CIA is world’s most dangerously incompetent spy agency – Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has described the CIA as “dangerously incompetent,” in response to the US agency branding him a “friend of terrorists.” The war of words started after RT asked the CIA to comment on reports of its hacking exploits.

“Dictators and terrorists have no better friend in the world than Julian Assange, as theirs is the only privacy he protects,” CIA spokesperson Heather Fritz Horniak told RT in an email.

The scathing response came after RT asked the CIA to comment on the assessment of former agency analyst Ray McGovern. He suggested that the capability to falsify digital fingerprints, exposed by WikiLeaks as part of its ongoing Vault 7 disclosure, cast doubt on allegations against Russia in connection with the 2016 US presidential election.

READ MORE: #Vault7: How CIA steals hacking fingerprints from Russia & others to cover its tracks

“Could it be that the ‘Russian hack’ was really done by John Brennan of the CIA? If I were asked to bet on that, then I would bet that that was exactly the case,” McGovern told RT’s Going Underground program.

“What does that mean? It means that these trumped-up charges against Trump, pardon the pun, are baseless,” McGovern added.

Brennan’s successor as CIA director, Mike Pompeo, sparked concerns in April when he suggested that WikiLeaks, which he described as “a non-state hostile intelligence service,” could be prosecuted for the publication of confidential US documents. He also attacked Assange and his associates, branding them “demons.”

Critics said Pompeo was setting a dangerous precedent, which exposed any media outlet reporting on leaks or the accounts of whistleblowers. They also criticized his comment that Assange “has no First Amendment freedoms.”

READ MORE: WikiLeaks ‘hostile intel,’ Assange & his followers ‘demons’: CIA chief goes ballistic

When asked for comment, Assange reiterated his earlier criticism of the US intelligence agency.

“The CIA is the world’s most dangerously incompetent spy agency. It has armed terrorists, destroyed democracies and installed and maintained dictatorships the world over,” he said in an email. “There are good men and women at the CIA but if our publications are any guide they work for WikiLeaks.”

CIA spokesperson Horniak also lashed out at RT for questioning the allegations of Russia’s interference in the US election.

“The responsibility of the Russian intelligence services for the election-related hacking is an established fact, but it is not surprising that an identified propaganda outlet like RT would attempt to muddle those facts. No reputable news organization doubts Russian culpability,” Horniak claimed.

In response, RT’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, said that such unquestioning obedience by the western mainstream media to the US establishment only leads to a decline in their popularity.

“The CIA & Co haven’t bothered to present a shred of evidence besides their own claims, and are now actually boasting about how happy the ever-loyal press is to unquestioningly go along with the story,” Simonyan said, adding, “This is exactly why people have stopped trusting the mainstream media and are seeking out alternative sources of news and analysis.”

So far, no definitive evidence of the alleged hacking has been made public. A declassified report by the US intelligence community didn’t state that such hacking took place, but rather said the agencies had “confidence” that it did.

The full episode of Going Underground featuring McGovern will be aired on Wednesday at 6pm Moscow time (15:00 GMT).

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Are they for real? Merkel & Macron pledge to reform European Union

Are they for real? Merkel & Macron pledge to reform European Union
The EU would be wise not to compete with US militarism and stop intervening in the Middle East, Jan Oberg, the director of the Foundation for Peace and Future Research explained to RT. Hugh Bronson, Alternative for Germany party (AFD), also gave analysis.

On Monday, the new French President Emmanuel Macron held a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in Berlin.

During Macron’s first foreign visit, he told Merkel that he was “happy” to work together with Germany “on a common roadmap for the European Union and the eurozone.”

The French leader said that “deep reforms”  – up to and including amending the EU treaty – are required to address some of the major issues plaguing the EU.

“In the past, the subject of treaty change was a French taboo. It will no longer be the case,” Macron said, as cited by Reuters.

Merkel expressed guarded optimism to the remarks made by her French counterpart. But was all of this lip service to pacify an electorate that is hungry for real change?

Hugh Bronson, Alternative for Germany party (AFD)

RT:  The meeting started on a nice note with Macron emphasizing the importance of relations between the two states. But how important are they?

Hugh Bronson: Well, they are of course crucial. Without the German-French axis, there would be no EU; there would be no coherent European policy. They are the two pillars on which the EU bridge has been built. But I am afraid we heard a lot of lip service today about reform. Peter Oliver said it before, he can’t count how many times the new French President has mentioned reforms, and in the end just carried on as usual. And we will see the same here. Treaties in place are not negotiable. I would rather see how these treaties are implemented in full. For example, the no bail-out clause, or the Dublin agreement, which looks after just distribution of migrants over EU countries. This has not been followed.

Changing EU treaty ‘not taboo’ for France anymore – after meeting 

Photo published for Changing EU treaty ‘not taboo’ for France anymore – Macron after meeting Merkel — RT News

Changing EU treaty ‘not taboo’ for France anymore – Macron after meeting Merkel — RT News

The European Union’s need for deep reforms is so dire that even the idea of changing the EU treaty is “not taboo,” new French President Emmanuel Macron said at a joint news conference with German…

Also the no bail-out clause: everybody knows what happened to Greece. There will be another package being made ready to be shipped to Athens in the summer. I rather see European treaties being implemented and getting reforms done on the lower level than just lip service from these two heads of state.

RT:  Macron has repeatedly said he wants economic reforms. Will Merkel be in favor of that? Usually, it’s Germany that pays the lion’s share into the EU.

