01/24/17

For Those Scoffing at Russian Penetration into American Democracy

By: Denise Simon | FoundersCode.com

This site has posted often on General Gerasimov and his doctrine. The games and propaganda that the Kremlin applies is still not taken seriously by the American people as they continue to scoff at Russian intrusions into our culture.

Russia is playing a double game and it is time to set aside manufactured notions and seek the expertise of countless Russian scholars as well as what the Pentagon and intelligence communities are publishing.

Related reading: Russia’s “Ambiguous Warfare” and Implications for the U.S. Marine Corps, 2015

Using the sources that Russian officials use themselves is a valuable tool as noted here:

“Military-industrial courier”

International Maritime Defence Show

«Military-industrial courier» is a weekly illustrated All-Russian newspaper. The main topics of the newspaper are politics and economics, role of legislative and executive power in the process of military reform providing. «Military-industrial courier» is position on the newspaper market as a respectable edition which highlights defence industries and institutions, adds to military products promotion to the domestic and foreign markets.The newspaper boasts of domestic military chiefs and defence leaders interviews in which most important issues of that sector of the economy are raised.

For a short period of time «Military- industrial courier» has achieved recognition with the Russian high-ranking military officials.

The newspaper is distributed on a subscription and by retail within the Russian Federation and abroad. The circulation is more than 50000 copies.

Here goes yet another attempt.

****

Narrative, Cyberspace and the 21st Century Art of War

In February 2013, an article insipidly entitled “The Value of Science in Prediction” appeared in the Russian publication Military-Industrial Courier. The article was penned by Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of the Russian Federation. Few in the West recognized the article at all, much less its significance, at the time of its publication.

In the article, Gerasimov analyzed “new-type conflicts.” These conflicts entail an array of strategies and tactics employed in the gray zone to achieve national interests, even military, without a declaration of war and without crossing the threshold that would provoke a kinetic response.

“The very ‘rules of war’ have changed,” Gerasimov wrote.

Dr. Mark Galeotti, an expert on Russian history and security issues who annotated an English translation of Gerasimov’s article, identified the most important line as, “The role of nonmilitary means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown and, in many cases, they have exceeded the power of force of weapons in their effectiveness.”

Gerasimov’s “nonmilitary means” included “broad use of political, economic, informational, humanitarian and other nonmilitary measures – applied with the protest potential of the population.”

Experts see one hybrid tactic – narrative and cyber – playing an increasingly prominent role in current conflicts.

War Narratives

An old Wall Street adage goes, “You’d have to be a paranoid Russian poet to understand global finance.” Today, that maxim might be paraphrased for an equally unexpected insight: “It helps to be a literary critic in understanding contemporary warfare.”

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu described the “five constant factors” of conventional warfare, but none included narrative. Experts now point to the influential role of narrative in military, geopolitical and ideological “new-type conflicts.”

Nations like Russia and China, as well as terrorist organizations like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), are using narrative to motivate audiences, advance agendas and engage adversaries.

Scholars have long argued that literary techniques are not the special purview of novelists, poets and playwrights. From philosophers’ research on metaphor to cognitive scientists’ investigations into parable, literary devices reveal and appeal to basic human cognition. Perhaps that’s why narrative’s use by governments, institutions, businesses and ideologues is not new.

When employed in military or geopolitical conflicts, Brad Allenby and Joel Garreau, co-directors of The Weaponized Narrative Initiative of the Center on the Future of War, call it “weaponized narrative.” And they believe its recent effectiveness will encourage further use.

In an email interview, Allenby said, “Weaponized narrative is not a temporary or passing phenomenon. It is based on significant recent advances in science, technology and social use of technology.”

Combined with tactics afforded by cyberspace, narrative’s influence broadens. But Dr. Ajit Maan, affiliate scholar at the Center for Narrative and Conflict Resolution and CEO of Narrative Strategies, notes that narrative’s power precedes technology.

In an email interview with Fifth Domain, Maan said:

Advanced technologies work to disseminate messages farther and wider than they would be otherwise, but narratives are already there, on the ground, in people’s heads. The enemies of the U.S. and her allies understand this very well. Advanced technology is a tool. The center of gravity is the narrative.

The “Era of Cybered Conflict”

Current conflicts play out, at least partly, in cyberspace.

Dr. Chris C. Demchak, RDML Grace Murray Hopper professor of cybersecurity and director of the Center for Cyber Conflict Studies at the U.S. Naval War College, characterizes today’s environment as one of “cybered conflict.”

In an interview – in which she offered her views and not the views of the U.S. government, U.S. Navy or U.S. Naval War College – Demchak said:

Due to the massively insecure technology of the global cyberspace, we in the West have created a widely spread, poorly secured cyberspace “substrate” that allows attackers in any numbers, from anywhere, with any tools and for any reason to cheaply reach into our critical systems with minimal chances of being punished. The result is that the world has been thrust into an era of “cybered conflict.”

Like Gerasimov’s blurred line between war and peace, Demchak described cybered conflicts as “stretch[ing] from peace through traditional war.” Importantly, Demchak highlighted the strategic advantages of cybered conflict relative to conventional war:

Most cybered conflict – which can have existential consequences – does not involve killing anyone or destroying something explosively. Rather, it is marked by exceptional advantage to deception in what tools are used and opaqueness in who, in what numbers, are using them. Going to the end of the spectrum – to “cyberwar” – is relatively inefficient and opens oneself up to direct retaliation throughout one’s own societal systems. Instead, one can slowly demolish an opponent without ever killing someone or destroying something with a kinetic tool traceable back to oneself … [which] is much safer, reliable and easier to outsource.

Russia, China and ISIS are all leveraging the advantages afforded by cybered conflict to employ hybrid warfare tactics – from hacking to weaponized narrative.

Russia and the Grand Nationalist Narrative

Russia’s use of hybrid warfare long predates Gerasimov’s article. Noting the Soviet Union’s traditional outward posture since the Cold War’s advent, Demchak said, “Russia innovated the strategy of disinformation and personalized brutality to ‘eat a democracy from the inside out’ … producing the involuntary servitude of the former Warsaw Pact.”

