Posts Tagged ‘national security’

US agencies banned from using Russia’s Kaspersky software

September 14, 2017

Federal agencies in the US have 90 days to wipe Kaspersky software from their computers. Officials are concerned about the Russian company’s ties to the Kremlin and possible threats to national security.

Headquarters of Internet security giant Kaspersky in Moscow (Getty Images/AFP/K. Kudryavtsev)

The administration of US President Donald Trump has ordered government agencies to remove products made by Russian company Kaspersky Labs from their computers.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Wednesday it was concerned that the cybersecurity firm was susceptible to pressure from Moscow and thus a potential threat to national security.

Read more: Facebook, Russia and the US elections – what you need to know

DHS said in a statement that it was “concerned about the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies,” as well as Russian laws that might compel Kaspersky to hand over information to the government.

But the makers of the popular anti-virus software have said “no credible evidence has been presented publicly by anyone or any organization as the accusations are based on false allegations and inaccurate assumptions.”

US tech retailer Best Buy confirmed earlier Wednesday that it would no longer sell Kaspersky products, but has declined to give further details on the decision.

Ties between Kaspersky, Kremlin ‘alarming’

Civilian government agencies have 90 days to completely remove Kaspersky software from their computers. The products have already been banned in the Pentagon.

US congressional leaders have applauded the move. Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen said the “strong ties between Kaspersky Lab and the Kremlin are alarming and well-documented,” and asked the DHS if the company’s products were used for any critical infrastructure, such as for voting systems, banks and energy supply.

Although Kaspersky Labs was founded by a KGB-trained entrepreneur, Eugene Kaspersky, and has done work for Russian intelligence, the company has repeatedly denied carrying out espionage on behalf of President Vladimir Putin and his government.

es/cmk (AP, Reuters)


Trump to meet security advisers Sunday over ‘hostile’ N.Korea test

September 3, 2017


© AFP | US President Donald Trump
WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Donald Trump will convene his national security team Sunday and weigh possibly drastic economic sanctions against North Korea after Pyongyang test-fired what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb able to fit atop a missile.”The national security team is monitoring this closely,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “The president and his national security team will have a meeting to discuss further later today.”

In a tweet Sunday, Trump denounced the powerful test — said to be the North’s first blast to exceed in power the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan — as “very hostile and dangerous to the United States.”

Other world leaders joined in the denunciation. China and Russia sharply condemned it, South Korean President Moon Jae-In called for the “strongest punishment,” and Britain said China should step up economic pressure on the North.

In Washington, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was preparing a package of economic sanctions to do that — measures “that would go as far as cutting off all trade and other business” with the North.

“I’m going to draft a sanctions package and send it to the president for his strong consideration so anybody (who) wants to do trade or business with them will be prevented from doing trade or business with us,” Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday.”

But he also said Trump had made it clear that “he will consider everything” and “look at all our options.”

While the United States has virtually no trade with the North, the burden of sanctions such as Mnuchin described would fall heavily on China. About 90 percent of North Korean exports go to China.

Early last month the United Nations Security Council adopted a seventh set of sanctions aimed at depriving the North of a billion dollars in income from exports. China approved the measures.

Trump has repeatedly insisted that Beijing lean on the neighboring Pyongyang regime to stop its nuclear and missile development.

But on Sunday he also aimed criticism at the government in Seoul, tweeting that the time for talks was over and that “appeasement” would not work.

John McCain: Otto Warmbier ‘murdered by the Kim Jong-un regime’ — “This Cannot Stand” — U.S. holds “North Korea accountable”

June 20, 2017
Sen. John McCain said Monday night that Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student detained by North Korea for more than a year, was “murdered by the Kim Jong-un regime.”

McCain’s statement came after Warmbier’s family announced the 22-year-old student, who was in a coma upon his return to the U.S., had died shortly after North Korea released him.

“I was saddened to learn about the death of Otto Warbier today following his unjust imprisonment and torture in North Korea,” said McCain, R-Ariz., who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. “I send my heartfelt condolences to Otto’s family and friends as they grieve this tragic loss.”

“Let us state the facts plainly: Otto Warmbier, an American citizen, was murdered by the Kim Jong-un regime. In the final year of his life, he lived the nightmare in which the North Korean people have been trapped for 70 years: forced labor, mass starvation, systematic cruelty, torture and murder…The United States of America cannot and should not tolerate the murder of its citizens by hostile powers.”

