Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2 deputies killed, suspect dead in shopping center shootout - TheUnion | | Ex-Officials Say Washington Needs More Robust Response To Russia | As Syria Devolves Further, Allies Criticize American Policy - The New York Times | US Intel Chief Skeptical About Afghan Reconciliation | Donald Trump v. Bernie Sanders? - POLITICO | Going out with a bang - POLITICO | "Anger, anger, everywhere" - New Hampshire primary: Why is America so angry with its politicians? - Telegraph | French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to leave office - BBC News | NATO and EU to team up to fight ‘hybrid challenges’ - Europe - Stripes | CIA Director John Brennan on Middle East violence | ‘I am a radicalised goat hell-bent on jihad’ – the FBI’s new anti-Isis video game | Technology | The Guardian

On cheap, stinky, brainless FBI Goats, radicalized and otherwise and their Tutankhamonite simulators on a "Slippery Slope". That goat's name is Carlito The Cabrito. She is a child molester and a KGB rodent. Go back to your hole, Cabrito; be a good mole, do your homework, try hard for your promocion... 

What Putin’s Security Appointments Say About How Russia Works - Mark Galeotti | New Hampshire primary: Why is America so angry with its politicians? | Intelligence official: ISIS to attempt US attacks in 2016 | Enough is enough — U.S. abdication on Syria must come to an end

What Putin’s Security Appointments Say About How Russia Works

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In one more night, Russian military intelligence would have been without a director for almost a full month. But an appointment was finally made — and it was the obvious, continuity candidate. So is there anything to be read in this delay and this seeming non-story? There certainly is.
We learned three things. That the Kremlin wants to put trusted men in key security positions. That the military, while kept out of much of the decision-making process these days, still knows how to stonewall. And that the new chief is starting already in an uncomfortable position: Does he try to rebuild bridges with the Kremlin by sugarcoating the intelligence?
Gen. Igor Sergun, head of the agency, died of heart failure on January 3. He led an organizationstranded in limbo between its old name, the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU: Glavnoe ravzedyvatel’noe upravlenie), and the ambiguous alternative, the Main Directorate (GU).
From the first, it was clear that all the main stakeholders — Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Chief of the General Staff Valeri Gerasimov, and the GRU hierarchy itself — favored the promotion of one of Sergun’s depties: Vyacheslav Kondrashev, Sergei Sizunov, Igor Lelin, and Igor Korobov. Of them all, Korobov, head of the Strategic Intelligence Directorate (USR: Upravlenie strategicheskoi razvedky) was clearly the front-runner.
And then there was nothing, except a few rumors and a string of informal “any day now” claims that an announcement was imminent. Then, on February 2, Lt. Gen. Igor Valentinovich Korobov was formally presented to the media as Sergun’s successor and presented with his pennant of office(because what self-respecting spymaster doesn’t have his own flag?).
So why the delay? The answer appears to lie in an asymmetric three-cornered political struggle. The big battalions were clearly behind Korobov. There was a small but medal-bedecked lobby within the Ground Forces who wanted a regular soldier appointed, not least because they hoped to split the GRU in two and steal back the Spetsnaz special forces. If all else failed, they favored Lelin, who had been their deputy chief of staff for a while. But the rival with the serious political firepower was Deputy Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Alexei Dyumin.
To say that Dyumin has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the past year would be to undersell him dramatically. Although subsequent official accounts have suggested he was in charge of the special forces who seized Crimea in spring 2014 — the so-called “little green men” — and that he owes his success to this operation, a year later, in May 2015, he was being name-checked as a colonel in the Presidential Security Service (SBP: Sluzhba bezopasnosti prezidenta). Perhaps even more importantly, he was included as a valued player in Vladimir Putin’s personal ice hockey team (playing sport with the president is always a fast track to success).
Somehow, by the end of that year, he had become head of the military’s special operations forces, then chief of staff of the Ground Forces, then deputy defense minister, albeit conveniently without portfolio. In the process, Dyumin also jumped from one-star major general to two-star lieutenant general.
There has been a creeping process of late as the people closest to Putin — which often means his bodyguards — start getting appointed to key positions. Most notoriously, another bodyguard and judo partner, Viktor Zolotov, rose at an almost equally high speed within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, from commander of its Interior Troops to first deputy interior minister, and potential minister-in-waiting, should present incumbent Viktor Kolokoltsev prove insufficiently robust.
Dyumin had no real credentials for heading the GRU. But then again, nor did he have the experience or seniority to be army chief of staff. Ultimately, it is just that he has Putin’s trust, and this seems to explain the push from the Kremlin for him to be appointed.
Whatever some pundits may think, Putin’s Russia cannot simply be written off as a one-man monarchy. That this move was eventually blocked says something about the political heft of the military, who had been lobbying both behind the scenes and through the press to keep Dyumin out of the GRU. They may seem to have very little traction on the policy process (they weren’t meaningfully consulted over Crimea, and scarcely much more over Syria). But their capacity to resist something they don’t like should not be underestimated.
Furthermore, there are some hints here in Moscow that they received unexpected backing from the Federal Security Service (FSB: Federal’naya sluzhba bezopasnosti). Putin’s old service, the FSB has long since moved beyond its old role purely as domestic security and counter-intelligence and now operates internationally, from assassinating “enemies of the state” to running political “active measures.” This sometimes makes it a rival of the GRU, notably in Ukraine’s Donbas, where the two agencies seem to run parallel networks of agents and militias.
However, the FSB would likely have been alarmed at the precedent set. If a crony from the SBP or FSO can be parachuted into the GRU, why not other agencies? Why not, indeed, the FSB? Better, presumably, to fight this war in the “Aquarium” (as the GRU’s headquarters are known) than on their own turf.
Whether as a consolation prize, or because his position at the ministry was no longer tenable, Dyumin was suddenly and unexpectedly appointed as acting governor of Tula Region, south of Moscow, after the equally sudden and unexpected resignation of the current incumbent, Vladimir Gruzdev. The Kremlin may not always get its own way, but Putin is loyal to his own, whatever the cost to anyone else.
But meanwhile, Korobov, about whom all the Russian media can find to say is that he is a “serious man,” starts work with a formidable agenda before him. As head of the USR, he had already been playing a key role in the Syrian operation, so there is unlikely to be any real change there. However, one of Sergun’s great strengths had been his capacity to play well with Putin and the powerful Presidential Administration. His successor starts with the handicap of knowing that they didn’t want him and would have preferred to be talking to Dyumin.
This could be a good thing, if it means Korobov is willing to be more honest than Sergun may have been in playing to the Kremlin’s prejudices. But it could be a very, very bad thing if he instead goes overboard the other way, and dumps the objectivity and honesty so crucial to good intelligence, all in the name of winning friends and influencing people in tsar Putin’s court.
Mark Galeotti is Professor of Global Affairs at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs and director of its Initiative for the Study of Emerging Threats. His most recent book is Spetsnaz: Russia’s Special Forces (Osprey, 2015).
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New Hampshire primary: Why is America so angry with its politicians?

