Οι άνθρωποι του Τραμπ και οι σχέσεις με Τουρκία και Ελλάδα

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Προβληματισμός επικρατεί στους κόλπους της ελληνοαμερικανικής κοινότητας, καθώς πολλοί από τους ανθρώπους που θα πλαισιώσουν τον πρόεδρο Τραμπ –μερικοί εξ αυτών στα σημαντικότερα αξιώματα που άπτονται της εξωτερικής πολιτικής και της ασφάλειας– δεν μπορούν να χαρακτηριστούν ένθερμοι υποστηρικτές της Ελλάδας. Με δεδομένη δε την περιορισμένη γνώση και εμπειρία του κ. Τραμπ στα διεθνή ζητήματα, η επιρροή τους θα είναι δυσανάλογα αυξημένη σε ό,τι αφορά τη χάραξη της αμερικανικής εξωτερικής πολιτικής.

Ο πιο στενός συνεργάτης του νέου προέδρου στα θέματα αυτά θα είναι εξ αντικειμένου ο σύμβουλος εθνικής ασφάλειας, αντιστράτηγος Μάικλ Φλιν. Ενώ μέχρι κάπoια στιγμή η ανάλυσή του για την Τουρκία εκινείτο στη γραμμή της γραφειοκρατίας της Ουάσιγκτον αναδεικνύοντας το γεγονός ότι η Τουρκία δεν κάνει αρκετά για να καταπολεμήσει το ISIS, πιο πρόσφατα έχει μετεξελιχθεί στον πιο σθεναρό υποστηρικτή της Αγκυρας. Οπως μάλιστα σημειώνει σε άρθρο του ο Ντέιβιντ Φίλιπς, διευθυντής του Προγράμματος για την Ειρήνη του Πανεπιστημίου Κολούμπια και πρώην στέλεχος του Στέιτ Ντιπάρτμεντ επί κυβερνήσεων Κλίντον, Μπους και Ομπάμα, η εταιρεία παροχής συμβουλών που ίδρυσε ο κ. Φλιν (Flynn Intel Group) χρηματοδοτούνταν από μια ολλανδική εταιρεία που ανήκει σε Τούρκο επιχειρηματία. Ο τελευταίος έχει στενές σχέσεις με τον Ταγίπ Ερντογάν και παίρνει κρατικά συμβόλαια από την τουρκική κυβέρνηση. Οι επικριτές του αμφιλεγόμενου κ. Φλιν, και δεν είναι λίγοι, υποστηρίζουν ότι δεν νοείται να τοποθετείται σε ένα τόσο ευαίσθητο πόστο άνθρωπος με τόσο στενές διασυνδέσεις με μια ξένη χώρα. Το παραπάνω σκηνικό ίσως εξηγεί το γεγονός ότι τις τελευταίες ημέρες ο κ. Φλιν έπλεξε το εγκώμιο του Ερντογάν και τάχθηκε υπέρ της έκδοσης στην Τουρκία του ιμάμη Φετουλάχ Γκιουλέν.

Ο αντιπρόεδρος Μάικ Πενς ήταν μέλος της Τουρκικής Ομάδας του Κογκρέσου (Turkish Caucus) και έχει επανειλημμένα εκφράσει ανθελληνικές θέσεις. Είναι χαρακτηριστικό ότι στη διάρκεια της κρίσης ήταν απόλυτα αντίθετος σε κάθε σκέψη στήριξης της Ελλάδας. Σε επανειλημμένες περιπτώσεις είχε ασκήσει δριμεία κριτική κατά της κυβέρνησης Ομπάμα για την υποστηρικτική της στάση και για τη συγκατάθεσή της στην παροχή βοήθειας προς την Ελλάδα από το ΔΝΤ. «Δεν κοιτάμε προς την Ε.Ε. για να χρηματοδοτήσει το Νιου Τζέρσεϊ ή την Καλιφόρνια. Ετσι και η Ε.Ε. δεν θα έπρεπε να κοιτά σε μας για να παράσχουμε δανειακές εγγυήσεις για τη στήριξη της Ελλάδας», είχε τονίσει σε μία από τις παρεμβάσεις του ο κ. Πενς. Κατήγγειλε δε επανειλημμένα το ενδεχόμενο οι μελλοντικές γενιές Αμερικανών φορολογουμένων να κληθούν να πληρώσουν «έως και 50 δισεκατομμύρια δολάρια» για να χρηματοδοτήσουν την Ελλάδα και την Ευρώπη γενικότερα.

Ο βουλευτής Παμπέο, που θα αναλάβει επικεφαλής της CIA, είναι και αυτός μέλος της «Τουρκικής Ομάδας» του Κογκρέσου, ενώ όχι απλώς μέλος αλλά συμπρόεδρος του Turkish Caucus είναι ο γερουσιαστής Τζεφ Σέσιονς, στενός συνεργάτης και φίλος του Ντόναλντ Τραμπ, ο οποίος θα αναλάβει ακόμη ένα κορυφαίο αξίωμα, αυτό του υπουργού Δικαιοσύνης. Από το νέο του πόστο είναι βέβαιο ότι θα ασχοληθεί με το ζήτημα της έκδοσης του Γκιουλέν. Οι κ. Πενς, Σέσιονς και Παμπέο έχουν λάβει σχεδόν μηδενικές «βαθμολογίες» από την ΑΧΕΠΑ για τη νομοθετική τους δράση σε σχέση με ελληνικού ενδιαφέροντος θέματα.