Warmbier was detained at Pyongyang Airport in North Korea in January 2016. The following March, North Korean officials sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly committing a “hostile act” against the country after security footage emerged of him attempting to steal a banner hanging in his Pyongyang hotel.

He was released last week and returned home to his family in Ohio. Warmbier was in a coma, and doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said Thursday the UVA student was in a state of “unresponsive wakefulness” and suffered loss of brain tissue.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., issued his own statement on Twitter. “Otto Warmbier should never have been in jail for tearing down a stupid banner. And he most certainly should not have been murdered for it.”

President Trump also condemed North Korea for its treatment of Warmbier but stopped short of accusing North Korea of murdering the American student. In a statement, Trump denounced “the brutality of the North Korean regime.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a statement late Monday, said the U.S. holds “North Korea accountable” for Warmbier’s “unjust imprisonment.”

“On behalf of the entire State Department and the United States government, I extend my condolences to the Warmbier family, and offer my prayers as they enter a time of grief no parent should ever know,” Tillerson said.

“We hold North Korea accountable for Otto Warmbier’s unjust imprisonment, and demand the release of three other Americans who have been illegally detained.”

United Nation’s Ambassador Nikki Haley released her own statement slamming North Korea’s violent regime.

“Countless innocent men and women have died at the hands of the North Korean criminals, but the singular case of Otto Warmbier touches the American heart like no other,” Haley said.

China gives businesses 19 months to comply with controversial cross-border cyber data rules

June 1, 2017

Beijing gives grace period for foreign businesses to satisfy a controversial new law demanding critical information be stored on the mainland

By Liu Zhen and Wendy Wu
South China Morning Post

Thursday, June 1, 2017, 9:05am

China will delay enforcement for 19 months of part of its controversial cybersecurity law, after vigorous complaints from foreign businesses.

The Cybersecurity Law takes effect from Thursday but the Cybersecurity Administration, the government body responsible for overseeing it, said a grace period would be given for businesses to comply with cross-border data transfer regulations. That period starts ­on June 1 and continues until the end of next year.

The law was passed in November to “defend cyberspace sovereignty, national security and public interests”, according to the central government. But foreign companies and governments complained the law set unfair barriers, ran counter to World Trade Organisation rules, and lacked compliance details.

Michael Chang, vice-president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, said some key areas of the law would have a huge impact on the way business was done on the mainland. “There are [still] uncertainties and unclarified terms,” Chang said.

One of the biggest concerns is the requirement that all critical data and the data from “critical ­information infrastructure” be saved on the mainland. Such ­information also has to be examined and assessed before being transferred out of the country.

A draft of the supporting regulations was released for public comment in April, while another draft measure on the definition of “critical information infrastructure” was released on Saturday. It is also not clear how such infrastructure will be protected.

The Cyberspace Administration met international stakeholders on May 19 and discussed the cross-border data movement ­regulations, offering the grace ­period, according to a document obtained by the South China Morning Post.

Chen Jihong, a partner at the Beijing-based Zhonglun Law Firm, said the decision to have a grace period might have been prompted by the absence of supporting regulations; the need for internal communication within relevant ministries and government departments; and the companies’ demands for more time to make the necessary changes.

Chen said the supporting regulations, including the cross- border data transfer rules, would probably be finalised later this year because Beijing was determined to enforce the law.

The Cyberspace Administration said the cross-border data flow measures were not meant to disrupt email, e-commerce or other commercial activity.

It also said the requirement that operators must stop transmitting “illegal information” would not jeopardise privacy or freedom of speech.

A partner at one international law firm said: “A number of ­people have questioned whether it is the right way to proceed, but as of now the requirement to store data in China still applies.

“The authorities indicate they haven’t sort through all of the ­implementations of the requirements, all of the difficulties that they present.

“Hopefully there will be some rethink of the regulation.”


Philippines: President Duterte Under Fire From The New York Times

April 27, 2017

By Penny Starr


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte walks past honour guards before Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald Bato Dela Rosa's Assumption of Command Ceremony at the Camp Crame in Manila on July 1, 2016. Authoritarian firebrand Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as the Philippines' president on June 30, after promising a ruthless and deeply controversial war on crime would be the main focus of his six-year term. / AFP / NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The New York Times’ (NYT) editorial board published a commentary focused on a Philippine lawyer’s request to the International Criminal Court in the Hague to charge the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, with mass murder and crimes against humanity for his crackdown on drug traffickers.

