04/21/18

Not So Fast On Celebrating North Korea’s Suspension of Nuclear and Missile Tests

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

A new report from Bloomberg’s North Korean government reporter says Pyongyang has developed nuclear weapons and has no further plans to conduct ballistic missile tests. But is that really what the North Korean’s are saying here? Personally, I don’t think so. What the North Koreans are actually saying is that they have finished developing their delivery system via an ICBM. North Korea already has about 20 nukes in their arsenal. It is likely that Kim is removing this from the negotiating table preemptively. Hate to burst everyone’s bubble out there, but this is exceedingly bad news… not something to do a snoopy dance over.

It is a manufactured misunderstanding by the North Koreans and we seem to be falling for it. I certainly hope our military commanders aren’t snookered by this move. The North Koreans don’t need further tests before the talks if they have already achieved a workable delivery system for their nukes. Once again, we are being lied to by the North Koreans, just as they have lied to their people for decades. It makes sense Kim would claim such a thing to save face with those he and his family have relentlessly oppressed. They pulled this same stunt with Clinton and Bush over and over again. And notice that these announcements are actually coming via the South Koreans, not the North.

The North does not want to really cease hostilities with the South. They want a unified Korea under one rule and that rule in the end is China. It makes no sense that North Korea already has functional nuclear weapons and then they suddenly say they will stop like this. They are using it as a nuclear carrot for talks with President Trump. One they will threaten to use if things don’t go their way in those talks.

From the New York Post:

North Korea says it has suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests and plans to close its nuclear test site.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said the suspension of nuclear and ICBM tests went into effect Saturday.

The country says it’s making the move to shift its national focus and improve its economy.

The announcements came days before North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-In in a border truce village for a rare summit aimed at resolving the nuclear standoff with Pyongyang.

The North’s decisions were made in a meeting of the ruling party’s full Central Committee which had convened to discuss a “new stage” of policies.

North Korea continues to make concessions ahead of the talks. Last month Kim told a South Korean delegation he “understood” the need for joint US-South Korean military drills. Earlier this week he dropped his requirement that US troops leave the Korean Peninsula as a precondition for denuclearization. Pompeo has met with Kim and those talks went well. But again, words are life and death here and things are never what they seem with the NoKos.

Analysts stressed caution over Kim’s words, noting that Pyongyang was likely to be seeking something in return – North Korea always does. “The announcement is significant, but you know, whether North Korea is truly serious remains to be seen,” said Sue Mi Terry, a former CIA North Korea analyst. “They might be looking for freeze-for-freeze deals. They are looking for sanctions relief. So what are we going to give for this freezing of tests?”

Josh Pollack, senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, said the news was Kim’s way of announcing his country is a fully paid-up member of the nuclear club. “They have wanted to be seen as an arrived nuclear power for a while and one thing that the other nuclear powers don’t do is test, with the exception of India and Pakistan, no one has done it since World War II, so it’s a sign of immaturity to test and they’re saying: ‘We’re technically mature now, so we don’t need to (test) anymore.’ “They’re not giving anything up, they’re keeping (their weapons) and that’s the message. It was wrapped in this seeming concession, but it’s not really a concession. (If) they can decide to test after all, they can just start doing it again.”

6-Point List On Nuclear Objectives

The change in North Korea’s policy was announced via state news agency KCNA. It published a six-point list that emphasized the country had achieved its nuclear objectives:

• “We declare solemnly that we faithfully realized the nuclear weaponization” — The first point says the tests were carried out under its “byungjin” policy, a twofold strategy of investing in the economy and the nuclear program. Tests were carried out in sequential order to achieve the country’s aim.

• “The nuclear test site in northern area will be discarded” — KCNA said as of Saturday that North Korea will no longer conduct nuclear or intercontinental ballistic missile tests, and to “ensure transparency” the test site would be closed.

• “(It’s an) important process for global nuclear disarmament” — North Korea says it’ll work with the international community to halt nuclear testing worldwide.

“We will never use nuclear weapons unless there is a nuclear threat or nuclear provocation to our country” — Nor will North Korea transfer nuclear weapons and technology, KCNA said.

• There’s a commitment to “dramatically raise people’s lives” — Development of a “strong socialist economy” will become a priority for the country.

• North Korea “will intensify close ties and dialogue” — The country says it’ll improve relations with neighboring countries and the international community to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.

Notice they make a point of saying they ‘won’t’ denuclearize and will only use their weapons if similar weapons are used on them. Phrasing is everything here.

President Trump seemingly sees the sleight of hand here and has clarified that they have suspended ‘tests’, not their weapons program. And it is a temporary suspension at best. One thing is for certain, you cannot trust the North Koreans.

04/17/18

Brennan Admits Obama Refused To Retaliate For Russian Cyber-Warfare Attacks On U.S.

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Former CIA director John Brennan has admitted that not only was Barack Obama aware of cyber-attacks by the Russians, he refused to go on the offensive and retaliate against Moscow. He was afraid that the Russians would attack us even harder. That’s what Brennan claims stopped Obama. He stated, “There was consideration about rattling their cages with some type of cyber event.” The way that Obama acted during his tenure as president, he might as well have been a Russian or Iranian plant. Brennan was hardly any better and many claim he secretly converted to Islam, which would explain his hatred of Israel. Both of these men are deeply immoral and frankly, evil.

Speaking at the University of California, Berkeley, on Saturday, Brennan admitted that there was a plan to respond and retaliate against Moscow that had been formulated by the intelligence community, but Obama refused to act, instead weakly issuing a verbal warning to Russia. Brennan acknowledged, “President Obama was the ultimate decision-maker on that.” This is not something we didn’t already know, but now Brennan doesn’t care who knows. Instead of protecting the U.S., Obama groveled before our enemies.