Ενα διαφορετικής υφής «πρόβλημα» μπορεί να παρουσιάσει η περίπτωση του Μιτ Ρόμνεϊ, που είναι υποψήφιος για να ηγηθεί του Στέιτ Ντιπάρτμεντ. Ο μετριοπαθής πρώην υποψήφιος των Ρεπουμπλικανών για την προεδρία το 2012, που ήταν πρόεδρος της οργανωτικής επιτροπής για τους χειμερινούς Ολυμπιακούς Αγώνες του 2002 στο Σολτ Λέικ Σίτι, είχε πικρή εμπειρία από τον τρόπο που του συμπεριφέρθηκαν στην Αθήνα κατά την παραμονή του στην πόλη το 2004, στο πλαίσιο των Ολυμπιακών Αγώνων.

Οι Ελληνες

Ωστόσο, υπάρχει και η «άλλη όψη» του νομίσματος. Η ελληνοαμερικανική κοινότητα έχει στο σημαντικότερο ίσως αξίωμα τον Ράινς Πρίμπους. Ο μέχρι τώρα πρόεδρος του Ρεπουμπλικανικού Κόμματος θα αναλάβει διευθυντής του Λευκού Οίκου και, άρα, θα είναι ο άνθρωπος που σε καθημερινή βάση θα είναι δίπλα στον πρόεδρο, θα οργανώνει το πρόγραμμά του και θα χαράσσει μαζί του την πολιτική. Ο Πρίμπους είναι άρχων του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου και αγαπά την Ελλάδα, ωστόσο σε ιδεολογικό επίπεδο είναι σκληρός επικριτής των σοσιαλιστικών κυβερνήσεων. Υπάρχει, επίσης, ο Τζορτζ Τζιτζίκος, υπεύθυνος για την οργάνωση εκδηλώσεων του Τραμπ, που λόγω θέσης βρέθηκε τους προηγούμενους μήνες πολύ κοντά στον Ρεπουμπλικανό υποψήφιο. Παράγων με προσβάσεις είναι και ο Ελληνοαμερικανός σύμβουλος επιχειρηματικής ανάπτυξης, Μάικλ Καρλούτσος.

Πάντως, παράγων με γνώση των διεργασιών που βρίσκονται σε εξέλιξη τόνισε στην «Κ» ότι οι προοπτικές για να υπάρξει έστω μερική κατανόηση για την ελληνική οικονομία θα αυξηθούν εάν αναλάβει υπουργός Οικονομικών είτε ο ελληνικής καταγωγής επικεφαλής της JPMorgan, Τζέιμι Ντέιμον, είτε ο μεγαλοεπενδυτής Γουίλμπορ Ρος που έχει επενδύσει στην Ελλάδα.

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11 Responses to Οι άνθρωποι του Τραμπ και οι σχέσεις με Τουρκία και Ελλάδα

  1. Ο/Η σχολιαστης λέει:

    Απο το κείμενο:

    …Ο τελευταίος έχει στενές σχέσεις με τον Ταγίπ Ερντογάν και παίρνει κρατικά συμβόλαια από την τουρκική κυβέρνηση. Οι επικριτές του αμφιλεγόμενου κ. Φλιν, και δεν είναι λίγοι, υποστηρίζουν ότι δεν νοείται να τοποθετείται σε ένα τόσο ευαίσθητο πόστο άνθρωπος με τόσο στενές διασυνδέσεις με μια ξένη χώρα. Το παραπάνω σκηνικό ίσως εξηγεί το γεγονός ότι τις τελευταίες ημέρες ο κ. Φλιν έπλεξε το εγκώμιο του Ερντογάν και τάχθηκε υπέρ της έκδοσης στην Τουρκία του ιμάμη Φετουλάχ Γκιουλέν.

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  2. Ο/Η Δύστροπη Πραγματικότητα λέει:

    Τηλεφωνική επικοινωνία Τσίπρα – Τραμπ

    http://www.kathimerini.gr/884852/article/epikairothta/politikh/thlefwnikh-epikoinwnia-tsipra—tramp

    Τηλεφωνική επικοινωνία με τον νεοεκλεγέντα πρόεδρο των ΗΠΑ, Ντόναλντ Τραμπ είχε την Τετάρτη ο Αλέξης Τσίπρας.

    Σύμφωνα με την κυβερνητική ενημέρωση, ο Πρωθυπουργός συνεχάρη τον κ. Τραμπ για την εκλογική του νίκη και υπογράμμισε τους στενούς δεσμούς φιλίας και συνεργασίας ανάμεσα στον ελληνικό και τον αμερικανικό λαό.

