The John Batchelor Show

Monday 16 July 2018

Air Date: 
July 16, 2018

Image:  Emblem of the GRU: Main Intelligence Directorate, abbreviated GRU / ГРУ, is the foreign military intelligence agency of the Russian Federation.   Главное Разведывательное Управление, transliterated to Glavnoye razvedyvatel'noye upravleniye,
The Head of the Russian Military Intelligence is a military officer and since 2009, is the highest-ranking intelligence officer in Russia. He is the primary military intelligence advis0r to the Russian Minister of Defense and to the Chief of Staff, and also answers to the President of Russia.
Co-host: Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, the Great Voice of the Great Lakes
Hour One
Monday   16 July 2018 / Hour 1, Block A: Tom Joscelyn, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies; & Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal; and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD; in re:  Pres Trump’s historic meeting today with Pres Putin.
How our foes are also extremely sensitive to any suggestion that they're less than powerful.  Tetchy Taliban:  UNAMA (UN mission in Afgh):  Taliban kills more civilians than anyone else does.  Civilian casualties at al all-time high; ISIS also kills many, are efficient at orchestrating in urban areas, such as Kabul, which disproportionately kills civilians.  Khorasan Group (Pakistan & Afgh) esp targets foreigners. Heavy deaths  in Kunduz Province (NE Afgh), here the former Northern Alliance was strong.  Checkposts.  Taliban overran 14 or 15 at a mil base.  Taliban casualty assessments are more reliable than those of the mil.
Voice of Jihad, in English, website.  The Red Unit/Blood Group/Danger Group/Taliban special fighters: many foreigners operating therein. 
Khorasan arm of Islamic State again strikes Afghan ministry in Kabul THREAT MATRIX  The Islamic State quickly claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at the Afghan government's Rural Rehabilitation and Development Ministry in Kabul earlier today. The so-called caliphate dispatched a suicide bomber to strike the same ministry in June. . . .
Monday   16 July 2018 / Hour 1, Block B: Tom Joscelyn, Long War Journal and FDD; and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD; in re: ISIS operating in NE Idlib Province, adding to the major problems in Syria.  ISIS is targetting everybody; sophisticated sleeper cell network; hunting down key persons, laying IEDs or drive up on a car and assassinate the person. Sometimes use motorcycles.   
Monday   16 July 2018 / Hour 1, Block C: Gordon Chang, Daily Beast, in re: US set out $200 bil of tariffs vs China; China now has gone to the WTO to file a complaint. Same China that ignores WTO rulings and its trade mechanism: no penalty even for blatant violations; only if a state violates it again can any measure possibly come in to effect. US imports so little from China, who cares how this turns out. US has won every case vs China since 2004.  RMB dropped 3.125% against the dollar in June worst ever.  Xi Jinping took over the economics portfolio from Li Kai-chung, which was a big, fat mistake.  For June: imports have fallen, indicating diminishing domestic demand.  China could possibly, lose 4%; HSPC publishes sunny figures (and fires non-optimists), so this could be worse than 4%.  All Trump has to do is convince China that he’s not giving up; if he does that, the US wins.   Yes, predatory European practices occur.  US long has used its economy to maintain geopolitical stability. US policy has contributed to China’s villainous acts; not exactly responsible for them, but a contributor – Clinton, Bush, Obama, but so far not Trump.
Monday   16 July 2018 / Hour 1, Block D:  Stephen Yates, CEO of D.C. International Advisory, former advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney; in re:  When Secy Mattis  was ending his visit to China, the highest Chinese mil man said, “I hope we can be friends.”  Mattis is uninterested in that and conveyed it; Chinese grew nervous.
Two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers transited the Straits, also making Beijing nervous.  . . . US imposed trade tariffs on China; US exports so little to China that almost no one cares what tariffs China imposes.  . . . Is Xi stable? I believe not. Rampant speculation on his health and status. 