“A Filipino lawyer formally asked the International Criminal Court on Monday to charge President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity over the extrajudicial killings of thousands of people in the Philippines over the past three decades,” the NYT editorial stated, under the headline “Let the World Condemn Duterte.”

“The I.C.C. should promptly open a preliminary investigation into the killings,” the editorial stated.

Attorney Jude Josue Sabio filed the complaint under his name, but he is also representing two men who claim they were paid members of Duterte’s so-called death squad, according to the Times.

The complaint reports the deaths of 9,400 people, including political rivals and innocent civilian adults and children.

“Mr. Sabio is not the first to accuse Mr. Duterte of mass killings — so have Human Rights Watch, in 2009; Amnesty International, this January; and some brave Filipino politicians. The I.C.C. chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, declared last October that the court was ‘closely following’ developments in the Philippines,” the editorial stated.

The Times notes that, despite these facts, Duterte remains popular and the conditions might not meet the requirements for the high court’s consideration.

“But there is already more than enough evidence for a preliminary investigation, which would send an unmistakable signal to Mr. Duterte that he may eventually have to answer for his crimes, and would encourage governments to take measures against him, such as imposing tariffs on Philippine goods,” the editorial stated.

“This is a man who must be stopped,” the editorial concluded.

The Philippine Star reported Wednesday that President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson called the Times editorial  “reckless, irresponsible and baseless.”

Ernesto Abella said that, while Duterte’s administration recognizes the newspaper’s right to state an opinion, the government has a “clear disagreement” with the editorial because it was based on Sabio’s complaint.

“Sabio is the lawyer of Edgar Matobato, who last year admitted that he was a member of a killing squad that was allegedly used by Duterte to eliminate drug suspects, criminals and political opponents when he was still the mayor of Davao City in southern Philippines,” the Star reported.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a longtime Duterte critic praised the Times editorial, saying that the evidence against him is “quite substantial.”

“[Duterte] recently offered a reward for information leading to the capture of Abu Sayyaf and other militants behind a foiled attack in the central province of Bohol,” the UK Independent reported: “Eight militants, three soldiers, a policeman and two villagers have died in clashes in Bohol, which lies far from the southern jungle bases of the militants.”


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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.


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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kline also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

 (December 23, 2016)


 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa

Italy’s prime minister: Don’t let Africa become ‘second Chinese continent’

April 22, 2017
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni urged western officials on Thursday not to let China overrun Africa, and said more needs to be done by America and Europe to help the continent develop.”We can’t consider Africa as the second Chinese continent,” Gentiloni said Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“I have nothing against the fact that China is investing a lot in Africa. I am only saying that we should do perhaps our part more strongly.”
Italy has a more direct interest in African stability than most European nations, as its proximity to North Africa has made it a gateway for hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing north from the continent. Gentiloni wants the G-7 — a forum of the leading industrialized western democracies — to expand foreign aid and trade agreements with struggling African nations, a move that could have significant humanitarian and foreign policy implications.

“We can’t forget this continent,” he said. “They will have 2 billion inhabitants in 2040, and 2040 is tomorrow. And they have enormous resources, but a very complicated level of services. There are enormous potentialities. For example, renewable energies in Africa, is agriculture, food security.”

That could be a point of disagreement between Gentiloni and President Trump, who has proposed major cuts to the State Department and foreign aid budgets. “I think clearly, the level of spending that the State Department has been undertaking in the past – and particularly in this past year – is simply not sustainable,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in March.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers have expressed deep skepticism of those cuts, however, with some pointing out a particular need to assist African countries suffering from famines of biblical proportions. “[M]illions of innocent people will starve to death without concerted and urgent action in the coming weeks,” a group of ten senators wrote to Tillerson last month.




Jack Ma’s Latest U.S. Expansion Plan Threatened by Trump Agenda

April 1, 2017

By Selina Wang and Matthew Monks

Bloomberg News

March 31, 2017, 3:37 PM EDT March 31, 2017, 6:26 PM EDT
  • U.S. Representatives call for probe of Ant Financial’s bid
  • Purchase may pose significant national security risk: letter
Jack Ma

Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s latest U.S. expansion plan is facing rising political obstacles.