    Όπως τονίζεται, στο πλαίσιο της συνομιλίας τους τονίστηκε ο κρίσιμος ρόλος της Ελλάδας για την ειρήνη και ασφάλεια της ευρύτερης περιοχής –ιδιαίτερα σε μία περίοδο αυξανόμενης αποσταθεροποίησης – καθώς και οι σημαντικές προσπάθειες που έχει καταβάλει ο ελληνικός λαός για την αντιμετώπιση τόσο της οικονομικής όσο και της προσφυγικής κρίσης.

    Επιβεβαιώθηκε, παράλληλα, η σημασία ενίσχυσης της στρατηγικής συνεργασίας των δύο χωρών σε σειρά τομέων, σε συνέχεια και της πρόσφατης επίσκεψης του Προέδρου Ομπάμα στην Ελλάδα. Τέλος, σύμφωνα με το Μέγαρο Μαξίμου, συμφώνησαν να διατηρήσουν σταθερούς δίαυλους επικοινωνίας κατά την επόμενη περίοδο.

    Τι λέει το Μαξίμου

    Σύμφωνα με κυβερνητικές πηγές, η επικοινωνία πραγματοποιήθηκε με πρωτοβουλία του Ντόναλντ Τραμπ.

    «Παρακολουθώ τη δουλειά που κάνετε, έχει καταπληκτικά αποτελέσματα», είπε σύμφωνα με τις ίδιες πηγές στον Αλέξη Τσίπρα ο Αμερικανός πρόεδρος, αναφερόμενος στο προσφυγικό – μεταναστευτικό και στον οικονομικό τομέα. Αναφέρθηκε και στην πρόσφατη επίσκεψη Ομπάμα στην Αθήνα, την οποία χαρακτήρισε «πολύ καλή». «Ο ελληνικός λαός είναι ένας καταπληκτικός λαός», είπε χαρακτηριστικά.

    Στο σημείο αυτό, κατά τους ίδιους κύκλους, ο κ. Τσίπρας παρατήρησε, ότι ο νεοεκλεγείς Πρόεδρος έχει πολλούς Ελληνοαμερικανούς στην ομάδα του, και ο κ. Τραμπ απάντησε, πως οι Ελληνοαμερικανοί τον ψήφισαν με μεγάλες πλειοψηφίες». Η συνομιλία έκλεισε με τον κ. Τραμπ να λέει ότι όταν αναλάβει τα καθήκοντά του, θα ξαναμιλήσουν, πως θα είναι σε επαφή και ότι «θα χαρεί κάποια στιγμή να πουν από κοντά».

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  3. Ο/Η Δύστροπη Πραγματικότητα λέει:

    Σύμφωνα με τον δημοσιογράφο της Καθημερινής Γιάννη Παλαιολόγο ο Τράμπ ήταν που έκανε το τηλεφώνημα, συνεχίζοντας την πρακτική που έχει εγκαινιάσει μετά την εκλογή του, να μιλάει με διάφορους ξένους ηγέτες χωρίς όμως προηγουμένως να έχει λάβει κάποια σχετική ενημέρωση από τις αρμόδιες υπηρεσίες του υπουργείου εξωτερικών.

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  4. Ο/Η δεξιος λέει:

    Πως θα δημιουργήσει Κουρδιστάν ο Φλυνν και θα μείνει φίλος της Τουρκίας μόνο αυτός το ξέρει.

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  5. Ο/Η Δύστροπη Πραγματικότητα λέει:

    Τραγικό αλλά αληθινό.

    Η Κλίντον πήρε κοντά 2 εκατομμύρια περισσότερους ψήφους από τον Τράμπ, 1,5% παραπάνω, αλλά έχασε τις εκλογές λόγω του απαρχαιωμένου συστήματος των εκλεκτόρων. Με άλλα λόγια ξεκάθαρα κέρδισε τον Τράμπ ως προς την λαϊκή ψήφο, και με σημαντική διαφορά κιόλας, αλλά χάνει λόγω του τρόπου που είναι δομημένο το εκλογικό σύστημα στις ΗΠΑ.

    http://www.kathimerini.gr/884929/article/epikairothta/kosmos/h-klinton-exase-tis-ekloges-me-2000000-parapanw-yhfoys-apo-ton-tramp

    Η Χίλαρι Κλίντον κέρδισε δύο εκατομμύρια ψήφους περισσότερες από τον αντίπαλό της Ντόναλντ Τραμπ στις προεδρικές εκλογές της 8ης Νοεμβρίου και παρόλα αυτά ο Ρεπουμπλικάνος υποψήφιος κέρδισε καθότι συγκέντρωσε μεγαλύτερο αριθμό μεγάλων εκλεκτόρων.

    Αυτό το προβάδισμα της 1,5 ποσοστιαίας μονάδας υπέρ της υποψήφιας των Δημοκρατικών, σύμφωνα με τους ειδικούς του Cook Political Report, δεν αλλάζει σε τίποτα το αποτέλεσμα των εκλογών.

