6:37 AM 1/4/2018 – Winter storm threatens East Coast

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A massive “bombogenesis” — an area of rapidly declining low pressure — will wreak havoc on the Northeast this week, threatening hurricane-force winter wind gusts and blinding snow.

Source: Winter storm threatens East Coast, bringing temps colder than Mars – CNN

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Winter storm threatens East Coast, bringing temps colder than Mars – CNN


CNN
Winter storm threatens East Coast, bringing temps colder than Mars
CNN
(CNN) A massive “bombogenesis” — an area of rapidly declining low pressure — will wreak havoc on the Northeast this week, threatening hurricane-force winter wind gusts and blinding snow. The bombogenesis will result in what’s known as a “bomb cyclone 
‘Bomb Cyclone’: Rare Snow in South as North Braces for Bitter ColdNew York Times 
More snow, ice and biting cold coming as Eastern Seaboard awaits a ‘bomb cyclone’Los Angeles Times
‘Bomb cyclone’ blasting East Coast before polar vortex uncorks tremendous cold late this weekWashington Post
Fox NewsSFGateNPR
 
The Latest: ‘Bomb cyclone’ to bring subzero temperaturesSFGate
Scientists Warn ‘Bomb Cyclone’ Will Bring Strong Winds, Cold TemperaturesNPR
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Newsweek
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Washington Post
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How to prepare and stay safe in the winter storm – CBS News


CBS News
How to prepare and stay safe in the winter storm
CBS News
Last Updated Jan 3, 2018 7:13 PM EST. With much of the nation already in a deep freeze, a winter storm started dumping snow and freezing rain on parts of the Southeast and forecasters are predicting conditions to get worse as the “bomb cyclone” moves 
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PCWorld
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The Guardian
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Security Flaws Put Virtually All Phones, Computers at Risk, Researchers Say

Security researchers on Wednesday disclosed a set of security flaws that they said could let hackers steal sensitive information from nearly every modern computing device containing chips from Intel Corp., Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and ARM Holdings. One of the bugs is specific to Intel but another affects laptops, desktop computers, smartphones, tablets and internet servers alike. Intel and ARM insisted that the issue was not a design flaw, but it will require users to download a patch and update their operating system to fix. “Phones, PCs everything is going to have some impact, but it’ll vary from product to product,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in an interview with CNBC Wednesday afternoon. Researchers with Alphabet Inc.’s Google Project Zero, in conjunction with academic and industry researchers from several countries, discovered two  flaws. The first, called Meltdown, affects Intel chips and lets hackers bypass the hardware barrier between applications run by users and the computer’s memory, potentially letting hackers read a computer’s memory and steal passwords. The second, called Spectre, affects chips from Intel, AMD and ARM and lets hackers potentially trick otherwise error-free applications into giving up secret information. The researchers said Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. had patches ready for users for desktop computers affected by Meltdown. Microsoft declined to comment and Apple did not immediately return requests for comment. Daniel Gruss, one of the researchers at Graz University of Technology in Austria who discovered Meltdown, said in an interview with Reuters that the flaw was “probably one of the worst CPU bugs ever found.” Specter a long-term issue Gruss said Meltdown was the more serious problem in the short term but  could be decisively stopped with software patches. Specter, the broader bug that applies to nearly all computing devices, is harder for hackers to take advantage of but less easily patched and will be a bigger problem in the long term, he said. Speaking on CNBC, Intel’s Krzanich said Google researchers told Intel of the flaws “a while ago” and that Intel had been testing fixes that device makers who use its chips will push out next week. Before the problems became public, Google on its blog said Intel and others planned to disclose the issues on January 9. The flaws were first reported by The Register, a tech publication. It also reported that the updates to fix the problems could cause Intel chips to operate 5 percent to 30 percent more slowly. Intel denied that the patches would bog down computers based on Intel chips. “Intel has begun providing software and firmware updates to mitigate these exploits,” Intel said in a statement. “Contrary to some reports, any performance impacts are workload-dependent, and, for the average computer user, should not be significant and will be mitigated over time.” ARM spokesman Phil Hughes said that patches had already been shared with the companies’ partners, which include many smartphone manufacturers. “This method only works if a certain type of malicious code is already running on a device and could at worst result in small pieces of data being accessed from privileged memory,” Hughes said in an email. AMD chips are also affected by at least one variant of a set of security flaws but that can be patched with a software update. The company said it believes there “is near zero risk to AMD products at this time.” Google’s report Google said in a blog post that Android phones running the latest security updates are protected, as are its own Nexus and Pixel phones with the latest security updates. Gmail users do not need to take any additional action to protect themselves, but users of its Chromebooks, Chrome web browser and many of its Google Cloud services will need to install updates. The defect affects the so-called kernel memory on Intel x86 processor chips manufactured over the past decade, allowing users of normal applications to discern the layout or content of protected areas on the chips, The Register reported, citing unnamed programmers. That could make it possible for hackers to exploit other security bugs or, worse, expose secure information such as passwords, thus compromising individual computers or even entire server networks. Dan Guido, chief executive of cybersecurity consulting firm Trail of Bits, said that businesses should quickly move to update vulnerable systems, saying he expects hackers to quickly develop code they can use to launch attacks that exploit the vulnerabilities. “Exploits for these bugs will be added to hackers’ standard toolkits,” said Guido. Shares in Intel were down by 3.4 percent following the report but nudged back up 1.2 percent to $44.70 in after-hours trading, while shares in AMD were up 1 percent to $11.77, shedding many of the gains they had made earlier in the day when reports suggested its chips were not affected. It was not immediately clear whether Intel would face any significant financial liability arising from the reported flaw. “The current Intel problem, if true, would likely not require CPU replacement in our opinion. However the situation is fluid,” Hans Mosesmann of Rosenblatt Securities in New York said in a note, adding it could hurt the company’s reputation.

