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[Markets] Rand Paul Rages "Officials Must Be Asked Under Oath What Obama Knew, And When?"

Authored by Kane via CitizenFreePress.com,

Citing a ‘high-level source,’ Rand Paul says former CIA Director John Brennan grew frustrated that no one was giving credence to the Clinton-funded dossier, so he attached it to an intelligence report, ensuring that it would be seen by President Obama and President-elect Trump.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told Breitbart News exclusively on Wednesday that President Donald Trump told senators at the weekly GOP luncheon that he backs his call for an investigation into the origins of the Russia scandal “hoax” that Trump has now been cleared of by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“The president was at lunch today and he voiced his support for investigating the people who concocted this hoax,” Paul told Breitbart News.

“He didn’t use the word hoax, those are my words, but I think we should get to the bottom of this and he believes we should get to the bottom of this because this should never happen to another president. He feels that it’s damaging to the country, damaging to the ability to lead the country, that we basically—somebody within the Obama administration, within the DOJ and the FBI, basically concocted an investigation, trumped it up to be something that it wasn’t and then we’ve gone through two years of the country being stalled because of this fake investigation.”

Rand exclaimed (at around 3: 02): "Officials must be asked under oath what Obama knew, and when..."

When asked specifically if former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice should be called to testify about their role in the matter - and be subpoenaed to force their testimony if they refuse to voluntarily comply.

Paul said:

“Absolutely. We have John Brennan, who lied to us, who spied on the Senate and tapped into Senate computers,” Paul said.

“We have James Clapper who came before the Intelligence Committee and said they weren’t collecting all of our phone data. So both Brennan and Clapper have been known to lie in official testimony. They should be brought forward and asked what was their part? What was their role in ginning up this dossier? Amazingly, most media outlets wouldn’t even print the dossier because they thought it was so unsubstantiated. And then all of a sudden, the FBI gives it credence. There’s one interesting story out today that says still no one would print it, so then Comey gives it to President Trump and that’s when it’s been leaked and then we have a news story saying that this dossier had been given to the president and that became the hook or the story.

“I think it’s a terrible tragedy,” Paul said of the investigation. “It cost us $30 million, two years to go through all of this, the media has been so consumed by all of this that they have barely had time to report on any of the real news of the day. I think we shouldn’t allow this to happen again to a Republican or a Democrat.”

For now, the full Mueller report is not yet public—and Paul said he intends to object to its full release until such time as all the documents regarding the Obama administration’s abuse of power to start this “hoax” investigation are also released.

“My plan is to object to the release of the Mueller report and/or all of the Mueller information until they also release the complete information from the White House, DOJ, FBI, on why they chose to credit the dossier,” Paul said.

“What were the discussions? And who was it who was promoting that the dossier was real? How did it come about? How were all these judgments made? So, the other side wants to read a million pages of Mueller report. We’re going to want to read a million pages of how this whole Russian hoax got started.”

This is the first part of a lengthy interview with Sen. Paul on Spygate in the wake of the Mueller probe clearing President Trump on all matters. More is forthcoming soon...

Published:3/29/2019 1:28:39 PM
[US News] Smoking gun?! If Luke Rosiak’s thread about Hillary’s server is true Comey and the FBI are about to be in a WORLD of hurt

As things slowly wrap-up with the Mueller investigation (no matter how hard Schiff and his Dem cronies try and keep it going), seems focus is once again moving back to Hillary Clinton, her server, and the part she and her campaign may have played in all of this. After all, she was the only candidate […]

The post Smoking gun?! If Luke Rosiak’s thread about Hillary’s server is true Comey and the FBI are about to be in a WORLD of hurt appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:3/29/2019 10:56:51 AM
[World] Former U.S. Attorney: Kim Foxx's Handling of Smollett Case 'Highly, Highly Unusual'

Former U.S. Attorney Guy Lewis said "it's a whole new ballgame" now that the FBI is reviewing the Jussie Smollett case.

Published:3/29/2019 9:57:04 AM
[Markets] Russia & The Democrats: "Congratulations A$$holes!"

Authored by Rob Urie via Counterpunch.org,

Two years ago authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes wrote in their book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign that within 24 hours of her 2016 electoral loss, Hillary Clinton’s senior campaign staff decided to blame the loss on Russian interference. Given the apparent source of the charge in opposition researchfunded by the Clinton campaign, the move seemed both desperate and pathetic— a thread for Clinton’s true believers to hang onto, an effort to keep campaign contributions rolling in and a ploy to cleave liberals from the left through red-baiting.

For perspective, from the time leading up to the 2016 election through today, I chose to live amongst poor and working-class people of color, with occasional forays into the rural working and middle classes and the urban bourgeois. What became apparent early on is that the audience for the Russian interference story was the urban and suburban bourgeois who had seen their lots by-and-large restored by Barack Obama’s bank bailouts and who had no knowledge of, or interaction with, the 90% of the country that is living, by degree, hand-to-mouth.

What this implies is that the received wisdom amongst bourgeois Democrats— the bosses, bank managers, academics, realtors and administrative class, looks to be what it is: a combination of class loathing that their ‘lessors’ didn’t perceive the munificent blessing of their electoral choice; mass delusion on the part of self-styled ‘high-information voters’ about who really controls American ‘democracy;’ and studied ignorance of the consequences of the last half-century of bi-partisan neoliberal governance.

As I wrote in early 2018:

“Prior to the 2016 presidential election, if one were to ask what single act could seal a new Cold War with Russia, align liberals and progressives with the operational core of the American military-industrial-surveillance complex, expose the preponderance of left-activism as an offshoot of Democratic Party operations and consign most of what remained to personal invective against an empirically dangerous leader, consensus would likely have it that doing so wouldn’t be easy.”

The Clinton campaign’s decision to blame her electoral loss on Russian interference demonstrates why she was, and still is, unqualified to hold elected office. In the first, the U.S. – Russian rivalry is backed-up by hair-trigger nuclear arsenals that could end the world in a matter of minutes. Inciting tensions based on self-serving lies is stunningly reckless. In the second, the claim demonstrates utter contempt for her most loyal followers by feeding them purposely misleading explanations of the loss. And most damagingly for political opponents of Donald Trump, these actions give credence to the insurgent status of his retro-Republicanism against liberal and left defenders of the political establishment.

Most damaging to the burgeoning left in the U.S. is the deeply ugly character assassination of poor and working-class voters carried out by the urban bourgeois, many from the self-described radical left. People I know and like, but with whom I disagree politically but am working hard to convert, have spent the last three years being derided as traitorous, marginally literate hicks too stupid to know they are pawns of the Kremlin. The irony, if you care to call it that, is that they knew the Russian interference story was cynical bullshit all along while the graduate degree crowd was following every twist and turn as if it were true knowledge.

The Democratic Party ‘leadership’ that pursued this story is as stupid as it is corrupt. The purpose of Russia-gate was apparently to keep the Party faithful, faithful. But as was demonstrated in 2016, the faithful alone can’t win an election. This leadership turned what could have been an effective ‘give ‘em enough rope’ strategy against arrogant jackass Trump back on itself. The establishment-left had been in the process of giving self-described socialists someone to vote for in 2020. Too-clever-by-half liberal twaddle about ‘post-truth’ now has liberals— universally conflated with the left, perceived as both idiots and liars. And rightly so.

Democrats who spent the last three years making less than plausible (and politically retrograde) accusations against Mr. Trump likely still don’t understand their current position. Their call for an exhaustive investigation carried out by people they trust was honored. While the investigation was underway, the mainstream press put one ludicrous fantasy after another forward as news. This while a host of real issues affecting real people’s lives were studiously ignored. As incredulous as I am that it could be done, liberal Democrats have made corrupt oligarch Trump appear to be righteously aggrieved. Who says these people have no talent?

The New York Times and Washington Post have been publishing politically motivated ‘fake news’ in support of establishment interests since their inceptions. Their service to powerful interests is why they are still around. The FBI, CIA and NSA have been putting out politically motivated bullshit since their respective inceptions. They exist to serve the rich and powerful against all comers. To claim these as bastions of integrity was always a tough sell. To continue to claim it is the stuff from which revolutions are made. In this case, right-wing revolutions.

While the urban bourgeois have long been dismissive of the ‘burn it down’ contingent of Trump voters, they seem incapable of seeing their own roles as defenders of the establishment as corrupt and ultimately, politically suicidal. I voted for a woman for president and a black man for vice president in 2016. But they weren’t Democrats. Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election because she is a corrupt, neoliberal, militaristic piece of shit. Ironically, or not, most of Trump voters I’ve spoken with know more about the Democrats’ actual record than the highly educated urban bourgeois pontificating on NPR or in the New York Times.

A quick bet is that the 2020 presidential election is now Donald Trump’s to lose.

Lying sacks of shit like James Clapper and John Brennan will tie their lots to whomever will fund their adventures in mal-governance as the world burns and species become extinct. The tragedy here is that there are real issues in need of resolution. The Democrats’ three-year adventure in red-baiting served to legitimate a financial-military-industrial complex that apparently intends to end the planet as it makes as many people miserable in the process as is possible. Congratulations assholes.

Published:3/28/2019 6:56:25 PM
[Law] Amid Calls for New Special Counsel, Silence on Internal Probe of FBI, DOJ Abuses

After nearly two years, special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report is finished. But one year after his assignment to probe possible related misdeeds by FBI... Read More

The post Amid Calls for New Special Counsel, Silence on Internal Probe of FBI, DOJ Abuses appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:3/28/2019 4:52:07 PM
[Markets] CIA-Linked Nellie Ohr Gave Extensive Anti-Trump Research To High-Ranking DOJ Husband: Transcripts

The wife of former Justice Department #4 official Bruce Ohr conducted extensive opposition research on Trump family members and campaign aides while working for Fusion GPS - the firm paid by the Clinton campaign to produce a 'salacious and unverified' Russian-sourced dossier which would later be used against Trump and his campaign. 

(Getty Images; AP; The Epoch Times; Photo illustration by The Epoch Times

According to a newly released transcript of Nellie Ohr's closed-door Congressional testimony, Ohr - who speaks fluent Russian, explored relationships between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian organized crime, according to Fox News

“I was asked to research Trump’s family broadly in connection with any—any Russian connections,” Ohr stated, adding that she “did some research on all of them, but not in much depth.”

Ohr explained that she researched Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, specifically their “travels.”

She added that she was looking “to see whether they were involved in dealings and transactions with people who had suspicious pasts, or suspicious types of dealings.” -Fox News

Also interesting from the transcripts is that Nellie passed Bruce research she had done for Fusion GPS on a memory stick.

Nellie Ohr was also tasked with researching former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former campaign aide Carter Page, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn - who had relationships in both Russia and Turkey. Earlier this year the Daily Caller revealed portions of Ohr's committee interview, but the transcript was only made available Thursday. 

Ohr worked with Fusion GPS between October 2015 and September 2016. She also admitted during testimony that she favored Hillary Clinton as a candidate, and would have been less comfortable researching her Russia ties (P. 105). 

In 2010, she represented the CIA's "Open Source Works" group in a 2010 "expert working group report on international organized crime" along with Bruce Ohr and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson.

Ohr confirmed her work for the CIA during testimony. 

Meanwhile, some have wondered if Nellie's late-life attraction to Ham radios was in fact a method of covertly communicating with others about the Trump-Russia investigation, in a way which wouldn't be surveilled by the NSA or other agencies. 

was Nellie Ohr’s late-in-life foray into ham radio an effort to evade the Rogers-led NSA detecting her participation in compiling the Russian-sourced Steele dossier? Just as her husband’s omissions on his DOJ ethics forms raise an inference of improper motive, any competent prosecutor could use the circumstantial evidence of her taking up ham radio while digging for dirt on Trump to prove her consciousness of guilt and intention to conceal illegal activities. -The Federalist

Bruce Ohr was demoted twice after the DOJ's Inspector General discovered that he lied about his involvement with Simpson - who employed dossier author and former British spy, Christopher Steele.

Last August, emails turned over to Congressional investigators revealed that Steele was much closer to the Obama administration than previously disclosed, and his DOJ contact Bruce Ohr reported directly to Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates - who approved at least one of the FISA warrants to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Steele and the Ohrs would have breakfast together on July 30, 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington D.C., while Steele turned in installments of his infamous "dossier" on July 19 and 26. The breakfast also occurred one day before the FBI formally launched operation "Crossfire Hurricane," the agency's counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign. 

Bruce Ohr was a key contact inside the Justice Department for ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who authored the anti-Trump dossier, which was commissioned by Fusion GPS and funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee through law firm Perkins Coie. 

The FBI relied on much of Steele’s work to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against the Trump campaign—specifically Carter Page, redacted versions of the FISA warrants released last year revealed. -Fox News

On Monday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced that his panel would do a "deep dive" into the "other side" of the Trump-Russia investigation. He also called for the appointment of a new special counsel to look into abuse between the DOJ and Obama administration while investigating Donald Trump and his campaign. 

On Wednesday, Trump vowed to release the full and unredacted FISA warrants and other documents that the FBI used to surveil his campaign and Page. 

"I have plans to declassify and release. I have plans to absolutely release," Trump said during a Tuesday night interview on Fox's "Hannity."

"I have some very talented people working for me, lawyers, and they really didn't want me to do it early on. ... A lot of people wanted me to do it a long time ago. I'm glad I didn't do it. We got a great result without having to do it, but we will. One of the reasons that my lawyers didn't want me to do it, is they said, if I do it, they'll call it a form of obstruction." 

"At the right time, we will be absolutely releasing."

Published:3/28/2019 4:52:07 PM
[Markets] FBI Ordered To Let Judge Review Comey 'Obstruction' Memos Ahead Of Possible Public Release

The FBI was ordered by a D.C. judge to hand over copies of former director James Comey's memos about his interactions with President Trump prior to his firing, in order to determine whether they can be released to the public. 

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington on Thursday ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to submit both clean and redacted versions of the documents by April 1 as part of a Freedom of Information Act case brought by CNN and other organizations, including USA Today and the conservative activist group Judicial Watch Inc. -Bloomberg

Meanwhile, CNN argued in a January filing that the public should be permitted to see the memos because Comey and Trump have accused each other "of grave breaches of the public trust," and that the documents will show "contemporaneous records of disputed conversations." 

The FBI told the court on March 1 that the files are still redacted and classified, and should remain so in order to avoid interfering with special counsel Robert Mueller's now-completed investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. 

Last January, the FBI's chief FOIA officer, David Hardy, gave a sworn declaration to Judicial Watch in which he said that all seven of Comey's memos were classified at the time they were written, and they remain classified

We have a sworn declaration from David Hardy who is the chief FOIA officer of the FBI that we obtained just in the last few days, and in that sworn declaration, Mr. Hardy says that all of Comey's memos - all of them, were classified at the time they were written, and they remain classified. -Chris Farrell, Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch's Chris Farrell pointed out at the time that Comey therefore mishandled national defense information when he "knowingly and willfully" leaked them to his Law Professor pal at Columbia University, Daniel Richman. 

It's also mishandling of national defense information, which is a crime. So it's clear that Mr. Comey not only authored those documents, but then knowingly and willfully leaked them to persons unauthorized, which is in and of itself a national security crime. Mr. Comey should have been read his rights back on June 8th when he testified before the Senate. 

Given that James Comey ostensibly leaked unredacted information to Richman, the DOJ's redactions would appear to confirm that Comey did in fact commit the federal crime of leaking classified information. 

Published:3/28/2019 2:51:17 PM
[Entertainment] President Trump: FBI will investigate Jussie Smollett case President Donald Trump tweeted the FBI will investigate the Jussie Smollett case, calling it "an embarrassment to our nation."
     
 
 
Published:3/28/2019 1:22:33 PM
[Law] Trump Says FBI and Justice Department Will Review ‘Outrageous’ Jussie Smollett Case

President Donald Trump said the FBI and Department of Justice will review the “outrageous” Jussie Smollett case. “FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie... Read More

The post Trump Says FBI and Justice Department Will Review ‘Outrageous’ Jussie Smollett Case appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:3/28/2019 1:22:33 PM
[Uncategorized] FBI to Review Charges Dropped Against Jussie Smollett Hate Crime Hoax "FBI & DOJ to review the outrageous Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. It is an embarrassment to our Nation!" - Trump Published:3/28/2019 1:22:33 PM
[World] Chris Swecker Rips Political Mud Wrestler James Comey Over Trump Remarks

Former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker said ex-Director James Comey became "another partisan political mud wrestler" when he politicized his role in the department.

Published:3/28/2019 12:20:45 PM
[Politics] Nunes: Referrals to DOJ Likely Next Week Over Russia Probe Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., plans to submit criminal referrals to the Justice Department on accusations both the DOJ and the FBI made false claims while they investigated allegations of Trump-Russia collusion in the 2016 election. Published:3/28/2019 11:52:27 AM
[Markets] Trump: I Plan To Declassify And Release All FISA Docs

Via SaraCarter.com,

President Trump, in an exclusive wide-ranging interview Wednesday night with Fox News’ “Hannity,” vowed to release the full and unredacted Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants and related documents used by the FBI to probe his campaign, saying he wants to “get to the bottom” of how the long-running Russia collusion narrative began.

Trump told anchor Sean Hannity that his lawyers previously had advised him not to take that dramatic step out of fear that it could be considered obstruction of justice.

“I do, I have plans to declassify and release. I have plans to absolutely release,” Trump said. “I have some very talented people working for me, lawyers, they really didn’t want me to do it early on.”

Trump also accused FBI officials of committing “treason” — slamming former FBI Director James Comey as a “terrible guy,” former CIA Director John Brennan as potentially mentally ill, and Democrat House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as a criminal.

Redacted versions of FISA documents already released have revealed that the FBI extensively relied on documents produced by Christopher Steele, an anti-Trump British ex-spy working for a firm funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, to surveil Trump aide Carter Page.

At least one senior DOJ official had apparent concerns Steele was unreliable, according to text messages exclusively obtained last week by Fox News.

Published:3/28/2019 11:52:27 AM
[Corruption] FBI Now Reviewing Circumstances Of Dismissal Of Criminal Charges Against Jussie Smollett

The FBI is now looking into the corruption in the Cook County prosecutor's office that shockingly dropped the charges against 'Empire' star Jussie Smollett.

The post FBI Now Reviewing Circumstances Of Dismissal Of Criminal Charges Against Jussie Smollett appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:3/28/2019 9:21:12 AM
[Corruption] FBI Now Reviewing Circumstances Of Dismissal Of Criminal Charges Against Jussie Smollett

The FBI is now looking into the corruption in the Cook County prosecutor's office that shockingly dropped the charges against 'Empire' star Jussie Smollett.

The post FBI Now Reviewing Circumstances Of Dismissal Of Criminal Charges Against Jussie Smollett appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:3/28/2019 9:21:12 AM
[Markets] Smollett Case: Trump Vows "FBI & DOJ" Investgation As Leaked Email Reveals Scramble To Cover Tracks

President Trump says the FBI and Justice Department will investigate the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of 16 felony charges against Empire star Jussie Smollett, who Chicago PD accused of staging his own hate crime. 

Two Nigerian-born brothers caught on surveillance camera buying ski masks and red hats were ready to testify that Smollett paid them $3,500 to stage the January 29 attack, and that the 36-year-oldactor was behind a threating letter received a week prior. 

After Michelle Obama's former Chief of Staff, Tina Tchen contacted State's Attorney Kim Foxx, however, charges against Smollett were dropped. Prosecutors said that Smollett's debt to society had been paid in the form of $10,000 and 16 hours of community service he had already performed over two days at Rev. Jesse Jackson's human rights coalition. 

Smollett, meanwhile, maintains his innocence. 

The sudden dismissal enraged Chicago PD, while drawing a harsh rebuke from Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel - who called it a "whitewash of justice." 

Prosecutors scramble to cover their tracks

A leaked email from the Cook County prosecutor's office reveals that they sent out a call for "examples of cases, felony preferable, where we, in exercising our discretion, have entered into verbal agreements with defense attorneys to dismiss charges against an offender if certain conditions are met."

According to journalist Andy Ngo, "Source inside CPD relays that it is absolutely NOT NORMAL to have an alternative prosecution where the defendant doesn't admit guilt."

The FBI is reportedly also working with the US Postal Service to determine whether Smollett had a hand in sending the racist letter he received a week before the hate-crome hoax. 

Published:3/28/2019 8:53:55 AM
[World] Trump Says FBI, DOJ to Review Smollett Case: Judge Napolitano Reacts on 'Fox & Friends'

President Trump on Thursday morning tweeted that the FBI and Justice Department will review the "outrageous" Jussie Smollett case.

Published:3/28/2019 7:23:28 AM
[Corruption] Comey is right that there are questions — but he’s asking the wrong one

Jim Comey is now claiming his firing was obstruction of justice.  Apparently, Comey must hear those “walls [that were supposed to be] closing in” on Trump. Jim Comey was part and parcel of several events that could end up with him in prison.  One was the DOJ / FBI cover-up of crimes by Hillary Clinton […]

The post Comey is right that there are questions — but he’s asking the wrong one appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:3/27/2019 11:47:02 PM
[Markets] Mueller's Record Of Framing Innocent People To Protect The Guilty

Authored by Eric Zuesse via CounterCurrents.org,

Kit Knightly, at the excellent news-site Off-Guardian, headlined on March 25th, “Mueller’s Sideshow Closes – But it has Served its Purpose”, and he concluded that the most credible hypothesis as to what the actual purpose of Mueller’s investigation was is to fool the American public to think that the U.S. Government is honest and trustworthy, and that its public officials are accountable to the public. Knightly thinks that it’s all just a con. But the purpose of the present article is simply to document the type of person that Mueller himself is — to document it from his actual record in various public offices that Mueller has held.

The Special Counsel Robert Mueller wasn’t able to obtain any convictions against Donald Trump as having in any way collaborated with Russia’s Government to win the 2016 Presidential election, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that Mueller was serving the public instead of serving some billionaires, known or unknown, here and/or abroad. Ever since the start of the “Russiagate” probes, the case against Russia has been based upon low quality, unreliable, ‘evidence,’ much if not all of which should be thrown out, unacceptable to present to any jury — and far less suitable for winning from a jury an actual conviction.

For example, according to the expert number-cruncher on election-polling, Nate Silver, writing 17 December 2018, “If you wrote out a list of the most important factors in the 2016 election, I’m not sure that Russian social media memes would be among the top 100. The scale was quite small and there’s not much evidence that they were effective.”

Soon thereafter, Aaron Maté headlined in The Nation on December 28th, “New Studies Show Pundits Are Wrong About Russian Social-Media Involvement in US Politics: Far from being a sophisticated propaganda campaign, it was small, amateurish, and mostly unrelated to the 2016 election.” Maté presented lots of evidence to back that up, and this evidence cast severe doubt upon the Russiagate charges that have been pursued and the indictments that have been obtained.

The Special Counsel Robert Mueller was publicly tasked, as the “Special Prosecutor,” to prove these charges and to achieve convictions on them so that President Trump could be forced out of office for colluding with Russia. If there had been collusion, then, of course, Trump had committed treason and would now be doomed. Instead, Mueller displayed dirt on some of Trump’s subordinates. Mueller was hired by Democrats to get a Republican President impeached by the House and then removed from office by the Senate, and then replaced by Vice President Mike Pence. Was Mueller selected on account of his record of honesty, his public trustworthiness, his skill in presenting cases and achieving convictions that don’t get thrown out by appeals courts or otherwise discredited? No. But it made no difference anywhay, because the entire Russiagate storyline he had been hired to prove was a complex string of speculations and outright lies, and Mueller wasn’t able to prove even enough of them to make a presentable (though still speculative and unproven) case. No matter: just as Republicans won’t acknowledge that George W Bush had lied through his teeth in order to fool Americans into invading and destroying Iraq, Democrats won’t acknowledge that they were deceived by their own political Party. The American public (both Parties of it) are apparently perfectly satisfied to be serial fools; they do it time and again (for examples: Libya 2011, Syria 2012-, and Yemen 2015-) — they require only that their own Party be the ones making suckers of themselves. This is the worst type of polarized public, the type that’s the biggest threat to the survival of democracy. Mueller has for decades been a cog in this corrupt bipartisan American political machine.

Here’s the story behind the story of the Special Counsel’s investigation — the story of Robert Swan Mueller III himself, over the decades:

— Part One

Robert Mueller has a lengthy record of framing innocent people, to protect the guilty, and some of those cases have even been overturned on appeal. Mueller’s present investigations into Donald Trump were headed by a prosecutor he hired, Andrew Weissmann, whose track-record of convictionswas so bad that one of his convictions even became overturned by a unanimous opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court. Weissmann had a track-record of evidence-rigging that’s at least as bad as Mueller’s, and maybe this is why Mueller hired him. Both men try to win cases via the press instead of via the laws and the Constitution. Upon his hire, the New York Times did a worshipful article on “Andrew Weissmann, Mueller’s Legal Pit-Bull”. His dirty tactics and overturned cases weren’t so much as even just mentioned there.

Mueller had been a major participant in helping the friend of the Saudi royals, FBI Director Louis Freeh, to transfer the 1996 Khobar Towers terrorist bombing case to Freeh’s then-friend James Comey, who promptly got the Sauds and Al Qaeda off the hook for that terror-bombing which Al Qaeda had done, which had killed 19 Americans. Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan headlined in the August 2011 Vanity Fair “The [Saudi] Kingdom and the [WTC] Towers”, and reported that, “On a flight home from Saudi Arabia in the late 1990s, F.B.I. director Louis Freeh told counterterrorism chief John O’Neill [who became one of the WTC 9/11 victims] that he thought the Saudi officials they had met during the trip had been helpful. ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ retorted O’Neill, a New Jersey native who never minced his words. ‘They didn’t give us anything. They were just shining sunshine up your ass.’” That conversation had to do with the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing. The great investigative journalist Gareth Porter headlined on 26 June 2009, “EXCLUSIVE-PART 5: Freeh Became ‘Defence Lawyer’ for Saudis on Khobar”, and reported that, “once out of office, Freeh became virtually a defence lawyer for the Saudi regime on the Khobar Towers bombing.” PBS Frontline presented on 7 April 2009, “Extended Interview With Louis Freeh: Former FBI Director, now attorney to Prince Bandar”. The introduction stated: “As the head of his own global consulting firm, Freeh Group International, Louis Freeh has been hired by Prince Bandar as his legal representative on issues surrounding the Al-Yamamah arms deal.” (That was a corruption issue unrelated to the Khobar Towers case. So, Freeh’s services to the Saud family extended beyond merely the Khobar Towers case.) Comey’s FBI blamed the Khobar Towers bombing on Iran and Shiites, whom the Saudi royal family have hated ever since 1744. That achievement by the Freeh-Mueller-Comey trio established the U.S. Government’s Saudi mantra, that “Iran [not the Saud family itself] is the top state-sponsor of terrorism.” This, in turn, helped to produce what became the frame-up and $10.5 billion fine against Iran for its allegedly having caused the 9/11 attacks. The frame-up in the Khobar Towers case became cited there as ‘evidence’ in the blaming of Iran for the 9/11 attacks. The 9/11 case was thoroughly rigged to serve the Sauds, just like the Khobar case had been. Both Mueller and Comey were key operatives in that, too (as well as in deceiving the American public into believing that Saddam Hussein was also involved in the 9/11 plot). FBI investigators in the field had actually reported that the 9/11 attacks were at least partially funded from the private checking accounts of the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar, and his wife. Furthermore, the financial bag-man for Osama bin Laden said that Al Qaeda was overwhelmingly financed not only by Prince Bandar but by other Saudi Princes (including the one who became Saudi Arabia’s current King). And the U.S. President, George W. Bush, worked with the Sauds, to bring about 9/11. (Click onto those links to reach the evidence.) Mueller and his colleagues nailed Iran for 9/11, on the basis of some members of Al Qaeda having passed through Iran. (They had passed through many countries, including the U.S.) They successfully framed Iran, for what the royal family of Saudi Arabia (working with the U.S. President, Bush) had actually done. The Khobar Towers case was just one of the Mueller-Comey team’s frame-ups, but it’s the one that has had the most impact.

The evidence against the Saudi royals (and others in the U.S. Government Deep State) on the 9/11 matter is massive and it was summarily presented by the investigative journalists Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan in the August 2011 Vanity Fair, under the headline “The [Saudi] Kingdom and the [WTC] Towers”. Here are excerpts:

In sworn statements after 9/11, former Taliban intelligence chief Mohammed Khaksar said that in 1998 Prince Turki, chief of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Department (G.I.D.), sealed a deal under which bin Laden agreed not to attack Saudi targets. In return, Saudi Arabia would provide funds and material assistance to the Taliban, not demand bin Laden’s extradition, and not bring pressure to close down al-Qaeda training camps. Saudi businesses, meanwhile, would ensure that money also flowed directly to bin Laden.

Special Relationships

After 9/11, Prince Turki would deny that any such deal was done with bin Laden. Other Saudi royals, however, may have been involved in payoff arrangements. A former Clinton administration official has claimed — and U.S. intelligence sources concurred — that at least two Saudi princes had been paying, on behalf of the kingdom, what amounted to protection money since 1995. The former official added, “The deal was, they would turn a blind eye to what he was doing elsewhere. ‘You don’t conduct operations here, and we won’t disrupt them elsewhere.’ ”

American and British official sources, speaking later with Simon Henderson, Baker Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, named the two princes in question. They were, Henderson told the authors, Prince Naif, the interior minister, and Prince Sultan. The money involved in the alleged payments, according to Henderson’s sources, had amounted to “hundreds of millions of dollars.” It had been “Saudi official money — not their own.” …

In spite of the fact that it had almost immediately become known that 15 of those implicated in the attacks had been Saudis, President George W. Bush did not hold Saudi Arabia’s official representative in Washington at arm’s length. As early as the evening of September 13, he kept a scheduled appointment to receive Prince Bandar at the White House. The two men had known each other for years. They reportedly greeted each other with a friendly embrace, smoked cigars on the Truman Balcony, and conversed with Vice President Dick Cheney and National-Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. …

The president would invite Crown Prince Abdullah to visit the United States, press him to come when he hesitated, and — when he accepted — welcome him to his Texas ranch in early 2002. Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice were there, along with Secretary of State Colin Powell and First Lady Laura Bush.

It seems that 9/11 barely came up during the discussions. Speaking with the press afterward, the president cut off one reporter when he began to raise the subject. …

Congress’s Joint Inquiry, its co-chair Bob Graham told the authors, had found evidence “that the Saudis were facilitating, assisting, some of the hijackers. And my suspicion is that they were providing some assistance to most if not all of the hijackers. … It’s my opinion that 9/11 could not have occurred but for the existence of an infrastructure of support within the United States. By ‘the Saudis,’ I mean the Saudi government and individual Saudis who are for some purposes dependent on the government — which includes all of the elite in the country.”

Those involved, in Graham’s view, “included the royal family” and “some groups that were close to the royal family.” … At page 396 of the Joint Inquiry’s report, in the final section of the body of the report, a yawning gap appears. All 28 pages of Part Four, entitled “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters,” have been redacted. … The order that they must remain secret had come from President Bush. …

Former C.I.A. officer [John] Kiriakou later said his colleagues had told him they believed that what Zubaydah had told them about the princes was true. “We had known for years,” he told the authors, “that Saudi royals — I should say elements of the royal family — were funding al-Qaeda.”…

Polls suggest that the publicity about Iraq’s supposed involvement affected the degree to which the U.S. public came to view Iraq as an enemy deserving retribution. Before the invasion, a Pew Research poll found that 57 percent of those polled believed Hussein had helped the 9/11 terrorists. Forty-four percent of respondents to a Knight-Ridder poll had gained the impression that “most” or “some” of the hijackers had been Iraqi. In fact, none were. In the wake of the invasion, a Washington Post poll found that 69 percent of Americans believed it likely that Saddam Hussein had been personally involved in 9/11.

Of course, both Mueller and Comey were instrumental in deceiving the American public to believe that Saddam Hussein was involved with Al Qaeda and with 9/11. They were actively involved in blaming not only Iran, but Iran’s enemy Iraq, for 9/11.

Mueller has been indicting the innocent and protecting the guilty throughout his career, and so he’s a top go-to man for the most powerful guilty parties to appoint to ‘investigate’ a case.

— Part Two

Most of what goes on in a legal case is private and never becomes public. But sometimes a judge manages to see things that the public never gets to see. And, furthermore, sometimes even the press gets to see, and even to report, things that don’t fit with a ‘stellar’ lawyer’s stellar reputation amongst the holders of power.

Mueller’s first big impact was obscure and little-reported at the time. The Khobar Towers event was already four years in the past. The rabidly pro-Saudi and anti-Iranian FBI Director Louis Freeh was retiring just when President George W. Bush was coming into office, and Freeh chose Deputy Attorney General Robert Mueller to be the person to appoint Freeh’s replacement: James Comey. That’s the very person whom Freeh had wanted to get the job.

It’s hardly possible to understand Rubert Mueller’s role in America’s leadership without understanding his close relationship with James Comey, the mutual-benefit-society that their association, with each other, has been, ever since 2001.

On 30 May 2013, Mueller’s worshipful biographer Garrett M. Graff headlined at The Washingtonian“Forged Under Fire — Bob Mueller and Jim Comey’s Unusual Friendship”, and he reported how the two men, Mueller and Comey, had become bonded together at the start of 2001, before 9/11, by the retiring FBI Director Louis Freeh’s determination to place the blame for the 1996 Khobar Towers terrorist bombing in Saudi Arabia, on Iran, and not on Al Qaeda or the Saud family. Graff wrote:

As the Bush administration took office in 2001, Freeh asked Bob Mueller, who was acting as John Ashcroft’s deputy attorney general, to transfer the case to Comey.

When he finally did so, Mueller called Comey with a warning: “Wilma Lewis [from the Clinton Administration] is going to be so pissed.” Indeed, Lewis blasted the decision, as well as both Freeh and Mueller personally, in a press release, saying the move was “ill-conceived and ill-considered.” But Freeh’s gambit paid off.

Within weeks, Comey had pulled together the indictment [against Iran]. During a National Security Council briefing at the White House, under the watchful gaze of Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Comey presented overwhelming evidence of Iran’s involvement.

On the eve of the expiration of the statute of limitations, fourteen individuals were indicted for the [1996] attack. Freeh, who stepped down the next day, said the indictment was “a major step.”

Bill Clinton’s people saw the case against Iran on Khobar as having been incredibly weak and concocted by the Sauds. Freeh accepted on pure faith the representations the Sauds made. Comey and Mueller did, too. This — the Sauds’ case — was the basis of the U.S. Government’s charge that Iran is ‘the top state-sponsor of terrorism’: the country that the Sauds hated thus became the country that received the blame for this bombing, which was done by Al Qaeda as a warning to the Saud family to expel U.S. military from Saudi Arabia.

The liberal Republican James Comey became the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Lockheed Martin Corporation during 2005-2010, where his 2009 pay was $6,113,797. During that time, he also was a Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s National Chamber Litigation Center, which works to support business interests in the courts, especially the interests of U.S.-based international corporations, including Lockheed Martin. Furthermore, as of 12 March 2010, Comey also had been granted 162,482 free shares of stock in Lockheed Martin, which number was higher than that of anyone except the Chairman, the CEO President, and an Executive Vice President; so, Comey was among the very top people at Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin’s largest foreign customer was the Saudi Government, which is 100% owned by the Saud family. Today, those Comey shares are worth $47,119,780 — after his five years with the company, plus nearly nine years of growth in that stock, from the war-producing policies that Comey had helped to initiate.

Then, Comey bought a $3M mansion in Connecticut and became the General Counsel and a Member of the Executive Committee at the gigantic hedge Fund, Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, in Connecticut, where Comey’s only publicly known pay was $6,632,616 in 2012. Dalio and Comey became very close — Dalio called Comey his “hero.” But Obama then hired the liberal Republican Comey as FBI Director in 2013, replacing the liberal Republican Mueller in that role, from which Obama’s successor President Trump fired Comey, and congressional Democrats then succeeded in getting Mueller assigned to become the Special Counsel who would supposedly investigate the legitimacy of that firing.

On 21 May 2013, Marketwatch bannered “Bridgewater Associates’ trades for Q2” and reported that

After a number of tech companies — including those we’ve mentioned [Microsoft, Oracle, and Intel]and EMC — the largest single-stock holding in the fund’s portfolio was its roughly 220,000 shares of Lockheed Martin LMT, +1.93%. The company recently reported an increase in earnings compared with the first quarter of 2012, but revenue was down slightly and there is a good deal of speculation that the business will be impacted by cuts in U.S. military spending. … Billionaire Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group reported a position of 1.2 million shares at the end of December.

Lockheed Martin is by far the largest U.S. ‘defense’ contractor, taking 8.3% of all U.S. Government purchases during 2015, as compared to #2 Boeing’s 3.8%, and #3 General Dynamics’s 3.1%.

Other than sales to the U.S. Government, the largest customer of Lockheed Martin is the Saud family, who own Saudi Arabia and own the world’s largest oil company, Aramco, and who hate Shia Muslims and especially hate Iran, which has the most Shia.

As Open Secrets has reported about Comey:

He left Bridgewater and became senior research scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security at Columbia Law School in February 2013, and also joined the board of London-based HSBC Holdings. As the Center has reported, Comey maxed out his contributions to Mitt Romney in 2012 in an effort to unseat his new boss, and also gave to Obama’s 2008 opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

This is a team that’s pro-Saud and pro U.S. billionaires, and pro Israeli billionaires, but rabidly anti Iran and Russia and China, and looking for a fight — war and increased ‘defense’-spending — against any nation (such as Syria) that’s favorable toward those ‘enemies of America’.

As of August 2009: “HSBC is the largest and most widely represented international bank in the Middle East. … SABB is a Saudi joint stock company that is listed on the Saudi stock exchange (Tadawul). The HSBC Group has a 40% shareholding in SABB. … SABB is one of the largest banks in Saudi Arabia. … HSBC Saudi Arabia is HSBC’s investment banking arm in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, owned 60% by the HSBC Group and 40% by SABB.”

Neither HSBC nor SABB has any branch either in Iran or in Syria. HSBC Bank Middle East does have branches in Israel, and in the Palestinain Territories, and in nine Sunni Arab kingdoms, as well as in secular and democratic Lebanon, but not in Iran and Syria (the two Middle Eastern countries that the U.S. sanctions against — partly because of Comey’s decisions).

On January 26th, Russian Televison headlined “New Integrity Initiative leak: Make Muslims love NATO, target anti-frackers, plan for nuclear war”, and reported that, “A new batch of leaked files from the covert influence network exposes how the Integrity Initiative recruits high-flying businessmen for intel ops, shows UK Muslims ‘why NATO matters’ and prepares for nuclear conflict with Russia. … Two HSBC officials are on the list of intelligence assets, as part of a plan to attract talent from the City to serve as military intel experts.”

— Part Three

Ideology is definitely involved in this; and the U.S. Government — in its policies though generally not in its rhetoric — is the leader on the side of hereditary rule and of countries that are ruled by an alliance between state and church. These are countries that are ruled not by the public, but by the aristocracy, and the dominant clergy.

When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni took control in Shia Iran after overthrowing the Pahlavi Dynasty in 1979, he was reasserting something from the very origin of Shia Islam, which was the Battle of Karbala. Whereas Islam started as one faith in 610, the separation into Shia Islam and Sunni Islam started in 680, at the Battle of Karbala, where “Hussain (or Husayn) ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, along with many other prominent Muslims, not only disapproved of Yazid’s nomination for Caliph (or leader of Islam) but also declared it against the spirit of Islam (because only an imam or cleric, a scholar of Islam, should lead the faith).” Yazid was the first hereditary Caliph; and Hussain, on principle, rejected hereditary dynasties. This Battle was between supporters (Sunnis) of monarchies (hereditary caliphs, or “kings”), versus opponents (Shia) of monarchies. “Husain ibn Ali believed the appointment of Yazid as the heir of the Caliphate would lead to hereditary kingship, which was against the original political teachings of Islam. Therefore, he resolved to confront Yazid.”Though there have been Shia dynasties (such as the Pahlavis), Khomeni’s Shia Iran raised up a revolutionary spirit within Islam threatening all dynasties, and the Saud family immediately feared this threat. This became an additional reason (besides the Saud family’s 1744 sworn eternal anti-Shia contract with the Wahhab clergy) for the Sauds to be opposed to post-1979 Iran.

The Sauds, and the other hereditary monarchies in the Islamic world (all of whom are major importers of U.S. weapons), are frightened by Shia, and by Shiism itself — Shia belief. There also are many Sunni followers who reject monarchy (hereditary/dynastic rule), even though Sunni Islam doesn’t itself reject dynastic rule, in any way. Unlike with Shiism, the rejection of monarchies isn’t, at all, a part of Sunni tradition. Furthermore, in Sunni monarchic countries, the aristocracy are funding clerics who accept monarchies. Therefore, the Sunni-Shia split, that was initiated in 680, escalated greatly after the 1979 Iranian revolution, which actually carried out a monarch’s defenestration — it therefore terrifies today’s Islamic monarchs (all of whom are Sunnis), but especially the Sauds, who are the most fundamentalist of all Sunni rulers. They are determined to conquer Iran. To protect their dynasty, for themselves and their descendants, they aim to destroy Iran, and conquer all Shia. Every single one of today’s monarchical Islamic countries is run and owned by a Sunni family. Each one of them is allied with the U.S., and they’re all among the largest foreign buyers of weapons from Lockheed Martin and other U.S. ‘defense’ contractors.

