Boris Epshteyn, a prominent Trump surrogate during the
campaign, is expected to quit his post at Trump TV, Politico is reporting from many
sources close to the administration.
The Trump TV project was widely seen as a post-election
project if the
Republican candidate had failed to win and needed to build yet another
alternative to news that would outflank Fox and Breitbart on the right,
and give Trump an ongoing political platform.
Epshteyn, a 35-year old attorney from a Russian-Jewish
family and a
college friend of Eric Trump, is expected to join the administration in
an official capacity.
It’s rapidly becoming the case that The Forward
is one of the most authoritative mainstream news sources on what is
happening inside the Trump administration, because so many of the Trump
administration’s most prominent and influential figures are Jewish.
The FBI is investigating whether far-right news websites
contributed to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election,
according to a new report.
The probe is focused on discovering whether Russian
used conservative outlets to help spread stories favoring now-President
Trump, McClatchy said Monday.
McClatchy confirmed with two people familiar with the
that the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division is driving the
The sources said Russian operatives seemingly strategically
computer commands called “bots” to blitz social media with pro-Trump
The bots were used at times when Trump appeared struggling
with 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary
Clinton, they continued.
McClatchy’s sources said the bots mainly created millions of
Facebook and Twitter posts linking to articles on far-right websites
including Breitbart News, InfoWars and the Kremlin-backed RT News and
The sources added that some of the stories were false or
contained a mixture of fact and fiction.
Federal investigators are now examining whether the
news organizations took any actions aiding Russian operatives, they
The bots could have amplified pro-Trump news on Facebook and
Twitter, regardless of the outlets’ knowledge or involvement, the pair
of sources noted.
“This may be one of the most impactful information
in the history of intelligence,” one former U.S. intelligence official
told McClatchy, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the
FBI Director James Comey earlier Monday confirmed the
Department of Justice (DOJ) is scrutinizing Russia’s meddling in the
2016 race, including any possible ties between Moscow and officials
from Trump’s election campaign.
“As you know our practice is not to confirm the existence of
an ongoing investigation,” he said during a House Intelligence
“But in unusual circumstances where it is in the public
interest, it may be appropriate to do so,” Comey added, noting the DOJ
had authorized him to break bureau policy and publicly disclose the
“This is one of those circumstances. I can promise you we
follow the facts wherever they lead.”
Comey added the FBI’s investigation began in late July and
will include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.
During the campaign itself, Louise Mensch had reported on
basically the same thing. You can revisit that at Heatstreet, and I’ll
just give you an exerpt from that:
If you’ve been following the Twitter fiasco that is the
Donald Trump campaign, you will be aware of his association with the
Alt-right and with Russia bot accounts.
Broadly speaking, Trump has two categories of support on Twitter.
Alt-right trolls, and Russian bot accounts pretending to be patriotic
In many cases, these two groups cross over. The altright contains
actual humans, such as @prisonplanet, and many, many bots.
In this article I shall however examine the way in which Russian bots
are created and used to follow and boost Trump online.
It is not that Donald Trump does not have widespread support. He does;
even at his current polling lows, his support includes millions of
Americans. It is, rather, that Trump’s supporters are incredibly
unlikely to use Twitter.
Broadly speaking ,Trump’s real supporters aren’t on Twitter – and
Trump’s Twitter supporters aren’t real.
Three such bots that I videoed in the act of using this
method were @Commander6080, @Sbragusa, and @jamesdgriffin. All have
profiles that pretend to be Americans and to live in the USA.
How might this affect a twitter trend? What is the point of it? One
scientist theorized as follows. It is a “fake trend” theory called “A
Let’s say you had a hashtag you wanted to get trending.
You have a thousand bots (or Russian Trolls) and a popular account like
Ricky Vaughn. You have the bots start using the hashtag, they start
flooding twitter until it gets a high count (but not in the top 20
trends) then have a real person, Ricky Vaughn, start pitching
the hashtag to his followers. Here is where the window of timing kicks
in: within minutes, Ricky Vaughn can have something trending, but before
he gets the hashtag to the top 15 you have almost all of the
bots automatically delete their tweets with the hashtags. You‘ve now
started “a trend” quickly and have had it associated with “Ricky
Vaughn” and not a 1,000 odd bots or Russian trolls.
This whole arrangement of social media manipulation is part of
the communication operations side of the modern form of Russian Active
Measures. The most remarkable thing about this arrangement is how it is
tactically innovative and well-timed to exploit a particular weakness
in American society specifically, but it is strategically
unsophisticated because Russian commanders have also permanently ruined their own
country’s reputation among the international journalist community and
among most people on social media.
