Trump Takes Aim at Intelligence Chiefs Via Tweet-Storm
By Jeff Seldin January 30, 2019
U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday, appearing to reignite his long-standing feud with the country’s intelligence agencies by belittling their assessments on Islamic State, North Korea and Iran.
In a series of posts, Trump claimed responsibility for key improvements while calling out his intelligence chiefs for being “extremely passive and naive.”
“When I became President, ISIS was out of control in Syria & running rampant. Since then tremendous progress made, especially over last 5 weeks,” he wrote, using an acronym for the terror group. “Caliphate will soon be destroyed, unthinkable two years ago.”
“North Korea relationship is best it has ever been,” he wrote of his efforts to engage with Pyongyang. “Decent chance of Denuclearization…”
And on Iran, he wrote intelligence officials, “are wrong!”
“Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” the president added.
A differing threat assessment
Trump’s tweet-storm came just one day after his director of national intelligence, along with the directors of five other key intelligence agencies, including the CIA, FBI and NSA, delivered their annual Worldwide Threat Assessment to U.S. lawmakers.
In contrast to Trump’s tweets, and other previous public statements, the picture painted by the intelligence chiefs was grim, warning the United States was facing a “toxic mix” of threats and is in danger of seeing its global influence wane as key adversaries, like Russia and China, position themselves to fill the resulting void.
Their public, unclassified assessments on IS, North Korea and Iran also stood in stark contrast to the president’s past assertions, for example from December, when Trump said, “We have won against ISIS… We have beaten them and we have beaten them badly.”
“ISIS will continue to be a threat to the United States,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told lawmakers Tuesday, saying the terror group “still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria.
On North Korea, Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel reiterated long-standing concerns that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, despite being willing to talk with the U.S., is not truly ready to give up its nuclear ambitions.
“The regime is committed to developing a long-range nuclear armed missile that would pose a direct threat to the United States,” Haspel said.
As for the assessment of Iran, for which Trump labeled the U.S. intel chiefs as “wrong,” the differences between the intelligence agencies and the president appeared to be less glaring.
The intelligence officials told lawmakers that the 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran, which the president has repeatedly called a failure, is working, at least for now.
And Coats agreed with the president about the larger threat and concerns for a “long-term trajectory of Iranian influence in the region and the risk of conflict escalation.”
Reaction to Trump’s tweets
The CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency declined comment when asked about the president’s tweets Wednesday. But the public critiques drew a quick response from some U.S. lawmakers and former intelligence officials.
“The President has a dangerous habit of undermining the intelligence community to fit his alternate reality,” Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, a Democrat, tweeted in response. “People risk their lives for the intelligence he just tosses aside on Twitter.”
Former CIA Director John Brennan, an outspoken critic whose security clearance was revoked last August, also took Trump to task, calling the president’s tweets an indication of “the extent of your intellectual bankruptcy,” writing that Americans “need to understand the danger you pose to our national security.”
And former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, told VOA the president’s tweets were “sophomoric.”
“He should actually read the written assessment,” Clapper said. “I guess he’s reacting to the media focus on the disparities between what the IC [Intelligence Community] assessed and what his ‘gut’ tells him, so, of course he had to push back.”
‘Not that big’ a deal
Yet other former officials described the commotion over the president’s tweets as overblown.
“This is not that big a thing,” said Steve Bucci, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation who previously served as an assistant to former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
“Frankly, I see both sides kind of doing what they get paid to do,” he told VOA. “The intel community is supposed to be the factual analyzers and the president picks the policies he wants to follow.
“They clearly have failed to convince him that their position is correct. And now everybody is going nuts because he’s not treating what the intelligence community says as holy writ,” Bucci said.
Bucci also said it would be a mistake to view Trump’s tweets as an indictment of his intel chiefs as opposed to messages meant for Iran and North Korea.
“He’s trying to move both countries in directions that are beneficial to U.S. interests,” he said. “He’s not shutting down the intel community.”
Other former officials agree that despite a history of public hostility between Trump and U.S. intelligence officials – stemming from the community’s public assessment of Russian interference in the 2016 election –the president’s tweets were likely not intended to further inflame any feud.
“Trump’s critical tweets about the new worldwide threat statement, however, probably have less to do with general antipathy than with how the statement includes inconvenient truths that clash with incorrect assertions by the administration,” Paul Pillar, a veteran CIA officer now with the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University, told VOA in an email.
