John Podesta was chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The more we learn about the Russian plot to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign and elect Donald Trump, and the failure of the FBI to adequately respond, the more shocking it gets. The former acting director of the CIA has called the Russian cyberattack “the political equivalent of 9/11.” Just as after the real 9/11, we need a robust, independent investigation into what went wrong inside the government and how to better protect our country in the future.
As the former chair of the Clinton campaign and a direct target of Russian hacking, I understand just how serious this is. So I was surprised to read in the New York Times that when the FBI discovered the Russian attack in September 2015, it failed to send even a single agent to warn senior Democratic National Committee officials. Instead, messages were left with the DNC IT “help desk.” As a former head of the FBI cyber division told the Times, this is a baffling decision: “We are not talking about an office that is in the middle of the woods of Montana.”
What takes this from baffling to downright infuriating is that at nearly the exact same time that no one at the FBI could be bothered to drive 10 minutes to raise the alarm at DNC headquarters, two agents accompanied by attorneys from the Justice Department were in Denver visiting a tech firm that had helped maintain Clinton’s email server.
President-elect Donald Trump, Democrats and Republicans react to the CIA’s assessment that Russia intervened to help Trump win the election. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)
This trip was part of what FBI Director James B. Comey described as a “painstaking” investigation of Clinton’s emails, “requiring thousands of hours of effort” from dozens of agents who conducted at least 80 interviews and reviewed thousands of pages of documents. Of course, as Comey himself concluded, in the end, there was no case; it was not even a close call.
Comparing the FBI’s massive response to the overblown email scandal with the seemingly lackadaisical response to the very real Russian plot to subvert a national election shows that something is deeply broken at the FBI.
Comey justified his handling of the email case by citing “intense public interest.” He felt so strongly that he broke long-established precedent and disregarded strong guidance from the Justice Department with his infamous letter just 11 days before the election. Yet he refused to join the rest of the intelligence community in a statement about the Russian cyberattack because he reportedly didn’t want to appear “political.” And both before and after the election, the FBI has refused to say whether it is investigating Trump’s ties to Russia.
There are now reports that Vladimir Putin personally directed the covert campaign to elect Trump. So are teams of FBI agents busy looking into the reported meeting in Moscow this summer between Carter Page, a Trump foreign policy adviser, and the Putin aide in charge of Russian intelligenceon the U.S. election? What about evidence that Roger Stone was in contact with WikiLeaks and knew in advance that my hacked emails were about to be leaked? Are thousands of FBI person-hours being devoted to uncovering Trump’s tangled web of debts and business deals with foreign entities in Russia and elsewhere?
Meanwhile, House Republicans who had an insatiable appetite for investigating Clinton have been resistant to probing deeply into Russia’s efforts to swing the election to Trump. The media, by gleefully publishing the gossipy fruits of Russian hacks, became what the Times itself calls “a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence.”
But the FBI’s role is particularly troubling because of its power and responsibility — and because this is part of a trend. The Justice Department’s Inspector General issued a damning report this summer about the FBI’s failure to prioritize cyberthreats more broadly.
The election is over and the damage is done, but the threat from Russia and other potential aggressors remains urgent and demands a serious and sustained response.
First, the Obama administration should quickly declassify as much as possible concerning what is known about the Russian hack, as requested by seven Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Second, the administration should brief members of the electoral college on the extent and manner of Russia’s interference in our election before they vote on Dec. 19, as requested by a bipartisan group of electors.
Third, Congress should authorize a far-reaching, bipartisan independent investigation modeled on the 9/11 Commission. The public deserves to know exactly what happened, why and what can be done to prevent future attacks. Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) have introduced legislation to authorize such an investigation.
Finally, Congress should more vigorously exercise its oversight to determine why the FBI responded overzealously in the Clinton case and insufficiently in the Russian case. The FBI should also clarify whether there is an ongoing investigation into Trump, his associates and their ties to Russia. If ever there were a case of “intense public interest,” this is it. What’s broken in the FBI must be fixed and quickly.
Read more here:

John Podesta: Something is deeply broken at the FBI - The Washington Post

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Obama Vows Retaliation for Suspected...

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Obama Vows Retaliation for Suspected Russian Hacking

U.S. News & World Report - ‎1 hour ago‎
President Barack Obama, right, and Russia's President President Vladimir Putin pose for members of the media before a 2015 bilateral meeting at the United Nations headquarters. (Andrew Harnik/AP Photo). By BRADLEY KLAPPER and JOSH LEDERMAN, ...

Obama Says US Will Retaliate for Russia's Election Meddling

New York Times - ‎8 hours ago‎
President-elect Donald J. Trump at a “thank you” rally in West Allis, Wis., on Tuesday. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times. WASHINGTON — President Obama said on Thursday that the United States would retaliate for Russia's efforts to influence the ...