VOA Interview: Security Adviser McMaster Discusses Iran, Pakistan

VOA contributor Greta Van Susteren interviewed National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster at the White House on Tuesday. Greta Van Susteren: General, nice to see you, sir. H.R. McMaster: Its great to be with you, Greta. Thank you. Van Susteren: Thank you for doing this interview. McMaster: Its a privilege to do it, thanks.   Question: Well, lets start with Iran. A lots going on there. What are your reflections on it? McMaster: Well, the Iranian people are expressing frustration frustration about a regime that pays more attention to exporting terrorism than it does to meeting the needs of its own people. So, the president has been very strong in his support for the Iranian people and their rights to express themselves. And I think whats most important now is for the whole world to tell Iran that they have to respect the rights of their citizens and allow them to demonstrate peacefully and to not engage in the kind of violence against the demonstrators that we saw, remember, back in 2009 and that were starting to see now, as well.   Q: Well, in 1956, we had a similar situation in Hungary, and the West didnt support the protesters there. Weve seen it in the early 90s with the Kurds in Iraq, and again, the United States voiced its support but didnt do anything. And we, as you mentioned, 2009 when President (Barack) Obama was president, in the Green Movement after the election. Is this administration going to do anything more than voice verbal support for the protesters? Or can they? McMaster: Well, well see what options are available. But I think what we need are strong voices across the world on behalf of the Iranian people. This is a dictatorial regime that is oppressing its own people, that is using the resources that this great nation with this rich culture and rich history needs, to foment hatred and violence across the greater Middle East. Theyre a driving force behind this fitna, behind this sectarian civil war, that has caused so much pain and suffering and death in Syria and Iraq and Yemen. They pose a continuing threat to Israel and within Lebanon to its stability, and this regime has to be held to account. And it seems as if the Iranian people are expressing their displeasure about the behavior of this regime and prioritizing this kind of violence over the benefit and the welfare of their own citizens.   Q: I was comparing and contrasting in my own mind 2009, which was provoked by an election that the people they were unhappy with the election, they thought it was unfair. This one is a little bit different. Almost spontaneously, the number of cities that theres been a protest. At first, the suggestion was that it was as a result of an economic situation, that any sort of the economic benefits that they anticipated from the Iran deal didnt trickle down to them. Why do you think do you think this was this provoked by economics, or by Western influence? Why do you think the protests were sparked in the first place? McMaster: I think whats key is to let the Iranian people speak for themselves on this. I think its dissatisfaction with this dictatorial regime. It was over economics to a certain extent, and the skyrocketing of prices, the very high rate of unemployment, especially among young Iranians. And these are people who know the great potential of their country, and theyre frustrated to not be able to take advantage of that potential. But its also been about the external behavior of the regime, and how This is a regime that gives safe haven to al-Qaida terrorists who target Shi’ite, Christians, anybody who doesnt do and any Muslim who doesnt adhere to their narrow and irreligious definition of Islam. And so, this is a regime that is dishonest fundamentally, and a regime that has helped drive violence and hatred across the whole region.   Q: I dont pretend to know what the solution is, its not my job. But even if it were my job, I dont know what the solution is. But if we do no more than to say Were with you, you know, with the protesters, how is the result going to be any different than 09, or even any of those other examples? I mean, arent we just going to expect that the Iranian that it will probably be the protesters who would be put down, there would be more violence? How do we expect a different solution, if our reaction is the same? McMaster: Well, were already doing more than that. As you know, in recent years, there was a hope a hope that the pursuit of this nuclear deal thats fundamentally flawed would change the behavior of this regime, that it would moderate its violent behavior. And of course, that hasnt been the case at all. So, what the United States has been doing, along with allies and partners around the world, is sanctioning that violent, that maligned, Iranian behavior. And so, its important, I think, that this regime be denied the resources it needs to continue its murderous campaigns. And so, its diplomacy, but its also sanctions. And we see that actually the Iranian people are expressing their displeasure about the nature of this regime how it treats them, but also how it treats the rest of the world.   Q: Is there this interview is likely to be seen in Iran because of the Persian service of Voice of America. Is there a specific message that you want to get to the people of Iran? You know, that you want to tell the Iranian people what America is going to do if they do change the government? McMaster: Well, I think the first thing to know is the American people and this American government has great respect for the Iranian people, the Iranian culture, their tremendous history and the tremendous potential they have. And it breaks our heart to see Iranians not be able to realize their dreams. Also, we have to recognize, though, its up to all of us across the world to confront Irans behavior that is causing so much suffering their support for terrorist organizations and illegal militias that are perpetuating violence. And so, they have our emotional support, they have our sympathy, and were grateful, I think, to see them exercising their right to voice their displeasure with this dictatorial regime.   Q: President (Donald) Trump has said that hes not going to certify the agreement, the nuclear agreement. Whats the message to Americans, and as well to the Iranians? What can we expect on that nuclear agreement? McMaster: Well, I think the main message is how can you trust this regime that treats its own people the way we see its treating its own people, that foments violence? Q: So, is the agreement off? The agreements definitely to be decertified? McMaster: Well, it might be. Well bring options to the president. The president declined to certify that the Iran nuclear deal was in the interest of the United States. And but that doesnt mean he wouldnt continue to adhere to the agreement, in terms of extending waivers on sanctions. Hell make that decision, I think, in the next few weeks to the next month. And so, well see what the president decides, but its really hard its really hard to trust this regime.   