China Making a Play to Interfere in the Election

Last night’s Democratic debate yielded little real news, other than my surprise that the party actual still has some moderates. Former Congressman John Delaney made a play for moderates in the party, gambling that much of the party hasn’t yet gone off of the “Squad” deep end.  Based on the latest post-debate polling however, Delaney is still down around 1%.  Who is up and who’s down in these early Democratic debates will mean almost nothing in the long run of course.  Of far greater import, and a story that may bob up and down for years, is the article veteran national defense reporter Bill Gertz posted yesterday at The Washington Free Beacon.

China Covertly Subverting Trump Reelection

China is conducting an aggressive disinformation and influence campaign designed to block the re-election of President Trump in 2020, according to a dissident Chinese billionaire who until recently was close to senior Beijing leaders.

Guo Wengui, an exiled Chinese real estate tycoon-turned-anti-communist critic, said in an interview that details of the influence operation were disclosed recently by Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan in Beijing.

The campaign has been underway since the 2018 mid-term election and involves enlisting pro-China elements inside the United States to end the Trump administration after four years.

This actually makes sense.  Can you name a President who has been more of a thorn in the side of the Chinese leadership since the Korean War?  It has to be Donald Trump.  China is facing an economic slowdown due partially to Trump’s trade tactics, and if the Chinese leadership could choose the US leadership (which they are apparently trying to do) they would anoint China friendly Joe Biden in a heartbeat.

“For the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the security committee has given very clear instructions that it is not permissible for Trump to win the 2020 election,” Guo said speaking through an interpreter.

By deploying its intelligence and influence resources in the United States, the CCP is working to exploit the harsh political divisions between Democrats and Republicans in seeking to unseat the Trump administration.

“President Trump has already caused a lot of damage to the CCP, so they have declared he will not be allowed to have another four years in power,” the dissident said.

And how is China going to interfere?

Regarding Wang’s disclosure, the Chinese vice president reportedly said China plans on using “four weapons” to derail Trump’s re-election.

“I must tell you that you that you need to heed these four weapons because they pose a very real threat,” Guo said.

The first weapon to be used against Trump is the use Wall Street financial leaders.

The second political weapon in the anti-Trump campaign are those political leaders and lobbyists in Washington who can be enlisted to oppose Trump. “There are quite a few of these individuals who have been corrupted by the CCP for many years … and so they will be the No. 2 weapon,” Guo said.

American mainstream news and social media outlets, many of which have been shown to be hostile toward Trump, are a third tool in the Chinese campaign.

A fourth line of attack is China’s effort to co-opt the overseas Chinese and Asian-Americans, groups that have grown in political power through increased wealth and subsequent political donations and voting power.

At this point the third political tool to fight Trump seems the most interesting.  Would a mass media that’s spent the last two and a half years in hysterics over election interference gleefully cooperate with the Chinese to help them sabotage a US election to defeat Donald Trump?

Damn right they would!

 

Who Watches the Intelligence “Experts?”

The other day my wife had me check out an interview she was watching on Hannity since she wanted my feedback.  The interview was with William Binney, a former NSA official who worked for the agency over 30 years.  You figure, a guy like that, with that kind of background, should have some sort of credibility right?

Maybe not.

Just a few observations, other than the obvious one that Hannity really should shut up for a second and let his guests speak.  At 6:20 Binney, in response to a question by Hannity, “so every phone conversation I’ve had in my life you believe has been taped?” Binney responds, “Without warrants, yes that’s right.”

Color me skeptical, but I find it hard to believe that a lifetime of Sean Hannity phone calls has been recorded and are sitting in storage out in Utah, or anywhere.  Maybe I’m naive, but that seems implausible to me.  I just can’t imagine that the technology and storage capacity was there, starting in the 1970’s to record and store every single phone call of a teenage Sean Hannity.  Now? Possibly, but going back decades?  Or maybe Binney didn’t really mean Hannity’s entire life and misunderstood the question.  Or maybe, since he has 30 plus years with the NSA I should shut up since he should know what he’s talking about.

But then at 6:28 he blows any credibility I might have given him when he references the story of former military linguists Adrienne Kinne and David Faulk, “whistleblowers” who made the claim that the US Intelligence Community was deliberately targeting US military and civilians working in Iraq.  This blew up into a big national story for a few days in 2008. And although it’s mostly forgotten now, every so often it’s trotted out in the media as an example of the US Intelligence Community spying on innocent civilians as a routine fact of life and this incident just happened to have been outed by brave whistleblowers speaking truth to power.

I happen to have some peripheral knowledge of that incident and know that the media narrative of it is false.  So why should I trust Binney if he’s bringing that issue up?  More to the point, Binney was out of government by then, so what particular insider knowledge would he have of that incident?

This of course, is just one example of a problem I’m seeing with National Security and Intelligence experts, who go on cable news and, depending on the network, take totally opposite positions on an issue from other National Security and Intelligence experts. It’s by no means unusual for commentators to disagree on cable TV.  I mean, that’s the business model right?  But unlike other commentators and so called experts, commentators on Intelligence issues are trading on their exclusive access to the Intelligence Community and their access to classified information.  But rather than being honest brokers of that kind of access and expertise, they seem to be doing the same thing other cable news talking heads do: exploit their credibility to please the host of whatever show they’re on, in order to get more bookings.

Another “National Security Expert” guest of Hannity’s is LTC Tony Shaffer. Shaffer seems to be more of a wild card than Binney.  He’s claimed that President Obama watched the attack on the consulate at Benghazi from the situation room.  Explosive news if true, but how would Shaffer had known?  It sounds like something he just blurted out.  But Shaffer’s most recent wild eyed claim was that retired NSA and other IC types did the actual hacking of the DNC and gave the information to Wikileaks. Another earth shaking claim if true, but where’s the evidence?  What’s even the basis of the claim?

Another one who plays that game is Malcom Nance, a former Naval Cryptologic Technician and Arabic linguist.  He is also billed as an all-around National Security expert.  He actually has an impressive resume, but when you want to be called to be on panels on MSNBC or the BBC, you have to pick a side, which lead to this tweet a few months ago after the Wikileaks release of John Podesta’s emails:

Now there were no “obvious forgeries” in the Podesta emails.  Even months later, all the information we have on them is that they are authentic. But if a “National Security Expert” tells you they’re “obvious forgeries,” why wouldn’t the average person just accept that? But calling them forgeries, backed up by Nance’s resume, makes good copy; particularly on MSNBC.  That was the kind of national security expertise they want on that network.

Like Nance, John Schindler got his start in the Navy as a Cryptologic Warfare Officer and was a professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College until yada yada yada, and now he runs a National Security blog The XX Committee. Schindler isn’t a cable news whore, but he uses social media in much the same way.

Now…is this just an old friend who is a crusty old liberal and hates Trump, or is this an indication of some cabal in the Intelligence Community that has the goods on Trump and is just waiting for their moment to strike?  Clearly Schindler wants us to think the latter, but who knows?

My point is, I’m not sure that we can take these Intelligence and Security experts at face value.  They all seem to have agendas, whether commercial or personal, and because of the nature of their expertise, they are more or less unchallenged.  They are usually the only ones on a cable news panel that have held a security clearance so it makes them hard to challenge.  And frankly, that even goes for me too.  I dismissed Binney because of his take on the Kinne and Faulk story but I’m not willing to share anything about my issues with it.  So why trust me?

Don’t trust me, but you’re better off not trusting any of these “experts” until you can discern their real motives and agendas. And even then…