Barack Obama promises retaliation against Russia over hacking during US election

The Guardian - ‎2 hours ago‎
Barack Obama has warned that the US will retaliate for Russian cyberattacks during the presidential election. According to extracts of an interview due to air on National Public Radio on Friday morning, the US president said he was waiting for a final ...

Hillary Clinton: Putin's Alleged Involvement in Democratic Hack Stems From Longtime Grudge

ABC News - ‎30 minutes ago‎
Hillary Clinton has an explanation for Vladimir Putin's alleged involvement in the hacking of Democratic organizations during the 2016 presidential election: The Russian leader has a longtime grudge against her, dating back to 2011 when she made ...

Obama on Russia hacking the US election: 'We need to take action and we will'

Business Insider - ‎11 hours ago‎
Russian President Vladimir Putin supervised his intelligence agencies' hacking of the U.S. presidential election and turned it from a general attempt to discredit American democracy to an effort to help Donald Trump, three U.S. officials said on Thursday.

Russia challenges US to prove election hacking claims or shut up

KBZK Bozeman News - ‎1 hour ago‎
(CNN) -- The United States must either stop accusing Russia of meddling in its elections or prove it, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was "indecent" of the United States to ...
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Russia Challenges U.S. To Prove It Meddled In Election

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The Kremlin is challenging the United States to prove allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election, saying that Washington should provide evidence or stay silent.
"It's necessary to either stop talking about this or show some proof already," Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told journalists on the sidelines of Putin's summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. "Otherwise it looks quite unseemly."
Peskov spoke a day after President Barack Obama said the United States would "take action" against Russia for interfering in the election.
"I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections...we need to take action and we will," Obama said in an interview with National Public Radio that was released late on December 15.
"At a time and a place of our own choosing. Some of it may be...explicit and publicized; some of it may not be," Obama told NPR. He said, "Mr. Putin is well aware of my feelings about this, because I spoke to him directly about it."
His comments came as the White House has grown increasingly explicit in suggesting Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered the hacking and subsequent leaking of internal Democratic e-mails in an attempt to help elect Republican Donald Trump over his Democratic opponent HIllary Clinton.
Earlier on December 15, White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said the cyberattacks, which U.S. intelligence has accused Russia of directing, would have required Putin's approval.
"I don't think things happen in the Russian government of this consequence without Vladimir Putin knowing about it.... When you're talking about a significant cyber intrusion like this, we're talking about the highest levels of government," Rhodes told MSNBC.
His remarks followed recent media reports citing unidentified U.S. intelligence officials as saying that a CIA assessment had determined that Russia's aim was indeed to help President-elect Donald Trump defeat Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the November 8 election.
Both the Kremlin and Trump have dismissed the allegation.
In October, Obama authorized the U.S. director of national security and the Department of Homeland Security to issue a statement saying that they are "confident" the Russian government "directed" the hacking of e-mails of individuals and groups, including political organizations.
Though the statement did not name the targets, it was a clear reference to cyber-breaches of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton's campaign, among others. Leaked e-mails from those intrusions are widely seen as having damaged Clinton in the election.
The October statement did not name Putin or suggest that the alleged Russian effort was aimed at helping Trump, who has pledged to seek a warming of ties with Moscow that have been badly strained over the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
The televised comments by Rhodes came less than 24 hours after an NBC News report that U.S. intelligence officials believe with a "high level of confidence" that Putin was personally involved in Russian efforts to interfere in the election.
Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the Kremlin considered the NBC News report to be "laughable nonsense."
Without explicitly denying it, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he was "stunned" by the report and added, "In my view, the stupidity and absolute futility effort to convince someone of this is obvious."
Discrediting Democracy
The Reuters news agency later cited three unidentified U.S. officials as saying that Putin supervised Russian intelligence agencies' hacking of the U.S. election and shifted the goal from discrediting U.S. democracy to helping Trump.
"This began merely as an effort to show that American democracy is no more credible than Putin's version is," Reuters quoted on of the officials as saying. "It gradually evolved from that to publicizing (Hillary) Clinton's shortcomings and ignoring the products of hacking Republican institutions, which the Russians also did."
By autumn, it became a bid to help Trump's campaign because "Putin believed he would be much friendlier to Russia, especially on the matter of economic sanctions" than Clinton," the official was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters on December 15 that he is confident that the U.S. administration in the coming weeks will disclose further details on the alleged Russian hacking.
Kerry declined to comment on Putin's potential involvement or the possibility that the cyberattacks were aimed at helping Trump.
But he said he believes Obama's administration will soon disclose more details about the cyber-intrusions.
"Now we have to get out the facts, and I'm confident we will in the months ahead," Kerry said.
Trump is set to take office on January 20.
Kerry defended Obama, who campaigned for Clinton in the election, against critics who have said he should have come out more forcefully on the alleged Russian hacking campaign ahead of the vote. Kerry cited the public statement accusing Moscow of directing the effort.
"The president understood and made clear it's a serious matter. It was a serious matter then, and it’s a serious matter now as even more information comes out," Kerry said.
With reporting by RFE/RL correspondent Carl Schreck, Reuters, AP, and NBC News
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Useful Idiots Galore - The New York Times

