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[] "Case Agent 1" Was a Major Driver of Fraud and Abuse in Crossfire Hurricane, "Primarily Responsible" for "Most Significant" Abuses, and Yet, Of Course, Remains an FBI Employee Chuck Ross dryly notes that it's unclear why Case Agent 1 "committed so many errors." Errors, yeah. UNMASK HIM. The Justice Department inspector general's report on FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign offers a damning assessment of the bureau's handling... Published:12/12/2019 12:16:12 PM
[Politics] Sessions: IG's Report Includes 'Stunning Development' Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the revelation in a report by the Department of Justice Inspector General that an FBI lawyer had altered an email regarding Donald Trump campaign staffer Carter Page is a “stunning development,” Fox News is reporting. Published:12/12/2019 11:16:24 AM
[81bc586f-51c7-566b-843b-184e9ea0910b] Prince Andrew accuser Virginia Roberts says the FBI warned her of ‘a credible death threat made’ against her Virginia Roberts, who said she was trafficked by convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and forced to have sex with Prince Andrew on three occasions nearly 20 years ago, claims she has been informed by the FBI about a “credible death threat” made against her. Published:12/12/2019 10:22:34 AM
[America] So Who Was Vindicated by the IG Report?

IG Horowitz’s testimony shows that his Report did not vindicate anyone in the FBI, DOJ, or the press. The only one the IG Report vindicated is Devin Nunes. The Russia Hoax that lasted three years and that nearly toppled the duly elected government headed by Donald Trump, was nothing less than an attempted coup.  James […]

The post So Who Was Vindicated by the IG Report? appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:12/12/2019 9:45:24 AM
[Opinion] IG Horowitz: Report Doesn’t Vindicate Anyone, Doesn’t Refute Political Biases

By James Ledbetter -

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz said his findings on FBI FISA abuse do not vindicate anyone, contradicting earlier remarks from the agency’s former director. During his Senate testimony on Wednesday, the DOJ watchdog outlined the misdealings his office uncovered in its review. 📌 ICYMI 📌 Questioning of Inspector General Horowitz ...

IG Horowitz: Report Doesn’t Vindicate Anyone, Doesn’t Refute Political Biases is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/12/2019 9:25:35 AM
[Democrats] Only a pawn in their game (Scott Johnson) Carter Page served as a pretext for Obama’s FBI to surveil the Trump campaign. Having taken out four FISA warrants on him on the basis of the Democrats’ fraudulent Steele Dossier, the FBI found nothing on him. On the contrary, the FBI suppressed exculpatory evidence to maintain its surveillance on him and his associates. He was, as Bob Dylan put it in one of his protest songs, only a pawn Published:12/12/2019 8:15:12 AM
[FBI] Horowitz in review (Scott Johnson) Watching Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz testify yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee was a somewhat weird experience. Horowitz frankly identified the egregious government misconduct involved in the FBI’s surveillance of the Trump campaign, but couldn’t “connect the dots” or draw inescapable inferences from the facts he had found. It was all over his head and beyond his grasp. Committee Democrats sought to distract and downplay and suppress Published:12/12/2019 7:14:46 AM
[FBI] Michael Horowitz’s flawed epistemology (Paul Mirengoff) As John discussed below, Michael Horowitz testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. He told the committee that there were 17 instances of misconduct by the FBI in connection with the FISA application process. Horowitz also said that his team found no evidence of intentional misconduct. However, he added that the FBI agents involved were unable to provide satisfactory explanations for their actions. But the absence of an innocent explanation Published:12/12/2019 12:12:46 AM
[Politics] 'Don't Write Ethics Books,' Gowdy Trolls Comey on Vindication Blasting fired FBI Director James Comey's claim of vindication of wrongfully spying on the Trump campaign, former Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said Comey should stop writing "books on ethics.""I don't know what report Comey read," ... Published:12/11/2019 9:13:06 PM
[Politics] Horowitz: No, Comey Is Not Vindicated, No One Who Touched This Is Vindicated

The following article, Horowitz: No, Comey Is Not Vindicated, No One Who Touched This Is Vindicated, was first published on Godfather Politics.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz shot down Comey’s claim that the IG report on FISA abuses vindicates the former FBI director. “I think the activities don’t vindicate anybody who touched this,” Horowitz told Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham while testifying this morning. Graham: “The former FBI director James @Comey said this week that your report ...

Continue reading: Horowitz: No, Comey Is Not Vindicated, No One Who Touched This Is Vindicated ...

Published:12/11/2019 8:52:18 PM
[Markets] "This Pattern Of Clumsy Manipulation Is Everywhere In The Record Of CrossFire Hurricane Probe" "This Pattern Of Clumsy Manipulation Is Everywhere In The Record Of CrossFire Hurricane Probe"

Authored by Charles "Sam" Faddis via AndMagazine.com,

The Hidden Hand

The essence of a coup, which some might refer to as covert action, is the hidden hand.  One does not announce that a foreign power is overthrowing the government and installing a new government.  One pulls strings as if from behind a curtain, making events that are all part of a carefully orchestrated plan appear disconnected, spontaneous and serendipitous.

As I read through the recently released IG report for the second time, as someone with a great deal of experience in military and intelligence matters, I see that hand everywhere.

Per the IG report, a single report is delivered to the FBI in the summer of 2016.  It concerns a meeting between a cooperative contact of a foreign intelligence service and a junior level employee of the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos.  The report relates what are frankly very amorphous comments by Papadopoulos concerning the Russian government and its alleged possession of information on Hillary Clinton.

On any other day this report would command no attention whatsoever.  The source in question has no track record of any kind with the FBI. Papadopoulos has been employed by the Trump campaign for perhaps 90 days at this point, and there is no reason to believe he has contacts of significance in the Kremlin.

Not on this occasion.  This one report from a foreign intelligence service goes directly to the top of the FBI.  The Director himself, James Comey is briefed.  A full investigation is launched.  Multiple confidential human sources are tasked.  Wiretaps are ordered.  A task force is organized. Crossfire Hurricane is born.

There is a problem, though.  This hand, perhaps because it is controlled by individuals who have made their bones riding desks in Washington, DC and not in the field running actual operations, is clumsy.  The information regarding Papadopoulos provided the needed pretext to start an investigation, but most of the people who will now form the investigative team are not in on the plot.  They will have to be led to the pre-ordained conclusion, so that it appears that they did so without outside interference.

And these investigators have a pesky habit of actually doing their jobs.

Almost immediately these investigators demonstrate that Papadopoulos does not have the access within the Trump campaign necessary for the suspected Russian connections.  If there is a conduit, Papadopoulos cannot be it.

Suddenly, Carter Page is shoved forward as the new focus of the investigation.  His contacts with Russians are long-standing and well-known.  He will serve well as the new target.  Human sources are mobilized.  Wiretaps are ordered.

But, there is another problem.  Those wielding the clumsy hidden hand have forgotten the first rule of real operational personnel.  Never move against a target until you have run “traces.” until you have run the individual’s name through our databases, checked the records and found out what we already know about him.  Maybe the conspirators really don’t know that.  Maybe they just don’t dare do so, because it will mean involving working-level personnel who are not in on the joke.

In any event, they apparently did not run “traces” and as a consequence they clearly do not know that, yes, Mr. Page has extensive Russian contacts and, yes, he has been reporting to “another government agency” for many years on those contacts.  Page is a source.  Our source.

This is problem.  It is a huge, never fully resolved problem for the conspirators.  The “other government agency” sends a formal memo documenting the fact that Page is a source.  The hidden hand tries hiding that.  Any mention of it is removed from applications for FISA warrants, and it is never mentioned in renewal applications either.

But, again, as new FBI personnel, unwitting of the plot are assigned to the investigation they keep doing their jobs.  Already they have determined that the only evidence they can develop is exculpatory.  Already they have established that there is no basis to believe any of the allegations against Donald Trump and his campaign.  Now, they circle back to the issue of Page.

Are they, in effect, focusing investigative resources on a man, Page, who has been cooperating with American intelligence for years?  If so, this is the definition of “crossing lines.”  Inquiries are made.  A second memorandum is sent by the “other government agency.”  This one spells out in excruciating detail Page’s relationship with that agency.

The conspirators, behind their curtain, are now desperate.  What was supposed to be an elegant plot is now in danger of collapsing.  The hand directs crude measures.  An attorney assigned to the investigation materially alters the memorandum inserting words not found in the original and making it appear to say exactly the opposite of what it said, in plain English, originally.  The trail is covered, temporarily, but there is now hard, physical evidence of the conspirators intervention.  The “other government agency” retains the memorandum in its original form, waiting to be discovered by investigators scrutinizing the record at a later date.

This pattern of often clumsy manipulation of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation is everywhere in the record.  It is at the heart, for instance, of the entire Christopher Steele narrative.

Shortly after Crossfire Hurricane is initiated, Steele, a former British intelligence officer, appears to provide a dossier, actually multiple files, concerning alleged connections between Donald Trump and his campaign and the Kremlin.  The dossier also includes a number of gratuitously salacious allegations concerning President Trump and Russian prostitutes, which likely says more about Steele and the way his mind works than anything else.

Steele is working for a law firm employed by Fusion GPS, which is in effect, an extension of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  He is in Washington, DC frequently.  He has a wide range of contacts at senior levels on multiple continents.  He has had contact of some kind with the FBI for years.

Yet, when Steele appears to deliver his information he chooses to pass that information to a junior FBI agent working for an FBI Legal Attache (Legatt) in a European city and then rely on this individual to get the “intelligence” to the right people.  Why?  Because in the minds of those individuals masterminding this operation this will make the information more “organic.”  It will not arrive on the desks of the special agents working Crossfire Hurricane as if hand delivered.  It will not appear to be too neatly packaged and perhaps arouse suspicion.  It will seem to the people working the investigation, most of whom of necessity can never know what is really happening, that this information was developed in the field and therefore is more credible and to be afforded more weight.

But, again, the hand is clumsy.  Steele is a loose cannon.  He talks to the press.  He discusses his contact with the FBI.  This is discovered.  Formal contact with Steele is shut down.  He is no longer an FBI source.

As with the alteration of the memo from the “other government agency” the conspirators must become more forceful and more visible.  If Steele’s “intelligence” cannot continue to be fed into the investigation there is no plot.  There is no way to lead the investigators in the desired direction and ensure the desired result.  The entire operation is in danger of collapsing.

Again, per the IG report, Bruce Ohr, a senior Department of Justice lawyer with no role of any kind in the investigation, but a wife who works for Fusion GPS, suddenly appears and makes himself a conduit between Steele and the FBI.  Beyond that, in fact, he meets directly with the head of Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson, obtains at least one thumb drive full of Steele’s reports and ferries those to the FBI. The pipeline is reestablished.

No one in the Department of Justice or FBI has asked Ohr to play this role.  It is, in fact, in direct conflict with his status as an attorney.  Ohr actively hides his actions from his superiors.  His behavior is transparent and without justification.  It is almost certain to attract attention.  This is not all the way covert action should work, but the conspirators, backed into a corner by the FBI’s refusal to meet Steele directly have no choice.  It is the files compiled by Steele, which are the key to their efforts to delegitimize and destroy Donald Trump.

The IG report on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation runs to hundreds of pages, and it contains a wealth of information.  It is the product of what can only have been a massive amount of investigative work by a team of dedicated professionals and is a huge resource for those attempting to understand the origins of the Russian collusion hoax.  Yet, at the same time it misses the essence of what just transpired.  It is like reading a description of the actions and motivations of a troupe of marionettes in a stage play and missing the fact that they are all simply doing what those pulling the strings make them do.

The FBI did not conduct an investigation of Donald Trump and his associates that ultimately proved to be based on false information and continue that investigation long past the time it should have been shut down simply because some people made some errors in judgment or some procedures need to be changed.  That investigation was simply the most visible piece of a deliberate, covert attempt to overthrow the democratic process.  The perpetrators of that crime have yet to be brought to justice and identified. 

Let’s hope that happens soon.

Time for the hidden hand to be revealed.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 21:45
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Published:12/11/2019 8:52:18 PM
[Politics] IG Horowitz: No One at FBI Is Vindicated, Including Comey

Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz said Wednesday that his report does not vindicate anyone who worked on the FISA application to surveil members of the Trump campaign, including former FBI director James Comey.

The post IG Horowitz: No One at FBI Is Vindicated, Including Comey appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:12/11/2019 8:14:11 PM
[25dc1935-d3c3-5075-811a-aee0b0d2c396] Gregg Jarrett: IG Horowitz confirms shameful and deliberate FBI misconduct in investigating Trump campaign In its investigation of the Trump campaign, the FBI persisted in its quest to prove a Trump-Russia “collusion” conspiracy that officials knew was unsupported by credible evidence. Published:12/11/2019 7:42:28 PM
[Politics] Inspector general says Comey not vindicated by Russia report Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Wednesday that his lengthy investigation into the origins of the probe into Russia and President Trump’s campaign didn’t vindicate the former FBI chief James Comey — or anyone else. “I think the activities we found here don’t vindicate anybody who touched this,” Horowitz said during a Senate Judiciary... Published:12/11/2019 5:42:55 PM
[Politics] 6 Big Takeaways From Watchdog’s Senate Testimony About FBI Spying on Trump Campaign

The Justice Department’s inspector general, appearing Wednesday before a Senate committee, explained his findings of 17 inaccuracies and omissions by FBI agents in seeking court... Read More

The post 6 Big Takeaways From Watchdog’s Senate Testimony About FBI Spying on Trump Campaign appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/11/2019 5:42:55 PM
[] Cruz to Horowitz: Did an FBI attorney defraud the FISA court? Horowitz: Yup Call this the moment that Republicans well and truly pounced. At least that's how The Hill reports it, with a headline blaring that "conservatives rip FBI over IG report." While The Hill also includes a short clip of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) expressing his anger over the "indictment" of the FBI's]] Published:12/11/2019 5:12:05 PM
[In The News] ‘It’s Pretty Bad’: Michael Horowitz Sums Up FBI’s Surveillance Abuses Against Trump Aide

By Chuck Ross -

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz pulled no punches Wednesday when describing the actions of FBI agents who withheld information regarding Carter Page in order to obtain surveillance warrants against the Trump campaign aide. “It’s pretty bad,” Horowitz told the Senate Judiciary Committee. Horowitz offered the assessment during an exchange ...

‘It’s Pretty Bad’: Michael Horowitz Sums Up FBI’s Surveillance Abuses Against Trump Aide is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/11/2019 5:12:05 PM
[Politics] The Nunes memo was mostly right about the FBI's FISA application (and Comey was wrong) In case you've forgotten, the Nunes memo was a major battle in the long history of the Russia collusion investigation. Released in early February of 2018, the Nunes memo (full text here) pointed out significant problems with the FBI's FISA application. A few excerpts from the memo. See if]] Published:12/11/2019 4:12:21 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Josh Hawley sums up the FBI’s FISA abuse scandal in one epic question… In the Senate IG hearing today, Josh Hawley asked a rhetorical question that really summed up what happened with the FBI’s FISA abuses laid out in the IG report: "Which is worse, . . . Published:12/11/2019 4:12:21 PM
[Uncategorized] Horowitz: ‘I Think the Activities We Found Here Don’t Vindicate Anybody Who Touched’ the FISA Applications “We believe this circumstance reflects a failure not just by those who prepared the FISA applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the Crossfire Hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed." Published:12/11/2019 4:12:20 PM
[2019 News] Jim Jordan Makes BOMBSHELL Discovery – Trump Has Been Alerted

Jim Jordan Makes BOMBSHELL Discovery – Trump Has Been Alerted. “Oh! What a Tangled Web We Weave, When First We Practice to Deceive!” There’s no shortage of deceivers in this government. Buried deep in the 434-page report is an explosive piece of information that Democrats have lied about for years. Jordan revealed the FBI spied […]

The post Jim Jordan Makes BOMBSHELL Discovery – Trump Has Been Alerted appeared first on IHTM.

Published:12/11/2019 3:40:39 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Josh Hawley sums up the FBI’s FISA abuse scandal in one epic question… In the Senate IG hearing today, Josh Hawley asked a rhetorical question that really summed up what happened with the FBI’s FISA abuses laid out in the IG report: "Which is worse, . . . Published:12/11/2019 3:40:39 PM
[Politics] CNN’s John King reveals the most damning part of FISA hearing thus far… CNN’s John King played this exchange between Lindsey Graham and IG Horowitz from the hearing today that he says is ‘damning’: Again, this is related to the FBI lying to the FISA . . . Published:12/11/2019 1:40:56 PM
[Law] IG’s Report Reveals 4 Spurious Allegations as Basis for FBI Spying on Trump Campaign Aide

A shocking report by the Justice Department’s inspector general lays bare the FBI’s “serious performance failures” in conducting a counterintelligence operation in 2016 against the... Read More

The post IG’s Report Reveals 4 Spurious Allegations as Basis for FBI Spying on Trump Campaign Aide appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/11/2019 1:40:56 PM
[Politics] CNN’s John King reveals the most damning part of FISA hearing thus far… CNN’s John King played this exchange between Lindsey Graham and IG Horowitz from the hearing today that he says is ‘damning’: Again, this is related to the FBI lying to the FISA . . . Published:12/11/2019 1:10:57 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Inspector General Horowitz admits he cannot rule out political bias as motivation for FISA abuses Horowitz admitted today that he could not rule out political bias when it comes to the gross FISA abuses committed by those at the FBI: The issue that Graham is bringing up . . . Published:12/11/2019 12:09:40 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Inspector General Horowitz admits he cannot rule out political bias as motivation for FISA abuses Horowitz admitted today that he could not rule out political bias when it comes to the gross FISA abuses committed by those at the FBI: The issue that Graham is bringing up . . . Published:12/11/2019 12:09:40 PM
[Fake News] The Press Piled on Nunes; Will It Now Apologize? (John Hinderaker) Mollie Hemingway performs the great service of reviewing the dueling House Intelligence Committee memos, one by Adam Schiff and one by Devin Nunes, that were released in early 2018, in light of the DOJ Inspector General’s report: “IG Report Confirms Schiff FISA Memo Media Praised Was Riddled With Lies.” Let’s stroll down memory lane to recall what Schiff claimed in the committee majority’s memo: 1. FBI and DOJ officials did Published:12/11/2019 12:09:40 PM
[Politics] Watchdog: "Basic and Fundamental Errors" in Russia Probe The Justice Department's internal watchdog told Congress Wednesday that he is concerned that "so many basic and fundamental errors" were made by the FBI as it investigated ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Published:12/11/2019 11:41:52 AM
[In The News] Instead Of Airing Sen. Graham’s Opening Statement On FISA Abuse, CNN Informed Its Viewers About Airplanes

By Shelby Talcott -

CNN Media Bias Logo

CNN failed to air Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham’s opening statements live about the upcoming IG report testimony, instead informing viewers about airplanes. Justice Department Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz is testifying Wednesday about the report, which found the FBI made 17 significant errors and omissions. These occurred when ...

Instead Of Airing Sen. Graham’s Opening Statement On FISA Abuse, CNN Informed Its Viewers About Airplanes is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/11/2019 11:41:52 AM
[Political Cartoons] See No Evil – A.F. Branco Cartoon

By A.F. Branco -

The Horowitz IG Report says the FBI wasn’t motivated by political bias but AG Barr and U.S Attorney Durham disagree. Political cartoon by A.F. Branco ©2019. See more Branco toons HERE

See No Evil – A.F. Branco Cartoon is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/11/2019 11:09:37 AM
[Markets] Horowitz Trips Up Comey's Victory Lap: "Nobody Vindicated Who Touched This FISA" Horowitz Trips Up Comey's Victory Lap: "Nobody Vindicated Who Touched This FISA"

While every painful second of every individual's testimony during the impeachment hearings was relayed and narrative-managed by the mainstream media (and still failed to increase public awareness, let alone support for the Democrats' plan), interested viewers were hard-pressed to find Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee (on his findings regarding alleged surveillance abuse during the 2016 election) anywhere on the mainstream.

There are plenty of nuggets to enjoy - if you can find a live stream (here) - but this one was particularly noteworthy.

A day after a smug-sounding James Comey tweeted that the IG's report vindicated him:

“So it was all lies. No treason. No spying on the campaign. No tapping Trumps wires. It was just good people trying to protect America.”

Howoritz, in one short sentence, destroyed the former FBI Director's credibility by explaining simply...

"I think the activities we found here don't vindicate anybody who touched this FISA."

As Mr. Horowitz wrote in his report, he lays the blame at the top (cough Comey cough):

“We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams; on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations; after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI; even though the information sought through use of FISA authority related so closely to an ongoing presidential campaign; and even though those involved with the investigation knew that their actions were likely to be subjected to close scrutiny. We believe this circumstance reflects a failure not just by those who prepared the FISA applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the [investigation’s] chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed.”

As WSJ noted ironically, Mr. Comey’s memoir, “A Higher Loyalty,” relates how as FBI director he kept on his desk a copy of the October 1963 memo from J. Edgar Hoover asking for permission to wiretap Martin Luther King. He claims he did so to help ensure the bureau would never forget how a “legitimate counterintelligence mission . . . morphed into an unchecked, vicious campaign of harassment and extralegal attack.”

Mr. Horowitz’s findings about what was done under Mr. Comey’s leadership suggest there’s still a need for such a reminder.

Finally, in case the entire "Russia, Russia, Russia" narrative of the last three years has just become too much for you, here is Senator Lindsay Graham, in two short minutes explaining the whole farce so clearly that we dare even the most dyed in the wool NeverTrumper to explain how this was not a clear act of sedition...

Of course, as Sen. Marsha Blackburn exzclaimed on Twitter, "The fact that CNN and MSNBC refused to run Lindsey Graham's opening statement uninterrupted, but is now carrying Senator Feinstein's, is proof that political bias is not isolated to the FBI."

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 11:59
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Published:12/11/2019 11:09:37 AM
[Opinion] As Always The MSM Lies About The IG Report

By James Ledbetter -

The Justice Department inspector general’s report rebuts a number of Trump-Russia assertions made by key players, including the news media, former FBI Director James B. Comey and Rep. Adam B. Schiff, a leading conspiracy proponent. The Washington Times analyzed Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s 476-page history of Crossfire ...

As Always The MSM Lies About The IG Report is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/11/2019 10:09:19 AM
[Politics] Ex-FBI Official Figliuzzi: Barr Lying to American People Frank Figliuzzi, former assistant director of counterintelligence for the FBI, accused Attorney General William Barr of lying about Ukraine. Published:12/11/2019 9:41:50 AM
[Politics] WATCH LIVE: DOJ Inspector General Horowitz testifies before Senate on FISA abuses by FBI Lindsey Graham is holding a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at 10AM with DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to discuss the FISA abuses by the FBI. You can watch on one of four . . . Published:12/11/2019 9:09:09 AM
[Lefties on Parade] The Horowitz report and impeachment stuff

Having thought a bit about both the Horowitz Report and the impeachment, I’ve got some ideas, all of which reflect very badly on the FBI and the Democrats. The Horowitz IG Report — my takeaways My main takeaway is that Obama knew all along. That Obama cheerfully went along with mobilizing the entire American police […]

The post The Horowitz report and impeachment stuff appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:12/11/2019 9:01:10 AM
[Markets] Watch Live: Inspector General Michael Horowitz Testifies After FISA Report Release Watch Live: Inspector General Michael Horowitz Testifies After FISA Report Release

Following Monday's release of the long-awaited FISA report on FBI abuses while investigating the Trump campaign, during the 2016 US election, Inspector General Michael Horowitz is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Watch:

Horowitz's report found "significant inaccuracies and omissions," yet despite the fact that the FBI's elite made numerous errors and harbored extreme animus against Donald Trump, none of that affected their investigation.

 

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/11/2019 - 09:56
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Published:12/11/2019 9:01:10 AM
[Politics] WATCH LIVE: DOJ Inspector General Horowitz testifies before Senate on FISA abuses by FBI Lindsey Graham is holding a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at 10AM with DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to discuss the FISA abuses by the FBI. You can watch on one of four . . . Published:12/11/2019 9:01:10 AM
[Politics] Column: The FBI gets another black eye

The inspector general's report shows the FBI is still struggling with gross misconduct.

Published:12/10/2019 9:07:10 PM
[Politics] Lisa Page Sues DOJ, FBI For Leaking Text Messages To The Press

The following article, Lisa Page Sues DOJ, FBI For Leaking Text Messages To The Press, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Former FBI attorney Lisa Page sued the DOJ and FBI, accusing her former employers of violating her right to privacy by illegally leaking a cache of text messages she sent with fired FBI agent Peter Strzok, who she engaged in an extramarital affair with. I sued the Department of Justice and FBI today. I take ...

Continue reading: Lisa Page Sues DOJ, FBI For Leaking Text Messages To The Press ...

Published:12/10/2019 6:35:31 PM
[In The News] Attorney General Barr Calls FBI Actions Against Trump Campaign ‘Clear Abuse of the FISA Process’

By R. Mitchell -

U.S. Attorney General William Barr applauded Tuesday the work of Inspector General Michael Horowitz in creating his report on FBI abuses of the FISA process. “Nothing is more important than the credibility and integrity of the FBI and the Department of Justice.  That is why we must hold our investigators ...

Attorney General Barr Calls FBI Actions Against Trump Campaign ‘Clear Abuse of the FISA Process’ is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/10/2019 5:06:04 PM
[Markets] 6 Dead In Hours-Long Shootout At Jersey City Kosher Grocery 6 Dead In Hours-Long Shootout At Jersey City Kosher Grocery

Update 4: Just hours after the shooting began, it looks like the final tallies are in.

Reuters reports that six people have been killed, including the two shooters: (those killed include one police officer, three people who were inside the JC Kosher Supermarket when the shooting began, and both of the suspected shooters).

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop told a news conference that there were multiple people deceased inside the store, where suspects reportedly had holed up and exchanged gunfire with law enforcement in a standoff that lasted for hours.

Several news media outlets including the New York Times, reported six people were dead, citing unnamed law enforcement sources, but Reuters could not immediately confirm the number of casualties.

The New York Times said the dead included a police officer, three victims who were in the store and two suspected gunmen.

Local media also reported the shooting unfolded at or near the JC Kosher Supermarket, though a city official told reporters there was no evidence the bloodshed was terror-related.

Two more officers and another bystander were wounded during the hours-long shootoff between police, federal agents and the shooters, who holed themselves up inside the supermarket for a period.

Though it started at a kosher supermarket, police and Jersey City's mayor said the attack wasn't a deliberate act of terror against Jews.

* * *

Update 3: Both gunmen are now reportedly down. So far, casualties - other than the shooters - include only one cop, though two others were shot.

Rabbi Moshe Shapiro, teh Chabad Chief Rabbi of New Jersey, was apparently in the grocery store when one of the suspects walked in and started firing.

* * *

Update 2: President Trump was briefed on the Jersey City shooting at the White House.

Here's more from a liquor store employee who heard the shootout, according to NBC News.

SWAT teams with Jersey City and state police were among those responding Federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Newark and the FBI were also on the scene.

"I can hear the gunshots. It's like firecrackers going off," said Andy Patel, who works at a liquor store about three blocks away from the scene.

"They were shooting like crazy about an hour ago. Then it stopped for like 20 or 30 minutes. The cops were clearing everyone off the streets."

* * *

Update: Local media is reporting that one of the shooters has been taken out by police at a bodega somewhere near the intersection of JFK Boulevard and Claremont Ave in Jersey City. Some reports claim that one of the shooters was hit, but kept shooting.

Heavy fire can still be heard in videos hitting social media.

Some reports have claimed that three cops have been shot, along with two civilians.

There appear to be two separate scenes. One around the Bay View Cemetery, and another closer to New Jersey City University. All schools in the city have been closed. According to ABC, the scene is still "very active." One officer was reportedly shot in the head, and is in critical condition.

Follow along with a live feed of ABC's reporting below:

* * *

Yet another stunning active-shooter incident is unfolding Tuesday afternoon in New Jersey City, as two armed suspects engaged in a firefight with a group of Jersey City police officers, with some media reports claiming that the attackers escaped to nearby rooftops, where at least one of them continued firing on the street below with what were described as "long guns."

Loud gunshots can be heard in videos posted to social media. At the end of the video below, a man can be heard shouting "they took him out", though more gunshots followed.

Other videos showed ambulances responding to the scene.

Another video shows officers marching up the street warning pedestrians to take cover.

https://abc7ny.com/live-gunman-opens-fire-on-police-in-jersey-city/5744…

Police said at least one gunman is "shooting at anyone they see on the street," according to NJ.com. The shooting reportedly started in a cemetery before the shooter fled into a nearby bodega, according to ABC New York.   Another report claimed the two shooters targeted a Jewish grocery store and targets on the street outside, raising the possibility that this could be another anti-semitic attack. ABC said the shooting began at Bay View Cemetery, though there don't appear to be any kosher groceries close enough to the cemetery.

Police searching that cemetery have reportedly recovered a wounded officer's vehicle and radio. Surveillance footage has also been recovered showing one of the suspects entering a bodega after exiting from a van on the street.

No deaths have been reported yet, but at least one cop and one civilian have been shot. One of the gunmen has fired at a nearby school, prompting authorities to put all schools in the area on lock-down, and federal agencies, including the ATF, are on the scene near Martin Luther King Drive, where the shooting is taking place. That thoroughfare has been closed in both directions because of the shooting. Jersey transit has suspended rail and bus service on the west side of Jersey City.

The Twitter account for the New Jersey Police PBA asked that readers keep the Jersey City officers in their prayers.

Some reports claim that one of the two shooters is a woman, but we haven't been able to confirm that. There have also been unconfirmed reports of an IED in a store.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/10/2019 - 17:58
Published:12/10/2019 5:06:03 PM
[] Lisa Page sues DOJ, FBI over leak of texts Lisa Page announce on Twitter today that she had sued the Department of Justice and the FBI for leaking her text messages to the media:

https://twitter.com/NatSecLisa/status/1204482780467478528

According to the complaint, the agencies, "violated the Privacy Act by unlawfully disclosing agency records pertaining to Plaintiff—namely, a 90-page document reflecting 375 text messages between Plaintiff]] Published:12/10/2019 4:07:01 PM

[Bits and Pieces] So Have You Heard About the FBI Agents Who Stumble Into a Barr . . .

Sorry for the bad attempt at humor.  Tired and still working my way through the body of the report.  In the meantime . . . AG Barr appeared on NBC today in a blistering interview, looking not merely at the predicate for the investigation based on facts not in the Horowitz IG Report, but discussing […]

The post So Have You Heard About the FBI Agents Who Stumble Into a Barr . . . appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:12/10/2019 4:07:00 PM
[Markets] US Military Grounds 300 Saudi Aviation Students After Pensacola Shooting Spree US Military Grounds 300 Saudi Aviation Students After Pensacola Shooting Spree

Following the shooting spree last week at the Naval air station in Pensacola, Fla. last week by 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, who shot and killed three people, Reuters reports that roughly 300 Saudi Arabian military aviation students have been grounded as part of a "safety stand-down."

“A safety stand-down and operational pause commenced Monday for Saudi Arabian aviation students,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Andriana Genualdi told Reuters.

Genualdi said the grounding included three different military facilities: Naval Air Station Pensacola, Naval Air Station Whiting Field and Naval Air Station Mayport, all in Florida; adding that while it was unclear when the Saudi students would be allowed to fly again, their classroom training was expected to resume soon.

There are currently about 850 Saudi students in the United States for military training.

The FBI has said that it believes the Saudi airman acted alone, and military leaders careful to portray this as a localized issue which would not affect the overall U.S.-Saudi relationship.

Of course, we are sure this will inflame the left as claims of racism will scream across Twitter faster than bullets from an M16.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/10/2019 - 16:28
Published:12/10/2019 3:34:59 PM
[] AG Barr Blasts Media and Deep Staters -- and Criticizes Horowitz -- in Interview This was an amazing statement from Barr. Barr ain't no c*c*, I'll tell you that. A short clip is available at the above Fox link, but seriously, it's a great 20-25 minutes. Attorney General Bill Bar is blasting the FBI's... Published:12/10/2019 3:34:59 PM
[] 'Absolutely DAMNING': Byron York just tears FBI and media a NEW one over the Steele dossier in vicious thread The Left and media (same difference) have been telling us the IG report is somehow a good thing for the FBI ... guess Byron York sees it a tad bit differently because he didn't pull a single punch in this thread on the Steele dossier WHICH we have learned did]] Published:12/10/2019 3:05:05 PM
[] Barr: Sure seems like the FBI acted in "bad faith" in Operation Crossfire Hurricane Count William Barr among those unconvinced that Michael Horowitz' report has vindicated anything about Operation Crossfire Hurricane. The Attorney General sat down with NBC News' Pete Williams and declared that he disagreed that the FBI had a "sufficient predicate" for opening an intelligence operation against a major-party presidential candidate]] Published:12/10/2019 1:04:11 PM
[Markets] Horowitz Report Is "Triumph" For FISA Abuse 'Whistleblower' Devin Nunes: WSJ's Kim Strassel Horowitz Report Is "Triumph" For FISA Abuse 'Whistleblower' Devin Nunes: WSJ's Kim Strassel

In her usual succinct and clarifying manner, The Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel took to Twitter overnight to summarize the farcical findings within the Horowitz Report (and Barr and Durham's responses).

In sixteen short tweets, Strassel destroyed the spin while elucidating the key findings of the Horowitz report (emphasis ours):

Yup, IG said FBI hit threshold for opening an investigation. But also goes out of its way to note what a "low threshold" this is.

Durham's statement made clear he will provide more info for Americans to make a judgment on reasonableness.

The report is triumph for former House Intel Chair Devin Nunes, who first blew the whistle on FISA abuse. The report confirms all the elements of the February 2018 Nunes memo, which said dossier was as an "essential" part of applications, and FBI withheld info from FISA court

Conversely, the report is an excoriation of Adam Schiff and his "memo" of Feb 2018.

That doc stated that "FBI and DOJ officials did NOT abuse the [FISA] process" or "omit material information."

Also claimed FBI didn't much rely on dossier.

In fact, IG report says dossier played "central and essential role" in getting FISA warrants.

Schiff had access to same documents as Nunes, yet chose to misinform the public. This is the guy who just ran impeachment proceedings.

The Report is a devastating indictment of Steele, Fusion GPS and the "dossier."

Report finds that about the only thing FBI ever corroborated in that doc were publicly available times, places, title names. Ouch.

IG finds 17 separate problems with FISA court submissions, including FBI's overstatement of Steele's credentials. Also the failure to provide court with exculpatory evidence and issues with Steele's sources and additional info it got about Steele's credibility.

Every one of these "issues" is a story all on its own.

Example: The FBI had tapes of Page and Papadopoulos making statements that were inconsistent with FBI's own collusion theories. They did not provide these to the FISA court.

Another example: FBI later got info from professional contacts with Steele who said he suffered from "lack of self awareness, poor judgement" and "pursued people" with "no intelligence value." FBI also did not tell the court about these credibility concerns.

And this: FBI failed to tell Court that Page was approved as an "operational contact" for another U.S. agency, and "candidly" reported his interactions with a Russian intel officer. FBI instead used that Russian interaction against Page, with no exculpatory detail.

Overall, IG was so concerned by these "extensive compliance failures" that is has now initiated additional "oversight" to assess how FBI in general complies with "policies that seek to protect the civil liberties of U.S. persons."

The Report also expressed concerns about FBI's failure to present any of these issues to DOJ higher ups; its ongoing contacts with Steele after he was fired for talking to media; and its use of spies against the campaign without any DOJ input.

Remember Comey telling us it was no big deal who paid for dossier?

Turns out it was a big deal in FBI/DOJ, where one lawyer (Stuart Evans) expressed "concerns" it had been funded by Clinton/DNC. Because of his "consistent inquiries" we go that convoluted footnote.

IG also slaps FBI for using what was supposed to be a baseline briefing for the Trump campaign of foreign intelligence threats as a surreptitious opportunity to investigate Flynn.

Strassel's last point is perhaps the most important for those on the left claiming "vindication"...

When IG says he found no "documentary" evidence of bias, he means just that: He didn't find smoking gun email that says "let's take out Trump."

And it isn't his job to guess at the motivations of FBI employees.

Instead... He straightforwardly lays out facts.

Those facts produce a pattern of FBI playing the FISA Court--overstating some info, omitting other info, cherrypicking details.

Americans can look at totality and make their own judgment as to "why" FBI behaved in such a manner.

Finally, intriguing just how many people at the FBI don't remember anything about anything. Highly convenient.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/10/2019 - 14:00
Published:12/10/2019 1:04:10 PM
[Politics] William Barr claims FBI acted in ‘bad faith’ while probing Trump Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday ripped the FBI, asserting that the bureau may have acted in “bad faith” while investigating whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia. Barr, in an interview with NBC News, dismissed the findings by the Justice Department’s inspector general that the bureau wasn’t acting on political bias, and blamed the... Published:12/10/2019 12:34:04 PM
[In The News] Analysis: IG’s FISA Report Undercuts ‘Schiff Memo,’ Which Defended FBI And Steele Dossier

By Chuck Ross -

The Justice Department watchdog’s report undercut key claims in the so-called Schiff Memo, released in February 2018 by Rep. Adam Schiff. The memo downplayed the Steele dossier’s significance to the FBI’s surveillance of Carter Page. Schiff released it in response to a memo from Rep. Devin Nunes which criticized the ...

Analysis: IG’s FISA Report Undercuts ‘Schiff Memo,’ Which Defended FBI And Steele Dossier is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/10/2019 11:04:12 AM
[Politics] Trump slams FBI Director Wray over response to FISA report, says “he’ll never be able to fix the FBI” Trump went after FBI Director Wray this morning over his response to the FISA report that came out yesterday: I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was . . . Published:12/10/2019 10:34:00 AM
[Politics] Trump slams FBI Director Wray over response to FISA report, says “he’ll never be able to fix the FBI” Trump went after FBI Director Wray this morning over his response to the FISA report that came out yesterday: I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was . . . Published:12/10/2019 10:04:59 AM
[f87447b4-981a-596a-ba0a-1f9a3727abb4] Tucker Carlson: James Comey, ex-FBI Director, is still spewing lies – with no fear of punishment The FBI used flimsy excuses to spy on an American citizen and monitor a rival presidential campaign. It repeatedly engaged in abusive behavior to ensure that that spying continued illegitimately. Published:12/10/2019 9:33:54 AM
[James Comey] Live from Comeyworld (Scott Johnson) Upon the release of the Department of Justice Inspector General report documenting serious misconduct at the FBI in conducting a counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign, former FBI Director James Comey proclaimed victory in a Washington Post column (accessible here via Outline). He takes the occasion to assert vindication and bash Trump. He seeks to exploit the ignorance of readers who get their news from the Washington Post. As usual, Published:12/10/2019 6:33:32 AM
[FBI] Eric Felten: Pee tape confidential (Scott Johnson) Eric Felten is a meticulous and literate reporter as well as one of my favorite analysts of the mysteries of Russiagate. We have previously posted several of Eric’s RealClearInvestigations columns. Today Eric observes: “Watchdog: FBI Knew ‘Pee Tape’ Highly Dubious, Didn’t Tell Trump.” RCI authorizes the republication of its articles with attribution and we are happy to take advantage of the opportunity here. Eric writes: The “pee tape” has been Published:12/10/2019 5:33:19 AM
[26116e40-e253-5b81-af2c-eb8b7d0931b7] David Bossie: FBI acted improperly to get court OK for Trump-Russia collusion probe – Who will be accountable? Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on his review of why the FBI launched its unjustified investigation of Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign found major problems with the FBI’s conduct, further discrediting the Russia collusion hoax. Published:12/10/2019 4:02:50 AM
[Bits and Pieces] Is Comey Right That The IG Report Exonerates Him & The FBI?

Comey and the left are claiming that the IG Report exonerates the FBI and DOJ.  He is wrong. That is not what the IG report says. In the wake of the IG Report (and see the post below), the progressive left is doing its best to spin the results as “exoneration.”  The most shameless is […]

The post Is Comey Right That The IG Report Exonerates Him & The FBI? appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:12/9/2019 11:32:41 PM
[FBI] Horowitz’s findings of egregious misconduct suggest political motivation (Paul Mirengoff) From Inspector General Horowitz’s report, beginning at page 186: An important aspect of the FBI’s assessment of Steele’s election reporting involved evaluating Steele’s source network, especially whether the sub-sources had access to reliable information. As noted in the first FISA application, Steele relied on a primary sub-source (Primary Sub-source) for information, and this Primary Sub-source used a network of sub-sources to gather the information that was relayed to Steele; Steele Published:12/9/2019 11:32:40 PM
[Markets] The Woke Media: Apologists For The State The Woke Media: Apologists For The State

Authored by William Anderson via The Mises Institute,

In an earlier article, I looked at the rise of “Woke Capitalism” and the challenges that this development presents for a free society (or, to be accurate, a somewhat free society). For the time being we probably do not need to worry about the establishment of the People’s Republic of Google, but a much greater problem than left-wing business corporations has invaded our body politic: The Woke Mainstream Media.

It is one thing for Nike to discontinue a line of sneakers because the Betsy Ross flag offended someone or for PayPal to refuse to serve as a pay conduit for a conservative organization. One may decry the narrow-minded thinking from company executives, but they are private outfits that have — and should have — the privilege of refusing to do business with certain people — and if they make a bad economic choice, the company will pay financially. And, as I pointed out in the article, corporations are not governments, which really can kill and cage people who are helpless against state-sponsored predations.

Private sector Wokeness is not limited to profit-making businesses, however, as the giants of American media now are subscribing to the same hard-left political and social theories, and this development has become a much greater problem to American society and American liberty because of the symbiotic relationship between media and government. While Google’s squelching of libertarian speech within its ranks might make it unpopular with libertarians, nonetheless, the company has taken no one’s freedom away.

However, a media campaign against someone, even someone who is innocent of a crime, can result in imprisonment or worse. As one who for more than a decade has written about prosecutorial misconduct and unjustified pursuit of innocent people, I have yet to find a case in which the worst kind of prosecutorial behavior was not aided by irresponsible and dishonest journalists.

Furthermore, the rise of Woke Media presents a problem in this country, one in which the progressive news media becomes a partner with government to strip people of their rights and to impose authoritarian rule. While that is not the picture of the media that the media itself tries to present or is the dominant theme in journalism school, it is much closer to the truth than anyone tied to the media will admit. On top of that, almost all of the national media (with the exception of Fox News) is closely linked to the Democratic Party, and most journalists now being on the left. In the years of the Donald Trump presidency, that has meant that much of the media now acts in concert with the Democrats to weaken and even end his term in office.

With the upcoming movie “Richard Jewell” to be released soon, we see the spotlight on misconduct by American media outlets that helped to falsely accuse an innocent person of the infamous Olympic bombing in Atlanta in 1996. But media problems hardly begin and end with the saga of Richard Jewell.

When the New York Times calls for curtailing free speech or when its reporters actively work to promote a corrupt prosecutor in order to frame innocent people for rape, as the NYT did in the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case, when the press wrongly accused the high school boys from Covington Catholic School of harassing a Native American, which led to active death threats against the students, or when media outlets recklessly repeat false statements by government officials, as was done in the Jewell case, such transgressions are open attacks on a free society.

When these things happen, a media outlet then becomes an advocate for oppressive government, which seems to openly conflict with the media’s self-declared label of “government watchdog.” As I wrote a decade ago:

Despite that fact that every student in J-school is taught that the press is a "watchdog" of government, the truth is that journalists are the lapdogs of the state. From the local police beat reporter to the top journalist at the New York Times, journalists pretty much repeat what government officials tell them. When journalists actually do pressure government, it is either for the authorities to pass laws that are stricter than what they are at the present or to demand that governments regulate businesses in a draconian fashion.

In other words, modern journalism emphasizes a vastly-expanded role of state power, which is at odds with why a supposed free press exists in the first place, and certainly at odds with the First Amendment, which has been the bedrock of free speech and freedom of the press, not to mention freedom of religion. Unfortunately, the NYT and other Woke Media outlets have not stopped with attacking the First Amendment; they also have played a major role in promoting academic fraud in history and economics. Like the Bolsheviks which the NYT lionized in its series on the 1917 Russian Revolution and its murderous afterlife (which might as well have been named “Paradise Lost,” given how the NYT gave near-uncritical support to the revolution and the growth of the USSR), the journalists and editorial writers at the “Newspaper of Record” seem hellbent on recreating a new world in which truth takes a backseat.

While ideology plays a role in establishing the left-wing narratives that American journalists seem to embrace, that is not the only reason that modern journalism is statist at its core. First, and most important, the modern media is a product of the Progressive Era in which journalists sought respectability through the Canons of Journalism issued in 1923 by the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

As was often the case during the Progressive Era, there were advocates in various lines of work seeking to “professionalize” their craft. From medicine to teaching to journalism, these advocates attempted to make their occupations more “respectable” by requiring or strongly encouraging formal education in their fields. For example, following the Flexner Report of 1910, authorities — encouraged by the American Medical Association and, of course, the progressive media — began to close medical schools (and especially those medical schools educating black doctors) to limit practice of medicine to a relatively-small number of physicians ostensibly to raise the quality of care by ensuring that only the “top students” can be practitioners.

Professional journalists sought to do the same thing with their vocation, starting journalism schools and trying to turn journalism into an academic endeavor. During the 1920s, very few journalists had college degrees and organizations like the Society of Professional journalists (formerly Sigma Delta Chi), tried both to present the profession as respectable people engaged in “muckraking” in order to “reform” America. (When I was in journalism school during the Watergate years, many students and faculty wore “Rake Muck” buttons to proclaim solidarity with every Woodward and Bernstein wannabe.)

The Canons of Journalism stressed that newspapers (which in 1923 were by far the most dominant form of mass media) should be “independent” in their coverage, not being tied to political parties or political movements. Whether or not the press ever held to such lofty standards is debatable, as the media always seemed to take the side of state power, be it the promotion of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, U.S. victory in World War II, or the Kennedy-Johnson years in power.

For example, President Lyndon Johnson in his 1964 presidential campaign against Sen. Barry Goldwater, used the CIA to infiltrate the opposition and engaged in numerous political dirty tricks, yet the media was happy to aid the president in large part because much of Goldwater’s campaign centered around reducing the role of state power in the ordinary lives of people. (While Goldwater also advocated aggressive war against North Vietnam — the press painting him as an unstable cowboy ready to irresponsibly unleash nukes at any time – it was Johnson who escalated the war, which ultimately proved to be his undoing.)

At least the media turned on Johnson after he no longer could hide the lies about the Vietnam War and the war became unpopular. One senses today that the Woke Media won’t even question politicians that they favor. For example, there has been much news coverage about the policy in which immigration authorities separate children from their parents when picked up at the country’s southern border, a policy that the press tends to tie to President Trump.

However, Trump was continuing the policy that first was set by the Obama administration. The New York Post recently wrote about how Reuters, a news agency, and a French news agency suddenly killed stories they had earlier published “exposing” the high rate of child detention in the country. However, to their surprise, they were quoting numbers that generated from the Obama administration, not that of Donald Trump. The Post writes:

So the United States has “the world’s highest rate of children in detention.”

Is this worth reporting? Maybe, maybe not.

Nevertheless, Agence France-Presse, or AFP, and Reuters did report it, attributing the information to a “United Nations study” on migrant children detained at the US-Mexico border.

Then the two agencies retracted the story. Deleted, withdrew, demolished.

In other words, since the offending actions occurred during the Obama years, they didn’t happen at all. While that seems to be an extreme case, one senses that the Trump phenomenon has pushed the American media into a much more partisan mode than ever before, which is even more stark given the media’s reluctance to be critical of the Obama administration.

The hard-left move of much of the U.S. media can be seen in comparing coverage of events over the past few decades.

In the Jewell case, the FBI leaked material to friendly reporters to implicate Richard Jewell in the Olympic bombing, and there was the usual feeding frenzy early in the case. The frenzy wore itself out, however, when it became clear via pure logistics that Jewell could not have done what the FBI had claimed. In their defense, media figures said that they were just following the FBI’s lead, which was true.

However, perhaps it should logically have followed that maybe, just maybe, the FBI is full of untrustworthy and incompetent, dishonest, and vindictive employees that have not earned the trust that journalists had given them. Perhaps, just perhaps, government is not full of brilliant and deducting G-Men that are worthy of the heroic treatment the media often gives them. (One excellent exception is James Bovard, who has been an independent warrior exposing government malfeasance — and has been the bane of politicians from both parties.)

But at least the media listened to reason in the Jewell case and ultimately turned in their coverage.

A decade later in the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case, most of the U.S. media was craven from the start. By then, the infamous “narratives” that now drive political thinking were in full force.

The media latched onto the dual themes of racism and sexual assault and even when the earliest evidence cast serious doubt on the truth of the story, American journalists continued to run in one direction until they fell over the cliff and earned a well-deserved rebuke from American Journalism Review.

(In noting the deterioration in thinking with the elite factions of the media, the Columbia Journalism Review never did an assessment of the Duke case, despite the obvious media failures and breakdowns. And while CJR did provide an assessment for Rolling Stone in the wake its disastrous story, “A Rape on Campus,” which turned out to be wholly fiction, the publication stuck to the original sexual assault narratives which drove the whole thing in the first place.)

The Covington Boys story, which dominated the media for several days in January 2019, is an account of how “Wokeness” has so infected the major media that even when the truth was right in front of them, American journalists ran with the left-wing narratives instead. Besides making life a living hell for the Covington students and their families, the elite U.S. media from the New York Times to the Washington Post to CNN proved themselves nearly incapable of being able to separate facts from narratives and created their own fiction of white racist teenage boys in MAGA caps terrorizing and disrespecting minorities. While even a cursory glance at the original video of the so-called incident was enough to make an honest person question the popular story, elite American journalists were unwilling to do even that small task.

What makes things even worse is that the NYT’s editorial page now is being used as a conduit to promote questionable historical narratives, promote huge confiscatory taxation schemes, and a very dark history of American capitalism that claims that capitalism here entirely owes its existence to the worst aspects of black chattel slavery. Yes, these are opinion pieces that ostensibly represent independent thought from intellectuals, political figures, and academic leaders, but when these writers are dishonest or terribly misleading, a newspaper as influential as the NYT should not be promoting them.

Because so many American journalists today are squarely joined to the radical left, one wonders what is going to happen to journalism here in the next decade. The so-called watchdogs of state power today are advocating for government to grab authority that would end many aspects of historical American liberty. The next step seems to be the media becoming the TASS of a future Democratic Party administration, and if we reach that stage, it is doubtful we ever can roll back those levels of state power, and we will see Woke journalism not being a barrier to state-sponsored oppression, but rather its enabler.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/09/2019 - 23:40
Published:12/9/2019 11:01:56 PM
[In The News] DOJ Watchdog Puts Final Nail In Steele Dossier’s Coffin

By Chuck Ross -

The Justice Department watchdog’s report debunked one of the Steele dossier’s most specific allegations of Trump-Russia collusion, and severely undermined others.  The report also faulted the FBI for failing to thoroughly investigate the dossier, and to tell a federal court about problems with the information collected by Christopher Steele.  One ...