The United States Government supports Sunni Islam, which functions mainly by means of hereditary rule, by a family that has received the clergy’s blessing from God to rule that country, as Emir, King, or other monarch. Although Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad, inherited his post from his father, that was only because the secular, non-sectarian Ba’ath Party, which had appointed his father, Hafez al-Assad, to lead the country, chose his son as the best person to succeed him, and it was not an assertion of the dynastic principle that Shia Islam intrinsically opposes. It certainly had nothing to do with the will of the local clergy. By contrast, the clergy in Saudi Arabia hold veto-power over the Saud family’s choice as to which of the Princes will become the next King. The clergy are called “Ulema,” and “Ulema, essentially they are the king maker. If — if the ulema say that you should not take power, you are not going to take power. And the ulema were important because they are the people who — who — who certify the Islamic legality.” That’s the way it is in fundamentalist-Sunni Saudi Arbia. The U.S., ever since at least 1949, has been trying to overthrow Syria’s secular Government and replace it with one that would be controlled by individuals who are selected by the fundamentalist-Sunni Saud family — intense haters of all Shia, and of Iran. After all: Iran is founded upon a rejection of dynastic rule.

Paragraph 101 of the U.S. judge’s 22 December 2011 “Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law”against Iran as being the cause of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing states:

  1. On June 25, 1996, terrorists struck the Khobar Towers housing complex in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, with a powerful truck bomb, killing nineteen (19) U.S. servicemen and wounding some five hundred (500). … FBI investigators concluded the operation was undertaken on direct orders from senior Iranian government leaders, the bombers had been trained and funded by the IRGC [Iranian Republican Guard Corps] in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, and senior members of the Iranian government, including Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the Supreme Leader’s office had selected Khobar as the target and commissioned the Saudi Hizballah to carry out the operation.

No solid evidence has ever been published  — not even by the proponents — to support those allegations.

Even as late as 15 August 1996, the Sauds hadn’t yet thought up the ‘explanation’ that Iran had perpetrated the bombing, and the New York Times headlined “Saudi Rebels Are Main Suspects In June Bombing of a U.S. Base”, which reported that, “Prince Nayef said Saudi Arabia would make an announcement as soon as the investigation is completed. His comments were also viewed as refuting earlier suggestions by Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, who had said that Saudi investigations might point to an Iranian connection. Subsequently, the American official suggested he did not have direct evidence linking Iran to the bombing.” Clinton’s Defense Secretary Perry introduced the concept that Iran might be to blame. Furthermore, “Abdelbari Atwan, editor of Al Quds, said today that Saudi authorities ‘are still refusing to let United States investigators see the suspects.’”

Perry, who had introduced that false idea in 1996, casually said in 2007 that he no longer believed it was true. UPI reported on 6 June 2007: “A former U.S. defense secretary says he now believes al-Qaida rather than Iran was behind a 1996 truck bombing at an American military base. Former Defense Secretary William Perry said he had a contingency plan to attack Iran if the link had been proven, but evidence was not to either his nor President Bill Clinton’s satisfaction.” Having come up with the false idea that served as the basis for calling Iran “the top state sponsor of terrorism,” he quietly abandoned it 11 years later, 11 years too late, but the myth that he had introduced, was and still remains, official U.S. Government dogma. Louis Freeh had immediately accepted that false idea, and he blamed the Clinton Administration for not acting on the basis of it. Freeh had co-created this myth, along with Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud, who was a buddy of both George W. Bush and of G.H.W. Bush. And Mueller and Comey carried through on Freeh’s intention: to blame Iran. U.S. international policies are based on such lies as that.

Here is Gareth Porter’s complete defenestration of that entire fraud against Iran:

Gareth Porter’s complete 22 June 2009 series on the Khobar Towers bombing:

http://www.ipsnews.net/2009/06/exclusive-part1-al-qaeda-excluded-from-the-suspects-list/

http://www.ipsnews.net/2009/06/exclusive-part-2-saudi-account-of-khobar-bore-telltale-signs-of-fraud/

http://www.ipsnews.net/2009/06/exclusive-part-3-us-officials-leaked-a-false-story-blaming-iran/

http://www.ipsnews.net/2009/06/exclusive-part-4-fbi-ignored-compelling-evidence-of-bin-laden-role/

http://www.ipsnews.net/2009/06/exclusive-part-5-freeh-became-quotdefence-lawyerquot-for-saudis-on-khobar/

On 8 August 2015, the man whom the Sauds and the U.S. Deep State had been claiming to have been the planner and ringleader of the Khobar Towers bombing, Ahmed Ibrahim al-Mughassil, was allegedly captured in Beirut and sent to Riyadh for trial. However, nothing has been made public about or from him since that date. On 1 September 2015, Gareth Porter headlined “Who Bombed Khobar Towers? Anatomy of a Crooked Terrorism Investigation”, and he pointed out glaring evidence that this alleged capture of the ringleader was just more of the Saud and American lies, such as:

In order to build a legal case against Iran and Shi’a Saudis, Freeh had to get access to the Shi’a detainees who had confessed. But the Saudis never agreed to allow FBI officials to interview them. In early November 1998, Freeh sent an FBI team to observe Saudi secret police officials asking eight Shi’a detainees the FBI’s questions from behind a one-way mirror at the Riyadh detention center.

By then Saudi secret police had already had two and half years to coach the detainees on what to say, under the threat of more torture. But Freeh didn’t care. … [And,] Freeh made a deal with the Justice Department to remain FBI director long enough to get the indictment of Mughassil and twelve other Saudi Shi’a. The indictment [by Comey] was announced on June 21, 2001, Freeh’s last day as FBI director.

An excellent summary of the evidence that Khobar was a Sunni not a Shia event was posted online at the Pakistan Defence site, on 24 July 2016, and it included this:

The Sunni detainees over Khobar included Yusuf al-Uyayri, who was later revealed to have been the actual head of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. In 2003, al-Uyayri confirmed in al Qaeda’s regular publication that he had been arrested and tortured after the Khobar bombing.

A report published in mid-August 1996 by the London-based Palestinian newspaper Al Qods al-Arabi, based on sources with ties to the jihadi movement in Saudi Arabia, said that six Sunni veterans of the Afghan war had confessed to the Khobar bombing under torture. That was followed two days later by a report in the New York Times that the Saudi officials now believed that Afghan war veterans had carried out the Khobar bombing.

A few weeks later, however, the Saudi regime apparently made a firm decision to blame the bombing on the Saudi Shi’a.

So, America’s supposed ‘justification’ for hostility toward Iran — as opposed to American cooperation with Iran — is entirely fraudulent. It can be taken only on faith.

The Sauds block any outsiders from having access to the evidence, and have required the U.S. regime to trust their allegations on faith alone, but the U.S. authorities find that acceptable, and constantly recite that Saudi-American line. The families of the 19 American dead and the 372 wounded in that attack are simply being lied-to, by our own Government. The American Government (and not merely Al Qaeda) is those Americans’ enemy.

However, Khobar is hardly the only instance where Mueller has been key in assisting to create one of Big Brother’s lies. He worked hard to achieve many others.

— Part Four

On 19 June 2005, the AP headlined “Terror Expertise Not Priority at FBI,” and “FBI: Experience not needed in terror fight” and “FBI failed to seek terror expertise after Sept. 11.” Their John Solomon reported: “In sworn testimony that contrasts with their promises to the public, the FBI managers who crafted the post-Sept. 11 fight against terrorism say expertise about the Mideast or terrorism was not important in choosing the agents they promoted to top jobs. And they still do not believe such experience is necessary today. … ‘A bombing case is a bombing case,’ said Dale Watson, the FBI’s terrorism chief in the two years after Sept. 11. … The FBI’s current terror-fighting chief, Executive Assistant Director Gary Bald, said his first terrorism training came ‘on the job’ when he moved to headquarters to oversee anti-terrorism strategy two years ago. ‘You need leadership. You don’t need subject matter expertise,’ Bald testified. … ‘It is certainly not what I look for in selecting an officer for a position in a counterterrorism position.’” The next day, U.S. News & World Report headlined “Case Mismanagement,” about Bush’s FBI chief, Robert Mueller’s, having botched his promised computerization of his agency’s files: “The week began with tough talk from some former members of the 9/11 commission about what they characterize as the FBI’s failure to follow through on promises of fundamental reforms.” This computerization “project had 10 different FBI case managers who rejiggered the contract 36 times,” and so now “Mueller pulled the plug on the $170 million Virtual Case File system in March,” and his technology division “estimated the replacement costs at $792 million.” Then, on July 28th, the New York Times bannered “FBI’s Translation Backlog Grows,” and reported that, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s backlog of untranslated terrorism intelligence doubled last year, and the time it takes the bureau to hire translators has grown longer.”

On 20 September 2005, the Washington Post headlined “Recruits Sought for Porn Squad,” and reported: “The FBI is joining the Bush administration’s war on porn. … Early last month, the bureau’s Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. … The new squad will divert eight agents [from other assignments] … to gather evidence against ‘manufacturers and purveyors’ of pornography — not the kind exploiting children, but the kind that depicts, and is marketed to, consenting adults. ‘I guess this means we’ve won the war on terror,’ said one exasperated FBI agent, speaking on condition of anonymity. … ‘We must not need any more resources for espionage.’” Commented another agent — also anonymously — “Honestly, most of the guys would have to recuse themselves” from serving on this squad, because they have such “pornography” at home. The new squad was being demanded by Bush’s new Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales. “Christian conservatives, long skeptical of Gonzales, greeted the pornography initiative with what the Family Research Council called ‘a growing sense of confidence in our new attorney general.’” Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda would probably have seconded that endorsement, but they knew better than to say so publicly.

Bush’s people, FBI Director Mueller and Alberto Gonzales, and others, were efficiently doing their jobs for their White House boss, but he wasn’t efficiently doing his job to protect Americans from terrorists. On Saturday, 13 August 2005, the AP headlined “FBI Counterterror Head to Run New Division,” and reported, “Gary Bald, the FBI’s counterterrorism chief, was named director of the bureau’s new National Security Service on Friday, a day after a senator sharply criticized his lack of experience and knowledge of the Mideast and terrorism. … ‘Gary Bald brings to this new position a wide range of operational and leadership experience,’ … said FBI Director Robert Mueller.” Unfortunately, it was the wrong type of experience — but wrong experience is exactly what Bush wanted. It’s also what he had wanted as the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency when Hurricane Katrina struck, and it’s even what he wanted throughout the federal Government. In fact, he preferred to hire lobbyists, rather than tested-and-proven proven public servants. From time immemorial, kings have preferred lobbyists or the spokesmen for “aristocrats,” not representatives of the public.

On August 7th, the New York Times bannered “9/11 Group Says White House Has Not Provided Files,” and reported, “The White House has failed to turn over any of the information requested by the 10 members of the disbanded Sept. 11 commission in their renewed, unofficial investigation into whether the government is doing enough to prevent terrorist attacks on American soil, commission members said. … Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey who led the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission, said he was surprised and disappointed.” Three days later, the Times headlined “9/11 Panel Members Ask Congress to Learn if Pentagon Withheld Files,” and reported, “Members of the independent commission that investigated the Sept. 11 terror attacks called on Congress to determine whether the Pentagon withheld [from the commission] intelligence information showing that a secret American military unit had identified Mohammed Atta and three other hijackers as potential threats more than a year before the attacks. … ‘I think this is a big deal,’ said John F. Lehman, a Republican member of the commission. … ‘If this is true, somebody should be looking into it,’ said [fellow Republican member] Thomas H. Kean.”

Then, on 14 September 2005, the Times headlined “F.A.A. Alerted On Qaeda in ’98, 9/11 Panel Said,” and reported, “American aviation officials were warned as early as 1998 that Al Qaeda could ‘seek to hijack a commercial jet and slam it into a U.S. landmark,’ according to previously secret portions of a report prepared last year by the Sept. 11 commission.” The White House had “been battling for more than a year” to prevent the 9/11 Commission from making this information public, but “commission members complained that the deleted material contained information critical to the public’s understanding of what went wrong on Sept. 11,” and the White House was now finally partially relenting. “Commission officials said they were perplexed” at why the White House had prevented the Commission from including this information in their previously published report. These formerly redacted passages showed that the FAA had raised in 2000 the level of its terrorist warnings, and had kept these warnings high in 2001, but that after President Bush came into office, the FAA “allowed screening performance to decline significantly,” in the months right before the 9/11 attacks.

On Thursday 22 September 2005, the Times headlined “Senators Accuse Pentagon of Obstructing Inquiry on Sept. 11 Plot,” and reported: “Senators from both parties accused the Defense Department on Wednesday of obstructing an investigation into whether a highly classified intelligence program known as Able Danger did indeed identify Mohamed Atta and other future hijackers as potential threats well before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.” One of the few witnesses whom the Bush Administration permitted to testify to the Senate on this matter said that, by a (for the Bush Administration) fortunate coincidence, he had been “forced to destroy all the data, charts and other analytical product” concerning this operation. President Bush’s people were stonewalling the former 9/11 commission, the U.S. Senate, and anyone else who was trying to determine how far, deep, and wide, the President’s 9/11 lies had extended.

On 27 March 2005, Eric Lichtblau at the New York Times, headlined “THE REACH OF WAR: ARRANGED DEPARTURES; New Details on F.B.I. Aid for Saudis After 9/11” and reported that:

The episode has been retold so many times in the last three and a half years that it has become the stuff of political legend: in the frenzied days after Sept. 11, 2001, when some flights were still grounded, dozens of well-connected Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, managed to leave the United States on specially chartered flights.

            Now, newly released government records show previously undisclosed flights from Las Vegas and elsewhere and point to a more active role by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in aiding some of the Saudis in their departure.

            The F.B.I. gave personal airport escorts to two prominent Saudi families who fled the United States, and several other Saudis were allowed to leave the country without first being interviewed, the documents show.

            The Saudi families, in Los Angeles and Orlando, requested the F.B.I. escorts. …

Bush has always been a famously arrogant man, who showed noticeable difficulty acknowledging whenever he botched. Is part of the reason for this that he simply didn’t feel that he had botched; is part of the reason that he was authentically satisfied with the Presidency he had wrought upon the U.S. throughout his two terms of office?

The signs of severe trouble in his Presidency were painfully evident since very early on — sufficiently severe to give any reasonable person cause to worry, even though this President exhibited no such signs of distress.

Shortly before the 2002 mid-term congressional elections, a major report on the war against terrorism was issued by a blue-ribbon commission, at the U.S. billionaires’ Council on Foreign Relations, and was widely publicized at the time, concluding that domestic security was being woefully underbudgeted by President Bush. Published on 24 October 2002, and titled “America — Still Unprepared, Still in Danger,” this report, to a nation about to vote for a new Congress, mentioned that more than a year after 9-11, the nearly 300,000 foreigners in the U.S. who had overstayed their visas were still here, and that — because of the President’s refusal to do anything to control guns — the FBI, under this gun-fanatic pro-NRA President, was still prohibited from cross-checking its database of gun-owners with its database of American terrorist suspects. The report also said that the “650,000 local and state police officials continue to operate in a virtual intelligence vacuum, without access to terrorist watch lists.” Furthermore, the report noted that a nuclear weapon could easily arrive unnoticed on any one of the 21,000 shipping containers entering each day into America’s 361 ports, but that only $92 million had been budgeted of the required $2 billion in stepped-up port security to prevent such a catastrophe. The President ignored these needs, because his $1.4 trillion-dollar tax-cut (going mainly to the nation’s wealthiest 2%) left no money to pay for it. Whereas the CFR represented nearly all of America’s billionaires, Bush’s Republican Party represented only the Republican ones. Perhaps the Democratic ones and a few of the Republican ones had pushed this report. Anyway: it was true.

On 27 October 2002, CBS “60 Minutes” reported that an FBI translator of Middle Eastern languages, Sibel Edmonds, was fired by the Bush Administration for doing too good a job of translating documents: her FBI superior had ordered her to be slower and less productive (major details of her case were provided by her, years later, on 21 June 2005, at www.antiwar.com/edmonds), but she disobeyed because she felt that the war against terrorism was urgent. She especially offended her boss by calling his attention to the mis-translations that had been intentionally done by one of her FBI colleagues, who turned out to have been spying against the U.S. for a certain Middle Eastern country. The FBI refused reporters’ questions. President Bush’s Attorney General John Ashcroft also had no comment. And the conscientious and industrious translator of Arabic languages, Ms. Edmonds, now had no job, while her FBI boss, who had fired her, was promoted by Bush. Subsequently (as was extensively documented at https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Sibel_Edmonds), Attorney General Ashcroft retroactively classified Ms. Edmonds’s public testimony and banned her from testifying in lawsuits that 9/11 families had brought against him. President Bush consistently opposed whistleblower-protection laws, and Ms. Edmonds was a whistleblower, who was now subject to retaliation from her former employer. On 6 July 2004, Judge Reggie Walton, whom George W. Bush had appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, dismissed Edmonds’s case against Ashcroft, citing the alleged “state secrets privilege,” which Ashcroft had put forth. Subsequently, on 14 January 2005, the Minneapolis Star Tribune headlined “Government: FBI Translator’s Complaints Were Supported by Evidence, Witnesses,” and reported: “Evidence and other witnesses supported complaints by a fired FBI contract linguist who alleged shoddy work and possible espionage within the bureau’s translator program after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, according to a report Friday from the Justice Department’s senior oversight official. The department’s inspector general, Glenn Fine, said the allegations by former translator Sibel Edmonds ‘raised substantial questions and were supported by various pieces of evidence.’ Fine said the FBI still has not adequately investigated the claims.” And, still, George W. Bush and his Administration continued to ignore the charges, and to treat Edmonds as their enemy. They dragged out her agony: on 22 February 2005, the ACLU headlined “Administration Blinks; Admits Retroactively Classified Information Not Harmful to National Security.” The reason Ashcroft had cited for asserting the “state secrets privilege” was that making public this information would be “harmful to national security.” However, the Administration continued to deny to Edmonds a restoration of her employment, even though no excuse was now being provided for the denial. Meanwhile, the Middle Eastern spy whom Ms. Edmonds had exposed to the FBI fled the country and retaliated against her and her family, who now lived in constant fear. Ms. Edmonds sued the U.S. Government on 16 March 2005, under the Federal Tort Claims Act, seeking $10 million in damages for her now ruined life. She established a website, www.justacitizen.com, to post news about her case. Her investigative series there, “The Highjacking of a Nation,” employed publicly available, non-classified information, which probed the Saudi/Bush financial ties she believed stood behind her muzzling regarding the documents she had translated.

Meanwhile, to make the nation even more vulnerable, as the AP reported on 14 November 2002, “Nine Army linguists, including six trained to speak Arabic, have been dismissed from the military because they are gay. The soldiers’ dismissals come at a time when the military is facing a critical shortage of translators and interpreters for the war on terrorism.”

George W. Bush continued, in his second term, to sabotage the U.S. Government’s acquiring the Arabic translators it increasingly desperately needed: The lead story in he New York Times on 8 June 2005 opened: “The Central Intelligence Agency is reviewing security procedures that have led the agency to turn away large numbers of Arabic-language linguists and other potential recruits with skills avidly sought by the agency since the attacks of 2001.” A bit slow on the uptake there? This was now almost four years after 9/11. Unnamed “intelligence officials” were cited as the news sources — these people evidently feared retaliation from the U.S. President, for speaking out. This issue might never have become public if Democrats in Congress hadn’t pushed it. The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said, of many of the applicants who had been turned away, “We have cut them out at our peril.” “Many of those rejected, the officials say, have been first-generation Americans who bring the linguistic facility and cultural knowledge that the C.I.A. has been trying to develop in seeking to improve its performance in penetrating terrorist organizations.” The Times reporter sought comment from the Administration. A CIA spokesperson responded: “We are taking a fresh look at the process.” Why didn’t they take that “fresh look” as soon as they knew that Al Qaeda was behind 9/11?

On 26 June 2006, Newsweek headlined “Smart, Skilled, Shut Out: Intel agencies are desperate for Arabic speakers. So why do they reject some of the best and brightest?” The reason was: “The security-clearance system is still stacked against some of the best linguists — those who learn their language natively.” Because of the far-Right Republican U.S. Government’s assumption that native Arabic speakers must be suspect, America’s “intelligence” agencies were favoring non-Muslims (Christians) who had studied Arabic in college. No wonder America’s penetration of terrorist cells was so disastrously poor. Then, on 27 July 2006, the AP headlined “Army Dismisses Gay Arabic Linguist,” and reported that among the 11,000 soldiers kicked out of the U.S. military under the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, “nearly 800 dismissed gay or lesbian service members had critical abilities, including 300 with important language skills. Fifty-five were proficient in Arabic,” including this soldier who was the subject of the article. He was trying to get the U.S. Army to stop sabotaging his career by revealing to prospective employers that he was gay — something he had kept secret until the Army discovered it and kicked him out. Under Bush, “Don’t ask, don’t tell” became simply: Ferret them out, hound them out, then destroy their future careers! This was one reason the U.S. remained largely deaf to Al Qaeda’s communications. This President was more concerned with carrying out the prejudices of Christians’ Bible than with carrying out his nation’s Constitutional duties.

Americans still for a long time loved Bush’s job-performance (and his public-approval now is so high that most Americans would think he couldn’t possibly have been so evil); he shared their religious values. So, in the mid-term elections on 5 November of 2002, he won unprecedented Republican gains, and control, in both houses of Congress, by posing as The Warrior-President who was campaigning against The Obstructionist Democrats. They got the rap, for his failures to protect Americans. And for the results from all of his lies — such as the invasion of Iraq, which the trashiest congressional Democrats (and not merely 98% of congressional Republicans) voted for (thus sharing in Bush’s lies).

— Part Five

Soon after the 2002 mid-term elections, Bush virtually abandoned the Afghan people: the BBC’s Michael Buchanan reported on 13 February 2003, under the heading, “Afghanistan omitted from US aid budget,” that even Republican congressmen were “shocked” at the President’s zeroing-out of Afghan-aid funds; and, as a result, “The United States Congress has stepped in to find nearly $300m in humanitarian and reconstruction funds for Afghanistan after the Bush administration failed to request any money in the latest budget.” And the yawning gap in the nation’s domestic security remained. As one of the nation’s thousands of Bush-unfunded local “first responders” to terrorism, Baltimore’s Mayor Martin O’Malley, noted, in a Houston Chronicle op-ed on 21 February 2003, “With the exception of some additional airport security, next to nothing has been invested in protecting America’s population centers or its economic infrastructure.” He went on to ask rhetorically, and then to answer, his own key questions about the President’s post-9-11 policies: “If our own teenage graffiti vandals can get to the chemical cars passing through American cities on our railroads, how hard could it be for al Qaeda? Not hard at all, when you consider there are five security guards monitoring CSX tracks between Richmond, Va., and Wilmington, Del., two fewer than there were on Sept. 11, 2001. If the drug cartels’ cocaine and heroin can still flow uninterrupted into America’s unprotected and uninspected ports, how hard could it be for … Osama bin Laden to smuggle a dirty bomb or a nuke? Not hard at all when, on average, 2 percent of America’s incoming port cargo is inspected, about the same percentage as on Sept. 11, 2001.” America’s President, obviously, had other priorities. And O’Malley boldly condemned those priorities, saying, “There is another dangerous, undeniable truth here: The federal government can’t invest in homeland security when the Treasury is bled dry by incessant tax cuts and the ensuing deficits they cause.”

On 31 March 2003, the New York Times editorialized against “Undercutting the 9/11 Inquiry,” and noted that, “the federal investigative committee so reluctantly supported by the White House” was shocked to find that it was unfunded by the White House, whose “assurances led them to believe needed funds would be included in the supplemental war budget sent to the Capitol last week. But the commission’s $11 million request was not there.”

The Bush-appointed, bipartisan, James Baker, Lee Hamilton, Iraq Study Group Report, was issued on 7 December 2006, and it stated: “All of our efforts in Iraq, military and civilian, are handicapped by … [the fact that] Our embassy of 1,000 has 33 Arabic speakers, just six of whom are at the level of fluency.” Furthermore, “As an intelligence analyst told us, ‘We rely too much on others to bring information to us, and too often don’t understand what is reported back because we do not understand the context of what we are told.’” On top of this, the Administration had been outright lying to the American public: “There is significant underreporting of the violence in Iraq. … A murder of an Iraqi is not necessarily counted as an attack. If we cannot determine the source of a sectarian attack, that assault does not make it into the database.”

Democratic Senator Bob Graham, after ten years on the Intelligence Committee, published in 2004 Intelligence Matters, and stated (p. 169): “Our investigators found a CIA memo dated August 2, 2002, whose author concluded that there is incontrovertible evidence that there is support for these terrorists within the Saudi government.” The book’s dustcover summarized highlights from the Senator’s book:

“At one point, a terrorist support network conducted some of its operations through Saudi Arabia’s U.S. embassy — and a funding chain for terrorism led to the Saudi royal family. 

            “In February 2002, only four months after combat began in Afghanistan, the Bush administration ordered General Tommy Franks to move vital military resources out of Afghanistan for an operation against Iraq — despite Franks’s privately stated belief that there was a job to finish in Afghanistan, and that the war on terrorism should focus next on terrorist targets in Somalia and Yemen.

            “Throughout 2002, President Bush directed the FBI to limit its investigations of Saudi Arabia, which supported some and possibly all of the September 11 hijackers.

            “The White House was so uncooperative with the bipartisan inquiry that its behavior bore all the hallmarks of a cover-up.

            “The FBI had an informant who was extremely close to two of the September 11 hijackers, and actually housed one of them, yet the existence of this informant and the scope of his contacts with the hijackers were covered up.

            “There were twelve instances when the September 11 plot could have been discovered and potentially foiled.

            “Days after 9/11, U.S. authorities allowed some Saudis to fly, despite a complete civil aviation ban, after which the government expedited the departure of more than one hundred Saudis from the United States.

            “Foreign leaders throughout the Middle East warned President Bush of exactly what would happen in a postwar Iraq, and those warnings went either ignored or unheeded.

            “As a result of his Senate work, Graham has become convinced that the attacks of September 11 could have been avoided, and that the Bush administration’s war on terrorism has failed to address the immediate danger posed by al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia.”

Greg Palast, the investigative reporter for the BBC and Guardian, wrote in his 2003 The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (pp. 98-100) about George W. Bush’s policy, which Bush put into place right at the start of his Presidency, to squelch all intelligence investigations into the supply of money and weapons to Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists. Palast quoted from FBI memos marked “SECRET,” and also from a source who was “a top-level CIA operative who spoke with us on condition of strictest anonymity.” Palast wrote: “After Bush took office, he [my source] said, ‘there was a major policy shift’ at the National Security Agency. Investigators were ordered to ‘back off’ from any inquiries into Saudi Arabian financing of terror networks.” Furthermore, “The Khan Laboratories investigation had been effectively put on hold.” This was the crucial investigation into the activities of Dr. A.Q. Khan, who was the father of the Pakistani atomic bomb, and who was selling nuclear materials to Islamic groups outside Pakistan. Only after 9/11 did Bush permit these investigations to resume. Until at least 9/11, Bush was stifling ongoing intelligence work against Osama bin Laden. He seems to have been reluctant to permit spying upon Osama or any Saudi aristocrats. The Bushes shared an aristocratic outlook with their friends and business partners the Saudi royals. On 15 November 2002, Philip Taubman headlined an “Editorial Notebook” in the New York Times, “Inside the Saudi Royal Cocoon: A World Where Flattery And Servility Abound,” and he said that theirs was “a world so distorted by sycophancy that it would be a miracle if they could see the full dimensions of the problems Saudi Arabia faces. Obsequiousness oozes through the Saudi court like oil.” Taubman noted, however, that, “Fawning aides are hardly unique to Saudi Arabia. The White House has sometimes served as a protective bunker for presidents who were cut off from the country and surrounded by servile advisers.” Bush had been surrounded by that since birth, long prior to the White House’s “protective bunker.” He shared more in common with Osama bin Laden than he did with the victims of 9/11. One thing he shared with bin Laden was religious fundamentalism. Another was a belief that the only moral authority for laws is God — not democracy, not the will of the public.

Maybe the 9/11 families should have been suing President Bush instead of the Sauds.

When the 9/11 Commission was finally established — despite the President’s opposition, but largely under his control — one of the victim family members, Mindy Kleinberg, in testimony on 31 March 2003, available at www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/hearing1/witness_kleinberg.htm, presented a cogently documented argument to the effect that there existed serious reason to believe that the Bush Administration had actively impeded FBI, FAA, NORAD, and other federal agencies’ attempts to prevent the attacks. She made clear some reasons why the White House would wish to hinder this investigation, as they were in fact so obviously doing. An excellent book that fills in many of these blanks, but that leaves unanswered the questions that the Bush Administration succeeded in blocking, is the 2002 The War on Freedom, by Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed. Since that’s a superb work of comprehensive serious nonfiction portraying the U.S. leadership as assisting anti-U.S. terrorism, it was rejected by all major publishers, and the author was lucky even to find a publisher at all: the obscure Tree of Life Publications. However, that book’s conclusion was implicitly endorsed a year later (29 July 2003) by former White House Counsel John Dean at http://writ.findlaw.com/dean/20030729.html: “The 9/11 Report Raises More Serious Questions About The White House Statements On Intelligence”: “It seems very probable that those in the White House knew much more than they have admitted, and they are covering up their failure to take action” to prevent the 9/11 attacks.

Several articles are available on the web presenting strong evidence that the Bush Administration possessed overwhelming advance-warning to place the U.S. intelligence community on highest alert in August of 2001, for an almost certain huge attack being imminently planned by al Qaeda on targets inside America, using planes as bombs.

One category of such articles are major-media U.S. news reports from the period prior to the Administration’s clampdown on U.S. reporting about the Government’s foreknowledge of Al Qaeda’s plans. On 13 February 2001, UPI’s Richard Sale headlined “NSA Listens to bin Laden,” and revealed that the National Security Agency had decoded Al Qaeda’s encryption system and knew the contents of e-mails and phone calls from Osama bin Laden. Another was an NBC News report, on 1 October 2001, which the network soon removed from its website, but which remained widely quoted on the web, and which stated that, on September 9th, just two days prior to the attacks, Osama had informed his adoptive mother, Al Kalifa bin Laden, during a phone conversation with her, that, “In two days, you’re going to hear big news, and you’re not going to hear from me for a while.” NBC was reporting this not in order to raise questions about President Bush, but to counter-argue Osama’s public assertions that Osama wasn’t behind the 9/11 attacks. Perhaps also belonging in this same category, or else reflecting the more disciplined Bush propaganda period afterward, was a Knight Ridder report from Jonathan S. Landay, on 6 June 2002, headlined “NSA Didn’t Share Key Pre-Sept. 11 Information, Sources Say,” and which opened: “A secretive U.S. eavesdropping agency monitored telephone conversations before Sept. 11 between the suspected commander of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks and the alleged chief hijacker, but did not share the information with other intelligence agencies, U.S. officials said Thursday. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the conversations between Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Mohammed Atta were intercepted by the National Security Agency.”

If the NSA, or else the CIA, did, in fact, hide such information from the White House, then President Bush should have immediately “cleaned house” at the respective Agency, which he didn’t do. More likely, therefore, is that Bush either received the information (despite his disavowals), or else that he wanted deniability of his possessing the information, and thus practically prohibited such reports from even reaching his desk. Either way, President Bush would have been co-responsible, along with Al Qaeda, for 9/11 — a conclusion that will be further documented. On 18 October 2003, the New York Times headlined “Early Warnings on Moussaoui Are Detailed,” and reported: “The Central Intelligence Agency warned its stations around the world in August 2001 that Zacarias Moussaoui had been arrested in Minnesota after raising suspicion at a flight school there and that he was a ‘suspect airline suicide hijacker.’” The attorney for the FBI’s Minneapolis field office, Coleen Rowley, joined local FBI agent Harry Samit, to urge Washington to check out Moussaoui, but the key FBI officials in Washington, David Frasca and Michael Maltbie, refused. Frasca and Maltbie ended up being promoted by the Bush Administration; Rowley and Samit were iced for their having tried to prevent the 9/11 attacks. Samit’s 70 urgent requests to Washington failed to obtain from Frasca and Maltbie anything but runarounds during the two weeks prior to 9/11.

Who was the FBI’s chief during that period? It was Robert Mueller. He led the FBI from 4 September 2001 to 4 September 2013. He was the coverup man, regarding the Sauds, the redirect-blame man, regarding Iraq and Iran.

In another category of documentation of the Administration’s advance warning of the 9/11 attacks are independent reports on the web bringing together the revelations from numerous other reliable sources. One such report, from Michael C. Ruppert, at fromthewilderness.com, on 22 April 2002, is titled “The Case for Bush Administration Advance Knowledge of 9-11 Attacks.” It assembled numerous indications that someone, or some group, possibly Al Qaeda itself, possibly Bush insiders, knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance, and were even set up to profit enormously from this advance knowledge. For example:

“A jump in UAL put options 90 times (not 90 percent) above normal between Sept. 6 and Sept.10, and 285 times higher than average on the Thursday before the attack. [CBS News, Sept. 26]

“A jump in American Airlines put options 60 times (not 60 percent) above normal on the day before the attacks. [CBS News, Sept. 26]

“No similar trading occurred on any other airlines. [Bloomberg Business Report, the Institute for Counterterrorism (ICT), Herzliyya, Israel citing data from the CBOE]

“Morgan Stanley saw, between Sept. 7 and Sept.10, an increase of 27 times (not 27 percent) in the purchase of put options on its shares. [ICT Report, ‘Mechanics of Possible Bin-Laden Insider Trading Scam,’ Sept. 21, citing data from the CBOE].

“Merrill-Lynch saw a jump of more than 12 times the normal level of put options in the four trading days before the attacks. [Ibid] …

“How much money was involved? Andreas von Bülow, a former member of the German Parliament responsible for oversight of … intelligence services estimated the worldwide amount at $15 billion, according to Tagesspiegel on Jan. 13. Other experts have estimated the amount at $12 billion. …

“Not a single U.S. or foreign investigative agency has announced any arrests or developments in the investigation of these trades, the most telling evidence of foreknowledge of the attacks. This, in spite of the fact that former Security and Exchange Commission enforcement chief William McLucas told Bloomberg News that regulators would ‘certainly be able to track down every trade.’”

The Bush Administration failed to pursue, at all, this goldmine trail of evidence. Robert Mueller failed to follow any of those leads.

If the inside investment group carrying out these transactions — and presumably profiting billions from them — was Al Qaeda (or else an Al Qaeda front), then Al Qaeda must have greatly increased its financial resources from the 9/11 attacks. If, on the other hand, it was, let’s say, the Republican Party, then the beneficiaries would have been Al Qaeda’s American allies — not much different.

Two other such comprehensive reports suggesting possible Bush complicity in the 9/11 attacks include, first of note, from Kate Clark in Britain’s Independent, on 7 September 2002, “The Taliban minister, the US envoy and the warning of September 11 that was ignored”; and second of note, from truthout.com’s Wm. Rivers Pitt, on 20 June 2002, “All Along the Watchtower.” The piece by Pitt was especially incriminating, because it discussed the $7 billion class-action lawsuit on behalf of 14 victim families and 400 other plaintiffs of the 9-11 attacks, filed by Republican attorney, Stanley Hilton, on 3 June 2002, in San Francisco U.S. District Court, alleging that Bush “let it happen on purpose,” and that “the Bush administration got the pipeline it wanted.” Pitt added that, “Even the most hardened political observer must admit the dismal truth — September 11th was the greatest thing ever to happen to the Bush administration.” Osama bin Laden did far more for Bush than even Enron corporation’s Ken Lay did, though not quite as much as did the 2000 Green Party U.S. Presidential candidate Ralph Nader. (Nader’s nearly 2% of the Florida vote placed G.W. Bush into the White House, by draining from Democrat Al Gore far more than the mere one-hundredth of one percent of Florida’s votes that separated Gore from Bush. Nader also tipped New Hampshire to Bush. If either state had gone to Gore, there wouldn’t have been able to be any Supreme Court resolution of the election and Gore would straightforwardly have become President.) Osama bin Laden’s 9-11 terror attack did more than anything else to retain Bush in the White House. A community of interests certainly existed between bin Laden and Bush, perhaps even stronger than that which had existed between Ken Lay of Enron, and Mr. Bush.

Furthermore, Bush blocked progress on the fight against Al Qaeda, until 9/11 hit. On 5 August 2002, TIME’s Michael Elliott bannered “They Had a Plan: Long before 9/11, the White House debated taking the fight to al-Qaeda”, and Elliott reported, for example, that “John O’Neill led the FBI’s National Security Division, commanding more than 100 experienced agents. … O’Neill’s boss, Assistant FBI Director Barry Mawn, spent part of his time pleading with Washington for more agents, more linguists, more clerical help. He got nowhere.” O’Neill’s office was in the World Trade Center, and had responsibility for the investigation of the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, the ship which Al Qaeda had struck during the closing days of the Clinton Administration. “Heeding the pleas from the FBI’s New York City office, where Mawn and O’Neill were desperate for new linguists and analysts, acting FBI Director [Thomas] Pickard [the temporary FBI chief, between Freeh and Mueller] asked the Justice Department [including, until 10 May 2001, Deputy Attorney General Mueller] for some $50 million for the bureau’s counterterrorism program. He was turned down. In August, a bureau source says, he appealed to Attorney General Ashcroft. The reply was a flat no.”

Mueller also was active in the cover-up of Bush’s lies about Iraq.

On 11 February 2003 — shortly before we invaded and destroyed Iraq — FBI Director Mueller testified, to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, that: Secretary Powell presented evidence last week that Baghdad has failed to disarm its weapons of mass destruction, willfully attempting to evade and deceive the international community. Our particular concern is that Saddam may supply al-Qaeda with biological, chemical, or radiological material.” He just reiterated the President’s lies, and his concern wasn’t to raise any question about them, but to reinforce them.

That was the actual counter-terrorism performance of the George W. Bush Administration: an American bulls-eye waiting passively for whatever Al Qaeda would fire at it. And all of this occurred after Berger had told Rice, “I believe that the Bush Administration will spend more time on terrorism generally, and on al-Qaeda specifically, than any other subject.” Berger had simply assumed that the people replacing the Clinton Administration would care about the welfare of the American people, just as Bill Clinton’s people did (at least somewhat). This assumption turned out to be false.

— Part Six

As for the devout Bush Administration’s “services” to the direct victims of the 9/11 attacks, there was a little-noticed major news story from Newsweek reporters Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, on 16 April 2003, which, for some mysterious reason, appeared only on that magazine’s website, at http://stacks.msnbc.com/news/901320.asp. Inconspicuously headlined there as, “A Legal Counterattack,” it reported that the law firm defending Saudi Arabia (or, more appropriately, defending the Saudi royal family), against a $1 trillion lawsuit on behalf of the victims of 9/11, was Baker Botts, headed by Bush confidant and former Secretary of State, the WASP gang’s leading consiglieri, James Baker, who had also masterminded G.W. Bush’s legal campaign to stop the 2000 Florida vote-recount, and co-headed the White House’s official ‘investigation’ and account of 9/11. This report mentioned that the Saudis had approached many other high-priced law firms, but were turned down by several, because, as one of these lawyers said, “I kept asking myself, ‘do I want to be representing the Saudis against the 9-11 families — especially after all the trouble we had getting cooperation from the Saudis on terrorism’,” and, “I finally just said no.”

Salon.com’s Eric Boehlert headlined, on 18 June 2003, “Bush’s 9/11 Coverup?” reporting that, “Family advocates … wanted to know why the government — and specifically the Bush administration” (including Bush’s FBI-coverup Director, Robert Mueller) was “so reluctant to find answers to any of the obvious questions about what went wrong that day, why so little has been fixed, and why virtually nobody has accepted any responsibility for the glaring failures.” But what were failures from the victims’ standpoint, were Mr. Bush’s (and his sponsors’) greatest triumph, from his (and their) political (and financial) standpoint. And then President Bush returned Al Qaeda’s favor, by invading Iraq, thus pumping up Islamic hatred of Americans, and recruitments by Al Qaeda — and weapons-sales by Lockheed Martin etc.

Back again to Newsweek’s Isikoff and Hosenball (only three weeks after their notable “A Legal Counterattack”), and buried again only on the magazine’s website, at http://stacks.msnbc.com/news/910676.asp, were more ugly details of Bush’s dogged efforts to sabotage the investigation by the 9/11 commission whose very creation he had opposed. This 7 May 2003 article was titled, “September 11 Showdown.” Among the barriers the White House was putting up: “Commission members argue that they can’t possibly do their job to write the authoritative history of 9-11 if they can’t discover what the federal government has learned from al Qaeda operatives” whom the Government had in custody.

An AP story on 24 June 2003 by Ted Bridis and John Solomon was headlined, “Officials: U.S. Slow on Bin Laden Drones,” and reported that, “When President Bush took office in January 2001, the White House was told that Predator drones had recently spotted Osama bin Laden as many as three times and officials were urged to arm the unmanned planes with missiles to kill the al-Quaida leader. But the administration failed to get drones back into the Afghan skies until after the Sept. 11 attacks later that year.” Bush wanted to protect bin Laden at least until he hit.