Obama notoriously weakened our intelligence agencies. He crippled them and they now need a full reboot after being cleaned out. Too many spies, traitors, sycophants and political radicals are in the ranks. Last week, Michelle Van Cleave, a former national counterintelligence executive, said that in 2013, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reduced the national counterintelligence program authority by directing that all counterspy programs be run by individual departments or agencies. When you do that, you weaken the overall agency and keep intelligence agents from working together. It’s a recipe for a national security catastrophe.

Van Cleave added: “The national head of counterintelligence was rebranded director of a security and CI center, his duties further dissipated by the fixation on leaks and insider threats driven by the grievous harm done by Snowden, Manning, et al. … Gone was any dedicated strategic [counterintelligence] program, while elite pockets of proactive capabilities died of neglect. Read between the lines of existing CI guidance and you will not find a whiff of a national-level effort left, other than caretaker duties such as taking inventory and writing reports.” Brennan, Clapper and Obama in essence destroyed our intelligence capabilities.

Brennan does get it right when he says he had “great confidence” Russian President Vladimir Putin had directed the Russian effort. The Obama administration first recognized Russian interference in late 2015 and early 2016; Brennan acknowledged Russian operations had been confirmed. But instead of doing something about them, they ignored them and gave Putin the green light to continue violating our networks. They gave limp, vague warnings to the Russians at best. Brennan called the meddling “unprecedented in terms of its scope and intensity, and made full use of the digital domain.”

Brennan stated, “We were really trying to strike the right balance between doing everything we could to prevent and thwart as well as to uncover and understand what the Russians were doing without doing anything that would almost advance their interests in trying to disrupt our election.” He added that Obama was concerned that U.S. action against the Russians might be perceived as Obama attempting to influence the 2016 election, saying, “So if we did more things and stood at the hilltops and cried out, ‘The Russians, the Russians are trying to help Trump get elected,’ and if President Obama who is the titular head of the Democratic Party were to do that, I think that there would have been a lot of people would believe, I think with some justification, that the President of the United States was trying to influence the outcome of a presidential election.”

So instead, Obama disrupted the election by spying on Republicans and Trump and targeting people on the right. All the while covering for Hillary Clinton’s crimes. And as Ed Morrissey at HotAir points out, Obama did go public with the Russian threat in October of 2016… to influence the election.

From Ed Morrissey:

There are only a couple of small holes in Brennan’s argument, though. The first is that Obama did go public with the Russian threat … in October 2016, no less, and it had been leaking out of the Obama administration for months at that point. In fact, the Obama administration also leaked out a CIA plan for massive cyber retaliation in the middle of the same month, just three weeks before the election, a plan which was never activated. Obama was in full “The Russians are coming” mode by that point anyway — so why not make the Russians pay for it?

Second hole: The US picked up on these efforts much earlier than the DNC hack. First, Russia has longstanding disinformation campaigns against Western elections, but as early as 2014, intelligence showed that Moscow was going to put more resources into it. Senator Tom Cotton warned the administration that they were unprepared for the hostile action to come and tried to get Obama to expand counter-propaganda resources in 2015, only to get his proposal shot down by Obama himself.

After the election, Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian intelligence officers. And he deftly dumped the mess in Trump’s lap and it still has not been sufficiently addressed or dealt with. Both the FBI and CIA are charged with the conducting counterintelligence–detecting and thwarting hostile intelligence operations. Both agencies failed to halt the Russians in 2016 either in the United States or abroad. U.S. officials have said the targeting of U.S. and foreign elections by Russia is continuing. And after the latest Syrian strike, we now fear a massive infrastructure cyber-attack.

From The Washington Free Beacon:

Intelligence agencies concluded in a report issued in early 2017 that Russian civilian and military intelligence agencies conducted an aggressive operation to sow social discord during the 2016 election by opposing Hillary Clinton while seeking to boost Donald Trump’s campaign.

The Russian operation included the use of advertising on social media platforms like Facebook, and cyber attacks involving the cyber theft of emails and postings online using covert internet personas.

In February, 13 Russians were indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for running a St. Petersburg, Russia-based internet troll farm that carried out influence operations during the elections.

So far, no action has been taken against the Russian hackers engaged in email thefts.

And one wonders exactly why.

Kenneth deGraffenreid, who is a former deputy national counterintelligence executive, said Obama’s inaction was a major counterintelligence failure. “If Brennan’s claims are true, the Obama administration’s inaction in the face of this Russian cyber aggression represents a serious counterintelligence failure that has had terrible consequences,” deGraffenreid said. “Good counterintelligence requires an active element beyond collecting and analyzing the secret information that has been uncovered–namely countering this serious foreign intelligence threat in an effective way. The U.S. has the sophisticated tools to do this. There simply is no excuse for not doing so,” he added. “Our national security depends on American leaders taking the action required.”

And remember, in 2016, Brennan disclosed that in 1976 he voted for the Moscow-backed Communist Party USA candidate for president, Gus Hall, during the height of the Cold War. He should never have headed the CIA to begin with. That should have disqualified him. We have a major issue with background checks and clearing people to be in positions of power it would seem.

Tantamount to this though has to do with an American president deferring to Putin, who is a former KGB thug, a current FSB strongman, a dictator and a murderer. Russia is one of our greatest enemies and cyber-attacks are acts of war. Perhaps our leaders need reminding of that.

04/16/18

The Murderous Castro Regime Hands The Reins To Hand-Picked Communist Leader

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

This coming Wednesday, Raul Castro will hand the Cuban communist baton to a hand-picked successor named Miguel Diaz-Canel, 57. This will be the first time in 59 years that one of the murderous Castro brothers has not led Cuba. Raul Castro is now 86 and his health is failing. He has been president of Cuba since 2008. Fidel toddled off to hell not long ago and his brother should join him shortly. Fidel Castro ruled Cuba as prime minister starting in 1959 and then as president starting in 1976. He passed away in November of 2016. As founders of Cuba’s 1959 communist revolution, Fidel and Raul Castro directly shaped the country’s history and its role in power dynamics across the globe.