    Ο Τραμπ συγκέντρωσε 290 μεγάλους εκλέκτορες έναντι 232 η Κλίντον, η οποία παραδέχθηκε την ήττα της. Για να κερδίσουν την προεδρία των ΗΠΑ χρειάζονταν 270, δηλαδή την πλειοψηφία των 538 μεγάλων εκλεκτόρων.

    Σύμφωνα με τα τελευταία στοιχεία που έδωσαν στη δημοσιότητα χθες Τετάρτη οι επίσημες πηγές του Cook Political Report, η Κλίντον συγκέντρωσε 64.227.373 ψήφους έναντι 62.212.752 του Τραμπ.

    Είναι η δεύτερη φορά στον 21ο αιώνα που ο υποψήφιος των Δημοκρατικών κερδίζει περισσότερες ψήφους, αλλά χάνει τις εκλογές. Το 2000 ο αντιπρόεδρος Αλ Γκορ έχασε από τον Τζορτζ Ουόκερ Μπους, αν και είχε συγκεντρώσει 544.000 ψήφους περισσότερες.

    Στις ΗΠΑ ο αριθμός των μεγάλων εκλεκτόρων, που διαφέρει σε κάθε μία από τις 50 πολιτείες ανάλογα με τον πληθυσμό της, τον οποίο συγκεντρώνει ένας υποψήφιος είναι αυτός που δίνει την τελική νίκη.

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  6. Ο/Η Δύστροπη Πραγματικότητα λέει:

    Ένα ενδιαφέρον άρθρο. Η κεντρική θέση είναι ότι ο αμερικάνικος τύπος, αντι να ασκήσει αιχμηρή κριτική στον νέο πρόεδρο, μάλλον θα επιλέξει να υποταχθεί στην θέληση της νέας ηγεσίας.

    Donald Trump Makes the New York Times Great Again!

    https://theintercept.com/2016/11/23/donald-trump-makes-the-new-york-times-great-again/

    As Donald Trump’s presidential campaign shifted from hilarious to terrifying, the New York Times newsroom produced a gusher of tremendous journalism, digging deep into critical subjects, explicating Trump’s lies and frauds, and providing those Americans who wanted it with the information they desperately needed.

    Then Trump was elected. And now that he’s not just potentially powerful but genuinely powerful, the paper appears to be returning to its traditional role of feebly accommodating presidents rather than actually holding them accountable.

    According to the Times itself, Reince Priebus, Donald Trump’s chief-of-staff-to-be, tried to trick Trump into canceling his interview with the Times on Tuesday because Priebus was worried Trump “could face questions he might not be prepared to answer.”

    Priebus shouldn’t have worried.

    All of the Times’ top editors and reporters together, given a golden opportunity, found themselves unable to perform basic journalism. They let Trump skate on literally everything.

    Even worse, other outlets then took the useless Times interview and misreported what Trump said.

    Here are all the gruesome ways it went wrong:

    1. Vague, easy-to-evade questions

    Dean Baquet, editor of the Times, went first with this slurry of words:

    BAQUET: You energized a lot of people in the country who really wanted change in Washington. But along with that — and this is going to create a tricky thing for you — you also energized presumably a smaller number of people who were evidenced at the alt-right convention in Washington this weekend. Who have a very …

    TRUMP: I just saw that today.

    BAQUET: So, I’d love to hear you talk about how you’re going to manage that group of people who actually may not be the larger group but who have an expectation for you and are angry about the country and its — along racial lines. My first question is, do you feel like you said things that energized them in particular, and how are you going to manage that?

    Trump predictably responded that “I disavow the group” and then blathered on about how he has no idea why neo-Nazis love him and whatever’s going on it isn’t his fault.

    Here’s a better way Baquet could have asked a question on this subject:

    While running for president in 2008, Barack Obama delivered a nationally-televised speech disavowing Jeremiah Wright, pastor of his church, and explaining his perspective on the history of race in the United States. Will you give a similar speech disavowing the bigots and white supremacists who’ve enthusiastically endorsed you?

    Many (though not all) of the questions from other editors and reporters were just as bad. Thomas Friedman’s meandering, pillow-soft inquiries, complete with his transparent attempts to butter Trump up, have to be read to be believed. Friedman instinctively ingratiates himself with the powerful like a beta chimp.

    2. Little follow up

    Trump has proven that he never answers questions, he just opens his mouth and a random assortment of sounds comes out for several mind-numbing minutes. Yet for the most part the Times’s staff was totally unprepared for this.

    For instance, when White House correspondent Julie Davis asked Trump about Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart News chairman who will be his chief White House strategist, Trump said, “If I thought he was a racist, or alt-right, or any of the things that we can, you know, the terms we can use, I wouldn’t even think about hiring him.”

    Davis did not then point out that just four months ago Bannon said that under his leadership Breitbart had become “the platform for the alt-right.”

    Similarly, no one asked Trump why, if his “company is so unimportant to me relative to what I’m doing,” he won’t put his assets into a blind trust, or why Trump apparently believes it’s impossible for him to sell his real estate holdings.

