07/13/15

Pro-Kremlin Machine Right in Front of YOU

By: Denise Simon
FoundersCode.com

Vladimir Putin has his propaganda machine working in full speed. We are being sucked into it and not recognizing the clues much less asking harder questions against his agenda.

There is a two part series on the Pro-Kremlin operation. Part 1 video is here. Part 2 video is here.

Now, the movement behind the machine is something called ‘The Agency’ which is a location in St. Petersberg, Russia called the Internet Research Agency.

Graph showing shared use of Google Analytics, server software and social media

From DenisonForum: The Agency’s origins can be traced to the 2011 anti-government protests, organized because of the growing evidence of fraud in the Parliamentary elections that year. The protests had been organized largely via Facebook, Twitter, and LiveJournal and the government wanted to ensure that similar protests were far more difficult to put together in the future.  So the next year, Vyascheslav Volodin was named the new deputy head of Putin’s administration and given the task of gaining better control over the internet. In addition to starting the Agency, laws were passed that required bloggers to register with the state and the government was allowed to censor websites without a court order. Putin justified the new laws “by calling the Internet a ‘C.I.A. project,’ one that Russia needed to be protected from.”

The full background investigation on the Internet Research Agency, or rather the Kremlin troll factory is found here.

For the software and internet geeks out there, below is the proof of the machine where evidence was peeled back by using open source analytic tools.

From Global Voices Online: In April of this year, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Guardian reported on the website вштабе.рф, a large photo gallery of pro-Russian memes and “demotivator” graphics. Most of these crude caricatures ridicule US, Western, and Ukrainian leaders, whilst portraying Vladimir Putin as strong and heroic.

The site gives no credit or attribution for its design, and offers no indication as to who might be behind it. Intrigued by this anonymity, I used Maltego open-source intelligence software to gather any publicly-available information that might provide clues.

The Secrets of Google Analytics
My use of Maltego revealed that the site was running Google Analytics, a commonly used online analytics tool that allows a website owner to gather statistics on visitors, such as their country, browser, and operating system. For convenience, multiple sites can be managed under a single Google analytics account. This account has a unique identifying “UA” number, contained in the Analytics script embedded in the website’s code. Google provides a detailed guide to the system’s structure.

Whilst investigating the network of sites tied to account UA-53176102, I discovered that one, news-region.ru, had also been linked to a second Analytics account: UA-53159797 (archive).

This number, in turn, was associated with a further cluster of nineteen pro-Kremlin websites. Subsequent examinations of these webpages revealed three more Analytics accounts, with additional sites connected to them. Below is a network diagram of the relationships I have established to date.

Most notably, Podgorny is listed in the leaked employee list of St. Petersburg’s Internet Research Agency, the pro-Kremlin troll farm featured in numerous news reports and investigations, including RuNet Echo’s own reports.

Podgorny’s date of birth, given on his public VK profile, is an exact match for that shown in the leaked document.

Podgorny's date of birth, as shown on his VK profile, compared with listing in the leaked Internet Reseach Agency document.

Podgorny is also VK friends with Igor Osadchy, who is named as a fellow employee in the same list. Osadchy has denied working for the Internet Reseach Agency, calling the leaks an “unsuccessful provocation.”

*** This internet researcher will continue the investigation and report more. For expanded details on the first cut of the investigation, click here.

07/13/15

A Lethal Farce

Arlene from Israel

For days, I have delayed writing because the situation regarding negotiations with Iran has been so much in flux.  I was waiting, waiting, for some outcome or closure.  My own feeling for some time has been that there is the possibility that there will be no deal, as the Iranians in the end might balk at signing.

No deal would be the best we might hope for now. Great damage has already been done.  But at least this way, Obama’s insanity would be exposed and he wouldn’t be able to claim “victory.”  And then, if/when Israel were to attack Iran, there would be no charge that an agreement that would have brought “peace” had been sabotaged.

In truth, the Iranians pretty much have what they want already – insofar as much sanction relief has been provided upfront, European nations are clamoring to trade, and the international community has conceded the Iranian “right” to operate centrifuges.  Why mess things up by signing an agreement that calls for inspections, however limited, or other controls?

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The problem, of course, is that, while Iran hasn’t come to terms with signing, neither have the mullahs said negotiations were at an end.  They have been willing to play the game, on and on and on, all the while advancing their nuclear agenda.

While the American administration – in spite of Kerry’s feeble claims that he wouldn’t stay at the table forever – has been reluctant to be identified as the party that called an end to proceedings. Then, of course, the Iranians would charge that it was the US that was refusing to cooperate on a deal.

