AP journalist challenges State Department spokesperson on official narrative
by PAUL JOSEPH WATSON | JULY 22, 2014
In a testy exchange between AP reporter Matt Lee and U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf, Lee virtually corners Harf into admitting that the “evidence” presented by the U.S. to blame Russian-backed rebels for the shoot down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 amounts to nothing more than YouTube videos and social media posts.
Lee begins by asking Harf how the U.S. plans to produce “forensic evidence” proving Russian-backed rebels were behind the attack, to which Hard responds by reeling off talking points before stating, “we know, we saw in social media afterwards….of the pro-Russian separatists bragging about shooting down an aircraft.”
“How is it exactly that you know it was fired from separatist held territory?” asks Lee, to which Harf responds that the evidence is based on “communications posted on YouTube by the Ukrainian government.”
“Is there anything other….than social media?” asks Lee. Harf alludes to an “assessment,” before again reeling off talking points (based on social media and YouTube videos) that blame separatist rebels.
“All you’re willing to present publicly that backs up your version of the story, which may well be the correct version of the story,” states Lee before being interrupted by Harf who sardonically retorts, “may well be.”
“I haven’t seen your evidence that shows that the missile was launched from rebel held territory,” continues Lee. “The only thing you’re willing to put out publicly is the social media accounts,” he adds, before citing other social media accounts that dispute the State Department’s version of events.
Harf asserts that any version of events that challenges the State Department’s version (based again on social media posts) is “illogical.” Lee states that the State Department’s evidence would not stand up to an international investigation.
“The Russians have said we’ve put out our radar images which show this Ukrainian plane near at least….why don’t you put out your…,” states Lee before again being interrupted by Harf.
Credit must be given to Matt Lee for doing his job and challenging Harf given that any questioning of the official narrative behind the MH17 shoot down, backed up as it is by the flimsiest of “evidence,” has been demonized as “Russian propaganda,” just as skepticism towards last year’s chemical weapons attack in Syria, which an MIT study later concluded was likely not launched by government forces, was derided as “Assad propaganda.”
Despite the State Department’s insistence that YouTube clips and social media posts can be considered as hard evidence, even the veracity of that material has attracted intense skepticism.
Harf’s mention of social media posts which show rebels “bragging” about bringing down the airliner is likely a reference to a post on the Russian version of Facebook shortly after MH17 was shot down by Ukrainian rebel commander Igor Strelkov. However, as Max Fisher documents, “There are real reasons to doubt that the message was genuine.”
First of all Strelkov’s page “is a fake made by fans,” according to rebels who spoke to Buzzfeed’s Max Seddon, so the words cannot even be attributed to the commander. In addition, the post makes reference to the shoot down not of a civilian airliner but to an Antonov AN-26 military transport plane.
“This casts a bit further doubt on the idea that people fired on the airplane and then posted on VK about it; if someone fired on the plane they likely would have noticed it was a large jet and not a small-ish prop plane,” writes Fisher.
Video of a Buk missile launcher apparently crossing the border back to Russia after the plane was shot down which was cited by Kiev and Washington has also since been debunked. The clip is actually shot in the Ukrainian of town of Krasnoarmeisk, which has been controlled by Kiev since May.
According to audio experts who conducted a forensic analysis, a YouTube video of a conversation between a separatist leader and a Russian military commander which purported to show rebels accepting responsibility for shooting down the airliner is in fact a fabrication.
While Russia has presented actual radar and satellite evidence to back up its contention that Ukrainian fighter jets were following the doomed airliner shortly before the incident, the sum of Kiev and Washington’s proof that separatists were to blame for the shoot down amounts to little more than highly questionable YouTube videos and social media posts.
Kiev has also failed to release air traffic control recordings, which were seized immediately by Ukrainian security forces, which could offer a crucial insight into what was happening in the skies immediately prior to the aircraft being shot down.
While any questioning of the narrative behind the incident has been dismissed by the establishment media as “Russian propaganda,” Russia is the only party to have actually presented anything which could be considered real evidence, whereas Washington and Kiev are still reliant on the sort of proof that would only satisfy the sloppiest of Internet conspiracy theorists.
Dependent on inflating bubbles to evince “economic strength”
by CHARLES HUGH-SMITH |ZERO HEDGE | JULY 22, 2014
Depending on blowing the next bubble to temporarily prop up the economy is the height of foolhardy shortsightedness.
All the conventional policy fixes proposed by Demopublican politicos, technocrats and the vast army of academic/think-tank apparatchiks are the equivalent of slapping a coat of paint on a fragile facade riddled with dryrot. All these fake-fixes share a few key characteristics:
1. They focus on effects and symptoms rather than address the underlying causes, i.e. the dryrot at the heart of our government, society and economy.
