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I thought the evidence provided by 17 US intelligence agencies provides about as strong as the evidence on such as matter is likely ever to be. Much less evidence from the same intelligence agencies is enough to get people targeted by drone strikes. If that isn't compelling enough for someone, nothing will be.
by santiago on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 12:22:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well yes, people, their families and neighbors get murdered over hearsay. That tells us little about the report in question.
We are talking about the one that spends half its pagecount rehashing four year old complaints against RT, right? I must admit I didn't look at it in detail but this kind of padding is usually a bad sign. And if there was anything stronger than"the pattern suggests..." I certainly missed it.
by generic on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 08:18:01 AM EST
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The work of US intelligence agencies to document Russian interference on behalf of Trump is pretty well documented in the media. It does not disclose publicly that Trump is somehow so compromised that he can be controlled by Putin, but that is a very narrow definition of agent that doesn't even describe the relationship with most most foreign spies and their handlers.

Most agents are willing partners who agree with the policy objectives of their foreign handlers and who enjoy the benefit of resources provided by their foreign handlers, all of which appears to apply to Trump. All of Trump's actions and stated policy objectives are consistent with Russian foreign policy objectives of degrading international institutions generally and of US governance of global affairs, and the US intelligence agencies have documented the communication between Trump and Russia well before the election up and continuing on to the present. That evidence would be enough to convict anyone else of being a foreign spy, and only because Trump was just elected as president, with this information already available to US policymakers, is the only reason he isn't in trouble yet because of it.

Regardless of whether or not Trump ever does get in trouble, it does mean that any geopolitical analysis of US interests vis a vis anyone else needs to look at US interests through the lens of a new collusion with Russian interests now, or it will miss what is really going on. Mere class collusion among billionaires is just too weak to explain anything.

by santiago on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 06:50:40 PM EST
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The work of US intelligence agencies to document Russian interference on behalf of Trump is pretty well documented in the media.
Indeed it is, and it amounts to not even a hill of beans. Russia is funding a Radio Free Europe type project or two, and something-something-underpants about hacking that turns to fairie dust whenever you dig into the actual documentation.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 10:42:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read both those reports, and the most interesting parts of the original Crowdstrike report.

There was no evidence presented.

Now, of course they may have material that they didn't release - that is always possible. It is, however, equally possible (and much more plausible) that they went on the international rumor market and some Chalabi type fed them a conspiracy theory. The latter has, historically, been a more frequent event than the former.

Regardless, secret evidence is not evidence, and "the secret police says so" is not evidence either. Especially about allegations of perfidy aimed at a country they have been conjuring up conspiracy theories about since before I was born.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 06:45:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Secret evidence is certainly evidence in this case not least because it is absolutely extraordinary that the principal US  intelligence agency, let alone all of them, would make an issue about this for an incoming head of state, let alone anyone else. It just would not happen if this wasn't a serious problem. If Trump is not considered a compromised foreign agent, then we just have throw out that category altogether, for anyone at all, and accept that intelligence cannot say anything about the work that they do themselves.

It is far more reasonable to conclude that the CIA another spy agencies probably know quite a bit more than anyone else about how to do the work of recruiting and influencing foreign agents. So when they go through the extraordinary trouble of actually alerting competent political authorities, privately as well as publicly, that a political candidate, and subsequent elected winner, for the US Presidency (!) has likely also been a target of the same kind actions, to conclude anything other than that Trump is a foreign agent is simply being obtuse, on the part of those same political authorities as well as ourselves.  

At the very least it means that any geopolitical analysis that doesn't explicitly address the problem Trump's compromised relationship with Putin cannot be considered very solid.
 

by santiago on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 07:35:49 PM EST
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The idea that anyone would take the CIA's PR reports at face value is stunning, and impossible for me to believe when the subject is Russia. When I look at my liberal facebook feed and the fact that leftists are all reposting this stuff, I see the public political spectrum as represented by two dogs with rabies fighting in a ring to the death while those with power look on. The universe is reduced to a rage-filled need kill the other half. There is no other awareness. This is what a complete and total propaganda victory looks like. The public has lost and will continue losing until we have an antidote to modern PR.