Larry Pfeiffer, a 32-year veteran of the U.S. intelligence community with stints as senior director of the White House Situation Room and chief of staff to former CIA Director Michael Hayden, said such tension, in and of itself, is not unusual.
“I can’t think of a president of the United States or a policymaker who didn’t like what the intelligence community had to say,” Pfeiffer said, adding intelligence officials have long seen it as their job to tell truth to power.
But Pfeiffer cautioned that Trump’s responses could still take a toll.
“It can publicly affect morale … when the ultimate customer has this kind of attitude,” he said. “He’s publicly criticized the intelligence community more than he’s criticized [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.”
“The question for me is, at what point do these intelligence chiefs quit,” said John Sipher, a 28-year veteran of the CIA who once ran the agency’s Russia operations.
“It is one thing for the president to have differing views,” he said. “It is another thing altogether to openly attack or belittle the IC.”
Hijacking Holocaust Remembrance Day
“On International Holocaust Remembrance Day this past Sunday, Jan. 27, political figures across the globe tweeted out their thoughts on the commemoration of history’s greatest atrocity. Most of the messages were simple reminders that evil must be fought, that we must learn from history and that the victims must not be forgotten.
But a few directly undermined the message of the day. They did so with animus and intent. They did so by carving out the heart of the Holocaust in favor of trite, rote platitudes that could then be used as political hatchets against their political opposition.
Leading the way was open anti-Semite and British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. As National Review’s Julie Lenarz wrote, Corbyn once met with members of Hamas and Hezbollah, calling it his “honor and pleasure.” Corbyn described Raed Salah, a practitioner of the anti-Semitic blood libel, as a “very honored citizen.” He allegedly gave money to Holocaust denier Paul Eisen. He even hosted a program on the Iranian TV outlet Press TV. You can find photos of him attending a memorial for the Palestinian terrorist perpetrators of the Munich massacre. Corbyn’s anti-Semitism is so blatant and obvious that it has rent the Labour Party, even as the Conservative Party struggles to maintain control in Britain.
None of his past actions stopped Corbyn from issuing his Holocaust remembrance message: “In memory of the millions of Jewish people, and others, who perished in the Holocaust. Let us never allow antisemitism or any other form of racism to disfigure our society.” By zooming out from the Holocaust — a massacre of 6 million Jews for the crime of being Jewish — and thus turning the Holocaust into a rote lesson on “racism” writ large, Corbyn can disassociate his own support for genocidal anti-Semites from his supposed opposition to the Holocaust itself.
“The Holocaust must be remembered. Obscuring it with platitudinous statements uttered by anti-Semites isn’t just disgusting, it’s dangerous.”
The same holds true for Linda Sarsour, co-chair of the Women’s March. Sarsour is a supporter of the anti-Semitic boycott against Israel. In 2012, she tweeted, “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” and has publicly defended radical Jew-hater Louis Farrakhan. She has stated that support of Israel cannot coincide with feminism. Yet she, too, sent out a Holocaust Remembrance missive — this one curiously missing any mention of the Jews. “May the memories of those who perished inspire us to love and protect one another. May we never forget history so that we may never repeat it,” she tweeted. “May they rest in an eternal peace knowing that we will fight for each other no matter the consequences.”
Again, a message just vague enough with which to virtue-signal — all without ever having to acknowledge the real-life anti-Semitism in which Sarsour herself has engaged.
Her tweet is a convenient way of omitting the actual message of the Holocaust: first, that Jews must never again be dehumanized and murdered for political purposes; second, that anti-Semitism is not merely a subset of bigotry, but its own poisonous brand; and third, that mass murder is possible when purportedly civilized people forget the first two lessons. And yet, thanks to a deliberate campaign to obfuscate those first two lessons, enemies of the Jewish people can hijack Holocaust Remembrance Day to use as a political club.
One time, the Lubavitcher Rebbe was asked if the Holocaust could ever happen again. “Morgen in der fruh,” he answered. “Tomorrow morning.”
In a world in which Iran routinely threatens Israel’s Jews with annihilation, in which the Palestinian Authority and Hamas unite to teach their children about the eventual hope of a Judenrein Palestine, in which Jews across Europe live under the possibility of the knife, the Holocaust must be remembered. Obscuring it with platitudinous statements uttered by anti-Semites isn’t just disgusting, it’s dangerous.