    Times reporter Michael Barbaro, to his credit, did try to press Trump on whatever arrangements he’s going to make with his shoddy empire, though with no success. Barbaro was finally reduced to asking, “Can you promise us when you decide exactly what that is, you’ll come tell the New York Times about it?”

    3. Critical questions unasked

    Here are ways that several subjects should have been broached with Trump but were not:

    “Will you veto any bill from congressional Republicans that cuts Social Security and Medicare benefits or privatizes the programs?”

    “Your tax plan would raise taxes on half of single parents, while allowing you to pass your fortune onto your children largely or completely untaxed. Why is this fair?”

    “You said during the debates that ‘of course’ you’ve used loopholes that have allowed real estate developers like yourself to sometimes avoid paying taxes altogether. How will you close these loopholes?”

    “Michael Flynn, your pick for national security adviser, has said that ‘fear of Muslims is rational,’ and endorsed a video that begins ‘Islam … wants 80 percent of humanity enslaved or exterminated.’ Do you agree with him?”

    “The director of the National Security Agency said, in reference to Wikileaks’ release of hacked emails of various Democrats, ‘This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.’ Will you declassify the evidence for this, and support a congressional investigation into whatever happened?”

    4. Botched coverage by other outlets

    Here’s the headline on the Los Angeles Times story about the New York Times interview: “Trump shifts on at least 3 prominent issues: Climate, torture and prosecution of Clinton.”

    Other headlines have included, “Donald Trump changes his mind on climate change, Clinton, the press in meeting with The New York Times“, In Stunning Reversal, Trump Scraps His Calls to Bring Back Torture, Trump Reverses Course on Clinton, and many others like them.

    While some of these stories are more equivocal in the ninth paragraph, anyone who just glances at them will get a highly misleading impression.

    First, nothing Trump says means anything specific. Trump supporter Peter Thiel actually sees this as a selling point.

    Second, Trump did not actually say he’d changed his mind on any of these issues.

    In fact, on torture he made that explicit — that while Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, his potential defense secretary, had told him torture was a terrible idea, “I’m not saying it changed my mind.”

    When he was asked about prosecuting Clinton, and whether he was “taking that off the table,” he specifically said he was not doing so.

    On global warming, he merely said, “I have a totally open mind” and that “I think there is some connectivity” between human activity and the climate. Maybe this is an improvement from believing that global warming is a hoax invented by the Chinese. But not necessarily.

    So even given the best possible circumstances, the best corporate media outlet in the U.S. failed miserably. This suggests that longtime political organizer Mariame Kaba was completely right when she said this, and it’s going to be on all the rest of us to invent something new:

    «The mainstream press is/will be incapable of pushing back against Trump & his people. If you are counting on them, you shouldn’t.»

    hxxps://twitter.com/prisonculture/status/800830264889004032

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  7. Ο/Η Δύστροπη Πραγματικότητα λέει:

    Προεκλογικά ο Τράμπ είχε ζαλίσει τα αρχίδια σε όλο τον κόσμο για τις σχέσεις της Κλίντον με τους τραπεζίτες της Wall Street και ιδιαίτερα την Goldman Sachs. Τώρα όμως, έτσι για να επιβραβεύσει την εμπιστοσύνη που του έδειξαν οσοι πήραν στα σοβαρά τις παραπάνω μαλακίες που έλεγε, θα διορίσει υπουργό οικονομικών ένα τύπο που επι 17 έτη δούλευε στην Goldman Sachs και γενικότερα, όντας hedge fund manager, είναι φυσικά πέρα για πέρα μέλος του κατεστημένου της Wall Street, το οποίο ο Τράμπ, τάχα, αντιμάχεται..

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-mnuchin-idUSKBN13O2W4

    President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name former Goldman Sachs partner and Hollywood financier Steven Mnuchin as his nominee for Treasury secretary, a source said on Tuesday, putting a Wall Street veteran in the top U.S. economic Cabinet post.

    Mnuchin, who was Trump’s presidential campaign finance chairman, could be named as early as Wednesday, said a Republican source close to the decision.

    Mnuchin was chosen over several high-profile candidates, including JPMorgan Chase Chairman Jamie Dimon and Republican U.S. Representative Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee.

    Mnuchin is the first person with extensive Wall Street experience to head the Treasury since his former boss, Henry Paulson, the former Goldman Sachs chief executive who served under President George W. Bush and steered Treasury through the chaotic initial stages of the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

    […]

    Mnuchin’s experience running Goldman’s mortgage-backed bond trading desk would later prove valuable when an opportunity arose in 2009 to buy the deeply discounted assets of failed California mortgage lender IndyMac Bank from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation during the financial crisis.

    He assembled an investor group that included hedge fund manager John Paulson to buy the assets for $1.55 billion, and moved to Los Angeles.

    After rebranding the operation OneWest Bank, Mnuchin built it with other assets and professional sports team sponsorships into Southern California’s largest bank, with 73 branches and $23 billion in assets. His group sold OneWest to CIT Group Inc last year for $3.4 billion.