Q: Are the protests in any way linked to the presidents thinking on the nuclear deal? McMaster: No, not that Ive been aware of. I mean, I dont think so. I think the world is watching very closely to see how this regime treats its own people. And I think that this Iran nuclear deal doesnt cover everything, right? It doesnt cover the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps destabilizing behavior in the region. It doesnt really fully cover their missile programs. And so, it doesnt cover their behavior and how theyre treating their own people in connection with these in connection with these protests. And so, I think the United States, other nations, have to take action not just based on this very narrow and flawed nuclear agreement, but have to look at the broad range of Irans behavior.   Q: Theres a flawed agreement, and theres violating the agreement. And I know that the Republicans from the very beginning or many of them said it was a flawed agreement. What about a violation? Have the Iranians violated that agreement that the United States signed with them? McMaster: Its really impossible to tell whether or not Iran is violating that agreement. What we have seen is them step up to the line and crossed the line on how many centrifuges that theyre spinning how much heavy water they have in stock. Q: Is there anything wrong with coming up to the line?   McMaster: And no, but is the verification mechanism in place to make sure that this agreement doesnt just give this dictatorial regime cover for developing a nuclear capability that threatens the world? And so, thats what we have to be confident of, and we cant be confident of that right now because the monitoring and enforcement mechanisms are anemic theyre not very strong. And so, those need to be strengthened. You know, there are sunset clauses to all this, and so, we have to block all paths to a nuclear weapon by this dictatorial regime, not just for the next few years, but we have to be able to do that in the long term. Because think about what happens if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, who gets a nuclear weapon next? Is it Saudi Arabia? Is it United Arab Emirates? Think about the breakdown of the nonproliferation regime and how that places so many people at risk of the most destructive weapons on Earth.   Q: In the event that the Iranian government goes up to the line but doesnt cross it, and it is not recertified by the president, does that send a message around the world for decades about cutting a deal with the government, with the United States government? Does that indicate that we dont keep our word, recognizing that obviously administrations change but does that send a signal? McMaster: I think it does send a powerful signal. Q: Not an adverse one? McMaster: No, its a powerful, positive signal. You know, what the adverse experience has been or the negative experience has been is the 1994 agreed framework with North Korea. How did that work out? It was a weak agreement that was not monitored effectively. It was not enforced. Where are we now? You know, were at the cusp of a North Korea another rogue regime that might threaten the world with nuclear weapons. And of course, thats unacceptable now, and we cant let the situation with Iran get to that level, as well.   Q: All right. Speaking about North Korea, I think theres ample evidence that Pakistan, through A.Q. Khan, who is basically their architect of their nuclear weapons program, was very helpful to North Korea developing their program. Do you have any suspicion that Iran and North Korea have worked together, even with the development of missile technology? Anything at all? McMaster: Yes, I mean, I think that Q: And are they doing it now? McMaster: Well, Ill leave that to our intelligence professionals to answer that question. But if you look at North Koreas track record, North Korea has never met a weapon that it has not proliferated. I mean, it was building a nuclear reactor in a clandestine site in Syria, for example. North Korea is selling weapons across the world to all sorts of regimes and bad actors. And North Korea has stated that it would be willing to proliferate nuclear weapons for the right price. And so, you have a regime that could possess nuclear weapons that could engage in extortion, blackmail, and then sell those most destructive weapons on Earth to the highest bidder and anybody willing to meet their price.   Q: Well, its pretty evident that they have an aggressive program, and theyve been developing it for decades both missile and nuclear warheads, as well. Is there and the agreed framework, as you noted, didnt work because they cheated, and the program has gone on and on and on. Weve tried sanctions, weve engaged the world. Weve done a lot of different things to try to deter this nuclear program in North Korea. Is there anything short do you see anything short of war at this point? And Im not saying Im advocating for war or anything against it, but what are the solutions? What are the possibilities? McMaster: Well, the possibility is that the North Korean regime recognizes that the continued pursuit of these nuclear weapons and missiles is a dead end. And the only way to do that really, now, short of war, is through coercive economic power power that rests mainly in the hands of China but with others, as well. And the trend has been extremely positive. The trend has been positive in that more and more countries are stopping all trade with North Korea. Vietnam, for example. The Philippines. The list really is quite a long one.   Q: But theres the illusive … They just stopped there were two ships with petroleum products in violation of sanctions that have been stopped in the last two weeks, so its getting in there some of it. McMaster: Thats why everybody needs to do more. Youve seen South Korea just interdict two ships and impound two ships. And the new U.N. sanctions will allow even greater sanctions on shipping companies that allow this illicit trade to continue. But really, as everybody knows, China has the vast majority of the coercive economic power over the North, and its our hope that China will act in its interest, and we cant ask them to do more than act in their interest.   