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On Wednesday an editorial in The Times described Donald Trump as a “useful idiot” serving Russian interests. That may not be exactly right. After all, useful idiots are supposed to be unaware of how they’re being used, but Mr. Trump probably knows very well how much he owes to Vladimir Putin. Remember, he once openly appealed to the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Still, the general picture of a president-elect who owes his position in part to intervention by a foreign power, and shows every sign of being prepared to use U.S. policy to reward that power, is accurate.
But let’s be honest: Mr. Trump is by no means the only useful idiot in this story. As recent reporting by The Times makes clear, bad guys couldn’t have hacked the U.S. election without a lot of help, both from U.S. politicians and from the news media.
Let me explain what I mean by saying that bad guys hacked the election. I’m not talking about some kind of wild conspiracy theory. I’m talking about the obvious effect of two factors on voting: the steady drumbeat of Russia-contrived leaks about Democrats, and only Democrats, and the dramatic, totally unjustified last-minute intervention by the F.B.I., which appears to have become a highly partisan institution, with distinct alt-right sympathies.
Does anyone really doubt that these factors moved swing-state ballots by at least 1 percent? If they did, they made the difference in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — and therefore handed Mr. Trump the election, even though he received almost three million fewer total votes. Yes, the election was hacked.
By the way, people who respond to this observation by talking about mistakes in Clinton campaign strategy are missing the point, and continuing their useful idiocy. All campaigns make mistakes. Since when do these mistakes excuse subversion of an election by a foreign power and a rogue domestic law enforcement agency?
So why did the subversion work?
It’s important to realize that the postelection C.I.A. declaration that Russia had intervened on behalf of the Trump campaign was a confirmation, not a revelation (although we’ve now learned that Mr. Putin was personally involved in the effort).
The pro-Putin tilt of Mr. Trump and his advisers was obvious months before the election — I wrote about it in July. By midsummer the close relationship between WikiLeaks and Russian intelligence was also obvious, as was the site’s growing alignment with white nationalists.
Did Republican politicians, so big on flag waving and impugning their rivals’ patriotism, reject this foreign aid to their cause? No, they didn’t. In fact, as far as I can tell, no major Republican figure was even willing to criticize Mr. Trump when he directly asked Russia to hack Mrs. Clinton.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. It has long been obvious — except, apparently, to the news media — that the modern G.O.P. is a radical institution that is ready to violate democratic norms in the pursuit of power. Why should the norm of not accepting foreign assistance be any different?
The bigger surprise was the behavior of the news media, and I don’t mean fake news; I mean big, prestigious organizations. Leaked emails, which everyone knew were probably the product of Russian hacking, were breathlessly reported as shocking revelations, even when they mostly revealed nothing more than the fact that Democrats are people.
Meanwhile, the news media dutifully played up the Clinton server story, which never involved any evidence of wrongdoing, but merged in the public mind into the perception of a vast “email” scandal when there was nothing there.
And then there was the Comey letter. The F.B.I. literally found nothing at all. But the letter dominated front pages and TV coverage, and that coverage — by news organizations that surely knew that they were being used as political weapons — was almost certainly decisive on Election Day.
So as I said, there were a lot of useful idiots this year, and they made the election hack a success.
Now what? If we’re going to have any hope of redemption, people will have to stop letting themselves be used the way they were in 2016. And the first step is to admit the awful reality of what just happened.
That means not trying to change the subject to campaign strategy, which is a legitimate topic but has no bearing on the question of electoral subversion. It means not making excuses for news coverage that empowered that subversion.
And it means not acting as if this was a normal election whose result gives the winner any kind of a mandate, or indeed any legitimacy beyond the bare legal requirements. It might be more comfortable to pretend that things are O.K., that American democracy isn’t on the edge. But that would be taking useful idiocy to the next level.
Continue reading the main story
Read the whole story

· · ·

The Latest: Trump adds to national security team - Washington Times

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Are We In a New Era of Espionage?