2. They maintain and protect the Status Quo Powers That Be–no vested interests, protected fiefdoms or Financial Elites ever lose power as a result of these policy tweaks.
3. They are politically expedient, meaning they assuage the demands of vested interests rather than tackle the rot undermining the nation.
4. They ignore the perverse incentives built into current systems and the incentives of complicity, i.e. to cheer another coat of paint on the dryrot rather than face the costs of real reform.
The financial underpinnings of the economy and society are rotting from within:finance, higher education, defense, healthcare, law, governance, you name it.
This week I want to highlight a few key causes of this pervasive and eventually fatal systemic rot.
Let’s start with Our Ponzi Economy. There are three primary examples of our Ponzi Economy: pay-as-you-go social programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.); housing and the stock market. All are examples of financial Ponzi schemes.
All Ponzi schemes rely on an ever-expanding pool of greater fools who buy into the scheme and pay the interest/gains due the previous pool of greater fools. Ponzi schemes fail because the pool of greater fools is finite, but the scheme demands an ever-expanding pool of participants to function.
All Ponzi schemes eventually fail, though each is declared financially soundbecause this time it’s different. The number of greater fools required to keep the scheme going eventually exceeds the working population of the nation.
Here’s why Pay-As-You-Go Social Programs are all Ponzi schemes:
1 retiree consumes the taxes paid by 5 workers.
Those 5 workers when they retire consume the taxes paid by 25 workers.
Those 25 workers when they retire consume the taxes paid by 125 workers.
Those 125 workers when they retire consume the taxes paid by 625 workers.
Those 625 workers when they retire consume the taxes paid by 3,125 workers.
You see where this goes: very quickly, the number of workers required to keep the Ponzi scheme afloat exceeds the entire workforce.
The only way to keep the Ponzi scheme going is to keep raising payroll taxes on the remaining workers, which is precisely what welfare states (i.e. every developed economy on the planet) has done.
But raising taxes merely extends the Ponzi scheme one cycle. Eventually, taxes are so high that the remaining workers are impoverished. Right now, the U.S. has reached a ratio of 2 full-time workers for every retiree. As the number of retirees rises by thousands every day and the number of full-time jobs stagnates, the ratio will slide toward 1-to-1:
The Problem with Pay-As-You-Go Social Programs: They’re Ponzi Schemes (November 5, 2013)
Estimates are even worse in other developed nations. In Europe, the ratio of retirees over 65 to those between 20 and 64 will soon reach 50%–and that’s of the population, not of people with full-time jobs paying taxes to fund social welfare programs. (source: Foreign Affairs, July/August 2014, page 130)
As the percentage of the working-age populace with full-time jobs declines, the worker-retiree ratio will become increasingly unsustainable. The taxes paid by each worker are nowhere enough to fund the generous pension and healthcare benefits promised to every retiree.
In the U.S., the number of people of working age who are jobless is 92 million; the number of full-time jobs is 118 million. This chart of labor participation includes almost 30 million part-time employees who don’t earn enough to pay substantial taxes and millions of self-employed people making poverty-level net incomes.
Courtesy of STA Wealth Management, here is a chart that shows full-time workers are less than half the labor force:
Housing is also a classic Ponzi scheme: prices can only go up if there is an ever-expanding pool of greater fools willing and able to pay even more for a house than the previous pool of greater fools.
As I have explained many times, the only way the Status Quo has been able to expand the pool of greater fools is to lower interest rates to near-zero, drop down payments to 3% and loosen previously-prudent lending standards.
The Housing “Recovery” in Four Charts (May 27, 2014)
These tricks extend the Ponzi for a cycle by artifically expanding the pool of greater fools, but that pool is not infinite. (Foreign buyers are currently enlarging the pool, but their participation is dependent on the Ponzi schemes in their home economies not blowing up.)
The stock market has been made the official metric of the nation’s economic health; too bad it’s a Ponzi scheme. Financial bubbles are what economist Robert Shiller calls “naturally occurring Ponzis” because the psychology of ever-rising prices and profits fuels an inflow of greater fools that sustains the bubble until all available greater fools have sunk their cash and credit into the bubble.
Here is what a market that is increasingly dominated by Ponzi bubbles looks like: this is the S&P 500 (SPX):
(source: Gordon T. Long, Macro Analytics)
Depending on blowing the next bubble to temporarily prop up the economy is the height of foolhardy shortsightedness. Yet that’s our Status Quo, increasingly dependent on inflating bubbles to evince “economic strength” when the Ponzi paint will soon peel off the rotten wood of the real economy.