It’s highly abnormal for an entire country to transparently do
something like that. Why would they choose to so carelessly and openly
abandon even the appearance of any kind of ‘normality’ on national
There are a few reasons as to why they would have chosen to
behave this way, but all of them seem to be capable of being summarised
like this: Russian commanders may have been willing to sacrifice their
country’s perceived journalistic integrity in the eyes of most of the
world, because they’ve already given up on the idea that they could
ever create a narrative that could appeal to a broad audience. Instead,
Russia is seeking to cultivate a very particular audience in Europe and
North America (excluding the United Kingdom which they seem to be
abandoning). They are seeking to cultivate that roughly 20% of the
population which is somewhere vaguely in the nationalistic spectrum and
is disillusioned about the political situation in their country, but
also lacks grounding and experience in how the world actually works.
Russian commanders want to shape the media experience through
which those people will come to terms with the world around them, and
thus, create a long-term ‘following’, even if those followers are not
necessarily aware of what it is that they are following.
The utility of this is clear. 20% of a population is enough to
seriously impact the operation of political institutions
in western democracies which operate in a pluralistic mode.
Russian journalism is not seeking to be liked by everyone, or even
trusted. Russia just wants 20% of any given European population to be
responsive to their input because that is the bare minimum that they
Posted by DanielS on Wednesday, 22 March 2017 04:54.
Reveal News, “White nationalist gets his money from cotton fields – and the government”, By Lance Williams 17 March 2017:
Two weeks after last year’s presidential election, white nationalist Richard Spencer held forth on a cable news show about how white people built America.
“White people ultimately don’t need other races in order to succeed,” he told the audience of the black-oriented program, “NewsOne Now.”
The exchange grew heated as host Roland Martin questioned Spencer’s rhetoric: Didn’t slaves help build America? Wasn’t the nation’s 19th-century economic boom propelled by the slave labor that produced the world’s cotton on Southern plantations?
America’s rise was “not through black people” and “has nothing to do with slavery,” Spencer retorted. “White people could have figured out another way to pick cotton,” he said. “We do it now.”
He is in a position to know. Spencer, along with his mother and sister, are absentee landlords of 5,200 acres of cotton and corn fields in an impoverished, largely African American region of Louisiana, according to records examined by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. The farms, controlled by multiple family-owned businesses, are worth millions: A 1,600-acre parcel sold for $4.3 million in 2012.
The Spencer family’s farms also are subsidized heavily by the federal government. From 2008 through 2015, the Spencers received $2 million in U.S. farm subsidy payments, according to federal data.
USDA farm subsidy payments to Spencer family companies, 2008-2015
Dickenhorst Farms $1,014,558
Spencer Farms $524,655
Dickenhorst Trust $201,460
Sher-Di-Je Land $165,029
Poor Richard Partnership $98,878
A-Renee Partnership $78,016
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by the Environmental Working Group
Although Spencer has attracted extensive media attention as a leader of the so-called alt-right movement – particularly after he drew Nazi salutes at an event celebrating Donald Trump’s election – he never has explained publicly how he supports himself while actively promoting his agenda via conferences and media appearances. The finances of his nonprofit think tank, the National Policy Institute, are a mystery; the organization hasn’t filed a public report since 2013. On Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the IRS revoked the institute’s tax-exempt status.
Spencer, 38, is a dropout from a Duke University Ph.D. history program who emerged during the Trump campaign as one of the nation’s most visible white separatist agitators. In his writing, speeches and interviews, he has given an intellectualized explanation for how he came to advocate creating a whites-only “ethno state” in North America. While in graduate school, he has said, he was compelled by critiques of multiculturalism and political correctness and by demographic data indicating that whites are en route to minority status in the United States.
But the Spencer family’s business interests and geographic history suggest a different possible lineage for Richard Spencer’s racist politics. The family’s farm holdings are a legacy of its ties to the Jim Crow South, passed down by Spencer’s grandfather, who built the business during the turbulent civil rights era.
Spencer family land holdings in Louisiana
Farming company Parish Acreage
Dickenhorst Farms Tensas 1,888
Dickenhorst Farms East Carroll 967
Sher-Di-Je Land Tensas 1,186
A-Renee Partners Madison 753
Poor Richard Partnership Franklin 400
Spencer, Sherry Madison 90
Sources: Louisiana Tax Commission parish tax rolls; parish assessment records
Spencer declined in an interview this week to discuss how much money he personally receives from cotton farming and government subsidies and whether that income funds his political activities.
“I’m not involved in any direct day-to-day running of the business,” he said, later adding: “I’m going to navigate the world as it is, and I’m not going to be a pauper.”
One Spencer family farming company, which holds title to 400 acres of land, is called the Poor Richard Partnership.