Thus have the negotiations gone past one deadline after another.  I came to refer to this process, in my own head, as “faux negotiations.” These are not legitimate negotiations, for there is no real give-and-take.

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This is how journalist Daniel Greenfield described the situation in “Obama’s Infinite Nuclear Deadlines for Iran” (emphasis added):

“’We are certainly not going to sit at the negotiating table forever,’ John Kerry said. That was last year around the time of the final deadline which had been extended from July 2014.

“’New ideas surfaced’ in the final days, he claimed and ‘we would be fools to walk away.’ That’s also the theme of every sucker caught in a rigged card game, MLM scheme and Nigerian prince letter scam.

Smart people walk away after getting cheated. Only fools stay.

“The final deadline was extended to March. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in March that, ‘I think it’s fair to say that we’ve reached our limit, right now, in as far as the conversations have been going on for more than a year.’

“The March deadline was extended until the end of June.

“Earnest said earnestly that the Obama Squad was ready to walk away even before June 30. An official claimed, ‘No one is talking about a long-term extension. No one.’

“The Iranians had a good laugh and sent the US negotiators out to fetch them some coffee and smokes.

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“…But Kerry was almost coherent compared to European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini who stated that, ‘We are continuing to negotiate for the next couple of days. This does not mean we are extending our deadline.’

“When you don’t treat a deadline as final, that means it’s being extended. A deadline that isn’t kept, isn’t a deadline. It’s an ex-deadline pining for the peaceful Iranian fjords.

“But Federica explained that the deadlines weren’t being extended, they were being ‘interpreted… in a flexible way.’ A flexible deadline is a good metaphor for the Obama negotiating posture.

If the negotiators can’t even make one of many deadlines stick, who really believes they’ll stand their ground on nuclear inspections or sanctions snapback?

“…Obama’s people have admitted that they will negotiate until doomsday. And doomsday is likely to be the date that Iran detonates its first bomb.

“…The deadline concession officially puts Iran in the driver’s seat.”

http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/259412/obamas-infinite-nuclear-deadlines-iran-daniel-greenfield

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And so… yesterday it was announced that a deal was very imminent and would likely be announced on Monday. (Monday midnight – tonight – is the latest deadline.) Hearts sank, stomachs clenched, at this possibility.

But here it is, Monday evening, and still no deal.  AP, reporting this afternoon, says a deal is still elusive (emphasis added):

Disputes over attempts to probe Tehran’s alleged work on nuclear weapons unexpectedly persisted at Iran nuclear talks on Monday, diplomats said, threatening plans to wrap up a deal by midnight

“The diplomats said two other issues still needed final agreement — Iran’s demand for a lifting of a U.N. arms embargo and its insistence that any U.N. Security Council resolution approving the nuclear deal be written in a way that stops describing Iran’s nuclear activities as illegal…”

http://news.yahoo.com/iran-talks-hit-final-stage-announcement-expected-064307157–politics.html

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The UN arms embargo has to do with conventional weaponry and impinges directly on Iranian plans for hegemony in the region.  But it has implications even beyond this.  As Andrew Bowen writes, in “Give the Mullahs Ballistic Missiles?” (emphasis added):

Ending an arms embargo on Iran will only destabilize the Middle East and threaten U.S. national security

“Advocates of this policy have three main arguments.

“First, that the U.S. shouldn’t get preoccupied by this small snag…

“Second, Washington’s concessions on the embargo aren’t a big deal because these negotiations are focused on Iran’s nuclear program…

Finally, there’s a claim that Iran simply needs advanced weapons to help defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria….

“Matthew McInnis, a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a former senior expert on Iran at the CENTCOM, argues, ‘these are all red herrings. They distract from Iran’s real threat to U.S. national security interests: an unfettered Iranian armed forces’

It is one of the great ironies with this potential deal that in trying to constrain Iran’s nuclear program for ten to 15 years, we may actually help create an Iranian military that puts the lives of American sailors, soldiers, and airmen at serious risk.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/13/give-the-mullahs-ballistic-missiles.html

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Omri Ceren’s observations on this:

“…it just doesn’t seem possible that the Americans can give ground on this. What’s the sales pitch to Congress going to be? ‘Not only are we giving Iran $150 billion to bolster its military, but we’re also lifting arms restrictions to make it easier for them to buy next-generation cruise missiles they’ll use against the U.S. military and our allies.’

“…yes of course lifting the arms embargo would detonate American national security

“…If Kerry agrees to drop the arms embargo, it’s difficult to see Congress accepting the agreement. If Kerry gets the Iranians to give up on the demand, Congress will want to know what he had to trade away to do it.”