On 15 August 2005, Michael Hirsh of Newsweek headlined “CIA Commander,” subheaded that the U.S. “Let bin Laden Slip Away,” and reported: “In a forthcoming book, the CIA field commander for the agency’s Jawbreaker team at Tora Bora, Gary Berntsen, says he and other U.S. commanders did know that bin Laden was among the hundreds of fleeing Qaeda and Taliban members. Berntsen says he had definitive intelligence that bin Laden was holed up at Tora Bora — intelligence operatives had tracked him — and could have been caught. ‘He was there,’ Berntsen tells NEWSWEEK.” Berntsen’s book, Jawbreaker, was published later in 2005, providing extensive details on this operation, despite the Pentagon’s continued denials that anyone knew whether bin Laden was among the Al Qaeda forces fleeing Tora Bora.

During the President’s press conference on 13 March 2002, just shortly after his initial failure to have captured/killed bin Laden, he was asked, “Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that?” In his response, Bush said, “You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you.” The reporter, obviously shocked, followed up with, “But don’t you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won’t truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?” Bush replied: “I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.” He never had been; he had refused to be — especially prior to 9/11. Does this suggest he wanted the 9/11 attacks in order to have a “justification” to invade Iraq? Was President Bush a traitor, or only a fool? Either way, thousands of Americans died on 9/11 due to bin Laden — and Bush’s approval ratings from voters shot up by 40% as a result of bin Laden’s attack, and stayed high through the 2002 mid-term congressional elections, and even till the 2004 Presidential election. America has a history of re-electing wartime Presidents. (The only exception was Lyndon Johnson, who quit because his own Party didn’t support his Vietnam war; Republican presidents never face that kind of problem, because conservatives support conquest in principle.) Bush followed this long tradition, even though he failed miserably as Commander-in-Chief and didn’t even really care about the public, at all.

Fairly late in the Bush II regime, on 10 September 2006, the Washington Post headlined “Bin Laden Trail ‘Stone Cold’: U.S. Steps Up Efforts, But Good Intelligence On Ground Is Lacking.” Dana Priest and Ann Scott Tyson blew the lid off the Republicans’ claims to be strong against terrorism. They reported that bin Laden was initially concerned about his danger of being captured. “That was December 2001. Only two months later, Bush decided to pull out most of the special operations troops and their CIA counterparts … that were leading the hunt for bin Laden in Afghanistan.” These Special Forces were pulled out “to prepare for war in Iraq.” Even in March 2002, Bush was so obsessed with Saddam Hussein, that resources were drawn off from the bin Laden hunt. “‘I was appalled when I learned about it,’ said [Flynnt L.] Leverett,” who was “then an expert on the Middle East at the National Security Council. … ‘It’s very likely that bin Laden would be dead or in American custody if we hadn’t done that.’ … White House spokeswoman Michele Davis said she would not comment.” (We’ll have occasion to come back to that report again later, because the rest of it deals with how the Administration wasn’t even primarily concerned with success in the war against terrorists. He didn’t have his eye on that ball.)

CNN’s “Inside Politics” with Judy Woodruff, reported, on 30 April 2001 — in other words prior to 9/11 (and this “prior” is shocking in the given context) — “The State Department officially released its annual terrorism report just a little more than an hour ago, but unlike last year [under President Clinton], there’s no extensive mention of alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. A senior State Department official tells CNN the U.S. government made a mistake in focusing so much energy on bin Laden and ‘personalizing terrorism.’” Bush downplayed bin Laden as soon as Bush entered the White House. Instead, he refocused against Saddam Hussein, right away.

As Afghanistan was falling back under increasing Taliban control during 2006, President Bush’s friend and head of the Senate, Bill Frist was quoted in an AP article on October 3rd, from Afghanistan, “Frist Says Afghan War Can’t Be Won”: “U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said Monday that the war against Taliban guerrillas in Afghanistan could never be won militarily, and he urged support for efforts to bring ‘people who call themselves Taliban’ into the government.” Did the Democrats, and Presidents FDR and Truman, say to Germany, “Let’s bring ‘people who call themselves Nazis’ into the German Government”?

The only war that Republicans were really determined to win was the one which Bush had in mind from even before he entered the White House: the war in Iraq. Forget about 9/11, was the Republicans’ real attitude. Bush had brought on the 9/11 attacks only so that he could have a pretext for “regime change” in Iraq. Once that objective in Iraq was achieved, the Republicans didn’t much care about what happened in Afghanistan (no oil there) — let the Taliban and Islamic Law come back in that country, and all those Afghan girls be kicked out of school again. What was really important now was keeping our military bases in Iraq. Forget about the bloodshed and the futility of it all, the never-ending war and death. What’s important is that military contractors were making billions, and were kicking back millions of it into Republican campaign war chests (and into the campaigns of Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and other neoconservative Democrats) — for the Republicans’ real domestic war, against the (non-neocon) Democrats. Thus, “Frist said … the only way to win [in Afghanistan] was to ‘assimilate people who call themselves Taliban into a larger, more representative government.’” (So: goodbye, Hamid Karzai; you’ve served your purpose.)

The 9-11 Commission, which the President and his Republican Congress reluctantly set up to investigate the attacks, was, at its start, strongly inclined to shift blame away from the Bush Administration. And yet a Bush-incriminating story from this commission appeared in the New York Times as early as 23 November 2002, under the headline “9/11 Report Says Saudi Arabia Links Went Unexamined.” Then, another, and even more incriminating, report appeared in the pro-Bush Chicago Tribune as early as 24 May 2003. Bryan A. Keogh wrote from Washington, under the headline, “9/11 Panel Told of Cover-Ups Before Attacks,” and subheaded, “Witnesses: U.S. suppressed warnings.” This story said: “The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were made possible by gaping holes in airline security, government cover-ups that prevented problems from being fixed and a failure to respond to a growing threat that terrorists might use airliners as weapons, witnesses told an independent commission this week. ‘The notion that these hijackings and terrorism were an unforeseen and unforeseeable risk is an airline and FAA public-relations management myth’ said Mary Schiavo, a former inspector general at the Department of Transportation, in testimony Friday [May 23].” Remarkably, “Despite often-conflicting testimony at the hearings, commission chairman Thomas Kean, a former New Jersey [Republican] governor, said the panel gained considerable insight into how the attacks occurred. ‘We’ve certainly learned about the failures of the system on 9/11,’ he said.” The Guardian reported on 10 July 2003 that Mr. Kean had said the day before, “I think the commission feels unanimously that it’s some intimidation” the Administration was applying against all government employees who wished to cooperate with their investigation. Even Republicans had to admit that President Bush, whose sole supposed argument for re-election was that he was good at protecting the American people from terrorism, had no real argument at all to continue in office, other than his possessing the largest campaign kitty in history.

That money shared common interests with the Saudi royal family. Catherine Arnie headlined “The Secret Saudi Flight on 9-13 Could Be the Key to the Bush-Saudi-Al Qaeda Connection” at www.democrats.com/view.cfm?id=14289, arguing credibly that President Bush was on the side of the people who financed the 9-11 attacks, namely the Saudi royal family, and not on the side of the United States. This would also explain a report from Jeff Gerth in the New York Times on 15 May 2003, headlined, “C.I.A. Chief Won’t Name Officials Who Failed to Add Hijackers to Watch List.” It opened: “Seven months after telling Congress he would do so, George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, has yet to provide the names of agency officials responsible for one of the most glaring intelligence mistakes leading up to the attacks of Sept. 11, according to Congressional and agency officials. Soon after the attacks, the mistake emerged, showing that the Central Intelligence Agency had waited 20 months before placing on a federal watch list two suspected terrorists who wound up as hijackers. Had the information about the two hijackers been promptly relayed to other agencies, the government might have been able to disrupt, limit or possibly even prevent the terrorist attacks, intelligence officials and Congressional investigators said.” The report went on to note that, though Mr. Tenet would not name the C.I.A. officials who had failed, he did, in fact, promote two of them. So, he, himself, was responsible for this. The same day’s edition of the Times led with a story headlined, “Ambassador Says Saudis Didn’t Heed Security Request,” reporting that though the car bombing of the American compound in Riyadh that had occurred on 12 May 2003 had been anticipated and the U.S. had requested the Saudi royal family to increase its security protection of Americans in their country, this request had gone unheeded. On 28 May, the Times headlined, “A Saudi Editor Who Offended Clerics Is Ousted From His post.” It reported that the Saudi royal family had fired an editor for his criticizing Muslim clerics who were preaching support for terrorism against the West. This same Saudi royal family are present and past business partners of the Bush family. 15 of the 19 9-11 hijackers were Saudis. Immediately after 9-11, when all U.S. flights were grounded, the only non-military planes in the U.S. skies were the Bush Administration’s whisking out of the United States members of both the Saudi royal family and the bin Laden family. Rumors of this were confirmed by Bill Andrews writing in Scotland’s Edinburgh Evening News, on 3 September 2003, under the heading “Bin Laden Family’s US Exit ‘Approved’.” His report opened: “The United States allowed members of Osama bin Laden’s family to jet out of the US in the immediate aftermath of September 11, even as American airspace was closed. Former White House counter-terrorism tsar Richard Clarke said the Bush administration sanctioned the repatriation of about 140 high-ranking Saudi Arabians, including relatives of the al-Qaeda chief.” Apparently, the order came through the State Department; it would have to have originated from President Bush himself. On 11 April 2004 writing in the Boston Globe, Craig Unger said, “The White House told me that it is ‘absolutely confident’ the Sept. 13 flight from Tampa did not take place.”

Then, on 9 June 2004, Jean Heller of the St. Petersburg [Florida] Times, reported, “For nearly three years, White House, aviation and law enforcement officials have insisted the flight never took place and have denied published reports. … But now, at the request of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, TIA [Tampa International Airport] officials have confirmed that the flight did take place.” On 22 July 2004, Dana Milbank headlined in the Washington Post, “Plane Carried 13 Bin Ladens,” and reported: “At least 13 relatives of Osama bin Laden, accompanied by bodyguards and associates, were allowed to leave the United States on a chartered flight eight days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to a passenger manifest released yesterday. … The passenger list was made public by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who obtained the manifest from officials at Boston’s Logan International Airport.” Bush had been lying during almost three years. As Gerald Posner pointed out in an op-ed in the New York Times on 27 July 2004, the final report of the 9/11 Commission “fails to mine any of the widely available reporting and research that establishes” Saudi royal financing of the attacks. Furthermore, “The report fails … to note that when the flights occurred, air-space was open only to a limited number of commercial — not private — planes,” and these jets were all private. The Times headlined on 17 October 2002, “Report Says Saudis Fail to Crack Down on Charities That Finance Terrorists,” and reported: “Al Qaeda’s terror network derives most of its financing from charities and individuals in Saudi Arabia, but the kingdom has ‘turned a blind eye to this problem,’ according to a new report … by a committee sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. … The council’s report goes further by concluding for the first time that Saudi Arabia is the single largest source of terrorist financing. … In one of its starkest conclusions, the report said, ‘It is worth stating clearly and unambiguously, if only because official U.S. government spokespersons have not: for years, individuals and charities based in Saudi Arabia have been the most important source of funds for Al Qaeda, and for years Saudi officials have turned a blind eye to this problem.”

On 10 September 2006, the Washington Post, in that blockbuster story mentioned earlier, “Bin Laden Trail ‘Stone Cold’: U.S. Steps Up Efforts, But Good Intelligence On Ground Is Lacking,” reported that: “Bureaucratic battles slowed down the hunt for bin Laden for the first two or three years, according to officials in several agencies. … In early November 2002, … a CIA drone armed with a Hellfire missile killed a top al-Qaeda leader,” and Donald Rumsfeld got angry at this, because the NSA had given the intelligence to the CIA for this job. “‘Why aren’t you giving it to us?’ Rumsfeld wanted to know. [Michael] Hayden [the NSA chief] … told Rumsfeld that the [NSA’s] information-sharing mechanism with the CIA was working well.” It’s not yet clear whether Rumsfeld was an insider on the 9/11 operation. How could he not have been, given the facts which Michael Kane brought together on 27 March 2004, at Global Research, under the headline “Elephants in the Barracks”? But the indications are even stronger that Bush, Cheney, Rice, Hayden, Mueller, and Comey were. (Comey, as the Deputy Attorney General in 2005, endorsed a memorandum that approved the use of 13 enhanced interrogation techniques including waterboarding and sleep deprivation for up to 180 hours, which methods were used by the CIA when interrogating suspects. However, he famously objected to further torture-methods. He knew that all of the proposed torture-methods were illegal, and he endorsed only the ones he considered necessary in order to be able to extract from detainees ‘evidence’ that Saddam was involved in 9/11.)

— Part Seven

As was documented in 2003 at “Investigate and Impeach Bush for Failing to Act on 911 Warnings – And then Lying About It”, the Bush Administration prevented FBI terrorism experts from investigating Saudi Arabian ties to al-Qaeda before 9/11, leading to the resignation of FBI Deputy Director John O’Neill in disgust only two weeks before 9/11. O’Neill allegedly asserted that, “The main obstacles to investigate Islamic terrorism were US oil interests, and the role played by Saudi Arabia.” Bush on 6 August 2001 personally ignored a warning in a top-secret briefing memo headlined, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” That briefing even stated that there was a report “in 1998 saying that Bin Ladin wanted to hijack a US aircraft. … FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings.” This memo was clearly warning of a likelihood in the present time that Al Qaeda would finally do that; yet Bush did nothing to prevent it. There clearly was virtual certainty that crashing an airliner into key U.S. building(s) was now imminent. The Administration received these dire warnings; only the American public did not. Then, despite repeated warnings from CIA Director George Tenet not to do so, President Bush actually ordered counterterrorism agencies to “stand down” from the existing highest level of alert, which had pertained before August. Bush’s reaction to the warnings was to reduce the level of threat-preparedness; not to raise it. This reduction in alertness also ignored urgent warnings from an FBI agent in Phoenix, from Jordanian intelligence, from Israeli intelligence, from Russian intelligence, and from Moroccan intelligence. Also, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said that he warned “the Americans” on 31 August that “something would happen.” Yet, still, President Bush held to the newly reduced alertness status. Right before the planes struck, the U.S. stock market was flooded with “put” orders to dump the whole range of stocks that ended up being directly crumpled by 9/11. Only the U.S. public was being kept in the dark.

Subsequently, both Rice and Bush lied to Congress saying that all of these warnings were purely of a “historical” nature and concerned nothing at all after 1998. However, this intelligence was, in fact, all fresh — that’s the reason why Clarke, Tenet, and others, were so alarmed, frantic even — and it was now pouring in, and rising to a crescendo, during the summer of 2001, right up until 9/11. And yet the President’s response to it was to have the agencies “stand down.”

This was especially stunning after Bob Woodward’s 2006 State of Denial, which reported that on 10 July 2001, as the New York Times confirmed on 2 October 2006, “Records Show Tenet Briefed Rice on Al Qaeda Threat.” The reporters said: “A review of White House records has determined that George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, did brief Condoleezza Rice and other top officials on July 10, 2001, about the looming threat from Al Qaeda. … The account … came hours after Ms. Rice, the secretary of state, told reporters aboard her airplane that she did not recall” the meeting. Also on 2 October 2006, McClatchy newspapers reported, “Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and former Attorney General John Ashcroft received the same CIA briefing about an imminent al-Qaida strike on an American target. … One official who helped to prepare the briefing, which included a PowerPoint presentation, described it as a ‘10 on a scale of 1 to 10.’” And yet, “Many officials [including Rice] have claimed they never received or don’t remember” it. Of course, when faced with irrefutable facts, which contradict what one is saying and what one has repeated numerous times, the standard response of a liar is to claim “they never received or don’t remember.”

A lot of the intelligence that the President had received prior to 9/11 became public afterwards; and good summaries of it appeared at CBS and at the Britannica site. It’s not merely about events that ‘concerned nothing at all after 1998’, but entailed enormous detail about the trendline and the intentions of Al Qaeda during the buildup toward 9/11.

On 26 February 2013, CBS headlined “The 1993 World Trade Center bombers: Where are they now?”, and reported that “By 1997, seven men had been convicted for the attack: [Kuwaiti Ramzi] Yousef, [Jordanian Eyad] Ismoil, Egyptian Mahmud Abouhalima, Palestinian Mohammad Salameh, Kuwaiti Nidal A. Ayyad, Iraqi Abdul Rahman Yasin and Palestinian Ahmad Ajaj. Only six of them, however [all but Yassin], had been caught.” In addition, there was their inspirerer, “Omar Abdel Rahman, a blind sheik” who also was caught, and “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who also was caught, and who is not only Yousef’s uncle, but also later claimed to be the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks which ultimately brought the Twin Towers down. Mohammed gave Yousef advice, tips, and cash in the run up to the 1993 bombing.”

Furthermore, the Britannica article on “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed” indicates that “Although he later claimed responsibility for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Mohammed first came to international attention for his participation in the so-called Bojinka Plot, a deadly and wildly ambitious plan concocted by Mohammed’s nephew, Ramzi Yousef.” That article continues:

One proposed aspect of the Bojinka Plot involved hijacking an aircraft and using it as a missile to attack the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Mohammed took this plan to Osama bin Laden in 1996, with the suggestion that it be used to attack symbolic targets in the United States. It is believed that bin Laden approved the plan at some point in late 1998 or early 1999, and Mohammed began his formal affiliation with al-Qaeda. Mohammed, along with bin Laden and Muhammad Atef, began assembling the hijacker teams. In early December 1999 Mohammed held an instructional meeting with three al-Qaeda operatives who would carry out the September 11 attacks.

After those attacks, Mohammed’s cachet within al-Qaeda skyrocketed. He was involved in other plots against the United States, including the attempted “shoe-bombing” of an American Airlines jet by Richard Reid that was foiled by passengers on December 22, 2001. Mohammed also claimed to have beheaded The Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002, a claim that was later verified by independent sources. In early 2003 Mohammed was planning an attack on London’s Heathrow Airport, but the plot was disrupted by the United States and its allies. Soon after, on March 1, 2003, he was captured by U.S. and Pakistani officers in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

During his interrogation by the CIA, Mohammed was subjected to waterboarding more than 180 times. After spending several years in classified CIA “black site” prisons in central Europe, he was transferred to Guantánamo Bay detention camp in 2006.

With all of that background, how could George W. Bush not have known, in advance, that something like 9/11 was about to occur? Only if he was an idiot. And, although he tried to play that role, not much intelligence is required in order to recognize that his “aw, shucks” act was only an act. He was no genius, but he also was no one’s fool. He was, in fact, quite cunning, and very effective at what he was trying to do.

Other important details of the Bush Administration’s failings to prevent the 9/11 attack were made public by a joint congressional report (not the official 9/11 report but the far less Presidentially controlled congressional one) on 18 September 2002. Here are some of the highlights: In May 2001, the CIA learned that seven of bin Laden’s operatives were on their way to the U.S. via Canada and Britain and “were disappearing while others were preparing for martyrdom,” because they “were planning attacks in the United States.” Furthermore, a July 2001 briefing for senior government officials had stated: “Based on a review of all-source reporting over the last five months, we believe that UBL [Usama bin Laden] will launch a significant terrorist attack against U.S. and/or Israeli interests in the coming weeks. The attack will be spectacular and designed to inflict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning.” President Bush ignored this stunning warning: he didn’t place the government on high alert, much less make preparations to strike immediately against bin Laden and Al Qaeda, both in the U.S. and in Afghanistan, so as to avert the planned attack.

Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama, admitted, “We know now that our inability to detect and prevent the Sept. 11 attacks was an intelligence failure of unprecedented magnitude. [This was a lie; the failure was in the White House, not the CIA.] … Some people who couldn’t seem to utter the words ‘intelligence failure’ are now convinced of it.” Since he was a Republican Senator, covering up for the Republican President, his comment shifted to the CIA — to the messenger which had brought to the Administration the bad news or warning of the “imminent” attack — the blame that actually belonged instead directly in the Oval Office, which did nothing to prevent that attack. Shelby’s conclusion blaming the intelligence services was reiterated by the final 9/11 Commission report, because President Bush appointed its members, and the Commission agreed in advance not to find blame with the President himself. The intelligence services therefore took the fall for the President, just as they did when Saddam’s alleged weapons of mass destruction that President Bush alleged to have been the reason for invading Iraq turned out not to exist. However, on 14 September 2004 the New York Times headlined “Review at C.I.A. and Justice Brings No 9/11 Punishment,” and reported that all of the studies and reviews of these intelligence failures “have not resulted in any disciplinary actions” against any of the intelligence personnel either. The reason for this is that the President was, in fact, warned by the CIA. So, Bush made sure that no one would be blamed.

The voters considered this to be acceptable; there was no accountability and Bush was even re-elected. To the contrary of accountability, President Bush was viewed by the voters as overwhelmingly superior to any Democrat for protecting the U.S. against terrorism. This proven failure was greatly preferred by the public, against all alternative candidates. In the 2004 Presidential contest, the results, like in 2000, were so close that a ‘win’ turned out to be stealable. What should have been a clear win for the Democratic Party’s candidate, turned out to be instead just another nail-biter.

Confirming this cover-up for the President was www.truthout.org/docs_03/062603B.shtml, “Interview: 27-Year CIA Veteran” by Ray McGovern, 26 June 2003, in which McGovern said, “My analysis is that George Bush had no option but to keep George Tenet on as Director, because George Tenet had warned Bush repeatedly, for months and months before September 11, that something very bad was about to happen. … Bush was well briefed before he went off to Texas to chop wood for a month.” Subsequently, of course, Tenet retired from the CIA.

— Part Eight

On 16 June 2003, Laura Blumenfeld of the Washington Post reported, under the headline, “Former Aide Takes Aim at War on Terror.” A national security aide to the President, Rand Beers, who was a man that had replaced the neo-fascist Oliver North in the Reagan White House, and that had then served under the senior Bush, and then under Clinton, and now the junior Bush, resigned from George W. Bush’s Administration, because “They’re making us less secure, not more secure. … As an insider, I saw the things that weren’t being done. And the longer I sat and watched, the more concerned I became, until I got up and walked out.” He committed himself to ousting George W. Bush from office. His wife commented, “This is an administration that determines what it thinks and then sets about to prove it. There’s almost a religious kind of certainty. There’s no curiosity about opposing points of view. It’s very scary. There’s kind of a ghost agenda.” Bush shared the public’s religious values, so Americans felt confident with him protecting them. They had faith.

By the time of 8 July 2003, even the pro-Bush Wall Street Journal was leading off with, “White House Hurdles Delay 9/11 Investigation,” and reported that, “so far the probers have made little progress. The commission is embroiled in tense negotiations over the level of access it will have to White House documents and the federal personnel it wants to interview.” Consequently, “the commission may not be able to complete an exhaustive investigation before its deadline next May” (which it did not). Republican Senator John McCain was quoted as saying, “Excessive administration secrecy on issues related to the Sept. 11 attacks feeds conspiracy theories.” Long Island Newsday headlined a month later, 7 August, “U.S. Clamps Secrecy on Warnings Before 9/11,” saying that it wasn’t only Saudi royal involvement in 9/11 that the Bush Administration was hiding, but that “a deeper, darker problem is our own government’s refusal to fill in the blanks about itself,” regarding what the President knew, and when he knew it. In December 2003, one of the ten members of the 9/11 Commission quietly quitted, after months of very publicly decrying Bush’s uncooperativeness. Max Cleland said he refused to be part of the White House’s “cover-up.” www.newsofinterest.tv/911.htmlposted “A Summary of Issues About the 9/11 Attacks”, and on one of its pages, titled “Military, Intelligence, and Government Officials Questioning 9/11,” are quoted Louis Freeh, Curt Weldon, Mark Dayton, Max Cleland, and others, all saying that the work of the 9/11 Commission was so compromised by the President, that the only thing which was really clear is that he must have had lots to hide, because he was certainly hiding things he had no right to be hiding from that commission. Furthermore, the entire Administration was uncooperative. On 2 August 2006, Dan Eggen headlined in the Washington Post, “9/11 Panel Suspected Deception by Pentagon,” and even the very highly partisan Republican Chairman of the Commission, Thomas Kean, was quoted, “We to this day don’t know why NORAD [the North American Aerospace Command] told us what they told us. … It was just so far from the truth.”

However, Louis Freeh was himself on the inside as a strong supporter of the Saudi royal family, the al-Sauds, who own that country. And Robert Mueller and James Comey were his key acolytes who assisted him to transfer the blame for the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing away from Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda and instead onto Iran, which was completely innocent of the charge but became officially blamed for it, which started the U.S. Deep State’s standard accusation against Iran, that it (and not the Saud family) is ‘the top state sponsor of terrorism’ — a blatant and evil lie.

On 20 June 2018, the Washington Examiner bannered “OPINION  Robert Mueller was the biggest obstacle for Sept. 11 families who wanted to sue Saudi Arabia” and opened: “A lawyer representing the families of 9/11 victims says Robert Mueller engaged in a cover-up of evidence that the Saudi government aided the attackers.” That’s the “opinion” which had been expressed to the newspaper’s reporter, Ryan Gidursky. He wrote: “New York-based lawyer Jim Kreindler, representing the families of the Sept. 11 victims, said in an interview with me that Mueller and his successor, James Comey, engaged in a systematic cover-up of evidence that the Saudi government aided the terrorists who committed the Sept. 11 attacks.”

That report went on to say that:

Several people formerly associated with the investigation stated that Saudi Arabia was financially involved with the Sept. 11 attacks, including John Lehman, a Republican member of the 9/11 Commission, and former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., who chaired the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at the time. Graham’s testimony during an appearance on “60 Minutes” was especially damning: “the hijackers received active support and guidance from rich Saudis, Saudi charities, and top members of the Saudi government.”

Stephen K. Moore, the retired FBI agent who led the Sept. 11 probe in Los Angeles, also confirmed in an affidavit back in December 2017 that the Saudis played a significant role.

Despite mounting evidence and testimony from key players in the investigation as well as former politicians, Kreindler told me that he ran into significant roadblocks from the FBI and former directors Mueller and Comey.

“We’ve really been stymied over the last 17 years from getting information from the FBI, State Department, and Department of Defense,” Kreindler said in an interview. “From day one, instead of focusing on the evidence, there was an effort to not look at the Saudis and [instead to] get their help in launching the Iraq War.”

Kreindler said that retired FBI agents had told him that they also believe Mueller lied in 2002 before the joint congressional inquiry that he was unaware of Saudi government involvement.

On 11 August 2017, The Hill headlined “Former Mueller deputy on Trump: ‘Government is going to kill this guy’”, and Joe Concha reported that his source

said Trump’s defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin has compelled federal employees “at Langley, Foggy Bottom, CIA and State” to try to take Trump down.

“Let me give you one bottom line as a former government official. Government is going to kill this guy,” Mudd, a staunch critic of Trump, said on “The Lead.”

“He defends Vladimir Putin. There are State Department and CIA officers coming home, and at Langley and Foggy Bottom, CIA and State, they’re saying, ‘This is how you defend us?’”

Those Government officials were outraged against the President. Though they worked under his Administration, they worked for the Deep State, against him — their nominal boss. Trump’s constant defenses of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud are acceptable to those retinues of America’s billionaires, but for Trump to say anything favorable regarding Putin is totally unacceptable to them. It’s like “Russia, enemy; Saudi Arabia, friend.” That’s the Deep State’s position. And any nation that is at all favorable toward Russia — such as Saddam’s Iraq, Qaddafi’s Libya, Assad’s Syria, and Khomeini’s Iran — is also no “ally” but instead only a target for the weaponry that’s manufactured by America’s top 100 ‘defense’ contractors. And that will mean more sales-volume for those firms. Mueller protects the Sauds, who buy more U.S.-made weaponry than any other country except the U.S. Government itself. And he’s the ideal person to work against Russia. The billionaires who control Lockheed Martin (and other such companies) want their biggest foreignbuyer protected, and want the main target of the weapons they sell to continue to be their target, because that nation is the target of their costliest weapons, the nuclear forces; and those billionaires define which nations the U.S. Government calls ‘allies’ (meaning markets for those manufacturers). So, ‘Saudi Arabia is an ally of America’. Iran, Russia, and China don’t buy their products at all, but are instead their biggest and ultimate targets to invade and conquer, or else to overthrow via a coup and take over as the ultimate prizes to add to the U.S. empire; so, those countries are ‘America’s enemies’. This has nothing whatsoever to do with protecting the American public, and everything to do with boosting the profits to the owners of those companies. Doing that is the bipartisan goal of today’s U.S. Government.

And, of course, as was pointed out and documented earlier in this series, James Comey became one of the three highest-paid executives at America’s largest weapons-manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, and then became General Counsel and Member of the Executive Committee at one of the three largest Hedge funds, which happened to be the second-biggest stockholder in Lockheed Martin.

And, as was also documented at the start of this series, Louis Freeh retired to become the chief personal attorney representing the Saud family in the United States — and that family are Lockheed Martin’s second-largest customer.

On Tuesday, 22 January 2019, at the time of the longest stalemate and shut-down of the U.S. Government ever, Reuters headlined “House approves bill warning against U.S. NATO pullout” and reported that:

In a warning to President Donald Trump not to try to withdraw the United States from the NATO military alliance, the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved legislation aimed at preventing such a move.

The Democratic-led House approved the measure by a bipartisan 357-22 vote, with the only “no” votes coming from Republicans. It now goes to the Republican-majority Senate, where its future is unclear, although a similar measure has been introduced there.

At a news conference before the vote, Democratic lawmakers said they were alarmed by reports of the Republican president’s low regard for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a 70-year-old military alliance that joins the United States and Canada with allies in Europe.

The New York Times said last week that several times over the course of 2018, Trump privately told his advisers he wanted to withdraw from NATO. …

NATO, of course, is the anti-Russia military alliance that had been started after World War II, against the communist Soviet Union, which nation and ideology ended in 1991 while that sales-organization for American-made weaponry against it continued. Though the Congress was extremely split on everything else, they were virtually 100% united against the U.S. President who is the first ever that wants to terminate this sales-promotion organization for U.S. weapons-firms. The U.S. Deep State is even more united on that against Russia than on its support for the Saud family. And Robert Mueller has been a key person at both ends of that Deep State agenda: against Russia, and for the Sauds.

Now, if you really want to get to know Robert Mueller, here’s the low-down on him: https://caucus99percent.com/content/what-mueller-wont-find

He (like Obama) was born into the retinues of the Deep State, and he (like Obama) throughout his life has continued loyally to serve the Deep State — America’s billionaires and a few centi-millionaires, the individuals who own and control America’s international corporations. That’e the Deep State, and people such as Mueller and Comey and Freeh are important servants to it.

And that’s the reality about today’s international Deep State. It controls America’s foreign policies. It controls the empire.

The way the Deep State shows itself in domestic national (as opposed to international) U.S. policies is reported with remarkable honesty and effectiveness in Michael Moore’s 2018 documentary film, Fahrenheit 11/9 (which is not to be confused with his 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11), the best film he has yet made. An excellent example of how the Deep State misrepresents and criticizes that masterful documentary film was the review published in Britain’s Guardian, which was headlined “Fahrenheit 11/9 review: Michael Moore v Donald Trump = stalemate”. That review was skillfully written so as to discourage the public from seeing this film and learning the reality, both about today’s America and about the film itself. The Guardian nowadays represents the interests of liberal billionaires who backed the Clintons, Obama, and Tony Blair, none of whom come across in this film as being anything other than political prostitutes of those billionaires. But the documentary is just as devastating about the the politicians representing the opposing side of the aristocracy, politicians such as George W. Bush and Donald Trump. It’s hardly the sort of movie that hero-worshippers on either side of today’s U.S. politics would want to see. But it’s a film that everyone around the world ought to see, because it is true, deeply true, about the aristocracy, and about the way they deal with the public, as objects to be used and callously disposed of (as is documented in that film). And that side, the domestic side, is the side of the U.S. aristocracy’s operation Robert Mueller doesn’t much get involved with. He specializes mostly in carrying out the U.S. aristocracy’s international dirty-works. That’s what he’s mainly there for. This is why Mueller is going after Trump, because Trump isn’t sufficiently against Russia and sufficiently supportive of NATO.

Maybe Trump had thought that his rabid hostility toward Iran, and his deregulation of America’s companies, and his lowering of their taxes, would be enough to keep those hyenas away. But, clearly, that’s not the case. They want lots more from a U.S. president than Trump is delivering. And Mueller was the man they had hired to lead the pack to replace him with Mike Pence. But all that they ended up with was a shoddily ‘documented’ case that ‘Russia interfered in the 2016 election’. At least they increased American fools’ fear of ‘those scheming Russians’, who, unquestionably, interfere in foreign domestic politics far less than the U.S. Government itself does. Russia is the chief punching-bag for America’s billionaires. They got what they want: an ‘indictment’ of Russia.

*  *  *

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.

Published:3/27/2019 11:16:53 PM
[cfc34fbf-2322-5c23-a906-bf4be5bc0f7d] NBC News' Lester Holt 'went easy' on James Comey during interview on Mueller report, critic says NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt “went easy” on former FBI Director James Comey during their Wednesday interview about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report about Russian meddling, according to a media critic. Published:3/27/2019 9:46:31 PM
[Politics] BREAKING!! The FBI is looking into Jussie Smollett cover-up!! The FBI is apparently looking into why Chicago dropped the charges against Jussie Smollett, but it’s not an official investigation yet. This story simply refuses to end: The FBI is reviewing the . . . Published:3/27/2019 6:16:28 PM
[Politics] BREAKING!! The FBI is looking into Jussie Smollett cover-up!! The FBI is apparently looking into why Chicago dropped the charges against Jussie Smollett, but it’s not an official investigation yet. This story simply refuses to end: The FBI is reviewing the . . . Published:3/27/2019 6:16:28 PM
[Markets] Man Arrested In Plot To Assassinate Trump, Blow Up Pentagon

West Virginia State Police closed Interstate 68 near the Maryland border for several hours after a man made threats to kill President Trump and blow up the Pentagon. 

A 42-year-old man was arrested after he was pulled over for speeding at around 10:30 Wednesday morning, according to WDTV. During the stop, authorities found a firearm and explosive powder.

“As a result of the investigation based on a traffic stop that occurred earlier this morning, it had been discovered that threats were made to kill the President of the United States and to blow up the Pentagon. A search of the vehicle revealed a firearm and an explosive powder. A 42-year-old male has been detained for questioning. -West Virginia State Police

The FBI, Secret Service and State police are investigating the plot. 

"Man, this is crazy," said Truck driver Adam Heiser of Oklahoma, who was caught in the unexpected shutdown. "I’m just trying to get down the road here to the Love’s truck stop. I don’t know what’s going on that’s got this whole thing shut down like this, but I’d say somebody is in some trouble."

The interstate was reopened at around 2:30 p.m. 

Published:3/27/2019 5:15:10 PM
[World] Tom Fitton on Corrupt Decision in Russia Probe Not Telling Trump 2016 Campaign Collusion

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the key corrupt decision by the Washington bureaucracy in regard to the Trump-Russia collusion investigation was the FBI's failure to notify the Trump campaign that Russia was trying to intercede on their behalf.

Published:3/27/2019 4:45:30 PM
[7506a430-f5af-569c-b6a7-da98939eece9] Chicago cops shared data on Smollett's iCloud with FBI: report Newly released documents on Wednesday revealed fresh details about the data the Chicago Police Department shared with the FBI in the Jussie Smollett case.  Published:3/27/2019 4:15:45 PM
[Markets] Jussie Smollett Walks. Kim Foxx Owes Us All An Explanation

The outpouring of anger, disbelief, and frustration over Jussie Smollett's release debacle has brought many sides of the political spectrum together in questioning just WTF happened and how does a 16-count felony indictment get resolved with the lightest of wrist slaps? Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fumed:

With all eyes focused on State's Attorney Kim Foxx:

Chicago police are dumbfounded and furious...

And even David Axelrod took to Twitter to express his disgust: "Unless some better explanation surfaces, here’s the lesson of this weird turn in the Smollett case: You can contrive a hate crime, make it a national news, get caught and-if you are a well-connected celebrity-get off for $10K and have your record expunged and files sealed."

"The fact that (Smollett) feels that we have exonerated him, we have not. I can’t make it any clearer than that." So says the lead prosecutor in Smollett case. So why allow Smollett to get off for $10K and have his records expunged and case files sealed?

Simply put, as Crain's Chicago Business' Greg Hinz fumes below, the state’s attorney must look Chicago in the eye and say justice was served.

Few things are more fundamental to democracy than the perception that the criminal justice system operates without taint or slant, that decisions as to how to protect the public and who to send to prison are made regardless of political or personal considerations.

Unfortunately, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx - a self-styled “reformer” who gained office largely by riding the wave of justified outrage over the Laquan McDonald scandal - appears to have pretty much botched that task in her office’s handling of the high-profile Jussie Smollett case. By first intervening with police on Smollett’s behalf and now allowing her top assistant to dismiss a 16-count felony indictment against the tall-tale-telling “Empire” actor with the lightest of slaps on the wrist, Foxx has endangered her political future and, more important, faith in the local justice system.

“The office owes the public an explanation,” former Foxx chief deputy Eric Sussman told me in a phone interview late today.

“I agree with the mayor. It looks like a whitewash.”

It sure does.

The Smollett case has been worldwide news since January. The country and city were rightly horrified by the actor’s story that he’d been accosted by two MAGA hat-wearing attackers he didn’t know who put a rope around his neck, poured a toxic chemical on him and yelled racist and homophobic slurs when he went out for a late-night snack in Streeterville.

Police always suspected something was not right with that story. So did I. What are the odds that an urban resident would be stupid enough to walk through an empty viaduct and just happen to run into two people in a relatively well-to-do neighborhood of Chicago who not only know him but happened to hate gays and would be Donald Trump fans to boot?

So, police went all out to find out what happened, assigning what I hear is a mind-boggling 12 detectives full time for weeks to scour tape from remote cameras and other clues. Police finally concluded that the whole thing was a fake and that Smollett’s attackers were actually two body-building acquaintances who’d been hired to do their own acting job. Foxx’s office charged him with 16 felony counts of disorderly conduct, counts that came in the form of a grand jury indictment.

By that time, the case already had taken another strange turn.

Without detailing why, Foxx recused herself from the case, turning over the matter to her top aide, First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats. Her recusal came after reports that, after receiving calls on Smollett’s behalf from former top Barack and Michelle Obama aide Tina Tchen, Foxx called Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and urged him to turn over the case to the FBI. 

That’s basically where things stood until today, when in an unexpected and nearly unreported court appearance—the press was tipped by a publicist - Foxx’s office dropped the charges and agreed to seal all of the evidence from public view. 

What did Foxx's office get in return?

Not a confession or even grudging admission of guilt or regret. 

In fact, Smollett thanked the state for “attempting to do what’s right” and said he has been “truthful and consistent from day one.” Smollett’s attorney bragged that Smollett's “record has been wiped clean. . . .He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks.”

How about compensation to the city for the hundreds and maybe thousands of hours of police time—time that was badly needed to solve real crimes? Nope. 

Smollett did a bit a community service—a whole 16 hours doing something or other at Operation Push—and forfeited a $10,000 bond. But Smollett’s lawyer suggested the $10,000 was a token price to uncomplicate his client’s life.

In a statement, Magats, the lawyer Foxx assigned to the Smollett case, termed the development “a just disposition and appropriate resolution to the case,” given that Smollett had no prior record. Continued the statement: “We did not exonerate Mr. Smollett. The charges were dropped in exchange for Mr. Smollett’s agreement to do community service and forfeit his bond.”

So then why did Smollett and his attorney dispute that there was any deal, and act as if, as Donald Trump might put it, he was “COMPLETELY VINDICATED"?

Why weren’t city police notified until the last minute? Why is there to be no follow through, no extended conditions to prevent another stunt?

In a later interview, Magats insisted the decision to drop the charges was his and his alone. Further, he says, the judge was required to seal the evidence once the defense so requested, state law generally caps compensation in cases like this at $10,000 and the deferred prosecution Smollett’s case involved does not require a confession of guilt.

I’m not a lawyer. But now we’ll never know all of the evidence police collected in this case because it’s locked up. And we’ll never see how Smollett would have handled himself at trial, what he would have said under oath, or how he would have explained paying the body builders thousands of dollars.

Back to Sussman, who is a lawyer and held Magats' exact job. (A Foxx press aide pointed out that Sussman, a federal prosecutor, was with the office only two years, compared to Magats’ 29).

“The prosecution says they have rock-solid evidence, and then they just suddenly drop it?” Sussman asks.

“It makes you think there’s some evidence or something that they don’t want out” - perhaps questioning from Foxx about who called her on Smollett’s behalf and what she did about it. 

In all his time as first assistant, Sussman says he never saw a multiple-felony case resolved like this.

There you have it.

But the next time police are reluctant to prosecute a case of gay-bashing... the next time people are afraid to testify against someone with clout... the next time average citizens let gangbangers go free because they’re scared to cooperate... the next time police just don’t want to put in extra effort because they think it’s not worth it... the next time people laugh when you say you’re from Chicago... remember this case.