In the interview, Spencer also downplayed his family’s influence on his political views, saying, “My parents are very mainstream Episcopalian Republicans in Dallas.”
Although Spencer grew up in an affluent neighborhood of Dallas and now splits his time between Montana and Washington, D.C., his family lived in the South for generations. Records show his mother attended segregated schools as a girl in the small northeast Louisiana city of Monroe. Later, Spencer’s mother inherited farms in northeast Louisiana from her late father. Today, her two children are her business partners.
Spencer’s mother did not respond to an email and voicemails seeking comment for this story. In the past, she has said she does not share her son’s views. In an open letter sent to their local newspaper in December, Spencer’s parents, Sherry and Rand, said that while they love their son, “we are not racists. We have never been racists. We do not endorse the idea of white nationalism.”
The region that is home to the Spencers’ farms has a history of slavery and racism. Through the civil rights era, the Klan targeted black residents there with lynchings, cross burnings and other violence. In Tensas Parish, where the Spencers own 3,000 acres of farmland, blacks didn’t win the right to vote until 1964, according to Elvadus Fields Jr., mayor of the town of St. Joseph.
White supremacist views typically run in the family, said writer and race relations expert Cleo Scott Brown. Feelings of racial superiority often are passed “from generation to generation, because that’s what they believe,” said Brown, whose father – a civil rights leader in East Carroll Parish, where the Spencers own 900 acres of farmland – was shot and wounded during a 1962 voter registration drive, allegedly by a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Agribusiness in the region today is heavily mechanized and provides few jobs. In 2013, CNN reported that East Carroll Parish suffers from the worst income inequality in the nation: The richest 5 percent of residents earned an average of $611,000 per year, 90 times what the poorest 20 percent earned. The parish’s population is 67 percent black.
Ownership of Spencer family farming companies
Dickenhorst Farms Sherry Spencer, Richard Spencer and sister
Dickenhorst Trust Dickenhorst Farms (Sherry Spencer, Richard Spencer and sister)
Sher-Di-Je Land Dickenhorst Farms (Sherry Spencer, Richard Spencer and sister)
Spencer Farms Sherry Spencer
Poor Richard Partnership Sherry Spencer*
A-Renee Partners Sherry Spencer and daughter
*Records show that Richard Spencer has received subsidy income from the partnership but don’t identify him as an owner.
Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by the Environmental Working Group; Louisiana secretary of state filings
Race relations have improved significantly in recent decades. But after Trump’s election, some white residents celebrated by draping their pickup trucks with Confederate flags and driving through the region’s towns, according to the Rev. Roosevelt Grant, head of the NAACP branch in Winnsboro, Franklin Parish, near another of the Spencers’ farms.
The Trump presidency, he said, “has caused people to pray more.”
Spencer’s maternal grandfather, Dr. R.W. Dickenhorst, established the family farming business. He was a radiologist who started a medical practice in Monroe in 1952 and became wealthy and socially prominent, according to local newspaper obituaries.
Racial segregation was a given in Monroe then. Blacks were barred from housing, schools and public facilities used by whites. White superiority “was the way of life; that was the way it was, and anyone challenging it was challenging God’s will,” said the Rev. Roosevelt Wright Jr., a local historian in Monroe.
Dickenhorst’s daughter, Sherry, who would grow up to be Richard Spencer’s mother, enrolled in all-white Neville High School in 1962, according to district records. In 1964, at the start of her junior year, integration of the school began, with a single African American student enrolling.
As Dickenhorst’s medical practice prospered, he bought farmland in northeast Louisiana on the Mississippi River’s west bank. He died decades later, in 2002, and his wife died the following year. By then, their only daughter was the wife of a wealthy Dallas eye surgeon and the mother of two grown children: Richard Spencer and his sister, who did not respond to an email and phone calls seeking comment.
Today, through Dickenhorst Farms and several related companies, Sherry Spencer, 68, and her two children jointly own most of the family farmland, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data compiled by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. Sherry Spencer is general partner of Dickenhorst Farms, and Richard Spencer and his sister are part owners, according to state and federal records. The family contracts out crop production to local farmers, a common practice in a region where corporations and absentee owners control much of the land.
The Spencer family’s farms are headquartered at a $3 million home in the ski town of Whitefish, Montana, where Sherry Spencer now lives. Also headquartered there: Richard Spencer’s think tank, his AltRight.com website and other white nationalist-related enterprises he controls, including a book publisher and web design outfit. Spencer also has lived in Whitefish in recent years – sometimes in his mother’s home, sometimes in a condominium she owns, according to documents and interviews.