HB: Yes, of course, Germany is the greatest payer for the European Union. Now that Great Britain has left because of Brexit, France will be in second place. Of course, she wants to see reforms – that is what she says. In fact, they both are very happy the way things are going. They were lucky at the election. Marine Le Pen only got one-third of the French votes. But that was a warning shot. Also the election in Britain last year, the Brexit – they know that things are happening. And their reaction is to move faster.

The danger also is that you have a two-tier, or even a three-tier Europe – a very close connection between France and Germany, who set the pace of further integration. Then you have the second tier of countries who don’t want that much integration; and the third tier of countries like the Visagrad states [Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia], who are not happy with certain agreements, and want to slow down the whole process. We are risking Europe of different speeds, different opinions, and different alliances. This is a danger to a project that is set out to unite Europe, or unite the 28 – soon only 27 states – which are members of the EU.

Jan Oberg, Director, Foundation for Peace and Future Research

RT:  The two politicians seemed delighted to have met, with Macron emphasizing the importance of relations between the two states. But how important are they?

Jan Oberg: Historically these two countries – back to the coal and steel union – have always been centrally important to the EU. But when we start out today with the body language, and smiles and no smiles, and hand on shoulder, and things like that, I am tempted to quote Shakespeare: “Words, words, and words.” It remains to be seen because they are meeting at a moment where anybody needs some kind of new thing, some hype, and hope because things are so bad at the moment in the EU. You have economic problems; you have the huge refugee problem that has been treated in an awful, uncoordinated way that the whole world has seen. You have a very negative relationship with Russia; you have the Ukraine problem; you have Syria. On all of these things, I do not necessarily think these two otherwise very visionary leaders will be on the same page.

‘Centrist’ ? Yes, a dead-center insider for global capitalism (Op-Edge) 

Photo published for ‘Centrist’ Macron? Yes, a dead-center insider for global capitalism — RT Op-Edge

‘Centrist’ Macron? Yes, a dead-center insider for global capitalism — RT Op-Edge

Everything about France’s newly elected president Emmanuel Macron suggests a theatrical production of hype and illusion. He is being “sold” to the masses as an “outsider” and “centrist”, a benign…

RT:  Is the EU feeling more secure at present, following Macron’s win?

JO: You might say it was a pro-EU candidate compared with a more anti-EU candidate. But if you talk of security in those terms, no I don’t think so. The EU at the moment is also saying things about coordinating military, becoming stronger militarily because of the environment, etc. I think the EU would be wise not to compete with the US about militarism. And would be very wise if its members could stop intervening all over the place in the Middle East, France of course in particular; and Britain is leaving – that is another thing. And instead, find a niche for itself.

For 50 years the EU has been talking about military integration. It is not going to happen because they don’t have a common foreign policy and they are not going to have one. But if they could find a niche of civilian early-warning conflict resolution, looking at problems, being the mediators, where others are going in bombing and doing the wrong things with devastating results – if they could come together, and do something new in the Middle East – that would be great. But I have a hard time believing that Mr. Macron is on that line.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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NATO is making up Russian threat to justify its own existence – former French intel chief

NATO is making up Russian threat to justify its own existence – former French intel chief
NATO became obsolete after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the bloc is purposefully representing Russia as a security threat to justify its own existence, Yves Bonnet, former head of French counter-intelligence, told RT.

The Russians “are no longer ‘villains,’ the Soviet threat has vanished – primarily because the USSR doesn’t exist anymore,” Bonnet said.

The claims of Moscow’s aggressive behavior coming from the US-led military bloc’s officials are “exaggerated,” the former head of Directorate of Territorial Surveillance, or DST as its French abbreviation goes, which was dissolved in 2008, added.

“I believe that NATO intentionally fuels the perception of Russia as a threat… Like any organization, the North Atlantic Alliance wants to continue existing and the only reason for prolonging its existence is you… the Russians,” he said.

Picturing Russia as in international menace “doesn’t work anymore. I can assure you that the French people, fortunately, no longer believe it,” Bonnet added.

The former intelligence chief told French-language media outlet RT en Français that he was “very sad that France has again joined NATO.”

Paris withdrew from NATO in 1966 due to questioning its ability to resist the Soviet Union and developing its own nuclear deterrent, and only returned to the bloc 30 years later.

READ MORE: NATO returning to ‘historic role as war fighting command’ to counter Russia – top US general

In the current historic moment, NATO “isn’t a useful organization, but a dangerous one,” Bonnet said, adding that “the North Atlantic Alliance should be disbanded altogether.”

“I saw what NATO did in Yugoslavia [in 1999], waging a war there without an international warrant… Now NATO is invading Afghanistan, although this country isn’t in the North Atlantic,” he said.

The intelligence veteran slammed the bloc’s policies towards Russia, saying that “it makes no sense to make the Russians worry. It’s completely pointless to make [the Russians] nervous. Don’t tease the ‘Russian bear.’”

He also dismissed claims that Russia tried to meddle with the French presidential elections, voiced shortly before the April 23 vote by the candidate of successful candidate Emmanuel Macron.

READ MORE: NATO may boost its presence & prolong ‘training’ mission in Afghanistan – Stoltenberg

“I think that it’s exactly the opposite. The Russians didn’t interfere in the French election. But there was an open influence on the presidential campaign from numerous financial interests, both French and international, in particular Israeli, who supported the presidential campaign of Emmanuel Macron,” Bonnet said.

He expressed regret that “for political reasons” Paris is neglecting cooperation with intelligence services of Russia, Syria and other countries that are “directly fighting against terrorism.”

Such international cooperation would be more effective in tackling extremism in France than the emergencies law and other measures currently imposed by the country’s’ authorities, the former intelligence chief said.

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