Ben Shapiro is editor-in-chief at The Daily Wire.
DNI: Russia, China Most Serious Espionage Threats To U.S.
January 29, 2019
Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats says Russia and China present the most serious espionage and cyberattack threats to the United States as the two seek to expand their global reach.
In testimony on worldwide threats, Coats told the Senate on January 29 that the Kremlin’s relationship with Beijing “is closer than it’s been in many decades” and posed an even bigger threat as some allies pull away from Washington in reaction to changing U.S. policies on security and trade.
“China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea increasingly use cyberoperations to threaten both minds and machines in an expanding number of ways — to steal information, to influence our citizens, or to disrupt critical infrastructure,” Coats said.
Coats also said it was likely that U.S. adversaries are already looking into ways to interfere in the 2020 U.S. election, refining their capabilities and adding new tactics that may look to ratchet up social and racial tensions in the United States, undermining trust in authorities and criticizing politicians seen as anti-Russia.
In a contradiction to claims by President Donald Trump, Coats told the Senate committee that North Korea was unlikely to honor its pledges to denuclearize.
Coats noted in the newly released annual Worldwide Threat Assessment from the Directorate of National Intelligence that Pyongyang had “reversibly dismantled” parts of its infrastructure for weapons of mass destruction.
“Our assessment is bolstered by our observations of some activity that is inconsistent with full denuclearization,” Coats said.
The White House has said Trump will hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un near the end of next month.
A landmark June summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore ended with a promise by the North Korean leader to work toward the complete denuclearization of the divided Korean Peninsula.
But intelligence sources have said that progress on the ground since the meeting has been disappointing.
Coats also warned that the Islamic State (IS) group maintains a force of thousands of fighters who pose a serious threat in the Middle East.
Coats added that IS, which once held large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq but is now reduced to a shrinking enclave, would exploit any reduction in counterterrorism pressure to stage a comeback.
IS “still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria, and it maintains eight branches, more than a dozen networks, and thousands of dispersed supporters around the world, despite significant leadership and territorial losses,” Coats said.
Trump last month announced he was ordering a full withdrawal of the 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria.
The Pentagon said it had begun the withdrawal, although how long it would take remained uncertain.
With reporting by Reuters, CNN, and dpa
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
US Intel Chiefs Warn Washington Risks Losing Friends, Influence
U.S. intelligence chiefs are sounding alarms about an ever more perilous future for the United States, one in which the country is in danger of seeing its influence wane, its allies waiver and key adversaries team up to erode norms that once kept the country safe and the world more stable.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, along with the leaders of five other top intelligence agencies, delivered the grim assessment Tuesday, unveiling their annual worldwide threats report for lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Coats described the challenges facing the U.S. as a “toxic mix,” combing the exploits of the “big four” – Russia, China, North Korea and Iran – and of non-state actors such as terrorists and criminal networks, and factors such as rapidly advancing technology, climate change and migration.
“It is increasingly a challenge to prioritize which threats are of greatest importance,” Coats said, sharing testimony that often and repeatedly contradicted past assertions by U.S. President Donald Trump.
“We face significant changes in the domestic and global environment that has resulted in an increasingly complex and uncertain world and we must be ready. We must be ready,” he added.
Driving many of the concerns, according to intelligence officials, is a growing alliance between Russia and China competing against the U.S. not just for military and technological superiority, but for global influence.
“China and Russia are more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950s,” the report warns.
That relationship is only likely to strengthen as both Moscow and Beijing attempt to take advantage of what they see as a growing U.S. unilateralism, it added.
Officials say that is already playing out in Europe where both countries find openings, as traditional U.S. allies question Washington’s role and consider new partnerships.
The threat assessment, while not mentioning the Trump administration’s focus on “America First” policies or its repeated criticism of alliances like NATO, cautions that many of these U.S. allies are already “seeking greater independence from Washington in response to their perceptions of changing U.S. policies on security and trade.”
At the same time, China and Russia appear to be benefiting from different approaches.
Beijing is trying to win influence by selling would-be partners “a distinctly Chinese fusion of strongman autocracy and a form of Western-style capitalism as a development model and implicit alternative to democratic values and institutions,” Coats said.
