7:06 PM 10/5/2017 – Russia-Trump campaign collusion an ‘open’ issue: US Senate panel chiefs – Reuters

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Russia-Trump campaign collusion an ‘open’ issue: US Senate panel chiefs – Reuters

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Reuters
Russia-Trump campaign collusion an ‘open’ issue: US Senate panel chiefs
Reuters
U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered in the election to try to help Trumpdefeat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton through a campaign of hacking and releasing embarrassing emails, and disseminating propaganda via social media 
‘The issue of collusion is still open’: Top senators hint the Russia probe is heating upBusiness Insider
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11:17 AM 10/5/2017 – BERLIN (AP) – The heads of three German intelligence agencies say national and international cooperation and information-sharing is ever more critical as threats become more global. 

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» Public RSS-Feed of Mike Nova. Created with the PIXELMECHANICS ‘GPlusRSS-Webtool’ at http://gplusrss.com: 05.10.2017 15:20 05/10/17 09:20 from 1. My News Blogs from mikenova (2 sites) BERLIN (AP) – The heads of three German intelligence agencies say national and international cooperation and information-sharing is ever more critical as threats become more global. Speaking at a public session … Continue reading “11:17 AM 10/5/2017 – BERLIN (AP) – The heads of three German intelligence agencies say national and international cooperation and information-sharing is ever more critical as threats become more global.”

Pres. Trump’s Attacks on the Russian Investigation: Not Just Talking, But Slow Walking—and Maybe Worse 

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNQtOByQPT8]

Briefing reporters on the status of the Russia investigation, Senators Burr and Warner warned that the Russian government is not yet done meddling in U.S. elections. Their investigation into 2016 is not yet complete, and open issues include the question of Trump campaign or other American assistance to the Russian electoral intervention. But the senators’ remarks were just as much directed to the future as to the past. It is critical, Sen. Warner advised reporters, that there be a “whole of government approach” to blunt the Russian active measures program.

Easier said than done. A whole government approach would require an executive fully prepared to work with the Congress to meet this challenge. President Donald Trump has given no such indication: quite the opposite.  It falls to Congress to decide how to exercise its oversight and other constitutional authorities to exact from this administration the necessary degree of cooperation and support for protecting the electoral process in 2018 and 2020.  And time is short. Senators Burr and Warner are working on an expedited schedule with their eyes on potential attacks on the mid-term and next presidential election.

The problem Congress faces is now well-known: a president unwilling to acknowledge, and also periodically actively denying, the threat from Russia. In the briefing’s question and answer exchange, a reporter asked for a response to the president’s repeated suggestion that the Russia investigation was a “hoax.” But the reporter seemed to assume that Trump did not mean the “hoax” comment to apply to the investigation overall, but only as an attack on that aspect that involves possible collusion. Senator Burr pushed the question aside, turning it back to Trump while commenting only that the issue of collusion was “still open.”

There is in this exchange an ambiguity – – and worse than that, a misunderstanding – – on a critical point. The president has disputed the basis for investigation overall, not just in relation to collusion.  Those who believe otherwise are relying on a supposed “concession” by President-Elect Trump at a press conference on January 11 of this year. But the transcript shows that Trump muddied his position and dismissed the Russian cyber attacks just as much as, if not more than, he “conceded” them.

By the time of the January 11 press conference, the intelligence community had publicly reported its “high confidence” findings of Russian interference.  The President opened by saying, “I think it was Russia,” but then added, “I think we also get hacked by other countries and people.” The president meant to suggest that the Russian activity was routine, nothing out of the ordinary, and he went on to question why, if this activity was so widespread, the press had chosen to make a “big deal” out of the Russian part in it. He also noted with approval Putin’s denials of involvement: “I respected the fact that he said that.”

Of course, if Putin denied what Trump “conceded” to be true, what would there have been to “respect” in a wholly false statement? Trump layered in the point to keep open the question of the very activity that he ostensibly acknowledged. Trump then added for good measure that the Democratic National Committee could have protected itself: but it was, in his opinion, “totally open to be hacked.”