Allenby noted favorable conditions for disinformation persist today: “The Russian system tends to reward the cynical, morally relativistic psychology that best aligns with developing and deploying weaponized narratives.”

As foreshadowed by Gerasimov, Russia has displayed its hybrid capabilities during the Ukraine conflict. Allenby points to Russia resurrecting the historical “Novorossiya” and adopting the newer “Russian Eurasian Empire” narratives.

Such narratives matter, Allenby explained, “Because suborning an adversary through weaponized narrative is far, far less costly than a conventional attack. Weaponized narrative offered an important way to achieve Russian ends while not justifying a conventional response under the UN charter.”

Allenby also noted the hybrid approach, which included narrative and “fomenting insurrection and insurgency, and judicious application of ‘little green men,’” or suspected Russian troops.

Allenby added, “Was the invasion [of Crimea] effective? Absolutely. Was it a strategic success? For that, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Asked about the similarities and differences between Russia’s tactics in Ukraine and the alleged activities carried out during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Allenby said:

The two are similar, in that causing a degree of confusion and social fragmentation in the target is a major strategic goal. The tools are different because the cultures are very different, and the follow through is different … Nonetheless, the underlying processes, operations and design of weaponized narrative campaigns must be similar because they are based on the same advanced science, new technologies and rapidly evolving understanding of human psychology.

China and the Sovereignty Narrative

China is also using narrative to further its geopolitical agenda. China’s interest in expanding territorial sovereignty in the South China Seas is well known. Less so is China’s “cyber sovereignty” narrative, which Demchak has examined.

At issue is, Demchak wrote, “China wants her borders in cyberspace and will take nothing less.” Whereas the West sees the internet as a tool for global democratization, “the Chinese narrative accentuates the instability and greater dissent that can accrue with a border-spanning open internet.”

China’s view implicitly acknowledges Gerasimov’s “protest potential of the population.”

To achieve cyber sovereignty, China has employed hybrid gray-zone tactics.

“China,” Demchak wrote, “is also hoping to hurry along the [U.S.’s] apparent decline with narratives, money and stealth and yet control the narrative of a no-threat peaceful rise well enough to stay short of physical conflict.”

China’s cyber sovereignty is part of a grander narrative. “China justifies its rise in the world – its ‘rightful place’ – on the basis of its population,” Demchak said. “China will not over time tolerate U.S. obstruction of its ‘rightful’ rise as the global hegemon.”

ISIS and the Narrative of the Islamic Caliphate

The rise of ISIS surprised many in the West. Narrative and cyberspace played a central role, experts say.

Counterterrorism scholars have studied the “messaging and counter-messaging” of ISIS. Maan thinks ISIS’s narratives are more “profound and pervasive” than simple messaging.

“It is through narrative that identity is constructed: Personal identity, communal/clan identity and national identity,” she said. “It is formative in the identity layers of all parties to communication long before any communication has taken place between them.”

In her writing, Maan has examined a common idea across ISIS’s communications: “Islam is under attack.” That is a title, not the narrative, she explained.

Despite the West’s claims otherwise, “Islam is under attack” resonates with ISIS followers in many forms. “Narrative provides and determines the meaning of events,” Maan said. “Events don’t speak for themselves. Narratives speak for events.”

Maan argues, rather than focusing on counter-narrative, which oftentimes “emboldens” the original, the West should develop its own. To succeed, Maan thinks the West’s narratives must be credible and based on the “production of common sense.”

“That is how successful narratives appear. They don’t seem like a construction. They seem to reflect ‘just the way things are,’” she said.

01/15/17

The CIA’s War on Trump, Continued

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

Echoing New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer’s warning that the intelligence community is out to “get” President-elect Trump, a Brookings Institution expert who served in the Clinton administration says that Trump’s treatment of his spies will “come back to bite him” in the form of “devastating” leaks to the media that will make him look foolish or incompetent.

Leaking by intelligence officials and analysts is, of course, illegal.

“The intelligence community doesn’t leak as much as the Pentagon or Congress, but when its reputation is at stake, it can do so to devastating effect,” says Daniel Benjamin of the Brookings Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence. Benjamin previously served as the principal advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on counterterrorism and was embroiled in the controversy over Mrs. Clinton’s failure to stop the massacre of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

Benjamin’s article, “How Trump’s attacks on the intelligence community will come back to haunt him,” did not refute the widely held belief that President Obama’s CIA and its director John Brennan were behind the recent leaks to The Washington Post and New York Times  depicting Trump as a Russian puppet. In fact, the implication is that the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community will seek further revenge on Trump if he continues to criticize them.

At his recent news conference, in regard to the leaks about his meetings with intelligence officials, Trump noted that “I think it’s pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press. I think it’s pretty sad. First of all, it’s illegal. You know, these are classified and certified meetings and reports.”

But it appears that some intelligence officials believe they are above the law and can use illegal leaks to damage an elected President who has been critical of their work product.

In the most recent case, CNN and BuzzFeed were leaked a document offering unsubstantiated claims of Trump being sexually compromised by Russian officials. CNN summarized the document; BuzzFeed published the whole thing.

Trump denounced these leaks, with Director of the Office of National Intelligence James Clapper disclosing that he had called Trump about them and had declared his “profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press…” He said that he and Trump “both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security.”

Trump said Clapper “called me yesterday to denounce the false and fictitious report that was illegally circulated.”

“I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC [Intelligence Community],” Clapper said. However, he did not indicate what investigation, if any, he had conducted to make this determination.

“When something goes wrong—say a military deployment to combat jihadi insurgents in the Middle East blows up in the Trump administration’s face—the press will overflow with stories telling of intelligence reports that were ignored by the White House and briefings the president missed,” Benjamin wrote. Such stories, of course, would be based on illegal leaks.