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Even if Russia did aim to help Trump win the election, it’s not clear how big a role the publication of the stolen documents played in swaying voters. But the intrusions certainly created confusion and chaos, and that may be just as useful to the Kremlin. Internal fractionalization could distract the U.S. and allow Russia to act even more boldly on the international stage without fearing American repercussions.
“Here, you have an information campaign that’s now pitting the CIA against the FBI, Democrats against Republicans, even Republicans against Republicans. This is perfection. Perfection!” exclaimed Houghton. “It’s just right out of the playbook.”
At this point, there’s no indication (beyond unsubstantiated claims from outgoing Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid) that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia, even if it benefited from its actions. The details about Russia’s aims aren’t entirely clear, because the CIA has found itself at odds with the FBI over its assessment that the Kremlin tried to help Trump out.
One of the key elements of the CIA’s determination—the claim that the Republican National Committee was hacked, too, but that Russian leaders chose not to leak any of that information—is beginning to look more likely. If it turns out to be true, the Trump administration may find itself in a bind going forward. Reince Priebus, who will be Trump’s chief of staff, has been the chairman of the RNC for six years. Internal RNC communications and documents could contain embarrassing details that could hurt Priebus—and which could be held over the administration’s heads as blackmail once it’s in the White House.
More information about the cyberattacks is forthcoming: President Obama ordered a review of election-related hacking last week, and Congress is launching multiple investigations into the developments as well.
Unless the probes turn up obvious evidence of collusion between Trump’s team and the Russian hackers, it’s unlikely the president-elect will face any repercussions. The reviews will, however, help inform how high-profile cyberattacks will be treated in the future. President Obama reportedly chose not to respond forcefully to Russian hacking, preferring instead to rebuke Putin in private on the sidelines of at a Group of 20 summit in China, The New York Times reported.
So far, it appears that Russia has gotten away with meddling in a U.S. election. That may send a message to other countries that the U.S. won’t lash out after it comes under cyberattack if it’s not politically convenient to do so. But it may also be that the U.S. government just chose not to retaliate in a public way.
U.S. officials I’ve spoken to are cautious of responding ‘in kind,’ for instance by revealing embarrassing details of where Russian officials place their dirty money,” wrote Corera, the security correspondent, in an email. “The fear is that doing this might establish a new norm that this kind of activity is now fair game.”
The uncertainty surrounding cyberwar norms has a lot to do with how new the phenomenon is. Houghton compared it to the advent of nuclear weapons, when members of Congress struggled to grasp the impact the nuclear age would have on diplomacy and war. Eventually, Houghton said, we’ll look back on 2016 to try and understand the beginnings of the an era defined by online warfare. “This is going to be something that we’ll study for a long time,” he said.
Read the whole story

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White House points to Putin over election hack

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Tensions between world’s leading nuclear powers rise as US accuses Russia of intervention in Trump’s narrow victory

Understanding Russia's SpyWar Against Our Election - Observer

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WCBD News 2

Understanding Russia's SpyWar Against Our Election
Putin's motivation was revenge, according to unnamed senior IC officials, since he despisesClinton, plus the Kremlin sought to create confusion in the United States to make us appear an unreliable ally and an ailing global power. ... He didn't fear ...
Did Putin Direct Russian Hacking? And Other Big QuestionsThe Atlantic
U.S. Officials: Putin personally involved in U.S. election hackWCBD News 2
US officials believe Putin 'personally' involved in election hackDIGITALLOOK
all 226 news articles »

Poll: Many Voters Blame Comey, Russia for Clinton's Loss - Newsmax

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Poll: Many Voters Blame Comey, Russia for Clinton's Loss
Almost four in 10 people said Democrat Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election due to "outside factors" in a new survey. The Rasmussen Reports poll found that 39 percent of likely U.S. voters felt things beyond Clinton's control cost her the ...
Stop It! There Are No Big Lessons From the 2016 Election.Mother Jones
Is Hillary Clinton Trying To Question The Legitimacy Of Donald Trump Winning?NPR
Hillary Clinton Fast FactsABC 57 News
The Federalist -Spiked
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Trump Lashes Out At Vanity Fair, One Day After It Lambastes His Restaurant - NPR

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Trump Lashes Out At Vanity Fair, One Day After It Lambastes His Restaurant
One day after Vanity Fair printed a highly critical piece about one of his restaurants, President-elect Donald Trump escalated his feud with the magazine's editor, calling him a "no talent." "Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair ...
Trump goes on a tear against the mediaPolitico
Trump attacks Vanity Fair: 'Way down, big trouble, dead'The Hill
Donald Trump's Restaurant Feud With Vanity Fair Goes Way, Way BackEater
Us Weekly
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Trump's soft spot for Russia: wealthy condo buyers - USA TODAY

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Trump's soft spot for Russia: wealthy condo buyers
WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump's controversial soft spot for Russia is based on decades of courting wealthy Russians to buy condos in his luxury high-rises and invest in his other real estate ventures, a close look at his business dealings ...
Trump's Men In Moscow: Trump Disciples Suddenly Showing Up In RussiaNPR
Donald Trump supporters in Moscow as sanctions fight heats upCNN
Trump can wipe out Russia sanctions with stroke of the penPolitico
TIME -Washington Examiner (blog) -Center For American Progress -New York Times
all 477 news articles »

The SMS Recordings Revealing That Assange Was Framed By Police In Rape Case - Collective Evolution

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Collective Evolution

The SMS Recordings Revealing That Assange Was Framed By Police In Rape Case
Collective Evolution
On August 20, 2010, an arrest warrant for Assange was first issued by the Swedish Prosecutor's Office, but was withdrawn the following day. Eva Finne, the chief prosecutor, announced that she believed the rape accusation held no merit, actually saying ...