    The bank came under fire for its foreclosure practices as housing advocacy groups accused it of being too quick to foreclose on struggling homeowners. In 2011, dozens of demonstrators descended on Mnuchin’s $26.5 million home in the wealthy Bel Air neighborhood to protest OneWest’s eviction tactics, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    […]

    Mnuchin must be confirmed by the Senate and the top Democrat on the chamber’s Finance Committee signaled he may be in for tough questioning.

    «Given Mr. Mnuchin’s history of profiting off the victims of predatory lending, I look forward to asking him how his Treasury Department would work for Americans who are still waiting for the economic recovery to show up in their communities,» Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said in a statement.

    […]

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  8. Ο/Η Δύστροπη Πραγματικότητα λέει:

    Οι γκάφες έχουν πλέον αρχίσει, η μία μετά την άλλη.

    The Real Risk Behind Trump’s Taiwan Call

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-real-risk-behind-trumps-taiwan-call

    If you work in foreign affairs, you learn that a highly unexpected event is often the result of intent or incompetence. (You also learn that what looks, at first, like intent often turns out to be incompetence.) In the Donald Trump era, we may need a third category—exploitation—which has elements of both.

    In his first semiofficial act of foreign policy, President-elect Trump, on Friday, lobbed a firework into the delicate diplomacy of Asia by taking a phone call from Taiwan’s President, breaking thirty-seven years of American practice in a way that is sure to upset relations with China. It wasn’t clear how much he intended to abruptly alter geopolitics, and how much he was incompetently improvising. There is evidence of each; in either case, the way he did it is very dangerous.

    Some background: Taiwan broke away from mainland China in 1949, and the two sides exist in a tense equilibrium, governed by decades of diplomatic agreements that serve to prevent war in Asia. Under that arrangement, the U.S. maintains friendly relations with Taiwan, while Presidents since Ronald Reagan have deliberately avoided speaking directly with Taiwan’s President because the U.S. formally recognizes only the Beijing government.

    When news broke of Trump’s phone call with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, foreign-policy experts were, unsurprisingly, appalled. Since his election, Trump has conducted a series of phone calls with foreign leaders, without seeking expertise from those at the State Department and the National Security Council who monitor the details of those relationships. On Wednesday, he told Pakistan’s President that he would do whatever he could to help him—despite America’s strong interest in preventing Pakistan from doing many things it would like to do in India and Afghanistan. To use an analogy that Trump would recognize, it’s akin to arriving for a negotiation without first asking the value of the assets, the cost of the transaction, or the previous terms of engagement.

    The problem, in this case, is far more about the manner of Trump’s move than the substance of it. One can make a credible argument for seeking to improve relations with Taiwan and for pushing Beijing to reduce its effort to isolate it. Though expert reaction to the Taiwan call was generally negative, the move was applauded by a subset of conservative Asia specialists who have long pushed for the U.S. to draw closer to Taiwan as a check on China’s expanding power. Daniel Blumenthal, a China specialist at the American Enterprise Institute who has no connection to the Trump team, told me it was a “good move by Trump” that is “both morally and strategically correct.” “They are being isolated, and it is smart policy to not allow that. Everyone, including Beijing, benefits from high-level [U.S.] communication with Taiwan . . . Our thinking on this issue is so outdated.”

    When Trump discovered that he was being mocked for taking the call, he tweeted what he seems to have thought would be a mitigating explanation: “The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!” If he meant to imply that the incoming call was a surprise, then he either was lying or had been misled; Taiwan’s press had already published news of a “scheduled” call hours earlier. The Taipei Times reported, “Trump reportedly agreed to the call, which was arranged by his Taiwan-friendly campaign staff after his aides briefed him on issues regarding Taiwan and the situation in the Taiwan Strait, sources said.”

    […]

    How will Beijing react? Outwardly, it could muster a response anywhere on the spectrum from furious to mildly annoyed. Initially, facing the risk of a costly confrontation, it chose the latter. China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, downplayed the Trump-Tsai call as a “small action” that will not change the bedrock of the “One China” policy. (And if you believe that response, you deserve a job in the Trump Administration.)

    Whether it says it or not, China will regard this as a deeply destabilizing event not because the call materially changes U.S. support for Taiwan—it does not—but because it reveals the incoming Presidency to be volatile and unpredictable. In that sense, the Taiwan call is the latest indicator that Trump the President will be largely indistinguishable from Trump the candidate.

    Trump has also shown himself to be highly exploitable on subjects that he does not grasp. He is surrounding himself with ideologically committed advisers who will seek to use those opportunities when they can. We should expect similar moments of exploitation to come on issues that Trump will regard as esoteric, such as the Middle East, health care, immigration, and entitlements.