“Imagine what an aggrieved intel community might do to a genuinely hostile president,” he said. Benjamin’s comments suggest that the intelligence community will use the media to blame Trump for things that go wrong in foreign affairs, in order to protect its own reputation.

Benjamin should know something about the relationship of the Intelligence Community to the news media. His bio says that he began his career as a journalist and held positions as the Germany bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal and Germany correspondent for Time magazine.

The Brookings expert said, “the CIA is usually one of the very first agencies to establish a relationship with new chief executives, because of the briefings it delivers before elections have even occurred and the beguiling prospect it offers of handling missions quietly and efficiently.”

It’s not clear what he means by this. The Obama CIA’s “covert” arms-running program in Syria has backfired in a big way, provoking a Russian military intervention, the loss of up to 500,000 lives, and a refugee crisis which threatens the future of Europe.

Benjamin speculated that Trump will ask the CIA to organize a covert operation to undermine the regime in Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, and that the agency will offer him options that don’t guarantee success and which he may have to reject. He wrote that “…it is an iron law of bureaucracy that no agency will knock itself out for a leader it deems capricious, especially one who cannot be relied on to defend his own if something goes wrong.”

“The answer from the intel community will never be no,” he said. “Instead, the planners will brief the president on three different approaches. Then they will assess the risk of failure for each at 60-80 percent, providing the Oval Office with a dare it cannot possibly accept. For some, of course, this could turn out to be a silver lining in otherwise dismal story.”

In short, the CIA will look for excuses not to proceed, and then get back to the business of leaking damaging stories to the press when terrorist incidents and other problems occur.

Is the CIA really the “invisible government” that the so-called “conspiracy theorists” have warned about? Is there a “deep state” that tries to run the government behind-the-scenes?

Articles like those of Daniel Benjamin, a journalist who became a Hillary Clinton operative in the counter-terrorism field, seem to be more damaging to the idea of American self-government than anything the Russians have been accused of doing.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

01/13/17

Our Warmonger President and the Lapdog Press

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

President Obama has moved the nation toward war with Russia, up to 500,000 are dead in Syria, Libya is a disaster, and Germany is welcoming a Muslim invasion of Europe that threatens the collapse of the European Union and NATO. Two million refugees are leaving the Middle East, some of them destined for the U.S.

Yet, Department of Defense News, an official Pentagon public relations outfit, released a story announcing that “Defense leaders hailed the commitment and accomplishments of departing commander in chief President Barack Obama in a formal military ceremony as he closes out his presidency.”

We were told that “During the ceremony, the president reviewed the troops from the five military branches, and received from [Defense Secretary Ashton] Carter the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. The event featured a 21-gun salute, and music from the U.S. Army Band ‘Pershing’s Own’ and the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps.”

If we had anything approaching an honest and objective news media, Obama would not even have attempted such a spectacle, out of fear that he would become a laughingstock. He has presided over a humanitarian disaster in Syria, where American troops are now dying, and his no-win war on the Islamic State has never been approved by Congress.

The CIA and the Terrorists

PBS Newshour ran an interview with Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan, in which he said regarding Syria: “If we had a chance to do it over again, would there have been some adjustments and changes? I can’t speak for policy-makers. I’m not a policy-maker. But when I look back, in light of the way things evolved, I think that there could have been some adjustments to some of the policies, not just by the United States, but by other countries, in order to address this question earlier or, and not allow the ISILs and the Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaidas to gain momentum and steam and taking advantage of the destruction of that country.” Brennan went on to say, “…I think the way that the situation unfolded was—is regrettable.”

How does Obama’s CIA director get away with simply saying that the human misery and suffering in Syria spilling over into Europe are “regrettable?” Where is the accountability for this debacle? And on what legal and constitutional basis is America at war in Syria anyway?

Welcome to the world of what can be called media malpractice. Our media have fallen and they can’t get up. These matters of war and peace, life and death, are not significant enough to rise to the level of sustained media interest. After all, they might interfere with Obama’s approval ratings and tarnish his legacy.

It’s not as if the media don’t understand what Obama’s CIA has been doing. The Washington Post reported that a secret CIA operation to train and arm rebels in Syria had cost $1 billion by the middle of 2015. The Post said the program the CIA program set up in 2013 was “to bolster moderate forces.”

But according to Brennan on PBS, more radical groups joined the fight, leading to a “regrettable” situation.

If we had journalists trained in objective news reporting, we would have a media demanding accountability from the Obama administration over a “regrettable” policy that has spun out of control, leading to a human disaster of astounding proportions throughout the Middle East and Europe. Some are calling the Russian/Iranian/Syrian counterattack “genocide.”

On the left, fortunately, the media watchdog Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has taken note of the fiasco, highlighting the fact that The Washington Post ran a column by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) insisting that the U.S. had “done nothing” in Syria. That’s nothing to the tune of $1 billion by the middle of 2015. FAIR wondered, as did I, whether the editors of the Post considered attaching a note to the McCain column stating that “the CIA has spent up to $1 billion a year on the Syrian opposition, or roughly $1 out of every $15 dollars the agency spends.”

Our Warnings

Back in 2013, this columnist warned that Obama’s Syria policy, which was supported by McCain, threatened to embolden al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Syria. That is precisely what happened.

When Brian Kilmeade of Fox News objected to “moderate” Syrian rebels yelling “Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar,” McCain shot back: “Would you have a problem with an American or Christians saying ‘Thank God, Thank God?’ That’s what they’re saying. Come on! Of course they’re Muslims, but they’re moderates and I guarantee you they are moderates.”

“Jihad Watch” director Robert Spencer commented that “Allahu akbar” does not mean “Thank God.” Rather, he said, “It is a war cry which means ‘Allah is greater,’” and “is essentially a proclamation of superiority.” Spencer notes that it is the same cry that Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members shout as they kill Christians and destroy Christian churches.

At the time, however, many different publications, including Politico, The Huffington Post, Business Insider and Mediaite, ran stories about the exchange which claimed that McCain had somehow “shamed” Brian Kilmeade and Fox News, as if McCain knew what he was talking about and that Kilmeade had been exposed as an ignoramus.