On Friday, two members of the House of Representatives urged the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to conduct a “full and thorough” investigation of Ant Financial’s proposed acquisition of MoneyGram International Inc., a money-transfer service.

“The proposal merits careful evaluation as it would provide Chinese access to the U.S. financial infrastructure, a move that would pose significant national security risks if completed,” Congressman Kevin Yoder and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson wrote in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Formerly a financial-services affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and controlled by Ma, Ant made its bid in January for $880 million, or $13.25 a share. In March, Leawood, Kansas-based rival Euronet Worldwide Inc. came in at $15.20, saying its offer had a better chance at regulatory approval. Dallas-based MoneyGram entered a confidentiality agreement with Euronet in late March to further consider its unsolicited proposal.

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Chinese companies have been on an acquisition spree in the U.S. for many years, but the trend has slowed recently in the face of mounting political opposition and national security concerns. In December, German semiconductor maker Aixtron SE’s planned sale to a Chinese-based company fell through after then-President Barack Obama upheld a CFIUS recommendation that the sale should be stopped. Aixtron has a subsidiary in California and it generates about 20 percent of sales in the U.S.

President Donald Trump has taken a hard stance on China since taking office, increasing the chance Ant Financial’s bid will be closely scrutinized by CFIUS, an inter-agency panel that examines acquisitions of companies by foreign investors. The White House can stop the deal, and Mnuchin is the chairman of the panel. Research firm Beacon Policy Advisors expects the new administration to block “a wide range” of deals as part of Trump’s America First agenda.

“The real threat is that the Trump administration sees political upside to stopping the deal to show it is tough on China,” wrote Jaret Seiberg, an analyst at Cowen & Co., in a note to investors. “Trump has talked very tough on China, which makes it easier to pressure him to get tough on a Chinese company buying a domestic company.”

MoneyGram shares fell 0.50 percent to $16.81 at the close in New York. They have more than doubled in the past year.

Euronet CEO Michael Brown wrote to Mnuchin this week arguing Ant’s offer raises national security concerns because money transmitters collect confidential data on users which the government requires them to retain for several years. Money transmitters also get confidential requests from the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network about transactions that may be connected to terrorism or money laundering.

Yoder and Johnson reiterated those concerns in their letter on Friday, pointing out that Ant Financial is partly owned by Chinese state institutions. This could give a foreign government access to critical infrastructure and could be used for “intelligence purposes, location tracking, and identifying vulnerabilities for coercion,” they said.

The total Chinese state-owned or state-affiliated ownership of Ant Financial is just below 15 percent, according to a person familiar with the matter. Those investors are passive and the entities don’t participate in Ant’s management or board, the person said. They asked not to be identified talking about Ant’s ownership structure.

Ant was valued at $75 billion by CLSA Ltd., a brokerage owned by China’s Citic Securities Co., in September. The company has more than 630 million users and provides wealth management, insurance, credit checks and consumer loans. Ant said it sought the CFIUS review.

“Ant will continue working with MoneyGram to obtain all required regulatory and shareholder approvals to successfully close the transaction later this year,” the company said in an emailed statement.

The transaction won’t give the Chinese government access to personally identifiable information of American citizens collected by MoneyGram in the U.S., and MoneyGram’s servers and data will stay in the U.S., the person familiar with the matter said. Ant Financial also plans to keep MoneyGram’s headquarters, management team and employees in Dallas.

MoneyGram said it only collects and transmits a limited amount of personally identifiable information that’s encrypted and stored at its facility in Minneapolis. That process would continue under the agreement with Ant Financial to ensure “transactions are fully safeguarded and not misused or accessed by any government — including the Chinese government,” it added.

Latest Liberal Talking Point: Trump Guilty of Treason

March 27, 2017



27 Mar 2017

TEL AVIV – Over the past week, numerous Democratic Party operatives and establishment pundits have used the word “treason” in a seeming attempt to smear President Donald Trump over unproven claims of collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

On Monday, Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager, Robby Mook, demanded Trump’s campaign aides be “prosecuted for treason” if evidence emerges of coordination with Moscow during the recent presidential campaign.

One day later, on Tuesday, Michael Winship, senior writer for, wrote an opinion piece titled, “‘There’s a Smell of Treason in the Air’” Winship is a former senior writing fellow at the progressive advocacy group Demos, which is financed by billionaire George Soros.