Hour Two
Monday   16 July 2018 / Hour 2, Block A:  John Fund, NRO, and David M Drucker, Washington Examiner, in re:  Remarks by Pres Trump in Helsinki today. It can be argued that he showed weakness n stage in front of our foe: since 2016 or earlier, Kremlin vouchsafed cyber attacks on WH, State & Joint Chiefs.  Russians knew we knew.  We dd naught. In 2016, same Russian bad actors. Exfitrated important docs from DNC server; accused of cyberespionage. Friday indictment by Rosenstein: NSA can identify Russian actors, watch them on keyboard as they try to invade cybercally.  Not only never-Trumpers are alarmed at presidents failure to bring this up with Putin.  Huge concern abt natl security in today’s performance by Pres Trump – not what they heard, but where he said it.  With policymakers, this’ll stick around for a long time. 
Pols know not to walk into a buzz saw; Trump just demanded 4% for NATO in Europe and harshly criticized Merkel for her secret natgas deal with Russia. Why did he fail to speak of Russian cyberattacks on US elections?  “Either he’s intimidated by Putin, or his synapses don't connect.”  He created a moral equivalence between US actins abroad and Russian actions abroad.  He did this next to Putin. Could have kept discussions private, but there w0uldn;t have been e uproar we’ve seen. Inexplicable that a president  who’s taken steps to displease Russians – armed Ukrainians, etc, — would grovel in front of leader of an antagonist power. He missed an opportunity to bring up the meddling, that he won't fail to respond strongly should it recur. He makes it all look worse.  A wholly unforced error; damaged everyone but Putin, who must be smiling like the cat that ate the canary.  He must quit conflating meddling with collusion. 
Monday   16 July 2018 / Hour 2, Block B:  David M Drucker, Washington Examiner, and John Fund, NRO, in re: . . . Congress did not react well to Peter Strzok’s testimony.  Not capable interrogators, rather score political point than elicit info. Most people are able to [repel] Congress.  Strzok took command of the room; skillful bureaucratic  insider – but held a constant smirk.
It devolved into a melee; expected the Dems to be a tad more restrained.  The quest for the camera did not favor for ether side.
Indictment of GYRU officers who’ll never set foot in the US: was material to Russian meddling (Special Counsel’s investigation) and detailed, Mueller investigation is not [?] about chasing Trump down the hall; is bringing forth real information.
Trump had three days; notice that there was a trap, where Rosenstein was abut to indict twelve GRU members; and he still fell into the trap. Disturbing.
Monday   16 July 2018 / Hour 2, Block C:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re:  Iran endeavoring to create the land bridge from Iran to the Mediterranean.   Trump and Putin spoke of protecting the Israeli border with Syria (along the Golan).  Hezbollah and others are wearing Syrian army uniforms, integrating into the force, and under IRGC control.  Everything becomes a potential clash, Israel struck another major depot this weekend.   Iran clearly wants a permanent presence there.  Today it announced it was taking the US to the Intl Court for sanctions because of its [deeds in rejecting the JCPOA?].   Hamas has been sending many fire kites over the Gaza-Israel border; has just started many fires and two have just landed in S’derot. They now put timers on them, enabling the fire kites to go much farther.  Thousands of acres destroyed, water and air contaminated.  Fort fires n Wed, 3 on Thurs, many on the weekend.  People see the fire kites or drones coming and run for shelters. Fifteen hundred farmland acres destroyed. Fuel sent by Israel to Gaza for its power grid is being used for these invasive attacks. Hamas aims at indiscriminate civilian casualties while Israel works ceaselessly to limit civilian casualties.
Egypt has offered Hamas an industrial zone and investment; Hamas refuses.  All of this couldn't happen without Iranian supplies.  . . .  Putin told Netanyahu that he can restrain but not eliminate Iranian actions.  Russia has a ltd mil presence there, cd easily be swamped by 80,000 Iranian troops.
