Saturday snippets: Pompeo says allies aren't stepping up; Rick Perry back on pipeline board
• Missouri Republican plans to introduce motion to dismiss impeachment when Congress returns from the holiday recess on Monday: “Dems said impeachment was URGENT. Now they don’t want to have a trial, because they have no evidence. In real world, if prosecution doesn’t proceed with case, it gets dismissed,” said GOP Sen. Josh Hawley, a former Missouri attorney general. Of course, there is considerable evidence already in the public record. But the Trump regime’s withholding of documentary evidence while defying and demanding that others defy congressional subpoenas gets no mention from the likes of Republicans like Hawley since this would acknowledge the stunning duplicity of his argument.
• Iran’s cyberwar capabilities are not as sophisticated as Russia’s or America’s, but can still do plenty of damage: After the U.S. (probably working with Israel) inserted the Stuxnet worm into the system controlling Iran’s uranium-concentrating centrifuges, causing many of them to spin out of control, Iran focused attention on honing the Islamic Republic’s hacking skills. The two nations have ever since been involved in various cyber attacks on each other. One recent attack Donald Trump told the nation about was the U.S. cyber attack on an Iranian missile defense installation after Tehran shot down an unarmed reconnaissance drone last summer. Now, as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps presumably plans its retaliation for the American killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani, stepped cyber attacks should be expected, with a continuation at a higher level of tit-for-tat that has been going on for at least a decade. Among the possibilities is attacking computerized systems in businesses, something they did to U.S. banks from 2011 to 2013, creating a tangled mess. In 2012, having learned from a cyber attack on its oil production, Iran launched operation Shamoon in which it erased the memories of 35,000 computers in Saudi Arabia, caused serious short-term problems with oil production. Iran also erased data in 2014 at the Las Vegas Sands casino, whose owner had called for nuking Iran. There is also the potential for cyber attacks on critical infrastructure, such as power plants and chemical factories.
• Mike Pompeo whines about U.S. allies not getting on board regarding killing of Soleimani: “Frankly,” the secretary of state told Foxaganda, “the Europeans haven’t been as helpful as I wish that they could be. The Brits, the French, the Germans all need to understand that what we did, what the Americans did, saved lives in Europe as well. Qassem Soleimani led and his IRGC [Revolutionary Guard] led assassination campaigns in Europe. This was a good thing for the entire world, and we are urging everyone in the world to get behind what the United States is trying to do to get the Islamic Republic of Iran to simply behave like a normal nation.” The Brits, French, and Germans might be a bit resistant in the “need to understand” since they weren’t consulted ahead of time on the drone attack that killed Soleimani just as they weren’t consulted on the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement that triggered the growing confrontation between Tehran and Washington.
I mentioned ystrdy that we couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t yet *know* Admin claim of Ã¢Â€Âœimminent threatÃ¢Â€Â was false. But because of (a) TrumpÃ¢Â€Â™s record of lying about everything, and (b) mainly bad track record for similar instant claims, Tonkin through Ã¢Â€Âœyellow cake,Ã¢Â€Â you had to be skeptical.Now this: https://t.co/yyqxOxgrfR
— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) January 4, 2020
• Rick Perry is back on the board of Energy Transfer, the builders of the Dakota Access pipeline: The former energy secretary resigned effective last month from his cabinet post. The news came to light in a filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission by Energy Transfer. Perry had previously served on the board before joining the Trump regime. Before joining the Trump administration in 2017, the former Texas governor had served on the board for two years. Also on Friday, Pennsylvania regulators announced they were fining Energy Transfer a record $30.6 million fine over an explosion on the company’s Revolution pipeline. That’s on top of the $13 million fine levied against the company in the construction of the Mariner East pipeline. Energy Transfer seeks to double the flow of oil carried by its Dakota Access pipeline to 1.1 million barrels a day. That pipeline attracted a massive and long-lasting protest because of its path across ancestral Sioux lands and beneath a key source of water for the Standing Rock Indian Reservation straddling the border of North and South Dakota. DeSmog notes that in December, Energy Transfer and its security contractors were charged with criminal conspiracy, bribery, and related offenses over alleged intimidation tactics used by Pennsylvania state constables moonlighting as the firm’s security guards in what prosecutors referred to as a “buy-a-badge” scheme.
• Surprise! Report shows California cops stop and search black motorists disproportionately: The report released by the California Department of Justice found that although black people only make up 6% of the population, black drivers were involved in some 15% of the traffic stops across the state. The report was put together under the auspices of the California Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board. The board comprises law enforcement leaders, community groups, and other members and advise the attorney general’s office about racial profiling and related matters.