Winship’s piece, which was republished at the Huffington Post, argued that last Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing that probed alleged ties between the Trump administration and Russia was “proof positive of the absolute need for both a special prosecutor and an independent, bipartisan commission with subpoena power to conduct a full investigation” on the matter.

Last week, this reporter found serious problems with the main anti-Trump charges at the hearing, delivered in opening remarks by Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on a House intelligence committee. The charges included wild conspiracy theories and heavy reliance on a questionable source.

The title of Winship’s article, meanwhile, comes from a quote in the Washington Post last week provided by presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, who told the newspaper, “There’s a smell of treason in the air. Imagine if J. Edgar Hoover or any other FBI director would have testified against a sitting president? It would have been a mindboggling event.”

Winship went on to compare the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to the Watergate scandal under the Nixon administration:

During Schiff’s questioning on Monday, Comey seemed to nod toward agreeing that Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee was not unlike the 1972 physical break-in at the DNC. You know, the one that precipitated the revelations, resignations and prison convictions of Watergate. Drip, drip, drip…

On Thursday, Nicholas Kristof wrote an oped in the New York Times using the same title as Winship, also citing Brinkley’s quotes to the Washington Post.

Kristof starts off his piece, titled, “‘There’s a Smell of Treason in the Air,’” by citing President Richard Nixon:

The greatest political scandal in American history was not Aaron Burr’s shooting of Alexander Hamilton, and perhaps wasn’t even Watergate. Rather it may have been Richard Nixon’s secret efforts in 1968 to sabotage a U.S. diplomatic effort to end the Vietnam War.

Nixon’s initiative, long rumored but confirmed only a few months ago, was meant to improve his election chances that year. After Nixon won, the war dragged on and cost thousands of additional American and Vietnamese lives; it’s hard to see his behavior as anything but treason.

Like Winship, Kristof tries to link Trump to Nixon in order to make the “treason” argument. “Now the F.B.I. confirms that we have had an investigation underway for eight months into whether another presidential campaign colluded with a foreign power so as to win an election,” Kristof wrote. “To me, that too would amount to treason.”

Kristof relied on his own “intelligence experts” who “mostly (but not entirely) believe” that there is a Trump-Russia connection.

He wrote:

I’ve been speaking to intelligence experts, Americans and foreigners alike, and they mostly (but not entirely) believe there was Trump-Russia cooperation of some kind. But this is uncertain; it’s prudent to note that James Clapper, the intelligence director under Barack Obama, said that as of January he had seen no evidence of collusion but that he favors an investigation to get to the bottom of it.

Kristof claimed he was “told (not by a Democrat!) that there’s a persuasive piece of intelligence on ties between Russia and a member of the Trump team that isn’t yet public.”

Kristof speculated the “most likely scenario for collusion seems fuzzier and less transactional than many Democrats anticipate.”

Despite there being no evidence of significant Trump investments in Russia, Kristof then guesses at what it might be – alleged Trump investments in Russia:

The Russians for years had influence over Donald Trump because of their investments with him, and he was by nature inclined to admire Vladimir Putin as a strongman ruler. Meanwhile, Trump had in his orbit a number of people with Moscow ties, including Paul Manafort, who practically bleeds borscht.

The Times’ columnist goes on to channel Winship and also demand the same talking point – a “public and bipartisan investigation by an independent commission.”

On cue, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) warned Friday of a “cloud of treason” hanging over the Trump administration. “The bombshell revelation that US officials have information that suggests Trump associates may have colluded with the Russians means we must pause the entire Trump agenda,” he said.

Lieu called for the “total and complete” shutdown of Trump’s legislative agenda in the wake of the claims.

“We may have an illegitimate President of the United States currently occupying the White House,” Lieu said in a statement. “Congress cannot continue regular order and must stop voting on any Trump-backed agenda item until the FBI completes its Trump-Russia collusion investigation.”

Lieu made similar “treason” comments on Twitter.

Cloud of treason means we must have total shutdown of any @POTUS agenda item. No votes on any item. My stmt 


Washington – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) issued the following statement regarding the CNN report that Trump associates possibly colluded with Russia to affect the outcome…

Last week, Lieu also tweeted to Trump: “You truly are an evil man…”

“President” @realDonaldTrump: You truly are an evil man. Your job is to help Americans. Not intentionally try to destroy their lives. 