Q: The hope, but China hasnt. And the president, even long before he became president, I used to interview him when he was just a businessman in New York. He would talk about China and how they didnt deal fairly with the United States. What makes you think that China, now, is going to be is going to change to use their economic muscle to try to get a result out of North Korea? Is it just the fear that therell be 26 million people over the borders into North Korea and that Japan and South Korea want to become nuclear powers? Is that the only thing thats going to change China? McMaster: No. China recognizes that the situation has changed fundamentally, and China recognizes three fundamental shifts in their own thinking, and three fundamental shifts in what we all have to do together. The first shift is that denuclearization of the peninsula is the only acceptable answer. It used to be that youd hear a lot of talk about freeze for freeze, or suspension for suspension. Theres a recognition that thats no good anymore because their programs have progressed too far. The second thing is, China recognizes that this is a problem, really, between North Korea and the whole world, including a problem between North Korea and China. There used to be old talk about, Well, this is really a problem between the United States and North Korea. China recognizes that it is in Chinas interest to denuclearize the peninsula. And thats because of the threat of a breakdown in the nonproliferation regime. What if South Korea, what if Japan, conclude that they have to arm in similar ways to North Korea? And the third thing is that China recognizes that it really does have the coercive economic power to resolve this situation. And itll be up to China, and if they make those decisions, as you know, the U.N. Security Council has come up with more and more restrictions on North Korea, more and more sanctions against North Korea. Those have to be rigorously enforced. But we also have to acknowledge thats not going to be enough. And I think youre right about this. I mean, North Korea, unless more pressures applied, will not conclude that its in its interest to denuclearize.   Q: I dont see North Korea because there really are two different people. Theres the leaders of North Korea, and theres the people. I dont I cant I dont have a crystal ball, but I dont see North Korea worried enough about I dont see anything that makes them want to give up their nuclear weapons. I dont think theres enough care about feeding their people, about a famine or anything else. McMaster: Well, you have different portions of the population in North Korea. Obviously, you have the elites in Pyongyang who live a very comfortable existence at the expense of the rest of the North Korean population who are part of   Q: But theyre the ones who make the decisions. McMaster: They are, but those are the people who have to be affected by these sanctions. These are the people who have to conclude that it is not in their interest to continue on this path. That it is a dead end for them. And of course, this regime hasnt been without dissent. I mean, this is a regime, this is a leader Kim Jong Un whos killed members of his own family in the most egregious ways with a bad nerve agent in a public airport in Malaysia, with anti-aircraft guns in front of their military academy in a stadium. And so   Q: So, how do you get him to think like, OK, Ive changed my mind. I want to protect my people from war with the United States or economic sanctions from the world. And Im going to give up my nuclear weapons, when hes bragging about it? McMaster: Well, I mean, you cant fire a missile without fuel, can you? And North Korea is wholly dependent on external sources for fuel. So, there are options available short of war if all nations conclude that its in their interest to act in a more aggressive manner, in terms of economic sanctions and to actually follow through.   Q: If we cut off visibility to launch a nuclear weapon, he doesnt have the fuel to do it. He still has all these artillery weapons on the southern part of North Korea pointed right at South Korea. How potent or whats the strength that he has there? McMaster: Well, of course, this is what North Korea has done, right? Over the years, it has held the South Korea population at risk. Also, its been clear since 1953 that the South South Korea that the United States poses no threat to North Korea. Every provocation has come out of North Korea. And so, the only reason why North Korea could be pursuing this weapon is to do what? Its actually to coerce or blackmail or extort the United States to leave the peninsula and Northeast Asia. And to what theyve been saying for years. I mean, how many times in his latest speech did Kim Jong Un use the word, unification? What kind of unification does he have in mind? He has unification under the domination of the North and its failed system. I mean, this is So, whats important to recognize is that North Korea is pursuing this nuclear weapon, not for just defensive purposes that you hear some people argue about, but really for coercive purposes, for offensive purposes. And the world has to recognize that.   Q: You know, its interesting. I dont think Ive been to North Korea three times. I dont have a sense and its a random sampling, and its no way any scientific study I dont have any sense that the people of North Korea, themselves, dont think that they have the best place on earth to live, except for those who may get some sort of information from the West. But I think thats the problem, too, is that the people arent with us, you know? The people are not against their leadership, at least not right now.   McMaster: Well, its been three generations now of leadership whos systematically brainwashed their own population, who deny them access to outside information. Once information can penetrate that society, I mean, this is what he probably fears the most, right? So, theres some who argue, Well, what we really need to do is open the gates to this misunderstood regime in the North. Of course, thats one of the things that the North fears the most because it will expose all the lies. It will expose all of the hypocrisy.   Q: Which is why they prevent the information from coming in. McMaster: Absolutely.   Q: Kim Jong Un in a recent speech talked about making a gesture to South Korea, said maybe theyll send athletes to participate in the Olympic Games, and maybe theyll have negotiations, and also threatened that he has a button. I think he says he has a button on his desk to launch a nuclear weapon against us. What are your thoughts about that, about his gesture to South Korea? McMaster: Well, anybody who thought that that speech was reassuring was drinking too much Champagne over the holidays. And essentially, what he said is what you just summarized, that he is building a hair-trigger nuclear force that can place the world at risk. So, this is a great cause for concern. And I think the speech is pretty clear what the purpose was. It wasnt an unsophisticated approach to try to drive a wedge between South Korea and the United States. Of course, thats not going happen. His provocative actions, what hes been doing, is driving our alliances closer together.   Q: One last question on this. If the economic sanctions dont work, for whatever reason either they do not respond to them, or China doesnt stiffen them, or the North Koreans can cheat around them if those sanctions dont work, then what? And whats our timetable? McMaster: Well, what we have to do is prepare for a broad range of options for the president. And those include military options, and weve made no secret about that. And well work closely with our allies as we develop and refine those options. And essentially, if we have to compel the denuclearization of North Korea without the cooperation of that regime, well bring those options and our assessment of risk and consequences to the president for a decision.   