    For a piece I published in September, about what Trump’s first term could look like, I spoke to a former Republican White House official whom Trump has consulted, who told me, “Honestly, the problem with Donald is he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.” It turns out that is half of the problem; the other half is that he has surrounded himself with people who know how much he doesn’t know. Since Election Day, Trump has largely avoided receiving intelligence briefings, either because he doesn’t think it’s important that he receive them or because he just doesn’t care about them. George W. Bush, in the first months of 2001, ignored warnings about Osama bin Laden. Only in our darkest imaginings can we wonder what warnings Trump is ignoring now.

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  9. Ο/Η Δύστροπη Πραγματικότητα λέει:

    Σύμφωνα με εκτιμήσεις της CIA η Ρωσία παρενέβη στις αμερικάνικες εκλογές στηρίζοντας με διάφορους τρόπους την προσπάθεια του Τράμπ να κερδίσει τις εκλογές.

    CIA says Russia intervened to help Trump win White House

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-cyber-russia-idUSKBN13Z05B

    The CIA has concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help President-elect Donald Trump win the White House, and not just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.

    U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed that as the 2016 presidential campaign drew on, Russian government officials devoted increasing attention to assisting Donald Trump’s effort to win the election, the U.S. official familiar with the finding told Reuters on Friday night on condition of anonymity.

    Citing U.S. officials briefed on the matter, the Washington Post reported on Friday that intelligence agencies had identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, to WikiLeaks.

    U.S. President Barack Obama ordered intelligence agencies to review cyber attacks and foreign intervention into the 2016 election and deliver a report before he leaves office on Jan. 20, the White House said on Friday.

    As summer turned to fall, Russian hackers turned almost all their attention to the Democrats. Virtually all the emails they released publicly were potentially damaging to Clinton and the Democrats, the official told Reuters.

    «That was a major clue to their intent,» the official said. «If all they wanted to do was discredit our political system, why publicize the failings of just one party, especially when you have a target like Trump?»

    A second official familiar with the report said the intelligence analysts’ conclusion about Russia’s motives does not mean the intelligence community believes that Moscow’s efforts altered or significantly affected the outcome of the election.

    Russian officials have denied all accusations of interference in the U.S. election.

    A CIA spokeswoman said the agency had no comment on the matter.

    The hacked emails passed to WikiLeaks were a regular source of embarrassment to the Clinton campaign during the race for the presidency.

    U.S. intelligence analysts have assessed «with high confidence» that at some point in the extended presidential campaign Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government had decided to try to bolster Trump’s chances of winning.

    The Russians appear to have concluded that Trump had a shot at winning and that he would be much friendlier to Russia than Clinton would be, especially on issues such as maintaining economic sanctions and imposing additional ones, the official said.

    Moscow is launching a similar effort to influence the next German election, following an escalating campaign to promote far-right and nationalist political parties and individuals in Europe that began more than a decade ago, the official said.

    In both cases, said the official, Putin’s campaigns in both Europe and the United States are intended to disrupt and discredit the Western concept of democracy by promoting extremist candidates, parties, and political figures.

    In October, the U.S. government formally accused Russia of a campaign of cyber attacks against Democratic Party organizations ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.

    President Barack Obama has said he warned Putin about consequences for the attacks.

    Trump has said he is not convinced Russia was behind the cyber attacks. His transition team issued a statement on «claims of foreign interference in U.S. elections» on Friday but did not directly address the issue.

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  10. Ο/Η Δύστροπη Πραγματικότητα λέει:

    Εδω και το άρθρο της Washington Post στο οποίο υπάρχουν αναφορές στο άρθρο του Reuters.

    Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-orders-review-of-russian-hacking-during-presidential-campaign/2016/12/09/31d6b300-be2a-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.56fcd9fc4a6d

    The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

    Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

    “It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”

    The Obama administration has been debating for months how to respond to the alleged Russian intrusions, with White House officials concerned about escalating tensions with Moscow and being accused of trying to boost Clinton’s campaign.

    In September, during a secret briefing for congressional leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voiced doubts about the veracity of the intelligence, according to officials present.

    The Trump transition team dismissed the findings in a short statement issued Friday evening. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again,’ ” the statement read.

    Trump has consistently dismissed the intelligence community’s findings about Russian hacking.

    “I don’t believe they interfered” in the election, he told Time magazine this week. The hacking, he said, “could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”

    The CIA shared its latest assessment with key senators in a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill last week, in which agency officials cited a growing body of intelligence from multiple sources. Agency briefers told the senators it was now “quite clear” that electing Trump was Russia’s goal, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

    The CIA presentation to senators about Russia’s intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.

    For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were “one step” removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees. Moscow has in the past used middlemen to participate in sensitive intelligence operations so it has plausible deniability.

    […]

    U.S. intelligence agencies have been cautious for months in characterizing Russia’s motivations, reflecting the United States’ long-standing struggle to collect reliable intelligence on President Vladi­mir Putin and those closest to him.

    In previous assessments, the CIA and other intelligence agencies told the White House and congressional leaders that they believed Moscow’s aim was to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system. The assessments stopped short of saying the goal was to help elect Trump.

    On Oct. 7, the intelligence community officially accused Moscow of seeking to interfere in the election through the hacking of “political organizations.” Though the statement never specified which party, it was clear that officials were referring to cyber-intrusions into the computers of the DNC and other Democratic groups and individuals.