Some have speculated on Díaz-Canel’s moderate views but, in the past year, he has taken an increasingly hard line, emphasizing the continuation of Cuba’s single-party political system and centrally planned economy. Diaz-Canal will be appointed by Raul Castro. He will not be nominated or elected. They don’t even bother with fake elections in Cuba like Russia does.

Miguel Díaz-Canel is considered a rising star in the Communist Party. Little is known about him other than he has been in politics most of his adult life. It is a certainty he is a communist extremist just as the Castros were. He was the leader of the Communist Party of Cuba in the Villa Clara province between 1994 and 2003. His personal life is shrouded in mystery, but I have a feeling we are about to get a front row seat to his viewpoints and his political proclivities. For the past five years, he has held the title of first vice president — a title also once held by Raul Castro under the regime of his brother, Fidel.

Before rising to be first vice president of Cuba, Diaz-Canel was minister of higher education. That title in a communist regime sends a cold shiver down my spine. Díaz-Canel is no fan of independent journalism. He was caught on tape in 2017 criticizing independent media to other members of the Communist Party. He will censor and use them as propaganda outlets just as the Castros did. This guy also has no love for the United States, so relations with Cuba are likely to deteriorate. Not that they were peachy before, or that they even should be. They are communists after all.

During a speech in October, he criticized the U.S. for saying that Cuba needed to move toward democracy. “Imperialism can never be trusted, not even a tiny bit, never,” he stated, comparing Cuban citizens getting more of a say in their government with a hostile American takeover. He was captured in a video leaked last summer criticizing independent media and telling Communist Party members that the embassies of the U.S., Norway, Spain, Germany and Britain were supporting “subversive activity.” Díaz-Canel said the Obama administration’s 2015 re-establishment of relations between the U.S. and Cuba “was a different way [for the U.S.] to try to reach its final objective to destroy the revolution.”

In a video tape of a meeting of Communist Party members that was leaked and posted on YouTube last year, Díaz-Canel said: “The U.S. government… invaded Cuba, put the blockade [embargo] in place, imposed restrictive measures. Cuba did not do any of that, so in return for nothing they have to solve those asymmetries if they want relations and if they want normalization of the relations.”

Things may not get any easier for Cuba under Trump’s pick for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and John Bolton, Trump’s new national security adviser and that’s a very good thing. In 2002, Bolton, then undersecretary of state for arms control, accused Cuba of sharing bioweapons technology with other “rogue states.” Which they did. Bolton has a history of favoring sanctions and has said he doesn’t “do carrots” when negotiating with rogue nations.

Pompeo has been highly critical of Obama’s rapprochement with Cuba, calling it “misguided” and offering too many concessions with little in return. But during his Senate confirmation hearing, Pompeo indicated he favored once again building up the staff at the downsized U.S. Embassy in Havana. Let’s hope that does not happen.

Don’t expect Raul Castro to be giving up all his influence and power either. He will still remain the head of the country’s Communist Party and it is suspected that he will have a lot of influence over the new president. Jaime Suchlicki, director of the Cuban Studies Institute in Miami, told USA Today that it’s possible that Raul Castro will not actually be giving up anything other than a title. “Raúl never liked the diplomatic activities, going to the parties,” he said. “So he’s going to put this guy in there and create a facade for the new generation. But Díaz-Canel is not going to have any decision-making power.”

In early March, the Trump administration announced it would permanently reduce the staff at the U.S. Embassy in Havana by 60 percent. The decision came after the U.S. evacuated nonessential personnel in October after embassy staff members were sickened in a series of unexplained health incidents. As a result, the State Department issued a warning, recommending Americans “reconsider” traveling to the island. Cuba denied any role and has pretended to cooperate with an FBI investigation. It is suspected that it is a sonic weapon of some sort that was used by the Cubans and/or the Russians.

What does all this mean? Things are not going to change in Cuba any time soon. In fact, they may get much worse as Russia, China and Iran get ever more entrenched in the country. Cuba is pushing their influence in South America and spreading communism wherever they can. Should we find ourselves at war with Russia, China, Iran or North Korea, we may have a real problem down south. This is what happens when you don’t care what happens outside your borders. You can’t trust communists. Communism and dictatorships spread and eventually, they come knocking at your door. Sometimes with nukes.

04/14/18

Russia Love-Fest: Alex Jones Completely Loses It In Epic Profanity-Laced Meltdown Over Syria Strike

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Last night, President Trump ordered precision military strikes on Syria for the use of chemical weapons against their own people. It was the right thing to do. Both Russia and Iran are involved in this up to their necks. I’m just sadder it wasn’t days before this. We gave them too much time to move their weapons and people. Now, we wait and see if Russia will retaliate. For a great write-up on last night’s strike, go here.

Meanwhile, as I was cheering John Bolton, General Mattis and President Trump on, Alex Jones was having a total meltdown over the attack. I watched it several times and I’m impressed. I have never seen so much profanity and outrage in defense of our number one enemy, the Russians. Some thought Alex was drunk or just nuts. He now does spots for RT… Russia Today is the propaganda arm for the Russians. I sometimes wonder if he is a master propagandist for the Russkies. One thing for sure is, he’s a lousy actor.

In-between using the ‘F’ word and crying, Jones was furious. Jones said Trump’s decision, which came in conjunction with France and Great Britain, made him “sick.” “But he was doing good and that’s what makes it so bad,” Jones said. “If he had been a piece of crap from the beginning, it wouldn’t be so bad. We’ve made so many sacrifices and now he’s crapping all over us. It makes me sick.”