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When he won the New Hampshire primary, Mr Trump told his supporters that America would start winning "again".
"We don't win on trade, we can't beat Isil. We are going to win so much. We are going to make America greater than ever before."
The bubbling discontent covers a myriad of issues including poverty, border protection and immigration, the mistreatment of military veterans, and spiralling health care costs.
At its heart is a fundamental breakdown of trust in government. For many Americans, Washington seems a long way away populated by venal politicians with their snouts in the trough who have left the rest of the country behind.
Here we examine the anti-establishment backlash behind Mr Trump's popularity:

Many Americans hate Barack Obama

Two days after he was re-elected in 2012, Mr Obama was at a town hall event in New Orleans. A young boy there asked him: "Why do people hate you?"
Mr Obama later pointed out that: "I was elected president, so not everybody hates me!" But he accepted that "watching TV, it seems that everybody is just getting mad all the time."
When he moved into the White House seven years ago Mr Obama's approval rating was 69 per cent.
It has been heading south ever since and currently stands at 48 per cent. At times it has been as low as 38 per cent.

Here are five reasons why:

Washington is "broken"

For presidential candidates of either party, the greatest insult is being labelled "part of the Washington establishment".
It's so bad even Hillary Clinton has tried to claim she is "not part of the establishment". That takes some chutzpah from a former first lady, senator, and secretary of state.
Voters are deeply disillusioned with a perceived elite that runs America but does not understand it. Many voters now see America as a plutocracy rather than a democracy.
According to a CNN/ORC poll in December 2015, an astonishingly high 85 per cent of them disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job, and 75 per cent say they are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed.
A total of 25 per cent say they are "very angry" about the way things are going in the country, 44 per cent are "somewhat angry" and only 14 per cent are "not angry at all".
Among Trump supporters 97 per cent are dissatisfied with the government, and 91 per cent are "angry".
Who is to blame? Republicans blame what they see as a partisan president. Democrats blame an intransigent Republican-controlled Congress for refusing to compromise.
According to Phillip K Howard, founder of Common Good, a group that wants to simplify government, Washington has become a "profoundly sick and dysfunctional political culture separated by the Beltway from the rest of the country".
It has "mutated into a perpetual tug of war where political leaders get up in the morning not trying to do anything constructive but just make the other side look bad."
Voters are sick of the lot of them.

