in time the Dims will eat it.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 5, 2017 at 11:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

      you say ” I don’t think that’s the evidence presented to Trump that has convinced him to reluctantly admit it was “probably” Russia.”

      My impression is that the Intel Community kept repeating their conclusions louder and louder without providing any evidence materially different from the limited evidence presented in public and that Trump figured that it was easier to stop arguing about it but remains unconvinced.

      • mpainter
        Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 8:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Indications are that Trump is sitting on a pile of information that will explode this whole dossier-election interference-DNC “hacking” in the face of the Democrats and he will choose the moment to do so, in the meanwhile holding his cards close to his chest.
        For example, congressman Dana Rohrabacher, R-Ca, visited with Assange in London, back in August. See article at The Hill. Rohrabacher claims that Americans “will be outraged” when the truth comes out. Trump will have the complete details on the Wikileaks/DNC affair with documents, I have no doubt.
        Also, it’s just been reported that one of Mueller’s goons has interviewed Christopher Steele in England. I regard Steele as a hostage, with his cooperation in this matter secured by the UK government.
        So, we shall eventually have the truth, or something close to that.

        • Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

          “So, we shall eventually have the truth, or something close to that.”

          If so, it will not likely come from an official source. One of the main objectives of a active operation is by enticing or forcing the authorities and media to stake a position. Once this is done they are investors in that position and in the face of future contrary evidence will become conspirators after the fact to suppress it. Look at the amount of energy in this blog just today in maintaining and bolstering set positions made from past comments. But when it comes to an authority they have the added rationale they are not preserving their personal credentials but those of the institution, thus to admit error it is reasoned would be harmful to the common good.

          For any authority to expose the DNC as being behind G2 would be explosively discrediting to all US institutions, as Watergate was. Don’t look for it to happen.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

          Rohrabacher is a clown. Assange is trying to use him to obtain a get out of jail free card. Assange says that wiki does not discuss sources, but he has claimed Russia is not the source and now he is dangling alleged proof. How is he going to prove it wasn’t Russia without divulging the source? Assange doesn’t need Rohrabacher or Trump, he could just reveal the information. Don’t hold your breath.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

          Oh, Don, I won’t hold my breath. Imagine that clown Rohrabacher believing something like Assange. And Murray. And no telling who else.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

          What do you suppose Assange told the clown? “Oh, Murray got that DNC stuff from some non-Russian guy in the woods and we can prove it.” I hope you are serious about not holding your breath. I worry about you.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 2:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Trump is not a passive fool, Steve. Do you really believe he would sit there letting his underlings holler at him and not demand to see the evidence? POTUS is entitled to see anything they have.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

          it’s hard to tell. He’s got so much to do in his job that he doesn’t really have to time to think about such details.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 3:24 PM | Permalink

          Steve, this Russia foolishness is very important to The Donald. He hates it. It’s a nasty dark cloud hanging over himself, his family, his associates, his administration. If there is anything he can do to make it go away, he will find the time to do it.

  24. AntonyIndia
    Posted Oct 7, 2017 at 9:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    As the Alperovitch based cyber proof becomes more and more moot, a switch over to the Steele based (1)humint seems in the works in the Russia+Trump campaign https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/oct/07/trump-russia-steele-dossier-moscow

    • Jaap Titulaer
      Posted Oct 7, 2017 at 12:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

      LMAO. That Steele Dossier is a compound report that consists of 2 chapters/reports with general internet source background information and the rest are all based on the say-so of a ‘Trusted Compatriot’ (T) according to the original writer (W).

      By the way that phrase Trusted Compatriot (доверенный соотечественник) is a typical Russian expression and indicates that W considers T a trusted compatriot (fellow countryman) ergo the original writer is ALSO a Russian (and T is a good national who can be trusted).
      All actual sources are other people who mr W says that mr T told him where sources of mr T. So hearsay x times removed.

      Apart from the first report none of the sources are properly indicated by codes or numbers, so no intelligence analyst can later map them. Which makes it difficult to assess which of these alleged sources are trustworthy and which are not.
      Which is relevant because of the errors in the report and the clear misinformation/lies that can be proven to be lies in at least one case (Cohen); also that one must have been debunked by the US IC quite some time before Okt 1, 2016 based on entry/exit and travel of mr Cohen (who never was in the Tsjech Republic).

      Another pointer that Steele probably didn’t write this, but merely acted as editor in chief. It is unlikely that he translated it, because of the many textual errors (such as Alpha Bank, that should be Alfa Bank).
      And there are other pointers that the original writer is actually a Russian.

      But do not take just my word about it. Below some others.

      The Trump Dossier Is Fake — And Here Are The Reasons Why
      https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2017/01/13/the-trump-dossier-is-false-news-and-heres-why/#55cfa6ec6867

      “…
      I have studied Russia and the Soviet Union professionally since the mid-1960s.
      … I have written and co-authored reports for the State Department, Congress, and the intelligence community; so I sort of know how these things work.
      ….

      There are two possible explanations for the fly-on-the-wall claims of the Orbis report: Either its author (who is not Mr. Steele) decided to write fiction, or collected enough gossip to fill a 30-page report, or a combination of the two. The author of the Orbis report has one more advantage: He knew that what he was writing was unverifiable.

      As someone who has worked for more than a decade with the microfilm collection of Soviet documents in the Hoover Institution Archives, I can say that the dossier itself was compiled by a Russian, whose command of English is far from perfect and who follows the KGB (now FSB) practice of writing intelligence reports, in particular the practice of capitalizing all names for easy reference.

      I have picked out just a few excerpts from the Orbis report. It was written, in my opinion, not by an ex British intelligence officer but by a Russian trained in the KGB tradition. It is full of names, dates, meetings, quarrels, and events that are hearsay (one an overheard conversation). It is a collection of “this important person” said this to “another important person.” There is no record; no informant is identified by name or by more than a generic title. The report appears to fail the veracity test in the one instance of a purported meeting in which names, dates, and location are provided. Some of the stories are so bizarre (the Rosneft bribe) that they fail the laugh test. Yet, there appears to be a desire on the part of some media and Trump opponents on both sides of the aisle to picture the Orbis report as genuine but unverifiable.”

      Thirteen Things That Don’t Add Up in the Russia-Trump Intelligence Dossier
      http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-vladimir-putin-russia-intelligence-dossier-hacking-541626

      • Follow the Money
        Posted Oct 7, 2017 at 2:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

        “in particular the practice of capitalizing all names for easy reference”

        Is capitalizing names in reports really unique to Russians?

        But that might explain something. Flynn is called “former DIA director Michael Flynn” in the dossier. His name is not capitalized and stands out among the other names, for example in the summary his name and title are strangely in parentheses. Possibly a Ruskie wrote most but a polite English person added Flynn to the report at the request of some American friends at Fusion GPS?

      • mpainter
        Posted Oct 7, 2017 at 2:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

        A Russian writer and his trusted compatriot.
        [Sounds of laughter]

        So Trump’s opponents, the Democrats and his Republican adversaries plus members of the Obama administration, via their hired agents have colluded with the Russians to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
        [Sounds of mirth all around]

      • Posted Oct 7, 2017 at 8:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

        From the Thirteen Things That Don’t Add Up in the Russia-Trump Intelligence Dossier:

        #13 Most weirdly of all, there is a reference to standing down “various Romanian hackers…”

        Adding to the list of circumstantial evidence connecting the Clinton campaign to maniacal hacker, self-claimed-DNC leaker, G2 claims to be Romanian, not Russian, but unable to respond fluently to Romanian according to ThreatConnect’s of the US IC’s assessments. But also, Romanian whiskers, like the Russian ones, run down to the MO forensics.

        DCLeaks’ domain was registered through an obscure Romanian registrar whose small name servers have been associated with other FANCY BEAR activity. https://www.threatconnect.com/blog/does-a-bear-leak-in-the-woods/

        • Posted Oct 7, 2017 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

          The most twisted reasoning given by the media and Dems to give serious consideration to the Steele dossier is that since the dossier claims collusion to conduct pro-Trump cyber attacks, and this actuality is confirmed by the US IC with “high confidence,” that this proves accuracy of the dossier. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Trump%E2%80%93Russia_dossier

          Wikipedia:

          Former Los Angeles Times Moscow correspondent Robert Gillette wrote in an op-ed in the Concord Monitor that the dossier has had at least one of its main factual assertions verified. On January 6, 2017, the Director of National Intelligence released a report assessing “with high confidence” that Russia’s combined cyber and propaganda operation was directed personally by Vladimir Putin, with the aim of harming Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and helping Trump.[54] Gillette wrote: “Steele’s dossier, paraphrasing multiple sources, reported precisely the same conclusion, in greater detail, six months earlier, in a memo dated June 20.

          The Steele dossier did not release anything regarding the cyber attacks until well after Crowdstrike had announced the Russians had hacked the DNC and Guccifer 2.0 claimed he was an non-Russian Romanian who did the hack and gave the stolen goods to Wikileaks. The world already knows by this time, so Steele’s “intelligence” is worthless. Yet this is used as confirmation of the legitimacy of the dossier, even by the conservative Daily Caller. Does anyone else have a problem with this reasoning?

          And correcting my earlier comment stating the Romanian hackers detail connects the dossier to G2, that actually does not prove G2 script coordination since that could have been crafted by the dossier in reaction to G2’s script. But that exact timing of the two scripts still needs to be looked at more.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 7:04 AM | Permalink

          Does anyone else have a problem with this reasoning?

          Absolutely. On many occasions, I’ve observed that: whatever is known to be true in the Steele Dossier was already publicly known; whatever was not publicly known and verificable is false.

        • Follow the Money
          Posted Oct 7, 2017 at 11:32 PM | Permalink

          Former Los Angeles Times Moscow correspondent Robert Gillette wrote in an op-ed in the Concord Monitor that the dossier has had at least one of its main factual assertions verified. On January 6, 2017, the Director of National Intelligence released a report assessing “with high confidence” that Russia’s combined cyber and propaganda operation was directed personally by Vladimir Putin, with the aim of harming Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and helping Trump.[54] Gillette wrote: “Steele’s dossier, paraphrasing multiple sources, reported precisely the same conclusion, in greater detail, six months earlier, in a memo dated June 20.

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Oct 7, 2017 at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “The fact that Steele’s reports are being taken seriously after lengthy scrutiny by federal and congressional investigators has far-reaching implications.” So says the left loon Guardian.

      The lengthy scrutiny has not resulted in any corroboration for the fairy tales in the Steele dossier. Of course, the Mueller investigation would interview Steele. Of course, the congressional investigators want to interview Steele. The lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the libel suits filed against Steele and his accomplices want to depose Steele. He has got some splainin to do. So far, we have seen no indication that rascal has anything to back up the ludicrous and salacious BS in his dossier.

      • mpainter
        Posted Oct 7, 2017 at 1:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Christopher Steele has already admitted, in a court filing, that he made no attempt to verify the information contained in his dossier, according to news reports a month or two ago.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 7, 2017 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

          Hence we know, by this admission, that the Mueller goons cannot extract any information from Steele other than the names of his sources. This looks very interesting. Will Steele spill the beans?

  25. Follow the Money
    Posted Oct 7, 2017 at 11:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ron, you quote:

    “Former Los Angeles Times Moscow correspondent Robert Gillette wrote in an op-ed in the Concord Monitor that the dossier has had at least one of its main factual assertions verified. On January 6, 2017, the Director of National Intelligence released a report assessing “with high confidence” that Russia’s combined cyber and propaganda operation was directed personally by Vladimir Putin, with the aim of harming Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and helping Trump.”

    This is satisfying lunacy. Of course the report “verified” the Steele Dossier. Because the report is based on the Steele Dossier.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 7:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

      +1

    • Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 1:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Follow the Money:

      This is satisfying lunacy. Of course the report “verified” the Steele Dossier. Because the report is based on the Steele Dossier.

      Could you point to the portion or portions of the report which are supposedly based on the Steele Dossier? I’ve read the report, and I even went back through it before writing this comment. I have to say, I don’t see anywhere where it cites the Steele Dossier. I don’t see anywhere where it relies on information from the Steel Dossier.

      Because only a declassified version of the report is publicly available, I don’t know what ” specific intelligence and sources and methods” were used in creating it. The report makes it clear those aren’t included in it. If you have information which sheds lights on those things not included in the report, it’d be great for you to share it.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 2:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Good point, Brandon. Follow the money should tell us why he thinks the Jan 6, DNI assessment was based on the Steele dossier.

      • Follow the Money
        Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 8:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

        For one, the whole bit about Putin himself controlling the hacking campaign is straight out of the dossier’s plain novelistic substance.

        It’s absurd. Like the GRU needs special management to do this kind of hacking? The CIA says it happens all the time.

        I think this part was written by or proposed by an American or someone who knows Americans because it appeals to American self-importance–not only is this hacking attack special, rather than SOP, but it, and Hillary’s important place in history, is so gosh darn important it must be handled by the top dog himself.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 10:14 PM | Permalink

          the memoranda about Michael Cohen and Carter Page are obvious fabrications.

        • Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

          Follow the Money, I’ve read the report and “the whole bit about Putin himself controlling the hacking campaign” is not within it. That’s a figment created by various people reporting on the topic. What the DNI said was:

          We assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election, the consistent goals of which were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.

          And a few other things along the same line. Saying Putin orders Russian resources be committed to an influence campaign is a far cry from saying Put controlled the campaign. Leaders of countries order all sorts of things be done without controlling them. You may

          think this part was written by or proposed by an American or someone who knows Americans because it appeals to American self-importance–not only is this hacking attack special, rather than SOP, but it, and Hillary’s important place in history, is so gosh darn important it must be handled by the top dog himself.

          But it seems the true author of this claim is your imagination.

        • Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 10:24 PM | Permalink

          Ugh, those typos. I know they shouldn’t affect the point of my comment, but dang. I guess Vladimir Put would be a funny name, at least?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 10:50 PM | Permalink

          That is interesting, followthemoney. You are claiming that the assessment is straight out of the dossier. Please show us the exact wording from the Steele dossier and the corresponding wording in the assessment, so we can see how similar they are. Then explain why we should believe that the U.S. intel community could not have independently put the finger on Putin by using the vast resources at their command. Do you have any idea how many people they got and how much money they spend? I know it’s fashionable to talk about Iraq WMD and blah blah blah, but let’s not forget that we won WWII and the Cold War, along with many other successes. Do you think our intel capabilities have recently drastically deteriorated to the point we have to lift stuff out of novelistic dossiers? I have been around a while and I know they haven’t.

          Putin is a KGB guy at heart. It is not out of character for him to take a hand in directing his intel goons. Why would you reject that scenario?

          I will repeat this one more time. Trump trusts Adm. Mike Rogers and Rogers has convinced Trump that the NSA, CYBERCOM, CCIC, CIA, FBI DHS XYZ etc. etc. have thoughtfully and with ample evidence have made the judgement that it was Russia. The intel agencies are not going to show the evidence to the public. Get over it. Maybe it will come out in 50 years. In the meantime, everybody is free to speculate.

        • Ed Snack
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 2:32 AM | Permalink

          Don, only 3 agencies actually concur, and I suggest that the evidence and the real motivation is not in fact to “elect Trump” at all, but to sow discord amongst Americans and generate distrust of their electoral process. In that the Russians have succeeded admirably thanks to the foolishness of “useful idiots” who carry on the Russian intention for their own partisan ends.

          I don’t think the Russians had to try very hard or have any real impact at all, they relied on US partisan politicians to carry it on far past the rather feeble efforts that the Russians attempted. After all, the worse they appear to have done (if they did and personally I think it unlikely) was to hack the DNC emails and Podesta’s personal gmail account using the sort of attack that I see dozens of every day. They then released them unredacted and unamended into the public domain. Almost a public service given the deceit and corruption that was exposed.

          What else, spent $100K on Facebook ads (that are by no means pro-trump, supporting BLM amongst other things so it seems) and really, $100K in an election where HRC spend over $500M on advertising ? Hillary should have fired her advisors and hired the Russians if they had that much impact with that little money. That’s just an absolute joke. Anyone who takes it seriously needs their head examined to put it mildly.

          To put it directly, the whole “The Russians Influenced the Election” is pure Clintonista spin, and anything that Clapper supports is so suspect and obviously a lie that it to my mind almost proves the point if he supports that narrative.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 3:38 AM | Permalink

          Ed Snack says “Almost a public service given the deceit and corruption that was exposed.”
          ====== ===== ======

          Yes, except I would go further and say definitely a benefit to this country. The collateral benefits are extensive and these will continue to issue, imo.

        • Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

          Don M: “I will repeat this one more time. Trump trusts Adm. Mike Rogers and Rogers has convinced Trump that the NSA, CYBERCOM, CCIC, CIA, FBI DHS XYZ etc. etc. have thoughtfully and with ample evidence have made the judgement that it was Russia.”

          Trump is convinced Russians actively meddled likely the same as he is convinced that Obama is a natural born citizen. The rest of us would be shocked if Russia did not meddle.

          They key questions are:

          1) Did Trump make a deal with Putin?

          2) Did Russia’s meddling other than WL have any net positive effect for Trump?

          3) Were the Russians behind WL?

          4) Did WL have a significant affect to influence the outcome of the tally in MI, WI and PA?

          5) Were the Russians behind Guccifer 2.0?

          Answers:

          1) Extremely unlikely. His interest in Russia was only to underscore Obama/Clinton failure. Trump praised Putin as a contrast to Obama’s naivete.

          2) I agree with Ed Snack even though he forgot about the online blog trolls.

          3) I believe Assange on this one. Though he could have been fooled, it makes little sense for the Russia to risk the blowback for such little benefit, i.e. Trump’s Russia policy could not be that significantly different from Clinton’s.

          4) Not, not compared to Clinton server, immigration and bringing back manufacturing.

          5) Does one hide their identity by putting on clown makeup in a parody of themselves?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

          I could compile a short list of things that Clapper told the truth about, but let’s just stipulate that he was an enthusiastic accomplice in Obama’s efforts to subvert and politicize our military and intelligence institutions. Clapper is not in charge of anything any more. Trump is in charge now and he has stated that he believes that it was probably Russia that hacked the DNC and that clown Podesta. His people are in charge of the agencies and have had time to review the evidence.

          Whether the Russians had any significant effect on the outcome of the election is just a matter of speculation, rumination and opinion. I believe that the release of the DNC and Podesta emails were helpful for Trump and I am very happy about it. I think I will buy a bottle of Russian vodka to celebrate, again.

          http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/05/09/nsa-director-rogers-says-no-reduction-in-russian-attempts-to-interfere-in-elections.html

          The three agencies included in the DNI summary report are the ones with the most responsibility on the subject matter. They would have had input from the other intel agencies, particularly DHS and CCIC, and there is no reason to believe that any agency disagreed with the conclusions. My educated guess is that most of the more compelling evidence came from NSA and CYBERCOM signals intelligence. Both agencies controlled by Admiral Rogers, who now serves POTUS Trump.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

          Ron, I have pointed out several times that the NSA had alerted the FBI and the FBI notified the DNC in Sept. 2015, of Russian attacks on their systems. Everybody knows that Russian, Chinese, etc. etc. intrusions into our government and business computer systems goes on all the time. What risk of blowback would the Russians have been worrying about? Obama didn’t do squat, until the shock of Trump winning moved that little p#$$y to make some noise. This stuff is a habit with the Russians that comes from the Cold War. Putin is still fighting the Cold War. Why are you people so resistant to the perfectly plausible explanation that the Russians are up to their old tricks? It must be emotional.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

          “Putin is still fighting the cold war”.
          Putin has plenty of cause for complaint against the U.S. and its NATO allies. Putin’s objects are legitimate national goals. He does not peddle any cold war ideology.

          Regarding state cyber intrusions that have an unfriendly aspect, Russia is not unique. Does not the U.S. IC do the same or worse? The pot calling the kettle black.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

          Ron Graf: “1) Did Trump make a deal with Putin?”
          === === ===
          The idea of a “deal” is absurd. A wink is as good as a nod. Both Trump and Putin are men of experience in affairs. Putin would have known in 2015 that he was for Trump and enough said. The Democrats know all of this and they are furious at Trump and Putin for what they, the Dims, did against themselves.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

          I don’t know what world you live in, painter. Putin is a KGB creature. He is self-aggrandizing greasy corrupt dictator trying to put the Soviet Union back together using Stalanist methods he learned long ago. Any suggestion that there is some moral equivalency in what we do and what Putin does is foolish.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

          demonizing political opponents to sanitize war has been done for centuries. I don’t see a whole lot of purpose in comparing moral character of Putin vs Trump and/or Hillary. Flaws are evident on both sides. Yes, there are oligarchs in Russia, but there are even richer oligarchs in the US. From a Canadian perspective, I don’t see any reason why Russia and US can’t cooperate on major issues, rather than ratcheting up antagonism to suit neocons and self-indulgent Hillary boosters.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

          I am unaffected by the anti Russian hysteria that infects the U.S., even though I regard Putin somewhat as an eyesore.
          The U.S. has ten times the GDP of Russia and the NATO alliance GDP combined is twenty times that of Russia. These facts make it impossible for the MSM Russian bugaboo to frighten me. Appeals to cold war images do not frighten me either.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

          Let me see if you can honestly answer this question, painter. Are you at all worried about the North Korean and Iran nuclear capabilities and intentions?

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

          Both countries have been repeatedly threatened by US. A nuclear deterrent provides a smaller country with a form of deterrent against US aggression so that there is a mutual deterrent, thereby discouraging use of nuclear arms. Malcolm X made this point many years ago. My main worry is not NoKo or Iran, but US – particularly when US intel community, media and think tanks are so bellicose.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

          That is interesting, Steve. Please describe how we have threatened North Korea since the armistice ended the Korean War that was started by the North invading the South. Is it the small force of tripwire troops we keep there to deter a repeat of their previous treachery?

          What about Iran? Is it the invasion of Iran that we launched to punish them for invading our sovereign embassy space and holding our people hostage? Or did we invade them for sending their Quds goons to kill a lot of our troops in Iraq with their clever little IEDs? Help me out here, Steve.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

          Don, I am not worried about either country, especially since we have a president who I feel assured will effectively deal with both countries and remove their fangs.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

          “Flaws are evident on both sides.” OK, let’s go with moral equivalence. But ask yourself how you would feel if instead of living in Canada next to the USA, you were an inhabitant of the Ukraine, Poland, Latvia or any of the other former and potentially future captive nations of the Soviet Union. Have you ever felt that Canada needed any kind of deterrence against the possibility of U.S. aggression?

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

          I would definitely like some kind of deterrence against interference in Canadian democratic processes by US environmental groups. Over the past 20 years, NAFTA tribunals have provided some redress against arbitrary US trade actions, but offer little deterrence under Trump – particularly with such a feckless leader as Justin Trudeau representing us.

          US hasn’t threatened Canada militarily for a century or so. If we faced real and present military threats from the US, I would favor Canada having a nuclear deterrent. Not to initiate an offensive, but to enable a smaller and weaker military to DETER a powerful opponent.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 2:12 PM | Permalink

          At a US intelligence committee hearing in June 2016, the Reagan administration ambassador warned the committee against getting entangled in alliances with Ukraine since they provided no military benefit to the US, but created liabilities for the US in regional disputes. Gorbachev has stated that the US promised not to expand NATO to the east when Russia agreed to the re-unification of Germany. Now that NATO has expanded to Russia’s very borders, it sounds to me like they have a legitimate grievance on that point.

          A huge fuss has been made about Crimea, but according to my reading, Crimea is almost entirely populated by Russians and they voted to secede from Ukraine in a referendum that was just as good as the Kosovo referendum. Russia has had longstanding naval installations in Crimea and could hardly let them be occupied by NATO. Looks to me like the US is getting wagged by Ukrainian interest groups and that it’s a poor reason for international hostility.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

          “Flaws are evident on both sides.”

          In that sentence, I was referring directly to a beauty contest between Putin on the one side and Trump/Hillary on the other. You may choose to demonize Putin and you may well be right, but Trump (especially if we listen to US media) apparently has flaws as well. As does even Hillary.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

          Why would we need to remove their fangs, painter? Our GDP is about a gazillion times bigger than their’s.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

          Don, the US IC is building a database on all U.S. citizens and the NSA and the CIA, and probably others actively gather the most intimate details about ordinary U.S. citizens in illegal ways. I suspect that the Equifax raid was part of this. If those responsible for such activity were hung, it would give me a great sense of satisfaction.I consider all engaged in such activities as “outside the law”.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

          OK, painter. That pretty much answers any further questions I might ask of you. Good luck. I hope they don’t get you.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

          I got some bad news for you, Steve. If the U.S. ever decides to get aggressive with Canada, we won’t give you time to develop a nuclear deterrence. Unless some clown like Obama or Hillary is President.

          You didn’t answer my question on what aggression we have committed against N Korea and Iran that has caused them to seek the bomb to deter us. Maybe you can’t think of any. Anyway, there is always the general BS that the greedy aggressive U.S. goes around invading countries for oil. Iran has a lot we could use, N Korea doesn’t. But if that BS were true we would save ourselves a lot of money and effort by invading Mexico and Canada. Invasion probably wouldn’t even be necessary. Just a simple notice of annexation.

          The historical fact is that the U.S. generally get’s involved in conflicts for self-defense or because we believe at the time that we are saving folks from some sort of tyranny. I haven’t seen anybody point out a war on which the U.S. made a profit. Picture the last century without the intervention of U.S military power.

          PS: The N Korean thugs and their thug buddies in Iran want the bomb so that they can continue and increase their bad behavior under nuclear protection. Also, they will use their bombs to threaten, intimidate, extort anyone within range.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

          I’m quite sure that US could bomb Canada to smithereens if it wanted to.

          You didn’t answer my question on what aggression we have committed against N Korea and Iran that has caused them to seek the bomb to deter us. Maybe you can’t think of any.

          I think that the US bombing of North Korea in the Korean War was probably the most genocidal bombing campaign of the 20th century (I hadn’t heard of it until recently). I haven’t parsed, but it appears that a higher proportion of the population (20-30%) was killed than in any other campaign, along with any visible civil installation or crop. It was under the command of Curtis Lemay, a racist who was later VP candidate with George Wallace. Its devastation against civilians was unimaginable.
          https://theintercept.com/2017/05/03/why-do-north-koreans-hate-us-one-reason-they-remember-the-korean-war/
          http://www.newsweek.com/us-forget-korean-war-led-crisis-north-592630

          In Iran – at around the same time – the CIA sponsored a coup that removed a democratically elected leader of Iran and installed the Shah, who was much hated. Two quick references:
          http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/06/20/64-years-later-cia-finally-releases-details-of-iranian-coup-iran-tehran-oil/
          https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-coup-mossadegh-cia-60th-anniversary/25076552.html
          In the latter: “Sixty years on, the coup continues to loom large in Iran’s national psyche and remains a thorn in the country’s relations with the West.”

          Both events may be forgotten in the US but reverberate to the present.

          In weighing my recent comments, please keep in mind that I have consistently praised the remarkable US diplomacy after World War II which resulted in the creation of important international institutions, and the extraordinary Marshall Plan and economic restoration of Germany and Japan into friendly democracies, rather than resentful adversaries. This diplomacy was totally unlike previous European treaties.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

          I was having my lunch and I missed your Russia comment. What is the difference between the Crime annexation and the Sudetenland annexation? The referendum in Crimea was held after the Russian military had taken over control of Crimea. And then we have the Russian war on Ukraine. Do you not see how that might make the non-Russian folks in Ukraine, Latvia, Lituania and other former Soviet captive nations uneasy? Of course they want in NATO. All those nations have sizable ethnic Russian populations imposed upon them by the Soviet occupation. Do you think that NATO would have problems with Russia, if Russia had a normal democratic government that didn’t threaten it’s neighbors with invasions justified by post invasion referendums?

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

          The present situation in the Ukraine is another Obama administration blunder. Russia has the Crimea, whether we like it or not. The Donbass war also is due to Obama blunders, who gave no regard to Russian interests and failed to consider possible adverse consequences. Russia could also wind up with a sizeable chunk of the Donbass.

          Had not Obama interfered, the region would be in peace and there would be a friendly relationship between Russia and the Ukraine, to the advantage of both. But Obama did not want that. Putin was justified, imo. The U.S. set fire to his neighbors house, figuratively. It was an enormous provocation.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

          Not surprising that The Intercept and Newsweek will give you the left leaning revisionist history told from the thug N Korean perspective. The casualty figures come from the North Koreans. It’s propaganda. Nobody knows how many people were killed, except the N Koreans. In any case, they started the war the Chinese had massively intervened on their side and we bombed the crap out of them wherever possible. It’s war. They didn’t care about people getting killed by the millions. We were supposed to play nice?

          And you have to go back 60 years to find an offense against the Iranians. They have gotten along without us invading them for 60 years, without having a nuclear weapons deterrence. The fact is that we have had no desire to mess with them, except for our very mild retaliations against their hostage taking and their support for terrorism. When we took out Iraq with ease, we had the resources in place to easily take out those Ayatollah fanatics. We didn’t do it. They should kiss our feet.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

          The Obama blunder also had the effect of precipitating the Ukraine matter into the U.S. political arena, with the Democrats working with the Ukraine government against Trump. The Ukraine is foully corrupt and now we have that source of corruption infiltrating our polity. Everything that Obama touched needs to be undone or cleaned up. Trump understands that, even if you don’t.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

          I know I swore off asking you any more questions painter, but I would love to have something else to hold against Obama. Just how did he cause the Donbass war?

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

          Demonize. Steve, you are weak on history.
          You do yourself no credit to repeat perverse and untrue accounts of history that have the sole object of demonizing the U.S. War is not genocide. You show a readiness to adopt any perverse twists of meaning to further your object to demonize U.S. efforts to resist communist aggression. We maintained for forty years an enormous defense establishment and poured blood and immense treasure into our effort to protect the free world and resist communist aggression.

          You benefited from that Steve, and it did not cost you a dime. How about saying “thank you”?

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

          Canada entered both World Wars long before the US and had exemplary records in both.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

          We agree on Ukraine. I was at university in Vietnam Era and share views of many in my generation.

        • jddohio
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

          Re: US Bombing and Heavy Killing in North Korea — Intercept Article

          Obviously, there is much to criticize about American actions in North Korean. However, I doubt that the North Korean people really hate the US, when much of their population is malnourished due to the current government. Myself, I have always been surprised at the lack of bitterness displayed by the Vietnamese following the Vietnam war. If there were real economic relations between the US and NOrth Korea, I would expect the same.

          Also, it is important to look at the bigger picture. First North Korea was the aggressor. Second, it was an ally of both the Soviet Union (Stalin) and China (Mao). Mao stated that it would be no big deal if 300,000,000 Chinese died. (““We are prepared to sacrifice 300 million Chinese for the victory of the world revolution.” http://www.worldfuturefund.org/wffmaster/Reading/Quotes/maoterror.htm
          – Mao Zedong ) Of course, STalin was also a mass murderer. Third notwithstanding the heavy losses, the Korean Was was stalemated for two years. http://www.history.com/topics/korean-war It appears to me the North Korean leadership had the same attitude towards human life as did Mao and Stalin.

          Finally, a major reason for the bombing of civilains was that NOrth Korea had little industry to target — it was being supplied by the Soviet Union and China, and the US didn’t feel that it was prudent to bomb either of the communist superpowers.

          “In previous conflicts, American aerial strategy had been mainly to use aircraft to attack the enemy’s vital industrial centers. In the Korean War, this strategy was not appropriate. First, there were few industries in North Korea to attack and second, China and Russia were supplying North Korea forces, so the loss of North Korean industry did not have a great effect on the supply chain. So in the Korean War, the Americans instead used their air forces quite successfully to destroy the North Korean and Chinese air efforts, to provide close support to ground forces, and to interrupt the North Korean supply chain. U.N. forces also destroyed irrigation dams in North Korea in 1952, which led to flooding within the country.” https://www.highbeam.com/topics/korean-war-military-strategies-t10197

          JD

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

          Canadian services gave distinguished service in WWI and WWII. Also served in Korea. Vietnam War Canada not on the field, but provided a refuge for U.S draft dodgers and deserter. Gulf War a token Canadian contribution. Second Iraq War nothing. Afghanistan, Canadians fought well for a decade according to friends of mine who proudly served alongside them. Canadians will fight when they feel they have a good reason.

        • jddohio
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

          Steve,

          I have a comment in moderation. Hope it can be pulled out.

          JD

        • Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 7:03 PM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre:

          A huge fuss has been made about Crimea, but according to my reading, Crimea is almost entirely populated by Russians and they voted to secede from Ukraine in a referendum that was just as good as the Kosovo referendum. Russia has had longstanding naval installations in Crimea and could hardly let them be occupied by NATO. Looks to me like the US is getting wagged by Ukrainian interest groups and that it’s a poor reason for international hostility.

          Russia invaded Crimea then held an unsupervised election to justify annexing it. You equate this to Kosovo, in the aftermath of a war and after years of negotiation failed, decided to become independent. I would love to hear how you would create an equivalence between an effort arising from years of negotiations and an effort which arose from a foreign power invading a country.

          I’m pretty sure you would complain if the United States invaded Quebec, lied to the world about having done so then turned around and admitted it only to say it was going to hold a vote in the military-controlled zone to see if it could annex the territory.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

          Canadians have experience with two Quebec referendums. The question in the first referendum was deceptive but narrowly defeated. The Canadian Supreme Court was asked to give an opinion and secession and issued an opinion that a province could secede after a referendum on a clear question. The second referendum had a clear question and was likewise narrowly defeated. Neither referendum was “supervised” internationally.