So all in all, in offering up his January “concession,” the president was not convinced that the Russian active measures were a “big deal and he “respected” Putin’s denials– while possessing the firmest of convictions about the routine nature of foreign intrusions and the “total” failure of DNC security systems and protocols.

Trump had the occasion in July to discuss the matter face-to-face with the Russian President.  Putin once again denied Russian culpability and reported that the American president was satisfied with this denial. Trump did not go that far in his account of the conversation, but once again suggested he remain prepared to give the Russians at least the benefit of his stubborn doubts. He reported being told by “somebody” that “if he [Putin] did do it you wouldn’t have found out about it. Which is a very interesting point.”  He suggested that this was evidence of a sort that maybe the Russians were innocent: we would never know if the Russians did “it,” because if we did think we knew, it would mean that they didn’t.

So much for the January pseudo-concession, which has receded into the background.  He has since left no question about his view of the Russian interference “hoax.”  The most recent of his tweets on the subject could not be clearer in conveying this view. After Facebook’s disclosure of Russian ad activity on its platform, Trump tweeted: “The Russia hoax continues, now its ads on Facebook.”   He intended for the public audience for his tweets to discount or disregard the Facebook findings–findings of fact he would have no basis whatever to challenge. Trump is effectively framing these facts as “fake news,” part and parcel of the “hoax.” Moreover, he was not responding to evidence of collusion or arguments for its existence. He was rejecting the established fact of Russian attempts through social media such as Facebook to influence the 2016 election.

Just today, the President responded to the Burr-Warner briefing with a tweet wholly lacking a positive statement about the Senate’s work. What it did offer was this, which does not bode well for Trump Administration support in countering the Russia threat:

Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!

Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2017

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

That’s it: not a word about a bipartisan Senate investigative finding about Russia and Moscow’s planning for more interventions in U.S. elections. This sort of tweet is not simply unhelpful and incomprehensibly off the point. It betrays a president in a blinding rage over this issue and wholly unreliable in dealing with a major national security question.

This is apparently not all just public posturing by a president angered by any suggestion that this election was tainted. Earlier this summer, CNN reported that the NSA Director privately “expressed frustration to lawmakers about his inability to convince the President to accept US intelligence that Russia meddled in the election.” And the Wall Street Journal reported that the president in a phone call to the NSA Director “questioned the veracity of the intelligence community’s judgment that Russia had interfered with the election.”  The result in multiple press reports is a White House inactive in the face of a major foreign attack on the democratic process.  CNN has reported that, according to “multiple senior administration officials,” there are “few signs” that the President is attending to this issue. Asked about any indication of affirmative presidential engagement, a senior official told CNN: “I’ve seen no evidence of it.”

Mr. Trump’s behavior, beginning with the refusals to accept and publicly affirm Russian electioneering in 2016, puts in serious question the viability of the “whole of government approach” to safeguarding the electoral process. It suggests a potentially disabling conflict and lack of cooperation between the legislative and executive branches in addressing a matter of paramount importance.  Already, as Senator Warner noted at the briefing, states are complaining about the timeliness and quality of briefings from the Department of Homeland Security.

Problems with DHS performance now and in the future may or may not have to do with Trump’s refusal to accept the need for action on the Russia. But it is impossible to discount the possibility that White House recalcitrance and hostility will affect the behavior of political appointees.  There is also an urgent need to know if the White House takes specific actions to limit the executive branch’s constructive engagement with the Congress to address the Russian “active measures” intrusion into U.S. politics.

Congress will need to press President Trump–and every executive branch senior official with responsibilities in the Russia matter– for a clear statement of the Administration’s position, and for consistency in public support for the response to Russia.  This means no more games played with the claims of a “hoax.”   Failure by the Administration to issue unequivocal commitments should trigger more aggressive legislative measures, including but not limited to ongoing and energetic oversight, to secure executive cooperation–and to root out obstruction.

