INTELLIGENCE, SECRECY & POWER (ISP) ISSN 1245-2122
N. 689, 15 March 2017 Full Issue (75 pages, 8 euros)
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FRONT PAGE – TRUMP-RUSSIA INQUIRY, MUSLIM BAN, TRUMPCARE, BREXIT STARTS, CIA VAULT 7
World Media – Synthesis Based on the Most Noteworthy Entries from 1 March 2017 to 15 March 2017
The major topics of the previous issue of “Intelligence, Secrecy & Power” (ISP, n. 688, 28 February 2017) were: US EXTREMISM (41X) Impeachment Rallies, Finished off the GOP, Tracking the Lies, “Leaving Him Alone Can Prove Damaging”, Media=Enemy, Protest=Crime; US POLITICS (33X) Chaos, Cowardly Republicans, “Ignore What He Says”, Critic in Chief McCain, Democrats Disappoint; US SPOOKS (8X) “He Will Die in Jail”, Ally Ops against Trump, Bailing out, FBI Blocks White House; ASIA (6X) Jihadist Pakistan, North Korea’s VX Killing; US COPS & GUNS (5X) “Tone Down Your Gayness”, “Military-Style” Firearms not Protected; ECONOMICS (5X) Morbid Inequality, Takata Airbag Hazard; ISRAEL/PALESTINE (5X) Human Rights Watch “Biased”; MIDDLE EAST (3X) ISIS Losing Ground; AFRICA (3X) South Sudan, Tunisia, Nigeria; WESTERN EUROPE (2X) UK, France; LATIN AMERICA (1X) Mexico; and TECH (1X) 7 Earth-Size Planets.
This issue’s leading topics are: US POLITICS (52X) Russian Inquiry, Muslim Ban, Sessions, Trumpcare, GOP vs. Trump; US EXTREMISM (52X) Crazies with Guns, Lying under Oath, False Claims, Conspiracy Theories, Liberal Genocide; WESTERN EUROPE (22X) French Elections, Vatican Civil War, Brexit Starts; US SPOOKS (18X) FBI Probes Trump-Russia, CIA Vault 7 Leaks, CIA Torture; MIDDLE EAST (12X) ISIS, Syria, Turkey, Iran; ASIA (8X) North Korea Problem for All; ISRAEL/PALESTINE (6X) Israel’s Trump-like Ban; US COPS (6X) No More Troubled Police Agencies Now; ENVIRONMENT (6X) Monsanto’s Roundup, Dying EPA with Trump; TECH (6X) Humanitarian Crisis, America’s Decline; ECONOMICS (4X) Typical Corruption, Uber; and AFRICA (2X) South Sudan, Ethiopia.
Once again, as in the three preceding issues of ISP, the interchangeable two dominant media topics are “US Politics” (52X) and “US Extremism” (52X), with other world topics coming far behind. However, Western Europe is back in middle and third place corresponding to recent of forthcoming European elections which have not until now resulted in a Trump-style extreme right wing government. And now that Brexit is formally underway, Western Europe will probably remain just below the Trump-dominated US news, along with “US Spooks” who are directly involved with Trump news. The Middle East, Asia, Israel/Palestine and “US Cops” remain in the lower tier and surprisingly far from their more typical position in the world media, but that is of course duly largely to Trump. One can expect this situation to continue until something significant happens in Washington.
Intelligence, Secrecy & Power, N. 689, 15 March 2017
FULL LIST OF TOPICS BASED OF ALL NOTEWORTHY ENTRIES OF THE FIRST HALF OF MARCH 2017
US POLITICS (52X) Russian Inquiry, Muslim Ban, Sessions, Trumpcare, GOP vs. Trump
US EXTREMISM (52X) Crazies with Guns, Lying under Oath, False Claims, Conspiracy Theories, Liberal Genocide
WESTERN EUROPE (22X) French Elections, Vatican Civil War, Brexit Starts
US SPOOKS (18X) FBI Probes Trump-Russia, CIA Vault 7 Leaks, CIA Torture
MIDDLE EAST (12X) ISIS, Syria, Turkey, Iran
ASIA (8X) North Korea Problem for All
ISRAEL/PALESTINE (6X) Israel’s Trump-like Ban
US COPS (6X) No More Troubled Police Agencies Now
ENVIRONMENT (6X) Monsanto’s Roundup, Dying EPA with Trump
TECH (6X) Humanitarian Crisis, America’s Decline
ECONOMICS (4X) Typical Corruption, Uber
AFRICA (2X) South Sudan, Ethiopia
Intelligence, Secrecy & Power, N. 689, 15 March 2017
LENGTHIEST 1-14 MARCH 2017 ENTRIES
1 MARCH 2017
*Trump’s voter suppression team may have just shot itself in the foot – Hey, guys, you’re giving up the game/ Think Progress\ On Monday, the Justice Department made its first major shift away from the role as a defender of voting rights that it played under President Obama — and toward the role as a defender of voter suppression that it is likely to play under President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In a motion filed in a federal trial court, DOJ asked to withdraw an allegation it made against a Texas voter suppression law almost four years ago. As a legal matter, this motion shouldn’t matter very much. The case is also being litigated by private parties who will continue a full-fledged assault on Texas’ law, so all of the allegations against Texas are likely to move forward. As a practical matter, however, this motion could matter a great deal — and it could potentially backfire against the team of Republicans currently running the Justice Department. The fact that the Justice Department switched positions in a major lawsuit attacking a common form of voter suppression immediately after a change in administration only highlights what’s actually going on here. The law isn’t any different today than it was when Obama was president, but the party that currently controls the White House stands to benefit from Texas’ brand of voter suppression. And it is possible that this stark reality could make some judges — or even one justice in particular — uncomfortable enough to break against voter ID.