The Spencers have received payments from two federal farm programs. One is the commodity subsidy program, intended to guarantee income for farmers who are helping to maintain supplies of certain crops deemed important by the government. The other is the conservation reserve program, which pays farmers for environmentally sound farming practices. Most of the $2 million paid to the Spencers has been in commodity subsidy payments for growing cotton.
Yet, Spencer has been bitterly critical of America and its government.
“This is a sick, disgusting society,” he declared in his speech at an alt-right gathering in Washington after the election, “run by the corrupt, defended by hysterics, drunk on self-hatred and degeneracy.”
Note: I have no necessary qualms with Spencer’s wealth (though ultimately, something like Bowery’s/ William Jennings Bryan’s progressive land taxation based on site value might be in order) nor do I have anything against his family’s alleged history of wanting to live separately from blacks. - DanielS
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Turks living in Europe to have at least five children so that they can outbreed whites and take over the continent—and in that way become “the future of Europe.”
There are at least 7.8 million Turks in Europe, and very likely more who have become European citizens and are thus no longer counted as “Turks” by the deliberately race-denying liberal governments.
Erdogan made his call for the racial colonization of Europe by Turks while campaigning last week in the city of Eskisehir for a referendum that would usher in a presidential system and enhance his powers.
Erdogan’s comments were made in reaction to moves by the governments of Germany and the Netherlands to outlaw Turkish election meetings in those counties.
The Dutch government prevented a Turkish minister from addressing a crowd in Rotterdam, and later used water cannons to disperse Turkish demonstrators in the city after they turned violent.
On Friday, Erdogan told Turks in Europe that they must “Go live in better neighborhoods. Drive the best cars. Live in the best houses. Make not three, but five children. Because you are the future of Europe. That will be the best response to the injustices against you.”
Erdogan has also accused the Dutch government of state terrorism, acting like “Nazi remnants,” and having a “rotten” character.
In addition, Turkey’s interior minister, Suleyman Soylu, said last week that the EU was “playing games” to prevent Ankara from becoming strong, and that Turkey could send 15,000 “refugees” a month to Europe to “blow its mind.”
Among many other colourful characters, Donald Trump’s cabinet appointments
include two protectionist and anti-China hardliners, Robert Lighthizer
and Peter Navarro, who sit at the helm of US trade and industry policy.
That decision confirms a belligerent change of tack in Sino–American
economic relations. But what are the implications for Australia?
A number of monetary economists, including
Saul Eslake, have warned that a potential escalation to a full-blown
China–US trade war poses the single biggest economic threat to Australia.
That position argues that the already struggling global economy can’t
face a superpower trade war, likely to be triggered by the Trump
administration at the monetary level, when the RMB/USD exchange rate
will reach the unprecedented level of 7 to 1 (it’s currently sitting at
around 6.9). Furthermore, a falling Chinese currency combined with
protectionist measures in the US will dampen the Chinese economy by way
of reduced volumes of exports and higher interest rates that will
spread across the Asia–Pacific. According to such reasoning, that could
have negative impacts for Australia’s economy; prices for iron ore,
coal and natural gas could possibly drop—we’ll know by the middle of
However, it’s questionable that such crisis would be
detrimental to Australia. In fact, focusing on monetary dynamics alone
fails to capture the role of industrial production and regulatory
arrangements in the global supply chain.
On the contrary, after triangulating the trade and
industrial data of the US, China and Australia and considering the
current trade regulatory framework, there are substantial reasons to
argue that Australia is well placed to fill the gaps left by a wrecked
US–China trade relationship at the best of its industrial capacity.
Australia is indeed one of a handful of countries to have solid free
trade agreements in place with both the US and China.
Australia’s rocks and crops economy—in particular the
growing productivity potential of its agricultural and mining sectors—is strong enough to
rise above global monetary tensions and falling commodity prices,
thanks to rising export volumes to both the US and China. It appears
that the harder the two superpowers use their trade relations as
leverage in their strategic competition, the harder they’ll need to
look for other sources to sustain their industrial production levels
and corporate supply chain.
In a trade war scenario, the possible initial hiccups in the
global supply chain will likely be short-lived. In fact, let’s consider
that about half of US imports are estimated to be made of intra-firm trade, and that
protectionist measures from abroad tend to have insignificant effects
on the production input of Chinese State-owned firms.
Thus, multinational corporations are proven to be particularly adept at
quickly replacing the flows of
their industrial production and distribution, as is shown by history.
In other words, in the event of a Sino–American crisis, the
major trading actors in both countries will be able and willing to
promptly move their business somewhere else.
Thanks to the existing spaghetti bowl of international
economic partnerships, Australia is in prime position to be this
“somewhere else” for both countries. In fact, Australia is the second
largest economy and Sino–American trading partner of the only six
countries that have in place free trade agreements with both the US and China, including South Korea,
Singapore, Chile, Peru and Costa Rica.