Another video was uploaded to Twitter by WikiLeaks. The video shows Jones absolutely losing his mind in a profanity-laced rant. Enjoy:

“I’m f**kin’ pissed right now,” Jones said. “F**k Trump and f**k these f**king people.” At the end of the epic rant, Jones suggested his staff turn off his live feeds and delete the preceding two-minute rant. Not fast enough though… it got out. Wow… what a performance. And there was even more:

Unhinged doesn’t quite cover it here. And there is more:

I’m speechless. Such love for Russia is humbling… truly. Not. Describing them as a white knight? WTH? Beyond delusional and sick. I don’t always agree with President Trump, but he did the right thing here and should be commended for it. Alex needs to decide whose side he’s on… Russia’s or America’s. Trump is not the fraud here, but the same cannot be said about Jones.

04/7/18

Trump Slaps 38 Russian Entities And Companies With Sanctions

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Kirill Shamalov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law, is included in new U.S. sanctions.

President Trump approved sanctions yesterday against 38 Russian companies and entities in response to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, its presence in the Ukraine and support for the Assad regime in Syria. They are his strongest measures to date. Trump just kicked out 60 Russian diplomats/spies over an attempted assassination of an ex-spy and his daughter in the UK using a nerve agent. This announcement brings the number of sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Russian individuals and entities to 189.

These entities include 7 Russian oligarchs, 12 companies they own and control, 17 Russian senior government officials and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company. “Russian oligarchs will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government,” a senior administration official ominously declared. Another administration official told reporters that “the Russian government chose to repeatedly interfere in the democratic process of the United States and our allies” stressing repeatedly that it is the Russian government’s fault that this action is being taken. “It chose to prop up the Assad regime, a regime that kills little kids with chemical weapons,” a senior administration official said. “When you attack our friends you will face serious consequences,” a senior administration official also stated. Sounds like the whispers of impending war to me.

The oligarchs include Oleg Deripaska, who the Treasury Department states “has been investigated for money laundering, and has been accused of threatening the lives of business rivals,” adding “there are also allegations that Deripaska bribed a government official, ordered the murder of a businessman, and had links to a Russian organized crime group.” He is one of the most well-known oligarchs in Britain. Others include Viktor Vekselberg, Andrei Skoch, Kirill Shamalov, Igor Rotenberg, Suleiman Kerimov and Vladimir Bogdanov.

Continue reading

04/5/18

What Cybersecurity? Interior Department Computers Trying To Talk To Russia

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

This is one of those ‘Holy Crap!’ moments. I simply could not believe what I was reading here. We now know that the Chinese hacked the Interior Department three years ago and stole security clearance files and other sensitive personal information of some 22 million U.S. federal employees. Per Fox News, evidently the cyber defenses at the Department of Interior, which hosted White House Office of Personnel Management (OPM) servers targeted in the theft, were still unable to detect “some of the most basic threats” inside the Interior’s computer networks — including malware actively trying to make contact with Russia.

How incompetent and sloppy can you get? The Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a 16-month examination of the Interior’s ability to detect and respond to cyber-threats. It was discovered that their IT guys did not bother to implement a sweeping array of mandatory, government-wide defensive measures ordered up after the disastrous OPM hack, didn’t investigate blocked intrusion attempts and left “multiple” compromised computers on their network “for months at a time.”

Very, very sensitive security clearance files have now been moved to the Department of Defense. But there is soooo much more that is wrong here, it is difficult to know where to begin. The report noted the following:

● Sensitive data at the Interior could be taken out of the department’s networks “without detection.”

● Network logs showed that a computer at the U.S. Geological Survey, an Interior bureau, was regularly trying to communicate with computers in Russia. The messages were blocked, but “the USGS facilities staff did not analyze the alerts.”

● Dangerous or inappropriate behavior by network users — including the downloading of pornography and watching pirated videos on Russian and Ukrainian websites — was not investigated.

● Computers discovered to be infected with malware were scrubbed as soon as possible and put back into use — meaning little or no effort went into examining the scope and nature of any such threats to the broader network. This happened, the OIG team noted, with one intruder they discovered themselves.

● Simulated intrusions or ransomware attacks created by the examiners were carried out with increasing blatancy without a response — in the case of ransomware, for nearly a month

● After the devastating OPM hack, which was discovered in April 2015, the department didn’t even publish a lessons-learned plan for its staffers based on the disaster. The OIG inspectors reported that the Interior started to draft an “incident response plan” that month to deal with future intrusions, but “did not publish it until August 2017” — two months after the OIG team had finished their lengthy fieldwork.

● Distressingly, the report also notes that the department’s cybersecurity operations team was not privy to a list of the Interior’s so-called “high-value IT assets” prepared by the Chief Information Officer, “due to its sensitive nature.”

In other words, the people who should have been assigned with protecting the Interior’s sites and information were blocked from doing so.

Assets included: “IT systems, facilities and data that are of particular interest to nation-state adversaries, such as foreign military and intelligence services.” Very often they would “contain sensitive data or support mission-critical Federal operations.” To put it bluntly, almost nothing has been done since the OPM hack. And it’s not just the Interior… pick a federal agency and you would probably find similar results. That is wholly unacceptable. They are leaving us wide open to attack by our enemies. We are trusting idiots with national security here.

I think it is safe to say that every federal agency needs to be examined by competent IT people from top to bottom. The systems are without a doubt breached and infiltrated. And it needs to be done now, not later. When OIG staffers presented 23 recommendations to fix the huge gaps in the Interior’s digital defenses, the department’s top IT officials agreed, but said some of the most important fixes would take as many as five years, due to budgetary constraints. Here’s a thought… trim some of that pork off the budget and get this fixed before a foreign enemy takes down our federal agencies!

“This is totally unacceptable and absurd,” says Jason Chaffetz, former head of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which in 2016 issued a scathing report on the lapses surrounding the earlier OPM security breach. “With one good trip to Best Buy we might be better off,” he added. That’s sadly true. Whole systems are going to have to be scrapped and redone to get a handle on this. And while you are at it, do intensive, in-depth background checks on everyone and fire those who don’t pass the sniff test. I am certain as well that we have spies within our agencies and they need to be ferreted out ruthlessly.