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Page 3

"Democrats Filing TREASON Charges Against Trump, McConnell, Giuliani, & Comey." - PolitiFact

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"Democrats Filing TREASON Charges Against Trump, McConnell, Giuliani, & Comey."
A recent post was headlined, "BREAKING: Democrats Filing TREASON Charges Against Trump, McConnell, Giuliani, & Comey MONDAY MORNING" (That would be President-elect Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, former New York ...

This is how Russia thinks about fake news and media manipulation - Business Insider

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Business Insider

This is how Russia thinks about fake news and media manipulation
Business Insider
It exists to advance the agenda of the Russian government and expand its influence across the globe. Part of that ... The Russians blamed those outlets for inspiring dissidents in Eastern Europe to rise up against late-Cold War Soviet-backed governments.

and more »

Under Vladimir Putin, Russia Plays a Smart Round of Global Martial Arts - Wall Street Journal

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Wall Street Journal

Under Vladimir Putin, Russia Plays a Smart Round of Global Martial Arts
Wall Street Journal
Britain has often claimed that it punches above its weight in world affairs, an assertion more in question than ever as it leaves the European Union. But in 2016, one country can make the claim without much fear of contradiction: RussiaRussia is ...
EU agrees to extend Russia sanctions until mid-2017Reuters

all 114 news articles »

Putin supervised Russia cyber attacks in US election: officials - Reuters

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Putin supervised Russia cyber attacks in US election: officials
Accusations that Russia tried to influence the election by hacking people and institutions, including Democratic Party bodies, has angered President-elect Trump who says he won the Nov. 8 vote fairly. Russian officials have denied all accusations of ...
Report Says Putin Was Directly Involved With Russian Interference In U.S. ElectionHuffington Post
Vladimir Putin likely gave go-ahead for US cyberattack, intelligence officials sayCBS News
US Officials: Putin Personally Involved in US Election

all 177 news articles »

UK and US ramp up criticism of Russia and Iran over Aleppo crisis 

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Boris Johnson says neither deserves praise for finally letting people flee Syrian city as US defence secretaries blame Putin for humanitarian disaster
The UK and US have stepped up criticism of the role of Russia and Iran in Aleppo’s humanitarian disaster, amid uncertainty about whether the incoming Trump administration might enter into a deal with Vladimir Putin.
The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, summoned the Iranian and Russian ambassadors to express his “profound concern” over the crisis. In two separate meetings, Johnson told them that their countries had failed to uphold their obligations under international law, specifically by failing to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians during the months of the Aleppo siege.
Continue reading...

Kirby: US Military Action Wouldn't Have Made Difference in Aleppo - Newsmax

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Kirby: US Military Action Wouldn't Have Made Difference in Aleppo
A broad range of options concerning the devastation in Aleppo, Syria, were considered by the government, including military options, but military leaders determined "it wouldn't do anything to really stop the bloodshed and violence, and it might ...
John Kerry and the death of diplomacyMo4ch News (press release) (blog)

all 37 news articles »
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Page 4

Facebook to Offer Tools to Combat Fake News

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Facebook Inc said on Thursday that it would roll out a number of new tools to prevent fake news stories from spreading on the social media network. The company will make it easier for users to flag fake articles on their News Feed and will also work with organizations such as fact-checking website Snopes, ABC News and the Associated Press to check the authenticity of stories. Facebook said that if the fact-checking organizations identify a story as fake, it will get flagged as "disputed" and there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why. The company said disputed stories may appear lower in its news feed, adding that once a story is flagged, it cannot be promoted. Facebook also said it has eliminated the ability of spammers to spoof domain names of real publications. The social media company had faced severe criticism for failing to stem a flood of phony news articles in the runup to the U.S. presidential election. Ahead of the November 8 U.S. election, Facebook users saw fake news reports erroneously alleging that Pope Francis had endorsed Donald Trump and that a federal agent who had been investigating Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was found dead. The company has traditionally relied mostly on users to report offensive posts, which are then checked by Facebook employees against the company's "community standards."