The LNG example clearly shows that Australia’s economy would
benefit from a contained US–China trade crisis. Nevertheless, should
that trade crisis escalate beyond the economy, Australia’s luck may run
The Chinese leadership doesn’t hide the fact that promoting
international economic integration outside of the US control serves the
purpose of carving greater geopolitical autonomy and
flexibility in the global decision-making processes. Beside
Trump’s trade policy, Xi Jinping’s diplomatic strategy may also speed
up the end of the US–China detente initiated by Nixon and Kissinger in
the 1970s. It remains to be seen whether China will also
pursue hard-line policies to push the US outside of the Asia–Pacific.
In that instance, Australia would be caught between a rock and
a hard place.
If the US–China trade war were to escalate to the
geopolitical level, the American order in the Asia–Pacific would enter
uncharted waters. For one thing, such an unsavoury development may
compel Australia to make a clear choice between trading with China and
preserving America’s security patronage.
Giovanni Di Lieto lectures International Trade Law
at Monash University.
One of the most interesting things about all this is that
while Australia is going to be compelled to make that choice, the
choice has essentially already been made through the pattern
of trade relationships which Australian politicians have chosen to
The only way that Australia would choose the United States in
that scenario, would be if Australians decided that they would like to
deliberately take a massive economic dive so that they can ‘Make
America Great Again’ even though that is not their country, and so that
they can avoid being called ‘anti-White’ by the legions of anonymous
Alt-Right trolls roaming around on Twitter using Robert Whitacker’s
‘mantra’ on anyone who won’t support the geostrategic and geoeconomic
intertests of the United States, the Russian Federation, and Exxonmobil
Given that we know that Australians don’t care about America
or Russia more than they care about the economic prosperity of their
own country, the outcome is already baked into the cake. AFR
carried an article last year which can be used to forecast what is
likely to happen, and I’ll quote it in full here now:
It has lifted living standards, grown Australia’s economy
and created thousands of jobs.
While it is becoming more popular to denounce globalisation
and flirt with protectionism, we cannot turn our back on free trade.
Australia’s economy has withstood global challenges and
recorded 25 years of continuous growth because we’re open to the world.
Since Australia’s trade barriers came down, we’ve
reaped the rewards.
Trade liberalisation has lifted the income of
households by around $4500 a year and boosted the country’s gross
domestic product by 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent, creating thousands of
One in five jobs now involve trade-related activities. This
will grow as liberalised trade gives our producers, manufacturers and
services providers better access to billions of consumers across the
globe, not just the 24 million who call Australia home.
However, not everyone sees the value of free trade. Some see
it, and the forces of globalisation, as a threat to their standard of
living, rather than an opportunity to improve it.
When it comes to free trade, we often hear about the bad but
not the good.
The nature of news means the factory closing gets more
coverage than the one opening.
Chances are you heard about the Ford plant closing, but not
the $800 million Boeing has invested in Australia and the 1200 people
who work at their Port Melbourne facility.
You may have heard about Cubbie Station, but not heard that
its purchase staved off bankruptcy, and has since seen millions of
dollars invested in upgrades of water-saving infrastructure, a doubling
of contractors, more workers, and of course, money put into the local
economy supporting jobs and local businesses.
Key to attracting investment, jobs
The free trade agreements the Coalition
concluded with the North Asian powerhouse economies of China, Japan and
Korea are key to attracting investment and creating more local jobs.
The Weilong Grape Wine Company has said the China-Australia
Free Trade Agreement is the reason it’s planning to build a new plant
This is a story being played out across the country.
Businesses large and small, rural and urban,
are taking advantage of the preferential market access the FTAs offer
Aussie businesses into the giant, growing markets of North Asia.
Australian Honey Products is building a new factory in
Tasmania to meet the demand the trifecta of FTAs has created.
Owner Lindsay Bourke says the free trade agreements have
been “wonderful” for his business. “We know that we are going
to grow and it’s enabled us to employ more people, more local
people,” he said.
It is the same story for NSW skincare manufacturer Cherub
Rubs, who will have to double the size of their factory. “The free
trade agreements with China and Korea really mean an expansion, which
means new Australian jobs manufacturing high-quality products,” said
Cherub CEO John Lamont.
It is easy to see why the three North Asian FTAs are
forecast to create 7,900 jobs this year, according to modelling
conducted by the Centre for International Economics.
Australia has a good story when it comes to free trade. In
the past three years, net exports accounted for more than half of
Australia’s GDP growth.