Spencer wrote, “McCain’s appalling ignorance and Obama’s ongoing enthusiasm for all things Muslim Brotherhood, including the Syrian opposition, are leading the U.S. into disaster.”

That disaster has come to pass, not because the U.S. did “nothing,” as claimed by McCain, but because the U.S. did “something” to the tune of $1 billion and still failed. Now, McCain wants strong sanctions against Russia, over what he calls a hacking operation that constituted an “act of war” against the United States.

Using dubious “intelligence” reports, including one from the same CIA that engineered the Syrian disaster, Obama has announced sanctions against Russia and expulsions of Russian officials from the U.S.

No Declaration of War

Needless to say, Congress never declared war on Syria, in order to justify CIA funding of the “rebels” there. The Congress has also not declared war on the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, and yet we are at war in the Middle East against them, and American troops are dying on the battlefield.

In a matter-of-fact manner, The Washington Post recently reported, “In his first floor speech since he and Hillary Clinton lost the election, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) revived one of his signature issues Wednesday: urging Congress to authorize military force against the Islamic State terrorist group.”

That “signature issue” happens to involve the constitutional requirement that Congress alone can declare war. The term “signature” suggests that Kaine has made it into his own unique cause, and that other members don’t share his enthusiasm. The media certainly don’t care for what he is doing. After all, his analysis undermines the legal and constitutional basis of much of what Obama has been doing in the Middle East.

Is this not an issue about which the media, left and right, can agree: that the Obama administration and Congress should be held accountable when wars are conducted without proper authority? Does a Commander-in-Chief deserve the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service and a 21-gun salute for going to war without the advice and consent of Congress?

In a speech paying tribute to Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Dayton of Woodbridge, Virginia, who was killed in combat in Syria, Kaine highlighted “the costs of two and a half years of war against ISIL.” Kaine said, “I continue to believe, and I will say this in a very personal way as a military dad, that the troops we have deployed overseas deserve to know that Congress is behind this mission. As this war has expanded into two-plus years…more and more of our troops are risking and losing their lives far from home, I am concerned and raise again something I’ve raised often on this floor—that there is a tacit agreement to avoid debating this war in the one place it ought to be debated: in the halls of Congress.”

It has been reported that there are approximately 300 American troops on the ground inside Syria. Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Dayton, 42, was killed in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in November near Ayn Issa, Syria.

Department of Defense News reported his death in a tiny story which carried the headline, “Department of Defense Identifies Navy Casualty.” He lost his life on Thanksgiving Day, November 24.

Senator Kaine is Right

The war against ISIS is based on the Congressional passage of the authorization for use of military force in September of 2001 to go after al-Qaeda for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America. “We see that that authorization has been stretched way beyond what it was intended to do,” Kaine noted.

Demonstrating that he was not willing to get Obama off the hook, Kaine went on to say, “President Obama recently announced that the authorization is now going to be expanded to allow use of military action against al-Shabab, the African terrorist group—a dangerous terrorist group to be sure—but al-Shabab did not begin until 2007. So an original authorization that was very specific by this body to allow action against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks is now being used all over the globe against organizations that didn’t even exist when the 9/11 attack occurred.”

The New York Times reported Obama’s move in a matter-of-fact way under the headline, “Obama Expands War With Al Qaeda to Include Shabab in Somalia.” The Times explained, “The administration has decided to deem the Shabab, the Islamist militant group in Somalia, to be part of the armed conflict that Congress authorized against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to senior American officials.”

The paper acknowledged this “stretching of the 2001 war authorization against the original Al Qaeda to cover other Islamist groups in countries far from Afghanistan—even ones, like the Shabab, that did not exist at the time—has prompted recurring objections from some legal and foreign policy experts.” The Times added, “Under the 2001 authorization, the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with a specific organization, not every Islamist militant in the world. But that authority has proved elastic.”

So the Constitution is being disregarded in favor of the “stretching” of an old resolution that has proven to be “elastic.” How can weasel words like these be reported in a paper that is supposed to hold the government accountable?

Senator Kaine noted, “When the new Congress is sworn in in early January, I think 80 percent of the members of Congress were not here when the September 14, 2001 authorization was passed. So the 80 percent of us that were not here in 2001 have never had a meaningful debate or vote upon this war against ISIL.”

Kaine pointed out that when Obama spoke about “the need to go on offense against ISIL” in September of 2014, “it took him six months from the start of hostilities to even deliver to Congress a proposed authorization.”

Congress never acted on it and Obama continued the war anyway. Kaine added, “As my President knows, who not only is a Senator but a historian, the founding documents of this country are so unusual still today in making the initiation of war a legislative rather than an executive function.”

He went on to say that “…it seems to me to be almost the height of public immorality to force people to risk and give their lives in support for a mission we’re unwilling to discuss.”

Obama’s lawless and unconstitutional actions had actually begun earlier, when he waged a war on Libya that ultimately produced the Benghazi massacre of four Americans. My June 2, 2011, column had noted, “In the Senate, McCain, who has turned into an advocate for Al-Jazeera, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the war, conducted with the approval of the Arab League and the United Nations but not Congress. Al-Jazeera, committed to the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in the region, openly backs the ‘pro-democracy fighters’ in Libya, playing down their links to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.”

Syria was a virtual replay of the Benghazi debacle, only on a much larger scale.

What was happening in Libya, as Accuracy in Media’s (AIM) Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi had documented, was that the U.S. under Obama had “switched sides” in the war on terror in favor of the terrorists.

The war in Libya was not only immoral but illegal and unconstitutional. But the media failed to acknowledge the facts. Under the War Powers Act, a president can go to war on his own only if there is an imminent threat to the U.S., and there is a 60-day deadline for the withdrawal of forces. Obama violated both provisions of the law. There was no direct or immediate threat to the U.S. from Libya, and Obama ignored the 60-day deadline for approval from Congress.