And look, if the truth is that Trump is compromised I would not be surprised but we have no way of knowing. This simly kicks back to the fact that power structures require transparency and accountability to avoid corruption and personal agendas.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 08:16:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow.

This isn't a CIA PR report. This is the official,top secret briefing briefing of the Director of National Intelligence to both the President and the President elect, as reported on by credible, mainstream national media sources, going back to reports submitted since July, 2016.

While the details of evidence will of course always be unavailable to us for obvious, the suggestion that this is simply a partisan issue is simply ridiculous and a talking point of the only the far right. Let's please agree to be more rational on this.

by santiago on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 09:13:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Secret evidence is no evidence at all. The idea that anyone should fall for the spooks' appeal to authority is puzzling to me. Or that someone would consider them in any way or form can to be politically neutral entities.
I mean you know what would also explain being friendly towards Russia except being a Russian agent?  Seriously believing that conflict with China is inevitable. Sounds like anyone?
Because once you start from that assumption you really can't afford to push Russia into dependence of China no matter whether you like the balance of forces in Ukraine or not.
by generic on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 09:47:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's PR because there is no evidence, and because someone leaked it to create a particular effect. It's interesting reading and the reasons for it being leaked are also interesting, and the reasons for the leak could be good or bad, but to me it's PR by definition when there is no direct evidence behind it.

My criticism of the public response across the political spectrum is that it is dictated by ideology, not by evidence. It's not a talking point.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 10:21:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody leaked it. It was originally covered in their regular, official press conferences, several weeks before the election, and Hillary Clinton used it in her debates against Trump, to mostly deaf ears at the time. All of the talk and accusations of leaks erupting from social media can be traced to the officially provided information at their regular press briefings.
by santiago on Tue Feb 7th, 2017 at 03:05:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Relying on defence (and financial) analysts is like listening to shamans, high priests telling the will of gods, predicting the next harvest.
by das monde on Tue Feb 7th, 2017 at 01:18:03 AM EST
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That may be the case, but listening to spies' advice about whom may, in fact, be a foreign spy in the White House, seems much better than discarding such advice on that particular matter.
by santiago on Tue Feb 14th, 2017 at 09:49:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they were talking about Israeli, Turkish, or Saudi spies, sure.

But they've found fifty of the last five Russian spies, so when they claim there's a Russian spy the appropriate response is a shrug and a snicker.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 15th, 2017 at 06:49:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have they really?

How many fake Russian spies have actually ever been accused by US intelligence agencies. Even the Rosenbergs were eventually found in the declassified Kremlin archives to have been exactly the spies they were accused of being. I'm sure there must be some, but 50/5 seems like a gross exaggeration. And since accusing a presidential candidate, and now a sitting US head of state, of being such a spy, or a at least under the influence of, of Russia is so extraordinary, simply brushing it off to spy agency incompetence seems ridiculous.  At least sister- site Booman is taking it seriously.

by santiago on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 05:14:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How many fake Russian spies have actually ever been accused by US intelligence agencies.
Uh, every political leader in the third world between roughly 1950 and 1990 who wanted the local mining or banana company to pay tax has been accused of being either a Russian or Chinese infiltrator. Along with most of the anti Viet Nam war movement leadership, and more than a few inconvenient American newsies who committed journalism. And probably a Finnish president or two, though I don't have the references on hand for those.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Feb 16th, 2017 at 10:27:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is far more reasonable to conclude that the CIA another spy agencies probably know quite a bit more than anyone else about how to do the work of recruiting and influencing foreign agents. So when they go through the extraordinary trouble of actually alerting competent political authorities, privately as well as publicly, that a political candidate, and subsequent elected winner, for the US Presidency (!) has likely also been a target of the same kind actions,
And that would maybe be a halfway plausible story if these hadn't been the same production house that brought us the Domino Theory, the Young Reformers, and the Moderate Syrian Opposition.