Exports remain central to sustaining growth
and economic prosperity. Last year exports delivered $316 billion to
our economy, representing around 19 per cent of GDP.
This underscores the importance of free trade
and why it is a key element of the Turnbull Government’s national
The Coalition is pursuing an ambitious trade
agenda, and more free trade agreements, to ensure our economy keeps
growing and creating new jobs.
On Friday I arrive in Peru for the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting.
Free trade will be at front of everyone’s mind.
With the future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
looking grim, my ministerial counterparts and I will work to conclude a
study on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which sets
out agreed actions towards a future free trade zone.
We will also work to finalise a services road map, which
will help grow Australian services exports in key markets including
education, finance and logistics.
More to be done
The Coalition has achieved a lot when it comes to free
trade, but there is more to do.
Momentum is building for concluding a free trade agreement
with Indonesia, work towards launching free trade agreement
negotiations with the European Union continues, we’ve
established a working group with the United Kingdom that will scope out
the parameters of a future ambitious and comprehensive Australia-UK FTA
and we’re continuing to negotiate the Regional Comprehensive Economic
Partnership (RCEP), which brings together 16 countries that account for
almost half of the world’s population.
The Turnbull government will continue to pursue an ambitious
free trade agenda to keep our economy growing and creating more jobs.
Meanwhile Opposition Leader Bill Shorten continues to build
the case for Labor’s embrace of more protectionist policies, claiming
he will learn the lessons of the US election where it featured heavily.
What Labor doesn’t say though is that by adopting a closed
economy mindset, they will close off the investment and jobs flowing
from free trade. They’re saying no to Boeing’s $800 million investment
in Australia and the Cubbie Station improvements; they’re saying no to
businesses like Cherub Rubs and Australian Honey Products building new
factories and the many local jobs they will create.
Steven Ciobo is the Minister for Trade, Tourism
What’s not to love about all this?
I really think I love Anglo-Saxons. This is going to be fun,
When Mr. Ciobo spoke of ‘a working group with the
United Kingdom that will scope out the parameters of a future ambitious
and comprehensive Australia-UK FTA’, he was not joking. That
is happening and it is likely going to be another
window that the UK will have into the formation of both RCEP and FTAAP,
even though technically the UK is not physically in the Indo-Asian
I have also written an article today called, ‘US
Government to build American competitiveness atop socio-economic
retrogression and misery.’ It’s crucial to understand that
time is of the essence, since the Americans are at the present moment
in relative disarray compared to the rest of us. The Americans have not
yet tamed and pacified the various economic actors in their own
country, they are still working on that, and they also have yet to form
a coherent internationalist counter-narrative to the one that is being
enunciated by the governments of Britain, Australia, New Zealand,
Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, and so on.
Some of you may be mystified by that statement. What do I mean
that the Americans don’t have a coherent ‘internationalist
counter-narrative’? I mean that while they are capable of explaining
and rationalising their own position as a narrowly ‘America first’
position in a way that is pleasing to Americans,
they are not able to export that view to regular
people anywhere else in a way that would induce
any other European-demography country to comply with America’s
After all, if the Alt-Right people are going to careen all
over the internet essentially screaming, “put America first ahead of
your own country’s interests or be accused of White genocide”, and
alternately equally absurdly, “you’re an evil Russophobe who supports
White genocide if you invested in BP instead of Exxon”, then they
should not expect that they are going to win the sympathy of anyone who
is neither American nor Russian.
I want to say to British people, to Australians, to New
Zealanders, to Canadians, Commonwealth citizens in general, that you
know, it’s been a long time since you’ve taken your own side.
This coming phase is going to be a time when it will become possible to
do precisely that.
The time is fast approaching when it will be possible to
choose neither America nor Russia. You’ll be able
to finally choose yourselves and your own geoeconomic interests, and
you’ll be able to choose to trade and associate with whoever else in
the world you want to trade and associate with.
Kumiko Oumae works in the defence and security sector in the UK. Her opinions here are entirely her own.
Posted by Kumiko Oumae on Wednesday, 08 March 2017 18:27.
An interesting story appeared at ASPI today, regular people
have now become aware of the existence of the ‘left of launch’
strategy. Which you can read about at the links included in the Cyber
wrap 154 which I’ve reproduced in full below.
The utility of having people know about the ‘left of launch’
strategy is that it even further reduces the
credibility of any of Donald Trump’s feigned hyperventilating about the
alleged (and in fact non-existent) ‘threat’ of
Iran ever attaining a nuclear weapon, much less
having the ability to use such a weapon against
Armed with this information, it is possible for people to go
out into the world and make the case that even if one
were to entertain the idea that Iran were willing to create some
improbable doomsday scenario, there is no need for anyone to send a
single American aircraft, tank, or armoured patrol vehicle anywhere
near Iran in order to avert such a scenario.