Yet in 2007 then-Senator Obama had loudly declared that “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

Trump’s Challenges

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s detractors claim he is entering the presidency in the midst of a constitutional crisis stemming from alleged Russian hacking into the email systems of Democratic Party politicians.

But we are already in a constitutional crisis caused by Obama’s illegal and unconstitutional actions. The failure of the media to hold Obama accountable for the wars which take the lives of members of the Armed Forces is a dramatic indication of how “media malpractice” goes beyond false facts and fake news.

The facts are not in dispute in regard to Obama’s actions that committed the U.S. to wars in the Middle East without the approval of Congress. The issue is clear-cut.

Obama, the alleged historian and legal scholar, doesn’t want to talk about that. Instead, at the military ceremony in his honor, he said, “Service members can now serve the country they love without hiding who they are or who they love.” In fact, Defense Secretary Carter has opened up the military, under Obama’s direction, even to the transgendered, with the Pentagon paying for their sex change operations.

This is what it has been all about for Obama—social experimentation and diversity, not fighting or winning wars. But his wars have not been without cost—in lives and refugees and more global terrorism.

Senator Kaine has been willing to go beyond political partisanship to demand that the Constitution be obeyed. Let’s hope that he finds a sympathetic ear in President Trump. It would be a way to move forward on a bipartisan basis to confront foreign dangers and threats.

The media’s dereliction of duty in matters of war and peace would then be exposed for all to see.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

01/11/17

Obama’s Legacy of Endless Wars and Transgender Soldiers

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

Left-wing Democrat Norman Solomon says fellow Democrats are “more interested in playing to the press gallery than speaking directly to the economic distress of voters in the Rust Belt and elsewhere who handed the presidency” to Donald J. Trump. Democrats should spend some time learning “how they’ve lost touch with working-class voters,” he says.

He is referring to how Democrats are saying what the media want to hear—that Trump was elected because of Vladimir Putin and the Russians. This was the claim first advanced by President Obama’s CIA in leaks to The Washington Post and The New York Times.

But this is not just a political dispute involving Democrats failing to understand why they lost to Trump. Solomon says “the emerging incendiary rhetoric against Russia is extremely dangerous” and “could lead to a military confrontation between two countries that each has thousands of nuclear weapons,” and which could trigger a “nuclear holocaust.”

Solomon, a former Democratic congressional candidate, says that Democrats, by “teaming up with the likes of Republican Senators John McCain (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC) to exert bipartisan pressure for escalation,” could help “stampede the Trump administration in reckless directions” and provoke Russia into a war.

There is no evidence that the Trump administration could be “stampeded” in that way. Trump has said repeatedly that he is not interested in a confrontation with Russia. What seems to be consuming the attention of the incoming Trump administration are the no-win wars with ISIS and al-Qaeda that Obama will leave behind, and the corruption in the Intelligence Community that has been responsible for claims that the U.S. is winning the war against radical Islam.

Trump’s new CIA director, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), is a member of the House Intelligence Committee and participated in a congressional joint task force that documented in a report how U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) manipulated intelligence to downplay the threat from ISIS. Three months after Pompeo and his colleagues issued their report, he said that those responsible for downplaying the threat from ISIS had not yet been held accountable.

Pompeo said the manipulation of intelligence resulted from “an administration-wide understanding that bad news from Iraq and Syria was not welcomed.” He added, “Claims that ISIS was the ‘JV team’ and that al-Qaeda was ‘on the run’ were both a result—and a cause—of the politicization of intelligence at CENTCOM. This intelligence manipulation provided space for both ISIS and al-Qaeda to grow and it put America at risk.”

Obama, of course, was responsible for the claims that ISIS was the “JV team” and that al-Qaeda was “on the run.” He lied to the American people about progress in the war on terror.

Obama’s Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on December 15 that ISIS was “failing” and that “the campaign to defeat the terror group in Iraq and Syria is on track.” Five days earlier, Carter had announced that 200 additional American special operations troops would be heading to Syria to liberate Raqqa, ISIS’ de facto capital in Syria. That will bring the total number of U.S. troops in Syria to 500.

Obama’s war in Syria has never been authorized by Congress.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs magazine has published an article demonstrating that, after a defeat and a loss of territory, “ISIS members don’t simply give up their cause or switch their allegiance; they merely change their tactics,” reforming into small units conducting insurgency campaigns.

According to the article, these terrorists operate under different flags. The authors cite the case of an ex-Iraqi policeman who fought for al-Qaeda and later emerged under the ISIS banner. It is possible, the authors say, that “insurgent group numbers will only continue to increase, as will their power.” The authors say there is little room for optimism that the Baghdad regime being supported by the U.S. will address the sectarian grievances that fuel the conflict.

ISIS has expanded into Afghanistan, where a counterterrorism official says the terrorist group is “present in at least 11 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.”

Reflecting the deteriorating situation, Obama’s decision that the U.S. would draw down to 5,500 troops in the country has been changed. Now, approximately 8,400 military personnel will remain at the time that Trump takes office.

Fighting terrorists isn’t the only item on the agenda. American sailors deployed in Afghanistan underwent Transgender Policy Training in Kabul on November 24. According to an official press release, sailors were told about the policy that took effect on October 1, whereby they could “begin the process to officially change their gender in the Navy administrative systems following DoD policy and in accordance to the standards delineated.”

A website reflecting the views of Christian military officers described the training this way: “The US Navy began teaching its Sailors about women thinking they’re men, and vice versa, even as they’re deployed in Afghanistan—a nation, incidentally, in which transgenders would probably be tossed in jail or executed.”

Not to worry. The official Pentagon spokesman says the Afghanistan mission also remains “on track.”


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

01/10/17

Obama Addresses The Military One Last Time… No One Shows Up [VIDEO]

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | Right Wing News

Obama has been an utter failure where the military is concerned and that has been by deliberate design. He has gutted our forces to WWI levels. He has decommissioned our ships, artillery and planes. He has stripped the troops of needed supplies, food and weaponry. Then he has imposed a perverse social engineering on them to destroy their morale. In other words, he has tried to destroy the greatest military force on the planet and he almost succeeded. What he didn’t count on was Donald Trump and his strong military Cabinet.