It’s time for Foxx to say lots, lots more about how and why this came down the way it did. I want her to look Chicago in the eye and say justice was served.

But we will give the final word to Georgetown Law professor Randy Barnett who asks the question everyone is considering: "None of this is normal - even for Crook County where I was an Assistant State’s Attorney. Educated guess: this hoax implicated someone very important who had pull with the State’s Attorney, and who very badly did not want to be implicated."

Published:3/27/2019 4:15:45 PM
[Markets] Swalwell Doubles Down: Maintains Trump Is A "Russian Agent" Despite Mueller Findings

Rep. Eric Swalwell - who sits on the House Intelligence Committee - has doubled down on his claim that President Trump is a Russian agent because nobody has been able to conclusively disprove all of the claims in the Steele Dossier. 

Speaking with Fox News's Martha MacCallum Tuesday night, Swalwell compared the Jussie Smollett case to the Trump-Russia collusion case - suggesting that Trump and Smollett were similarly let off the hook for their crimes 'despite everyone knowing they did it.'

"The charges were dismissed, yet we all believe we know what happened because of the evidence that exists in the case," said Swalwell. "I saw evidence and the country has seen evidence of collusion. Bob Mueller has said that he can't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, which I accept, but it doesn't mean there wasn't collusion," he added. 

MacCallum took issue with the Smollett comparison - noting that Mueller's conclusion of "no collusion" came after "two years of investigation [in the collusion case] and 2,800 subpoenas, 500 lawyers, 500 interviews, you've had 19 lawyers who've been working on this," adding "Some of the top lawyers in the country have worked on this. So there's a very big difference between the Smollett case which never saw the light of day, and what we've watched over the past couple of years."

Next, MacCallum played a clip of Swalwell telling MSNBC host Chris Matthews that he thinks Trump is a "Russian agent," insisting "I haven't seen a single piece of evidence that he's not.

In other words, Swalwell is sticking with the transparent logic trap of: 'Everybody knows you beat your wife Mr. Jones. Do you have evidence that you do not?' 

Asked to explain his comments and provide evidence, Swalwell told MacCallum: "I think he acts on Russia's behalf and he puts Russia's interests ahead, too often, of America's interests," adding "The evidence is that he seeks to reduce the role of NATO -- that's Russia's position. He's pulled out of Syria -- that's Russia's position." 

MacCallum shot back - "He's also ramped up our ... offensive help to the Ukraine," which Swalwell interrupted - claiming that taking an adversary's position somehow makes one an "agent" of said adversary. 

Swalwell isn't the only one who can't accept the Mueller report

Also on Tuesday, CNN analyst and retired lieutenant colonel Ralph Peters told host Anderson Cooper "I can’t let it go. I can’t let it go. The Steele dossier rings true to me." 

Peters speculated that President Donald Trump has acted as an agent of Russia, which is one of the core claims of the Democrat-funded dossier. Peters repeated the familiar argument that Trump will not publicly criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin to make his case.

“He won’t criticize Putin, and why doesn’t he want sanctions? Why has he been slow rolling sanctions? Why does he just dove tail with Putin’s view of the world?” said Peters.

“Anderson, I may be utterly wrong,” he continued. “I may be influenced by my background as an intelligence officer but again, I go back to what has been not addressed: The Steele dossier. Given Trump’s behavioral profile, he was a perfect target and if you want various explanations, the Steele dossier is a viable one.” -Daily Caller

In short, both Swalwell and Peters have discarded the Mueller's extensive investigation and are instead choosing to believe what's contained in a Russian-sourced dossier compiled by a former UK spy, who admits it's not a "finished product," and parts of which former FBI director James Comey called "unverified and salacious." 

TDS appears to be very real. 

Published:3/27/2019 10:44:37 AM
[Markets] Did Mueller Know There Was No Trump-Russia Collusion Before The Midterms?

Authored by Andrew McCarthy via FoxNews.com,

Almost from the start, Democrats and their media echo chamber have moved the goal posts on collusion. The original allegation – the political narrative that the Clinton campaign, through Obama administration alchemy, honed into a counterintelligence investigation – was that that the Trump campaign was complicit in Russia’s “cyberespionage” attacks on the 2016 election.

But there was no evidence that candidate Trump and his surrogates had anything to do with the Kremlin’s hacking and propaganda schemes. And no supporting logic. The Russians are very good at espionage. They neither needed nor wanted American help, their operations predated Trump’s entry into the campaign, and some of those operations were anti-Trump.

Nevertheless, in short order, that endlessly elastic word, collusion, was being stretched to the breaking point – covering every conceivable type of association between Trump associates and Russia.

Some of these were unseemly, such as the Trump Tower meeting, an apparently unsuccessful effort to obtain campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton. More of them were routine, such as incoming national-security adviser Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the post-election transition. But none of these collusion episodes were criminal. The only “collusion” prosecutors care about is conspiracy; a criminal agreement to violate a federal penal statute – such as the laws against hacking.

There was never any such evidence. There was just unverified, sensational, hearsay nonsense – the Steele dossier generated by the Clinton campaign.

Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded that there was no criminal collusion, the question arises: When during their exhaustive 22-month investigation did prosecutors realize they had no case?

I put it at no later than the end of 2017. I suspect it was in the early autumn.

By the time Mueller was appointed on May 17, 2017, the FBI had been trying unsuccessfully for nearly a year to corroborate the dossier’s allegations. Top bureau officials have conceded to congressional investigators that they were never able to do so – notwithstanding that, by the time of Mueller’s appointment, the Justice Department and FBI had relied on the dossier three times, in what they labeled “VERIFIED” applications, to obtain warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

And make no mistake about what this means. In each and every application, after describing the hacking operations carried out by Russian operatives, the Justice Department asserted:

The FBI believes that the Russian Government’s efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election were being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with [Donald Trump’s] campaign.

Yes, the Justice Department continued to make that allegation to the secret federal court for months after Trump was sworn in as president.

Notably, in June 2017, about a month after Mueller took over the investigation, while he was still getting his bearings, the Justice Department and the FBI went on to obtain a fourth FISA warrant. Yet again, they used the same unverified information. Yet again, they withheld from the court the fact that this information was generated by the Clinton campaign; that the Clinton campaign was peddling it to the media at the same time the FBI was providing it to the court; and that Christopher Steele, the informant on whom they were so heavily relying, had misled the bureau about his media contacts.

You know what’s most telling about this fourth FISA warrant? The fact that it was never renewed. The 90-day authorization lapsed in September 2017. When it did, Mueller did not seek to extend it with a new warrant.

Think about that for a moment. President Trump fired FBI Director Comey on May 9, 2017. Eight days later, on May 17, Mueller was named special counsel. This appointment effectively wrested control of the Trump-Russia counterintelligence investigation from acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, transferring it to the special counsel.

By August 2017, Mueller had removed the lead investigator, Agent Peter Strzok over the rabidly anti-Trump texts he’d exchanged with Lisa Page, a top FBI lawyer who served as McCabe’s counsel. Page herself had resigned in May. Meanwhile, the FBI reassigned its top counsel, James Baker (who later resigned); and the bureau’s inspection division referred McCabe to the Justice Department’s inspector general for leaking investigative information and then lying about it (and McCabe was later fired and referred to the Justice Department for possible prosecution).

This means that by autumn 2017 when it would have been time to go back to the court and reaffirm the dossier’s allegations of a Trump-Russia espionage conspiracy, the major FBI officials involved in placing those unverified allegations before the court had been sidelined. Clearly up to speed after four months of running the investigation, Mueller decided not to renew these allegations.

Once the fourth warrant lapsed in September, investigators made no new claims of a Trump-Russia conspiracy to the court. The collusion case was the Clinton campaign’s Steele dossier, and by autumn 2017, the investigators now in charge of the Trump-Russia investigation were unwilling to stand behind it.

In order to get the FISA warrants, the Justice Department and the FBI had had to allege that there was probable cause to believe former Trump adviser Carter Page was an agent of Russia. Under FISA law, that requires alleging that he was knowingly involved in clandestine activity on behalf of Russia, and that this clandestine activity involved probable violations of American criminal law – offenses such as espionage. Yet, despite the fact that this representation was made four times in sworn “verified” applications, Mueller never charged Page with a crime – not espionage, not false statements, nothing.

When Special Counsel Mueller closed his investigation last week, he almost certainly knew for about a year and a half that there was no collusion case. Indeed, the indictments that he did bring appeared to preclude the possibility that the Trump campaign conspired with the Kremlin.

Yet the investigation continued. The Justice Department and the special counsel made no announcement, no interim finding of no collusion, as Trump detractors continued to claim that a sitting American president might be a tool of the Putin regime. For month after month, the president was forced to govern under a cloud of suspicion.

Why?

*  *  *

We give Chuck Ross the last word, as his question is perhaps the most critical of all..."Excellent question. Surely it was before Nov 2018. And if Trump is cleared before then, do Dems take over the House?"

Published:3/27/2019 10:15:46 AM
[Markets] Mueller Report Release In "Weeks, Not Months"; White House Redaction Rules Uncertain

The public release of the Mueller report will take "weeks, not months," according to Reutersciting a Justice Department official. 

Barr released a four-page summary of the report's central findings on Sunday, however he said he would need more time to review the report to determine what the public could see. Barr told Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) of his plans to release the report publicly during a phone call this week. 

Meanwhile, there are conflicting reports over whether the White House will receive and advanced copy of the report - with Business Insider reporting that Barr told Graham that "he would send the special counsel Robert Mueller's final report on the Russia investigation to the White House before the public sees it, in case it wants to claim executive privilege over any parts." 

Reuters and NBC News, on the other hand, say there are no plans to let the White House see it in advance. 

Meanwhile, a debate has been brewing over Barr and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein's decision to exonerate President Trump of obstruction in light of Barr's past comments on the subject. 

Barr on Sunday released his own summary of Mueller's report, which found that there was no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election. Mueller declined to come to a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice in the Russia probe and instead laid out all the evidence prosecutors had collected before handing in his findings to Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Barr and Rosenstein then concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to determine that Trump obstructed justice. Their conclusion alarmed legal experts, who said Barr's past comments on the obstruction inquiry may have compromised his ability to make impartial decisions about that aspect of the investigation. -Business Insider

Barr sent a memo to the DOJ last year criticizing the obstruction probe as "legally insupportable," and advised that the Justice Department should not sanction it. 

Lasering in on Barr's criticisms, House Democrats are now pushing for the full release of the Mueller report as soon as possible - suggesting that it contains answers to key questions about contacts between Trump associates and Russia which may have occurred yet did not rise to the level of criminality. In short, Democrats want evidence to support insinuations of collusion going into 2020. 

The FBI launched a counterintelligence investigation in May 2017 — after Trump fired FBI director James Comey, citing "this Russia thing" as his motivation — into whether Trump was acting as a Russian agent. That inquiry was later folded into the broader Russia investigation. Barr's summary did not provide any details about Mueller's findings in the counterintelligence portion of Mueller's probe, but Justice Department veterans say the special counsel's full report likely answers many of the questions the public still has. -Business Insider

Last year Trump's lead attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told Business Insider that the White House wants a chance to review the Mueller report before it reaches the public in order to address any inaccuracies. 

Published:3/27/2019 8:13:56 AM
[Markets] "We Are Not Investigators": CNN's Jeff Zucker Unapologetic For Perpetual Russia-Hoax Coverage

CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker has all but admitted that the network is truly the "opposition party" to President Trump - telling the New York Times he is "entirely comfortable" with CNN's Trump-Russia coverage, while brushing off the fact that they were completely wrong about collusion. 

"We are not investigators. We are journalists, and our role is to report the facts as we know them, which is exactly what we did," the unapologetic Zucker wrote in an email. "A sitting president’s own Justice Department investigated his campaign for collusion with a hostile nation. That’s not enormous because the media says so. That’s enormous because it’s unprecedented." 

Except that a CNN producer on hidden camera admitted that the Russia story was all for ratings, and the narrative is "mostly bullshit."  

Then there was CNN's Van Jones calling it a "nothing burger." 

And in addition to CNN's hyperpartisan reporting against Trump, they've gotten it wrong several times. As Breitbart's Josh Caplan notes: 

Last December, CNN congressional correspondent Manu Raju reported that Wikileaks emailed Donald Trump Jr. access to information nearly two weeks prior to their public release. However, the network failed to verify the email’s date — September 14th, 2016 — by which time the emails had already been released. In June, CNN reported former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was being investigated for meeting with a Russian banker ahead of President Trump’s inauguration. Scaramucci denied the claim and CNN eventually apologized for its inaccurate report. CNN Executive editor Lex Haris, editor Eric Lichtblau, and journalist Thomas Frank resigned in shame over the story.

Further, CNN claimed in July that Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, was prepared to tell special counsel investigators that the president possesses advanced knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting between his son, Donald Trump Jr. and a Russia lawyer, and others. Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, later told CNN had “mixed up” its facts and denied claims that Cohen had any such knowledge about the meeting. -Breitbart

After more than two years of the FBI and DOJ probing every cavity they could, President Trump and his campaign were found to have not colluded with Russia - according to a four-page summary of Mueller's findings written by Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw most of the special counsel's investigaion. 

Published:3/26/2019 5:38:59 PM
[2019 News] Chicago Police Superintendent Furious Jussie Smollett Charges Dropped Chicago Police Superintendent Furious Jussie Smollett Charges Dropped. We hope Johnson hand delivers all his evidence to the FBI. Charlie De Mar, a reporter for Chicago’s local CBS affiliate WBBM-2, reported that Johnson was “furious,” and that he had not been consulted or informed about the decision to drop the charges against Smollett. Published:3/26/2019 12:39:52 PM
[Politics] Sen. Graham to Start Probe of FBI's Handling of 2016 Election Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said he plans to investigate whether the Justice Department and FBI influenced the 2016 election to stop Donald Trump, Politico reported on Tuesday. Published:3/26/2019 11:37:36 AM
[Media] ‘Let’s see who’s the DIRTIEST’: Kimberley Strassel OWNS USA Today editor for trying to pick a fight on her FBI/Mueller thread

We’re honestly starting to get a little bit dizzy from watching Democrats, the media, and so-called ‘legal analysts’ doing their best to somehow spin the Mueller report into a bad thing for President Trump. It almost reminds us of when Trump beat Hillary, and how they spent YEARS accusing him of working with Russia to […]

The post ‘Let’s see who’s the DIRTIEST’: Kimberley Strassel OWNS USA Today editor for trying to pick a fight on her FBI/Mueller thread appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:3/26/2019 11:37:36 AM
[2019 News] Jussie Smollett charges dropped, actor won’t be prosecuted on charges he faked attack Jussie Smollett charges dropped, actor won’t be prosecuted on charges he faked attack. Membership in the Libtard Club pays off again. Trump should take advantage of this by pardoning Flynn and Manafort and daring the Democrats to bitch about it. We also hope the FBI investigates Jussie for mail fraud. Published:3/26/2019 11:37:36 AM
[Markets] The Reckoning Finally Arrives For The Trump Resistance

Authored by Eli Lake, op-ed via Bloomberg.com,

With Mueller’s investigation over, Democrats, the news media and the national security state have a lot to answer for...

“The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

That single sentence, taken from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, calls for a reckoning.

It’s a reckoning for Democrats who saw almost every development in this almost-two-year investigation as another dot connecting a conspiracy Mueller has not found. It’s a reckoning for many in the media that dutifully passed along this theory without scrutiny or context. And it’s a reckoning for many national security officials who abandoned their traditional nonpartisan role as custodians of state secrets to engage in a campaign against a president they loathed.

Their suspicions, I should note, were not unwarranted. During the 2016 election, there was strong evidence that Russia had hacked the emails of leading Democrats, a fact supported by Mueller’s indictments. The country later learned from Mueller that Moscow conducted a social media campaign to flood Twitter and Facebook with fake news and propaganda to discredit Hillary Clinton. Trump, meanwhile, once publicly invited the assistance of the Russians.

But many people who should have known better went beyond suspicion and embraced conspiracy. Remember Senator Harry Reid’s explosive letterto James Comey, released just a few days before the election, alleging that the FBI director possessed devastating information about Trump and his campaign’s ties to Russia? Reid did not provide many details. We now know that many of the allegations to which Reid referred echoed an infamous dossier prepared by a former British spy at the behest of an opposition research firm paid by the Democratic Party.

Reid wasn’t the only one. Last year the House Intelligence Committee released memos that showed how this dossier was part of the underlying evidence the FBI provided in a surveillance application to a secret court to monitor the communications of Carter Page, a low-level foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. Page has not been charged with a crime, and yet his reputation has been trashed after a top-secret warrant for his surveillance was leaked to the media.

The dossier set the initial narrative for the Trump administration. After CNN reported that it was included as part of a briefing Comey himself provided to Trump and Obama, Buzzfeed published the whole thing with the helpful caveat that it was not verified and was in places incorrect. The most important takeaway so far of the Mueller probe is that this dossier is garbage.

Then there is the matter of Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. He was forced from the administration and into a legal nightmareafter his monitored conversations with Russia’s ambassador to Washington leaked a few weeks before Trump’s inauguration. It’s true that Flynn failed to file as a foreign agent for Turkey, a crime that is normally punished as a slap on the wrist. At the time though, the accusation against Flynn was that he was a Russian spy, based on leaked transcripts that are never supposed to see the light of day. How silly do these hyperventilations look today in light of Mueller’s conclusions?

What’s more, it’s a scandal that no one has investigated how those transcripts were leaked in the first place. Given that the FBI’s own inspector general found that leaking with impunity is commonplace, the bureau’s agents should at least be among the suspects.

Finally, there is that handful of former officials who validated the worst fears of Americans about Trump without ever providing actual evidence. The best example is former CIA Director John Brennan. For the last two years, Brennan has been a frequent guest on cable TV to spread the innuendo that Trump is compromised by Russia. Just this month, he speculated that Mueller would be indicting members of Trump world for criminal conspiracy, even as he insisted he had no “inside knowledge” of Mueller’s deliberations. That last part, at least, turns out to have been true.

The saddest part of all of this is that there was a lot of evidence, hiding in plain sight, that could have spared many collusion proponents their embarrassment. Mueller’s indictment of Roger Stone, for example alleged that Stone was tasked by a senior campaign official to find out what was in the emails that Russia hacked from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. If the campaign were coordinating with Russia’s influence campaign, why would Stone need to go to Wikileaks?

There were also the transcripts of interviews before the Senate Judiciary Committee of participants in the June 2016 Trump Tower meetings where Donald Trump Jr. and others in the campaign took a meeting with a Russian lawyer who initially promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. Under oath, those witnesses said nothing came of the offer.

And Trump, it should be noted, has appointed Russia hawks at the highest levels. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton and his predecessor H.R. McMaster, and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis all have long public records when it comes to Russia. If Trump were a Russian stooge, why would he appoint them to such posts? And despite his own baffling sycophancy toward Russian President Putin, Trump has not been weak on Russia in terms of policy.

The end of the Mueller probe is more than just a reckoning. It is also a reminder, if anyone needed another one, that the FBI and the intelligence community can be wrong. And it is a powerful illustration of the importance of keeping spies and lawmen out of politics.

Published:3/26/2019 11:08:28 AM
[Markets] Smollett Charges Dropped After "Emergency Court Appearance" 

Charges were dropped on Tuesday against Empire actor Jussie Smollett for disorderly conduct related to allegedly staging a fake hate crime attack and filing a false police report, according to the Chicago Tribune

A grand jury slapped Smollett with 16 felony counts earlier this month for falsely reporting a hate crime, which his attorney Mark Geragos called "vindictive" and "prosecutorial overkill." 

According to reports, the state of Illinois filed the motion to dismiss the case, which the judge signed off on. The case has also been sealed, according to CBS Chicago's Charlie De Mar. 

"Today, all criminal charges against Jussie Smollett were dropped and his record has been wiped clean of the filing of this tragic complaint against him. Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgment," reads a statement from Smollett's attorneys. 

"Jussie and many others were hurt by these unfair and unwarranted actions," the statement continues. "This entire situation is a reminder that there should never be an attempt to prove a case in the court of public opinion. That is wrong. It is a reminder that a victim, in this case Jussie, deserves dignity and respect. Dismissal of charges against the victim in this case was the only just result."

There had been no clue that prosecutors planned the about-face move before the announcement. A publicist for Smollett’s attorney was the first to notify the news media Tuesday morning, issuing an alert that did not elaborate on the nature of the emergency.

The 36-year-old actor, who was free on $100,000 bond, has previously denied lying to police or faking the attack. -Chicago Tribune

Smollett maintains that he was the victim of a predawn hate crime on January 29 in which two men assaulted him while he was on his way home after buying a sandwich; hurling racial and antigay slurs at him, dousing him in a liquid, placing a noose around his neck (which he was still wearing when police arrived later that morning), and punching him in the face. 

The incident sparked national outrage - with the left-leaning mainstream media and prominent Democrats uncritically supporting Smollett's version of events; holding it up as a prime example of violent Donald Trump supporters

Two suspects in the case, Nigerian-American brothers Ola and Abel Osundario - one of whom has been an extra on Empire, told police that Smollett paid them a combined $3,500 to stage the "attack," and that the three of them had practiced it 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.

Controversy erupted earlier this month when texts and emails released by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office revealed that Michelle Obama's former Chief of Staff, Tina Tchen, attempted to have the case transferred to the FBI from the Chicago Police. 

"Spoke to the Superintendent Johnson," Foxx emailed Tchen on Feb. 1, in reference to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. "I convinced him to Reach out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation." 

Foxx also texted with one of Smollett's relatives whose name was redacted from the text release, saying: "Spoke to the superintendent earlier, he made the ask ... Trying to figure out logistics. I’ll keep you posted." 

"OMG this would be a huge victory" the family member texted back. 

"I make no guarantees, but I'm trying" replied Foxx - who recused herself from the case on Feb. 20. 

Looks like none of that was necessary, as Smollett is now in the clear. 

Published:3/26/2019 10:37:26 AM
[Markets] Hogwashed: A Sullen John Brennan Suggests He May Have Received "Bad Information" On Collusion

A somber looking John Brennan suggested on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Monday that "bad information" may be to blame after more than two years of being dead wrong about Trump colluding with Russia.

Brennan - the former director of the CIA - was so convinced of Trump's collusion that he penned an angry Op-Ed in the New York Times after his security clearance was revoked, titled: "President Trump’s Claims of No Collusion Are Hogwash."

The article starts off with a picture of the very patriotic looking Brennan swearing in before some testimony we're sure was truthful - unless he had bad information of course. 

Mr. Trump’s claims of no collusion are, in a word, hogwash.

The only questions that remain are whether the collusion that took place constituted criminally liable conspiracy, whether obstruction of justice occurred to cover up any collusion or conspiracy, and how many members of “Trump Incorporated” attempted to defraud the government by laundering and concealing the movement of money into their pockets. -John O. Brennan

Last April - after President Trump called former FBI Director James Comey a "proven LEAKER & LIAR," Brennan dusted off his favorite thesaurus and tweeted "Your kakistocracy is collapsing after its lamentable journey." 

And less than one year later - Trump has been vindicated of collusion by special counsel Robert Mueller, leaving Brennan mumbling on MSNBC with a stone-face; "Well, I don’t know if I received bad information but I think I suspected there was more than there actually was," adding - with a mouth full of crow "I am relieved that it’s been determined there was not a criminal conspiracy with the Russian government over our election."

Sounds like hogwash... 

Published:3/26/2019 9:36:59 AM
[Markets] Letter From Britain: An Establishment Blinded By Russophobia

Authored by Alexander Mercouris via ConsortiumNews.com,

A British elite challenged by large parts of the British population is rallying around trumped-up fear of Russia as a means of protecting its interests...

Hostility to Russia is one of the most enduring, as well as one of the most destructive, realities of British life. Its persistence is illustrated by one of the most interesting but least reported facts about the Skripal affair.

This is that Sergey Skripal, the Russian former GRU operative who was the main target of the recent Salisbury poisoning attack, was recruited by British intelligence and became a British spy in 1995, four years after the USSR collapsed, at a time when the Cold War was formally over.

In 1995 Boris Yeltsin was President of Russia, Communism was supposedly defeated, the once mighty Soviet military was no more, and a succession of pro-Western governments in Russia were attempting unsuccessfully to carry out IMF proposed ‘reforms’. In a sign of the new found friendship which supposedly existed between Britain and Russia the British Queen toured Moscow and St. Petersburg the year before.

Yet notwithstanding all the appearances of friendship, and despite the fact that Russia in 1995 posed no conceivable threat to Britain, it turns out that British intelligence was still up to its old game of recruiting Russian spies to spy on Russia.

Britain’s Long History of Russophobia

This has in fact been the constant pattern of Anglo-Russian relations ever since the Napoleonic Wars.

Brief periods of seeming friendship – often brought about by a challenge posed by a common enemy – alternating with much longer periods of often intense hostility.

This hostility – at least from the British side – is not easy to understand.

Russia has never invaded or directly threatened Britain. On the only two occasions when Britain and Russia have fought each other – during the Crimean War of 1854 to 1856, and during the Russian Civil War of 1918 to 1921 – the fighting has all taken place on Russian territory, and has been initiated by Britain.

Nonetheless, despite its lack of any obvious cause, British hostility to Russia is a constant and enduring fact of British political and cultural life. The best that can be said about it is that it appears to be a predominantly elite phenomenon.

British Russophobia Peaks

If British hostility to Russia is a constant, it is nonetheless true that save possibly for the period immediately preceding the Crimean War, it has never been as intense as it is today.

Moreover, not only has it reached levels of intensity scarcely seen before, but it is becoming central to Britain’s politics in ways which are now doing serious harm.

This harm is both domestic, in that it is corrupting British politics, and international, in that it is not only marginalising Britain internationally but is also poisoning the international atmosphere.

Why is this so?

Elite British Consensus

For Britain’s elite, riven apart by Brexit and increasingly unsure of the hold it has over the loyalty of the British population, hostility to Russia has become the one issue it can unite around. As a result hostility to Russia is now serving an essential integrating role within Britain’s elite, binding it together at a time when tensions over Brexit risk tearing it apart.

To get a sense of this consider two articles that have both appeared recently in the British media, one in the staunchly anti-Brexit Guardian, the other in the equally staunchly pro-Brexit Daily Telegraph.

The article in the Guardian, by Will Hutton and Andrew Adonis, is intended to refute a narrative of British distinctiveness supposedly invented by the pro-Brexit camp. As such the article claims (rightly) that Britain has historically always been closely integrated with Europe.

However when developing this argument the article engages in some remarkable historical misrepresentation of its own. Not surprisingly, Russia is the subject. Just consider for example this paragraph:

“…..note for devotees of Darkest Hour and Dunkirk: Britain was never “alone” and could not have triumphed [in the Second World War against Hitler] had it been so. Even in its darkest hour Britain could call on its then vast empire and, within 18 months, on the Americans, too.”

Russia’s indispensable contribution to the defeat of Hitler is deleted from the whole narrative. The U.S., which became involved in the war against Hitler in December 1941, is mentioned. Russia, which became involved in the war against Hitler in June 1941, i.e. before the U.S., and whose contribution to the defeat of Hitler was much greater, is not.

Whilst claiming to refute pro-Brexit myths about the Second World War the article creates myths of its own, turning the fact that Russia was an ally of Britain in that war into a non-fact.

The article does however have quite a lot to say about Russia:

“Putin’s Russia is behaving like the fascist regimes of the 1930s, backed by sophisticated raids from online troll factories. Citizens – and ominously younger voters in some European countries – are more and more willing to tolerate the subversion of democratic norms and express support for authoritarian alternatives.

Oleg Kalugin, former major general of the Committee for State Security (the KGB), has described sowing dissent as “the heart and soul” of the Putin state: not intelligence collection, but subversion – active measures to weaken the west, to drive wedges in the western community alliances of all sorts, particularly Nato, to sow discord among allies, to weaken the United States in the eyes of the people of Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and thus to prepare ground in case the war really occurs. To make America more vulnerable to the anger and distrust of other peoples.”

Churchill and Stalin in Moscow in 1942.

History is turned on its head. Not only is the fact that Russia was Britain’s ally in the war against Nazi Germany now a non-fact, but Russia it turns out is Nazi Germany’s heir, a fascist regime like Nazi Germany once was, posing a threat to Britain and the West like Nazi Germany once did.

Moreover who does not agree, and who does not see facing up to Russia as the priority, is at best a fool:

“In Brexit-voting Weymouth, Captain Malcolm Shakesby of Ukip is unruffled by Putin or European populism. He inhabits the cartoon world of British exceptionalism, and his main concern today is Mrs May’s “sellout” of the referendum result.”

Compare these comments about Russia in the staunchly anti-Brexit Guardian with these comments about Russia by Janet Daley in the staunchly pro-BrexitDaily Telegraph.

Janet Daley does not quite say like Hutton and Adonis that Russia is a “fascist regime”. However in her depiction of it she comes pretty close:

“The modern Russian economy is a form of gangster capitalism largely unencumbered by legal or political restraint. No one in the Kremlin pretends any longer that Russia’s role on the international stage is to spread an idealistic doctrine of liberation and shared wealth.

When it intervenes in places such as Syria, there is no pretence of leading that country toward a great socialist enlightenment. Even the pretext of fighting Isil has grown impossibly thin. All illusions are stripped away and the fight is reduced to one brutal imperative: Assad is Putin’s man and his regime will be defended to the end in order to secure the Russian interest. But what is that interest? Simply to assert Russia’s power in the world – which is to say, the question is its own answer.”

Though Moscow has made clear in both word and action that intervention in Syria at Syria’s invitation was to prevent it becoming a failed state and a terrorist haven, Russia it turns out is focused on only one thing: gaining as much power as possible. This is true both of its domestic politics (“gangster capitalism largely unencumbered by legal or political restraint”) and in its foreign policy (“what is that [Russian] interest? Simply to assert Russia’s power in the world – which is to say, the question is its own answer”)

As a result it must be construed as behaving in much the same way as Nazi Germany once did:

“…..we now seem to have the original threat from a rogue rampaging Russia back on the scene, too. A Russia determined to reinstate its claim to be a superpower, but this time without even the moral scruples of an ideological mission: the country that had once joined the respectable association of modern industrialised nations to make it the G8, rather than the G7, prefers to be an outlaw.”

On the question of the threat from Russia both the pro and anti-Brexit wings of the British establishment agree. Standing up to it is the one policy they can both agree on. Not surprisingly at every opportunity that is what they do.

Intolerance of Dissent Construed as a “Threat from Russia”

In this heavy atmosphere anyone in Britain who disagrees risks being branded either a traitor or a fool.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, who is known to favour dialogue with Russia, recently had to endure an ugly media campaign which insinuated that he had been recruited as in effect a Communist agent in the 1980s by Czech intelligence.

That claim eventually collapsed when a British MP went too far and said openly what up to then had only been insinuated. As a result he was forced to retract his claims and pay compensation under threat of a law suit. However the question mark over Corbyn’s loyalty is never allowed to go away.

During last year’s general election Corbyn also had to endure an article in the Telegraph by none other than Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of Britain’s external intelligence agency MI6 (the British equivalent of the CIA). Dearlove also insinuated that Corbyn had been at least a Communist sympathiser or fellow traveller during the Cold War whose sympathies were with the Eastern Bloc and therefore with the various anti-Western and supposedly Communist backed terrorist groups which the Eastern Bloc had supposedly supported:

“Today, Britain goes to the polls. And frankly, I’m shocked that no one has stood up and said, unambiguously, how profoundly dangerous it would be for the nation if Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister. So let me be clear, the leader of the Labour Party is an old-fashioned international socialist who has forged links with those quite ready to use terror when they haven’t got their way: the IRA, Hizbollah, Hamas. As a result he is completely unfit to govern and Britain would be less safe with him in No 10.

I can give an indication of just how serious this is: if Jeremy Corbyn was applying to join any of this country’s security services – MI5, GCHQ or the service I used to run, MI6 – he would not be cleared to do so. He would be rejected by the vetting process. Far from being able to get into MI5, in the past MI5 would actively have investigated him. And yet this is the man who seeks the very highest office, who hopes in just 24 hours time to run our security services.

Young people in Britain have been terribly affected by recent terror attacks. It is only natural that they should be desperately worried about security problems, and to me it is just such a great shame that they don’t understand the political antecedents of the Labour leader. It is these young people, in particular, I am keen to address. I want to explain just what Corbyn’s whole movement has meant.

During the Cold War the groups he associated with hung out in Algeria, and moved between East Germany and North Korea. It is hard, today, to understand the significance of that. When I talk to students about the Cold War, they assume I am just talking about history. But it has a direct bearing on our security today. Only a walk along the armistice line between North and South Korea, with its astonishing military build up, might give some idea of what was at stake.

……Jeremy Corbyn represents a clear and present danger to the country.”

In light of this the crescendo of criticism Corbyn came under during the peak of the uproar in March following the

Dearlove: Corbyn is a “clear and present danger” (to the establishment.)

Salisbury poisoning attack on Sergey and Yulia Skripal is entirely unsurprising.

Corbyn’s call – alone amongst senior politicians – for the investigation to be allowed to take its course and for due process to be followed, simply confirmed the doubts about his loyalty and his sympathy for Russia already held by the British establishment and previously expressed by people like Dearlove. His call was not seen as an entirely reasonable one for proper procedure to be followed. Rather it was seen as further proof that Corbyn’s sympathies are with Russia, which is Britain’s enemy.

Corbyn is not the only person to be targeted in this way. As I write this Britain is in the grip of a minor scandal because the right-wing businessman Arron Banks, who partly funded the Leave campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum, is now revealed to have had several meetings with the Russian ambassador and to have discussed a business deal with a Russian businessman.

Though Banks claims to have reported these contacts to the CIA, and though there is not the slightest evidence of impropriety in any of these contacts (the proposed business deal never materialised) the mere fact that they took place is enough for doubts to be expressed about Banks’s reasons for supporting the Leave campaign. Perhaps even more worrying for Banks is that scarcely anyone is coming forward to speak up for him.

Even a politically inconsequential figure like the pop singer Robbie Williams is now in the frame. Just over a year ago Williams gained wide applause for a song “Party like a Russian” which some people interpreted (wrongly in my opinion) as a critique of contemporary Russia. Today he is being roundly criticised for performing in Russia during the celebrations for the World Cup.

Russophobia Undermining British Democracy

The result of this intolerance is a sharp contraction in the freedom of Britain’s public space, with those who disagree on British policy towards Russia increasingly afraid to speak out.

Since establishment opinion in Britain conceives of itself as defending liberal democracy from attack by Russia, and since establishment opinion increasingly conflates liberal democracy with its own opinions, it follows that in its conception any challenge to its opinions is an attack on liberal democracy, and must therefore be the work of Russia.

This paranoid view has now become pervasive. No part of the traditional media is free of it. It has gained a strong hold on the BBC and it is fair to say that all the big newspapers subscribe to it. Anyone who does not has no future in British journalism.

This is disturbing in itself, but as with all forms of institutional paranoia, it is also having a damaging effect on the functioning of Britain’s institutions.

Amid Growing Influence of Intelligence 

One obvious way in which this manifests itself is in the extraordinary growth in both the visibility and influence of Britain’s intelligence services.

Historically the intelligence services in Britain have operated behind the scenes to the point of being almost invisible. Until the 1980s the very fact of their existence was in theory a state secret.

Today, as Dearlove’s article about Corbyn in the Daily Telegraph shows, their leaders and former leaders are not only public personalities, but the intelligence services have come increasingly to fill the role of gatekeepers, deciding who can be trusted to hold public office and who cannot.

Corbyn is far from being the only British politician to find himself under this sort of scrutiny.

Boris Johnson, some time before he became Britain’s Foreign Secretary, made what I am sure he now considers the mistake of writing an article in the Telegraph praising Russia’s role in the liberation of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria from ISIS.

The result was that on his appointment as foreign secretary, Johnson had a meeting with British intelligence chiefs who ‘persuaded’ him of the need to follow a tough line with Russia. He has in fact followed a tough line with Russia ever since.

Russophobia Infects the Legal System

Steele: Paid for political research, not intelligence.

Establishment hostility to Russia is also enabling interference by the intelligence services in the British legal process.

There is a widespread and probably true belief that the British intelligence services actively lobbied for the grant of asylum to the fugitive Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who they seem to have considered some sort of ‘agent of influence’ in Russia. This despite the fact that it is now widely acknowledged that Berezovsky’s background and activities in Russia should have denied him asylum in Britain.

However what is still largely rumour in Berezovsky’s case is indisputable fact in the Alexander Litvinenko case and in the Skripal cases.

I have previously explained how in the Litvinenko case the claim of Russian state involvement in Litvinenko’s murder made by the British public inquiry is not supported by the publicly available evidence.

What has now become clear is that the main evidence of Russian state involvement in Litvinenko’s murder was not the publicly available evidence, but evidence provided to the public inquiry in private by the British intelligence services. This evidence was seen only by the Judge who headed the inquiry, but seems to have had a decisive effect in forming his view of the case and shaping his report.

American readers may be interested to learn that this evidence was put together by none other than Christopher Steele, the person who gave us the “golden showers” dossier, which has played such an outsized role in the Russiagate affair.

How strong or reliable this evidence is it is impossible to say since, as it is secret, it cannot be independently scrutinised. All I would say is that on two other occasions when Steele is known to have produced similar reports about Russian state activities subsequent enquiries have failed to support them. One is Steele’s “golden showers” dossier, which the FBI has admitted it cannot verify, and which scarcely anyone any longer believes to be true. The other is a report produced by Steele which alleged that Russia had bought the 2018 World Cup by bribing FIFA officials, which subsequent investigation has found was untrue.

It turns out that the evidence used to support the British claim of Russian guilt in the Skripal case is the same: evidence provided in private by British intelligencewhich is not subject to independent scrutiny. As in the Litvinenko case, the British authorities have nonetheless not hesitated to use this evidence to declare publicly that Russia is guilty. This whilst a police investigation is still underway and before any suspect has been identified.

Indeed in the Skripal case the violation of due process has been so gross that it is not even denied. Instead articles have appeared in the British media which say that due process does not apply in cases involving Russia.

That there can be no rule of law without due process, and that excluding cases involving Russia from the need to follow due process is racist and discriminatory appears to concern no one.

Discrimination in Britain Against Russians

Where the intelligence services have led the way, others have been keen to follow.

Recently a House of Commons committee published a report which openly puts pressure on British law firms to refuse business from Russian clients. The best account of this has been provided by the Canadian academic Paul Robinson:

“……that leads me onto the thing which really struck me about this document [The House of Commons committee report – AM]. This was a statement about the British law firm Linklaters, which managed the flotation of EN+. Shortly before this, the report says ‘Both the EN+ IPO [Initial Public Offering] and the sale of Russian debt in London appear to have been carried out in accordance with the relevant rules and regulatory systems, and there is no obvious evidence of impropriety in a legal sense.’Yet, it then goes on to say the following:

“We asked Linklaters to appear before the committee to explain their involvement in the flotation of EN+ … They refused. We regret their unwillingness to engage with our inquiry and must leave others to judge whether their work at ‘the forefront of financial, corporate and commercial developments in Russia’has left them so entwined in the corruption of the Kremlin and its supporters that they are no longer able to meet the standards expected of a UK-regulated law firm.”

This is quite outrageous, and also cowardly. The committee in effect accuses Linklaters of corruption, while avoiding complaints of libel by use of the weasel words ‘we leave to others to judge’ – a way of making an accusation while claiming that one hasn’t. What’s so outrageous about the statement is that comes straight after a confession that the EN+ flotation was completely above board. Linklaters didn’t do anything wrong, and the House of Commons committee knows it. Nevertheless, it sees fit to suggest that the company is ‘no longer able to meet the standards expected of a UK-regulated law firm.’

The implication here is that any company which has extensive dealings with Russian enterprises is ‘entwined in the corruption of the Kremlin’and so unfit to do business. I cannot interpret this as anything other than an attempt by the committee to threaten British companies and intimidate them into dropping their lawful activities. I consider this disgraceful.

The committee’s attitude can be seen again towards the end of the report, when it writes that ‘instead of participating in the rules-based system, President Putin’s regime uses asymmetric methods to achieve its goals, and others – so-called useful idiots – magnify that effect by supporting its propaganda. So, there you have it. People who do with business with Russia are to be publicly shamed as unworthy of the standards expected of the British people, while those who would dare to point this sort of thing out are to be denounced as ‘useful idiots’. Having any dealings with Russia makes one a Kremlin stooge.”

Taking their cue from the House of Commons committee, identical pressure on British law firms to refuse to act for Russian clients is now coming from the media, as explained in this article by the Guardian’s Nick Cohen, which talks of potential Russian clients in these terms:

“In this conflict, it’s no help to think of oligarchs as businessmen. They are closer to the privileged servants of a warlord or mafia boss. Their wealth is held at Putin’s discretion. If they are told to buy influence in the Balkans or fund an alt-news website, they obey. Companies that raise funds on the London markets or oligarchs who move into Kensington mansions may look like autonomous organisations and individuals but, as Garry Kasparov told the committee: “They are agents of a rogue Russian regime, not businessmen. They are complicit in Putin’s countless crimes. Their companies are not international corporations, but the means to launder money and spread corruption and influence.”