I have no problem believing that the CIA believes that Trump is a Russian asset. But the CIA believes a lot of things that clearly aren't true, especially about Russia, so trusting them to get this one right would be downright silly.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 6th, 2017 at 10:52:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's stipulate that we don't know precisely how much quality evidence is behind the report. However the intelligence agencies also gave us the "Saddam has weapons of mass destruction" guff to justify an invasion, so their bona fides are suspect.

What we also know is that the intelligence agencies have become dominated by neocons so their suspicions of Russian perfidy are hardly news.

Finally we know that Trump isn't a neocon - for him Russia is just another business opportunity with a vast amount of real estate.  As it happens there isn't a huge amount of trade between Russia and the US so it is of less strategic economic interest than say China.  If Trump wants to have a trade war with China, Russia could be a useful ally. If trump wants to break up the EU, Russia would be an even more useful ally.

So besides an adolescent infatuation with Putin's strong man machismo, there are real reasons why Trump might want to cosy up to Russia and why the intelligence agencies might be alarmed at that prospect.

What is unprecedented is the degree to which they have gone public in their opposition to him and the dismissive way he has treated their opposition.

Among the good things that could yet come out of a Trump Presidency would be a less reverent attitude to the intelligence agencies, possible cutbacks in their funding and access, as well as less meddling in the middle east and Ukraine.

Not a lot of consolation if he starts a war with China or helps to break up the EU, but hey, lets look at the bright side!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 7th, 2017 at 01:07:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if Trump wants to take on the letter agencies, my money isn't on Trump. They employ some of the smartest, nastiest people on the planet, and if realpolitik is your thing, their political record is impressive in its effectiveness.

But Trump's aims and politics don't necessarily conflict with their aims and politics. Both tend to corporate fascism, both claim to be patriotic but use plastic stick-on nationalism as an excuse to promote their own interests, and neither is much troubled by minor distractions such as human rights, the rule of law, or democratic accountability.

America is rotten enough that a truce is a more likely outcome than a war. Trump can't be reined in with a direct challenge, but he can be manipulated with ease, incapacitated in various ways, or even removed and replaced if necessary.

For now I would expect the game to be about waiting and exploring the ways in which he could be useful.

Challenges are more likely to come from the more overt political machinery, especially federal agencies and the judiciary. But if the letter agencies decide Trump is more of an asset than a liability, I wouldn't expect much lasting push-back from those quarters.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 7th, 2017 at 03:56:36 AM EST
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Among the good things that could yet come out of a Trump Presidency would be a less reverent attitude to the intelligence agencies, possible cutbacks in their funding and access, as well as less meddling in the middle east and Ukraine.

Not a lot of consolation if he starts a war with China or helps to break up the EU, but hey, lets look at the bright side!

Unfortunately his press creatures have been making some very conventional woofing noises about those two theaters since the coronation. It's looking increasingly like his semi-sensible mouth noises about them were just his usual contrarian cussedness.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 7th, 2017 at 07:45:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's stipulate that we don't know precisely how much quality evidence is behind the report. However the intelligence agencies also gave us the "Saddam has weapons of mass destruction" guff to justify an invasion, so their bona fides are suspect.
To give the mirrorshade brigade their due, they actually did leak that the Iraq story was made up out of whole cloth. The press just didn't want to hear it.

I think Iran's alleged atom bomb is a better analogy: It's not out of character for any of the players involved, nor beyond their technical capabilities. But a lot of people have looked very hard for evidence that it actually exists, and found nothing at all beyond the paranoid ravings of notorious conspiracy theorists.

So while it's not at the same level of lunacy as Nessie or the little gray aliens at Roswell, it's certainly less plausible than grassy knoll theory off the Kennedy assassination.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 8th, 2017 at 06:13:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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