Q: Whats the range in military options? What do you see as the far end and the light end? McMaster: Well, of course Im not going to discuss military plans. But those plans exist.   Q: Hypothetically. I know, but hypothetically, whats the McMaster: Im not in a hypothetical position, so I cant.   Q: OK, fair enough. All right, all right. OK. I said it was the last question, Ill make that the last question on that. All right. Let me turn now to Pakistan. And the president tweeted that the United States this is from one of his first tweets of the new year The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more! So, he has upped the pressure on Pakistan. Why? And to what end? McMaster: Well, I think the tweet speaks for itself. I mean, the presidents frustrated, and he values what we hope would be a partnership with Pakistan. But hes frustrated at Pakistans behavior in that it continues to provide support for these groups, it goes after terrorist insurgent groups, really, very selectively, and uses others as an arm of their foreign policy. The president has great sympathy for the Pakistani people and in particular, how much theyve suffered at the hands of terrorists who have victimized so many Pakistanis with mass murders, with that horrible mass murder in a school a few years ago. I mean, so, he empathizes with the Pakistani people, and he wants to see the Pakistani government go after these groups less selectively. This is not a blame game, as some would say. This is really our effort to communicate clearly to Pakistan that our relationship can no longer bear the weight of contradictions, and that we have to really begin now to work together to stabilize Afghanistan. And in a way, that would be a huge benefit to Pakistan, as well. Whats frustrating at times is we see Pakistan operating against the interests of its own people by going after these groups only selectively, by providing safe havens and support bases for Taliban and Haqqani network leadership that operate out of Pakistan as they perpetuate hell in portions of Pakistan and in Afghanistan.   Q: I traveled with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Pakistan years ago when she was delivering news of an aid package about $7 billion a significant amount for the Pakistanis. And I remember that the Pakistanis were upset because we wanted to know how the money was going to be spent. They were very upset. So, you have that incredible sort of disconnect that did not seem to me to be outrageous that wed want to know how our money was going to be spent. On the other hand, when you dont give money to these countries, someone else steps in, so thats the risk. McMaster: Well, I dont think whos going to step in now, I think, and want Pakistan to continue its support for terrorist groups like the Haqqani network, for groups like the Taliban? I mean, certainly its not in Chinas interest. China has a terrorist problem on its southern border, a terrorist problem that does have connections back into Pakistan. Its not going to be any other country in the region, certainly, who will want Pakistan to continue this, really, pattern of behavior that weve seen, where it goes after these groups only selectively, while it sustains and supports others who act as an arm of its foreign policy. So, I think were confident that I mean, Pakistan doesnt want to become a pariah state. Pakistan is a country with tremendous potential human potential, economic potential. So, what we really would like to see is Pakistan act in its own interest and to stop going after these groups only selectively, and to stop providing safe havens and support bases and other forms of support for leadership.   Q: How do you put into the equation the fact that Pakistan is a nuclear country, and that they have also palled around, at least historically, with North Korea on nuclear weapons? Do they hold some sort of — I dont want to use the term blackmail, its too strong but they do have that as a lever. McMaster: Well, I think it would just be unwise for any Pakistani leader I cant imagine a Pakistani leader using nuclear weapons to extort or for blackmail. Thats the day when Pakistan   Q: Thats what North Korea is doing. McMaster: Well, I mean, does Pakistan want to become North Korea? Doesnt look too appealing a model to me. So, I think Pakistan could be on a path to increase security and prosperity, or it could be on a path to replicating North Korea. I think thats an easy choice for Pakistani leaders.   Q: You know, its obvious when you look at foreign policy, you move one little piece on this chess table, and it affects so many other parts of the world. McMaster: None of these problems are disconnected from others. I mean, there are many connections between all these problems. Thats what weve discussed.   Q: Is there a way to describe the presidents foreign policy? Ive heard one quote where he said that, where it says, The way Trump handles foreign policy moves us out of our comfort zone, me included. First of all, what did he mean by that? And secondly, how do you describe the presidents foreign policy? McMaster: Well, I would describe it as principled realism, and you can read more about this in the highly readable, page-turning, National Security Strategy, which is available now.   Q: Which I did read. Its a lot, too. It is quite long. McMaster: But its clear. Its a succinct statement of his policy, his guidance to all the departments and agencies, and a clear description to our allies and partners and rivals of what we value as a nation and how we want to go about protecting and securing the vital interests of the American people, but to do so in a way that really emphasizes cooperation with others around the world. Q: By out of the comfort zone, you werent saying that you were in any way disagreeing with the president?   McMaster: No. What the president does is, he challenges fundamental assumptions. He always says, Well, why do we have to do it this way? I mean, and so he makes a lot of our implicit assumptions explicit as we explain these to him. And I would say that hes made some very wise policy decisions across the last year and some very significant ones. And I would point to the August speech on the South Asia strategy. A very clear articulation of a winning strategy not just for Afghanistan and Pakistan but for the whole region, for the whole region of South Asia. The Indo-Pacific strategy, which he really laid out in terms of its security dimensions but really its economic dimensions, in two speeches one in South Korea, and one in Danang during the APEC Summit. And of course, the Iran strategy, which is a fundamental shift from strategy in recent years and reflects a determination to confront Irans maligned behavior and to choke off the financing to this dictatorship that its using to destabilize the whole Middle East and to perpetuate violence and human suffering there.   Q: All right. (Russia President Vladimir) Putin, Russia and national security. First of all, do you believe that you may have said this a million times, I know that Russia interfered with our election?   McMaster: Yes, of course. The presidents been on the record on that, as well.   