Writing in the Washington Post on Friday, Jennifer Palmieri, Director of Communications for Clinton’s presidential campaign, also referenced “treason” but from a different angle.

“If Clinton had won with the help of the Russians, the Republicans would have impeachment proceedings underway for treason,” she contended. “No doubt. Instead, dealing with Russia falls nearly solely on Democrats’ shoulders.”

To Palmieri, the case is already closed. She writes that Trump won because of a Russian “plot” as if it were an established fact.

“Now that Trump is president, though, the stakes are higher because the Russian plot succeeded,” Palmieri claims.

Like Winship and Kristof, Palmieri references Watergate to make her point: “The possibility of collusion between Trump’s allies and Russian intelligence is much more serious than Watergate. It is a constitutional crisis. It represents a violation of our republic’s most sacred trust.”

Writing in The Week on Friday, senior correspondent Damon Linker also claims Trump could be guilty of “treason.”

Here is what I can’t understand: FBI Director James Comey testified on Monday that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is under investigation by the FBI over its potential ties to Russia. Let’s be clear about what this might mean: treason.

James Comey. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images (File Photo)

We don’t yet know what the outcome of the investigation will be (though subsequent press reports have certainly underlined the importance of seeing it through to the end). But the very possibility that a sitting president and his circle could end up credibly accused of having advanced the interests of a hostile foreign power and of having colluded with that power in an effort to undermine the campaign of the president’s political opponent should be more than enough to persuade Republican officeholders and pundits to treat the investigation with utmost seriousness — and to distance themselves from the man at the center of the investigation until such time as he is cleared of any wrongdoing.

And like the others, Linker likens the Russia claims to “Watergate” to advance the “treason” narrative.

Finally, there’s the relative gravity of the allegations in the two scandals. The Watergate break-in itself was obviously a crime, but what led to Nixon’s downfall was the cover-up, which implicated the president in multiple acts of obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress. That would have been more than enough to impeach Nixon, remove him from office, and indict him. Bad? You bet. But far from treason.

The allegations swirling around the Trump campaign are far more serious.

Also on Friday, journalist Carl Bernstein – who is known for breaking the Watergate story in 1972 – slammed Trump as “more treacherous” than Nixon.

Meanwhile, former Bill Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who has been working closely with the Soros-financed, penned a piece published in Newsweek arguing Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch “shouldn’t be confirmed until Trump comes clean” about alleged ties to Russia.

Like Lieu’s reference to a “cloud of treason” hanging over the Trump administration, Reich claimed a “true cloud of illegitimacy now hangs over the presidency of Donald Trump.”

Reich’s piece was followed up by a petition calling for Trump’s agenda to be “shut down” while he is investigated over the Russia claims.

The petition states: “Congress must pause all Trump-related legislation and appointments—starting with a halt to Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation process—until the American people learn the full truth about Trump and Russia.”

In recent days, the hashtag #TrumpTreason has been trending on Twitter.

Prominent users of the hashtag include Trump critic Rosie O’Donnell

This is not the first time this reporter documented the theme of establishment-types parroting similar anti-Trump talking points. In February, a trend emerged in which news media outlets featured articles quoting health care professionals who questioned the billionaire’s mental stability in a seeming bid to delegitimize the president.

Following those reports, some Democratic politicians – and at least one Republican – called for Trump to be subjected to a psychiatric examination to determine whether he was fit for office. Some commentators have even suggested invoking the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, which allows for the commander-in-chief’s removal from office if the “president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

With research by Joshua Klein.

China’s New Industrial War — Influence and Power — China’s program to surpass the West

March 21, 2017
New Chinese economic theft campaign detailed by insider


The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a new program for economic warfare, one that follows a path well trodden in the history of industrial competition.

According to a source in China who conducts business at the top levels of the CCP, the new program was launched in mid-2015 to early 2016 as a legal replacement to the CCP’s former model of using cyberattacks to steal information for economic gain.

On Sept. 25, 2015, then-President Barack Obama met with CCP leader Xi Jinping at the White House, where they announced a new bilateral agreement that said neither country would use cyberattacks to steal intellectual property, trade secrets, or other confidential information for “commercial advantage.”