Is it any wonder that Obama leaves office and is roundly hated among members of the military? They can’t wait for President-elect Donald Trump to take command. He’s already said that he is planning on massively expanding the Navy. He’s negotiating new aircraft and he has vowed that our Army will be the strongest in the world once more. I have seen high ranking military men literally weep when shaking Trump’s hand. That tells you everything you need to know right there.

From the Daily Mail:

President Obama is leaving the White House with majority disapproval among members of the military for his role as commander in chief, according to a new survey at the tail end of his presidency.

Obama’s move steep reduction of U.S. forces stationed in Afghanistan after a troop surge, and his withdrawal of forces from Iraq in keeping with a status of forces agreement, doesn’t appear to have carried support in the the military.

Forty three per cent said the U.S. should deploy more troops to combat zones, while 32 per cent favored reductions, according to the poll by Military Times and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.

President-elect Donald Trump’s campaigned on a call to make ‘America first’ and avoid overseas engagements.
The poll said 49 per cent backed President-elect Donald Trump in the campaign, compared to just 29 per cent for Hillary Clinton. Each touted their support among military brass during the campaign.

Election exit polls had Clinton beating Trump among military members by 50 to 44 per cent, while Trump beat her among veterans 60 to 34 per cent, CNN reported.

Obama got a 52 percent unfavorable rating in the survey, AOL reported. He had an 18 per cent favorable rating with 18.4 per cent rating him somewhat favorably.

More than half the troops despise Obama. 49% voted for Trump in the survey and I’ll just bet it was more than that. When Obama gave his military farewell speech, he gave it to an empty stadium. No one respects the man… they detest him and his weakness and hatred of the military. Every action that Obama has taken from Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Libya, to Yemen, to Syria has been an unmitigated disaster for the US. The only ones it has helped are the Islamic butchers we are supposed to be fighting. I contend that was on purpose. Yesterday, Obama just approved enough uranium to the Iranians for ten nukes and he has gifted them billions of our dollars… exactly whose side is he on? I think that is obvious.

The exit polls on election day were a massive lie. They showed the military breaking for Clinton. It’s abundantly clear that was not the case. Obama has made us extremely less safe and capable as a nation and militarily… Clinton would have finished us off. Obama has actually assisted ISIS in their growth and atrocities. He’s also aided al Qaeda. He says one thing, but it is what he has actually done that makes his actions so treasonous.

Obama’s farewell to the military was to an empty stadium, whereas George W. Bush’s was to a packed one. Our warriors know a true leader when they serve under one. The only real salute Obama gets on his way out the White House door is a one-fingered one. It’s all he deserves.

01/8/17

Obama’s Syrian Policy, Through the Looking Glass

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

President Obama’s assertion that the Islamic State was a “JV” team demonstrates how he arrogantly ignored the possibility that this jihadist terror group could eventually threaten the United States. But what the press will not report is that President Obama is at least partially responsible for the arming of ISIS.

A recent article by Jerome Corsi of WorldNetDaily sheds further light on how former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama worked to actively arm Syrian rebels, ultimately supporting groups that would coalesce into the Islamic State.

“…[I]t’s become increasingly clear that President Obama and his secretary of state at the time, Hillary Clinton in 2011, armed the Free Syrian Army rebels in an effort to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad, mirroring a strategy already under way in Libya to help al-Qaida-affiliated militia overthrow Moammar Gadhafi,” writes Corsi. “A consequence of the strategy was the emergence of ISIS out of the loosely coordinated Free Syrian Army coalition as well as the disastrous Benghazi attack in which a U.S. ambassador was murdered.”

In other words, Mrs. Clinton and Obama are at least partially responsible for the current Middle East chaos, the death of four brave Americans at the hands of terrorists in Benghazi, and Islamic State-inspired homegrown terrorism. In Syria, the civil war has cost 470,000 lives as of last February, according to The New York Times, a half million by most estimates today. But don’t look to the Times or other news organizations to blame President Obama or former presidential candidate Clinton for the death toll.

Corsi cites the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, which came to a similar conclusion in our 2016 Benghazi report, which is entitled “Betrayal in Benghazi: A Dereliction of Duty.” “It is notable, however, that [Syrian Free Army] statements from the 2012 time period complained that they were not receiving any missiles,” states our report, continuing, “it now appears that at least some of the recipients instead were jihadist units that would eventually coalesce into the Islamic State.”

Our 2014 interim report revealed that the Obama administration had switched sides in the War on Terror by arming al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Libya in a successful bid to overthrow our counterterrorism ally Muammar Qaddafi. The Obama administration, in its zeal to arm the rebels, even stymied truce talks that could have led to a peaceful transition.

And, as we wrote in our 2016 report, Ambassador Chris Stevens, then “U.S. envoy,” coordinated his efforts with Abdelhakim Belhadj, despite the latter’s connections to al-Qaeda.

“The [2014 CCB] report asserted the agenda of al-Qaida-affiliated jihadis in the region, including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and other Islamic terror groups represented among the rebel forces, was well known to U.S. officials responsible for Libya policy,” reports Corsi in his recent article.

Corsi notes that there was considerable lobbying to convince Washington that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was a “moderate group.” This, he writes, was “despite clear evidence the al-Nusra Front—operating under the FSA umbrella—had been declared a terrorist organization by the State Department; had pledged allegiance to al-Qaida’s top leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri; and was the group of choice for foreign jihadi fighters pouring into Syria.” But there are still those who believe that the U.S. could have actually worked with the FSA and coalesced an effective fighting force around them, dramatically changing the course of history in that region. We’ll never know for sure.

The Obama administration engaged in regime change policies in both Syria and Libya despite the fact that such efforts would likely lead to more violence and chaos in the region. Corsi notes that the Obama administration even armed Ansar al Sharia, which was responsible for the September 11, 2012 Benghazi terror attacks.