7 MARCH 2017
*WikiLeaks reveals CIA files describing hacking tools/ AP\ WikiLeaks published thousands of documents Tuesday described as secret files about CIA hacking tools the government employs to break into users’ computers, mobile phones and even smart TVs from companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung. The documents describe clandestine methods for bypassing or defeating encryption, antivirus tools and other protective security features intended to keep the private information of citizens and corporations safe from prying eyes. US government employees, including President Donald Trump, use many of the same products and internet services purportedly compromised by the tools. The documents describe CIA efforts — cooperating with friendly foreign governments and the US National Security Agency — to subvert the world’s most popular technology platforms, including Apple’s iPhones and iPads, Google’s Android phones and the Microsoft Windows operating system for desktop computers and laptops. The documents also include discussions about compromising some internet-connected televisions to turn them into listening posts. One document discusses hacking vehicle systems, indicating the CIA’s interest in hacking modern cars with sophisticated on-board computers. WikiLeaks has a long track record of releasing top secret government documents, and experts who sifted through the material said it appeared legitimate. The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said he was very concerned about the release and had asked the intelligence community for more information about it.
13 MARCH 2017
*You’re fired – Late on Friday, the Justice Department sent an order to resign immediately to 46 US Attorneys who served the Obama administration/ Progress Report\ It is normal for incoming presidents to replace US attorneys. It is not normal to dismiss all US attorneys immediately, all at once, and without successors in place. The Bush administration, for its part, fired nine US Attorneys for partisan reasons in 2006, when Trump’s Supreme Court nominee worked at DOJ. The strategy also fits with the Trump Administration’s apparent lack of concern over empty administration positions and comes after many of Trump’s most conservative allies have called for a “purge” or Obama holdovers. Particularly noteworthy, is the dismissal of Preet Bharara, US Attorney in Manhattan, who was asked by Trump to remain in his position in November. Bharara refused to resign and was fired the next day. As US attorney in Manhattan, Bharara had jurisdiction over Wall Street and the vast Trump organization. Trump, of course, has built an administration filled with Wall Street alums and repeatedly ignored calls to resolve his countless conflicts of interest. In addition to Wall Street, Bharara also went up against other friends of the Trump Administration, like Russia and Fox News. While it may be normal for new presidents to replace US Attorneys, it’s not normal for it to happen this way. Something smells swampy.
15 MARCH 2017
*Bannon and Trump Have Quietly Installed an Alt-National Security Council Operating Inside the White House – The Strategic Initiatives Group is the White House pipeline to the white nationalists of the European right/ Alternet\ Less than a month after much-admired Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster took over from Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser, Trump’s alter-ego Steve Bannon appears to be more in control of US foreign policy than ever. There is little sign McMaster will be able to restore traditional US foreign policy commitments to NATO and the European Union, and every indication that Bannon’s shadowy Strategic Initiatives Group, denounced by two national security experts as “dangerous hypocrisy,” is driving US policy. McMaster, a lieutenant general with a reputation as an intellectual, was perhaps the last-gasp hope of Washington’s foreign policy professionals against the radical ambitions of the Trump administration. He was seen as a man who could speak unpopular truths to Trump and block Bannon’s improvisations while restoring a degree of continuity to US foreign policy under Obama and Bush. Losing Ground – No sooner had Flynn been fired over undisclosed meetings with a Russian diplomat, it was reported that McMaster would impose order on Flynn’s chaotic NSC, purging ideologues and removing Bannon from the National Security Council as urged by Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
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