In contrast, Coats warned Russia is using weapons sales, private security firms and energy deals with some success across the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia.
The intelligence chiefs also broke with Trump over North Korea less than a month after the president touted what he called an “incredible” meeting with North Korean nuclear envoy Kim Yong Chol.
“We have made a lot of progress, as far as denuclearization is concerned,” Trump said at the time.
But Coats is skeptical that Pyongyang will ever give up its entire nuclear arsenal, pointing to “activity that is inconsistent with full denuclearization.”
CIA Director Gina Haspel also said that despite indications North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “is trying to navigate a path toward some kind of better future,” his calculations on the need for nuclear weapons do not seem to have changed.
“The regime is committed to developing a long-range nuclear armed missile that would pose a direct threat to the United States,” she told lawmakers.
And while North Korea has not conducted a nuclear test in more than a year, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Robert Ashley likewise warned there is no reason to relax.
“They showed a capability to have an ICBM function,” Ashley said, pointing to older missile tests. “The capabilities and threat that existed a year ago are still there.”
The U.S. intelligence community also expressed caution about the president’s willingness to declare the demise of the Islamic State terror group.
The IS caliphate, Coats said, has been defeated, reduced to just a “couple of little villages” in Syria. But he said underestimating the group’s resolve would be a mistake.
“ISIS is intent on resurging and still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria,” Coats said, using an acronym for the group.
“ISIS will continue to be a threat to the United States, and we’re going to have to continue … to keep our eyes on that and our interest in the realization that this terrorism threat is going to continue for some time.”
Iran nuclear deal
U.S. intelligence analysts also appear to split with Trump over Iran and its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
“At the moment, technically, they are in compliance,” Haspel said of the 2015 deal between Iran and world powers meant to prevent Tehran from pursuing nuclear weapons.
The U.S. withdrew from the agreement last May, after Trump decried it as “defective to its core,” arguing that it would allow Iran to get economic relief and still have a path to nuclear weapons.
But for now, U.S. intelligence officials say Tehran is at least a year away from being able to produce a nuclear warhead, though they caution that with new U.S. and European sanctions, their willingness to stick with the agreement may be waning.
“We do see them debating amongst themselves as they’ve failed to realize the economic benefits they hoped for from the deal,” Haspel added.
At the same time, Coats said intelligence analysts expect Iran to put greater pressure on the U.S. in the Middle East, with Iranian-backed Shia militias likely to pose a growing threat to U.S. troops in Iraq.
Coats and the other intelligence chiefs warned lawmakers that Russia, China, North Korea and Iran would continue to pressure the U.S. in cyberspace.
“We expect these actors and others to rely more and more on cyber capabilities when seeking to gain political, economic and military advantages over the United States and its allies and partners,” he told lawmakers Tuesday.
Coats said despite successful efforts to protect “the integrity of the 2018 midterm elections,” the intelligence agencies expected Russia, China, Iran and others to target the 2020 U.S. presidential elections.
“We expect them to refine their capabilities and add new tactics as they learn from each other’s experiences and efforts in previous elections,” he said.
Coats called the situation in Venezuela, where the U.S. has officially recognized Venezuelan legislative leader Juan Guaido as the country president, “tenuous.”
In an effort to support Guaido and constrain Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, the U.S. on Monday slapped sanctions on the country’s state-run oil company.
But Coats said he expects Cuba, Russia and China “to prop up the Maduro regime’s security or financing,” and that the deciding factor could be the country’s military.
“The influence of the military on that decision … probably is key to what direction we might go in,” he said.
Despite the heavy focus from the White House and the Department of Homeland Security on the need for a border wall, the intelligence chiefs made no direct mention of threats along the southern U.S. border with Mexico.
Coats said he expected Mexico would “pursue cooperation with the United States as it tries to reduce violence and address socioeconomic issues, but authorities still do not have the capability to fully address the reduction, the flow and trafficking of the drug cartels.”
Coats also warned that high crime rates and economic problems “will continue to spur U.S.-bound migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.”
The Worldwide Threat Assessment report also warned of increased migration pressures worldwide due to a combination of a slowing global economy and climate change.
A wave of anti-Semitism is bringing secular UK Jews closer to their roots
A moderately famous daytime game show television host, Riley, 33, is one of countless unaffiliated Jews in the United Kingdom a country with 250,000 Jewish citizens and where synagogue attendance is at a historic low.