The Obama administration has repeatedly sided with the enemies of America, from arming al-Qaeda-linked rebels abroad, to making political commitments with and providing sanctions relief for the totalitarian regime of Iran. This has been a great betrayal of American values and puts American citizens in harm’s way.

Several opinion journalists on the left have come around to acknowledging the disastrous role that the Obama administration has played in the region, particularly in Syria. As we previously reported, Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times called Syria Obama’s “worst mistake.”

Richard Cohen wrote in The Washington Post that Obama “has been all too happy to preside over the loss of American influence. Aleppo, Syria, now a pile of rubble, is where countless died—as did American influence.”

Leon Wieseltier of the Brookings Institution and formerly of The New Republic offered the harshest criticism: “As a direct or indirect consequence of our refusal to respond forcefully to the Syrian crisis, we have beheld secular tyranny, religious tyranny, genocide, chemical warfare, barrel bombs and cluster bombs, the torture and murder of children, the displacement of 11 million people, the destabilization of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, the ascendancy of Iran in the region, the emergence of Russia as a global power, the diminishment of the American position in the world, the refugee crisis in Europe, the resurgence of fascism in Europe and a significant new threat to the security of the United States. It is amazing how much doing nothing can do, especially when it is we who do nothing.”

Secretary of State John Kerry claimed at a press briefing on Thursday that Obama’s decision not to take action after the Syrians had crossed his stated “red line” by using chemical weapons, was the right move and succeeded because the result was that all of the chemical weapons were removed from Syria without dropping a bomb. Few are buying that argument, as chemical weapons were used again in Aleppo before it fell recently to the Syrian regime, or as Russia and Syria view it, was liberated from the various terrorist groups that held its civilians as human shields in a no-win situation.


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at [email protected]. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

01/8/17

The Denise Simon Experience – 01/05/17

The Denise Simon Experience

Hosted by DENISE SIMON, the Senior Research / Intelligence Analyst for Foreign and Domestic Policy for numerous flag officers and intelligence organizations.

SEGMENT 1:  Andrew Kramer, New York Times, Moscow based investigative journalist explains the hacker, troll and information war conflict between the Kremlin in Russia and the West including Ukraine. Fascinating information.

SEGMENT 2:  Dr. Martin Sherman, Founder of Israel Institute for Strategic Studies explained Israel’s political posture globally and with the two United Nations resolutions including the nuclear deal and the land for peace regarding the Palestinians.

SEGMENTS 3 & 4:  Eric Tallant, currently assigned in Kabul, Afghanistan explains the conditions in country including disinformation, Taliban, Pakistan and more.

BROADCAST WORLDWIDE:

THURSDAYS:  9:00PM (eastern) on:

WJHC – Talk 107.5FM
WDDQ – Talk 92.1FM
WLBB – News Talk 1330AM

And on her Digital Flagship Station:   RED NATION RISING RADIO  –  The NEW Dominant Force in Conservative Talk Radio

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12/13/16

Aleppo: Tell Our Story After We Are Gone

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Update as of 2:24 EST, December 13, 2016, a truce and a cease fire announced.

The Syrian government has established control over eastern Aleppo, Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday. More from CNN.

It was October of 2016, that I interviewed Abdulkafi Al-Hamdo that is mentioned weeks later, today, in this article. He told me the same then, don’t cry for us, tell our story. You could hear the reckoning in his voice, his time on earth was short. (Segment 2) Barack Obama and John Kerry own this genocide and hence should be the mantle of their policy legacy.

 

Last Rebels in Aleppo Say Assad Forces Are Burning People Alive

As the Syrian dictator’s coalition captures the last rebel-held neighborhoods, residents are bidding the world farewell and opposition media says mass atrocities have already begun.

DailyBeast: Amid celebratory gunfire and cheers from Assad loyalists, foreign militias under Iranian command and troops loyal to the regime on Monday captured about 90 percent of the opposition-held areas of eastern Aleppo.

The last hope of the besieged rebels, most of whom seem to have withdrawn in the face of certain defeat, had been to receive reinforcements or resupplies from their counterparts in the southern and western suburbs. That option has now been foreclosed upon as these routes are completely interdicted by the regime.

The triumphal takeover of the citadel of the Syrian revolution followed a day of intense bombing of houses and apartment buildings, destroying so many that it was impossible to determine the death toll. The neighborhoods of Bustan al-Qasr, al-Kallasa, al-Farod and al-Salhin in the Old City, as well as Sheikh Saed, in the southern district, are all now under regime control.

The Syrian Civil Defense, or White Helmets, an internationally renowned team of first responders, said more than 90 bodies of people presumed to be still alive are under debris and that its volunteer staff reported they could hear the voices of children trapped in the rubble of their houses.

A member of the group in Aleppo told al-Arabiya TV on Monday night that men, women, and children were huddling and crying in the streets and at the gates of empty buildings in the few neighborhoods that remained in the hands of the opposition. He described the situation as hopeless, because precision munitions and indiscriminate barrel bombs had destroyed the city’s medical facilities, ambulances, and fuel supply.

Unconfirmed reports, circulated by opposition media, suggest that mass atrocities have already begun, such as the summary executions of 17 in al-Kalaseh neighborhood, 22 in Bostan al-Kasrand, and the immolation of four women and nine children on al-Firdous Street. The Daily Beast could not independently confirm these figures.

The official Syrian news agency SANA claimed that eight people were killed and 47 were injured in regime-held Aleppo after opposition fighters bombed the city. Most of the victims were women and children, according to the agency.

Activists and residents of the ever-dwindling opposition pocket, an urban islet of about five square kilometers and home to as many as 100,000 people, spent the day signing off from social media, asking journalists to tell their story, and warning of their impending demise.

The Daily Beast was able to get in touch with Abdulkafi Al-Hamdo, a university teacher in the besieged city. The brief conversation was as follows:

TDB: “I hope you’re safe.”

AA: “I don’t think I will be tomorrow.”

TDB: “Do you expect all the remaining besieged neighborhoods will fall by tomorrow?”

AA: “No. Except over the body of every civilian. I won’t surrender my body, and my wife, and my daughter to the Assad regime without defending them… I hope that you’ll tell everyone what I’m saying.”

On a publicly visible WhatsApp feed belonging to the Aleppo Siege Media Center, al-Hamdo was more fatalistic. “Doomsday is held in Aleppo,” he said. “People are running don’t know where. People are under the rubble alive and no one can save them. Some people are injured in the streets and no one can go to help them [because] the bombs are [falling on] the same place.”

Award-winning blogger and activist Marcell Shehwaro, a native of Aleppo, shared on Facebook a message from one of her most “peaceful” and least-sectarian friends. “No Marcell, don’t worry,” it read. “I will kill myself, I won’t let them arrest me.”

Lina al-Shamy, a 26-year-old woman, posted a video of herself to Twitter. Speaking in fluent English, al-Shamy said: “To everyone who can hear me. We are here exposed to a genocide in the besieged city of Aleppo. This may be my last video. More than 50,000 civilians who rebelled against the dictator, al-Assad, are threatened with field executions or dying under bombing. According to activists, more than 180 people have been field executed in the areas the regime has recently retook control of by Assad’s gangs and the militias that support them. The civilians are stuck in a very small area that doesn’t exceed two square kilometers. With no safe zones, no life, every bomb is a new massacre. Save Aleppo, save humanity.”

Jouad al-Khateb had a similar message—one hesitates to call it valedictory— for the world. In Arabic, he told the camera: “Behind me is the Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood. Since last night up to the present moment, it is being bombed with every kind of weapon; vacuum rockets, missiles. The rockets have not stopped since last night. The people coming out of Bustan al-Qasr are telling me it’s become a city of ghosts. More than 20 families remain under the rubble across various districts.” The White Helmets were unable to reach any of the victims, al-Khateb added.

“My message to those watching: Just stop the waterfall of blood for us. We don’t want to leave the besieged areas. Just stop the waterfall of blood. It’s as if this has become very normal for the international community, you know, a rocket falls, 20 or 30 people are killed, under the rubble, they can’t pull them out—that’s a totally normal thing. In any case, there’s no space for graves to bury them in. Let them be buried under the buildings. I think this will be my last video, because we’ve gotten bored of talking, bored of speeches.”

Al-Khateb was interrupted by a loud groaning sound.

“That’s a barrel bomb,” he said, referring to one of the regime’s most notorious improvised munitions, a metal canister filled with high explosives and shrapnel, which are dropped indiscriminately from helicopters.

Another trapped resident, Ameen al-Halabi, boasted on Facebook, “I’m waiting for death or imprisonment by the Assad forces. I would rather die on the soil of my land than be arrested by their faithless militias.” Al-Halabi asked his friends to forgive him if this was the last message he wrote.

On several rebel chat forums on the popular messaging application Telegram, there were calls for the youth of Syria to wage “jihad” against the conquerors of Aleppo, if only to defend the honor of women who had allegedly been raped in the course of the Assadist blitzkrieg.

Whether or not that particular war crime has yet occurred in Aleppo—though human-rights monitors have documented mass rape in Syrian regime prisons since the start of the conflict—the call for holy war against the regime may yet take hold. For this reason, the CIA and Joints Chiefs of Staff earlier advised the Obama administration that the fall of eastern Aleppo, apart from being a humanitarian catastrophe, would also constitute a counterterrorism threat to the United States. The radicalization of survivors is all but a foregone conclusion.

As for those already radicalized, they’ve had a remarkably auspicious week. While the regime was focused on reclaiming Aleppo, ISIS, or the self-proclaimed Islamic State, was able to completely retake another ancient Syrian city, Palmyra, which it had lost, to much international fanfare, last March.

Despite the gravity of the day’s events, and the many breaches of international law that led to the collapse of the rebel-held area, U.S. political leaders were slow to comment. President Obama has watched in silence as Russia and the Assad regime have committed what Secretary of State John Kerry called crimes against humanity, and Donald Trump has not once publicly mentioned the word “Aleppo” on his favorite social-media platform, Twitter, since being elected president of the United States a month ago. Kerry even meekly invited the Kremlin over the weekend to show “a little grace” in how it recaptured eastern Aleppo.

“The Holy Quran teaches that whoever kills an innocent is as—it is as if he has killed all mankind. And the Holy Quran also says whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.”

So did Obama tell a receptive audience in Cairo, in 2009, in a much-scrutinized maiden speech of his administration. (The second line in this sacred allusion, as it happens, is also the mantra of the now-helpless White Helmets.)

The president who came to office promising to repair the breach between the United States and the Islamic world, putatively caused by the war on terror and the invasion and occupation of Iraq, is now set to leave office having done little to stop to the slaughter or displacement of millions in Syria or the wholesale destruction of one of Islam’s most venerated cities.

12/9/16

The Denise Simon Experience – 12/08/16

The Denise Simon Experience

Hosted by DENISE SIMON, the Senior Research / Intelligence Analyst for Foreign and Domestic Policy for numerous flag officers and intelligence organizations.

SEGMENT 1:  U.S. Army Colonel Allen West (ret) chatted with Denise on who Obama will or will not pardon before he leaves the White House including Bowe Bergdahl. The Colonel also spoke to the ability to achieve victory on the battlefield with a new Trump administration.

SEGMENT 2:  Lisa Curtis, former CIA analyst for Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, Senior Fellow at the Heritage Institute explains Trump’s opening to address continued hostilities in the region with al Qaeda, Haqqani and the Taliban.

SEGMENT 3 & 4:  Trevor Louden, successful author and film-maker of ‘Enemies Within’ chatted with Denise on what the Marxist, Left and Progressives are going to do for a mission to destroy all things Republican and the Trump administration.

BROADCAST WORLDWIDE:  –  WDDQ – TALK 92.1FM, WJHC – TALK 107.5FM, and on RED NATION RISING RADIO

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