Q: OK. What do we do?   McMaster: Well, what we have to do is come up with a way to deal with this very sophisticated strategy, this new kind of threat that Russia has really perfected in a lot of ways, and thats the use of disinformation and propaganda and social media tools to really polarize societies and pit communities against each other. To weaken their resolve and their commitment. We cover this quite a bit in the National Security Strategy and talk about how important it is for every time we talk about what divides us as country, we have to talk about what unites us. And thats our the common commitment to our values. We value individual rights and rule of law, and we value our democracy.   Q: Its so insidious when someone sort of creeps into your election, into the debate, or puts false information out there. I mean, it just permeates every community in the country.   McMaster: No, insidious is the right word. So, one of the most important remedies is to pull the curtain back on it to show this activity, to show what the source of this activity is, what the purpose of this activity is. And so doing, youre going to undercut a lot of their ability to exert that kind of negative influence on our society or others, you know? As you know, the Russians were very active in Europe, as well, in the French election recently, in the Spanish referendum in regards to Catalonia. You see them active in Mexico already. What they did in Montenegro and try to foment a coup, as well as this sort of sophisticated campaign. And so, pulling the curtain back on Russias destabilizing behavior, I think, is a very important first step, because once the people once everybody sees what theyre up to, they lose a lot of their power to foment lack of confidence and to pit communities against each other.   Q: All right. I take it your counterpart in Russia denies this, denies doing this?   McMaster: Well, I think Russias moved from what you might call plausible deniability to implausible deniability. These are the same people who said, Oh no, we didnt shoot down that airliner or murder all those people. Oh no, we dont have soldiers in Crimea or in eastern Ukraine. I mean, its just not credible anymore. Were not providing cover for a Syrian regime that is committing mass murder of its own people with chemical weapons. And so, its just not credible anymore. And so, what we need to do, I think, with Russia, is confront their destabilizing behavior. As I mentioned, pull the curtain back on it.   Q: But doesnt Putin deny it?   McMaster: But we also have to deter further conflict with Russia, and what we want to do is find some areas of cooperation. What we have seen recently is, it seems as if Russia will actually act against its interest to spite the United States, the West, our European allies.   Q: Theyre saying if you dont have any self-preservation, its a terrible enemy, in some ways, our opponent.   McMaster: Well, what wed like to do is find areas where we can cooperate with Russia in areas where our interests overlap. One of those is an area weve been talking about, which is in North Korea, another is in Iran. I mean, how can it be in Russias interest to help empower Iran across the Middle East? Theyre going to pay a huge price for that.   Q: But Iran is helping in Syria, and so is Putin helping in Syria, (President Bashar al-)Assad. So, they both they have a common goal there.   McMaster: So, every state every Arab state certainly should recognize what Russias been doing. And Russia should pay the price, in terms of its reputation, its access to the region, for what its doing to enable Iran and Irans very destructive activities perpetuating this fitna, or civil war, across the greater Middle East. And Russia shouldnt give cover and support to Iran so it can continue its nefarious designs across the region. I mean, not only has Iran continued to support terrorist groups like Hezbollah, all these other illegal armed groups about 80 percent of the fighters on the side of the Assad regime in Syria are Iranian proxies and in Yemen. And what theyre doing is weaponizing these networks with long-range missiles, as well. And so again, I think pulling the curtain back on it, really asking Russia, How can this be in your interest to aid and abet this Iranian regime?   Q: I guess if I thought they responded a lot to shame. But I think the term thats been used by the Trump administration is theyre a strategic competitor. And in the past and not just in the past year since President Trump took office but in the years past is that Putin has gained in strength. This is not someone who seems to have been shamed away like, Oh, Im really sorry I was involved in the U.S. election, or Im ashamed. He seems to be emboldened by this.   McMaster: Well, hes also now become one of the most sanctioned countries on Earth. I mean, that cant be in Russian interest. So, I think its important for Russia to conclude that its in its interest Russia is not going to act against its interest. We dont expect Russia to act against its interest or do the United States, or anybody else, a favor. What we want to do is to be able to find areas of cooperation, so we can help convince Russia that its in its interest to work together on some of these key priority threats to the world. I mean, how could it be in Russias interest to have the nonproliferation regime break down in Northeast Asia? To see other nations in Northeast Asia armed with nuclear weapons? Its not in Russias interest. You already see South Korea and Japan, and their alliance with us strengthened. You see South Korea and Japan arming at a breakneck pace. And so, this is not in Russias interest. And the way to resolve this is to resolve this problem with North Korea and really allow Northeast Asia to enjoy a new era of prosperity. Can you imagine without that threat from North Korea, how Russia, China everyone would benefit from that?   Q: What surprises you most about the job before you took it and now that youve been in the seat?   McMaster: Well, what surprised me the most is the high-quality people I get to work with. I mean, these extremely dedicated civil servants and officers from across our government on this National Security Council are tremendous. It is a great privilege to work with them. And then, I guess what surprised me, as well, is the degree to which we are working together based on our common interest with so many nations around the world. I mean, we have great relationships with our counterparts between National Security Councils, National Security Advisers. Its maybe part support group, but its also a group of like-minded nations. Theyre trying to advance and protect the interest of our citizens. And we have some as you were talking about, a lot of problems that were working on, but were also working on opportunities opportunities to increase the security and prosperity of all our peoples and of the world.   Van Susteren: General, thank you very much, and good luck. Well be watching, and I hope you come back. McMaster: Thanks, Greta. Its was a pleasure to be with you. Thank you so much.