When I was a kid my mum would give us pepperoni pizza, she told The Times of London in an interview published Saturday, pointing out that she didn t keep kosher.
On Hanukkah, she added, We d light the menorah candles but we didn t go to synagogue and I ve never done Friday night [Shabbat].
But after experiencing anti-Semitic abuse online for criticizing Britain s liberal Labour party whose far-left leader Jeremy Corbyn has been called anti-Semitic for his rhetoric and anti-Israel views Riley was compelled to speak out, including in parliament last week, against the proliferation of that hatred and about how it has affected her own family.
My family came over in the pogroms. For centuries Jews have been persecuted and kicked out of countries, she said in the Times interview.
Riley s revisiting of her Jewish identity is part of a larger process that is creating an unparalleled unity and sense of solidarity amongst Jews of all persuasions in the United Kingdom, the London-based Campaign Against Antisemitism watchdog group told JTA.
The crisis generating this sense of unity centers on the 2015 election of Corbyn to head Labour. Thousands of his followers joined Labour for him, creating a toxic atmosphere for Jews and thousands of cases of hate speech against Jews in the party s ranks.
Last year, Margaret Hodge, a veteran Labour lawmaker in the upper house of the British parliament, was probed by her own party over her criticism of Corbyn s anti-Semitism problem. She said the party s decision made her think of what it felt like to be a Jew in Germany in the 1930s.
It was a highly unusual statement from a person so unaffiliated that many British Jews didn t even know she was Jewish.
I have never been active in the Jewish community; my two marriages were to non-Jews, she wrote in an Op-Ed for the Guardian in July. But, she added, I am a Jew.
Hodge s mobilization against anti-Semitism is not entirely unexpected she wrote in the Guardian piece that she had joined Labour in the 1960s to fight racism.
But Riley s statements are less predictable. Before she began speaking out against anti-Semitism last fall, she was best known as one of the hosts of Channel 4 s long-running puzzle show Countdown. Tabloids often focus on her eye-catching dresses including a metallic silver mini she wore to a Nov. 2018 gala. Her other claim to fame was her ability to solve math puzzles.
Few Brits knew that Riley, a blue-eyed blonde, is Jewish.
That began to change in September, when she took to Twitter to express her concerns about billboards that had been illegally placed across London reading, Israel is a racist endeavor.
The signs, part of a war of words and billboards between Corbyn supporters and his critics, were over Corbyn s objection to Labour adopting a definition of anti-Semitism that includes anti-Israel sentiment.
But as soon as Riley spoke about them, she exposed herself to anti-Semitic abuse online, she said.
Her Twitter account usually full of requests from school girls asking for help with math problems was inundated with racist and other insults by people she says are Corbyn fans.
In the name of Labour I ve been called a hypocrite, lying propagandist, tits-teeth-and-ass clothes horse, dolly bird, weaponizer of anti-Semitism, fascist, right-wing extremist, Nazi sympathizer, Twitter cancer, she said during a Jan. 22 speech in parliament ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Other insults, she added, included: Brainwashed, an anti-Semite, white supremacist, hate preacher, Zio political trollster, not a real Jew, a child bully, conspiracy theorist.
She also got physical threats, leading her studio to increase security for her show.
During the same speech, she said that had someone told her a year ago that she d be commemorating the Holocaust in parliament, I wouldn t know where to begin with my incredulity.
Historically speaking, the galvanizing effect that anti-Semitism can have on some Jews sense of Jewish identity is neither surprising nor unusual, Keith Kahn-Harris, a London-based sociologist and writer, told JTA. It often takes violent, crude anti-Semitism to make people discover what you might call latent Jewishness.
In that sense, Riley s experiences and reaction to them are part of how anti-Semitism in the United Kingdom has gone from being a containable issue to a major public issue.
The proliferation of anti-Semitism in Britain can be measured in the number of incidents reported (last year had 1,382 of them an all-time record). It s reflected in British media, which from 2016 on began devoting unprecedented levels of attention to the issue.
Much of the debate centers on the role of Corbyn, who in 2013 defended an anti-Semitic mural in London (he later expressed regret for that). In 2009 he called the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas his friends, adding that the latter Gaza-based group isdedicated towards the good of the Palestinian people and bringing about long-term peace and social justice.