It's the (failing) economy, stupid

The politics of anger is being fuelled in parts of America where wages have stagnated, causing Americans who were once in the middle class to sink into the "working poor".
According to a recent study by the Pew Research Centre, less than half of the population are middle class, down from 61 per cent in 1971.
The median net worth of families today is barely higher than it was 30 years ago.
The decline is not limited to the country’s poorer states such as Mississippi and West Virginia. Even in leafy New England, behind the white picket fences of picturesque homes, poverty is on the rise.
In Exeter, home to the Philips Exeter Academy, the Eton of America, more than 2,000 people in a population of 13,800 are "food insecure", according to the local Saint Vincent de Paul community centre, and there has been a 177 per cent increase in distribution from food banks in the last two years.
In Manchester, the biggest city in New Hampshire, one in five children is reliant on food banks for nutrition.
People come to my town halls and they cry. No one is listening to them.
John Kasich, Republican presidential candidate
The Telegraph visited one of the many food banks in the city, watching as dozens of people - many of whom have jobs and work up to 60-hour weeks - waited patiently for their turn.
"Family homelessness is the fastest growing homelessness in the country. Families are not making it,” said Pati Frew-Waters, executive director of Seacoast Family Promise, a shelter that takes in working families.
"There are jobs available but you can't make it on the wages they pay. Fast food restaurants will pay just over $7 an hour. You have major companies paying a pittance, truly a pittance."
I can't pay bills. You're ashamed all the time. When you can't buy presents for your children it's really, really hard.
Carrie Aldrich, member of the audience at a Sanders rally
Craig Welch, director of the nearby Portsmouth Housing Authority said: "We have about 500 families. Around here there has been no wage appreciation. These folks are working but this is the life of the working poor."
John Kasich, the Republican presidential candidate, said he had been shocked to discover on the campaign trail how bad life was for some Americans.
"People come to my town halls and they cry," he said. "Some of these people have traumatic stories and they have nowhere to go. No one is listening to them."

Billionaires vs. socialism

Donald Trump's supporters see his billions as insulation against the influence of big donors and lobbyists that are part of the Washington "establishment".
On the flip side of the coin, voters are also flooding to self-declared socialist Bernie Sanders, who rails against the "billionaire class" and Wall Street, because he also challenges the status quo.
At a rally in Iowa, Mr Sanders, who is running neck and neck with Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential race, asked his audience: "I want to hear: what is it like to live on $10,000 a year social security?"
I AM angry. The American people are angry
Bernie Sanders
A woman called Carrie Aldrich stepped forward, took the microphone, and started crying.
"I've been living on less than that," she said. "I can't pay bills. You're ashamed all the time. When you can't buy presents for your children it's really, really hard.
"I worked three, four, five jobs, always minimum wage. I have a degree, divorced, and it's just parents have to support me. It's just hard."
Mr Trump vows to bring prosperity by cutting taxes, negotiating better trade deals, and sending illegal immigrants home.
Mr Sanders says he will do it by raising taxes to pay for increasing the minimum wage, providing healthcare for all, and free college tuition.
Mr Sanders - and his supporters - are just as angry as Mr Trump.
He said recently: "I AM angry. The American people are angry. What's surprised me going round the country is how far removed the establishment in Washington, and the establishment media, is from real people's lives and what really matters to them."

'Immigrants are taking our jobs and some of them might be terrorists'

The economic insecurity has left many looking for someone to blame.
That has sparked a backlash against immigrants and fuelled a growing xenophobia which found its most high profile outlet in the speeches of Donald Trump.
At Mr Trump's rallies in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, thousands of miles from Mexico, hispledge to "build a big beautiful wall" on the border regularly gets a huge cheer.
The only thing that gets a bigger cheer is his call to ban Syrian refugees.
Mr Trump says the refugees could have Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) operatives among them, and they could be "the greatest Trojan horse of all time".
This fear of terrorism increased after the San Bernadino shootings in December last year when an Islamic extremism-inspired couple killed 14 people in a centre in California.
Despite Mr Obama's calls for gun control, the headlines after the attack focused on the link with Isil, exacerbating a fear in America of the enemy within.
The suspicion of refugees and immigrants is rising amid a demographic shift. By 2040 whites will no longer make up the majority of the American population.
In New Hampshire a white employee in a cigar shop told the Telegraph: "This country was made great by the white American male. When we have 200,000 homeless veterans why are we bringing in refugees? I say, thank you for speaking your mind Trump."
People are very angry because our country is being run horribly
Donald Trump
In one poll 73 per cent of white people said they get angry at least once a day. For Hispanics the figure was 66 per cent and for African-Americans 56 per cent.
Overall, 52 per cent of the country said the idea of the "American dream" no longer holds true, according to an Esquire magazine poll.

'It's all the fault of the liberal media'

According to the Pew Research Centre, 65 per cent of Americans believe the national news media has a negative impact on the country.
It's a sentiment Mr Trump has picked up on, telling his supporters the media is part of "the establishment" that does not care about them.
Halfway through a recent rally in the velvet-curtained Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City, Iowa, Mr Trump pointed at the journalists who had come to report his speech.
"There is a tremendous dishonesty with these people," he said. "I thought real estate people were bad, but these guys!"
Such attacks are a regular feature of his events and elicit loud boos from the crowd.
Conservatives remain deeply suspicious of what Sarah Palin once called the "lamestream media".

Anger, anger, everywhere

Public anger with the governing status quo is not limited to the US. British frustration led to the election of the leftist Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a man who is often compared to Mr Sanders.
In France, the anti-immigration party Front National, also experiencing a surge in support. The Danish People's Party, Finns in Finland and the Sweden Democrats have similarly flourished in recent elections.
In America, Mr Trump has expertly tapped popular frustration. It remains to be seen if the strength of that anger can carry him to the White House.
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Intelligence official: ISIS to attempt US attacks in 2016

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ISIS "will probably attempt to conduct additional attacks in Europe, and attempt to direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016," Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who was also at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, estimated that violent extremists were active in about 40 countries and that there currently exist more terrorist safe havens "than at any time in history."
Clapper warned that ISIS and its eight branches were the No. 1 terrorist threat, and that it was using the refugee exodus from violence in Iraq and Syria to hide among innocent civilians in order to reach other countries.
Clapper said ISIS was "taking advantage of the torrent of migrants to insert operatives into that flow," adding that they were "pretty skilled at phony passports so they can travel ostensibly as legitimate travelers."
ISIS fighters have reportedly seized Syrian passport facilities with machines capable of manufacturing passports.
The testimony follows the director of National Intelligence's release of the "Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community."
The assessment notes that "approximately five dozen" ISIS-linked people were arrested in the U.S. during 2015.
Clapper said that more than 38,200 foreign fighters, including at least 6,900 from Western countries, have traveled to Syria from more than 100 countries since 2012.
On the counter-ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria, Stewart said it was unlikely that the Iraqi city of Mosul would be liberated in 2016.
While the assessment calls ISIS the "preeminent terrorist threat," Clapper also said that "al Qaeda affiliates are positioned to make gains in 2016."
Clapper called the Yemen-based al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and the Syria-based al Nusra Front the "most capable al Qaeda branches."
The testimony also touched on the Iran nuclear deal, cybersecurity and cyber-espionage, North Korea's nuclear and missile program and Russia's military build-up.
North Korea launches satellite
north korea launch hancocks wrap pkg_00000106


On North Korea, Clapper expressed concern about the January nuclear test and Saturday's satellite launch, saying that the country was "committed to developing a long-range nuclear-armed missile that's capable of posing a direct threat to the United States."
Speaking on the nuclear deal with Iran, Clapper said there was no evidence that Tehran was violating the terms of the agreement but said "we in the intelligence community are very much in the distrust-and-verify mode."
The assessment warns that Iran may seek to use detained American citizens as "bargaining pieces to achieve financial or political concessions."
With regards to Russia, Clapper said that "despite its economic challenges, Russia continues its aggressive military modernization," noting that Russian President Vladimir Putin was "the first leader since Stalin to expand Russia's territory."
Clapper also raised cybersecurity as a major concern, saying, "China continues cyberespionage against the United States," and warning that non-state actors like ISIS are developing a cyber capability.
Stewart added that cyberattacks by state actors such as Russia and China target U.S. defense personnel, networks, supply chains and critical structural information.
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Enough is enough — U.S. abdication on Syria must come to an end