The report is damning. It’s evidence of widespread gross negligence on the part of Interior’s top cyber-officials. This is not a new condition. A lot of it grew under Obama, but it has been metastasizing for decades. Now, Trump will have to take this tiger by the tail and clean up this mess. All of this is further complicated by previous federal efforts to centralize and rationalize the bureaucracy, including creation of a number of “shared business centers” across the government. We are talking over 150 federal agencies here. Wrap your head around that problem.

Those shared business centers are where OPM’s personnel servers were located. Though OPM itself was responsible for maintaining the security of its servers, according to the OIG report, the hackers who stole personnel files “moved through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management environment through a trusted connection to the [Interior] Department’s data center, pivoting to human resources systems hosted by the Department.” These “lateral” connections across the government provided by the service centers are a “gold mine” to foreign intelligence hackers when penetrated, according to the cybersecurity expert consulted by Fox News. In addition, databases at the Interior Department offer foreign hackers additional sensitive troves.

The Interior’s nine bureaus may be best known for managing the nation’s national parks and vast land resources. But federal lands and waters also supply some 30 percent of U.S. oil and gas production and the department’s bureau of reclamation is the country’s second-largest provider of electrical power. The U.S. Geological Survey monitors water resources and harvests satellite data on a global basis. Geothermal, solar and wind resources are also concentrated on federal lands and the department also oversees the safety and environmental soundness of offshore drilling.

President Trump has already issued an executive order that declares that “the executive branch has for too long accepted antiquated and difficult-to-defend IT,” and that “known but unmitigated vulnerabilities are among the highest cybersecurity risks faced by executive departments and agencies.” The various heads of federal agencies were supposed to begin reporting on their “risk management measures” to deal with those problems within 90 days of the May 11, 2017, executive order. That obviously never happened.

When asked about the incompetence at the Interior, a senior official made excuses and claimed to be laser-focused on cybersecurity. You’re kidding, right? The President’s Management Agenda was also meant to institute the upgrade of information technology, especially the work force employed. Funds for the tech upgrade are supposed to come from a renewable, $500 million Technology Modernization Fund. In addition, the President’s proposed 2019 budget contains some $80 billion in IT and cybersecurity spending, ostensibly a 5.2 percent increase.

The administration says the upgrade could take one to two years. I’m not sure we have that long. Look at the threats we are facing. The Interior’s cybersecurity defenses are riddled with holes. They got a ‘C’ in 2017. In reality, they should have gotten an ‘F’. The program needs a complete shift in focus and experts brought in that can get the job done regardless of cost. This is a national security issue. If we have computers trying to talk with the Russians, we have a fatal flaw in our cybersecurity. And just switching to the ‘cloud’ is not going to handle it. Fox News is to be commended for doing first rate reporting on this.

04/3/18

Trump Prepares To Send U.S. Troops To Mexican Border

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

President Trump announced today that we will guard the southern border with the military until the wall is finished being built. This is in response to a caravan of more than 1,500 illegal immigrants making their way through Mexico to get into the country through Baja, California or Texas. The Lone Star state has already mobilized the National Guard on the border and the President will be ordering they take up residence to cover the entire length of it. California will be ticked and will fight it, no doubt.

At the meeting on Tuesday, Trump said that U.S. immigration laws were being “laughed at” by other countries, promising to change them. “We have immigration laws that are laughed at by everybody,” he said. “And it’s going to be changed, we need the wall, we need protection and we’re going to change our immigration laws at the border and elsewhere.” “If it reaches our border, our laws are so weak and so pathetic,” Trump said. “It’s like we have no border.”

“We’re going to be doing things militarily until we can have a wall and proper security.” Trump said. Trump’s comments came as he sat next to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, who was reportedly at the White House for discussions around immigration. However, a defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity had no immediate details as to how many troops would be used, or what authorities they would have. Speaking later in the day, Trump indicated Mattis would be part of an afternoon meeting to figure out how to address the ”horrible, horrible, very unsafe laws” for the border with Mexico.

The defense official noted one option could be similar to the 2006-2008 patrols U.S. military personnel conducted under Operation Jump Start. In that operation, President George W. Bush called for up to 6,000 National Guard members to secure parts of the border. Eventually 29,000 military personnel from all over the country were involved in the mission, which had a projected cost of around $1.2 billion.

In 2012, President Barack Obama deployed Army forces from Ft. Bliss to the Tucson, Arizona and El Paso, Texas areas for Operation Nimbus, a joint operation between U.S. Northern Command and Customs and Border Patrol. Per an Army press release at the time, military forces conducted “day and night reconnaissance missions using the Long Range Advanced Scout Surveillance System to detect, recognize, identify and geo-locate possible incursions, which they would then report to Border Patrol agents. Avenger Soldiers, using the Forward Looking Infrared system, and Soldiers monitoring Sentinel radar, also augmented border air incursion detection efforts.”

According to a memo obtained by Fox News and discussions with officials, one area where the Pentagon could contribute immediately is the Air Force’s Barry Goldwater live-fire range, which shares a 35-mile border with Mexico in southern Arizona. The Defense Department is already offering some support to the border, including U.S. Navy ships patrolling waters to seize drugs as well as missions involving over 100 personnel from U.S. military’s northern command — including eight planes and a drone — to help border patrol.