To which I would add that in law-governed states even criminals have the right of legal representation and advice. In Britain, if the House of Commons committee and Nick Cohen gets their way, Russians – whether criminals or not – will be the exception.

What is so bizarre about this is that the spectre of massive Russian economic penetration of Britain conjured up by the House of Commons committee is so far removed from reality. The Economist (no friend of Russia) provides the actual figures:

“….the high profile of London’s high-rolling Russians belies the relatively small role that their money plays in the wider economy. Foreigners hold roughly £10 trillion of British assets. Russia’s share of that is just 0.25%, a smaller proportion than that of Finland and South Korea.

Parts of west London have acquired many new Russian residents, and shops to serve them (including an outfitter of armoured luxury cars). Yet even in “prime” London – that is, the top 5-10% of the market – buyers from eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union account for only 5% of sales, according to data from Savills, a property firm. Outside the capital’s swankiest districts, Russians’ influence is minuscule. The departure of oligarchs might affect prices on some streets in Kensington, but not beyond.

The same is true of Britain’s private schools. Some have done well out of Russian parents. But of the 53,678 foreign pupils who attend schools that belong to the Independent Schools Council, only 2,806 are Russian. China, by contrast, sends 9,008 pupils from its mainland, and a further 5,188 from Hong Kong.

Looking at these figures it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that it is the mere presence of Russians, not their number or their wealth or the illicit way in which some of them supposedly came by their money, which for the British establishment is the problem.”

Quite simply, Russians are not welcome, not because they are wealthy or because they are corrupt, but because they are Russians.

Against Russian Media

The same discriminatory approach appears to inform the persistent attacks launched by the British authorities against the Russian television broadcaster RT.

Over the last two years RT has had to repel an attempt by the British authorities to close down its British bank account, has been forced to respond to a succession of complaints from the British media regulator Ofcom, has faced threats of having its British broadcasting licence withdrawn, and has had to endure a campaign of vilification aimed in part at dissuading British public figures from appearing as guests on its programmes.

As to what exactly RT has done – other than vague and unspecific claims that it is a ‘propaganda’ channel – which justifies this treatment, has never been fully explained. 

Again it is difficult to avoid the impression that the British establishment’s fundamental problem with RT is that it is simply a Russian channel broadcasting in Britain that scrutinizes establishment policies and actions – a fundamental responsibility of journalism, which is largely missing in British media. 

Free speech is a human right in Britain except apparently for Russians.

This discriminatory approach towards Russia and Russians replicates the increasingly ugly and frankly racist way in which Russians are regularly depicted in Britain today.

As to the general effect of that on British society, I repeat here what I wrote back in 2016:

“Racial stereotyping is always something to complain about. It is dehumanising, intolerant and ugly. It is racist and profoundly offensive of its target. This is so whenever it is used to mock or label any ethnicity or national or cultural group. Russians are not an exception.

A society that indulges in it, and which tolerates those who do, forfeits its claim to anti-racism and interracial tolerance. The fact that it is treating just one ethnic group – Russians – in this way, denying them the moral and legal protection which it accords others, in no way diminishes its racism and intolerance. It emphasises it.”

British society is not just the poorer for it. It is deeply corrupted by it, and this corruption now touches every aspect of British life.

Britain Becoming Marginalised

If the result of the British establishment’s paranoia about Russia is deeply corrosive within Britain itself, its effect on British foreign policy has been entirely negative. 

At its most basic level it has meant a total breakdown in relations between Britain and Russia.

British and Russian leaders no longer talk to each other, and summit meetings between British and Russian leaders have come to a complete stop. Boris Johnson’s last visit to Russia is universally acknowledged to have been a complete failure, and following the Skripal affair British officials and members of Britain’s Royal Family are now even boycotting the World Cup in Russia.

Indeed British public statements about the World Cup have been all of a piece with the British establishment hostility to Russia, with Johnson recently comparing it to Hitler’s 1936 Olympics and with another House of Commons committee warning British fans of the supposed dangers of going to to Russia to watch them.

This complete absence of dialogue with Russia is a serious problem for Britain as some British officials quietly acknowledge.

Russia is after all a powerful nation and any state which still wishes to exercise influence on world affairs must engage with Russia in order to achieve it. The British establishment’s hostility to Russia however makes that impossible.

The result is that major international questions such as the Ukrainian crisis, the Syrian conflict and the gathering crisis in the Middle East caused by the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal – in all of which Russia is centrally involved – are being handled without British involvement.

May: Becoming a bit player.

Where Angela Merkel of Germany and Emmanuel Macron of France talk to Russia and have thereby managed to carve out for themselves important roles in world affairs, Britain’s Theresa May is a bit player.

However, instead of drawing the obvious conclusion from this, which is that refusing to talk to the Russians is the high road to nowhere, the British have doubled down, seeking to regain relevance by leading an international crusade against Moscow. 

The strategy – which bears the unmistakeable imprint of Johnson – was set out in grandiose terms in a recent article in The Guardian:

“The UK will use a series of international summits this year to call for a comprehensive strategy to combat Russian disinformation and urge a rethink over traditional diplomatic dialogue with Moscow, following the Kremlin’s aggressive campaign of denials over the use of chemical weapons in the UK and Syria.

British diplomats plan to use four major summits this year – the G7, the G20, Nato and the European Union – to try to deepen the alliance against Russia hastily built by the Foreign Office after the poisoning of the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in March.

“The foreign secretary regards Russia’s response to Douma and Salisbury as a turning point and thinks there is international support to do more,” a Whitehall official said. “The areas the UK are most likely to pursue are countering Russian disinformation and finding a mechanism to enforce accountability for the use of chemical weapons.”

Former Foreign Office officials admit that an institutional reluctance to call out Russia once permeated British diplomatic thinking, but say that after the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, that attitude is evaporating…..

Ministers want to pursue a broad Russian containment strategy at the coming summits covering cybersecurity, Nato’s military posture, sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s oligarchs and a more comprehensive approach to Russian disinformation.”

It has taken no more than a few weeks since that article appeared on 3 May 2018 for this whole grandiose strategy to fall apart.

Not only have Merkel and Macron each visited Russia since the article was published, but Italy now has a new Russia-friendly government, and Spain may soon do so also. Adding insult to injury, Germany is now casting doubt on Britain’s actions following the Salisbury poisoning attack,

All of this however is eclipsed by Donald Trump’s comments at the G7 saying that Russia should be readmitted to the G7 and having his officials inform the British media that he is becoming increasingly irritated by the British prime minister’s lectures.

In the event not only did Trump fail to meet May one-to-one at the G7 summit, but he refused to agree the summit’s final communique, which criticised Russia.

Needless to say, amidst the collapse of the summit, the plan May had apparently intended to unveil at the summit for anew international rapid response unit to respond to Russian-backed assassinations and cyber attacks fell by the wayside.

Far from gaining relevance by leading an international crusade against Russia, the British are increasingly finding that no one else is interested and that May’s and the British establishment’s obsession with Russia instead of enhancing Britain’s importance is making Britain increasingly irrelevant.

Poisoning the International Atmosphere

The British establishment is in fact making the fundamental mistake of thinking that other countries not only share their obsession with Russia, but that they necessarily value their relations with Britain more than  with Russia.

This is a strange view given that Russia is arguably a more powerful nation than Britain.

It is nonetheless true that the British establishment’s anti-Russian fixation is having an internationally damaging effect.

Many Western governments have their own issues with Russia, and in such a situation it is not surprising that British paranoia about Russia finds a ready echo.

The most recent example of this is of course the orchestrated expulsion by various Western governments of Russian diplomats in the immediate aftermath of the Salisbury poisoning attack.

However the most damage has been done in the U.S.

Britain and Russia-gate

The full extent of the British role in the Russiagate scandal is not yet clear, but there is no doubt that it was both extensive and crucial.

The individual who arguably has played the single biggest role in generating the scandal is Christopher Steele, the compiler of the “golden showers” dossier, who is not only British but who is a former British intelligence officer.

It is now becoming increasingly clear – as Joe Lauria wrote last year in Consortium News– that the dossier has played a key role in the whole scandal, being accepted for many months by U.S. investigators – including it turns out by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators – as providing the ‘frame-narrative’ for the case of alleged collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

The Steele dossier is in fact very much of a piece with the paranoid conception of Russia which has taken hold in Britain, though (as I have pointed out previously) the dossier’s description of how government decisions are made in Russia isabsurd.

Critics of the dossier in the United States rightly draw attention to the fact that it is ‘research’ paid for by Donald Trump’s political opponents in the Hillary Clinton campaign, whilst there is also a view popular amongst some Republicans (wrongly in my opinion) that it is a provocation concocted by Russian intelligence in order to disrupt the U.S. election process and embarrass Trump.

By contrast, insufficient attention is paid, in my opinion, to the fact that it is a British compilation put together in Britain by a former British spy at a time when Britain is in the grip of a particularly bad bout of Russia paranoia.

Steele himself is someone who by all accounts has fully bought into this paranoia. Indeed his previous role in preparing reports about Russia’s supposed role in Litvinenko’s murder and the World Cup bid, and also apparently in the Ukrainian crisis, suggests that he has played no small role in creating it.

Steele is not however the only British official or former official to have played an active role in Russia-gate.

Steele himself is known for example to have a close connection to Dearlove, the former MI6 Director who called Corbyn “a clear and present danger.” It seems that Dearlove and Steele discussed the “golden showers” dossier at a meeting in London’s Garrick Club at roughly the same time that Steele was in contact about it with the FBI.

Another far more more important British official to have taken an active role in the Russiagate affair was Robert Hannigan, the head of GCHQ – Britain’s equivalent to the NSA – who visited the U.S. in the summer of 2016 to brief the CIA about British concerns over alleged contacts between the Russians and Trump’s campaign.

Hannigan: Brought Steele dossier to the CIA.

Though Hannigan’s trip to Washington in the summer of 2016 was first spoken of in April 2017, it has never been confirmed that the Steele dossier, which he brought with him to show to the CIA, was part of the evidence of supposed contacts between the Russians and Trump’s campaign.  That it was, however, is strongly suggested by an article in The Washington Post on June 23, 2017, which amongst other things said the following:

“Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.

But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump…..

The CIA breakthrough came at a stage of the presidential campaign when Trump had secured the GOP nomination but was still regarded as a distant long shot. Clinton held comfortable leads in major polls, and Obama expected that he would be transferring power to someone who had served in his Cabinet.

The intelligence on Putin was extraordinary on multiple levels, including as a feat of espionage.

For spy agencies, gaining insights into the intentions of foreign leaders is among the highest priorities. But Putin is a remarkably elusive target. A former KGB officer, he takes extreme precautions to guard against surveillance, rarely communicating by phone or computer, always running sensitive state business from deep within the confines of the Kremlin.”

This almost certainly refers to the early entries of Steele’s dossier, which is the only report known to exist which claims to have been “sourc[ed from] deep inside the Russian government [and to have detailed] Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the US Presidential race”.

The Washington Post says that the CIA’s report to Obama drew on “critical technical intelligence on Russia provided by another country”.

That points to Hannigan being the source, with Hannigan being known to have visited the U.S. and to have briefed the CIA at about the time the CIA sent its report to Obama.

Hannigan likely provided the CIA with a mix of wiretap evidence and the first entries of the dossier.

The wiretap evidence probably detailed the confused but ultimately innocuous contacts the young London- based Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos was having at this time with the Russians. It is highly likely the British were keeping an eye on him at the request of the U.S., which the British would have been able to do for the U.S. without a FISA warrant since Papadopoulos was based in Britain.

Taken together with the first entries of the dossier, the details of Papadopoulos’s activities could easily have been misconstrued to conjure up a compelling case of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Given the paranoid atmosphere about Russia in Britain it would not be surprising if this alarmed Hannigan.

Needless to say if extracts from the dossier really were provided to the CIA by the head of one of Britain’s most important intelligence agencies, then it becomes much easier to understand why the CIA and the rest of the U.S. intelligence community took it so seriously.

Halper: Infiltrated Carter and Trump campaigns.

Then there is the case of Stefan Halper, an American academic lecturing at Cambridge University, who is friends and a business partner with Dearlove.  Halper was inserted by the FBI into the Trump campaign in early July 2016 to befriend Papadopoulos in London.  In 1980, the CIA inserted Halper into Jimmy Carter’s reelection campaign to help the Reagan camp by stealing information, including a Carter briefing book before a presidential debate.

Suffice to say that just as the British origin of the dossier has in my opinion been overlooked, so has the extent to which it circulated and was given credence in top circles within Britain before it made its full impact in the United States.

Overall, though the extent of the British role in the Russiagate affair is still not fully known, what information exists points to it being very substantial and important. In fact it is unlikely that the Russiagate scandal as we know it would have happened without it.

As such the Russiagate scandal serves as a good example of how British paranoia about Russia can infect the political process in another Western country, in this case the U.S.

Campaigning against Russia

Russia-gate is in fact only the most extreme example of the way that Britain’s anti-Russian obsession has damaged the international environment, though because of the effect it has had on the development of domestic politics in the United States it is the most important.

There have been countless others. The British have for example been the most implacable supporters amongst the leading Western powers of the ongoing sanctions drive against Russia. Britain for instance is known to have actively – though so far unsuccessfully – lobbied for Russian banks to be cut off from the SWIFT interbank payments system, which were it ever to happen would be by far the most severe sanction imposed by the West on Russia to date.

Beyond the effect on the international climate of the constant anti-Russian lobbying of the British government, there is the further effect of the ceaseless drumbeat of anti-Russian agitation which pours out of the British media and various British-based organisations and NGO.

These extend from well-established organisations like Amnesty International – which misrepresented the case against the Pussy Riot performers by claiming that they had been jailed for “holding a gig in a church” – to other less established organisations such Bellingcat and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, both of which are based in Britain. As it happens, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is known to have received funding from the British government, as apparently have the White Helmets.

In addition Bill Browder, the businessman who successfully lobbied the U.S. Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act, and who has since then pursued a relentless campaign against Russia, is now also based in Britain and has British citizenship.

The great international reach of the British media – the result of the worldwide use of the English language and the international respect some parts of British media such as the BBC still command – means that this constant stream of anti-Russian publicity pouring out of Britain has a worldwide impact and is having an effect that has to be taken into account in any study of current international relations.

Rami Abdul Rahman: The one-man Observatory

The Price of an Obsession

The British establishment’s obsession with Russia is something of a puzzle.

Britain today is not a geopolitical rival of Russia’s as it was in the nineteenth century and as the U.S. is today. British antagonism to Russia cannot therefore be explained as the product of a geopolitical conflict.

Russia is not a military or political threat to Britain. There is no history of Russia threatening or invading Britain. Russia is not an economic rival, and Russian penetration of the British economy is minimal and vastly exaggerated.

It is sometimes said that there are things about modern Russia that the British find culturally, ideologically or politically distasteful, and that this is the reason for Britain’s intense hostility to Russia. However Britain has no difficulty being best of friends with all sorts of countries such as the Gulf Monarchies or China which are culturally, ideologically and politically far more different from Britain than Russia is. Logically that should make them more distasteful to Britain than Russia is, but it doesn’t seem to do so. In these cases economic interests clearly take precedence over any concerns for human rights.

Ultimately however the precise cause of the British establishment’s obsession with Russia does not actually matter. What does matter is that it is an obsession, which should be recognised as such, and that like all other obsessions is ultimately destructive.

In Britain’s case the obsession is not only corrupting Britain’s domestic politics and the working of its institutions.

It is also marginalising Britain, limiting its options, and causing growing exasperation amongst some of its friends.

In addition it blinds the British to their opportunities. If the British were able to put their obsession with Russia behind them they might notice that at a time when they are quitting the European Union Russia potentially has a great deal to offer them.

It is sometimes said that Britain produces very little that Russia needs, and it is indeed the case that trade between Russia and Britain is very small, and that most of Russia’s import needs are met by countries like Germany and China.

However Britain is able to provide Russia with the single thing that Russia arguably needs most at this stage in its development. This is not machinery or technology, all of which it is perfectly capable of producing itself, but the one thing it is truly short of: investment capital.

In the nineteenth century British capital played a key role in the industrialisation of America and in the opening up of the American West. There is no logical reason why it could not do something similar today in Russia. Indeed the marriage between Europe’s biggest financial centre (Britain) and Europe’s potentially most productive economy (Russia) is an obvious one.

In the twentieth century Britain’s long history of economic involvement in the U.S. paid handsome political dividends. Perhaps the same might one day be the case between Britain and Russia. Regardless of that, economic engagement with Russia would at least provide Britain with a plan for an economic future outside the EU, something which because of Brexit it urgently needs but which currently it completely lacks.

For anything like that to happen the British will first have to address the reality of their obsession, and the damage it is doing to them. At that point they might even start to do something about it. Britain’s relative success since the 1960s in overcoming other forms of racism and prejudice which had long existed in Britain shows that such a thing is possible if the problem is recognised and addressed. However I have to say that there is no sign of it happening at the moment.

In the meantime the rest of the world needs to understand that when it comes to Russia, the British are suffering from a serious affliction. Failing to do that risks the infection spreading, with the disastrous consequences we have seen with the Russia-gate scandal in the US.

There is even a chance that refusing to listen to the British about Russia might have a good effect on Britain. If the British realise that the world is no longer listening to them then they might start to understand the extent of their own problem.

If so than the world would be doing Britiain a favour, even if at the moment the British cannot see it.

Published:3/26/2019 1:06:38 AM
[Markets] US Concealed Secret 9/11 Tapes Of Alleged Mastermind Plotting With Co-Conspirators: Lawyer

The United States concealed the existence of taped telephone calls between the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who spoke in code with three of his accused co-conspirators, according to the New York Times

The tapes featuring Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and three of his accused co-conspirators were made between April and October 2001, prosecutors say. (United States Department of Justice)

The existence of the tapes was revealed by their defense attorney, Jay Connell, as part of a protest over plans for prosecutors to use them as evidence at the death penalty trial more than 17 years after 19 hijackers took four commercial airplanes by force - crashing them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, killing nearly 3,000 people according to the 9/11 Commission Report - aspects of which have been refuted by groups such as Architects & Engineers for 9/11 truth

Defense attorneys have known of the tapes since September 30, 2016 - when prosecutors handed over audio and transcripts of the conversations, making clear that they intended to use them against the men at trial. When the defense attorneys attempted to investigate the tapes - including the method used by the government to record the calls, they hit a brick wall. The original trial judge, Army Col. James L. Poul had secretly issued an order preventing them from knowing about the call collection system - or asking questions about it. 

Connell - who questioned in court whether the tapes were recorded during the years that Mohammed and the other defendants were imprisoned in the CIA's secret prison system - is now arguing that the tapes should not be allowed as evidence in the death penalty trial, as the defendants' basic right to challenge the evidence being used against them are being violated. 

Mr. Connell, who is representing Mr. Mohammed’s nephew, Ammar al-Baluchi, said that prosecutors secretly obtained a ruling in August 2018 from Colonel Pohl forbidding defense lawyers from learning how the phone calls were collected or investigating that question. The phone calls in at least two languages were made between April and October 2001.

Mr. Connell said the restriction on investigating the origins of the tapes violated a defendant’s basic right to challenge the evidence being used against him. He argued in court on Monday that the evidence should be suppressed or that the case should be dismissed. He said the constraints the defense faces regarding the tapes violate the Sixth Amendment, which sets out the rights of defendants in a trial. -NYT

According to the report, the military trial judges have yet to decide which aspects of the Constitution apply to military commissions - war courts established by President George W. Bush following the 9/11 attacks. 

Arguing for the government, prosecutor Clayton Trivett responded that defense attorneys should be allowed to question an FBI linguist who analyzed the tapes and compared the defendants' voices to determine that they belonged to Mohammed, his nephew al-Baluchi and the two other alleged plotters. Trivett added that the defense team should be able to question the FBI analyst who decoded the conversation.

The only catch? They still don't get to know about how the calls were recorded

The only restriction, he said, is on defense lawyers trying to investigate “how the United States government got those calls,” something prosecutors persuaded the judge would endanger national security.

Colonel Pohl had said prosecutors could describe the evidence as having been acquired from “telephone calls from between April and October 2001 that were later determined to pertain to the planned attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.” -NYT

The Times notes that "The Hunt For KSM" author Terry McDermott said that he found during his research that US satellites "randomly scooped up calls" between Mohammed and an alleged deputy, Ramzi bin al-Sihbh. 

"The N.S.A. intercepted calls but didn’t listen to them or translate them until after 9/11," McDermott said. "Afterward, they went through this stuff and found out what it was."

Trivett denied that the voice samples were from the CIA black site prior to their transfer to Guantánamo in 2016 to stand trial. 

This week, attorneys will argue in what will be the 24th round of pretrial hearings since the men were arraigned in 2012, in front of military judge Col. Keith Parrella of the Marines. 

Published:3/25/2019 11:04:03 PM
[Markets] Apologies To President Trump

Authored by Sharyl Attkisson, op-ed via The Hill,

With the conclusions of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe now known to a significant degree, it seems apologies are in order.

However, judging by the recent past, apologies are not likely forthcoming from the responsible parties.

In this context, it matters not whether one is a supporter or a critic of President Trump.

Whatever his supposed flaws, the rampant accusations and speculation that shrouded Trump’s presidency, even before it began, ultimately have proven unfounded. Just as Trump said all along.

Yet, each time Trump said so, some of us in the media lampooned him. We treated any words he spoke in his own defense as if they were automatically to be disbelieved because he had uttered them. Some even declared his words to be “lies,” although they had no evidence to back up their claims. 

We in the media allowed unproven charges and false accusations to dominate the news landscape for more than two years, in a way that was wildly unbalanced and disproportionate to the evidence.

We did a poor job of tracking down leaks of false information. We failed to reasonably weigh the motives of anonymous sources and those claiming to have secret, special evidence of Trump’s “treason.”

As such, we reported a tremendous amount of false information, always to Trump’s detriment.

And when we corrected our mistakes, we often doubled down more than we apologized. We may have been technically wrong on that tiny point, we would acknowledge. But, in the same breath, we would insist that Trump was so obviously guilty of being Russian President Vladimir Putin’s puppet that the technical details hardly mattered.

So, a round of apologies seem in order.

Apologies to Trump on behalf of those in the U.S. intelligence community, including the Department of Justice and the FBI, which allowed the weaponization of sensitive, intrusive intelligence tools against innocent citizens such as Carter Page, an adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign.

Apologies also to Page himself, to Jerome Corsi, Donald Trump Jr., and other citizens whose rights were violated or who were unfairly caught up in surveillance or the heated pursuit of charges based on little more than false, unproven opposition research paid for by Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Apologies for the stress on their jobs and to their families, the damage to their reputations, the money they had to spend to hire legal representation and defend themselves from charges for crimes they did not commit.

Apologies on behalf of those in the intelligence community who leaked true information out of context to make Trump look guilty, and who sometimes leaked false information to try to implicate or frame him. 

Apologies from those in the chain of command at the FBI and the Department of Justice who were supposed to make sure all information presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) is verified but did not do so.

Apologies from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court judges who are supposed to serve as one of the few checks and balances to prevent the FBI from wiretapping innocent Americans. Whether because of blind trust in the FBI or out of ignorance or even malfeasance, they failed at this important job.

Apologies to the American people who did not receive the full attention of their government while political points were being scored; who were not told about some important world events because they were crowded out of the news by the persistent insistence that Trump was working for Russia.

Apologies all the way around.

And now, with those apologies handled — are more than apologies due?

Should we try to learn more about those supposed Russian sources who provided false “intel” contained in the “dossier” against Trump, Page and others?

Should we learn how these sources came to the attention of ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who built the dossier and claimed that some of the sources were close to Putin?

When and where did Steele meet with these high-level Russian sources who provided the apparently false information?  

Are these the people who actually took proven, concrete steps to interfere in the 2016 election and sabotage Trump’s presidency, beginning in its earliest days?

Just who conspired to put the “dossier” into the hands of the FBI?

Who, within our intel community, dropped the ball on verifying the information and, instead, leaked it to the press and presented it to the FISC as if legitimate?

“Sorry” hardly seems to be enough.

Will anyone be held accountable?

Published:3/25/2019 10:36:00 PM
[Politics] Lindsey Graham Calling For New Special Counsel To Investigate FBI, DOJ

Sen. Lindsey Graham calls for focus after Mueller report to shift to FBI, Clinton campaign. The American people are behind you Lindsey Graham 100%. Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Now it’s time to go after the Democrats who actually did collude and obstruct justice. This was superb, articulate, and passionate. .@LindseyGrahamSC says ...

The post Lindsey Graham Calling For New Special Counsel To Investigate FBI, DOJ appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:3/25/2019 7:34:16 PM
[Media Bias] Will There Be an Accounting? (John Hinderaker) Now that the Left’s collusion narrative has fallen apart, many are speculating about whether those who drove it, and roiled our public life for more than two years on the basis of opposition research that they probably knew was fraudulent, will be held to account. There is much to investigate: the fraudulently obtained FISA warrants; the hundreds of incidents of unmasking of innocent American citizens; the attempt by the FBI’s Published:3/25/2019 7:03:01 PM
[Markets] Ilargi Meijer: "Can We Lock Up Rachel Maddow Now?"

Authored by Raúl Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth

Message to Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Tulsi Gabbard and the rest of the crew: you can stop asking for campaign donations, because you no longer stand a chance in the 2020 elections. Your own party, and the media who support you, made sure of that. Or rather, the only chance you would have is if you guys start another smear campaign against your president, and I wouldn’t recommend that.

I don’t want to start another Lock Her Up sequence, that’s too ugly for my taste. But three parties in this No Collusion disaster must be held accountable: US intelligence, the Democratic party, and the media. You can’t just let it go, too much water under the bridge. No can do. “The Democrats need to move on”, a recent ‘soft line’, is not good enough. They must be held to account.

Bill Barr can investigate the FBI and DOJ, but the obstacles there are obvious: investigating the investigators. The Democratic party would mean going after individuals, but sure, let’s see what Loretta Lynch, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Maxine Waters have to say for themselves and take it from there, before you get to Hillary. The media, though, is something else altogether.

Freedom of the press, and freedom of opinion, is one thing. Conducting a 2-year+ smear campaign against your own president is another. So what does US law say about this? Let’s hear it. Since Trump made Bill Barr the new Attorney General, Barr is instrumental in answering these questions. Is it a smear campaign? Is that acceptable? Is it legal? Asking for a friend.

Not a soul could blame me if I were to gloat because what I’ve said since the 2016 elections has been proven: there is no collusion between ‘the Russians’ and Donald Trump and there never was. But I don’t feel much like gloating because 1) it’s old news and 2) this tale is far from over. The media, and the Democrats, are not going to cave in, because they have nowhere left to ‘cave into’.

The biggest shame, I think, is not that the media will just keep doing what they have, but that a remnant, a residue of all the made-up narratives will remain in their audience’s minds, long after Robert Mueller has said it was all lies all that time. That the public will say: there’s been so much, surely some of it must be true?! The power of repetition.

The same media that has spun the collusion theme all this time will simply continue doing what it’s done, just perhaps without using that term -and not even that is sure. Don’t let’s forget, and I’ve said this 1000 times, that while there is a dose of genuine hatred of their own president involved, and some political issues, most of all it’s about their business model. Trump scandals mean readers and viewers. And money.

Because of that, or at least partly because of it, I would seriously like to ask what the odds are of putting Rachel Maddow behind bars. How many lies can you tell, and how often can you repeat them, about anyone, but certainly about your President, before someone calls you on it? Trump can’t really defend himself, or couldn’t as long as Mueller was busy, but this can’t be.

Does the fact that you work for the media protect you to the extent that you can just say anything? And Maddow of course is just an example, albeit an extreme one, but the same goes for CNN, New York Times et al. What freedoms do you have as a journalist? And at what point are you no longer a journalist at all? Who decides that?

BuzzFeed said Mueller was in possession of evidence that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. Mueller himself had to discredit that. The Guardian’s Luke Harding wrote a #1 NYT bestselling book called “Collusion” before writing an article with Dan Collins claiming that Manafort had met with Assange multiple times in London.

Not a word of that was true. But Harding And Collins and their editor still work at the Guardian, and no apologies or corrections were ever issued. And at some point you have no choice but to ask: where does it stop? Where do we draw the line? Can anyone who labels themselves a journalist and/or anyone employed by MSM, say anything they want? From sources:

The nonpartisan Tyndall Report pegged the total amount of time devoted to the story on the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS and NBC last year at 332 minutes, making it the second-most covered story after the Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

According to a count by the Republican National Committee released Sunday, The [Washington] Post, The New York Times, CNN.com and MSNBC.com have written a combined 8,507 articles [since 2017] mentioning the special counsel’s investigation [into nonexistent collusion], some 13 articles a day. The cable news networks, particularly CNN and MSNBC, have added hundreds of hours of discussion about the topic, too.

And they wrote many more in 2016 as well. They were on a mission. Tyler Durden adds:

Mueller’s 40 FBI agents issued over 2,800 subpoenas, executed “nearly 500 search warrants,” and “obtained over 230 orders for communication records. They also issued 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.

All that time, and all those resources, dedicated to a figment of the imagination, invented out of this air to derail a presidential election and a presidency. Where do we think these people see their country go? I must admit I’m not sure about that one. But I see Bernie Sanders on the anti-Trump wagon, and AOC and Tulsi trying to get on, and I think: please don’t do that, it doesn’t go anywhere.

I’ve called for a second special counsel many times, and I can’t imagine there won’t be one, and as much as I think it’s desperately needed, it’s obvious at the same time that it can only divide the nation further.

There was a reason Trump was elected: people had gotten sick of what was there before, of what Republicans and Democrats had to offer. And there is absolutely nobody in either party who addresses that issue. In other words, there’s still nobody who is listening to those people. So they tune into Rachel Maddow and her kind of ‘reporting’.

Looks like Bill Barr will be badly needed. And that to restore the credibility of US intelligence, he will need to clean up the FBI and DOJ and get rid of all those who’ve taken part in the collusion debacle. A formidable task. I’d suggest he start with Maddow et al and take it from there. Find out who feeds the media their fantasy stories.

Oh, and now that collusion’s off the table, free Julian Assange. Let Robert Mueller show he’s not as much of a coward as he looks until now. To that end, let him swallow the Guccifer 2.0 nonsense as well. That Rachel Maddow makes things up from scratch, doesn’t mean Special Counsels should do that too. Mueller knows exactly what this is about.

A friend (not exactly a Trump fan) mailed me last night saying this was never a witch hunt. And I’m thinking: maybe that depends on how you define it. Here’s one definition: “an unforgiving, evidence-scant campaign against a group of people with unpopular views.” Not too far off, is it?

Time for spring cleaning, Bill Barr.

Published:3/25/2019 7:03:01 PM
[Politics] Lindsey Graham Calling For New Special Counsel To Investigate FBI, DOJ

Sen. Lindsey Graham calls for focus after Mueller report to shift to FBI, Clinton campaign. The American people are behind you Lindsey Graham 100%. Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Now it’s time to go after the Democrats who actually did collude and obstruct justice. This was superb, articulate, and passionate. .@LindseyGrahamSC says ...

The post Lindsey Graham Calling For New Special Counsel To Investigate FBI, DOJ appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:3/25/2019 7:03:01 PM
[Markets] "It's Coming": Graham Vows To Investigate FBI's "Unprofessional Conduct" And 'Troubling' Behavior By Lynch, Comey

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said in a Monday press conference that he's going to get to the bottom of "unprofessional conduct" and "shady behavior" by the Justice Department and the FBI surrounding the 2016 US election, and will call on Attorney General William Barr to appoint another Special Counsel "that would look into what happened with the FISA warrant," and "what happened with the counterintelligence investigation.

Graham also laid out that while he hopes AG Barr will release as much of the Mueller report as possible, certain information would need to be redacted. 

"The rule of law applies both to Republicans and Democrats," said Graham, one day after a four-page summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's report cleared Trump and his team of colluding with Russia to win the election, while AG Barr and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein cleared Trump of obstruction. 

Graham says he's going to get to the bottom of former FBI Director James Comey's behavior in regards to the Clinton email investigation, the Weiner laptop, and the infamous "Tarmac" meeting between Bill Clinton and Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch, which the South Carolina Republican suggested was 'something more' than just a casual encounter.  

On Sunday night, Graham posted an ominous reply to Comey, after the former FBI Director posted a photo of a man in a forest with the caption "So many questions," to which Graham replied "Could not agree more. See you soon." 

Meanwhile in the House, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is reportedly preparing criminal referrals for individuals who "perpetuated this hoax," according to journalist Paul Sperry. 

Watch Graham's entire press conference below:

Published:3/25/2019 12:01:23 PM
[Russia investigation] Life after Mueller: A roundup (Scott Johnson) I want to round up the comments of a few esteemed observers on the conclusion of the Mueller investigation. • Kim Strassel makes a special appearance in today’s Wall Street Journal with “Mueller Is Done. Now Probe the Real Scandal.” Kim writes: Mr. Mueller’s report likely doesn’t put it that way, but it’s the logical conclusion of his no-collusion finding. The FBI unleashed its powers on a candidate for the Published:3/25/2019 8:31:06 AM
[World] Alan Dershowitz Analyzes Mueller Report Findings, Compares to Comey's Clinton Comments

Alan Dershowitz said Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report is reminiscent of former FBI Director James Comey public comments on the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

Published:3/25/2019 8:01:03 AM
[b4f5f8ab-b8e6-5a9c-bc15-cd84fa3dc45e] Kimberley Strassel: Mueller's investigation is done. Now dig into the real scandal -- missteps of Comey, FBI Americans now deserve a full accounting of the missteps of former FBI Director James Comey and his team—in part so that this never happens again. Published:3/25/2019 5:59:35 AM
[US News] MUST READ thread from Kimberley Strassel on the Mueller report and the FBI; BONUS: Lindsey Graham responds to James Comey’s tree tweet

We’re big fans of Kimberley Strassel here at Twitchy and here she is again with another must-read thread, this time on the Mueller report. THREAD==> 1) On the #NoCollusion findings of Mueller's report. It's worth recognizing that this is more than an exoneration. It's a searing indictment of the FBI. — Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) March […]

The post MUST READ thread from Kimberley Strassel on the Mueller report and the FBI; BONUS: Lindsey Graham responds to James Comey’s tree tweet appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:3/24/2019 9:58:20 PM
[Robert Mueller] Mueller’s cop-out (Paul Mirengoff) Scott has embedded Attorney General Barr’s summary of the Mueller report. The letter covers two issues: (1) Mueller’s conclusion regarding claims that President Trump conspired with Russia during the 2016 election campaign and (2) Mueller’s non-conclusion regarding claims that Trump obstructed justice. On the conspiracy issue, Mueller’s conclusion is a rout for Trump, as Steve says. According to Barr, Mueller reports that he employed 19 lawyers, aided by 40 FBI Published:3/24/2019 9:28:12 PM
[Markets] House Intel Readies Criminal Referrals For Clinton Operatives Who "Perpetuated This Hoax"

Just hours after President Trump proclaimed "It began illegally. And hopefully somebody is going to look at the other side. This was an illegal takedown that failed..."

It seems the "other side" may just get what they deserved.

Source: GrrrGraphics

Here is Nunes from Friday...

Rep. Devin Nunes is reportedly referring will make criminal referrals to Attorney General Bill Barr on FBI, DOJ officials who perpetrated this hoax.

Nunes earlier tweeted: "The Russia investigation was based on false pretenses, false intel, and false media reports. House Intel found a yr ago there was no evidence of collusion, and Democrats who falsely claim to have such evidence have needlessly provoked a terrible, more than two-year-long crisis."

And now Sperry is reporting that Nunes is preparing criminal referrals: "House Intel has evidence Clinton operatives & hi-level FBI & DOJ officials started Trump-Russia investigation in "late 2015/early 2016" &that House GOP will be making criminal referrals to AG"

The 'coup' comes full circle...

Source: GatewayPundit

How long before #LockThemUp starts trending?

Published:3/24/2019 8:28:04 PM
[Politics] Comey: 'So Many Questions' Former FBI Director James Comey on Sunday tweeted a quixotic photo of himself gazing up into trees along with a caption that said, "so many questions," following reports that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation found no collusion. Published:3/24/2019 7:27:18 PM
[America] Mueller Day: What Should Happen Next

Mueller shows that Russia Collusion belonged to Clinton/Democrat, not Trump. We must now reinstate the Rule of Law by prosecuting those behind this crime. Mueller Day has arrived — and what we find is that everything provided to the FBI to start this investigation — all of the factual allegations — were b.s.  What should […]

The post Mueller Day: What Should Happen Next appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:3/24/2019 6:31:45 PM
[Markets] Trump "Totally Exonerated", Calls For Investigation Into "Illegal Takedown That Failed"

Update 145pmET: President Trump has called for an investigation into the "illegal takedown that failed" - after Special Counsel Robert Mueller found that Trump and his campaign did not collude with Russia in the 2016 US election. 

"It was just announced, there was no collusion with Russia. The most ridiculous thing i've ever heard. There was no collusion with Russia. There was no obstruction. None whatsoever. It was a complete and total exoneration," Trump told reporters.

"It's a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest it's a shame that your president had to go through this for - before I even got elected, it began. And it began illegally. And hopefully somebody is gonna look at the other side. This was an illegal takedown that failed, and hopefully somebody is going to be looking at the other side."

Recall that Hillary Clinton's campaign paid an opposition research firm, Fusion GPS - who paid a former UK spy, Christopher Steele, who compiled a bogus dossier using Kremlin sources.

Also recall that Maltese professor (and self-admitted Clinton foundation member) Joseph Mifsud seeded Trump aide George Papadopoulos with the rumor that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. 

Papadopoulos would later drunkenly pass this information to Australian diplomat (and Clinton ally) Alexander Downer, whose report reached the FBI and launched operation crossfire hurricane

The FBI would then employ at least one spy to "infiltrate" (spy on) the Trump campaign. 

Will a second special counsel be created to investigate "the other side" - now that the 'plot' has been exposed and Trump vindicated of collusion?

*  *  *

Update 130pmET: Less than hour after the release of the summary and the DoJ's clearance of obstruction allegations, top Democrat, and chair of the House Judiciary committee, Jerry Nadler, has decided to call AG Barr for testimony...

"In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before the House Judiciary Committee..."

Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump's lawyer, said:

"It's a complete exoneration of the president. It's quite clear - no collusion -which kind of raises the question why did this all start in the first place? "

*  *  *

As we detailed earlier, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have received a four-page letter from Attorney General William Barr which concludes that "The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 Presidential election."

Of course, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) - who chairs the House Judiciary Committee (and has already fired up the post-Mueller "witch hunt") notes that "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."

As far as Obstruction - Mueller has left it to the Attorney General to "determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime."

Except - Barr sees no obstruction - writing in conjunction with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that they "concluded that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense."

Mueller's team of approximately 40 FBI agents issued over 2,800 subpoenas, executed "nearly 500 search warrants," and "obtained over 230 orders for communication records. They also issued 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses

Needless to say, conservatives are considering this a yuge win

While the full report could include damaging elements which don't rise to the level of criminal charges, Trump is certainly projecting the "all clear," tweeting on Sunday "Good Morning, Have A Great Day" - after hitting the links with musician Kid Rock on Saturday at Trump International Golf Club. 

Both Democrats and Republicans have called for the full public release of the long-awaited report, which notably did not include any new indictments - sending Democrats into fits over the weekend as Republicans celebrated what appears to be a big win. 

On Saturday, 18 state attorneys general joined together to urge the Justice Department to publicly release the final report. 

"As the top law officers in states across the country, we strongly urge United States Attorney General Barr to immediately make public the findings of the Mueller investigation," reads the statement. "The American people deserve to know the truth."

It's likely that Democrats want to see the entire report in order to pick up on any wrongdoing that may have occurred, yet did not rise to the level of a chargeable offense. 

While Mueller apparently did not find anything else that rose to the level of a prosecutable crime (or has handed off aspects of the investigation to federal prosecutors), journalist Paul Sperry notes that the Special Counsel investigation also failed to yield any indictments on the left. 

Democrats, meanwhile, are still holding out for the "fat lady" to sing based on the notion that aspects of the investigation were handed over to New York prosecutors. 

The only question - where will the left move the goal posts when this is all said and done?

Published:3/24/2019 4:29:30 PM
[Markets] Top Democrat: Mueller Report Doesn't Matter, "We Know There Was Collusion"

The dissonance is strong with this one...

Top-ranking Democrat, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jerry Nadler did the rounds of Sunday's political shows this morning but it wasn't until he reached the safety of CNN that he decided to unleash his 'facts' in response to the narrative-crushing conclusions reached by special counsel Robert Mueller.

"We know there was collusion," Nadler insisted several times during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" while shrugging off Mueller's apparent facts - "Why there's been no indictments, we don't know."

While the CNN host did attempt to push back, noting that none of Nadler's 'facts' had warranted an indictment, the Democrat would have none of it, reeling off a list of various events, from The Trump Tower meetings (which have been dismissed by fact patterns numerous times) and the way Trump "pressured the FBI to go easy, to stop investigating Flynn," and Trump firing Comey as evidence of the alleged "collusion."

Well, there have been obstructions of justice, whether they are - clearly, whether they are criminal obstruction is another question,” Nadler implored...