The background of the meeting was that state-run cyberattacks from China had been stealing from the U.S. economy, and Obama had begun threatening to sanction Chinese companies that profited from the cyberattacks. The agreement diverted the sanctions.

As part of China’s program to surpass the West, it is relying less on cyberattacks and more on foreign acquisitions and joint ventures.

Already, however, business leaders and high-level officials in China are acting on an alternative plan for, as the CCP’s program for economic theft Project 863 puts it, “catching up fast and surpassing” the West.

“What they’re doing is sending teams of individuals to the United States—they’ll hook up with their current partners, and make new partners—to be able to do the same song and dance as before,” said the source, who requested to remain unnamed for personal security.

“The other part is, they’re coming to this country to begin to set up shop, business-wise,” he said. The teams come in order to learn more directly the tradecraft and business operations of Western companies “and steal it to bring back to their country.”

He gave an example of this in motion, noting a Chinese company that makes industrial unmanned aerial vehicles that had begun setting up joint ventures with U.S. companies.

“They want to be able to have their company in the United States and be able to make a connection with another company, work with that company, then be able to bring people or technology back to the mainland,” he said. “That’s the main focus of what they want to do.”

The CCP has moved quickly in its push for foreign acquisitions and joint ventures, and by fall 2016 its effects were already becoming visible.

According to data from New York-based advisory firm Rhodium Group, annual Chinese direct investment in the United States nearly tripled in 2016 from the previous year, going from $15.3 billion to $45.6 billion.

The shift caused a stir in business and political circles, not just in the United States but around the world.



In February 2016, The New York Times reported on a growing political backlash in Washington over Chinese companies attempting to purchase U.S. technology companies.

Bloomberg reported in August 2016 that Chinese takeovers triggered a global backlash ahead of the G-20 Summit, and The Trumpet reported that in Australia, the federal treasurer rejected two deals from China for power companies, valued at over $7.6 billion, over security concerns.

In August 2016, Israel’s Haaretz published an analysis titled “Why China Is on a Shopping Binge in Israel,” noting the acquisition trend but missing the motivation behind it. The reporter said Israel, with a solid economy and reputation for innovation, was merely an attractive parking lot for Chinese capital flight.

A Classic Strategy

The new push from the CCP for economic gain is not a novel approach, according to Amar Manzoor, author of “The Art of Industrial Warfare.”

“They’ve essentially copied Japan,” Manzoor said, referring to the CCP’s new program.

A similar situation took place in the 1950s. Manzoor noted that many Toyota cars used to look like Ford Mustangs, but were sold at a cheaper price. After they broke into the American market, Toyota partnered with American manufacturer General Motors to create the New United Motor Manufacturing plant.

By partnering with a major U.S. company to build a manufacturing plant in the United States, Toyota was able to test how receptive Americans would be to full-fledged Toyota plants in their own backyard. It also allowed Toyota to begin developing supply chains in the United States.

The value of controlling factories goes far beyond profit.


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Manzoor said many countries have gone through the process of copying a foreign competitor, then partnering with companies within the target market.

He noted that Indian automaker Tata Motors bought majority shares in Jaguar Land Rover, which is likewise helping them transfer automaker skills to India.

“Everything India is doing is based on industrial warfare. It wants access to the technology, it wants the plants,” Manzoor said. “This is the same thing with China.”

“What tends to happen is, you get these industrial hubs by doing that,” he said, noting it’s not just rising countries trying to build industrial hubs, but also developed countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States.

The value of controlling factories goes far beyond profit.

People involved in manufacturing—the folks who build the products—are often the ones who think of ways to improve the existing products.

Industrial innovation in the United States has been dropping due to competition from Chinese imports, according to a recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which points out that fewer patents are being filed in the United States.

The country that controls the factories also controls the job market, and any nation well-versed in strategies of industrial warfare will also try to gain control of raw materials and the full supply chain.

With China in particular, Manzoor said, “They want to control supply and demand, and the best way to do that is to control the marketplace itself. This is where the industrial war is trending right now.”

When industrial warfare reaches this level, it also begins to affect national security.

According to a U.S. Army report, “Chinese companies’ access to resources, technologies, markets, and elites translates into means of influence and power than can be harnessed for a whole host of objectives that are not necessarily focused on commercial goals only.”

To show how this could play out, Manzoor gives the example of how during World War II, factories were re-purposed for the defense industry, and companies that had previously been building cars were instead building tanks and fighter planes.

If a country is pulled into a war unexpectedly, while also lacking domestic manufacturing, it will then need to build the factories, skills, and supply lines from scratch.

An Internal Shift

The CCP has reduced its cyberattacks against the United States, although some of its hacker units remain active. Cybersecurity company FireEye reported in June 2016 that since mid-2014, “we have seen a notable decline in China-based groups’ overall intrusion activity against entities in the U.S. and 25 other countries.” It says U.S. action responding to the attacks “may have prompted Beijing to reconsider the execution of its network operations.”

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The CCP’s new program on state-sponsored cyberattacks has two points of focus: one, to expand the reach of Chinese factories, and two, to steal intellectual property from competitors directly.

According to the source in China, “the only way they can innovate is by doing one thing: steal.”

It builds on existing programs for economic theft the CCP already had in place, which ran parallel to its cybertheft operations. These include its Torch program for high-tech commercial industries, its 973 Program for research, and its 211 program for using universities.

According to the book “China’s Industrial Espionage,” all of these programs leverage “foreign collaboration and technologies to cover key gaps” and use methods that include encouraging skilled experts to return to China, or to have them “serving in place,” providing information they gained from Western employers.

The economic situation in China isn’t as flashy as the regime wants the world to believe. The source in China said “the business environment has completely changed,” he said. “It has changed for the worse.”

Companies are realizing that due to the lack of a middle class, the actual Chinese market is only about 200 million out of a total population of 1.3 billion.


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“There are some significant problems going on. There are a lot of people unemployed. They are looking for answers, and the government does not seem to have them,” he said. “There are a lot of protests taking place there as well, which were not there before. … You’re talking thousands of people. They have signs and they have stuff spray-painted on their shirts as well, and they get into fights very quick.”

“These people have lost money. They’ve lost their life savings, the government is not answering to their needs, and businesses are trying to get new sales.”

Meanwhile, he said, “the innovators are leaving in droves. They’re either being chased out by the government, or they’re realizing the government is stealing their stuff.”

“They’re not making enough money and they’re not getting enough orders from their customers,” he said. Companies are realizing that due to poverty levels, and due to the lack of a middle class, the actual Chinese market is only about 200 million out of a total population of 1.3 billion.

Meanwhile, many companies used to have their products manufactured in China, but as local wages increase—and as other countries such as India and Indonesia grow their own manufacturing bases—the cost benefit of manufacturing in China is starting to fade.

The CCP is now trying to build a middle-class economy and to start making strong pushes to bring Chinese products—such as Lenovo computers and Xiaomi smartphones—into global competition. It is also making strong pushes to acquire raw materials and to negotiate trade deals.

Moving away from reliance on Western products and technology is now a high priority for the CCP.

The CCP is also pushing out some companies directly. The strategy, the source said, is that it is selectively pushing foreign companies out of China if their own domestic products are at a level where they could compete with each other in global or third-world markets. The companies they’re keeping in China are the ones they can still learn from.

“This is a new push [to buy or partner with companies outside China] that’s taking place,” the source said, “because as they push people out, they need something to replace the lost innovation.”

Erdogan accuses Merkel of ‘supporting terrorists’

March 13, 2017

NKARA (AFP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of “supporting terrorists”, in a spiralling row with EU states after the blocking of poll rallies by ministers.

“Mrs Merkel, why are you hiding terrorists in your country?… Why are you not doing anything?” Erdogan said in an interview with A-Haber television, accusing Berlin of not responding to 4,500 dossiers sent by Ankara on terror suspects.

“Mrs Merkel, you are supporting terrorists,” he added.

Erdogan said Germany, which Turkey has long accused of harbouring Kurdish militants and wanted suspects from the failed July 15 coup, was “giving support to terror in a ruthless way”.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AP)

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AP)

He also lambasted Merkel for her public backing of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the diplomatic crisis sparked by The Hague’s refusal to let Turkish ministers hold rallies in the country ahead of an April 16 referendum on expanding Erdogan’s powers.

German authorities had also last week blocked rallies from taking place, infuriating Ankara.

Referring to the developments across Europe in recent days, Erdogan reiterated his controversial comparison with the Third Reich.

“Nazism, we can call this Neo-nazism. A new Nazism tendency,” he said.