Read on Just Security »

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Putin’s Russia, guided by its totalitarian past, has no future – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Putin’s Russia, guided by its totalitarian past, has no future
Washington Post
The death of the Russian future was anything but preordained, a fact that is hard to remember now that Putin has reigned for so long and looms so large in our American politics amid the investigations of his intervention in the 2016 U.S. election. But 

Russia playing a double game over North Korea – Gulf Times

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Gulf Times
Russia playing a double game over North Korea
Gulf Times
“The Kremlin really believes the North Korean leadership should get additional assurances and confidence that the United States is not in the regime change business,” Andrey Kortunov, head of the Russian International Affairs Council, a think-tank and more »

Ivana says she was the mastermind behind Trump’s tweeting – New York Post

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New York Post
Ivana says she was the mastermind behind Trump’s tweeting
New York Post
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Trump plans to declare that Iran nuclear deal is not in the national interest – Washington Post

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Washington Post
Trump plans to declare that Iran nuclear deal is not in the national interest
Washington Post
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Russian spymaster denies meddling in US election – ABC News

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Russian spymaster denies meddling in US election
ABC News
The head of Russia’s top domestic security agency is rejecting allegations of interference in theU.S. election. Alexander Bortnikov, the director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the main KGB successor agency, said Thursday that he discussed and more »

Money Laundered in British Columbia Casinos Allegedly Funded Terrorism, Drugs – Casino.Org News

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Casino.Org News
Money Laundered in British Columbia Casinos Allegedly Funded Terrorism, Drugs
Casino.Org News
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President Trump plans to ‘decertify’ Iran nuclear deal next week – CNN

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CNN
President Trump plans to ‘decertify’ Iran nuclear deal next week
CNN
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Russian hackers allegedly used popular antivirus software to steal NSA secrets – ABC News

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Vanity Fair
Russian hackers allegedly used popular antivirus software to steal NSA secrets
ABC News
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Saudi King Seeks Warmer Ties With Russia, a Historic Foe – New York Times

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New York Times
Saudi King Seeks Warmer Ties With Russia, a Historic Foe
New York Times
“We cannot ignore that Russia has become a key player in the Middle East, particularly due to the Obama doctrine that saw the U.S. role in the region shrink,” said Faisal J. Abbas, editor in chief of Saudi Arabia’s Arab News, who was in Moscow for the 
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Russian Hackers Stole NSA Data on US Cyber Defense – Wall Street Journal

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Wall Street Journal
Russian Hackers Stole NSA Data on US Cyber Defense
Wall Street Journal
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The hotel where the Las Vegas gunman stockpiled weapons for 3 days has been quiet about what happened — and … – Business Insider

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Business Insider
The hotel where the Las Vegas gunman stockpiled weapons for 3 days has been quiet about what happened — and …
Business Insider
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Stephen Paddock and the Las Vegas massacre: A timeline – CNN

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CNN
Stephen Paddock and the Las Vegas massacre: A timeline
CNN
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New aerial photos show aftermath of Las Vegas shooting scene – ABC News

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Washington Post
New aerial photos show aftermath of Las Vegas shooting scene
ABC News
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paddock meaning – Google Search

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pad·dock
ˈpadək/
noun
noun: paddock; plural noun: paddocks
  1. 1.
    a small field or enclosure where horses are kept or exercised.
    synonyms: fieldmeadowpastureMore

    penpoundcorral
    “the horses got out of the paddock”
    • an enclosure adjoining a racetrack where horses are gathered and displayed before a race.
verb
verb: paddock; 3rd person present: paddocks; past tense: paddocked; past participle: paddocked; gerund or present participle: paddocking
  1. 1.
    keep or enclose (a horse) in a paddock.
    “horses paddocked on a hillside”
Origin
early 17th century: apparently a variant of dialect parrock, of unknown ultimate origin.

Translate paddock to

noun
  1. 1. паддок
  2. 2. загон

Russian Mafia recent arrests in Las Vegas – Google Search

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CNN

Not at all quiet for Trump on the Russia front

Las Vegas SunSep 6, 2017
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Feds hit 33 alleged Russian mobsters with gangland charges …
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Russian Mafia – Google Search

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Story image for Russian Mafia from https://en.crimerussia.com/

Marbella football club owner detained in Spain in case of Russian …

<a href=”https://en.crimerussia.com/” rel=”nofollow”>https://en.crimerussia.com/</a>Sep 27, 2017
Russian businessman and the owner of football club Marbella, Alexander … criminal groups and money laundering by Russian mafia in Spain.