VOA Interview: National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster

VOA contributor Greta Van Susteren interviews General H.R. McMaster, national security advisor, at the White House, Jan. 2, 2018, concerning events in Iran and Pakistan.

‘Mopping up’ of high-ranking servicemen 2017 – https://en.crimerussia.com/


https://en.crimerussia.com/
‘Mopping up’ of high-ranking servicemen 2017
https://en.crimerussia.com/
Lieutenant general Lopyrev detained at the end of December, 2016 became the first high-ranking employee of the Federal Guard Service (FGS) – the most secret intelligence agency protecting the president and the top officials of the RussianFederation 

Morell, Rogers: Russia Not Deterred, Persevering with On-line Assaults – Kaplan Herald

Morell, Rogers: Russia Not Deterred, Persevering with On-line Assaults
Kaplan Herald
“Russian operatives have frequently targeted Republican politicians who have been critical of Trump, including Sen. Jeff Flake or Arizona, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham of South Carolina and Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee,” they wrote. “In September, they also 

Steve Bannon and the billionaire Mercer family have now turned against each other

Throughout all the chaos of Donald Trump and Steve Bannon and Breitbart and Trump-Russia and Cambridge Analytica on down, one of the few constants was that Bannon’s every move has been bankrolled by the billionaire Mercer family. They’ve funded his websites. They’ve funded his companies. They’ve funded his candidates. But on the same day in which Bannon’s words have dropped a bomb on Trump’s head, it’s being separately reported that Bannon and the Mercers have now turned against each other as well.

Wednesday will go down in history as the day Steve Bannon set Donald Trump on fire just to watch him burn. Bannon accused Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr of a “treasonous” conspiracy with the Russians during the election. He asserted that Trump and Jared Kushner will be taken down for money laundering. Bannon must have made these remarks months ago, based on the timeline of the book that the quotes are about to be published in. But it all appears to dovetail with a whole other burgeoning internal feud.

Bannon has now lost the support of Rebekah Mercer and her father Robert Mercer, according to a Washington Post report on Wednesday evening (link). It’s not clear what the final straw may have been. Was it Bannon’s humiliating failure in the Alabama election? Was it his attacks on Trump which leaked today?

In any case, this has major implications for the alt-lunatic-right going forward. It’s never been clear that Breitbart is financially viable on its own without Mercer money. This also punches a big hole in Steve Bannon’s plan to run lunatic candidates in the 2018 congressional elections, all of whom would have been funded by Mercer money. Come to think of it, now that Rebekah Mercer has been implicated in the Trump-Russia scandal herself (source: Wall Street Journal), perhaps she’s looking to withdraw from the entire Bannon-Trump fiasco before it gets even uglier.

The post Steve Bannon and the billionaire Mercer family have now turned against each other appeared first on Palmer Report.

Fire and Fury: explosive new book on Trump administration video

A new book claiming to be a fly-on-the-wall account of internecine warfare in the White House written by Michael Wolff is about to hit the shelves. The Guardian had access to an early copy of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House here are some of the juiciest parts

Continue reading…

Trump Lawyer Sends Cease-And-Desist Letter To Steve Bannon

Attorney Charles Harder said legal action is imminent.

