Friday, April 14, 2017

The Daily Donald 4/14/2017

It appears from various reports that the net is closing around #TrumpRussia. News reports are suggesting that several intelligence agencies that are  part of the Western SIGINT sharing agreement have loads of data on Donald Trump's illegal connections to Russia. The evidence also includes material that should be sufficient to convict  family members. Other reports are saying that Guliani is facing indictment and is offering to turn state witness. I don't know if any of this is true, but given how the Trump crowd tends to put stock in conspiracies, I don't know how they wouldn't be afraid of what is likely coming.

In a stunning development yesterday - Director CIA Mike Pompeo, who was appointed by Trump on the recommendation of Chairman Nunes has come out with a speech denouncing Wikileaks as hostile intelligence operation. This is strange coming from someone who himself tweeted Wikileaks scoops from his official account last year. Quite a strange turnaround. Some say it is because he has seen the SIGINT  data and is now convinced that the game is up. Who knows what is true anymore!

On the North Korea front the Chinese and Russians appear to be mobilizing significant resources to the Korean border. The RU is moving forces to Vladivostok and the Chinese are pouring resources into the region bordering DPRK. The Chinese repeatedly warned DPRK not to test a nuclear weapon yesterday and the day before. But then the USG leaked to NBC and other outlets that it was planning a pre-emptive strike on DPRK's nuclear capability. After the NBC report leaked, Gen. Mattis went postal on the press accusing it of irresponsible reporting of inaccurate information. Apparently the DOD had no interest in such a pre-emptive strike. This drama caused fears of an outbreak of a nuclear war in the region and China  suddenly publicly declared that anyone escalating the situation would pay a heavy price.

Dear friends and readers, I confess that I now feel the North Korean situation is a runaway. Given that both DPRK and the US are trying to goad each other into doing something extremely stupid, we are sitting a hair away from war. And  we have Donald Trump who is increasingly convinced that he will spend his last days in a Federal prison.

Perhaps it should be no surprise then that yesterday Donald Trump authorized the CENTCOM to deploy the MOAB at a place called Tangi Assadkhel in Achin Distt. of Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan. The US DOD has just released drone video footage of the strike [1].  The exact location of the strike remains undisclosed at this time [Updated exact GeoLoc Samir on Twtr), but news reports and ANSF are closing on the location [2]. The strike was supposed to eliminate a cave complex controlled by ISIS-K and the DOD claims at least 36 ISIS fighters and *NO* civilians were killed, but ISIS-K itself doesn't seem to be acknowledging the attack at all [see RCallimachi's work [3]).  Though Trump himself denies the he specifically authorized the strike, most of his opponents are saying that this was a publicity stunt staged with the lives of innocent Afghans.

I understand the need to stage publicity stunts when you are a hair away from being jailed by the FBI, but I really don't like that idea of staging stunts in Afghanistan. What little peace there is in Afghanistan, it has been earned through blood, sweat and tears over the last decade and a half. This shard of peace is extremely fragile, and all it takes is one sweepingly stupid and immoral act (like this MOAB might be perceived to be) to shatter it. The Kabul regime exists on a patchwork of tribal loyalties, this patchwork can fall apart easily if it is hit too hard. I am not happy about what was done in Achin at  all. Other ways of achieving the same ends should have been considered.

Some people are saying that the MOAB attack was a way to scare Kim Jong Un. I agree with that point of view but as always I am open to other ideas. I guess the counter-arguments are pretty potent and if I self analyze I can see that I only stick to this posture because I am hoping there is some sense to what was done in Achin.

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