If Donald Trump and his supporters continue to behave like
Iran is a ‘major nuclear threat’ despite the existence of the ‘left of
launch’ strategy in public view, there is only one place that such a
ridiculous narrative can be actually originating from, and that place is Israel.
That is the case which should be made over and over again, until it
becomes a kind of mantra.
Welcome back to your weekly fix of cyber news, analysis and
The New York Times reported last Saturday that, back
in 2013, President Barack Obama ordered cyber sabotage operations
against Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program. The persistently high failure rate of
the US’s kinetic antimissile weapons, despite significant investment,
reportedly prompted Obama to consider a cyber supplement. The project
to pre-emptively undermine missiles in their development stages, known
as a ‘left of launch’ strategy, receives
dedicated resources at the Pentagon and is now President Trump’s to
play with. However, experts are concerned that this kind
offensive approach sets a dangerous precedent for Beijing
and Moscow, particularly if they believe that US cyber operations could
successfully undermine their nuclear deterrence capability.
Staying stateside, the future of the NSA’s spying powers are
under scrutiny this week as
elements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) approach
sunset. Section 702 of the Act forms the
basis for the NSA’s monitoring of foreign nationals’ communications
around the globe in the interests of national security. It was under
this FISA authority that the US’s infamous “big brother” program PRISM—revealed in the Snowden
disclosures of 2013—was established.
While the legislation is designed for foreign targets, there
have long been concerns it could be used to surveil US citizens through
their contact with foreigners. Human rights advocates such as the
American Civil Liberties Union are protesting the renewal of this
legislation in defence of international privacy. The issue also has the
trans-Atlantic data-sharing agreement on thin ice, especially given
that EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has made it clear that she ‘will not hesitate’ to suspend the
painstakingly crafted arrangement should the US fail to uphold its
stringent privacy requirements.
That task may be even more difficult after WikiLeaks’
overnight release of a dossier, dubbed ‘Vault 7’,
detailing the CIA’s cyber espionage tools and techniques. WikiLeaks
released over 8,000 documents it claims were
taken from a CIA computer network in the agency’s Center for Cyber
Intelligence. The documents detail the agency’s expansive and sophisticated
cyber espionage capability, including compromising the security common
devices and apps including Apple iPhones, Google’s Android software and
Samsung televisions to collect intelligence.
China’s Foreign Ministry and the Cyberspace Administration
China this week launched the country’s first International
Strategy of Cooperation on Cyberspace. The Strategy outlines
China’s basic principles for cyber diplomacy and its strategic goals in
cyberspace. Encouragingly, the Foreign Ministry’s Coordinator for
Cyberspace Affairs Long Zhao stated that ‘enhancing deterrence,
pursuing absolute security and engaging in a cyber arms race…is a road
to nowhere’. Unsurprisingly, the Strategy offers strong support for the
concept of cyber sovereignty, stating that ‘countries should respect
each other’s right to choose their own path of cyber development’, and
emphasises the importance of avoiding cyberspace becoming ‘a new
battlefield’. You can read a full English language version of the
The revelation that the Australian
Signals Directorate (ASD) was temporarily forced to rely on diesel
generators during last month’s heat wave has prompted the government to
significantly upgrade to the agency’s infrastructure. The Minister
Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security told Parliament on
Wednesday that it was recommended by ActewAGL and the NSW Department of
Environment that ASD switch to back up power on 10 February as part of
state-wide load shedding to protect power supplies. The new $75 million
project, funded by the Defence Integrated Investment Program, is
intended to bolster the intelligence agency’s resilience.
Several cyber incidents have kept the internet on its toes
this week. The Amazon Simple Storage Service cloud hosting service went
down last week, knocking hundreds of thousands of popular
websites and apps offline. The disruptive incident, originally
described by the company as ‘increased error rates’, was
actually not the result of cyber criminals
or hacktivists, but that of an employee’s fat fingers entering a
command incorrectly—whoops! Yahoo is in the doghouse (again) with the
awkward announcement in its annual report to the Security and
Exchange Commission that 32 million customer accounts are thought to
have been compromised through forged cookies. This isn’t to be confused
with the entirely separate and very
embarrassing loss of 1 billion accounts in a 2013 breach, which
recently cost the company $350 million in its acquisition deal with Verizon and CEO Marissa
Mayer her annual cash bonus. And if you’ve been
tracking the #cloudbleed saga, catch up with
some post-mortems here, here and here.