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Russian author slams 'criminal' West while receiving France's highest literary honour - FRANCE 24

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Russian author slams 'criminal' West while receiving France's highest literary honour
Russian novelist Andrei Makine vilified the "criminal" West as he received France's highest literary honour on Thursday, calling the last three French presidents "arrogant ignoramuses" as he was inducted into the Académie Française. The author went on ...
Russian writer lashes 'criminal' West as he gets top French honourYahoo Sports

all 2 news articles »

Aleppo's fall furthers Russia's rise - Baltimore Sun

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Baltimore Sun

Aleppo's fall furthers Russia's rise
Baltimore Sun
By challenging U.S. hegemony in Middle Eastern affairs and supporting the Assad government after it crossed the Obama administration's ill-fated "red line," Russia made the U.S. look weak. ... On its European front, Moscow undermines confidence in ...
Johnson says 2013 vote means MPs partly to blame for Syria's plight - Politics liveThe Guardian (blog)
Syrian Government Retakes Eastern Aleppo. Remaining Islamist Militia EvacuatedCenter for Research on Globalization
Aleppo: George Osborne attacks 'vacuum' of Western leadershipBBC News

all 4,179 news articles »

White House suggests Putin was involved in US hacking -

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White House suggests Putin was involved in US hacking
(Toru Hanai/Pool Photo via AP). Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen in Nagato, western Japan, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. The Obama administration suggested Thursday that Putinpersonally authorized the hacking of Democratic officials' email accounts.
Behind the deep ties between Exxon's Rex Tillerson and RussiaCNNMoney
Russia's Putin: ready to meet Trump any moment but better after he forms his administration -
Lindsey Graham, Democrats plan probes of Russia hackingCNN
World Tribune -The Register
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US military completes $11.2M facelift in Estonia

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The United States military has completed infrastructure investments worth $11.2 million to upgrade an Estonian NATO army base as a part of a U.S. commitment to the alliance's eastern flank, which is facing increasing tensions with Russia.

The Kurds Ditch US in War on ISIS, Strike a Better Deal with Russia

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December 15, 2016, 7:27 PM (IDT)
The US lost its main spearhead for an offensive to clear ISIS out of Raqqa.
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Page 5

Kremlin: Report of Putin meddling in US election is 'nonsense'

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The Kremlin on Thursday dismissed as "nonsense" a report by NBC News that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in trying to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Trump’s dispute with CIA puts Pompeo in a bind

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Rep. Mike Pompeo, who is expected to win Senate confirmation, will have to repair a relationship between Trump and the CIA that has been battered by the president-elect’s repeated disparagement of the agency’s capabilities and competence.

Kerry: Syrian rebels have surrendered Aleppo

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December 15, 2016, 10:23 PM (IDT)
US Secretary of State John Kerry reported in a lengthy press briefing Thursday that the Syrian rebels have surrendered in Aleppo. The evacuation of thousands of civilians has begun, assisted by aid agencies with medical care available to the injured. Russia has pledged to monitor the evacuation corridor leading out of Aleppo and Turkey has agreed to take evacuees.
Kerry called for the cessation of hostilities to be maintained and the horrific slaughter brought to an end. “We can’t have another Srebrenica,” he declared, and blamed Russia, Iran and “Lebanese, Iranian and Iraqi Shiites" for supporting Assad’s genocidal war, with some perpetrating acts in violation of the rules of war.
The Geneva conference must be recalled without delay to negotiate a peaceful solution of the five-year Syrian war, said the secretary of state.  All the parties concerned agree with this - although we have not yet obtained the consent of Bashar Assad. 

Why are Trump loyalists showing up in Moscow? 

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From: CNN
Duration: 02:11

Trump loyalists Jack Kingston and Carter Page are in Moscow reportedly discussing potential changes to sanctions against Russia. CNN's Matthew Chance has the latest.

Trump continues to reject intel findings on Russian hack

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From: CBSNewsOnline
Duration: 09:37

Donald Trump continues to deny intelligence community findings that tie the Kremlin to the DNC data breach over the summer. CBS News contributor Mark Leibovich joins CBSN to discuss.

Tillerson and Putin: When the Oilman Met the Strongman

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, started negotiating oil deals with each other in 1999. Here's a deeper look at how their "close relationship" was forged. Photo: Getty Images
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Page 6

Donald Trump calls Russia hacking reports 'ridiculous'

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From: skynews
Duration: 05:46

National Security Analyst, Arash Aramesh discusses President-elect Donald Trump's dismissal of the CIA's conclusion that Russia interfered in the US presidential election.
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Victims of Duterte's war on drugs 

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From: CNN
Duration: 02:54

Since taking power in June, President Rodrigo Duterte has waged a brutal "war on drugs." The crackdown has been linked to more than 5,900 deaths.

EU leaders debate Russia war crime charge 

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From: ReutersVideo
Duration: 01:26

EU leaders at a summit in Brussels face a blizzard of competing crises. One sticking point: how to respond to Russia's actions in Aleppo. Julian Satterthwaite reports.
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Russian hacking: Was US election just the canary in the coal mine? 