“But we have - the special prosecutor is limited in scope. His job was limited in scope and limited to crimes. What Congress has to do is look at a broader picture. We are in charge — we have the responsibility of protecting the rule of law, of looking at obstructions of justice, abuses of power, at corruption, in order to protect the rule of law so that our democratic institutions are not greatly damaged by this president.”

Of course, Nadler is not alone. House Intelligence chair Adam Schiff said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that even if the Mueller report does not recommend any new indictments — as has been reported — that does not necessarily rule out impeachment for President Trump.

STEPHANOPOULOS: "You told the San Francisco chronicle on Friday, if there's no bombshell, there's no impeachment. Does no new indictments qualify as no bombshell?

SCHIFF: "Not necessarily because again, George, as you pointed out, they can't indict the president. That's their policy. And therefore there could be overwhelming evidence on the obstruction issue. And I don't know if that's the case, but if there were overwhelming evidence of criminality on the president's part, then the Congress would need to consider that remedy if indictment is foreclosed."

Quite obviously, this is far from over in the minds of the Russia-gate-ist of Russia-gaters as their entire world construct dissolves around them.

#NeverForget

Published:3/24/2019 1:29:59 PM
[Markets] Taibbi: It's Official - 'Russiagate' Is This Generation's WMD

Authored by Matt Taibbi, excerpted from his serial book Hate Inc.,

The Iraq war faceplant damaged the reputation of the press. Russiagate just destroyed it...

Note to readers: in light of news that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation is complete, I’m releasing this chapter of Hate Inc. early, with a few new details added up top.

Nobody wants to hear this, but news that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is headed home without issuing new charges is a death-blow for the reputation of the American news media.

As has long been rumored, the former FBI chief’s independent probe will result in multiple indictments and convictions, but no “presidency-wrecking” conspiracy charges, or anything that would meet the layman’s definition of “collusion” with Russia.

With the caveat that even this news might somehow turn out to be botched, the key detail in the many stories about the end of the Mueller investigation was best expressed by the New York Times:

A senior Justice Department official said that Mr. Mueller would not recommend new indictments.

The Times tried to soften the emotional blow for the millions of Americans trained in these years to place hopes for the overturn of the Trump presidency in Mueller. Nobody even pretended it was supposed to be a fact-finding mission, instead of an act of faith.

The Special Prosecutor literally became a religious figure during the last few years, with votive candles sold in his image and Saturday Night Live cast members singing “All I Want for Christmas is You” to him featuring the rhymey line: “Mueller please come through, because the only option is a coup.”

The Times story today tried to preserve Santa Mueller’s reputation, noting Trump’s Attorney General William Barr’s reaction was an “endorsement” of the fineness of Mueller’s work:

In an apparent endorsement of an investigation that Mr. Trump has relentlessly attacked as a “witch hunt,” Mr. Barr said Justice Department officials never had to intervene to keep Mr. Mueller from taking an inappropriate or unwarranted step.

Mueller, in other words, never stepped out of the bounds of his job description. But could the same be said for the news media?

For those anxious to keep the dream alive, the Times published its usual graphic of Trump-Russia “contacts,” inviting readers to keep making connections. But in a separate piece by Peter Baker, the paper noted the Mueller news had dire consequences for the press:

It will be a reckoning for President Trump, to be sure, but also for Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, for Congress, for Democrats, for Republicans, for the news media and, yes, for the system as a whole…

This is a damning page one admission by the Times. Despite the connect-the-dots graphic in its other story, and despite the astonishing, emotion-laden editorial the paper also ran suggesting “We don’t need to read the Mueller report” because we know Trump is guilty, Baker at least began the work of preparing Times readers for a hard question: “Have journalists connected too many dots that do not really add up?”

The paper was signaling it understood there would now be questions about whether or not news outlets like themselves made a galactic error by betting heavily on a new, politicized approach, trying to be true to “history’s judgment” on top of the hard-enough job of just being true. Worse, in a brutal irony everyone should have seen coming, the press has now handed Trump the mother of campaign issues heading into 2020.

Nothing Trump is accused of from now on by the press will be believed by huge chunks of the population, a group that (perhaps thanks to this story) is now larger than his original base. As Baker notes, a full 50.3% of respondents in a poll conducted this month said they agree with Trump the Mueller probe is a “witch hunt.”

Stories have been coming out for some time now hinting Mueller’s final report might leave audiences “disappointed,” as if a President not being a foreign spy could somehow be bad news.

Openly using such language has, all along, been an indictment. Imagine how tone-deaf you’d have to be to not realize it makes you look bad, when news does not match audience expectations you raised. To be unaware of this is mind-boggling, the journalistic equivalent of walking outside without pants.

There will be people protesting: the Mueller report doesn’t prove anything! What about the 37 indictments? The convictions? The Trump tower revelations? The lies! The meeting with Don, Jr.? The financial matters! There’s an ongoing grand jury investigation, and possible sealed indictments, and the House will still investigate, and…

Stop. Just stop. Any journalist who goes there is making it worse.

For years, every pundit and Democratic pol in Washington hyped every new Russia headline like the Watergate break-in. Now, even Nancy Pelosi has said impeachment is out, unless something “so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan” against Trump is uncovered it would be worth their political trouble to prosecute.

The biggest thing this affair has uncovered so far is Donald Trump paying off a porn star. That’s a hell of a long way from what this business was supposedly about at the beginning, and shame on any reporter who tries to pretend this isn’t so.

The story hyped from the start was espionage: a secret relationship between the Trump campaign and Russian spooks who’d helped him win the election.

The betrayal narrative was not reported at first as metaphor. It was not “Trump likes the Russians so much, he might as well be a spy for them.” It was literal spying, treason, and election-fixing – crimes so severe, former NSA employee John Schindler told reporters, Trump “will die in jail.”

In the early months of this scandal, the New York Times said Trump’s campaign had “repeated contacts” with Russian intelligence; the Wall Street Journal told us our spy agencies were withholding intelligence from the new President out of fear he was compromised; news leaked out our spy chiefs had even told other countries like Israel not to share their intel with us, because the Russians might have “leverages of pressure” on Trump.

CNN told us Trump officials had been in “constant contact” with “Russians known to U.S. intelligence,” and the former director of the CIA, who’d helped kick-start the investigation that led to Mueller’s probe, said the President was guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” committing acts “nothing short of treasonous.”

Hillary Clinton insisted Russians “could not have known how to weaponize” political ads unless they’d been “guided” by Americans. Asked if she meant Trump, she said, “It’s pretty hard not to.” Harry Reid similarly said he had “no doubt” that the Trump campaign was “in on the deal” to help Russians with the leak.

None of this has been walked back. To be clear, if Trump were being blackmailed by Russian agencies like the FSB or the GRU, if he had any kind of relationship with Russian intelligence, that would soar over the “overwhelming and bipartisan” standard, and Nancy Pelosi would be damning torpedoes for impeachment right now.

There was never real gray area here. Either Trump is a compromised foreign agent, or he isn’t. If he isn’t, news outlets once again swallowed a massive disinformation campaign, only this error is many orders of magnitude more stupid than any in the recent past, WMD included. Honest reporters like ABC’s Terry Moran understand: Mueller coming back empty-handed on collusion means a “reckoning for the media.”

Of course, there won’t be such a reckoning. (There never is). But there should be. We broke every written and unwritten rule in pursuit of this story, starting with the prohibition on reporting things we can’t confirm.

#Russiagate debuted as a media phenomenon in mid-summer, 2016. The roots of the actual story, i.e. when the multi-national investigation began, go back much further, to the previous year at least. Oddly, that origin tale has not been nailed down yet, and blue-state audiences don’t seem terribly interested in it, either.

By June and July of 2016, bits of the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, which had been funded by the Democratic National Committeethrough the law firm Perkins Coie (which in turn hired the opposition research firm Fusion GPS), were already in the ether.

The Steele report occupies the same role in #Russiagate the tales spun by Ahmed Chalabi occupied in the WMD screwup. Once again, a narrative became turbo-charged when Officials With Motives pulled the press corps by its nose to a swamp of unconfirmable private assertions.

Some early stories, like a July 4, 2016 piece by Franklin Foer in Slate called “Putin’s Puppet,” outlined future Steele themes in “circumstantial” form. But the actual dossier, while it influenced a number of pre-election Trump-Russia news stories (notably one by Michael Isiskoff of Yahoo! that would be used in a FISA warrant application), didn’t make it into print for a while.

Though it was shopped to at least nine news organizations during the summer and fall of 2016, no one bit, for the good reason that news organizations couldn’t verify its “revelations.”

The Steele claims were explosive if true. The ex-spy reported Trump aide Carter Page had been offered fees on a big new slice of the oil giant Rosneft if he could help get sanctions against Russia lifted. He also said Trump lawyer Michael Cohen went to Prague for “secret discussions with Kremlin representatives and associated operators/hackers.”

Most famously, he wrote the Kremlin had kompromat of Trump “deriling” [sic] a bed once used by Barack and Michelle Obama by “employing a number of prostitutes to perform a 'golden showers' (urination) show.”

This was too good of a story not to do. By hook or crook, it had to come out. The first salvo was by David Corn of Mother Jones on October 31, 2016: “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump.”

The piece didn’t have pee, Prague, or Page in it, but it did say Russian intelligence had material that could “blackmail” Trump. It was technically kosher to print because Corn wasn’t publishing the allegations themselves, merely that the FBI had taken possession of them.

A bigger pretext was needed to get the other details out. This took place just after the election, when four intelligence officials presented copies of the dossier to both President-Elect Trump and outgoing President Obama.

From his own memos, we know FBI Director James Comey, ostensibly evincing concern for Trump’s welfare, told the new President he was just warning him about what was out there, as possible blackmail material:

I wasn’t saying [the Steele report] was true, only that I wanted him to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands. I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material or [redacted] and that we were keeping it very close-hold [sic].

Comey’s generous warning to Trump about not providing a “news hook,” along with a promise to keep it all “close-held,” took place on January 6, 2017. Within four days, basically the entire Washington news media somehow knew all about this top-secret meeting and had the very hook they needed to go public. Nobody in the mainstream press thought this was weird or warranted comment.

Even Donald Trump was probably smart enough to catch the hint when, of all outlets, it was CNN that first broke the story of “Classified documents presented last week to Trump” on January 10.

At the same time, Buzzfeed made the historic decision to publish the entire Steele dossier, bringing years of pee into our lives. This move birthed the Russiagate phenomenon as a never-ending, minute-to-minute factor in American news coverage.

Comey was right. We couldn’t have reported this story without a “hook.” Therefore the reports surrounding Steele technically weren’t about the allegations themselves, but rather the journey of those allegations, from one set of official hands to another. Handing the report to Trump created a perfect pretext.

This trick has been used before, both in Washington and on Wall Street, to publicize unconfirmed private research. A short seller might hire a consulting firm to prepare a report on a company he or she has bet against. When the report is completed, the investor then tries to get the SEC or the FBI to take possession. If they do, news leaks the company is “under investigation,” the stock dives, and everyone wins.  

This same trick is found in politics. A similar trajectory drove negative headlines in the scandal surrounding New Jersey’s Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who was said to be under investigation by the FBI for underage sex crimes (although some were skeptical). The initial story didn’t hold up, but led to other investigations.

Same with the so-called “Arkansas project,” in which millions of Republican-friendly private research dollars produced enough noise about the Whitewater scandal to create years of headlines about the Clintons. Swiftboating was another example. Private oppo isn’t inherently bad. In fact it has led to some incredible scoops, including Enron. But reporters usually know to be skeptical of private info, and figure the motives of its patrons into the story.

The sequence of events in that second week of January, 2017 will now need to be heavily re-examined. We now know, from his own testimony, that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had some kind of role in helping CNN do its report, presumably by confirming part of the story, perhaps through an intermediary or two (there is some controversy over whom exactly was contacted, and when).

Why would real security officials help litigate this grave matter through the media? Why were the world’s most powerful investigative agencies acting like they were trying to move a stock, pushing an private, unverified report that even Buzzfeed could see had factual issues? It made no sense at the time, and makes less now.

In January of 2017, Steele’s pile of allegations became public, read by millions. “It is not just unconfirmed,” Buzzfeed admitted. “It includes some clear errors.”

Buzzfeed’s decision exploded traditional journalistic standards against knowingly publishing material whose veracity you doubt. Although a few media ethicistswondered at it, this seemed not to bother the rank-and-file in the business. Buzzfeed chief Ben Smith is still proud of his decision today. I think this was because many reporters believed the report was true.

When I read the report, I was in shock. I thought it read like fourth-rate suspense fiction (I should know: I write fourth-rate suspense fiction). Moreover it seemed edited both for public consumption and to please Steele’s DNC patrons.

Steele wrote of Russians having a file of “compromising information” on Hillary Clinton, only this file supposedly lacked “details/evidence of unorthodox or embarrassing behavior” or “embarrassing conduct.”

We were meant to believe the Russians, across decades of dirt-digging, had an emptykompromat file on Hillary Clinton, to say nothing of human tabloid headline Bill Clinton? This point was made more than once in the reports, as if being emphasized for the reading public.

There were other curious lines, including the bit about Russians having “moles” in the DNC, plus some linguistic details that made me wonder at the nationality of the report author.

Still, who knew? It could be true. But even the most cursory review showed the report had issues and would need a lot of confirming. This made it more amazing that the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, held hearings on March 20, 2017 that blithely read out Steele report details as if they were fact. From Schiff’s opening statement:

According to Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who is reportedly held in high regard by U.S. Intelligence, Russian sources tell him that Page has also had a secret meeting with Igor Sechin (SEH-CHIN), CEO of Russian gas giant Rosneft… Page is offered brokerage fees by Sechin on a deal involving a 19 percent share of the company.

I was stunned watching this. It’s generally understood that members of congress, like reporters, make an effort to vet at least their prepared remarks before making them public.

But here was Schiff, telling the world Trump aide Carter Page had been offered huge fees on a 19% stake in Rosneft – a company with a $63 billion market capitalization – in a secret meeting with a Russian oligarch who was also said to be “a KGB agent and close friend of Putin’s.”

(Schiff meant “FSB agent.” The inability of #Russiagaters to remember Russia is not the Soviet Union became increasingly maddening over time. Donna Brazile still hasn’t deleted her tweet about how “The Communists are now dictating the terms of the debate.” )

Schiff’s speech raised questions. Do we no longer have to worry about getting accusations right if the subject is tied to Russiagate? What if Page hadn’t done any of these things? To date, he hasn’t been charged with anything. Shouldn’t a member of congress worry about this?

A few weeks after that hearing, Steele gave testimony in a British lawsuit filed by one of the Russian companies mentioned in his reports. In a written submission, Steele said his information was “raw” and “needed to be analyzed and further investigated/verified.” He also wrote that (at least as pertained to the memo in that case) he had not written his report “with the intention that it be republished to the world at large.”

That itself was a curious statement, given that Steele reportedly spoke with multiple reporters in the fall of 2016, but this was his legal position. This story about Steele’s British court statements did not make it into the news much in the United States, apart from a few bits in conservative outlets like The Washington Times.

I contacted Schiff’s office to ask if the congressman if he knew about Steele’s admission that his report needed verifying, and if that changed his view of it at all. The response (emphasis mine):

The dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele and which was leaked publicly several months ago contains information that may be pertinent to our investigation. This is true regardless of whether it was ever intended for public dissemination. Accordingly, the Committee hopes to speak with Mr. Steele in order to help substantiate or refute each of the allegations contained in the dossier.

Schiff had not spoken to Steele before the hearing, and read out the allegations knowing they were unsubstantiated.

The Steele report was the Magna Carta of #Russiagate. It provided the implied context for thousands of news stories to come, yet no journalist was ever able to confirm its most salacious allegations: the five year cultivation plan, the blackmail, the bribe from Sechin, the Prague trip, the pee romp, etc. In metaphorical terms, we were unable to independently produce Steele’s results in the lab. Failure to reckon with this corrupted the narrative from the start. 

For years, every hint the dossier might be true became a banner headline, while every time doubt was cast on Steele’s revelations, the press was quiet. Washington Post reporter Greg Miller went to Prague and led a team looking for evidence Cohen had been there. Post reporters, Miller said, “literally spent weeks and months trying to run down” the Cohen story.

“We sent reporters through every hotel in Prague, through all over the place, just to try to figure out if he was ever there,” he said, “and came away empty.”

This was heads-I-win, tails-you-lose reporting. One assumes if Miller found Cohen’s name in a hotel ledger, it would have been on page 1 of the Post. The converse didn’t get a mention in Miller’s own paper. He only told the story during a discussion aired by C-SPAN about a new book he’d published. Only The Daily Caller and a few conservative blogs picked it up.

It was the same when Bob Woodward said, “I did not find [espionage or collusion]… Of course I looked for it, looked for it hard.”

The celebrated Watergate muckraker – who once said he’d succumbed to “groupthink”in the WMD episode and added, “I blame myself mightily for not pushing harder” – didn’t push very hard here, either. News that he’d tried and failed to find collusion didn’t get into his own paper. It only came out when Woodward was promoting his book Fear in a discussion with conservative host Hugh Hewitt.

When Michael Cohen testified before congress and denied under oath ever being in Prague, it was the same. Few commercial news outlets bothered to take note of the implications this had for their previous reports. Would a man clinging to a plea deal lie to congress on national television about this issue?

There was a CNN story, but the rest of the coverage was all in conservative outlets – the National ReviewFoxThe Daily CallerThe Washington Post’s response was to run an editorial sneering at “How conservative media downplayed Michael Cohen’s testimony.”

Perhaps worst of all was the episode involving Yahoo! reporter Michael Isikoff. He had already been part of one strange tale: the FBI double-dipping when it sought a FISA warrant to conduct secret surveillance of Carter Page, the would-be mastermind who was supposed to have brokered a deal with oligarch Sechin.

In its FISA application, the FBI included both the unconfirmed Steele report and Isikoff’s September 23, 2016 Yahoo! story, “U.S. Intel Officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin.” The Isikoff story, which claimed Page had met with “high ranking sanctioned officials” in Russia, had relied upon Steele as an unnamed source.

This was similar to a laundering technique used in the WMD episode called “stove-piping,” i.e. officials using the press to “confirm” information the officials themselves fed the reporter.

But there was virtually no non-conservative press about this problem apart from a Washington Post story pooh-poohing the issue. (Every news story that casts any doubt on the collusion issue seems to meet with an instantaneous “fact check” in the Post.) The Post insisted the FISA issue wasn’t serious among other things because Steele was not the “foundation” of Isikoff’s piece.

Isikoff was perhaps the reporter most familiar with Steele. He and Corn of Mother Jones, who also dealt with the ex-spy, wrote a bestselling book that relied upon theories from Steele, Russian Roulette, including a rumination on the “pee” episode. Yet Isikoff in late 2018 suddenly said he believed the Steele report would turn out to be “mostly false.”

Once again, this only came out via a podcast, John Ziegler’s “Free Speech Broadcasting” show. Here’s a transcript of the relevant section:

Isikoff: When you actually get into the details of the Steele dossier, the specific allegations, you know, we have not seen the evidence to support them. And in fact there is good grounds to think some of the more sensational allegations will never be proven, and are likely false.

Ziegler: That’s...

Isikoff: I think it’s a mixed record at best at this point, things could change, Mueller may yet produce evidence that changes this calculation. But based on the public record at this point I have to say that most of the specific allegations have not been borne out.

Ziegler: That’s interesting to hear you say that, Michael because as I’m sure you know, your book was kind of used to validate the pee tape, for lack of a better term.

Isikoff: Yeah. I think we had some evidence in there of an event that may have inspired the pee tape and that was the visit that Trump made with a number of characters who later showed up in Moscow, specifically Emin Agalarov and Rob Goldstone to this raunchy Las Vegas nightclub where one of the regular acts was a skit called “Hot For Teacher” in which dancers posing as college Co-Ed’s urinated – or simulated urinating on their professor. Which struck me as an odd coincidence at best. I think, you know, it is not implausible that event may have inspired...

Ziegler: An urban legend?

Isikoff: ...allegations that appeared in the Steele dossier. 

Isikoff delivered this story with a laughing tone. He seamlessly transitioned to what he then called the “real” point, i.e. “the irony is Steele may be right, but it wasn’t the Kremlin that had sexual kompromat on Donald Trump, it was the National Enquirer.

Recapping: the reporter who introduced Steele to the world (his September 23, 2016 story was the first to reference him as a source), who wrote a book that even he concedes was seen as “validating” the pee tape story, suddenly backtracks and says the whole thing may have been based on a Las Vegas strip act, but it doesn’t matter because Stormy Daniels, etc.

Another story of this type involved a court case in which Webzilla and parent company XBT sued Steele and Buzzfeed over the mention their firm in one of the memos. It came out in court testimony that Steele had culled information about XBT/Webzilla from a 2009 post on CNN’s "iReports” page

Asked if he understood these posts came from random users and not CNN journalists who’d been fact-checked, Steele replied, “I do not.” 

This comical detail was similar to news that the second British Mi6 dossier released just before the Iraq invasion had been plagiarized in part from a thirteen year-old student thesis from California State University, not even by intelligence people, but by mid-level functionaries in Tony Blair’s press office. 

There were so many profiles of Steele as an “astoundingly diligent” spymaster straight out of LeCarre: he was routinely described like a LeCarre-ian grinder like the legendary George Smiley, a man in the shadows whose bookish intensity was belied by his “average,” “neutral,” “quiet,” demeanor, being “more low-key than Smiley.” One would think it might have rated a mention that our “Smiley” was cutting and pasting text like a community college freshman. But the story barely made news.

This has been a consistent pattern throughout #Russiagate. Step one: salacious headline. Step two, days or weeks later: news emerges the story is shakier than first believed. Step three (in the best case) involves the story being walked back or retracted by the same publication.

That’s been rare. More often, when explosive #Russiagate headlines go sideways, the original outlets simply ignore the new development, leaving the “retraction” process to conservative outlets that don’t reach the original audiences.

This is a major structural flaw of the new fully-divided media landscape in which Republican media covers Democratic corruption and Democratic media covers Republican corruption. If neither “side” feels the need to disclose its own errors and inconsistencies, mistakes accumulate quickly.

This has been the main difference between Russiagate and the WMD affair. Despite David Remnick’s post-invasion protestations that “nobody got [WMD] completely right,” the Iraq war was launched against the objections of the 6 million or more people who did get it right, and protested on the streets. There was open skepticism of Bush claims dotting the press landscape from the start, with people like Jack Shafer tearing apart every Judith Miller story in print. Most reporters are Democrats and the people hawking the WMD story were mostly Republicans, so there was political space for protest.

Russiagate happened in an opposite context. If the story fell apart it would benefit Donald Trump politically, a fact that made a number of reporters queasy about coming forward. #Russiagate became synonymous with #Resistance, which made public skepticism a complicated proposition.

Early in the scandal, I appeared on To The Point, a California-based public radio show hosted by Warren Olney, with Corn of Mother Jones. I knew David a little and had been friendly with him. He once hosted a book event for me in Washington. In the program, however, the subject of getting facts right came up and Corn said this was not a time for reporters to be picking nits:

So Democrats getting overeager, overenthusiastic, stating things that may not be [unintelligible] true…? Well, tell me a political issue where that doesn’t happen. I think that’s looking at the wrong end of the telescope.

I wrote him later and suggested that since we’re in the press, and not really about anything except avoiding “things that may not be true,” maybe we had different responsibilities than “Democrats”? He wrote back:

Feel free to police the Trump opposition. But on the list of shit that needs to be covered these days, that's just not high on my personal list.

Other reporters spoke of an internal struggle. When the Mueller indictment of the Internet Research Agency was met with exultation in the media, New Yorker writer Adrian Chen, who broke the original IRA story, was hesitant to come forward with some mild qualms about the way the story was being reported:

“Either I could stay silent and allow the conversation to be dominated by those pumping up the Russian threat,” he said, “or I could risk giving fodder to Trump and his allies.”

After writing, “Confessions of a Russiagate Skeptic,” poor Blake Hounsell of Politicotook such a beating on social media, he ended up denouncing himself a year later.

“What I meant to write is, I wasn’t skeptical,” he said.

Years ago, in the midst of the WMD affair, Times public editor Daniel Okrent noted the paper’s standard had moved from “Don’t get it first, get it right” to “Get it first and get it right.” From there, Okrent wrote, “the next devolution was an obvious one.”

We’re at that next devolution: first and wrong. The Russiagate era has so degraded journalism that even once “reputable” outlets are now only about as right as politicians, which is to say barely ever, and then only by accident.

Early on, I was so amazed by the sheer quantity of Russia “bombshells” being walked back, I started to keep a list. It’s well above 50 stories now. As has been noted by Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept and others, if the mistakes were random, you’d expect them in both directions, but Russiagate errors uniformly go the same way.

In some cases the stories are only partly wrong, as in the case of the famed “17 intelligence agencies said Russia was behind the hacking” story (it was actually four: the Director of National Intelligence “hand-picking” a team from the FBI, CIA, and NSA).

In other cases the stories were blunt false starts, resulting in ugly sets of matching headlines:

Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility

Washington Post, December 31, 2016.

Russian government hackers do not appear to have targeted Vermont utility

Washington Post, Jan. 2, 2017.

Trump Campaign Aides had repeated contacts with Russian Intelligence,” published by the Times on Valentine’s Day, 2017, was an important, narrative-driving “bombshell” that looked dicey from the start. The piece didn’t say whether the contact was witting or unwitting, whether the discussions were about business or politics, or what the contacts supposedly were at all.

Normally a reporter would want to know what the deal is before he or she runs a story accusing people of having dealings with foreign spies. “Witting” or “Unwitting” ought to be a huge distinction, for instance. It soon after came out that people like former CIA chief John Brennan don’t think this is the case. “Frequently, people who are on a treasonous path do not know they’re on a treasonous path,” he said, speaking of Trump’s circle.

This seemed a dangerous argument, the kind of thing that led to trouble in the McCarthy years. But let’s say the contacts were serious. From a reporting point of view, you’d still need to know exactly what the nature of such contacts were before you run that story, because the headline implication is grave. Moreover you’d need to know it well enough to report it, i.e. it’s not enough to be told a convincing story off-the-record, you need to be able to share with readers enough so that they can characterize the news themselves.

Not to the Times, which ran the article without the specifics. Months later, Comey blew up this “contacts” story in public, saying, “in the main, it was not true.“

As was the case with the “17 agencies” error, which only got fixed when Clapper testified in congress and was forced to make the correction under oath, the “repeated contacts” story was only disputed when Comey testified in congress, this time before the Senate Intelligence Committee. How many other errors of this type are waiting to be disclosed?

Even the mistakes caught were astounding. On December 1, 2017, ABC reporter Brian Ross claimed Trump “as a candidate” instructed Michael Flynn to contact Russia. The news caused the Dow to plummet 350 points. The story was retracted almost immediately and Ross was suspended.

Bloomberg reported Mueller subpoenaed Trump’s Deutsche Bank accounts; the subpoenas turned out to be of other individuals’ records. Fortune said C-SPAN was hacked after Russia Today programming briefly interrupted coverage of a Maxine Waters floor address. The New York Times also ran the story, and it’s still up, despite C-SPAN insisting its own “internal routing error” likely caused the feed to appear in place of its own broadcast.

CNN has its own separate sub-list of wrecks. Three of the network’s journalists resigned after a story purporting to tie Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci to a Russian investment fund was retracted. Four more CNN reporters (Gloria Borger, Eric Lichtblau, Jake Tapper and Brian Rokus) were bylined in a story that claimed Comey was expected to refute Trump’s claims he was told he wasn’t the target of an investigation. Comey blew that one up, too.

In another CNN scoop gone awry, “Email pointed Trump campaign to WikiLeaks documents,” the network’s reporters were off by ten days in a “bombshell” that supposedly proved the Trump campaign had foreknowledge of Wikileaks dumps. “It’s, uh, perhaps not as significant as what we know now,” offered CNN’s Manu Raju in a painful on-air retraction.

The worst stories were the ones never corrected. A particularly bad example is “After Florida School Shooting, Russian ‘Bot’ Army Pounced,” from the New York Times on Feb 18, 2018. The piece claimed Russians were trying to divide Americans on social media after a mass shooting using Twitter hashtags like #guncontrolnow, #gunreformnow and #Parklandshooting.

The Times ran this quote high up:

 “This is pretty typical for them, to hop on breaking news like this,” said Jonathon Morgan, chief executive of New Knowledge, a company that tracks online disinformation campaigns. “The bots focus on anything that is divisive for Americans. Almost systematically.”

About a year after this story came out, Times reporters Scott Shane and Ann Blinder reported that the same outfit, New Knowledge, and in particular that same Jonathon Morgan, had participated in a cockamamie scheme to fake Russian troll activity in an Alabama Senate race. The idea was to try to convince voters Russia preferred the Republican.

The Times quoted a New Knowledge internal report about the idiotic Alabama scheme:

We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet…

The Parkland story was iffy enough when it came out, as Twitter disputed it, and another of the main sources for the initial report, former intelligence official Clint Watts, subsequently said he was “not convinced” on the whole “bot thing.”

But when one of your top sources turns out to have faked exactly the kind of activity described in your article, you should at least take the quote out, or put an update online. No luck: the story remains up on the Times site, without disclaimers.

Russiagate institutionalized one of the worst ethical loopholes in journalism, which used to be limited mainly to local crime reporting. It’s always been a problem that we publish mugshots and names of people merely arrested but not yet found guilty. Those stories live forever online and even the acquitted end up permanently unable to get jobs, smeared as thieves, wife-beaters, drunk drivers, etc.

With Russiagate the national press abandoned any pretense that there’s a difference between indictment and conviction. The most disturbing story involved Maria Butina. Here authorities and the press shared responsibility. Thanks to an indictment that initially said the Russian traded sex for favors, the Times and other outlets flooded the news cycle with breathless stories about a redheaded slut-temptress come to undermine democracy, a “real-life Red Sparrow,” as ABC put it.

But a judge threw out the sex charge after “five minutes” when it turned out to be based on a single joke text to a friend who had taken Butina’s car for inspection.

It’s pretty hard to undo public perception you’re a prostitute once it’s been in a headline, and, worse, the headlines are still out there. You can still find stories like “Maria Butina, Suspected Secret Agent, Used Sex in Covert Plan” online in the New York Times.

Here a reporter might protest: how would I know? Prosecutors said she traded sex for money. Why shouldn’t I believe them?

How about because, authorities have been lying their faces off to reporters since before electricity! It doesn’t take much investigation to realize the main institutional sources in the Russiagate mess – the security services, mainly – have extensive records of deceiving the media.

As noted before, from World War I-era tales of striking union workers being German agents to the “missile gap” that wasn’t (the “gap” was leaked to the press before the Soviets had even one operational ICBM) to the Gulf of Tonkin mess to all the smears of people like Martin Luther King, it’s a wonder newspapers listen to whispers from government sources at all.

In the Reagan years National Security Adviser John Poindexter spread false stories about Libyan terrorist plots to The Wall Street Journal and other papers. In the Bush years, Dick Cheney et al were selling manure by the truckload about various connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda, infamously including a story that bomber Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi intelligence officials in Prague.

The New York Times ran a story that Atta was in Prague in late October of 2001, even giving a date of the meeting with Iraqis, April 8, or “just five months before the terrorist attacks.” The Prague story was another example of a tale that seemed shaky because American officials were putting the sourcing first on foreign intelligence, then on reporters themselves. Cheney cited the Prague report in subsequent TV appearances, one of many instances of feeding reporters tidbits and then selling reports as independent confirmation.

It wasn’t until three years later, in 2004, that Times reporter James Risen definitively killed the Atta-in-Prague canard (why is it always Prague?) in a story entitled “No evidence of meeting with Iraqi.” By then, of course, it was too late. The Times also held a major dissenting piece by Risen about the WMD case, “C.I.A. Aides Feel Pressure in Preparing Iraqi Reports,” until days after war started. This is what happens when you start thumbing the scale.

This failure to demand specifics has been epidemic in Russiagate, even when good reporters have been involved. One of the biggest “revelations” of this era involved a story that was broken first by a terrible reporter (the Guardian’s Luke Harding) and followed up by a good one (Jane Mayer of the New Yorker). The key detail involved the elusive origin story of Russiagate.

Mayer’s piece, the March 12, 2018 “Christopher Steele, the Man Behind The Trump Dossier” in the New Yorker, impacted the public mainly by seeming to bolster the credentials of the dossier author. But it contained an explosive nugget far down. Mayer reported Robert Hannigan, then-head of the GCHQ (the British analog to the NSA) intercepted a “stream of illicit communications” between “Trump’s team and Moscow” at some point prior to August 2016. Hannigan flew to the U.S. and briefed CIA director John Brennan about these communications. Brennan later testified this inspired the original FBI investigation.

When I read that, a million questions came to mind, but first: what did “illicit” mean?

If something “illicit” had been captured by GCHQ, and this led to the FBI investigation (one of several conflicting public explanations for the start of the FBI probe, incidentally), this would go a long way toward clearing up the nature of the collusion charge. If they had something, why couldn’t they tell us what it was? Why didn’t we deserve to know?

I asked the Guardian: “Was any attempt made to find out what those communications were? How was the existence of these communications confirmed? Did anyone from the Guardian see or hear these intercepts, or transcripts?”

Their one-sentence reply:

The Guardian has strict and rigorous procedures when dealing with source material.

That’s the kind of answer you’d expect from a transnational bank, or the army, not a newspaper.

I asked Mayer the same questions. She was more forthright, noting that, of course, the story had originally been broken by Harding, whose own report said “the precise nature of these exchanges has not been made public.”

She added that “afterwards I independently confirmed aspects of [Harding’s piece] with several well-informed sources,” and “spent months on the Steele story [and] traveled to the UK twice for it.” But, she wrote, “the Russiagate story, like all reporting on sensitive national security issues, is difficult.”

I can only infer she couldn’t find out what “illicit” meant despite proper effort. The detail was published anyway. It may not have seemed like a big deal, but I think it was.

To be clear, I don’t necessarily disbelieve the idea that there were “illicit” contacts between Trump and Russians in early 2015 or before. But if there were such contacts, I can’t think of any legitimate reason why their nature should be withheld from the public.

If authorities can share reasons for concern with foreign countries like Israel, why should American voters not be so entitled? Moreover the idea that we need to keep things secret to protect sources and methods and “tradecraft” (half the press corps became expert in goofy spy language over the last few years, using terms like “SIGINT” like they’ve known them their whole lives), why are we leaking news of our ability to hear Russian officials cheering Trump’s win?

Failure to ask follow-up questions happened constantly with this story. One of the first reports that went sideways involved a similar dynamic: the contention that some leaked DNC emails were forgeries.

MSNBC’s “Intelligence commentator” Malcolm Nance, perhaps the most enthusiastic source of questionable #Russiagate news this side of Twitter conspiracist Louise Mensch, tweeted on October 11, 2016: “#PodestaEmails are already proving to be riddled with obvious forgeries & #blackpropaganda not even professionally done.”

As noted in The Intercept and elsewhere, this was re-reported by the likes of David Frum (a key member of the club that has now contributed to both the WMD and Russiagate panics) and MSNBC host Joy Reid. The reports didn’t stop until roughly October of 2016, among other things because the Clinton campaign kept suggesting to reporters the emails were fake. This could have been stopped sooner if examples of a forgery had been demanded from the Clinton campaign earlier.

Another painful practice that became common was failing to confront your own sources when news dispositive to what they’ve told you pops up. The omnipresent Clapper told Chuck Todd on March 5, 2017, without equivocation, that there had been no FISA application involving Trump or his campaign. “I can deny it,” he said.

It soon after came out this wasn’t true. The FBI had a FISA warrant on Carter Page. This was not a small misstatement by Clapper, because his appearance came a day after Trump claimed in a tweet he’d had his “wires tapped.” Trump was widely ridiculed for this claim, perhaps appropriately so, but in addition to the Page news, it later came out there had been a FISA warrant of Paul Manafort as well, during which time Trump may have been the subject of “incidental” surveillance.

Whether or not this was meaningful, or whether these warrants were justified, are separate questions. The important thing is, Clapper either lied to Todd, or else he somehow didn’t know the FBI had obtained these warrants. The latter seems absurd and unlikely. Either way, Todd ought to been peeved and demanded an explanation. Instead, he had Clapper back on again within months and gave him the usual softball routine, never confronting him about the issue.

Reporters repeatedly got burned and didn’t squawk about it. Where are the outraged stories about all the scads of anonymous “people familiar with the matter” who put reporters in awkward spots in the last years? Why isn’t McClatchy demanding the heads of whatever “four people with knowledge” convinced them to double down on the Cohen-in-Prague story?

Why isn’t every reporter who used “New Knowledge” as a source about salacious Russian troll stories out for their heads (or the heads of the congressional sources who passed this stuff on), after reports they faked Russian trolling? How is it possible NBC and other outlets continued to use New Knowledge as a source in stories identifying antiwar Democrat Tulsi Gabbard as a Russian-backed candidate?

How do the Guardian’s editors not already have Harding’s head in a vice for hanging them out to dry on the most dubious un-retracted story in modern history – the tale that the most watched human on earth, Julian Assange, had somehow been visited in the Ecuadorian embassy by Paul Manafort without leaving any record? I’d be dragging Harding’s “well placed source” into the office and beating him with a hose until he handed them something that would pass for corroborating evidence.

The lack of blowback over episodes in which reporters were put in public compromised situations speaks to the overly cozy relationships outlets had with official sources. Too often, it felt like a team effort, where reporters seemed to think it was their duty to take the weight if sources pushed them to overreach. They had absolutely no sense of institutional self-esteem about this.

Being on any team is a bad look for the press, but the press being on team FBI/CIA is an atrocity, Trump or no Trump. Why bother having a press corps at all if you’re going to go that route?

This posture all been couched as anti-Trump solidarity, but really, did former CIA chief John Brennan – the same Brennan who should himself have faced charges for lying to congress about hacking the computers of Senate staff – need the press to whine on his behalf when Trump yanked his security clearance? Did we need the press to hum Aretha Franklin tunes, as ABC did, and chide Trump for lacking R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the CIA? We don’t have better things to do than that “work”?

This catalogue of factual errors and slavish stenography will stand out when future analysts look back at why the “MSM” became a joke during this period, but they were only a symptom of a larger problem. The bigger issue was a radical change in approach.

A lot of #Russiagate coverage became straight-up conspiracy theory, what Baker politely called “connecting the dots.” This was allowed because the press committed to a collusion narrative from the start, giving everyone cover to indulge in behaviors that would never be permitted in normal times.

Such was the case with Jonathan Chait’s #Russiagate opus, “PRUMP TUTIN: Will Trump be Meeting With his Counterpart – or his Handler?” The story was also pitched as “What if Trump has been a Russian asset since 1987,” which recalls the joke from The Wire: “Yo, Herc, what if your mother and father never met?” What if isn’t a good place to be in this business.

This cover story (!) in New York magazine was released in advance of a planned “face-to-face” summit between Trump and Putin, and posited Trump had been under Russian control for decades. Chait noted Trump visited the Soviet Union in 1987 and came back “fired up with political ambition.” He offered the possibility that this was a coincidence, but added:

Indeed, it seems slightly insane to contemplate the possibility that a secret relationship between Trump and Russia dates back this far. But it can’t be dismissed completely. 

I searched the Chait article up and down for reporting that would justify the suggestion Trump had been a Russian agent dating back to the late eighties, when, not that it matters, Russia was a different country called the Soviet Union.

Only two facts in the piece could conceivably have been used to support the thesis: Trump met with a visiting Soviet official in 1986, and visited the Soviet Union in 1987. That’s it. That’s your cover story.

Worse, Chait’s theory was first espoused in Lyndon Larouche’s “Elephants and Donkeys” newsletter in 1987, under a headline, “Do Russians have a Trump card?” This is barrel-scraping writ large.

It’s a mania. Putin is literally in our underpants. Maybe, if we’re lucky, New York might someday admit its report claiming Russians set up an anti-masturbation hotline to trap and blackmail random Americans is suspicious, not just because it seems absurd on its face, but because its source is the same “New Knowledge” group that admitted to faking Russian influence operations in Alabama.

But what retraction is possible for the Washington Post headline, “How will Democrats cope if Putin starts playing dirty tricks for Bernie Sanders (again)?” How to reverse Rachel Maddow’s spiel about Russia perhaps shutting down heat across America during a cold wave? There’s no correction for McCarthyism and fearmongering.

This ultimately will be the endgame of the Russia charade. They will almost certainly never find anything like the wild charges and Manchurian Candidate theories elucidated in the Steele report. But the years of panic over the events of 2016 will lead to radical changes in everything from press regulation to foreign policy, just as the WMD canard led to torture, warrantless surveillance, rendition, drone assassination, secret budgets and open-ended, undeclared wars from Somalia to Niger to Syria. The screw-ups will be forgotten, but accelerated vigilance will remain.

It’s hard to know what policy changes are appropriate because the reporting on everything involving the Russian threat in the last two to three years has been so unreliable.

I didn’t really address the case that Russia hacked the DNC, content to stipulate it for now. I was told early on that this piece of the story seemed “solid,” but even that assertion has remained un-bolstered since then, still based on an “assessment” by the intelligence services that always had issues, including the use of things like RT’s “anti-American” coverage of fracking as part of its case. The government didn’t even examine the DNC’s server, the kind of detail that used to make reporters nervous.