    Some key Republican lawmakers have continued to question the quality of evidence supporting Russian involvement.

    […]

    The reluctance of the Obama White House to respond to the alleged Russian intrusions before Election Day upset Democrats on the Hill as well as members of the Clinton campaign.

    Within the administration, top officials from different agencies sparred over whether and how to respond. White House officials were concerned that covert retaliatory measures might risk an escalation in which Russia, with sophisticated cyber-capabilities, might have less to lose than the United States, with its vast and vulnerable digital infrastructure.

    The White House’s reluctance to take that risk left Washington weighing more-limited measures, including the “naming and shaming” approach of publicly blaming Moscow.

    […]

    Though U.S. intelligence agencies were skeptical that hackers would be able to manipulate the election results in a systematic way, the White House feared that Russia would attempt to do so, sowing doubt about the fundamental mechanisms of democracy and potentially forcing a more dangerous confrontation between Washington and Moscow.

    In a secure room in the Capitol used for briefings involving classified information, administration officials broadly laid out the evidence U.S. spy agencies had collected, showing Russia’s role in cyber-intrusions in at least two states and in hacking the emails of the Democratic organizations and individuals.

    And they made a case for a united, bipartisan front in response to what one official described as “the threat posed by unprecedented meddling by a foreign power in our election process.”

    The Democratic leaders in the room unanimously agreed on the need to take the threat seriously. Republicans, however, were divided, with at least two GOP lawmakers reluctant to accede to the White House requests.

    According to several officials, McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.

    […]

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  11. Ο/Η Δύστροπη Πραγματικότητα λέει:

    Και τελικά, από ότι φαίνεται, δεν ήταν μόνο τα συστήματα υπολογιστών της εθνικής επιτροπής των Δημοκρατικών που δέχτηκαν επίθεση από τους ρώσους αλλά και αυτά της εθνικής επιτροπής των Ρεπουμπλικάνων. Παρόλα αυτά τα μόνα στοιχεία που βγήκαν στην φόρα αφορούσαν τους Δημοκρατικούς.

    Russia Hacked Republican Committee but Kept Data, U.S. Concludes

    WASHINGTON — American intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia acted covertly in the latter stages of the presidential campaign to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances and promote Donald J. Trump, according to senior administration officials.

    They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding — which they say was also reached with high confidence — that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks.

    In the months before the election, it was largely documents from Democratic Party systems that were leaked to the public. Intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.

    Republicans have a different explanation for why no documents from their networks were ever released. Over the past several months, officials from the Republican committee have consistently said that their networks were not compromised, asserting that only the accounts of individual Republicans were attacked. On Friday, a senior committee official said he had no comment.

    Mr. Trump’s transition office issued a statement Friday evening reflecting the deep divisions that emerged between his campaign and the intelligence agencies over Russian meddling in the election. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” the statement said. “The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’”

    One senior government official, who had been briefed on an F.B.I. investigation into the matter, said that while there were attempts to penetrate the Republican committee’s systems, they were not successful.

    But the intelligence agencies’ conclusions that the hacking efforts were successful, which have been presented to President Obama and other senior officials, add a complex wrinkle to the question of what the Kremlin’s evolving objectives were in intervening in the American presidential election.

    “We now have high confidence that they hacked the D.N.C. and the R.N.C., and conspicuously released no documents” from the Republican organization, one senior administration official said, referring to the Russians.

    It is unclear how many files were stolen from the Republican committee; in some cases, investigators never get a clear picture. It is also far from clear that Russia’s original intent was to support Mr. Trump, and many intelligence officials — and former officials in Mrs. Clinton’s campaign — believe that the primary motive of the Russians was to simply disrupt the campaign and undercut confidence in the integrity of the vote.

    The Russians were as surprised as everyone else at Mr. Trump’s victory, intelligence officials said. Had Mrs. Clinton won, they believe, emails stolen from the Democratic committee and from senior members of her campaign could have been used to undercut her legitimacy. The intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia tried to help Mr. Trump was first reported by The Washington Post.

    In briefings to the White House and Congress, intelligence officials, including those from the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency, have identified individual Russian officials they believe were responsible. But none have been publicly penalized.

    It is possible that in hacking into the Republican committee, Russian agents were simply hedging their bets. The attack took place in the spring, the senior officials said, about the same time that a group of hackers believed to be linked to the G.R.U., Russia’s military intelligence agency, stole the emails of senior officials of the Democratic National Committee. Intelligence agencies believe that the Republican committee hack was carried out by the same Russians who penetrated the Democratic committee and other Democratic groups.

    The finding about the Republican committee is expected to be included in a detailed report of “lessons learned” that Mr. Obama has ordered intelligence agencies to assemble before he leaves office on Jan. 20. That report is intended, in part, to create a comprehensive history of the Russian effort to influence the election, and to solidify the intelligence findings before Mr. Trump is sworn in.

    […]

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