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From: france24english
Duration: 03:38

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Did Russia really swing the U.S. elections? Reports by the New York Times and NBC point the finger directly at Vladimir Putin over the hacking of emails during the campaign. What could be the true motive? And might the upcoming French and German elections be at risk too? The Internet was touted as the gateway to a more transparent society. Has it instead become a tool for undermining democracy? Is the way we use the Internet due for a rethink?
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What the hack? Putin accused of US elections meddling (part 1)

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From: france24english
Duration: 17:25

Subscribe to France 24 now :
FRANCE 24 live news stream: all the latest news 24/7
Did Russia really swing the U.S. elections? Reports by the New York Times and NBC point the finger directly at Vladimir Putin over the hacking of emails during the campaign. What could be the true motive? And might the upcoming French and German elections be at risk too? The Internet was touted as the gateway to a more transparent society. Has it instead become a tool for undermining democracy? Is the way we use the Internet due for a rethink?
Click here for PART TWO.

Produced by Charles WENTE, François WIBAUX and Van MEGUERDITCHIAN.
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Election facts vs. fiction: Misleading stats surface

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From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 04:37

Insight from Aaron Blake, senior politics reporter at The Washington Post
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Page 7

Kerry: 'Anger and Anguish' Over Aleppo Attacks

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From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 00:59

US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke of the anger and anguish over attacks directed on civilians in Aleppo, Syria. (Dec. 15)
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White House suggests Putin was involved in US hacking

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration suggested Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally authorized the hacking of Democratic officials' email accounts in the run-up to the presidential election and said it was "fact" that hacking had helped President-elect Donald Trump's campaign. The White House also leveled an astounding attack on Trump himself, saying he must have known of Russia's interference....

Fake news spread by 23% of Americans, study says - USA TODAY

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Fake news spread by 23% of Americans, study says
Fake news, often spread on social networks, has become a problem that creates significant public confusion about current events with nearly one-fourth of Americans saying they have shared a fake news story. The findings come from a new Pew Research ...
New Pew Report: Majority Of Americans Across Party Lines Say Fake News Caused "A Great Deal" Of ConfusionMedia Matters for America (blog)

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Netherlands, EU Reach Deal On Ukraine Association Agreement

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European Union leaders have reached an agreement about a demand from the Netherlands on a deal that would establish closer ties between the EU and Ukraine.

Russian Elite Spetsnaz Trounced in Face-off with ISIS

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December 15, 2016, 7:27 PM (IDT)
The elite Russian unit was defeated by the jihadists in Palmyra, a counterattack prepared.

Russian Hacking Intent to Influence US Election: Not Proven

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December 15, 2016, 7:27 PM (IDT)
US intelligence failed to prove Russian intelligence influenced the US election.
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Page 8

Israeli Ambassador: Iran Could Have Nuclear Weapons in Less Than 10 Years 

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Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer is warning that Iran could have a functional nuclear weapon in less than 10 years thanks to the Obama administration’s flawed efforts to negotiate a nuclear deal “that does not block Iran’s path to the bomb [but] ultimately paves it,” according to recent remarks in which the ambassador also slammed U.S. officials and organizations for failing to clearly identify militant Islam as a global enemy of the West.
Dermer, speaking Tuesday after receiving the Center for Security Policy’s (CSP) 2016 Freedom Flame award, took aim at the Obama administration for helping Iran preserve its nuclear infrastructure and achieve the means to build a nuclear weapon within 10 years.
Dermer also criticized organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which boycotted his appearance before the CSP, for attempting to restrict free speech and label those who warn about the rise of radical Islam as bigots.
“Rather than dismantle Iran’s military nuclear capability this deal merely places restrictions on this capability for a limited time, restrictions that are automatically removed even if Iran does not change its behavior,” Dermer warned. “So in nine to 14 years, Iran could remain the foremost sponsor of terror in the world and legitimately enrich enough uranium to place it on the cusp of having the material for an entire nuclear arsenal.”
“In the meantime, without violating a single clause of the deal, Iran can conduct [research and development] on more and more advanced [nuclear] centrifuges,” he added. “And unless it is stopped, Iran will continue to defy [United Nations] Security Council resolutions to build intercontinental ballistic missiles for its future nuclear arsenal.”
Those missiles, Dermer warned, “they’re not for Israel, they’re for you.”
The Israeli government “looks forward to discussing with the Trump administration the nuclear deal with Iran, as well as the dangerous regime it has helped strengthen,” Dermer said.
The ambassador went on to chastise the SPLC and other organizations that seek to limit public discourse about radical Islam by dubbing their opponents as hate-mongers.
The SPLC recently came under fire for issuing a list of purported Islamophobes that included the CSP, its leader, Frank Gaffney, and leading Muslim reformers who have sought to eradicate radical Islam.
“An enemy you refuse to name is an enemy you will never understand and an enemy you never understand is an enemy you will not defeat,” Dermer said in an apparent reference to groups such as the SPLC and the Obama administration, which refuses to label radical Islam as the root of most global terrorist activities.
Americans should “reject the shameful efforts of some to prevent any serious discussion about the nature of the enemy we face,” Dermer said, referencing the controversy over his appearance before the CSP.
The SPLC, Dermer recounted, emailed the Israeli embassy “asking me why I was accepting an award from what they called an anti-Muslim hate group. I was a bit surprised.”
“Frank Gaffney is no hater and no bigot,” Dermer said. “The CSP is not only an unabashed defender of my country Israel, it also is no hate group.”
“The fact that it was the SPLC that was making this accusation got my attention because I always thought highly of that organization,” Dermer added, referring to the group’s past work to dismantle the KKK and hold racists accountable.
However, in recent months the SPLC released a list of 15 individuals it described as anti-Muslim extremists. The SPLC was criticized for including on this list prominent Muslim reformers such as Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, both of whom have gained prominence for promoting peaceful versions of Islam.
“There was nothing to justify the wholesale defamation of this organization or its leadership,” Dermer said. “But then I read some more and I discovered the SPLC had made up a list of those they label anti-Muslim extremists and as I read that list I was simply stunned.”
The “biggest shock of all to me was when I saw a name on that list as someone I personally regard as a hero,” Dermer said, referring to Hirsi Ali.
“In an Orwellian inversion of reality, a woman whose life is threatened every day by extremist Muslims is labeled by the SPLC an anti-Muslim extremist. Have those who put Ayaan on that list no shame? Have they no decency? The SPLC and others who asked me not to come here tonight claim to support free and open debate, but in reality they want to stifle debate. They preach tolerance for those who look different, but they are in effect practicing intolerance for those who think different.”
“I don’t stand with the defamers and blacklisters,” Dermer said. “I stand with Ayaan Hirsi Ali.”
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Vladimir Putin Personally Directed Elements of Russian Hacks

