Jimmy Dore: What Was Lowest Point Of The Democratic Party In 2016?

Can’t Feed the Trolls: UK Army PsyOps Unit Fails to Meet Recruitment Targets

from Sputnik International

77 Brigade, the British Army’s online media ‘PsyOps’ unit, is struggling to attract trolls to its ranks despite a two-year recruitment drive, Ministry of Defense figures indicate.

The ‘unit’ has a target size of 448, of which 182 are intended to be full-time soldiers, sailors and airmen, and 266 part-time reservists. However, as of December 31, 2016 it was home to a mere 276 cyber warriors, meaning the unit was undermanned by just under 40 percent. Of the 276, 123 were reservists, meaning the Brigade has a shortfall of 29 regulars and 143 reserves. Over 2016, just 125 soldiers were recruited to, or posted into it from elsewhere in the army.

The target size of 448 in itself represents a significant reduction of its originally-stated goal. In the midst of its recruitment blitz, 77 Brigade was envisioned as an “operational body of 1,500-2,000.” Around 42% of this total were to be reserve “weekend warriors.”

Formerly known as the Security Assistance Group, the unit was rebranded to 77 Brigade in 2015, the new name deliberately invoking Major-General Orde Wingate’s Indian 77th Infantry Brigade long-range penetration unit, which fought behind enemy lines in the Asia-Pacific theatre of World War Two. It was an effective merger of the Army’s Media Operations Group, 15 Psychological Operations Group, Security Capacity Building Team and Military Stabilization and Support Group.

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No. Putin Did Not Try to Thwart Hillary’s Candidacy Like She Did to Him in 2012. He Didn’t Have To

by Scott Creighton

Pussy Riot™  mission statement: When the world is being neoliberalized as fast as possible and the masters of the universe demand tribute from those seeking a place at the table, no effort to assist in that endeavor , no matter how sophomoric or insipid, no matter how ridiculous, no matter how contrived, shall go unrewarded. And Pussy Riot™ will be there to cash in

Not that long ago President Obama said that Russia and President Putin had tried to influence the outcome of our election process and that it was “unacceptable” behavior for a nation to attempt to influence the democratic process of other nations. Forget for a second that his evidence was so laughable that the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that cobbled it together, posted a disclaimer on the first page of the report that said it didn’t stand by a single shred of “proof” in it’s own report:

this report is provided “as is” for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.”

Let’s also forget for a moment the troubling rise of the New McCarthyism in America and the lynch-mob mentality that goes along with it.

Russia did not attempt to influence our election. They did not “hack” the DNC, Hillary Clinton’s illegal private email server nor the email account of the perpetually corrupt John Podesta. Even if they did, which they didn’t, all they did was expose the truth about these three deeply tainted entities. No one has disputed the authenticity of the leaks. They stand as an accurate representation of the level of corruption that exists in the fake left that is the unDemocratic Party of America these days. This is a footnote that gets lost in the discussion far too often these days.

Which leads me to ask one simple question: since when is it considered “unacceptable” behavior to expose the truth about corruption at the highest ranks in the American political system?

Oh, that’s right. President Peace Prize made it a priority to wage war on whistle-blowers throughout the duration of his tenure.

For all the McCarthyite efforts being put forward by the breathless ladder-climbers of the corporate propaganda mills which pass for “news organizations” these days I am often awestruck by those who seem to wish to demand their guests present a kind of American exceptionalism when it comes to comparisons between this fake news story about Russia “hacking” our democracy and the altogether too real history of our State Department and the CIA doing the exact same thing to other countries across the globe. The hypocrisy is simply stunning.  And that is  when a guest has the audacity to bring up said history, which doesn’t happen very often.

And that is to say nothing of Hillary Clinton’s effort to use “smart power” to thwart Vladamir Putin’s reelection in 2012. In the corporate media the silence is deafening on that subject.

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America’s Lynch Mob ‘Democracy’

by Finian Cunningham, Strategic Culture

The dark, infamous days of American lynch-mob rule and burning witches at stakes are back as never before. But not in backwater enclaves of benighted bigotry. Oh no, the modern lynch mobs are running amok in Washington’s seat of government, across prime TV and on the editorial pages of its supposed finest newspapers.

It is the effete, self-regarding ruling US elite who are acting like a murderous rabble. The hate-figures are Russian leader Vladimir Putin and incoming president Donald Trump. Both are being lined up to be lynched, one as a foreign enemy, the other as a traitor.

Lynch mob blood-lust is a mere finger pointed, the baying of deranged crowds and the stringing up of some unfortunate from the nearest tree without pause for a fair trial. «Guilty!» shouted with red-faced thunder is all that’s needed. And anyone who dares to question the madding crowd is liable to meet the same grim fate.

Public opinion in the US is being stampeded to accept as unquestioned fact that Russia «attacked American democracy» as Senators like John McCain are claiming on prime time television. Furthermore, Russian President Vladimir Putin is accused of being the mastermind behind the alleged cyber attacks, which supposedly subverted the US presidential election in favor of Republican candidate Donald Trump.

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Is Iraqi Kurdistan heading toward civil war?

(Is the Greater Kurdistan project collapsing?)

by Denise Natali, from al Monitor

The campaign against the Islamic State (IS) in Mosul has diverted attention from simmering problems inside the Kurdistan Region of Iraq that will affect post-conflict stabilization. Within the last several months alone, there has been another assassination of a Kurdish journalist, an “honor” killing of a university student, death threats against a female Kurdish parliamentarian, bombing of an Iranian Kurdish party office that killed seven people and a string of foiled terrorist attacks in Sulaimaniyah province. These incidents have occurred alongside ongoing demonstrations by civil servants for unpaid salaries, a nonfunctioning Kurdish parliament, swelling numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons, an expanded Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Turkish airstrikes on PKK bases in northern Iraq. They have not only reversed most gains the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has realized since 2011, but also leave the Kurdistan Region increasingly vulnerable to financial collapse and internal conflict.

Instead of “inevitable Kurdish statehood” after the defeat of IS, a more realistic scenario is weakened autonomy, political entropy and armed conflicts. The KRG launched “independent” exports in 2014, but the Kurdish economy is now in tatters. KRG debt exceeds $22 billion. The availability of electricity has decreased to 2005 levels, or about four hours a day in many areas without private generators. Tens of thousands of youths continue to migrate from the region. The once-touted Kurdish energy sector is being undermined legally and politically. Although the KRG exports about 600,000 barrels of oil per day to Ceyhan, these exports remain contentious, are dependent on Turkey and are largely sourced from Kirkuk — still a disputed territory — and not the Kurdistan Region. International oil companies have thus far abandoned 19 oil fields in the Kurdistan Region, including ExxonMobil’s withdrawal from three of its six fields.

Emails between the KRG Ministry of Natural Resources and Turkish officials released by WikiLeaks reveal the depth of the KRG’s financial crisis and the political fallout. In the eyes of some Kurds, the ministry’s attempt to secure an additional $5 billion in loans from Ankara and offer Turkey a larger stake in Kurdish-controlled oil fields may help protect the economic interests of the Kurdistan Region. Others, however, including parliamentarians in Erbil, see things differently and oppose the ministry’s proposal as the “selling of the Kurdish land to Turkey.” Iraqi officials in Baghdad have also reacted critically, arguing that the KRG does not have the legal right to sell oil fields to Turkey.

[read more here]