Story image for Russian Mafia from https://en.crimerussia.com/

Russian Mafia’s Don Pipo to gift documents from Vatican secret …

<a href=”https://en.crimerussia.com/” rel=”nofollow”>https://en.crimerussia.com/</a>Sep 18, 2017
Pipo has long lived in Italy and is considered to be an influential representative of the Russian mafia. According to Kavkazsky Uzel (Caucasian …

Story image for Russian Mafia from https://en.crimerussia.com/

Russian mafia in Spain: six of eleven detainees on suspicion of …

<a href=”https://en.crimerussia.com/” rel=”nofollow”>https://en.crimerussia.com/</a>Sep 29, 2017
Meanwhile, passports of suspects in Russian mafia’s money laundering were confiscated. They are still forbidden to leave Spain and are …

Story image for Russian Mafia from The Local Spain

Police arrest 11 Russians in Marbella for money laundering

The Local SpainSep 27, 2017
A member of the Spanish Guardia civil stands on boat during a raid targeting the Russian mafia in the Puerto Banus marina area of the …

Casinos, professional gambling, and Mafia – Google Search

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Russians Engineer a Brilliant Slot Machine Cheat—And Casinos …

WIREDFeb 6, 2017
In early June 2014, accountants at the Lumiere Place Casino in St. Louis … since 2009, when the country outlawed virtually all gambling.

Story image for Casinos, professional gambling, and Mafia from Philippine Star

450 gambling addicts banned from casinos

Philippine StarJun 5, 2017
Domingo noted that aside from being a high roller (high-stakes gambler), Carlos was also a professional gun holder. His license for a 5.56-mm …

Marilou Danley – Google Search

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Story image for Marilou Danley from Business Insider

Girlfriend of Las Vegas shooter thought he was breaking up with her …

Business Insider3 hours ago
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danley – Google Search

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Las Vegas shooter booked hotel overlooking Lollapalooza, seen with mystery woman – ABC News

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USA TODAY
Las Vegas shooter booked hotel overlooking Lollapalooza, seen with mystery woman
ABC News
Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Sept. 28, bringing 10 bags and at least 23 guns, including high-power rifles. He set up surveillance cameras inside and outside his two-room suite. There were two cameras on a room service cart in …
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False Flag Terrorism: Myth and Reality 

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Sunday night’s appalling atrocity in Las Vegas, where an apparently lone gunman holed up in the Mandalay Bay hotel shot more than 500 people – killing 59 of them at present count – has taken over the airwaves and social media. Rightly so, since this is the deadliest mass shooting incident in recent American history.

Questions abound regarding Stephen Paddock, the shooter, who’s dead (reportedly by his own hand) and therefore unavailable to explain what motivated him to commit such an awful crime. It’s a rare thing for an affluent older white man – he was 64 and devoted to gambling in his retirement from accountancy – without a criminal record to assemble a vast arsenal, then unleash it on hundreds of people he’d never met.

It may be some time before a motive can be detected in this strange and sinister case. The claim of the Islamic State that Paddock was their “soldier” has been dismissed by U.S. intelligence as a desperate fantasy by the ailing terror group, eager to cash in on the Las Vegas horror. Indeed, we may never know exactly what propelled Paddock into this horrific act.

In the absence of reliable information, the usual charlatans have jumped into the fray, offering fact-free speculation. Per sordid custom, this ghoulish gang is led by Alex Jones, the InfoWars doyen, who proffered his customary insta-explanation for the crime: False Flag!

In other words, nothing in Las Vegas is as it seems. Jones offered a tale that was convoluted even for him: Paddock was merely a front for the “Deep State” in Washington, the Islamic State, and “the literal grandchildren of the folks that financed the Bolshevik Revolution out of New York and London” (translation: Jews).

This is his shtick, and Jones falls back on False Flags to explain nearly everything. He became notorious for employing it after the 2012 school horror in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, which left 20 little kids murdered. Egged on by his instance that the entire incident was a hoax, Jones’ demented fans have tortured grieving parents for years.