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Vladimir Putin was personally involved in the Russian cyber attacks against U.S. political networks to influence the presidential election, senior intelligence officials told NBC News.
Intelligence officials believe with a “high level of confidence” that Putin directed how hacked material stolen from Democratic systems would be leaked as part of a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton.
The Russian president also used the breaches to sow doubt about the United States to “split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn’t depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore,” according to an official.
The CIA concluded last week that Russian hackers had interfered in the U.S. election process to help elect President-elect Donald Trump. The FBI has yet to back the assessment that the breaches were meant to tip the election toward Trump, citing a lack of definitive evidence.
Trump called the claims “ridiculous,” and has maintained there is “no evidence” linking Moscow to the hacks despite all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies attributing the election-related breaches to Russia.
Republican lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have broken with Trump in calling for a congressional review of the breaches. Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Tuesday the committee would launch a new probe into Russia’s involvement.
The week before, President Obama directed his intelligence agencies to compile a report on the impact of the cyber attacks before he leaves office next month.

EU agrees to extend Russia sanctions...

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EU agrees to extend Russia sanctions until mid-2017: diplomats

Reuters - ‎25 minutes ago‎
A billboard with a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin is displayed on a street in Kerch, Crimea, April 7, 2016. The board reads: ''Crimea. Russia. Forever.'' REUTERS/Andrew Osborn/File Photo. By Gabriela Baczynska | BRUSSELS. BRUSSELS ...

How President Obama can retaliate against Russia

The Hill (blog) - ‎1 hour ago‎
Four short years ago, President Obama and the Democratic Party laughed Mitt Romney out of the room for saying that Russia was the greatest geopolitical threat to the United States. How quickly things do change. Today, with a humanitarian disaster ...

Some very good news for Donald Trump: A strong majority still say Russia didn't matter

Washington Post - ‎2 hours ago‎
Republicans have been somewhat reluctant to jump whole-hog into investigating Russia's role in the 2016 election. And they have good reason: As I've mentioned, doing so inherently raises the possibility that Russia made the difference when it came to ...

EU Fatigue Over Russia Sanctions on Display as Putin Reset Looms

Bloomberg - ‎3 hours ago‎
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) in Dushanbe on Sept. 15, 2015. Photographer: MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images. European Union differences over Russia were exposed as ...
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Iran sanctions bill goes into law without Obama's signature - The Hill

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The Hill

Iran sanctions bill goes into law without Obama's signature
The Hill
A bill extending sanctions on Iran for a decade will go into law without President Obama's signature. ADVERTISEMENT. “This Administration has made clear that an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act, while unnecessary, is entirely consistent with our ...
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Mladic’s UN war crimes trial ends, judges ponder verdicts

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The war crimes and genocide trial of former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic ended Thursday and three United Nations judges adjourned to deliberate, a process expected to take nearly a year.

Nat. Sec. pick Flynn shared classified intel, military says

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Donald Trump's incoming national security adviser "inappropriately shared" classified intelligence with foreign military personnel, according to a just-surfaced military summary of the inquiry.