          As I understand, Crimea had a provincial government which asked the referendum and the question was clear. The result was not close (80-90% as I recall.) If Quebec had won a similar vote in either of its referendums, they would have separated.

          If Quebec subsequently chose to federate with France (or US), it wouldn’t be any business of the rest of Canada.

          Nor, to my knowledge, did Russia “invade” Crimea. Russia had legal military bases in Crimea, including its Black Sea naval bases – not through invasion, but because Crimea had been part of Russia for at least a couple of hundred years. Russia had approximately 20-25,000 soldiers at its bases legally without “invading” Crimea. Some famous Russian events occurred in Crimea (Charge of the Light Brigade, Yalta Conference). Crimea had only been associated with Ukraine for a relatively short period. It had only been transferred to Ukraine as an administrative unit in the 1950s while Khrushchev, who was from Ukraine, was Russian leader. The population of Crimea was almost entirely Russian speaking. The disintegration of the Soviet Union left a variety of border and territory issues, some of which pertained to Ukraine.

          In addition, there were unsavory aspects to the February 2014 coup in Ukraine, including the role of neo-Nazis in the coup and the role of the Obama administration, who were actively involved with and supporting the politicians involved in the coup.

        • Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 7:13 PM | Permalink

          Wow, a lot of history…

          Don, I think you meant we took out Saddam, not Iraq. Other than that I concur with your US history.

          Steve, Curtis Lemay likely was still holding a WWII mentality, as was Macarthur but NC and China were not showing any sensitivities to mass casualties (including their own). There was no carpet bombing of cities in Vietnam and it still did not turn out well for anyone.

          I did not hear anyone defending the CIA. It seems that all agree many of the good things the US has done, like the Marshal Plan and defending countries against invasions and terrible atrocities get’s quickly overshadowed by the black hand of US IC. The moral high ground is lost and there never seems to be much gained in historical terms except eternal enemies.

          Steve, Painter, I think most, including myself, did not know of evidence of US IC involvement in the Ukraine coup, and that could be a whole blog topic. But it seems that all are reaching a common conclusion that nothing is above suspicion for those who are unanswerable to the public, press or elected officials.

          I once saw Senator (D-CT) Daniel Patrick Moynihan caution a CIA director that there could come a time if they were not careful when their usefulness was not more. This was around the collapse of the Soviet Union. I was shocked. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco JFK is alleged by an anonymous WH insider, as reported a few years afterward, to have paraphrased the bible expressing his desire to: “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the wind.”

          I just found an interesting article written by Harry Truman reflecting on the CIA just after the JFK assassination. What’s more interesting is if that was coincidence since all connections with the US IC were omitted from the Warren Commission report.

          For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas.
          I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations. Some of the complications and embarrassment I think we have experienced are in part attributable to the fact that this quiet intelligence arm of the President has been so removed from its intended role that it is being interpreted as a symbol of sinister and mysterious foreign intrigue—and a subject for cold war enemy propaganda.
          With all the nonsense put out by Communist propaganda about “Yankee imperialism,” “exploitive capitalism,” “war-mongering,” “monopolists,” in their name-calling assault on the West, the last thing we needed was for the CIA to be seized upon as something akin to a subverting influence in the affairs of other people.
          I well knew the first temporary director of the CIA, Adm. Souers, and the later permanent directors of the CIA, Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg and Allen Dulles. These were men of the highest character, patriotism and integrity—and I assume this is true of all those who continue in charge.
          But there are now some searching questions that need to be answered. I, therefore, would like to see the CIA be restored to its original assignment as the intelligence arm of the President, and that whatever else it can properly perform in that special field—and that its operational duties be terminated or properly used elsewhere.
          We have grown up as a nation, respected for our free institutions and for our ability to maintain a free and open society. There is something about the way the CIA has been functioning that is casting a shadow over our historic position and I feel that we need to correct it. -H TrumanWashington Post Dec 22, 1963

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

          As I’ve frequently observed, I think that US diplomacy after World War 2 was a truly epochal achievement in world history.
          Documents on the CIA role in, for example, the 1953 coup in Iran are only now emerging though the events still cast a long shadow.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

          you say: “I think most, including myself, did not know of evidence of US IC involvement in the Ukraine coup, and that could be a whole blog topic”. It’s an interesting topic that I only recently became aware of. However, it’s more accurate to say that US involvement in the coup was via the State Dept, rather than the CIA. The CIA would undoubtedly have been more professional.

          Victoria Nuland of the State Dept, wife of arch neocon Frederick Kagan, was point in US interference. She met several times during the Maidan demonstrations with the political leaders of the coup, including the leader of the neo-Nazis:

          Biden was very active in Ukraine events. According to ambassador McFaul, he talked to Ukrainian leaders about 12 times during the 24 hours prior to the coup. He met with coup leaders including neo-Nazi leader, as did McCain, who encouraged the Maidan demonstrations, as did Nuland. Biden continued to be overly involved in Ukraine following the coup: his troubled son was given a well-paying job by a Ukrainian energy company; he visited Ukraine on his second-last day in office.

          There’s even a tape of Nuland talking with the US ambassador about who should be in the government emerging from the coup. It’s really quite amazing to listen to Obama administration officials deciding who would be involved in the Ukrainian government.

        • Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

          Before somebody checks, Moynihan was a Dem senator from New York, not Connecticut.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

          Canada could be an Ukraine to the US culture + distance wise, while Korea could be a Mexico to Uncle Sam.
          In Korea it was basically Truman vs Stalin & Mao. The latter two had no compulsion to slaughter big portions of their own populations, let alone others. Putin is not at all like that; he is defensive towards another NATO grab close to Moscow after the Baltic states. Xi is more of a bully and plays aggressive with his bloodhound Kim in Korea but also elsewhere. Xi runs a financial giant while Putin presides over a economical dwarf today.

          The CIA in my eyes has morphed from a new useful tool in WWII to a self-serving state in a state today. Putin and Xi run their secret services; Trump and even Obama are/were run by theirs: see Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, Iran, Pakistan.

        • Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 9:35 PM | Permalink

          Ron graf:

          Steve, Painter, I think most, including myself, did not know of evidence of US IC involvement in the Ukraine coup, and that could be a whole blog topic. But it seems that all are reaching a common conclusion that nothing is above suspicion for those who are unanswerable to the public, press or elected officials.

          As far as I can see, neither of them has pointed to any actual evidence of this. I know this is a popular talking point amongst some, but in terms of actual evidence, I’ve seen practically nothing. Even Russia has chosen not to attempt to prove this claim, even as the United States intelligence community offered detailed evidence of Russia sending all sorts of weaponry and artillery, including tanks, to help the fight in Ukraine.

          Then again, McIntyre also seems comfortable saying things like:

          Gorbachev has stated that the US promised not to expand NATO to the east when Russia agreed to the re-unification of Germany. Now that NATO has expanded to Russia’s very borders, it sounds to me like they have a legitimate grievance on that point.

          While I won’t agree Gorbachev said this, Russia has a long history of fabricating slights against it to justify aggression. The evidence is clear there was no formal or binding agreement to this effect. The most one could possibly argue happened was some sort of “handshake” deal that was never put into writing. Nobody could reasonably expect that to create any sort of binding agreement on the successors of the people who may negotiated it.

          On top of this, Gorbachev denies this happened. Here is what he has to say on the issue:

          M.G.: The topic of “NATO expansion” was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility. Not a singe Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991. Western leaders didn’t bring it up, either. Another issue we brought up was discussed: making sure that NATO’s military structures would not advance and that additional armed forces from the alliance would not be deployed on the territory of the then-GDR after German reunification. Baker’s statement, mentioned in your question, was made in that context.

          According to Gorbachev, what happened was a discussion of how western nations would behave in regard to East Germany. According to him, the remarks he made which Steve (and many other people) refer to were made in that context. I know “NATO expansion” meme is common talking point in things like Russian propaganda, but unless one wants to claim Gorbachev is lying, there’s no basis for it.

          This is why I wish people would refrain from making vague claims without any sort of reference. I am sure it took me more time to find that Gorbachev quote and discuss it than it did for McIntyre to make his specious claim. I even knew about this talking point and Gorbachev denial of it, but it still took me longer. It turns out it is much easier to parrot things you see other people say rather than actually verify anything.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

          I’m pretty sure that Reagan’s ambassador to Russia, Matlock, stated what you deprecate as a “talking point” in his evidence to the House Foreign Affairs Committee in June 2016. I don’t recall the precise minute. I’m fairly sure that the point has been made by credible sources. I’ll try to parse this some time.

        • Follow the Money
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 9:47 PM | Permalink

          Crimea was populated with ethnic Russians and Tatars–but Stalin kicked out most of the latter.

          Crimea was a separate provincial entity at first, then joined the Russian SSR–not Ukraine.

          The Soviets attached the Crimea to the Ukraine SSR in the 1950s as a political convenience given the geography.

          Russia has a better historical and ethnic claim to Crimea, unlike eastern Ukraine that was always a part of the Ukraine SSR.

          True, Putin did not start the Ukraine coup, but the way he handled the election in Crimea was a farce. He invaded, then set up an election in a few weeks or so. This shows a strain of disdain for democracy, he considers it a game alone. Kosovo and other election processes like that weren’t stunts like this. Nevertheless any election in Crimea would get a sweeping vote for Russia, even more than Eastern Ukraine–I am told so by a Crimean, for one.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 10:42 PM | Permalink

          Nevertheless any election in Crimea would get a sweeping vote for Russia, even more than Eastern Ukraine–I am told so by a Crimean, for one.

          question: do Crimeans have the right to secede from Ukraine under a fair referendum? Seems fair to me, especially given the very short and administrative attachment to Ukraine. I realize that some readers strongly object to how the referendum was conducted and Russia’s role in it. But if the result would be a vote for secession anyway, doesn’t that become moot?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

          I gave this a fast reading and didn’t find anything too far out of whack. The Russian military took control of Crimea before the referendum. And they have used very similar strategy and tactics in Eastern Ukraine. Entire Russian units, including Spetsnaz and anti-aircraft missile units, remove their insignia and become local Russians. There is no question about it.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annexation_of_Crimea_by_the_Russian_Federation

          The short story is that Ukraine, which has been screwed over by Russia since time began, was moving purposefully closer to the EU. The ethnic Russian President Yanukovych was part of that movement and was about to sign an agreement with the EU, when he was jerked back into his proper orbit by Putin. The doo doo hit the fan, there was an uprising and Yanukovych with Russian help killed a lot of his people and was run out of the country. He found a home with Putin. If anyone has got any evidence that the CIA had anything nefarious to do with the story, please present it. Of course, the U.S and other Western nations were interested and had preferences as to who should govern Ukraine, but there is no credible evidence they aided or encouraged the violent overthrow of the Yanukovych government. He did that to himself, with assistance from Putin.

          I get real sick of seeing people who live comfortably in Western democracies casually use the U.S., and the CIA in particular, for a whipping boy. I had a career in the U.S. military-intelligence services and lived a lot of history. Spent my 21st birthday on a mountaintop in Laos, surrounded by Pathet Lao and their Soviet and Red Chinese “advisors”. If you haven’t seen any of the stuff I have seen and you are influenced by the CBC, BBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN et al, I can understand how you might have difficulty knowing the good guys from the bad guys. I will help you. We are the good guys.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 10:27 PM | Permalink

          Spent my 21st birthday on a mountaintop in Laos, surrounded by Pathet Lao and their Soviet and Red Chinese “advisors”

          what year was that?

        • Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 10:07 PM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre:

          Nor, to my knowledge, did Russia “invade” Crimea. Russia had legal military bases in Crimea, including its Black Sea naval bases – not through invasion, but because Crimea had been part of Russia for at least a couple of hundred years. Russia had approximately 20-25,000 soldiers at its bases legally without “invading” Crimea.

          Your willful ignorance of facts readily available to anyone interested in learning what happened does not speak well for you, but it does at least explain why you think the Kosovo and Crimea situations are comparable. Though since you made the comparison, I’ll point out Russia was strongly opposed to the Kosovo referendum, routinely calling it illegal. So if the situations are comparable, then by Russia’s stance, the Crimea referendum was illegal.

          On the matter of facts, what Russia did was definitely an invasion. Russia had troops stationed within Crimea at Port Sevastopol (I think there was only one base, but I’m not sure offhand). This was authorized by treaties signed in 1997 between Ukraine and Russia which sought to resolve various issues of who owned and owed what in regard to Black Sea Fleet. Amongst the terms of the treaties, Russia was limited to having only 25,000 people stationed there.

          No part of these treaties authorized Russian military to take control of the highways running into Sevastopol. No part of these treaties authorized Russia to send troops in unmarked uniforms to take control of airports, military bases and the buildings the Crimea national government was ran out of. No part of these treaties authorized Russians to occupy the Crimean parliament building so it could vote to eliminate the government of Crimea.

          I’m pretty sure sending troops to take over military bases and hold a government’s legislative body at gunpoint, denying them the ability to contact the outside the world, so they can vote to end their current government and institute a new one headed by a person favorable to your nation counts as an invasion. I am pretty sure that remains true even if the country you do it to had negotiated a treaty with you which allowed you to have a military base or two in one of its ports.

          If that doesn’t qualify as an invasion, what would?0

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 10:48 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, you’re entirely right that Russia opposed Kosovo secession. However, the issue was referred to a World Court for an opinion and they determined that Kosovo had the right to secede. Putin cited this decision in his speech on Crimea in March 2014 – which is well worth reading for anyone interested to get the other side of the story.

          While one can argue that Putin is hypocritical in doing so, it seems to me that he’s on much stronger ground in relying on the decision than US and Western governments who had argued that Kosovo had the right to secede, but now seek to deny a corresponding right to Crimea.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 10:57 PM | Permalink

          It was 1969. And yes, among a few other things I was directing the dropping of thousands of tons of bombs on just about anything I suspected of being commie related.

        • Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 11:04 PM | Permalink

          Don, thank you for your service. I just found out a person I’ve known for 30 years did 3 tours, his last job was outside official authority working out of Thailand to do hostage negotiation to get a lucky few of your buddies that got captured back. Most of the other people doing his job went MIA themselves.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 11:08 PM | Permalink

          We should be generous and ignore the fact that Russia militarily took over Crimea and arranged the secession. Which is their intention in the Donbass, and Estonia, Lithuania etc., if they can get away with it.

        • Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 11:21 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, thank you for taking the time to do that research on finding Gorbachev’s quote and the other stuff you find.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 11:42 PM | Permalink

          Present US has two blind eyes: one for Saudi Elite supported Muslims and the other for Chinese Xi’s expansionism. The US should embrace Russia now to oppose these two forces, which threaten them both. Choose the less evil for the more.
          How many 9/11’s or 9 dash lines can you ignore?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 11:59 PM | Permalink

          Yeah, right. Russia is comfortable in the China-Russia-Iran-North Korea-Syria axis of bad actors. If we embrace Russia, they will just pick our pockets. They will help us, like they helped Obama do the Iran deal. Trump is working on the proper relationships with Saudi Arabia and the Red Chinese thugocracy. Watch and learn.

        • Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 12:30 AM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre:

          While one can argue that Putin is hypocritical in doing so, it seems to me that he’s on much stronger ground in relying on the decision than US and Western governments who had argued that Kosovo had the right to secede, but now seek to deny a corresponding right to Crimea.

          While I would certainly call Putin a hypocrite, it really is a non-issue as, as I stressed above but you ignored, the situations are not remotely comparable. I mean, the Crimean referendum wasn’t even about seceding like you preetnd. The Crimean referendum was merely about whether or not Crimea would join Russia, on the presumption it had already seceded from Ukraine.

          The people of Crimea never voted on seceding which is why the refendum was illegal. The nation’s constitution required any territorial changes be voted on by all of Ukraine. Crimea didn’t even have Crimea vote to secede. All it did was have the Crimean parliament say Crimea had seceded. That was illegal. That Crimea then had a vote which effectively said, “Now that Crimea has seceded, should we join Russia?” does not make the situation in any way comparable to that of Kosovo’s.

          In Kosovo, there were years of negotiations and discussions with people following the legal procedures for Kosovo to secede. A court ruled that is okay. In Crimea, Russia invaded the country then had its parliament say Crimea had seceded. You have to be incredibly disingenuous or completely uninformed to think those two situations are comparable.

          The idea there are “governments who had argued that Kosovo had the right to secede, but now seek to deny a corresponding right to Crimea” is absurd.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 1:10 AM | Permalink

          Brandon makes a perfectly factual and logical presentation and then blows his gasket. Steve does not have to be incredibly disingenuous or completely uninformed to think as he thinks. He is just wrongheaded on this one. As he is on several other issues being discussed in this farcical thread. Several of these guys have obvious prejudices that are keeping them from thinking logically. It’s getting really tedious and I am out. Take a chill pill, Brandon. You analytical abilities and reading comprehension are generally first-rate and you have been mostly correct here, but you are really a pompous rigid self-righteous pain in the a$$.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 1:12 AM | Permalink

          I forgot to add humorless…out

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 3:28 AM | Permalink

          Some people seem unaware that Obama has admitted that he “brokered the power transition in the Ukraine” (his words). In short, the U.S. engineered the Maidan coup.
          This was a blunder because it prompted Putin’s counter coup in the Crimea and now Russia has the Crimea, like it or not. And it is not a question of legality or any of that kind of rubbish, but a question of whether Russia will get away with it and the answer is yes. For one thing, 85% of Crimeans are Russian and they approved it.
          So Obama p*ssed off Putin who was set to benefit from closer economic ties with the Ukraine which Obama did not want. Putin’s response was predictable and Obama blundered clumsily in that he misread the board and failed to foresee how Putin would respond to U.S. interference. Concerning the Donbass, if the US can engineer a coup, Russia can too. Double blunder by Obama, who provoked Putin enormously. Obama’s stupidity is universal. Everything he did needs to be undone. Everything he touched needs cleaning up. From the perspective of Russia’s national interest, and Obama’s enormous provocation, I don’t blame Putin. The U.S. set his neighbors house on fire in order to scorch Russia.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

          While I agree with nearly all points regarding the provocation, I think that you’re overly personalizing and blaming Obama. It seems to me (and I claim no special insight on this) that the Ukraine policy was an objective of neocons and the State Department, which Obama ought to have stopped but was too passive/indecisive.

          In a longer term, I think that we’re all better off with Crimea in Russian hands. It was a crazy and unstable situation to begin with: longstanding Russian military bases and its access to Black Sea not under its own control because of a whim of Nikita Khrushchev in the 1950s which was implemented under a dictatorship. I see it as more of a one-off situation than the first of set of Eastern European dominos. (Domino theory was, of course, what got the US into the Vietnam War.)

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

          Thanks, Steve, interesting telephone conversation shows how Nuland chose the new Ukrainian government. Putin knew what happened in the Ukraine. The U.S. overthrew a pro-Russian government and installed an anti-Russian government to their liking. Some people think that it is fine for the U.S. to engineer a coup in the Ukraine, but villify Putin for doing the same.

          Yanukovitch was elected in 2010, I believe, by a majority who were mostly non-Ukrainian ethical minorities such as Russians, Romanians, Ruthenians, etc. He called his party the Party of the Regions, reflecting its diverse support. He advocated better relations with Russia. It seems Obama immediately began laying groundwork for his overthrow. The trigger was pulled in November, 2013 when Yanukovitch accepted Putin’s economic aide offer over that of one from the EU. That was when the rioters were called out in Kiev. All the details may be sourced over the i-net.

          Upon Yanukovitch’s departure from the Ukraine, one of the first acts of the Ukrainian parliament was to outlaw the Russian language (although that act was later rescinded). This gives the flavor of the Ukraine.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

          Steve, do you not consider that Obama publicly accepted responsibility for the coup when he announced that the U.S. “brokered” the Ukrainian coup? I do, and I do not hesitate to judge the man. You are right to say his personal failings led to the results, and we can agree on that.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

          What is with this coup BS? It was a popular uprising precipitated by Putin’s jerking of Yanukovych’s chain to stop Ukraine from cozying up to the EU. Putin sent in his goons to bolster his puppet Yanukovych and protesters got killed by the dozens. The Ukraine security services decided not to continue the massacre of their own people and Yanuk had to leave town. Do you seriously believe that was all engineered by the CIA? Obama’s CIA?

          Of course the Obamaites took an interest in who would form a government. They didn’t dictate and pick some random clowns to put charge. They were people from the leadership of the popular uprising. We didn’t install a puppet dictator. And it was an interim government. They are having democratic elections in Ukraine. This is big power stuff. Get used to it. It is not going to change.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

          Don, I’ve looked closely through contemporary documents, especially videos of Maidan, and haven’t seen any evidence that “Putin sent in his goons to bolster his puppet Yanukovych and protesters got killed by the dozens”. My impression is that, by February, the vanguard of the protestors were the far right and neo-Nazis (Pravy Sektor, Svoboda etc) who threw incendiary Molotov cocktails (with acetone) at police who were surprisingly passive. There is considerable evidence that snipers in the penultimate day of the Maidan protests shot at the crowd from a building controlled by the Maidan – enough that it’s sufficiently murky to make it impossible to make categorical statements on responsibility.

          To the extent that you attribute all of this to “big power stuff”, one can make the same statement about Crimea. It was clearly “big power stuff”. To the extent that your counsel to “get used to it” also applies to Crimea, I would regard that as wise advice. Not something that ought to provoke long-term hostility between two nuclear powers with many interests in common.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

          The coup is well documented for those who care to inform themselves. Of course it’s success relied on partisans who opposed the Yanukovitch government, but when Obama admits to the coup, how can you doubt it?
          Try reading up and informing yourself on the matter. The Nuland-Pyatt telephone conversation provided by Steve is a good place to start.

          I would seriously recommend that one disregard what is propagated by the present Ukraine government concerning those events.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

          I would seriously recommend you disregard all the Russian propaganda that attempts to cover up their role in those events.

          Obama did not admit to a coup. You made that up. There was no coup. You don’t know what a coup is. There was a popular uprising in reaction to Putin engineering the halting of Ukrain developing a closer relationship with the EU. Period. Obama did not start the uprising and did not pick the leaders of the uprising. Obama did not send in troops or CIA agents to run Yanukovych out of town. The State Dept. did not run Yanuk out of town. It was the Ukrainian people who ran that Putin puppet out of town. Period. The State Dept. used the prosect of U.S. aid and recognition to influence who among the leaders of the popular uprising would serve in the interim government. Big freaking deal. The Ukraine is a democratic independent country, except for the parts that are occupied by Russian troops and their surrogates. Now spout some more Russian propaganda.

        • Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre, I’ll note you have not addresses how you falsely claimed Gorbachev said what you claimed, instead choosing to change the topic to what someone else has said. fortunately, I am quite familiar with what John F. Matlock Jr. says about this issue as I actually follow his blog. There’s an interesting story about how I first came to start reading it, but I’m too sick to tell it. The point is because of reading his blog, I know his April 3rd, 2014 post on the issue of whetehr or not NATO made any such promise. The whole post is worth reading, but the crucial part is:

          (2) The territory of the GDR did come under NATO jurisdiction with Soviet approval, but not totally. As a result of the two plus four negotiations, it was agreed by all parties, including the USSR, that the territory would be part of NATO but that no foreign (non-German) troops would be stationed there. Soviet diplomats who negotiated that agreement have stated since then that they never thought they had commitments regarding Eastern Europe other than the GDR.

          (3) These conversations and negotiations were in the context of a general understanding Bush and Gorbachev reached in December 1989 (Malta Summit) that the USSR would not use force in Eastern Europe and the U.S. would not “take advantage” of changes there. This was not a treaty binding on future governments. (The 2+4 agreement was a binding treaty, and has been observed.) The Malta understanding was between President Bush and President Gorbachev. I am sure that if Bush had been re-elected and Gorbachev had remained as president of the USSR there would have been no NATO expansion during their terms in office. There was no way either could commit successors, and when Gorbachev was deposed and the USSR broke up, their understandings became moot. Even formal treaty agreements are subject to the “rebus sic stantibus” principle; when the Soviet Union collapsed–something the U.S. neither desired nor caused–the “circumstances” of 1989 and 1990 changed radically.

          While I was familiar with that blog post, I hadn’t seen Matlock’s testimony in front of Congress on this issue. I went ahead and dug it up. The transcript of that hearing makes it clear Matlock was trying to make the exact same point as he made in that blog post but got cut off partway through. Matlock even tried to keep going so he could make his point when initially cut off, but it didn’t work. I found the transcript here, if you’d like to verify.

          Gorbachev and Matlock both dispute your narrative. The idea western countries broke a promise, thus justifying Russian aggression, is one of the many slights Russia has fabricated to justify its behavior. Russia has a long history of doing this, often using some small fig leaf (like that detailed by Matlock) as the basis for its fabrications.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

          I’ll look at this and, after doing so, will endeavour to correct any inaccuracy. Interesting that you’ve been following Matlock. I thought that his testimony at the House Foreign Affairs Committee was very compelling. He knew so much that he didn’t necessarily get to the point as quickly as one would like, but everything that he said was interesting. I thought that the committee was very rude to him. I also thought that they would have been wise to focus on someone who disagreed with them and understand his point, rather than giving so much air time to McFaul.

          I didn’t (or didn’t intend) to argue using concepts like “breaking a promise” justifying “aggression”.

          While I may not have expressed my views as clearly as I might after some discussion, my perspective on Crimea events is premised on Canadian policy in regard to Quebec – a decision cited in the Kosovo decision (which I’ve read.) I’ve re-examined the precise question in the referendum (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26514797) which, relative to the clarity requirement set out in the Canadian decision, seems very clear to me. There is no reason to believe that voters were misled by the question or evidence that they were misled.

          As you observed, the question that is asked is not simple secession, but secession combined with re-joining Russia. The question is clearly posed and seems to meet clarity standards. So I don’t see an objection on that count.

          At the end of the day, the issues are 1) whether Crimeans had the right to secede and join Russia under international law; 2) whether the results of the referendum do not represent the views of Crimeans due to defects in the referendum process.

          From anything that I’ve read, the results of the referendum accurately reflected the views of Crimeans and a similar result would have been obtained in any other referendum process. So if the problem is the conduct of the referendum, I think that that doesn’t matter to the result.

          As to the rights of a region to separate, this has been the source of controversy forever. It seems to me that the Crimea referendum fell well within the parameters set out in the Kosovo decision. You’ve loudly disagreed but did not present any basis to distinguish the two situations.

          I agree with you that Putin acted very swiftly and opportunistically. However, as I mentioned before, I think that this is best for everyone in the long run. I think that it is unwise for the US to get overly influenced by Ukrainian lobby groups.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

          Steve, you say

          “Biden was very active in Ukraine events. According to ambassador McFaul, he talked to Ukrainian leaders about 12 times during the 24 hours prior to the coup. He met with coup leaders including neo-Nazi leader, as did McCain, who encouraged the Maidan demonstrations, as did Nuland. Biden continued to be overly involved in Ukraine following the coup: his troubled son was given a well-paying job by a Ukrainian energy company; he visited Ukraine on his second-last day in office.”
          === === ===

          I take Biden’s involvement as proof that Obama was up to his ears in this business.
          Trump is now in possession of the records, details, telephone conversations, etc. He will release this as it suits him, or perhaps he will clue Judicial Watch or somebody on what to seek FOI.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

          There is a wide range of big power stuff, Steve. Some of it is well intentioned and turns out to be good for the folks and some of it is sinister with bad intentions. Are you happy our side won the Cold War?

          The U.S. did not precipitate the Ukraine crisis and certainly did not stage any coup. The recording of the State Dept. phone call that you may think is sinister/dirty involves a discussion of brokering between various factions of the popular uprising. Do you concede that the far right fanatics were left out of significant power positions in the government? The brokering was rather benign. We did not install a right wing dictator puppet. The Ukraine is independent and democratic. Do you understand that Russian troops occupy large parts of Ukraine? Google it.

          Your impressions of the absence of Putin Russkis formed by looking at some videos is amusing. How would you tell a Putin Russki from a local Ukrainian? They are all pasty white Slavs with long noses. Do they wear different hats? Your impression that the popular uprising was mainly far right fanatics is wrong. Did you also get that from watching videos? Google Maidan uprising. GRU was on the scene.

          I remember your citing of the Zdarsky (sic?) quote to support your impression that the DNI attribution of the DNC hack to Russia was largely based on the Steele dossier. Zdarsky did not mention the Steele dossier and you neglected to include in your cited quote the part where Zdaesky clearly stated that he thought the DNI report was reliable. I am not too impressed with your impressions.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

          Do you concede that the far right fanatics were left out of significant power positions in the government?

          No. Security forces in post-coup government were controlled by neo-Nazis as extreme as Pravy Sektor leader Yarosh.

        • Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre:

          As you observed, the question that is asked is not simple secession, but secession combined with re-joining Russia. The question is clearly posed and seems to meet clarity standards. So I don’t see an objection on that count

          No, I did not observe this. I explicitly denied this. For instance:

          Crimea didn’t even have Crimea vote to secede. All it did was have the Crimean parliament say Crimea had seceded…. Crimea then had a vote which effectively said, “Now that Crimea has seceded, should we join Russia?”

          There was no option in the vote for people to say, “No, let’s not secede.” There was no option to say, “Nah, let’s keep things the way they are.” That wasn’t an option. The secession had already happened.

          At the end of the day, the issues are 1) whether Crimean had the right to secede and join Russia under international law; 2) whether the results of the referendum do not represent the views of Crimeans due to defects in the referendum process.

          This is only true if one accepts the idea the Crimean referendum allowed people to vote on secession. It did not. I made it abundantly clear that it did not. That you somehow ignored what I said, falsely claimed I said domryhinh I explicitly denied and now claim:

          You’ve loudly disagreed but did not present any basis to distinguish the two situations.

          Is mind-boggling. I don’t know how I could make this more clear. As I said before, the Crimean referendum was not a vote on secession but rather a vote on what to do based on the presumption Crimea had seceded due to its parliament having said so. (A parliament which had been effectively been taken hostage by the Russian military just a couple weeks before.)

          (Your fabrication here goes even further. In addition to pointing out the Crimean referendum did not allow any vote for or against secession, I noted: 1) Kosovo’s referendum came after years of discussions and negotiations to try to resolve things in a manner acceptable to all parties, with people actively attempting to follow legal procedures for what they did. Crimea had none of that and its parties actively flouted the law. 2) Russia invaded Crimea mere weeks before the vote, taking over the nation’s military bases, airports and government buildings, going so far as to hold the nation’s parliament hostage and forcing it to instate a new leader. A couple weeks after this, while Russia was still occupying Crimea, it had the country hold a vote. No foreign force invaded Kosovo, held its elected official hostage then asked its people to hold a vote. Those are two radical differences between the Kosovo and Crimea situations, ones I’ve discussed multiple times. You’ve even responded on #2. I can’t begin to imagine how you pretend I haven’t offered these as a basis for the situations being different.)

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

          We’re talking at crosspurposes. As I understand it, the second option of the referendum is to stay part of Ukraine.

          You say that the vote was premised on “on the presumption Crimea had seceded due to its parliament having said so”. It seems to offer a choice to remain in Ukraine. Don’t understand the problem.

          You say that the Crimean parties “actively flouted the law” – what law?

          You say “Russia invaded Crimea mere weeks before the vote, taking over the nation’s military bases”. Whose military bases are you saying that Russia “took over”? As I understand it, the military bases were Russia’s, had been Russian for decades, and the soldiers were already legally in Crimea occupying the military bases. Because the troops were already there legally, there wasn’t any “invasion”. Is it your understanding that there were no Russian troops in Crimea prior to the incident and they were all moved there in the weeks prior to the referendum?

        • Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre, I’m sorry, but I don’t see any reason I should answer questions like:

          You say “Russia invaded Crimea mere weeks before the vote, taking over the nation’s military bases”. Whose military bases are you saying that Russia “took over”? As I understand it, the military bases were Russia’s, had been Russian for decades, and the soldiers were already legally in Crimea occupying the military bases. Because the troops were already there legally, there wasn’t any “invasion”. Is it your understanding that there were no Russian troops in Crimea prior to the incident and they were all moved there in the weeks prior to the referendum?

          When I discussed this issue at length in response to your previous comments (that is just one example), and despite responding to my comments, you ignored what I said on these issues. That is not how discussions work. That is just stupid.

          So is the idea having troops stationed in a base in a country means you can take over the country without it qualifying as an invasion. The United States has many troops currently stationed in Japan. That doesn’t mean the United States could order its troops take over Tokyo, storm the National Diet Building to hold the Japanese legislative branch at gunpoint and force them to vote on issues. That doesn’t mean the United States troops could then start spreading across Japan, taking over government buildings and Japanese military bases while being joined by troops which had not initially been stationed in Japan.

          That is what Russia did with Crimea. That Russia was allowed to have troops stationed at the Sevastopol port doesn’t somehow authorize those troops to take over Crimean government buildings.

          We could perhaps have an intelligent discussion of how the 1992 Crimean constitution labeled Crimea part of Ukraine while being a sovereign state (effectively, independent) due to the nature of asymmetrical federalism. We could perhaps have an intelligent discussion of the peculiarity of the referendum saying it would adopt the 1992 Crimean constitution when that Constitution was both passed and amended in 1992, meaning there was more than one version that year making the referendum’s option non-specific. We could perhaps have an intelligent discussion of many other issues as well

          But we cannot have any sort of intelligent discussion if you will simply ignore everything I say when it is inconvenient, deny I’ve ever said it, then when pressed, ask me questions the content you ignored already answers in-depth. Not only is that sort of behavior on your part incredibly rude, but there’s no reason for anyone to think you’ll listen to anything I say as long as you engage in it.

        • Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 8:18 PM | Permalink

          However, there may be third-party individuals reading who are curious about just what Russia did. As an example, I’ll answer the question of what military bases Russia took over in Crimea when it invaded. McIntyre dismisses this idea because Russia had bases in Crimea. As far as I can tell, it only had one bases. The exact number doesn’t matter though as any bases it had were located at Sevastopol port as that was the only location Russia was legally allowed to have troops stationed in.

          A few examples of bases Russia took over are: Russia forced the Ukranian nave to abandon its base at Sevastopol; Russia took over the Russia took over the Perevalne military base; Russia took over the Belbek airbase. There were many other bases taken over as well, but finding out specific information about Ukranian military bases is more work than I care to put in if nobody else is putting any effort in. These three examples are examples I remember being mentioned by name at the invasion unfolded.

          Of course, the military actions by Russian troops extended far beyond seizing military bases. They also did things like confront and disarm Ukranian frontier forces in Balaklava, and scuttled a cruiser in Novoozern to trap Ukranian ships there, And, let’s not forget, Russia seized control of the Crimean government buildings and took parliament hostage.

          But apparently none of this counts because Ukraine let Russia station troops at Sevastopol so Russia could make use of the port there.

        • Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 8:19 PM | Permalink

          Oops. I missed the first paragraph of my last comment when copying and pasting. It should have began with:

          I have a comment pointing out the absurdity of McIntyre’s response above stuck in moderation. I honestly don’t see any reason to think responding to him will accomplish anything given how he’s consistently ignored many things I’ve said then I’ve denied I’ve said them (and even claimed I said the opposite).

        • MikeN
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

          Under the ousted leader, Putin secured a 99 year lease for his naval base in Crimea. Likely the new Ukraine regime would have tried to undo that.

        • MikeN
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 7:54 PM | Permalink

          There was an also an understanding when Clinton expanded NATO that Russia would have a veto over NATO military operations. This was ignored in Kosovo. The Russians ended up occupying the airport, and Clinton’s buddy Wesley Clark ordered NATO forces to attack, but the British general refused. Somehow this was ignored during Wesley Clark’s brief run for President, but Putin was defending Bush against charges of illegal war saying ‘what about Kosovo?’

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 10:28 PM | Permalink

          It wasn’t a 99 year lease, mikey. It was 25+5. We’ll let you slide on that one. but you got to furnish some evidence that Clinton gave Russia veto power over NATO military operations. Crazy.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 23, 2017 at 3:43 AM | Permalink

          As for South East Asia I understand president Eisenhower fear of more falling dominoes to the USSR or Mao. I guess the US underestimated Vietnam’s native resistance against any. foreign impositions, as did PR China.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Vietnamese_War Washington also underestimated (and underused) USSR – PR China rivalry. Anyway, South East Asia today looks not too bad to me (not a draft dodger!) today.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 3:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Oh, really. It looks like he had a following of paramilitary fighters opposing the Russian invaders in the Donbass that was integrated into government services. And he became a figurehead “wedding general”. They needed all the help they could get:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmytro_Yarosh

        “During the Second Battle of Donetsk Airport, Yarosh was wounded on 21 January 2015 by an exploding Grad rocket in the nearby village of Pisky.[24] He was evacuated out of the conflict zone.

        In early April 2015, Ukraine’s defence ministry announced that MP Dmytro Yarosh was to become an aide to military chief Viktor Muzhenko and that his Right Sector fighting group would be integrated into the Armed Forces of Ukraine.[25]
        Yarosh resigned as Right Sector leader on 11 November 2015.[6] After he was wounded on 21 January 2015 he had delegated tasks to others in the organisation and he stated on 11 November 2015 he “did not want to be a wedding general”.[6] Especially since he claimed “my positions were not always the same as the aspirations of some of the leadership”.[7] Late December 2015 Yarosh announced he was forming a new political party that would have its founding congress in February 2016.”

        I don’t think this guy controlled very much of the Ukranian security forces. So I would say that you need to come up with something else to support your assertion.

        “Yarosh is a controversial figure. In Russia’s state-run media he has been described as a “radical nationalist”,[33] a “fascist”.[34] Mainstream Western media has generally called him a radical or extreme nationalist. Some mainstream[35] and left-wing sources have denounced him as a “fascist”.”

        Did you get your impression of Yarosh’s political leanings from Russia’s sate-run media, or from the usual left-wing sources.

        Your arguments are really poorly informed and sloppy. It is not surprising that a fastidious high-strung nitpicker like Brandon would get exasperated by your style.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

          Please don’t assume that I’m making comments about Yarosh without information. You say “I don’t think this guy controlled very much of the Ukranian security forces. So I would say that you need to come up with something else to support your assertion.”

          In the post-coup government, Yarosh, leader of Pravy Sektor, was deputy secretary for National Security, as I said. Here’s a link from a partisan source, but the fact is correct.

          The new deputy prime minister, Oleksandr Sych, is from Svoboda; National Security Secretary Andriy Parubiy is a co-founder of the neo-Nazi Social-National Party, Svoboda’s earlier incarnation; the deputy secretary for National Security is Dmytro Yarosh, the head of Right Sector.

          You also say: “Did you get your impression of Yarosh’s political leanings from Russia’s sate-run media, or from the usual left-wing sources”. I try to avoid relying on partisan sources without verifying. I’ve looked at Pravy Sektor literature and youtubes and don’t use the term neo-Nazi for Pravy Sektor lightly or without good reason.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

          OK, I withdraw about 63% of my comment. I will leave it up to you to decide what I got incorrect,. However, you did not furnish a link to anything about Yarosh and you did not point out that he was the Deputy Sec. for National Security in the interim government. I have looked around and that seems to be a somewhat obscure fact that didn’t get a lot of press. I get the “impression” he wasn’t in that position very long. Also you have not established that Yarosh is a neo-Nazi. Give us some examples of what he has done that resembles the horrors that the real actual Nazis are known for. I see that Russian state TV agrees with you:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_Sector

          “Right Sector’s political ideology has been described as nationalist,[19][20] ultranationalist,[21][22] neofascist,[23] right-wing,[24] or far right.[25][26][27][28] Right Sector was the second-most mentioned political group in Russian media during the first half of 2014; Russian state TV depicted it as neo-Nazi.[29][30] The Associated Press found no evidence that the group had committed hate crimes.[22] In the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election Yarosh as a Right Sector candidate won a parliament seat by winning a single-member district with 29.8% of the votes.[31] Right Sector spokesperson Boryslav Bereza as an independent candidate also won a seat and district with 29.4% of the votes.”

          What you are entirely correct about is that several “far right nationalist” dudes were included in the interim government in high level positions. We do not know how much actual power they had and I have an “impression” that when elections were held the far right didn’t fare well. Please correct me if I am wrong.

          PS: If my country was invaded by the Russians I would be happy to have far right nationalist dudes take up arms against them.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

          Pravy Sektor and other right wing attacked police at Maidan in the coup, which took place well before the Crimean referendum – which was precipitated by the coup. Weapons used by Pravy Sektor included acetone Molotov cocktails. Police were lit on fire. I doubt that any of us would want that to happen to police in US or Canada.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

          Was that before or after police had killed lot of people who were taking part in a popular uprising against Russian hegemony?

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

          It was after Yanukovitch accepted an economic aide offer from Russia. Yanukovitch, the candidate who had been elected President of the Ukraine who had advocated better relations with Russia. That Obama didn’t like.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 10:23 PM | Permalink

          Right, that Obama, the one who power transitioned Yankovitch out of office.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 10:48 PM | Permalink

          That is just babble, painter. Obama was not in the Ukraine, in the streets with many thousands of Ukrainians. Do you think Obama paid them all to go out there and get shot at? Do you think Obama cooked up the bad treatment Ukraine has suffered form the beginning of time, from Russians. Do you think Obama made Yanukovych back out of signing that deal with the EU that the people wanted? I will help you. He was intimidated and bribed by Putin. The Russians were already restricting trade and promising to ruin the Ukraine economy if they got closer to the EU. You are freaking clueless. If you replace Trump in the same set of circumstances, would you be hollering about him making a freaking alleged coup? You are blinded by ideology. And you have made yourself into an apologist for Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Or did Obama send in the Russian troops and shoot down that civilian airliner? This is just crazy. Why are you and Steve defending Putin? I don’t get it.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

          Obama didn’t like Trump either. Trump, the candidate who advocated better relations with Russia. Remember?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 12:00 AM | Permalink

          More babble. Playing wack a mole with Putin apologists is unproductive.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 12:31 AM | Permalink

          What do you think, Don, should the U.S. have better relations with Russia?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 12:50 AM | Permalink

          You are funny, in a pathetic way. I don’t stay awake at night worrying about having better relations with the Russians, which as long as Putin is dictator means having better relations with Putin. And I don’t know why anybody with any integrity would be an apologist for Putin.

        • painted
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 5:56 AM | Permalink

          My question was straightforward. I would guess that you disapprove of Trump’s intention of improving U.S./Russian relations.

          Also, I have not apologized for Putin. Consult your dictionary. And mind your manners, please.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

          OK, but you have absolved Putin of responsibility for Russian atrocities in Ukraine by blaming the Ukrainians’ desire to get out from under the Russian paw, on hapless Obama. Wait a minute, that pretty much makes you an apologist for Putin.

          I spent several months on the road last year, on my own dime, working for the Trump campaign. Love the guy for what he is doing to save our country from descending to third world status, but he doesn’t know everything. International relations are not exactly like business deals. The legal framework is not there. Contracts and fair play don’t mean squat. Putin runs Russia like Al Capone would run a country and he sees the U.S. as Bugsy Moran’s gang. How should we go about improving relations with an unreformed KGB gangster? What do we have to fork over? What do we get out of it? Rhetorical questions. I know your answers will be senseless.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 12:46 PM | Permalink

          International relations are very much like a chess game. Russia is a piece on the board. Trump sees moves that you miss, would you deny it?

        • Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre:

          Guardian had been cited about two comments earlier https://climateaudit.org/2017/10/02/guccifer-2-from-january-to-may-2016/#comment-775956. I presumed that you had seen the earlier comment, but here it is again.

          Please don’t use disingenuous remarks to act as though people ought to have seen something. The comment you refer to was in an different discussion fork. Portraying that as “about two comments earlier” is incredibly disingenuous. Comments can be posted one after another yet be 20,000 words apart since this site threaded comments.

          Also, please do not make things up about what I say:

          If, as you argue, Yarosh’s appointment as Parubiy’s deputy was “made up”,

          I did not argue this claim was made up. I said given the evidence I can find, I would have to conclude it was made up. I then asked people if they could find evidence which would support a different conclusion. That is not arguing for a point. Similarly, you say:

          If you have any actual evidence contradicting this, perhaps you’d be clearer on what it is.

          While ignoring the fact I provided archived copies of the official listing of who held that position at times in close proximity to the reporting. If you don’t find those listing convincing, that’s fine. We can discuss why they may or may not be adequate to resolve matters. However, we can’t discuss the the (in)adequacy of the evidence I provide if you ignore the evidence I provide then turn around and ask me to provide evidence.

          Did Yarosh hold the position yet not get listed on the official page? Perhaps, but I doubt it. Was the idea Yarosh was given that position created out of thin air by someone seeking to spread lies? Perhaps, but I doubt it. If I had to guess, I’d guess Yarosh was given some sort of position within or connected to that government organization. People who heard about it misreported/exaggerated it, likely by mistake. Other people writing articles saw what appeared to be a simple fact reported, saw no reason to doubt it and copied what they say.

          Do I know that’s what happened? Of course not. What I do know, however, is when a person provides links to official government listings stating who holds a position and a name doesn’t appear, it is completely inappropriate to respond to that person by saying, “If you have any actual evidence contradicting this, perhaps you’d be clearer on what it is.”

          How much clearer could a person possibly be than linking to the official listings of who held a position and saying, “Yarosh isn’t listed”?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

          Just what I expected: simplistic and goofy. Chess games have rules and the players politely take turns making their moves. No guns, knives, nukes, poison gas etc. etc. Analogies are never good and this one is really lame.

          I have observed the KGB and The Donald up close. Put them in a game with no rules and with each camp having equally lethal resources, I would put my money on the KGB as the likely survivor. For example, the KGB would never make Rinse Preebus a Chief of Staff anything.

          But The Donald has good instincts and he is learning. He needs to replace helpers like Jared and Ivanka with competent generals. And instead of yammering about what he is going to do to the Rocket Man, he needs to flood the zone with heavy bombers, lots of big tanks and mechanized infantry, long range heavy artillery, Apache CABs, the 82nd Airborne and at least half of our nuclear carrier strike groups. The N Korean goons and more importantly the Red Chinese thugs are not going to be convinced we are deadly serious, just by loud talk. Now fold up your checkers board and run along.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

          I am content that others should have your last comment as a means of judging the substance of your thoughts.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

          And there goes Brandon losing his doo doo, again. It was reported by a few at least semi-legitimate media sources that Yarosh was appointed to that position. Why would they lie? The U.S State Dept. bimbo was asked about the appointment and she didn’t say: “Who?” Use your freaking head, Brandon. He apparently would not have been there very long. It was a temporary cobbled together government with scant resources. So somebody forgot to put him on whatever lists you found. Who really gives a flying ____, at this point in time.

        • Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

          Be nice Don. And don’t call him “Yimmie”. (JC readers get it.)

          I should have suggested we dwell on Ukranian coup. The thought of N*zi skin heads colluding with Victoria Nuland is just too much fun.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 7:14 PM | Permalink

          Little yimmie is a lot smarter than this character, Ron.

          The overthrow of Russian stooge Yanukovych was a popular uprising. A coup is a different thing. Of course the Russians prefer that it be characterized as a coup.

          Victoria Nuland didn’t use the Jedi mind trick to get all those people out in the streets at substantial risk to life and limb. The great majority of Ukrainians do not want to live under treacherous Russian hegemony. They have had enough of that. And once again, the gratuitous flopping of the N*zi card. Expect better from you, Ron.

      • Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 6:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve McIntyre:

        In the post-coup government, Yarosh, leader of Pravy Sektor, was deputy secretary for National Security, as I said. Here’s a link from a partisan source, but the fact is correct.

        Some time back, I kept seeing people make that claim about Yarosh and got curious because I couldn’t find the oritgin of the claim. I was curious since it seemed like it should be easy to find out who the Ukraine Deputy Secretary for National Security was yet nobody provided a source. I spent a little time looking, and I eventually came up with a Ukraine government web page listing who made up the Ukraine National Security and Defense Council.

        Obviously, the current listing isn’t very helpful, but once I found that page, it was easy to look up archived versions of it. The page was archived quite a few times. Since the article linked to for this “fact” was published on March 7, 2014, here is a link to the February 20th, 2014 archived copy and a link to the March 22nd, 2014 archived copy. Neither lists Yarosh. In fact, none of the archived versions of the page do.

        From what I can find, I’d have to conclude that “fact” was completely made up yet spread for whatever reason in various reporting. I’m curious if that’s true. Can anyone find actual evidence Yarosh was the “deputy secretary for National Security”

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

          It seems odd that the Guardian would have “made up” the appointment of Yarosh as National Security Deputy. The wikipedia page on the National Security and Defense Council, which only lists the Secretaries, confirms the appointment of Andriy Parubiy as reported at the Guardian. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_and_Defense_Council_of_Ukraine.

          In a quick google, I noticed that the US State Department was asked https://www.kyivpost.com/article/content/war-against-ukraine/us-state-department-spokeswoman-fields-question-on-ukrainian-fascist-yarosh-insists-on-end-to-russias-military-activity-in-crimea-339045.html about the appointment of Yarosh, a “fascist” to a national security position”

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

          It is easy to call somebody a “fascist”. Down here in the States, anybody who voted for Trump is called a “fascist” and worse. What do you think about the Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine? Is that not maybe a little tiny bit “fascist”? Isn’t the Russian annexation a tine little reminiscent of the Sudetenland annexation? You seem to think have acted with impeccable manners in the Ukraine? I wonder why the Ukraenians can’t just get along with their Russian neighbors.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 11:21 PM | Permalink

          Yes, the word “fascist” is vastly overused, specially @ the Guardian & co. Most thus labeled are nationalists (vs. globalists) with peaceful means and ideas. During WWII some Ukrainians collaborated with the Nazis to kill thousands of Jews, Poles etc.to end up with a ‘pure’ Ukrainian state. Recently some Ukrainians “celebrated” that process, which earned them the badge of Nazi tactic supporter https://www.timesofisrael.com/thousands-march-to-honor-nazi-collaborator-in-kiev/

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 12:18 AM | Permalink

          That seems an appropriate label for that crowd, Antony. It could be said that the Georgian Stalin and his Russian accomplices used those tactics on a grander scale in the Ukrainian Holodomor, predating the German Nasties.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 1:23 AM | Permalink

          Don, in WWII had to team up temporarily with Stalin as the lesser evil against Hitler, but this only happened because the latter had stabbed his fellow dictator in the back first – operation Barbarossa.
          A similar situation could arise in the future vs. an expansionist Xi or even when some Saudi leaders with oil and money combined with nuclear armed Pakistani generals get fully out of hand under some Wahhabi flag. What push is needed this time?

        • Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre:

          It seems odd that the Guardian would have “made up” the appointment of Yarosh as National Security Deputy. The wikipedia page on the National Security and Defense Council, which only lists the Secretaries, confirms the appointment of Andriy Parubiy as reported at the Guardian. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_and_Defense_Council_of_Ukraine.

          Nobody disputed that Andriv Parbuiy was appointed to this is a non-factor. What matters is you cited a source you acknowledged was biased but defended this statement by it as fact.

          In the post-coup government, Yarosh, leader of Pravy Sektor, was deputy secretary for National Security, as I said. Here’s a link from a partisan source, but the fact is correct.

          You respond to this disputation with incredulity, citing a question which asked about “the appointment of Yarosh, a ‘fascist’ to a national security position.” The “fact” you cited stated Yarosh took a specific position. Indeed, most reporting on the topic cited it as “Deputy Secretary for National Security,” with full capitalization, which is the correct title for a position which actually exists (when translated) which puts the person at second-in-command of that government organization.

          If Yarosh was given “a national security position” but not the job of the Deputy Secretary for National Security, the “fact” you cited would not be a fact at all. Yarosh could have been given any of a hundred different jobs with vastly different responsibilities and authorities under that description.

          Side note, you didn’t cite the Guardian so I have no idea why you say, “It seems odd that the Guardian would have ‘made up'” anything. Maybe the Guardian said the same thing the partisan source you cited said, but if you’re going to make a point out of that, you need to actually cite the Guardian so people can see what you’re talking about.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

          Guardian had been cited about two comments earlier https://climateaudit.org/2017/10/02/guccifer-2-from-january-to-may-2016/#comment-775956. I presumed that you had seen the earlier comment, but here it is again. As I observed, Guardian announced Yarosh’s appointment concurrent with Parubiy’s appointment. FYI Parubiy had previously been co-founder of a neo-Nazi party Socialist Nationalist Party of Ukraine.

          If, as you argue, Yarosh’s appointment as Parubiy’s deputy was “made up”, then the Guardian was tricked. I don’t know what the Guardian relied on as a source of this information, but I doubt that they “made it up” out of thin air. If you have any actual evidence contradicting this, perhaps you’d be clearer on what it is.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

          Having pointed to these various media reports of Yarosh’s appointment, when one tries to trace to primary evidence – as Brandon observed – , the primary evidence is sparse to non-existent. This absence of primary evidence does indicate the possibility that media sources for their statement of Yarosh’s appointment to the specific function of “Deputy Secretary” may not be well-founded.

          As someone who’s just done a lengthy parsing of TV5 Monde incident, in which inaccurate reporting played a role in misunderstanding, I can hardly exclude the possibility of mis-reporting of this incident.

          Having said that, Yarosh was influential in the post-coup government and Parubiy even more so. There’s no question about Parubiy’s offices or his co-founding of the neo-Nazi Socialist Nationalist Party of the Ukraine. Nor, in my opinion, is there any reasonable quibble about neo-Nazi influence in the post-coup government.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 3:10 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, Here’s an article from Channel 4 News which I had read earlier and relied on regarding Yarosh (logged in Zotero). It stated that Yarosh was “overseeing the armed forces alongside Parubiy as the Deputy Secretary of National Security” and discussed Parubiy’s co-founding a neo-Nazi party. (I’ve collected some information Parubiy).

          If Yarosh’s appointment as deputy to Parubiy is “made up”, as you argue, media were deceived at the time.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

          Counterpunch on March 11 also reported on Yarosh’s appointment:

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

          Leader of Pravy Sektor (Right Sector) in Ukraine calls for mass deportation:
          http://www.stalkerzone.org/ukrainian-tv-head-right-sector-kiev-called-deport-population-donbass-en-masse/

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

          Upon further consideration, it appears that the citizens of the Crimea were motivated by concerns of self preservation and these fears were not baseless, given the virulence of hate directed at Ukrainians of Russian extraction. The murderous intent of the neo-nazis is very much evident in these videos, links and other sources. If I were a citizen of the Crimea I too would welcome Putin’s intervention. The Russians of the Donbass likewise have cogent reasons to fear the Maidan insurrectionists. The Ukrainian ultra-nationalism is repugnant in its virulence.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

          As example of hatred, consider this hacked telephone call in which Hillary’s pal, Yuila Tymoshenko, proposes genocide against 8 million Russian citizens of Ukraine.

        • Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

          I really hate how WordPress handles threaded comments. You should be able to collapse forks to reduce clutter and prevent comments from landing in the wrong location. Oh well. My response landed here by mistake:

          https://climateaudit.org/2017/10/02/guccifer-2-from-january-to-may-2016/#comment-776018

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

          Julia Tymoshenko is a prominent figure in Ukrainian politics. In 2011 she was convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to seven years imprisonment and ordered to repay $188 million(!) to the state. She was released from prison at the Maidan. The Ukrainian parliament abolished the law under which she was convicted!!

          Thus the Ukrainian Freedom Fighters.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

          Unsurprisingly, Tymoshenko’s enrichment through politics was an inspiration to Hillary Clinton. Both Clinton and Clintonista Victoria Nuland objected stridently against the idea that Tymoshenko should be penalized for corruption. https://still4hill.com/tag/yulia-tymoshenko/

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 6:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

        changed some spelling to get out of moderation

        OK, I withdraw about 63% of my comment. I will leave it up to you to decide how to apportion. However, you did not furnish a link to anything about Yarosh and you did not point out that he was the Deputy Sec. for National Security in the interim government. I have looked around and that seems to be a somewhat obscure fact that didn’t get a lot of press. I get the “impression” he wasn’t in that position very long. Also you have not established that Yarosh is a neo-Nasty. Give us some examples of what he has done that resembles the horrors that the real actual Nasties are known for. I do see that Russian state TV agrees with you:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_Sector

        “Right Sector’s political ideology has been described as nationalist,[19][20] ultranationalist,[21][22] neofascist,[23] right-wing,[24] or far right.[25][26][27][28] Right Sector was the second-most mentioned political group in Russian media during the first half of 2014; Russian state TV depicted it as neo-Nasty.[29][30] The Associated Press found no evidence that the group had committed hate crimes.[22] In the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election Yarosh as a Right Sector candidate won a parliament seat by winning a single-member district with 29.8% of the votes.[31] Right Sector spokesperson Boryslav Bereza as an independent candidate also won a seat and district with 29.4% of the votes.”

        What you are entirely correct about is that several “far right nationalist” dudes were included in the interim government in high level positions. We don’t know how much actual power they had and I have an “impression” that when elections were held the far right didn’t fare well. Please correct me if I am wrong.

        PS: If my country was invaded by the Russians I would be happy to have far right nationalist dudes take up arms against them.

        • Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 7:45 PM | Permalink

          I have a comment stuck in moderation which calls into question the idea Yarosh ever held that position. I don’t rule it out entirely, but the evidence I can find indicates that claim isn’t true.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

          We are impressed, Brandon. I saw a reference to Yarosh in that position on Steve’s link and one other place. Other articles and wiki type sources do not mention it. Like I said, maybe nobody was interested enough to write about it. In any case, Steve has got nothing to justify labeling Yarosh a neo-you know what.

          “The Associated Press found no evidence that the group had committed hate crimes.”

          According to the AP they have found no evidence Yarosh that is one of those neo-you know whats.

          Keep up the good work, Brandon. You will one day receive major prizes. At least, that’s my impression.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

          I found another reference to Yarosh as Deputy National Security whatever:

          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/04/who-governing-ukraine-olexander-turchynov

          Left loon Guardian, but I think it is credible. It mentions that there are a handful of righties in the government, including the Deputy PM. Doesn’t label anybody a neo-Nasty.

          Steve: here’s screenshot from your Guardian link:

        • Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

          You should try checking the official Ukranian webpage which lists the identities of the people who hold positions like that. I did. There are plenty of archived versions of it. None of them mention Yarosh holding that position. I discussed that in the comment currently awaiting moderation.

          I’ve also looked for any official Ukranian announcements saying he was being given that position/currently held that position. I couldn’t find any. All I can find is people saying it without sources (unless they link to another story which failed to provide a source). Maybe someone who speaks the language would have better luck.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

          It looks to me like Yarosh held that position. Maybe not long enough to get a paycheck.
          I don’t see any justification for calling him a neo-Nword.

          In any case, I have been proven wrong when I said:

          “Do you concede that the far right fanatics were left out of significant power positions in the government?”

          The Deputy Prime Minister is a righty. But he seems to fall well short of being a neo-you know what:

          The Guardian gives a left loon summary of his “far right” beliefs:

          “Sych, 49, is a member of the far-right nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party. He is an anti-abortion activist and once publicly suggested that women should “lead the kind of lifestyle to avoid the risk of rape, including refraining from drinking alcohol and being in controversial company”. He has attracted criticism from women’s and human rights groups.”

          That guy is a real monster. No woman would be safe around him. Makes Harvey Weinstein look like a saint. Anyway, to the right of Stalin is far-right to the Guardian and fellow travelers. If you are to the right of Jimmy Carter, then you are a neo-Nasty.

  26. Posted Oct 7, 2017 at 11:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Yesterday from the Daily Caller:

    Lawyers for Imran Awan, an ex-aide who ran information technology (IT) for Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, “feel very strongly” that data recovered from a hard drive on Capitol Hill should not be valid as evidence because he put a note that said “attorney client privilege” near it before leaving it in a phone booth, they said in federal court Friday. A police report shows that the backpack contained a laptop with the username “RepDWS,” copy of Imran Awan’s ID, and the notebook.

    This seems to support that the digital life-insurance against foul play scenario. Although the attorney client privilege lasts forever, as tested in the Supreme Court in a case where investigators tried piercing it to gain evidence in the death of Vince Foster, it is possible for the executor to pierce it only for the interest of the estate or if such power is expressed in a will. Presumably, Awan figured the DNC would not risk it. I am open to other theories if a more plausible one is offered to fit the circumstances.

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 1:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I wonder who/what the attorney is? The phone booth, or the laptop? I think the Supreme Court has ruled back in 1922 that you have waived attorney client privilege, if you leave the evidence on a laptop, in a phone booth, in a building that ain’t yours.

  27. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 7:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

  28. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 7:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Oct 8, 2017 at 8:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

      They don’t need help from their friends the CIA (anymore); they don’t like Wikileaks; surely they love the Atlantic Council (with various W. Ukrainian sponsors).

  29. mrmethane
    Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 2:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve / US Intrusions into Canada:
    Soros’ fingerprints are all over threats to our natural resource development, export, and pricing. His Tides Foundation via Tides Canada and probably a thousand other ‘eco-money-laundering’ mechanisms have been shown to be implicated in NGO suppression of our very potential livelihoods. Some readings of Vivian Krause’s blogs and columns should be required backgrounders to even a start of discussion on the topic.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 3:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I entirely agree about the pernicious role of the Tides Foundation.

      As long as the US countenances and supports such interference in our democracy, I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for their complaints about supposed Russian purchase of Facebook ads.

  30. Posted Oct 9, 2017 at 6:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, “My main worry is not NoKo or Iran, but US – particularly when US intel community, media and think tanks are so bellicose.”

    I am surprised by your comment. The US would NEVER launch a preemptive nuclear weapon.

  31. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 10, 2017 at 10:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    2 videos on Pravy Sektor; one on Crimea



    • Don Monfort
      Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 12:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

      That guy with his girlfriend’s letters proves that the Western democracies are evil and Putin is nice, like Santa Claus. Now I hope Putin finishes the liberation of the rest of Ukraine. Then he can move on to free Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland etc. etc.

      This discussion is sickening.

      • Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 9:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Don, did you hear Victoria Nuland say Fu*k? She puts on like a church lady. Did you the Princess Leia-looking chick say she wanted to kill 8 million Russian-Ukranians with nukes? Are these phone conversations real or some kind of new voice emulation technology? Can I have Leia be my new navigation system voice? The world is getting too complicated. I don’t know what to believe. It was so much simpler when Uncle Walter just told us what to believe and then sign-off assuring: “…and that’s the way it is..” (Walter Cronkite was the iconic CBS News anchor circa 1960s-70s.)

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 10:58 PM | Permalink

          Phone conversations are real. Post-coup government went exactly according to Victoria Nuland’s plan. In December, prior to the coup, Nuland told Chevron conference that US had invested $5 billion in Ukraine (through NGOs and political support presumably) to ensure “secure and democratic Ukraine”.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 11:06 PM | Permalink

          Yeah, I see/hear those audios. I am really shocked that girl Nuland said that bad word. Mortified. Sick to my stomach. My phony outrage is almost out of control. She should be fired. And I am shocked, mortified, sickened, irritated, miffed, etc. etc. that any Ukrainian would get all emotional and talk BS about wiping out millions of Russians. Where does that kind of visceral enmity come from? Does she have little nukes that can selectively kill Ukrainian Russkis and not harm the actual Ukrainians?

          Come to think of it, if I added up all the times I said I wished I could kill somebody or some group that had pissed me off, it would add up to considerably more than 8 million folks. And the Russians would be included. They and their surrogates tried to kill me enough times to make the list.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

          Maybe we should have saved our $5B and let the Russians take over all of Ukraine. The Ukrainians would just have to get over it. We would have better relations with Putin. We could actually make money. We just assure Putin he can take Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for $5B each. We could get 10B for Poland. We take payment in gold so we don’t get stuck with counterfeit. Can’t trust the KGB.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 11:13 PM | Permalink

          Victoria Nuland is married to Robert Kagan, one of the founders of the warmongering Project for a New American Century, leading advocate of the foreign adventurism that has so damaged US politics.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

          The PNAC’s basic claim to fame is their lobbying for the ouster of Saddam Hussien. That wasn’t hard to do. The problem was that we stayed on and tried to oraganize that rabble of desert creatures into a modern society. The lesson from that is that we want to remove a despot we roll through the country with a lot of violence, kill the head of the snake and move on. We can always go back, if they misbehave in the future. An d it is a lesson for the other snakes to consider before they get out of line. This is called the Monfort Doctrine. Trump is considering it.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 11:33 PM | Permalink

          Don, Russia had Ukraine and the Baltic states till 1990/1 but let them go, just like Israel let go of Gaza. It went well till they turned hostile towards their big neighbor.
          Would the US tolerate a hostile Canada and Mexico, supported by Russia or China?

          Putin is a clever ex-KGB tug yes, but Russia does have genuine security concerns, like any nation.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 11:49 PM | Permalink

          That is a brilliant analysis, Antony. Russia is in danger from Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia et al, like we are in danger from Canada, Mexico and Costa freaking Rica. You are talking foolishness. I have to believe that you people don’t get out much.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 11:56 PM | Permalink

          Cuba

        • Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 11:58 PM | Permalink

          Antony: “…Russia does have genuine security concerns, like any nation.”

          This is what I remember coming out of Pravda to excuse the iron curtain and Soviets world adventures. I know you and Steve have not been replaced with Russian troll bots because, well… Wait a minute. What was the name of your first pet?

          There is always an excuse for aggression. Even A.H. did not blitzkrieg (usually) without a pretext.

          BTW, are you saying that Putin is not a de facto dictator?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 1:06 AM | Permalink

          OMG! What did Antony retort? Did he say Cuba? I guess we can stop now.

    • mpainter
      Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Wikipedia has several articles of interest:

      “Ukrainian Collaboration in WW II”

      “The Holocaust in the Ukraine”

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 9:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Nasty WWII group: Ukrainian People’s Militia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_People%27s_Militia#Ukrainian_People.27s_Militia_instructions

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

          The “nasty”/Nazi OUN was led by Stepan Bandera and Yaroslav Stetsko – both reasonably called Nazis. In western Ukraine, Bandera is regarded as hero. In one of the demonstrations prior to the coup, here’s a torchlight procession with portrait of Bandera.

          Public statues of Bandera have been erected in major western Ukrainian cities:

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 11:17 PM | Permalink

          How many of those far far right fanatics got elected to the parliament and higher offices in the recent free and democratic elections in Ukraine, Steve? You must know.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 11:23 PM | Permalink

          A lot of Ukrainians saw the Germans as the lesser of two evils, or even liberators. Why would they be so spiteful towards the Georgian Stalin and his Russki accomplices? And why would Ukrainians today still be pissed off at the way they have been historically oppressed by their Russki friends? Can’t thy let bygones be bygones? Shame on the Ukrainians for trying to cozy up to the Western democracies. What were they thinking?