This vile spectacle has pushed the False Flag idea beyond the pale, which is unfortunate because they really do exist among spies and terrorists. Recruiting agents and conducting espionage operations while pretending to be somebody else happens every day in the real world. Terrorists, too, have been known to kill while masquerading as another party, for political effect.

Polite people don’t like to talk about this, of course, and their politesse has infected our discourse about such important matters, to its detriment. Now, thanks to Alex Jones, to mention False Flags in any way is to self-brand as a lunatic.

Read the rest at The Observer …

Filed under: CounterintelligenceEspionageTerrorism  

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Myanmar military accused of killing dozens of fleeing Rohingya villagers – The Guardian

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The Guardian
Myanmar military accused of killing dozens of fleeing Rohingya villagers
The Guardian
The Myanmar military killed dozens of Rohingya villagers as they gathered to seek safety following the outbreak of violence in Rakhine state, according to witness reports collected by human rights experts. The testimonies describe soldiers beating and more »

9:18 AM 10/5/2017 – German intelligence heads stress international cooperation – Washington Times | Trump’s CIA director outlines plans to make agency more aggressive, cut red tape – by Joseph Fitsanakis 

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The heads of three German intelligence agencies say national and international cooperation and information-sharing is ever more critical as threats become more global. Source: German intelligence heads stress international cooperation – Washington Times Trump’s CIA director outlines plans to make agency more aggressive, cut red tape by Joseph Fitsanakis Thursday October 5th, 2017 at 2:29 AM Search Results For … Continue reading “9:18 AM 10/5/2017 – German intelligence heads stress international cooperation – Washington Times | Trump’s CIA director outlines plans to make agency more aggressive, cut red tape – by Joseph Fitsanakis”

Stephen Paddock, Las Vegas shooter, targeted jet fuel tanks, possibly other targets: Investigators 

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Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock also shot into jet fuel tanks at the airport across from his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, possible attempting to set off a massive explosion, according to a report.

Bullet holes were found in two white tanks at McCarran International …

US: Myanmar crackdown could draw international terrorists

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The U.S. State Department says Myanmar’s crackdown that has caused an exodus of a half-million Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh could destabilize the region and invite international terrorists.

     

Germany’s Trade Surplus Creates Tension With the Trump Administration | Economic Intelligence

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When an irresistible force meets an immovable object, the results are generally not pretty. For this reason, one has to worry about Germany’s outsized trade surplus, which appears to be putting that country on a collision course with the Trump administration.

Being elected on the platform that other countries have been taking advantage of the U.S. in the area of international trade, President Donald Trump seems to be moving irresistibly towards doing something about other countries’ large trade surpluses. Being sure that its country’s large trade surplus is a sign of virtue rather than constituting any problem, the German government is immovable about any notion of taking policy measures to help reduce the size of that surplus.

At the heart of the trade tensions between the U.S. and Germany is the fact that, at around $300 billion, Germany now has the world’s largest external current account surplus. At over 8 percent of GDP, Germany’s external current account surplus is approximately three times the size of that of China, which has for long been the main recipient of U.S. criticism about unfair trade practices.

U.S. concern about Germany’s large external current account surplus predates Trump becoming president. Already in April 2016, in its semi-annual currency report to Congress, the U.S. Treasury flagged that the German external surplus was problematic. It did so by placing Germany, along with China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, on a special monitoring list. It warned that these countries faced extra scrutiny and potential retaliation by Washington as a result of concerns over their growing trade imbalances with the U.S.


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The dollar’s depreciation and the euro’s appreciation are causing trouble for Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi.


Since assuming office, Trump has made abundantly clear his displeasure with Germany’s large trade surplus, which he considers to be totally unacceptable in that it unfairly disadvantages U.S. workers. In that context, his administration has charged that Germany has taken advantage of its Euro membership to gain an unfair competitive advantage. By adopting the Euro as its currency, which weak economic performers like Greece, Italy and Portugal also use, Germany has enjoyed the benefits of a very much weaker currency than it would have had if it had maintained the Deutsche Mark.