But (see below), Khameini is saying all his red lines have to be met, if there is to be an agreement.  If the Americans cannot accept it, is this a genuine sticking point? Or, if they do, the kiss of death in Congress?

Whatever the case, it is imperative that all Americans be aware of what is going on here, and hold Congress accountable.

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Perhaps by midnight tonight there will be a deal.  But do not count on it. There is talk of extending negotiations into Tuesday. In fact, there are reports that hotel rooms have been booked again in Vienna by the US delegation.

While Iranian media outlet PressTV cites Iran’s nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi (emphasis added):

“…certain issues still remain. As long as these issues are not settled, one cannot say we have reached an agreement. I cannot promise that the issues will be resolved by tonight or tomorrow night.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/july-13-2015-liveblog/

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If there is a deal, it will be the stuff of nightmares, beyond horrific.

Yesterday we saw photos of the overwhelming crowds in the streets of Tehran, waiting to celebrate the agreement.  Horrendous.

Aerial view of Tehran

Credit: Reuters

Hey folks, if the Iranians are that pleased, something is very very wrong.

According to the semi-official news agency Fars, the anticipated agreement complies with all the “red lines” set out by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

Khamenei had put forth these “red lines” last month, in talks with Iranian president Rouhani.

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/07/12/iran-state-media-says-final-nuclear-agreement-includes-all-khameneis-demands/

Providing a somewhat different take, a Khamenei advisor, going by the name Velayati, has tweeted that: “Any deal in Vienna will be provisional, subject to approval by ‘Supreme Guide.’”

Iran's supreme leader and pivotal political figure has used a vast financial empire to secure his power, according to an investigation.

Credit: AFP

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Also a signal of something very wrong is the readiness of the Obama administration to continue negotiations even as Khamenei calls for a continuing struggle with the US – which he refers to as an “arrogant power” – regardless of what deal is signed.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4678652,00.html

Last Friday, in Tehran, “Al Quds Day” was observed by crowds of tens of thousands shouting, “Down with America,” “Death to Israel.”

Iranian protesters mark 'Al-Quds Day' in Tehran, July 10, 2015.

Credit: AP

Not even the specter of a burning American flag prompted Obama or Kerry to protest, or gave them pause regarding the wisdom of the negotiations.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu has made it clear again and again that Israel will not be bound by a bad deal with Iran.  Yesterday at the weekly Cabinet meeting, he showed a video of President Clinton, in which he praised a nuclear deal with North Korea, which would make the world safer.  We all know how that turned out.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/07/12/blasting-world-negotiators-for-parade-of-concessions-to-iran-netanyahu-drives-home-his-point-with-a-bill-clinton-video/

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In an interview with The Times of Israel yesterday, Dr. Dore Gold, who is currently serving as Director-General of the Foreign Ministry, let it be known that (emphasis added):

“Israel won’t be shy about making its views on the Iran deal heard on Capitol Hill…While Israel needs to express its concerns with civility, he stressed, the government is gearing up to firmly advocate its position in discussions with all the relevant players in the US government. ‘We’ll do it respectfully, but we have to tell the truth,’ he said.”

Reports The Times:

“According to other Israeli diplomats, never before has a Foreign Ministry director-general been as close to the prime minister as Gold is to Benjamin Netanyahu, who also happens to be serving as interim foreign minister. Unlike his predecessors, Gold, who immigrated to Israel in 1980, can pick up the phone and call Netanyahu at any time. It is quite clearly Gold, rather than Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who is calling the shots in Israel’s diplomacy, these diplomats say, acting as Netanyahu’s trusted emissary.”

’The story of Iran’s nuclear capability is not over,” said Gold, the author of a 2009 book on the Iranian regime’s bid for the bomb.

“…he hailed Netanyahu, whom he has advised since the mid-90s, as the courageous defender of the entire region, single-handedly bearing the burden of opposition to a deal that all Sunni states loathe but don’t dare to publicly criticize.

“’They can afford a strategy of silence when there is one player in the region who is defending not just itself but the entire Middle East,’ Gold said. ‘When Prime Minister Netanyahu stands up and attacks Iran, he’s not just defending Israel. He’s defending Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and all the other Sunni countries.’”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/battle-to-thwart-the-iran-nuke-deal-is-not-over-foreign-ministry-chief-vows/

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Gold’s role here is important not only because of his close relationship with Netanyahu.  It is also because he carries a certain prestige as an academic, author and diplomat.

Dr. Dore Gold

Credit: Flash 90

In truth, we do not yet know how this will play out.

07/13/15

Forum: What Advice Would You Give The Presidential Candidate Of Your Choice?