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 11:44 PM | Permalink

          Just heard from a young Russian colleague who has an uncle living in Crimea: they have had a very hard life since Crimean separated: Ukraine cut off all water, gas & electricity. They are waiting for the bridge etc. to Russia to get finished.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 7:41 AM | Permalink

          “Cut off all water, gas, and electricity”

          It is not unlikely that the Ukraine would have done this anyway. There is little doubt that the present government has extreme antipathy toward those of Russian extraction. The Ukrainian parliament outlawed the Russian language. The Russians of the Ukraine have good reason to fear for their wellbeing. At best, they would be an oppressed minority. The neo-n*zis would happily exterminate them.

    • jddohio
      Posted Oct 11, 2017 at 11:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The Wikipedia article on Crimea shows that at least since 1897 there have been much more Russians in Crimea than Ukrainians. For example in 1970, Crimea was 67% Russian and 26% Ukrainian. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimea — demographics section. No matter the shenigans that Putin may have instigated, it seems pretty clear that, if there was a fair election Crimean citizens would vote to join Russia.

      JD

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

        That was the same rational the Western democracies used to sell out all of Czechoslovakia over the German populated Sudetenland. So, what about Eastern Ukraine? Is Russia also entitled to that? They have already taken it, but shouldn’t we, to be consistent, legitimize the theft? How about the parts of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia with a lot of ethnic Russians? Hell, let’s just simplify this and take it to it’s logical conclusion. Whatever countries have a lot of Russians planted by Stalin, belong to Putin. Many of you people are scary. Whose side are you on? Wouldn’t we have to give them Brighton Beach?

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 12:07 AM | Permalink

          Scary people today: Wahhabis, (neo)Nazis, CCP leadership. All violently intolerant of others, even in small quantities. The Wahhabis are even terrible towards their own ~50% women on top of that.

        • jddohio
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

          Don Monfort: “That was the same rational the Western democracies used to sell out all of Czechoslovakia over the German populated Sudetenland.”

          You are unhinged comparing Putin to Hitler and raising the Sudetenland issue. Putin has an unsavory history, but it is not remotely comparable to Hitler. Crimea was part of Russia up to 1953 and was transferred to the Ukraine in 1954 with no input by the Crimeans. As I posted in reply to Graf, it is probably virtually impossible to conduct a fair election now when one considers the machinations of the Russians and the Ukrainians.

          It should also be noted that Sudetenland was 90% German and had about 3,000,000 people. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudetenland Following WWII, they were virtually all expelled from Czechoslovakia. (In many cases for colloboration with Nazis, which is understandable) My point being that ethnic minorities within a larger country face very complicated risks and that the history of Sudetenland can’t be explained in a simplistic manner.

          My further point being that Russia’s seizure of Crimea is not the simple black/white issue which you are trying to make it.

          JD

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

          I didn’t see this unhinged crap comment of yours, JD. Must have popped up out of moderation. Anyway, you need to inform yourself on the Sudetenland-Munich debacle. Give them an inch and they take a mile. Mr. AH wasn’t just after the Sudetenland. His own generals were appalled by his plans to conquer Europe and would have attempted to take him out if he had not been handed huge victory by the Western democracies.

          I didn’t say that Russian seizure of Crimea is a simple issue. It is however a clear issue. Crimea was a part of Ukraine. The Russian military take over of the Ukrainian government apparatus in Crimea was illegal and the referendum was illegal. And you would see that fact if it happened in some other part of the world. What is with this impulse too many of you people have to make excuses for Putin’s blatant bad behavior? Is it fear?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

          It is hard to catch some of these comments when Steve inserts them some time after the comment stream has moved on. And I still have a comment in moderation on the next thread.

          Steve, you are not familiar with the conditions and events in East Ukraine. I don’t have the time or inclination to go into it deeply. I doubt that you would be impressed anyway. I will point out that most people in Ukraine are Russian speakers, who mostly also speak Ukrainian. In 2010 Ukraine elected an ethnic Russian, who speaks Russian and can’t communicate very well in Ukrainian. That’s indicates how much they discriminate against Ukrainian Russians. Or maybe you have some details and evidence of some specific wrongs committed against Russians in Ukraine by ethnic Ukrainians. What about the Russians living in Western Ukraine? They seem to be fine.

          There has not been a Ukrainian suppression of Russians in Ukraine. That story is Putin KGB BS propaganda. The difference between Eastern Ukraine and Syria is that the U.S has no desire or reason to remain on Syrian territory. Putin has no intention of leaving Syria. Syria was in the Soviet sphere and it will remain there with the help of Iran and Hezbollah. Putin is determined to retake as much of the Soviet empire as he can and has no intention of leaving Eastern Ukraine. And every freaking body who has been paying any attention at all knows that the Russian military is responsible for defeating the Ukraine military in Eastern Ukraine, not some band of locals. Do you think some local militia owned and operated that sophisticated anti-aircraft missile system that shot down many Ukraine military aircraft and that civilian airliner? Are you aware of the recent Putin invasion of Georgia? Are you aware of any of his treacherous shenanigans? Chechyna? Didn’t they want to secede from the Russian Federation and got slaughtered? Maybe it’s all OK. Just the normal Stalinist KGB stuff. Putin must have some plausible reason for all his actions.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

          I have another comment in moderation. I’ll stop until I am sure I am not completely and utterly wasting my time.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

          any comments in moderation are caught by system for some reason. I clear out moderation bin when I come online. Sorry about that. While we disagree on some issues, issues relating to Syria, Ukraine etc are very murky; reasonable people can disagree and I like hearing the other side.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 4:37 PM | Permalink

          Frank, you forgot to mention Putin’s delusions of resurrecting Soviet/Russia status as a world power. His costly meddling in Syria, his foolish investment of billions to prop up the ridiculous socialist regime in Venezuela etc. etc. Russia can’t afford that crap. Hopefully, they will go bankrupt again. Putin will flee to Cuba with his hundreds of billion$.

      • Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 12:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

        JD: “… if there was a fair election Crimean citizens would vote to join Russia.”

        This assumes that political issues like freedom are insignificant compared with being united with a country with a common language. They certainly could have ask for a fair election or risen up if they were denied it. They did not get to make that vote.

        • jddohio
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 7:08 AM | Permalink

          Graf: “They certainly could have ask for a fair election or risen up if they were denied it.”

          With all of the machinations going on between Russia and the Ukraine, I believe it would have been virtually impossible to conduct a fair election. That being said the annexation of Crimea, which had recently been a part of the Soviet Union as recently as 1953 is, in and of itself, not a major foreign policy issue that the US should be concerned with. I realize that if the US did virtually nothing it would encourage Putin to be more aggressive in other areas, but with respect to the actual narrow issue of Crimea becoming a part of Russia, it is probably the correct result.

          JD

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

          I entirely agree with this analysis.

        • Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

          JD: ” …it is probably the correct result.”

          Historical claims and sovereignty are multifaceted issues that the world would better not be settling with military invasions. I think process matters.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

          The citizens of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria would all agree on this.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 8:44 AM | Permalink

          Ron, all depends on whether the Russians of the Crimea were threatened by the Maida thugs. The thuggings and the anti-Russian bigotry of the Maidan uprising must be taken into consideration. High minded ideals cannot obviate ground truths.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

          Nice work lawyering for Putin, JD. But you made a mistake. Crimea was a part of the Soviet Union as recently as 1991. Anyway, 1953 still works. Ukraine was also part of the Soviet Union as recently as 1991. Putin has already taken the eastern part back. No big deal as there are a lot of Russians there who don’t mind being re-integrated into the neo-Soviet Union that Putin is assembling. Doesn’t concern us.

          So, when Putin invades another of the former captive nations of the old Soviet Union we should not get uptight about it. As long as his troops/goons remove their shoulder patches and paint over the identifying markings on their tanks. And somebody has to stamp out the anti-Russian bigotry in all those formerly captive nations. For example, I been in Hungary and I know they really hate the Russians. They so need to get straightened out. We really should give Alaska back. We most certainly cheated them on that deal. Very little money for all that land and natural resources. Hey, it might improve our relations with Putin.

          A lot of borders in the world need to be re-drawn. JD could make a nice business out of providing the legal justification for various Border Re-adjustment Invasions. I will write the TV commercials for you, JD.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

          Steve, what about the Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine. Is that OK too?

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

          I am not as familiar with eastern Ukraine as I ought to be. It’s my understanding that these areas were Russian-speaking, attempted to secede from Ukraine and have been attacked by the central government dominated by western Ukraine. I’ve read accounts saying that the resistance is local (though undoubtedly obtaining weapons from outside) rather than an “invasion” by Russian military. I don’t have personal knowledge. I think that the term “invasion” is being used loosely to describe different things by different people. Do you regard US as having “invaded” Syria? Probably not and yet it has 10 or so military bases in Syria, established against the wishes of the Syrian government. Does Russia have military bases in eastern Ukraine? I don’t know, but I don’t think so.

        • jddohio
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

          Ron Graf: “Historical claims and sovereignty are multifaceted issues that the world would better not be settling with military invasions. I think process matters.”

          Ideally it does. However, many times it is impractical. I suspect that the grievances between the Catalans and the Spanish are a lot less than those between the Russians and the Ukrainians. However, the election process is not working in Spain/Catalan. The chances of it working in Crimea are even less. Maybe the military solution in Crimea is ultimately for the best.

          JD

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

          Nice work Steve. You just keep spouting the Putin propaganda spin. Russian troops have invaded Eastern Ukraine. Google it. You are being willfully ignorant. No reason to discuss this any further with you and some of this crowd you got here. Putin has got you bamboozled. It’s almost hilarious.

        • jddohio
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

          Monfort: “So, when Putin invades another of the former captive nations of the old Soviet Union we should not get uptight about it.”

          If that happens we will deal with it then. Crimea is different.

          Monfort: “We really should give Alaska back. We most certainly cheated them on that deal. Very little money for all that land and natural resources. Hey, it might improve our relations with Putin.”

          You are making ludicrous slippery slope arguments that aren’t remotely related to Crimea. Similar to the domino theory that led to many mistakes in Vietnam. Doubt that I will bother to respond to any of your further posts.

          JD

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

          You continue your slippery evasion. What about Eastern Ukraine, counselor? That’s related to Crimea. Is it OK for Putin to take that too? How much Putin land grabbing do you think is excusable? There are a lot of Russians throughout the former Soviet Empire that he could rescue.

          The principle is that land grabbing is not OK. It should be discouraged. Land grabbers should be shunned and should suffer some unpleasant consequences for their land grabbing. Making excuses for land grabbing is dumb. It just encourages more land grabbing and intimidation of less powerful nations. Putin is nobodies’ savior.

          It will be fine with me if you don’t reply. I’m gone. Too many willfully ignorant Putin apologists here.

        • Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

          Re: “The citizens of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria ”

          I half agree, as does Trump. Iraq perhaps could have remained under no-fly and resumed inspections rather than invasion. Afghanistan was a terrorist training camp that already had internal opposed armed factions. Libya could have possibly saved if Gaddafi had agreed to bring in peace keepers in exchange for control. Syria diddo. I think common denominator was over-optimum as to what follows a dictator. Even Russia backslid into dictatorship.

          JD, I think that Don has a point that just because a new government is more favorable to west vs. east does not necessarily put all the population with eastern blood in immediate peril. The definition of anti-Russian bigotry is likely like all places, a sliding scale and it’s potentially much exacerbated by Putin intentionally.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

          But Ron, anti-Russian bigotry of Ukrainians does not need exaggerating.

          Russians of the Donbass dominate the urban areas, the Ukrainians the countryside. Influx of Russians into this area began in the late nineteenth century when coal and mineral exploitation, along with industrialization, started . It seems that Russians were preferred to Ukrainians for employment in these industries. This preferment of Russians at the expense of Ukrainians seems to have continued during the Soviet era. This policy was implemented in the Crimea after WW II when a depopulated Crimea was settled with Russians.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

          To continue, these deliberate policies plus other, more brutal injuries under the Soviets, seems to have indelibly fixed the hatred of Ukrainians against Russians. There was little love lost, however. Ukrainians have historically felt antipathy toward Russia, as far back as the days of Peter the Great. Nationalistic animosities are nothing new, but these Ukrainians call to mind the worst of the n*zis under H*tler.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 2:53 PM | Permalink

          Ron, some of these characters have either been bamboozled by Russian propaganda or they just agree with the way Putin rules. For whatever reason, they spout the Putin party line BS that Ukrainians in general are Russian hating neo-Nasties who somehow forced Putin to roll into the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine to save the ethnic Russians from whatever.

          First problem with that BS is that Putin does not hesitate to jail or exterminate the Russians in Russia who cross him. He is a bloody dictator. The Ukrainians weren’t suppressing Russians. Those alleged neo-Nasty Russian haters elected a freaking ethnic Russian President, who was getting along fine doing what the people wanted by forging closer ties to the EU, until Putin coerced him to back off. The people got real mad and ran the bum out. How does that justify the Russian military takeover and annexation of Crimea? How does that justify Putin’s support of the Russian insurgents in East Ukraine with heavy weapons, armor, sophisticated anti-aircraft missile systems and Russian troops? That amounts to a de facto annexation of East Ukraine. But don’t worry, bloody dictators always have limited territorial ambitions.

          It is just bizarre that these otherwise seemingly intelligent characters just ignore Putin’s bad motives and actions. Putin is a Stalin wannabe.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

          Here, Don, this should help your understanding. I copy my comment from below:

          The Maidan uprising has been presented as a popular uprising against an unwanted government. Although this view has been widely propagated and accepted, it is hardly the truth. It was in fact an uprising against a popularly elected government organized by those who lost the election. The closer one looks at all the aspects, the neo-n*zism, the nationalist bigotry, etc., the worse it appears.

        • Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 8:00 PM | Permalink

          I have no affection for Russia or Ukraine. Bottom line: Putin is an expansionist dictator. Military invasion of neighbors requires the highest standard of international support. I saw none here.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

          Yeah, I saw that comment. It’s just as foolish the second time around. How did a ethnic Russian, who can barely speak Ukrainian, get elected President in a country (Ukraine) of hateful anti-Russian neo-n*zi Ukrainian bigots? I will help you. Yanukovych campaigned on a platform that was in sync with the popular desire to emulate and integrate with the Western democracies in the EU. He negotiated an agreement with EU to advance that relationship, Putin jerked his chain, Ukrainian people who don’t want to live under Russian hegemony got mad at Putin’s puppet, revolted and the rest is history. Your story is KGB Putin propaganda. What does our man Trump think about all this? I know. You don’t have a clue. Here try to figure it out. Use that giant brain of yours:

          https://www.google.com/search?q=donald+trump+crimea&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS759US759&oq=Trump+crimea&aqs=chrome.5.69i57j0l5.26410j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

          Can you explain any legitimate reason for declaring Iranian RGC a “terrorist” organization? Trump admin seems more interested in IRGC and Hezbollah than AlQaeda and ISIS. When US says that Iran is leading sponsor of terror, what is factual basis for this as opposed to Saudi Arabia or Qatar?

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

          Requires international support? More of a question of can you get away with it:
          Cuba 1898
          Mexico 1916
          Bay of Pigs 1961
          Dominican Republic 1965
          Grenada 1983

          Putin will get away with it, imo. The Ukraine will have to settle with Russia on the Donbass issue; they have no alternative. Otherwise they get no NATO membership (which requires an applicant to have its affairs in good order, internally and with its neighbors).
          Trump and Putin will reach an accommodation, I feel assured. Putin has the Crimea and maybe part of the Donbass.
          Nobody has lifted a finger to help the Ukraine, militarily, except..guess who?
          Canada ! 🙂

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

          Trudeau’s Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, has Ukrainian background. Her grandfather has been reported to have been connected to SS (though it’s questionable that Freeland was aware of this until recently).

        • Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 11:28 PM | Permalink

          Painter, I see now you are correct. The US is just like N@zi Germany and the Soviet Union, grabbing and dominating neighbors. It’s all clear to me know that I have been brain washed into thinking that democratic principles have any special connection to legitimacy. You forgot Hawaii and the Philippines.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

          Ron, I simply meant to point out that in statecraft the only legitimacy is national interest coupled to pragmatism.
          For those who insist on high moral principles and “international law”, Putin has cited the Kosovo precedent, but that is mostly for home consumption; otherwise he does not need it even though it fits the circumstances.

          All nations respect Russia’s interest; none have intervened in the Ukraine militarily except the fluffhead Trudeau who has sent 800 “advisors” to the Ukraine.

          I would point out that the Kosovo “principles” of self determination can legitimately be claimed for the Donbass as well as the Crimea.
          Putin can give the bird to anyone who squawks about “principles”. Thus we see the foolishness of nations who try to legitimize their interventions by formulation of “principles” a la Kosovo. Thus these clowns have provided Putin with the means to prettify his grabs.

        • Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

          Painter, I don’t understand how the Kosovo precedent helps Putin’s position or hurts the cause of self-determination and democratic principles. In the post WWII era the US and western goals have not just been to contain communism but also the spread of dictatorships. Anti-communist dictatorships were only supported as the least bad option in attempting containment of the spread of communist dictatorship. But, in the post-Soviet era the Neocon principle was born that fledgling democracies would be viable in the absence of Soviet targeting. What we found was that Iraq-type democracies are still dangerously unstable due to cultures where democratic principles are not valued highly enough to overcome religious and ethnic divisions.

          Putin is emulating Soviet policy of supporting dictatorships like Iran, Syria and N Korea. While the US admittedly support Saudi Arabia in exchange for stable world oil and had supported a Egyptian dictatorship in exchange for a stable Israel neighbor, we did not cling to Mubarak when the people rose up in the name of democracy. If Donbass or Crimea long for the Soviet Union days they should be allowed to rejoin an expanding Russia. But there needs to be a more lengthy process than Russian un-uniformed troops and unmarked tanks ceasing the country.

        • Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

          I meant seizing. But ceasing works too.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

          And now Trudeau has an embarrassment: a Foreign Minister who ducks questions concerning her family’s connection to the n*zis plus a wrong headed military commitment that he can’t get out of without admitting that he goofed. May he continue to accumulate such baggage.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

          For those who liken Putin to a dictator:

          2012 election results:
          Putin 63%
          Communist Party candidate 17%
          Third candidate 8%
          Fourth candidate 6%

          Not pretty, yes; dictator, no.
          Russians like him very well.

          And yes indeed, Putin can cite the Kosovo principles for window dressing, but as I put above, he doesn’t need it. Ron, as I have endeavoured to show, an overly moralistic approach to statecraft clouds understanding.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

          Putin is not the first dictator to win an election. Dictators always win elections. You are really a character.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 2:48 PM | Permalink

          I might add that the present Ukrainian government was established following the overthrow by insurrection of a popularly elected government, the U.S. participating in this overthrow to such degree that it named the members of the new government. The U.S. immediately recognized the new government, naturally enough, having spent uncounted billions to install it. Obama has a record of this sort of behaviour. Any Russian might hold his nose at the U.S.
          So pot, meet kettle.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 3:10 PM | Permalink

          Hi Don, missed you. Figured that if I posted Putin’s election majority that would bring charging out of the bushes. Welcome back! 🙂

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 3:15 PM | Permalink

          The U.S. didn’t spend billions to install the Ukraine inteim government. The billions were spent to support the new government and the Ukrainian people, who were and are under attack from Russia-Putin-KGB. The U.S. did not pick the leaders of the interim government. They brokered and agreement among the leading factions of the popular uprising that threw out a bum who had knuckled under to Putin. You are blinded by your justified hatred of Obama. If Trump does the same thing some where else, you will fawn all over his brilliant accomplishment. You are a lightweight.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

          “You are a lightweight”
          == ====
          Nice little puppy dog, you won’t bite, will you? Promise?

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

          mpainter: “I would point out that the Kosovo “principles” of self determination can legitimately be claimed for the Donbass as well as the Crimea.”

          While there may be some parallels, the difference between Crimea and Kosovo is that the US and Europe attempted to negotiate a peaceful solution to the problems in Kosovo (and Bosnia before that). Russian special forces not wearing uniforms seized Crimea within days of Yanukovych’s flight and dismissal by Parliament in late February. The timing proves this was an opportunistic military coup by Putin.

          The US didn’t sponsor a coup against Yanukovych, we participated in and endorsed successful negotiations to keep Yanukovych in power. However, when demonstrations continued, Yanukovych fled the country.

        • Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

          Steve: “…When US says that Iran is leading sponsor of terror, what is factual basis for this as opposed to Saudi Arabia or Qatar?”

          1) 1979-1981 52 American embassy hostages held for over a year.
          2) Support for Hezbollah taking American and UK hostages in Lebanon during mid 1980s.
          3) Smuggling of arms and rockets to Hamas and Palestinian terrorists.
          4) Quds Force of IRGC killing US solders with armor piercing IEDs in Iraq and supplying to Sunni terrorists.
          5) Involvement in Yemen.
          6) Involvement in Syria.
          7) Involvement in Afghanistan.

          Their “peaceful” nuclear program has us a little biased against them too I suppose.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

          thanks for response. I’m aware of embassy situation – as you may recall, Canada helped out. I recall the Lebanon incidents, but 1980s is a long time ago, prior to growth of Al Qaeda, and doesn’t seem particularly relevant to supporting allegations on Iran’s present role.

          6) Involvement in Syria. – in what way does their involvement in Syria warrant charges of supporting terrorism? They’ve fought against ISIS and AlQaeda.

          5) Involvement in Yemen. Yemen’s complicated and role of US in regime change reverse of that in Syria. In Yemen (as I understand it and don’t claim authority), Shia Houthis had effected regime change against previous Sunni dictator. In response, Saudi and US have sought to restore previous dictator’s regime. AlQaeda in Yemen flourishes in Sunni territory, not Shia. Iran has presumably sent arms to Shia Houthi, as US has sent arms to Saudis. Why is one side “terrorist” and not the other.

          7) Involvement in Afghanistan. – it strikes me that US has had far more involvement in Afghanistan than Iran. I don’t know the facts of Iranian involvement in Afghanistan (a neighbor) and can’t discuss. But if merely supplying arms to one side of a civil war constitutes “terrorism”, doesn’t that apply to both sides?

          4) I’m not familiar with Quds Force issues – I thought that Iranian forces were fighting ISIS in Iraq. Indeed, I recall reading a story that the ISIS advance on Baghdad was only stopped because of Iranian intervention. Are you sure that Iran supplied arms to Sunni terrorists? I thought that Iran supported Shia. In general, I thought that US and Iran were fighting on the same side in Iraq – though seldom discussed in public.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 5:09 AM | Permalink

          Steve asked: “When US says that Iran is leading sponsor of terror, what is factual basis for this as opposed to Saudi Arabia or Qatar?”

          You can read the official Congressionally-mandated DoS report for 2016 (released in late July 2017 by the Trump administration). There are separate sections for state sponsors of terror and terrorist organizations. There may be many individuals in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Pakistan (plus parts of the ISI) who support terrorist organizations, but these countries have no official relationship with any terrorist organization and they are generally meeting their international obligations to fight terrorism. Iran’s and Syria’s support and funding for Hezbollah, Palestinian and other terrorist organizations is official government policy. Iran allegedly contains training camps for terrorists. Saudi Arabia is supporting Islamist groups in Syria, but apparently none that are on our list of terrorist organizations. Pakistan may be the biggest sinner

          https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/2016/

          There is a section on COUNTERTERRORISM COORDINATION WITH SAUDI ARABIA

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

          You say “Saudi Arabia is supporting Islamist groups in Syria, but apparently none that are on our list of terrorist organizations.” Who’s been supplying money and arms to AlNusra (AlQaeda) and ISIS then? Some of the arms come from the US via “moderate” rebels who defect, re-sell or lose control of US arms, but there’s more than that.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 6:06 AM | Permalink

          Frank, you neglected to mention
          1) Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to join Russia, results which are sure to be confirmed in a second referendum
          2) Russians in the Donbass declared themselves independent shortly after the Maidan coup.
          3) The Kiev self-declared government lacked legitimacy, having supplanted by insurrection a popularly established government.

          The bigoted nationalism of the Maidan insurrectionists justified the Crimeans and the Donbass.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

          Thinking about the Canadian analogy some more – and I really do think that Canadian experience of living through Quebec referendums gives us a distinctive and relevant perspective, I can say the following with 99.99% confidence:

          If Canadian federal government had a French-speaking Prime Minister (as we have had regularly), his government were overturned by English-speaking “nationalists” in an Ottawa Maidan spearheaded by ultra right-wing demonstrators from Western Canada and the new government than banned or attempted to ban use of the French language, then Quebec would secede in a heartbeat.

          Re-examining contemporary events, it’s amazing to see that on February 23, 2014, effectively on its first day, the post-coup government voted to repeal a 2012 law, which had somewhat recognized Russian language rights (much, much less recognition than French in Canada):

          On February 23, 2014, the second day after the flight of Viktor Yanukovich, while in a parliamentary session, a deputy from the “Batkivshchina” party, Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, moved to include in the agenda a bill to repeal the 2012 law “On the principles of the state language policy”. The motion was carried with 86% of the votes in favour—232 deputies in favour vs 37 opposed against the required minimum of 226 of 334 votes. The bill was included in the agenda, immediately put to a vote with no debate and approved with the same 232 voting in favour. The bill would have made Ukrainian the sole state language at all levels.

          While the repeal seems to have been subsequently stalled, such an attempt would have been the death knell of Quebec in Canada.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 6:46 AM | Permalink

          Till now 2 mayor facts about Kosovo have not been touched: a) this novel mini state is 96% Muslim;
          b) the 955 acres US camp Bondsteel there https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Bondsteel

          The usual US effort to assist useful Sunni Muslims to the hilt, even inside Europe.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

          Here are some links to contemporary discussion of Kosovo-Crimea comparison.

          Putin’s speech of March 18 making the argument: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/20603
          National Post in Canada reported Putin’s argument as opposed to arguing against it: http://nationalpost.com/news/world/crimea-has-always-been-part-of-russia-bellicose-putin-defends-annexation-of-ukrainian-territory

          Many contemporary articles attempting to distinguish Crimea from Kosovo: Guardian, WaPo, Slate, Conversation.
          https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/17/putin-referendum-crimea-kosovo
          https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/03/24/crimea-kosovo-and-false-moral-equivalency/?utm_term=.70f43d19abb3
          http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2014/03/putin_s_crimea_revenge_ever_since_the_u_s_bombed_kosovo_in_1999_putin_has.html
          http://theconversation.com/putin-should-know-that-crimea-is-not-kosovo-when-it-comes-to-self-determination-24916

          A reply denying the distinction from Open Democracy:
          https://www.opendemocracy.net/luca-j-uberti/crimea-and-kosovo-delusions-of-western-military-interventionism-nato-putin-annexation-legal

        • MikeN
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

          To quote Mick, “THEY WAS HAND PICKED!”

        • Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

          Antony: “The usual US effort to assist useful Sunni Muslims to the hilt, even inside Europe.”

          The US displaced and Sunni government with a Shiite one in Iraq. What is your reasoning for the US to have bias toward Sunni? Saudi influence? Perhaps yes. Saudi Arabia has become a US ally, especially since 1991.

          Steve, I agree that the US is certainly self-interest influenced by the rankings on our terrorist sponsors list. Who is without bias? That does not make us the Great Satan or Israel the Little Satan. On the Iran supplied armor piercing IEDs I was referring to the Iraq War 2003-2008 but I’m pretty sure they made it into the hands of both Shia and Sunni. Iran’s main interest was to sabotage the US presence or foothold of influence. We naively would presume Iran would thank the country that dislodged Saddam Hussein and sons in favor of Shiite’s taking power.

          Just as the N@zi’s scapegoat was a certain ethnic minority, Iran’s scapegoat is the US and Israel. Russia, being “surrounded by foes” has served as their historical scapegoat. Of course, the foes are only because of fear for the preservation of their national borders. This is much like the French Canadian example; to avoid conflict one must trust the other side with significant compromise facilitating a positive cycle of trust. Pinnacles of power attract alpha personalities (like Trump, admittedly). But countries that lack the institutions to keep leaders from becoming dictators fuel the greatest dangers to humanity. Hitl*r was more popular in Germany as late as 1939 than likely any German leader since. Free press and rights of unfettered opposition are critical. Do you think Russia and Iran have these?

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

          Free press and rights of unfettered opposition are critical. Do you think Russia and Iran have these?

          I’ve not researched either topic. Quebec government was dominated by Catholic establishment through the 1950s and democratically changed. Iran appears to have enough educated people to emerge as a modern country. Far more likely than Saudi Arabia, with which US has uncritically allied itself.

          US attempts to extinguish anti-militarism views as “Russian propaganda”, with bizarre investigations into trolls, doesn’t reflect well on a long tradition of free press, but hopefully this fever passes.

        • Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

          “…Countries that lack the institutions to keep leaders from becoming dictators fuel the greatest dangers to humanity.” This is the basis for the Neocon policy. Their flaw was in thinking that outsiders can install democracies that will be valued and preserved by the indigenous nation. However, peoples of neighboring autocracies are can be encouraged to exert rights (i.e. Arab spring) providing at least some productivity for the cost of the endeavor.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 2:38 AM | Permalink

          Frank said: “Saudi Arabia is supporting Islamist groups in Syria, but apparently none that are on our list of terrorist organizations.”

          Steve asked: “Who’s been supplying money and arms to AlNusra (AlQaeda) and ISIS then? Some of the arms come from the US via “moderate” rebels who defect, re-sell or lose control of US arms, but there’s more than that.”

          According to the link I posted:

          “ISIS receives most of its funding from a variety of businesses and criminal activities within areas it controls in Iraq and Syria. Criminal activities include robbing banks, smuggling oil, looting and selling antiquities and other goods, as well as extortion, human trafficking, and kidnapping-for-ransom.”

          “AQ primarily depends on donations from like-minded supporters, as well as from individuals who believe that their money is supporting a humanitarian cause. Some funds are diverted from Islamic charitable organizations.”

          Steve wrote: “Some of the arms come from the US via “moderate” rebels who defect, re-sell or lose control of US arms, but there’s more than that.”

          When the Syrian civil war started, there were a lot of doubts about the reliability of the Free Syrian Army and reluctance to arm them. I suspect that ISIS got most of its equipment when the poorly led Iraqi army fled from Mosel and other Iraqi towns. The link below discusses recent shipments – which I assume are all going to the Kurdish alliance (whom I assume are reliable) and the rebels near the Jordanian and Israeli borders.

          http://www.businessinsider.com/weapons-us-sends-to-syrian-rebels-2016-4/#762×39-mm-1

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

          Steve wrote: “Here are some links to contemporary discussion of Kosovo-Crimea comparison.”

          These discussions focus on the status of Kosovo under international law. The International Court of Justice has ruled that Kosovo’s independence is legal. However, since international law is ignored under exceptional circumstances, I think non-legal factors are also important

          There was no genocide in Crimea. Kosovo declared itself independent when Yugoslavia broke up in 1992, but no one except Albania recognized its existence until it suffered from genocide. After NATO intervention, diplomatic solutions were pursued for a decade before a unilateral approach to independence was adopted.

          Putin intervened in Crimea a week after the disappearance of Yanukovych. There was no attempt to reach a political solution. A “vote” was held two weeks later and Crimea was declared independent. Two days later it was annexed by Russia.

          Kosovo was not annexed by any of the countries that intervened militarily to free it.

          I suspect the West would have been glad to see Yanukovych re-instated as part of a multi-party coalition government and the violence investigated by an impartial panel. Restoring order is nearly impossible after a revolution in which one large group seizes power from the other. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Putin knew closer economic ties between the Ukraine and Russia (rather than the EU) had become impractical. Therefore he told Vanukovych to flee and seized Crimea during the crisis. Insurrection in Eastern Ukraine would be inevitable without a diplomatic solution and the seizure of Crimea would prevent any diplomatic solution.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

          A comment on Crimea from experience in mining business. One of my associates, who grew up with miners and was a miner, emphasized the importance of paying miners fairly since, if you didn’t, they’d take stuff to end up with what they thought was “fair”. Russia had fought for Crimea and it was the scene of important Russian history and events. Khrushchev’s unilateral transfer of Crimea to Ukraine during his regime and the chaos of the demise of the Soviet Union left a situation in which Russia lost its key naval base and Black Sea access other than through lease. It was unfair to Russia and was a major problem even though none of us were paying any attention to it; perhaps the neocons smiled at the net result.

          When the Ukrainian coup took place, Putin took advantage to redress what was perceived in Russia as a historic injustice. While many people are concerned about domino theory, there are so many unique aspects to Crimea that it is just as reasonable (or more reasonable) to view it as one-off. In fact, I think that the world is probably safer and stabler with this solution to the Crimea problem, rather than having it linger as a dispute between Russia and a NATO-ized Ukraine. The prospect of US troops at Sevastopol naval base, delicious as it may be to neocons, would be an enormous and undeserved provocation and we should be glad that it has been circumvented.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

          I agree entirely with your assessment, Steve. Crimea became part of the Ukraine by some quirk of Soviet history and if Gorbachev (or whoever) had transferred the Ukraine back to Russia, say, a week before its dissolution in December, 1991, this quirk would have been remedied. The Crimeans were never Ukrainian and the preference of the Ukrainian people was never consulted until March, 2014. Thus this unhealthy demographic aberration and potential bone of contention has been cured and amity among nations may now proceed. My impression of Ukrainian nationalism is that national minorities (Romanians, Poles, Russian, Czech, others) will be subjected to discrimination and repression.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

          Rather, the preference of the _Crimeans_ was never consulted

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

          Don’t annoy them with mere facts and logic, Frank. Crimea and Eastern Ukraine belong to Russia. And they will get the rest of Ukraine, if KGB Putin can pull it off. No wait a minute, KGB Putin’s territorial appetite has been satiated. Peace in our time!