We won’t know how much of any of this to take seriously until the press gets out of bed with the security services and looks at this whole series of events all over again with fresh eyes, as journalists, not political actors. That means being open to asking what went wrong with this story, in addition to focusing so much energy on Trump and Russia.

The WMD mess had massive real-world negative impact, leading to over a hundred thousand deaths and trillions in lost taxpayer dollars. Unless Russiagate leads to a nuclear conflict, we’re unlikely to ever see that level of consequence.

Still, Russiagate has led to unprecedented cooperation between the government and Internet platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, all of which are censoring pages on the left, right, and in between in the name of preventing the “sowing of discord.” The story also had a profound impact on the situation in places like Syria, where Russian and American troops have sat across the Euphrates River from one another, two amped-up nuclear powers at a crossroads.

As a purely journalistic failure, however, WMD was a pimple compared to Russiagate. The sheer scale of the errors and exaggerations this time around dwarfs the last mess. Worse, it’s led to most journalists accepting a radical change in mission. We’ve become sides-choosers, obliterating the concept of the press as an independent institution whose primary role is sorting fact and fiction.

We had the sense to eventually look inward a little in the WMD affair, which is the only reason we escaped that episode with any audience left. Is the press even capable of that kind of self-awareness now? WMD damaged our reputation. If we don’t turn things around, this story will destroy it.

Published:3/24/2019 9:55:01 AM
[Politics] Ex-Sen. Harry Reid: Comey Did 'Nothing,' Expecting Hillary to Win Regardless of the revelations of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, the reality is former FBI Director James Comey knew Russia was meddling in the 2016 presidential election and did "nothing" because he "thought Hillary [Clinton] would win the election," according to... Published:3/24/2019 9:24:50 AM
[FBI] Deep thoughts by James Comey (Scott Johnson) Former Obama administration FBI Director James Comey was a protagonist in the investigation of the Trump campaign and the subsequent effort to undermine Trump from inside the Trump administration. In the service of his efforts he put the Clinton campaign’s Steele Dossier to use both before and after the election. It is the biggest political scandal in American political history. Nothing else comes close. On his way out the door Published:3/24/2019 9:24:50 AM
[db7664b5-d2e6-5d57-906b-2cad7bfd8560] Rep. Andy Biggs: Prosecute Comey for instigating Mueller probe Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has been completed, it is time to seek justice. That means fired FBI Director James Comey and others responsible for instigating this farcical investigation for the sole purpose of undermining President Trump must be prosecuted. Published:3/23/2019 4:52:34 PM
[Markets] SPLC Implodes: President And Legal Director Resign Amid Sexual Misconduct Scandal

The Southern Poverty Law Center - the "vicious left-wing attack dog" used by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon to identify "hate groups" - is unraveling. 

A week after co-founder Morris Dees was ousted over sexual misconduct claims - with two dozen employees signing a letter of concern over "allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism," the head of the SPLC, Richard Cohen, as well as the organization's legal director, Rhonda Brownstein, resigned on Friday. 

Morris Dees, Richard Cohen, Rhonda Brownstein

Cohen had been with the organization 33 years and was one of its most prominent figures. 

At 5:03 p.m. Friday, Cohen sent a message to staff, with the subject line “Stepping Down,” announcing that he, too, would be leaving the organization that he and Dees had turned into a research and fundraising juggernaut.

“Whatever problems exist at the SPLC happened on my watch, so I take responsibility for them,” Cohen wrote, while asking the staff to avoid jumping to conclusions before the board completes an internal review of the Montgomery, Ala., organization’s work culture. -LA Times

Earlier this week, the SPLC board of directors appointed Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, Tina Tchen - who, in an unrelated matter, unsuccessfully tried to pull strings and have the Jussie Smollett case transferred from the Chicago PD to the FBI. Tchen is heading up the inquiry into the sexual misconduct claims.

Tina Tchen

Also out on Friday was Rhonda Brownstein - who had worked with the organization for nearly three decades, according to the Montgomery Advertiser's Melissa Brown. 

Inside the SPLC "Scam"

As the Washington Examiner's Beckett Adams writes, the Southern Poverty Law Center is a "scam," which has taken " no care whatsoever for the reputational and personal harm it causes by lumping Christians and anti-extremist activists with actual neo-Nazis."

As it turns out, the SPLC is a cynical money-making scheme, according to a former staffer’s blistering tell-all, published this week in the New Yorker. The center’s chief goal is to bilk naive and wealthy donors who believe it's an earnest effort to combat bigotry.

The only thing worse than a snarling partisan activist is a slimy conman who merely pretends to be one. -Washington Examiner

"“Outside of work," recalls Bob Moser of his days working for the organization, "we spent a lot of time drinking and dishing in Montgomery bars and restaurants about … the hyperbolic fund-raising appeals, and the fact that, though the center claimed to be effective in fighting extremism, ‘hate’ always continued to be on the rise, more dangerous than ever, with each year’s report on hate groups. ‘The S.P.L.C.—making hate pay,’ we’d say."

"[I]t was hard, for many of us, not to feel like we’d become pawns in what was, in many respects, a highly profitable scam," added Moser. 

The way Moser tells it, the center’s chief founder, Morris Dees, who was dismissed unceremoniously last week for unspecified reasons, discovered early on that he could rake in boatloads of cash by convincing “gullible Northern liberals that his group is doing the hard work of fighting “hate.”

But the center’s supposed mission of combating bigotry doesn’t actually matter to its top brass, Moser says. It’s just a business choice and one that has been extremely lucrative throughout the years. Moser’s article reminds readers of the time Dees actually said of the SPLC in an interview with then-Progressive magazine reporter John Egerton, “We just run our business like a business. Whether you’re selling cakes or causes, it’s all the same.” -Washington Examiner

Moser claims that the SPLC's business model centers entirely around keeping its precious donors in constant fear using gimmicks such as "hate maps" and "hate lists." 

"[T]he center continues to take in far more than it spends. And it still tends to emphasize splashy cases that are sure to draw national attention,” he writes adding the group’s “central strategy” involves “taking on cases guaranteed to make headlines and inflame the far right while demonstrating to potential donors that the center has not only all the right enemies but also the grit and know-how to take them down." 

Moser adds there is an inescapable sense of “guilt” that comes with thinking about “the legions of donors who believed that their money was being used, faithfully and well, to do the Lord’s work in the heart of Dixie. We were part of the con, and we knew it.”

Who knew you could make the big bucks simply by lumping Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ben Carson with actual, honest-to-God neo-Nazis? -Washington Examiner

Right wing commentator and Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes is currently suing the SPLC for labeling his right-wing fraternal organization, the Proud Boys, a hate group

The SPLC has gone from a noble institution genuinely dedicated to eradicating hate to a hate group in and of itself that pretends this country is frothing with bigots desperate to foment World War III," McInnes said in a press release. 

McInnes has raised nearly $200,000 out of a goal of $250,000 to continue his lawsuit. From his website Defendgavin.com: 

I'm suing the SPLC. And it's not just because they destroyed my career and shattered my reputation. It's because they could do the same to you. Though this group is often cited as a credible source by the media, nobody who actually knows stuff takes them seriously.

No, being called an extremist by the SPLC does NOT mean you're an extremist. No, being called a Hate Group by the SPLC does NOT make you a Hate Group. And no, being called a racist or an anti-Semite or an Islamophobe or a transphobe or a homophobe by the SPLC does NOT make you any of those things. -Gavin McInnes

We wonder if there will even be an SPLC left to sue by the time it reaches a courtroom. 

Published:3/23/2019 9:18:10 AM
[News] Judicial Watch Uncovers 756 Pages Of New Hillary Emails She Tried To Destroy

756 pages of new Hillary Clinton emails have been uncovered that she tried to destroy of which several were classified. Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch received the final tranche of emails recovered by the FBI from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that were transmitted on her unauthorized, private email system. Judicial Watch: (Washington, DC) ...

The post Judicial Watch Uncovers 756 Pages Of New Hillary Emails She Tried To Destroy appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:3/23/2019 7:21:02 AM
[News] Judicial Watch Uncovers 756 Pages Of New Hillary Emails She Tried To Destroy

756 pages of new Hillary Clinton emails have been uncovered that she tried to destroy of which several were classified. Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch received the final tranche of emails recovered by the FBI from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that were transmitted on her unauthorized, private email system. Judicial Watch: (Washington, DC) ...

The post Judicial Watch Uncovers 756 Pages Of New Hillary Emails She Tried To Destroy appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:3/23/2019 7:21:02 AM
[Markets] Watergate - The First Deep State Coup

Authored by Peter Brimelow via The Unz Review,

James Fulford writes: 

The Mueller Report, which was supposed to be about alleged “Russian collusion” with Trump, is due out, and many people in the Democrat/Media conglomerate are hoping for a rerun of Watergate, which they think of as a victory for the Rule of Law. It wasn’t, and we need to have one of those famous “conversations” about what it was, and why it mustn’t happen again.

In 1972, Richard Nixon was reelected with 520 electoral votes. He was running on winning the Vietnam War and also fighting a War on Crime. His opponent, George McGovern (17 electoral votes) was running on a plan to lose the Vietnam War, and surrender on the War on Crime.

But by August 1974, Nixon was removed from office, and in April 1975, Vietnamese Communist troops occupied Saigon. What finished off South Vietnam was the “Watergate Congress” which voted to cut off all supplies. For details see James Webb’s Peace? Defeat? What Did the Vietnam War Protesters Want?American Enterprise Institute, May/June 1997.

Who did this? Well, the Democrat-controlled Senate investigated the hell out of a break-and-enter committed by Republicans, which they never did when LBJ, JFK, Truman, and FDR engaged in similar activities. See It Didn’t Start With Watergate , [PDF]by Victor Lasky, published in 1977. On the Senate investigative staff was a young, far-Left Wellesley graduate named Hillary Clinton.

The Democratic media, which hated Nixon with the same kind of hate they now display towards Trump, did the same thing, led by the famous Woodward and Bernstein, who probably get too much “credit” for this.

Finally, in something that VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow speculated about in his 1981 Policy Review article reposted below, the secret figure of “Deep Throat” (Woodward and Bernstein’s name for an source inside the Government) turned out to Mark Felt, second in command of the FBI. [The Myth of Deep Throat | Mark Felt wasn’t out to protect American democracy and the rule of law; he was out to get a promotion, by Max Holland September 10, 2017]

Peter Brimelow described this phenomenon of using lawfare to overturn elections by trying to criminalize the victors in his post Manafort, Marlborough, And Robert E. Lee: Criminalizing Policy/ Personnel, Differences— U.S. Politics Regressing To The Primitive.

Once again, the Establishment is trying, as they did during Watergate, to overturn the results of an election with the aid of a Deep State, and the “foreign policy” establishment. “Deep Throat” Felt thought Nixon was interfering with the “independence” of the FBI, which he thought should be immune to interference by the President of the United States, and apparently James Comey feels the same way.

If this coup succeeds, instead of the Republic of South Vietnam being overrun by foreign invaders and destroyed, the victim will be the Historic American Nation.

Machiavelli Redux

By Peter Brimelow, Policy Review,Winter 1981

GO QUIETLY . . . OR ELSE. By Spiro T. Agnew. (Wm. Morrow, New York, 1980)

THE TERRORS OF JUSTICEBy Maurice Stans. (New York, Everest House, 1978)

WILL: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF G. GORDON LIDDY. By G. Gordon Liddy. (St. Martins Press, New York, 1980)

Machiavelli concluded The Prince by quoting Petrarch in an attempt to inspire the rulers of Italy:

For th’ old Romane valour is not dead
Nor in th’ Italians brests extinguished.

Reading these three books by survivors of the Nixon disaster brings home how totally that Administration, which more than any other in recent history would have welcomed comparisons with Machiavelli, departed from his prescription. The reason was not exactly lack of patriotism, but rather a failure to understand the humane, even idealistic spark that animated Machiavelli’s ironic realism. Indeed, the books raise the broader question of whether American society itself is going through the kind of degeneration Machiavelli decried in Italy, so that it no longer supports what might loosely be called the “Roman” or “military” virtues: courage, loyalty, and personal integrity.

These reflections may seem odd, given that all three authors fought losing bouts with the law. Spiro Agnew resigned the Vice-Presidency and entered a plea of nolo contendere to a charge that he received payments in 1967 which were not expended for political purposes and which were therefore subject to income tax. The prosecution’s statement included forty pages about Mr. Agnew’s alleged bribe-taking while he was Governor of Maryland; Mr. Agnew issued a one-page denial. The judge said, accurately, that both were irrelevant to the case before him, and fined Mr. Agnew $10,000. Maurice Stans, Nixon’s 1972 Finance Chairman, pleaded guilty to two charges of unknowingly accepting illegal contributions and three charges of reporting contributions tardily. He was fined $5,000. Previously Mr. Stans had been found innocent, along with John Mitchell, on ten counts of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury relating to an alleged attempt by financier Robert Vesco to buy protection from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Gordon Liddy was sentenced to twenty years in prison and fined $40,000 for the Watergate burglary, a year and a half for refusing to talk to the Watergate grand jury, and a (suspended) year for contempt of Congress.

With the exception of Mr. Liddy, who merits separate examination, it will immediately be seen that the infractions that were actually proved were basically technical. The connection between them was a hysterical illusion, and the punishments unusually harsh. This is particularly true for Maurice Stans, who was dealing with a complex law which changed in the course of the campaign, and who was also the victim of a quantum jump in public standards. Mr. Stans makes a convincing case that his CREEP stewardship was at least as respectable as the work of his contemporaries in other campaigns. They too had (less publicized) legal difficulties; Edmund Muskie’s fundraiser even volunteered to testify for Mr. Stans at the Vesco trail.

If Mr. Agnew did accept rake-offs, as the prosecutors claimed, it should be asked in all fairness whether his conduct varied substantially from accepted Maryland standards—particularly since there is no evidence that the money influenced his decisions. As always where Watergate is concerned, the real question becomes: Why did such practices excite such abnormal attention under Nixon, when Congress and press have shrugged off similar standards before and since? The many disparate Nixonian problems combined to produce a mixture that makes free-base cocaine look safe as chewing gum in comparison, under the influence of mysterious forces similar to those that produced the Grande Peur, or Salem’s witch trials. An instructive parallel might well be Britain’s 1962-63 Profumo crisis, which likewise enabled hostile opinion to l ink wildly unrelated charges, and incinerated an unpopular government.

As Mr. Agnew has repeatedly pointed out, of course, allegation is not conviction, although it has been treated as such by the media and the IRS, whose demands for back taxes on bribes Mr. Agnew denied taking caused him a cash-flow crisis from which he was rescued by the remarkable generosity of Frank Sinatra. But the irreducible fact of his resignation overshadows any attempted defense. Mr. Agnew ascribes his surrender to the impossibility of receiving a fair trial because of prejudicial publicity, overheated politics, implacably ambitious prosecutors, and impossible costs; and to his own exhaustion and bitterness at his abandonment by Nixon.

Mr. Agnew also says that Alexander Haig implied he might be killed if he did not “go quietly.” However, this may be the token sensational revelation all Watergate memoirs require, like H.R. Haldeman’ s claim of a mooted partition of China, Gordon Liddy’s contemplated assassinations of Jack Anderson and Howard Hunt, and John Dean’s insinuation that Nixon faked Alger Hiss’ typewriter. Other regular features of this new literary form are dramatic opening scenes, followed by flashbacks; and copious direct speech. On the whole, the results have compared very favorably with other native American genres like Westerns and Perry Mason.

Mr. Agnew’s story rings sincere when he writes of “the emotional reaction that made me physically ill” on reviewing the prosecutors’ files on his case (obtained years later), or of his wife’s dead faint when he told her he was capitulating. But even after that, he assured conservatives he would fight to the end, although his lawyers were already negotiating terms. This unedifying betrayal of his loyal supporters renders consideration of his guilt or innocence ultimately irrelevant.

On the other hand, Mr. Agnew had hardly been given a good example by the Nixon White House. Incredibly, President Nixon apparently hoped to induce Mr. Agnew to resign without even discussing the subject face to face. The picture of Mr. Agnew and his staff waiting in his office until 9 p.m. after Attorney General Richardson had revealed the charges to them—hoping desperately for a call from the President or a summons to Camp David (whence, it emerged, he had fled)—is infinitely pathetic. What they got was a meeting with General Haig and Bryce Harlow, who announced that they thought that the President felt that he should resign. Loyalty to Nixon was a one-way proposition. The White House staff was quick to pounce on any of their number who suffered political injury.

This cult of toughness was naive to the point of stupidity. Even elementary precautions like funding the Watergate burglars’ families were reneged on. It is hardly surprising that the front-line troops mutinied, whereupon the whole structure disintegrated. Machiavelli in a famous passage urged rulers to ensure that the interests of their lieutenants were advanced along with their own; this promoted mutual confidence. This seemingly obvious advice was never more needed. In fact, one of the Administration’s subsequent rationales for its detente policies—that Americans were too engrossed in current gratifications to finance any alternative—can probably best be explained as merely a projection of the leaders’ own short-sighted selfishness.

All three books make the point that the guarantees of equal justice, due process, and presumption of innocence—generally thought to be intrinsic to our system of justice—are simply not operative in a modern bureaucratic state. Mr. Stans spent $400,000 to defend himself against the Vesco charges. The prosecution probably spent over $1 million, but that was taxpayers’ money. That both Mr. Stans and Mr. Agnew could afford no more defense at that price is quite plausible. The IRS even threatened to have Mr. Agnew’s passport revoked if he attempted to resist their demands—an unbreakable hold on a man forced to earn his living in international business because of his Untouchable status at home. The three books also establish that there are few real checks on the legal bureaucracy once it is determined to bring home a conviction. Judge Sirica’s excesses in Mr. Liddy’s trial featured his seating of a juror who could not understand English—a mistake arising because Judge Sirica truncated the voir dire to prevent defense questions about pretrial publicity. (Judge Sirica used his powe r to seal the record about that incident, which remained a secret.) Mr. Liddy was amused: “I really had to hand it to the old goat; neither of us ever hesitated to use power.”

Less amusing were the lengths to which the prosecutors went in the Stans and Agnew cases to induce potential witnesses to co-operate. It should be a matter of some concern that Mr. Agnew was brought down by the testimony of men who themselves were guilty of serious crimes, the consequences of which seem to have been palliated by their cooperation. One witness actually had his conviction overthrown because he was able to show that his guilty plea was induced by illegal promises of leniency, which the trial judges chose to ignore. Having indicted Mr. Stans on the basis of two grand jury appearances—which he made after being assured he was not under investigation—the prosecutors launched an incredible nationwide search for evidence. They hauled President Nixon’s brother in from the West Coast ten times, for example, to “review” his testimony on the single point of whether Mr. Stans had asked for Vesco’s contribution in cash. (Answer: No.)

Worst of all were the constant leaks to the press, from Justice Department and grand jury alike. Maurice Stans found that newspapers routinely printed as fact allegations against him that had been disproved, and that major media outlets like Time refused to carry retractions even when caught in indisputable error. Mr. Stans, whose book is a model of reason and comprehensiveness, suggests thoughtfully that maybe the U.S. media should follow the British system of restricting publicity after indictment, and also that the Supreme Court’s Sullivan ruling went too far in depriving public figures of the means to protect their reputation. He even permits himself to wonder why the media should not (voluntarily) retract untruths in the same way that the Federal Trade Commission compels corporations to correct unsupported advertising claims.

This is the problem in a nutshell. All three books make it depressingly clear that, yes, there is a New Class. And that class makes its own rules in the struggle with rival powers like corporations and elected officials—of either party; previous attorney generals would not have been defeated in attempts to suppress Billygate.

Gordon Liddy’s beautifully written book adds a cultural dimension to this struggle within America, although his factual contribution to the Watergate saga appears limited. Mr. Liddy confines himself narrowly to what he personally saw. He says that he waited until the statute of limitations had expired before speaking, to protect his colleagues. (Actually, he is probably still protecting them.) Although he does reveal that the Nixon administration had CIA technical assistance in some operations, he generally supports the thesis that Watergate was after all a second-rate burglary, not a set-up, as some have speculated. The order came from above, he says, and he believes that the purpose was to find out what derogatory material the Democrats had on their opponents. This version is not likely to satisfy everyone. On closer examination, moreover, Mr. Liddy’s account does leave some questions carefully open. Some of these relate to the details of the burglary; others to the extraordinary circumstances that led to the creation of the White House “Plumbers” unit in the first place: the withdrawal (by J. Edgar Hoover) of the FBI cooperation upon which all previous administrations had relied. Mr. Liddy had been proud to be an FBI agent, and stresses his admiration for Mr. Hoover. But he also prints a memo he wrote in late 1971 urging that Mr. Hoover be removed as Director by the end of the year. Mr. Liddy notes laconically that the President praised the memo, but Mr. Hoover survived. As usual, one is left with an eerie feeling that the Watergate affair has a secret history, untold despite the millions of words.

Mr. Liddy is obviously a cultured man, but his preoccupation with matters of honor, strength, and courage—matters that have been traditional male concerns in almost every society except our own—has rendered him about as comprehensible to the average book reviewer as a Martian. Hence he is ridiculed (by Larry L. King in theNew York Times) or ignored (by the Wall Street Journal, the leading conservative newspaper, which has not reviewed his book—or Mr. Stans’s either, for that matter). The situation is complicated because Mr. Liddy is a cultist, one of the tiny minority of conservatives (and others) who are fascinated by the Third Reich. It is hard to know how serious he is about this. Some of his hints are so blatant (he named the Plumbers group ODESSA, after “a World War II German veterans organization belonged to by some acquaintances of mine”—i.e., the Waffen SS) as to recall his celebrated hand-in-the-flame exhibitions of willpower. Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard picked up all these hints, and wrote an angry review in The New Republicasking how a card-carrying Nazi went so far in anyone’s White House. But in fact cultism often has about as much relevance to contemporary politics as transvestism, which it rather resembles. Mr. Liddy supported the liberal Republican who beat him in the New York 25th district primary in 1968, to the chagrin of the Conservative Party, which had nominated him on its own line. His White House career showed a similar pragmatism, except perhaps when his G-man instincts were engaged. And Mr. Liddy obviously liked the blacks he met in prison, finding their harsh society a satisfying substitute for the Korean War he missed through illness, and possibly a rest after the Nixon White House. He quietly but systematically supplies much other evidence of lack of prejudice.

However repellant Mr. Liddy’s code may be, it has some strengths, notably his evident pride in his handsome family. Men like Mr. Liddy are the falcons of society, to be kept hooded until needed. James E. Mahon, who became Eli Hazeev and died training his gun on the Palestinians ambushing Meir Kahane’s followers in Hebron, was reportedly another example. Both found no place in modern America. We need look no further to explain the fiasco at Desert One.

Published:3/22/2019 11:45:27 PM
[Markets] 16 Years After Iraq, The US Has Become A Nation Of Passive Neocons

Authored by Whitney Webb via MintPressNews.com,

After Iraq, the neocons began waging another war, one for America’s soul.

Sixteen years have passed and the memory of the Iraq War is distant for many, save for the millions of people — Iraqi and American alike — who saw their lives destroyed by one of the greatest lies ever sold to the American public.

Yet, while plenty of Americans sleep easy thinking that such an atrocity as the invasion and occupation of Iraq could never happen again, the U.S. government has continuously been involved in many smaller, equally disastrous wars — both seen and unseen — largely thanks to the fact that those who brought us the Iraq War remain both respected and still present in the halls of power.

Indeed, the only thing the domestic outrage over the Iraq War seemed to accomplish has been a massive effort waged by the government and the corporate elite to engineer a public that doesn’t complain and doesn’t care when their government meddles or invades another country.

For many Americans today, much like the war itself, the outrage over the Iraq War is a distant memory and comparable outrage has failed to emerge over any other U.S. government crime committed or contemplated on a similar scale — whether it be the “regime change” invasion of Libya, the ongoing genocide in Yemen, or in response to crimes the government is now setting up.

Our forgetfulness has informed our silence and our silence is our complicity in the crimes — past and present — orchestrated by the neocons, who never left government after Iraq but instead rebranded themselves and helped to culturally engineer our passivity. As a consequence, we have again been hoodwinked by the neocons, who have transformed America in their image, creating a nation of neocon enablers, a nation of passive neocons.

Iraq War lies revisited

Though the lies that led the U.S. to invade Iraq are well-documented, they deserve to be remembered. A summary of the many  lies — including those regarding alleged yet false links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda as well as Saddam’s alleged links to the anthrax attacks and Iraq’s nonexistent nuclear weapons program — can be found here.

Yet arguably more important than the lies told in the direct lead-up to the war, is the conclusive evidence that key officials in the Bush administration, many of them members of the neoconservative organization known as the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), had planned and called for an invasion of Iraq long before the September 11th attacks had even taken place.

Some researchers say the plan for the Iraq War began decades before with the drafting of the 1992 Defense Policy Guidance (DPG), which was overseen by Paul Wolfowitz, then Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, who would later become one of the chief architects of the 2003 Iraq War. The DPG spoke of the need to secure “access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil.” It also spoke of the need for the U.S. to develop a protocol for unilaterally pursuing interventions abroad, stating that “the United States should be postured to act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated.”

The DPG would again find prominence among a new group who called themselves the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). Founded in 1997 by Robert Kagan and Bill Kristol, its first act was to publish a statement of principles that promoted “a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity.” That statement was signed by several politically prominent neoconservatives — Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld among them.

Bush, center, answers questions from the media while standing with, from left to right, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Richard Myers, about his Iraq War strategy. Pablo Martinez Monsivais | AP

PNAC is arguably best known for publishing the document “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” in September 2000. That document, which cites the DPG as its inspiration, contains many controversial passages, one of which reads:

The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”

After George W. Bush was declared the winner of the 2000 election, many PNAC signatories took prominent positions in his administration, including Cheney and Rumsfeld. Other PNAC signatories — including Dov Zakheim, John Bolton, and Elliott Abrams — would also soon find their way into the Bush administration, where they too would become intimately involved in planning and executing the Iraq War. Notably, Bush’s brother Jeb Bush was also a PNAC signatory.

Once the Bush administration took office, planning for the invasion of Iraq quickly moved ahead, with Saddam’s removal the priority topic during Bush’s inaugural national-security meeting. Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill later recalled that the meeting “was all about finding a way to do it. The president saying, ‘Go find me a way to do this.’”

Just two weeks later, Vice President Dick Cheney — former Halliburton CEO — took the helm of a newly formed energy task force that began secretly meeting with top oil executives. In a matter of weeks, by March 2001, the Pentagon produced a document called “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts” for Cheney’s taskforce, which included potential areas of Iraq primed for exploratory drilling. Notably, other top Bush officials, such as Condoleezza Rice, were, like Cheney, former petroleum industry executives.

Then, just hours after the 9/11 attacks, a Rumsfeld aid wrote: “Best info fast. Judge whether good enough [to] hit SH [Saddam Hussein] @ same time. Not only UBL [Usama bin Laden].”

On September 19, 2001, the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, chaired by Richard Perle — another PNAC member — declared that Iraq must be invaded after Afghanistan.

The next day, PNAC, in a letter to Bush, wrote:

Even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power.”

It was not until December 2001 that the administration, led by Cheney, had begun to claim that Saddam was linked to Al Qaeda.

Yet, as outlined above, the war plan by then was already well underway.

As the public outrage over the lies and years-old schemes that led to the Iraq war mounted, it was not the exposure of their crimes that riled neoconservatives. Instead, their concern was over the lingering public outrage that severely limited the U.S.’ ability to intervene militarily abroad, leading them to develop more covert operations and other “regime-change” methods aside from outright military intervention. Indeed, Bush had complained that, after Iraq, his “hands were tied,” a reality that prompted him to push the development of secret cyberwarfare programs and the expansion of the drone war, among other new and quieter arrows in the quiver.

In addition to the rise of more covert “regime-change” operations after Iraq, a concerted effort began that aimed to whitewash neoconservatives, particularly the prominent neocons who had been the architects of the Iraq War. These neocons began to rebrand themselves, dumping the now-tainted PNAC in favor of the Foreign Policy Initiative and several other prominent think-tanks that obfuscate their past. Their rebranding has been so successful that PNAC co-founders like Bill Kristol are now considered a part of the Democratic-led “Resistance” to President Donlad Trump.

Jon Lovett, Bill Kristol, Symone Sanders and Jason Miller attend Politicon at The Pasadena Convention Center on Aug. 29, 2017, in Pasadena, Calif. Colin Young-Wolff | Invision | AP

By 2008, the neocons made it clear that rebranding their ideology was the plan, with PNAC co-founder Robert Kagan penning the article “Neocon Nation,” in which, in an effort to whitewash the ideology’s bloodsoaked legacy, he claimed that neoconservatism is “deeply rooted in American history and widely shared by Americans.”

Of course, Kagan’s claim was ironic given that he once criticized Colin Powell for not believing that “the United States should enter conflicts without strong public support,” revealing Kagan’s own disdain for the opinion of the American public. However, his 2008 article shows how, after Iraq, the neocons began waging another war, one for America’s soul.

Obama and “The World the Kagans Made”

After Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election, many Americans felt that the days of “wars for oil” and wars built on lies would end, particularly after then-President-elect Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for his warm rhetoric about the need for world peace. Sadly, to this day, many who viscerally opposed the Bush administration’s Iraq War either fail or refuse to acknowledge that Obama was every bit as murderous as his predecessor, though he did so with smooth words, charm and a media-generated personality cult.

While neoconservatives, particularly those who brought us the Iraq War under Bush, are often associated with the Republican Party, the Obama administration — particularly the Hillary Clinton-led State Department — was plugged directly into the same network of neoconservative actors responsible for the destruction of Iraq.

Indeed, upon becoming secretary of state, Clinton quickly appointed Robert Kagan to her 25-member Foreign Affairs Policy Board, a position he continued to hold after John Kerry took over the State Department. Kagan’s book “The World America Made,” was particularly influential on Obama, who cited the book as having inspired his 2012 State of the Union address as well as his 2012 re-election campaign.

Kagan, one of the most influential and prominent neocons of all, served as a State Department official in the Reagan administration and later went on to co-found PNAC in 1997. As early as 1998, Kagan was calling for the U.S. government to “remove Mr. Hussein and his regime from power.” In 2002, Kagan — along with fellow PNAC member Bill Kristol — claimed that Saddam was supporting “a terrorist training camp in Iraq, complete with a Boeing 707 for practicing hijackings, and filled with non-Iraqi radical Muslims.” He also assertedthat alleged 9/11 “mastermind” Mohammad Atta had met with Iraqi intelligence just months before September 11. Both allegations were extremely influential in promoting the Iraq War, and both are completely false.

However, Kagan’s troubling track record didn’t stop the Obama administration from giving both Kagan and his wife considerable influence over government policy. In 2011, the Obama administration brought on Kagan’s wife, Victoria Nuland, to serve as State Department spokesperson. Nuland was subsequently given the post of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in 2013, which she used to engineer the 2014 “regime change” coup in Ukraine — an event that continues to have deadly consequences in that country and has even helped bolster Neo-Nazi elements in the United States.

Nuland is a textbook example of the continuity of the neocons from the Bush administration to the Obama administration. From 2003 to 2005, during the Iraq War and subsequent occupation, Nuland was Dick Cheney’s deputy national security advisor. Cheney, thrilled with her performance, recommended she be appointed to serve as U.S. ambassador to NATO. As the executive branch changed management in 2008, Nuland became the special envoy for conventional armed forces in Europe before becoming the Obama state department spokesperson just three years later.

Trump: “Against” the Iraq War But Willingly Surrounded By Iraq War Criminals

Though Donald Trump blasted the Iraq War, and the Bush administration’s role in creating it, on the campaign trail, he — like Obama before him — has invited neocons into his administration since its inception.

Trump’s first secretary of defense, Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis, as well as his first national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, were close to Iraq War architect and influential neocon Paul Wolfowitz — so much so that Wolfowitz was covertly guiding their policy through email correspondence in the early days of the Trump administration.

Mattis’ nomination by Trump was particularly strange given the latter’s frequent criticism of the Iraq War, where Mattis earned his nickname “Mad Dog” after overseeing the 2004 sieges of Fallujah, in which the U.S. military illegally used white phosphorus, a chemical weapon, as well as depleted uranium in the densely populated Iraqi city. As a consequence of the U.S.’ attack over a decade ago, Fallujah’s children continue to be born with horrific birth defects.

While Mattis and McMaster have since departed, the neocons are more powerful than ever in the Trump administration, as seen in the appointment of another PNAC signatory, John Bolton, to the role of national security advisor. In addition, PNAC signatory, Elliot Abrams, was recently named special representative for Venezuela, despite his role in the Iran-Contra affair and in arming Latin American death squads that slaughtered thousands of civilians, and also despite the fact that Abrams is a convicted felon.

A Nation of Enablers

Though they have done their best to hide it, the United States has become a nation governed by and for the neoconservatives and their various corporate clients. The outrage voiced over their crimes in Iraq — to them — was not a call for change but merely an indicator that such outrage must be reduced and silenced, a task since accomplished through cultural engineering and, more recently, censorship.

The bodies of four children killed after their family car came under fire from U.S. troops in Fallujah, Iraq, Sept. 30, 2004. Bilal Hussein | AP

Since the Iraq War, neocons and their allies have used every tool at their disposal to mold us in their image, creating an uncaring nation that feels little or no empathy for the millions murdered and maimed in their name; a nation that is not repulsed by the fact that many of its top public officials are convicted war criminals; a nation that worships war and death and mocks anti-war voices — even when they are themselves war veterans — as “apologists” for foreign leaders who want to keep their countries out of the Pentagon’s crosshairs.

With millions set to die in Yemen from a man-made famine supported by the U.S. and a war being planned for Venezuela, a country that is twice the size of Iraq, our silence and noninterest in these matters is our complicity.

How many millions must neocons and their ilk murder before we say enough is enough? The “War on Terror” alone has already taken an estimated 8 million lives. How many nations will we allow its architects to destroy? We have already laid waste to Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Somalia; engineered the war in South Sudan; supported the war in Yemen and the destruction of Palestine. Would Venezuela be the “last straw” that finally rouses us to action? It seems unlikely.

The hard truth is that, while the Iraq War may be publicly remembered as an “embarrassment” for the neocons, it was the true beginning of our transformation into a nation of their passive enablers. Regular Americans may not plan and plot forever wars or the destruction of nations and innocent lives, but most certainly go along with it, especially when we are told that “Leader X” kills his own people and “Leader Y” represents a threat to “national security.” Our consent to be governed and guided by madmen has led us to become a nation of passive neocons.

The neocons are still in power and still the public face of American policy only because we allow it. That simple fact means that they will remain in power until we say we have had enough. How many years after the Iraq War will it be before that moment finally arrives?.

Published:3/22/2019 10:45:14 PM
[Politics] This Video of Dems Worried American ‘Norms’ Under Attack, Then Attacking American Norms is SPECTACULAR This is amazing. Our institutions, our norms, are under attack, said Democrats through the Trump campaign and the first two years of his presidency. Criticize the FBI? Norms under attack. Criticize IRS? . . . Published:3/22/2019 7:44:53 PM
[Politics] This Video of Dems Worried American ‘Norms’ Under Attack, Then Attacking American Norms is SPECTACULAR This is amazing. Our institutions, our norms, are under attack, said Democrats through the Trump campaign and the first two years of his presidency. Criticize the FBI? Norms under attack. Criticize IRS? . . . Published:3/22/2019 7:15:05 PM
[Trump Administration] Trump Says John McCain Put Him In ‘Jeopardy’ By Giving Dossier To FBI

By Chuck Ross -

President Trump maintained his attacks on John McCain on Wednesday, accusing the late Arizona senator of putting him in “jeopardy” with the FBI by giving the salacious and unverified Steele dossier to James Comey in late 2016. At a speech in Ohio, Trump also faulted McCain for not contacting him ...

Trump Says John McCain Put Him In ‘Jeopardy’ By Giving Dossier To FBI 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:3/20/2019 4:02:38 PM
[Markets] Boeing stock drops after report FBI is joining investigation into 737 Max Boeing stock drops after report FBI is joining investigation into 737 Max Published:3/20/2019 3:30:19 PM
[Markets] Boeing Tumbles After FBI Joins Criminal Probe Into 737 MAX Approval

While it should not come as a surprise following news that a grand jury subpoena - which listed the Justice Department’s criminal division listed as a contact - had been sent to Boeing and the FAA, scrutinizing the development of Boeing 737 MAX jetliners and in particular whether corners had been cut with its anti-stall (MCAS) system, moments ago Boeing stuck tumbled when the Seattle Times reported that the FBI has joined the criminal investigation into the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX, "lending its considerable resources to an inquiry already being conducted by U.S. Department of Transportation agents."

The federal grand jury investigation, based in Washington, D.C., is looking into the certification process that approved the safety of the new Boeing plane, two of which have crashed since October, the Seattle Times reported.

Conveniently, the FBI’s Seattle field office is located close to Boeing’s 737 manufacturing plant in Renton, as well as nearby offices of Boeing and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials involved in the certification of the plane, which means that the probe should be rather quick.

The investigation, which is being overseen by the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal division and carried out by the Transportation Department’s Inspector General, began in response to information obtained after a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta on Oct. 29, killing 189 people, Bloomberg reported earlier this week, citing an unnamed source.

It has widened since then, with the grand jury issuing a subpoena on March 11 for information from someone involved in the plane’s development, one day after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 near Addis Ababa that killed 157 people, The Associated Press reported this week.


A story by the Seattle Times over the weekend detailed how FAA managers pushed its engineers to delegate more of the certification process to Boeing itself, sparking confusion just what the FAA's role actually is, and whether it delegated its own duties to the "supervised" company in exchange for kickbacks. The Times story also detailed flaws in an original safety analysis that Boeing delivered to the FAA.

As the newspaper adds, "criminal investigations into the federal oversight of airplane manufacturing and flight are rare, in part because of the longstanding belief  that a civil-enforcement system better promotes candid reporting of concerns without fear of criminal repercussions."

Criminal investigations into the federal oversight of airplane manufacturing and flight are rare, in part because of the longstanding belief  that a civil-enforcement system better promotes candid reporting of concerns without fear of criminal repercussions. Those criminal cases that have occurred have focused on false entries and misrepresenations.

In 1998, Transportation Department and FBI agents, acting on a whistleblower’s allegations, served a criminal search warrant on Alaska Airlines, seeking evidence of maintenance irregularities.

The report, which hit moments after market close, sent Boeing stock tumbling further in the after hours.

 

Published:3/20/2019 3:30:18 PM
[Markets] "Sitting Ambassadors" Participated In Plot To 'Take Trump Down': Meadows

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) revealed that "sitting ambassadors" were involved in a plot to "take down" President Trump. 

Sitting down with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Sara Carter and Gregg Jarrett, Meadows said that the release of new documents will "show" that US ambassadors conspired with the DOJ, reports the Washington Examiner

"It's additional information that is coming out that will show not only was there no collusion, but there was a coordinated effort to take this president down," said Meadows. 

"We talk about the 'Deep State.' There are players now, even ambassadors, that are sitting ambassadors that were involved in part of this with the FBI-DOJ." 

"As we look at this, it's time to show that we show the American people what's out there, declassify some of those documents," Meadows added. "I think when the American people see what I've seen, they will judge for themselves and know that this has all been a hoax."

Watch: 

 

Published:3/20/2019 2:03:54 PM
[PAID] When Carter Page Met Stefan Halper A timeline that contradicts claims by Justice and the FBI. Published:3/20/2019 10:38:49 AM
[Politics] Dem, GOP Reps Ask FBI About 'Foreign Adversaries' Creating Fake Vets Accounts A bipartisan group of lawmakers is asking the FBI about news reports that suggest "foreign adversaries," a list that includes Russia, have created social media pages for fake veterans groups in an effort to target past and present members of the United States military. Published:3/19/2019 9:27:22 PM
[Markets] If "Slow Wifi" Causes "Major Stress," How Are Young People Going To Cope When Times Get Really Tough?

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

You won’t believe some of the things that are causing “major stress” for young people in America today

According to a brand new survey that was just released, 58 percent of all American Millennials believe that “life is more stressful right now than ever before”.  And so what is precisely making life so stressful for our young adults?  Well, apparently their phones are a big part of the problem.  In the survey, “losing phone”, “phone battery dying”, “forgetting phone charger” and “phone screen breaking” were all among the top 20 sources of stress cited by Millennials.  Also making the top 20 were “choosing what to wear” and “washing dishes”.  Here is the complete list

1. Losing wallet/credit card

2. Arguing with partner

3. Commute/traffic delays

4. Losing phone

5. Arriving late to work

6. Slow WiFi

7. Phone battery dying

8. Forgetting passwords

9. Credit card fraud

10. Forgetting phone charger

11. Losing/misplacing keys

12. Paying bills

13. Job interviews

14. Phone screen breaking

15. Credit card bills

16. Check engine light coming on

17. School loan payments

18. Job security

19. Choosing what to wear

20. Washing dishes

I am sorry, but if “slow WiFi” if one of your biggest problems in life, then you actually have it pretty good.

It is no wonder why so many are referring to them as “Generation Snowflake”.  What in the world are these young adults going to do when times get really tough and they start to face some real challenges?

Sadly, I think that we are going to see meltdowns of absolutely epic proportions.