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Syrian refugees wait for food near a refugee camp in Bab Al-Salama city in northern Syria, on Feb. 6. (Sedat Suna/European Pressphoto Agency)
By Michael Ignatieff and Leon Wieseltier February 9 at 9:09 AM
As Russian planes decimate Aleppo, and hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria’s largest city prepare for encirclement, blockade and siege — and for the starvation and the barbarity that will inevitably follow — it is time to proclaim the moral bankruptcy of American and Western policy in Syria.
Actually, it is past time. The moral bankruptcy has been long in the making: five years of empty declarations that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go, of halfhearted arming of rebel groups, of allowing the red line on chemical weapons to be crossed and of failing adequately to share Europe’s refugee burden as it buckles under the strain of the consequences of Western inaction. In the meantime, a quarter-million Syrians have died, 7 million have been displaced and nearly 5 million are refugees. Two million of the refugees are children.
This downward path leads to the truly incredible possibility that as the Syrian dictator and his ruthless backers close in on Aleppo, the government of the United States, in the name of the struggle against the Islamic State, will simply stand by while Russia, Assad and Iran destroy their opponents at whatever human cost.
It is time for those who care about the moral standing of the United States to say that this policy is shameful. If the United States and its NATO allies allow its inglorious new partners to encircle and starve the people of Aleppo, they will be complicit in crimes of war. The ruins of our own integrity will be found amid the ruins of Aleppo. Indiscriminate bombardment of civilians is a violation of theGeneva Conventions. So is the use of siege and blockade to starve civilians. We need not wait for proof of Assad’s and Vladimir Putin’s intentions as they tighten the noose. “Barrel bombs” have been falling on bread lines and hospitals in the city (and elsewhere in Syria) for some time. Starvation is a long-standing and amply documented instrument in Assad’s tool kit of horrors.
Aleppo is an emergency, requiring emergency measures. Are we no longer capable of emergency action? It is also an opportunity, perhaps the last one, to save Syria. Aleppo is the new Sarajevo, the new Srebrenica, and its fate should be to the Syrian conflict what the fate of Sarajevo and Srebrenica were to the Bosnian conflict: the occasion for the United States to bestir itself, and for the West to say with one voice “enough.” It was after Srebrenica and Sarajevo — and after the air campaign with which the West finally responded to the atrocities — that the United States undertook the statecraft that led to the Dayton accords and ended the war in Bosnia.
The conventional wisdom is that nothing can be done in Syria, but the conventional wisdom is wrong. There is a path toward ending the horror in Aleppo — a perfectly realistic path that will honor our highest ideals, a way to recover our moral standing as well as our strategic position. Operating under a NATO umbrella, the United States could use its naval and air assets in the region to establish a no-fly zone from Aleppo to the Turkish border and make clear that it will prevent the continued bombardment of civilians and refugees by any party, including the Russians. It could use the no-fly zone to keep open the corridor with Turkey and use its assets to resupply the city and internally displaced people in the region with humanitarian assistance.
If the Russians and Syrians seek to prevent humanitarian protection and resupply of the city, they would face the military consequences. The U.S. military is already in hourly contact with the Russian military about de-conflicting their aircraft over Syria, and the administration can be in constant contact with the Russian leadership to ensure that a humanitarian protection mission need not escalate into a great-power confrontation. But risk is no excuse for doing nothing. The Russians and the Syrians will immediately understand the consequences of U.S. and NATO action: They will learn, in the only language they seem to understand, that they cannot win the Syrian war on their repulsive terms. The use of force to protect civilians, and to establish a new configuration of power in which the skies will no longer be owned by the Syrian tyrant and the Russian tyrant, may set the stage for a tough and serious negotiation to bring an end to the slaughter.
This is what U.S. leadership in the 21st century should look like: bringing together force and diplomacy, moral commitment and strategic boldness, around an urgent humanitarian objective that would command the support of the world. The era of our Syrian abdication must end now. If we do not come to the rescue of Aleppo, if we do not do everything we can to put a stop to the suffering that is the defining and most damaging abomination of our time, Aleppo will be a stain on our conscience forever.