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

          “Peace in our time!”
          ####

          Yes, the Ukraine has no choice but to settle with Russia. This is the fruit of Obama’s meddling. Such futility, but the Crimeans are happy and the Donbass is hopeful.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

          Steve wrote: “Russia had fought for Crimea and it was the scene of important Russian history and events. Khrushchev’s unilateral transfer of Crimea to Ukraine during his regime and the chaos of the demise of the Soviet Union left a situation in which Russia lost its key naval base and Black Sea access other than through lease. It was unfair to Russia and was a major problem even though none of us were paying any attention to it; perhaps the neocons smiled at the net result.

          When the Ukrainian coup took place, Putin took advantage to redress what was perceived in Russia as a historic injustice.”

          I disagree with this conclusion. The chaos and injustices created by the breakup of the USSR were addressed – at least in part – by mutually agreeable negotiations between the Russia and the Ukraine over the next decade. (This was a period when Russia and Ukraine were both weak and desperately struggling with internal problems. Russia declared bankruptcy in 1998.) The Soviet Black Sea fleet was split by Russia and Ukraine; Russia was given the right to lease the existing naval base in Sevastopol. By signing a lease, Russia recognized Ukrainian jurisdiction over Crimea. With the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, the Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan agreed to dismantle Soviet ICBMs located in their territory under international supervision in return for a guarantee of their territorial integrity (which all parties recognized included Crimea) signed by Russia, the US and the USSR.

          Putin asserts that the 2014 revolution cancelled this commitment to Ukraine, because the Ukrainian government that signed it no longer exists. That is absurd. Yanukovych fled, but most of the Ukrainian Parliament remained in place and held internationally monitored elections and installed a new government.

          Due to the difficulties in ending the Civil War that followed the Revolution in 1917, Communist Russian was formally constructed in 1922 as a union of separate republics that could be dismantled – the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (perhaps analogous to the Articles of Confederation that governed during and immediately after the American Revolution.) However, all of the administrative areas and competing ethnic groups that had been ruled by the Russian Empire did not fit neatly into 12 Republics. A number of locally autonomous areas were created within various republics to satisfy the ethnic groups that dominated these areas. Many of them have seen disputes and fighting, most prominently the Chechen Autonomous Area that was administered by Russia. Crimea declared itself an Independent republic in 1918, became part of the USSR as an autonomous part of the Russian SSR and later was transferred as an autonomous area to the Ukraine SSR. I believe it retained significant autonomy within the Ukraine after the USSR broke up. When the Ukraine voted to leave the USSR in 1992, 56% of Crimean voters agreed to do so as part of the Ukraine.

          Now that Putin has come to power and gained strength, he is trying to reverse the breakup of the USSR. He has increasingly resorted to force rather than settle disputes on his borders by negotiation and compromise. He started by reconquering Chechnya. He expanded Russian involvement in disputes within the former Georgian SSR. Now he has seized Crimea by force and is using Russian soldiers and equipment to prevent Ukraine from regaining control of two provinces that rebelled in 2014. Mounting threats to the Baltic countries have forced NATO to station tripwire forces there.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

          Steve added: “In fact, I think that the world is probably safer and stabler with this solution to the Crimea problem, rather than having it linger as a dispute between Russia and a NATO-ized Ukraine. The prospect of US troops at Sevastopol naval base, delicious as it may be to neocons, would be an enormous and undeserved provocation and we should be glad that it has been circumvented.”

          NATO-ized Ukraine? You’ve been reading to much propaganda. IMO, ethnic Ukrainians look towards the EU (not NATO) because it offers more rights, less corruption, better government and more prosperity than an association with Russia.

          I don’t think the world has been made safer by the unilateral and unprovoked military takeover of Crimea. I say unprovoked, because little happened IN CRIMEA that required Russian involvement THERE in the week between Yanukovych fleeing and Russian seizure of control (AFAIK). Crimea was pure opportunism made more likely by Obama’s passivity in his second term. Events in Kiev certainly provoked Putin, but Putin had many diplomatic options for addressing that problem, especially natural gas supplies. I suspect that there will be fighting in the Ukraine until the Russia controls all of the Ukrainian provinces along the Black Sea lying between Russia and Crimea.

          I thought it was stupid to expand NATO into Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. Those countries need to reach mutually-agreeable solutions with Russia and their neighbors to the problems that persisted after the breakup of the USSR. I don’t want to be dragged into a war with Russia by a corrupt distant government that settles disputes with violence in the street (with some Nazi symbols). Nor by Estonians who deny citizenship to ethnic Russians who can’t speak Estonian. However, history has taught those peoples to fear Russian aggression and domination, and Putin has called the breakup of the USSR the greatest tragedy of the 20th century. That creates a demand for protection from NATO. I can’t find anything to distinguish Hilter’s occupation of the Rhineland and Austria from Putin’s seizure of Crimea. The ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine resemble the Germans in the Sudetenland. If you remember correctly, compromise over the Sudetenland was followed six months later by the complete takeover of Czechoslovakia. That lead the British and French to guarantee Polish territorial integrity. The neo-cons you disdain wouldn’t have let Hilter get that far. Without Churchill, the Brits might have settled for peace with Hilter.

          However, parallels in history are dangerous. The neo-cons certainly got many things wrong in Iraq. We rebuilt Germany and Japan into prosperous allies, but have mostly failed since. Iraq appears to be a failure, but surprisingly not as bad a failure as Syria. With half the population, Syria has already experienced as many – possibly twice as many – casualties as Iraq under our control. When we left Iraq, there was a functioning government, elections and little violence. Both countries started with horrendous dictators from minority populations.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

          I don’t want to be dragged into a war with Russia by a corrupt distant government that settles disputes with violence in the street (with some Nazi symbols).

          Reagan ambassador to Russia Matlock, who had serious experience, had wise words to House Foreign Affairs Committee on the principles of allying. He urged that military alliance be avoided if it embroiled or potentially embroiled the US in disputes at the will/whim of the lesser state while the lesser state offered no military benefit to the US. The HFAC was uninterested unfortunately. Matlock had too much backstory in his answers, but, if the committee had been more patient, they could have learned a lot.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

          Those are just pesky facts, Frank. Easily resisted by those who are impervious.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

          Then Obama, Biden, Nuland & Co. stuck their fingers in the pie. Or was it neo-n*zi pudding?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 4:41 PM | Permalink

          This somehow went astray. Maybe will do so again:

          Frank, you forgot to mention Putin’s delusions of resurrecting Soviet/Russia status as a world power. His costly meddling in Syria, his foolish investment of billions to prop up the ridiculous socialist regime in Venezuela etc. etc. Russia can’t afford that crap. Hopefully, they will go bankrupt again. Putin will flee to Cuba with his hundreds of billion$.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

          Then Obama, Biden, Nuland & Co. stuck their fingers in the pie. Or was it neo-n*zi pudding?

          Again, Frank, you neglect to mention that the Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to join Russia. You also ignored the circumstances that prompted the secession of both the Crimea and the Donbass. Again.

          The Ukraine trusted in Obama and now….?
          A couple d’etat that backfired and that cheated, empty feeling.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

          Russian position:

          On 4 March 2014, Russian president replied to a question on violation of Budapest Memorandum, describing current Ukrainian situation as a revolution, when “a new state arises, but with this state and in respect to this state, we have not signed any obligatory documents”.[12] Russia stated it had never been under obligation to “force any part of Ukraine’s civilian population to stay in Ukraine against its will.” Russia suggested that the US was in violation of the Budapest Memorandum, describing the Euromaidan as a US-instigated coup.

          #####
          A fine legal squabble.

        • Frank
          Posted Nov 3, 2017 at 1:06 AM | Permalink

          On 10/13, Steve asked: “Can you explain any legitimate reason for declaring Iranian RGC a “terrorist” organization? Trump admin seems more interested in IRGC and Hezbollah than AlQaeda and ISIS. When US says that Iran is leading sponsor of terror, what is factual basis for this as opposed to Saudi Arabia or Qatar?”

          The WSJ reported today that the CIA has just released transcripts of material seized in Abbottabad when Bin Laden was killed. They apparently show far more cooperation between Iran and Al Qaeda than one might have expected given the conflict between Sunni and Shia.

          “‘In my experience, the Iranian regime is the best example…of pragmatism in politics,’ the al Qaeda official wrote in the document. ‘Anyone who wants to strike America, Iran is ready to support them and help them with money and arms and all that is required as long as they are not directly and clearly implicated.'”

          “Iran welcomed al Qaeda fighters as they fled Afghanistan who were mostly based in Zahedan, a city close to the Afghan border. Tehran offered the fighters shelter, money and weapons as well as training in camps run by its proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon. The author said he didn’t know whether any al Qaeda fighters ultimately ended up in Hezbollah training camps. A priority for Iran, according to the author, was to encourage the jihadists to target the U.S., particularly in Saudi Arabia.

          “”They offered some of our Saudi brothers… money and arms and everything they needed,’ the al Qaeda official wrote. ‘They offered them training in the Hezbollah camps in Lebanon in exchange for striking American interests in Saudi and the Gulf.’”

          https://www.wsj.com/articles/cias-bin-laden-files-shed-new-light-on-qaeda-iran-ties-1509659871

          It appears as if Iran was willing to assist any type of Islamic terrorist group at the time this intelligence was collected, but Iran did not want to be publicly associated with Sunni terrorists (except for Hamas). It is fair to say that this intelligence is dated and reflects Iranian policy a decade or more ago. (The CIA is unlikely to be releasing new intelligence unless it is needed to get Congressional or public support.)

          ISIS became an important force only after Bin Laden was killed, but its precursor, Al Qaeda in Iraq, was supported by Syria (they retreated across the Syrian border) and apparently also directly by Iran. After ISIS exploded in Syria and Iraq in 2013-2014 and groups linked to Al Qaeda became important in Syrian, Iranian policy had to change. I don’t know if Iran currently supports Al Qaeda in Afghanistan or North Africa (where few Shia are involved), but they still support Hamas.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Nov 3, 2017 at 1:39 AM | Permalink

          you missed the forest for a tree:
          (Sunni)Bin Laden was hidden inside (Sunni)Pakistan (mayor non-NATO “ally”), not in (Shia) Iran. The Shia minorities in Pakistan and Afghanistan get frequent heavy terror attacks from radicalized Sunni groups.
          El Qaeda is fighting (non Sunni) Assad since years in Syria, next to their rivals of ISIS.
          If Israel stays out of Lebanon, Shia Hezbollah loses its last motive to support (Sunni)Hamas.

        • Frank
          Posted Nov 4, 2017 at 5:24 AM | Permalink

          AntonyIndia replies: (Sunni)Bin Laden was hidden inside (Sunni)Pakistan (mayor non-NATO “ally”), not in (Shia) Iran. The Shia minorities in Pakistan and Afghanistan get frequent heavy terror attacks from radicalized Sunni groups…

          Steve’s question was why Iran was still considered the #1 state supporter of terrorism – given that ISIS is now the main threat and Al Qaeda is spreading. These are Sunni groups and the normal assumption is that Shia Iran would never cooperate with a Sunni group.

          My point was that the assumption that Iran doesn’t support Sunni groups (especially Al Qaeda) is wrong. The evidence I provided shows that Iran supported Al Qaeda until Bin Laden was killed. If you were a Sunni terrorist group interested in attacking the US or Saudi Arabia, Iran was probably willing to help – at least until ISIS threatened Syria and Iraq.

          Iran openly supports a number of terrorist groups and provides no assistance to the West’s struggle against terrorism.

          Pakistan has formally cut any ties with groups considered to be terrorists by the US and cooperates with Americans working on terrorism inside their country. Without their cooperation, we would have never found Bin Laden. Of course, we all know that there is much sympathy for terrorism among the Pakistani people and the ISI; and that terrorist groups outside the control of the government live in the “tribal territories” and disputed areas of Kashmir.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Nov 4, 2017 at 7:01 AM | Permalink

          Bin Laden hid half a mile from Pakistan’s West Point for years till 2011. Recently:
          “Dr. Shakil Afridi, the physician turned CIA asset who was instrumental in determining the location and identity of Usama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, is hailed as a hero in the eyes of American officials. But to the Pakistan’s top brass, he remains a criminal traitor who is likely to spend many more years behind bars, with authorities standing firm against any U.S. diplomatic endeavors to have him released.” http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/09/21/pakistan-officials-adamant-that-hero-doctor-who-helped-capture-bin-laden-remain-behind-bars.html
          And: http://nation.com.pk/04-Oct-2017/isi-has-links-with-terrorists-mattis

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Nov 29, 2017 at 2:05 AM | Permalink

          Regarding Donbass; this area is supposed to sit on huge shale gas layers. Ukraine was massively in the red with Russia for gas imports; the EU always needs more natural gas; US gas companies don’t want more competition in this field. Another cause to fight for. http://shalegas.in.ua/en/slantseve-prykryttya/

  32. mpainter
    Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 2:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The Ukraine is a welter of political corruption and ugly nazified nationalistic bigotry. Crimeans have escaped that. It is amusing that some here revile Russia while embracing the Ukraine as a paragon of virtue. Trump was not fooled. Good for Trump.

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

      You are just oozing with pride in Putin. And do not have a single freaking clue about Trump’s position on the Crimea annexation. Pathetic.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 10:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Candidate Trump seemed to be opposed to US entanglement in Syria, Libya and even Afghanistan, and, to advance US interests through better relations with Russia if possible. Trump in office seems to have adopted a pretty standard neocon policy, to which he’s added his own unique bellicosity. Easy to picture Trump picking a fight on Crimea. To what practical end? Dunno. But the neocons must be salivating at the prospect.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

          You are just making crap up. You don’t have a clue about Trump. He has had plenty of time to “pick a fight” on Crimea. You should stick to statistics.

        • TAG
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

          In foreign policy, Neocons believe in democracy promotion. Whatever can be gotten from the muddle of Trump’s foreign policy thinking, it is not based on democracy promotion. Trump is in no way either in domestic or foreign policy a neocon.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 9:18 AM | Permalink

          neocons seem to be decisively on Saudi Arabia’s side as opposed to Iran. why?

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

          Chants of “Death to America” do not resound throughout Saudi Arabia as in Iran. Perhaps this carries no weight with you, Steve.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

          I can understand that this is disquieting, but it’s a different issue than “democracy”.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

          I see. Saudi Arabia is a kingdom and Iran is sort of democracy. Well, let TAG explain.
          Issues of democracy aside, there are plenty of reasons to favor Saudi Arabia against Iran.

          Interestingly, anyone in the kingdom may personally petition the king. He has an audience with such petitioners daily and gives his personal attention to each petition, with the reservation that no one may petition a matter being adjudicated in the courts.

        • TAG
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

          H.R. McMaster had the unenviable task of finding a coherent pattern in Trump’s word salad of foreign policy statements. He has described Trump’s policy as “principled realism”. That is “realism” except when it isn’t. Although to described Trump’s policies, if they can fit under any coherent term, as “realist” is to stretch the term. In any event, Trump is not, in any way, a neocon.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

          TAG, your hate for Trump is smelly.
          Trump has tacked and one possibility is that he has received an unequivocal message from Iran expressing a willingness to discuss Trump’s objections to their behavior. That is one possibility. There are others.

          It is noteworthy that Haley, McMaster, and Tillerson have all just given notice of this “shift”.

        • Kan
          Posted Nov 4, 2017 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

          Candidate Trump was all over the map on foreign policy. One minute wanting to bomb them to hell, the next minute lamenting any prior engagements.

          President Trump is pretty much the same, except the actors of most importance have changed (N. Korea).

          He does not have a consistent foreign policy.

        • mpainter
          Posted Nov 4, 2017 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

          “No consistent foreign policy”
          Meaning one written in stone? One that is rigid and inflexible? One that is clung to obstinately while circumstances change?

          Good for Trump

        • Kan
          Posted Nov 4, 2017 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

          “One written in stone”

          Not necessary.

          “Good for Trump”

          Not really. There is no evidence at all there is a guiding philosophy. It seems more like a case of whoever Trump last spoke to has the best policy to follow.

        • mpainter
          Posted Nov 4, 2017 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

          Good for Trump anyway. MAGA

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Nov 4, 2017 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

          Kan Kan Kan, I remember when some wag wrote during Reagan’s campaign against that foreign policy genius, Jimmy Carter, “You could wade through Reagan’s deepest thoughts and not get your ankles wet.” He got our hostages back and ran the Soviet Union bankrupt.

          Obama’s foreign policy was to be nice to Muslims, bow to potentates and dictators, give a way a lot of money and open our borders. Trump’s foreign policy is America first.

          Any questions?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Nov 4, 2017 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

          Trump’s friend the Crown Prince of Saudi is cleaning house. Jailed the dirty rich prince, who said bad things about Trump. Things are getting very interesting. Son in law Kushner just made a hush hush trip to Saudi.

    • mpainter
      Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Trump is a subtle fellow despite his outward demeanor. If Trump challenges the validity of the Crimean referendum in the U.N. Security Council and demands a new referendum conducted under the auspices of U.N. observers, that will finalize and confirm Russia’s possession of the Crimea because the results will confirm the first result. Trump is perfectly capable of such subtleties. I cite this possibility to illustrate the moves available to an astute President.
      Lots of moves on the game board that are not readily apparent.

    • mpainter
      Posted Oct 12, 2017 at 10:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

      The Maidan uprising has been presented as a popular uprising against an unwanted government. Although this view has been widely propagated and accepted, it is hardly the truth. It was in fact an uprising against a popularly elected government organized by those who lost the election. The closer one looks at all the aspects, the neo-n*zism, the nationalist bigotry, etc., the worse it appears.

      • Frank
        Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 5:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Sure. Protests that when on for 3 months in winter before the final bloody conclusion were stage managed by the opposition (probably with money provided by Victoria Nuland). They opposition’s former Prime Minister was tried convicted and sent to jail – but that didn’t cause protests. They began when Yanukovych backed away from a popular deal with Europe in favor of closer economic ties with Russia.

        After Yanukovych fled, the Parliament (with about 1/4 of its members absent) voted unanimously to remove him. By that time Yanukovych wasn’t very popular/

    • Frank
      Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 8:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

      mpainter wrote: “The Ukraine is a welter of political corruption and ugly nazified nationalistic bigotry. Crimeans have escaped that.”

      Yes, I’m sure that the Crimeans will be much better off controlled by an authoritarian kleptocracy run by an ex-KGB agent who is now the richest man in the world. Personally, I’d prefer to live in the Ukraine, where elections have resulted in real change in government. Despite nationalistic passions, there isn’t single party rule by an authoritarian state. Ukrainian isn’t the only official language. There is some hope that things will get better there, or would be without Putin. Things are pretty bad elsewhere in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, but getting better in some areas.

      If your fellow citizens had been forcibly incorporated into the Russian empire and its Communist successor, ethnically cleansed from some areas and replaced by Russians, suffered through a brutal civil war as the Communists consolidated power and then Stalin’s collectivization and purges; you too might also be a “nationalistic bigot” who looked upon the Germans as liberators. Putin would certainly paint you as being Naz1, whether you were or not. All the ethnic groups who sided against the USSR were Naz1s, from the Finns and Balts to the Serbs.

      The Russian empire disintegrated in 1990, something Putin calls the greatest tragedy of the 20th-century. Millions of ethnic Russians were left outside the borders of Russian. Putin believes that all ethnic Russians are his responsibility and is trying to reverse history. The same thing happened after the end of WWI and that led to Adolf Hilter’s campaign to re-unite all German speakers inside a Third Reich. I’m not eager to bear any responsibility for resolving these nationalist passions (citizenship in Estonia required an ability to speak Estonian), but appeasement didn’t work well in the past either.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 12:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Frank, for some reason facts don’t matter on this topic. KGB Putin’s propaganda seems to have been very effective on these guys The Ukrainians are Russian hating neo-N*zis, who wanted closer relations with those other Russian hating neo-N*zis in the Western democracies and Putin was forced to order his troops to remove the insignia from their uniforms and move in to save the ethnic Russians, from blah blah blah, by seizing large parts of Ukraine. I guess the removing of the patches on their uniforms makes it OK.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 3:50 AM | Permalink

          Don writes: “for some reason facts don’t matter on this topic. KGB Putin’s propaganda seems to have been very effective on these guys.”

          I know facts matter to Steve and some others who read this blog, but today it is harder than ever to separate fact from fiction. Other people appear to live in what seems like a dream world or echo chamber – unless, of course, I am the one who is dreaming. So, it appears to be worthwhile to listen for facts that disagree with my world view and share a few facts and links that might be useful to others.

          I think one basic problem begins with the fact that we have words – Naz1, neo-Naz1, fascist, or Holocaust – that instantly convey the crimes against humanity committed by the Germans (and other right wing groups). However, we don’t have an equivalent word for communist or left wing groups whose crimes against humanity are comparable: Lenin’s and Stalin’s USSR, Mao’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, the Kymer genocide, Vietnamese re-education camps and 3 million Vietnamese leaving Vietnam. Based on what was known in June of 1941, the Ukrainians probably should have looked at the Germans a less evil than the Communists. The Holocaust hadn’t begun yet. However, Einsatzgruppen followed closely behind the front with orders to kill all the Jews in occupied Russia.

        • Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

          Frank, Steve McIntyre still denies Russia invaded Crimea. He refuses to even look at the fact Russian troops did things like take over Crimean government buildings, to the point of holding the Crimean parliament captive.

          I can’t see any evidence facts matter to him on this topic.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, my original point was that Russian troops were already in Crimea legally and did not “invade” it – as I understand the term “invasion”, it requires forced entry. On this point, I’m not sure whether we disagree on facts or on the semantic issue of whether an “invasion” requires forced entry.

          On the factual issue of whether Russian troops held the Crimean parliament captive: I was aware that right-wing factions had taken over the Ukrainian parliament during the Maidan coup, but wasn’t aware that Russian troops had held the Crimean parliament captive. Can you send me a link for this?

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

          Frank, Brandon, there is plenty of cogent argument supporting self determination by the Crimeans. Those who try to make it sound as though Crimeans did not enthusiastically join themselves to Russia are simply ignoring the truth. So Putin is a thug. So are the Maidan nasties.
          Pot, meet kettle.

        • Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 12:02 AM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre:

          Brandon, my original point was that Russian troops were already in Crimea legally and did not “invade” it – as I understand the term “invasion”, it requires forced entry. On this point, I’m not sure whether we disagree on facts or on the semantic issue of whether an “invasion” requires forced entry.

          And as I’ve pointed out, which you’ve never responded to, authorizing Russian troops to be stationed in one city in your country in no way authorizes them to start a military campaign in which they take over your country. Even if you want to rely on some weird semantic argument where you say a military takeover isn’t an “invasion” because the troops were already within the borders, Russia used troops which had never been stationed in Crimea in addition to the ones which had been stationed there. Having some troops stationed in a country certainly doesn’t mean sending more troops into it to take over is not an invasion.

          On the factual issue of whether Russian troops held the Crimean parliament captive: I was aware that right-wing factions had taken over the Ukrainian parliament during the Maidan coup, but wasn’t aware that Russian troops had held the Crimean parliament captive. Can you send me a link for this?

          I could, but to be blunt, I don’t care to. I discussed this issue time and time again only to have you ignore it. You never once asked me for evidence for my claims like this. Now, after you ended any exchange between us and while I’m talking to someone else, you jump in to ask for evidence? No thanks. Especially not when you’ve chosen to let stand false claims where you not only denied I said things I clearly said, but even claimed I said things I never said.

          Until you try addressing any of the many falsehoods you’ve posted during the discussions of this topic so far, I see no reason I should put work into providing you sources to try to correct your willful ignorance of basic facts. The discussion of this topic suggests you’ll just ignore anything I say which you find inconvenient and/or falsely claim I never said it in the first place (and perhaps even claim I said the opposite).

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 12:52 AM | Permalink

          Crimea had a majority of ethnic Russians since 1926; Ukrainians were at max. 1/3 of the number of Russians. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Crimea
          It was never part of Ukraine till 1991.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 12:59 AM | Permalink

          Brandon, seek help

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 2:08 AM | Permalink

          Brandon is getting the frustrating feeling that he is in a “Who’s on first?” Abbott and Costello skit. (You youngsters look for it on youtube.) On this rare occasion, I can empathize with the high strung little fella.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 2:10 AM | Permalink

          Antony, wrong.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 3:12 AM | Permalink

          Mostly correct except for overseeing Khrushchev’s “personal gesture” gifting Crimea to his dear Ukraine in early 1954 marking the 300th anniversary of Ukraine becoming a part of the Tsardom of Russia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1954_transfer_of_Crimea#Allegations_about_.22personal_gesture.22

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

          It looks like you are trying to justify Stalinist KGB Putin’s actions, so you are still wrong. Crimea was part of Ukraine. You said yourself it was given to them. Estonia and a lot of other countries recently belonged to the Soviet Union/Russia. They didn’t buy it or win it, they were given their freedom. They have sizable Russian populations/5th columnists. Stalinist KGB Putin should at least be entitled to take back the regions, cities, towns, villages, neighborhoods, apartment blocks with majority ethnic Russian populations. Let’s be fair and consistent.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 1:26 AM | Permalink

          Hi Don, when a population group reaches over 50% they become the “first” column, so not fifth. 65,3% Russians in Crimea in 2014 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Crimea#Birth_rate.2C_Death_rate_and_Total_fertility_rate

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 1:38 AM | Permalink

          Read harder. I never said the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea were a 5th column. Whatever column you want to call them, most of them were citizens of Ukraine. Now they are captives of Stalinist KGB thug Putin.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 8:52 AM | Permalink

          Crimeans voted 72% for Yanukovitch in 2010.
          Three years later their president was overthrown by a small army of thugs sporting the wolfangle of the Waffen SS.
          I have no doubt that they feel grateful for the decisiveness of Putin who saved them from those thugs.

          Putin now has the neo-n*zi usurper/bigots in a jam. They must settle if they are to be admitted to NATO. Putin does not want them in NATO of course. He is in position to veto their application by a protracted stalemate in the Donbass.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 1:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Crimea’s capital Sebastopol is next to the ruins of ancient Chersonesus. During the Rus-Byzantine war (1043) the famous copper gates from the no.1 Crimean church ended up in Novgorod (“Russia”). The city was later totally destroyed by the Huns in 1299.

    • mpainter
      Posted Nov 4, 2017 at 5:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Prime minister Hariri of Lebanon has just resigned, citing his fear of assassination by Hezbollah/Iran. He has denounced Iran and Hezbollah and their interference in Lebanon. He declares that Iran will have its hands cut off. Something is in the works.

  33. MikeN
    Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 1:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It is not clear to me that Ukraine is better off entangled with EU than Russia.

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 2:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

      You should let the Ukrainians know that they might be better off under Putin’s KGB paws, mike. I am sure he would accept their surrender. And they would be re-united with the large part of their country that Putin has already seized. If they had considered this before they had their uprising, a lot of grief would have been avoided and many lives saved. But then you probably don’t have the history of suffering under Russian oppression and domination as do the Ukrainians.

      • MikeN
        Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 7:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

        No I don’t. That was the Soviet Union which no longer exists, but the EU seems to be moving in that direction.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 13, 2017 at 8:37 PM | Permalink

          You need to get up to speed. Stalanist KGB bred Putin is trying to resurrect the Soviet Empire. The crisis in Ukraine was precipitated by Putin. The majority of Ukraine citizens wanted integration with the EU. That is their business. Yanukovych ran on that platform and was elected President in 2010. He made the agreement with EU, but Putin jerked his chain and stopped him from signing it. The Ukrainian people are tired of Russia, from the beginning of time, keeping them on a leash and kicking them around. You are an uninformed casual kibitzer.

          Of course, if you don’t know the difference between a KGB Putin run Russia and the EU, then your lack of clarity on this issue is understandable. What you are missing is that Ukraine could have perfectly normal relations with both the EU and Russia, if Russia was a modern, sovereignty respecting, law abiding democracy. Dictator KGB Putin would not let the people go. Do a little research and you will discover what measures Putin was taking to stop Ukraine from drifting out of the KGB-Putin-Russia orbit.

        • MikeN
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 8:12 AM | Permalink

          Yes, he’s trying to resurrect the Soviet Empire and expand the Russian sphere of influence. He is a dictator who has political opponents killed and came to power by bombing some apartment buildings making it look like a terrorist attack. Since then everyone who tries to discuss it ends up dead.

          If you are in the EU, you are likely to end up with Muslim terrorism, and in jail for speaking negatively about Islam or other issues that the ruling class does not like.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

          MikeN, Steve, mpainter:

          Your may learn something about Putin and Russia from the recent testimony of Bill Browder. He talks about Russian influence on both HRC and DT. Of course, his testimony may not be correct for a variety of reasons, However, knowing how Putin has killed his enemies, I can’t see why he would put his life at risk if he didn’t deeply believe what he is saying.

          His opening statement beginning at 7:45 and the relationship between Putin and his oligarchs at 41:30-45:00 are particularly interesting.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

          it’s my understanding that there’s a plausible documentary (the one promoted by Veselnitskaya) which argues that Browder is a crook. Hard to tell in such murky waters. One of my brothers is acting in litigation against a Russian oligarch BTW.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 4:57 AM | Permalink

          Steve wrote: it’s my understanding that there’s a plausible documentary (the one promoted by Veselnitskaya) which argues that Browder is a crook. Hard to tell in such murky waters.”

          Browder may be deranged by his experiences with the Putin government and therefore unreliable. Having someone you employed to defend you be tortured to death might unhinge anyone. However, Browder can’t possibly be a simple crook: No simple crook would risk his life publicizing the crimes of one of the most dangerous regimes in the world, led by a man who hasn’t hesitated to assassinate prominent opponents in such a way that others will know that Putin ordered the killing.

          I would think that your personal experiences with the Hockey Team would lead you to recognize that when enemies are going to extraordinary lengths to discredit someone (a documentary, for example), there is likely to be some important truth involved. (They don’t pay much attention WUWT or others.) As it turns out, I was casually researching a new subject about a decade ago and having my intelligence insulted by review of AIT at RC (there wasn’t anything seriously wrong with implying that correlation between CO2 and temperature in ice-cores demonstrates causation), when they threw in a few insults about someone I had never heard of named McIntyre. And I didn’t believe what I read here either, until I had done a few months of occasional cross-checking.

          You might listen to Browder’s testimony. He’ll tell you that some of his stolen tax payments ended up in a company that paid Bill C half a million for a speech AND that Veselnitskaya met with the the DT campaign to discuss the Magnitsky Act. But he will decline to speculate on what she offered in return, because he has no knowledge about that subject.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

          Touche. However, I’m not prepared to have an opinion on Browder affair without researching it. I’d like to see the documentary expressing the opposite point of view. Just because someone is passionate about a topic doesn’t mean that they are right; nor does it mean that they are wrong. Nor am I sanguine about Russian oligarchs. My younger brother is battling one of the richest ones in a Canadian litigation class action.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 22, 2017 at 7:33 PM | Permalink

          Opposing take on Magnitsky https://consortiumnews.com/2017/08/02/a-blacklisted-film-and-the-new-cold-war/

          @jimmyllama very anti-Browder

        • Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

          Frank, thank you for posting the Browder testimony. It is very compelling. Steve, if you ever find equally convincing evidence of nefarious purpose to Browder’s life-risking commitment to expose Putin and oligarchs please share.

          Sen. Graham makes most interesting point that Fusion GPS worked hand-in-hand with Natalia V to prevent the Magnitsky Act. She is clear Putin agent. She then approaches Trump Jr. with honey pot of Clinton emails. At the exact same time Fusion GPS hires Orbis and supplies Steele dossier to Trump opponents.

          If Browder is correct the most important immediate Putin goal is repeal or weakening of Magnitsy Act then Natalia V can’t succeed without access to promised Clinton emails for trade, assuming Trump would make such a deal. There is only one meeting and Putin has to know that there would be no deal and no followup meetings.

          What was the purpose of Natalia’s approach? Putin today is in much worse shape than he would have been if he did nothing. The Magnitsky Act and more are practically in stone. But it’s hard to see how it could have gone any other way. The only thing I can think is that Putin has the Clinton server compromising emails and toyed with the idea of offering them to Trump but there was no way Trump could/would make that deal. If Clinton were elected he would use it as Kompromat.

          There is no way that Trump Jr. made a deal on June 9 with Natalia where Julian Assange could turn around on June 12 to announce possession of the Clinton emails. And there would be no purpose of G2.

          Manafort is going down big-time. This will play on CNN for the next month. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/manafort-had-60m-relationship-russian-oligarch-n810541

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 8:37 PM | Permalink

          Hey, Ron. It’s NBC. million$ “entities linked to Manafort” blah blah blah

          I doubt they will prosecute Manafort for anything other than some possible financial shenanigans having nothing to do with Trump.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 8:47 PM | Permalink

          Steve wrote: “However, I’m not prepared to have an opinion on Browder affair without researching it. I’d like to see the documentary expressing the opposite point of view. Just because someone is passionate about a topic doesn’t mean that they are right; nor does it mean that they are wrong.”

          I agree with this entirely (but not your earlier suggestion he could be a crook). Like you, I haven’t done my homework. I simply found one side (Browder’s side) of the story reasonably persuasive for a variety of reasons. He provided the first rational explanation for why three people close to Trump were meeting with Veselnitskaya and a former KGB agent.

          Ron: “There is no way that Trump Jr. made a deal on June 9 with Natalia where Julian Assange could turn around on June 12 to announce possession of the Clinton emails.”