DOJ Watchdog Puts Final Nail In Steele Dossier’s Coffin is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/9/2019 10:31:18 PM
[ffb68159-4e7a-5d6a-aa63-8e89a4b930dd] Kayleigh McEnany: Trump-Russia collusion probe shouldn’t have been launched, inspector general report shows The report issued Monday by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz exposes deeply disturbing and improper behavior by the Obama-era FBI that led to the investigation of non-existent collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. Published:12/9/2019 8:31:37 PM
[Uncategorized] If you were as deceptive with the FBI, as the FBI was with the FISA court, how quickly would you be charged? Hopefully the statements issued by John Durham and Bill Barr reflect that the FBI officials behind this are treated the way the FBI treats others. Published:12/9/2019 8:04:39 PM
[] Comey takes victory lap over IG report: You're welcome, America This is like running someone over and then doing a told-ya-so dance when the cops announce that you didn't do it on purpose, you're just a terrible driver.

And then demanding an apology from the bystanders for ever having doubted you.

Compare and contrast. Here's the sum total of Comey's new]] Published:12/9/2019 7:01:40 PM

[Politics] NBC News: IG so bothered by FBI screwing up “at every level” that it will start a NEW investigation NBC News reports that the inspector general was so bothered by the many failures of the FBI in this FISA application for Carter Page that they are opening a new investigation into . . . Published:12/9/2019 5:31:45 PM
[Politics] NBC News: IG so bothered by FBI screwing up “at every level” that it will start a NEW investigation NBC News reports that the inspector general was so bothered by the many failures of the FBI in this FISA application for Carter Page that they are opening a new investigation into . . . Published:12/9/2019 5:31:45 PM
[Bits and Pieces] The IG Report — The Good, The Bad, & The Questionable

The OIG Report finds evidence of FBI and DOJ malfeasance but makes no recommendation for or against criminal charges. Before getting to the IG Report, please note that, at the same time the IG released his report, Asst. Attorney General Durham, tasked with conducting his own investigation, held a rare press conference: “I have the […]

The post The IG Report — The Good, The Bad, & The Questionable appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:12/9/2019 5:31:45 PM
[] CNBC firefighter John Harwood finds it 'amazing' that 'Fox cancelled' on James Comey after the IG 'exonerated' him Today's IG report may not have exposed the FBI as the treasonous operation some people have portrayed it as, but the FBI hardly came out smelling like roses, either. Even so, despite the report's citing multiple examples of misconduct, former FBI Director James Comey insisted that the report was a]] Published:12/9/2019 5:01:33 PM
[Politics] 6 Takeaways From the IG Report on FBI’s Spying on Trump Campaign

The Justice Department’s in-house watchdog released a 476-page report Monday that criticizes some of the FBI’s actions in beginning an investigation of the Trump campaign’s... Read More

The post 6 Takeaways From the IG Report on FBI’s Spying on Trump Campaign appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:12/9/2019 5:01:32 PM
[Politics] Trump: Russia Probe Was 'Attempted Overthrow' The FBI investigation of his campaign for potential ties to Russia was a "disgrace to our country" and an attempted "overthrow of government," according to President Donald Trump. Published:12/9/2019 4:34:58 PM
[National Security] FBI Committed ‘Significant Errors’ Wiretapping Trump Campaign Aide, IG Says

A watchdog report ripped the FBI's handling of a request for court-ordered surveillance of a Trump campaign aide, identifying numerous inaccuracies and omissions in the department's application for a FISA warrant.

The post FBI Committed ‘Significant Errors’ Wiretapping Trump Campaign Aide, IG Says appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:12/9/2019 4:34:57 PM
[Uncategorized] AG Barr Statement on IG Report, FISA, and the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” Operation "In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source." Published:12/9/2019 4:34:57 PM
[worldNews] No political bias but FBI made mistakes in probe of Trump campaign: watchdog The U.S. Justice Department's internal watchdog said it found numerous errors but no evidence of political bias by the FBI when it opened an investigation into contacts between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia in 2016.
Published:12/9/2019 2:02:02 PM
[Uncategorized] Horowitz v. Durham — Dispute Over Russiagate Conclusions Durham's team "advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened." Published:12/9/2019 2:02:02 PM
[In The News] Steele Dossier Played ‘Central And Essential Role’ In FBI Decision To Apply For Surveillance Warrants

By Chuck Ross -

The unverified Steele dossier played a “central and essential role” in the FBI’s decision to apply for surveillance warrants against Trump campaign aide Carter Page, according to the Justice Department inspector general, whose findings undercut a key claim made by Democrats who have defended the bureau’s investigation of the Trump ...

Steele Dossier Played ‘Central And Essential Role’ In FBI Decision To Apply For Surveillance Warrants is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/9/2019 1:29:33 PM
[worldNews] No political bias but many mistakes in FBI probe of Trump campaign: watchdog The U.S. Justice Department's internal watchdog said it found numerous errors but no evidence of political bias by the FBI when it opened an investigation into contacts between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia in 2016.
Published:12/9/2019 12:59:18 PM
[] Not so FAST! Kimberley Strassel knocks Dems and media out in BRUTAL thread for trying to spin IG report (already!) The IG report must be bad news for the Left because the media is already trying to get out in front of it claiming the report was about whether or not the FBI was allowed to investigate the Trump campaign.

This is BS.

Total BS.

So much BS in fact a large bull]] Published:12/9/2019 12:29:53 PM

[] IG Report ReleasedCOMPLETE WHITEWASH Here. I'm going to start skimming. If you see anything good, quote it in the comments, if you would be so kind. MORE: In statement, Attorney General Bill Barr says evidence compiled by IG shows FBI "launched an intrusive investigation... Published:12/9/2019 12:29:53 PM
[Markets] Kunstler: The War Of The Narratives Kunstler: The War Of The Narratives

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Fighting for its very life, the Resistance rolls out a last-ditch flanking maneuver today in its three-year war against reality as Rep. Adam Schiff’s House Intel Committee presents findings to Rep. Nadler’s Judiciary Committee for crimes as yet unspecified against Mr. Trump, possibly as grave as treason.

Buyer beware. The Resistance always accuses its enemy of the very acts it commits - for instance, colluding with Russia, the primal deed that the guiding spirit of the Resistance, Mrs. Clinton, perpetrated in hiring Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS outfit and its star front-man, Christopher Steele, to consort with Russian disinformation agents injecting some helpful fantasy into the 2016 election.

Therefore, you can be serenely confident that any charges of actual treason will eventually stick to members of Resistance in government service who did indeed plot a coup to overthrow the occupant of the White House. That process of discovery begins today in another part of the battlefield, when the DOJ Inspector General, Mr. Horowitz, rolls out his report on FISA court shenanigans. His inquiry, of course, was limited to current members of the DOJ and FBI, which leaves out many of the principal actors in that scheme: Jim Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Stzrok, Lisa Page, Michael Atkinson — all either discharged or moved onto other thickets in the reeking wetland of Washington DC. Anyway, the coup ranged far beyond the bounds of Mr. Horowitz’s scope on FISA abuse.

Among those many others, the IG was not authorized to interrogate former CIA chief John Brennan, the Lone Ranger of RussiaGate, or James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, Mr. Brennan’s faithful Tonto in the scam. Mr. Horowitz’s report will be necessarily incomplete. At most, it might provide a preview of the comprehensive legal review being carried out by the attorney general, Mr. Barr, and his deputy, the Connecticut federal prosecutor, John Durham. I suspect that Mr. Barr has instructed Mr. Horowitz to be careful with his conclusions, since any further attempts to obfuscate the facts and excuse official misconduct on squishy grounds such as intent will tend to worsen the already gross institutional damage done to federal law enforcement.

One character who has not been heard from lo these many months is former deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr, who was not fired, but transferred to some harmless backwater of the Justice Department to answer agency parking violations, or something equally harmless. I suspect Mr. Ohr may have played a decisive role in the IG inquiry, and possibly flipped on his colleagues, since Mr. Ohr was in the uniquely uncomfortable position of having a wife, Nellie Ohr, in the direct employ of Fusion GPS, Hillary Clinton’s oppo research contractor. Mr. Ohr additionally consorted with Fusion’s front man, Mr. Steele, after Steele was officially fired as a paid FBI source. Mr. Ohr will surely play a role on the Durham side of things.

Rep Adam Schiff will be conspicuously absent in today’s hearings, a tactic that enables him to avoid being questioned about his methods, actions, and associations around the UkraineGate chapter of the coup — for instance, his pre-whistle trysts with CIA agent and alleged “whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella. Some minority member of the Nadler committee might ask Mr. Schiff, for instance, if he can cite any federal statute that provides Ciaramella with eternal anonymity (hint: there is none). Instead, Mr. Schiff’s findings will be presented by Lawfare attorneys Daniel Sachs Goldman (yes, his actual name), and Barry Berke, renowned for getting Wall Street grifters off the hook for selling janky securities.

The New York Times is the Resistance’s obverse measuring device for divining reality — whatever they report is likely to be the opposite of the facts. So, naturally, the Monday morning edition is playing-up the supposedly nefarious doings of Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine. In fact, Mr. Giuliani has managed to depose (and record on video) two Ukrainian chief prosecutors, Viktor Shokin and Yuriy Lutsenko who are deeply familiar with the machinations around the inquiries into Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas company that put coke-head Hunter Biden on its board of directors while dad Joe Biden was directing on-the-ground US policy there — and bribed the Ukraine government to back off its investigations. (Shokin video here and Lutsenko video here).

The essence of this colossal radioactive hairball of an historic scandal pulsates in the malicious prosecution of General Michael Flynn. Weeks ago, his new attorney, Sidney Powell, filed requests for DOJ documents containing exculpatory information in the case. The prosecutors, put in by Robert Mueller, stalled on the request, so Ms. Powell asked for an official pause until the Horowitz report is issued, possibly containing information pertinent to the general’s case. Be alert to developments on that front.

So, you see, we have two narratives at war in America:

  1. the Resistance story aimed at shoving Mr. Trump out of the White House by any means necessary, including a siege engine of untruth based on bad faith;

  2. and Mr. Trump’s story that he has been unfairly and unjustly subject to seditious mutiny by several federal agencies, dedicated to crippling his executive function at least and levering him out of office at most.

The two stories can be reconciled in courts of law and the court of public opinion. There’s polling evidence that the Resistance is losing in the latter, as it over-estimated the public’s appetite for official dishonesty. The courts of law await further down the road.

Developing...

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/09/2019 - 12:54
Published:12/9/2019 12:00:12 PM
[] Beltways battens down hatches for the Horowitz Report -- and new reveal on Christopher Steele? Is it beginning to look a lot like Horowitz-mas? And does that bear any resemblance to Fitzmas and Muellermas? The long-awaited Inspector General report on the FBI's Operation Crossfire Hurricane will finally drop today, after weeks of speculation about its conclusions. This curtain-raiser from the Washington Post suggests that]] Published:12/9/2019 11:30:14 AM
[Markets] "There Is A Lot Of Frustration" - Victims' Families Demand Answers From FBI About Pensacola Navy Base Shooting "There Is A Lot Of Frustration" - Victims' Families Demand Answers From FBI About Pensacola Navy Base Shooting

US domestic military bases remained on high alert Monday following a string of attacks last week by lone gunmen rattled bases in Hawaii and Florida. On Friday, a Saudi national opened fire during a training exercise, killing three people an wounding another eight at a Navy base in Pensacola.

Now, the FBI is facing tremendous pressure to get to the bottom of what happened and, crucially, whether the shooter had any help from his fellow Saudis, according to Reuters.

Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani

During a Sunday press conference, Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis said he believed the shooting resembled an act of terrorism, and that it never would have happened if the US did a better job vetting which foreign nationals are allowed to train with the US military on US soil, just as Royal Saudi Air Force 2nd Lieutenant Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani - the shooter, who was killed in a firefight on Friday - was.

"There is a lot of frustration in our state over this," DeSantis said. "You have foreign military personnel coming to our base. They should not be doing that if they hate our country."

The NYT reported over the weekend that six other Saudis were questioned over the shooting, but officials have been tight-lipped about the future of the training program, and whether the remaining trainees would be allowed to stay. Initial reports claimed the other Saudis had no idea the attack was coming, and the FBI currently believes that Alshamrani acted alone.

NYT also reported on Sunday that it had seen an official complaint filed by the shooter back in April against one of his instructors at the base, who had purportedly made derogatory comments about his appearance and race. This seems to be an important detail, but it's unclear whether it had any connection to the shooting.

Moreover, authorities suspect that Alshamrani made social media posts criticizing the US under a user a handle that's similar to his name. Federal law enforcement officials are investigating whether he authored the words or just posted them, the AP reports.

The weapon used in the shooting - a Glock 9mm pistol - was legally purchased by Alshamrani somewhere in Florida. DeSantis said he was able to buy the firearm because of a "federal loophole" in gun laws that makes it easy for non-immigrant foreign nationals to purchase weapons in the US.

DeSantis said this detail, in particular, irked him.

"I’m a big supporter of the Second Amendment, but it’s so Americans can keep and bear arms, not Saudi Arabians," he told reporters.

Alshamrani was in Pensacola as part of a program to 'bolster ties' between the US military and its allies (apparently, all those arms we sell to the Saudis isn't enough?). The other Saudis participating in this exchange program have been ordered to remain on the base until the investigation is  over.

Of course, if past terror incidents in the US are any guide, if Alshamrani did have help, the Saudi government has presumably swept that evidence under the rug by now.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/09/2019 - 12:15
Published:12/9/2019 11:30:13 AM
[In The News] Here’s What’s Happened To The FBI Officials Who Led Trump-Russia Probe |

By Chuck Ross -

The Justice Department’s watchdog is set to release a report that will focus on the activities of a small handful of now-former FBI officials during the Trump-Russia probe. In an ironic twist, several of those officials have themselves come under scrutiny for a variety of alleged misdeeds.  Here is a ...

Here’s What’s Happened To The FBI Officials Who Led Trump-Russia Probe | is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/9/2019 11:02:02 AM
[Markets] Elizabeth Warren's "Foreign Policy" - Is She Really As Ignorant As She Appears? Elizabeth Warren's "Foreign Policy" - Is She Really As Ignorant As She Appears?

Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev first met in Geneva in 1985, in a summit specifically designed to allow them to discuss diplomatic relations and the -nuclear- arms race. At the time, the Soviet Union had started to crumble, but it was still very much the Soviet Union. They met again in 1986 in Reykjavik, in a summit set up to continue these talks. There, they came close to an agreement to dismantle both countries’ nuclear arsenals.

They met once again in Washington in 1987. That was the year Reagan made his famous “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech about the Berlin wall. Then they held a next summit in 1988 in Moscow, where they finalized the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) after the US Senate’s ratification of the treaty in May 1988.

Reagan’s successor George H.W. Bush met with Gorbachev first in December 1989 in Malta, and then the two met three times in 1990, among others in Washington where the Chemical Weapons Accord was signed, and in Paris where they signed the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. They met three more times in 1991, with one of their meetings, in Moscow, resulting in the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I).

One of the most interesting things agreed on during the Bush-Gorbachev meetings was that Russia would allow Germany to re-unite after the wall came down, in exchange for the promise that NATO would not try to expand eastward.

I’ve been re-researching this a bit because it feels like it’s high time that people should realize what US foreign policy was like not that long ago. Even as it involved Reagan and Bush sr., not exactly the peace-mongers of their times. The one thing that was clear to all parties involved is that it was crucial to keep meeting and talking. And talk they did. But look at us now. When was the last summit of a US president with Vladimir Putin?

This came to mind again when I read Elizabeth Warren’s piece in the Guardian today, which made me wonder if she’s for real, if she is really as ignorant as she appears to be when it comes to foreign policy, to Russia, to Trump and to NATO. It would seem that she is, and that makes her a hazard. Not that I see her as a serious candidate, mind you, but then again, I do not see any other one either.

In her article, which reads more than anything like some nostalgic longing for the good old times when she was young, just watch her get all warm and fuzzy over the success of NATO:

Donald Trump Has Destroyed American Leadership – I’ll Restore It

For seven decades, America’s strength, security and prosperity have been underpinned by our unmatched network of treaty alliances, cemented in shared democratic values and a recognition of our common security. But after three years of Donald Trump’s insults and antics, our alliances are under enormous strain. The damage done by the president’s hostility toward our closest partners was on full display at this week’s gathering of NATO leaders in London, which should have been an unequivocal celebration of the 70th anniversary of the most successful alliance in history.

The success of NATO was not inevitable, easy or obvious. It is a remarkable and hard-won accomplishment, and one based on a recognition that the United States does not become stronger by weakening our allies. But that is just what Trump has done, repeatedly and deliberately. He treats our partners as burdens while embracing autocrats from Moscow to Pyongyang. He has cast doubt on the US commitment to NATO at a moment when a resurgent Russia threatens our institutions and freedoms. He has blindsided our partners on the ground in Syria by ordering a precipitate and uncoordinated withdrawal.

[..] he has wrecked US credibility by unilaterally tearing up our international agreements on arms control, non-proliferation and climate change. This reckless disregard for the benefits of our alliances comes at a perilous moment, when we face common threats from powerful adversaries probing the weaknesses of our institutions and resolve. Longstanding allies in Asia are doubting our reliability and hedging their bets. Russia’s land grab in Ukraine has upended the post-1989 vision of a Europe “whole, free, and at peace”. The chaotic Brexit process has consumed our closest partners, while sluggish growth and rising xenophobia fuel extremist politics and threaten to fracture the European Union.

To start with that last point, no. That “post-1989 vision of a Europe “whole, free, and at peace” was destroyed by NATO’s eastward expansion, executed in spite of US, EU and NATO promises that it wouldn’t. Moreover, you can talk about a resurgent Russia, but the country has hardly recovered economically from the 1980’s and 90’s today, and it has no designs on countries to its west.

Just look at the military budgets of the respective countries, where Russia has maybe 10% of the expenditure of the US, let alone the rest of NATO, and you get the picture. Is Russia getting more bang for its buck, because it doesn’t have to maintain a long running Pentagon-Boeing/Raytheon link? Yes, it does. But a 10 to 1 difference is still way out there. It’s not as if they spend half of what the US does, they spend just 10%.

This is because not only Russia doesn’t have to satisfy the desires and needs of Pentagon-Boeing/Raytheon, it’s also because they have no desire to conquer any territory that is not at present Russian.

Russia “annexed” Crimea through fair elections, and it knew that “we” knew that it would never let go of its only warm water port, Sevastopol. When “We” tried to take it away regardless, it did the only thing it could do. And it did it very intelligently. As for Eastern Ukraine, everyone there is Russian, whether by blood or by passport. And there are a lot of strong ties between them and Russians in Russia proper.

If Putin would have volunteered to let these Donbass Russians be shot to bits by the Ukraine neo-nazis that helped the US and EU in the Maidan coup, he would have had either a civil war in Russia, or an all-out war in the Donbass, with perhaps millions of casualties. Putin did what he could to prevent both. Back to Warren:

A mounting list of global challenges demand US leadership and collective action. As president, I will recommit to our alliances – diplomatically, militarily and economically. I will take immediate action to rebuild our partnerships and renew American strategic and moral leadership, including by rejoining the Paris climate accord, the United Nations compact on migration, and reaffirming our rock-solid commitment to NATO’s Article 5 provisions.

But we must do more than repair what Trump has broken. Instead we need to update our alliances and our international efforts to tackle the great challenges of our age, from climate change and resurgent authoritarianism to dark money flows, a weakening international arms control regime and the worst human displacement crisis in modern history.

Wait, what exactly has Trump broken in the foreign policy field? There have been dozens at the very least who have called for NATO to be disbanded, Ron Paul et al, because its sole purpose was to counter the Soviet Union, which no longer exists. In fact, when Emmanuel Macron labeled NATO “brain-dead” last week, it was Trump who defended the alliance.

And sorry, Elizabeth, but to hold Trump responsible for “the worst human displacement crisis in modern history” is just not right. That started way before he arrived at the scene. Obama and Hillary carry the burden and blame for that, along with Bush jr. and Dick Cheney. They shot the crap out of Iraq, Lybia etc. Trump only dumped a few bombs in a desert. He didn’t invade any country, he didn’t go “We Came, We Saw, He Died”. That was not Trump.

And before we forget, the military aid for Ukraine Trump allegedly held back for a few weeks had been refused by Obama for years. I’ve been wondering for ages now why the Democrats are so eager to make things up while ignoring simple facts, but I think at least it’s time to start pointing out these issues.

This is not to make Trump look better in any sense, but to try and make people understand that he did not start this thing. Though yeah, I know, it’s like talking to a wall by now. The political divide has turned into such a broad and yawning one, you can’t not wonder how it could ever be broached.

But, you know, it might help if people like Elizabeth Warren don’t ONLY talk about Trump like he’s the antichrist, or a Putin tool, if they engage with him in conversation. But sadly, it feels like we’re past that point. Like if she would even try, and I don’t know if she would want to, her party would spit her out just for trying to build a single bridge. Like Tulsi Gabbard seems to have tried; and look at how the DNC treats her.

This means revitalizing our state department and charging our diplomats to develop creative solutions for ever more urgent challenges. It means working with like-minded partners to promote our shared interest in sustained, inclusive global economic growth and an international trade system that protects workers and the environment, not just corporate profits. And it means reducing wasteful defense spending and refocusing on the areas most critical to our security in years to come.

Well, apart from the fact that we’ve seen some of those diplomats in the Schiff hearings, and they seemed like the least likely people to develop anything “creative” -other than their opinions-, and the boondoggle of “sustained, inclusive global economic growth”, it’s probably best to forget about that entire paragraph. It’s nicer to Warren too.

Alliances are not charities, and it’s fair to ask our partners to do their share. I will build on what President Obama started by insisting on increased contributions to NATO operations and common investments in collective military capabilities. But I will also recognize the varied and significant ways that European states contribute to global security – deploying troops to shared missions, receiving refugees, and providing development assistance at some of the highest per capita rates in the world.

The problem appears to be that the partners don’t increase their contributions. Just this March, Germany refused to do just that. And if Berlin refuses, why would other countries spend more?

The next president must tackle our common problems using the lessons of common defense. Together, we can counter terrorism and proliferation. We can make common cause in constructing new norms and rules to govern cyberspace. We can dismantle the corruption, monopolies and inequality that limit opportunity around the world and take on the increasingly grave threats to our environment. We can and will protect ourselves and each other – our countries, our citizens and our democracies.

Now we’re getting into entirely nonsensical territory, with words and sentences designed only to make people feel good about things that have no substance whatsoever. Anyone can go there, anyone can do that.

In the meantime, the neverending investigations into Trump, Russia, Ukraine, taxes, have had one major effect: he hasn’t had a chance to have a summit with Putin. And that, to go back to how I started out this essay, is the worst idea out there. If Reagan and Bush sr. did those summits all the time, then why do we now think such summits are the work of the devil?

And yeah, we get it, we got it again last week from alleged law expert Pamela Karlan in the House, who let ‘er rip on the dangers Putin poses to all of humanity, and of course she would never trust Trump to hold any such summit because he’s Putin’s puppet.

What Pamela, and all the MSM, and the Dems, and the FBI/CIA, appear to refuse to see, though, is that Trump was democratically elected by the American people to be the only one who can have any such conversation. Karlan again talked about how Russia would attempt to attack American soil unless “we” keep them from doing that.

Now I can say that is absolute bollocks, and it is, but how many -potential- Democratic voters will recognize that at this point? They’ve been trained to believe it. That Russia wants one US presidential candidate over another, or one UK one, or fill in your country, and therefore they want to invade the US, UK, etc. In reality, Russia has plenty problems of its own, and it’s slowly trying to solve them.

The two countries need to start talking to each other again, and the sooner the better. That it will happen under Elizabeth Warren, however, is very unlikely. First because she has her mind made up about Russia, and second because the likelihood of her becoming president is very low. What do you think, is that a good thing?

If for some reason -who can tell- she would end up winning 11 months from now, do you think she’s likely to establish a peace treaty with Russia? You know, given what she wrote here? And if not, why would you vote for her? Don’t you want peace? Do you think antagonizing Putin forever is a good idea? While Russia continues to outperform America in arms development, and in just about any field? While Russia only wants peace?

Good questions, ain’t they, as we move into 2020?!

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Mon, 12/09/2019 - 12:00
Published:12/9/2019 11:02:02 AM
[In The News] The FISA Report Is Finally Coming. Here’s What To Know About It

By Chuck Ross -

The Justice Department’s inspector general will release a much-anticipated report on the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign on Monday. The report is expected to detail the FBI’s decisions to open the Trump-Russia investigation, as well as the bureau’s efforts to obtain surveillance against a Trump campaign adviser. Michael Horowitz, ...

The FISA Report Is Finally Coming. Here’s What To Know About It is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/9/2019 8:31:25 AM
[World] Report finds no partisan bias in Russia probe

The FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign in 2016 was not compromised by partisan bias, the Justice Department inspector general concludes.

Published:12/9/2019 8:31:24 AM
[worldNews] Justice Department watchdog to issue report on FBI handling of Russia probe The U.S. Justice Department's internal watchdog is expected to announce on Monday that the FBI, despite some mistakes, was legally justified in 2016 in opening its investigation into contacts between President Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia, according to sources familiar with the findings.
Published:12/9/2019 5:32:47 AM
[In The News] Nunes: FBI Withheld Exculpatory Information On Carter Page From FISA Court

By Chuck Ross -

Devin Nunes

Rep. Devin Nunes on Sunday laid out the list of topics he hopes will be explained in a forthcoming Justice Department watchdog’s report on the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign, including details of a piece of exculpatory information regarding former Trump campaign aide Carter Page that the Republican says ...

Nunes: FBI Withheld Exculpatory Information On Carter Page From FISA Court is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/8/2019 4:53:52 PM
[News] Pensacola Shooting Presumed To Be ‘Act Of Terrorism,’ One Gunman Involved, FBI Says

The following article, Pensacola Shooting Presumed To Be ‘Act Of Terrorism,’ One Gunman Involved, FBI Says, was first published on Godfather Politics.

NAS Pensacola shooting presumed to be ‘terrorism,’ Saudi student recorded the attack on video according to the FBI. FBI Special Agent Rachel Rojas confirmed the agency is working under the presumption that Friday’s shooting was terrorism-related. The gunman is identified as 21-year-old Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a second lieutenant in the Royal Saudi Air Force. Rojas ...

Continue reading: Pensacola Shooting Presumed To Be ‘Act Of Terrorism,’ One Gunman Involved, FBI Says ...

Published:12/8/2019 3:54:33 PM
[Politics] Report will clear FBI of misdeeds in Russia probe

The Inspector General report rejects Republican claims that the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign was compromised from the start.

Published:12/7/2019 2:20:03 PM
[Markets] Ukraine Was The Origin Of The Trump-Russia Collusion Hoax Ukraine Was The Origin Of The Trump-Russia Collusion Hoax

Authored by Lawrence Sellin via AmericanThinker.com,

December 2015 was a pivotal month in many respects...

During the first week of December 2015, Donald Trump began to establish a substantial lead over his Republican primary opponents.

Vice President Joseph Biden traveled to Ukraine to announce, on December 7th, a $190 million program to “fight corruption in law enforcement and reform the justice sector,” but behind the scenes explicitly linked a $1 billion loan guarantee to the firing of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who had been investigating the energy company Burisma, which employed Biden’s son Hunter.

On December 9, 2015, the reported whistleblower Eric Ciaramella held a meeting in Room 236 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Action Center, which was 59%-funded by Barack Obama’s State Department and the International Renaissance Foundation, a George Soros organization.

Also attending that meeting was Catherine Newcombe, attorney in the Criminal Division, Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, with the U.S. Department of Justice, where, among other duties, she oversaw the Department's legal assistance programs to Ukraine.

By December 2015, Paul Manafort was undoubtedly considering approaching the Trump campaign to rejuvenate his U.S. political bona fides and mitigate the legal and financial difficulties he was experiencing at the time.

From the beginning of his association with the Trump campaign, Roger Stone, a long-time Manafort partner, made a strong case to Trump to bring in Manafort, who would officially connect to the campaign immediately after the February 1, 2016 Iowa caucuses.

Based on events occurring during the same period, were Obama Deep State operatives aware of Manafort’s intent and already intending to use his past questionable practices and links to Russia against Trump?

Such awareness of Manafort’s plans could have been obtained either through FBI surveillance, which began in 2014 and ended in early 2016, or through information provided by Manafort associates, for example, Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Kilimnik, who worked for Manafort and was a FBI and Department of State asset, not a Russian agent as later painted by the Mueller investigation.

According to White House visitor logs, on January 19, 2016, Eric Ciaramella chaired a meeting of FBI, Department of Justice and Department of State personnel, which had two main objectives:

  1. To coerce the Ukrainians to drop the Burisma probe, which involved Vice President Joseph Biden’s son Hunter, and allow the FBI to take it over the investigation.

  2. To reopen a closed 2014 FBI investigation that focused heavily on GOP lobbyist Paul Manafort, whose firm long had been tied to Trump through his partner and Trump pal, Roger Stone.

That is, contain the investigation of Biden’s son and ramp up the investigation of Paul Manafort.

Again, according to White House logs, the attendees at the January 19, 2016 meeting in Room 230A of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building were:

  • Eric Ciaramella - National Security Council Director for Ukraine

  • Liz Zentos - National Security Council Director for Eastern Europe

  • David G. Sakvarelidze - Deputy General Prosecutor of Ukraine

  • Anna E. Iemelianova (Yemelianova) - Legal Specialist, US Embassy Kyiv and US Department of Justice’s Anti-Corruption Program.

  • Nazar A. Kholodnitsky, Ukraine’s chief anti-corruption prosecutor

  • Catherine L. Newcombe - attorney in the Criminal Division, Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, with the U.S. Department of Justice

  • Svitlana V. Pardus – Operations, Department of Justice, U.S. Embassy, Ukraine.

  • Artem S. Sytnyk  - Director of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine

  • Andriy G. Telizhenko, political officer in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington DC

  • Jeffrey W. Cole - Resident Legal Advisor at U.S. Embassy Ukraine, presumed to be FBI

Just two weeks after that meeting, on February 2, 2016, according to White House logs, Eric Ciaramella chaired a meeting in Room 374 of the Eisenhower Executive Office, which seems to be a planning session to re-open an investigation of Paul Manafort (Note: one of the crimes of which Manafort was accused was money laundering, an area covered by the Department of the Treasury). The attendees were:

  • Jose Borrayo - Acting Section Chief, Office of Special Measures, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

  • Julia Friedlander - Senior Policy Advisor for Europe, Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of the Treasury

  • Michael Lieberman - Deputy Assistant Secretary, Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of the Treasury

  • Scott Rembrandt - Anti-Money Laundering Task Force, Assistant Director/Director, Office of Strategic Policy, Department of the Treasury

  • Justin Rowland - Special Agent (financial crimes), Federal Bureau of Investigation

It appears that Paul Manafort became a vehicle by which the Obama Deep State operatives could link Trump to nefarious activities involving Russians, which eventually evolved into the Trump-Russia collusion hoax. 

Remember, the key claim of the follow-up Steele dossier, the centerpiece of the Mueller investigation, was that Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was the focal point of a "well-developed conspiracy between them [the Trump campaign] and the Russian leadership."

Nellie Ohr, Fusion GPS employee and wife of Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr, not only worked with Christopher Steele on the so-called Trump dossier, but, in May 2016, was the conduit of information to her husband and two Department of Justice prosecutors of the existence of the “black ledger” documents that contributed to Manafort’s prosecution.

Bruce Ohr and Steele attempted to get dirt on Manafort from a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, efforts that eventually led to a September 2016 meeting in which the FBI asked Deripaska if he could provide information to prove that Manafort was helping Trump collude with Russia.

The surveillance and entrapment attempts of Paul Manafort, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos and others were designed to collect evidence about Trump without formally documenting that Trump was the target.

After the election, to cover their tracks, James Comey, representing the FBI and the Department of Justice, misleadingly told Trump that the investigation was about Russia and a few stray people in his campaign, but they assured him he personally was not under investigation.

They lied.

Donald Trump always was, and still is, the target of the Deep State, the left-wing media and their Democrat Party collaborators.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/06/2019 - 23:45
Published:12/6/2019 11:14:23 PM
[Markets] Outrage After Police Use Bystanders As "Human Shields" In Florida UPS Truck Shootout Outrage After Police Use Bystanders As "Human Shields" In Florida UPS Truck Shootout

Miami police and other officers appear to have used surrounding bystanders as "human shields" when they responded to the the hijacked UPS truck following an armed heist of a jewelry store Thursday. After suspects led police on a two-county rush-hour chase through Miami which ended in a hail of gunfire in the middle of crowded traffic on Miramar Parkway and Flamingo Road, hundreds of police bullets from 19 officers firing on the truck brought it to an end.

As we reported earlier, four people have been confirmed dead, including the robbers and the UPS driver, since identified as 27-year-old Frank Ordonez, who unluckily had been taken hostage on a day he was reportedly filling in for another driver. Some of his own family members are blaming the "trigger happy" Florida police for killing him in their overeagerness to stop the criminals.

An investigation is underway which will also focus on the other innocent bystander that died — an unidentified person shot while trapped at the intersection in one of the many surrounding vehicles

"In addition to the UPS driver - who was on his knees - the innocent bystander was shot while sitting in a car waiting at the stop light in the intersection," CBS4 News in Miami reporter Jim DeFede has confirmed.

"The number of shots fired by the officers is not currently known but my source said it could exceed 200 rounds," he reported. The deceased bystander had been "inside an idle car at the scene."

DeFede concluded that though police were facing a "chaotic situation" it remains that "innocent people are dead" and "questions need to be asked". 

A number of online commentators noted the dramatic scene of police immediately rushing into stalled traffic on foot and emptying their weapons in return fire appeared something more from a Hollywood action movie. 

Viral video shows the UPS truck stopped amid heavy traffic with bystanders in their vehicles on either side. But the police response is now under criticism given that instead of hanging back and waiting for fewer civilians to be in the line of fire, or even establishing contact through a police negotiator, officers rushed the UPS truck in a blaze of bullets.

Police had the other option of backing off the easily identifiable and trackable large brown UPS truck in order to engage with it in a more open area. 

It is as yet unclear whether a police bullet or one of the robbers actually killed Ordonez. But what is clear from overhead video is that some among the responding officers actually hid behind vehicles with bystanders and families in them, who were trying to flee as gunfire rang out.

Though in the initial press conference in the immediate aftermath the issue wasn't raised, national media is beginning to acknowledge the growing public outrage. NPR reports:

Former [U.S. Department] Department of Housing and Urban Development official Brandon Friedman described the shootout as "appalling." He said the department should be held accountable for "choosing to assault the vehicle in the middle of stopped rush hour traffic" and using occupied vehicles as "human shields."

From one of the overhead news chopper videos, one panicked blue SUV is seen attempting to ram its way out of being in the direct line of fire, between the suspects shooting at police and the police themselves. 

Frank Ordonez via CBS Miami

A family member who set up a GoFundMe page on behalf of the UPS driver victim Frank Ordonez's children and for funeral expenses, which has raised nearly 100,000 in 24 hours, had this to say:

"They [the robbers] kidnapped my brother and took him on a high speed chase, when they came to a stop he was gunned down like a criminal by the Florida police, he didn't deserve to die the way he did..."

The former State Department of Housing and Urban Development official also had this to say of the botched police response: "Here are a few things that those in charge of this disaster should be held accountable for"— 

  • Choosing to assault the vehicle
  • Choosing to assault the vehicle in the middle of stopped rush hour traffic
  • Using civilian cars with people *in them* as human shields

Astoundingly, about a half-dozen police are seen crouching behind and shadowing the vehicle for protection despite what appears to be bystanders inside trying to get away.

It is unknown at this point which among the vehicles had an innocent passenger shot and killed, or if it had been a police bullet or gunfire from the robbers inside the UPS truck.

The FBI is currently assisting an investigation into the incident, which involved officers from five different responding departments and agencies, most reportedly from Miami-Dade police department.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/06/2019 - 17:05
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Published:12/6/2019 4:11:59 PM
[Markets] Kunstler: "All The Players In This Great Game Of 'Gotcha' Are About To Face The Consequences" Kunstler: "All The Players In This Great Game Of 'Gotcha' Are About To Face The Consequences"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

The last time the Democratic Party blew up in a presidential election year was 1860. It had evolved from Jefferson’s 1800 bloc of yeoman farmers to Andrew Jackson’s rowdy caucus of frontier populists in the 1830s, and settled into a slough of pro-slavery apologists by the 1850s, including two do-nothing Democratic presidents, Pierce and Buchanan. The party held a nominating convention in the spring of 1860 and couldn’t come up with a candidate when a claque of southern “fire-eaters” walked out. They tried again a few months later and cracked up into three separate parties with three nominees — and of course Mr. Lincoln won the election. The result was the bloodiest war in US history.

That’s one way to drain a swamp. Historical obfuscators might say the Civil War was a lofty, legalistic quarrel over “state’s rights,” but of course it was really about the intolerable depravity of slavery. A hundred years later, the mysterious inversions of history converted the old slaver’s party into the Civil Rights party. That had a good fifty-year run. It included a hearty side-dish of anti-war sentiment, and a general disposition against the Big Brother treatment of citizens, including especially the overreach of the CIA and the FBI.

What is the Democratic Party today? Well, it’s the cheerleading squad for “seventeen” government agencies that add up to the craftily-labeled “intel community,” a warm-and-fuzzy coalition of snoops, false witnesses, rogue lawfare cadres, seditionists, and bad-faith artists working sedulously to hide their previous misdeeds with ever-fresh ones. They’re the party against free speech, the party against due process of law, the party determined to provoke war with Russia. They’re the party of sexual confusion, sexual hysteria, and sexual conflict, the party of kangaroo courts, cancel culture, erasing boundaries (including national borders), and of making up rules for all that as they go along — like the Nazis and Soviets used to do. The ideas and policies they advocate are so comprehensively crazy that their old support of slavery looks quaintly straightforward in comparison.

It’s taken a while for the full efflorescence of these political pathologies to present. But now they are finally on display for all to see in what is supposed to be a climactic impeachment melodrama. The impeachment process itself has revealed the party’s genius for inventing new debaucheries of law and government misconduct — the latest being Rep Adam Schiff’s blatantly illegal cadging of his opponents’ phone logs. And now, after three years of unchallenged wickedness, they literally face the moment of truth.

That is, when all the many players in this grand game of Gotcha have to face the consequences of what they have done. The Horowitz report is necessarily limited to the DOJ inspector general’s narrow mission scope: the IG can only interview current employees of the agency and its stepchild, the FBI, which means that key players in the Gotcha game such as former FBI director Comey, former acting director McCabe, fired special agent Peter Stzrok and notably ex-CIA director John Brennan were outside of Mr. Horowitz’s sphere of operations. His scope was also supposedly limited to the issues around FISA warrant mischief — though those complex shenanigans may have led the IG to other related dodges, cons, and crimes outright. The IG has no real law enforcement powers. He can only refer or recommend further action. Nevertheless, a great miasma of anxiety oppresses the Democratic Party now as it awaits whatever Mr. Horowitz has to say about these matters.

The party’s propaganda arms at The New York Times, the WashPo, and cable news networks worked up a frenzy of distractions and ruses this past week — for instance the “bombshell” that International-Man-of-Mystery Joseph Mifsud was not a hireling of the FBI. Of course, nobody ever claimed he was. Rather, he is suspected of being an agent of the Italian intel service with links to British intel, both used by the CIA as beards for its nefarious activities around its own election meddling of 2016. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Democratic caucus has been busy with ersatz impeachment proceedings, which are invidiously scheduled to continue next week as a smokescreen to conceal the Horowitz findings. It’s been a frantic campaign for them at a fraught moment in this long saga — but the odor of desperation is thick and rank.

Of course, behind the Horowitz report loom the specters of Barr & Durham. Whatever they’ve been up to has been hermetically sealed in a globe of silence even more oppressive and nightmarish for the Dems than the IG’s inquiry. Barr & Durham are able to make things stick, most crucially genuine criminal culpability for the entire RussiaGate fiasco and all of its offshoots, including the most recent “Whistleblower” caper — a patently treasonous scheme. Who knows if and when indictments start raining down, but there’s a chance that it will be a very hard rain indeed.

I’m not so sure that the Democratic Party can survive the washing away of its beloved narrative by that hard rain.

They are also faced with a field of manifestly lame presidential candidates, especially the current leader of the pack, Joe Biden, fumbling and doddering his way down the campaign trail in an apparent effort to dodge being investigated for the grifts of his Veep years. All this may be enough to put the party down, like a dog that has peed on the carpet one time too many. Somebody else, from some other hastily assembled party, may have to stand against Mr. Trump in 2020.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/06/2019 - 16:25
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Published:12/6/2019 3:45:19 PM
[In The News] DOJ Watchdog To Scrutinize Steele Dossier. Here’s What’s True, False And In-Between In The Salacious Document

By Chuck Ross -

The Steele dossier will be front-and-center on Monday when the Justice Department’s inspector general releases a long-awaited report on the FBI’s handling of the salacious document. Released nearly three years ago, Steele’s dossier served as a roadmap of sorts for Democrats who believed that President Trump and his campaign were ...

DOJ Watchdog To Scrutinize Steele Dossier. Here’s What’s True, False And In-Between In The Salacious Document is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/6/2019 9:40:07 AM
[Markets] Massive Leak Confirms Turkey's "Gold-For-Gas" Scheme To Evade US Sanctions On Iran Massive Leak Confirms Turkey's "Gold-For-Gas" Scheme To Evade US Sanctions On Iran

We first started noticing major 'odd' exports of gold from Turkey to Iran in May 2012.  Turkey’s trade balance fluctuated wildly as gold stocks flowed out of the country in bursts. 

“Turkey’s going to continue it,” the Turkish economy minister said. “If those casting aspersions on the gold trade are searching for immorality, they should take a look in the mirror.”

Then, in 2014, we discussed Turkey's "200 tons of secret gold" trade with Iran detailing how a complex network that spanned Turkey, China, Dubai and Iran was used to skirt US sanctions on energy exports from Iran.

The operation featured an Iranian-born businessman who liked fast horses, faster cars and the fastest planes. His unique skill: Getting gold into sanctions-encircled Iran.

Enough gold that for a time he became the government’s key instrument in improving Turkey’s irksome economic imbalance.

At the time, the plot revealed what one observer called, "one of the most complex illicit finance schemes [prosecutors] have seen."

In 2017, the man at the center of the scheme, Reza Zarrab, was arrested (and briefly disappeared) and was tied to Turkey's president.

“Zarrab is thought to have been close to the Erdogan family and, indeed, he was given Turkish citizenship, alongside Iranian. This is a real stress point."

Zarrab pleaded guilty in October 2017 and turned against Mehmet Hakan Atila - a director at Turkey’s Halkbank - who was convicted on Jan. 3, 2018, and after serving a total 32 months behind bars was returned to Turkey and has since become the head of the Istanbul stock exchange.

And since then "one of the biggest money-laundering schemes ever" has disappeared from the headlines... until now.

Thanks to a massive leak of more than a million documents from a British offshore shell company provider, think Panama Papers 2.0, we now learn exactly how Iran’s national oil company and its subsidiaries hopscotch the globe, with the help of intermediaries, in search of tax havens that help it try to wriggle free from the grip of crippling U.S.-led sanctions.

As McClatchy reports, the massive data set of communications, incorporation certificates and other documents was leaked to journalists, and after months of collaboration, news organizations across the globe are collectively publishing stories starting this week under the title #29Leaks.

Included in the voluminous Formations House documents is a register of shareholders in an offshore company called Naftiran Intertrade Company Ltd, or NICO. This list of shareholders was attached to an email from December 2014, declaring the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company as the overarching shareholder and having complete control over NICO.

Also attached was a register of NICO directors listing five Iranian nationals.

NICO, the gasoline import arm of the state oil company, came to renewed international attention in March 2016 after the arrest at Miami International Airport of Reza Zarrab.

He flew to Florida to visit Disney World and on that trip was charged with conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions through an elaborate gold-for-gas scheme between Turkey and Iran, and using global banks to process transactions on behalf of Iran.

Prosecutors contend that Zarrab and a co-defendant, Mehmet Hakan Atila, who was a director at Turkey’s Halkbank, schemed to help Iran skirt U.S. sanctions by trading Turkish gold for oil and natural gas. Using companies across the globe, they facilitated $20 billion worth of transactions.

“High-ranking government officials in Iran and Turkey participated in and protected this scheme,” the Justice Department in Oct. 15, 2019. statement announcing charges against Halkbank, which incriminated Zarrab.

“Some officials received bribes worth tens of millions of dollars paid from the proceeds of the scheme ... and to help shield the scheme from the scrutiny of U.S. regulators.”

Shortly after his arrest, Zarrab, who is married to a Turkish pop star and has citizenship in Iran as well as Turkey, implicated Turkish President Recep Erdogan as having approved the operation.

Zarrab was represented briefly by Rudolph Giuliani, who has since become President Trump’s personal attorney. Zarrab was also a focus of Special Counsel Robert Mueller III’s prosecution of Trump adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for lying under oath the FBI. Mueller looked at Flynn’s lobbying for Turkey.

Additionally, the leaked documents tie the mid-October, six-count indictment against Halkbank for fraud, money laundering and sanctions-evasion was tied to NICO and the state oil company.

Prosecutors said that bank has been the “sole repository of proceeds from the sale of Iranian oil” to Turkey and also cited Zarrab transactions involving NICO.

The leaked new documents expose this chain of communications between a Dutch offshore services provider, Dennis Vermeulen of INCO Business Group, Formations House employees Oliver Hartmann (aka Syed Rizwan Ahmed) and Charlotte Pawar, and Farhad Dizadji, owner and senior partner of London-based accounting firm Roberts & Partners.

“Just like we’ve seen in the Halkbank scandal, entities are eager to exploit the secrecy afforded by anonymous shell companies to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran, undermining our national security,” the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, Oregon’s Ron Wyden, said in a statement on the Formations House leak.

“Ending anonymous shell companies would make it easier for law enforcement to ‘follow the money’ when investigating complex financial crimes like sanctions evasion.”

By constantly switching domiciles, NICO may have sought to ease political pressures, according to a former senior official at the U.S. Treasury Department. The official previously worked on Iran sanctions and international money-laundering investigations and requested anonymity in order to discuss non-public matters.

So, in conclusion, we now have two facts confirmed - trust no one and nothing; and gold is money. Given the level of grift here, we wonder just how long before more incriminating evidence is leaked about how Democrats have benefited greatly from Ukraine deals.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/06/2019 - 04:15
Published:12/6/2019 3:39:01 AM
[Markets] Betraying The Constitution: Who Will Protect Us From An Unpatriotic Patriot Act? Betraying The Constitution: Who Will Protect Us From An Unpatriotic Patriot Act?

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“It is the responsibility of the patriot to protect his country from its government.”

- Thomas Paine

While Congress subjects the nation to its impeachment-flavored brand of bread-and-circus politics, our civil liberties continue to die a slow, painful death by a thousand cuts.

Case in point: while Americans have been fixated on the carefully orchestrated impeachment drama that continues to monopolize headlines, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law legislation extending three key provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which had been set to expire on December 15, 2019.

Once again, to no one’s surprise, the bureaucrats on both sides of the aisle—Democrats and Republicans alike—prioritized political grandstanding over principle and their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution.

As Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) predicted:

Today, while everyone is distracted by the impeachment drama, Congress will vote to extend warrantless data collection provisions of the #PatriotAct, by hiding this language on page 25 of the Continuing Resolution (CR) that temporarily funds the government. To sneak this through, Congress will first vote to suspend the rule which otherwise gives us (and the people) 72 hours to consider a bill. The scam here is that Democrats are alleging abuse of Presidential power, while simultaneously reauthorizing warrantless power to spy on citizens that no President should have... in a bill that continues to fund EVERYTHING the President does... and waiving their own rules to do it. I predict Democrats will vote on a party line to suspend the 72 hour rule. But after the rule is suspended, I suspect many Republicans will join most Democrats to pass the CR with the Patriot Act extension embedded in it.

Massie was right: Republicans and Democrats have no problem joining forces in order to maintain their joint stranglehold on power.

The legislation passed the Senate with a bipartisan 74-to-20 vote. It squeaked through the House of Representatives with a 231-192 margin. And it was signed by President Trump—who earlier this year floated the idea of making the government’s surveillance powers permanent—with nary a protest from anyone about its impact on the rights of the American people.

Spending bill or not, it didn’t have to shake down this way, even with the threat of yet another government shutdown looming.

Congress could have voted to separate the Patriot Act extension from the funding bill, as suggested by Rep. Justin Amash, but that didn’t fly. Instead as journalist Norman Solomon writes for Salon, “The cave-in was another bow to normalizing the U.S. government’s mass surveillance powers.”

That, right there, is the key to all of this: normalizing the U.S. government’s mass surveillance powers.

In the 18 years since the USA Patriot Act—a massive 342-page wish list of expanded powers for the FBI and CIA—was rammed through Congress in the wake of the so-called 9/11 terror attacks, it has snowballed into the eradication of every vital safeguard against government overreach, corruption and abuse.

The Patriot Act drove a stake through the heart of the Bill of Rights, violating at least six of the ten original amendments—the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Amendments—and possibly the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments, as well.

The Patriot Act also redefined terrorism so broadly that many non-terrorist political activities such as protest marches, demonstrations and civil disobedience are now considered potential terrorist acts, thereby rendering anyone desiring to engage in protected First Amendment expressive activities as suspects of the surveillance state.

The Patriot Act justified broader domestic surveillance, the logic being that if government agents knew more about each American, they could distinguish the terrorists from law-abiding citizens—no doubt a reflexive impulse shared by small-town police and federal agents alike.

This, according to Washington Post reporter Robert O’Harrow, Jr., was a fantasy that “had been brewing in the law enforcement world for a long time.” And 9/11 provided the government with the perfect excuse for conducting far-reaching surveillance and collecting mountains of information on even the most law-abiding citizen.

Federal agents and police officers are now authorized to conduct covert black bag “sneak-and-peak” searches of homes and offices while you are away and confiscate your personal property without first notifying you of their intent or their presence.

The law also granted the FBI the right to come to your place of employment, demand your personal records and question your supervisors and fellow employees, all without notifying you; allowed the government access to your medical records, school records and practically every personal record about you; and allowed the government to secretly demand to see records of books or magazines you’ve checked out in any public library and Internet sites you’ve visited (at least 545 libraries received such demands in the first year following passage of the Patriot Act).

In the name of fighting terrorism, government officials are now permitted to monitor religious and political institutions with no suspicion of criminal wrongdoing; prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone that the government has subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation; monitor conversations between attorneys and clients; search and seize Americans’ papers and effects without showing probable cause; and jail Americans indefinitely without a trial, among other things.

The federal government also made liberal use of its new powers, especially through the use (and abuse) of the nefarious national security letters, which allow the FBI to demand personal customer records from Internet Service Providers, financial institutions and credit companies at the mere say-so of the government agent in charge of a local FBI office and without prior court approval.

In fact, since 9/11, we’ve been spied on by surveillance cameras, eavesdropped on by government agents, had our belongings searched, our phones tapped, our mail opened, our email monitored, our opinions questioned, our purchases scrutinized (under the USA Patriot Act, banks are required to analyze your transactions for any patterns that raise suspicion and to see if you are connected to any objectionable people), and our activities watched.

We’re also being subjected to invasive patdowns and whole-body scans of our persons and seizures of our electronic devices in the nation’s airports. We can’t even purchase certain cold medicines at the pharmacy anymore without it being reported to the government and our names being placed on a watch list.

It’s only getting worse, folks.

Largely due to the continuous noise from television news’ talking heads, most Americans have been lulled into thinking that the pressing issues are voting in the next election, but the real issue is simply this: the freedoms in the Bill of Rights are being eviscerated.

The Constitution has been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded to such an extent that what we are left with today is but a shadow of the robust document adopted more than two centuries ago. Most of the damage has been inflicted upon the Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments to the Constitution—which historically served as the bulwark from government abuse.

Set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches and the like—all sanctioned by Congress, the White House and the courts—a recitation of the Bill of Rights would understandably sound more like a eulogy to freedoms lost than an affirmation of rights we truly possess.

We can pretend that the Constitution, which was written to hold the government accountable, is still our governing document. However, the reality we must come to terms with is that in the America we live in today, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.

What once were considered inalienable, fundamental “rights”  are now mere privileges to be taken away on a government bureaucrat’s say-so.

To those who have been paying attention, this should come as no real surprise.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the Constitution has been on life support for some time now, and is drawing its final breaths.

The American government, never a staunch advocate of civil liberties, has been writing its own orders for some time now. Indeed, as the McCarthy era and the wiretapping of Martin Luther King Jr. and others illustrates, the government’s amassing of power, especially in relation to its ability to spy on Americans, predates the passage of the Patriot Act in 2001.

What the Patriot Act and its subsequent incarnations did was legitimize what had previously been covert and frowned upon as a violation of Americans’ long-cherished privacy rights.

After all, the history of governments is that they inevitably overreach.

Thus, enabled by a paper tiger Congress, the president and other agencies of the federal government have repeatedly laid claim to a host of powers, among them the ability to use the military as a police force, spy on Americans and detain individuals without granting them access to an attorney or the courts. And as the government’s powers have grown, unchecked, the American people have gradually become used to these relentless intrusions into their lives.

In turn, the American people have become the proverbial boiling frogs, so desensitized to the government’s steady encroachments on their rights that civil liberties abuses have become par for the course.

Yet as long as government agencies are allowed to make a mockery of the very laws intended to limit their reach, curtail their activities, and guard against the very abuses to which we are being subjected on a daily basis, our individual freedoms will continue to be eviscerated so that the government’s powers can be expanded, the Constitution be damned.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/06/2019 - 00:05
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Published:12/5/2019 11:07:31 PM
[Markets] Bill Gates Wants to Export India's National ID System Around The Globe Bill Gates Wants to Export India's National ID System Around The Globe

Authored by Daniel Taylor via OldThinkerNews.com,

It’s not just a social credit score system spreading around the world from China that threatens the free people of the world; India’s Aadhaar National ID program has the full support of Bill Gates and the World Bank as a model for other countries to follow.

Gates said in a 2018 CNBC interview that it was “too bad” if someone thought that Aadhaar was a privacy issue:

The Gates Foundation has pledged to fund the World Bank in an effort to take the ID program to other countries.

Despite Gates plea that there are no privacy issues with Aadhaar, several court cases have gone to India’s supreme court on grounds of privacy violations.

The ID system has had serious security breaches, with access to a billion identities being sold for less than $10 through WhatsApp.

One of the court filings (Mathew Thomas vs Union of India) details the rise of China’s social credit system, comparing the Indian Aadhaar initiative to the Chinese program.

Perhaps the most sensational angle to this story is that the same international tech company that provides the infrastructure to Aadhaar also makes drivers licenses in the United States.

Idemia (formerly Morpho), is a billion dollar multinational corporation. It is responsible for building a significant portion of the world’s biometric surveillance and security systems, operating in about 70 countries. Some American clients of the company include the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and the FBI.

The company website says that Morpho has been “…building and managing databases of entire populations…” for many years.

In the United States, Idemia is involved in the making of state issued drivers licenses in 42 states.

Idemia is now pushing digital license trials in the U.S. Delaware and Iowa are among five states involved in the trials this year. With the mobile licenses, law enforcement will be able to wirelessly “ping” a drivers smartphone for their license.

The Indian government recently announced a facial recognition program to monitor all social media platforms, called the Advanced Application for Social Media Analytics.

Big tech companies are using China, India, South Korea and other countries as testing grounds for smart cities, surveillance systems and command and control tech that are being stealthily rolled out in the west.

Tyler Durden Thu, 12/05/2019 - 20:45
Published:12/5/2019 8:06:52 PM
[Markets] How To Avoid Civil War: Decentralization, Nullification, Secession How To Avoid Civil War: Decentralization, Nullification, Secession

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

It's becoming more and more apparent that the United States will not be going back to "business as usual" after Donald Trump leaves office, and it is easy to imagine that the anti-Trump parties will use their return to power as an opportunity to settle scores against the hated rubes and "deplorables" who dared attempt to oppose their betters in Washington, DC, California, and New York.

Certainly, this ongoing conflict will manifest itself in the culture war through further attacks on people who take religious faith seriously, and on those who hold any social views unpopular among degreed people from major urban centers. The First Amendment will be imperiled like never before with both religious freedom and freedom of speech denounced as vehicles of "hate." Certainly, the Second Amendment will hang by a thread.

But even more dangerous will be the deep state's return to a vaunted position of nearly untrammeled power and obeisance from elected officials in the civilian government. The FBI and CIA will go to even greater lengths to ensure the voters are never again "allowed" to elect anyone who doesn't receive the explicit imprimatur of the American intelligence "community." The Fourth Amendment will be banished forever so that the NSA and its friends can spy on every American with impunity. The FBI and CIA will more freely combine the use of surveillance and media leaks to destroy adversaries.

Anyone who objects to the deep state's wars on either Americans or on foreigners will be denounced as stooges of foreign powers.

These scenarios may seem overly dramatic, but the extremity of the situation is suggested by the fact that Trump — who is only a very mild opponent of the status quo — has received such hysterical opposition. After all, Trump has not dismantled the welfare state. He has not slashed — or even failed to increase — the military budget. His fights with the deep state are largely based on minor issues.

His sins lie merely in his lack of enthusiasm for the center-left's current drive toward ever more vicious identity politics. And, of course, he has been insufficiently gung ho about starting more wars, expanding NATO, and generally pushing the Russians toward World War III.

For even these minor deviations, we are told, he must be destroyed.

So, we can venture a guess as to what the agenda will look like once Trump is out of the way. It looks to be neither mild nor measured.

If the effort at preventing any future Trumps succeeds, it will signal essentially the final victory over so-called "Red State" America.

And then what?

In that situation, half the country may regard itself as conquered, powerless, and unheard.

That's a recipe for civil war.

The Need for Separation

So long as most Americans labor under the authoritarian notion that the United States is "one nation, indivisible" there will be no answer to the problem of one powerful region (or party) wielding unchallenged power over a hapless minority.

Many conservatives naïvely claim that the Constitution and the "rule of law" will protect minorities in this situation. But their theories only hold water if the people making and interpreting the laws subscribe to an ideology which respects local autonomy and freedom for worldviews in conflict with the ruling class. That is increasingly not the ideology of the majority, let alone the majority of powerful judges and politicians.

Thus, for those who can manage to leave behind the flag-waving propaganda of their youths, it is increasingly evident that the only way to avoid a violent conflict over control of the national government is breaking the United States up into smaller pieces. Or at least decentralizing power sufficiently to allow for meaningful autonomy beyond the reach of federal power.

As I've noted in the past, this notion has long been gaining steam in Europe, where referendums on greater local autonomy are growing more frequent.

And conservatives are increasingly seeing the writing on the wall. Among the more insightful of these has been Angelo Codevilla. In 2017, Codevilla, writing in the Claremont Review of Bookslaid out a blueprint for local opposition to federal power and noted:

Texas passed a law that, in effect, closes down most of its abortion clinics. The U.S. Supreme Court struck it down. What if Texas closed them nonetheless? Send the Army to point guns at Texas rangers to open them? What would the federal government do if North Dakota declared itself a “Sanctuary for the Unborn” and simply banned abortion? For that matter, what is the federal government doing about the fact that, for practical purposes, its laws concerning marijuana are being ignored in Colorado and California? Utah objects to the boundaries of national monuments created by decree within its borders. What if the state ignored those boundaries? Prayer in schools? What could bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., do if any number of states decided that what the federal courts have to say about such things is bad?

Now that identity politics have replaced the politics of persuasion and blended into the art of war, statesmen should try to preserve what peace remains through mutual forbearance toward jurisdictions that ignore or act contrary to federal laws, regulations, or court orders. Blue states and red states deal differently with some matters of health, education, welfare, and police. It does no good to insist that all do all things uniformly.

And by 2019, the need for separation was becoming more urgent. Last week Codevilla continued in this line of thinking:

[A]fter the 2020 elections ordinary Americans will have to deal with the same dreadful question we faced in 2016: How do we secure and perhaps restore our fast-diminishing freedom to live as Americans? And while we may wish for help from Trump, we have to look to ourselves and to other leaders for how we may counter the ruling class’s manifold assaults now, and especially in the long term...

The logical recourse is to conserve what can be conserved, and for it to be done by, of, and for those who wish to conserve it. However much force of what kind may be required to accomplish that, the objective has to be conservation of the people and ways that wish to be conserved.

That means some kind of separation.

... [T]he natural, least stressful course of events is for all sides to tolerate the others going their own ways. The ruling class has not been shy about using the powers of the state and local governments it controls to do things at variance with national policy, effectively nullifying national laws. And they get away with it.

For example, the Trump Administration has not sent federal troops to enforce national marijuana laws in Colorado and California, nor has it punished persons and governments who have defied national laws on immigration. There is no reason why the conservative states, counties, and localities should not enforce their own view of the good.

Not even President Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would order troops to shoot to re-open abortion clinics were Missouri or North Dakota, or any city, to shut them down. As Francis Buckley argues in American Secession: The Looming Breakup of the United States, some kind of separation is inevitable, and the options regarding it are many.

It is notable that Codevilla's strategy is not marked by grandiose gestures of independence or a yearning to re-create the glorious military victories of the days of yore. Such were the mistakes of the Confederates in the mid-nineteenth century.

Interestingly, Codevilla's more sensible approach shares quite a bit in common with the strategies recommended by Hans-Hermann Hoppe in his essay "What Must Be Done." The idea is to assert local control and refuse cooperation with federal policymakers. But with restraint. Hoppe writes:

It would appear to be prudent ... to avoid a direct confrontation with the central government and not openly denounce its authority or even abjure the realm. Rather, it seems advisable to engage in a policy of passive resistance and non-cooperation. One simply stops to help in the enforcement in each and every federal law. One assumes the following attitude: “Such are your rules, and you enforce them. I cannot hinder you, but I will not help you either, as my only obligation is to my local constituents.”

Consistently applied, no cooperation, no assistance whatsoever on any level, the central government’s power would be severely diminished or even evaporate. And in light of the general public opinion, it would appear highly unlikely that the federal government would dare to occupy a territory whose inhabitants did nothing else than trying to mind their own business. Waco, a teeny group of freaks, is one thing. But to occupy, or to wipe out a significantly large group of normal, accomplished, upstanding citizens is quite another, and quite a more difficult thing.

Some will be unable to break out of the mindset that the United States must forever be governed by a singular national policy. They will insist any attempt at decentralization of this sort must necessarily result in violence.

Writing at The American Conservative, Michael Vlahos, for example, appears unconvinced that violence can be avoided. But even he concedes the violence is unlikely to take the form of mass bloodshed as seen in the 1860s:

Our antique civil wars were not bound to formal rules, yet somehow they held to well-etched bounds of expectation. American society today has very different norms and expectations for civil conflict, which certainly will constrain how we fight the next battle.

Today’s America no longer embraces a national landscape of an industrial-lockstep battlefield (think Gettysburg, D-Day). Our next civil war — as social media so eloquently reminds us — will enact its violence on a battle campus of equal pain, if less blood.

Many devotees of perpetual federal supremacy, of course, won't admit even this. Any attempt at decentralization, nullification, or secession is said to be invalid because "that was decided by the Civil War." There is no doubt, of course, that the Civil War settled the matter for a generation or two. But to claim any war "settled things" forever, is clearly nonsense.

It is true, however, that if the idea of a legally, culturally, and politically unified United States wins the day, Americans may be looking toward a future of ever greater political repression marked by increasingly common episodes of bloodshed. This is simply the logical outcome of any system where it is assumed the ruling party has a right and a duty to force the ways of the one group upon another. That is the endgame of a unified America.

Tyler Durden Thu, 12/05/2019 - 18:05
Published:12/5/2019 5:06:50 PM
[Markets] "They're True 21st Century Criminals" - Feds Indict 'Evil Corp' Hackers For $100 Million Crime Spree "They're True 21st Century Criminals" - Feds Indict 'Evil Corp' Hackers For $100 Million Crime Spree

Federal authorities have indicted two Russian cybercriminals who allegedly lead a shadowy organization called "Evil Corp" that has stolen more than $100 million using a powerful malware that has spread to more than 40 countries.

According to Reuters, prosecutors indicted Maksim Yakubets, the organization's Lamborghini-driving alleged ringleader, whle ordering asset freezes against 17 of his associates. An indictment was also filed against Yakubets's alleged No. 2, Igor Turashev. Both men are believed to be alive and living in Russia, beyond the reach of American authorities, who have tried to apprehend Yakubets at least once before. Authorities said they've already arrested 8 other alleged members of the group.

Back in 2015, prosecutors made another attempt to stop Evil Corp, eventually indicting Yakubets and Turashev. But the two remained at large, and their software quickly went right back to stealing.

Which seems funny to us, because judging by his wanted photos, Yakubets looks like a spindly teenager. He doesn't exactly have 'criminal mastermind' vibes. More like "mom still does my laundry..."

Not exactly the look of a man who would drive a Lamborgini with the word 'thief (in Russian)' displayed on his license plate through the streets of Moscow, as Reuters alleges.

British authorities described the 32-year-old Yakubets as a supercar-lover who customized his Lamborghini license plate to read “Thief” in Russian and ran his operation from the basements of Moscow cafes.

A "true 21st century criminal" they called him...

"Yakubets is a true 21st century criminal," U.S. Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said. "He's earned his place on the FBI’s list of the world’s most wanted cyber criminals."

If Evil Corp's leaders seem harmless by appearance, the description of their crimes might change somebody's mind: their malware 'Dridex' has helped them steal more than $70 million in the US alone.

Evil Corp is alleged to be behind an ever-evolving family of malicious software known Dridex, which has bedeviled banks and businesses since it first appeared in 2011. The malware works by hacking into banks and businesses and making rogue financial transfers that are eventually funneled back to the hackers.

Dridex targeted smaller businesses and organizations that lacked the sophisticated cyberdefenses of larger organizations, US officials said.

Though the indictments only mentioned incidents in Nebraska and Pennsylvania, victims spanned the United States - including a dairy company in Ohio, a luggage company in New Mexico and a religious order in Nebraska, FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich told a news conference.

Losses totaled $70 million in the United States alone, officials said.

The malware was spread via email with so-called "phishing" campaigns, which encouraged victims to click on malicious web links, and Evil Corp chiefly targeted companies in the US and UK.

The director general of the British agency, Lynne Owens, said that Yakubets and Evil Corp "represent the most significant cyber crime threat to the U.K.," a sentiment endorsed by John Shier, an expert at U.K.-based cybersecurity company Sophos.

"I’d put them in the top tier," he said of the group’s operators.

And let's not forget their alleged links to the Russia state (because Putin is the capo di tutti capi).

Underlining alleged links between cybercriminals and the Russian state, U.S. Treasury officials said Yakubets worked on the side for Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), its domestic intelligence agency, and stole classified material on Moscow’s behalf. One senior U.S. Treasury official said that, last year, he had even applied to the FSB for a license to handle secret documents.

Echoing the Mueller probe indictments of more than a dozen intelligence agents who allegedly participated in the 'plot' to rig the election, analysts doubted that Yakubets would ever see justice.

"What are the chances this guy is going to face trial in the United States?" he said. "Probably next to zero."

The indictments stemmed from an international investigation involving the FBI, as well as the UK's National Crime Agency. In a twitter thread about the indictments, the NCA alleged that Yakubets paid more than a quarter of a million pounds for his wedding and that other members of the group were living 'lavish' lifestyles, and that the group was responsible for stealing "hundreds of millions of pounds" in the UK.

Yakubets was charged in two separate cases (one in Pennsylvania and the other in Nebraska) for distributing malware that stole unsuspecting victims’ passwords and other personal information, then reroute wire transfers to foreign banks and into accounts controlled by his "money mules." Before they realized what was happening, unsuspecting marks could be down tens of thousands of dollars. Meanwhille, Turashev is being charged for playing an administrative-type role in the organization.

Tyler Durden Thu, 12/05/2019 - 15:25
Tags
Published:12/5/2019 2:36:38 PM
[Markets] John Solomon: The 10 Most Important Revelations To Expect From The Russia Probe FISA Report John Solomon: The 10 Most Important Revelations To Expect From The Russia Probe FISA Report

Authored by John Solomon via JohnSolomonReports.com,

Next week Americans will finally get their most complete accounting to date of what the FBI did right and wrong in the Russia collusion investigation that probed President Trump’s campaign with a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant at the end of the 2016 election.

Predicted to span more than 500 pages and 100 witness interviews, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report Monday will provide a comprehensive catalog of what offenses, mistakes and oversights the FBI committed during one of the most politically polarizing investigations in recent history.

As such, it will serve as a non-partisan roadmap for a much longer process of holding the investigators to account, a process that now includes a criminal probe being led by U.S. Attorney John Durham and investigative hearings by Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham.

In the evitable political bitterness that grips Washington, each political party will seek to score points by cherry-picking their favorite Horowitz findings. But there is a far weightier question than electoral politics to be resolved: Can the FBI be trusted going forward to adequately, fairly and honestly protect civil liberties of Americans while conducting counterintelligence, counterterrorism and criminal investigations.

With that bigger question in mind, here are the 10 revelations I believe will be most important in the Horowitz report.

1. The scope of failure and misconduct

Were there isolated mistakes, systemic cultural and procedural failures or intentional acts involved in the investigation, the pursuit of the FISA warrant against ex-Trump adviser Carter Page and the renewal of the FISA warrant for more than a year? I expect the Horowitz report to identify between six and 12 failures, mistakes and acts of misconduct. These will range from the serious offense of altering a government document to failures to provide the courts evidence and information required under the FISA process. The large number of problems, if confirmed, should be a wakeup call to the FBI and those who provide oversight of its activities.

2. Exculpatory evidence withheld

The issue of whether the FBI failed to tell the FISA judges, as required, about evidence of innocence concerning some of the Americans it targeted has been raised for more than a year by key members of Congress like Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Ca., and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. I expect the IG to identify exculpatory statements made by key figure George Papadopoulos to an undercover informant that were not properly disclosed to the court. A second revelation to watch is whether the FBI possessed similar evidence of innocence involving Page that was not disclosed.

3. Derogatory information about informant Christopher Steele

The FBI stated to the court in a footnote that it was unaware of any derogatory information about the former MI6 agent it was using as “confidential human source 1” in the Russia case. This claim could face a withering analysis in the report. Congressional sources have reported to me that during a recent unclassified meeting they were told the British government flagged concerns about Steele and his reliance on “sub-sources” of intelligence as early as 2015. Bruce Ohr testified he told FBI and DOJ officials early on that he suspected Steele’s intelligence was mostly raw and needed vetting, that Steele was working with Hillary Clinton’s campaign in some capacity and appeared desperate to defeat Trump in the 2016 election. And documents show State Department official Kathleen Kavalec alerted the FBI eight days before the first FISA warrant was obtained that Steele may have been peddling a now-debunked rumor that Trump and Vladimir Putin were secretly communicating through a Russian bank’s computer server. Most experts I talked with say each of these revelations might constitute derogatory information that should be disclosed to the court. On a related note, Horowitz just released a separate report that concluded the FBI is doing a poor job of vetting informants like Steele, suggesting there was a culture of withholding derogatory information from informants’ reliability and credibility validation reports. You can read about that here.

4. News leaks as evidence

One of Horowitz’s earlier investigative reports that recommended fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for possible prosecution put an uncomfortable spotlight on the bureau’s culture of news leaks. Since then, a handful of other cases unrelated to Russia have raised additional questions about whether the FBI uses news leaks to create or cite evidence in courts. One key to watch in the Horowitz report is the analysis of whether it was appropriate for the FBI to use a Yahoo News article as validating evidence to support Steele’s dossier. We now know from testimony and court filings that Steele, his dossier and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson played a role in that Yahoo News story. If so, was the use of the article “circular reporting” instead of independent corroboration? It’s an important question for Horowitz to resolve.

5. Verification under the Woods Procedures

For years the FBI has been required to certify to the FISA court that all information submitted in a warrant application was “verified” under the so-called Woods Procedures. Lawmakers with access to classified information have said for months they fear a key allegation gleaned from Steele’s dossier – that Carter Page had met with two senior Russian officials close to Putin in summer 2016 – was never verified when it was used as evidence in the FISA warrant. We know from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report that those contacts alleged by Steele never happened. Horowitz should provide valuable insight on this issue.

6. Steele dossier heartburn

Former FBI Director James Comey has consistently testified he understood the Steele dossier to be “salacious” and “unverified” and yet the bureau submitted four “verified” warrant applications that relied on evidence from the dossier. A major question for Horowitz to answer is: who else besides Comey shared that distrust and how early did those concerns about the dossier emerge? Congressional Republicans have demanded the release of a series of email chains they claim might show FBI and DOJ officials had similar heartburn about the reliability of the document. In addition, the FBI kept a spreadsheet analyzing the claims in Steele’s dossier. Sources who reviewed it have said the vast majority of the dossier’s claims fell into one of three categories: debunked, could not be verified or traced to open-source intelligence typically found on the Internet.

7. What investigators learned from Steele

We know from State Department memos that more than a week before the first FISA warrant was obtained, Steele visited with senior State officials and acknowledged he was working with the FBI, leaking to news media and had an election day deadline to get his information public. Likewise, Steele similarly indicated to senior Justice official Bruce Ohr as early as summer 2016 he was desperate to stop Trump from being elected and was working in some capacity with Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton. So here is a big development to watch: What did Steele tell the FBI about these very important issues? And when did the FBI first learn he might be leaking? The FBI ended its informant relationship with Steele on Nov. 1, 2016, a little over a week after using his dossier to support the first FISA warrant. And the reason they did so was because agents had concluded he improperly leaked to the news media. But did the FBI know or have reason to suspect that problem before the first FISA warrant? Stay tuned.

8. Bias, intent and incompetence

The issue of which of these three problems to blame will be the political football most tossed around by partisans. But in the end it is less important to the question of protecting civil liberties. One’s privacy is infringed wrongly whether the FISA application was harmed by intentional bias or incompetence. That said, expect a mixed verdict on this issue. I suspect there is evidence that an FBI lawyer intentionally altered a piece of evidence that affected the FISA process. That could be criminal. I suspect it is less likely that the IG will conclude that the audacious anti-Trump bias expressed in the official text messages of FBI agent Pete Strzok and bureau lawyer Lisa Page impacted specific actions in the FISA process, especially because many more DOJ and FBI than those two were involved in the process. But we already know from the release last month of Strzok’s disciplinary file that the FBI considered the bias expressed in the text messages to be “misconduct” that cast a pall on the credibility of the FBI and its Trump-Russia and Clinton email cases. And I suspect the IG will identify a number of systemic and individual mistakes that tarnished the FISA process in the Russia case.

9. Criminal referrals and disciplinary actions

Horowitz has already referred Comey’s mishandling of sensitive Russia memos for possible prosecution, which was declined. He also referred McCabe for prosecution for lying, an issue which McCabe contests and which appears unresolved. Lots of people will be watching to see if more referrals for prosecution are included in the latest Horowitz report. I would expect at least one, if not more, referrals will have grown out of the Horowitz’s FISA report, which is likely why Durham’s probe recently was converted from administrative to criminal. Other remedies for accountability could fall into the disciplinary category.

10. Lessons Learned

This may not be the most politically hot topic to emerge from the report, but it is potentially the most important for protecting against future civil liberties violations and FBI intrusions on an American election. What will Horowitz recommend as remedies so we don’t have another Russia collusion fiasco in the future? Do FBI and DOJ need new rules and thresholds for opening probes of candidates and campaigns? Does the FBI system for vetting informants need to be fixed? Does the FISA court need a public advocate to protect the liberties of Americans targeted for warrants to create a check and balance on the FBI? Do the Woods procedures for verifying evidence for a FISA warrant need revision or overhaul? These are weighty questions that the FBI, DOJ and Congress almost certainly will face in the coming months.

The Horowitz report Monday and the IG’s testimony next Wednesday before the Senate start a new phase of accountability for the FBI and those government officials in the intelligence community who worked on the Russia case. But it is only a beginning of a process that likely will take many more weeks or months.

And the final script won’t be written until Americans can be assured the FBI can conduct future counterintelligence investigations without repeating the mistakes made during the Russia collusion probe.

Tyler Durden Thu, 12/05/2019 - 13:50
Tags
Published:12/5/2019 1:05:03 PM
[In The News] FBI Failed To Tell FISA Court About Some Concerns With Steele Dossier’s Reliability

By Chuck Ross -

The FBI failed to tell surveillance court judges that investigators developed concerns about the reliability of the Steele dossier after interviewing a source for the infamous document, according to a new report. According to The Washington Post, sources familiar with the forthcoming Justice Department inspector general’s (IG) report say that ...

FBI Failed To Tell FISA Court About Some Concerns With Steele Dossier’s Reliability is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/5/2019 1:05:03 PM
[Markets] No Setup? Horowitz To Claim Mifsud Wasn't US Asset, Yet Papadopoulos Says He's Italy's Spook No Setup? Horowitz To Claim Mifsud Wasn't US Asset, Yet Papadopoulos Says He's Italy's Spook

The Washington Post reports that Attorney General William Barr's hand-picked prosecutor could not confirm that Russiagate figure Joseph Mifsud is a US intelligence asset - thus, according to the Post, the Russiagate counterintelligence investigation against the Trump campaign could not have been a setup.

The revelation comes from the Post's Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett (the latter of whom had a direct line to former FBI attorney Lisa Page according to her text messages), and will reportedly appear in the forthcoming report by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

In short, Horowitz asked US Attorney John Durham if Mifsud was a US intelligence asset "deployed to ensnare the campaign," to which Durham - who is conducting a separate review of the 2016 US election - responded that his investigation "had not produced any evidence that might contradict the inspector general's findings on that point," according to the Post.

Of note, Mifsud told (or seeded) 2016 Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos with the rumor that Russia had 'dirt' on Hillary Clinton, on April 26, 2016. Two weeks later, he repeated it to Australian diplomat (and Clinton ally) Alexander Downer at a London bar, who relayed the Kremlin 'dirt' rumor to Australian authorities, which alerted the FBI - kicking off the official counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign, dubbed Operation Crossfire Hurricane.  

That said, the Post adds "The Washington Post has not reviewed Horowitz’s entire report, even in draft form. It is also unclear if Durham has shared the entirety of his findings and evidence with the inspector general, or merely answered a specific question."

Papadopoulos, meanwhile, has posited that Mifsud is (or was) an Italian intelligence asset "who the C.I.A. weaponized," according to an October New York Times report. Moreover, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told Fox News in April that Mifsud was "a counterintelligence operative, either Maltese or Italian," who may have participated in a "counterintelligence trap" against the Trump campaign aide.

Notably, AG Barr himself traveled to Italy in Mid-September to discuss Mifsud, and was reportedly told by the head of the Italian Security Intelligence Department, Gennaro Vecchione, that Mifsud was not one of their assets.

According to a former Italian government official, Barr first met with Gennaro Vecchione, the head of Italy’s Security Intelligence Department, on Aug. 15, essentially to establish contact, and returned Sept. 27 for a second meeting with the heads of Italy’s domestic and foreign intelligence services.

Barr, the official said, “asked if Italian intelligence knew anything about Mifsud and if the Italians were aware of his role” in the Russia investigation “in terms of being involved in Italian intelligence itself or if he was politically tied with Italian political leaders allied with the Democrats.” The Italians, the official said, “explained that there is no involvement by the Italian intelligence services in this — and the fact that we don’t have any evidence of this plot.”

They confirmed no connections, no activities, no interference,” the official said. -Washington Post, Oct. 6

As we have noted ad-nauseum, Mifsud has bragged about being a member of the Clinton Foundation. Meanwhile, here is a timeline of Mifsud's interactions with Papadopoulos, via The Markets Work:

We know that Papadopoulos met multiple times with Mifsud in the first half of 2016:

  • March 14 2016 – Papadopoulos first meets Mifsud in Italy – approximately one week after finding out he will be joining the Trump team.
  • March 24 2016 – Papadopoulos, Mifsud, Olga Polonskaya and unknown fourth party meet in a London cafe.
  • April 18 2016 – Mifsud introduces Papadopoulos to Ivan Timofeev, an official at a state-sponsored think tank called Russian International Affairs Council.
  • April 26 2016  – Mifsud tells Papadopoulos he’s met with high-level Russian government officials who have “dirt” on Clinton. Papadopoulos will tell the FBI he learned of the emails prior to joining the Trump Campaign.
  • May 13 2016 – Mifsud emails Papadopoulos an update of “recent conversations”.

Note: Papadopoulos and Mifsud reportedly both worked at the London Centre of International Law Practice. -The Markets Work

So - was Mifsud an asset of any state intelligence apparatus - or was he working with any on behalf of Hillary Clinton?

And let's not forget that during Operation Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI sent operative Stephen Halper and a mysterious woman named "Azra Turk" to befriend and conduct espionage on Papadopoulos for events which took place on UK soil - and which AG Barr has said he considers spying.

Halper - who was paid more than $1 million by the Pentagon while Obama was president - contacted Papadopoulos on September 2, 2016 according to The Daily Caller - and would later fly him out to London under the guise of working on a policy paper on energy issues in Turkey, Cyprus and Israel - for which he was ultimately paid $3,000. Papadopoulos met Halper several times during his stay, "having dinner one night at the Travellers Club, and Old London gentleman's club frequented by international diplomats." 

As the New York Times noted om May, the London operation "yielded no fruitful information," while the FBI has called their activities in the months before the 2016 election as both "legal and carefully considered under extraordinary circumstances," according to the report.

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/04/2019 - 21:15
Tags
Published:12/4/2019 8:30:56 PM
[Markets] Baltimore Mayor Warns Of Body "Snatching" White Van Targeting Young Girls To Sell Their Organs  Baltimore Mayor Warns Of Body "Snatching" White Van Targeting Young Girls To Sell Their Organs 

Seriously WTF! 

We tend to report on how Baltimore City's socio-economic crisis is sending the region into a collapse. Now there's a new report that appears to be literally from a third world country! 

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young warned in an interview this week with WBAL News' Vanessa Herring that a white van has been running around the city targeting young girls for their organs, reported The Baltimore Sun.

"We're getting reports of somebody in a white van trying to snatch up young girls for human trafficking and for selling body parts, I'm told. So we have to be careful because there's so much evil going on, not just in the city of Baltimore, but around the country," Young said. "It's all over Facebook."

Police spokesman Matt Jablow told The Sun that the department is "aware of the posts on social media, but we do not have any reports of actual incidents."

WBAL asked the FBI's Baltimore Field Office about any reports of abductions in the city, and they responded by indicating no reports have yet been filed. 

A spokesman for the mayor said Young was discussing a general problem of human trafficking in the city, not a specific incident. 

Councilman Kristerfer Burnett, the co-chair of the Baltimore City Human Trafficking Collaborative, said: "While it's important that we do raise awareness about human trafficking, I would note that rarely are people snatched as you may see in film or may see on social media." 

Young's latest claims of a body-snatching van come after a news conference last month, which he said: "I'm worried about people pulling up in vans, snatching young girls to take their organs or sell them into prostitution."

Tyler Durden Wed, 12/04/2019 - 09:55
Published:12/4/2019 8:58:03 AM
[Markets] Operation Condor 2.0: After Bolivia Coup, Trump Dubs Nicaragua "National Security Threat" And Targets Mexico Operation Condor 2.0: After Bolivia Coup, Trump Dubs Nicaragua "National Security Threat" And Targets Mexico

Authored by Ben Norton via TheGrayZone.com,

After presiding over a far-right coup in Bolivia, the US dubbed Nicaragua a “national security threat” and announced new sanctions, while Trump designated drug cartels in Mexico as “terrorists” and refused to rule out military intervention.

One successful coup against a democratically elected socialist president is not enough, it seems.

Immediately after overseeing a far-right military coup in Bolivia on November 10, the Trump administration set its sights once again on Nicaragua, whose democratically elected Sandinista government defeated a violent right-wing coup attempt in 2018.

Washington dubbed Nicaragua a threat to US national security, and announced that it will be expanding its suffocating sanctions on the tiny Central American nation.

Trump is also turning up the heat on Mexico, baselessly linking the country to terrorism and even hinting at potential military intervention. The moves come as the country’s left-leaning President Andrés Manuel López Obrador warns of right-wing attempts at a coup.

As Washington’s rightist allies in Colombia, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador are desperately beating back massive grassroots uprisings against neoliberal austerity policies and yawning inequality gaps, the United States is ramping up its aggression against the region’s few remaining progressive governments.

These moves have led left-wing forces in Latin America to warn of a 21st-century revival of Operation Condor, the Cold War era campaign of violent subterfuge and US support for right-wing dictatorships across the region.

Trump admin declares Nicaragua a ‘national security threat’

A day after the US-backed far-right coup in Bolivia, the White House released a statement applauding the military putsch and making it clear that two countries were next on Washington’s target list: “These events send a strong signal to the illegitimate regimes in Venezuela and Nicaragua,” Trump declared.

On November 25, the Trump White House then quietly issued a statement characterizing Nicaragua as an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

This prolonged for an additional year an executive order Trump had signed in 2018 declaring a state of “national emergency” on the Central American country.

Trump’s 2018 declaration came after a failed violent right-wing coup attempt in Nicaragua. The US government has funded and supported many of the opposition groups that sought to topple elected Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, and cheered them on as they sought to overthrow him.

The 2018 national security threat designation was quickly followed by economic warfare. In December the US Congress approved the NICA Act without any opposition. This legislation gave Trump the authority to impose sanctions on Nicaragua, and prevents international financial institutions from doing business with Managua.

Trump’s new 2019 statement spewed outlandish propaganda against Nicaragua, referring to its democratically elected government — which for decades has been targeted for overthrow by Washington — as a supposedly violent and corrupt “regime.”

This executive order is similar to one made by President Barack Obama in 2015, which designated Venezuela as a threat to US national security.

Both orders were used to justify the unilateral imposition of suffocating economic sanctions. And Trump’s renewal of the order paves the way for an escalated economic attack on Nicaragua.

The extension received negligible coverage in mainstream English-language corporate media, but right-wing Spanish-language outlets in Latin America heavily amplified it.

And opposition activists are gleefully cheering on the intensification of Washington’s hybrid warfare against Managua.

More aggressive US sanctions against Nicaragua

Voice of America (VOA), the US government’s main foreign broadcasting service, noted that the extension of the executive order will be followed with more economic attacks.

Washington’s ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Carlos Trujillo, told VOA, “The pressure against Nicaragua is going to continue.”

The OAS representative added that Trump will be announcing new sanctions against the Nicaraguan government in the coming weeks.

VOA stated clearly that “Nicaragua, along with Cuba and Venezuela, is one of the Latin American countries whose government Trump has made a priority to put diplomatic and economic pressure on to bring about regime change.”

This is not just rhetoric. The US Department of the Treasury updated the Nicaragua-related sanctions section of its website as recently as November 8.

And in September, the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control announced a “more comprehensive set of regulations,” strengthening the existing sanctions on Nicaragua.

Voice of America’s report quoted several right-wing Nicaraguans who openly called for more US pressure against their country.

Bianca Jagger, a celebrity opposition activist formerly married to Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, called on the US to impose sanctions on Nicaragua’s military in particular.

“The Nicaraguan military has not been touched because they [US officials] are hoping that the military will like act the military in Bolivia,” Jagger said, referring to the military officials who violently overthrew Bolivia’s democratically elected president.

Many of these military leaders had been trained at the US government’s School of the Americas, a notorious base of subversion dating back to Operation Condor. Latin American media has been filled in recent days with reports that Bolivian soldiers were paid $50,000 and generals were paid up to $1 million to carry out the putsch.

VOA added that “in the case of the Central American government [of Nicaragua], the effect that sanctions can have can be greater because it is a more economically vulnerable country.”

VOA quoted Roberto Courtney, a prominent exiled right-wing activist and executive director of the opposition group Ethics and Transparency, which monitors elections in Nicaragua and is supported by the US government’s regime-change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Courtney, who claims to be a human rights activist, salivated over the prospects of US economic war on his country, telling VOA, “There is a bit of a difference [between Nicaragua and Bolivia] … the economic vulnerability makes it more likely that the sanctions will have an effect.”

Courtney, who was described by VOA as an “expert on the electoral process,” added, “If there is a stick, there must also be a carrot.” He said the OAS could help apply diplomatic and political pressure against Nicaragua’s government.

These unilateral American sanctions are illegal under international law, and considered an act of war. Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has characterized US economic warfare “financial terrorism,” explaining that it disproportionately targets civilians in order to turn them against their government.

Top right-wing Nicaraguan opposition groups applauded Trump for extending the executive order and for pledging new sanctions against their country.

The Nicaraguan Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, an opposition front group that brings together numerous opposition groups, several of which are also funded by the US government’s NED, welcomed the order.

Trump dubs drug cartels in Mexico “terrorists,” refuses to rule out drone strikes

While the US targeting of Nicaragua and Venezuela’s governments is nothing new, Donald Trump is setting his sights on a longtime US ally in Mexico.

In 2018, Mexican voters made history when they elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador as president in a landslide. López Obrador, who is often referred to by his initials AMLO, is Mexico’s first left-wing president in more than five decades. He ran on a progressive campaign pledging to boost social spending, cut poverty, combat corruption, and even decriminalize drugs.

AMLO is wildly popular in Mexico. In February, he had a record-breaking 86 percent approval rating. And he has earned this widespread support by pledging to combat neoliberal capitalist orthodoxy.

“The neoliberal economic model has been a disaster, a calamity for the public life of the country,” AMLO has declared. “The child of neoliberalism is corruption.”

When he unveiled his multibillion-dollar National Development Plan, López Obrador announced the end to “the long night of neoliberalism.”

AMLO’s left-wing policies have caused shockwaves in Washington, which has long relied on neoliberal Mexican leaders ensuring a steady cheap exploitable labor base and maintaining a reliable market for US goods and open borders for US capital and corporations.

On November 27 — a day after declaring Nicaragua a “national security threat” — Trump announced that the US government will be designating Mexican drug cartels as “terrorist organizations.”

Such a designation could pave the way for direct US military intervention in Mexico.

Trump revealed this new policy in an interview with right-wing Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. “Are you going to designate those cartels in Mexico as terror groups and start hitting them with drones and things like that?” O’Reilly asked.

The US president refused to rule out drone strikes or other military action against drug cartels in Mexico.

Trump’s announcement seemed to surprise the Mexican government, which immediately called for a meeting with the US State Department.

The designation was particularly ironic considering some top drug cartel leaders in Mexico have long-standing ties to the US government. The leaders of the notoriously brutal cartel the Zetas, for instance, were originally trained in counter-insurgency tactics by the US military.

Throughout the Cold War, the US government armed, trained, and funded right-wing death squads throughout Latin America, many of which were involved in drug trafficking. The CIA also used drug money to fund far-right counter-insurgency paramilitary groups in Central America.

These tactics were also employed in the Middle East and South Asia. The United States armed, trained, and funded far-right Islamist extremists in Afghanistan in the 1980s in order to fight the Soviet Union. These same US-backed Salafi-jihadists then founded al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

This strategy was later repeated in the US wars on Libya and Syria. ISIS commander Omar al-Shishani, to take one example, had been trained by the US military and enjoyed direct support from Washington when he was fighting against Russia.

The Barack Obama administration also oversaw a campaign called Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious, in which the US government helped send thousands of guns to cartels in Mexico.

Mexican journalist Alina Duarte explained that, with the Trump administration’s designation of cartels as terrorists, “They are creating the idea that Mexico represents a threat to their national security.”

“Should we start talking about the possibility of a coup against Lopez Obrador in Mexico?” Duarte asked.

She noted that the US corporate media has embarked on an increasingly ferocious campaign to demonize AMLO, portraying the democratically elected president as a power-hungry aspiring dictator who is supposedly wrecking Mexico’s economy.

Duarte discussed the issue of US interference in Mexican politics in an interview with The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton, on their podcast Moderate Rebels:

Now, a whisper campaign over fears that the right-wing opposition may try to overthrow President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is spreading across Mexico.

AMLO himself has publicly addressed the rumors, making it clear that he will not tolerate any discussion of coups.

“How wrong the conservatives and their hawks are,” López Obrador tweeted on November 2. Referencing the 1913 assassination of progressive President Francisco Madero, who had been a leader of the Mexican Revolution, AMLO wrote, “Now is different.”

“Another coup d’état will now be allowed,” he declared.

In recent months, as fears of a coup intensify, López Obrador has swung even further to the left, directly challenging the US government and asserting an independent foreign policy that contrasts starkly to the subservience of his predecessors.

AMLO’s government has rejected US efforts to delegitimize Venezuela’s leftist government, throwing a wrench in Washington’s efforts to impose right-wing activist Juan Guaidó as coup leader.

AMLO has welcomed Ecuador’s ousted socialist leader Rafael Correa and hosted Argentina’s left-leaning Alberto Fernández for his first foreign trip after winning the presidency.

In October, López Obrador even welcomed Cuban President Díaz-Canel to Mexico for a historic visit.

Trump’s Operation Condor 2.0

For Washington, an independent and left-wing Mexico is intolerable.

In a speech for right-wing, MAGA hat-wearing Venezuelans in Miami, Florida in February, Trump ranted against socialism for nearly an hour, threatened the remaining leftist countries in Latin America with regime change.

“The days of socialism and communism are numbered not only in Venezuela, but in Nicaragua and in Cuba as well,” he declared, adding that socialism would never be allowed to take root in heart of capitalism in the United States.

While Trump has claimed he seeks to withdraw from wars in the Middle East (when he is not occupying its oil fields), he has ramped up aggressive US intervention in Latin America.

Though the neoconservative war hawk John Bolton is no longer overseeing US foreign policyElliott Abrams remains firmly embedded in the State Department, dusting off his Iran-Contra playbook to decimate socialism in Latin America all over again.

During the height of the Cold War, Operation Condor thousands of dissidents were murdered, and hundreds of thousands more were disappeared, tortured, or imprisoned with the assistance of the US intelligence apparatus.

Today, as Latin America is increasingly viewed through the lens of a new Cold War, Operation Condor is being reignited with new mechanisms of sabotage and subversion in play. The mayhem has only begun.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/03/2019 - 23:50
Published:12/3/2019 10:55:33 PM
[Markets] Former Counter-Intel Officer: Durham Needs To Bring Indictments Former Counter-Intel Officer: Durham Needs To Bring Indictments

Authored by Chris Farrell via The Gatestone Institute,

There is new evidence that U.S. Attorney John Durham is getting to the root of criminal abuses by senior U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials in their conspiracy to undermine the Trump campaign, transition and presidency. Mr. Durham's mandate from Attorney General William Barr -- to uncover the seditious plot behind the Trump-Russia hoax, if pursued vigorously, will uncover the single greatest threat to the Constitution since the nation's founding.

Mr. Durham's apparent interest in FBI source Stefan Halper and the contract vehicles available to the Pentagon think tank, the Office of Net Assessments, for whom Halper worked, is an important clue.

Likewise, Mr. Durham's travel to Italy for talks with the Italian government and their intelligence service points to another possible clue concerning the mysterious Maltese academic, Joseph Mifsud.

For the purposes of the manufactured Trump-Russia hoax, one need only remember the associations of Halper with Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page -- and Joseph Mifsud with George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy junior advisor -- to the Trump campaign.

The intelligence agencies of the federal government are prohibited from targeting American organizations in the United States. Executive Order 12333, Section 2.9 states:

Undisclosed Participation in Organizations Within the United States. No one acting on behalf of agencies within the Intelligence Community may join or otherwise participate in any organization in the United States on behalf of any agency within the Intelligence Community without disclosing his intelligence affiliation to appropriate officials of the organization, except in accordance with procedures established by the head of the agency concerned and approved by the Attorney General. Such participation shall be authorized only if it is essential to achieving lawful purposes as determined by the agency head or designee. No such participation may be undertaken for the purpose of influencing the activity of the organization or its members except in cases where:
(a) The participation is undertaken on behalf of the FBI in the course of a lawful investigation; or
(b) The organization concerned is composed primarily of individuals who are not United States persons and is reasonably believed to be acting on behalf of a foreign power.

This prohibition on running penetration operations against domestic political organizations is a legal and political "hangover" from the 1960s civil disturbances that saw (among a host of other covert action programs) US Army Counterintelligence agents working undercover against the militant Leftists organizations such as Students for a Democratic Society. The U.S. Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, better known as the "Church Committee," was empaneled in 1975 under the leadership of Sen. Frank Church (D-ID) to review and make recommendations on intelligence operations. The Church Committee was controversial. Critics claimed the committee exposed the "crown jewels" of U.S. intelligence and hobbled our ability to conduct legitimate collection activities. Today's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Court were inspired by the final reports of the Church Committee.

The seditious coup plotters working against Trump knew the legal prohibitions on what they planned to do. How to target Trump & Co. in a "legal" manner? Was it possible, or more importantly, desirable, to have a legal finding from Attorney General Loretta Lynch justifying their plan to frame-up Trump & Co.? That would authorize their operation -- but would Lynch support it? Could Lynch be counted on? Did they want a piece of paper like that floating around Washington D.C.? No, there had to be a better way to pull off the coup.

The alternative to a purely domestic intelligence operation targeting a major political party's candidate for the presidency (and later, president) was to manufacture a foreign counterintelligence (FCI) "threat" that could then be "imported" back into the United States. Plausible deniability, the Holy Grail of covert activities, was in reach for the plotters if they could develop an FCI operation outside the continental United States (OCONUS) involving FBI confidential human sources (Halper, Mifsud, others?) that would act as "lures" (intelligence jargon associated with double agent operations) to ensnare Trump associates.

We have evidence of these machinations from December 2015 when FBI lawyer Lisa Page texts to her boyfriend, the now infamous FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, "You get all our oconus lures approved? ;)."

To inoculate themselves from further charges of misconduct and criminality, the FBI's mutually agreed upon lie is that their investigation of Trump/Russia began on July 31, 2016 with the improbable name "Crossfire Hurricane." That coincides nicely with their manufactured FCI "event," allowing the full-bore sabotage of all things and persons "Trump." The coup plotters used a July 2016 event at the University of Cambridge as the opportunity for Carter Page to meet and develop a friendship with Stefan Halper. This is roughly the same time period that Australian diplomat Alexander Downer reported the supposedly drunken ramblings of George Papadopoulos concerning the Russians having Hillary's emails to the FBI. Papadopoulos had already serendipitously met the mysterious Joseph Mifsud in Rome during the second week of March 2016. Learning that Papadopoulos would be joining the Trump campaign, Mifsud let Papadopoulos know that he had many important connections with Russian government officials.

In July 2019, Special Counsel Robert Mueller was questioned closely by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) concerning the persons and sequence of events detailed above.

The summation of Mueller's testimony was, "Well, I can't get into it."

The coup plot failed, but the chief coup conspirators are free, crisscrossing the country on book tours and appearing as paid contributors to CNN and MSNBC. A bright note in the so far grim saga is that one of the collateral casualties has filed a civil lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia against Stefan Halper and MSNBC for defamation, conspiracy and tortious interference. It's the closest thing we've seen to justice to date. The complaint makes remarkable and insightful reading.

It is now time for Mr. Durham to "get into it," in a manner Mr. Mueller was either unwilling or unable to do. Time is of the utmost importance. The American public needs to see action. Indictments and trials are the only antidote for the poison of treasonous sedition.

*  *  *

Chris Farrell is a former counterintelligence case officer.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/03/2019 - 20:30
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Published:12/3/2019 7:56:01 PM
[In The News] Lindsey Graham: ‘Be Wary’ Of ‘Spin’ From WaPo, NYT Ahead Of Trump-Russia Report

By Chuck Ross -

Sen. Lindsey Graham urged caution Monday about Washington Post and New York Times reports regarding an alleged rift between Attorney General William Barr and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz over the findings of an investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia probe. “Be wary of The Washington Post ...

Lindsey Graham: ‘Be Wary’ Of ‘Spin’ From WaPo, NYT Ahead Of Trump-Russia Report is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/3/2019 7:56:01 PM
[In The News] How The FBI Risked Exposing Sensitive Russia Probe Details During Meeting With Christopher Steele

By Chuck Ross -

During a meeting in Rome in October 2016, FBI agents shared a sensitive piece of information with a subcontractor for the Democratic party about one of the main targets of the Trump-Russia probe. The subcontractor, Christopher Steele, was at the time working with Fusion GPS to collect information about the ...

How The FBI Risked Exposing Sensitive Russia Probe Details During Meeting With Christopher Steele is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:12/3/2019 5:25:54 PM
[] Teenager-Doxxer Site Daily Beast: Clint Eastwood's Richard Jewell Is Effective At Portraying the Real-Life Abuses of the FBI and Media, So I Hate Its Guts for Attacking My Religion Despite the Teenager-Doxxing site Daily Beast admitting that it hates a good film precisely because it accurately tells the tale of the FBI and media combining to attack and slander a perfectly innocent man, the rest of the #Woke critics... Published:12/3/2019 5:25:54 PM
[] WaPo: Horowitz Report Will Say... That FBI Acted Properly In Opening Criminal Investigation Into Trump And Barr disputes this finding. Attorney General William P. Barr has told associates he disagrees with the Justice Department's inspector general on one of the key findings in an upcoming report -- that the FBI had enough information in July... Published:12/3/2019 1:55:39 PM
[Markets] As IG Report Looms, Trump Says Barr Was Misquoted In Conflict With Horowitz As IG Report Looms, Trump Says Barr Was Misquoted In Conflict With Horowitz

Authored by Sara Carter via SaraACarter.com,

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Justice Department Attorney General William Barr was misquoted in a recent news report, suggesting he was at odds with Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s much anticipated upcoming report on the FBI’s investigation into Russia. It’s one of many stories speculating what the Horowitz investigation will reveal on Dec. 9, and whether or not there was malfeasance on the part of FBI officials charged with investigating Trump’s campaign.

Trump made the statement to reporters at the NATO meeting in London Tuesday. Monday’s story in the Washington Post was at odds with what the President heard and what he has been reading, he said.

The Post reported that Barr conflicted with Horowitz on his finding that the FBI had enough evidence to begin the investigation July 2016, into the Trump campaign.

It is considered a major key finding of the report, according to publication.

However, Barr was not quoted in the story. Instead, the paper relied on associates close to Barr for the information so it is uncertain whether or not the Attorney General does disagree with Horowitz.

Trump said Barr was “quoted incorrectly.”

“I do believe that because I’m hearing the [inspector general’s] report is very powerful,” said Trump.

“But I’m hearing that by reading lots of different things, not from inside information. It’s really from outside information. I think all we have to do is wait.”

Justice Department Issues Statement

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec issued a statement Monday night in response to the story, saying on Twitter that the public will soon have the opportunity to read the report.

“The Inspector General’s investigation is a credit to the Department of Justice. His excellent work has uncovered significant information that the American people will soon be able to read for themselves.”

“Rather than speculating, people should read the report for themselves next week, watch the Inspector General’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and draw their own conclusions about these important matters,” she added.

Speculation Grows, Stories Leak 

Over the past month, a number of major news outlets, including The Washington Post and the New York Times, have speculated about the upcoming report and have spoken to sources connected to or who have been interviewed by Horowitz.

Those sources have downplayed the IG report, suggesting that Horowitz didn’t find that anti-Trump bias affected the FBI’s handling of the investigation into the Trump campaign or President Trump.

However, a number of sources familiar with the report that have spoken to SaraACarter.com, suggest that the Horowitz report will be damning of the how agents handling the investigation failed to follow FBI procedures and altered the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to spy on short term campaign volunteer Carter Page.

Further, the report will reveal that the FBI failed to provide the Trump campaign with a full defensive briefing when agents suspected Russia of trying to influence the campaign, according to sources. It will be a significant finding, particularly if then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was treated differently.

Graham Cautions On Speculation

Further, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham is warning the public not to be swayed by sources leaking information to the New York Times and Washington Post.

Graham told this reporter Monday night that the New York Times and The Washington Post stories on the Horowitz investigation are attempting to control the narrative. He expects the report to be thorough and reveal the truth about the FBI’s role in the investigation.

“Be wary of the Washington Post and the New York Times reporting on what is coming up with [Inspector General] Horowitz,” Graham tweeted Tuesday. “They have been trying overtime to spin this thing to diminish its effect, to downplay it.”

The Targets Leak 

A recent report by the New York Times said former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith altered documents associated with the FISA application on Carter Page. The paper described Clinesmith as a low-level lawyer with the bureau and suggested that Horowitz won’t be hard the bureau’s handling of the case.

The description of Clinesmith as a low-level lawyer is also in dispute, as Clinesmith was part of former Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation into Trump and he was an attorney with the FBI’s National Security and Cyber Law Branch. He also worked under FBI General Counsel James Baker, who left the FBI and is now under investigation for leaking national security related information. Clinesmith, who sent numerous anti-Trump texts, also worked for Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson.

On Sunday, former FBI Lawyer Lisa Page, whose name became national after reports revealed she was having an affair with FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, spoke to the Daily Beast after years of silence. She said she had to speak out because Trump made her a target of his Tweets and speeches.

The FBI fired Strzok last year and Page has since left the bureau. Strzok and Page sent thousands of text messages to one another during their affair. Many of the text messages discovered by Horowitz and Congress were vehemently anti-Trump.

The discovery of the texts led to their removal from Mueller’s investigation.

Here’s some texts:

“[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page texted Strzok in August 2016, during the investigation into the campaign.

“No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok responded.

In another text message sent in August by Strzok to Page, he “I want to believe the path you threw out in Andy’s [McCabe’s] office—that there’s no way he gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take the risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

Page only told Molly Jong-Fast, also anti-Trump and a columnist from the Daily Beast, that people misunderstood their text messages but she never clarified what she and Strzok actually meant.

Tyler Durden Tue, 12/03/2019 - 13:11
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Published:12/3/2019 12:23:17 PM
[World] Lisa Page is no Monica Lewinsky

Lisa Page, the now-famous former FBI lawyer who was outed as an adulterous anti-Donald Trumper during the now-defunct — nothing to see there, go home, folks — Russia collusion-slash-conflict-of-interest investigation into the president, has come forward, finally, to publicly speak.

And of what does she choose to speak? Of how ... Published:12/3/2019 4:23:06 AM

[worldNews] Typhoon hits Philippines, disrupting travel, work A typhoon struck the Philippines on Tuesday bringing heavy rains and prompting preemptive halts in air travel, schools and government offices, with some 200,000 people evacuated after warnings of floods and landslides.
Published:12/2/2019 9:50:16 PM
[Politics] Wash Post: Barr Disagrees With IG Horowitz on Key Finding in Russia Report The Justice Department's inspector general Michael Horowitz is due to release his long-awaited findings in a week on the FBI's Russia investigation, though Attorney General William Barr says he rejects one of Horowitz's key findings, reports The Washington Post.Barr's issue... Published:12/2/2019 8:21:28 PM
[Politics] Rosenstein: 'Horrified' at How Comey Was Fired Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told the FBI he was "angry, ashamed, horrified and embarrassed" at the way James Comey was fired as FBI director, according to records released Monday.Rosenstein was interviewed by FBI agents several weeks after Comey's firing... Published:12/2/2019 7:18:58 PM
[2bde257e-d5dc-5047-acf3-6651455fc2e7] Gregg Jarrett: 'Poor Lisa' Page. She wants to go from villain to victim -- and Trump is to blame (naturally) Former FBI attorney Lisa Page is determined to re-write history in order to play a starring role as “the victim.” Published:12/2/2019 6:19:15 PM
[Markets] Hillary Clinton Shut Out Ronan Farrow As Soon As She Learned Of His Weinstein Investigation Hillary Clinton Shut Out Ronan Farrow As Soon As She Learned Of His Weinstein Investigation

Hillary Clinton distanced herself from Ronan Farrow when she found out the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist was investigating friend, megadonor, and serial sexual predator Harvey Weinstein.

The 31-year-old Farrow, who served as a special adviser to Clinton on global youth issues from 2011 - 2012, told the Financial Times that he and the former Secretary of State were close until 2017, when word leaked of his investigation that would ultimately bring down the movie mogul.

"It's remarkable how quickly even people with a long relationship with you will turn if you threaten the centers of power or sources of funding around them," Farrow told the Times. "Ultimately, there are a lot of people out there who operate in that way. They're beholden to powerful interests, you become radioactive very quickly."

Farrow's reporting via the New Yorker in October 2017 won him a Pulitzer Prize and led to Weinstein's fall from grace, as reported by the Daily Mail.

The findings of his investigation into Weinstein, published in The New Yorker in October 2017, won him a Pulitzer Prize and led to the movie mogul's downfall while sparking the #MeToo movement. 

Clinton reportedly accepted more than $40,000 in direct political contributions from Weinstein dating back to when she ran for senator in 1999. He also encouraged others in Hollywood to contribute to her various campaigns.

The former secretary of state took five days to respond to the reports of Weinstein's alleged abuses - eventually saying that she was 'shocked and appalled' by the revelations.

'The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated,' she said in a statement. 'Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.'  -Daily Mail

Farrow notes in his book, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators, Clinton publicist Nick Merrill told him the Weinstein story was a 'concern for us' during Hillary's 2016 run for office - and that the campaign withheld access to Clinton for an interview on an unrelated foreign policy book he was working on.

In Catch and Kill, Farrow recounted receiving a phone call from Weinstein directly, which he described in further detail to the Financial Times.

He said that Weinstein 'went as below the belt as possible in terms of trying to dig up anything personal that he could to shake me in those moments'

The producer even referenced Farrow's sister Dylan's accusations against their father, telling him: 'You couldn't save someone you love, and now you think you can save everyone.' 

Farrow said: 'Every story I work on, there is an effort to weaponize anything and everything.' -Daily Mail

While Weinstein has settled with many of his victims, he goes to trial in January on five charges related to two incidents from two different accusers. One says the movie mogul raped her in March 2013, and another says he forced her into giving him a blowjob in 2006. He has pleaded not guilty.

Last month Farrow took a swing at the Clintons when he said Bill Clinton was 'credibly accused of rape' by Juanita Broaddrick, who last year emanded an FBI investigation into her claim that the former President committed a "forcible, brutal rape" in a Little Rock, Arkansas hotel room on April 25, 1978 in which she says Clinton nearly bit her lip off

Broaddrick described the incident in a 2016 interview: 

And he grabbed me again, very forcefully. And started biting on my top lip. And this was extremely painful. I thought he was going to bite my lip off. And that’s when he pushed me back onto the bed.

...

I was completely dressed. I had a skirt and a blouse. He tore the waist of my skirt. And then he ripped my pantyhose. And he raped me. It was very vicious. I was just pinned down… I did not know what to do. I was so frightened. -Juanita Broaddrick, 2016

"Could Bill Clinton, if he had done what he did in 1998, survive today - or would his own party have thrown him under the bus?" asked Maher, to which Farrow replied: "I think that it is very important to interject that Bill Clinton is a different conversation," adding "He has been credibly accused of rape. That has nothing to do with gray areas. I think that the Juanita Broaddrick claim has been overdue for revisiting."

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/02/2019 - 18:05
Tags
Published:12/2/2019 5:22:12 PM
[] 'Let me get this straight...': Jim Jordan's curious about timing of Lisa Page's public rebuke of Trump Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page joined Twitter recently and promoted an interview she did that's been published by the Daily Beast in which she plays the victim in defending herself after what she called Trump's "faked orgasm" reenactment of texts between her and Peter Strzok. Meanwhile, Rep. Jim]] Published:12/2/2019 2:48:22 PM
[Uncategorized] Lisa Page Whines to Daily Beast One Week Before DOJ IG Report Release I think Page spoke out now because the IG discovered evidence "that an unidentified lower-level FBI lawyer falsified a key document used to obtain a secret surveillance warrant against a former Trump adviser." Published:12/2/2019 11:17:29 AM
[Politics] Former FBI Attorney Lisa Page whines about Trump’s attacks on her, says she’s taking her “power back” Lisa Page came out yesterday to complain about Trump’s attacks on her during his tweets and his rallies: NY POST – Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page opened up about the criticism she . . . Published:12/2/2019 10:46:43 AM
[Politics] Former FBI Attorney Lisa Page whines about Trump’s attacks on her, says she’s taking her “power back” Lisa Page came out yesterday to complain about Trump’s attacks on her during his tweets and his rallies: NY POST – Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page opened up about the criticism she . . . Published:12/2/2019 10:46:43 AM
[Markets] Outraged By Trump's Fake Orgasm, Lisa Page Gives 'Teen Vogue'-Tier Pre-FISA Interview Outraged By Trump's Fake Orgasm, Lisa Page Gives 'Teen Vogue'-Tier Pre-FISA Interview

With a week to go before the long-awaited DOJ Inspector General's report on the FBI's conduct surrounding the 2016 election, former agency lawyer Lisa Page would like everyone to know that she's the real victim.

Speaking with the Daily Beast's Molly Jong-Fast, who challenged her on exactly nothing (such as whether she altered Mike Flynn's 302 form, or what the 'insurance policy' was, or if she coordinated with the Washington Post on a "media leak strategy"), Page insists that her hatred of Trump never influenced her work investigating him, and that while she prefers to live in obscurity - she was compelled to tell her side of the story after President Trump mocked her with a fake orgasm routine at a rally last month - and not because of IG Michael Horowitz's FISA report due on December 9th.

Horowitz has circulated the report to key figures for legal review, and is rumored to clear to clear Page and other FBI officials of letting their raging hatred of Trump (and love of Clinton) color their work - hence the 'Teen Vogue' - tier puff piece. We're sure she'll go into greater detail when she writes a book on the whole 'matter.'

Highlights

  • Trump's Oct. 11 impression of her sleeping with Strzok pushed her over the edge. "Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back."

  • Her extramarital affair with FBI agent Peter Strzok while they were both investigating Trump and Clinton was "the most wrong thing I've ever done in my life."

"And that’s when I become the source of the president’s personal mockery and insults. Because before this moment in time, there’s not a person outside of my small legal community who knows who I am or what I do. I’m a normal public servant, just a G-15, standard-level lawyer, like every other lawyer at the Justice Department."

  • Page is"slightly crumbly around the edges the way the president's other victims are," and is experiencing something beyond PTSD.

Does it feel like a trauma? “It is. I wouldn’t even call it PTSD because it’s not over. It’s ongoing. It’s not a historical event that is being relived. It just keeps happening.”

...

“It’s almost impossible to describe” what it’s like, she told me. “It’s like being punched in the gut. My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again. The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. He’s demeaning me and my career. It’s sickening.” 

  • Page is always on edge - avoiding people in MAGA hats as she lives in daily anguish.

"I’m someone who’s always in my head anyway—so now otherwise normal interactions take on a different meaning. Like, when somebody makes eye contact with me on the Metro, I kind of wince, wondering if it’s because they recognize me, or are they just scanning the train like people do? It’s immediately a question of friend or foe? Or if I’m walking down the street or shopping and there’s somebody wearing Trump gear or a MAGA hat, I’ll walk the other way or try to put some distance between us because I’m not looking for conflict. Really, what I wanted most in this world is my life back.”

  • In response to Trump suggesting she committed treason, Page insists "[T]here’s no fathomable way that I have committed any crime at all, let alone treason..."
  • Page insists that Trump wasn't the target of the 2016 investigation into his campaign, and that the FBI learned of "the possibility that there’s someone on the Trump campaign coordinating with the Russian government in the release of emails, which will damage the Clinton campaign."

“We were very deliberate and conservative about who we first opened on because we recognized how sensitive a situation it was,” Page says. “So the prospect that we were spying on the campaign or even investigating candidate Trump himself is just false. That’s not what we were doing.” 

  • Her text messages with Strzok were 'cherry picked' and 'out of context.'

Page felt abandoned by the FBI and Justice because of the release of the messages and because the bureau issued no statement defending her and Strzok. “So things get worse,” she continues. “And of course, you know, those texts were selected for their political impact. They lack a lot of context. Many of them aren’t even about him or me. We’re not given an opportunity to provide any context. In a lot of those texts we were talking about other people like our family members or articles we had sent each other.”

At the end of the day, Page wants us to know that she's the real victim here. Perhaps she can provide those missing 19,000 text messages for some even better context?

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/02/2019 - 10:40
Published:12/2/2019 9:50:13 AM
[Donald Trump] Fake news about a fake orgasm (Scott Johnson) In an interview with one Molly Jong-Fast of the Daily Beast, disgraced FBI lawyer Lisa Page speaks. It’s an extraordinarily tiresome interview of the “nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen” variety; she’d done being silent. In case you want to avoid a click on the Daily Beast, Gregg Re reports on the interview in his account of it for FOX News. The top line item in the Daily Beast and Published:12/2/2019 6:47:20 AM
[Markets] Key Words: Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page says it’s time to ‘take my power back’ after Trump’s ‘demeaning fake orgasm’ Back in October, President Donald Trump called out former FBI lawyer Lisa Page by name — again — as he regaled an adoring Minneapolis crowd with, as she put it, a “demeaning fake orgasm” that ultimately led her to break her public silence
Published:12/1/2019 10:13:53 PM
[Gadgets] Now even the FBI is warning about your smart TV’s security If you just bought a smart TV on Black Friday or plan to buy one for Cyber Monday tomorrow, the FBI wants you to know a few things. Smart TVs are like regular television sets but with an internet connection. With the advent and growth of Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services, most saw internet-connected […] Published:12/1/2019 4:12:30 PM
[Politics] Sen. Kennedy: Russia, Ukraine Interfered in 2016 Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said Sunday both Russia and Ukraine interfered, despite an in-depth review produced by the CIA, NSA and FBI that only Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Published:12/1/2019 4:12:30 PM
[6e8cab21-c9d5-51d2-a420-356c27d997f0] Eric Shawn: Why I will not give up looking for Jimmy Hoffa The fact that the Hoffa murder remains unsolved represents a haunting challenge. The full power of the federal government was thrown into finding the answers, only to come up short, at least as far as we publicly know. That is why I am calling on the government to fully release the FBI Hoffa files. Published:12/1/2019 4:12:30 PM
[009edca9-a3f3-5001-b69d-8e660686a281] Jason Chaffetz: FBI deep state clear – will FISA report finally lead to action? What is going on at the FBI and why no consequences for such blatant violations of internal policy and the law? Published:12/1/2019 9:12:02 AM
[Michael Flynn] In the Flynn case, DoJ seeks delay (Scott Johnson) I wrote most recently about developments in the case against former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn in “In the Flynn case, you’ve got to be kidding me.” General Flynn is the preeminent victim of the Russia hoax; the case against him was set up by the dirty Comey brigade in the senior ranks of the FBI (including Comey himself), with the assistance of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Flynn Published:12/1/2019 8:13:59 AM
[Markets] Will The Epstein Story Ever be Fully Told? Will The Epstein Story Ever be Fully Told?

Authored by Bill Rice, Jr.

More than four months after Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest - and three months after his alleged suicide -  it requires no opinion poll to know that few Americans believe the story of the international sex trafficking ring orchestrated by Epstein and his alleged “co-accomplices” will ever be fully told.

More specifically, many Americans believe that most (if not all) of the key questions regarding the case will remain unanswered. For example …

  • How many Epstein “associates” actually received sexual “services” from underage girls? Will all (or even any) of these people be identified, exposed and perhaps prosecuted? Were any of these individuals blackmailed, extorted or in any way compromised?
  • Did employees within agencies of the U.S. government turn a blind eye to Epstein’s activities? Was Epstein, in fact, “intelligence” and, if so, on whose orders was Alex Acosta allegedly told to leave Epstein alone?
  • Did Epstein continue his sex-trafficking operation even after being released from jail in 2009? If so, how was this possible? 
  • Where did Epstein receive the money to fund his operation, including the acquisition of the largest private residence in Manhattan, two secluded private islands in the Virgin Islands, a secluded “ranch” in New Mexico, two large jets and a helicopter?
  • Why, for years, did the “watchdog” press display no interest in a scandal that, if fully told, could qualify as the “story of the century,”  a story that might implicate many more powerful people and government agencies than Watergate?
  • Pertinent facts surrounding Epstein’s death, ruled a suicide, have also yet to be disclosed. One unanswered question: How was it possible an inmate who may have possessed “dirt” on the most powerful people in the world could be left alone in his cell?

In short, at least in the opinion of many, the public will never learn how massively corrupt our system of justice may be, and if a privileged class is in fact held to a different standard of justice, and/or is protected by the powers that be. Nor will the public learn how prurient, immoral and brazen a cross-section of the world’s elite may be.

Of course, authorities may, in fact, do their jobs and ultimately disclose the entire scale of Epstein’s operation. Prosecutions and plea deals to come could include a “Who’s Who” of the world, and expose any government agencies that may have “looked the other way.”

At least theoretically, our government could  expose a decades-long criminal operation, a revelation that very possibly would change the way millions of people view the U.S. government; not to mention how the public views many powerful VIPs who navigate in the orbit of politicians and policy-makers.

Once upon a time, the number Americans who believed justice would ultimately prevail in a case like Epstein’s would probably have filled a good-sized nation. Today, the number who posses this conviction might fill a medium-sized city.

Citizens who doubt the full story of the Epstein saga will ever be revealed have little trouble citing stories that explain their metastasizing skepticism.

For example, plenty of people did notice when Saudi Arabia and its Crown Prince Prince Mohammed bin Salman suffered no adverse consequences following the gruesome murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a murder many people believe the prince ordered.

Others remain befuddled as UK authorities continue to insist that the government of Russia commissioned a hit team that used nerve agents in the assassination attempt of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, this despite the copious number of holes that pockmark the “official” story.

Similarly, the narrative that Syria President Bashar al-Assad “gassed his own people” - a highly questionable proposition to many - has nonetheless been widely accepted as truth, at least by intelligence agencies and a press corps that increasingly accepts official pronouncements as incontrovertible.

[editor's note: see Caitlin Johnstone's latest on two OPCW whistleblowers whose claims effectively dubunk the narrative]

The aggressive prosecution (persecution) of Julian Assange is another story that disturbs at least some citizens. The fact so few members of the mainstream press have rallied to Assange’s defense has only deepened the depression of one-time idealists.

And these examples do not include the most dubious government narrative of them all, the assertion Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, a false predicate that ultimately caused the death and suffering of millions of people.

Cynics could also point to an investigation that, unlike several of the above examples, did receive incessant press coverage - the story that Russia somehow “rigged” or “hacked” a U.S. presidential election, a conclusion accepted as gospel by most in the mainstream press, but viewed as preposterous by millions of Americans.

In these and other cases, a growing number of citizens have come to believe that official “investigations” and “official findings” are either a sham or intentionally omit details which do not support the desired meme.

It’s within this context that millions of Americans have latched onto the Epstein story and the growing conviction that our government (and press corp) have become more interested in concealing truths than exposing them.

The Epstein story is not just the latest scandal of the week. The number of individuals who could have been involved, or who might have worked to cover-up its existence, almost certainly dwarfs the number implicated in Watergate.

The list of those who might have some knowledge of Epstein’s criminal enterprise includes a sitting president, ex-presidents, ex-prime ministers, Justice Department officials, State Department officials, FBI agents, employees of domestic and international intelligence agencies, state prosecutors, local law enforcement, politicians, ex-politicians, lobbyists, titans of industry and finance, CEOs, attorneys, accountants, banks and bankers, celebrities, academics, scientists, political operatives and executives within the Fourth Estate.

Almost five months after Epstein’s arrest, one is struck by curious events that have already occurred and by developments yet to occur.

For example, how is it possible that Ghislaine Maxwell - the “Bonnie” to Epstein’s “Clyde” - has yet to be charged with any crimes? Or, as far as the public knows, even been questioned by authorities.

Public skepticism about the “investigation” spiked when, five weeks after his arrest, the FBI finally raided Epstein’s “Lolita" Island.  Epstein’s “ranch” in New Mexico has still not been searched.

The public has also received no indication that authorities are, in fact, questioning any of Epstein’s many “associates,” especially those who may have had sexual contact with girls recruited and groomed by Epstein and Maxwell.

Every person named in court documents or press reports as allegedly or possibly having sex with an underaged girl or young woman at Epstein’s bequest has denied the allegations.  Which begs the question: Who’s telling the truth and who’s lying? To form an opinion on this central question, authorities would presumably need to interview anyone with possible knowledge of alleged sexual or criminal acts. Investigators could then seek information that either corroborates or impeaches each person’s account.

However, evidence is growing that the protocol in a typical “he-said, she-said” investigation is not being followed in the Epstein case. Instead, authorities may have simply accepted as truth the statements of denial issued by powerful public figures.

True or not, many Americans believe the Department of “Justice” will not prosecute (perhaps even question) scores of individuals who may have broken U.S. laws and who may have been victims of a disturbing blackmail operation.

Perhaps authorities have concluded it’s better to not know. Perhaps they realize if they interview one suspected “John,” they’ll have to interview every potential “John.” if this number ends up being massive, and includes a Who’s Who of our society, important illusions about society’s leaders and our system of justice could be shattered.

At its core, the Epstein case will reveal whether government prosecutors and investigators possess the courage and integrity to expose sordid truths about some of the wealthiest,  most-connected, powerful people in the world, and perhaps reveal embarrassing truths about our  government.

Americans might soon learn what objective is more important to Justice Department officials: Protecting the rich and powerful from the consequences of their behavior, or confirming that a system of justice grounded in trust can still be trusted.

Sadly, many Americans are convinced authorities will not do the right thing.

However, in proving skeptics wrong, authorities would accomplish at least four objectives, all noble. They would punish the guilty. They would provide justice to victims too long ignored. They would deter future Epsteins and future “Johns,” especially those unaccustomed to being held accountable for their actions. And, perhaps most importantly, they would allow a ray of sunshine to pierce the shadow of cynicism that’s spread across our country.

While such a development might not restore all trust in government, it would be an eye-opening start. For those who believe the moral character of a nation is important, it would send a message that all hope is not lost.

****

Bill Rice, Jr. is a freelance writer in Troy, Alabama. He can be reached by email at wjricejunior@gmail.com

 

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/30/2019 - 22:30
Tags
Published:11/30/2019 9:39:26 PM
[Markets] Epstein Tapes? Sordid Case Takes A Bizarre Turn After Mystery 'Hacker' Emerges Epstein Tapes? Sordid Case Takes A Bizarre Turn After Mystery 'Hacker' Emerges

Shortly after Jeffrey Epstein's August death in a Manhattan detention facility, a shadowy figure claiming to have set up encrypted servers for the convicted sex offender told several attorneys and the New York Times he had a vast archive of incriminating evidence against powerful men stored on overseas servers, including several years worth of the financier's communications and financial records which allegedly showed he had vast amounts of Bitcoin and cash in the Middle East and Bangkok, and hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of gold, silver and diamonds.

Going by the pseudonym Patrick Kessler, self-described 'hacker' said he had "thousands of hours of footage from hidden cameras" from Epstein's multiple properties, which included former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, and Prince Andrew, along with three billionaires and a prominent CEO, according to the Times.

It has been long speculated that Epstein recorded his high-profile guests as part of an international blackmail operation.

Armed with nothing more than blurry photos of what he claimed were high-profile individuals in compromising situations, Kessler approached lawyers representing several Epstein accusers,  John Pottinger and David Boies - the former of whom suggested that billionaire Sheldon Adelson - an ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - might pay for the alleged footage of Barak.

According to excerpts viewed by The Times, Mr. Pottinger and Kessler discussed a plan to disseminate some of the informant’s materials — starting with the supposed footage of Mr. Barak. The Israeli election was barely a week away, and Mr. Barak was challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The purported images of Mr. Barak might be able to sway the election — and fetch a high price. -New York Times.

After several weeks, the attorneys invited the New York Times to speak with Kessler in mid-September. Then things got even more unbelievable. Following a mid-September meeting with The Times in the Boies Schiller offices, Kessler went rogue - contacting the paper and accusing Boies and Pottinger of an extortion plot against the subjects of said tapes.

Barely an hour after the session ended, the Times reporters received an email from Kessler: “Are you free?” He said he wanted to meet — alone. “Tell no one else.”

...

Kessler complained that Mr. Boies and Mr. Pottinger were more interested in making money than in exposing wrongdoers. He pulled out his phone, warned the reporters not to touch it, and showed more of what he had. There was a color photo of a bare-chested, gray-haired man with a slight smile. Kessler said it was a billionaire. He also showed blurry, black-and-white images of a dark-haired man receiving oral sex. He said it was a prominent C.E.O.

"At one point, he showed what he said were classified C.I.A. documents," writes the Times.

Weeks after the meeting, the lawyers struck a deal with the Times during the last Friday in September. They would send a team overseas to download Kessler's evidence from his servers (and had alerted the FBI and the US Attorney's Office in Manhattan of their intention to do so), and would then share all the evidence with the paper on the condition that they would have discretion over which men could be written about, and when.

Separately, Kessler had arranged to give the Times his evidence using a convoluted series of steps. On the day the data was to be transmitted, Kessler canceled at the 11th hour, claiming 'a fire was burning' and he had to flee to Ukraine. 

In early October, Kessler said he was ready to produce the Epstein files. He told The Times that he had created duplicate versions of Mr. Epstein’s servers. He laid out detailed logistical plans for them to be shipped by boat to the United States and for one of his associates — a very short Icelandic man named Steven — to deliver them to The Times headquarters at 11 a.m. on Oct. 3.

Kessler warned that he was erecting a maze of security systems. First, a Times employee would need to use a special thumb drive to access a proprietary communications system. Then Kessler’s colleague would transmit a code to decrypt the files. If his instructions weren’t followed precisely, Kessler said, the information would self-destruct.

Specialists at The Times set up a number of “air-gapped” laptops — disconnected from the internet — in a windowless, padlocked meeting room. Reporters cleared their schedules to sift through thousands of hours of surveillance footage.

On the morning of the scheduled delivery, Kessler sent a series of frantic texts. Disaster had struck. A fire was burning. The duplicate servers were destroyed. One of his team members was missing. He was fleeing to Kyiv.

Except two hours later, Kessler contacted Pottinger and didn't mention any emergency. Instead, he asked Pottinger to formulate two schemes for prying up to $1 billion from potential targets with the footage which the Times suggested may have been a trap.

Pottinger obliged, describing two options for capitalizing on the evidence. The first, a "standard model" for legal settlements, would include splitting the money among Epstein's victims, a charitable foundation, Kessler, and the lawyers - who would get up to 40%.

In the second hypothetical, the lawyers would approached the high-profile men, convince them to hire them to ensure they wouldn't get sued, and then "make a contribution to a nonprofit as part of their retainer."

Pottinger would effectively represent a victim, settle their case, and then represent the victim's alleged abuser - a legal, yet morally questionable practice for an attorney to engage in.

Dershowitz and the weird recorded phone call

In late September, Dershowitz's secretary related a message that Kessler wanted to speak with him about Boies - with whom Dershowitz has a long-running feud. Dershowitz recorded the call, during which Kessler said he no longer trusted Boies and Pottinger.

"The problem is that they don’t want to move forward with any of these people legally," said Kessler, adding "They’re just interested in trying to settle and take a cut."

“Who are these people that you have on videotape?” Mr. Dershowitz asked.

“There’s a lot of people,” Kessler said, naming a few powerful men. He added, “There’s a long list of people that they want me to have that I don’t have.”

“Who?” Mr. Dershowitz asked. “Did they ask about me?”

“Of course they asked about you. You know that, sir.”

“And you don’t have anything on me, right?”

“I do not, no,” Kessler said.

“Because I never, I never had sex with anybody,” Mr. Dershowitz said. Later in the call, he added, “I am completely clean. I was at Jeffrey’s house. I stayed there. But I didn’t have any sex with anybody.”

As the Times asks, "what was the purpose of Kessler’s phone call? Why did he tell Mr. Dershowitz that he wasn’t on the supposed surveillance tapes, contradicting what he had said and showed to Mr. Boies, Mr. Pottinger and The Times? Did the call sound a little rehearsed?"

Dershowitz told the Times he has no idea why Kessler called him.

Holding out hope

In a November 7 email, Boies told the Times "I still believe he is what he purported to be," adding "I have to evaluate people for my day job, and he seemed too genuine to be a fake, and I very much want him to be real."

That said, he also noted "I am not unconscious of the danger of wanting to believe something too much."

Ten days later, Mr. Boies arrived at The Times for an on-camera interview. It was a bright, chilly Sunday, and Mr. Boies had just flown in from Ecuador, where he said he was doing work for the finance ministry. Reporters wanted to ask him plainly if his and Mr. Pottinger’s conduct with Kessler crossed ethical lines.

Would they have brokered secret settlements that buried evidence of wrongdoing? Did the notion of extracting huge sums from men in exchange for keeping sex tapes hidden meet the definition of extortion?

Mr. Boies said the answer to both questions was no. He said he and Mr. Pottinger operated well within the law. They only intended to pursue legal action on behalf of their clients — in other words, that they were a long way from extortion. In any case, he said, he and Mr. Pottinger had never authenticated any of the imagery or identified any of the supposed victims, much less contacted any of the men on the “hot list.”

When the Times showed Boies text exchanges between Kessler and Pottinger, he "showed a flash of anger and said it was the first time seeing them." 

Eventually, Boies concluded that Kessler was probably a con man.

"I think that he was a fraudster who was just trying to set things up," adding that he had probably baited Pottinger into writing things that were more nefarious than they really were.

Pottinger, meanwhile, claims he was stringing Kessler along - "misleading him deliberately in order to get to the servers."

Despite Kessler's story falling apart, the Times asks if his claims are plausible.

Did America’s best-connected sexual predator accumulate incriminating videos of powerful men?

Two women who spent time in Mr. Epstein’s homes said the answer was yes. In an unpublished memoir, Virginia Giuffre, who accused Mr. Epstein of making her a “sex slave,” wrote that she discovered a room in his New York mansion where monitors displayed real-time surveillance footage. And Maria Farmer, an artist who accused Mr. Epstein of sexually assaulting her when she worked for him in the 1990s, said that Mr. Epstein once walked her through the mansion, pointing out pin-sized cameras that he said were in every room.

I said, ‘Are you recording all this?’” Ms. Farmer said in an interview. “He said, ‘Yes. We keep it. We keep everything.’”

During a 2005 search of Mr. Epstein’s Palm Beach, Fla., estate, the police found two cameras hidden in clocks — one in the garage and the other next to his desk, according to police reports. But no other cameras were found.

So - it appears that Kessler was either a fraud or an operative, and the entire saga may have been designed to cast doubt over whether tapes actually exist. Or, Kessler is for real - and for some reason hasn't found a way to release the videos. That said, since he says he's not interested in extortion, what's the hold-up?

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/30/2019 - 19:00
Published:11/30/2019 6:09:11 PM
[Markets] US Arrests Ethereum Developer For Training North Koreans To Evade Sanctions US Arrests Ethereum Developer For Training North Koreans To Evade Sanctions

Authored by Joeri Cant via CoinTelegraph.com,

Today, United States prosecutors announced the arrest of Virgil Griffith, who allegedly traveled to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to deliver a presentation on how to use cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology to circumvent sanctions.

image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

According to the November 29 announcement, the 36-year-old Griffith was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport, and will be charged with conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The charges carry a maximum term of 20 years in prison. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman stated:

“As alleged, Virgil Griffith provided highly technical information to North Korea, knowing that this information could be used to help North Korea launder money and evade sanctions. In allegedly doing so, Griffith jeopardized the sanctions that both Congress and the president have enacted to place maximum pressure on North Korea’s dangerous regime.”

The IEEPA prohibits any U.S. citizens from exporting any goods, services, or technology to the DPRK without a license from the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Griffith, a U.S. citizen living in Singapore, was previously denied permission to travel to the DPRK by the U.S. Department of State. Griffith went against the decision and presented at the DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference, violating the U.S. sanctions against the DPRK. FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said:

“There are deliberate reasons sanctions have been levied on North Korea. The country and its leader pose a literal threat to our national security and that of our allies. Mr. Griffith allegedly traveled to North Korea without permission from the federal government, and with the knowledge of what he was doing was against the law. We cannot allow anyone to evade sanctions, because the consequences of North Korea obtaining funding, technology, and information to further its desire to build nuclear weapons put the world at risk. It’s even more egregious that a U.S. citizen allegedly chose to aid our adversary.”

North Korea trying to evade sanctions

North Korea is reportedly in the early stages of developing a cryptocurrency to help the DPRK evade international sanctions and find a way around “the U.S.-dominated global financial system.”

Alejandro Cao de Benos, the official in charge of North Korea’s crypto conferences, said at the time that the digital currency will be similar to Bitcoin (BTC) but that they are still in the very early stages in the creation of the token and that there are “no plans to digitize the [North Korean] won for now.”

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/30/2019 - 11:30
Tags
Published:11/30/2019 10:35:31 AM
[Markets] Caption Contest: Hong Kongers Discover Unlikely New Hero In Fight For Democracy Caption Contest: Hong Kongers Discover Unlikely New Hero In Fight For Democracy

As the mainstream media so quickly explained, an image tweeted by President Trump (of his head on Sylvester Stallone's Rocky character's body) was "altered."

But, this epic troll out of nowhere has been embraced by the young men and women of Hong Kong following President Trump's decision to sign  Washington's Hong Kong Democracy Bill backing the protesters against "his great friend" President Xi's China threats.

In another torrid night of violence, protesters stood briefly facing off with police holding up images of the Trump/Rocky hybrid image.

“Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” thousands of protestors chanted in a public square as they waved American flags and held up copies of the photo composite.

Caption That!

"It ain't about how may times you get knocked down by wooden bullets or tear gas canisters, it's how may times you get back up that counts..."

"...he's not the messiah, he's a very naught boy!"

The pictures 'The West' receive from Hong Kong are just as 'managed' as the images that are allowed through China's firewall. As Jeff Brown recently explained, there's a lot more bubbling under the surface in Hong Kong...

Hong Kong’s GDP and other official data are not included in Mainland China’s statistics, so Baba Beijing doesn’t really give a rat’s ass whether the economy craters or not, which it is. HK has 7.44 million inhabitants, ranking it as a second-tier city on the Mainland, with Chengdu, Dongguan and Wuhan. HK is falling into recession, down 3.2% in third quarter 2019 alone. In August, there were 850,000 fewer tourists than the year before. People are leaving in droves: students, businesspersons and service workers. I have a good friend who is a doctor. He just shut down his clinic in HK and moved his practice to Beijing. Another friend teaching there contacted me about working in Shenzhen, because HK has become such a Western color revolution disaster. There are thousands like them. Billions of dollars are being drained out of people’s lives.

...

The CIA and FBI have well known offices in Hong Kong. Including the American consulate, there are more than 1,000 US government agents in the territory, and they are not there to just eat dim sum and enjoy a ride on the Star Ferry, as enjoyable as all that is. This does not include thousands of so-called NGOs, many that are CIA-FBI-NED-MI6-Soros-Omidyar color revolution chop shops. Baba Beijing doesn’t mind, as they are vacuuming petaflops of signal and human intelligence on all their sabotage and chaos, providing valuable planning and vaccination to prevent another color revolution in China, like 1989’s Tiananmen demonstration. For every color revolution saboteur and spy, there’s probably 1-2 Mainland agents watching their every move, recording every second of signal communication. It’s like an entomologist having a test tube full of maggot-filled dog shit to study up close. Priceless. Somebody call MasterCard to film a trendy, new ad.

There are more than 800 Christian churches and another 800 Christian schools in HK. There is open evidence that many in both groups are working hand-in-hand with the rioting saboteurs, to provide cover and logistics, with the CIA gangsters providing the millions to pay for all of it. Many of these property wrecking gangsters are members of these Christian outfits, all because of their hatred of communist-socialist China.

Always remember that yes, Hong Kong returned to the Mainland, under the 1997 Basic Law Treaty negotiated between Margaret Thatcher and Deng Xiaoping, but under the One Country-Two Systems agreement, to last until 2047. On the left is communist-socialist China, getting richer, more advanced and more powerful by the day. On the right is jungle capitalist, neoliberal Hong Kong, owned lock, stock and barrel by ten multibillionaire families, who exploit it like a metropolitan Honduras.

They are merely inconvenienced by the West’s color revolution, but will still be gazillionaires, even if the territory implodes. This, while Hong Kong has some of the most unaffordable housing in the world, with more and more of the ever-poorer middle and lower classes being driven into homelessness, sardine packed shoebox apartments, or wire cages to stay off the streets.

Poverty has been increasing for years in HK and now accounts for 20% of the people and growing. One-third of these impoverished are elderly. It’s the capitalist American Dream. Tent cities can’t be far behind in HK’s still grossly underdeveloped and neglected New Territories...

...The West’s color revolution chaos in HK is a wonderful poster child for Baba Beijing to show the world why Eurangloland’s fake democracy is a disaster for humanity and Planet Earth, while communist-socialist China just keeps on trucking like a highspeed train into the 22nd century. If you are living behind the Great Western Firewall, you may not be noticing this contrast, but billions of citizens in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania are. Hong Kong’s destruction is one of Baba Beijing’s best public relations coups ever. Thank you, Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi!

* * *

Meanwhile, over in Beijing...

... the Chinese text means "fuck you American embassy"

Tyler Durden Fri, 11/29/2019 - 14:40
Published:11/29/2019 1:59:30 PM
[Markets] Christopher Steele Distributed Other Dossier Reports Christopher Steele Distributed Other Dossier Reports

Authored by John Solomon via JohnSolomonReports.com,

Just before Christmas 2015, the British intelligence operative Christopher Steele emailed a report to private clients that included an American lawyer for a Ukrainian oligarch.

The title of the dossier was “FIRTASH Abortive Return to Ukraine,” and it purported to provide intelligence on why the energy oligarch Dmitri Firtash tried, but failed, to return to his home country of Ukraine.

“FIRTASH’s talk of returning to Ukraine a genuine ambition rather than merely a ruse to reveal Ukrainian government’s hand. However the oligarch developed cold feet upon the news of a negative reception at Boryspil airport,” Steele reported on Dec. 23, 2015.

Perhaps most important to the recipients, the former MI6 agent’s report purported to share the latest thinking of Russian and U.S. officials on Firtash, who at the time faced U.S. criminal charges and was awaiting extradition from Austria.

Those charges and extradition remain unresolved four years later. Firtash insists on his innocence, while the U.S. government stands by it case despite recent criticism from Austrian and Spanish authorities.

“The prevarication over his return has lost FIRTASH credibility with the Russians, but his precarious position in Austria leaves him little choice but to acquiesce with Moscow’s demands,” the Steele report claimed.

“Separate American sources confirm that US Government regards FIRTASH as a conduit for Russian influence and he remains a pariah to the Americans.”

The anecdote of the Firtash report underscores that challenges the FBI faced when it used Steele in 2016 as a human source in the Russia collusion probe.

He not only opposed Trump and was paid by Hillary Clinton’s opposition research firm to dig up dirt on the then-GOP nominee, he also was in the business of selling intelligence to private clients – all perfectly legal — while informing for the FBI.

Steele had engaged the U.S. government on occasion since his retirement from MI6 in 2009, both as an FBI informant in the FIFA soccer corruption case and as intelligence provider to the Obama State Department. So any assessment he offered from U.S. officials was closely watched by private clients.

His Firtash report cited an unnamed intelligence source indicating that Firtash had little chance of winning any favor under the Obama administration, but that other oligarchs in the region might be welcomed by the Americans if they sought to play a role in Ukraine.

“The source had a separate confirmation from US sources that Washington regarded FIRTASH as a conduit for Russian influence,” the report said.

“Whilst the USG was prepared to do business with the likes of Rinat AKHMETOV and Ihor KOLOMOISKY, FIRTASH remained a pariah.”

The U.S. lawyer who received Steele’s report represented Firtash and had spent part of 2015 checking whether there was an opportunity the State or Justice Department might negotiate to settle the criminal case against his client.  He determined the U.S. government did not, something Steele’s report only affirmed anew.

Steele did not immediately respond to a message to his London business office seeking comment. But his firm has issued a blanket statement on its Web site saying it does highly professional work but doesn’t comment on specific clients or products.

“Orbis Business Intelligence has an established track record of providing strategic intelligence, forensic investigation and risk consulting services to a broad client base,” the firm wrote. “The nature of our business, and our high standards of professionalism dictate that we would not disclose to the public information on any specific aspects of our work.  We remain fully committed to the secure provision of our services to our clients and partners worldwide.”

Steele and his infamous dossier alleging an unfounded conspiracy between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to hijack the 2016 election are expected to play a starring role in a long-awaited Justice Department inspector general’s report reviewing the FBI’s Russian collusion probe.

The report to be made public next month is expected to reveal that one FBI official falsified a document and other U.S. officials withheld information both about Steele and the innocence of some of the targeted individuals when the FBI sought a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to probe the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia starting in October 2016.

Some intelligence experts have been quoted recently as saying Steele’s information against Trump, much of which the FBI could never verify, may have been Russian disinformation designed to sow chaos during the U.S. election.

After two-plus years of investigation, Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded this spring that there was no collusion or conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign. Nonetheless, the allegations have lingered over the Trump presidency and divided the country bitterly.

Steele’s Firtash report is a cogent reminder that while Steele on occasion worked for the U.S. government, he also was simultaneously pitching intelligence he got from American sources and others to his private clients, some who had different interests than the United States.

The back and forth between U.S. and other contacts in Steele’s business was laid bare by email and text messages released by the Justice Department last year. For instance, the messages show that less than three weeks after emailing the Firtash report, Steele reached out in January 2016 to senior U.S. Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, a prosecutor with responsibility for Eurasian oligarchs, to set up a possible meeting in London.

Steele and Ohr had frequent contact all the way through 2017, including when Steele shared on July 30, 2016 some of his anti-Trump evidence with Ohr, who then took it to the top of the FBI. Steele was eventually dropped by the FBI as an informant for leaking to the news media.

Fiona Hill, a recent impeachment witness and a former top Russia expert on the National Security Council, suggested to lawmakers in a deposition recently that Steele’s dual role as government insider/informer and private intelligence provider left him vulnerable to Russian disinformation when he wrote his dossier.

“He was constantly trying to drum up business,” Hill testified when asked about her own contacts from time to time with the former British intelligence agent.

She said that when she read Steele’s anti-Trump dossier in January 2017 she instantly feared it might be disinformation fed to Steele by the Russians because he previously had done spy work for MI6.

“That is when I expressed the misgivings and concern that he could have been played,” Hill testified.

She added:

“The Russians would have an axe to grind against him given the job he had previously. And if he started going back through his old contacts and asking about that, that would be a perfect opportunity for people to feed him some kind of misinformation.”

The IG report set to be released Dec. 9 will give Americans a more comprehensive look at Steele and the FBI’s reliance on him as an informant.

And then it will be up to the FBI, DOJ and congressional oversight committees to re-evaluate what lessons can be learned from the now-debunked Russia collusion probe.  

Those likely are to include better vetting of informants, stronger oversight of the FISA process and new regulations for when the FBI can investigate a candidate during the middle of an election, especially when the allegations emanate from a political opponent.

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/28/2019 - 16:00
Tags
Published:11/28/2019 3:27:43 PM
[Markets] DOJ Watchdog Expected To Downgrade 'Spying' On Trump Campaign To 'Typical Law Enforcement Activities' DOJ Watchdog Expected To Downgrade 'Spying' On Trump Campaign To 'Typical Law Enforcement Activities'

In late September, RealClearInvestigations' Paul Sperry suggested that Inspector General Michael Horowitz - tasked with investigating and exposing wrongdoing at the highest levels - was feared to be pulling punches in order to protect establishment darlings in his upcoming report on the Russia investigation.

Now we learn that Horowitz, who volunteered on several Democratic political campaigns while in college and is married to a former liberal political activist, Obama donor and CNN employee, is expected to conclude that the FBI didn't spy on the Trump campaign.

Instead, when longtime FBI / CIA asset Stephan Halper and his undercover FBI 'assistant' named "Azra Turk" befriended George Papadopoulos, it was nothing more than "typical law enforcement activities," according  the New York Times.

Mr. Horowitz found no evidence that Mr. Halper tried to infiltrate the Trump campaign itself, the people familiar with the draft report said, such as by seeking inside campaign information or a role in the organization. The F.B.I. also never directed him to do so, former officials said. Instead, Mr. Halper focused on eliciting information from Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos about their ties to Russia.

...

Mr. Trump and his allies have pointed to some of the investigative steps the F.B.I. took as evidence of spying, though they were typical law enforcement activities. -NYT

Recall that the Obama administration had paid Halper over $1 million over a several years, with nearly half of it surrounding the 2016 election.

The report is also expected to conclude that Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud - who fed Papadopoulos the rumor that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton - is not an FBI informant. Mifsud, a self-described member of the Clinton Foundation, has been painted by Western media as a Russian asset.

Except, nobody claimed Mifsud was an FBI informant. As The Conservative Treehouse notes, "The concern has always been Mifsud was a western intelligence asset, perhaps CIA."

Moreover, Horowitz will conclude that while the FBI was 'careless and unprofessional' in pursuing a wiretap on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, and that a 'front-line lawyer' Kevin Clinesmith, 37, fabricated evidence to support a FISA spy warrant renewal against Page, that the underlying justification to go after page remained intact.

In other slaps on the wrist, Horowitz is expected to criticize DOJ official Bruce Ohr for failing to inform his bosses about his extensive contacts with 'Steele Dossier' author Christopher Steele.

And the icing on the cake - last week The Times also reported that while Horowitz will criticize the FBI for how they handled the Trump investigation, "he made no finding of politically biased actions by top officials Mr. Trump has vilified like the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey."

No wonder Comey and team have been so smug!

The report is expected December 9, while Horowitz is scheduled to testify in front of the Senate days later.

Of course, while Horowitz may or may not give key FBI officials a pass in his report, its only one component of the ongoing efforts by the DOJ.

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/28/2019 - 14:30
Tags
Published:11/28/2019 1:53:58 PM
[FBI] Somebody up there likes to think we’re stupid (Scott Johnson) In The Plot Against the President, Lee Smith makes the case that the New York Times and the Washington Post have turned themselves into arms of the Resistance to the Trump administration that manifested in the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign undertaken by the FBI. The FISA warrant taken out on Carter Page by the FBI in October 2016 constituted a key element of the investigation. The warrant was Published:11/28/2019 8:24:00 AM
[Markets] President Trump's Defense President Trump's Defense

Authored by Robert Gore via StraightLineLogic.com,

Democratic representatives should think twice before they vote to impeach President Trump.

I thought I had said all I was going to say on “Ukrainegate” in my article “Make the Truth Irrelevant.” Then I read a column on the Internet by Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan whose very title: “Trump’s Defenders Have No Defense” (WSJ, 11/21/19) bespeaks its idiocy. Unfortunately, it also represents a lot of what’s being peddled by the mainstream media.

How would Noonan or anyone else outside Trump’s circle know whether he does or does not have a defense when the rules of the only body that has pursued the case against him preclude him from offering a defense? In the House impeachment hearings, Trump’s defenders cannot call their own witnesses, cannot confront the whistleblower whose complaint launched the case, cannot challenge hearsay evidence and have it excluded, and cannot probe the motives or possibly illegal behavior of his accusers.

Noonan further embarrasses herself with the following: “As to the impeachment itself, the case has been so clearly made you wonder what exactly the Senate will be left doing. How will they hold a lengthy trial with a case this clear?” She reveals her own ignorance of the law and facts of this particular case, and complete lack of decency or sense of fair play, rendering such a judgment after hearing only one side of the case.

Noonan has prompted this analysis of possibilities concerning Trump’s defense in a Senate trial. It assumes that standard American judicial rules, procedures, and principles will be in force during the trial.

Disclaimer: I am a lawyer, but I am an inactive member of the California Bar Association and have never practiced law.

The best case for a defense attorney is one in which the attorney can say: Assume what the prosecution is saying is true, my client has not broken the law or committed a crime. During his phone call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, President Trump asked for investigations of three matters, but he did not explicitly link receipt of US aid that had been held up to Zelensky conducting those investigations. Suppose, for argument’s sake, that he had either explicitly asked for that quid pro quo or that Zelensky could reasonably infer he was asking for such a quid pro quo. Trump’s first line of defense would be to challenge the ubiquitous characterization—at least among Democrats and the media?of such a link as a crime.

According to the transcript of the call, Trump asked Zelensky to look into the company Crowdstrike, which has been the only entity allowed to examine the DNC servers that were allegedly hacked by the Russians. In a related query, he eluded to possible Ukrainian involvement in initiating the Russiagate fiasco. Later in the phone call, he said: “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

Assume for argument’s sake that Trump was holding up aid to get Zelensky to investigate Crowdstrike, possible initiation of Russiagate, and the Bidens. Nobody is calling the first two requests illegal because investigations would not directly redound to Trump’s political benefit (but might well redound to his accusers’ political detriment, see below). Only the third request, if receipt of aid was conditioned on compliance, has been termed illegal, because it could harm Trump’s political opponent, Joe Biden, and presumably benefit Trump.

What if the subject of that third request was not Biden and son, but rather some nonpolitical but prominent US figure and son, the investigation of whom would yield no political benefit to Trump? The president would have a strong argument that there was a prima facie (literally translated as “at first face” or “at first appearance”) case of corruption against the nonpolitical figure and his son. He could assert that he had a duty as the chief executive of the laws of the US to launch a US investigation, and to press—because so much of the alleged corruption happened in Ukraine and involved Ukrainian citizens, companies, government bodies, and other entities—the Ukrainian president to launch an investigation. The US and Ukraine have a treaty, Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters ratified by the Senate in 2000 and signed by Bill Clinton. Trump could argue that under that treaty he would be well within his powers to ask for such an investigation. He could cite a letter Clinton sent to the Senate recommending passage of the treaty, which lists a number of ways assistance can be rendered, with a final catch-all for “any other form of assistance not prohibited by the laws of the requested state.”

If Trump then explicitly tied US financial and military assistance meant for Ukraine to President Zelensky initiating that investigation against the nonpolitical father and son, no one would bat an eye. In fact, many would commend Trump for applying that leverage. US foreign aid has often had explicit provisions about reducing corruption as a condition of the recipient country receiving the aid. A US president informally linking the two would be a nonevent.

It only became an event because the figures to be investigated were Joe and Hunter Biden. Here the proper question for Trump to ask is: So what? Yes, Trump might benefit politically from such an investigation, prosecutors and politicians often benefit politically from prosecutions, but does that exempt the Bidens from investigation of what are at least prima facie instances of possible corruption? Implicit in the Democrats’ case against Trump is the placement of the Bidens above the laws that would apply to anyone else (except perhaps other favored political figures).

If the prosecution in the Trump impeachment trial wants to contest that characterization and conclusion, then Trump’s defense should insist on calling father and son as witnesses to explain and be cross-examined. How does Hunter’s dealings with Burisma not make out prima facie corruption? How does Joe’s insistence that the prosecutor who was investigating Burisma be fired, and his threat to put a hold on foreign aid to Ukraine not make out prima facie corruption? Hunter, Joe, and their defenders can explain why there should have been no Ukranian investigation, and why Trump should not have used all the leverage he had, including putting a hold on aid—just as Joe Biden threatened to do (and bragged about in a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations) to get the prosecutor fired—to prompt Ukraine to launch such an investigation.

If what Trump did is a crime, so too is what Joe Biden did. However, because Biden publicly bragged about what he did, proving Biden’s criminal culpability would be far easier than proving Trump’s. 

It may be news to Peggy Noonan, but unlike in the House proceedings, in the Senate Trump will be able to avail himself of two bulwarks of the American legal system: the Sixth Amendment and the hearsay exclusion. The Sixth Amendment protects defendants’ rights, “to be confronted with the witnesses against him;” and “to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor.”

The hearsay exclusion bars “testimony in court of a statement made out of the court, the statement being offered as an assertion to show the truth of matters asserted therein, and thus resting for its value upon the credibility of the out-of-court asserter.” Mutyambizi v. State, 33 Md.App. 55, 363 A.2d 511, 518. Hearsay is “evidence not proceeding from from the personal knowledge of the witness, but from the mere repetition of what he heard others say. That which does not derive its value solely from the credit of the witness, but rests mainly on the veracity and competency of other personsThe very nature of the evidence shows its weakness, and it is admitted only in specified cases from necessity. Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Edition, 1979, West Publishing Co. The 6th Amendment and the hearsay exclusion are related, they both embody fundamental fairness by recognizing a defendant’s right to confront and cross-examine witnesses against him.

While Adam Schiff was able to keep the whistleblower whose memorandum initiated the House’s impeachment investigation from testifying, such protection would not be available in the Senate trial. Trump has the right to confront his accusers. There are allegations that Schiff and members of his staff conferred with the whistleblower before the memorandum was publicly disclosed. Trump’s defense team could argue that Schiff, by conferring with the whistleblower and leading the House impeachment investigation, was also an accuser within the meaning of the 6th Amendment. If that argument prevailed, Schiff would have to testify and be cross-examined. Who knows where that might lead.

Trump would also have the 6th Amendment right to call friendly witnesses, not just to dispute the particulars of his alleged criminal conduct, but to challenge the credibility of adverse witnesses. Again, who knows where that might lead.

Trump would also contest the whistleblower’s testimony, and the testimony from many of the witnesses who appeared in the House proceedings, as hearsay. There is no doubt that the testimony is hearsay, so it would have to be admitted under one of the hearsay exclusion’s exceptions, which would be problematic. Even if it was admitted, the witnesses would be subject to cross-examination, and that didn’t always go so well for Schiff and company in the House. Noonan cited Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland’s testimony concerning the alleged quid pro quo that, “everyone was in the loop, it was no secret.” She said his testimony “was kind of the whole ballgame.” Watch Republican Representative Mike Turner’s shred that testimony.

Perhaps Noonan didn’t see that video.

The one item of evidence that’s clearly admissible is the transcript of Trump’s call with President Zelensky. The authors of that transcript would be available to testify as to its authenticity, which means it fits within a hearsay exception. It’s also conceivable that Zelensky, Trump, or both could testify as to the subject matter, tenor, and tone of their conversation.

The transcript contains no explicit mention of a quid pro quo. Both Trump and Zelensky deny a quid pro quoIf the hearsay presented in the House and the whistleblower’s hearsay are barred in the Senate, it would severely weaken the prosecution’s case. It may be news to Peggy Noonan, but the prosecution has the burden of proof (although it’s unclear if the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard would apply). Without the hearsay, the prosecution won’t have much in the way of proof, and there is evidence that arguably tends to exonerate Trump. Supporting the two presidents’ assertions of no quid pro quo,  Zelensky has not initiated an investigation of the Bidens, and Trump did eventually release the aid to Ukraine, although he may have been prompted to do so by the House, which was set to override his hold and release the aid.

In a conventional criminal case, the defendant can attack the integrity, impartiality, and conduct of the prosecution. If Trump is allowed to do so, he would have two strong lines of attack. Noonan approves of “the sober testimony from respectable diplomats,” who made it “clear in a new and public way that pretty much everyone around the president has been forced for three years to work around his poor judgment and unpredictability in order to do their jobs.” Whether that’s true or not, what is such testimony even doing in an impeachment investigation? Trump’s managerial style, and more importantly, his publicly expressed skepticism concerning some of the policies championed by “respectable diplomats” cannot be considered “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” (Article II, Section 4, US Constitution). Trump could object to such testimony on grounds of relevancy and argue that his accusers were trying to criminalize differences in policy and perceived shortcomings in his personal style.

Trump’s other line of attack would be to illuminate the Democrats’ many questionable ties to Ukraine, and argue that the real aim of their impeachment effort is to prevent him from possibly exposing and jeopardizing those ties.

Ostensibly, Ukraine is a minefield for Democrats. In 2014, the US sponsored a coup against Ukraine’s duly elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, who had aligned the country with Russia rather than the EU. That coup has not worked out well for the US. Russia quickly annexed Crimea, which had been part of Ukraine, and has aided a eastern Ukrainian separatist movement that favors Russia and bitterly resents the coup.

The puppet Ukraine government has been a corrupt money pit for Western aid, loans, and loan guarantees, featuring, among many questionable characters, a coterie that reveres Nazi Germany and the role it played in World War II. The Ukrainian government is a loser, but it’s our loser and Trump has doubled down on Obama’s failure, backing monetary aid and weapons shipments to the beleaguered nation.

Russiagate was launched by Ukrainian officials who disseminated rumors in 2016 that Trump was in league with Russia and later, openly questioned his suitability for the presidency. The DNC dispatched a contractor, Alexandra Chalupa, to Ukraine to search for compromising material on Paul Manafort, then Trump’s campaign chairman. In other words, the Democrats sought information from a foreign power to influence the 2016 election, precisely what they groundlessly accuse Trump of doing.

CrowdStrike, the firm that investigated the server the DNC wouldn’t let the FBI or NSA touch, was founded by Ukrainian Dmitri Alperovitch, a senior fellow of the anti-Russian Atlantic Council think tank, and funded by a fanatically anti-Russian oligarch, Victor Pinchuk, who donated at least $25 million to the Clinton Foundation before the 2016 election. CrowdStrike never even produced a final report on its Russian hacking investigation, and had to revise and retract statements it used to support its conclusion.

- “Make the Truth Irrelevant,” Robert Gore, SLL, 10/16/19

The reason the Democrats have repeated “quid pro quo” over and over is because that’s the one narrow point they can focus on without their Ukrainian shenanigans blowing up in their faces. Trump mentioned CrowdStrike and the possible Ukrainian initiation of the fruitless Russiagate investigation in his call with Zelensky. As the above-cited SLL article makes clear, those are two issues the Democrats definitely want to avoid, and they’re trying mightily to separate the issue of the supposed quid pro quo from the linked issue of Biden father and son’s possible corruption. The Trump defense team should pound the table on the Democrats’ odiferous involvement with Ukraine.

Impeachment is always a political process. Ultimately, legal considerations will be secondary to politics. However, the Democrats’ political strategy appears as flawed as their legal tactics. Assuming the House votes for impeachment, the case moves from the forum they controlled to the Senate, which the Republicans control. Never underestimate the cowardice of Republican politicians, but they cannot afford to roll on this one, given Trump’s popularity within the party’s rank and file. House Republicans voted unanimously against the impeachment proceedings. Any Republican voting in favor would have risked almost certain defeat in the next election. Republican Senators perceived as not giving Trump a fair trail, or who vote to convict, will suffer political backlash, especially those Senators up for reelection in the next election.

At the very least, Trump should be able to exercise all the rights afforded defendants in criminal trails. I have suggested ways he can avail himself of those rights, and he can hire attorneys who are far smarter and more experienced than I am. His team can mount a strong defense. Although the mainstream media will be solidly against him, and their commentary will undoubtedly be biased and tendentious, there will be wall-to-wall television coverage and thousands of YouTube videos, so people can see for themselves what transpires.

Those optics—to use a beloved Washington and media word—could well bolster support for Trump and hurt the Democrats. The Republicans may want to drag his trial out as long as possible. If his defense is effective and the Senate votes not to convict, the Democrats will have given him the last word as the House impeachment hearings fade from memory. He will have a golden campaign issue to rally his base and the Democrats will be even more discredited than they were after the Mueller report (with everyone but there own rabid base).

Trump’s defenders have a solid defense if they’re given a fair chance to present it in a forum governed by the standard precepts of American law. If Peggy Noonan’s column represents what the Wall Street Journal considers informed thought and commentary, I’m glad I cancelled my subscription long ago.

Tyler Durden Wed, 11/27/2019 - 18:35
Tags
Published:11/27/2019 5:49:34 PM
[] Judge delays Flynn's sentencing to wait for IG report Michael Flynn was set to be sentenced next month for lying to the FBI but today the judge in the case decided to postpone the sentencing until after the release of the DOJ Inspector General's report on the Russia investigation.

The DOJ and Flynn attorneys cited media reports about the]] Published:11/27/2019 4:23:17 PM

[Politics] NY Times: DOJ IG to Fault FBI on Carter Page Wiretap Steps The Justice Department's inspector general found the FBI was "careless and unprofessional" in pursuing a wiretap of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, but found no evidence the FBI tried to place undercover agents or informants, The New York Times reported. Published:11/27/2019 3:53:38 PM
[Markets] Walter Williams Asks "Who Are The Real Racists?" Walter Williams Asks "Who Are The Real Racists?"

Authored by Walter Williams, op-ed via Townhall.com,

Former presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said that racism in America is "foundational" and that people of color were under "mortal threat" from the "white supremacist in the White House."

Pete Buttigieg chimed in to explain that "systemic racism" will "be with us" no matter who is in the White House.

Senator Cory Booker called for "attacking systemic racism" in the "racially biased" criminal justice system.

Let's follow up by examining Booker's concern about a "racially biased" criminal justice system.

To do that, we can turn to a recent article by Heather Mac Donald, who is a senior fellow at the New York-based Manhattan Institute. She is a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. Her most recent article, "A Platform of Urban Decline," which appeared in Manhattan Institute's publication Eye On The News, addresses race and crime. She reveals government statistics you've never read before.

According to leftist rhetoric, whites pose a severe, if not mortal, threat to blacks. Mac Donald says that may have once been true, but it is no longer so today. To make her case, she uses the latest Bureau of Justice Statistics 2018 survey of criminal victimization. Mac Donald writes:

"According to the study, there were 593,598 interracial violent victimizations (excluding homicide) between blacks and whites last year, including white-on-black and black-on-white attacks.

Blacks committed 537,204 of those interracial felonies, or 90 percent, and whites committed 56,394 of them, or less than 10 percent.

That ratio is becoming more skewed, despite the Democratic claim of Trump-inspired white violence. In 2012-13, blacks committed 85 percent of all interracial victimizations between blacks and whites; whites committed 15 percent. From 2015 to 2018, the total number of white victims and the incidence of white victimization have grown as well."

There are other stark figures not talked about often. According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting for 2018, of the homicide victims for whom race was known, 53.3% were black, 43.8% were white and 2.8% were of other races. In cases where the race of the offender was known, 54.9% were black, 42.4% were white, and 2.7% were of other races.

White and black liberals, who claim that blacks face a "mortal threat" from the "white supremacist in the White House" are perpetuating a cruel hoax. The primary victims of that hoax are black people. We face the difficult, and sometimes embarrassing, task of confronting reality.

Mac Donald says that Barack Obama's 2008 Father's Day speech in Chicago would be seen today as an "unforgivable outburst of white supremacy." Here's what Obama told his predominantly black audience in a South Side church:

"If we are honest with ourselves," too many fathers are "missing -- missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men."

Then-Senator Obama went on to say,

"Children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison."

White liberals deem that any speaker's references to personal responsibility brands the speaker as bigoted. Black people cannot afford to buy into the white liberal agenda. White liberals don't pay the same price. They don't live in neighborhoods where their children can get shot simply sitting on their porches. White liberals don't go to bed with the sounds of gunshots. White liberals don't live in neighborhoods that have become economic wastelands. Their children don't attend violent schools where they have to enter through metal detectors. White liberals help the Democratic Party maintain political control over cities, where many black residents live in despair, such as Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago.

Black people cannot afford to remain fodder for the liberal agenda. With that in mind, we should not be a one-party people in a two-party system.

Tyler Durden Wed, 11/27/2019 - 14:55
Published:11/27/2019 2:18:04 PM
[Markets] Senior Deutsche Bank Exec Linked To Millions In Donald Trump Loans Commits Suicide Senior Deutsche Bank Exec Linked To Millions In Donald Trump Loans Commits Suicide

During the past few years we extensively covered a bizarre surge in banker suicides, pointing out the various conspiracy theories linking various high-level bank executives and inside scandals at the very highest levels across financial institutions, and no bank had more high profile suicides than Deutsche Bank.

It all started on January 26, 2014 when a 58-year-old former senior executive at German investment bank behemoth Deutsche Bank, William Broeksmit, was found dead after hanging himself at his London home. He had been involved in the bank's risk function and advised the firm's senior leadership; according to a suicide note found after his death, he had been "anxious about various authorities investigating areas of the bank where he worked" (we profiled the suicide extensively in "an Inside Look At Two "Unrelated" Banker Suicides Reveals A Fascinating Rabbit Hole").

Broeksmit's death appeared to set off an unprecedented series of banker suicides throughout the year which included former Fed officials and numerous JPMorgan traders. A few months later, in October, another Deutsche Bank veteran committed suicide when the bank's associate general counsel and former SEC enforcement attorney, 41 year old Calogero "Charlie" Gambino, who was found on the morning of Oct. 20, having also hung himself by the neck from a stairway banister.

Fast forward to this week when Thomas Bowers, a former Deutsche Bank executive and head of the bank's US private wealth-management division (i.e., the group catering to ultra wealthy clients), killed himself by hanging in his Malibu home last Tuesday, November 19th, according to the coroner’s initial report. Bowers was 55.

News of Bowers death was first reported by New York Times reporter, David Enrich, who is currently finalizing his book "Dark Towers" which includes extensive first-person accounts from Val Broeskmit, the son of the late Deutsche Bank risk executive, William Broeksmit who as noted above, hung himself in London in January 2019.

The University of Boston graduate was most recently Chief Operating Officer of Starwood Capital Group according to his bio: "Bowers is responsible for driving Starwood Capital’s priority strategic initiatives and enhancing the operational effectiveness of the Firm’s public and private operating companies and entities."

More notably, prior to joining Starwood Capital in 2015, Bowers was Co-Head of Asset and Wealth Management-Americas at Deutsche Bank, where has started in 2005 and was responsible for managing the U.S. and Latin American wealth management businesses, and had joint responsibility for the integration of Deutsche Bank’s wealth and institutional asset management businesses in the Americas. Bowers was also a board member of Deutsche Bank Securities: if anybody knew where the bodies are buried, he would be one of them.

Just as notable is that both Bowers and Broeksmit appear to have held key functions for Deutsche Bank's US wealth-management division, with Broeksmit operating through the murkier Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, or DBTCA.

But what is most remarkable is that according to a March 2019 report by the same David Enrich, Bowers was boss to Trump’s personal banker Rosemary Vrablic, who according to the NYT report helped steer more than $300 million in loans to Donald J. Trump in the years before he was elected president.

Rosemary T. Vrablic, circled at top right, allegedly helped steer more than $300 million in loans to Donald J. Trump in the years before he was elected president. Photo: Bloomberg

"Rosemary is widely recognized as one of the top private bankers to the U.S. ultra high-net-worth community," Bowers said in a September 2006 news release announcing Vrablic's hire from BofA's Private Bank. To lock the hire, Deutsche Bank reportedly paid Vrablic a $3 million guarantee, which back in 2006 was a lot of money for a private welath banker.

According to the NYT, Vrablic was "not a traditional private banker, and her bosses at Deutsche Bank encouraged her to be aggressive." Throughout her career, Vrablic was instrumental in providing Trump and his real estate organization with hundreds of millions in loans. As the NYT further adds, Trump "used loans from Deutsche Bank to finance skyscrapers and other high-end properties, and repeatedly cited his relationship with the bank to deflect political attacks on his business acumen. Deutsche Bank used Mr. Trump’s projects to build its investment-banking business, reaped fees from the assets he put in its custody and leveraged his celebrity to lure clients."

Trump's relationship with Vrablic was so close that she was "bundled in a hooded white parka in a fenced-off V.I.P. section" during Trump's 2017 inaugural address.

Here is where the rabbit hole gets deeper: according to ForensicNews journalist Scott Stedman, "one source who has direct knowledge of the FBI’s investigation into Deutsche Bank said that federal investigators haved asked about Bowers and what documents he might have."

Stedman also said that "another source who has knowledge of Deutsche Bank’s internal structure said that Bowers would have been the gatekeeper for financial documents for the bank’s wealthiest customers."

* * *

So is Bowers, Ms. Vrablic's former boss, linked to the loans made to Trump by Deutsche Bank, and was he indeed targeted by the FBI for his knowledge of DB's secret dealings? Most importantly, was his suicide in any way a result of these loose ends?

While the answer is unknown as of this moment, we paraphrase Enrich when he wrote that after "Trump won the 2016 election, the German bank shifted into damage-control mode, bracing for an onslaught of public scrutiny, according to several people involved in the internal response." It is possible that that scrutiny may have now cost the life of one more Deutsche Banker.

Tyler Durden Wed, 11/27/2019 - 13:12
Published:11/27/2019 12:18:46 PM
[Markets] Obama-Holdover Heading Russia-Probe Office Under Investigation For "Illegally Leaked" Classified Document Obama-Holdover Heading Russia-Probe Office Under Investigation For "Illegally Leaked" Classified Document

Authored by Christopher Hull via The Epoch Times,

The Obama holdover heading the Pentagon office reportedly under investigation by the U.S. attorney who is conducting the criminal probe of the Trump–Russia investigation was accused of leaking a classified document, in a recent court filing for retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

The connection hasn’t been previously reported.

According to a Nov. 21 report by independent journalist Sara Carter, U.S. Attorney John Durham is questioning personnel in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA). ONA awarded about $1 million in contracts to FBI informant Stefan Halper, who appears to have played a key role in alleged U.S. intelligence agency spying on 2016 Trump campaign advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

In addition, however, a court filing indicates that ONA’s director, James H. Baker, “is believed to be the person who illegally leaked the transcript of Mr. Flynn’s calls” to The Washington Post. Specifically, the filing states, “ONA Director Baker regularly lunched with Washington Post Reporter David Ignatius.”

The filing adds that Baker “was Halper’s ‘handler’” at ONA. Moreover, according to the court filing, the tasks assigned to “known long-time operative for the CIA/FBI” Halper “seem to have included slandering Mr. Flynn with accusations of having an affair with a young professor (a British national of Russian descent).”

Baker didn’t respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times as of press time.

The filing notes that Flynn’s defense team has requested phone records for then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, likewise in order to confirm contacts with Ignatius. The filing singles out records for Jan. 10, 2017, when, according to the filing, “Clapper told Ignatius in words to the effect of ‘take the kill shot on Flynn.’”

Clapper didn’t respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times as of press time.

The Pentagon’s current inspector general has already found that Baker’s office “did not maintain documentation of the work performed by Professor Halper or any communication that ONA personnel had with Professor Halper.” As a result, according to the inspector general, ONA staff “could not provide sufficient documentation that Professor Halper conducted all of his work in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.”

Acting Pentagon Inspector General Glenn A. Fine in November 2017 started an investigation into charges that Baker retaliated against a whistleblower who red-flagged “rigged” contracts, including Halper’s. Another $11 million in contracts under scrutiny went to the Long Term Strategy Group (LTSG), which is run by a schoolmate of Chelsea Clinton, whom she has referred to as her “best friend.”

According to the whistleblower’s attorney, “Baker’s interest was his awareness of the LTSG-Clinton connection; his presumptive desire to exploit that to his advantage in the event of a Clinton election win; and the fact that contractors like LTSG served as a lucrative landing pad for ONA retirees.”

The attorney charged that Baker’s claims about the whistleblower were “demonstrably false,” calling Baker “partisan and highly vindictive.”

At the time, Richard Perle, Ronald Reagan’s former Assistant Secretary of Defense, called Baker “a shallow and manipulative character that should have gone with the change in administration.” Perle further charged that the whistleblower “clearly was the target, for political reasons, of an effort to push him out of government,” saying “he’s a Trump loyalist, and it was launched and sustained by an Obama holdover.”

That inquiry is being carried out by the inspector general’s Investigations of Senior Officials Directorate.

Raising additional questions, a 2016 report further revealed that the ONA had failed to produce the top-secret net assessments the office was established to conduct for more than 10 years, even with a yearly budget approaching $20 million.

Baker was named as ONA director on May 14, 2015, during the Obama administration. A contemporaneous report called his appointment “part of a wave of new Pentagon personnel moves in recent days, senior-level officials who will outlast President Obama’s final term in office.” Baker replaced Andrew W. Marshall, nicknamed “Yoda” for his “wizened appearance, fanatical following in defense circles, and enigmatic nature.” Obama Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in selecting Baker, “passed over several of Marshall’s acolytes who were in the running for the position.”

The House Judiciary and Oversight committees—which interviewed almost two dozen witnesses—concluded in December 2018 that the Obama Justice Department treated Trump and Clinton unequally, affording Clinton and her associates extraordinary accommodations, while potentially abusing surveillance powers to investigate Trump’s associates.

Jacqueline Deal, president of LTSG, wrote in an email to The Epoch Times: “My colleagues and I began performing work in support of the Office of Net Assessment during the George W. Bush administration, over a decade before the office’s current director was appointed. … None of the awards received by LTSG from the Department of Defense resulted directly or indirectly from the actions or influence of Secretary [Hillary] Clinton. Any statement or implication otherwise is false.”

Tyler Durden Wed, 11/27/2019 - 12:05
Tags
Published:11/27/2019 11:21:08 AM
[Markets] "Washington, The Cesspool Of The World, Will Never Rat On Itself..." "Washington, The Cesspool Of The World, Will Never Rat On Itself..."

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

Former US Attorney Joe diGenova predicts that US Justice (sic) Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the Obama regime’s FISA court violations and US Attorney John Durham’s criminal investigation of the Russiagate hoax perpetrated by the CIA, FBI, Democratic National Committee, and presstitute media will be “very bad for people in the Obama administration. . . . it’s going to be devastating . . . it’s going to ruin careers.”

For the sake of accountable government, I hope that Mr. diGenova is right. But I have my doubts. Cabinet departments and government agencies are not very good at investigating themselves. Attorney General Barr’s job is to protect his department. He knows, and will be often told, that to bring indictments against Justice Department officials would discredit the Justice Department in the public’s mind. It would affect the attitude of juries toward DOJ prosecutions. John Durham knows the same thing. He also knows that he will create a hostile environment for himself if he indicts DOJ officials and that when he joins a law firm to capitalize on his experience as a US Attorney, he will not receive the usual favors when he represents clients against DOJ charges. Horowitz knows that his job is to coverup or minimize any illegalities in order to protect the Department of Justice from scandals.

In Washington coverups are the rule, and the DOJ coverup might already have begun. One sign of a coverup is to announce a future release date of the report. This has now occurred with Horowitz’s report on the FISA violations. The purpose of such announcements is to allow the report to be discredited in advance and to be old news by the time it appears.

Another sign of a coverup is the use of leaks to shift the focus from high level officials to lowly underlings, and this has happened with the Horowitz report, which has leaked that a low level FBI attorney is under criminal investigation for allegedly falsifying a document related to the surveillance of former Trump campaign official Carter Page in 2016. According to the leak, the FBI attorney has acknowledged that he did alter the document.

In other words, it seems we are being prepared for a false story that the plot against Trump originated in lower levels and not with CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and the rest.

This is the way the coverups of the US torture prison, Abu Ghraib, in Afghanistan was handled and the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. Only the underlings take the hit as if they were in charge acting on their own, independently of their superiors.

Another sign that a coverup is in place is Attorney General Barr’s assurance that Jeffrey Epstein killed himself and that evidence to the contrary is just a series of coincidences that, misunderstood, resulted in a conspiracy theory. Caitlin Johnstone gives this short shrift.

Barr claims to have personally reviewed security footage that no one entered the area where Epstein was imprisoned. Previously we were told that the security cameras were not turned on, so what security footage did Barr review? Can the rest of us see the “evidence”?

Barr also in his pronouncement evaded the remarks of the Chief Medical Examiner, who stated clearly that the damage to Epstein’s neck is not consistent with suicide but is associated with strangulation.

There was no reason whatsoever for Epstein to kill himself. He had so much dirt on the Western political elite that he could not be given his day in open court. So he was murdered. The question is, why was he picked up and murdered? Was he using the pedophile information to exact blackmail payments from those he had provided with underage sex? Is it possible for an elite society to be more corrupt than the Western elite society is? How can the West survive when its elites are corrupt beyond comprehension?

That Epstein did not kill himself is completely obvious, so when AG William Barr covers up Epstein’s murder, this is an indication that he will cover up the military/security complex/DNC/presstitute coup against President Trump.

From what I know of Washington, I am certain that Washington, the cesspool of the world, will never rat on itself.

Tyler Durden Tue, 11/26/2019 - 20:05
Published:11/26/2019 7:13:55 PM
[Markets] John Solomon: Everything Changes In The Ukraine Scandal If Trump Releases These Documents John Solomon: Everything Changes In The Ukraine Scandal If Trump Releases These Documents

Authored by John Solomon via JohnSolomonReports.com,

There are still wide swaths of documentation kept under wraps inside government agencies like the State Department that could substantially alter the public’s understanding of what has happened in the U.S.-Ukraine relationships now at the heart of the impeachment probe.

As House Democrats mull whether to pursue impeachment articles and the GOP-led Senate braces for a possible trial, here are 12 tranches of government documents that could benefit the public if President Trump ordered them released, and the questions these memos might answer.

  1. Daily intelligence reports from March through August 2019 on Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky and his relationship with oligarchs and other key figures. What was the CIA, FBI and U.S. Treasury Department telling Trump and other agencies about Zelensky’s ties to oligarchs like Igor Kolomoisky, the former head of Privatbank, and any concerns the International Monetary Fund might have? Did any of these concerns reach the president’s daily brief (PDB) or come up in the debate around resolving Ukraine corruption and U.S. foreign aid? CNBCReuters and The Wall Street Journal all have done recent reporting suggesting there might have been intelligence and IMF concerns that have not been fully considered during the impeachment proceedings.

  2. State Department memos detailing conversations between former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko. He says Yovanovitch raised the names of Ukrainians she did not want to see prosecuted during their first meeting in 2016. She calls Lutsenko’s account fiction. But State Department officials admit the U.S. embassy in Kiev did pressure Ukrainian prosecutors not to target certain activists. Are there contemporaneous State Department memos detailing these conversations and might they illuminate the dispute between Lutsenko and Yovanovitch that has become key to the impeachment hearings?

  3. State Department memos on U.S. funding given to the George Soros-backed group the Anti-Corruption Action Centre. There is documentary evidence that State provided funding to this group, that Ukrainian prosecutor sought to investigate whether that aid was spent properly and that the U.S. embassy pressured Ukraine to stand down on that investigation. How much total did State give to this group? Why was a federal agency giving money to a Soros-backed group? What did taxpayers get for their money and were they any audits to ensure the money was spent properly? Were any of Ukrainian prosecutors’ concerns legitimate?

  4. The transcripts of Joe Biden’s phone calls and meetings with Ukraine’s president and prime minister from April 2014 to January 2017 when Hunter Biden served on the board of the natural gas company Burisma Holdings. Did Burisma or Hunter Biden ever come up in the calls? What did Biden say when he urged Ukraine to fire the prosecutor overseeing an investigation of Burisma? Did any Ukrainian officials ever comment on Hunter Biden’s role at the company? Was any official assessment done by U.S. agencies to justify Biden’s threat of withholding $1 billion in U.S. aid if Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin wasn’t fired?

  5. All documents from an Office of Special Counsel whistleblower investigation into unusual energy transactions in Ukraine. The U.S. government’s main whistleblower office is investigating allegations from a U.S Energy Department worker of possible wrongdoing in U.S.-supported Ukrainian energy business. Who benefited in the United States and Ukraine from this alleged activity? Did Burisma gain any benefits from the conduct described by the whistleblower? OSC has concluded there is a “substantial likelihood of wrongdoing” involved in these activities.

  6. All FBI, CIA, Treasury Department and State Department documents concerning possible wrongdoing at Burisma Holdings. What did the U.S. know about allegations of corruption at the Ukrainian gas company and the efforts by the Ukrainian prosecutors to investigate? Did U.S., Latvian, Cypriot or European financial authorities flag any suspicious transactions involving Burisma or Americans during the time that Hunter Biden served on its board? Were any U.S. agencies monitoring, assisting or blocking the various investigations? When Ukraine reopened the Burisma investigations in March 2019, what did U.S. officials do?

  7. All documents from 2015-16 concerning the decision by the State Department’s foreign aid funding arm, USAID, to pursue a joint project with Burisma Holdings. State official George Kent has testified he stopped this joint project because of concerns about Burisma’s corruption reputation. Did Hunter Biden or his American business partner Devon Archer have anything to do with seeking the project? What caused its abrupt end? What issues did Kent identify as concerns and who did he alert in the White House, State or other agencies?

  8. All cables, memos and documents showing State Department’s dealings with Burisma Holding representatives in 2015 and 2016. We now know that Ukrainian authorities escalated their investigation of Burisma Holdings in February 2016 by raiding the home of the company’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky. Soon after, Burisma’s American representatives were pressing the State Department to help end the corruption allegations against the gas firm, specifically invoking Hunter Biden’s name. What did State officials do after being pressured by Burisma? Did the U.S. embassy in Kiev assist Burisma’s efforts to settle the corruption case against it? Who else in the U.S. government was being kept apprised?

  9. All contacts that the Energy Department, Justice Department or State Department had with Vice President Joe Biden’s office concerning Burisma Holdings, Hunter Biden or business associate Devon Archer. We now know that multiple State Department officials believed Hunter Biden’s association with Burisma created the appearance of a conflict of interest for the vice president, and at least one official tried to contact Joe Biden’s office to raise those concerns. What, if anything, did these Cabinet agencies tell Joe Biden’s office about the appearance concerns or the state of the various Ukrainian investigations into Burisma?

  10. All memos, emails and other documents concerning a possible U.S. embassy’s request in spring 2019 to monitor the social media activities and analytics of certain U.S.  media personalities considered favorable to President Trump. Did any such monitoring occur? Was it requested by the American embassy in Kiev? Who ordered it? Why did it stop? Were any legal concerns raised?

  11. All State, CIA, FBI and DOJ documents concerning efforts by individual Ukrainian government officials to exert influence on the 2016 U.S. election, including an anti-Trump Op-Ed written in August 2016 by Ukraine’s ambassador to Washington or efforts to publicize allegations against Paul Manafort. What did U.S. officials know about these efforts in 2016, and how did they react? What were these federal agencies’ reactions to a Ukrainian court decision in December 2018 suggesting some Ukrainian officials had improperly meddled in the 2016 election?

  12. All State, CIA, FBI and DOJ documents concerning contacts with a Democratic National Committee contractor named Alexandra Chalupa and her dealings with the Ukrainian embassy in Washington or other Ukrainian figures. Did anyone in these U.S. government agencies interview or have contact with Chalupa during the time the Ukraine embassy in Washington says she was seeking dirt in 2016 on Trump and Manafort?

Tyler Durden Tue, 11/26/2019 - 10:55
Tags
Published:11/26/2019 10:12:16 AM
[Markets] David Stockman Exposes The Ukrainian Influence-Peddling Rings, Part 3 Of 3 David Stockman Exposes The Ukrainian Influence-Peddling Rings, Part 3 Of 3

Authored by David Stockman via AntiWar.com,

Read Part 1 here...

Read Part 2 here...

It’s beginning to seem like an assault by the Zulu army of American politics – they just never stop coming.

We are referring to the Russophobic neocon Deep Staters who have trooped before Adam’s Schiff Show to pillory POTUS for daring to look into the Ukrainian stench that engulfs the Imperial City – a rank odor that is owing to their own arrogant meddling in the the internal affairs of that woebegone country.

This time it was Dr. Fiona Hill who sanctimoniously advised the House committee that there is nothing to see on the Ukraine front that involved any legitimate matter of state; it was just the Donald and his tinfoil hat chums jeopardizing the serious business of protecting the national security by injecting electioneering into relations with Ukraine.

She warned Republicans that legitimizing an unsubstantiated theory that Kyiv undertook a concerted campaign to interfere in the election – a claim the president pushed repeatedly for Ukraine to investigate – played into Russia’s hands.

“In the course of this investigation,” Dr. Hill testified before the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment hearings, “I would ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.”

Folks, we are getting just plain sick and tired of this drumbeat of lies, misdirection and smug condescension by Washington payrollers like Fiona Hill. No Ukrainian interference in the 2016 US election?

Exactly what hay wagon does she think we fell off from?

Or better still, ask Paul Manafort who will spend his golden years in the Big House owing to an August 2016 leak to the New York Times about an alleged "black book" which recorded payments he had received from his work as an advisor to the Ukrainian political party of former president Yanakovych. As we have seen, the latter had been removed from office by a Washington instigated coup in February 2014.

By its own admission, this story came from the Ukrainian government and the purpose was clear as a bell: Namely, to undermine the Trump presidential campaign and force Manafort out of his months-old role as campaign chairman – a role that had finally brought some professional management to the Donald’s helter-skelter campaign for the nation’s highest office.

In the event, this well-timed bombshell worked, and in short order Manafort resigned, leaving the disheveled Trump campaign in the lurch:

…… government investigators examining secret records have found Manafort’s name, as well as companies he sought business with, as they try to untangle a corrupt network they say was used to loot Ukrainian assets and influence elections during the administration of Mr. Manafort’s main client, former President Viktor F. Yanukovych.

Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.

In addition, criminal prosecutors are investigating a group of offshore shell companies….. Among the hundreds of murky transactions these companies engaged in was an $18 million deal to sell Ukrainian cable television assets to a partnership put together by Mr. Manafort and a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin.

Mr. Manafort’s involvement with moneyed interests in Russia and Ukraine had previously come to light. But as American relationships there become a rising issue in the presidential campaign – from Mr. Trump’s favorable statements about Mr. Putin and his annexation of Crimea to the suspected Russian hacking of Democrats’ emails – an examination of Mr. Manafort’s activities offers new details of how he mixed politics and business out of public view and benefited from powerful interests now under scrutiny by the new government in Kiev.

The bolded lines in the NYT story above tell you exactly where this was coming from. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau had been set up by an outfit called "AntAC", which was jointly funded by George Soros and the Obama State Department. And there can be little doubt that the Donald’s accurate view at the time – that Crimea’s reunification with Mother Russia after a 60 year hiatus which had been ordered by the former Soviet Union’s Presidium – was unwelcome in Kiev and among the Washington puppeteers who had put it in power.

For want of doubt that the Poroshenko government was in the tank for Hillary Clinton, the liberal rag called Politico spilled the beans a few months later. In a January 11, 2017 story it revealed that the Ukrainian government had pulled out all the stops attempting to help Clinton, whose protégés at the State Department had been the masterminds of the coup which put them in office. Thus, Politico concluded,

Donald Trump wasn’t the only presidential candidate whose campaign was boosted by officials of a former Soviet bloc country.

Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

…President Petro Poroshenko’s administration, along with the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, insists that Ukraine stayed neutral in the race…..

But Politico’s investigation found evidence of Ukrainian government involvement in the race that appears to strain diplomatic protocol dictating that governments refrain from engaging in one another’s elections.

While it’s not uncommon for outside operatives to serve as intermediaries between governments and reporters, one of the more damaging Russia-related stories for the Trump campaign – and certainly for Manafort – can be traced more directly to the Ukrainian government.

Documents released by an independent Ukrainian government agency – and publicized by a parliamentarian – appeared to show $12.7 million in cash payments that were earmarked for Manafort by the Russia-aligned party of the deposed former president, Yanukovych.

The New York Times, in the August story revealing the ledgers’ existence, reported that the payments earmarked for Manafort were “a focus” of an investigation by Ukrainian anti-corruption officials, while CNN reported days later that the FBI was pursuing an overlapping inquiry.

Yet Fiona Hill sat before a House committee and under oath insisted that all of the above was a Trumpian conspiracy theory, thereby reminding us that the neocon Russophobes are so unhinged that they are prepared to lie at the drop of a hat to keep their false narrative about the Russian Threat and Putin’s "invasion" of Ukraine alive.

Needless to say, Fiona Hill is among the worst of the neocon warmongers, and has made a specialty of demonizing Russia and propagating over and over flat out lies about what happened in Kiev during 2014 and after. Thus, in one recent attack she claimed,

Russia today poses a greater foreign policy and security challenge to the United States and its Western allies than at any time since the height of the Cold War. Its annexation of Crimea, war in Ukraine’s Donbas region, and military intervention in Syria have upended Western calculations from Eastern Europe to the Middle East. Russia’s intervention in Syria, in particular, is a stark reminder that Russia is a multi-regional power…..

There is not a single true assertion in that quotation, of course, but we cite it for a very particular reason. Shifty Schiff & his impeachment tribunal have brought in Hill – and Lt. Colonel Vindman, Ambassador Taylor, George Kent and Tim Morrison previously – in order to created an echo chamber.

That’s right. The Dems are parroting the neocon lies – whether they believe them or not – in order to propagate the impression that the Donald is undermining national security in his effort to take a different posture on Russia and Ukraine, and is actually bordering on treason.
Thus, Adam Schiff repeated the false neocon narrative virtually word for word at the opening of the public hearings:

“In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire.”

That’s pure rubbish. It’s based on the Big Lie that the overwhelming vote of the Russian population of Crimea in March 2014 was done at the gun point of the Russian Army. And that event, in turn, is the lynch-pin of the hoary canard that Putin is seeking to rebuild the Soviet Empire.

So it is necessary to review the truth once again about how Russian Crimea had been temporarily appended to the Ukrainian SSR during Soviet times.

The allegedly "occupied" territory of Crimea, in fact, was actually purchased from the Ottomans by Catherine the Great in 1783, thereby satisfying the longstanding quest of the Russian Czars for a warm-water port. Over the ages Sevastopol then emerged as a great naval base at the strategic tip of the Crimean peninsula, where it became home to the mighty Black Sea Fleet of the Czars and then the Soviet Union, too.

For the next 171 years Crimea was an integral part of Russia (until 1954). That span exceeds the 170 years that have elapsed since California was annexed by a similar thrust of "Manifest Destiny" on this continent, thereby providing, incidentally, the United States Navy with its own warm-water port in San Diego.

While no foreign forces subsequently invaded the California coasts, it was most definitely not Ukrainian and Polish rifles, artillery and blood which famously annihilated The Charge Of The Light Brigade at the Crimean city of Balaclava in 1854; they were Russians defending the homeland from Turks, French and Brits.

And the portrait of the Russian "hero" hanging in Putin’s office is that of Czar Nicholas I – whose brutal 30-year reign brought the Russian Empire to its historical zenith. Yet despite his cruelty, Nicholas I is revered in Russian hagiography as the defender of Crimea, even as he lost the 1850s war to the Ottomans and Europeans.

At the end of the day, security of its historic port in Crimea is Russia’s Red Line, not Washington’s. Unlike today’s feather-headed Washington pols, even the enfeebled Franklin Roosevelt at least knew that he was in Soviet Russia when he made port in the Crimean city of Yalta in February 1945.

Maneuvering to cement his control of the Kremlin in the intrigue-ridden struggle for succession after Stalin’s death a few years later, Nikita Khrushchev allegedly spent 15 minutes reviewing his "gift" of Crimea to his subalterns in Kiev.

As it happened, therefore, Crimea became part of the Ukraine only by writ of one of the most vicious and reprehensible states in human history – the former Soviet Union:

On April 26, 1954. The decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet transferring the Crimea Oblast from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR…..Taking into account the integral character of the economy, the territorial proximity and the close economic and cultural ties between the Crimea Province and the Ukrainian SSR….

That’s right. Washington’s hypocritical and tendentious accusations against Russia’s re-absorption of Crimea imply that the dead-hand of the Soviet presidium must be defended at all costs – as if the security of North Dakota depended upon it!

In fact, the brouhaha about "returning" Crimea is a naked case of the hegemonic arrogance that has overtaken Imperial Washington since the 1991 Soviet demise.

After all, during the long decades of the Cold War, the West did nothing to liberate the "captive nation" of Ukraine – with or without the Crimean appendage bestowed upon it in 1954. Nor did it draw any red lines in the mid-1990’s when a financially desperate Ukraine rented back Sevastopol and the strategic redoubts of the Crimea to an equally pauperized Russia.

In short, in the era before we got our Pacific port in 1848, and even during the 170-year interval since then, America’s national security has depended not one whit on the status of Russian-speaking Crimea. That the local population has now chosen fealty to the Grand Thief in Moscow over the ruffians and rabble who have seized Kiev amounts to a giant: So what!

The truth is, when it comes to Ukraine there really isn’t that much there, there. Its boundaries have been morphing for centuries among the quarreling tribes, peoples, potentates, Patriarchs and pretenders of a small region that is none of Washington’s damn business..

Still, it was this final aggressive drive of Washington and NATO into the internal affairs of Russia’s historic neighbor and vassal, Ukraine, that largely accounts for the demonization of Putin. Likewise, it is virtually the entire source of the false claim that Russia has aggressive, expansionist designs on the former Warsaw Pact states in the Baltics, Poland and beyond.

The latter is a nonsensical fabrication. In fact, it was the neocon meddlers from Washington who crushed Ukraine’s last semblance of civil governance when they enabled ultra-nationalists and crypto-Nazis to gain government positions after the February 2014 putsch.

As we indicated above, in one fell swoop that inexcusable stupidity reopened Ukraine’s blood-soaked modern history. The latter incepted with Stalin’s re-population of the eastern Donbas region with “reliable” Russian workers after his genocidal liquidation of the kulaks in the early 1930s.

It was subsequently exacerbated by the large-scale collaboration by Ukrainian nationalists in the west with the Nazi Wehrmacht as it laid waste to Poles, Jews, gypsies and other “undesirables” on its way to Stalingrad in 1942-43. Thereafter followed an equal and opposite spree of barbaric revenge as the victorious Red Army marched back through Ukraine on its way to Berlin.

So it may be fairly asked. What beltway lame brains did not chance to understand that Washington’s triggering of “regime change” in Kiev would reopen this entire bloody history of sectarian and political strife?

Moreover, once they had opened Pandora’s box, why was it so hard to see that an outright partition of Ukraine with autonomy for the Donbas and Crimea, or even accession to the Russian state from which these communities had originated, would have been a perfectly reasonable resolution?

Certainly that would have been far preferable to dragging all of Europe into the lunacy of the current anti-Putin sanctions and embroiling the Ukrainian factions in a suicidal civil war. The alleged Russian threat to Europe, therefore, was manufactured in Imperial Washington, not the Kremlin.

In fact, in 1989 and 1990, the George H. W. Bush administration assured Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that if he accepted German unification, the West would not seek to exploit the situation through any eastward expansion – not even by “one inch,” as then-secretary of state James Baker assured Gorbachev. But Bill Clinton reneged on that commitment, moving to expand NATO on an eastward path that eventually led right up to the Russian border.

So Robert Merry said it well in his excellent piece on the entire neocon Ukraine Scam that is being paraded before the Schiff Show.

NATO, with just 16 members in 1990, now includes 29 European states, with all of the expansion countries lying east of Germany. As this was unfolding, Russian leaders issued stern warnings about the consequences if America and the West sought to include in NATO either Ukraine or Georgia. Both are considered as fundamental to Russian security.

True, many in western Ukraine have pushed for greater ties to the West and wanted their elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, to respond favorably to Western financial blandishments. But Yanukovych, tilting toward Russia, eschewed NATO membership for Ukraine, renewed a long-term lease for the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, and gave official status to the Russian language. These actions eased tensions between Ukraine and Russia, but they inflamed Ukraine’s internal politics. And when Yanukovych abandoned negotiations aimed at an association and free-trade agreement with the European Union in favor of greater economic ties to Russia, pro-Western Ukrainians, including far-right provocateurs, staged street protests that ultimately brought down Yanukovych’s government. Victoria Nuland gleefully egged on the protesters. The deposed president fled to Russia.

Nuland then set about determining who would be Ukraine’s next prime minister, namely Arseniy Yatsenyuk. “Yats is our guy,” she declared to U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. When Pyatt warned that many EU countries were uncomfortable with a Ukrainian coup, she shot back, “Fuck the EU.” She then got her man Yats into the prime minister position, demonstrating the influence that enables US meddling in foreign countries.

That’s when Putin rushed back to Moscow from the Winter Olympic Games at Sochi to protect the more Russian-oriented areas of Ukraine (the so-called Donbass in the country’s east and Crimea in the south) from being swallowed up in this new drama. He orchestrated a plebiscite in Crimea, which revealed strong sentiment for reunification with Russia (hardly the “sham referendum” described by Taylor) and sent significant military support to Donbass Ukrainians who didn’t want to be pulled westward.

The West and America have always been, and must remain, wary of Russia. Its position in the center of Eurasia – the global “heartland,” in the view of the famous British geographic scholar Halford Mackinder – renders it always a potential threat. Its vulnerability to invasion stirs in Russian leaders an inevitable hunger for protective lands. Its national temperament seems to include a natural tendency towards authoritarianism. Any sound American foreign policy must keep these things in mind.

But in the increasingly tense relationship between the Atlantic Alliance and Russia, the Alliance has been the more aggressive player – aggressive when it pushed for NATO’s eastward expansion despite promises to the contrary from the highest levels of the US government; aggressive when it turned that policy into an even more provocative plan for the encirclement of Russia; aggressive when it dangled the prospect of NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia; aggressive when it sought to lure Ukraine out of the Russian orbit with economic incentives; aggressive when it helped foster the street coup against a duly elected Ukrainian government; and aggressive in its continued refusal to appreciate or acknowledge Russia’s legitimate geopolitical interests in its own neighborhood.

George Kent and William B. Taylor Jr., in their testimony last week, personified this aggressive outlook, designed to squeeze Russia into a geopolitical corner and trample upon its regional interests in the name of Western universalism. If that outlook continues and leads to ever greater tensions with Russia, it can’t end well.

That is, what is being desperately defended on Capitol Hill is not the rule of law, national security or fidelity to the Constitution of the United States., but a giant Neocon Lie that is needed to keep the Empire in business, and the world moving ever closer to an utterly unnecessary Cold War 2.0 between nation’s each pointing enough nuclear warheads at the other to destroy the planet.

*  *  *

David Stockman was a two-term Congressman from Michigan. He was also the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. He’s the author of three books, The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution FailedThe Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America and TRUMPED! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back. He also is founder of David Stockman’s Contra Corner and David Stockman’s Bubble Finance Trader.

Tyler Durden Mon, 11/25/2019 - 22:25
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Published:11/25/2019 9:38:03 PM
[Politics] 4 Big Questions About the IG Report on FBI Surveillance of Trump Campaign

An internal watchdog’s report on Justice Department surveillance of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign is slated to arrive in early December–about the same time as... Read More

The post 4 Big Questions About the IG Report on FBI Surveillance of Trump Campaign appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:11/25/2019 5:41:24 PM
[Markets] First Look At Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell And Very Young Girls On 'Pedo Island' First Look At Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell And Very Young Girls On 'Pedo Island'

A former masseuse for Jeffrey Epstein who says he raped her on his private island, has provided photos of his secretive Caribbean compound to The Sun.

Chaunte Davies says she was raped by Epstein over the course of several years before finally parting ways with him in 2005. She told the Sun that the wealthy pedophile was arrested just five days after she gave the FBI and New Mexico Assistant Attorney General evidence against him.

Epstein receives a massage from assistant Sarah Kellen

Now 40, Chaunte says the ex-Wall Street banker performed a sex act on himself during their first massage session - and that she was "manipulated" into staying in their circle by Epstein's alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell. "Within weeks she was jetting round the world on his private jet and on to his island of Little Saint James," according to the report.

Chaunte Davies, Ghislaine Maxwell
Chaunte, top left, pictured with other girls on the island

Davies also revealed how Epstein bragged about his friendship with Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, and how Epstein used his relationship with the Duke of York to lure young girls into his orbit - at one point, allegedly having an orgy with Andrew and several young girls.

In 2015 court testimony, she wrote: “I was around 18 at the time. Epstein, Andy, approximately eight other young girls and I had sex together.

She said the other girls seemed to be under 18 and “didn’t really speak English”. This seemed to amuse Epstein, she claimed, who said “they are the ‘easiest’ girls to get along with”.

The duke has repeatedly denied the claims, which were later struck from the 2015 case. In his Newsnight interview he said he had “no recollection” of meeting Virginia and has denied any wrongdoing. -The Sun

"I was very aware of Jeffrey Epstein’s friendship with Prince Andrew and Fergie right away," she said, adding "It was one of several bragging tactics he used to further induce his power and privilege. He bragged a lot."

"He had framed photos of them in his residences. He bragged about how he’d lent money to the duchess."

Chauntae has demanded that Andrew speak to FBI agents as they move to nail Epstein’s associates.

Andrew insisted last week he had not noticed young girls surrounding Epstein.

But Chauntae said: “I hope he is ­honest. There is no way you could have been a friend of Jeffrey’s and not know what was going on.

“I don’t see how you could see somebody with another young girl all the time and there never being a conversation about it. It doesn’t add up.” -The Sun

Prince Andrew pictured with accuser Virginia Roberts and Ghislaine Maxwell

Chaunte also called Andrew's claim that Epstein was guilty of "unbecoming" behavior "pompous," adding "It’s minimalising something that has shattered lives." Andrew, a frequent guest on the island, was named in a lawsuit claiming that girls were forced to have sex with him.

During their first massage session, Chauntae says the ex-Wall Street banker performed a sex act on himself in front of her (Credit: The Mega Agency)

Epstein had been accused of trafficking girls as young as 12 through the island. According to the report, "One victim said she was raped up to three times a day and tried to swim across shark-infested waters to escape."

Maxwell about to come out of hiding?

According to a Sunday report in The Sun, Maxwell, 57, will emerge from hiding within days to speak with the FBI about her links to Epstein.

Sources say she is set to defend herself and the prince.

She has told pals she thinks the picture of them with Virginia Roberts, who claims she had sex with Andrew when she was 17, may have been doctored.

It was said to have been taken at her London home in March 2001.

A source said: “Like Andrew, she has no memory of it.

“Ghislaine thinks there are a lot of problems with the picture and it is very fishy.

“It is one of very few photos that does not bear a time and date stamp.” -The Sun

Tyler Durden Mon, 11/25/2019 - 14:55
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Published:11/25/2019 2:05:47 PM
[Markets] Here Is What The Horowitz Report Should Conclude Here Is What The Horowitz Report Should Conclude

Authored by Larry Johnson via Sic Semper Tyrannis blog,

You do not have to wait for the Horowitz report. I can give you a preview of what he should have found if he conducted an honest audit.

The following is not my opinion. It is based on the flood of information that has come out over the past two and a half-years surrounding the plot to destroy the Presidency of Donald Trump. When you read these facts it is easy to understand how dishonest and corrupt the FBI were in presenting a FISA application to spy on Carter Page. Helen Keller could see this is wrong.

Let me take you through this piece-by-piece (except where noted I am quoting from the first FISA application).

Let's start with the FBI claim that Carter Page was an "agent of a foreign government."

The target of this application is Carter Page, a U.S. person, and an agent of a foreign power, described in detail below. The status of the target was determined in or about October 2016 from information provided by the U.S. Department of State.

What information did State supply? Information provided by the notorious Christopher Steele. The Washington Examiner's Daniel Chaitin reported on this in May 2019:

Steele met Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec on Oct. 11, 2016, 10 days before the first warrant application was submitted, and admitted he was encouraged by a client, the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, to get his research out before the 2016 election on Nov. 8, signaling a possible political motivation. The meeting was described in notes taken by Kavalec that were obtained by conservative group Citizens United through open-records litigation. The notes show that Kavalec believed at least some of Steele’s allegations to be false.

Government officials told the Hill that Kavalec informed FBI Special Agent Stephen Laycock about the meeting in an email eight days before the FISA warrant application was filed. Laycock, then the FBI’s section chief for Eurasian counterintelligence, quickly forwarded what he learned to Peter Strzok, the special agent who was leading the Trump-Russia investigation.

There it is. Not an assumption. A fact. State passed a false report from Christopher Steele to the FBI and the FBI ran with it. A competent FBI Agent would have asked about the identity of the source of the information. Either the FBI failed to do this or it lied in the FISA application. The FBI had a responsibility to note that Steele was the sole source for the claim that Page was an "agent of a foreign power."

The application reiterates its basis for this assertion:

This application targets Carter Page. The FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian Government to undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law.

This is based on the false report from Christopher Steele as well as "cooked" intelligence provided by CIA Director Brennan. Brennan was passing off a low level Russian bureaucrat as a high level source with direct access to Putin. That was a lie.

The application then tries to bolster the lie by attributing the FBI's credulity by citing the U.S. intelligence community (an ironic oxymoron).

In addition, according to an October 7, 2016 Joint Statement from the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security (Election Security Joint Statement), the USIC is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations. The Election Security Joint Statement states that the recent disclosures of e-mails on; among others, sites like WikiLeaks are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. According to the Election Security Joint Statement, these thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process; activity that is not new to Moscow - the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europe and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. The Election Security Joint Statement states that, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.

This was a lie. The US Intelligence Community aka USIC had made no such formal determination. If they had there would have been a written document. There was no written document and no evidence that "all 17 intelligence agencies" had coordinated and approved such a document. The Intelligence Community Assessment would not be published until January 2017 and only the FBI, the CIA and the NSA signed off on that piece of fantasy.

After stating that Carter was a Trump foreign policy advisor the FBI insists in the application:

The FBI believes that the Russian Government's efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with Candidate #l's campaign (i.e. Trump).

That belief was based on the bogus information passed to State Department by Christopher Steele. It was a lie. They had no evidence and, more importantly, obtained no validation as a result of spying authorized by this outrageous application.

The FBI continues with this charade by outlining Page's previous cooperation in helping gather evidence that led to the indictment of two Russian intel officers in January 2015. Worth noting that Bill Priestrap, who was now running FBI's Counter Intelligence operations from FBI Headquarters, was the supervising agent in that operation and knew all about the role Page played in helping get the Russians. But the FBI put this into the application merely to foster the perception that Carter had an in with the Russians.

The FBI then disingenuously introduces Christopher Steele (i.e., Confidential Human Source #1) as the source for evidence about Page's supposedly nefarious activities:

According to open source information, in July 2016, Page traveled to Russia and delivered the commencement address at the New Economic School.7 In addition to giving this address, the FBI has learned that Page met with at least two Russian officials during this trip. First, according to information provided by an FBI confidential-human source (Source #1), reported that Page had a secret meeting with Igor Sechin, who is the President of Rosneft [a Russian energy company] and a close associate to Russian President Putin. [Steele] reported that, during the meeting, Page and Sechin discussed future bilateral energy cooperation and the prospects for an associated move to lift Ukraine-related Western sanctions against Russia.

This was a lie designed to bamboozle the FISA court Judge. When you look at the footnote for Christopher Steele, we catch the FBI in another monster lie:

and the FBI is unaware of any derogatory information pertaining to Source #1.

The FBI fired Steele as a compensated human source within days of this FISA application. Getting fired for leaking information to the press without the approval of the FBI is "DEROGATORY INFORMATION. Why did the FBI lie on this critical detail? Let us hope Horowitz addresses this.

The footnote related to Steele also contains this disingenuous whopper:

Source #1, who now owns a foreign business/financial intelligence firm, was approached by an identified U.S. person, who indicated to Source #1 that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. person to conduct research regarding Candidate #l's ties to Russia (the identified U.S. person and Source #1 have a long-standing business relationship). The identified U.S. person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified U.S. person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #l's ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1's campaign.

The FBI knew that Glenn Simpson was working for Hillary Clinton. They failed to mention this. Instead, the FBI opted for the white lie of pretending that Steele, under Simpson's guidance, was just doing opposition research. The FBI can pretend they were just incompetent, but we now know that they were fully aware of Simpson's ties to the Clinton effort using the law firm as a cut-out.

The FBI continued feed out the lies of the Steele Dossier pretending they were verified facts:

Divyekin [who is assessed to be Igor Nikolayevich Divyekin] had met secretly with Page and that their agenda for the meeting included Divyekin raising a dossier or "kompromat"  that the Kremlin possessed on Candidate #2 [i.e., Clinton] and the possibility of it being released to Candidate #l's campaign.

This is an unverified claim. Regular Americans know it simple as another damn lie.

Then the FBI turns its attention to creating the propaganda meme that Donald Trump had cut a deal with Putin to lift all sanctions and hurt Ukraine. This is breathtaking in light of what we now know about real Ukrainian efforts to hurt Trump:

July 2016 article in an identified news organization reported that Candidate #1's campaign worked behind the scenes to make sure Political Party #1's platform would not call for giving weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian and rebel forces, contradicting the view of almost all Political Party #l's foreign policy leaders in Washington. The article stated that Candidate #l's campaign sought "to make sure that [Political Party #1] would ot pledge to give Ukraine the weapons it has been asking for from the United States." Further, an August 2016 article published by an identified news organization characterized Candidate #1 as sounding like a supporter of Ukraine's territorial integrity in September (2015], adopted a "milder" tone regarding Russia's annexation of Crimea. The August 2016 article further reported that Candidate #1 said Candidate #1 might recognize Crimea as Russian territory and lift punitive U.S. sanctions against Russia. The article opined that while the reason for Candidate #l's shift was not clear, Candidate #l's more conciliatory words, which contradict Political Party #1's official platform, follow Candidate #l's recent association with several people sympathetic to Russian influence in Ukraine, including foreign policy advisor Carter Page.

This was false information (i.e., A LIE) being fed to a pliant media by Clinton campaign officials and supporters. And the FBI buys it hook line and sinker. 

The FBI then brings Michael Isikoff into the act, who also is passing along information obtained from Christopher Steele. This is nothing but chutzpah by the Bureau. Shameful:

About September 23, 2016, an identified news organization published an article (September 23rd News Article), which was written by the news organization's Chief Investigative Correspondent, alleging that U.S. intelligence officials are investigating Page with respect to suspected efforts by the Russian Government to influence the U.S. Presidential election.· According to the September 23rd News Article, U.S. officials received intelligence reports that when Page was in Moscow in July 2016 to deliver the above-noted commencement address at the New Economic School, he met with two senior Russian officials. The September 23rd News Article stated that a "well-placed Western intelligence source" told the news organization that Page met with Igor Sechin, a longtime Putin associate and former Russian deputy minister who is now the executive chairman of Rosneft. At their alleged meeting, Sechin raised the issue of the lifting of sanctions with Page.

According to the September 23rd News Article, the Western intellig nce source also reported that U.S. intelligence agencies received reports that Page met with another top Putin aide - Igor Divyekm,, a former Russian security official who now serves as deputy chief for internal policy and is believed by U.S. officials to have responsibility for intelligence collected by Russian agencies about the U.S. election.

The FBI is pretending that this is another source to corroborate Steele. It is not. It is Christopher Steele talking to Isikoff.

The FBI at least made the pretense of giving Carter Page a chance to deny the allegations and he did in the strongest terms possible:

On or about September 25, 2016, Page sent a letter to the FBI Director. In this letter, Page made reference to the accusations in the September 23rd News Article and denied them. Page stated thatthe source of the accusations is nothing more than completely false media reports and that he did not meet this year with any sanctioned official in Russia. Page also stated that he would be willing to discuss any "final" questions the FBI may have.

The rest of the application is blacked out and presumably contains the FBI's explanation of why they believed Carter Page was lying. But it was the FBI who was lying. If those blacked out portions are declassified then we will almost certainly see that the FBI was claiming it had multiple sources contradicting Page when in fact, it only had one--Christopher Steele, a retired British intelligence officer. 

I draw this conclusion based on the FBI's stated conclusion in the application:

(U) As discussed above, the FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian Government . . .Based on the foregoing facts and circumstances the FBI submits that there is probable cause to believe that Page [and others whose names are blacked out, probably Michael Flynn] knowingly engage in clandestine intelligence activities (other than intelligence gathering activities) for or on behalf of such foreign power, or knowingly conspires with other persons to engage in such activities and, therefore, is an agent of a foreign power as defined by 50 U.S.C. § 1801(b)(2)(E).

The American people must wake up and understand how dishonest and stupid the FBI was in writing and submitting this baseless application to the FISA court. And we are not talking about low level flunkies who changed an email. Jim Comey signed off on these lies. Andrew McCabe signed off on this lies.

I will reiterate, if Inspector General Horowitz fails to highlight these clear and pervasive lies then it will be up to Attorney General Barr and Prosecutor John Durham to set things right.

Tyler Durden Sun, 11/24/2019 - 23:30
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Published:11/24/2019 10:32:14 PM
[Markets] Ukraine, Trump, & Biden - The Real Story Behind "Ukrainegate" Ukraine, Trump, & Biden - The Real Story Behind "Ukrainegate"

Authored by Eric Zuesse,

Since this news-report is going to be especially harsh regarding today’s Democratic Party in the United States, readers should be aware that until that Party nominated Hillary Clinton in 2016, this writer was, and consistently voted as, a Democrat, and that I have never been, and never could be, a Republican. In no way does this article reflect a Republican viewpoint. It is not partisan — not favoring one person’s viewpoint over any other’s. (Though it does favor trustworthy evidence over untrustworthy hearsay and witnesses, etc.) This article is written by a consistent progressive, which means a person whose top value is truth, nothing else than 100% honesty and reflecting only personally verified sources, real facts. Intense care has therefore been taken in checking and cross-checking and validating information before accepting here anything as constituting information instead of as being disinformation (which is sadly rampant). The following article is written only because it reports what my own independent researches have found to be the actual case regarding what is now commonly called “Ukrainegate” (the focus of the impeachment-proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump).

PART ONE: TRUMP’S 25 JULY 2019 PHONE-CALL TO ZELENSKY

The ‘news’-media and the Democrats have been grossly misrepresenting what the “Ukrainegate” narrative and the impeachment proceedings against the current U.S. President are all about; and, as a result of this widespread misinformation, ABC News headlined on November 18th, “70% of Americans say Trump’s actions tied to Ukraine were wrong: POLL”, and reported that “32%, say they made up their minds about impeaching the president before the news broke about Trump’s July phone-call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump urged his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.” This poll found that 100% of the 506 scientifically sampled respondents had heard at least some of the impeachment hearings, and that 51% of them agreed with the statement, “President Trump’s actions were wrong and he should be impeached by the House and removed from office by the Senate,” while 6% agreed instead with “President Trump’s actions were wrong and he should be impeached by the House but NOT removed from office by the Senate.” 25% agreed instead with “President Trump’s actions were NOT wrong.”

However, far more was actually involved in this phone-call than allegations against the Bidens; and those allegations regarding the Bidens have themselves been grossly misrepresented in the press, as this article will show, and will document in its links to the actual and most trustworthy evidence in the case. (Of course, the very best evidence is the call itself, and that will therefore be the first thing linked to and discussed here.)

Furthermore, the American public should have been far more skeptical about the Ukrainegate narrative than they were, because, at first, Democrats were trying to use, as their ground on which to impeach Trump — and thereby to install the current Vice President Mike Pence as being America’s President — Trump’s having colluded with Russia in order to win the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton, but that effort failed because it was false and was based on highly questionable evidence, supplied largely through a firm, Crowdstrike, that the Democratic National Committee had hired in order to find dirt against then-candidate and now-President Trump. Now the Democrats’ ground, for replacing President Donald Trump by his Vice President Mike Pence, is that in Trump’s 25 July 2019 phone-call to Ukraine’s new President Volodmyr Zelensky, Trump supposedly pressured Zelensky to have Joe Biden investigated.

One of the first signs of a liar is that the person switches his story — changes to a new and different reason for ‘justifying’ his actions (in this case, impeachment) — and this clearly is being done now by the Democrats and the ‘news’-media, in order to replace President Donald Trump by his Vice President Mike Pence. Consequently: Americans are insufficiently suspicious against the present impeachment hearings. Americans need to examine carefully beyond the mere surface — much deeper. The links here are provided in order to facilitate the reader’s direct access to the highest quality (i.e., most trustworthy) evidence in the case, so that the reader may see, on one’s own, what the ‘news’-media do not report.

25 September 2019 was when a clear and copyable version of the transcript of that complete July 25th phone conversation finally became published, online, by Rhode Island’s Providence Journal; and here is the only passage in the complete transcript where Trump mentioned Biden (three times, in fact — the only three times that the word “Biden” appears in the entire transcript):

Rudy [Giuliani] very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him, that would be great. The former ambassador [to Ukraine] from the United States, the woman [Marie Yovanovitch], was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the [U.S.] Attorney General [William Barr] would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me.

What “prosecution,” of whom, for what, and why? The media ignore those questions. when they aren’t simply assuming an answer to them. But no such answer ought to be assumed. Nor should these important questions be ignored. Here, the answers to those questions will be documented.

Furthermore, elsewhere in that conversation, Trump said:

I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike. I guess you have one of your wealthy people. The server, they say Ukraine has it.

Zelensky responded by asserting that “the next prosecutor general [in Ukraine] will be 100% my person” and that “he or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company [Crowdstrike] that you mentioned in this issue.” Nothing at all was said by Zelensky about any Biden, at any point in the entire phone-call. It wasn’t mainly about the Bidens such as the press alleges to be the case.

In fact: the “favor” that Trump was asking about wasn’t concerning the Bidens, but it instead concerned the investigation that Trump’s Attorney General (referenced here when Trump said “whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great”) is now heading, into the question of why Obama’s FBI and entire intelligence community had proceeded with the highly suspect Christopher Steele and Crowdstrike report that the Democratic National Committee had hired under Obama in order to come up with allegations to use against Trump, and why the Obama Administration never demanded to inspect the DNC’s own server in order to examine the key physical evidence in the alleged Russiagate case against Trump — much less, what testimony and evidence Julian Assange might have in the alleged Russiagate case. What did Trump mean when he said “The server, they say Ukraine has it”? Did Trump actually think that Zelensky could supply that physical evidence? What did he mean? What was he asking of Zelensky when Trump said, “The server, they say Ukraine has it”?

One can’t understand the impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump unless one understands accurately what was happening in Ukraine and what the motivations were of the persons who were involved in U.S.-Ukraine policy, first under U.S. President Barack Obama, and then under his successor Donald Trump. Information will be presented here, about those matters, which probably won’t come up in the House impeachment hearings. These matters are likelier to be publicly discussed afterward, when the case goes to the Senate, but might be too ‘sensitive’ to be brought up even there — especially if they make both Democratic and Republican officials look bad, such as, for example, if both Democrats and Republicans had participated in a February 2014 coup against, and overthrowing, Ukraine’s democratically elected Government, and — if that happened, as we will show it did — how this fact might affect Trump’s relationship with Zelensky. So: a lot is to be shown here, and this will be information that the ‘news’-media have been hiding from the public, not reporting to the public.

There are many instances of U.S. coups that the Government lied about and that afterward had negative blowback. The 1953 U.S. coup against Iran’s democratically elected Government wasn’t revealed to the American public until decades after it had happened. It had long been alleged to have been a ‘democratic revolution’ in Iran. Our Government and media have been lying to us for a long time, and not only about ‘WMD in Iraq’. We shall be documenting here that that 1953 coup in Iran (and other similar instances by the U.S. Government) is being repeated (yet again) in the case of the February 2014 U.S. coup that occurred in Ukraine. The regime is very effective at lying, at deceiving, at manipulating, its public, no less now than it was then. Without understanding the reality of Obama’s coup in Ukraine, there is no way of honestly explaining Ukrainegate. The 1953 Iran coup produced, as blowback, the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. Obama’s 2014 coup in Ukraine likewise is having its blowbacks, but of different types.

PART TWO: TRUMP’S PURPOSE IN THE 25 JULY 2019 CALL TO ZELENSKY

The argument to be presented here is that Trump, in this phone-call, and generally, was trying not only to obtain help with evidence-gathering in the “Crowdstrike” matter (which A.G. Barr is now investigating, and which also is the reason why Trump specifically mentioned “Crowdstrike” at the only instance in the phone-call where he was requesting a “favor” from Zelensky), but to change the policy toward Ukraine that had been established by Obama (via Obama’s coup and its aftermath). This is a fact, which will be documented here. Far more than politics was involved here; ideology was actually very much involved. Trump was considering a basic change in U.S. foreign policies. He was considering to replace policies that had been established under, and personnel who had been appointed by, his immediate predecessor, Barack Obama. Democrats are extremely opposed to any such changes. This is one of the reasons for the renewed impeachment-effort by Democrats. They don’t want to let go of Obama’s worst policies. But changing U.S. foreign policy is within a President’s Constitutional authority to do.

Trump fired the flaming neoconservative John Bolton on 10 September 2019. This culminated a growing rejection by Trump of neoconservatism — something that he had never thought much about but had largely continued from the Obama Administration, which invaded and destroyed Libya in 2011, Syria in 2012-, Yemen in 2015-, and more — possibly out-doing even George W. Bush, who likewise was a flaming neocon. Trump’s gradual turn away from neoconservatism wasn’t just political; it was instead a reflection, on his part, that maybe, just maybe, he had actually been wrong and needed to change his foreign policies, in some important ways. (He evidently still hasn’t yet figured out precisely what those changes should be.)

For example, on 15 November 2019, the impeachment focus was on the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, whom Trump had recently (in May 2019) fired as the Ambassador to Ukraine. Democrats presented her as having been the paradigm of professionalism and nonpartisanship in America’s foreign service. She was actually a neoconservative who had been appointed as an Ambassador first by President George W. Bush on 20 November 2004, after her having received an M.S. from the National War College in 2001. Obama appointed her, on 18 May 2016, to replace Geoff Pyatt (shown and heard in this video confidentially receiving instructions from Obama’s agent controlling Ukraine-policy, Victoria Nuland) as the Ambassador to Ukraine. Obama had selected Yovanovitch because he knew that (just like Pyatt) she supported his polices regarding Ukraine and would adhere to his instructions. Yovanovitch was part of Obama’s team, just as she had previously been part of George W. Bush’s team. All three of them were staunch neoconservatives, just as Ambassador Pyatt had been, and just as Victoria Nuland had been, and just as Joe Biden had been.

A neoconservative believes in the rightfulness of American empire over this entire planet, even over the borders of the other nuclear superpower, Russia. Obama’s standard phrase arguing for it was “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation”, meaning that all other nations are “dispensable.” This imperialistic belief was an extension of Yale’s ‘pacifist’ pro-Nazi America First movement, which was supported by Wall Street’s Dulles brothers in the early 1940s, and which pro-Nazi movement Trump himself has prominently praised. Unlike the progressive U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had planned the U.N. in order to be the anti-imperialist emerging first-ever global world government of nations, which would democratically set and ultimately enforce international laws of a new global federation of nations — a global democratic federation of sovereign republics — neoconservatives are U.S. imperialists, who want instead to destroy the U.N., and to extend American power over the entire world, make America not only the policeman to the world but the lawmaker for the world, and the judge jury and executioner of the world, the global dictator. The U.N. would be weakened to insignificance. This has gradually been occurring. It continued even after what had been thought to have been the 1991 end of the Cold War, and after Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his deceptive rhetoric. Yale’s John Bolton was the leading current proponent of the America First viewpoint, much more straightforward in his advocacy of it than the far wilier Obama was; and, until recently, Trump supported that unhedged advocacy for the neoconservative viewpoint: U.S. imperialism. Regarding the campaign to take over Russia, however, he no longer does — he has broken with Bolton on that central neoconservative goal, and he is trying to reverse that policy, which had been even more extreme than Obama’s policy towards Russia was (which policy had, in fact, produced the coup in Ukraine).

When the Cold War had supposedly ended in 1991, it ended actually only on the Russian side, but secretly it continued and continues on as policy on the American imperialists’ side. The neoconservative side, which controlled the U.S. Government by that time (FDR’s vision having been destroyed when Ronald Reagan entered the White House in 1981), has no respect whatsoever for Russia’s sovereignty over its own land, and certainly not over the land of Russia’s neighbors, such as Ukraine, which has a 1,625-mile border with Russia. Neoconservatives want U.S. missiles to be pointed at Moscow all along Russia’s border. That would be as if Russia had wanted to position Russian missiles all along Canada’s and Mexico’s borders with the U.S.; it would disgust any decent person, anywhere, but neoconservatives aren’t decent people. Neoconservatives (U.S. imperialists) seek for all of Russia’s neighbors to become part of the U.S. empire, so as to isolate Russia and then become able to gobble it up. All neoconservatives want this ultimately to happen. Their grasp for power is truly limitless. Only in the tactical issues do they differ from one-another.

In her testimony behind closed doors to Senators, on 11 October 2019, Yovanovich stated her views regarding what America’s policies toward Ukraine should be, and these were Obama’s policies, too; these views are the neoconservative outlook [and my own comments in brackets here will indicate her most egregious distortions and lies in this key passage from her]:

Because of Ukraine's geostrategic position bordering Russia on its east, the warm waters of the oil-rich Black Sea to its south, and four NATO allies to its west, it is critical to the security of the United States [this is like saying that Mexico and Canada are crucial to the security of Russia — it’s a lie] that Ukraine remain free and democratic [meaning, to neoconservatives, under U.S. control], and that it continue to resist Russian expansionism [like Russia cares about U.S. expansionism over all of the Western Hemisphere? Really? Is that actually what this is about? It’s about extending U.S. imperialism on and across Russia’s border into Russia itself] Russia's purported annexation of Crimea [but, actually, “Clear and convincing evidence will be presented here that, under U.S. President Barack Obama, the U.S. Government had a detailed plan, which was already active in June 2013, to take over Russia’s main naval base, which is in Sevastopol in Crimea, and to turn it into a U.S. naval base.”], its invasion of Eastern Ukraine, and its defacto control over the Sea of Azov, make clear Russia's malign intentions towards Ukraine [not make clear Russia’s determination not to be surrounded by enemies — by U.S.-stooge regimes. For Russia to avoid that is ‘malign’, she says]. If we allow Russia's actions to stand, we will set a precedent that the United States will regret for decades to come. So, supporting Ukraine's integration into Europe and combating Russia' s efforts to destabilize Ukraine [Oh, America didn’t do that destabilization?] have anchored our policy since the Ukrainian people protested on the Maidan in 2014 and demanded to be a part of Europe and live according to the rule of law [But Ukrainians before Obama’s takeover of Ukraine in February 2014 didn’t actually want to be part of the EU nor of NATO, and they considered NATO to be a threat to Ukraine. “In 2010, Gallup found that whereas 17% of Ukrainians considered NATO to mean ‘protection of your country,’ 40% said it’s ‘a threat to your country’.”] That was U.S. policy when I became ambassador in August 2016 [after Obama’s successful coup there took over its media and turned Ukrainian opinion strongly against Russia], and it was reaffirmed as that policy as the policy of the current administration in early 2017. [Yes, that’s correct, finally a truthful assertion from her. When Trump first came into office, he was a neoconservative, too.] The Revolution of Dignity [you’ll see here the ‘dignity’ of itand the Ukrainian people's demand to end corruption forced the new Ukrainian Government to take measures to fight the rampant corruption that long permeated that country's political and economic systems [and that still do, and perhaps more now than even before].

That’s just one example —  it’s about the role of Ambassador Yovanovitch. But the focus of Ukrainegate isn’t really that. It’s not Yovanovitch. It is what Trump was trying to do, and what Joe Biden was trying to do, and what Obama had actually done. It is also about Joe Biden’s son Hunter, because this is also about contending dynasties, and not only about contending individuals. Trump isn’t certain, now, that he wants to continue being a full-fledged neoconservative, and to continue extending Obama’s neoconservative policies regarding Ukraine. So: this is largely about what those policies actually were. And here is how Joe Biden comes into the picture, because Democrats, in trying to replace President Donald Trump by a President Mike Pence, are trying to restore, actually, Barack Obama’s policy in Ukraine, a policy of which the Bidens themselves were very much Obama’s agents, and Mike Pence would be expected to continue and extend those policies. Here will be necessary to document some personal and business relationships that the U.S. news-media have consistently been hiding and even lying about, and which might not come up even in the expected subsequent Senate hearings about whether to replace Trump by Pence:

PART THREE: THE CENTRALITY OF UKRAINIAN OLIGARCH IHOR KOLOMOYSKY

The real person who was the benefactor to, and the boss of, Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, at the Ukrainian gas-exploration company Burisma Holdings, was not the person that the American press says was, Mykola Zlochevsky, who had been part of the Ukrainian Government until Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in February 2014, but it was instead  Ihor Kolomoysky, who was part of the newly installed Ukrainian Government, which the Obama Administration itself had actually just installed in Ukraine (and that phone-conversation appointing Ukraine’s new leader is explained here), in what the head of the “private CIA” firm Stratfor has correctly called “the most blatant coup in history.” (Here’s more explanation of that coup which was done by Obama.)

One cannot even begin accurately to understand the impeachment proceedings against America’s current President Donald Trump (“Ukrainegate”), unless one first knows and understands accurately what the relationships were between Trump and the current Government of Ukraine, and the role that the Obama Administration had played in forming that Government (installing it), and the role that Hunter Biden had been hired to perform for his actual boss at Burisma, Kolomoysky, soon after Obama (via Obama’s agent Victoria Nuland) had installed Ukraine’s new Government.

As I had written on 28 September 2019“In order to understand why Ukraine’s President Voldomyr Zelensky doesn’t want the dirt about Joe Biden to become public, one needs to know that Hunter Biden’s boss and benefactor at Burisma Holdings was, at least partly, Zelensky’s boss and benefactor until Zelensky became Ukraine’s President, and that revealing this would open up a can of worms which could place that former boss and benefactor of both men into prison at lots of places.”

That article, at the phrase “dug up in 2012,” discussed and linked to a careful 2012 study of Burisma which had actually been done in Ukraine by an investigative nonprofit  (Antac) funded by America’s billionaire George Soros (who was another major funder of the 2014 Ukrainian coup, as well as of Barack Obama’s political career itself) in order to help to bring down Yanukovych. However, what this study found was not the incriminating evidence against Zlochevsky which had been hoped. It found instead that the person who owned the controlling interest in Burisma was not really the Yanukovych-supporter Mykola Zlochevsky; it was, in fact, the Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky, who supported Yanukovych’s overthrow. Kolomoysky, shortly after the coup, became appointed as the governor in a region of Ukraine, by the Obama Administration’s post-coup Ukrainian Government. Obama’s financial backer Soros knew, or should have known, that Zlochevsky had sold almost all of his Burisma holdings to Kolomoysky in 2011, but Obama’s Administration was nonetheless trying to get the newly installed Ukrainian Government to prosecute Zlochevsky because Zlochevsky was associated with the Ukrainian President whom Obama had just overthrown. Hunter Biden’s function was to help to protect Mr. Kolomoysky against being targeted by the newly installed Government in the anti-corruption campaign that the Obama Administration and the EU were pressing upon that new Ukrainian Government. Hunter Biden was to serve as a U.S. fixer for his new boss Kolomoysky, to deflect the anti-corruption campaign away from Kolomoysky as a target and toward Zlochevsky as a target. And Hunter’s father, Joe Biden, followed through on that, by demanding that Ukraine prosecute Zlochevsky, not Kolomoysky.

Soros isn’t really against corruption; he is against corruption by countries that he wants to take over, and that he uses the U.S. Government in order to take over.Neoconservatism is simply imperialism, which has always been the foreign-affairs ideology of aristocrats and of billionaires. (In America’s case, that includes both Democratic and Republican billionaires.) So, it’s just imperialism in America. All billionaires who care at all about international relations are imperialists; and, in America, that’s called “neoconservative.” The American issue regarding Ukraine was never actually Ukraine’s corruption. Corruption is standard and accepted throughout the U.S.-and-allied countries; but against countries they want to take over it becomes a PR point in order to win acceptance by the gulls, of their own country’s imperialism and its own associated corruption. “Our country’s corruption is acceptable, but yours is not,” is the view. That’s the standard imperialist view. Neoconservatism — imperialism anywhere, actually — is always based on lies. Imperialism, in fact, is part of nationalism, but it is excluded by patriotism; and no nationalist is a patriot. No patriot is a nationalist. Whereas a nationalist supports his country’s billionaires, a patriot supports his country’s residents — all of them, his countrymen, on a democratic basis, everyone having equal rights, not the richest of the residents having the majority or all of the rights. A nationalist is one-dollar-one-vote; a patriot is one resident one vote. The only people who are intelligently nationalist are billionaires and the agents they employ. All other nationalists are their gulls. Everyone else is a patriot. Ordinarily, there are far more gulls than patriots.

Information hasn’t yet been published regarding what Trump’s agent Rudolph Giuliani has found regarding Burisma, but the links in the present article link through to the evidence that I am aware of, and it’s evidence which contradicts what the U.S.-and-allied press have been reporting about the Bidens’ involvement in Ukraine. So: this information might be what Trump’s team intend to reveal after the Democratic-Party-controlled House of Representatives indicts Trump (send to the Republican Senate a recommendation to replace him by Mike Pence as America’s President), if they will do that; but, regardless, this is what I have found, which U.S.-and-allied news-media have conspicuously been not only ignoring but blatantly contradicting -- contradicting the facts that are being documented by the evidence that is presented hereConsequently, the links in this article prove the systematic lying by America’s press, regarding Ukrainegate.

After the Soros-funded Antac had discovered in 2012 that Kolomoysky ruled Burisma, the great independent Australian investigative journalist who has lived for 30 years in and reported from Moscow, John Helmer, headlined on 19 February 2015 one of his blockbuster news-reports, "THE HUNT FOR BURISMA, PART II — WHAT ROLE FOR IGOR KOLOMOISKY, WHAT LONDON MISSED, WHAT WASHINGTON DOESN’T WANT TO SEE", and he linked there not only to Ukrainian Government records but also to UK Government records, and also to corporate records in Cyprus, Panama, and elsewhere, to document that, indeed, Kolomoysky controlled Burisma. So, all of the U.S.-and-allied ‘news’-reporting, which merely assumes that Zlochevsky controlled this firm when Hunter Biden became appointed to its board, are clearly false. (See this, for example, from Britain’s Guardian, two years later, on 12 April 2017, simply ignoring both the Antac report and the even-more-detailed Helmer report, and presenting Zlochevsky — Kolomoysky’s decoy — as the appropriate target to be investigated for Burisma’s alleged corruption.) So: when Joe Biden demanded that Ukraine’s Government prosecute Zlochevsky, Biden was not, as he claims he was, demanding a foreign Government to act against corruption; he was instead demanding that foreign Government (Ukraine) to carry out his own boss, Barack Obama’s, agenda, to smear as much as he could Viktor Yanukovych — the Ukrainian President whom Obama had overthrown. This isn’t to say that Yanukovych was not corrupt; every post-Soviet Ukrainian President, and probably Prime Minister too, has been corrupt. Ukraine is famous for being corrupt. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Zlochevsky was corrupt. However, Kolomoysky is regarded, in Ukraine, as being perhaps the most corrupt of all Ukrainians.

Perhaps Kolomoysky’s major competitor has been Victor Pinchuk, who has long been famous in Washington for donating heavily to Bill and Hillary Clintons’ causes. For example, on 11 March 2018, the independent investigative journalist Jeff Carlson, bannered “Victor Pinchuk, the Clintons & Endless Connections” and he reported that

Victor Pinchuk is a Ukrainian billionaire.

He is the founder of Interpipe, a steel pipe manufacturer. He also owns Credit Dnipro Bank, some ferroalloy plants and a media empire.

He is married to Elena Pinchuk, the daughter of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.

Pinchuk’s been accused of profiting immensely from the purchase of state-owned assets at severely below-market prices through political favoritism.

Pinchuk used his media empire to deflect blame from his father-in-law, Kuchma, for the September 16, 2000 murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze. Kuchma was never charged but is widely believed to have ordered the murder. A series of recordings would seem to back up this assertion.

On April 4 through April 12 2016, Ukrainian Parliamentarian Olga Bielkov had four meetings – with Samuel Charap (International Institute for Strategic Studies), Liz Zentos (National Security Council), Michael Kimmage (State Dept) and David Kramer (McCain Institute).

Doug Schoen filed FARA documents showing that he was paid $40,000 a month by Victor Pinchuk (page 5) – in part to arrange these meetings.

Schoen attempted to arrange another 72 meetings with Congressmen and media (page 10). It is unknown how many meetings took place.

Schoen has worked for both Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Schoen helped Pinchuk establish ties with the Clinton Foundation. The Wall Street Journal reported how Schoen connected Pinchuk with senior Clinton State Department staffers in order to pressure former Ukrainian President Yanukovych to release Yulia Tymoshenko – a political rival of Yanukovych – from jail.

The relationship between Pinchuk and the Clintons continued.

A large network of collaborators, all connected to NATO’s PR agency the Atlantic Council, were also discussed and linked to; and, in one of the video clips, Victoria Nuland headed a panel discussion in Munich Germany at which numerous leading Democratic Party neoconservatives, and neoconservative foreign leaders, discussed how wonderful the “Deep State” is, and praised the Republican neocon John McCain, who had helped Victoria Nuland to install the fascist Government of Ukraine.

On 6 October 2019, Helmer headlined “UKRAINIAN OLIGARCH VICTOR PINCHUK IS PUTTING HIS MONEY ON JOE BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT AT $40,000 PER MONTH – THAT’S $3,000 MORE PER MONTH THAN BURISMA WAS PAYING HUNTER BIDEN”. He reported:

Joe Biden’s campaign for president, as well as his defence against charges of corrupt influence peddling and political collusion in the Ukraine, are being promoted in Washington by the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk through the New York lobbyist, candidate adviser and pollster, Douglas Schoen (left).

This follows several years of attempts by Pinchuk and Schoen to buy influence with Donald Trump, first as a candidate and then as president; with Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani; and with John Bolton, Trump’s National Security Adviser in 2018 and 2019. Their attempts failed.

Pinchuk has been paying Schoen more than $40,000 every month for eight years. The amount of money is substantially greater than Biden’s son Hunter Biden was paid by Pinchuk’s Ukrainian rival Igor Kolomoisky through the oil company Burisma and Rosemont Seneca Bohai, Biden’s New York front company.

Pinchuk’s message for the Democratic candidates and US media, according to Schoen’s Fox News [4] broadcast in August, is: “Stop killing your own, stop beating up on your own frontrunner, Joe Biden.”

On November 12th, the New York Times headlined “Ukraine’s President Seeks Face-to-Face Meeting With Putin” and reported that Zelensky is now sufficiently disturbed at the declining level of the EU’s and Trump Administration’s continuing support for Ukraine’s Government, so that Zelensky is desperately trying to restore friendly relations with Russia. The next day, that newspaper bannered “A Ukrainian Billionaire Fought Russia. Now He’s Ready to Embrace It.” This report said: Mr. Kolomoisky, widely seen as Ukraine’s most powerful figure outside government, given his role as the patron of the recently elected President Volodymyr Zelensky, has experienced a remarkable change of heart: It is time, he said, for Ukraine to give up on the West and turn back toward Russia.” Kolomoysky, in other words, who had been on Obama’s team in Ukraine, no longer is on the U.S. team under Trump. A reasonable inference would be that Kolomoysky increasingly fears the possibility of being prosecuted. Continuation of the Obama plan for Ukraine seems increasingly unlikely.

Here are some crimes for which Kolomoysky might be prosecuted:

Allegedly, Kolomoysky, along with the newly appointed Ukrainian Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, masterminded the 2 May 2014 extermination of perhaps hundreds of people who had been trapped inside Odessa’s Trade Unions Building after those victims had distributed anti-coup flyers.

Allegedly, Kolomoysky, on 20 March 2015, brought to a board meeting of Ukraine’s gas-distribution company UkrTransNafta, of which Kolomoysky was a minority shareholder, his hired thugs armed with guns, in an unsuccessful attempt to intimidate the rest of the board to impose Kolomoysky’s choice to lead the company. Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko, soon thereafter, yielded to the pressure from Ukraine’s bondholders to fire Kolomoysky as a regional governor, and then nationalized Ukraine’s biggest bank, PrivatBank, which had looted billions of dollars from depositors’ accounts and secreted the proceeds in untraceable offshore accounts, so that the bank had to be bailed out by Ukraine’s taxpayers. (Otherwise, there would have been huge riots against Poroshenko.)

Zelensky is squeezed between his funder and his public, and so dithers. For example, on 10 September 2019, the Financial Times reported that “The IMF has warned Ukraine that backsliding on Privatbank’s nationalisation would jeopardise its $3.9bn standby programme and that officials expect Ukraine to push for recovery of the $5.5bn spent on rescuing the bank.” Stealing $5.5B is a big crime, and this was Obama’s Ukrainian Government. Will it also be Trump’s?

There are others, but those could be starters.

So, both Kolomoysky and Zelensky are evidently now considering to seek Moscow’s protection, though Kolomoysky had previously been a huge backer of, and helped to fund, killing of the Donbassers who rejected the Obama-imposed Russia-hating Ukrainian regime.

Any such prosecutions could open up, to international scrutiny, Obama’s entire Ukrainian operation. That, in turn, would expose Obama’s command-complicity in the ethnic cleansing operation, which Kolomoysky’s co-planner of the 2 May 2014 massacre inside the Odessa Trade Unions Building, Arsen Avakov, euphemistically labelled the “Anti Terrorist Operation” or “ATO,” to eliminate as many as possible of the residents in the former Donbass region of Ukraine, where over 90% of the voters had voted for Yanukovych.

It could also open up the enormous can of worms that is George Soros, because though Trump doesn’t at all care about corruption in Ukraine (nor should he, since that’s a Ukrainian domestic matter and therefore not appropriate and certainly not a matter of U.S. national-security interest), Soros himself was quite possibly breaking both national and international laws in his interventions in Ukraine, and possibly also in his related investments or his threats not to invest there. Not only was he deeply involved in the coup but afterward he was regularly advising Victoria Nuland. Whether even America’s laws against insider-trading were violated should also be considered.

PART FOUR: TRUMP’S MANY POLICY-DILEMMAS REGARDING UKRAINE

If Putin offers no helping hand to Zelensky, what will happen to Ukraine, and to Ukrainians? Might Trump finally campaign for the United States to become one of the “States Parties” to the International Criminal Court, so that Obama, Nuland, Soros, and others who had overthrown Ukraine’s democratically elected Government could be tried there? How would Trump be able to immunize himself for such crimes as his own 14 April 2018 unprovoked missile-attack against Syria? How likely is it that he would ever actually become a supporter of international law, instead of an imperialist (such as he has always been) and therefore opponent of international law? He, after all, is himself a billionaire, and no billionaire has ever fought for international law except in an instance where he benefited from it — never for international law itself. Trump isn’t likely to be the first. But here’s how it could happen:

Donald Trump has surrounded himself with neoconservatives. There’s not much distance between his policies toward Ukraine versus Barack Obama’s and Joe Biden’s. However, after Trump becomes impeached in the House (if that happens) and the impeachment trial starts in the Republican U.S. Senate, there will then be a perfect opportunity for Trump to embarrass the Democratic Party profoundly by exposing not only Joe Biden but Biden’s boss Obama as having caused the war in Ukraine. In order for him to do that, however, he’d also need to expose the rot of neoconservatism. Nobody in Washington does that, except, perhaps the rebelling Democrat, Tulsi Gabbard, and she’s rejected in the national polls now by the public within her own Party. Neoconservatism is the uniform foreign-policy ideology of America’s billionaires, both Republican and Democratic, and this is why Washington is virtually 100% neocon. In America, wealth certainly doesn’t trickle down, but ideology apparently does — and that’s not merely neoliberalism but also its international-affairs extension: neoconservatism. Nonetheless, if a Trump re-election ticket were Trump for President, and Gabbard for Vice President, it might be able to beat anything that the Democrats could put up against it, because Trump would then head a ticket which would remain attractive to Republicans and yet draw many independents and even the perhaps 5% of Democrats who like her. Only Sanders, if he becomes the Democratic nominee (and who is the least-neoconservative member of the U.S. Senate), would attract some of Gabbard’s supporters, but he wouldn’t be getting any money from the 607 people who mainly fund American politics. The 2020 U.S. Presidential contest could just go hog-wild. However, America’s billionaires probably won’t let that happen. Though there are only 607 of therm, they have enormous powers over the Government, far more than do all other Americans put together. The U.S. Supreme Court made it this way, such as by the 1976 Buckley decision, and the 2010 Citizens United decision.

So: while justice in this impeachment matter (and in the 2020 elections) is conceivable, it is extremely unlikely. The public are too deceived — by America’s Big-Money people.

As the neoconservative Democratic Representative from Vermont, Peter Welch, said in the impeachment hearings, on November 19th:

And you know, I’ll say this to President Trump. You want to investigate Joe Biden? You want to investigate Hunter Biden? Go at it. Do it. Do it hard. Do it dirty. Do it the way you do, do it. Just don’t do it by asking a foreign leader to help you in your campaign. That’s your job, it’s not his.

My goal in these hearings is two things. One is to get an answer to Colonel Vindman’s question [“Is it improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a United States citizen and political opponent?”]. And the second coming out of this is for us as a Congress to return to the Ukraine policy that Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy both support, it’s not investigations, it’s the restoration of democracy in Ukraine and the resistance of Russian aggression.

He wants a return to Obama’s anti-Russian Ukraine-policy. Though Zelensky had won Ukraine’s Presidency by a record-shattering 73% because he had promised to end the war (which the U.S. had started), America’s Deep State are refusing to allow that — they want to force him to accept more U.S.-made weapons and more U.S. training of Ukraine’s troops in how to use them against its next-door neighbor Russia.

Furthermore, in some respects, Trump is even more neoconservative than Obama was. Trump single-handedly nullified Obama’s only effective and good achievement, the Iran nuclear deal. Against Iran, Trump is considerably more of a neocon than was Obama. Trump has squeezed Iranians so hard with his sanctions as to block other countries from buying from and selling to Iran; and this blockade has greatly impoverished Iranians, who now are rioting against their Government. Trump wants them to overthrow their Government. His plan might succeed. Trump’s biggest donor, Sheldon Adelson, hates Iranians, and Trump is his man. On Iran, Trump remains a super-neocon. Perhaps Adelson doesn’t require him to hate Russians too.

Furthermore, on November 17th, the same day when riots broke out in Iran against Iran’s Government, Abdullah Muradoglu headlined in Turkey’s newspaper Yeni Safak“Bolivia’s Morales was overthrown by a Western coup just like Iran’s Mosaddeg”, and he presented strong circumstantial evidence that that coup, too — which had occurred on November 10th — had been a U.S. operation. How could Trump criticize Obama for the coup against Ukraine when Trump’s own coup against Bolivia is in the news? America is now a two-Party fascist dictatorship. One criminal U.S. President won’t publicly expose the crimes of another criminal U.S. President who was his predecessor.

The next much-discussed witness that the Democrats brought forth to testify against Trump was America’s Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, on November 20th. Sondland was a hotels and real-estate tycoon like Trump. Prior to Trump’s becoming President, Sondland had had no experience in diplomacy. At the start of 2017, “four companies registered to Sondland donated $1 million to the Donald Trump inaugural committee”; and, then, a year later, Trump appointed him to this Ambassadorial post. Sondland evasively responded to the aggressive questioning by Senate Democrats trying to get him to say that Trump had been trying to “bribe” Zelensky. Then, the Lawfare Blog of the staunchly neoconservative Brookings Institution’s Benjamin Wittes headlined “Gordon Sondland Accuses the President of Bribery” and Wittes asserted that “today, Amb. Gordon Sondland, testifying before the House in the ongoing impeachment inquiry, offered a crystal clear account of how President Trump engaged in bribery.” But Sondland provided no evidence except his opinion, which can be seen online at “Opening Statement before the United States House of Representatives”, when he said:

Fourth, as I testified previously, Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky. Mr. Giuliani demanded that Ukraine make a public statement announcing investigations of the 2016 election/DNC server and Burisma. Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the President.

However, in his prior (closed-door) 17 October 2019 testimony to the Senators, he had said (pp. 35-6) that on September 9th:

I asked the President, what do you want from Ukraine? The President responded, nothing. There is no quid pro. The President repeated, no quid pro. No quid pro quo multiple times. This was a very short call. And I recall that the President was really in a bad mood. I tried hard to address Ambassador Taylor's concerns because he is valuable and [an] effective diplomat, and I took very seriously the issues he raised. I did not want Ambassador Taylor to leave his post and generate even more turnover in the Ukraine Mission."

That “Ambassador Taylor” was William. B. Taylor Jr., a West Point, Army, and NATO neoconservative, whom George W. Bush had made U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine in 2006-9, and whom Trump, at the suggestion of Trump's neoconservative Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, had appointed to succeed Ambassador Yovanovitch in May.

The testimony of all of these people was entirely in keeping with their neoconservatism and was therefore extremely hostile toward anything but preparing Ukraine to join NATO and serve on the front line of America’s war to conquer Russia. Trump might be too stupid to understand anything about ideology or geostrategy, but only if a person accepts neoconservatism is the anger that these subordinates of his express toward him for his being viewed by them as placing other concerns (whether his own, or else America’s for withdrawing America from Obama’s war against Russia) suitable reason for Congress to force Trump out of office. Given that Trump, even in Sondland’s account, did say “The President responded, nothing. There is no quid pro. The President repeated, no quid pro. No quid pro quo multiple times,” there is nothing that’s even close to a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard which is provided by their personal feelings that Trump had a quid-pro-quo about anything regarding Ukraine — a policy of Obama’s that Trump should instead firmly have abandoned and denounced as soon as he became President. Testimony from his own enemies, whom Trump had been stupid enough to have appointed, when he hadn’t simply extended Obama’s neoconservative policies and personnel regarding Ukraine, falls far short of impeachable. But right and wrong won’t determine the outcome here anyway, because America has become a two-party, one-ideology, dictatorship.

This is what happens when billionaires control a country. It produces the type of foreign policies the country’s billionaires want, rather than what the public actually need. This is America’s Government, today. It’s drastically different than what America’s Founders had hoped. Instead of its representing the states equally with two Senators for each, and instead of representing the citizens equally, with proportional per-capita representation in the U.S. House, and instead of yet a third system of the Electoral College for choosing the Government’s Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief, it has become thoroughly corrupted to being, in effect, just one-dollar-one-vote — an aristocracy of wealth controlling the entire Government — exactly what the Founders had waged the Revolution in order to overthrow and prevent from ever recurring: a dictatorial aristocracy, as constituting our Government, today.

*  *  *

PS: Though I oppose almost everything that the hearings’ Ranking Minority Member, the neoconservative (and, of course, also neoliberal) Republican Devin Nunes, stands for, I close here with his superb summary of the hearings, on November 21st, in which he validly described the Democrats’ scandalously trashy Ukrainegate case against Trump (even though he refused to look deeper to the issues I raise in this article — he dealt here merely with how “shoddy” the case the Democrats had presented was):

Throughout these bizarre hearings, the Democrats have struggled to make the case that President Trump committed some impeachable offense on his phone call with Ukrainian president Zelensky. The offense itself changes depending on the day ranging from quid pro quo to extortion, to bribery, to obstruction of justice, then back to quid pro quo. It’s clear why the Democrats have been forced onto this carousel of accusations. President Trump had good reason to be wary of Ukrainian election meddling against his campaign and of widespread corruption in that country. President Zelensky, who didn’t even know aid to Ukraine had been paused at the time of the call, has repeatedly said there was nothing wrong with the conversation. The aid was resumed without the Ukrainians taking the actions they were supposedly being coerced into doing.

Aid to Ukraine under President Trump has been much more robust than it was under President Obama, thanks to the provision of Javelin anti-tank weapons. As numerous witnesses have testified, temporary holds on foreign aid occur fairly frequently for many different reasons. So how do we have an impeachable offense here when there’s no actual misdeed and no one even claiming to be a victim? The Democrats have tried to solve this dilemma with a simple slogan, “he got caught.” President Trump, we are to believe, was just about to do something wrong and getting caught was the only reason he backed down from whatever nefarious thought crime the Democrats are accusing him of almost committing.

I once again urge Americans to continue to consider the credibility of the Democrats on this Committee, who are now hurling these charges for the last three years. It’s not president Trump who got caught, it’s the Democrats who got caught. They got caught falsely claiming they had more than circumstantial evidence that Trump colluded with Russians to hack the 2016 election. They got caught orchestrating this entire farce with the whistleblower and lying about their secret meetings with him. They got caught defending the false allegations of the Steele dossier, which was paid for by them. They got caught breaking their promise that impeachment would only go forward with bipartisan support because of how damaging it is to the American people.

They got caught running a sham impeachment process between secret depositions, hidden transcripts, and an unending flood of Democrat leaks to the media. They got caught trying to obtain nude photos of President Trump from Russian pranksters pretending to be Ukrainians, and they got caught covering up for Alexandra Chalupa, a Democratic National Committee operative, who colluded with Ukrainian officials to smear the Trump campaign by improperly redacting her name from deposition transcripts, and refusing to let Americans hear her testimony as a witness in these proceedings. That is the Democrats pitiful legacy in recent years. They got caught.

Meanwhile, their supposed star witness testified that he was guessing that President Trump was tying Ukrainian aid to investigations despite no one telling him that was true, and the president himself explicitly telling him the opposite, that he wanted nothing from Ukraine. Ladies and gentlemen, unless the Democrats once again scramble their kangaroo court rules, today’s hearing marks the merciful end of this spectacle in the Impeachment Committee, formerly known as the Intelligence Committee. Whether the Democrats reap the political benefit they want from this impeachment remains to be seen, but the damage they have done to this country will be long lasting. Will this wrenching attempt to overthrow the president? They have pitted Americans against one another and poison the mind of fanatics who actually believe the entire galaxy of bizarre accusations they have levelled against the president since the day the American people elected him.

I sincerely hope the Democrats in this affair [end this] as quickly as possible so our nation can begin to heal the many wounds it has inflicted on us. The people’s faith in government and their belief that their vote counts for something has been shaken. From the Russia hoax to this shoddy Ukrainian sequel, the Democrats got caught. Let’s hope they finally learn a lesson, give their conspiracy theories a rest, and focus on governing for a change. In addition, Mr. Chairman, pursuant to House Rule XI, clause 2(j)(1), the Republican members transmit a request to convene a minority day of hearings. Today you have blocked key witnesses that we have requested from testifying in this partisan impeachment inquiry. This rule was not displaced by H.Res.660, and therefore under House Rule 11 clause 1(a), it applies to the Democrats impeachment inquiry. We look forward to the chair promptly scheduling an agreed upon time for the minority day of hearings so that we can hear from key witnesses that you have continually blocked from testifying.

I’d also like to take a quick moment on an assertion Ms. Hill made in the statement that she submitted to this Committee, in which she claimed that some Committee members deny that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. As I noted in my opening statement on Wednesday, but in March, 2018, Intelligence Committee Republicans published the results of a year long investigation into Russian meddling. The 240 page report analyzed 2016 Russian meddling campaign, the US government reaction to it, Russian campaigns in other countries and provided specific recommendations to improve American election security. I would [have] asked my staff to hand these reports to our two witnesses today just so I can have a recollection of their memory. As America may or may not know, Democrats refused to sign on to the Republican report. Instead, they decided to adopt minority views, filled with collusion conspiracy theories. Needless to say, it is entirely possible for two separate nations to engage in election meddling at the same time, and Republicans believe we should take meddling seriously by all foreign countries regardless of which campaign is the target.

Later that same day, the New York Times headlined "The Impeachment Hearings Revealed a Lot — None of It Great for Trump", and CNN headlined "The public impeachment hearings were a total GOP disaster". The non-mainstream news-medium Zero Hedge instead bannered, “Amid Impeachment Circus, Dems Sneak PATRIOT Act Renewal Past The American People”, and reported that the “bill was pushed through with not a single Republican vote.” The following day, the AP headlined “Analysis: Mountain of impeachment evidence is beyond dispute” and closed “Asked what the consequences are if Congress allows an American president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival, [Fiona] Hill said simply, ‘It’s a very bad precedent.’”

The latest (2019) Reuters international survey in which over 2,000 people in each one of 38 countries were asked whether they agree that “You can trust most news most of the time” shows that the United States scores #32 out of the 38, at the very top of the bottom 16% of all of the 38 countries surveyed, regarding trust in the news-media. Reuters had previously found, in their 2018 edition, that, among Americans, “those who identify on the left (49%) have almost three times as much trust in the news as those on the right (17%). The left gave their support to newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times while the right’s alienation from mainstream media has become ever more entrenched.” In the 2019 edition, what had been 49% in America rose now to 53%, and what had been 17% sank now to 9%: the billionaires’ (i.e., mainstream) media are trusted almost only by liberals here. What the media report is considered trustworthy almost only by liberals, in today’s America. By 53% to only 9% — an almost 6 to 1 ratio — the skeptics of the billionaires’ press are Republicans. Of course, if the media are distrusted, then the nation can’t be functioning as a democracy. But the media will be distrusted if they lie as much as America’s do. Untrusted ‘news’-media are a sure indication that the nation is a dictatorship (such as it is if the billionaires control the media). In America, only liberals think that America is a democracy and therefore might possess the basic qualification (democracy) to decide what nations need to be regime-changed (such as America did to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Honduras, Bolivia, and is still trying to do to Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran again, Syria, and Yemen; but not to — for examples — Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Israel); and which ones don’t (such as America’s governmentally-annointed ‘allies’, including some barbaric dictatorships). Liberals trust America’s dictatorship as if it were instead a democracy. Conservatives do not; nor, of course, do progressives. FDR’s vision, of a United Nations which would set and enforce the rules for international relations (neither the U.S. nor any other country would do that), is now even more rejected by the Democratic Party than it is by the Republican Party. And the politically topsy-turvy result is Democrats trying to impeach the Republican Trump for his trying to cut back on Obama’s imperialistic (anti-FDR) agenda. Trump, after all, didn’t do the coup to Ukraine; Obama did.

* * *

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/23/2019 - 23:30
Published:11/23/2019 10:35:49 PM
[Markets] Fiat Fights Back: Chairman Rejects GM's Allegations Of Union Bribery Fiat Fights Back: Chairman Rejects GM's Allegations Of Union Bribery

It was just days ago that we reported that General Motors was suing Fiat, alleging that the automaker paid bribes to the UAW in order to secure favorable terms during labor negotiations. 

Now, Fiat is having their say. 

The company's Chairman, John Elkann, publicly rejected the allegations against the company's late CEO, Sergio Marchionne. Elkann said on Thursday: “We are not worried. I’m disappointed over the false accusations against Marchionne, who can’t defend himself.”

Later in the day on Thursday, GM CEO Mary Barra commented on the suit, saying it was “not a decision that we made lightly” and that its intent was to level the playing field, according to the Detroit News. “When we saw facts indicated that that was not the case, we felt it was in the best interest of all our stakeholders in the company,” Barra said.  

The charges threaten to tarnish the legacy of Marchionne, who is known for turning Fiat around. They may also wind up complicating the company's plans to merger with Peugeot owner PSA. 

Marco Opipari, an analyst with Fidentiis Equities said: "The lawsuit comes at a very delicate time for FCA, which also is negotiating a new labor contract. This is not a lighting bolt in the clear sky, as the federal anti-corruption investigation is ongoing."

Fiat commented on Thursday that its talks with Peugeot were "progressing well" and that it expects a binding memorandum of understanding by the end of the year. 

John Elkann and the late Sergio Marchionne

Elkann said the lawsuit came as a surprise, but that it didn't contain any new revelations. “There are no grounds for what we are being accused of,” he said. 

In the lawsuit against Fiat, General Motors alleges that Fiat corrupted collective bargaining agreements between GM and the UAW in 2009, 2011 and 2015 by paying million of dollars in bribes. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/23/2019 - 08:45
Published:11/23/2019 7:54:40 AM
[Markets] JFK: What The CIA Hides JFK: What The CIA Hides

Authored by Jefferson Morley via Counterpunch.org,

When I launched JFK Facts, a blog about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, in 2012, I was often asked by strangers, “So who killed JFK?”  “I don’t know,” I shrugged. “It’s too early to tell.” Given that the handsome liberal president had been shot dead a half-century before, my answer was a lame joke based on an apocryphal story. Henry Kissinger once said that when he asked Zhou Enlai, “What was the effect of the French Revolution on world history?” the Chinese statesmen replied, “It’s too early to tell.”

True to Kissingerian form, the story turns out to be not exactly true. Zhou was actually responding to a question about France’s political convulsions in 1968, not 1789.

But Kissinger’s spin on the anecdote struck me as perceptive.

The meaning of a great historical event might take a long time–a very long time–to become apparent. I didn’t want to jump to conclusions about the causes of JFK’s murder in downtown Dallas on November 22, 1963.

It’s still too early to tell. Fifty six years after the fact, historians and JFK researchers do not have access to all of the CIA’s files on the subject The 1964 Warren Commission report exonerated the agency with its conclusion that Kennedy was killed by one man alone.  But the agency was subsequently the subject of five official JFK investigations, which cast doubt on its findings.

The Senate’s Church Committee investigation showed that the Warren Commission knew nothing of CIA assassination operations in 1963. JFK records released in the last 20 years show the Commission’s attorneys had no real understanding the extensive counterintelligence monitoring of Lee Harvey Oswald before JFK was killed. We now know that senior operations officers, including counterintelligence chief James Angleton, paid far closer attention to the obscure Oswald as he made his way to Dallas than the investigators were ever told.

To be sure, there is no proof of CIA complicity in JFK’s death. And  conspiracy theories spouted by the likes of the Alex Jones and James Fetzer deserve no attention. The fact remains some of the most astute power players of 1963–including Lyndon Johnson, Charles DeGaulle, Fidel Castro, and Jackie and Robert Kennedy–concluded that JFK was killed by his enemies, and not by one man alone.  Did these statesmen get it wrong, and the under-informed Warren Commission get it right?

The new documentary, Truth is the Only Client, says yes. The film, shown last month in the auditorium of the U.S. Capitol, features interviews with numerous former Warren Commission staffers. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who served as a fact checker for the Commission in 1964, defends the lone gunman conclusion, saying, “You have to look at the new evidence and when you do, I come to the same conclusion.”

Justice Breyer, oddly, passes judgment on evidence he has not seen. The record of the CIA’s role in the events leading JFK’s assassination is far from complete. In 2013 I reported on JFK Facts that Delores Nelson CIA’s information coordinator had stated in a sworn affidavit filed in federal court, that the agency retained 1,100 assassination-related records that had never been made public.

A small portion of this material was released in 2017, including new details about the opening of the CIA’s first Oswald file in October 1959.

Yet thousands of JFK files remain secret.  According to the latest figures from the National Archives, a total of 15,834 JFK files remain fully or partially classified, most of them held by the CIA and FBI. Thanks to an October 2017 order from President Trump, these documents will not be made public until October 2021, at the earliest.

The assumption of Justice Breyer and many others is that any and all unseen CIA material must exonerate the agency. It’s an odd conclusion. If the CIA has nothing to hide, why is it hiding so much? While 95 percent of the still-secret files probably are trivial, the remaining 5 percent—thousands of pages of material–are historically pregnant.  If made public, they could clarify key questions in the long-running controversy about JFK’s death.

These questions have been raised most concisely by Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a career CIA officer who served in senior positions. Now a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center, Mowatt-Larssen has implicated his former employer in the Dallas ambush. In a presentation at Harvard last December, Mowatt-Larssen hypothesized that a plot to kill JFK emanated from the CIA’s station in Miami where disgruntled Cuban exiles and undercover officers loathed JFK for his failure to overthrow Castro’s government in Cuba.

Mowatt-Larssen has yet to publish his presentation and documentation, so I can’t say if he’s right or wrong. But he asks the right question: “How can intelligence operational and analytical modus operandi help unlock a conspiracy that has remained unsolved for 55 years?” And he focuses on the right place to dig deeper: the CIA’s Miami office, known as WAVE station.

My own JFK questions involve George Joannides, a decorated undercover officer who served as branch chief in the Miami station in 1963. He ran psychological warfare operations against Cuba. In 2003, I sued the CIA for Joannides’ files. The lawsuit ended 15 years later in July 2018, when Judge Brett Kavanaugh, in his last opinion before ascending to the Supreme Court, tossed my case. Kavanaugh declared the agency deserved “deference upon deference” in its handling of Freedom of Information Act requests about JFK files.

Nonetheless, my lawsuit illuminated the extraordinary sensitivity of the psy-ops Joannides ran out of WAVE station. As reported in the New York Times, Fox News, Associated Press, and PoliticoMorley v. CIA forced disclosure of the fact Joannides had received the CIA’s Career Intelligence Medal  in 1981. The honor came two years after he stonewalled the House Select Committee on Assassination about what he knew of Oswald’s contacts with pro-and anti-Castro Cubans in the summer and fall of 1963.

I believe Joannides was honored because he concealed the existence of an authorized covert operation involving Oswald that has never been publicly acknowledged. In CIA lingo, Joannides protected the agency’s “sources and methods” concerning Oswald.  And he might have done more. His actions may have also shielded other officers who knew of a scheme to kill the liberal president and lay the blame on Cuba.

Never been seen by JFK investigators, they contain details about his Joannides’ undercover work in Miami in 1963, when he funded Oswald’s antagonists among the anti-Castro Cuban exiles. They also detail his work in 1978, when he duped chief investigator Robert Blakey and the House Select Committee on Assassination. These records, the agency says, cannot be released in 2019 without risk of “irreversible harm” to national security.

It’s a bizarre claim, at odds with the law. These ancient documents, all of them more than 40 years old, meet the statutory definition of “assassination-related,” according to federal judge John Tunheim. He chaired the Assassination Records Review Board which oversaw the declassification of 4 million pages of JFK files between 1994 and 2017.  In an interview, Tunheim told me that, under the terms of the 1992 JFK Records Act, the Joannides files are subject to mandatory review and release. “It’s a no-brainer,” he said.

Yet the files remain off-limits to the public. Thanks to the legal consensus, articulated by Justices Kavanaugh and Breyer, the CIA enjoys “deference upon deference” when it comes to the JFK assassination story. As a result, the JFK Records Act has been flouted. The public’s interest in full disclosure has been thwarted.

Yet legitimate questions persist: Did a plot to kill JFK originate in the agency’s Miami station as Mowatt-Larssen suggests? The fact that the CIA won’t share the evidence that could answer the CIA man’s question is telling.

So these days, when people ask me who killed JFK, I say the Kennedy was probably victimized by enemies in his own government, possibly including CIA officers involved in anti-Castro and counterintelligence operations. I have no smoking gun, no theory. Just look at the suspicious fact pattern, still shrouded in official secrecy, and it’s easy to believe that JFK was, as Mowatt-Larssen puts it, “marked for assassination.”

* * *

Jefferson Morley is editor of the Deep State blog and author of The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton.

Tyler Durden Fri, 11/22/2019 - 23:45
Published:11/22/2019 10:52:46 PM
[Politics] Reports: IG Finds Bias Didn't Taint FBI Officials in Russia Probe The Justice Department's inspector general is reportedly expected to absolve the FBI's top ranks of being biased against President Donald Trump in its probe of Russia's election meddling - while criticizing the bureau for failures in handling surveillance applications.The... Published:11/22/2019 8:19:26 PM
[FBI] Peter Strzok: The Last Word (John Hinderaker) Former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who led the Bureau’s investigation into both the Hillary Clinton email scandal and what turned out to be the Russia hoax–simultaneously!–has sued the Attorney General over his ultimate dismissal from the Bureau. A filing in that case a few days ago has made public the letter to Strzok from Candice Will of the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility that suspended Strzok without pay for 60 Published:11/22/2019 7:19:24 PM
[Politics] Dershowitz to Newsmax TV: IG's FISA Report Will Sway 'Open-Minded' Citizens Alan Dershowitz expressed hope to Newsmax TV on Friday that the impending report on the alleged altering by an FBI agent of a FISA court surveillance warrant for former Trump campaign aide Carter Page will affect "the minds of open-minded Americans who put... Published:11/22/2019 6:19:16 PM
[Markets] NYT Names FBI "Resistance" Lawyer Under Criminal Investigation For Fabricating FISA Docs NYT Names FBI "Resistance" Lawyer Under Criminal Investigation For Fabricating FISA Docs

The New York Times has revealed that the "low-level lawyer" under criminal investigation for allegedly doctoring materials used to obtain renewals  of the Carter Page surveillance warrant is Kevin Clinesmith - who worked on both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Russia probe, was part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team, and interviewed Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos.

Clinesmith, a 37-year-old graduate of Georgetown Law, "took an email from an official at another federal agency that contained several factual assertions, then added material to the bottom that looked like another assertion from the email’s author, when it was instead his own understanding," according to the report.

Mr. Clinesmith included this altered email in a package that he compiled for another F.B.I. official to read in preparation for signing an affidavit that would be submitted to the court attesting to the facts and analysis in the wiretap application.

The details of the email are apparently classified and may not be made public even when the report is unveiled. -New York Times

In other words, we won't get to see whatever the FBI used to trick the FISA court into granting Page's renewals.

Clinesmith, a former attorney with the FBI's National Security and Cyber Law Branch while working under FBI's top lawyer, James Baker, resigned two months ago after he was interviewed by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horrowitz's office. Horrowitz in turn sent a criminal referral to US Attorney John Durham, who was tasked with investigating the Obama DOJ's conduct surrounding the 2016 US election.

The referral appears to at least be part of the reason that Durham's inquiry was elevated from an administrative review to a criminal investigation, according to the report.

The findings are set to be revealed on December 9, when Horowitz will release his long-awaited report, which Trump's allies believe will reveal an effort to undermine his 2016 campaign. In addition to Clinesmith's fabricated FISA evidence, the FBI used an unverified dossier from former British spy Christopher Steele, paid for in part by the Clinton campaign via law firm Perkins Coie and Fusion GPS, as the basis of their renewal requests.

Did Clinesmith fabricate evidence to support claims in the Steele dossier?

According to the Washington Post, however, Horowitz has concluded that the altered email "did not affect the overall validity of the surveillance application."

Viva la resistance

Clinesmith was identified by Horowitz as one of several FBI officials who harbored animus towards President Trump, after which he was kicked off the Mueller Russia investigation in February 2018. Two other FBI officials removed for similar reasons were Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, both of whom also worked on the Clinton and Trump investigations, and both of whom have similarly left the bureau.

On November 9, 2016 - the day after Trump won the election, Clinesmith texted another FBI employee "My god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating his staff," adding "So, who knows if that breaks to him what he is going to do."

Then on November 22, 2016, he said "Hell no" when asked by another FBI attorney if he had changed his views on Trump.

"Viva la resistance," he added.

When asked to explain himself, Clinesmith told Horowitz: "It’s just the, the lines bled through here just in terms of, of my personal, political view in terms of, of what particular preference I have," adding "But, but that doesn’t have any, any leaning on the way that I, I maintain myself as a professional in the FBI."

A professional document fabricator. We're sure he'll be a GoFundMe millionaire by tomorrow.

Tyler Durden Fri, 11/22/2019 - 19:00
Published:11/22/2019 6:19:16 PM
[Politics] McCabe Prohibited From Discussing DoJ IG Report on CNN Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI and a current CNN contributor, has been restricted from discussing a report from the Department of Justice's inspector general about an agency official.CNN reported on Thursday that a former FBI attorney is under... Published:11/22/2019 5:02:02 PM
[] BUZZKILL? The NYT's latest on the IG report (IF TRUE) is not what Trump supporters were hoping for The New York Times is reporting tonight that the IG report on FISA abuse that's set to be released on December 9 will "criticize FBI officials but absolve leaders of acting out of anti-Trump bias":

https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1197982939704909831

Keep in mind, what we're reading is not the final product:

https://twitter.com/seanmdav/status/1197993334024880129

But the Washington Post is confirming]] Published:11/22/2019 4:18:53 PM

[Uncategorized] Report: Former FBI Lawyer Under Investigation for Allegedly Altering FISA Document in Russia Probe "Then, the FBI employee allegedly 'altered an email' to substantiate his inaccurate version of events." Published:11/22/2019 4:18:53 PM
[Markets] Remembering JFK's Vision For The Future That Should Have Been Remembering JFK's Vision For The Future That Should Have Been

Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

“Man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe….”

President Kennedy, 1961 Inaugural Address

Where China and Russia are currently leading a new paradigm of cooperation and development, it is too easily forgotten that America itself had once embodied this anti-colonial spirit under the foreign policy vision of John F. Kennedy. Even though the young leader died in office before the full effect of his grand vision could take hold, it is worth revisiting his fight and stated intention for a post-colonial world governed by win-win cooperation. This exercise is especially important now that we are coming to the anniversary of the murder of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

FDR’s Death and the Emergence of the New Rome

America didn’t become an imperial “dumb giant” after WWII without a major fight.

With FDR’s death, the USA began acting more and more like an empire abroad and a racist police state under McCarthyism within its own borders. During this time, those allies of FDR who were committed to Roosevelt’s anti colonial post war vision, rallied around former Vice President Henry Wallace’s 1948 Presidential bid with the Progressive Party of America. When this effort failed, an outright police state took over and those same fascists who had sponsored WWII took control of the reins of power.

These “economic royalists” enjoyed full control as puppet President Harry S. Truman giggled as he dropped bombs on a defeated Japan and happily and supported America’s new role as the re-conquistador of nations who sought independence after WWII. While it can’t be argued that the politically naïve President Eisenhower had some redeeming qualities, for the most part, his 8 year administration was run by the Dulles brothers and Wall Street, and it was only on January 17, 1961 that he made any serious effort to speak openly about the military industrial complex that had grown like a cancer under his watch.

A New Hope Emerges in 1961

It was no secret who the outgoing President was warning. Three days after his address, a young John F. Kennedy was inaugurated 35th president of the United States to the great hope of many anti-fascists in America and abroad.

It is too often overlooked today, but JFK’s anti-colonial position was not a secret during his decade as a Senator and Congressman. Even though his family pedigree was stained with mafia and JP Morgan ties to his treacherous father “Papa Joe”, John Kennedy was made of sturdier stuff.

Touring Asia and the Middle East in the 1950s, a young Senator Kennedy expressed his sensitivity to the plight of the Arab world and problem of US imperialism when he said: 

“Our intervention in behalf of England’s oil investments in Iran, directed more at the preservation of interests outside Iran than at Iran’s own development…. Our failure to deal effectively after three years with the terrible human tragedy of the more than 700,000 Arab refugees [Palestinians], these are things that have failed to sit well with Arab desires and make empty the promises of the Voice of America….”

Later, speaking in a 1960 speech regarding ending colonialism in Africa, JFK expressed his understanding of Africa’s demand for genuine independence saying:

 “Call it nationalism, call it anti-colonialism, Africa is going through a revolution…. Africans want a higher standard of living. Seventy-five percent of the population now lives by subsistence agriculture. They want an opportunity to manage and benefit directly from the resources in, on, and under their land…. The African peoples believe that the science, technology, and education available in the modern world can overcome their struggle for existence, that their poverty, squalor, ignorance, and disease can be conquered…. [The] balance of power is shifting … into the hands of the two-thirds of the world’s people who want to share what the one-third has already taken for granted….”

JFK Battles the Deep State

Wall Street’s Dulles Brothers who together ran the CIA and the State Department had made several major efforts to sabotage Kennedy’s “new frontiers” initiative that gripped the imaginations of young and old alike. Kennedy’s program was driven by large scale infrastructure at home and advanced scientific and technological progress in the Developing sector abroad. Attempting to break that trajectory, Allen Dulles had prepared the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba months before Kennedy entered the scene which was a near disaster for the world. Just days before Kennedy’s inauguration, Allan Dulles ensured that a pro-Kennedy ally who had just recently gained power in the Congo named Patrice Lumumba was assassinated in cold blood knowing that JFK would be blamed, and every effort was made to back up the French fascists trying to stop the Algerian independence movement behind JFK’s back. Both the Cuban invasion and the assassination of Lumumba have been blamed on Kennedy to this day.

In response to this treachery, JFK made the bold move of firing CIA director Allan Dulles, and two Wall Street-connected CIA directors on November 29, 1961 saying that he would soon “splinter the C.I.A. in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.”

Recognizing the insanity of the zero sum Cold Warriors who could only look at the world through the perversity of a Hobbesian leans of “each against all”, JFK not only stood alone against the entire array of war-hungry Joint Chiefs calling for war with Russia during the infamous “13 day showdown” and parodied by Kubrick’s brilliant Dr. Strangelove, but also took the advice of Generals MacArthur, and Charles de Gaulle who warned him to avoid all entrapments of a “land war in Vietnam”. On this point, JFK introduced NSAM 263 in October 1963 to begin a full withdrawal from Southeast Asia.

JFK’s June 10, 1963 speech What Kind of Peace Do We Seek? Showcased his resistance to the imperialists in America.

What was especially intolerable was that JFK began challenging closed rules of the Zero Sum Cold War game itself when he announced a new mission outside of the closed parameters of geopolitics when he announced the mission to put a man on the moon “within the decade”. This would have been tolerable if the effort was kept within a geopolitical ideology of “competition against the evil commies”. But JFK knew better and called for a US-Russia partnership to jointly develop advanced technologies together making the space program a project for human peace. This little known strategic vision was announced in a September 20, 1963 UN speech shows how the threat of an arms race in space, which today threatens the earth, could have been avoided:

JFK’s efforts to build bridges with Russia were of vital importance as his efforts resulted in the passage of the test ban treaty on August 5, 1963, and hopes were awoken for an early end to the Cold War though the mutual development of the poorest parts of the world. This was “International New Deal” strategy which patriots like Henry Wallace and Paul Robeson had fought for from 1946-1959.

Across Africa, Asia and other former colonies, JFK had worked hard to build relationships with Pan African leaders Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, as well as Egypt’s Gamal Nasser, India’s Jawaharlal Nehru and South Vietnamese President Diem to provide American assistance for the construction of great infrastructure projects like the Akosombo Dam in Ghana, nuclear power in Egypt and Vietnam and steel industries in India. Today the Akosombo Dam stands with a plaque dedicated to the “martyred John F. Kennedy”. As historian Anton Chaitkin proves in his incredible 2013 opus “JFK vs the Empire”, this didn’t happen without a major fight with the JP Morgan controlled steel barons who artificially raised the price of steel in order to make these projects financially impossible.

How would these projects be funded? Certainly, Kennedy’s industrial tax credit was a major help, but when it became clear that Wall Street banks, and the Federal Reserve were obstructing the flow of credit for long term development, JFK introduced Bill 11110 to begin issuing silver-backed currency through the Treasury rather than the private central banking system on June 4, 1963 which would have liberated America from private central banking for the first time since 1913.

The Plot to Kill Kennedy

New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison famously played by Kevin Costner in Oliver Stone’s 1992 JFK did more than many people today realize in exposing the networks that ran JFK’s murder and subsequent cover-up. Without going into detail of the multiple bullets that killed Kennedy from several directions (especially the lethal head shot which obviously struck him FROM THE FRONT as showcased in the Zapruder film which had been suppressed for several years), let’s look at some lesser known evidence discovered by Garrison.

In his 1991 book “On the Trail of the Assassins”, Garrison wrote of an international assassination bureau named Permindex and the World Trade Organization on whose boards sat CIA asset Clay Shaw (the figure played by Tommy Lee Jones in the Stone biopic). Garrison wrote: 

“The CIA- which apparently had been conducting its own foreign policy for some time- had begun a project in Italy as far back as the early 1950s. The organization, named the Centro Mondiale Commerciale had initially been formed in Montreal, then moved to Rome in 1961. Among the members of its board of directors, we learned, was one Clay Shaw from New Orleans”. Garrison cited French researcher Paris Flammonde when he described it as “a shell of superficiality… composed of channels through which money flowed back and forth without anyone knowing the sources or the destination of these liquid assets.”

Garrison pointed out that Permindex had been kicked out of Italy, Switzerland and France for good reasons: “As for Permindex… it had, among other things, secretly financed the opposition of the French Secret Army Organization (OAS) to President de Gaulle’s support for independence for Algeria, including its reputed assassination attempts on de Gaulle.”

After naming the other pro-fascist members- many of whom were connected to European royal families and banks, Garrison then pointed to the WTC owner “One of the major stockholders of the Centro was a Major Louis M. Bloomfield, a Montreal resident… and former agent with the Office of Strategic Services, out of which the United States had formed the CIA.”

Bloomfield as Minion of the Oligarchy

Since both the World Trade Center and Permindex were owned by Bloomfield, his role in this story cannot be overlooked and takes us straight to the heart of the agenda to kill Kennedy.

Not only did Bloomfield play a key role working alongside Rhodes Scholars in Canada such as Justice Minister Davie Fulton in order to stop continental water projects advocated by JFK and Canadian pro-development leaders like John Diefenbaker, Premier Daniel Johnson and BC Premier WAC Bennett, but he also played a leading role as a founding member of the 1001 Club alongside other upper level managers of the oligarchy like Maurice Strong, Peter Munk (of Barrick Gold), and media Mogul Conrad Black. For those who may not be aware, the 1001 Club was a special Trust set up under Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and Prince Philip Mountbatten to finance the new ecology movement as the foundation for a new global imperialism today being pushed under the framework of Cop 25 and the Green New Deal.

Philp and Bernhard were not only co-founders of the World Wildlife Fund in 1961, but were supporters of the anti-technological growth Morges Manifesto which the WWF credits as the start of the modern green movement. Bloomfield served as Vice President of the World Wildlife Fund while Prince Philip was President, and later gave the baton over to Maurice Strong. The Morges Manifesto was the first attempt to place the blame for humanity’s ills on the yearning for scientific and technological progress itself rather than the imperial traditions of inbred oligarchs.

A co-author of the Morges Manifesto and co-founder of the WWF was Sir Julian Huxley. Huxley was a leading eugenicist who laid out the intention for the new imperial movement that JFK rebelled valiantly against in his 1946 UNESCO founding manifesto when he said “even though it is quite true that any radical eugenic policy will be for many years politically and psychologically impossible, it will be important for UNESCO to see that the eugenic problem is examined with the greatest care, and that the public mind is informed of the issues at stake so that much that now is unthinkable may at least become thinkable.” The fact that dark skinned people are the most ruthlessly affected by de-carbonization schemes and “appropriate technologies” like expensively inefficient windmills and solar panels today is not a coincidence.

Open vs. Closed system Paradigms

So WHY would those founders of the ecology movement, which is today pushing a global green one world government, have wished to see President Kennedy murdered?

If I said it was because they want depopulation or world government, it would be too simple.

It were better said that JFK was self-consciously unleashing the innate powers of creative reason as a governing principle of political economy. He believed in an anti-oligarchical view of humanity as made in the living image of God and said as much repeatedly. He believed that the human mind could conquer all challenges that both nature, vice and ignorance can throw at us. JFK didn’t see the world through a zero sum lens, nor did he believe in the Malthusian “limits to growth” paradigm which his killers promulgated after his death. In fact JFK argued against Malthusianism by name.

Today, those Green New Dealing technocratic zombies pervasive across the western deep state are horrified to witness the reawakening of JFK’s spirit in the leadership of powerful leaders like China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin who have created a new paradigm of cooperation, war avoidance, and infrastructure projects under the growing New Silk Road as well as ambitious space projects which are quickly bringing the Moon, Mars and other celestial bodies into the sphere of our economic activity.

It should also be noted that for all of his problems, President Trump has become the first American president since JFK to seriously challenge the Deep State, fire a leading FBI director, call out the military industrial complex and push for friendship with Russia and China. Kennedy’s revenge can best be achieved if the American people do everything possible to support the fight against this Malthusian cancer and push for America’s participation in that new paradigm before an economic meltdown throws America into a new Dark Age.

*  *  *

The author of this paper gave an extended lecture on this topic. For those who wish to investigate this important matter further, they are invited to watch “Montreal’s Permindex and the Deep State Plot to Kill JFK” below:

Tyler Durden Fri, 11/22/2019 - 17:05
Published:11/22/2019 4:18:53 PM
[] Washington Post Stealth-Censors a Report on the FBI Lawyer Probed for Altering and Official Document, Removing Report That She Worked "Beneath Peter Strzok" Without Noting the Deletion or Explaining the Reason for It I have my own correction to make -- I reported an FBI agent was accused of altering a document, when it was actually an FBI lawyer. I don't know if this was my mistake or if that mistake was in... Published:11/22/2019 12:50:26 PM
[] Bharara on altered FBI FISA application: "Doesn't get a lot more serious than this" Just how serious is last night's CNN scoop about an FBI attorney altering documents submitted to the FISA court supporting the Carter Page warrant? Bad enough to shake up longtime Donald Trump critic Preet Bharara. In the same segment in which Evan Perez introduces his bombshell development]] Published:11/22/2019 11:19:31 AM
[Politics] Washington Post reveals the FBI official being criminally investigated for falsifying doc, then secretly DELETES it! Last night we told you about exclusive CNN reporting that IG Horowitz had found that an FBI official was being criminally investigated for falsifying a document regarding the surveillance of Carter Page. . . . Published:11/22/2019 10:51:03 AM
[Politics] Washington Post reveals the FBI official being criminally investigated for falsifying doc, then secretly DELETES it! Last night we told you about exclusive CNN reporting that IG Horowitz had found that an FBI official was being criminally investigated for falsifying a document regarding the surveillance of Carter Page. . . . Published:11/22/2019 10:51:03 AM
[Politics] Trump: FISA Warrant Scandal Went to 'The Top' President Donald Trump Friday suggested that the knowledge that an FBI agent altered a document leading to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court granting permission to spy on campaign aide Carter Page went "all the way" to then-President Barack Obama.  Published:11/22/2019 10:17:44 AM
[News] Eastwood’s ‘Richard Jewell’ Mercilessly Trashes The Fake News Media

The following article, Eastwood’s ‘Richard Jewell’ Mercilessly Trashes The Fake News Media, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Clint Eastwood seeks to restore the 1996 Atlanta bomb hero Richard Jewell’s legacy with his new movie. Never arrested or charged, Jewell was cleared by the FBI after 88 days. But TV networks camped outside his home for the duration, hounding Jewell and his family. He became the subject of wild speculation and mockery. REPORT: ...

Continue reading: Eastwood’s ‘Richard Jewell’ Mercilessly Trashes The Fake News Media ...

Published:11/22/2019 4:16:19 AM
[Markets] Rethinking National Security: CIA & FBI Are Corrupt, But What About Congress? Rethinking National Security: CIA & FBI Are Corrupt, But What About Congress?

Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The developing story about how the US intelligence and national security agencies may have conspired to influence and possibly even reverse the results of the 2016 presidential election is compelling, even if one is disinclined to believe that such a plot would be possible to execute. Not surprisingly perhaps there have been considerable introspection among former and current officials who have worked in those and related government positions, many of whom would agree that there is urgent need for a considerable restructuring and reining in of the 17 government agencies that have some intelligence or law enforcement function. Most would also agree that much of the real damage that has been done has been the result of the unending global war on terror launched by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, which has showered the agencies with resources and money while also politicizing their leadership and freeing them from restraints on their behavior.

If the tens of billions of dollars lavished on the intelligence community together with a “gloves off” approach towards oversight that allowed them to run wild had produced good results, it might be possible to argue that it was all worth it. But the fact is that intelligence gathering has always been a bad investment even if it is demonstrably worse at the present. One might argue that the CIA’s notorious Soviet Estimate prolonged the Cold War and that the failure to connect dots and pay attention to what junior officers were observing allowed 9/11 to happen. And then there was the empowerment of al-Qaeda during the Soviet-Afghan war followed by failure to penetrate the group once it began to carry out operations.

More recently there have been Guantanamo, torture in black prisons, renditions of terror suspects to be tortured elsewhere, killing of US citizens by drone, turning Libya into a failed state and terrorist haven, arming militants in Syria, and, of course, the Iraqi alleged WMDs, the biggest foreign policy disaster in American history. And the bad stuff happened in bipartisan fashion, under Democrats and Republicans, with both neocons and liberal interventionists all playing leading roles. The only one punished for the war crimes was former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou, who exposed some of what was going on.

Colonel Pat Lang, a colleague and friend who directed the Defense Intelligence Agency HUMINT (human intelligence) program after years spent on the ground in special ops and foreign liaison, thinks that strong medicine is needed and has initiated a discussion based on the premise that the FBI and CIA are dysfunctional relics that should be dismantled, as he puts it “burned to the ground,” so that the federal government can start over again and come up with something better.

Lang cites numerous examples of “incompetence and malfeasance in the leadership of the 17 agencies of the Intelligence Community and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” to include the examples cited above plus the failure to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union. On the domestic front, he cites his personal observation of efforts by the Department of Justice and the FBI to corruptly “frame” people tried in federal courts on national security issues as well as the intelligence/law enforcement community conspiracy to “get Trump.”

Colonel Lang asks “Tell me, pilgrims, why should we put up with such nonsense? Why should we pay the leaders of these agencies for the privilege of having them abuse us? We are free men and women. Let us send these swine to their just deserts in a world where they have to work hard for whatever money they earn.” He then recommends stripping CIA of its responsibility for being the lead agency in spying as well as in covert action, which is a legacy of the Cold War and the area in which it has demonstrated a particular incompetence. As for the FBI, it was created by J. Edgar Hoover to maintain dossiers on politicians and it is time that it be replaced by a body that operates in a fashion “more reflective of our collective nation[al] values.”

Others in the intelligence community understandably have different views. Many believe that the FBI and CIA have grown too large and have been asked to do too many things unrelated to national security, so there should be a major reduction-in-force (RIF) followed by the compulsory retirement of senior officers who have become too cozy with and obligated to politicians. The new-CIA should collect information, period, what it was founded to do in 1947, and not meddle in foreign elections or engage in regime change. The FBI should provide only police services that are national in nature and that are not covered by the state and local jurisdictions. And it should operate in as transparent a fashion as possible, not as a national secret police force.

But the fundamental problem may not be with the police and intelligence services themselves. There are a lot of idiots running around loose in Washington.

Witness for example the impeachment hearings ludicrous fact free opening statement by House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (with my emphasis):

“In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally, Ukraine, to reverse that nation’s embrace of the West, and to fulfill Vladimir Putin’s desire to rebuild a Russian empire.”

And the press is no better, note the following excerpt from The New York Times lead editorial on the hearings, including remarks of the two State Department officers who testified, on the following day:

“They came across not as angry Democrats or Deep State conspirators, but as men who have devoted their lives to serving their country, and for whom defending Ukraine against Russian aggression is more important to the national interest than any partisan jockeying…

“At another point, Mr. Taylor said he had been critical of the Obama administration’s reluctance to supply Ukraine with anti-tank missiles and other lethal defensive weapons in its fight with Russia, and that he was pleased when the Trump administration agreed to do so

“What clearly concerned both witnesses wasn’t simply the abuse of power by the president, but the harm it inflicted on Ukraine, a critical ally under constant assault by Russian forces. ‘Even as we sit here today, the Russians are attacking Ukrainian soldiers in their own country and have been for the last four years…’ Mr. Taylor said.”

Schiff and the Times should get their facts straight.

And so should the two American foreign service officers who were clearly seeing the situation only from the Ukrainian perspective, a malady prevalent among US diplomats often described as “going native.” They were pushing a particular agenda, i.e. possible war with Russia on behalf of Ukraine, in furtherance of a US national interest that they fail to define. One of them, George Kent, eulogized the Ukrainian militiamen fighting the Russians as the modern day equivalent of the Massachusetts Minutemen in 1776, not exactly a neutral assessment, and also euphemized Washington-provided lethal offensive weapons as “security assistance.”

Another former intelligence community friend Ray McGovern has constructed a time line of developments in Ukraine which demolishes the establishment view on display in Congress relating to the alleged Russian threat. First of all, Ukraine was no American ally in 2014 and is no “critical ally” today. Also, the Russian reaction to western supported rioting in Kiev, a vital interest, only came about after the United States spent $5 billion destabilizing and then replacing the pro-Kremlin government. Since that time Moscow has resumed control of the Crimea, which is historically part of Russia, and is active in the Donbas region which has a largely Russian population.

It should really be quite simple. The national security state should actually be engaged in national security. Its size and budget should be commensurate with what it actually does, nothing more. It should not be roaming the world looking for trouble and should instead only respond to actual threats. And it should operate with oversight. If Congress is afraid to do it, set up a separate body that is non-partisan and actually has the teeth to do the job. If the United States of America comes out of the process as something like a normal nation the entire world will be a much happier place.

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/21/2019 - 23:05
Tags
Published:11/21/2019 10:15:01 PM
[In The News] FBI Official Is Under Investigation For Altering Russia Probe Documents: Report

By Chuck Ross -

The Justice Department is investigating an FBI official for allegedly altering a document as part of the Trump-Russia probe, according to an explosive report. CNN reports that the altered document was recovered as part of the Justice Department inspector general’s investigation into the FBI’s surveillance activities against Carter Page, a ...

FBI Official Is Under Investigation For Altering Russia Probe Documents: Report is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:11/21/2019 9:43:49 PM
[Entertainment] Ray J Pleads With Pregnant Wife Princess Love to Put an End to ''Crazy'' Drama Ray J, Princess LoveThis is a case for the FBI. Instagram continues to be the choice place for Ray J and his pregnant wife Princess Love to air out their dirty laundry. Just a few days ago Princess Love used...
Published:11/21/2019 9:13:42 PM
[Politics] BREAKING: FBI official already under criminal investigation from Horowitz’s findings It’s being reported tonight that an FBI official is already under criminal investigation over altering a document in the 2016 campaign to surveil Carter Page: CNN – An FBI official is under . . . Published:11/21/2019 7:47:33 PM
[Obama Administration Scandals] CNN: FBI Official Altered Document in Fake Russia Probe (John Hinderaker) Imagine how it must have pained CNN to report this: “FBI official under investigation after allegedly altering document in 2016 Russia probe.” Who is the official? We don’t know. Nor does the CNN report make clear the context, although, given the scope if the DOJ Inspector General’s investigation, obtaining the FISA warrant to spy on Carter Page is the obvious candidate. An FBI official is under criminal investigation after allegedly Published:11/21/2019 7:47:32 PM
[] Report: FBI official who allegedly altered document related to 2016 Russia probe under investigation CNN is reporting Thursday evening that an FBI official is under investigation for allegedly altering a document relating to the surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser.

https://twitter.com/dbongino/status/1197664821283610624

CNN reports:

An FBI official is under criminal investigation after allegedly altering a document related to 2016 surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser,]] Published:11/21/2019 7:14:49 PM

[Markets] Jussie Smollett Demands Nigerian Bros And Cops Pay Him For Concocting Hate Crime Hoax Jussie Smollett Demands Nigerian Bros And Cops Pay Him For Concocting Hate Crime Hoax

Jussie Smollett, whose ham-handed hate crime hoax led to the cancellation of Empire, thinks we're all morons.

The unemployed actor who paid his drug dealing Nigerian friends to buy MAGA hats, bleach and a rope before staging a 2am attack in "MAGA country" - also known as downtown Chicago, has demanded that the city of Chicago, the Nigerian brothers, and former police superintendent Eddie Johnson pay him for conspiring to frame him for concocting the hate crime, according to the Cook County Record.

Smollett's case case was mysteriously quashed after Michelle Obama's former Chief of Staff, Tina Tchen, leaned on Cook County top prosecutor Kim Foxx after a grand jury slapped Smollett with a 16 count indictment for lying to the police.

According to a counterclaim to a lawsuit brought by the city of Chicago, however, Smollett is the victim of a conspiracy.

On Nov. 19, Smollett, through his lawyer, William J. Quinlan, of the Quinlan Law Firm, filed a counterclaim in Chicago federal court against the city, former police superintendent Eddie Johnson, the Nigerian brothers alleged to have helped Smollett and others. The counterclaim came as the centerpiece of Smollett’s formal answers to the lawsuit brought earlier this year by the city of Chicago, which demands Smollett be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to compensate the city and taxpayers for the costs of the large police investigation into Smollett’s attack claims.

In the counterclaim, Smollett asserts the hoax allegations emerged as a result of a 48-hour “interrogation” conducted by Chicago Police of brothers Abimbola “Abel” and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo, and was then seized on by Chicago Police to advance the story Smollett had orchestrated the attack to gain publicity and public sympathy after he allegedly became unhappy with the lack of response from television executives and others to a threatening racist and homophobic letter he claims to have received weeks earlier. -Cook County Record

Smollett claims that Chicago PD deliberately ignored exonerating evidence from the alleged attack in the very liberal, very upscale Streeterville neighborhood. According to Smollett, his attackers shouted "This is MAGA country," before physically assaulting him while he was innocently walking home at 2am from getting a Subway sandwich.

After evidence suggested it was staged, the two "attackers" - the Osundario brothers - admitted that Smollett paid them $3,500 to carry out the hoax, and that the three of them had practiced beforehand.

They also said that Smollett was involved in creating a racist letter containing a white substance that was sent to the actor on the Chicago set of Empire. When the letter failed to achieve the desired level of national outrage, the Osundario brothers say Smollett concocted the hate-crime. 

Or - bear with Jussie - the Osundarios and Chicago PD conspired to frame him for the hate crime hoax.

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/21/2019 - 20:05
Published:11/21/2019 7:14:48 PM
[Politics] BREAKING: FBI official already under criminal investigation from Horowitz’s findings It’s being reported tonight that an FBI official is already under criminal investigation over altering a document in the 2016 campaign to surveil Carter Page: CNN – An FBI official is under . . . Published:11/21/2019 7:14:48 PM
[Politics] CNN: FBI Official Allegedly Altered Doc in Page Surveillance Allegedly altering a document related to 2016 surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser, an FBI official is under criminal investigation, according to CNN. Published:11/21/2019 6:44:14 PM
[Markets] FBI Official Under Criminal Investigation For Fabricating Evidence In Russiagate Probe FBI Official Under Criminal Investigation For Fabricating Evidence In Russiagate Probe

An FBI official is under criminal investigation for fabricating evidence related to the agency's surveillance of Trump campaign aide Carter Page, according to CNN.

According to the report, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's review of the FBI's warrant applications under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) revealed an altered document which - we assume - was used to bolster the application to obtain the warrant and/or subsequent renewals.

Evidence of the fabricated document was turned over to John Durham, the federal prosecutor tasked earlier this year by Attorney General William Barr with launching a broad investigation into the FBI's activities surrounding the 2016 US election.

As CNN notes, however, "it's unknown how significant a role the altered document played in the FBI's investigation of Page and whether the FISA warrant would have been approved without the document." What we do know, however, is that it was significant enough to warrant a criminal investigation.

Some witnesses who have been interviewed in Horowitz's investigation have said they expect the inspector general to find mistakes in the FBI's handling of the FISA process, but that those mistakes do not undermine the premise for the FBI's investigation.

...

Horowitz's investigators conducted more than 100 witness interviews in their review. During one of interviews this year, they confronted the witness about the document. The witness admitted to the change, the sources said.

The identity or rank of the FBI employee under investigation isn't yet known, and it's not clear whether the employee still works in the federal government. No charges that could reflect the situation have been filed publicly in court. -CNN

On Thursday, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced that Horowitz would release his report on December 9, and would testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee two days later.

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/21/2019 - 19:26
Published:11/21/2019 6:44:14 PM
[Markets] Demands Grow For FBI To Interview Prince Andrew Over Friendship With Jeffrey Epstein Demands Grow For FBI To Interview Prince Andrew Over Friendship With Jeffrey Epstein

Attorneys for Jeffrey Epstein accusers have called on the FBI to speak with disgraced British royal Prince Andrew over his years-long association with Jeffrey Epstein, which would demonstrate "justice and accountability for the victims."

Attorney Lisa Bloom told The Telegraph that while it's "great" that Prince Andrew is stepping away from his royal duties, he needs to cooperate with US investigators.

"It's great that he's stepping away from his royal duties, but it's really not about that — it's about justice and accountability for the victims, so it's important that he says he's going to cooperate with law enforcement," said Bloom.

Bloom said Prince Andrew should answer questions from all the accusers' attorneys — in particular the attorney of Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who alleges she was coerced into having sex with Prince Andrew on three separate occasions when she was 17.

Giuffre has offered a detailed account of a March 10, 2001, encounter in which she said she danced with the prince at Tramp nightclub in London before he had sex with her.

Guiffre publicly released a photograph of her and Prince Andrew in which he has his arm around her waist, which she says was taken at the house of Ghislaine Maxwell, who an ex-girlfriend of Epstein's who has been accused of acting as his "fixer" at the time. -Business Insider

Meanwhile, attorney Gloria Allred who also represents Epstein accusers, urged the prince to provide any evidence that might help victims seek justice "without conditions and without delay," including emails, texts and calendars - adding that the prince's staff should also provide relevant information, according to the BBC.

Allred added that if the prince didn't offer information voluntarily, he might be asked to speak under oath in a criminal investigation into potential Epstein co-conspirators, along with civil lawsuits brought by Epstein's accusers.

"I haven't made a determination yet as to ... whether we will need to take Prince Andrew's deposition," said Allred, adding "But I'm saying he should provide it in any civil case as well, where his testimony might be relevant."

"It's totally extraordinary," veteran royal watcher and Majesty magazine editor-in-chief Ingrid Seward told CBS on Thursday. "You don't expect a member of the royal family to be caught up in the life of a seedy pedophile. You just don't."

Really Ingrid?

Prince Charles and notorious pedophile Jimmy Saville
Tyler Durden Thu, 11/21/2019 - 18:05
Published:11/21/2019 5:15:21 PM
[] Prince (?) Andrew "Fired" By Royal Family; Withdraws From Official Duties, Will No Longer Receive His 250,000 Pounds Per Year Royal Stipend The article states that the royals -- or, whatever, the Windsors -- are bracing for official US subpoenas demanding that Andrew York talk to FBI officials about his very special friendship with Jeffrey Epstein (guilty of sex trafficking, innocent of... Published:11/21/2019 4:44:25 PM
[In The News] Report: FBI Wants To Speak With Trump Whistleblower

By Chuck Ross -

FBI coat of arms

The FBI reached out last month to the CIA analyst who filed a whistleblower complaint against President Trump, according to reports. Yahoo! News reports that an FBI agent from the Washington, D.C. field office contacted the whistleblower’s lawyers, seeking an interview. An interview has not been scheduled, and it is ...

Report: FBI Wants To Speak With Trump Whistleblower is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:11/20/2019 2:06:13 PM
[Politics] Yahoo: FBI Wants to Question Whistleblower The FBI wants to question the whistleblower whose complaint about President Donald Trump's July 25 call with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy sparked the impeachment investigation, according to a new report. Published:11/20/2019 12:38:34 PM
[Markets] FBI Wants To Speak With Trump-Ukraine CIA Whistleblower FBI Wants To Speak With Trump-Ukraine CIA Whistleblower

The FBI has reached out to an attorney for the Trump-Ukraine whistleblower reported to be CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella, who filed a complaint over President Trump's July 25 phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodomyr Zelensky, according to Yahoo! News

The move came after a vigorous internal debate at the agency over how to proceed with an investigation of allegations contained in the complaint, according to sources familiar with the matter.

According to the report, an FBI agent from the Washington field office reached out to whistleblower attorney Mark Zaid (The
'Coup has started' guy who loves going to Disneyland alone), who declined comment for the article.

An interview with the whistleblower has yet to be scheduled.

The request from the FBI comes at a sensitive moment when Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are making repeated efforts to “out” the whistleblower in order to suggest he may have had political motivations hostile to the president when he filed his Aug. 12 complaint with the intelligence community’s inspector general. 

It also comes after multiple threats have been made against the whistleblower and his lawyers — some of which have been separately passed along by the lawyers to other officials at the FBI. But the agent who sought to question the whistleblower made no reference to the threats as the purpose of the interview, according to sources familiar with the discussions. -Yahoo! News

Yahoo suggests that an FBI interview will "introduce a new wild card into the debate over whether to impeach the president over his Ukraine dealings."

Tyler Durden Wed, 11/20/2019 - 12:24
Published:11/20/2019 11:37:44 AM
[Markets] Feds Charge Former Baltimore Mayor With Fraud, Tax Evasion Over Book Scandal  Feds Charge Former Baltimore Mayor With Fraud, Tax Evasion Over Book Scandal 

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has been indicted on federal charges of wire fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to defraud the US, reported Fox 45 News Baltimore

  • FORMER BALTIMORE MAYOR PUGH INDICTED ON FEDERAL CHARGES OVER BOOK SCANDAL -WASHINGTON POST

Pugh has been in hiding for 7 to 8 months, is expected to surrender to US Marshals Service in the next 24 hours before her hearing in US District Court in Baltimore on Nov. 21 at 1 pm. est. 

Pugh went missing in Apr. after the FBI and IRS raided her home amid speculation, she was involved in a brazen kickback scheme involving sales of her "Healthy Holly" book series. 

The former mayor of Baltimore was accused of using her position to secure agreements worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from the University of Maryland Medical System and managed-care consortium KaiserPermanente. The contracts were arrangements to purchase thousands of copies of Pugh's "Healthy Holly" books, a series written by Pugh.

Pugh was sitting on the organization's board when she received the book deal from the University of Maryland system. And shortly after she received a payment from KaiserPermanente, the company received a $48 million contract from the city. Though we're sure, that's just a coincidence. Furthermore, some of the "Healthy Holly" copies that Pugh sold to the University of Maryland Medical System remain unaccounted for, and some suspect they may never have been printed.

"Our elected officials must place the interests of the citizens above their own," said United States Attorney Robert K. Hur. "Corrupt public employees rip off the taxpayers and undermine everyone's faith in government. The US Attorney's Office and our law enforcement partners will zealously pursue those who abuse the taxpayers' trust and bring them to justice."

"The people of Maryland expect elected officials to make decisions based on the public's best interests, not to abuse their office for personal gain," said Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Boone of the FBI's Baltimore Division. "Catherine Pugh betrayed the public's trust. The FBI will continue to diligently work to detect fraud and corruption and hold those who violate this trust accountable."

The next significant development will be Pugh surrendering herself to US Marshals within the next 24 hours, but then again, there's always a chance that a corrupt politician may flee. 

Tyler Durden Wed, 11/20/2019 - 09:25
Tags
Published:11/20/2019 8:36:31 AM
[Markets] C.J. Hopkins: Reclaiming Your Inner Fascist C.J. Hopkins: Reclaiming Your Inner Fascist

Authored (satirically) by C.J.Hopkins via The Unz Review,

OK, we need to talk about fascism. Not just any kind of fascism. A particularly insidious kind of fascism. No, not the fascism of the early 20th Century. Not Mussolini’s National Fascist Party. Not Hitler’s NSDAP. Not Francoist fascism or any other kind of organized fascist movement or party. Not even the dreaded Tiki-torch Nazis.

It’s the other kind of fascism we need to talk about. The kind that doesn’t come goose-stepping up the street waving big neo-Nazi flags. The kind we don’t recognize when we’re looking right at it.

It’s like that joke about the fish and the water … we don’t recognize it because we’re swimming in it. We’re surrounded by it. We are inseparable from it. From the moment we are born, we breathe it in.

We are taught it by our parents, who were taught it by their parents. We are taught it again by our teachers in school. It is reinforced on a daily basis at work, in conversations with friends, in our families and our romantic relationships. We imbibe it in books, movies, TV shows, advertisements, pop songs, the nightly news, in our cars, at the mall, the stadium, the opera … everywhere, because it is literally everywhere.

It doesn’t look like fascism to us. Fascism only looks like fascism when you’re standing outside of it, or looking back at it. When you are in it, fascism just looks like “normality,” like “reality,” like “just the way it is.”

We (i.e., Americans, Brits, Europeans, and other citizens of the global capitalist empire) get up in the morning, go to work, shop, pay the interest on our debts, and otherwise obey the laws and conform to the mores of a system of power that has murdered countless millions of people in pursuit of global-hegemonic dominance. It has perpetrated numerous wars of aggression. Its military occupies most of the planet. Its Intelligence agencies (i.e., secret police) operate a worldwide surveillance apparatus that can identify, target, and eliminate anyone, anywhere, often by remote control. Its propaganda network never sleeps, nor is there any real way to escape its constant emotional and ideological conditioning.

The fact that the global capitalist empire does not call itself an empire, and instead calls itself “democracy,” doesn’t make it any less of an empire. The fact that it uses terms like “regime change” instead of “invasion” or “annexation” makes very little difference to its victims. Terms like “security,” “stability,” “intervention,” “regime change,” and so on are not meant for its victims. They are meant for us … to anesthetize us.

The empire is “regime-changing” Bolivia currently. It has “regime-changed” most of Latin America at one time or another since the Second World War. It “regime-changed” Iraq, Libya, Yugoslavia, Indonesia … the list goes on. It very much wants to “regime-change” Iran, which it “regime-changed” back in the 1950s, before the Iranians “regime-changed” it back. It would love to “regime-change” Russia and China, but their ICBMs make that somewhat impractical. Basically, the empire has been “regime-changing” everyone it can since the end of the Cold War. It has run into a little bump in Syria, and in Venezuela, but not to worry, it will get back there and finish up eventually.

Now, let’s be clear about this “regime-change” business. We’re talking about invading other people’s countries, and orchestrating and sponsoring coups, or otherwise overthrowing their governments, and murdering, torturing, and oppressing people. Sending in terrorists, death squads, and such. We have organizations that train guys to do that, i.e., to round people up, take them out to the jungle, or the woods, or wherever, rape the women, and then summarily shoot everyone in the head. We pay for this kind of thing with our taxes, and our investments in the global corporations that our militaries and intelligence agencies serve. We know this is happening. We can google this stuff. We know “where the trains are going,” as it were.

And yet, we do not see ourselves as monsters.

The Nazis didn’t see themselves as monsters. They saw themselves as heroes, as saviors, or just as regular Germans leading regular lives. When they looked at the propaganda posters which surrounded them (as the Internet surrounds us today), they didn’t see sadistic mass-murderers and totalitarian psychopathic freaks. They saw normal people, admirable people, who were making the world a better place.

They saw themselves. They saw “the good guys.”

This is primarily how propaganda works. It isn’t meant to fool anybody. It is there to represent “normality” (whatever “normality” happens to be in whatever empire one happens to inhabit). It is Power’s way of letting us know what it wants us to believe, how it wants us to behave, who our official enemies are. Its purpose isn’t to mislead or deceive us. It is an edict, a command, an ideological model … to which we are all expected to conform. Conform to this ideological model, and one is rewarded, or at least not punished. Deviate from it, and suffer the consequences.

It is a question of obedience, not one of truth.

This is why it doesn’t matter that there is no actual “Attack on America,” and that the Russians didn’t “hack,” “subvert,” “meddle in,” or otherwise significantly “influence” the 2016 presidential election or otherwise put Donald Trump in office. John Brennan and the CIA say they did, and the corporate media say they did, so all Good Americans have to pretend to believe it. Likewise, it also doesn’t matter if an organization like the OPCW collaborated with the empire’s regime-change specialists who staged a “chemical weapons attack” on helpless women and children in Douma (because, no matter what the empire did or didn’t do, Assad is a Russian-backed, baby-gassing devil!), or if The Guardian just makes up stuff about Julian Assange out of whole cloth and prints it as news.

This is also why, when The Guardian runs an enormous color propaganda photo of a beneficent-looking Hillary Clinton and her soon-to-be-Democratic senator daughter posing as our last line of defense against the Invasion of the Putin-Nazis, and as the future of Western democracy, and whatever, on the cover of its cultural Review, this isn’t perceived as propaganda. Never mind that this woman (i.e., Hillary) is directly responsible for the deaths and misery of God knows how many innocent people in the course of her lucrative service to the empire. Never mind that this is the same exact person that sadistically cackled on national television when the empire’s associates anally knife-raped and murdered Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, and then transformed a developed African country into a hellish human-slavery market.

For fascists (and authoritarian personalities generally), facts are completely beside the point. The point is to robotically conform to the ideology (or hysterical ravings) of whatever leader or system of power happens to be in charge of things.

Authoritarian personality types are skilled at determining exactly who that is (i.e, who is really in charge of things) and obsequiously currying favor with them. For some, this is an innate talent; others have this talent conditioned into them (or beaten into them) over the course of years. Either way, the result is the same.

Put a bunch of random people together in a group and give them a problem to solve, or a complex project or objective to accomplish. Don’t give them any organizational guidance, just put them in a room and watch what happens.

The first thing that happens is … a “leader” emerges. Someone (or a few people) decides that someone needs to be in charge of this project, and they feel pretty strongly that it should be them. If more than one such “leader” emerges, or if the need for a leader itself is challenged, a struggle for power will immediately ensue. The aspiring “leaders” will compete for the support of the “followers” in the group. Sides will be taken. Eventually, a “leader” will be chosen. Occasionally, this will happen openly, but, more often than not, it will happen unconsciously. Someone in the group will want to dominate … and the rest of the group will want them to dominate. They will experience discomfort until a “leader” is established, and they will feel an enormous sense of relief once one is, and they can surrender their autonomy.

I assume you’re familiar with the Milgram experiment, but, if not, you should probably read up on that, and maybe read Adorno’s The Authoritarian Personality. It’s a bit outdated, and over-focused on the Nazis (it was originally published in 1950), but I think you’ll get the general idea. Once you’ve done that, turn on your television, or your radio, or scan the news on the Internet, or walk down any big city street and compare the content on the digital billboards, movie posters, and advertisements to historical fascist propaganda … that is, if your boss will let you leave the workplace long enough to do that, which he probably will if you ask him in that special way you have learned over time that he likes and generally tends to respond to.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to get inside your mind. That’s kind of a fascistic thing to do.

Look, the point is, we all have an “Inner Fascist,” with whom we are either acquainted or not. I’m a playwright and a novelist, which means I’ve got a big, fat, Sieg-heiling Inner Fascist goose-stepping around inside my head. I invent whole worlds, which I dictatorially control. I put people in them and make them say things. It doesn’t get much more fascistic than that. The way I see it, my art is how I sublimate my Inner Fascist, so that he doesn’t run around invading Poland, exterminating the Jews, or “regime-changing” Bolivia.

I’m not a psychiatrist, or a fascism expert, but I figure this is probably the most we can do … recognize, acknowledge, and find some way to sublimate our Inner Fascists, because, I guarantee you, they’re not going away. (If you don’t believe me, go watch that Planet Earth episode featuring the fascist chimpanzees.) Seriously, I recommend you do this. Get acquainted with your Inner Fascist, in an appropriate set and setting, of course. Give him something safe to dominate and then let him go totally totalitarian. You’ll be doing yourself and the rest of us a favor.

Ironically, it is those who are not acquainted with their Inner Fascists (or who deny they have one) who are usually the first to make a big public show of loudly denouncing “fascism,” brandishing their “anti-fascist” bona fides, accusing other people of being “fascists,” and otherwise desperately projecting their Inner Fascists onto those they hate, and want to silence, if not exterminate. This is one of the hallmarks of repressed Inner Fascism … this compulsion to control what other people think, this desire for complete ideological conformity, this tendency, not to argue with, but rather, to attempt to destroy anyone who disagrees with or questions one’s beliefs.

We all know people who behave this way. If you don’t, odds are, one of them is you.

So, please, if you haven’t done so already, get acquainted with your “Inner Fascist,” and find him something harmless to do, before he … well, you know, starts singing hymns to former FBI directors, or worshipping the CIA, or Obama, or Trump, or Hillary Clinton, or supports the empire’s next invasion, or coup, or just makes a desperate, sanctimonious ass of you both on the Internet.

I’m not kidding. Reclaim your “Inner Fascist.” It might sound crazy, but you will thank me someday.

*  *  *

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant Paperbacks. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org.

Tyler Durden Tue, 11/19/2019 - 21:25
Published:11/19/2019 8:34:28 PM
[] DOJ Releases More Information About Strzok in Motion to Dismiss His Lawsuit Against Them Strzok filed suit, laughably, challenging the DOJ's determination that he should be fired. The Department of Justice released documents Monday outlining a slew of "security violations" and flagrantly "unprofessional conduct" by anti-Trump ex-FBI agent Peter Strzok -- including his alleged... Published:11/19/2019 5:03:53 PM
[] Senator Kennedy of Louisiana: Epstein Did Not Kill Himself .@SenJohnKennedy:"Christmas ornaments, drywall and Jeffrey Epstein - name three things that don?t hang themselves. That?s what the American people think...and they deserve some answers."pic.twitter.com/UTjaxNaohK— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) November 19, 2019 Meanwhile, the FBI is investigating Epstein's suicide death as a... Published:11/19/2019 1:00:30 PM
[Politics] DOJ Details Peter Strzok's Security Violations, Releases More Texts Fired FBI agent Peter Strzok committed a multitude of security violations during his time at the bureau related to communications with his mistress and the mishandling of classified information, according to records released by the Department of Justice. Published:11/19/2019 7:59:19 AM
[Quick Takes] University of Miami Expert on Money-Laundering Charged With Money-Laundering "according to the FBI, he's been helping to launder money out of Latin America" Published:11/19/2019 7:31:19 AM
[Markets] 'The Horowitz Report Is Coming, The Horowitz Report Is Coming' - Lindsay Graham Signals Early Dec. Release 'The Horowitz Report Is Coming, The Horowitz Report Is Coming' - Lindsay Graham Signals Early Dec. Release

For over a year, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz has been 'investigating the investigators' - as has become the common parlance - and the last few months have seen growing angst among those on the left about what (and who) his report on FISA abuse and the origins of the Russia investigation may include.

As Townhall reports, investigations for the report have been concluded since September and have been reviewed by DOJ for classified information; and today, we get a step closer to finding out as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham released a statement confirming the dates for Horowitz's testimony.

"I appreciate all the hard work by Mr. Horowitz and his team regarding the Carter Page FISA warrant application and the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign," Graham said.

Mr. Horowitz will be appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on December 11, where he will deliver a detailed report of what he found regarding his investigation, along with recommendations as to how to make our judicial and investigative systems better."

Graham concluded...

“I look forward to hearing from him. He is a good man that has served our nation well."

As do many others.

The timing of Horowitz' testimony indicates a release for the highly anticipated report during the first week of December - which makes sense given this week's impeachment circus will suck all the oxygen out of the room and next week is Thanksgiving.

Indeed, as James Howard Kunstler pointed out so eloquently earlier today:

Democrats are pouring it on this week ahead of a post-Thanksgiving cold water deluge of bad news that will detail charges against the progenitors of RussiaGate. The roll-call may be a long one, including many actors whose turpitudes have been publicly and richly documented for many months - Messers, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Rosenstein, McCabe, Strzok, Halper, Ms. Page, et. al - and, if real justice is on order, not a few figures lurking in the Deep State deep background — John Carlin, Bill Priestap, Dana Boente, Michael Gaeta, Sally Yates, Loretta Lynch, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and perhaps even the archangel Barack Obama, just in time for Christmas, too. Robert Mueller and Andrew Weissmann deserve to be included for what amounted to a blatant, arrantly mendacious malicious prosecution, knowing that they had no case and proceeding anyway for two whole years.

I hope the roundup will extend to the very latest ploys leading to RussiaGate’s successor subterfuge, UkraineGate, namely the exploits of “whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella, his handlers and enablers in Mr. Schiff’s office, and the actions of his accomplice, Michael Atkinson, the current Intelligence Community Inspector General, with obvious conflicts of interests as a major player in the previous RuissiaGate dodge — he was legal counsel to Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, who headed the Department of Justice’s National Security Division at the birth of the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” gambit, and before that he was Robert Mueller’s chief of staff at the FBI.

But, hoping for all those names above to face some perp walks may well be wishful thinking, but for now, we are sure they will be sweating.

Of course, given Graham's suggested release schedule, that's just enough time for Comey and Clapper to book their flights to Caracas.

Tyler Durden Mon, 11/18/2019 - 18:45
Published:11/18/2019 5:55:45 PM
[Markets] Rabobank: "This Is The Real Minsky Issue That Should Be Making Us All Sweat" Rabobank: "This Is The Real Minsky Issue That Should Be Making Us All Sweat"

Submitted by Michael Every of Rabobank

“No sweat”. Once again, this is the very public message markets are hearing and echoing. And, yes, stocks are very high, bond yields are well off their lows, and key crosses like USD/CNH are stable around lucky seven. Yet unlike an absence of sweat, it all somehow still smells very bad.

Let’s start with Prince Andrew. His TV interview over the weekend to try to extricate himself from the Epstein sex-scandal mess is being seen as an epic failure. Calls for royal to say sorry and talk to the FBI”, says The Guardian; “Prince Charles urged to exile brother when he is king after ‘misguided’ interview”, says The Telegraph; “Prince ‘I-didn’t-party-or-do-PDAs’ Andrew is pictured doing plenty of both at wild parties on the French Riviera in 2007 (and he looks a wee bit sweaty too)”, says The Mail. However, the fact a pathologist (and, less helpfully, Syria’s Assad) have stated Epstein was murdered doesn’t seem to need any coverage. No need to sweat over that story any more, please, thank-you very much.

Meanwhile, the financial press says nothing much is happening other than US and Chinese trade representatives still edging closer to the “phase one” deal, which is underpinning market sentiment. There is no mention of the weekend New York Times’ story about Xinjiang, even given claims it is a leak from Beijing aimed at preventing anyone “from escaping culpability.” Clearly, however, nothing is going to be allowed to get in front of a “phase one” trade deal politically - until it fails. Indeed, think back to Khashoggi, for example, and to the 20th century, and we understand that for all their social-justice focus at the domestic level, internationally businesses only see what they Wannsee. Notably, however, the NYT story was re-tweeted by both US China-hawk Rubio, who takes the hardest of lines, and, more surprisingly, by Democratic presidential nominee Warren. Does that mean President Trump is now the main China-trade dove? And shouldn’t that make us sweat? Like I said, USD/CNH certainly isn’t.

There is also little news about the Fed’s latest financial stability review, which argued that a low rates environment damages banks and leads to misallocation of capital and hence future problems/crises: right after the Fed cut rates three times, of course, and as other central banks keep easing.

Likewise, I see precious little coverage of the fact that the IIF report global debt just hit a new record high of USD250 trillion as of H1 2019, and there is no sign that this is going to slow. It increased USD7.5 trillion from January to June 2019, even as global growth showed a synchronised slowdown. Where did the money go? Into assets, of course, which is why they are frothy and all else is not. Then again, if debt accumulation does slow, the global economy and global markets are going to crash as a result. That’s the real Minsky issue that should be making us all sweat, even as we head towards one of several possible socio-economic cliff edges (deflationary slump/inflationary spiral/MMT) in air-conditioned central-bank comfort.

Over in the UK, Labour has thrown a cat among the Brexit pigeons by promising free broadband to everyone. There we were, all thinking this was going to be a political battle over concepts of sovereignty and immigration, and instead it might be about The Word of Warcraft – a global reality which Labour’s foreign policy certainly does not address, of course. That manifesto pledge also underlines what was mentioned last week: the Overton Window is now an Overton French Window looking out onto a patio with some crazy paving. And if the IIF are right, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

Of course, none of this matters either – until it does. So Happy Monday and don’t sweat it too much.

Tyler Durden Mon, 11/18/2019 - 09:21
Published:11/18/2019 8:23:11 AM
[Markets] Epstein's Prison Guards Could Face Criminal Charges Epstein's Prison Guards Could Face Criminal Charges

While the political and financial elites across the globe (and certainly in the UK) are doing everything in their power to bury the Epstein scandal - so to speak-  both literally and metaphorically, CBS reports that such efforts face a hurdle as Federal prosecutors in New York are considering bringing criminal charges against the two correctional officers responsible for guarding Jeffrey Epstein on the night of his death.

As a reminder, Epstein, who was 66 at the time of his death, was found unresponsive in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City on August 10.

The official explanation for Epstein's death was suicide, although skeptics have suggested that Epstein's sudden death was all too convenient as it also buried the toxic secrets of countless implicated "luminaries" and Wall Street and Beltway VIPs across all sectors of US life.

As a reminder, Epstein, who had been charged with sexually abusing a number of underage girls, was placed on suicide watch the month before his death after he was found on his cell floor with bruising on his neck. But multiple sources said that Epstein had been taken off suicide watch after about a week, and placed into a high-security housing unit where he was supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes.

At the end of October, prominent forensic expert Michael Baden refuted the official narrative, stating at the end of October that Epstein was "strangulated."

More recently, a viral meme claiming that "Epstein did not kill himself" has taken America by storm...

... culminating with an interview involving Matt Taibbi and outspoken radio host Joe Rogan, in which the viral phrase "Epstein was died" was born.

Prosecutors offered the officers the opportunity to plead guilty to the charges, but the officers declined the offer, the source added. And while the CBS source said it was not a plea deal, CNN's reporting suggested otherwise, noting that "at least one federal prison worker on duty the night before Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his prison cell was offered a plea deal in connection with the multimillionaire's death." As CNN elaborated, plea deal negotiations between prosecutors and attorneys indicate forthcoming charges by the Department of Justice relating to Epstein's death.

The two prison staff members who are allegedly the target of a criminal probe were guarding the unit where Epstein died by apparent suicide failed to check on him that night for about three hours, even though they were supposed to check on detainees in the special housing unit every 30 minutes.

Of the two officers who had the responsibility to monitor Epstein, one was not a detention guard but was temporarily reassigned to that post, according to CNN reporting. The guard, a man not identified by officials, had previously been trained as a corrections officer but had moved to another position. Rules at the Federal Bureau of Prisons allow people who work in other prison jobs, such as teachers and cooks, to be trained to fill in for posts usually manned by regular guards.

The second staff member on Epstein duty was a woman fully trained as a guard, according to the person briefed on the matter.  Both guards were working overtime shifts, but it's unclear whether that was mandatory.

As questions about how such a high-profile prisoner could have died on the correctional center's watch, both the FBI and the Justice Department's inspector general investigating the death.

Meanwhile, as reported earlier, in the latest scandal to emerge from Epstein's death - and life - the attempt by the UK's Prince Andrew - the second son of Queen Elizabeth II - to explain away his friendship with the pedophile financier in a high-profile TV interview "degenerated into a farce", which as Bloomberg notes, threatens to be the British royal family’s biggest public relations disaster since its handling of the death of Princess Diana in 1997.

It is so bad, in fact, that Prince Andrew's PR Adviser Jason Stein resigned over his catastrophic interview:

So yes, some embarrassment for the Queen and her immediate circle, but will there be any long-term consequences? Hardly: we are confident the royal family will spend enough PR money to put this scandal to bed in the coming days and weeks, meanwhile all those people whose secrets could have been exposed had Epstein "talked" will be delighted that their skeletons will remain forever in the closet with Epstein's murder suicide, because whoever ordered the Epstein hit was hardly dumb enough to leave any "fingerprints."

As such, any criminal probe into Epstein's guards will, sadly, end with them.

Tyler Durden Sun, 11/17/2019 - 21:15
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Published:11/17/2019 8:21:11 PM
[Markets] Exposing The Brennan Dossier: All About A Prime Mover Of Russiagate Exposing The Brennan Dossier: All About A Prime Mover Of Russiagate

Authored by Aaron Maté via RealClearInvestigations.com,

In the waning days of the Obama administration, the U.S. intelligence community produced a report saying Russian President Vladimir Putin had tried to swing the 2016 election to Donald Trump.

The January 2017 report, called an Intelligence Community Assessment, followed months of leaks to the media that had falsely suggested illicit ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin while also revealing that such contacts were the subject of a federal investigation. Its release cast a pall of suspicion over Trump just days before he took office, setting the tone for the unfounded allegations of conspiracy and treason that have engulfed his first term.

What was Brennan's motive? Among the possibilities is hostility within his camp toward Michael Flynn (foreground), Trump's future reform-minded national security adviser.

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The ICA's blockbuster finding was presented to the public as the consensus view of the nation's intelligence community. As events have unfolded, however, it now seems apparent that the report was largely the work of one agency, the CIA, and overseen by one man, then-Director John Brennan, who closely directed its drafting and publication with a small group of hand-picked analysts.

Nearly three years later, as the public awaits answers from two Justice Department inquiries into the Trump-Russia probe’s origins, and as impeachment hearings catalyzed by a Brennan-hired anti-Trump CIA analyst unfold in Congress, it is clear that Brennan’s role in propagating the collusion narrative went far beyond his work on the ICA. A close review of facts that have slowly come to light reveals that he was a central architect and promoter of the conspiracy theory from its inception. The record shows that:

  • Contrary to a general impression that the FBI launched the Trump-Russia conspiracy probe, Brennan pushed it to the bureau – breaking with CIA tradition by intruding into domestic politics: the 2016 presidential election. He also supplied suggestive but ultimately false information to counterintelligence investigators and other U.S. officials.

  • Leveraging his close proximity to President Obama, Brennan sounded the alarm about alleged Russian interference to the White House, and was tasked with managing the U.S. intelligence community's response.

  • While some FBI officials expressed skepticism about the Trump/Russia narrative as they hunted down investigative leads, Brennan stood out for insisting on its veracity.

  • To substantiate his claims, Brennan relied on a Kremlin informant who was later found to be a mid-level official with limited access to Putin’s inner circle.

  • Circumventing normal protocol for congressional briefings, Brennan supplied then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid with incendiary Trump-Russia innuendo that Reid amplified in a pair of public letters late in the election campaign.

  • After Trump's unexpected victory, Brennan oversaw the hasty production of the tenuous Intelligence Community Assessment.

  • Departing from his predecessors’ usual practice of staying above the political fray after leaving office, Brennan has worked as a prominent analyst for MSNBC, where he has used his authority as a former guardian of the nation’s top secrets to launch vitriolic attacks on a sitting president, accusing Trump of "treasonous" conduct.

Now Brennan is among the most vocal critics of the more comprehensive of the two Justice probes, the criminal investigation run by U.S. Attorney John Durham and Attorney General William Barr. "I don’t understand the predication of this worldwide effort to try to uncover dirt, real or imagined, that would discredit that investigation in 2016 into Russian interference," he recently said on MSNBC.

The Trump-Russia collusion theory was not propagated by a few rogue figures. Key Obama administration and intelligence officials laundered it through national security reporters who gave their explosive claims anonymous cover. Nevertheless, Brennan stands apart for the outsized role he played in generating and spreading the false narrative.

'Raised Concerns in My Mind'

The government’s official story as detailed in special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s April 18 report casts the Trump-Russia probe as an FBI operation. It asserts that the bureau launched its investigation, code-named “Crossfire Hurricane,” on July 31, 2016, after receiving information that junior Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos was informed that Russians had politically damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

John Durham: His probe aims "to better understand the intelligence that flowed from the C.I.A. to the F.B.I. in the summer of 2016," as the New York Times put it.

United States Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut/Wikimedia

But a great deal of evidence – including public testimony and news accounts – undermines that story. It indicates that the probe started earlier, with Brennan a driving force. Many of the clues are buried in public testimony and reports published by the New York Times and Washington Post, the primary vehicles for intelligence community leaks throughout the Russiagate saga.

One signal came in June when the Times reported that the Barr-Durham investigation had "provoked anxiety in the ranks of the C.I.A." Among Barr's aims, the paper noted, was "to better understand the intelligence that flowed from the C.I.A. to the F.B.I. in the summer of 2016."

That intelligence "flowed from the C.I.A. to the F.B.I" underscores that the agency played a larger role in the early stages of the Trump-Russia probe than is publicly acknowledged. Late last month, the Times ran a more ominous piece suggesting that the CIA may have been a prime mover of the probe through deception. It reported that Durham has been asking interview subjects "whether C.I.A. officials might have somehow tricked the F.B.I. into opening the Russia investigation." In anticipation of being asked such questions, the paper added, "[s]ome C.I.A. officials have retained criminal lawyers."

If that reflects an accurate suspicion on Durham's part, then Brennan, by his own account, has already outed himself as a key suspect. Brennan has publicly taken credit for the Russia probe's origination and supplying critical information to the FBI after it began. "I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about," he told Congress in May 2017. That information, Brennan added, "raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians," which then "served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion-cooperation occurred."

BBC report suggests that Brennan may be referring to April 2016 – a month before Papadopoulos allegedly mentioned Russian dirt and three months before the FBI launched its probe – when “an intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States" provided Brennan with "a tape recording" that "worried him" – "a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into the U.S. presidential campaign."

Stefan Halper: This CIA and FBI informant targeted Carter Page as early as May 2016, Page says.

Oxford Union/YouTube

It is not clear whether the BBC account is accurate, but the April date coincides with other activity suggesting an earlier start date to the collusion probe than the official version. Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch testified before a congressional panel that in the “late spring” of 2016 then-FBI Director James Comey briefed National Security Council principals about concerns surrounding newly appointed Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. According to the Guardian newspaper, former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele began briefing the FBI on his discredited dossier in London as early as June; after that, "his information started to reach the bureau in Washington." In mid-July, veteran CIA and FBI informant Stefan Halper made contact with Page at a British academic conference;  according to Page, the invitation had come at the end of May or early June.

Halper has also been accused of taking part in a smear operation aimed at spreading false information about National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Russian nationals. In May, Halper was sued in the U.S.  by Svetlana Lokhova, a Russian-born British academic, for defamation. Lokhova alleges that Halper, while working as a U.S. intelligence asset, spread rumors suggesting that she  and Flynn had an improper relationship.

While Russiagate's exact starting point is murky, it is clear that Brennan placed himself at the center of the action. After the investigation officially got underway in the summer of 2016, as Brennan later told MSNBC, "[w]e put together a fusion center at CIA that brought NSA and FBI officers together with CIA to make sure that those proverbial dots would be connected." (It is not clear whether this was a Freudian slip suggesting the center included Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm hired by the Clinton campaign that produced the Steele dossier of fictitious Trump-Russia dirt – but regardless, it is likely that at least some of Brennan's "dots" came from the firm.) According to the New Yorker, also that summer Brennan received a personal briefing from Robert Hannigan, then the head of Britain’s intelligence service the GCHQ, about an alleged "stream of illicit communications between Trump's team and Moscow that had been intercepted." A U.S. court would later confirm that Steele shared his reports with at least one "senior British security official."

As Brennan helped generate the collusion investigation, he also worked to insert it into domestic American politics – at the height of a presidential campaign. Starting in August, Brennan began giving personal briefings to the Gang of Eight, high-ranking U.S. senators and members of Congress regularly apprised of state secrets. Breaking with tradition, he met them individually, rather than as a group. His most consequential private meeting was with Harry Reid.

Harry Reid: Brennan gave this top Senate Democrat an irregular individual briefing, putting the collusion narrative in motion. 

AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz.,File

Afterward, the Democrats’ Senate leader sent a pair of provocative public letters to FBI Director Comey. Reid's messages – released to the public during the final months of the presidential race – made explosive insinuations of illicit ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, putting the collusion narrative into motion. "The prospect of individuals tied to Trump, WikiLeaks and the Russian government coordinating to influence our election raises concerns of the utmost gravity and merits full examination," Reid wrote on Aug. 27. Russia, he warned, may be trying to "influence the Trump campaign and manipulate it as a vehicle for advancing the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin."

Two days after Comey's "October surprise" announcement that newly discovered emails were forcing him to reopen the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server while serving as secretary of state,  Reid followed up with even more incendiary language: "It has become clear," he complained to Comey, "that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors and the Russian government."

Reid’s letters show the extent to which Brennan maneuvered behind the scenes to funnel collusion to a public audience. In their book "Russian Roulette," Michael Isikoff and David Corn report that Reid "concluded the CIA chief believed the public needed to know about the Russia operation, including the information about the possible links to the Trump campaign."

Nunes: 'Whatever Brennan Told Reid, He Didn’t Tell Me.'

The separate briefings and the Reid letters gave rise to suspicion that Brennan was driven by what Reid, according to Isikoff and Corn, saw as an "ulterior motive." Although Brennan has claimed publicly that he "provided the same briefing to each gang of eight member," Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) says that is not true. Nunes, who was then the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is quoted in journalist Lee Smith’s new book, "The Plot Against the President," saying, "Whatever Brennan told Reid, he didn’t tell me."

Reid’s letters also undermine a common, but false, talking point used to defend Brennan and other U.S. intelligence officials behind the Russia investigation: If they really sought to hurt the Trump campaign, they would have made their Trump-Russia collusion speculation public. As Comey put it: "If we were 'deep state' Clinton loyalists bent on stopping him, why would we keep it secret?" Reid's extraordinary letters – released at the height of the campaign – were one of the ways in which Brennan did exactly the opposite.

FBI's Peter Strzok texted Lisa Page suggesting the CIA was "leaking like mad." And he wrote colleagues of his concern the agency was deceiving both the bureau and the public.

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

After Trump's election victory in November, Brennan's CIA was the source of yet more leaks. Reports in early December claimed that the agency had assessed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election with the explicit aim of helping Trump. The leaks sparked worry inside the FBI.

"Think our sisters have begun leaking like mad," Peter Strzok, the lead FBI agent on the Russia probe, texted his colleague Lisa Page on Dec. 15. "Scorned and worried and political, they're kicking in to overdrive." In an April 2017 email to colleagues, Strzok worried the CIA was deceiving both the bureau and the public. "I'm beginning to think the agency got info a lot earlier than we thought and hasn't shared it completely with us," he wrote. "Might explain all these weird/seemingly incorrect leads all these media folks have. Would also highlight agency as a source of some of the leaks."

‘We Needed More’

At the same time that he was sharing his "concerns" about alleged Trump-Russia contacts with the FBI and Congress, Brennan was raising alarm bells at the White House about an alleged Russian interference campaign. In the process, he went to significant lengths to safeguard his claims from internal scrutiny.

In early August, Brennan told the White House about supposed intelligence from a Kremlin mole that Vladimir Putin had personally ordered an interference operation to hurt Clinton and install Trump in the White House. Brennan, the New York Times reported, "sent separate intelligence reports, many based on the source’s information, in special sealed envelopes to the Oval Office." Brennan made sure that those envelopes evaded scrutiny.

On Brennan’s orders, Greg Miller of the Washington Post reported, "no information on Russia's interference was ever included in the president's daily brief."  Brennan's purported fear was that even a highly restrictive distribution list might prove too leaky for the CIA’s explosive claims about Putin’s supposed secret orders to elect Trump.

Miller also reported that Brennan holed up in his office to pore over the CIA's material, "staying so late that the glow through his office windows remained visible deep into the night." Brennan ordered up, not just vetted, "'finished' assessments – analytic reports that had gone through “layers of review and revision," but also "what agency veterans call the 'raw stuff,' the unprocessed underlying material," Miller adds.

John Kiriakou, ex-CIA analyst: Brennan's actions were "a very big red flag."

AP Photo/Cliff Owen

To former CIA analyst and whistleblower John Kiriakou, all of this raises "a very big red flag" that suggests Brennan circumvented his colleagues and normal intelligence safeguards. "As a matter of practice, you never, ever give the raw data to the policymaker," Kiriakou says. "That was something that was done during the George W. Bush administration where Vice President Cheney demanded the raw intelligence. But more often than not raw intelligence is just simply incorrect – it’s factually incorrect, or it’s the result of the source who’s a liar, or it’s the result of the source who has only part of the story. And so you can’t trust it. You have to vet it and compare it to the rest of your all-source information to see what’s true, what’s not true, and then only the true information you use in your analysis. For the director of the CIA to be using the raw data is highly unusual because that’s what you have a staff of thousands to do for you."

The timing of Brennan's supposed delivery of the information sourced to the mole – later identified as Oleg Smolenkov – also raises questions. Although it is unclear when Smolenkov would have conveyed his intelligence to the CIA, the Washington Post reported Brennan delivered it to the White House in early August 2016 – just days after the FBI officially launched its Russia investigation. But if Smolenkov was able to capture Putin's orders to conduct a sweeping election interference campaign – which allegedly began in March – it would be odd that this information arrived only after the U.S. election interference investigation began, and not – at minimum – months earlier, when Putin's supposed operation would had to have been ordered.

When Brennan's material did reach eyes outside Obama's inner circle, "other agencies were slower to endorse a conclusion that Putin was personally directing the operation and wanted to help Trump," the Washington Post reported. “‘It was definitely compelling, but it was not definitive,' said one senior administration official. 'We needed more.'" Faced with that skepticism, Brennan "moved swiftly" to brief congressional leaders -- including Reid.

The Mole

The internal doubts about Brennan's claims now make more sense in light of the recent outing of the supposed Kremlin mole that he relied on to make them.

Smolenkov has been revealed to be a mid-level Kremlin official who was outside of Putin's inner circle. According to Russian media, Smolenkov disappeared during a visit to Montenegro in June 2017, in what other reports call a CIA extraction over fears that a loose-lipped Trump could put him in peril. After that, Smolenkov turned up in the U.S., remarkably living under his own name – easily discoverable in public records – in the Virginia suburbs.

Even putting aside Putin’s reputation for having operatives abroad hunt down and assassinate those who cross him, Kiriakou said this open visibility is "astounding." CIA informants, Kiriakou says, "were never, ever resettled in their own names and they were almost never resettled in the Washington area. That tells me a couple of things: one, this source wasn’t as sensitive as we may have been led to believe; or, two, even if he was sensitive, the information that he provided either has been overtaken by events, or isn’t really that important in the long run."

Nevertheless, Brennan’s Kremlin mole remains the only known direct source for a central claim that Putin worked to elect Trump.

‘Unusually Constrained’

Brennan has countered questions about the intelligence process he directed by insisting that his conclusions were broadly shared and corroborated. That is misleading. 

During private briefings to Congress in December 2016, it was the CIA that aggressively pushed the belief that Putin had ordered a secret campaign to elect Trump, while FBI officials said that the intelligence was not conclusive. An unnamed official told the Washington Post that "a secret, new CIA assessment" made "direct and bald and unqualified" statements that the Russian government sought to elect Trump. But days later, "a senior FBI counterintelligence official" appearing before the committee gave "fuzzy and "ambiguous" remarks on the same issue. "It was shocking to hold these [CIA] statements made about Russian intentions and activities, and to hear this guy basically saying nothing with certainty and allowing that all was possible," an official who attended the briefing told the Post.

James Clapper: He suggested the Steele dossier influenced the Intelligence Community Assessment. Brennan denied it.

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File

March 2018 report from Republican members of House Intelligence Committee fleshed out these concerns. It determined that the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, which Brennan managed, was subjected to an "unusually constrained review and coordination process, which deviated from established CIA practice." Contrary to the widespread portrayal of a vetted, consensus-based intelligence product, the ICA was in fact "drafted by CIA analysts" working under Brennan and merely "coordinated with the NSA and the FBI." The report found that the ICA also suffered from "significant intelligence tradecraft failings that undermine confidence in the ICA judgments regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin's strategic objectives for disrupting the U.S. election."

Another question is whether the Steele dossier influenced the ICA's production. Brennan has insisted in congressional testimony that the dossier was "not in any way used as the basis for the intelligence community's assessment," and that he was unaware of the fact that Hillary Clinton's campaign had funded it. But multiple accounts, including in RealClearInvestigations, report that the dossier was inserted as an appendix to the ICA, and that Brennan personally advocated its inclusion. In an October 2017 interview with CNN, where he works as analyst, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper acknowledged that "some of the substantive content of the dossier we were able to corroborate in our Intelligence Community Assessment" – suggesting that it was indeed relied on.

President Obama's role in U.S. intelligence is yet one more mystery. In both the final months of his presidency and in the period since, Obama has said very little publicly about the Russia investigation. But he attended various meetings with top officials about Trump-Russia theories. It’s not clear what he said, but their efforts ramped up in the months that followed.

Most of Obama’s documented efforts occurred during his final days in office. On Jan. 5, 2017 he convened a meeting where he and top principals decided to withhold details about the ongoing FBI investigation of the incoming Trump administration. A week later his administration issued a new rule allowing the NSA to disseminate throughout the government “raw signals intelligence information.” Republicans viewed this as an effort to make it easy to leak damaging information against Trump and harder to identify the leakers. Also after the election, Obama made the curious decision to nix a proposal from inside his own administration to form a bipartisan commission that would have scrutinized Russian interference and the U.S. response.

‘I Think I Suspected More Than There Actually Was’

Since stepping down from the CIA in January 2017, Brennan's incendiary rhetoric has fanned the flames. From MSNBC to the New York Times to Twitter, Brennan has denounced Trump as "treasonous," "in the pocket of Putin," and dismissed the president's now substantiated "claims of no collusion," as "hogwash." In the final weeks of the Mueller probe, Brennan boldly predicted a wave of indictments against Trump's inner circle for a Russia conspiracy. When Mueller completed his probe with no such indictments, Brennan changed his tone: "I don’t know if I received bad information, but I think I suspected there was more than there actually was," he told MSNBC.

Brennan is now a bitter Trump critic on MSNBC.

MSNBC/"The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell"

The Mueller report accepted Brennan’s claim that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. But as a previous RCI investigation found, the report's evidence failed to support its claim of a "sweeping and systematic" interference campaign. Nor did it show that such interference impacted the outcome.

It is still not clear why the Obama administration, with major media playing along, not only embraced the false Trump-Russia narrative but also used it as a rationale to spy on a presidential campaign and then on a presidency. Brennan’s reasons also remain opaque.

One early motivation may have been the intelligence community’s broad dislike of Flynn – Trump’s first national security adviser, who was one of the earliest targets of the collusion narrative.

Flynn had served as Obama’s head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, but fell out of favor by 2014, in part because of his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal and the CIA's arming of anti-Assad militants in Syria. Obama had specifically warned Trump against hiring Flynn.

A longtime critic of the bureaucracy, Flynn earned particular enmity from Brennan’s CIA with an effort to create a new Pentagon spy organization, Foreign Policy reported in 2015.

One of Trump’s first high-profile supporters, Flynn was also the subject of the first news articles – starting in February of 2016 – portraying members of the Trump campaign as overly sympathetic to Russia. In February 2017, “nine current and former officials” from multiple agencies leaked about him to the Washington Post over his contacts with the Russian ambassador -- an article that helped the Post win a Pulitzer Prize with the New York Times. The episode also brought Flynn much grief, including a widely questioned “process crime” conviction for lying to the FBI, which he is now trying to reverse. Meanwhile, a CIA “whistleblower” hired and placed in the White House by Brennan has provided the impetus for the current Democrat-led impeachment effort against President Trump.

The Barr-Durham probe is set to determine, among other things, whether Brennan’s actions and faulty information amounted to incompetence or something considerably worse. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/16/2019 - 23:30
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Published:11/16/2019 10:46:20 PM
[Markets] Everything You Need To Know About Trump (But Were Afraid To Admit You Wondered) Everything You Need To Know About Trump (But Were Afraid To Admit You Wondered)

Authored by Sylvain LaForest via Oriental Review,

The timing is right for everyone to understand what Donald Trump is doing, and try to decrypt the ambiguity of how he is is doing it. The controversial President has a much clearer agenda than anyone can imagine on both foreign policy and internal affairs, but since he has to stay in power or even stay alive to achieve his objectives, his strategy is so refined and subtle that next to no one can see it. His overall objective is so ambitious that he has to follow random elliptic courses to get from point A to point B, using patterns that throw people off on their comprehension of the man. That includes most independent journalists and so-called alternative analysts, as much as Western mainstream fake-news publishers and a large majority of the population.

About his strategy, I could make a quick and accurate analogy with medication: most pills are designed to cure a problem, but come with an array of secondary after-effects. Well, Trump is using medication solely for their after-effects, while the first intent of the pill is what’s keeping him in power and alive. By the end of this article, you’ll see that this metaphor applies for just about every decision, move or declaration he’s made. Once you understand what Trump is about, you’ll be able to appreciate the extraordinary presidency he’s conducting, like no predecessor ever came close to match.

To start off, let’s clear the one aspect of his mission that is straightforward and terribly direct: he’s the first and only American President to ever address humanity’s worst collective flaw, its total ignorance of reality. Because medias and education are both controlled by the handful of billionaires that are running the planet, we don’t know anything about our history that’s been twisted dry by the winners, and we don’t have a clue about our present world. As he stepped in the political arena, Donald popularized the expression «fake news» to convince the American citizens, and the world population as well, that medias always lie to you. The expression has now become commonplace, but do you realize how deeply shocking is the fact that nearly everything you think you know is totally fake?

Media lies don’t just cover history and politics, but they have shaped your false perception on topics like economy, food, climate, health, on everything. What if I told you that we know exactly who shot JFK from the grassy knoll, that the foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor was proven in court, that the CO2 greenhouse effect is scientifically absurd, that our money is created through loans by banks who don’t even have the funds, or that science proves with a 100% certainty that 911 was an inside job? Ever heard of a mainstream journalist, PBS documentary or university teacher telling you about any of this? 44 Presidents came and went without even raising one word about this huge problem, before the 45th came along. Trump knows that freeing the people out of this unfathomable ignorance is the first step to overall freedom, so he started calling mainstream journalists and their news outlets for what they are: pathological liars.

«Thousands of mental health professionals agree with Woodward and the New York Times op-ed author: Trump is dangerous.»

– Bandy X. Lee, The Conversation 2018

«The question is not whether the President is crazy but whether he is crazy like a fox or crazy like crazy.»

– Masha Gessen, The New Yorker 2017

Let’s make one thing clear: to the establishment, Trump isn’t mentally challenged, but he’s definitely seen as a possible nemesis of their world. Ever since he moved in the White House, Trump has been depicted as a narcissist, a racist, a sexist and a climate-skeptic, loaded with shady past stories and mental issues. Even though an approximate 60% of the American people don’t trust medias anymore, many have bought the story that Trump might be slightly crazy or unfit to rule, and the statistic climbs even higher when you get out of the USA. Of course, Donald isn’t doing anything special to change the deeply negative perception that so many journalists and people alike have about him. He’s openly outrageous and provocative on Twitter, he sounds impulsive and dumb most of the time, acts irrationally, lies on a daily basis, and throws out sanctions and threats as if they were candy canes out of an elf’s side bag in a mall in December. Right away, we can destroy one persistent media myth: the image Trump is projecting is self-destructive and it’s the exact opposite of how pathological narcissists act, since they thrive to be loved and admired by everyone. Donald simply doesn’t care if you like him or not, which makes him the ultimate anti-narcissist, by its psychological definition. And that’s not even up for opinion, it’s a quite simple and undeniable fact.

His general plan exhales from one of his favorite motto: «We will give power back to the people», because the United States and its imperialist web woven over the world have been in the hands of a few globalist bankers, military industrials and multinationals for more than a century. To achieve his plan, he has to end wars abroad, bring back the kids, dismantle the NATO and CIA, get control over the Federal Reserve, cut every link with foreign allies, abolish the Swift financial system, demolish the propaganda power of the medias, drain the swamp of the deep state that’s running the spying agencies and disable the shadow government that’s lurking in the Council on foreign relations and Trilateral Commission’s offices. In short, he has to destroy the New World Order and its globalist ideology. The task is huge and dangerous to say the least. Thankfully, he’s not alone.

Before we get on his techniques and tactics, we have to know a little bit more about what’s really been going on in the world.

Mighty Russia

Since Peter the Great, the whole history of Russia is a permanent demonstration of its will to maintain its political and economical independence from international banks and imperialism, pushing this great nation to help many smaller countries fighting to keep their own independence. Twice Russia helped the United States against the British/Rothschild Empire; first by openly supporting them in the Independence War, and again in the Civil War, when Rothschild’s were funding the Confederates to politically break down the nation to bring it back in the British colonial Empire’s coop. Russia also destroyed Napoleon and the Nazis, whom were both funded by international banks as tools to crush economically independent nations. Independence is in their DNA. After almost a decade of Western oligarchy taking over Russia’s economy after the fall of USSR in 1991, Putin took power and drained the Russian swamp. Since then, each and every move that he has made aims to destroy the American Empire, or the entity that replaced the British Empire in 1944, which is the non-conspiracy theory name of the New World Order. The new empire is basically the same central banking scheme, with just a slightly different set of owners that switched the British army for NATO, as their world Gestapo.

Until Trump came along, Putin was single handedly fighting the New World Order who’s century-old obsession is the control of the world oil market, since oil is the blood running through the veins of the world economy. Oil is a thousand times more valuable than gold. Cargo ships, airplanes and armies don’t run on batteries. Therefore, to counter the globalists, Putin developed the best offensive and defensive missile systems, with the result that Russia can now protect every independent oil producer such as Syria, Venezuela and Iran. Central bankers and the US shadow government are still hanging on to their dying plan, because without a victory in Syria, there’s no enlarging Israel, thus ending the century-old fantasy of uniting the Middle East oil production in the hands of the New World Order. Ask Lord Balfour if you have any doubt. That’s the real stake of the Syrian war, it’s nothing short of do or die.

A century of lies

Now, because a shadow government is giving direct orders to the CIA and NATO in the name of banks and industries, Trump has no control over the military. The deep state is a rosary of permanent officials ruling Washington and the Pentagon, that only respond to their orders. If you still believe that the «Commander in chief» is in charge, explain why every time Trump ordered to pull out of Syria and Afghanistan, more troops came in? As I’m writing this text, US and NATO troops pulled out of the Kurdish zones, went to Iraq, and came back with heavier equipment around the oil reserves of Syria. Donald has a lot more of swamp draining to do before the Pentagon actually listens to anything he says. Trump should be outraged and denunciate out loud that the military command doesn’t bother about what he thinks, but this would ignite an unimaginable chaos, and perhaps even a civil war in the US, if the citizens who own roughly 393 million weapons in their homes were to learn that private interests are in charge of the military. It would also lead to a very simple but dramatic question: «What is exactly the purpose of democracy?» These weapons are the titanium fences guarding the population from a totalitarian Big Brother.

One has to realize how much trouble the US army and spying agencies have been going through in creating false-flag operations for more than a century, so that their interventions always looked righteous, in the name of democracy promotion, human rights and justice around the planet. They blew up the Maine ship in 1898 to enter the Hispanic-American war, then the Lusitania in 1915 to enter WW1. They pushed Japan to attack Pearl Harbor in 1941, knew about the attack 10 days in advance and said nothing to the Hawaiian base. They made up a North Vietnamese torpedo aggression on their ships in the Tonkin Bay to justify sending boots on the Vietnamese ground. They made up a story of Iraqi soldiers destroying nurseries to invade Kuwait in 1991. They invented mass destruction weapons to attack Iraq again in 2003, and organized 911 to shred the 1789 Constitution, attack Afghanistan and launch a War on terror. This totally fake mask of virtue has to be preserved for controlling the opinion of the American citizens and their domestic arsenal, who have to believe that they wear the white cowboy hats of democracy.

So how did Trump react when he learned that American troops were re-entering Syria? He repeated again and again in every interview and declaration that «we have secured the oil fields of Syria», and even added «I’m thinking about sending Exxon in the region to take care of the Syrian oil». Neocons, Zionists and banks were thrilled, but everyone else is outraged, because the vast majority doesn’t understand that Trump is swallowing this pill solely for its after-effects. On this single bottle is written in fine print that «the use of this drug might force American-NATO troops out of Syria under the pressure of the united world community and flabbergasted American population.» Trump made the situation unsustainable for NATO to stay in Syria, and how he’s been repeating this deeply shocking, politically incorrect position clearly shows his real intention. He destroyed over a century of fake virtue in a single sentence.

Trump is a historical anomaly

Trump is only the fourth president in US history to actually fight for the people, unlike all 41 others, who mainly channeled the people’s money in a pipeline of dollars that ends up in private banks. First there was Andrew Jackson who was shot after he destroyed the Second National Bank that he openly accused of being controlled by the Rothschild and The City in London. Then there was Abraham Lincoln, who was murdered after printing his «greenbacks», nation