He has laid a wreath at a monument for the killers of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics and said in 2015 that Zionists who have lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, don t understand English irony.
Against this backdrop, even British Jews who rarely speak about politics in the Middle East or elsewhere find themselves under attack online.
On Monday, another Jewish celebrity, Game of Thrones actress Laura Pradelska, told the BBC she turned off the comment option on her Instagram account because of anti-Semitic abuse that s mostly to do with Israel, although she hardly ever posts about that country.
The leaders of the U.K. s Jewish community prefer low-profile action. But the previous chief rabbi of Britain, Jonathan Sacks, has called Corbyn an anti-Semite an accusation Corbyn has denied, adding he is determined to fight anti-Semitism in Labour and beyond. Last year, Britain s three leading Jewish newspapers united in publishing a front-page editorial warningthat a Corbyn premiership would constitute an existential threat to Jewish life in this country.
The events have even rallied unaffiliated Jews who have not experienced abuse themselves.
I usually avoid politics but Corbyn is making the Jews feel really bad, a Belgium-born Jewish woman from north London, who requested to remain anonymous, told JTA. It made her for the first time in her life join a protest against anti-Semitism last year outside parliament.
To her, the debate on anti-Semitism in Britain is catching up with local Jews who did not suffer as much as other European Jews, she added, because Britain was never occupied by the Nazis.
Murray Lee, an unaffiliated Jewish real-estate agent from London, said that Britain s anti-Semitism problem saddens him primarily as a Brit, not necessarily as a Jew.
Asked whether the problem makes him think of his ancestors, Murray, who is a third-generation U.K.-born Jew, said: It s very hard to say no to that, but in principle, my ancestors are pretty much British.
(Photo – Wiki Commons)
Η απαγγελία βαριών κατηγοριών από τις ΗΠΑ κατά του κινεζικού κολοσσού της κινητής τηλεφωνίας Huawei είναι μόνον η κορυφή του παγόβουνου, την ώρα που μαίνεται μία λυσσαλέα σύγκρουση με έπαθλο την παγκόσμια κυριαρχία στην τεχνολογία.
Το υπουργείο Δικαιοσύνης των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών κατηγορεί την Huawei ότι έκλεψε μυστικά από εταιρίες που εδρεύουν στη χώρα και ενεπλάκη σε συνωμοσία, παραβιάζοντας τις κυρώσεις που έχουν επιβάλει οι ΗΠΑ κατά του Ιράν.
Οι κατηγορίες στρέφονται και εναντίον της Μεγκ Ουανζού, που διατηρεί το ρόλο του διευθύνοντος οικονομικού συμβούλου της Huawei, ενώ συμβαίνει να είναι και κόρη του ιδρυτή της εταιρίας.
Από την έκβαση της διαμάχης, ίσως κριθεί εάν τελικά θα γίνει κάποτε η Κίνα τεχνολογική υπερδύναμη, ή εάν θα την σταματήσουν στο δρόμο οι Αμερικανοί…
Οι αναλυτές επισημαίνουν ότι η Huawei ίσως έχει την ίδια μοίρα που είχε η μικρότερη ανταγωνίστριά της ZTE, που αποκλείστηκε από τις ΗΠΑ – αφού της απαγορεύθηκε να αγοράζει ζωτικής σημασίας εξαρτήματα από αμερικανικές εταιρίες.
Η Huawei, η κατασκοπεία και ο εμπορικός πόλεμος
Η κινεζική εταιρία – μοντέλο εξελίχθηκε τα τελευταία χρόνια σε έναν από τους ηγέτες της παγκόσμιας αγοράς κινητών τηλεφώνων και επικοινωνιών. Η πορεία της θεωρείται εμβληματική, καθώς πιστοποιεί την επιτυχία του οικονομικού μοντέλου της χώρας.
Πουλά περισσότερα τηλέφωνα από την Apple (έστω και αν εκμεταλλεύεται την τεράστια κινεζική αγορά, όπου έχει προβάδισμα, προσφέροντας φθηνές συσκευές) ενώ θεωρείται πρωτοπόρος στην εξέλιξη της τεχνολογίας 5G.