          Browder refused to endorse the supposition that the Clinton emails were offered at the meeting. He said he had no personal knowledge of what may have been offered, but that in his experience Russian intelligence would have carefully studied their target and made an attractive offer. It wouldn’t be a momentary whim or rogue action taken at a low level.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

          One of the curious things about this is that Velnitskaya was refused entry into the U.S. by the DoS but was allowed in by Loretta Lynch under her special powers.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

          Bill Browder was sued for racketeering in 1998, which suit he settled out of court with the terms undisclosed. Then he formally renounced his U.S. citizenship and delved into the murky, reeking world of investment in Russia. Watch out for this guy.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 22, 2017 at 9:15 PM | Permalink

          Pretty amazing that today a documentary can effectively be completely censored through UK-US law & big money. The land of the free(for all)?

  34. mpainter
    Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 9:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve, I don’t believe that the Saudi government supports terrorism of any kind. Probably members of Al Saud support various Islamic militants who might be characterized as terrorist groups, but I seriously doubt that the Saudi government does (Al Saud numbers in the thousands). Of course, the government supports fundamentalist Islam and so their position might be by a smear be represented as militant, but I do not believe that they support terrorism. Indeed, official Saudi support of Yassir Arafat ended with the Iraq invasion of Kuwait.

    On the other hand, this is not to say that Saudi Arabia is not a fount of Islamic militancy. It is, and I believe that the U.S. should crack down on that and apply appropriate pressure on the government.

    However, the picture has become complicated because the Saudi Arabian government now tacitly supports Israel in their position against Iran and Hezbollah.
    Trump’s main objective in the mideast is to neutralize Iran and render that nation incapable of destabilizing the region. The IRG is the foremost exponent of Iranian militancy.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 9:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I hear the words, but remain baffled. Iran didn’t destabilize Syria – it helped to stabilize it. Same with Iraq. I understand that Iran rhetoric on Israel is threatening, but it doesn’t seem right to blame the situation in other Middle East countries on Iran.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

        You are right, Steve. The Iranians are lambs. We just like to mess with them.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 12:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve, please release my comment on the TV5 post from moderation.

        Steve: sorry, lost track of it. Released a bunch of comments in moderation

      • Frank
        Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 2:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve writes: “I hear the words, but remain baffled. Iran didn’t destabilize Syria – it helped to stabilize it. Same with Iraq. I understand that Iran rhetoric on Israel is threatening, but it doesn’t seem right to blame the situation in other Middle East countries on Iran.”

        You are correct that Iranian forces and their allies are currently doing much of the fighting against ISIS and Al Nusra Is that producing stability in Syria or Iraq?

        If there had been a relatively quick political resolution to the popular rebellion against Assad’s government, ISIS and Al Qaeda wouldn’t have gained control of so much Syrian territory and oil wealth. Iran’s support for its Shia ally enabled Assad to survive long enough for a relatively non-sectarian urban revolt to become a radicalized Sunni-Shia confrontation.

        In Iraq, Iranian opposition to a new SOFA that would allow US forces to remain set the stage for the comeback of Al Qaeda in Iraq as ISIS. Their support for Shia militias and Maliki’s extremely sectarian second term alienated the Sunnis and Kurds and directly lead to the fall of Mosul.

        Only the most ruthless dictators will be able to govern Iraq and Syria as without a multi-ethic coalition. Iran isn’t supporting such coalitions in either country.

        The Arab-Israeli conflict is now mostly and Iranian-Israeli conflict via Hamas and Hezbollah. Saudi Arabia has joined Egypt and Jordan in supporting peace. The 10,000 rockets surrounding Israel come from Iran.

        The whole Middle East has been destabilized by numerous Sunni-Shia conflicts that were unimportant before the Iranian Revolution. Iran are a religious theocracy with a religious military arm independent from the formal state (Revolutionary Guards). If the Green Movement protests after the stolen? election in 2009 had reformed the theocracy, the Middle East might be a very different place today.

        Obviously much of the above is oversimplified.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 3:23 AM | Permalink

          Weird isn’t it: Persian Shia support for Arab Sunni (Shafi’i)Palestinians. What is in it for the Ayatollahs, I don’t get it.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 3:53 AM | Permalink

          Frank, correct.
          Antony, turmoil in the region and an amalgam of their Hezbollah with Hamas,a very worthwhile objective for the ayatollahs. This is why Saudi Arabia has nearly abandoned the Palestinians.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 4:16 AM | Permalink

          AntonyIndia wrote: “Weird isn’t it: Persian Shia support for Arab Sunni (Shafi’i)Palestinians. What is in it for the Ayatollahs, I don’t get it.”

          Well, there aren’t a significant number of Palestinian Sunni’s to support. If you believe in Jihad against the Jewish usurpers, who are going to support? Fatah was initial secular and left-wing before Islamism became popular. The PLO sold out to the Israelis in Oslo. The fundamentalist alternative was Hamas.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

          Second try:

          AntonyIndia wrote: “Weird isn’t it: Persian Shia support for Arab Sunni (Shafi’i)Palestinians. What is in it for the Ayatollahs, I don’t get it.”

          Well, there aren’t a significant number of Palestinian SHIA to support. If you believe in Jihad against the Jewish usurpers, who are going to support? The PLO was secular and left-wing before Islamism became popular. The PLO “sold out” to the Israelis in Oslo. The fundamentalist alternative Iran chose to support was Hamas.

    • mpainter
      Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Steve, there can be no doubt of Iran’s ambitions in that area, which they seek to fulfill by destabilizing it. The IGR is the prime exponent of this militancy and the means by which the militants maintain their grasp on Iran. If you overthrow the IRG, you have taken a big step toward undermining the militant theocracy of that country. That is a worthwhile objective, imo.

      Regarding Obama’s unspeakably inept blunders in Syria,
      this was spawned by the same object of limiting Iranian influence in the region, Assad being allied with Iran for many years. I think Trump imagines to wean Syria away from Iran and make it a dependent of Russia, hence Trump’s goal of rapprochement with Russia. Hezbollah will have to go. Will Trump succeed?Maybe. I think that he could.

      • mpainter
        Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Possibly, Putin’s intervention in Syria was a riposte against the U.S. for the Maidan and subsequent friendliness. If so, it succeeded quite well.

        Trump says that replacement of Assad is no longer a U.S. priority, but Assad’s troubles are not over yet. He will have to abandon his Iran connection if he wishes to maintain himself. Trump is trying to encourage this by showing determination to undo Iranian militancy by whatever means are needed. Israel is ready to cooperate in Trump’s scheme.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

          Subsequent _un_friendliness I meant

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

          Putin’s intervention in Syria was a riposte against the U.S. for the Maidan and subsequent friendliness

          from my reading of the area, I think that US is far too prone to interpret events as nothing more than Great Power machinations. At the time of Russian intervention, ISIS was advancing on Damascus, which looked like it was about to fall. Russia has had to deal with Islamist insurgency within its borders and decided that ISIS in control of Syria would be devastating for Syrian people (who had been allied with Russia for years) and would increase insurgency problems within Russia and therefore intervened, despite warnings and taunts from Obama that it would be a “quagmire”.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

          It is difficult for me to imagine that Putin would have intervened without considering all aspects of the situation. He certainly knew that he was supporting an important client of Iran. He knew that Israel would be an interested party (in fact, he made every effort to stay on good terms with Israel). He knew that Obama wanted Assad out. Often a state can best make a point by being troublesome. And there were collateral considerations, as you point out.

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 12:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Painter has got to differ with Steve on this Iranian issue to stay aligned with Trump. What painter doesn’t know is that Trump certainly does’nt think that Putin was justified in invading Ukraine.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

          In a July 2016 interview, Trump stated that he would consider recognizing Crimea as Russian territory and lifting sanctions on Russia that were imposed after Russia began aiding self-proclaimed separatist republics in eastern Ukraine seeking to undermine the new, pro-Western Ukrainian government.[230] He added that Russia could help the United States in fighting the ISIS terror organization.[231] In another July 2016 interview he added to this “You know the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were, and you have to look at that also.”[232] Former NSA director and CIA director Michael Hayden denounced Trump’s comments as “devoid of facts and divorced from traditional American, traditionally European policy.”[233]

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

          The above excerpt from a Wikipedia article on Trump’s campaign positions.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

          Yeah, and Trump since actually becoming President has recognized the right of KGB Putin to annex Crimea and seize Eastern Ukraine. And he has lifted the sanctions and yatta yatta yatta. That was one of the dumbest things Trump has ever uttered. Appallingly dumb. He knows better now. It was also a very dumb unforced error for him to joke about the Russians providing that hag Hillary’s missing emails. He has had Russia Russia Russia hung around his neck for some time now, somewhat due to his in-artful ruminations on Putin and his shenanigans. And you will never understand what I am talking about. Carry on.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

          The Donbass insurgency began in March, on the heels of the coup in Kiev. Independence was declared and insurgents immediately started hostilities against the usurper. The insurgents succeeded in holding their own against the usurper for several months but lost ground in July,2014. In August Putin sent in an estimated 10,000 Russian troops which restored the battlefront. Then a ceasefire was agreed to which lasted a few months. There have been four more ceasefire declared since then. The last was in August. It lasted about two minutes.

          There has been a stalemate for over two years with only minor skirmishing. The Ukraine has made no real effort during this period to overcome the insurgents. They appeared resigned to losing the Donbass. I wonder what they now think of Obama, Biden, and Nuland-Pyatt now.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

          You don’t know what usurper means. And you have a nasty habit of making up your own facts, or relying on KGB Putin propaganda.

          “The Ukraine has made no real effort during this period to overcome the insurgents.” A particularly bizarre claim. Let’s pretend it’s true. Would the Russian occupation and Russia’s overwhelming miltary advantage have anything to do with the lack of Ukrainian progress in defeating the usurpers in Donbass? Try to use you coconut.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

          It’s got everything to do with it, that’s my point. Which went by you, it seems. Try reading it again, this time thoughtfully.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

          That is BS.

          “I wonder what they now think of Obama, Biden, and Nuland-Pyatt now.”

          You didn’t mention, nor did you in any way allude to the Russian’s invasion and their overwhelming military superiority. You want to blame the whole mess on Obama, because you are an Obama hater and you will twist anything any which way to score points against that fool. I bet I hate Obama more than you do, because I am a lot smarter than you are and way more knowledgeable about the terrible damage that MF’er has done to the United States and the world. But I am not going make up crap to pin on him. It is not necessary and it is self-defeating.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 12:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Here’s a lengthy and thoughtful post taking Iran’s side, while acknowledging 1980s terrorism:
        http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/10/donald-trump-kowtows-to-israel-on-iran-part-ii-by-publius-tacitus.html

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

          Don’t you get the meaning of “number one state sponsor of terrorism”? It doesn’t mean the only sponsor of terrorism. Can you name another “number one state sponsor” of terrorism”?

          “The Saudi Foreign Minister conveniently ignored the fact that 15 of the 19 terrorists who hijacked planes and attacked America on 11 September 2001 were Saudis not Iranians.”

          This is a very faulty argument. Unless there is some convincing evidence that the Saudi Government sponsored 9-11.

          Iran gives huge amounts of military and financial support to Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad etc. etc. Just about any Shiite terror committed in the world has fingerprints on it. It is not surprising that you found an opinion from some clown who says the Iranians aren’t so bad. Is it just that you prefer not to believe anything that the U.S. government says?

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

          Steve, “thoughtful”? Did you actually read your link?

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

          I read the post you linked. It makes a credible case that Hezbollah hasn’t been officially linked to many terrorist incidents in the past 5-10 years and that AL Qaeda and ISIS have become vastly more important. Probably true. Iran still sponsors Hamas and other Palestinian groups. All of these groups are training terrorists. Aren’t their rockets a form of terror attack? Those promoted a brief war in Gaza about a decade ago, and then a quieter period. Since then Hezbollah has been busy in Syria. Is their any reason to believe that they have renounced terrorism as a tactic and now will restrict their targets to military ones? I don’t think so.

          The author claims Hezbollah attacked a busload of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. That is terrorism. It was allegedly done in response to attacks on Iranians working on nuclear weapons. It that terrorism? Are those working for the military but not in uniform legitimate targets/

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 1:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Regarding Obama’s unspeakably inept blunders in Syria, this was spawned by the same object of limiting Iranian influence in the region, Assad being allied with Iran for many years.

        While I agree that blunders were “unspeakably inept”, I think that they were in line with policy in Libya (near contemporary and similar) where Iran influence not an issue. In both cases, I think that US policy was too focused on eliminating individuals (Qaddafi, Assad) and destabilized by meddling.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

          Right, it appears that Obama regarded Qadaffi and Assad both as eyesores.
          Since his Syria fiasco was all unacknowledged sneakiness there is no public record of Obama’s justification in Syria. But, there can be no doubt that, from a strategic point of view, the biggest objection to Assad was that he was the client of Iran and supported terrorism, Hezbollah, and generally made himself a nuisance. Thus he was an eyesore.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

          Right, we had no business interfering with Qadaffi and Assad slaughtering folks engaged in illegal popular uprisings against brutal dictators. What were we thinking?

        • MikeN
          Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

          I don’t think Obama cared about limiting Iranian influence in the region.

          He should have backed down once he realized Putin wanted it more.

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 1:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “Trump’s main objective in the mideast is to neutralize Iran and render that nation incapable of destabilizing the region.”
      I would worry more about Iran’s neighbour Pakistan which has more than double the population, is part of the huge Sunni Ummah, has over 100 nuclear weapons, ICBMs, an army way stronger than Saddam ever had, plus a wide collection of locally condoned terrorist outfits some of which are gearing up to get themselves officially elected. The potential harvest of suicide jihadis is also much bigger there. Now it is falling into Chinese Xi’s orbit on top of it, unlike Iran.

  35. mpainter
    Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 1:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “..slaughtering folks engaged in illegal popular uprisings..”
    === === =====
    Like in the Donbass? 🙂

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 2:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Provide some evidence that a brutal dictator was slaughtering folks engaged in a popular uprising in the Donbass?

      • mpainter
        Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 11:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Some commenters here imagine that,by uglifying Putin, they prettify the Maidan coup, by contrast. It doesn’t work that way.

        For brutal usurper, see the Odessa massacre, linked above by Steve McIntyre. This massacre effectively quelled the anti-Maidan protests in Odessa (the Russian minority is put at 29% of the populace. This type of massacre was not repeated in the Donbass because the anti-Maidan protesters were better organized (and armed). The Russians of the Ukraine were well aware that the Maidan coup stripped their protection away.

    • mpainter
      Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 3:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Brutal dictator brutal usurper, what’s the difference?

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 3:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

        That is not evidence and you forgot to mention that it’s all Obama’s fault. Just your usual goofy drivel.

        • Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

          Glad to see you two talking again.

          Don, I am with you on every point. But I can sympathize with people confusing who are the good guys. I think in the post-Cold-War maturity we see that the US IC has done some questionable things in the name of the lesser of evils (even in Vietnam). The propaganda of equivalency is effective if one can twist the morality part around. However, it is kind of hard to see the morality behind the Shah of Iran Coup (1953). Toppling Mosaddegh in the name of anti-communism is harder to justify now. With the benefit of historical hindsight what the US IC thought was their greatest success really was the US’s lowest ebb. If Harry Truman ever found out before his death I’m sure he would have been appalled. To truly make America great again we need to swear off internal meddling completely, disband the CIA. Once that is achieved the (negligible) loss in intelligence will be replaced 10-fold by the admiration of the world at leadership toward a hopeful direction for humanity. Trust building is key to the survival of a WMD armed humanity. Terrorists need to be robbed of any argument of “freedom fighting.” Our youth an academics think climate change is the biggest threat. There is a large education gap.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

          What we see today is the real Iran. The Shah suppressed all the militant radical Muslims. Things would be infinitely better had the Shah not been overthrown. The Shah represented progress from the abyss of Islamic backwardness and that is why he was hated. The main opposition to the present theocracy are mostly Iranians who would reestablish the Pavhlavi regime, or something like it. The establishment of the Shah had a great stabilizing and beneficial effect on the region.

          The mideast is not a place to implement unrealistic, high minded ideals. Try this, and you will make it even worse than now.

        • Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

          If we changed the UN Security Council permanent member veto from one vote to two I think the UN could be made useful as a mediator and supporter of oppressed peoples rights. A properly functioning UN is proper place for a world 911 call operation. The US and democracies could supply the force but the investigation and intervention needs to have an international flag. I don’t even think Israel would be attacked by UN so much if it no longer was just a popular political vote that was assumed would be vetoed by the US. It would help the solve the Middle-east problems if Israel was forced to gain another major supporter. I think France or UK would be good candidates. If the US get another Dem president they might need both of them.

        • Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

          mpainter: “The Shah suppressed all the militant radical Muslims”

          Suppressing radicals only makes them more so, does it not? If anyone can be a world policeman than Russia gets to be one just as much as the US.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

          Suppressing the rabid biserkers keeps them from taking over. That’s how it works in the world. The Shah fell because oil prices declined and government revenues were halved. The government could not deal with the shortfall and this led to a slow unraveling of the regime as venders, suppliers, employees etc, could not be paid. The state became successively more radical with each government until finally Khomeini moved in and took over. That’s when it really went to hell. Thus today’s Iran. They hate us Ron because we are the foremost exponent of what they hate. They spew poison at Israel even though Israel has never injured them. They are the foremost expression of backward, malignant Islam.

      • mpainter
        Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 4:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

        The popularly elected government of the Ukraine was overthrown by a brutal insurrection which ousted the legitimate president and installed a usurper as president. The Donbass wanted no part of such a usurpation and declared independence and were thereupon attacked brutally. By the brutal usurper. The Crimeans, under the protection of Russia, escaped the brutal usurper. It’s all in Wikipedia, although it sometimes adopts discredited points of view.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

          Not evidence again. Merely assertions regurgitating KGB Putin propaganda. It’s all in wiki, except the words are different and any reporting of facts and events that doesn’t echo the KGB Putin propaganda narrative you assert are “discredited points of view”. Right, discredited by transparent KGB Putin propaganda.

          If you are going to cite wiki as an authority, you don’t get to pick and choose which parts we are supposed to believe. That is incredibly dumb. And you don’t even provide an actual quote and a link. Just some BS that you made up. You are not serious. That is all the “discussion” I will have with you.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

          Trump agrees. He dislikes brutal usurpation.

  36. mpainter
    Posted Oct 14, 2017 at 6:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Looks like Rex Tillerson is out.

  37. mpainter
    Posted Oct 15, 2017 at 7:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Frank, others, Crimeans are better off out of the Ukraine and in Russia. Is it not obvious? That’s what they want but you disregard that. Their preference trumps all your arguments and gnashing of teeth. Save your enamel. Ditto the Donbass.

    The usurpation backfired on the party of insurrection. They have lost the Crimea and their principle industrial region. They have made a shambles of their affairs. All that is left is their nationalistic bigotry. I cannot sympathize with them, myself.

    • Frank
      Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 4:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

      mpainter: Frank, others, Crimeans are better off out of the Ukraine and in Russia. Is it not obvious? That’s what they want but you disregard that. Their preference trumps all your arguments and gnashing of teeth. Save your enamel. Ditto the Donbass.

      No, it’s not obvious to me. The Crimeans voted in favor of leaving the USSR as an autonomous part of the Ukraine in 1992. In an open election with foreign observers. No one in their right mind should pay attention to the results of an election held by the military occupiers of a country on ten days notice. Given all of the fake news here in the US (some of which is propagated by Russian bots), what do you think the Crimeans knew about the events that had transpired in Kiev?

      About 1/3 of Crimeans speak Ukrainian or are Crimean Tatars who were resettled to Siberia for 50 years by Stalin. Do you think they felt safe voting at a site guarded by Russian soldiers. The Crimean Parliament voted unanimously to rejoin the Russian.

      No, all of these antics tell both of us nothing about what the Crimean people want and what they would choose in an honest referendum without external pressure. Given the increasing political polarization, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them vote to succeed. Yanukovych won about 70% of the vote in Crimea in 2010.

      Finally, Putin will never allow a fair referendum with foreign observers to be conducted in the country – even if Trump requests it. They certainly won’t be able to muster the 97% majority and 87% turnout they claim took place in 2014 and their fraud will be exposed. Furthermore, voters were apparently only offered two choices: independence or union with Russia. The status quo was not even on the ballot.

      mpainter: “The usurpation backfired on the party of insurrection. They have lost the Crimea and their principle industrial region. They have made a shambles of their affairs. All that is left is their nationalistic bigotry. I cannot sympathize with them, myself.”

      The only usurpation occurred when Russian troops occupied the Crimea. There were three months of mostly peaceful protests in Kiev and elsewhere, an agreement to create a national unity government was signed, and one day of violence followed. The creation of a national unity government during a crisis is a common occurrence. President Vanukovych fled to Russia the next day and he still hasn’t provided a rational explanation for why he deserted his post during the crisis. Usurpers execute their opponents, or jail them, or publicly send them to exile.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/21/agreement-on-the-settlement-of-crisis-in-ukraine-full-text

      • mpainter
        Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 10:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Frank, you admit that another referendum would confirm the Crimean secession. That admitted, you still argue that the Crimea should not be joined to Russia. But your admission settles the issue; Crimea has chosen.

        Frank, the overthrow of a popularly elected government by an organized coup is a usurpation in my dictionary. The leaders of this coup were the losers in the election. Usurpers.

        Right, usurpers execute their opponents. But Yanukovitch was too fast for them.

        I do not share your pro-Ukrainian sympathies.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

          Rather, your pro-usurper sympathies. We shall have to agree to disagree.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

          Rather, your pro-usurper sympathies. We shall have to agree to disagree.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

          Yanukowych DESERTED his post as president and fled to Russia. Both the police and army were still following his orders when he left. Official government buildings (like his office) had not been occupied. As best I can tell, his life was not in immediate danger.

          His flight to Russia does seem to line up with the first publication of pictures of his mansion outside of Kiev. Perhaps he knew that his presidency was now doomed.

          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/24/rebels-toured-palace-ukraine-presidential-compound-viktor-yanukovych

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

          Official government buildings (like his office) had not been occupied. As best I can tell, his life was not in immediate danger.

          Are you sure of this timeline? I haven’t parsed timeline by hour but one would need to check when Parliament building was occupied.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

          Frank, you have been reduced to repeating the party line. You yourself admitted that usurpers execute their opponents. Yanukovitch they would have murdered probably with his wife and family.

          By the way, Yanukovitch purchased his estate in 2007, years before he was elected President (he was a wealthy businessman, like Trump). The pictures that you so happily link to were taken by the Maidan thugs who illegally invaded his estate, seeking to murder him.

          Those who have any interest in this subject, I refer you to Wikipedia, which has a number of detailed and relevant articles: Euromaidan, Yanukovytch, others. These make it clear that it was an organized coup.

          What a blunder; it gave Putin the supreme opportunity and he wasted no time.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

          mpainter: “By the way, Yanukovitch purchased his estate in 2007, years before he was elected President. Yanukowych was a wealthy businessman …. Those who have any interest in this subject, I refer you to Wikipedia, which has a number of detailed and relevant articles: Euromaidan, Yanukovytch, others.”

          “Businessman”? Yanukovych was one of the successful oligarchs who made billions during the chaos that followed the break up of the USSR. His mansion/estate apparently formerly belong to the Communist Party and then the Ukrainian Government, but now appears to be owned by a series of European shell companies. The links below come from the references in Yanukovych’s Wikipedia page. (I don’t know how reliable these sources are, but you suggested them.)

          https://web.archive.org/web/20120314151108/http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/66006/

          https://www.globalwitness.org/en-gb/blog/anonymous-uk-company-owned-truncated/

          Millions of dollars of similar loot funded Paul Manafort’s and others lobbying efforts on behalf of the Ukraine, which may become a part of his likely trial. I don’t know if they entangled Michael Flynn, but they appear to have tried.

          Biilions more are going into funding other lobbying and propaganda operations like Veselnitskaya’s attempts to limit the impact of the Magnitsky Act, the bots that are spreading propaganda through social media and websites that are poisoning our minds – a job made easier by the degeneration of our MSM. Millions of dollars flowed also into the Clinton foundation and paid for Bill’s speeches. IMO, money is purchasing the image that Putin is something other than an ex-KGB thug who is now running the world’s biggest criminal organization and a serious threat to our national security (through NATO obligations).

          Billions of dollars from similar activity throughout Russia and Eastern Europe have flowed into the West, including the Trump Organization (as DT Jr has told us). Although it is unlikely that Trump owns a piece of Mezhyhirya literally, he and the Clintons do so figuratively.

          Unfortunately. Porshenko and others are likely as dirty as Yanukovych.

          mpainter wrote: “The pictures that you so happily link to were taken by the Maidan thugs who illegally invaded his estate, seeking to murder him.”

          Actually, the true owners of Mezhyhirya – the citizens of Ukraine – have reclaimed their property (from its usurper). If Yanukovych had been present, he would have been protected by state security – 300 police allegedly came when he was in residence during peaceful times. Perhaps he knew that their loyalty was waning.

          This is why – IMO – the citizens of Crimea would be better off as part of Ukraine than of Russia. Citizens of Ukraine (often peoples of all ages with families) twice have staged mostly peacefully protested for three months in winter in the Euromaidan and changed government policies. We witnessed similar things in Tahrir Square and Aleppo. Except for a brief period, the people of Russia haven’t shown such spirit. Such upheavals are dangerous and usually don’t have a happy ending, which is why the US/EU attempt to negotiate a compromise was the right policy and its failure a tragedy. The BBC story below suggests to me that Putin had been contemplating a takeover of Crimea for several months, probably since continuing protests against Yanukovych created doubt that his administration would survive. Russia was invited and attended the negotiations, but refused to endorse the compromise. Perhaps Putin didn’t want a peaceful end to the crisis.

          http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31796226

          mpainter: “Yanukowych was a wealthy businessman, like Trump.”

          That’s what I’m afraid of – Trump being like Yanukovych. Fortunately, Trump inherited a great deal of wealth, was never a Communist Party apparatchik, nor the hand-picked successor of the Communist Party Leader running the Ukraine when the USSR fell apart. Trump lives in a country where the rule of law functions – at least to some extent: Where Comey refused to pledge his loyalty to Trump and end the investigation of Flynn. Where dAG Rosenstein appointed a special prosecutor after Trump fires Comey. Where Trump businesses have gone bankrupt and been sued hundreds of times in court. Where the DoS IG files a complaint with the DoJ about Hillary Clinton’s email server that torpedoes her quest for the presidency (partly thanks to Comey’s candid testimony to Congress), but doesn’t land her in court.

          Your admiration for the authoritarianism of Putin and Yanukovych (and DT’s authoritarian impulses) appears incomprehensible to me

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

          “Businessman”? Yanukovych was one of the successful oligarchs who made billions during the chaos that followed the break up of the USSR.

          I agree that “wealthy businessman” is far from an accurate description of someone who acquired wealth by appropriation of state assets for virtually nothing. I vaguely recall that oligarchs acquired assets under policies recommended by US consultants on privatization of state assets and that this was a fait accompli by Putin’s time, with Putin pushing back against oligarchs. But I haven’t read any literature on topic. Useful references?

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

          On February 21, 2014, Yanukovitch left for Karkov. On February 22, the Ukrainian parliament voted to declare him deposed “for deserting his post”, this act wholly unconstitutional. Then they proceeded to unconstitutionally remove five judges from the Ukrainian Constitutional Court. Next they passed a criminal indictment of Yanukovitch, also unconstitutional, in effect a bill of attainder.
          And what did they have to enforce these unconstitutional acts? A band of neo-n*zi thugs. Not too hard to figure out what happens when the electorate elects a president who lacks a small army of street fighters.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 18, 2017 at 4:51 AM | Permalink

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

          He vaguely recall: Putin pushing back against oligarchs, that is a howl. He pushed them into sharing the spoils and being accomplices with him in his massive kleptocracy. He and his cronies are the biggest mob of oligarchs in World history. Do you seriously believe U.S. consultants have any responsibility for that crap? Privatization doesn’t necessarily have to be corrupt. Nobody needs to teach Russians how to steal. Sheesh.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

          Frank wrote: “Official government buildings (like his office) had not been occupied. As best I can tell, his life was not in immediate danger.

          Steve asked: “Are you sure of this timeline? I haven’t parsed timeline by hour but one would need to check when Parliament building was occupied.

          I’m less certain now. The video below says the police had disappeared on February 22, leaving protesters in control, but no violence that day. There is similar news report from RT, and several videos of the vote itself. A resignation letter is mentioned but later denied.

          I see that an ebook exists, but I suspect reporters from an english language Kiev paper could be biased against Yanukovych.

          “EuroMaidan wasn’t primarily about Russia versus the West; it was about two different visions of Ukraine. (As somebody said of the 2004 Orange Revolution: millionairs in Kyiv against billionaires in Donetsk)
          Reducing it to a conflict between Great Powers – and thus robbing the protesters of their moral agency – is the real facile narrative here.”

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

          my understanding is that neo-Nazis Parubiy and Yarosh obtained control of National Security apparatus after occupation of Parliament by Pravy Sektor and others. If so, Yanukovych could reasonably fear for life and flee to safety, without such action constituting a resignation. US quickly endorsed coup.

          have you read about massacre in Odessa in May 2014 – neo-Nazis barricaded opposition in building and burned them alive. Some links in comment thread here http://www.economist.com/node/21601918/comments . Parubiy was in Odessa just before massacre, met with leader of massacre.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

          Feb 22, 2014 during coup http://www.dw.com/en/would-a-federal-ukraine-be-viable/a-17404541

          There has already been heated debate about whether or not Ukraine should be a federation. In the early 1990s, the Crimean peninsula wanted to secede; and during the Orange Revolution in 2004, regions in the east and south of the country threatened to form their own republic.
          But this time it could be serious. The ongoing protests in Kyiv, which at least superficially seem to be the work of western Ukrainians, have been widely rejected in the east.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

          interesting article on Feb 23, 2014 by Time on situation in Crimea http://time.com/9243/the-russian-stronghold-in-ukraine-preparing-to-fight-the-revolution/

          Leaders in Crimea immediately observed that neo-Nazi coup in Ukraine presented opportunity to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia:

          For Ukraine’s revolutionary leaders, that presents an urgent problem. In a matter of days, their sympathizers managed to seize nearly the entire country, including some of the most staunchly pro-Russian regions of eastern Ukraine. But they have made barely any headway on the Crimean peninsula. On the contrary, the revolution has given the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea their best chance ever to break away from Kiev’s rule and come back under the control of Russia. “An opportunity like this has never come along,” says Tatyana Yermakova, the head of the Russian Community of Sevastopol, a civil-society group in Crimea.

          Organizer Yermakova observed that there was no need for Russia to “invade” since “they are already right here” [through military bases legally in Crimea]:

          On Saturday afternoon in Crimea, around 3,000 ethnic Russians came out to appeal for the protection of Moscow at a demonstration in the main square of Sevastopol, a short walk from the warships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. “There isn’t even any need for Russia to invade,” Yermakova, who organized the demonstration, told TIME on the square. “They are already right here.”

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

          Here’s contemporary article linked from Wikipedia. Yanukovych had signed agreement with opposition on Feb 21 and gone to Kharkov where he was safe. Elections promised by end 2014.

          It appears that insurgents seized government buildings overnight Feb 21-22. Early the next morning (7:30 am), neo-Nazi Parubiy and “the Maidan” “demanded that Yanukovich resign before 10 am today, otherwise the activists will go on armed assault”. https://www.segodnya.ua/politics/pnews/maydan-polnostyu-kontroliruet-kiev-parubiy-497737.html

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

          The act of purging the Ukrainian Constitutional Court of five justices appears to be intended to hamstring that court before it could declare the acts of parliament null and void. Just how did parliament enforce its unconstitutional removal of these judges, I wonder? I feel sure that this coup succeeded because it had the para-military neo-n*zis as enforcers.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

          “Your admiration for the authoritarianism of Putin and Yanukovych (and DT’s authoritarian impulses) appears incomprehensible to me”
          ### ### ###

          I do not admire Yanukovitch. I admire Putin for his guts and statecraft. Of course I admire Trump.

          Putin has put himself on top. Obama blundered as did the Maidan coup leaders. Putin took immediate advantage of their blunder. I think he had a contingency plan. Very neat, quick and effective and now the Ukraine is in a well full of s___t.

          And “authoritarian impulses”. Not willing to credit Trump with brains,are you, tsk tsk.

        • Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

          You know, it’s remarkable Steve McIntyre says:

          Leaders in Crimea immediately observed that neo-Nazi coup in Ukraine presented opportunity to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia:

          For a variety of reasons, including using editorial rhetoric far beyond what the person he quoted said (which is remarkable given he quoted an extremely biased person). However, the the part which is most incredible is he actually prefaces his quote by saying it shows what “Leaders in Crimea” said. His quote is from “the head of the Russian Community of Sevastopol, a civil-society group in Crimea.”

          In what world do we quote the views of the head of a non-government organization to depict what “Leaders in” any country say? Heck, just look at the name of the group this guy is the head of It’s the “Russian Community of Sevastopol.” I don’t know how many people it has, but I’m pretty sure the head of an organization intended for only one ethnic group in a single city is not a leader in Crimea.

          At least, he isn’t in any meaningful sense. I could lead three people on a tour of my house, but that doesn’t mean I should be called a “leader in the United States.” I have a love for semantics, but come on. If this is the sort of thing you have to do to push a narrative where Russia didn’t invade Crimea and it was just the innocent victim of betrayals as the evil western empiralists broke their promises…

          I feel like I’m back reading Real Climate with Gavin Schmidt appealing to his esteemed guru to obtain credibility for the nonsense he was writing.

