Stories We’re Watching
Plot Twist! Mexico Won’t Pay for the Wall After All. Now, Pentagon Tries to Figure out how to Fund It
President Trump confirmed yesterday that he would likely declare a national emergency to reopen the government and fund the border wall. The move would allow President Trump to divert funds away from other military projects. To date, President Trump has refused to sign legislation to reopen the government that doesn’t include $5.7bn for the wall. As the US government shutdown enters its third week, the pentagon has already begun preparing options—beyond prototypes— to fund the construction of the wall. The White House has asked the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Homeland Security to look into diverting funds from other projects into the wall.
- Politico: Pentagon preps for emergency border wall funding
- Defense One: What Someone Needs to Explain to Trump About ‘National Emergencies’
- Foreign Policy: US Military Readies to Pay for Trump’s Border Wall
- Wall Street Journal: White House Aides Explore Alternative Ways to Pay for Border Wall
- Council on Foreign Relations: Who Secures the U.S. Border?
Does this spark joy? US Military Begins Kondo-ing Equipment in Syria
Earlier today, Pentagon officials confirmed that the US had officially begun the process of withdrawing from Syria, starting with equipment. The announcement coincides with Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo’s eight-day Middle East tour. The Trump administration has faced widespread criticism from civilian and military leaders over President Trump’s surprise announcement of the withdrawal. Much of the criticism has centered around the fate of the US-allied Kurdish militia, which Turkey has repeatedly threatened with military force. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has reported that thousands of civilians have already begun to flee northeastern Syria.
- Haaretz: US Troops Begin ‘Process of Withdrawing’ From Syria
- CNN: US begins withdrawing some military equipment from Syria
- UNHCR: Thousands fleeing fighting in northeast Syria – UNHCR
- BBC: Syria war: On the front line with US troops fighting IS
- Voice of America: Framework for US Withdrawal from Syria ‘Approved
Turkey Vows to Wage Campaign against US-allied Kurdish Militia
Earlier today, Turkey’s minister of defense pledged to wage a military campaign against the US-allied Kurdish militia in northern Syria. Earlier this week, President Erdogan refused to meet with US National Security Advisor John Bolton after Bolton tried to get the Turks to agree not to attack the Kurdish militia. Turkey considers the Kurdish militia, like many other Kurdish groups, a terrorist organization. Regional experts caution that the withdrawal is likely to lead to a power vacuum that favors President Putin. Already, both Turkey and the Kurds have reached out to the Kremlin for help with managing the US withdrawal.
- Small Wars Journal: Turkey and the Kurds Turn to Russia to Solve Problems
- Los Angeles Times: Americans who fought alongside the Kurds in Syria feel betrayed
- CNBC: Turkey will attack Kurdish fighters in Syria regardless of US withdrawal
- Reuters: Near Syrian border, Turkish defense minister vows operation when time is right
US Treasury Defends Plans to Lift Sanctions on Close Putin Ally
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met yesterday with members of Congress about lifting sanctions on an aluminum company controlled by Oleg Deripaska, Russian oligarch and close ally of President Putin. OFAC notified Congress last month of its intent to delist En+, Rusal, and EuroSibEnergo since “significant restructuring and corporate governance changes will enable them to meet the criteria for delisting.” The sanctions were put in place last April.
- Wall Street Journal: Democratic lawmakers call for delay in easing sanctions on close ally of Russia’s Vladimir Putin
- Reuters: Treasury’s Mnuchin defends US decision to lift sanctions on Russian
- Bloomberg: Germany Wobbles on Russian Gas Pipeline as Trump Pressure Starts
- Dept of the Treasury: OFAC Notifies Congress of Intent to Delist En+, Rusal, and EuroSibEnergo official press release
Huawei Executive Arrested in Poland for Espionage, China’s Ambassador Accuses Canada of White Supremacy
Polish authorities have arrested Huawei’s local sales director and a former Polish security agent and have charged them with espionage. Analysts say the arrests highlight widespread concerns that Huawei is closely linked with China’s intelligence agencies. This is the second Huawei executive to be arrested since Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou in December. The arrests reflect growing tension between China, the US, and the EU over espionage and IP theft. Earlier this week, China’s ambassador to Canada accused the country of “white supremacy” since it called for the release of two Canadians who had been detained in China.
- NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW: Huawei manager arrested in Poland on spying allegations
- Wall Street Journal: Chinese Huawei Executive Is Charged With Espionage in Poland
- Bloomberg: Huawei Warnings May Bring Chinese Retaliation, Czech Leader Says
- The Guardian: China’s ambassador accuses Canada of ‘white supremacy’ in Huawei
From Deep State Radio
NATIONAL SECURITY MAGAZINE: Gen. Mark Hertling: The Nation May Need a Trump Every Once in a While…but for How Long?
General Mark Hertling served for 37 years in the U.S. military, rising to become Commanding General of the U.S. Army Europe. Since his retirement, he has become well-known as a commentator on television and on social media. He discusses what went wrong between Trump and “his generals”, the current level of dysfunction within the U.S. national security establishment, its impact on our allies, our security and morale in the military. He also speculates as to whether or not, it may actually be helpful for the U.S. to have a president like Donald Trump every so often–in much the same way that a heart-attack may help a smoker give up cigarettes. Don’t miss this wide-ranging and incisive discussion.
FP INTERRUPTED: Let’s Make a Deal!
Happy 2019! It’s good to be back – and ready to interrupt. On that topic, expect to see a number of changes over the coming weeks, to this newsletter and to FPI in general. For one: a redesigned newsletter. It’ll be streamlined – more focused and easier for you to read on the go…. Cause that’s where we all seem to be….CONTINUE
DEEPTECH: You are being watched by a machine that spies on you every hour of every day. No, really.
Your mobile phone carrier collects and sells your real-time location data to “location aggregators” who then resell it on the black market. They have done this for nearly a decade. And, yes the federal government knows. This isn’t a fringe issue; it affects every single US-based cell phone user. It’s not even new: mainstream outlets like the New York Times reported on it just last month. A damning report published by Motherboard earlier this week showed that anyone (bounty hunters, stalkers, law enforcement agencies, and potential employers) can track anyone else with just a phone number for as little as $4.95. READ MORE