Claim Trump aide warned of UK spying absurd, says Tony Blair – BBC News


BBC News
Claim Trump aide warned of UK spying absurd, says Tony Blair
BBC News
According to Mr Wolff’s account, in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Mr Blair shared the rumour that, during the election, British intelligence “had had the Trump campaign staff under surveillance, monitoring its telephone calls and other 
Ex-aide Bannon has lost his mind – TrumpBBC News

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The Times rides to Mueller’s rescue – The Hutchinson News


Washington Examiner
The Times rides to Mueller’s rescue
The Hutchinson News
What evidence did the FBI cite to get FISA court warrants to surveil and wiretap Trump’s team? Republican congressmen have for months been demanding answers to these questions. And, as Mueller’s men have stonewalled, suspicions have arisen that this 
Congressional investigators find irregularities in FBI’s handling of Clinton email caseThe Hill
Senator: FBI overlaying up dealing with of Hillary probeKaplan Herald
CAIR slams Trump over Huma Abedin tweetWashington Examiner
Twitter –The Daily Caller
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Iran protests: General declares ‘sedition’ defeated – BBC News


BBC News
Iran protests: General declares ‘sedition’ defeated
BBC News
The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has declared the defeat of the “sedition” in the country, referring to a wave of anti-government protests. Maj Gen Mohammad Ali Jafari made the announcement as tens of thousands of people attended pro-government 
Iran deploys Revolutionary Guards to quell ‘sedition’ in protest hotbedsReuters
Iran’s Elite Guard Says Anti-Government Protests Are OverBloomberg
Uh oh: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard declares the end of the ’96 seditionHot Air
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Teen accused of killing her New Year’s Eve date in botched gun theft – New York Post


New York Post
Teen accused of killing her New Year’s Eve date in botched gun theft
New York Post
A Texas teen is accused of killing her New Year’s Eve date after a plot to steal his guns went wrong. Yvonne Raquel Ramirez, 19, of Baytown, is facing murder charges after she allegedly gunned down Joshua McKinney at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday in Harris 
Teen Charged With Murdering Her New Year’s Eve DateDaily Beast
Texas Teen Accused of Murdering Boyfriend on New Year’s Eve, Stealing Victim’s GunsNewsweek
19-year-old Baytown woman accused in man’s murder on NYEChron.com

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Firm That Contracted ‘Steele Dossier’ Says It Was ‘Shocked’ By Findings on Trump – NPR


NPR
Firm That Contracted ‘Steele Dossier’ Says It Was ‘Shocked’ By Findings on Trump
NPR
Glenn R. Simpson, co-founder of the research firm Fusion GPS, arrives for a scheduled appearance before a closed House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 14. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption. toggle caption 
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Fusion GPS founders say they were ‘shocked’ by contents of ‘Steele dossier’The Hill
‘It is time to stop chasing rabbits’: Fusion GPS punches back at GOP critics in revealing op-edBusiness Insider
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Frozen Niagara Falls stuns visitors who dare to brave bitter cold – NBCNews.com


NBCNews.com
Frozen Niagara Falls stuns visitors who dare to brave bitter cold
NBCNews.com
Mist from the waterfalls has been freezing instantly, coating trees, walkways, cliffs and overlooks in a dreamy, brilliant white. Jan.03.2018 / 8:14 AM ET 11 PHOTOS. Share this . Niagara Falls is one place the nation’s deep freeze is as much seen as 
Deep freeze across the USCNBC

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Manafort sues DOJ, Mueller over Russia probe authority – CNN


CNN
Manafort sues DOJ, Mueller over Russia probe authority
CNN
(CNN) Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman indicted on money laundering and other charges, filed a lawsuit challenging the broad authority of special counsel Robert Mueller and alleging the Justice Department violated the law in appointing 
Paul Manafort Sues Mueller and Asks a Judge to Narrow the Russia InvestigationNew York Times
Ex-Trump campaign manager Manafort sues Mueller, Rosenstein, claims Russia probe has gone too farFox News
Ex-Trump campaign chairman Manafort challenges his indictment in Russia probe by filing lawsuit against MuellerWashington Post
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Fire breaks out at Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Westchester home – New York Daily News


New York Daily News
Fire breaks out at Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Westchester home
New York Daily News
It was not immediately clear if the Clintons were at home when the fire started. (Richard Harbus/for New York Daily News). BY Chris Sommerfeldt. NEW YORK DAILY NEWS. Updated: Wednesday, January 3, 2018, 3:46 PM. A fire broke out at Bill and Hillary 
Firefighters extinguish fire at Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Chappaqua propertyCBS News
Fire breaks out at Hillary and Bill Clinton’s house in ChappaquaThe Journal News | LoHud.com
Fire Reported at Hillary and Bill Clinton’s House in Chappaqua, New YorkPEOPLE.com
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Bannon: Trump Jr. meeting with Russians was ‘treasonous’ – New York Post


New York Post
Bannon: Trump Jr. meeting with Russians was ‘treasonous’
New York Post
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon called a meeting between President Trump’s son Donald Jr. and a group of Russians treasonous and unpatriotic, according to a report on Wednesday. After reports revealed the meeting at the Trump Tower in 
Trump Tower meeting with Russians ‘treasonous’, Bannon says in explosive bookThe Guardian
Steve Bannon predicts Mueller is ‘going to crack Don Junior like an egg’ in Russia probeWashington Times
Bannon predicts Mueller will ‘crack Don Jr. like an egg’ over ‘treasonous’ Russia meeting: reportRaw Story

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