NSA will continue to stay in the news for a long time to come
By James RogersPublished July 22, 2014FoxNews
The controversy surrounding the National Security Agency is unlikely to fade anytime soon, thanks to a spying furor now engulfing the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Great Britain and the continued high profile of Edward Snowden, a U.K.-based security expert says.
“I think that we will hear a lot more about the tactics of the NSA,” Michela Menting, cybersecurity practice director at the tech analyst firm ABI Research, told FoxNews.com. “It’s certainly something that’s going to run for the next year or so.”
Hot on the heels of the firestorm that Snowden, a former NSA contractor, ignited when he stole a cache of NSA documents last year and began releasing them to the press, a document that appeared to detail cyber-espionage tricks at GCHQ, the American agency’s British counterpart, was leaked last week.
The document, posted by The Intercept, which reported it had been provided by Snowden, described a host of covert online tools used by GCHQ, including ways to manipulate online polls, send spoof emails and perform denial of service (DOS) attacks on Web servers.
In a statement emailed to FoxNews.com, GCHQ declined to comment on the document and said the agency’s work is carried out within “a strict legal and policy framework.”
The document outlined more than 100 code-named tools and projects, including “Angry Pirate,” a tool designed to “permanently disable a target’s account” on his computer, and “Hacienda,” a port-scanning tool “designed to scan an entire country or city.”
Menting said the slow release of Snowden’s documents would keep the heat on the NSA. “This trickle is more powerful, because you keep getting this constant flow of information,” she told FoxNews.com. “If you dump all the information at once, you dilute some of its potency.”
The document has also prompted speculation that NSA tools could be compromised. Security technology expert Bruce Schneier, author of “Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive,” says that the document could prove problematic for the U.S. agency.
“My guess is that these tools are shared back and forth all the time,” he told FoxNews.com. “The countries’ intelligence agencies are very close partners – they share information and they share techniques.”
“They will be worried a little,” Menting said, but she noted that the NSA is better positioned than GCHQ to fix any compromised tools. “The U.S. has dedicated teams that they use to find their own vulnerabilities – the U.S. has more extensive capabilities in this domain than the U.K.”
In an interview transcript published by The Guardian on Friday, Snowden said British citizens are at greater risk of government snooping than people in the U.S. because GCHQ’s role is not “as strongly encoded in law or policy” as the NSA’s.
Snowden also alleged that sexually explicit photos from citizens’ private records were sometimes shared by military personnel working at the NSA. “These are seen as the fringe benefits of surveillance positions,” he said.
He described NSA auditing as inadequate. “People talk about things that they shouldn’t have done as if it’s no big deal because nobody expects any consequences. Nobody expects to be held to account.”
In an email to FoxNews.com, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines wrote, “NSA is a professional foreign-intelligence organization with a highly trained workforce, including brave and dedicated men and women from our armed forces. As we have said before, the agency has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities or professional standards, and would respond as appropriate to any credible allegations of misconduct.”
Government snooping continues to cause concern across the globe. Last week U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay released a report warning that nations on every continent are hiding their growing reliance on private companies to snoop on citizens.
Plane diverted from its usual route over Ukraine
by INFOWARS.COM | JULY 22, 2014
Having re-routed flights from eastern Ukraine in the aftermath of last week’s deadly tragedy, the company has chosen instead to divert some of its planes over airspace which is even more dangerous.
Data from Flight Radar 24 shows that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH4, an Airbus A380 flying from Kuala Lumpur to London, was diverted from its usual route over Ukraine in favor of passing over a country that is currently under siege by ISIS terrorists, some of whom are armed with U.S.-made Stinger missiles.
“In other words [the government is] assisting in the downfall of America..”
by ADAN SALAZAR | INFOWARS.COM | JULY 22, 2014
By leaving strategic areas along the southern U.S. border unprotected, and by using children as the face of the illegal immigrant surge to elicit public sympathy, the federal government is engaging in a sophisticated military tactic known as “asymmetrical warfare” against the American people, a former U.S. Border Patrol agent is warning.
Scroll to 11:44 for “asymmetrical warfare” reference (see transcript below). / Video courtesy of Little Bonanza Productions. For more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the government allocates resources to South Texas, it is systematically leaving areas within the U.S., as well as vast swaths of land along the border, unguarded, outspoken former Tucson Sector Border Patrol agent Zach Taylor says in an excerpted clip taken from an upcoming documentary entitled, “Back to the Border.”