        • Posted Oct 18, 2017 at 5:29 AM | Permalink

          I just noticed Steve McIntyre said:

          have you read about massacre in Odessa in May 2014 – neo-Nazis barricaded opposition in building and burned them alive. Some links in comment thread here http://www.economist.com/node/21601918/comments . Parubiy was in Odessa just before massacre, met with leader of massacre.

          This is rather fascinating as if one looks at how this “massacre” is reported across the spectrum, they will find few sources reporting what McIntyre portrays. McIntyre makes it sound as if a bunch of neo-Nazis rounded up people they disagreed with, locked them in a building and set the building on fire. Here is what most sources agree on:

          On May 2nd, 2014, a pre-game rally of soccer (football) fans was held in a traditional celebration of unity. The rally consisted of approximately 1,500 people, including fans of both teams, regular citizens and some people McIntyre labels “neo-Nazis.” Mid-afternoon, this rally was attacked by several hundred pro-Russian activists. Fighting ensued throughout the city, utilizing various weaponry including firebombs and an AK-47 fired by a Pro-Russian activist, causing the first casualty.

          As the fighting escalated and in response to the pro-Russian attack, pro-Ukrainians decided to attack a pro-Russia camp. This attack drove people from that camp into a nearby building (which was in use and had uninvolved people within it), occupying it and taking it over. Fighting between the two sides continued.

          That much is pretty well accepted by all but fringe reporting. What happened next is much more muddled. There are differing reports about who had what guns, who threw Molotov cocktails from where and which started the fire which eventually killed 32 people. What is clear is however things played out in the details, this was the result of escalating violence between two groups throughout a city. It wasn’t a group of people rounding up innocent victims, locking them in a building and burning them alive. (As an aside to clarify a factual matter, nobody actually burned alive.)

          Oh, and there’s no real factual disagreement about how it all started. While skirmishes between these two sides had happened before, the violence leading to this “massacre” began because several hundred pro-Russian activists attacked a peaceful rally being held to show unity before a sporting event.

          Of course, there not being a factual disagreement won’t stop some people from coming up with entirely different narratives. Why let facts get in the way?

        • Posted Oct 18, 2017 at 5:57 AM | Permalink

          And now Steve McIntyre breathlessly rushes to <a href="https://climateaudit.org/2017/10/02/guccifer-2-from-january-to-may-2016/#comment-776583&quot;.share a tweet to portray Ukraine as being run by neo-N@zis because, “Ukraine honors nationalist leader blamed 4 pogroms.”

          Of course, McIntyre can’t be bothered to mention anything about how the person in question, /Symon Petliura, is “blamed” for killing tens of thousands of Jews by some people but not others. The reason is history isn’t clear on how much responsibility Petliura actually had for what happened. Ukraine and Russia were at war in early 1900s, and Petliura took charge of Ukraine for about a year. During this time, Petliura’s position as leader was shaky, and he lost control of many of his troops.

          Petliura did not order Jews be murdered. In fact, historians agree he sought to stop Jews from being vicitimzed many times. What historians disagree about is how much Petliura could have done to stop the murders that did happen. The main argument is Petliura tacitly allowed Jews to murdered in large numbers because he was afraid (more) troops would turn agains thim if he tried to stop the slaughters.

          Russian propaganda like to over-simplify Petliura as a mass murderer, and McIntyre seems willing to help push that narrative. Hopefully the people seeing his comment care more about nuance, detail and fact than he seems to. Portraying a person as a monster who committed mass-murder when historians all agree he didn’t want that to happen, and in fact actively helped Jews in many ways and on many occasions, seems wrong.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 18, 2017 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

          What say you, Brandon, is the Waffen SS wolfsangle insignia a suitable emblem for the neo-n*zi Ukrainians? If not, please share your thoughts with us as to why not.
          If yes, then no need to say anymore.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 18, 2017 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

          Brandon, you say “There are differing reports as to what happened..”

          #### ### ####

          Actually all reports agree that the victims were attacked while in their encampment and fled to the refuge of the building. This building was besieged by a superior force of Ukrainian street fighters (neo-n*zi thugs?) who pelted it with firebombs until the building caught fire.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 18, 2017 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

          Brandon, it’s true that there are conflicting reports as to the details but if one keeps in mind that the only victims were those who sought refuge in the building, and that none survived, then one has a means of sifting out the truth of the matter.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 18, 2017 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

          Brandon is a major pain in the buttocks, but he is meticulous and he brings facts. Some others here not so much.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 18, 2017 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

          Facts on the wolfsangle:
          Translates as wolfhook.
          Was the insignia of the Waffen SS
          Has been adopted as the emblem of the neo-n*zi Ukrainians.
          Is worn as an armband by the Maidan street fighters, as shown in photographs.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 3:53 AM | Permalink

          Frank says Yanukovitch is not a businessman but an oligarchy.
          Definition of oligarch from i-net:

          noun
          1.
          a ruler in an oligarchy.
          2.
          (especially in Russia) a very rich business leader with a great deal of political influence.

          Hmmm. A very rich business leader with a great deal of political influence. Donald Trump?

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

        And it is just tough sh!t for the sizable population of Crimea, who aren’t OK with the invasion and don’t want any part of being ruled by Stalinist KGB thug Putin. There will never be another free election in Crimea as long as Putin or a similar dictator is running the reconstituted Soviet empire.

        The Southwestern U.S. used to belong to Mexico. A quick invasion of certain relatively undefended areas along the border, a referendum after a few hours of lining up folks of Mexican origin and Mexico gets back sizable chunks of lost territory. Who could complain about that?

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

          Burp! Says Putin. Thanks for the meal.

          NATO requires their applicants to have their affairs in good order, internally and in their foreign relations, particularly with their neighbors. Ukraine must settle with Russia or forget about NATO membership. The Maidan coup backfired in a very big way on the usurpers. Thanks to Obama. Putin holds all the high cards.

      • mpainter
        Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 6:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Frank, you have been reduced to repeating the party line. You yourself admitted that usurpers execute their opponents. Yanukovitch they would have murdered probably with his wife and family.

        By the way, Yanukovitch purchased his estate in 2007, years before he was elected President (he was a wealthy businessman, like Trump). The pictures that you so happily link to were taken by the Maidan thugs who illegally invaded his estate, seeking to murder him.

        Those who have any interest in this subject, I refer you to Wikipedia, which has a number of detailed and relevant articles: Euromaidan, Yanukovytch, others. These make it clear that it was an organized coup.

        What a blunder; it gave Putin the supreme opportunity and he wasted no time.

      • mpainter
        Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 1:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

        On February 21, 2014, Yanukovitch left for Karkov. On February 22, the Ukrainian parliament voted to declare him deposed “for deserting his post”, this act wholly unconstitutional. Then they proceeded to remove five judges from the Ukrainian Constitutional Court. Next they passed a criminal indictment of Yanukovitch, also unconstitutional, in effect a bill of attained.
        And what did they have to enforce these unconstitutional acts? A band of neo-n*zi thugs. Not too hard to figure out what happens when the electorate elects a president who lacks a small army of street fighters.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 7:03 PM | Permalink

          Hi Don, what do you think, is the Waffen SS wolfsangle insignia and appropriate symbol for the Maidan coup?

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 6:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Nice work, Steve. You worked that neo-N*zi brand in there about a hunnert and foty times. Wow, what kind of flouncy a$$ neo-N*zis would fail to seize all the power once they had taken over the national security apparatus and the parliament? And then they voluntarily resigned from their powerful positions like good little lambs and took part in democratic elections. Whoever is in charge of neo-N*zis these days needs to get a hold of these neo-wusses and give them a tuneup. You are really trying too hard, Steve.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted Oct 18, 2017 at 9:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Brandon claims Steve is factually wrong but doesn’t post his own links to back that up….

  38. Don Monfort
    Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 1:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Headline is misleading. Fake news. That story hasn’t played out yet. He is still being held and charges will be filed.

    Here is a story on how Trump’s had line is roiling internal Chinese politics:

    https://policycn.com/17-10-13-debating-north-korea/

    Trump is shaking things up. No pushover like the stooge we had for the last eight years.

  39. MikeN
    Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 10:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Saudi Arabia vs Iran is more due to inertia. Persia was somewhat Westernized and Iranians can pass for white Europeans pretty easily. Saudi princes and kings make nice with Western leaders while selling oil on demand, but funding Wahhabis around the world, while Iran chants Death to America and funds(founds?) Hezbollah and Hamas. Iran is fighting ISIS so they are not as much a villain as before.
    Iran is also pursuing nukes, while declaring the world should be afraid if their program goes underground. Why should we be afraid of what they assure us is a peaceful energy program? One leader declared that he is OK with an Israeli destruction of Iran in a nuclear counterattack because most of the Muslim world would still be surviving while Israel was destroyed. Saudi Arabia is anti-Israel, with Trump’s trip being the first directly to Israel from the kingdom, but NATO leaders know this is mostly for show, and Saudi Arabia has shown no aggression towards Israel in a long time. Reportedly they have even given permission for Israeli overflight to attack Iran.

    Shia majority countries Syria, Iraq look more likely to Westernize, along with Sunni Jordan. Sunni Turkey is becoming more Islamic, though if the Kurds stay in then the dynamic could flip in a few decades.

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 12:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I suspect Iranians don’t have to worry about a counter attack. I am told by my friends in Israel who know, that Israel will not allow Iran to complete work on nuclear weapons. Period. Of course they could be bluffing. But these same friends have admitted to me that Israel deliberately attacked the U.S.S. Liberty. Why did they do it? Short answer is, they thought it a reasonable measure necessary for the defense of Israel. The Holocaust and all that. There is a certain kind of paranoia+rational fear that colors Israeli thinking. Iranian nuclear weapons equals existential threat in the hands of religious fanatics who have promised to destroy Israel. You do the math.

      • MikeN
        Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 1:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

        That is probably Israel’s plan, but I don’t see how they get there. Those mountains don’t look easy to get bombs through(perhaps they plan to just block the entrances?). There could be more areas that Iran has not revealed. Meanwhile they are building missiles, and improving the enrichment process. The deal itself is the cheating. They stop uranium enrichment while using other chemicals to reduce the time needed to enrich the uranium.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 16, 2017 at 1:46 PM | Permalink

          You are not doing the math, Mike. Put Israeli nuclear weapons and multiple means of delivering them into your equation.

        • MikeN
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

          You think Israel will engage in a preemptive nuclear strike?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

          That seems to be there intention, if Iran get’s too close to breakout. I would do it, if I were in the Israelis’ position. No way would I let Iran start building bombs that they could deliver by the missiles they are specifically developing to carry nuclear weapons, and that they could distribute by truck, ship, donkey, aircraft, camel to Hezbollah, Hamas, Houthis etc. The World would squeal, but the Suadis and other countries threatened by a nuclear Iran would send flowers and kisses. All sorts of condemnation and sanctions would be heaped on the Israelis, but they would survive.

          The Israelis have very good intelligence assets in Iran. Lot’s of Iranians hate the ayatollahs and others work for pay. My guess is that the Iranians, who know they are being carefully watched, will relentlessly keep pushing towards a nuclear weapons capability, but stop short of actually building devices. They might miscalculate on how far they can go before getting squashed. I don’t think the Isrealis will ever tolerate a significant risk that the Iranians will get off the first salvo.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

          Hamas and other Palestinians would be really happy with a N-bomb on Israel: NOT. It would kill a good number of them too make a part of “their” land uninhabitable for a few generations.
          More plausible sources of a N-bomb on Israel (or USA): Pakistani irregulars steal or get one from their army friends or Kim Jong Un sells one to some loonies secretly.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 10:46 PM | Permalink

          Unlike Antony, I actually know what I am talking about. If Antony could read well, Antony would have noted that I said that if Iran had nukes “they could deliver” them to Hamas etc. Just the possibility that nukes might be in the hands of Hezbollah, Hamas etc. would be the most powerful deterrent to Israeli military power that those groups have ever had. And does tony really believe that exploding a nuclear device in Tel Aviv
          is not the wet dream of plenty of Palestinian fanatics? The Israelis are not going to allow the Iranians to develop nuclear weapons for the reasons I have stated. Period.

          Pakistan and North Korea are another story. The Israelis are aware of the possibility of the threat of loose nukes. They are smart and careful people. The Paks and the N Koreans also know that they are within range of Israel’s nuclear armed Jericho III ICBMs. And in a stretch, Dolphin class subs armed with nuclear cruise missiles. So, there is some incentive for the Paks and the NK idiots to keep their warheads under control. But maybe the Russians, French, or Chinese would sell somebody some nukes in a cash crunch. Or those pesky Martians. They always need money, for the earth girls. Can you think of any other far freaking fetched scenarios, tony?

          We got a lot of geniuses in this discussion.

        • Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 11:06 PM | Permalink

          “We got a lot of geniuses in this discussion.”

          I actually would not doubt this.

          And, Don, we are trying to set a better example for the younger generation. 🙂

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 17, 2017 at 11:56 PM | Permalink

          Any of you can beat Kim Yong Nam or Ijaz Shah?
          Just age wise 😉

  40. Frank
    Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve wrote: “I agree that “wealthy businessman” is far from an accurate description of someone who acquired wealth by appropriation of state assets for virtually nothing. I vaguely recall that oligarchs acquired assets under policies recommended by US consultants on privatization of state assets and that this was a fait accompli by Putin’s time, with Putin pushing back against oligarchs. But I haven’t read any literature on topic. Useful references?

    Jeffery Saches explains his role in advising Russia, the failure of privatization, and some scandals. It’s a place to start.

    http://jeffsachs.org/2012/03/what-i-did-in-russia/

    • Frank
      Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 1:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Correction: It’s a place to start, but from someone with a personal stake. Saches is at the center of many controversies, most recently the Millennial Village Project.

  41. Frank
    Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 3:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve wrote: “my understanding is that neo-Nazis Parubiy and Yarosh obtained control of National Security apparatus after occupation of Parliament by Pravy Sektor and others. If so, Yanukovych could reasonably fear for life and flee to safety, without such action constituting a resignation. US quickly endorsed coup.”

    Thanks for raising my awareness on neo-Nazi influence on Ukrainian nationalism. It is difficult to separate Russian propaganda (any Ukrainian opposed to Russia must be inspired by Nazism) from the serious problems associated with some right wing groups. (I finally woke up when I read “state ownership of major businesses” – classic “national socialism” – but should have picked up other problems sooner.)

    What I don’t understand is the motivations of the Euromaidan protestors. Obviously there were some neo-Nazi groups involved. I bought the ebook I linked above which is a collection of newspaper stories published by the Kyiv Post, a pro-Western group of investigative journalists. I provided a link above. They don’t appear to be tainted by excessive nationalism. They view the protesters as an alliance of citizens not controlled by any party or movement, and motivated to a desire to be part of Europe and free of corruption from both pro- and anti-Russian oligarchs. They discuss the weaknesses of the various factions among the protesters, but state that neo-Nazism is over-simplified Russian propaganda. For $3.99, I think it is worth reading. It takes less than an hour.

    I think I understand the final hours of the Yanukovych government better. Opposition politicians brought the Compromise of Feb 21 to the EuroMaidan and it was rejected as described by the reuters link below. Is the key figure – Parasiuk – inspired by neo-Nazism? Or was any compromise with Yanukovych impossible after so many died? Parasiuk is from Lviv, the center of the neo-Nazi movement. He’s now in Parliament, but not a member of a right wing party.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-crisis-hero-insight/in-ukraine-turbulence-a-lad-from-lviv-becomes-the-toast-of-kiev-idUSBREA1O0JT20140225

    In any case, when Parasiuk declared that Yanukovych would not remain president for the rest of the year and needed to be gone by 10:00 am tomorrow, that was the decisive moment. The leader of the army had just resigned rather than follow Yanukovych’s orders to move against the protestors. No police showed up in the EuroMaidan the next morning and Yanukovych had fled. 20,000 counter demonstrators were in Donetsk; rebellion in the east was inevitable. Russia was moving on Crimea. Areas dominated by Russian speakers wanted no part in a post-Yanukovych future. Humpty-dumpty won’t be put back together again no matter how illegal Russia’s seizure of Crimea might be to the West.

    Was this the triumph of neo-Nazism? Do you have any evidence that points in this direction? How does one know one has brought the next Hitler (or Putin) into power? The Kyiv Post doesn’t think so, but that doesn’t mean they are right. They think the rebellion has been betrayed by the oligarchs that dominate and corrupt the new government. The right-wing parties lost ground in the elections.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 4:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

      there’s a lot of fog surrounding these events and hard to get the right nuance.

      I think that there might be a difference in the situation immediately after the coup and three years on. I’ve tried to rely on contemporary videos and articles as much as possible in forming an opinion. My take – and it’s a “take” rather than fully parsed historical research – is that the Maidan started out as a broadly based protest, but that, by February, its vanguard was Pravy Sektor, Svoboda and other well organized extremist/neo-Nazi groups. Also, events in Kyiv were not representative of the entire country – easier to understand for a Canadian.

      In the immediate post-coup government, members of Svoboda, Pravy Sektor and other far right parties had very important positions. One of the first acts of the post-coup parliament was to pass a law bill against use of Russian language. Russian-speaking minorities had every reason to be concerned. In a comparable Canadian situation, if Parliament passed a bill banning use of French language, Quebec would have organized a secession vote just as fast as Crimea.

      It looks like the subsequent government has toned down the neo-Nazi stuff. Andriy Parubiy, a leader of the present government, appears to have moved past his origins as a brownshirt, but the origins are real enough.

      It seems to me that there is a very fundamental divide in Ukraine between people who fought against nazi-ism and people who fought against communism. The revival of Nazi-period insignia and the honoring of Nazi-period politicians (Bandera, Stetsko, Shukeyvych), through statues, parades, streets etc,, seems troubling to me. I realize that it isn’t the same thing as full-fledged Nazi-ism, but even so.

      During the Cold War, I think that North Americans made a distinction between the Soviet Union government and Russians as people, recognizing that the people were oppressed by the government. The movie Dr Zhivago would be representative of this sentiment. Through hockey rivalry, Canadians have long made this distinction in a different field.

      Once the Soviet government fell, subsequent rivalry seems to me more akin to 19th century Great Power rivalries, rather then 20th century ideological rivalry. No point in hating one’s rival.

      Ukraine – and this is based on limited knowledge – strikes me as different. If you recall, in addition to anti-Semitism, original Nazi racism also regarded Russians as an inferior race. That carries forward into the platform and manifesto of the Socialist Nationalist Party of Ukraine (now Svoboda) and seemingly into the broader society. There’s far too much pure hate in Ukrainian ideology for my taste. I don’t think that that sort of hate should be endorsed or supported. I think that the US (and Canada) should stay a safe distance away from Ukraine.

      • Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 4:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

        I know this is probably pointless, but I think it’s funny Steve McIntyre says:

        In the immediate post-coup government, members of Svoboda, Pravy Sektor and other far right parties had very important positions. One of their first acts was to pass a law against use of Russian language. Russian-speaking minorities had every reason to be concerned. In a comparable Canadian situation, Quebec would have organized a secession vote just as fast as Crimea.

        When that never happened. That law never got passed.

        Here’s some context, because I actually care about facts and nuance. Throughout Ukraine’s history, the Ukrainian language was actively suppressed by Russia in many ways, in a series of efforts that took place over several centuries. This was viewed as a way to allow Russia more complete control over Ukraine. After Ukraine became independent in 1991, the official language for the country was Ukrainian.

        In 2012, Ukraine passed a new law which said areas which had a significant population (10%) which spoke a different language could have that language declared an official regional language. Ukrainian was still the official language of the country, but some areas adopted Russian as a secondary language with official status.

        After Viktor Yanukovich left Ukraine, members of the Ukrainian parliament responded to the anti-Russian sentiments of the time by voting to repeal the 2012 law to return the favor. The point was not to oppress Russian speakers in Ukraine, but to distance the country from Russian control via the same tactics it had used. This vote was held without any discussion or debate, with the proposal made and voted on in a single day. That didn’t go over well, both because of the lack of discussion and the fact a lot of people (including many pro-Ukrainians) viewed it as inappropriate because copying the unjust tactics Russia used against Ukraine meant using unjust tactics themselves.

        Sharing that sentiment, the president of Ukraine refused to sign the bill parliament voted on to repeal the 2012 law. Because the president refused to sign it, the law never got passed. The system of checks and balances worked, with the rushed and incorrect decision the parliament made getting shut down by another branch of the government.

        It is certainly appropriate to criticize the Ukraine parliament’s rushed action. One could even argue other actions taken since then showed the same desires. However, this was not “a law against use of Russian language.” It was a bill to repeal a law passed two years earlier which allowed minority languages to be declared official languages at regional levels. More importantly, the law never got passed because it was widely criticized within Ukraine, including within the Ukrainian government.

        But hey, why let facts get in the way of a good narrative? McIntyre can keep making factually false claims, refuse to correct them and get away with it by saying, “N@zi! N@zi! N@zi!” I’m sure if he says it enough, readers will forget how he refuses to acknowledge minor facts like Russian military taking the Crimean government captive the day it voted to secede while taking the next two weeks to occupy large swaths of the region before Crimea “organized a secession vote” for the public. (Which wasn’t even a vote for secession, but again, who cares about details? Just yell N@zi!)

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 5:26 AM | Permalink

          Brandon: You should be aware that Ukraine recently passed a law that high school will be taught in Ukrainian, even in regions where it is not the dominant language.

          Few nations besides Switzerland have lasted a long time speaking more than one language. Canada nearly broke up over this issue and it could rise again. Czechoslavakia split. Catalonians (and the Basques) want to leave Spain. Language played a major role in the disintegration of the USSR. India is held together by the common language of their former rulers.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 5:48 AM | Permalink

          Frank, you are absolutely correct to observe the importance of language rights – an issue which, as a Canadian, I’m keenly aware of, using Quebec as an analogy in the comment to which Brandon takes exception. From a Canadian perspective, it spoke volumes that, despite the chaos of the day of the coup, the Ukrainian parliament took the time – on the very day that the coup was implemented – to pass a bill rescinding Russian language rights. As I observed, a corresponding action in Canada would be seen as an intense provocation by Quebec and, in my opinion, would precipitate a secession vote which would succeed. All disputes have long narratives and backstories and Brandon observes that this is the case in Ukraine/Russia. Obviously. But this doesn’t take away from my point.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 5:38 AM | Permalink

          Brandon acknowledges (indirectly) that post-coup Ukrainian parliament passed a bill against use of Russian language, but observes that the bill did not become law because it was not signed by the President. I’ve changed the wording to reflect this comment which is a useful in civics, but utterly irrelevant to the point that I was making about how Quebec would respond to the Canadian parliament passing a law/bill to outlaw use of French language. Whether the bill was signed into law would be utterly immaterial to the visceral response that would result in Quebec from such a bill.

          I stand by the substantive point in this paragraph despite Brandon’s tirade and needless editorializing.

        • Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 12:49 AM | Permalink

          So wait, now our host is editing comments after the fact to change claims made in them? I can’t recall that having ever been done on this site before. I know I’ve seen formatting type stuff fixed, but… that’s not okay. How in the world are people supposed to have a fair discussion in a forum where one person can change whatever he says but nobody else can?

          It’s not even worth pointing out McIntyre’s claims are completely bogus at this point. For instance, McIntyre added text to his comment comparing the bill in question to “a bill banning use of French language.” Deciding a language is not an official language of a country or region is not banning the use of that language. There are several hundred languages which are not the official language of Ukraine. People in Ukraine can still speak them.

          And no, Quebec would not declare itself to have seceded with a parliamentary vote two days after a Canadian parliament voted to make French no longer an official language. Quebec would not have organized a vote to join another country two weeks after a Canadian parliament did that either. McIntyre’s claim is complete nonsense.

          Crimea wouldn’t have done it either, except Russian military invaded and took over its government, holding its parliament hostage until it voted to secede from Ukraine. McIntyre still refuses to acknowledge that happened. How long until McIntyre starts calling commenters who point that out “N@zis”? Or is he going to just start editing their comments?

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

          Brandon, you’re being entirely absurd. You pointed out a difference between a bill and a law. I acknowledged the distinction and amended the comment clearly marking the correction.

        • Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 12:58 AM | Permalink

          Frank:

          Brandon: You should be aware that Ukraine recently passed a law that high school will be taught in Ukrainian, even in regions where it is not the dominant language.

          I am. I am also aware of other laws passed which people say are intended to suppress the Russian language. That’s why I said, “One could even argue other actions taken since then showed the same desires.” If people want to have a discussion of such issues, that’s fine. I wouldn’t complain.

          I’m not here to say Ukraine has done nothing wrong and is the image of perfection. My comments on the topic of Ukraine and Crimea have only been made to highlight the constant, flagrant misrepresentation Steve McIntyre has posted. That somebody else could possibly make a similar case without relying on a never-ending string of factual errors, delusions and slurs doesn’t make the numerous false and misleading claims McIntyre has made okay.

          If people want to have a discussion of factual matters, I’m fine with that whatever the topic. If people want to have a discussion where they do little but spread Russian propaganda and figments of their imagination, well, I may speak up. If nothing else, McIntyre is giving great ammunition to Michael Mann and the rest of the Team. People who stumble across the hockey stick controversy and see what McIntyre has been saying on these issues would think he’s a hack and likely never trust anything he said about paleoclimatology.

          I know I wouldn’t. If somebody linked me to Climate Audit for the first time today, I’d chalk McIntyre up as a nutcase and never look further.

        • Ed Snack
          Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 2:29 AM | Permalink

          And as I read Shollenberger’s posts now I think he has become almost totally unhinged. Brandon, wake up and read what is posted – or admit that you’re a f*****ng nutcase.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

          Brandon likes to call his input on Ukraine and Crimea “factual matters” but rarely comes up with links to support his claims.

          This is understandable for Crimea as Ukrainians never crossed the 26% mark there while Russians touched 75% and were at 65% in 2014 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Crimea#Ethnicities_and_languages

          An inconvenient Crimean truth.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

          ethnic composition is as follows: Russians: 1.49 million (65.3%), Ukrainians: 0.35 million (15.1%), Crimean Tatars: 0.28 million (12.0%).[14][20]
          #### #####
          From Wikipedia

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

          Brandon is a nitpicker and a major pain in the a$$. However, he also does his homework and he is almost entirely correct on this one. Steve has been doggedly trying to smear the Ukrainian people with the neo-N*zi label. Apparently, the Stalinist KGB Putin invasion and seizing of Ukrainian territory was justified because an ethnic Russian President, who was elected years earlier by that same Russian hating neo-N*zi Ukrainian nation, was overthrown in a neo-N*zi coup. Oh, they want Ukrainian to be the official language of…watch this…Ukraine. Boo freaking hoo. The Russians have oppressed and slaughtered the Ukrainians since time began. I doubt that Steve watched this:

          A lot of folks who survived the Holomodor were interviewed. Their complaints about genocide seem to be reasonable and I didn’t see any of them say anything that would cause a reasonable person to play the neo-N*zi card on them. Watch the video and you might get a little insight into why many Ukrainians embraced the invading real N*zis as liberators and fought alongside them. Many Ukrainians continue to celebrate those who fought with the real N*zis against the Soviets. They parade with the symbols of the Ukrainians who fought the Soviets. But the bottom line is, that Ukraine is a democracy with free and fair elections. Alleged neo-N*zis do not rule Ukraine. Period. That is just Stalinist KGB Putin propaganda to justify land grabbing. I am really surprised and disappointed that some of you people believe that crap and vigorously repeat it.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

          “But the bottom line is, that Ukraine is a democracy with free and fair elections.”

          Says Don, except when there’s a coup and a usurpation, but that’s OK if you are a Ukrainian and your coup overthrew Russians. But not OK if you’re a Russian who turns the tables on the usurpers.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

          Another figure: Crimeans voted over 70% for Yanukovitch in 2010; compare this to demographics, above.

          Don, you arguing that Russians deserve what they get because Stalin, Kaganovich, other Bolsheviks did evil in the Ukraine. In effect, you justify the ethnic divisions and hatred felt toward Russian-Ukrainians.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

          PS:

          “Another figure: Crimeans voted over 70% for Yanukovitch in 2010; compare this to demographics, above.”

          OMG! The hateful Russophobe neo-N*zi Ukrainian majority allowed the ethnic Russians to vote. And an ethnic Russian who could barely speak Ukrainian got elected President in 2010 on a platform of greater integration with the Western democracies and only got kicked out several years later, because he was bribed/coerced/threatened by Stalinist KGB dictator Putin forced go against his own campaign promises and his own foreign policy. You are hoisted on your own petard. Hurt much?

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

          Right, Don, the popularly elected Yanukovitch was overthrown by those who hated democracy, elsewise they would have respected the decision at the polls.
          EuroMaidan was a blow at democracy. In 2015, only one year later, would be another election and another vote. Why did they not wait one year? Because they would have lost again?

          “But the bottom line is, that Ukraine is a democracy with free and fair elections.”
          🙂

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

          I know for sure what your lame excuse is for making up lame excuses for Stalinist KGB Putin’s land grabbing and shooting down civilian airliner. Not so sure about Steve. Seems to me that part of it is resentment over alleged U.S. involvement in an alleged coup to put alleged neo-N*zis in power. A lot of Canadians resent U.S super power status and alleged U.S. cultural imperialism. Canadian penis envy of their big swaggering Southern neighbor.

          Anyway, my opinion of Steve has changed. I won’t be participating here. His take on climate issues could be interesting and credible, I thought. But the climate scare crap is moot, as long as The Donald is in charge. Trump rules! Mann drools.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

          Relax, Don, have another beer, grab some more pretzels, learn to laugh at yourself and you will enjoy life much more chuckle, chuckle, see?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 10:48 PM | Permalink

          This will make painter happy:

          Steve will probably see the hand of a white supremacist neo-N*zi behind it.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 22, 2017 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

          Concerning the ban against the Russian language enacted by the Ukrainian parliament, this was one of a series of unconstitutional legislative diktats enacted by that assembly on February 22 and afterward during the Maidan coup. It seems irrelevant whether this particular diktat was “signed” into “law” since none of the diktats were “signed” into “law” in a constitutional sense, yet all of those diktats were enforced and acted upon, somehow.
          Brandon’s quibble, in light of those circumstances, is of no consequence.

          One unanswered question is how parliament achieved enforcement of its diktats.

      • Frank
        Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 5:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve wrote: “There’s far too much pure hate in Ukrainian ideology for my taste. I don’t think that that sort of hate should be endorsed or supported.”

        I would probably agree if you applied this to the ideology of certain Ukrainian groups. Applying it to Ukrainians in general is grossly unfair.

        Steve wrote: “I think that the US (and Canada) should stay a safe distance away from Ukraine.’

        Russia’s violation of existing treaties acknowledging borders and militarily annexing territory – without any attempt to negotiate – has made this impossible.

        Otherwise, excellent comment.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

          Yeah, I wonder why there is so much focus on broad brush painting the Ukrainians as neo-N*zis, but Stalinist KGB dictator Putin get’s a pass. Oh, they Ukrops prefer that Ukrainians speak Ukrainian. That is horrible. It means they have animosity against the Russians, who have treated the Ukrainians badly and wiped them out by the millions in the not too distant past. And recently invaded their country and annexed a large part of it. And will take the rest, if it’s at all possible given the interest of most of the World in it not happening. But Putin is the hero. Pathetic.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

          Revolts against democracy are good for you says the Maidan lovers. Too much democracy is bad, they say. See how that nasty Yanukovitch got elected. Because of democracy.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 22, 2017 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

          The non-entity strikes, again. Yes, the Russians who worked for the Czars and the Russians who worked for Lenin and the Russians who worked for Stalin and the Russians who work for Stalinist KGB dictator Putin all just following orders. Rinse and repeat. But we would have done the same to the Canadians, if they had just given us an excuse. We keep hoping.

          This blog has gone to the dogs. Nuff said.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 11:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I guess here we can all agree that Stalin was bad and so was his Holomodor.
        Putin did nothing of that magnitude; sure he still uses his old KGB methods. All Russians are not Stalins. All DHS personal are not J. Edgar Hoovers.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 22, 2017 at 12:24 AM | Permalink

          You ought to be called non-entity antony. Everybody knows that all Russians are not Stalins. And everybody knows that the Russians with the power have been trying to run Ukraine to their liking, since the beginning of time. Ukrainians resist, they get squashed. Rinse and repeat. This really is not that hard to understand. Carry on.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 22, 2017 at 1:32 AM | Permalink

          “Russians, who have treated the Ukrainians badly and wiped them out by the millions in the not too distant past.” No, Stalin ordered this and any (Russian) refusing that was shot.