The German government’s reaction to the Trump administration’s charges of unfair trade practices is generally one of indignation and incomprehension. It insists that a large trade surplus is not a policy objective, but rather the result of Germany’s orderly budget policies and its aging population’s high propensity to save. Why, they ask, should Germany be penalized for following sensible economic policies?

The German government is also quick to point out that even if it wanted to do something to address its large trade surplus, it is politically constrained from doing so. Since joining the Euro in 1999, it has not been a German central bank that influences the German exchange rate, but rather the independent European Central Bank that does so. Germany might have two seats on the ECB’s board, but it is only one of 19 countries that are represented on that board, which puts it in a distinct minority.


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Similarly, to the repeated entreaties by the International Monetary Fund that Germany should use the fiscal space that it has to help reduce trade imbalances both in Europe and the rest of the world, the German government responds that this is no longer constitutionally possible. In 2009, the German parliament overwhelmingly approved a balanced budget amendment or “debt brake.” According to that debt brake, from 2016 onwards, the German government has been constitutionally precluded from running a structural budget deficit that exceeds 0.35 percent of GDP.

One has to fear that the German government is grossly underestimating how politically important it is to the Trump administration to deliver on the president’s election promises to bring jobs back to America. One also has to worry that should the German government remain intransigent about doing anything to address its country’s large trade surplus, Trump will use his executive authority to follow through on his threats to introduce far-reaching trade restriction to meet his trade balance objectives.

An intensification of trade restrictions is the last thing that the world economy needs; it could very well invite retaliation that could lead to a global trade war. For this reason, one must hope that cooler heads prevail in both Berlin and Washington to find a cooperative way to deal with today’s global trade imbalances. The basis for such an approach might be to have Washington commit to more disciplined budget policies in return for Berlin committing to finding a way to use the fiscal space that it now enjoys to pursue a more expansionary fiscal policy.

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Hearing in the Bundestag: Maaßen calls for more technical possibilities – politics

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With reference to the security security situation, Hans-Georg Maaßen, the President of theConstitution, calls for more powers for the news services. “Security has its price, and the price is not only paid in euros,”. Only the services could detect and prevent terrorist attacks in advance. “We need a full set of tools with which we are able to solve the problems of today,” said Maaßen. “It can not be that we are dependent on our partners.”

Maaßen said he had “a few wishes just in the technical area”. The protection of the constitution needs access to messenger services like WhatsApp or telegram. He would also like to know who is looking at decapitation videos in Germany, which are spread over a foreign server, in order to be able to compare this information with files of suspicious extremists and to assess their dangerousness better.

The threat of cyber attacks is growing

The President of the Constitutional Defense argued that the security situation is now much more complex than in the case of the terror series 40 years ago in the so-called Deutscher Herbst. Currently there are 10,300 Salafists in Germany as well as more than 1800 persons in the Islamic terrorist spectrum. In addition, there was an increase in violent right- and left-wing extremism as well as a growing threat of cyber-attacks . “If I were a business man, I could say: in all our business areas, it is booming,” said Maaßen. “Unfortunately this is not a positive message.”

The President of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Bruno Kahl, said that the intelligence services are currently faced with immense challenges. The German services would have to keep pace with the technical development. “Otherwise the digital revolution benefits only those from whom we are supposed to protect our country.”

Maaßen: No cyber attacks before the Bundestagswahl

The intelligence chiefs also spoke about cyber attacks in the run-up to the Bundestag election. Hans-Georg Maaßen, President of the Constitution, confirmed that the feared attacks and disinformation campaigns had been suspended. Before the members of the Intelligence Control Board, Maaßen expressed the assumption that such methods had not been used “because the political costs are simply too high.” After the recent elections in the US and France, Russian disinformation campaigns had become so clear that this time, such measures were intentionally abandoned.