“This gives people that are trying to get their infrastructure, their personnel, their drugs, their dirty bombs, their biological weapons, their chemical weapons into the United States without being noticed” the opportunity to do so, “because this part of the border is open, it is not being controlled,” the 26-year Border Patrol veteran outlines in the extensive interview.
“If asymmetrical warfare is going to be successful, the first thing that has to be done is to compromise America’s defenses against invasion,” Taylor says, “because they have to have their personnel inside the United States to affect the infrastructure.. they have to affect the degeneration from inside the United States.”
The retired federal agent claims that by magnifying the mere ten percent of the influx that is apprehended, and by mostly centering on the one percent who are immigrant minors, the government is deliberately drawing attention away from the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who evade capture – who may or may not be harboring communicable diseases, or may or may not have gang affiliations.
In Central America, children as young as 10 join violent gangs, like MS-13, an intelligence report notes, and according to FBI statistics, many are initiated by having to commit murder.
“What the people don’t realize is that it is putting their own children at risk, because these children are going to be put in schools with their children,” Taylor says.
Taylor, who also serves as Chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, had previously made headlines for slamming the recent immigrant wave as an Obama administration-manufactured crisis.
“This is not a humanitarian crisis,” Taylor wrote in a press release last month. “It is a predictable, orchestrated and contrived assault on the compassionate side of Americans by her political leaders that knowingly puts minor Illegal Alien children at risk for purely political purposes. Certainly, we are not gullible enough to believe that thousands of unaccompanied minor Central American children came to America without the encouragement, aid and assistance of the United States Government.”
Below is a transcript of the portion of the video where Taylor explains how the immigration crisis is covert asymmetrical warfare aimed at the US public.
The whole idea of asymmetrical warfare is to defeat your enemy from within. It is not to attack him from without. Of course the threat comes from without, but they have to be inside of the US to effect a successful warfare strategy.
If asymmetrical warfare is going to be successful, the first thing that has to be done is to compromise America’s defenses against invasion, because they have to have their personnel inside the United States to affect the infrastructure: our hospitals, our schools, our electric grid, our power supplies our water supply – basically what we call “infrastructure.” All of those things create our infrastructure – but they have to affect the degeneration from inside the United States.
The markers that we’re seeing that indicate this is “asymmetrical warfare” is because the reaction that the United States is taking is they’re taking the opportunity of inviting these illegal aliens to come here, they’re concentrating them in one place in the United States, the Rio Grande Valley, and they’re drawing the resources that are protecting the rest of the US border to care for the illegal alien children, to help with the overflow of the minors, to transport, to take care of the needs of these people while they’re in Homeland Security custody.
All this takes the resources that are protecting America at the border, off of the border. So now the borders are wide open. This gives people that are trying to get their infrastructure, their personnel, their drugs, their dirty bombs, their biological weapons, their chemical weapons into the United States without being noticed because this part of the border is open, it is not being controlled.
It is a perfect military strategy. It doesn’t raise any eyebrows because we’re focused on the children, but we need to focus on our children, because this is asymmetrical warfare. Everything says it is. And the way the United States government is responding to it is concealing that fact from the American people.
In other words they’re assisting in the downfall of America, and you need to understand that.
July 22, 2014 By Matthew Burke
In transcribed congressional testimony, Obama IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane, who oversees the Obama IRS’s targeting scandal document production to Congress, said that he didn’t know whether backups existed of Lois Lerner’s and other IRS employees whose computer hard drives mysteriously and infamously crashed in the midst of the Obama IRS targeting scandal and congressional probe.
Investigator: “You stated at the time that document was produced to Congress, the document, the white paper in Exhibit 3[the June 13 memo], that it was accurate to the best of your knowledge. Is it still accurate?”
Kane: “There is an issue as to whether or not there is a ‑‑ that all of the backup recovery tapes were destroyed on the 6‑month retention schedule.”
Investigator: “So some of those backup tapes may still exist?”
Kane: “I don’t know whether they are or they aren’t, but it’s an issue that’s being looked at.”
In June, Vice President of Operations of Carbonite, the popular online computer backup company, Jim Flynne spoke to TPNN’s Tim Constantine on the “Capitol Hill Show,” explaining from a technological point of view, the Obama IRS’s claim that they “lost” Lois Lerner’s emails is not believable.
Do you believe the Obama IRS’s excuse that Lois Lerner’s emails are lost and unretrievable? Take the Official Tea Party Poll. Click HERE!
Meanwhile, The Obama IRS is also seeking help in destroying 3,200 additional hard drives, the Washingon Times Reports: