8:30 AM 2/21/2021 - What role did the retired FBI agents play in Capitol riot? - M.N. | A Small Group of Militants Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack - NYTimes

8:30 AM 2/21/2021 - What role did the retired FBI agents play in Capitol riot? - M.N. | A Small Group of Militants Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack - NYTimes


What role did the retired FBI agents play in Capitol riot?

What role did the retired FBI agents play in Capitol riot? - GS

Oath Keepers - GS

Retired FBI agents and Oath Keepers - GS

Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI and Oath Keepers - GS

_______________________

A Small Group of Militants’ Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack - The New York Times nytimes.com/interactive/20…
VOAvideo's YouTube Videos: A Newsstand's Last Stand ino.to/h626Cwn
apnews.com/article/us-cyb…
apnews.com/article/us-cyb…
Michael Novakhov retweeted:
Brexit is hindering London’s efforts to compete with New York as the world’s top financial center trib.al/M27cplO


Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠ | In Brief | 

Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks 
Suspected Russian hack fuels new US action on cybersecurity
A Small Group of Militants Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack
2:50 AM 2/21/2021 Tweets by @mikenov
An attempt by domestic terrorists to try to overturn the results of an election
JUST IN: Austin Calls for More NATO Help in Countering China - News Channels
Europe applauds Biden's approach, stresses cooperation
Recent Tweets
Steve Bannon believed Trump had dementia and plotted to remove him as president, according to new book | Investigation of Donald Trump and Trumpism trumpinvestigation.net: What role did the retired FBI agents play in Capitol riot? | In new defense, dozens of Capitol rioters say law enforcement let us in to building
In new defense, dozens of Capitol rioters say law enforcement let us in to building | Connect FM | Local News Radio
What role did the retired FBI agents play in Capitol riot?
More Oath Keepers on Capitol riot charges | The Canberra Times | Canberra, ACT
Why do COVID death rates seem to be falling?
President Biden Delivers Remarks at the Virtual Munich Security Conference
AP Top Stories February 19 A posted at 10:20:29
'No Lockdown'-Sweden Sees COVID Deaths Plummet Quicker Than 'Fully-Locked-Down' UK posted at 11:10:03 UTC
Pelosi predicts vote on Biden $1.9T rescue plan next week - New York Post posted at 09:05:03 UTC
Audio Post - The Tip Of An Iceberg: Sexual Misconduct Within The FBI Is Exposed by AP! Investigate The Investigators who are nothing more and nothing less than a bunch of psychopaths, perverts, and child abusers. Abolish the FBI and put the criminal FBI agents in prison where they belong! The present crisis in America is the direct result of the FBI stupidity, treacherous incompetence and malfeasance.
Biden: White supremacists are the most dangerous people in America posted at 13:02:32 UTC
Bidens Plan to Link Arms With Europe Against Russia and China Isnt So Simple posted at 22:25:31 UTC - SharedNewsLinks Review
Bidens Plan to Link Arms With Europe Against Russia and China Isnt So Simple
New York's Washington Square Park Turns Into Winter Wonderland posted at 19:46:33 UTC
NATO aircraft intercepted & driven out by Russian jets posted at 16:29:22 UTC
EU army warning: US and UK at risk from European military - MEP lifts lid on Macron's plot - Daily Express posted at 15:18:39 UTC
One in THREE US military service members refuse COVID-19 vaccine - Daily Mail posted at 14:11:12 UTC
9:02 AM 2/18/2021 - McConnell's plan to deal with Donald Trump: Ignore him

Suspected Russian hack fuels new US action on cybersecurity

1 Share

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jolted by a sweeping hack that may have revealed government and corporate secrets to Russia, U.S. officials are scrambling to reinforce the nation’s cyber defenses and recognizing that an agency created two years ago to protect America’s networks and infrastructure lacks the money, tools and authority to counter such sophisticated threats.

The breach, which hijacked widely used software from Texas-based SolarWinds Inc., has exposed the profound vulnerability of civilian government networks and the limitations of efforts to detect threats.

It’s also likely to unleash a wave of spending on technology modernization and cybersecurity.

“It’s really highlighted the investments we need to make in cybersecurity to have the visibility to block these attacks in the future,” Anne Neuberger, the newly appointed deputy national security adviser for cyber and emergency technology said Wednesday at a White House briefing.

The reaction reflects the severity of a hack that was disclosed only in December. The hackers, as yet unidentified but described by officials as “likely Russian,” had unfettered access to the data and email of at least nine U.S. government agencies and about 100 private companies, with the full extent of the compromise still unknown. And while this incident appeared to be aimed at stealing information, it heightened fears that future hackers could damage critical infrastructure, like electrical grids or water systems.

President Joe Biden plans to release an executive order soon that Neuberger said will include about eight measures intended to address security gaps exposed by the hack. The administration has also proposed expanding by 30% the budget of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, or CISA, a little-known entity now under intense scrutiny because of the SolarWinds breach.

Biden, making his first major international speech Friday to the Munich Security Conference, said that dealing with “Russian recklessness and hacking into computer networks in the United States and across Europe and the world has become critical to protecting our collective security.”

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have called for expanding the size and role of the agency, a component of the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in November 2018 amid a sense that U.S. adversaries were increasingly targeting civilian government and corporate networks as well as the “critical” infrastructure, such as the energy grid that is increasingly vulnerable in a wired world.

Speaking at a recent hearing on cybersecurity, Rep. John Katko, a Republican from New York, urged his colleagues to quickly “find a legislative vehicle to give CISA the resources it needs to fully respond and protect us.”

Biden’s COVID-19 relief package called for $690 million more for CISA, as well as providing the agency with $9 billion to modernize IT across the government in partnership with the General Services Administration.

That has been pulled from the latest version of the bill because some members didn’t see a connection to the pandemic. But Rep. Jim Langevin, co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, said additional funding for CISA is likely to reemerge with bipartisan support in upcoming legislation, perhaps an infrastructure bill.

“Our cyber infrastructure is every bit as important as our roads and bridges,” Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat, said in an interview. “It’s important to our economy. It’s important to protecting human life, and we need to make sure we have a modern and resilient cyber infrastructure.”

CISA operates a threat-detection system known as “Einstein” that was unable to detect the SolarWinds breach. Brandon Wales, CISA’s acting director, said that was because the breach was hidden in a legitimate software update from SolarWinds to its customers. After it was able to identify the malicious activity, the system was able to scan federal networks and identify some government victims. “It was designed to work in concert with other security programs inside the agencies,” he said.

Full Coverage: Technology

The former head of CISA, Christopher Krebs, told the House Homeland Security Committee this month that the U.S. should increase support to the agency, in part so it can issue grants to state and local governments to improve their cybersecurity and accelerate IT modernization across the federal government, which is part of the Biden proposal.

“Are we going to stop every attack? No. But we can take care of the most common risks and make the bad guys work that much harder and limit their success,” said Krebs, who was ousted by then-President Donald Trump after the election and now co-owns a consulting company whose clients include SolarWinds.

The breach was discovered in early December by the private security firm FireEye, a cause of concern for some officials.

“It was pretty alarming that we found out about it through a private company as opposed to our being able to detect it ourselves to begin with,” Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, said at her January confirmation hearing.

Right after the hack was announced, the Treasury Department bypassed its normal competitive contracting process to hire the private security firm CrowdStrike, U.S. contract records show. The department declined to comment. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has said that dozens of email accounts of top officials at the agency were hacked.

The Social Security Administration hired FireEye to do an independent forensic analysis of its network logs. The agency had a “backdoor code” installed like other SolarWinds customers, but “there were no indicators suggesting we were targeted or that a future attack occurred beyond the initial software installation,” spokesperson Mark Hinkle said.

Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the hack has highlighted several failures at the federal level but not necessarily a lack of expertise by public sector employees. Still, “I doubt we will ever have all the capacity we’d need in-house,” he said.

There have been some new cybersecurity measures taken in recent months. In the defense policy bill that passed in January, lawmakers created a national director of cybersecurity, replacing a position at the White House that had been cut under Trump, and granted CISA the power to issue administrative subpoenas as part of its efforts to identify vulnerable systems and notify operators.

The legislation also granted CISA increased authority to hunt for threats across the networks of civilian government agencies, something Langevin said they were only previously able to do when invited.

“In practical terms, what that meant is they weren’t invited in because no department or agency wants to look bad,” he said. “So you know what was happening? Everyone was sticking their heads in the sand and hoping that cyberthreats were going to go away.”

___

Suderman reported from Richmond, Va.

Read the whole story
 
· · · · ·

A Small Group of Militants’ Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack

1 Share

Affiliated With the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys or Three Percenters

18 charged with conspiracy

Military veterans

charged with conspiracy

Charged with conspiracy,

no known military service

Veterans charged with

crimes other than conspiracy

Charged with crimes other than conspiracy,

no known military service

Affiliated With the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys or Three Percenters

18 charged with conspiracy

Veterans charged

with conspiracy

Charged with

conspiracy, no known

military service

Veterans charged

with crimes other than

conspiracy

Charged with crimes

other than conspiracy,

no known military service

Affiliated With the Oath Keepers,

Proud Boys or Three Percenters

18 charged with conspiracy

Veterans

charged with

conspiracy

Charged with

conspiracy,

no known

military service

Veterans

charged

with crimes

other than

conspiracy

Charged with crimes

other than conspiracy,

no known military service

Affiliated With the Oath Keepers,

Proud Boys or Three Percenters

18 charged with conspiracy

Veterans

charged with

conspiracy

Charged with

conspiracy,

no known

military service

Veterans

charged

with crimes

other than

conspiracy

Charged with crimes

other than conspiracy,

no known military service

Notes: The people shown here include those identified by law enforcement, family members or themselves as being affiliated with the militant group. Those wearing their group’s paraphernalia are also included. People who only briefly referenced support for or awareness of the group are excluded.

As federal prosecutors unveil charges in the assault on the Capitol last month, they have repeatedly highlighted two militant groups — the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys — as being the most organized, accusing them of planning their strategy ahead of time and in some cases helping escalate a rally into an attack.

The two organizations stand in contrast to a majority of the mob. Of the more than 230 people charged so far, only 31 are known to have ties to a militant extremist group. And at least 26 of those are affiliated with the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys.

The groups differ in their focus and tactics: The Oath Keepers are part of an anti-government militia movement that emphasizes military-style training, while the Proud Boys espouse an ideology of male and Western superiority, with members often expressing white-supremacist and anti-immigrant views. But the groups have been united in their allegiance to former President Donald J. Trump.

Conspiracy charges, among the most serious levied so far, indicate that members of these groups may have worked together and planned their activities, potentially in ways that made them more dangerous than other rioters. Federal prosecutors have said that some members used teamwork to help people escape arrest and to direct and provoke protesters to overwhelm police defenses.

Of the 22 people charged with conspiracy crimes by mid-February, 18 were known to have ties to one of those two groups.

Another likely factor in the groups’ activities: More than a third of the militants were also known to have military experience, a far higher proportion than in the crowd as a whole.

“Right-wing groups targeted military veterans for having the skill sets that they were looking for,” said Peter D. Feaver, a political science professor at Duke University who specializes in military-civilian relations. “They weren’t recruiting from among the Columbia Journalism School.”

Although militants were a small part of the mob, their organizational tactics could have influenced others’ behavior and made the riot more violent, said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, the director of the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University. Some extremist far-right groups, particularly in Europe, have recently used larger protests as cover for more violent activities, she said.

The groups’ role in the Capitol riots helps shed light on their tactics, and it also highlights important differences among elements of the sprawling far-right landscape.

A group of nine that ‘put into motion the violence’

Federal prosecutors have said members of the Oath Keepers militia group planned and organized their attack and “put into motion the violence that overwhelmed the Capitol.”

Ten people affiliated with the group have faced federal charges so far, and the F.B.I. has said it is seeking information about others seen on video wearing tactical gear and moving in formation with other members.

On Friday, the federal government announced conspiracy charges against six people prosecutors said were members of the group who stormed the Capitol in a military-style “stack.” Earlier, prosecutors had charged three other people they said conspired with those six.

Affiliated With Oath Keepers

Charged with conspiracy together

Broke into the west side of the Capitol.

Broke into the east side along with other Oath Keepers.

Recruited by Ms. Watkins.

Members of the Florida Oath Keepers chapter.

Sprayed police officers with pepper spray.

Affiliated With Oath Keepers

Charged with conspiracy together

A large group of nine Oath Keepers is charged with conspiring together and breaking into the Capitol from two different directions.

Sprayed police officers with pepper spray.

Unlike the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers are a more traditional militia group, focused on military-style training and with a largely anti-government stance. Federal prosecutors said members of the group “believe that the federal government has been co-opted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights.”

They focus more than other militant groups on recruiting people with military and law enforcement experience; of the nine people affiliated with Oath Keepers and charged with conspiracy crimes, four were military veterans.

Typically, such right-wing extremists are more likely to be involved in protests against what they view as federal overreach. Mr. Trump’s presidency turned that on its head, leading the Oath Keepers to support at least one aspect of the federal government: Donald J. Trump himself.

According to court documents, Oath Keepers members discussed bringing “heavy weapons” to Washington after the election. Jessica Watkins, who described herself as leader of an Oath Keepers contingent called the Ohio State Regular Militia, said the group was “awaiting direction” after the election from Mr. Trump, then the president.

Other members said they planned to bring mace, gas masks, batons and armor to the Capitol but were not bringing guns because of local laws. Instead, they would have a “quick reaction force” with weapons several minutes away, according to court documents.

Three sets of conspiracy charges among Trump’s most vocal supporters

Of all the militant groups on the far right, the Proud Boys is perhaps the one most associated with Mr. Trump, and thus it is not surprising that it appears to have had a large role in the siege at the Capitol, which grew out of his false claims that he won re-election. At least 16 people with ties to the organization are facing federal charges in the attacks. That’s the most of any known entity.

As of mid-February, three separate groups of Proud Boys members faced conspiracy crime charges, with the government saying they worked together during different parts of the riot. In each of these groups, former military members played a prominent role, including in leading other members of the mob, prosecutors said.

Affiliated With Proud Boys

Charged with conspiracy together

Ethan Nordean, Seattle Proud Boys leader

Joseph Biggs,

Proud Boys organizer

These four led a large group of Proud Boys during the Capitol riot. Mr. Pezzola was filmed using a police shield to smash through a window to breach the Capitol.

The group tried to prevent the arrest of a rioter and stopped the police from closing barriers under the Capitol.

The pair defaced government property by scrawling the words “Murder the Media” on the Memorial Door of the Capitol.

Others have been arrested on charges like trespassing but are not known to have worked together.

Affiliated With Proud Boys

Charged with conspiracy together

Seattle Proud Boys leader

These four led a large group of Proud Boys during the Capitol riot. Mr. Pezzola was filmed using a police shield to smash through a window to breach the Capitol.

The group tried to prevent the arrest of a rioter and stopped the police from closing barriers under the Capitol.

Founder of Hawaii Proud Boys Chapter

The pair defaced government property by scrawling the words “Murder the Media” on the Memorial Door of the Capitol.

Others have been arrested on charges like trespassing but are not known to have worked together.

Note: The Proud Boys has long prohibited membership by women, but Felicia Konold, Cory Konold’s sister, said she had been recruited by a chapter of the organization, according to court documents.

The Proud Boys, a far-right nationalist organization with several chapters across the United States, vocally tied itself to Mr. Trump’s presidency and has attempted to influence mainstream Republican politics, even as it has regularly engaged in violent skirmishes with left-wing activists.

“The Proud Boys believe the way you change a society is through its culture,” said William Braniff, a professor at the University of Maryland and director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. “They are less disciplined than militia groups but more emotive.”

The group was recently designated a terrorist organization in Canada, where the government said its members “espouse misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and/or white supremacist ideologies and associate with white supremacist groups.”

“They are a group that will get in people’s face because they want to get attention, and they want to be provocative,” Mr. Braniff said.

On the day of the riots, Proud Boys leaders used megaphones to lead a group of at least 100 people from Mr. Trump’s speech to the Capitol, prosecutors said. Dominic Pezzola, a Proud Boys member, was among the first people to break into the Capitol building, using a stolen police riot shield to bust out a window and allow members of the mob to flood in, according to video footage and court documents.

Militants not charged with conspiracy

Members of other far-right extremist groups, including the anti-government Three Percenters militia, as well as neo-Confederate and white supremacist entities, were also present at the Capitol on Jan. 6. So far, these people have not been charged with conspiracy crimes, and their numbers indicate they are unlikely to have had an organized role in the attack.

Affiliated With Three Percenters

Charged with assaulting police officers.

Entered Capitol with Mr. Pezzola, a Proud Boy.

Threatened to kill his family if they turned him in.

Charged with trespassing.

Affiliated With Three Percenters

Charged with assaulting police officers.

Entered Capitol with Mr. Pezzola, a Proud Boy.

Threatened to kill his family if they turned him in.

Charged with trespassing.

Of the 31 people with militant ties who have been charged so far, at least 11 had a military record. Although people with extremist ideologies represent a small fraction of military veterans, far-right organizations heavily recruit them because of their skills, Dr. Feaver said.

Going forward, the military and federal law enforcement seem poised to take far-right extremism more seriously, domestic terrorism experts said. To do so, they will need to deal not only with the groups that played an important role in the events of Jan. 6, but also with organizations that were not involved, and even more loose affiliations of like-minded people.

“The traditional way of interrupting extremism is by infiltrating groups and interrupting plots,” Dr. Miller-Idriss said. “We see that with some organizations it is possible to do this. But in many cases, it is not.”

Read the whole story
 
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

2:50 AM 2/21/2021 Tweets by ‎@mikenov

1 Share

How is President Biden's COVID relief bill like the Patriot Act? https://j.mp/3d0iMEu  #CatoCOVID

An attempt by domestic terrorists to try to overturn the results of an election

1 Share

The Senate impeachment trial that ended in Donald J. Trump's unjust acquittal established convincingly that the former president bore responsibility for the deadly attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 by his supporters. But questions remain about the origins of the attack, the apparent failure of security officials to prepare adequately for it and the response once the Capitol was breached.

For those reasons, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was right on Monday to call for an independent commission to investigate the attack, its origins and its aftermath. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., is supporting the idea as well.

Various congressional committees have already launched investigations into the events of Jan. 6, but — like the impeachment process — it will be difficult to keep partisanship out of those inquiries. A better instrument would be an independent commission created by Congress with distinguished members from across the political spectrum that would sift evidence about the origins and aftermath of the attack and the conduct of public officials, including but not limited to Trump and congressional leaders.

Among the questions to be answered: Did the warnings about a looming attack on the Capitol go unnoticed or unheeded? Did the police guarding the Capitol make choices that aided the rioters, inadvertently or not? Were the rioters helped by members of Congress or their staffs?

Plenty of fingers are already being pointed. Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund told The Washington Post that he had sought permission from House and Senate security officials on Jan. 4 to ask the D.C. National Guard to stand by. Sund said he was turned down and that the House sergeant-at-arms expressed discomfort about the "optics" of declaring an emergency before the demonstrations took place.

On Monday four House Republicans, including Trump favorites Jim Jordan of Ohio and Devin Nunes of California, wrote to Pelosi saying that "many important questions about your responsibility for the security of the Capitol remain unanswered." Another Republican, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, made the idiotic observation in an interview that the attack on the Capitol "didn't seem like an armed insurrection to me."

Fortunately, there are signs of bipartisan support for a bipartisan commission empaneled by Congress. Even Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally and apologist, said Trump's behavior after the election was "over the top" and that the country needs a 9/11-style commission "to find out what happened and make sure it never happens again." President Joe Biden also supports creation of a commission, his press secretary said on Tuesday.

Mercifully, the siege of the Capitol by pro-Trump fanatics was not as deadly as the 9/11 attack, but in its own way it was just as shocking: an attempt by domestic terrorists to try to overturn the results of an election. It too demands a dispassionate and far-reaching investigation.

Los Angeles Times

Read the whole story
 
· ·

JUST IN: Austin Calls for More NATO Help in Countering China - News Channels

1 Share
Royal Danish navy frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes, right, the underway replenishment oiler USNS Patuxent, center, and the Royal Netherlands navy frigate HNLMS Van Speijk, left, transit the Atlantic Ocean during NATO exercise Cutlass Fury 2019.

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cameron Stoner

The United States needs its NATO allies to invest more in their military capabilities and help the Pentagon address the growing threat posed by China, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III said Feb. 19.

Austin attended a virtual NATO ministerial meeting with his alliance counterparts earlier this week. Discussion topics included a resurgent Russia, disruptive technologies, climate change, the war in Afghanistan, terrorism and “an increasingly aggressive China,” he told reporters during his first Pentagon press briefing since taking office.

“I made it clear that the United States is committed to defending the international rules-based order, which China has consistently undermined for its own interests,” he said, describing the rival nation as the Defense Department’s “primary pacing challenge.”

“We believe NATO can help us better think through our operating concepts and investment strategies when it comes to meeting that challenge,” he added.

NATO was formed in the early years of the Cold War to help defend Western Europe and North America against the Soviet Union. However, since the end of the Cold War, the alliance has pivoted to combating other threats such as international terrorism. NATO is expected to produce a new “Strategic Concept” as part of a series of reform efforts, which may include a greater focus on addressing China’s growing military capabilities.

Austin noted that more and more NATO allies are now meeting their commitments to spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense, including 20 percent of that amount on modernization. But, like many previous U.S. defense leaders, he pressed for other NATO countries to do more burden sharing.

“We must each of us do our part to procure, prepare and provide ready forces and capabilities,” he said. “Now we’re into our seventh year of steady defense spending increases, and naturally we want this trend to continue and we want to see every member of the alliance contribute their fair share.”

The Biden administration has identified strengthening alliances and partnerships as a key pillar of its foreign policy.

Non-NATO partners including Finland, Sweden and the European Union also participated in the ministerial, and offered their perspectives about China, Austin noted.

The Biden administration recently began its own deep dive on these issues. On Feb. 10, just three weeks after President Joe Biden was sworn in, it set up a new China Task Force led by Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Ely Ratner. It includes representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the military services, combatant commands and the intelligence community.

“This initiative will provide a baseline assessment of DoD policies, programs and processes on China-related matters and provide the Secretary of Defense recommendations on key priorities and decision points to meet the China challenge,” according to a Pentagon fact sheet.

The task force is expected to address: strategy; operational concepts; technology and force structure; force posture and force management; intelligence; U.S. alliances and partnerships; and defense relations with China.

Its findings and recommendations are due by mid-June.

During the press briefing, Austin was asked if he sees any areas where the United States and China could potentially cooperate or collaborate on international security issues.

“There no doubt are some areas where we will see common interests and there may be an opportunity to engage,” Austin said.

“Now having said that, from a Department of Defense standpoint … my No. 1 concern and my No. 1 job is to defend this country and protect our interests,” he added. “And so we in this department are going to do everything possible to ensure that we have the right operational concepts, the right plans in place, and that we have resourced those plans with the right capabilities to present a credible deterrent, not only to China [but] any other adversary who would want to take us on.”

Topics: DOD LeadershipInternation Cooperation

Read the whole story
 
· · · ·

Europe applauds Biden's approach, stresses cooperation

1 Share

BERLIN (AP) — Collective sighs of relief could be heard from many European capitals Saturday after U.S. President Joe Biden made clear in his first major foreign policy address since taking office that he rejected the “America First” and transactional approach of his predecessor and urged cooperation among Western allies.

At the same time, politicians and observers cautioned that some of the sources of tension from Donald Trump's presidency remained and that the allies have serious work ahead of them, once Biden's honeymoon is over.

“Biden gave exactly the speech that many Europeans wanted to hear - an America that pats you on the shoulders, that doesn't criticize or demand," wrote Germany's influential Der Spiegel magazine after Biden on Friday became the first American president to appear at the Munich Security Conference, albeit in virtual form.

“Will it stay that way? For the moment, it was certainly the right message: It was primarily intended to patch up the injuries of the Trump years,” the magazine said in an analysis.

The annual Munich Security Conference has long been heralded as a gathering where world leaders are able to share and debate ideas in an informal setting.

Biden's speech highlighted the condensed agenda for this year's conference, which was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In his keynote address, Biden assured other participants, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, that the United States was “determined to reengage with Europe, to consult with you, to earn back our position of trusted leadership.”

Over the last four years, the NATO alliance was shaken by Trump's questioning of its relevance and his suggestion that the United States might not come to the aid of members who failed to meet pledges to commit 2% of gross domestic product to defense spending.

But Biden made no mention of Washington's opposition to the Germany-Russia joint Nord Stream 2 pipeline project and steered away from criticizing Germany and others for failing to meet NATO defense spending goals. Instead, he emphasized Washington's commitment to Article 5 of the NATO founding treaty, which states that an attack on one alliance member is considered an attack on all.

It is now important for Germany and the rest of Europe to seize upon the renewed U.S. willingness to engage in dialogue and work hard toward resolving areas of disagreement, said Juergen Hardt, the foreign policy spokesman for Merkel's parliamentary group.

“With his speech, Joe Biden reached out to Europe,” Hardt said. “

The coming months must be used intensively to resolve numerous open issues, such as punitive tariffs, extra-territorial sanctions on Nord Stream 2, or digital tax,” he said.

Merkel told reporters Friday after Biden's speech that it is up to Europe to take an example from his first days in office, and follow words with actions.

She cited the United States’ return to the Paris climate agreement, its decision to stay in the World Health Organization and to engage with the U.N. Human Rights Council, to extend the New START treaty and to try to revive the Iran nuclear agreement as “important steps toward more multilateral cooperation.”

“I can only support (the idea) that it is up to democratic countries not just to talk about freedom and values, but to produce results,” Merkel said.

In a nod toward Biden's call for cooperation in addressing economic and national security challenges posed both by Russia and China, several leaders suggested more could be done.

The leader of the European Union's executive branch, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, noted at the conference that “a more and more assertive China” showed robust economic growth in 2020 despite the pandemic and “a more and more defiant Russia continues to breach international rules at home and abroad.”

“It is up to us, the United States and Europe, to strengthen our cooperation again as proven and trusted partners, as indispensable allies, shoulder to shoulder," von der Leyen said. "Because if we lead the way, this is not only about joining forces, this is a signal to the world.”

European Council President Charles Michel underlined the need for a common approach to “defend the rules-based international order from the attacks of autocratic regimes, whether from Russia, China or Iran," saying “a strong partnership needs strong partners.”

“That’s why we, in Europe, are growing stronger, to increase our strategic ability to act,” Michel said.

France's Macron, who has pushed since his own presidency began in 2017 for Europe to do more for its own defense, suggested that by doing so, it would be strengthening the U.S. ability to focus more on the Pacific region.

“I think it is time for us to take much more of the burden of our own protection,” he said.

Merkel, meanwhile, stressed that “it is very important that we develop a common trans-Atlantic Russia agenda, which on the one hand makes cooperative offers, but on the other hand very clearly names the differences.”

“The second and perhaps more complicated thing is for us to develop a common agenda toward China,” she said, noting that the country is both a systemic competitor and needs to tackle issues such as climate change.

“There is a great deal to do,” Merkel said. “Germany stands ready for a new chapter of the trans-Atlantic partnership.”

_____

Angela Charlton and Sylvie Corbet in Paris, and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this story.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

-

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

11:09 AM 10/19/2021 - In Ukraine, Defense Secretary Austin calls on Russia to stop 'persistent cyberattacks' | US intel chief meets S. Korea's top security advisor to discuss N. Korea | Germany under Olaf Scholz: What the world can expect from Merkel's likely successor. Interview with Nils Schmid, SPD | Putin outsmarted after offering to 'rescue' UK from gas crisis: 'We don't need it!'

1:38 PM 10/6/2020 - Major hurricane brews in Gulf of Mexico, threatens Louisiana, Florida | Hopes of a ceasefire fading in Nagorno-Karabakh amid flare-up of violence

9:39 AM 2/28/2021 - Experts concerned about Pope Francis' trip to Iraq

3:35 PM 10/6/2020 - Saved Stories and Video News Review

10:29 AM 11/1/2020

2:50 PM 10/6/2020 - With Fish Dying And Talk Of Rocket Fuel In The Water, Residents Of Russia's Kamchatka Want Answers

8:29 AM 11/4/2020 - European leaders react with caution as Trump falsely claims victory - The Guardian

2:18 PM 10/6/2020 - Twitter, Facebook censor Trump's message comparing coronavirus to flu

Current News In Brief - 4:59 AM 9/7/2021 - 06/09/21 21:51: FBI paid over $100,000 to neo-Nazi for insider info - report - The Jerusalem Post

Selected News Articles - 8:36 AM 11/1/2020