Finally we’ve got you covered for your weekly cyber research
reads. A new Intel report, written by the Centre for Strategic and
International Studies, examines the discrepancies in cyberspace that
put defenders at a disadvantage. Titled Tilting the Playing Field: How
Misaligned Incentives Work Against Cybersecurity,
the report reveals the gaps between attackers vs. defenders, strategy
vs. implementation and executives vs. implementers, offering
recommendations to overcome such obstacles. And get your fix of
statistics from PwC’s annual Digital IQ assessment based on a
survey of more than 2,000 executives from across the world. The
research reveals that only 52% of companies consider their corporate
Digital IQ to be ‘strong,’ a considerable drop from 67% last year.
Posted by DanielS on Saturday, 25 February 2017 23:42.
Adam W. Purinton: It’s too late to instruct him on Schmittian lines of proper friend/enemy distinction.
Denver Post, “He yelled ‘Get out of my country,’ witnesses say, and then shot 2 men from India, killing one”, 24 Feb 2017:
A 51-year-old man faces first-degree murder charges after shooting three men in an Olathe, Kan., bar Wednesday night, police say, reportedly telling two of them, local Garmin engineers from India, to “get out of my country.”
One of the Indian men, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, died in the hospital later from his gunshot wounds.
Authorities would not classify the shooting as a hate crime, but federal law enforcement officials said Thursday they are investigating with local police to determine if it was “bias motivated.”
Adam W. Purinton, 51, of Olathe, was also charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder for shooting two other patrons at Austin’s Bar and Grill: Alok Madasani, 32, of Overland Park, Kan. and 24-year-old Ian Grillot, who tried to intervene.
Madasani had been released from a hospital Thursday and Grillot continued to recover.
Witnesses told the Kansas City Star and The Washington Post that Purinton was thought to have been kicked out the bar Wednesday night before the shooting took place.
“He seemed kind of distraught,” Garret Bohnen, a regular at Austin’s who was there that night told The Post in an interview. “He started drinking pretty fast.”
Denver Post, “Some witnesses say Kansas shooting was racially motivated”, 24 Feb 2017:
A bartender at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas, said that Adam Purinton used “racial slurs” before he started shooting on Wednesday night as patrons were watching the University of Kansas-TCU basketball game on television.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, died at an area hospital, police said. Alok Madasani, 32, and Ian Grillot, 24, were hospitalized and are in stable condition, they said. The Linkedin accounts for Kuchibhotla and Madasani say that they were engineers working at GPS-maker Garmin and had studied in India.
A whole bar in cuck attendance to the coddled black American basketball player but Adam W. Purinton decides to take his final stand to try to kill two or three people he thought were Middle Eastern - “terrorists hanging out in the bar? routing for the wrong team of black athletes?” or, was Purington “drawing the line”, and saying “damn it! I’m not having those sand-Negroes supporting Negro ball too!” Not likely. Nor is it likely that Purinton was taking the H1B Visa angle into account, since his rage was directed toward people he took to be Middle Eastern and for their Middle Easternness and its imposed displacement of White Americans; not for any alleged affirmative action or salary undercutting importation of Indians whose nepotism would further exacerbate the displacement of White IT specialists.
This serves to illustrate that not only do many would-be White Nationalists need to learn to sublimate their grievances better, but need to do that in line with becoming MUCH more articulate about friend / enemy distinctions - who is who and what is what.
The crusade against racial discrimination and categorization of peoples is much to blame in keeping people inarticulate about proper friend / enemy distinctions. The only “consolation” in this instance is that one White guy used the “non-discrimination” principle to try to come to the aid of two people, Indians, who should be in the friend category.
Ibid, Denver Post, “He yelled ‘Get out of my country!”, February 24, 2017:
He reportedly came back into the bar and hurled racial slurs at the two Indian men, including comments that suggested he thought they were of Middle Eastern descent. When he started firing shots, Grillot, a regular at the bar whom Bohnen called “everyone’s friend,” intervened.
AFF, “Breaking News, 1 Dead, Three Shot, Including Marine”, 24 Feb 2017:
Srinivas Kuchibhotla (center), 32, died at a hospital, while 32-year-old Alok Madasani (left) and 24-year-old Ian Grillot (right) are hospitalized in stable condition, police said.
According to Local News KCTV 5.
Grillot said in an interview from his hospital bed that when the gunfire started, he hid until nine shots had been fired and he thought the suspect’s gun magazine was empty.
“I got up and proceeded to chase him down, try to subdue him,” Grillot said in a video from the University of Kansas Health System. “I got behind him and he turned around and fired a round at me.”
Grillot said that the bullet went through his hand and into his chest, just missing a major artery.
“It’s not about where (the victim) was from or his ethnicity,” Grillot said. “We’re all humans, so I just did what was right to do.”