Monday   16 July 2018 / Hour 2, Block D:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: The little parking lot that could in the City of David; as you descend into layers of civilizations keep finding things: now, a tiny amulet with Arabic writing. A minuscule, rare, thousand-year-old  amulet. Praises Allah and karim (Ramadan karim); was a personal amulet from the Abassid Caliphate, Golden Age of Islam. 
One little area: can see a footprint plastered in the soil.   Also, a remnant of a burned pine tree, preserved for [ages]; near it, found coins.  Yehud coins (7 mm in size) found it the Temple Mount sifting project from Fourth century BCE.  160,000 volunteers have worked for a decade to sift. Inscriptions in ancient Hebrew, YHD.  Only three silver YHD coins from this era. Boo of the prophet Nehemiah (“Ne-HEM-ya”).
Hour Three
Monday 16 July 2018/ Hour 3, Block A:  Patrick Tucker, DefenseOne technology editor; in re: Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear: network breach by Russian cyber aggressors.   Uncovered by private contractor, Crowdstrike, in 2016. APT28, active group No 28.  Another network, APT 29, Cozy Bear.
Monday 16 July 2018/ Hour 3, Block B: Patrick Tucker, DefenseOne technology editor; in re:  Russian cyberaggression. Weapons-grade ballistic missiles. 
Monday 16 July 2018/ Hour 3, Block C:  Andrew C. McCarthy, III, National Review columnist; served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; in re: “Mueller’s Politicized Indictment of Twelve Russian Intelligence Officers”  If the idea was to give Vladimir Putin and his thug regime a new way to sabotage the United States, nice work  So, is Russia now presumed innocent of hacking the 2016 election?
If not, it is difficult to understand any proper purpose served by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of twelve military officers in the Kremlin’s intelligence services for doing what everybody in America already knew that they did, and has known since before Donald Trump took office — indeed, since before the 2016 election.
Make no mistake: This is nakedly politicized law enforcement. There is absolutely no chance any of the Russian officials charged will ever see the inside of an American courtroom. The indictment is a strictly political document by which the special counsel seeks to justify the existence of his superfluous investigation. 
Oh, and by the way, the answer to the question posed above is, “Yes, it is now the official position of the United States that Russia gets our Constitution’s benefit of the doubt.” Here is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announcing the Friday the 13th indictment: “In our justice system, everyone who is charged with a crime is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.” . . .
Monday 16 July 2018/ Hour 3, Block D:  Andrew C. McCarthy, III, National Review columnist; served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; in re: “Strzok by a Farce” -  Congress should either use its contempt power or shut down the investigations.  An investigation is one of two things: a search for the truth, or a farce. The House is conducting a farce. That fact was on full display during ten hours of testimony by Peter Strzok, the logorrheic lawman who steered the FBI’s Clinton-emails and Trump–Russia probes.
The principal question before the joint investigation of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees is whether the Democratic administration’s law-enforcement and intelligence arms strained to manufacture an espionage case against the Republican candidate, having buried an eminently prosecutable criminal case against the Democratic presidential nominee. 
It should be straightforward to answer this question, provided that the investigative process has the one attribute central to any credible probe: the capacity to compel the production of evidence and testimony, with the corollary power to hold witnesses in contempt for defiance.  The House investigation has devolved into farce because it lacks this feature . . .
Hour Four
Monday 16 July 2018/ Hour 4, Block A:  Sebastian Gorka, Fox News national security analyst, in re:   Pres Trump
Monday 16 July 2018/ Hour 4, Block B:  Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, in re:   Space race
Monday 16 July 2018/ Hour 4, Block C:  The Brink: President Reagan and the Nuclear War Scare of 1983, by Marc Ambinder
Monday 16 July 2018/ Hour 4, Block D:  The Brink: President Reagan and the Nuclear War Scare of 1983, by Marc Ambinder
..  ..  ..