Ωστόσο, το 2012 οι ΗΠΑ έθεσαν ζήτημα κατασκοπείας μέσω προϊόντων της Huawei, με αποτέλεσμα η εταιρεία να εμπλακεί στην αντιπαράθεση μεταξύ των δύο χωρών, έστω και αν αρνείται τις κατηγορίες.
Ως αποτέλεσμα, ο Ντόναλντ Τραμπ ενέκρινε την επιβολή δασμών σε σειρά κινεζικών προϊόντων και ξέσπασε εμπορικός πόλεμος, που πλήττει σοβαρά πολλές επιχειρήσεις σε όλο τον κόσμο. Οι αγορές υφίστανται πιέσεις και κραδασμούς, ενώ εκφράζονται ανοιχτά φόβοι για επιβράδυνση της παγκόσμιας ανάπτυξης.
Πως μπορεί να κατασκοπεύει η Huawei;
Σύμφωνα με την ιστοσελίδα Quartz, που ειδικεύεται σε θέματα νέας τεχνολογίας, οι Αμερικανοί φοβούνται ότι η Huawei μπορεί να κάνει κατασκοπεία για λογαριασμό της Κίνας, επειδή οι ίδιοι έχουν πράξει κάτι ανάλογο στο παρελθόν.
Το παράδειγμα που παραθέτει ο αναλυτής του Quartz σχετίζεται με την αμερικανική εταιρία Lotus Notes, εξειδικευμένη στην παραγωγή λογισμικού, η οποία χρησιμοποιούσε κρυπτογραφικό κώδικα (cryptography) ώστε να προστατεύει τα δεδομένα των χρηστών του λογισμικού της.
Όμως, όταν έφτασε η ώρα να πουλήσει η Lotus στο εξωτερικό το λογισμικό της, πέρασε από διαδικασία ελέγχου του Στέιτ Ντιπάρτμεντ. Η εταιρία «ενθαρρύνθηκε» να χρησιμοποιήσει τότε ασθενέστερο κρυπτογραφικό κώδικα, όπως αναφέρει στο βιβλίο υπό τον τίτλο «Crypto» ο Stephen Levy.
Eπειτα από συζητήσεις που κράτησαν χρόνια(!) η Εθνική Υπηρεσία Ασφαλείας των ΗΠΑ (NSA) επέτρεψε στην Lotus Notes να εξάγει το προϊόν της με κώδικα κρυπτογράφησης 32-bit…αντί του κώδικα 64-bit που χρησιμοποιούσε στην εγχώρια, αμερικανική αγορά!
Εκείνη την εποχή, η παραβίαση του κρυπτογραφικού κώδικα 64-bit ήταν κάτι που θεωρείτο περίπου αδύνατο…
«Εχθροπραξίες» σε όλο τον κόσμο
Χωρίς δεύτερη σκέψη, η Ουάσιγκτον στράφηκε στους συμμάχους της σε όλο τον κόσμο και ζήτησε επιτακτικά να σταματήσουν να χρησιμοποιούν την τεχνολογία της Huawei, καθώς και της ΖΤΕ, ιδιαίτερα στον κομβικό τομέα του 5G.
Αυστραλία και Νέα Ζηλανδία ανταποκρίθηκαν άμεσα, ενώ ακολούθησαν Ιαπωνία και Γερμανία.
Την περασμένη εβδομάδα, η Vodafone ανακοίνωσε ότι διακόπτει την εγκατάσταση εξοπλισμού από την Huawei σε μεγάλα ευρωπαϊκά δίκτυα.
Η Huawei απάντησε κάνοντας λόγο για «ανεύθυνες αποφάσεις», που βασίζονται σε ιδεολογικές και γεωπολιτικά κριτήρια, αντί να προταχθεί η τεχνολογική αξία της συνεργασίας.
Πάντως, ο διευθύνων σύμβουλος της Vodafone επιβεβαίωσε ότι αυτή η διακοπή συνεργασίας θα επιφέρει σημαντική καθυστέρηση στην ανάπτυξη δικτύου 5G στην Ευρώπη.
THE ISLAMIC STATE LOBBY
Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar also backs Maduro’s Venezuelan dictatorship.
On January 16, CNN reported, an ISIS fighter detonated an explosion that killed four Americans, including two U.S. service members, a defense contractor, and a civilian Department of Defense intelligence expert. The ISIS blast also killed eight civilians and two soldiers with the Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by the United States. The deaths prompted no condemnation of ISIS from freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, but less than two weeks later her past statements on the Islamic State made news.