The Watcher’s Council

2016 Election

Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture or daily living. This week’s question: What Advice Would You Give The Presidential Candidate Of Your Choice?

Don Surber: My advice to Marco Rubio: Smile more and be positive. Resist the temptation to play to the reportorial bleachers; they hate you and want to destroy you. Be kind to your fellow Republicans. Never say an unkind word about any of them. Ever.

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: Currently in limbo – I really dig Marco. And GOV Perry and to a little lesser extent SEN Cruz and GOV Walker. I also dig how the Donald fired off blistering cuts on many of them. The guy has a point.

Just saw a bit on the telly where SEN Rick Santorum rather unnimbly ducked, weaved and dodged specifics on handling ISIS. It was painful to watch and listen.

While the good Sen is not my cat thus far – it does bring up a raison d’etre for gooder advice – especially on ISIS.

1. Make it big.

Loudly and proudly declare the goal will be to chuck their carcasses onto the same pile as Waffen Ss and Kamikazees. Terms like Annihilation, utter destruction mixed in with picturesque prose about repeatedly raining destruction on them sans modesty or restraint.

Also make it clear, internat’l borders in this case are only pretty lines on a map. There is no where ISIS will be able to raise the flag without American military power being in their face.

2. Go big.

Party it up. Announce their will be massive Bar B Ques
(beef, chicken and pork) held in Raaqa the very day their HQ falls, that American troops will be on the ground in newly acquired turf in the ME for eons if needed.

LOL any and all ME nations fear about the American military seizing oil wealth, bases and turf. After all, America was invited back into the Middle East – simply because the nations there are too weak, too disorganized and unserious about destroying ISIS.

3. Mean and Scary

American combat troops in large numbers on the ground killing ISIS for the duration and afterwards

4. If ISIS is truly a threat – then treat it like one with all the disproportionate force available.

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason: Unfortunately, I have yet to find the presidential candidate of my choice. But I would like to tell “The Donald” to just go away.

JoshuaPundit: I have no presidential candidate at this point, but I admit to leaning towards Scott Walker simply because the floor beneath  governor’s chair in Wisconsin is littered with the skulls of his enemies who did everything they could to destroy him. The idea of someone in the White House with actual successful executive experience and real accomplishments intrigues me, I admit.

Aside from telling most of the candidates in both parties to go find honest work instead, what I’d advise anyone who wants the job to do is to level with the American people. That doesn’t mean ridiculous sound bite applause lines guaranteed to make headlines – the last thing we need is another Ross Perot – but real solutions to real problems… and that’s also going to mean  attacking Mrs. Clinton head on and linking her to the Obama regime’s failures. Politics, after all, is war by other mean.

The Independent Sentinel: I’d like to give advice to Hillary Clinton. Democrats are always very generous about giving advice to Republicans which they feel compelled to follow and the least I can do is pay it back.

The first thing Hillary should do is promise to approve the Keystone Pipeline with an Executive Order the day she takes office. She should follow that up by approving every nuclear plant application and canceling all new climate change rules, especially now that we know an Ice Age is coming.

If I were her, I’d promise to fill up GITMO with all these terrorist wannabes we keep growing at home.

Her agenda should include lowering taxes on the wealthy, declaring all 50 states right-to-work and she should admit the war on women and the whole pay equity issue are bogus.

Oh, and she should immediately promise to close the borders.

Finally, she should do away with minimum wages, right after she says she plans to declare war on a few countries.

Ask Marion: My advice to the person that was not exactly my first choice for the GOP presidential nomination until lately is to “keep doing what you are are doing!!”.

I have become more and more of a Donald Trump fan day by the day and I don’t seem to be alone!! Clint Eastwood jumped on the Trump train.

The Donald knows business and finance; he knows many of both the political and business leaders from around the world; he has the guts to say what he thinks and what a lot of Americans want to hear; he has name recognition; he is actually pro enforcing American law and securing the borders; he can self-finance so he won’t owe anyone favors if he is elected; the media hates him so you know he is on to something; and Trump loves America and Capitalism. Sounds like a great presidential candidate to me!!

Trump has guts and understands showmanship. So while the liberal media kept trying to feed everyone the idea that his trip to Los Angeles and Arizona would be disastrous, it turned out exactly the opposite.

Video: Donald Trump Press Conference LA; victim’s families; Jamiel Shaw – FULL-UNEDITED

Video: FULL Donald Trump Arizona Rally 15,000+ People

Donald Trump is looking less and less like a wild card and more and more like he could win!

Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?

07/13/15

NoisyRoom Article Recap – 07/13/15