          The Ukrainians are entitled to have their own culture like any mayor distinct group and if that can only be done by creating a separate state let it be. It does not change their geographical location – right next to Russia. It would be wise for any small new nation to keep friendly relations with a Big Brother: the US would equally not be pleased if Canada had applied to join the Warsaw pact in the past.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 22, 2017 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

          US didn’t exactly welcome missiles in Cuba

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 22, 2017 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

          Hey Steve, didn’t Canada apply to join the Warsaw pact during the Cuban missile thing?
          You all were scared sh!tless the crazy cowboys to the South would stand up to the Soviets’ foolish provocation and the missiles would fly. It didn’t turn out as you all feared it might. When you live under another country’s nuclear umbrella, you assume certain risks and responsibilities. A little loyalty would be nice too.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 22, 2017 at 10:47 PM | Permalink

          Loyalty: the Russians probably asked the same to the Ukrainians when they applied to NATO in early 2008.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 23, 2017 at 12:31 AM | Permalink

          I am sure non-entity has some bizarre reason why Ukraine might owe some loyalty to Russia. But it couldn’t be anything related to the two nations’ historical relationship of oppresser and slave. Must be something metaphysical and very perverse. But we thank non-entity for the joke.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 23, 2017 at 12:57 AM | Permalink

          Both are Slav(e)s, both can be called each others temporary oppressors, or simply rival brothers. 882–1240 Kievan Rus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kievan_Rus%27

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 23, 2017 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

          Non-entity had to reach way back for that little piece of trivia. I guess he wants to call that payback for all subsequent Russian atrocities against their brother Ukrop Slavs. I don’t think that brief interlude is fresh in the memory of many Ukrainians. There are still some alive who experienced Holomodor. And a lot of folks who suffered Soviet domination. All but the little babies remember the bloody invasion and landgrabbing by Stalinist KGB dictator Putin.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 24, 2017 at 12:58 AM | Permalink

          Ukraine shares its language origins with Russian (and Belarus): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_East_Slavic#Literary_language_of_Kievan_Rus.27

    • mpainter
      Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 6:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

      EuroMaidan is not so difficult to understand if you consider the ethnic division in the Ukraine. Yanukovitch was the choice of the Russians and was elected President in 2005 but this result was overturned by the supreme court. He was elected again in 2010 and this result held. EuroMaidan was the the expression of an ethnic schism: Ukrainian speaking against the Russian speaking. The Ukrainians won because they were better organized, especially in the capital Kiev, and Yanukovitch did not have a firm grip of the police or the army. The Russian speaking portion of the Ukraine understood very well what had happened. They had been stripped of their president.

      • mpainter
        Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 2:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

        A house divided cannot stand. Thus the EuroMaidan pulled down the Russian half of their house. In fact, this was their motivation, to overthrow the electoral decision achieved by the Russian half of their nation.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 4:58 AM | Permalink

          mpainter: This was their motivation, to overthrow the electoral decision achieved by the Russian half of their nation.

          Far too over-simplified. The protests began immediately after Yanukovych abandoned the trade agreement he had negotiated with the EU (not NATO). In the long run, membership in the EU would require a lot less corrupt government and greater individual rights. If you read the short book by the Kiev Post linked above, you’ll see that the opposition in the streets consisted of a wide variety of groups (not all nationalistic) united by a desire to orient Ukraine towards the West and better government.

          “EuroMaidan wasn’t primarily about Russia vs the West; it was about two different visions of Ukraine… Reducing it to a conflict between Great Powers – and thus robbing the protestors of their moral agency – is the real facile narrative here.”

          Even without interference from Russia, the revolution might have lead to the breakup of the Ukrainian state – two irreconcilable visions for the future. The tragedy is that Putin unilaterally violated international law and agreements Russia had signed with Ukraine. Military action to permanently ANNEX territory you have recognized belongs to another country is inexcusable in today’s world, especially without making any attempt to negotiate. Putin has “crossed the Rubicon” in a way he hasn’t done in Georgia.

          Belarus may be the main reason Putin has done so. If Ukrainian-speaking Ukraine can chart its own path, then so can Belarussian-speaking Belarus. However, they certainly won’t go down that path when they see what has happened to Ukraine.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 7:02 AM | Permalink

          Frank: “Far over-simplified”

          But it is that simple. The Russian offer had better terms than the EU offer. Yanukovitch did not “abandon” (emotive term that imputes fault) the EU “agreement” (there was no agreement in a formal sense), he accepted the Russian aid offer which presented greater economic benefits. Again, you impute ill motives to Yanukovitch, but he was obligated to accept the best offer.
          Incomprehensible that you should dismiss the ethnic divisions in the EuroMaidan coup. The Ukrainian populace hated closer ties to RUSSIA.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

          Frank, your sermonizing on Putin “crossing the Rubicon” ignores the will of Crimeans, who voted overwhelmingly to join with Russia. They can’t be blamed and Putin can’t be blamed for extending his protection over them.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 8:51 AM | Permalink

          It is hardly imaginable that a populace would arise and overthrow its popularly elected President because he accepted a superior aid package. Yet that is what happened in the Ukraine. We must look for deeper reasons to explain the Maidan coup, other than “they wanted closer ties with the EU”. It is obvious that they hated Russia and Russians.

          Elections were due in 2015. The Ukrainians could not wait a year to dismiss Yanukovitch at the polls. The Maidan coup was the work of anti-democratic forces. I do not agree with idea that the coup benefited the Ukraine. Nor do I agree that Putin bears all of the guilt in this affair.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

          The conclusion that Maidan coup supporters strive to avoid is that the coup irretrievably injured the Ukraine and justified the secession of the Crimea and the Donbass. They imagine that by castigating Yanukovitch all is put right.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

          And castigating Putin, of course. The more evident that it becomes that Maidan was disastrous for the Ukraine, the more the Maidan supporters blame Putin and Yanukovitch.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

          “membership in the EU would require a lot less corrupt government” says Frank.
          #### ### ###
          Should the U.S. joint the EU?
          Then perhaps Joe Biden would not have stuck his son on the payroll of that Ukrainian company.
          I agree that corruption is rampant in the Ukraine, as when parliament Timoshenko from prison and ABOLISHED the law under which she had been convicted.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

          Rather, Julia Tymoshenko, a prominent figure in Ukrainian politics who had been convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to seven years imprisonment and ordered to repay $188 million (!) to the State. Parliament ordered her release on February 23 and ABOLISHED the law under which she had been convicted of embezzlement. Presumably, she got to keep the $188 million. How sweet it is to be on the right side of a coup.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 24, 2017 at 4:14 AM | Permalink

          mpainter wrote: “Yanukovitch did not “abandon” (emotive term that imputes fault) the EU “agreement” (there was no agreement in a formal sense).”

          The article linked below is from Spiegel on the day after Yanukovych announced turning down the EU agreement. It refers to a 900 page agreement with the EU that Yanukovych was expected to sign in Vilnius on November 29 (as well as a pipeline agreement to be signed on 11/22 that would allow natural gas from Western Europe to flow to Ukraine in event of a Russian cut-off). As we now know, the protests in the streets on 11/24 mentioned in this article were the first of the Euromaidan movement that would send Yanukovych into exile three months later.

          “It appears Yanukovych has played his cards right one again…. That is, if he can contain the political anger within Ukraine.” He couldn’t.

          http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/how-the-eu-lost-to-russia-in-negotiations-over-ukraine-trade-deal-a-935476.html

          mpainter: “[Yanukovych] accepted the Russian aid offer which presented greater economic benefits. Again, you impute ill motives to Yanukovitch, but he was obligated to accept the best offer…

          This article discusses Yanukovych’s options and criticizes the EU for not offering more assistance in the short term. However, it is clear that a non-exclusive trade deal with the EU was a far better option for Ukraine in the long-term than an exclusive customs union with Russia. And IMO the people of Kiev wanted exactly what Spiegel says the EU deal offered: “free trade and financial contributions in exchange for democratic reforms”. They didn’t want a president who would cave under pressure from Putin.

          mpainter: “It is hardly imaginable that a populace would arise and overthrow its popularly elected President because he accepted a superior aid package.”

          You can’t imagine this happening because you have succumbed to Russian propaganda that those were Neo-Nazis in the EuroMaidan. The facts are clear: 1) Yanukovych announces the deal with the EU won’t be signed. 2) The EuroMaidan protests begin the same day. Nevertheless it is “unimaginable” that 1) caused 2). When too many were killed in the EuroMaidan, Yanukovych’s allies deserted and he fled.

          To quote the Kyiv Post: “The EuroMaidan is about two different visions for the future” of Ukraine. Crimea and Eastern Ukraine may be succumbing to Putin’s vision, but the heart of the Ukraine has not.

      • mpainter
        Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 9:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Those who insist that the Maidan coup was a “revolution” are not able to explain it in any terms except as a revolt against democracy. Yanukovitch was a popularly elected President who was facing a poll the following year.

    • mpainter
      Posted Oct 21, 2017 at 7:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Frank, you say

      “I bought the ebook I linked above which is a collection of newspaper stories published by the Kyiv Post, a pro-Western group of investigative journalists”
      #### #### ####

      In this case “pro-western” is by definition anti-Russian. Did the book tell that the Ukraine economy fell into a severe recession after EuroMaidan, shrinking by over 18%? Did it tell that the EU stipulated that corruption in the Ukraine must be ended before it could be a serious candidate for membership? Indeed, the terms stipulated concerning corruption were explicit. What’s the chance of the Ukraine cleansing itself of its rampant corruption, pretty slim? Does the Ukraine appear as an attractive associate for the EU, with its Donbass war, its problem with Russia, its very big problem with its minorities? All considered, it’s doubtful that the Ukraine will realize EU membership.
      Where is the fruit of the glorious EuroMaidan?

  42. mpainter
    Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 3:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Is the truth about to emerge?
    The four top executives of Fusion GPS have taken the fifth before Congress in response to the question “Who paid for the Dirty Dossier?”

    Now we are hearing rumors that Russia paid for the Dirty Dossier. Today UN ambassador Nicki Haley spoke, addressing the issue of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential elections and described such interference as “warfare” (!).

    If Fusion GPS accepted $ from Russia to contrive the Dirty Dossier, that violates U.S. law, I believe, not registering as an agent for a foreign government and perhaps worse.

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 5:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Are you trying to tie the rumors to Nickey Haley? Or was that just clumsy construction?

    • mpainter
      Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 5:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

      U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Thursday that interference in U.S. elections by another nation “is warfare,” telling an audience in New York that such meddling has become Russia’s go-to tactic

      From politico

      • Don Monfort
        Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 5:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Is that supposed to be an answer for either of my questions? I don’t see anything there about Haley talking about rumors regarding Russia paying for the Dirty Dossier. Don’t you see any problem with your paragraph linking Haley, with the rumors you are spreading? Looks like you done been Hannitized. Did he say that on radio, today?

        • Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 7:16 PM | Permalink

          Don, I don’t understand your question as to whether Russia paid for the dossier. Fusion GPS certainly was willing to take money from anyone. If they could sell the same papers to the GOP, Clintons, FBI, and Russia I would say they are good at what they do.

          Even if the dossier’s sources were authentically Russian it still does not mean they were providing authentic information or not feeding state calculated misinformation. The one notable topic missing from the dossier is Magnitsky Act or of lobbying of Trump for easing it. My thought is that Browder’s testimony was correct that the Magnitsky Act was Putin’s number 1 as shown by the lobbying of congressman Dana Rohrarbacher by Natalia and others. In fact the dossier fails to specifically mention what the Russian desired actions for dealing or compromising Trump. This supports it being approved misinformation.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 9:50 PM | Permalink

          I didn’t pose a question as to whether Russia paid for the dossier, or Santa Claus paid for it. Rumors don’t mean a whole lot to me. Read my comment again and I am sure you will get it.

          Based on what we know so far, I am fairly confident that the dossier was paid for by American political opponents of Trump. No mystery why many folks would want to dig up some dirt on The Donald. He was running for President, like a bada$$, and taking no prisoners.

          By the way, Fusion could legally be hired by foreign non-government individuals or firms to do research. The Foreign Agents Registration Act only relates to working for a foreign government entity in politically related activities. If Russian govt hired an American company to market vodka or caviar no registration required.

          Fusion is like a fly by night private detective agency. They engage in seedy work and their clients do not want to be exposed. If they easily gave up a client’s ID, they would soon be out of business. If they are squeezed hard enough, they will give it up.

    • mpainter
      Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 6:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Such a word as “warfare” is not to be used casually. This might signal a different attitude taken by Trump toward Russia.

    • mpainter
      Posted Oct 24, 2017 at 11:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Yep, the truth is about to emerge. The House Committee on Intelligence has subpoenaed the banking records of Fusion GPS. They will get them. Will a Russian connection turn up? Probably. Probably Fusion paid the Russian intelligence sources who produced the salacious details on the Dirty Dossier.The $ would have been furnished by the Dems and Hillary. Here is your collusion with Russia to interfere in the U.S. presidential elections. Alternatively, the salacious details were provided free and whooops! Russia has contributed to the Democratic efforts and that’s naked collusion. 🙂

  43. Frank
    Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 3:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve wrote: “I think that the US bombing of North Korea in the Korean War was probably the most genocidal bombing campaign of the 20th century (I hadn’t heard of it until recently). I haven’t parsed, but it appears that a higher proportion of the population (20-30%) was killed than in any other campaign, along with any visible civil installation or crop. It was under the command of Curtis Lemay, a racist who was later VP candidate with George Wallace. Its devastation against civilians was unimaginable.
    https://theintercept.com/2017/05/03/why-do-north-koreans-hate-us-one-reason-they-remember-the-korean-war/
    http://www.newsweek.com/us-forget-korean-war-led-crisis-north-592630

    I presume you are familiar with Cold War historiography: Orthodox, Revisionist, and Post-Revisionist, The main source for both of your links is Cumings, IMO a classic revisionist whose worldview is anchored in the disillusionment of the Vietnam and Civil Rights era and unchanged by the new information about the real villains whose actions have been revealed only after the Cold War ended.

    I wouldn’t pay any attention to LeMay’s bragging (like Trump’s). If you want to debate the issue, population data will prove that 20-30% of North Koreans couldn’t have died from bombing. Wikipedia says NK lost 1.5 million, about 1/3 military. Some of the rest fled south, some died of disease and starvation, and some died in bombing. Immediately after the war, Russian claimed 300,000 NK civilians died FROM BOMBING ALONE. (I’ve lost that reference.) In any case, losing even 10% of your civilian population in a war – whatever the reason – makes it one of the worst on record.

    I tried and failed to find a primary source saying that the US dropped more bombs on NK than on Japan. This claim is in Wikipedia and has been spread throughout the web by the current crisis.

    However, NK memories of the horror of the war linger because NK is drenched in propaganda. Other horrors from WWII and Vietnam don’t dominate the thoughts today of the countries that experienced them. Memories have deliberately been kept alive: NK, the 1953 coup in Iran, the Holocaust.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 4:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

      thanks for the balanced comment. Yes, one does have to watch for exaggeration. I was shocked at myself for knowing so little about the Korean War – entirely through the prism of episodes of MASH.

      While memories of these past events have undoubtedly been “deliberately kept alive”, they also remain alive because they are more important to the population of the smaller country. To make good policy, that needs to be recognized.

      • Frank
        Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 8:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve: You might glance at this short (post-revisionist) article covering some major areas of controversy. (It won’t tell you how many tons of bombs we dropped or how many North Korean civilians died from those bombs.)

        https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/jcs/article/view/365/576

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 10:54 PM | Permalink

          Frank, about 400,000 Germans were killed in the massive Allied bombing of German cities. It is highly unlikely that bombing killed anywhere near that number in largely rural N Korea.

          We won’t know how many N Korean and Chinese helpers were killed, but it’s reliably known that about 1 million S Koreans were killed or carried off into slavery. Call me a white supremacist neo-N*zi, but I don’t care how many of the N Korean and Chinese aggressors died. And let’s not forget that it was United Nations forces that fought off the invading commie horde. I hate commies. Call me a neo-N*zi. I just don’t care.

          The revisionists are largely full of sh!t. They think we should have lost the war.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 11:25 PM | Permalink

          Don, do you think it is ok for the 5 Eyes to spy on all their own citizens, circumventing national laws by letting foreign colleagues do that dirty work?

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 12:02 AM | Permalink

          You will have to cite some cases where national laws were circumvented. Generally, I appreciate the work our intelligence agencies perform. Unlike you, I actually know what kind of people they are and what they do.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 12:12 AM | Permalink

          The comfort of endlessly hiding behind secret agreements, secret courts etc.; very commie-like
          https://www.privacyinternational.org/node/1480

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 4:09 AM | Permalink

          Don wrote: “about 400,000 Germans were killed in the massive Allied bombing of German cities. It is highly unlikely that bombing killed anywhere near that number in largely rural N Korea.”

          I suspect you are right, but there is a variety of conflicting evidence – such as the quote from General LeMay that the Air Force had killed 20% (I think). There weren’t a lot of traditional industrial targets to bomb in NK, creating debate about what was worth bombing. The revisionists (in their 1960’s disappointment that their country wasn’t perfect) have chosen to present only part of the story. And the information that has been released since the end of the Cold War is often inconsistent with the claims of revisionists.

          For example, see: John Gaddis (“We Now Know ..” on the origins of the Cold War) and Richard Frank (“Downfall …” who dispells the myth that we dropped atomic bombs on a Japan that was about to surrender). Gaddis teaches the most popular course at Yale (taken by 25%). Or, for a Climateaudit-style destruction of revisionist scholarship, try the little-known “The New Left and the Origins of the Cold War”, by Maddox. However, Gaddis dislikes labels since they interfere with properly evaluating evidence.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

          General LeMay was a braggart, Frank. He wouldn’t know more about how many people were killed in N Korea than anybody else. I am sure that a lot of the dead in N Korea were victims of lack of food and disease. The commies always give food and medical attention their cannon fodder and beasts of burden first. Anyway, they started it and I don’t care how many of them died. So we used lots of aerial bombing. That is what we had to do in a land war in Asia against a gazillion freaking people coming at us in human wave attacks. We had a lot of people killed there. What about them? I know you are on the right side, Frank. Some of these others, I don’t know.

        • Posted Nov 29, 2017 at 1:26 AM | Permalink

          Read the article. Thanks

    • Don Monfort
      Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 4:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

      If they could vote with their feet, where do you think the vast majority of the North Korean people would choose to live? Just wild guess, but I would still foolishly bet a lot of money they would choose the U.S or S. Korea, or Timbuktu over their homeland. I have talked with many ex-pat North Koreans.

      • Frank
        Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 3:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Don wrote: “If they could vote with their feet, where do you think the vast majority of the North Korean people would choose to live?”

        The negotiations to end the Korean war lasted for a ridiculously long time after both sides recognized a stalemate. The main issue was that NK POWs didn’t want to be shipped back to NK and the US was unwilling to force them to go. 21,000 Chinese chose to go to Taiwan rather than mainland China.

        https://americainthekoreanwar.weebly.com/prisoners-of-war-exchange.html

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 1:27 PM | Permalink

          You get it, Frank. It’s because we treated them like human beings. They didn’t want to go back to Hell on Earth. People are like that.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 24, 2017 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

          Don: Ignoring our failings (No Go RI, My Lai, Abu Graib, etc) is as bad exaggerating them as the revisionists do. And some of our allies, such as Rhee, will never look like “the good guys” even when compared with their Communist opponents. South Korean investigations in the 2000’s into potential US war crimes uncovered the likely slaughter of tens of thousands of Communist sympathizers in South Korea order by Rhee.

          Neither you nor I are familiar with all of the evidence about how many NK civilians died from US bombing. Did LeMay have any real evidence or was he bragging. Are the population statistics used by experts (and checked by me) to estimate the true NK loses from all causes accurate? Experience teaches me that the revisionists in general exaggerated our mistakes and overlooked those of the Communists. That generality doesn’t mean that all allegations of the revisions were wrong.

    • Posted Oct 19, 2017 at 11:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Frank: “Memories have deliberately been kept alive: NK, the 1953 coup in Iran, the Holocaust.”

      One of these things is not like the others.

      • Frank
        Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 2:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Ron: My apologies. You are correct. The Jews don’t use the Holocaust to create a pathological fear of Germany. Israel has (or possibly had) a justifiable fear of being overrun by Arabs (replaced by Iranian or Palestinian WMD).

        Keeping the Holocaust alive as a reminder that humans can commit genocide serves a useful purpose. Also as a reminder of the dangerous idea that one group is innately superior to others. In the Ukraine, Ukrainian-speaking citizens vs Russian- or Hungarian speakers.

        (With 20/20 hindsight, I should have not had opened this door. Clearly we still remember the Holocaust today, but I was too lazy to figure out why it didn’t belong with the others.)

        • Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

          Very eloquently put. Thank you, Frank.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

          Holomodor:

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 20, 2017 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

          Frank, the Ukrainians might want the ethnic Russians, who may think they are superior and want to rejoin the Motherland, to speak Ukrainian and become integrated into the Ukrainian nation, that has from the beginning of time suffered from Russian oppression.

  44. Frank
    Posted Oct 24, 2017 at 5:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    mpainter and others point out that Tymoshenko was convicted by Kanukovych’s government. However, the only charge she was convicted of was “abuse of office” over a natural gas imports contract signed with Russia in January 2009. These charges effectively criminalised the political decision she had taken as Prime Minister. The EU doesn’t believe any crime was involved; their deal with the Ukraine demanded her release. Amnesty International supported her cause.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminal_cases_against_Yulia_Tymoshenko_since_2010

    You can find video from her trial (Kangaroo court).

    Mpainter complains that the law used to convict Tymoshenko was repealed. If doing her normal functions as prime minister without any evidence of bribery or kickbacks is a crime – abuse of power – perhaps that law should have been repealed.

    Like many of her fellow oligarchs, Tymoshenko may have dirty hands from the privatization following the disintegration of the USSR. However, she hasn’t been convicted of any crimes from this period.

    Tymoshenko is not a former Communist. She graduated from university in 1984, too late to run mishandling of privatization. In 1989, she started a video rental business – not the normal path to becoming an oligarch. You can read about her potential corrupt in the gas business here, but that was almost two decades ago:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/nov/26/ukraine.gender

    • mpainter
      Posted Oct 24, 2017 at 12:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

      We have a parallel in the U.S. of the Tymoshenko affair. Tymoshenko was absolved of her guilt through a parliamentary diktat issued by the usurpation. In the U.S., Hillary Clinton was absolved of her guilt through the office of the corrupt James Comey. Comey, Clinton, Lynch, will all have to face the music.
      By contrast, Tymoshenko gets to keep her loot. How sweet it is to be on the winning side of a coup.

      • Frank
        Posted Oct 24, 2017 at 4:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

        mpainter: “In the U.S., Hillary Clinton was absolved of her guilt through the office of the corrupt James Comey. Comey, Clinton, Lynch, will all have to face the music.

        To my knowledge, the only one who tried to corrupt Comey was Donald Trump, and Comey allegedly refused to pledge his loyalty. Clinton wasn’t absolved of all wrongdoing by Comey. He candidly testified in front of Congress to a long list of mistakes she made, but stated – rightly or wrongly – it would be improper to bring criminal charges because – in his opinion – there was little chance of conviction given the evidence the FBI had obtained.

        Senator Grassley has obtained FBI documents written by Comey showing that he had given up hope of indictment before all of the witnesses had been interviewed. This likely accounts for the absurdly favorable co-operation agreements given to HRC associates.

        mpainter write: “By contrast, Tymoshenko gets to keep her loot.”

        Neither Tymoshenko nor the Clintons have been tried for the potentially corrupt practices that earned the Clinton’s more than $100 million through the Clinton foundation and Tymoshenko about $1B from a monopoly on gas distribution. Tymoshenko was tried and convicted for “abuse of power” as Prime Minister (not her already-scruntinized business practices more than a decade earlier). That verdict was overturned by the Ukrainian Supreme Court.

        • Ed Snack
          Posted Oct 24, 2017 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

          Frank, this gets excessively political, but there’s no doubt that Hillary Clinton is guilty of a number of crimes that she could be prosecuted for, but Comey decided to exonerate her before even interviewing her. The whole cooperation agreements with Mills etc were indeed absurd and entirely prejudicial to justice.

          Clinton did have classified information on her private server, the FBI proved that beyond doubt, and that is a crime that DOES NOT require intent, read the relevant statutes. She also has committed perjury before a Federal Judge by swearing that she had released all relevant emails, whereas some those recovered by the FBI are indeed relevant and were NOT released. Thirdly, the deletion of the emails by her staff after a Congressional subpoena is also proven and is an obstruction of justice crime – one Clinton may not have handled personally but is responsible for.

          The FBI could easily have indicted her on any or all of those. Convicting her might be hard given the corruption of justice prevalent in political circles, but the evidence is very strong and very hard to refute. Comey just made sure that he didn’t even attempt to indict, he’d almost certainly already been instructed to do so.

          And given what is coming out about the Uranium One deal and the corruption uncovered by the FBI that was also completely covered up, a pattern certainly seems to be emerging. Certain people in Washington were not subject to the same laws as the rest of us, they were/are protected people – and that is utterly corrupt and corrosive to the rule of law we ostensibly live under.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 24, 2017 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

          The voters of the Ukraine apparently are not convinced by that Supreme Court ruling. Maybe they smell a rigged verdict. Because, they gave Tymoshenko only 25% of the votes in 2014 that they had given her in 2010.
          All your lipstick unavailing, Frank.

        • mrmethane
          Posted Oct 24, 2017 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

          Frank, the events of the last couple of days suggest that Comey may have a lot more to answer for in pre-acquitting Hillary prior to interviewing her, an in being involved in the Uranium transaction approval. Mueller may also have some $t sticking to his fur. Venezuela may be a good study, as well.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 25, 2017 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

          Ed Snack: Steve has permitted an discussion of these issues on another post, so perhaps he will tolerate a summary here.

          IMO, HRC’s private email server obviously was intended to keep her email secret; not to disclose top secret information. One statue covering criminal disclosure of top secret information requires proof of intent to disclose. I presume that you aren’t arguing that HRC should have been indicted under that statute. The other statue concerns excessive negligence in the handling of secret information. It has only been used in one prosecution, when it was proven that gross negligence revealed top secret information reached our enemies. As a prosecutor, you could logically bring that case, but you face two challenges: 1) Most of the email on HRC’s server later classified top secret (and a few already marked classified) were SENT to HRC at @clintonmail.com by at least a dozen DoS employees in violation of regulations. Few were written by HRC. (Secure communications were only available on special computers in DoS offices, not via routine @dos.gov email accounts. The DoS had no 24/7 secure email for top officials.) Knowledge of these problems was widespread, but no one wanted to tell the boss she was violating regulations. Are you going to prosecute all these officials, or just HRC, under a law that has only been used once? 2) It is unethical to indict someone if you don’t expect to win in the courtroom.

          HRC appears to have had no personal involvement with the destruction of her email records. That process was handled by Cheryl Mills, Platte River (the techs who managed the server) and private attorneys working for HRC. The attorneys are protected by attorney-client privilege, a revolting absurdity given they weren’t cleared for classified information. Any documents HRC signed about the process her attorneys followed returning her work email to the DoS were drafted by her attorneys, making it nearly impossible to prove that HRC perjured herself by signing them. SM has written about the destruction process and I criticized the “cooperation agreements” that stifled this investigation. The Platte River employee who wiped the server initially lied to the FBI and, after receiving a immunity, told the FBI he had wiped the server on his own initiative (after being notified of the subpoena) because he had forgotten to execute the instructions he had received before the subpoena arrived. If the DoJ had indicted him for his crimes, perhaps he would have told a different story that implicated Cheryl Mills. By the time that investigation was complete, the election would be over.

          Ed wrote: “The FBI could easily have indicted her on any or all of those.” The FBI investigates, but doesn’t indict. Prosecutors in other parts of the DoJ indict and try cases. AG Lynch was the government official responsible for deciding whether or not to indict HRC, but Comey believed she was compromised and should have recused herself (as Sessions has). So he (a former dAG) appears to have bypassed Lynch, unilaterally announced and defended the FBI’s internal recommendation to the DoJ – and disclosed a great deal of information about HRCs mistakes that the FBI learned in the course of an investigation. He has been criticized for his candor, but IMO such candor is precedented and appropriate in cases of great interest to the public.

          Those who believe that Comey is corrupt ignore the (undeniable?) fact that he unnecessarily involved himself in controversies that would have been handled by AG Lynch in a manner more favorable to HRC. His motivations and mistakes aren’t consistent with a hypothesis of simple political corruption – as DT discovered when he asked for loyalty.

          The $100+ million the Clintons have “earned” since 2000 and the high overhead at the Clinton foundation (70%) reeks of corruption and influence peddling. This swamp is the real issue, not HRC’s email server. (The server was the subject of a complaint filed by the DoS IG.) I’d be thrilled if the Uranium One investigation leads to something more than just allegations of kickbacks in a trucking company associated with that firm.

          What I don’t understand is why partisans on both sides don’t acknowledge that the same organizations paying $500,000 to Bill Clinton and making even larger donations to the Clinton Foundation are the same ones hiring Paul Manafort and meeting with DT Jr and Kushner about circumventing the Magnitsky Act. It is this corruption (IMO) that brought Ukrainians into the EuroMaidan AND American voters to the polls in the hopes of draining our swamp.

          Respectfully, Frank

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 25, 2017 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

          Frank, Comey is a bum. He did not do his job. What Comey did was to let the Obama-Democrat party stooge DOJ, that had been badly compromised by the Lynch-Billyboy tarmac meeting, off the hook. He saved the DOJ and the Democrats from the political repercussions of giving Hillary a pass. He did not have the responsibility, the legal authority, or the moral authority to do it. Lynch did not even recuse herself, reserving the right to intervene if things went badly for Hillary. The fix was in and Comey rolled with it. I won’t accuse the guy of being corrupt, but he is certainly a screw up and did not faithfully live up to his oath of office. I think we are about to find out about some other shady acts that big self-serving leaker goon committed.

          What evidence of corruption do you see in the meeting of Junior and Kushner, with the Russian lawyer?

        • jddohio
          Posted Oct 25, 2017 at 9:16 PM | Permalink

          Frank: ” This swamp is the real issue, not HRC’s email server.”

          The swamp is a real issue, but the email server is also a very big issue. That a Secretary of State could treat official records, including highly classified materials as her own personal property is very corrupt. The only reason she did it was to be able to hide any mistakes she made or corruption she engaged in. She had zero right to put the records on her own server and put the interests of the government of the US way below her own selfish interests. What she did is exactly what the writers of the law imposing criminal liability for negligence desired to prevent. The fact that prosecutors hadn’t used it in the past is more an indictment of the prosecutors than the validity of the law.

          JD

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 26, 2017 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

          jddohio wrote: “She had zero right to put the records on her own server and put the interests of the government of the US way below her own selfish interests.”

          Exactly. Both the Congress and the public (FOI) have the right to review official government records (transparency). HRC failed to meet her transparency obligations, but there are no criminal penalties for these failures – except obstruction of justice when material has been subpoenaed. However, all of Hillary’s correspondents with DoS email addresses had a copy of their correspondence with HRC in their accounts. Those records were in the system, which is how the FBI knew that some work related emails had been deleted. We should only be missing work email sent outside the DoS.

          jddohio continued: “What she did is exactly what the writers of the law imposing criminal liability for negligence desired to prevent.”

          I disagree. You are confusing negligence in “transparency” with HRC’s negligence in keeping classified records secret. In the latter case, HRC’s passion for secrecy and her obligations to the country coincided to some extent.

          Yes, HRC’s email server was insecure, but so was the non-classified system used by the DoS. Cheryl Mills put HRC’s email into the hands of uncleared private attorneys, who allegedly separated work from private. She (and perhaps Hillary) could be charged with excessive negligence here. However, almost all of the email became insecure on Hillary’s server and then in the hands of her private attorneys because DoS personnel sent classified information to an nonsecure email address in the first place. The whole department wasn’t following their security rules. Those rules conflicted with a need for 24/7 communication. Whose excessive negligence do you prosecute – those who were properly trained in secure email, but ignored the rules occasionally or those too important to bother to learn the rules (and who can claim ignorance).

          I don’t like it. However, no prosecutor would ever obtain a conviction. Why are you picking on HRC, who wasn’t properly informed of the rules, and not everyone else? DoS security knew exactly what she was doing (except the location of her server) and did nothing to stop it. It would be more practical to prosecute them all than just HRC alone – using a law that was used only once in the past.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Oct 26, 2017 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

          Why are you picking on HRC, who wasn’t properly informed of the rules, and not everyone else?

          Hillary knew all about document rules. In the Whitewater scandal, it was recommended that she be charged with obstruction of justice for concealing documents on her billings to the crooked company. Hillary’s associates also invaded the potential crime scene to ransack Vince Foster’s documents for his copy of her billings. Whatever the rights or wrongs of this ancient scandal, she know all about document preservation.

          Also don’t forget that Sandy Berger and his wife were close friends of Hillary. Berger was given a light conviction by Comey for stealing and destroying a single document (removed from National Archives in his underwear) that presumably placed the Clinton administration in a bad light in respect to 9/11. Hillary was determined to avoid such a possibility in the future.

        • mpainter
          Posted Oct 26, 2017 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

          Frank you say “no prosecutor could obtain a conviction”
          === ==== ====
          Manifestly untrue. Hillary stands convicted by the evidence. A trial would simply be a formality. Comey, Hillary,Lynch, others are corrupt and this needs to be dealt with lest corruption go unpunished.

        • Don Monfort
          Posted Oct 26, 2017 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

          WTF, Frank? What makes you think the SOS was not properly informed of the rules? She was so grossly negligent it ain’t funny. It’s BS that the whole dept. was not following security rules. And if they weren’t, that would be no excuse for the SOS to be grossly negligent in following the rules. What about the ambassador who got canned for setting up a private email? Do you seriously believe that Hillary was not aware that private email for government business was not OK? Or that no one brought her arrangement up as a problem? You haven’t done your homework on this one, Frank. Comey was full of sh!t when he claimed no prosecutor would take the case to trial. I have seen several former federal prosecutors say they would have nailed her.

        • Frank
          Posted Oct 26, 2017 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

          Don writes: “What makes you think the SOS was not properly informed of the rules? She was so grossly negligent it ain’t funny. It’s BS that the whole dept. was not f