In 2015, when ISIS was on a roll and holding territory in Syria and Iraq, Omar lobbied on behalf of “Minnesota men” accused of trying to join the Islamic State. As Fox News reported the nine men faked passports for a plan to travel to Syria and fight for ISIS. They were arrested and Omar, then a state representative, urged an approach of “inclusion and rehabilitation,” and light sentences.
“Incarcerating 20-year-old men for 30 or 40 years is essentially a life sentence,” Omar wrote to the judge. “Society will have no expectations of the to-be 50- or 60-year-old released prisoners; it will view them with distrust and revulsion.” Punitive measures, “not only lack efficacy, they inevitably create an environment in which extremism can flourish, aligning with the presupposition of terrorist recruitment.”
One of the men, Abdirahman Yasin Daud, was on record that “I was going strictly to fight and kill on behalf of the Islamic State.” Daud faced a sentence of 30 years but Omar told the judge, “a long-term prison sentence for one who chose violence to combat direct marginalization is a statement that our justice system misunderstands the guilty. A restorative approach to justice assesses the lure of criminality and addresses it.”
So the ISIS troops, with their black flag and captured tanks, were fighting “direct marginalization,” which implies that they were somehow victims, not aggressors. No mention of ISIS slaughtering of civilians, taking of sex slaves, and executing prisoners of war such as the Jordanian pilot burned alive in a cage. And according to Omar, only the “lure of criminality” was in play here.
This performance recalls the proclamation of POTUS 44, formerly known as Barry Soetoro, that ISIS was only a “JV” or “junior varsity” team, and therefore safely ignored. That’s a tough act to follow but Ilhan Omar pulled it off. Indeed, if the Islamic State ever said or did anything with which she disagreed, it never made the news. The Mogadishu-born Muslim is not on record with sympathy for victims of ISIS atrocities, but she wanted leniency for aspiring ISIS fighters. In Congress Omar has stepped up her game.
She charges that President Trump is blackmailing Lindsey Graham, and she was “pretty sure that there is something happening with him.” Graham has never married and some interpreted Omar’s remarks that Trump knows Graham’s true sexuality and uses this to leverage the formerly critical senator into public support. This did not go over well, even in the establishment media.
Omar also charged that Catholic students from Covington High School were “protesting a women’s right to choose” and “taunting five Black men.” It soon emerged that the black men, from the Black Hebrew Israelites were taunting both the students and Native Americans. Omar took down her tweet but on other fronts she was undeterred.
The socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela has plunged a prosperous nation into abject poverty and starvation. Millions have fled and Maduro attacks the opposition. The United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay and Peru support Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela. Ilhan Omar sides with Bolivia and Cuba’s Communist dictatorship, the only countries in the region to support Maduro.
“Trump’s efforts to install a far-right opposition will only incite violence and further destabilize the region,” she tweeted. As Becket Adams noted in the Washington Examiner, Omar also “circulated state-produced propaganda in service of a hostile foreign power” and urged an end to economic sanctions that, she wrote, “are inflicting suffering on innocent families.” As Adams noted, “It’s also funny to hear a staunch supporter of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement disparage the idea of imposing sanctions on a truly destructive and despotic government.”
Quite the performance from the freshman representative from Minnesota. To her credit, Rep. Ilhan Omar has illustrated the axis of terrorist regimes and socialist dictatorships, united in their hatred of the United States.
Meanwhile, some ISIS fighters will be returning to nations such as Canada, the United Kingdom, France and the United States. Canada gave $10 million to Omar Khadr, a captured enemy combatant in Afghanistan, so veterans benefits to Islamic State troops is a possibility. If Britain and France don’t roll out the welcome mat, they might look the other way.
It would not have gone well with any American or Canadian who fought with Nazi Germany against the Allies then attempted to return. It’s also worth recalling that more than a few Nazi war criminals gained entry to the United States and received millions of dollars in Social Security payments, even when they were banished from the country.
Whatever the United States decides to with returning ISIS soldiers, Rep. Ilhan Omar will be lobbying for leniency. As she said, these Muslims only “chose violence to combat direct marginalization” and “our justice system misunderstands the guilty.”