About 80 percent of the caravan are Hondurans and Trump has already warned Mexico to not let then charge our border. Mexico acted as if they would deport them and then let them through as I understand it. President Trump wasted no time in making his announcement today in light of this development. “We are going to be guarding our border with our military. That’s a big step,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “We cannot have people flowing into our country illegally, disappearing, and by the way never showing up for court.” This has never been done before on this scale and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Having military on our border is the right move here, but it’s a fine line to tread constitutionally. Trump attacked Mexico via tweets yesterday and today for allowing the group of immigrants to march towards the United States. He has already threatened to scuttle NAFTA over the incursion. I wish he would. That’s been a disastrous deal for Americans since the start. He also demanded Congress pass tougher immigration legislation and back his plan for a wall along the Mexican border. All steps in the right direction, unlike signing that monstrous omnibus bill that actually expanded the Catch and Release program.

Trump has also announced that DACA is now dead and that it is the Democrats fault for playing obstructionist to a deal that he offered. Frankly, I’m glad it died. It should not be allowed. That would give amnesty to at least 1.8 illegal aliens who should not be here.

“As ridiculous as it sounds, the laws of our country do not easily allow us to send those crossing our Southern Border back where they came from. A whole big wasted procedure must take place,” Trump tweeted Monday. He’s also seeking easier deportation measures to kick illegal aliens out. Again, I wholeheartedly support that. “Mexico & Canada have tough immigration laws, whereas ours are an Obama joke. ACT CONGRESS,” the President wrote.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto insisted that despite disagreements over illegal immigration, the NAFTA trade talks should go on. “We have been conducting serious negotiations,” he said, according to Agence France-Presse. I disagree. They should be cut off until this is resolved. Hold Mexico’s feet to the fire over this. Nieto expressed hope that “this spirit of positivity, mutual respect and cordiality” will continue. No such thing exists as long as they are invading our country.

Pueblo Sin Fronteras, or People Without Borders, are the radicals who have organized the caravan of immigrants. They are doing so they claim to support immigrants who are fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua because of poverty and threats from criminal gangs. They started their trek on March 25th from the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. The Mexican government has had police stand down to allow them through. Heck, they are even feeding them. By Monday, the caravan had reached the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.

Mexico’s government issued a statement yesterday that describes the caravan as “a public demonstration that seeks to draw attention to the migratory phenomenon and the importance of respecting the rights of Central American migrants.” I call them an invading force that want to breach our sovereign borders. Mexico said, however, “it is not the responsibility of this government to exercise immigration decisions of the United States or any other nation.”

Towns along the way have been welcoming the immigrants, providing them food and shelter, despite President Trump calling for the Mexican authorities to stop them. They are playing with fire here. Even those helping them don’t want them to stay. “The authorities want us to leave their cities,” Rodrigo Abeja told Reuters. “They’ve been helping us, in part to speed the massive group out of their jurisdictions.”

In a statement issued March 23rd, Pueblo sin Fronteras stated “Refugee Caravan 2018” is demanding that the U.S. and Mexico “respect our rights as refugees and our right to dignified work to be able to support our families.” They are demanding both Mexico and the U.S. “open the borders because we are as much citizens as the people of the countries where we are and/or travel.” No, they aren’t. The statement begins: “We are a group of people from different nations, religions, genders, gender expressions, and sexual orientations migrating and seeking refuge. We seek to to become one collective, supporting each other shoulder to shoulder and demonstrating that by uniting we can abolish borders.” They are an invading force, period and should be treated as such. They also issued a list of demands of Central American countries, including “an end to political corruption” and “an end to violence against women and the LGBTQIA community.” Good luck with that.

This is the right thing to do and the Border Patrol should work with the military securing the border. It’s a matter of sovereignty, survival and national security.

03/28/18

Russian Ex-spy, Daughter Exposed To Nerve Agent Have Slim Chance Of Surviving

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, are still hospitalized and are in critical condition in Britain after being exposed to the Russian nerve agent called novichok. Authorities now believe it was applied to their front door and that is how they came into contact with it. This is a military grade nerve agent that has no cure.

Skripal’s niece, Viktoria Skripal, told the BBC that the two have about a one percent chance of surviving. If they do, they will be crippled physically and mentally for the rest of their lives. The effects are debilitating and the pain continues to grow. It is prolonged torture until the victim succumbs and dies. She said the prognosis “really isn’t good.” The attack took place on March 4th in Salisbury. “Out of 99 percent, I have maybe 1 percent hope,” she said. “Whatever [nerve agent] was used, it has given them a very small chance of survival. But they’re going to be invalids for the rest of their lives.”

Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious on a park bench. A police officer exposed to the substance during the investigation was hospitalized and released last week. Over 130 of Brits were exposed to the agent, but are expected to survive their encounters with it.

At least 21 countries across the planet have expelled over 135 Russian diplomats they suspect of being spies. That includes NATO itself that has expelled 7 Russians. Virtually every country is blaming Russia and Putin for the attack. In retaliation, Russia is expelling diplomats and threatening a new Cold War. “Together we have sent a message that we will not tolerate Russia’s continued attempts to flout international law and undermine our values,” British Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament

Russia is blaming Britain for the attack, which is ridiculous. They have adamantly denied any involvement in the nerve agent attack. But Russia has been involved in the assassination of 14 other individuals in Britain over the last 20 years. This is just an escalation of those actions. “This is an attempt on the lives of Russian citizens on the territory of Great Britain,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said. “It goes without saying that this unfriendly move by this group of countries will not go unnoticed.”

Theresa May says the Skripals may never recover from the attack, saying “their condition is unlikely change in the near future, and they may never recover fully.” In fact, death would probably be a blessing at this point. At least the unbearable torture would end. “This shows the utterly barbaric nature of this act, and the dangers that hundreds of innocent citizens in Salisbury could have faced,” she said. “We assess that more than 130 people in Salisbury could have been potentially exposed to this nerve agent.”