Maaßen had warned against foreign influence in the run-up to the election. Andrej Hunko, a member of the Left, said: “Contrary to the propaganda of German secret services, there were no cyber attacks on the Bundestag elections.” He referred to the answer given by the Ministry of the Interior to his parliamentary question. It lists only attack attempts on parties and part-time foundations, which have already taken months. The ministry calls the attacks “possible preparations for attempts to influence the Bundestag election”. Hunko, on the other hand, considers this presumed connection to be “coffee beverages”. ( dpa )

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german intelligence trump – Google Search

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German intelligence heads stress international cooperation

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German spy chiefs face public grilling by lawmakers | News | DW

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The heads of Germany’s secret services – the foreign affairs body, the German Intelligence Agency (BND), its domestic equivalent the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), and the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) – all convened for a public hearing before the German parliament’s oversight committee for the first time on Thursday.

In his opening statement, BvF head Hans-Georg Maassen said that “the biggest threat” when it comes to German security is Islamic terrorism. At the same time, there is a growing danger of violent right-wing and left-wing extremists, and as well as cyber espionage.

“There is a boom in all our fields of interest,” he said

Read moreWhat powers do German security forces have?

At the same time, he said that the relationship between privacy and safety shoud not be viewed in a “static and especially not dogmatic” light. According to Maassen, secret services need “a full toolbox, which allows them to solve present-day problems,” instead of being dependent on the tools provided by their foreign allies.

Maassen’s comments were echoed by BND chief Bruno Kahl, who said that secret services must adapt to the ever-changing issue of digitalisation.

“We, as intelligence services, need to make sure that we keep up with these developments,” he said.

While the agencies regularly report to the nine-member body, such proceedings are usually secret. Last October, however, the government launched a bid to reform the secret services, which introduced the concept of annual public hearings.

The lawmakers are expected to quiz the intelligence heads about terrorism, cyber security, and the reform efforts for at least three hours. According to observers, some of the inquiries should also touch on the sore spots in the intelligence community, including the botched effort to stop the murderous neo-Nazi cell NSU and the spying scandal involving the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Not a trial

However, the head of the oversight committee, Clemens Binninger of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, warns that the hearing is neither a trial nor a cross-examination.

“This is not, and can never be, a light version of a parliamentary investigation,” he said, adding that it should be viewed as an attempt to take the secret services “out of the grey zone.”

The committee’s vice president, Andre Hahn from the Left party, also warns against exaggerated expectations.

In the public context, the committee members will “only ask those questions […] that they already know the answers to,” he said.

Read more: How Germany’s BND recruits young hackers?

Germany’s secret services explained

German intelligence services are much less present in the public eye than their counterparts in the US and Russia.

The BND performs roughly the same role as the American CIA, gathering intelligence outside Germany’s borders. With some 6,500 employees, it is the largest of the three German agencies.  Following the end of the Cold War, the agency is increasingly focusing on halting the drug trade, money laundering, the illegal weapons trade and terrorism. BND chief Bruno Kahl once served as an aide to the current Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

Read more: Germany reforms its main intelligence service

The BfV however, deals with threats inside Germany, including spies, jihadists and political extremists. It employs around 2,750 people, headed by Interior Ministry veteran Hans-Georg Maassen.

With only some 1,200 employees, the MAD is the smallest of the three agencies. Its mission is to act against espionage and sabotage in the German army, as well as to control extremist attitudes and actions among the soldiers. The chief of the military intelligence service is a civilian, constitutional lawyer Christof Gramm.

dj/rt (AFP, dpa)

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German intelligence heads stress international cooperation

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BERLIN (AP) – The heads of three German intelligence agencies say national and international cooperation and information-sharing is ever more critical as threats become more global.

Speaking at a public session Thursday of a parliamentary panel, the heads of Germany’s foreign, domestic and military intelligence agencies emphasized that cyber threats in particular necessitate joint solutions.

The head of Germany’s BND foreign intelligence service, Bruno Kahl, says “the threats for Germany can only be identified, analyzed and fended off by a cooperation of agencies.”

He added that it’s also incumbent on German intelligence agencies to be on the cutting edge of technology.

Kahl says “otherwise the digital revolution will only benefit those we should be protecting our country from.”

Kahl was joined by domestic intelligence head Hans-Georg Maassen and military intelligence head Christof Gramm.

A Matter of Minutes: Gunfire, Chaos and Death


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