Huawei’s P20 Pro is a hugely promising phone that will upset Americans

So Huawei is both flourishing and perishing, depending on the geography you look at. The Chinese company is both the darling of major pan-European carrier networks like Telefónica, Deutsche Telekom, and Vodafone — and the untouchable pariah for US operators wary of its potential links to international espionage. There’s an obvious dissonance between these two positions, and I find it notable that Germany and the UK both rely heavily on Huawei for networking equipment. The first is a country famous for being extremely scrupulous about consumer privacy and data security, and the second is America’s closest political ally. At this point, it feels like US spy agencies have to either put up concrete allegations and evidence of wrongdoing on Huawei’s part, if there is any, or allow the company to carry on its business. The burden of proof is on the accusers.

Ultimately, it all boils down to this: Huawei never did much business in the US, and so losing out on the market opportunity is costly but not a total disaster; the US, on the other hand, has landed in an uncomfortable duopoly situation that strangles consumer choice. The US phone market needs a respectable third player more than Huawei needs the US market.

Source: Huawei’s P20 Pro is a hugely promising phone that will upset Americans


Inquiry finds FBI sued Apple to unlock phone without considering all options

The Office of the Inspector General has issued its report on the circumstances surrounding the FBI’s 2016 lawsuit attempting to force Apple to unlock an iPhone as part of a criminal investigation. While it stops short of saying the FBI was untruthful in its justification of going to court, the report is unsparing of the bureaucracy and clashing political motives that ultimately undermined that justification.

Source: Inquiry finds FBI sued Apple to unlock phone without considering all options

Mattis Statement Means Trump Not Bluffing

Secretary of Defense James Mattis made the following statement:


Mattis making a statement like this indicates not only that military operations are possible, but that active planning is underway if not completed.  This situation looks to get more tense in the near future and the outcome as to whether military action takes place may lie with China’s ability to bring the DPRK under some sort of control.

One scenario would be for China to take preemptive action to remove the regime and occupy the North as a buffer to the South.

Withdrawing from Overseas Bases: Why a Forward-Deployed Military Posture Is Unnecessary, Outdated, and Dangerous

Introduction In contemporary foreign policy debates, analysts and policymakers largely take America’s worldwide constellation of overseas military bases for granted. But America’s forward-deployed military posture—that is, its policy of maintaining a large overseas military presence—incurs substantial risk.

Source: Withdrawing from Overseas Bases: Why a Forward-Deployed Military Posture Is Unnecessary, Outdated, and Dangerous

Chechnya’s Leader Claims “Russian Doomsday Device” Is Activated

  1. Authored by Mac Slavo via, Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, gave a rare interview to a media outlet in the United States that aired Tuesday, and what he said is taking many aback… While speaking to HBO’s Real Sports , Kadyrov denied that gay people are humans, that they exist in his region , and that his government regularly detains or tortures them, despite ample reports to the contrary .

Source: Chechnya’s Leader Claims “Russian Doomsday Device” Is Activated

Is This Why Snowden Had to Break the Law to Become an NSA Whistleblower?

Is This Why Snowden Had to Break the Law to Become an NSA Whistleblower?

by Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge / 2016-12-17 10:37

Submitted by Nick Bernabe via,

National Security Agency (NSA) inspector general George Ellard, an outspoken critic of whistleblower Edward Snowden, personally retaliated against another NSA whistleblower, Adam Zagorin reported at the Project on Government Overreach (POGO) on Thursday.

An intelligence community panel earlier this year found that Ellard had retaliated against a whistleblower, Zagorin writes, in a judgment that has still not been made public.

The finding is remarkable because Ellard first made headlines two years ago when he publicly condemned Snowden for leaking information about the NSA’s mass surveillance of private citizens, wherein Ellard claimed that Snowden should have raised concerns through internal channels. The agency would have protected him from any retaliation, Ellard said at the time.

Politico reported on Ellard’s 2014 comments:

“‘We have surprising success in resolving the complaints that are brought to us,’ he said.

“In Snowden’s case, Ellard said a complaint would have prompted an independent assessment into the constitutionality of the law that allows for the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone metadata. But that review, he added, would have also shown the NSA was within the scope of the law.

“‘Perhaps it’s the case that we could have shown, we could have explained to Mr. Snowden his misperceptions, his lack of understanding of what we do,’ Ellard said.”

Yet documents confirmed earlier this year that Snowden had, indeed, reported concerns to several NSA officials—who took no action and discouraged him from continuing to voice concerns. Moreover, as Snowden told Vice News:

“I was not protected by U.S. whistleblower laws, and I would not have been protected from retaliation and legal sanction for revealing classified information about law breaking in accordance with the recommended process.”

Ellard’s 2014 criticism of Snowden appears particularly threadbare after he has been found personally guilty of whistleblower retaliation.

The judgment also came from an external panel of Ellard’s fellow intelligence agency watchdogs. Zagorin writes:

“[L]ast May, after eight months of inquiry and deliberation, a high-level Intelligence Community panel found that Ellard himself had previously retaliated against an NSA whistleblower, sources tell the Project On Government Oversight. Informed of that finding, NSA’s Director, Admiral Michael Rogers, promptly issued Ellard a notice of proposed termination, although Ellard apparently remains an agency employee while on administrative leave, pending a possible response to his appeal from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

The closely held but unclassified finding against Ellard is not public. It was reached by following new whistleblower protections set forth by President Obama in an executive order, Presidential Policy Directive 19. (A President Trump could, in theory, eliminate the order.) Following PPD-19 procedures, a first-ever External Review Panel (ERP) composed of three of the most experienced watchdogs in the US government was convened to examine the issue. The trio—[Inspectors General (IGs)] of the Justice Department, Treasury, and CIA—overturned an earlier finding of the Department of Defense IG, which investigated Ellard but was unable to substantiate his alleged retaliation.”

“The finding against Ellard is extraordinary and unprecedented,” Stephen Aftergood, director of the Secrecy Program at the Federation of American Scientists, told Zagorin. “This is the first real test drive for a new process of protecting intelligence whistleblowers. Until now, they’ve been at the mercy of their own agencies, and dependent on the whims of their superiors. This process is supposed to provide them security and a procedural foothold.”

Ellard served as inspector general of the NSA for nine years, Zagorin notes.

The revelation about Ellard echoes other reports of retaliation against whistleblowers from the internal watchdogs meant to protect them, and further affirms Snowden’s repeated argument that he had no choice but to go public with his mass surveillance leaks.

“More generally,” observes Zagorin, “there are few if any incentives for intelligence whistleblowers to report problems through designated authorities when the IG of [the] NSA is found to have retaliated against such an individual.”