The remarks from Viktoria Skripal and May echo those made by a Russian scientist, Vil Mirzayanov, who once leaked Moscow’s secret experimentation with novichok. He is now 83 and lives in the U.S. He said earlier this month that the nerve agent, developed in the early 90s during the end of the Cold War, is “10 times” more powerful that other nerve agents like sarin or VX. “The people are gone – the man and his daughter. Even if they survive they will not recover,” he told AFP a week after the attack in Salisbury. He stated that the nerve agent attacks the nervous system, making it impossible for victims to breathe and causing unimaginable pain. “It’s torture,” he said. “It’s absolutely incurable.” That Russia could use this on people is not surprising, but it is evil and barbaric.

This brings to mind the infamous assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, a former intelligence officer who defected to London in 2000 after publically accusing his superiors of hatching a plot against a Russian oligarch. He fell ill in November of 2006 and died not long after that. His death was ultimately attributed to drinking tea poisoned with radionuclide polonium-210. A judicial inquest ruled in 2016 there was a “strong probability” Litvinenko’s death was a Russian intelligence operation that was probably approved by President Vladimir Putin. In my book, that is a certainty.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is currently conducting a probe into the nerve agent used against the Skripals. Officials said this week it could take two to three weeks to complete laboratory analysis on the samples.

Another hit on a Russian has surfaced this week that I have written on before. Buzzfeed is reporting that a secret report authored by Christopher Steele alleges that a former aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin was assassinated in Washington, D.C. and did not die by accident as the Department of Justice ruled.

Four sources familiar with the document told the news outlet that the former British intelligence agent’s report concludes that Mikhail Lesin was beaten to death by individuals working for a Russian oligarch close to Putin. The individuals were instructed not to kill Lesin, the report continues, but went too far and murdered him.

Steele is the source of the infamous dossier against Trump that is fake. But before you discount the story on the assassination in D.C., I will tell you I already knew about this and have known for a month or more that this was the case. There are other sources reporting it as well. Originally, Obama’s Department of Justice said that the man got drunk and literally beat himself to death. Which is laughable. The Justice Department concluded in 2016 that Lesin’s death was due to injuries sustained in an accidental fall, with “acute ethanol intoxication” as a contributing cause of death. I have no doubt that Putin’s thugs got over zealous and killed the guy. He was the former head of RT.

“As a result of the almost year-long investigation, the Chief Medical Examiner of the District of Columbia has amended Lesin’s manner of death from ‘undetermined’ to ‘accident,’ ” the department wrote in a statement at the time. Why and how that was determined is unfathomable and highly suspicious.

Lesin served as Russian minister of press, television and radio broadcasting before he founded the state-sponsored news agency RT, then known as Russia Today in 2005. Last year, the U.S. government forced RT to register as a foreign agent, citing the channel’s “strategic messaging for [the] Russian government.” According to Buzzfeed, no one at the FBI believes it was an accident. They never have.

This is yet another incidence of Putin punishing and killing those that fall out of favor with him. The attack in Britain was an act of war. It should be treated as such. Kicking out spies and tit for tat maneuvers are not holding the Russkies to account here and they will keep on doing it. Until countries stand up and tell the Russians enough and apply real consequences to them, they will only be emboldened to kill people whenever, wherever and however they want. It’s Putin’s way.

03/27/18

Russia And China Outpace US In Hypersonic Weaponry

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Russia and China are outpacing the United States in the development of super-fast missile technology, Pentagon officials and key lawmakers are warning. They are leaving us in the dust on this weaponry and it is a severe threat to national security.

Hypersonic missiles fly into space after launch, but then come down and fly at high speeds on a flight path similar to an airplane. Their lower trajectory makes them more difficult for U.S. missile defense satellites and radars to detect. Russia has openly stated it is developing high-speed air-launched missiles as well as underwater hypersonic drones.

“Right now, we’re helpless,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in advocating for more investment in hypersonics, along with missile defense. Unfortunately, the Air Force just delayed our hypersonic bidding contract once again. Lockheed Martin (LMT), Northrop Grumman (NOC), Boeing (BA), Raytheon (RTN), or Orbital ATK, which is being bought by Northrop, are in the running for a contract to build a hypersonic strike weapon that could be launched from fighters and bombers. The contract initially was supposed to be awarded sometime in federal fiscal Q1, which began in October and ended in December. In December, the Air Force said the contract would be awarded in federal fiscal Q2, which ends on Saturday. Now the Air Force is looking at an award in early spring, said spokeswoman Maj. Emily Grabowski.

Hypersonic weapons travel at five times the speed of sound and have the potential to be the most disruptive battlefield technology since the advent of stealth. While intercontinental ballistic missiles are faster, hypersonic weapons’ combination of speed, range, maneuverability and ability to take unpredictable flight paths make them extremely difficult, if not impossible, to shoot down with today’s technology.

Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, described a hypersonic as a missile that starts out “like a ballistic missile, but then it depresses the trajectory and then flies more like a cruise missile or an airplane. So it goes up into the low reaches of space, and then turns immediately back down and then levels out and flies at a very high level of speed.”

Last November, China conducted two tests of a ballistic missile with a hypersonic glide vehicle that U.S. assessments expect to reach initial operating capability around 2020. They have already conducted at least seven tests of experimental systems from 2014 to 2016. And I would not be surprised if the weaponry wasn’t operational far sooner than estimated. Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a flashy state of the nation address this month to show off a bunch of new weapons, including a hypersonic missile he claimed was “invincible” against U.S. missile defenses. About a week later, Russia claimed it successfully tested a hypersonic weapon. The intercontinental hypersonic missile, dubbed Avangard, is capable of reaching targets at 20 times the speed of sound and will strike “like a fireball,” Putin said.

At the time of Putin’s announcement, the Pentagon said it was “not surprised” by the report and assured the public that it is “fully prepared” to respond to such a threat. But just last week in front of Congress, Hyten conceded U.S. missile defense cannot stop hypersonics. He said that the U.S. is instead relying on nuclear deterrence, or the threat of a retaliatory U.S. strike, as its defense against such missiles. That goes beyond foolish right into suicidal. “We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us, so our response would be our deterrent force, which would be the triad and the nuclear capabilities that we have to respond to such a threat,” Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Hyten is advocating space-based sensors as a defense. “I believe we need to pursue improved sensor capabilities to be able to track, characterize and attribute the threats, wherever they come from,” he said. “And, right now, we have a challenge with that, with our current on-orbit space architecture and the limited number of radars that we have around the world. In order to see those threats, I believe we need a new space sensor architecture.”

Asked if the U.S. is really falling behind Russia and China on hypersonics, Thomas Karako, director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was very blunt: “Yes.” “And the reason is the U.S. hasn’t been doing anything near the same pace both in terms of developing our own capabilities but also failing to develop sensors and shooters necessary to shoot down theirs,” he continued. Terrestrial sensors are limited in their ability because of the curvature of the earth, Karako said, but “you can’t hide from a robust constellation of space-based sensors.”

Karako pointed out that the last five administrations have all identified space-based sensors as a critical need on paper, but nothing has come to fruition on it. “One of the reasons that we haven’t prioritized the hypersonic threat is we were slow to kind of appreciate not merely the Russia and China problem, but the Russia and China missile problem,” Karako said. And why is that? We’ve all known for a long time that Russia and China are our two top military threats. We also know they have been racing to develop military weaponry, especially high-tech weaponry. So, why haven’t our military tacticians figured out the hypersonic missile threat posed by these two communist regimes? In a word, Barack Obama.

The Trump administration is reversing some of this, but we are far, far behind. The National Defense Strategy and the Nuclear Posture Review focus on a “great power competition” with Russia and China. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), chairwoman of the Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, likewise cited them as helping the U.S. get back on track in the area of hypersonics. “I think we are aware of the capabilities that our adversaries have, and … whether it’s the Nuclear Posture Review, National Defense Strategy, these are all laid out because of the identification of the threats we have,” she said.

In addition to the nuclear review, Pentagon officials have been touting budget proposals that would put more money toward hypersonics and missile defense that they say will help close the gap with Russia and China. Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee that there’s $42 million in the fiscal year 2019 budget for the Air Force and the Missile Defense Agency to work on a prototype for space-based sensors. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, meanwhile, told the House Armed Services Committee last week her fiscal 2019 budget includes $258 million for hypersonics. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Director Steven Walker touted his $256.7 million fiscal 2019 budget for hypersonic missile development as well.

Inhofe said he’s most worried about the missile defense issue, adding there “appears to be no defense” against hypersonics. To him, the answer is reversing defense budget cuts, which Congress has taken steps to do in a two-year budget deal and a recently passed appropriations bill for fiscal 2018. “We need to make up the losses that we had during the Obama administration by putting a priority, which we are doing now, on the military,” he said. Let’s just hope we catch up in time before our enemies use hypersonic weapons against the U.S.

03/27/18

Ironic: Al Sharpton’s Half-Brother Charged In Shooting Murder After Marching Against Guns

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Rev. Al Shapton’s half-brother Kenneth Glasgow of Dothan, AL, was charged in a murder Sunday after his group participated in the anti-gun March For Our Lives rally Saturday.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is in the news again and this time it’s not for being a radical racial agitator and Marxist. His half-brother, Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, who is also an activist, had just finished marching in the anti-gun “March For Our Lives” rally when he was arrested and charged in a shooting death in Dothan, Alabama.

According to police, Glasgow was the driver in a car that is linked to the murder of 23 year-old Breunia Jennings of Dothan by passenger Jamie Townes, 26. Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish said that Glasgow and Townes allegedly searched for Jennings, who they believe had stolen Townes’ car. When they found her, Townes allegedly shot Jennings as she drove, hitting her in the head. She died some time later. “Instead of him notifying law enforcement, he took matters in his own hands and jumped in Mr. Glasgow’s vehicle to find Breunia Jennings,” said Parrish, according to a report in the Dothan Eagle.

Police do not believe that Glasgow, 52, pulled the trigger. But under Alabama’s complicity statute – their aiding and abetting law – he is culpable for the murder. Dothan is about 110 miles south of Montgomery, AL. Authorities said several people are believed to have been in the car at the time and additional arrests may occur.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, left, is seen with Kenneth Glasgow, as they deliver holiday meals on Thanksgiving Day in 2006 in Dothan, Ala. (AP/Rick Helmke)

Sharpton and Glasgow have been activists on numerous projects together. Glasgow is an ex-convict. He started a ministry in Alabama called The Ordinary People Society. He has been campaigning for restoring the voting rights of convicts, something that Van Jones is promoting as well. His group participated in the Saturday anti-gun march in Dothan. “The shooting occurred late Sunday night. I do not know where he was prior to the incident. It has been reported by several local outlets that he attended a similar event on Saturday,” said a police spokesman.

In an appearance in court, Glasgow repeatedly questioned the capital murder charge against him, The Dothan Eagle reported. “I don’t know why I am facing capital murder charges,” Glasgow stated. “I’m not responsible for what someone else does. He just asked me for a ride to take him to look for his car.” He was advised to not speak until his attorney is present and that he is not eligible for bail due to the seriousness of the crime. Glsgow is set to appear again in court on April 6th, when a judge will determine if there is enough evidence to send the charge to a grand jury for possible indictment.

Back in 2013, Glasgow and Sharpton protested the murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida together. Glasgow is also a protester against police violence and most likely a member of Black Lives Matter. His website shows a picture of him with 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. The website claims his group, “provides a continuum of unconditional acceptance and care to individuals and their families who suffer the effects of drug addiction, mass-incarceration, homelessness, poverty, unemployment, hunger and illness-without regard to race, sex, creed, color, religion or social status.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton is known for corruption and race-baiting. He also wholeheartedly supports communists and thugs. It looks like it runs in the family. Glasgow is about to find out that ignorance of the law is not a defense in the state of Alabama.