And I want you to notice how many items in the list above have to do with technology.  I am old enough to still remember the days before cell phones and before the Internet.  Somehow we managed to function, and life was actually quite good.

But now technology completely dominates most of our lives.  In the early nineties, I worked for a major retailer, and part of my job was to help people get online with Compuserve and America Online.

Do you remember those days?

Most people only had dial-up Internet access, and it seemed like some pages took half an hour to load.  But things eventually got a lot faster, and a speedy Internet radically changed our society.  For the first time, we were able to directly communicate with one another on a massive scale without having to go through corporate gatekeepers, and that was a very positive thing.

But over the past couple of years, the tech giants have decided to engage in a campaign of censorship like we have never seen before.  On Monday, Donald Trump Jr. released a scathing editorial about all of this censorship.  The following comes from the Hill

Our right to freely engage in public discourse through speech is under sustained attack, necessitating a vigorous defense against the major social media and internet platforms.

From “shadowbans” on Facebook and Twitter, to demonetization of YouTube videos, to pulled ads for Republican candidates at the critical junctures of election campaigns, the list of violations against the online practices and speech of conservatives is long.

Millennials dominate the leadership at many of these social media platforms, and their snowflake sensibilities are deeply offended by political viewpoints that are different from their own.  And instead of opening up their minds and learning to be tolerant of different ideas, they have chosen to try to brutally suppress them.  In fact, we now know that Facebook even went so far as to develop algorithms to “deboost” content with certain keywords

Thanks to a brave Facebook whistleblower who approached James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, we now know that Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant developed algorithms to “deboost” certain content, limiting its distribution and appearance in news feeds. As you probably guessed, this stealth censorship was specifically aimed at conservatives.

Facebook appears to have deliberately tailored its algorithm to recognize the syntax and style popular among conservatives in order to “deboost” that content. “Mainstream media,” “SJW” (Social Justice Warrior) and “red pill” — all terms that conservatives often use to express themselves — were listed as red flags, according to the former Facebook insider.

Action must be taken, because all of this censorship is one of the greatest threats to free speech in modern American history.

The social media giants built billion dollar companies by allowing everyone to express themselves, but now that they own large portions of “the digital public square”, they want to lock out those with certain political viewpoints.

And the backlash against this tremendous abuse is building.  For example, U.S. Representative Devin Nunes filed a 25o million dollar lawsuit against the tech companies on Monday…

California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes filed a major lawsuit seeking $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages against Twitter and a handful of its users on Monday, accusing the social media site of “shadow-banning conservatives” including himself to influence the 2018 elections, systematically censoring opposing viewpoints and totally “ignoring” lawful complaints of repeated abusive behavior.

In a complaint filed in Virginia state court on Monday, obtained by Fox News, Nunes claimed Twitter wanted to derail his work on the House Intelligence Committee, which he chaired until 2019, as he looked into alleged and apparent surveillance abuses by the government. Nunes said Twitter was guilty of “knowingly hosting and monetizing content that is clearly abusive, hateful and defamatory – providing both a voice and financial incentive to the defamers – thereby facilitating defamation on its platform.”

If we do not fight for a free and open “marketplace of ideas”, we will get an Orwellian Internet where everything is very tightly controlled and very tightly censored.

And if we lose the ability to speak freely on the Internet, how else are we supposed to fight for the future of our society?

The stakes are incredibly high, and this is one battle that we simply cannot allow the snowflakes to win.

Published:3/19/2019 11:54:10 AM
[Markets] Trump Slams "Radical Left" Media-Tech Complex - While Spending More On Facebook Ads Than 2020 Dems Combined

President Trump renewed his criticism of Silicon Valley tech giants on Tuesday, calling Facebook, Google and Twitter "on the side of the Radical Left Democrats.

Since the 2016 election, left-leaning tech platforms have been caught censoringmocking, or otherwise limiting the reach of conservatives. 

In a Monday Op-Ed for The Hill, Donald Trump Jr. writes: "From “shadowbans” on Facebook and Twitter, to demonetization of YouTube videos, to pulled ads for Republican candidates at the critical junctures of election campaigns, the list of violations against the online practices and speech of conservatives is long."

Trump Jr's op-ed comes the same day that Twitter acknowledged shadowbanning a tweet by The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis. Davis had noted the irony that the FBI was madly scrambling to find ties between President Trump and Russia, while Hillary Clinton paid a guy to collude with Russians on a dossier used as a tool to hurt Trump politically. 

Conservatives haven't taken this standing down, however. Also on Monday - California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes sued Twitter and several of its users for more than $250 million. Nunes has accused the social media platform of "shadow-banning conservatives," including himself, in order to influence the 2018 elections. 

That said...

While President Trump and others have slammed big tech for censorship and bias, his re-election campaign has spent nearly twice as much on Facebook ads as the entire 2020 Democratic field combined. 

According to data from Facebook and Google's political ad transparency reports, aggregated by Bully Pulpit Interactive and reported by Axios, Trump has spent $3.5 million on Facebook ads, and $1 million with Google between December 30 2018 and March 10 2019. 

All of the 2020 Democratic contenders, meanwhile, have spent just $2.1 million combined over the same period. 

"This is an unprecedented level of investment this early, and especially from an incumbent President," says Bully Pulpit partner Mike Schneider - who added that "Trump has spent at least $13 million in digital media since May 2018, and over $4.5 million in 2019 alone."

Axios notes: 

While Democrats need to woo early donors with proof of momentum, President Trump needs to drive support from his base.

  • "The Trump campaign has built a low-dollar fundraising machine that makes hoarding cash less of a priority," says Beach. "Adding votes, whether through persuasion or engagement, trumps cash-on-hand reports.”
  • This allows the Trump campaign to focus on spending the money it's been able to accumulate during the past two years, while Democrats like Beto O'Rourke and Bernie Sanders focus their efforts on raising money for big future ads buys.

When it comes to targeting, both parties' campaigns are currently spending most dollars nationally. But their goals and strategies are very different.

  • Trump is running a heavy national blanket with small targeted buys in states like Florida.
  • Democrats are focused on building a national base of supporters and donors, not early state campaigning yet, according to the data.  -Axios

Meanwhile, Trump's big Facebook ad spend comes as the social media giant's reputation took a deep dive over the past year amid an avalanche of controversies. 

According to an Axios Harris Poll, while the reputation of left-leaning tech companies has declined in general since the 2016 election, trust in Facebook has dropped considerably more. 

Published:3/19/2019 9:59:12 AM
[Markets] Nunes Sues Twitter For $250 Million In "Shadow Ban" Lawsuit

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) filed a lawsuit against Twitter and several of its users on Monday seeking $250 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages, reports Fox News.

The suit accuses the social media giant of "shadow-banning conservatives," including himself, in order to influence the 2018 US elections through the systematic censorship of certain opinions - while "ignoring" multiple lawful complaints of abusive behavior. 

Also included in the lawsuit are several accounts which Nunes claims defamed him - accusing the lawmaker of being a racist, having "white supremacist friends" and turning out "worse than Jacob Wohl," a 21-year-old political exhibitionist and former investment adviser who was charged with 14 counts of securities fraud in 2017. 

The lawsuit alleges defamation, conspiracy, and negligence, and seeks not only damages, but also an injunction compelling Twitter to turn over the identities behind numerous accounts he says have harassed and defamed him.

Although federal law ordinarily exempts services like Twitter from defamation liability, Nunes' suit said the platform has taken such an active role in curating and banning content -- as opposed to merely hosting it -- that it should face liability like any other organization that defames. -Fox News

"Twitter created and developed the content at issue in this case by transforming false accusations of criminal conduct, imputed wrongdoing, dishonesty and lack of integrity into a publicly available commodity used by unscrupulous political operatives and their donor/clients as a weapon," reads the lawsuit. "Twitter is 'responsible' for the development of offensive content on its platform because it in some way specifically encourages development of what is offensive about the content."

Twitter is accused of supporting "an orchestrated defamation campaign of stunning breadth and scope, one that no human being should ever have to bear and suffer in their whole life," after the platform allowed defamatory material to be spread about Nunes. 

The complaint also named specific Twitter accounts that spread allegedly defamatory material about Nunes. One defendant, identified as "Liz" Mair, purportedly published tweets that "implied that Nunes colluded with prostitutes and cocaine addicts, that Nunes does cocaine, and that Nunes was involved in a 'Russian money laundering front,'" according to Nunes' lawyers. -Fox News

According to the complaint, "Twitter did nothing to investigate or review the defamation that appeared in plain view on its platform. Twitter consciously allowed the defamation of Nunes to continue" despite reports and reviews by Twitter's content moderators. 

"As part of its agenda to squelch Nunes’ voice, cause him extreme pain and suffering, influence the 2018 Congressional election, and distract, intimidate and interfere with Nunes’ investigation into corruption and Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential Election, Twitter did absolutely nothing," the complaint continues. 

On Monday, Twitter admitted to shadowbanning The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis. 

Tweeting a passage last week from former FBI attorney Lisa Page's Congressional testimony discussing the FBI's rush to find connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, Davis pointed out the irony of Hillary Clinton's campaign employing former UK spy Christopher Steele, a foreign national, "working with Russians to obtain damaging information about Donald Trump." 

 

Published:3/18/2019 6:49:58 PM
[Markets] The Wall Street Journal: House Democrats seek FBI probe into Florida woman’s alleged peddling of access to Trump Top congressional Democrats on Monday asked the FBI to conduct investigations of a Florida woman who started a day spa later alleged to be a front for illegal prostitution and who allegedly sought to sell to Chinese citizens access to events with President Trump and his administration.
Published:3/18/2019 5:49:56 PM
[Markets] Twitter Admits Shadowbanning Lisa Page Tweet By Federalist Co-Founder "To Keep People Safe" 

Twitter has admitted to shadowbanning a tweet by The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis in order to "keep people safe." 

Tweeting a passage from former FBI attorney Lisa Page's Congressional testimony discussing the FBI's rush to find connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, Davis pointed out the irony of Hillary Clinton's campaign employing former UK spy Christopher Steele, a foreign national, "working with Russians to obtain damaging information about Donald Trump." 

Of note, the dossier Steele compiled which was subsequently used to obtain a warrant to spy on a Trump adviser (and later smear Trump) relied on a "senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure" and "a former top level intelligence officer still active in the Kremlin," according to Vanity Fair

Following his March 12 tweet, Davis wondered if Twitter was experimenting with "shadow bans" - as he could only see his tweet if he was logged in, meaning nobody else could see it.

Six days later, Twitter confirmed with Davis that they had deliberately shadow-banned his tweet in order to "keep people safe."

"Twitter gave me no notice or explanation when it shadowbanned one of my Tweets about Russian interference in our elections," wrote Davis, adding "But what's worse is how Twitter apparently gives its users the fraudulent impression that their tweets, which Twitter secretly bans, are still public."

In short, Twitter did not want the public to consider the irony of Hillary Clinton's campaign paying for a foreign national to collude with Russians against Donald Trump, while the FBI scrambled to prove the Trump campaign did

Unreal.

In other censorship news, ZeroHedge is now banned in much New Zealand and much of Australia following our reporting on the Christchurch terror attacks

Sorry citizen, some facts are just too dangerous for your own good.

Published:3/18/2019 4:24:09 PM
[Collaborative Consumption] misterb&b hits the equity crowdfunding trail to expand into hotels Homosexuality is illegal in a third of the planet, and in eight countries, it is punishable by death. In the febrile atmosphere of today’s politics, hate crime incidents in the US increased by 17% between 2016 to 2017, according to the FBI. Over 20 of those incidents were crimes against an individual’s sexual-orientation — the […] Published:3/18/2019 3:19:22 PM
[Markets] Trump Touts USA Today Poll On Mueller 'Witch Hunt': "Very Few Think It Is Legit" 

A new USA Today / Suffolk University poll has found that trust in special counsel Robert Mueller has eroded, and that half of Americans now agree that President Trump has been the victim of a "witch hunt." 

Fifty percent say they agree with Trump's assertion that the special counsel's investigation is a "witch hunt" and that he has been subjected to more investigations than previous presidents because of politics; 47 percent disagree. Just 3 percent don't have an opinion. -USA Today

The poll of 1,000 registered voters conducted between March 13 and March 17 also found that support for impeachment has dropped since last October by 10%, to 28% - however a 52% majority said they have "little or no trust in the president's denials that his 2016 campaign colluded with Moscow." 

(We're guessing that would be the other half of those polled who don't think it's a "witch hunt.")

That said - 30% of those polled express "a lot of trust in Trump's denialsof collusion, the highest to date. 

Meanwhile, just 28% said they trust Mueller to be fair and accurate, the lowest level to date and down five points since December. 

Trump's busy weekend on Twitter

This weekend saw a flurry of tweets and retweets from Trump on a wide variety of topics. On Friday, Trump tweeted that "there should be no Mueller report - sentiment he retweeted on Sunday. 

He also retweeted a statement by Disobedient Media's William Craddick that "Russiagate was designed in part to help the UK counter Russian influence by baiting the United States into taking a hard line against them."

Supporters chimed in as well:

Published:3/18/2019 12:19:54 PM
[Higher education] The college-admissions fraud (Scott Johnson) It seems like last year, but it was on last week that United States Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling announced the indictments and related arrests in the college admissions bribery scheme dubbed Operation Varsity Blues by the authorities. The Department of Justice has posted a press release with links to the charging documents filed so far here. It lists 50 defendants. Lelling held a big press conference with the FBI Published:3/18/2019 6:22:16 AM
[Markets] Misguided Spying And The New Zealand Massacre

Authored by Suzie Dawson via ConsortiumNews.com,

While intelligence agencies were looking in all the wrong places, a conspicuous target slipped through the cracks...

Now that the bodies of 49 innocent human beings are lying in a Christchurch, New Zealand, morgue — gunned down by a heavily armed terrorist — New Zealand media are asking the obvious questions: why didn’t our intelligence agencies know there were xenophobic, murderous, white supremacists on the loose in Christchurch?

 “Questions are being asked of the nation’s security services in the wake of a mass shooting described as ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” Stuff.co.nz reports and quotes a University of Waikato professor of international law, Alexander Gillespie, as saying:

"If it’s a cell we need to ask why weren’t they detected, because that’s why we have security services and it may be that those services have been looking under the wrong rocks.’ ”

Still from video the gunman shot of his own rampage. (Twitter)

According to the same article, in response to the terrorist attack, “A crisis meeting of national security agencies was held at Police National Headquarters in Wellington after the shooting.“

In the NZ Herald, veteran intelligence reporter David Fisher asked many pertinent questions in an opinion piece titled “Christchurch massacre – what did we miss and who missed it?”

“We need answers,” says Fisher.

“The NZSIS [New Zealand’s equivalent of the FBI] – and its electronic counterpart, the Government Communications Security Bureau – have more funding than ever, and almost double the staff numbers they had six years ago. They also now have the most powerful legislation they have ever had.”

We know thanks to the findings of an inquiry by the State Services Commission last December that as many as a dozen government agencies, including the NZ Police, were too busy squandering their resources spying on NGOs such as GreenpeaceNZ; political parties such as the New Zealand Green Party and then-Internet Party aligned Mana Movement, as well as on anti-TPP protesters and activists such as myself.

As if that weren’t egregious enough, they were even spying on Christchurch earthquake insurance claimants and historical victims of institutional state child abuse.

An ex-cabinet minister and now chief executive of Greenpeace New Zealand, Russel Norman called it“New Zealand’s Watergate moment.”

 (Youtube still)

The government contractor engaged to perform the on-the-ground victimization of targets is the notorious Thompson & Clark Investigations Limited — a company I had been publicly naming since April of 2012 for having targeted my independent media team and me. A company that we now know was illegally granted access to New Zealand police databases on thousands of occasions, and that has been linked to the NZ Security Intelligence Services.

Their nefarious activities are not isolated to the private sector. The NZ Police have also been found to have made thousands of warrantless data requests.

In 2014 acclaimed New Zealand investigative journalist Nicky Hager — himself judged by a court to have been wrongfully targeted by the NZ Police as a result of his reporting — revealed in his seminal book “Dirty Politics”that a political network that went as high as the Office of the prime minister of New Zealand– under ex-Prime Minister John Key, who was then minister in charge of the NZ security services — had targeted dozens of journalists,as well as other political targets and issue-based dissenters. 

What the police and intelligence agencies of New Zealand must recognize is thus: Journalism is not terrorism. Non-violent pro-democratic activism is not terrorism. Dissent is not terrorism.

Arming yourself with weapons and violently attacking innocent people is terrorism.

Holding to Account

Agencies that for too long have been blurring thedistinction between what is and isn’t terrorism, must now be held to account.

I was spied on for my independent journalism and my legal, pro-democratic activism. Despite having no history of violence, no access to weapons, no weapons training and no extremist ideological beliefs.

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, founder of the Internet Party of New Zealand, of which I am party president, was spied on by both the New Zealand and United States governments for as little as a suspected civil violation, alleged copyright infringement.

Yesterday, the mania and obsessive hatred of an actual terrorist in Christchurch in possession of automatic weapons, culminated in his posting a racist manifesto online and then live streaming his hate crime in real time. Yet he was never spied on.

While the intelligence agencies were looking in all the wrong places, someone who should have been a target slipped through the cracks.

Let that sink in.

Some will say that as injured parties of the intelligence agencies, we just have an axe to grind and are exploiting this tragedy to criticize them.

But as always, it is those very agencies that have failed their charges, who will be first in line to exploit the news cycle in a quest to justify the provision of ever more money, more power, more resources and ultimately, the ability for them to engage in ever more spying.

The question is, how will they choose to employ those gains once they are inevitably granted?

In the absence of meaningful intervention by oversight bodies or an official inquiry — and if their recent history is any measure — the answer may well be: poorly, undemocratically, and unjustly.

Published:3/17/2019 10:45:13 PM
[Crime] President Trump Saves Thousands of Lives (John Hinderaker) On December 6, the New York Times headlined: “U.S. Murder Rate for 2018 Is on Track for a Big Drop.” The story was based on homicide statistics from 66 large cities. (The official FBI numbers for 2018 won’t come out until September 2019.) The murder rate in the United States in 2018 is on track for the largest one-year drop in five years. *** Murder rose 23 percent nationally between Published:3/17/2019 9:14:42 PM
[Markets] Trump Rips Steele For Using "Low Ratings" CNN 'Citizen Journalist' Article As Dossier Source

President Trump ripped Christopher Steele after it was revealed that the former British spy used a 'citizen journalist' article from CNN's now-defunct 'iReports' website as part of his research.

"Christopher Steele backed up his Democrat & Crooked Hillary paid for Fake & Unverified Dossier with information he got from “send in watchers” of low ratings CNN. This is the info that got us the Witch Hunt!"

Of note, it was actually Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos telling Australian diplomat Alexander Downer that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton which reportedly launched the "Witch Hunt." That said, let's also remember that it was Maltese professor and self-professed member of the Clinton Foundation, Joseph Mifsud, who told Papadopoulos of the supposed Russian intel in the first place. Some have referred to it as an entrapment scheme

CNN iReport?

Steele made the awkward revelation during a deposition last year in a case involving Russian entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev, who claims his companies Webzilla and XBT Holdings were defamed by Steele after the dossier was published by BuzzFeed.

Steele was asked during the deposition how he verified allegations about Gubarev's companies and whether he found “anything of relevance concerning Webzilla,” according to the newly released transcripts of the deposition.

“We did. It was an article I have got here which was posted on July 28, 2009, on something called CNN iReport,” Steele said. -Fox News

CNN iReport, which is long gone, was clearly disclaimed as a "user-generated site," warning that "the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked or screened before they post."

As Fox notes, even the site's banner included the slogan "Unedited. Unfiltered. News." and made clear that users who submit content do not work for CNN. 

Except super-spy Steele apparently missed that fact, or didn't care, as part of his 'extensive' research...

"Do you understand that CNN iReports are or were nothing more than any random individuals' assertions on the internet?" an examiner asked Steele. 

"No, I obviously presume that if it is on a CNN site that it may has [sic] some kind of CNN status. Albeit that it may be an independent person posting on the site," Steele replied. 

Trump rips McCain

Trump also ripped the late Arizona Senator John McCain (R) on Sunday, tweeting that it was "just proven in court papers" that "last in his class" McCain sent Steele's dossier to media outlets in the hopes that they would print it prior to the 2016 US election. 

On Saturday, Trump tweeted: "Spreading the fake and totally discredited Dossier “is unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain.” Ken Starr, Former Independent Counsel. He had far worse “stains” than this, including thumbs down on repeal and replace after years of campaigning to repeal and replace!" 

In response Meghan McCain fired back with her own Tweet, saying "no one will ever love you the way they loved my father."

Which is interesting, because it seems that McCain was generally disliked - particularly by Democrats - until he came out against Trump. 

After Trump's Sunday tweet, McCain replied "My father lives rent free in your head." 

Published:3/17/2019 10:11:53 AM
[Media] ‘Say it with me: You’re a HACK.’ Chris Cillizza’s attempt at damage control for the FBI around Russian probe earns ALL the backfire

Say it with us: Chris Cillizza really stuck his foot in his mouth this time around. It’s been interesting watching the Left and the media (same difference really) reacting to the soon to be released Mueller report that sounds more and more like a giant ol’ nothingburger and a huge waste of time and money. […]

The post ‘Say it with me: You’re a HACK.’ Chris Cillizza’s attempt at damage control for the FBI around Russian probe earns ALL the backfire appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:3/17/2019 9:11:45 AM
[Markets] Former Obama Officials Ordered By Judge To Answer Questions Over Clinton Emails

Via SaraCarter.com,

A federal judge ordered multiple senior Obama Administration officials, State Department officials and former Hillary Clinton aides Thursday to provide answers under oath to questions requested by Judicial Watch after a roughly four year court battle.

Judicial Watch, a leading conservative non-profit watchdog group, announced the schedule of depositions in their case in a press release Thursday.  The Judicial Watch questions regard two separate cases regarding the Obama administration’s actions during the Benghazi terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate and CIA Annex in Libya, and Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to send classified government emails.

“Judicial Watch is doing the heavy lifting on the ongoing Clinton email scandal, even as Congress dropped the ball and DOJ and State continued to obstruct our quest for the truth,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, in a press release Thursday.

“The Court in our case wants real answers on the Clinton email scandal which is why our request for basic discovery was granted.”

District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ordered senior officials — including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap – to respond under oath and submit the answers in writing to the questions provided by Judicial Watch. The decision from Lamberth was made this past January.

Lamberth ordered the discovery from the watchdog’s July 2014 FOIA lawsuit,  which was filed after the State Department failed to respond to an earlier request made May 13, 2014.

Judicial Watch requests: 
  • Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

  • Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.

Judicial Watch’s discovery will seek answers to:
  • Whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system;

  • whether the State Department’s efforts to settle this case beginning in late 2014 amounted to bad faith; and

  • whether the State Department adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.

The confirmed discovery schedule now includes:
  • March 12: State Department’s responses to interrogatories and document requests were due.

  • March 14: Deposition of Justin Cooper, a former aide to Bill Clinton who reportedly had no security clearance and is believed to have played a key role in setting up Hillary Clinton’s non-government email system.

  • April 5: Deposition of John Hackett, a State Department records official “immediately responsible for responding to requests for records under the Freedom of Information Act.”

  • April 16: Deposition of Jacob “Jake” Sullivan, Hillary Clinton’s former senior advisor and deputy chief of staff.

  • April 23: Deposition of Sheryl Walter, former State Department Director of the Office of Information Programs and Services/Global Information Services.

  • April 26: Deposition of Gene Smilansky, a State Department lawyer.

  • April 30. Deposition of Monica Tillery, a State Department official.

  • May 7: Deposition of Jonathon Wasser, who was a management analyst on the Executive Secretariat staff. Wasser worked for Deputy Director Clarence Finney and was the State Department employee who actually conducted the searches for records in response to FOIA requests to the Office of the Secretary.

  • May 14: Deposition of Clarence Finney, the deputy director of the Executive Secretariat staff who was the principal advisor and records management expert in the Office of the Secretary responsible for control of all correspondence and records for Hillary Clinton and other State Department officials.

  • June 11: 30(b)(6) Deposition, which will be designated by the State Department.

  • June 13: Deposition of Heather Samuelson, the former State Department senior advisor who helped facilitate the State Department’s receipt and release of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

To Be Determined
  • As yet to be determined is the deposition date for Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell, who wrote a March 2, 2009, internal memorandum titled “Use of Blackberries on Mahogany Row,” in which he strongly advised that the devices not be allowed.

Written questions under oath are to be answered by:
  • Monica Hanley, Hillary Clinton’s former confidential assistant at the State Department.

  • Lauren Jiloty, Clinton’s former special assistant.

  • E.W. Priestap, who is serving as assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division and helped oversee both the Clinton email and the 2016 presidential campaign investigations. Priestap testified in a separate lawsuit that Clinton was the subject of a grand jury investigation related to her BlackBerry email accounts.

  • Susan Rice, President Obama’s former UN ambassador who appeared on Sunday television news shows following the Benghazi attacks, blaming a “hateful video.” Rice was also Obama’s national security advisor involved in the “unmasking” the identities of senior Trump officials caught up in the surveillance of foreign targets.

  • Ben Rhodes, an Obama-era White House deputy strategic communications adviser who attempted to orchestrate a campaign to “reinforce” Obama and to portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.”

Published:3/16/2019 5:12:11 PM
[05b6ca5d-cab0-52f7-a35b-6041c2b5bb07] Trump's remarks may contain 'dog whistles,' fired FBI official McCabe tells 'Real Time' host Bill Maher Is President Trump sending out "dog whistles" to some of his supporters? That's what former FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe said he feared Friday night during an appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher." Published:3/16/2019 2:03:45 AM
[Markets] A Skeptic's Guide To The Russiagate Fixation

Authored by Aaron Maté via TheNation.com,

Robert Mueller has yet to allege collusion, and Democrats who accuse Trump of being a Kremlin conspirator are silent when his policies escalate tensions with Russia...

As we await the rumored delivery of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report, it is looking increasingly unlikely that the document will allege a Trump-Russia conspiracy. To date, Mueller’s numerous indictments and voluminous court filings have not accused a single American of collusion with Russia. And, tellingly, prominent media and political voices, who have spent two years raising expectations that Mueller will find collusion, are now quietly moving the goalposts.

A significant hurdle in the hunt for collusion is that every close associate to “flip” on President Donald Trump has stated that they did not witness it.

In his recent congressional testimony, former Trump fixer Michael Cohen said that he has seen no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, and knocked down several pillars of the conjecture surrounding it. In re-avowing that he has never been to Prague, Cohen rebuked a central claim of the Steele dossier that he traveled there to pay off Russian hackers. Cohen’s denial deals a serious blow to the credibility of the dossier’s author, Christopher Steele. It also underscores the credulousness of FBI officials, members of Congress, and the many news outlets that relied on and amplified Steele’s material. Cohen also poured cold water on suspicions fueled by Steele that Russians have compromising material on Trump.

There are differing perspectives on how Cohen addressed another “bombshell” at which he was at the center. In January, Buzzfeed Newsreported that Mueller has evidence that President Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about the failed Trump Tower real-estate project in Moscow. The story triggered wall-to-wall news coverage until Mueller’s office issued an unprecedented statement that called Buzzfeed’s reporting “not accurate.” Cohen echoed Mueller’s denial by asserting that “Trump did not directly tell me to lie to Congress.” When pressed on why he never corrected the Buzzfeed story and the multiple outlets that echoed it, Cohen responded, “We are not the fact-checkers for BuzzFeed.”

Buzzfeed nonetheless claimed vindication because Cohen also told Congress that he had lied after inferring from Trump’s public and private statements that the president wanted him to. Buzzfeed’s editor in chief, Ben Smith, argued that Cohen had confirmed the story because one of its “core central pieces” was that “Cohen thought he had been told to lie.” But that is not what Buzzfeed had originally reported: The story claimed—and prompted impeachment talk as a result—that Trump had suborned perjury by “explicitly telling [Cohen] to lie” and because he “personally instructed [Cohen] to lie.” Assigning those actions directly to Trump hardly conforms to Cohen’s explanation that he had merely intuited or interpreted Trump’s intentions.

However one construes Cohen’s comments, his testimony also undercut the innuendo and conjecturetriggered by reports that the Trump Organization planned to offer Vladimir Putin a $50 million penthouse apartment. Cohen dismissed it as “a marketing stunt” proposed by his colleague Felix Sater, and deflated speculation that Trump was involved.

As Cohen fails to offer a collusion smoking gun, proponents of the collusion theory continue to hope one emerges in the case of former campaign chair Paul Manafort. In January, it emerged that Mueller has accused Manafort of lying to his team about sharing Trump polling data with his Ukrainian-Russian fixer, Konstantin Kilimnik, at some point during the 2016 campaign. According to Mueller, the FBI assesses that Kilimnik has an unspecified “relationship with Russian intelligence.” The alleged lie, a Mueller prosecutor told the court, goes to “the heart” of the special counsel’s mandate.

No indictments have resulted from this issue, and it makes no appearance in Mueller’s two sentencing memos in Manafort’s case. There is also the fact that, although sharing polling data with a Russian associate could theoretically go to “the heart” of the Mueller probe, Manafort’s actual case has nothing to do with it. As Virginia Judge T.S. Ellis noted at Manafort’s first sentencing last week, Manafort “is not before this court for anything having to do with collusion with the Russian government.” Manafort was instead accused and convicted of financial crimes stemming from his lobbying work in Ukraine. In sharing the polling data, The New York Timesnoted, Manafort “might have hoped that any proof he was managing a winning candidate would help him collect money he claimed to be owed for his work on behalf of the Ukrainian parties.”

If the the polling data is evidence of Trump-Russian collusion, or even if Kilimnik is an actual Russian intelligence official, then Mueller has yet to allege it. Manafort’s attorneys previously asked Mueller for any discovery showing contacts between Manafort and “Russian intelligence officials,” but were told that “there are no materials responsive to [those] requests.” The DC judge overseeing the case, Amy Berman Jackson, says, “Whether Kilimnik is tied to Russian intelligence or he’s not… I have not been provided with the evidence that I would need to decide.” Jackson has only ruled that Manafort’s alleged lie is material to the scope of Mueller’s inquiry. The language in Mueller’s appointment order, she ruled, “is sufficiently broad to get over the relatively low hurdle of materiality in this instance.”

That makes any relevance of the polling-data issue to collusion entirely speculative, but that is not how it has been treated. Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner, the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, dubbed Manafort’s sharing of polling data “the closest we’ve seen yet to real, live, actual collusion.” If Warner is correct, then his assessment only makes clear just how far the Russia probe remains from actual collusion.

Warner’s House Intelligence counterpart, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), does not fare better. Asked by CBS News if he has “direct evidence” of Trump-Russia collusion, Schiff cited the infamous e-mail sent by music publicist Rob Goldstone offering Donald Trump Jr. compromising information about Hillary Clinton on the Russian government’s behalf. But by Goldstone’s own account, his overture to Trump Jr. was “publicist puff,” and his claims of Russian government support for Trump were invented out of thin air: “I had no idea what I was talking about,” he told NPR last year. To date, Mueller has given us no reason to challenge that assessment. Goldstone and every other participant in the Trump Tower meeting has been questioned by Congress or Mueller; none have faced any charges related to it. In short, if Goldstone’s letter is “direct evidence” of a crime, Mueller has yet to allege it.

If this is the most damning evidence that the Democrats’ top Russia investigators can adduce, it is no wonder that the bipartisan Senate Intelligence probe has “uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia,” as NBC News reported last month. And amid rumblings that Mueller is wrapping up his investigation, it is also no wonder that Schiff and others who have ceaselessly promoted the Trump-Russia collusion theory are preparing their audiences for a letdown.

While insisting that there is “pretty compelling evidence” of collusion, Schiff now hedges by cautioning that Democrats should not attempt to impeach Trump “in the absence of very graphic evidence.” Asked by ABC News if he would accept it if Mueller “says definitively we find no collusion,” Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said that we can “agree or disagree. But this investigation goes far beyond collusion.” After two years of our hearing about the “beginning of the end” for Trump, several outlets now proclaim that it’s in fact “the end of the beginning.” CNN legal analyst Renato Marrioti instructs his followers that “Mueller’s report will almost certainly disappoint you, and it’s not his fault. It’s your fault for buying into Trump’s false narrative that it is Mueller’s job to prove ‘collusion.’” It certainly cannot be the fault of pundits like himself who have argued that “collusion” has already been established, or even charged.

Both Schiff and Nadler have now launched what two major outlets have described as “turbocharged” and “supercharged” congressional probes of Trump’s ties to Russia and alleged corruption. Perhaps they will uncover evidence that federal investigators have missed. Given that both probes are covering ground that the exhaustive and more powerful Mueller inquiry has already traversed, it would be wise not to get our hopes up.

Caution seems all the more prudent as Trump-Russia innuendo continues to overshadow the very real dangers in US-Russia relations. There has been a noted absence of media and political pushback (with some exceptions) to Trump’s withdrawing the United States from the INF Treaty with Russia, despite the increasing threat of a renewed arms race between the two Cold War powers. The Trump administration is escalating its opposition to the Nord Stream 2, a massive German-Russia pipeline project, by reportedly preparing to impose sanctions on it. More than two-dozen Senate Democrats have endorsed a bill that joins Trump in calling for the project’s cancellation. Trump’s ongoing coup attempt against Russia’s ally Venezuela has not only received a tepid Democratic response (also with some exceptions), but even support from party stalwarts including Representatives Schiff (CA), Nancy Pelosi (CA), Eliot Engel (NY), former vice president Joe Biden, former president Bill Clinton, and Senators Chuck Schumer (NY) and Dick Durbin (IL).

Democratic support for the hawkish foreign policy of a Republican White House is nothing new. The current dynamic, however, is unprecedented. Democrats and their media partisans frequently accuse the president of being soft on Russia or even a Kremlin conspirator, while simultaneously falling silent—or even offering an endorsement—when his reckless policies build tensions. That Trump’s dangerous moves against Russia are being overlooked amid the drive to prove that he and Putin are secretly in cahoots is one more reason to treat the Russiagate fixation with skepticism. Based on what it has yielded to date, the Mueller probe’s outcome may soon be another.

Published:3/15/2019 10:32:32 PM
[News] Strzok: Justice Department Reached Agreement With Clinton Lawyers To Block FBI Access To Clinton Foundation Emails

Peter Strzok: Clinton, DOJ ‘negotiated’ a deal that blocked FBI access to Clinton Foundation emails that were on her private server according to a newly released transcript. Fired FBI agent Peter Strzok told Congress last year that the agency “did not have access” to Clinton Foundation emails that were on Hillary’s private server because of a ...

The post Strzok: Justice Department Reached Agreement With Clinton Lawyers To Block FBI Access To Clinton Foundation Emails appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:3/15/2019 8:34:48 PM
[News] Strzok: Justice Department Reached Agreement With Clinton Lawyers To Block FBI Access To Clinton Foundation Emails

Peter Strzok: Clinton, DOJ ‘negotiated’ a deal that blocked FBI access to Clinton Foundation emails that were on her private server according to a newly released transcript. Fired FBI agent Peter Strzok told Congress last year that the agency “did not have access” to Clinton Foundation emails that were on Hillary’s private server because of a ...

The post Strzok: Justice Department Reached Agreement With Clinton Lawyers To Block FBI Access To Clinton Foundation Emails appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:3/15/2019 8:03:24 PM
[Markets] Exposing 'The Resistance': The Blind Leading The Deaf And Dumb

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

You had to wonder why it took Nancy Pelosi so long to figure out that maybe impeachment was not the big rock-candy mountain that, for “the resistance,” marked the gateway to a Trump-free nirvana. It became obvious this week, through the release of the Bruce Ohr and Lisa Page transcripts, that RussiaGate was birthed entirely by persons in the employ of Hillary Clintion, with then CIA Director John Brennan as midwife, and the DOJ / FBI avidly assisting - all of them fully aware that the predicate was false. What’s more, the evidence timeline makes it clear that Democratic Party leadership, including Nancy Pelosi, knew it was false. Hence, the pained smile she’s been wearing these many months.

In the event of an impeachment proceeding in the House, all that would be revealed, especially if it got as far as a trial in the US Senate, where the defense is allowed to mount a case under rules of evidence. Imagine the howls of embarrassment on late-night TV when even ex-comedian Stephen Colbert would have to admit that he was gulled into acting as a shill for a seditious con.

I suppose Ms. Pelosi also made the calculation that any impeachment ginned up by the likes of Jerrold Nadler and Maxine Waters would be superseded by a slew of actual indictments among the above-mentioned former law enforcement officialdom, including perhaps former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and persons in the Obama White House. You might even include the enigmatic Robert Mueller, who appears to be liable for the destruction of evidence in his own inquiry, as well as malicious prosecution.

All the actual evidence in the public arena indicates that any “collusion” to interfere with the 2016 election involved agents of the Clinton campaign and US government employees, not Russians. Of course, it will not be so easy for Mr. Nadler and Ms. Waters to call off the committee exercises they’ve been rehearsing, but it will be fun to watch them pissing into the wind as the indictments roll out.

In his new book, Peak Trump, David Stockman called the RussiaGate affair “a Democratic Party Bereavement Ritual,” an excellent diagnosis. The breast-beating and garment-rending has gone on for more than two years, inducing a generalized hysteria that has made it impossible for this country to govern itself, and opening the door to some really serious mischief as the party’s new Jacobin wing sets up for the advent of an American failed state.

All of this is a prelude to equally serious tribulation roaring down the two-lane pike of finance and economy that will combine with the engineered destruction of institutional authority from RussiaGate to bring on the greatest crisis since the Civil War. The money is not there to perform any of the miracles of redistribution promised by AOC and Bernie Sanders — unless the Federal Reserve is coerced into printing a whole lot more money out of thin air, in which case the consequence will be that everybody gets to have a lot of worthless money that has lost its value.

If congress wants to play committee games, it might want to investigate how the USA is going to rack up another $2 trillion in debt to finance its operations before the 2020 election. They’re the ones who will have to vote to allow that to happen. The disorders of money coming down in the months ahead, RussiaGate aside, are sure to discredit both political parties. I doubt that Mr. Trump will survive it politically and the revenant Republican Party behind him is so devoid of credible leadership that it could dissolve altogether like an evening mist preceding the cold darkness of night. By then, the whole American political establishment will be, as Mencken quipped, like a blind man stumbling around a dark cellar looking for a black cat that isn’t there.

Hysterias don’t last forever, but the economic depression ahead will last a long, long time, and the nation will have to find some way to adjust to a lower standard of living. None of the nostrums currently in the air — the guaranteed basic income, Medicare for all, the Green New Deal — will avail to alter that fate. The big question is just how disorderly and violent the journey through that will have to be.

Published:3/15/2019 4:30:23 PM
[] Peter Strzok's Congressional Testimony: Robert Mueller Never Asked Me About My Many, Many Anti-Trump Texts. He Didn't Seem to Care About Them At All. Impartial straight-arrow. After the anti-Trump texts came to light, Mueller booted Strzok from the special counsel probe, but according to the FBI agent's testimony, Mueller's team never asked him whether the anti-Trump bias revealed in his text messages impacted his... Published:3/15/2019 12:32:47 PM
[Politics] REVEALED: Obama DOJ made agreement with Hillary Clinton to keep emails AWAY from FBI… The transcript for Peter Strzok’s testimony to Congress has been released and now we know that the DOJ made a deal with Hillary Clinton’s attorneys to keep the FBI away from her . . . Published:3/15/2019 10:59:44 AM
[Politics] REVEALED: Obama DOJ made agreement with Hillary Clinton to keep emails AWAY from FBI… The transcript for Peter Strzok’s testimony to Congress has been released and now we know that the DOJ made a deal with Hillary Clinton’s attorneys to keep the FBI away from her . . . Published:3/15/2019 10:30:00 AM
[FBI] What Peter Strzok said (Scott Johnson) Rep. Doug Collins continues to release the testimony of key players in the great scandal of the Russia collusion hoax. There has never been anything like it in American politics and now that the House is controlled by the Democrats, House committees are not going to help us understand what happened. Yesterday Collins released the transcript of disgraced former FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok’s testimony to the House Judiciary Committee Published:3/15/2019 9:02:25 AM
[c9ffed96-b145-58ce-83bc-6d40674ce84d] Gregg Jarrett: Anti-Trump former FBI lovers Strzok and Page sound like Abbott and Costello in testimony Newly revealed congressional testimony has new details about hatred of Trump and support for Clinton by two FBI employees investigating them. Published:3/14/2019 7:55:40 PM
[In The News] Nunes Says Lisa Page’s Testimony Confirms Conspiracy To Protect Clinton

By Nick Givas -

Hillary Clinton odd face

GOP Rep. Devin Nunes of California said Thursday that former FBI lawyer Lisa Page confirmed the Justice Department conspired to bury Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Nunes was asked on “America’s Newsroom” about former GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe of Texas who tweeted out an excerpt of Page’s closed-door testimony before Congress. ...

Nunes Says Lisa Page’s Testimony Confirms Conspiracy To Protect Clinton 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:3/14/2019 6:25:32 PM
[Crime] “Desperate Housewives” Star Felicity Huffman Got 6 AM Guns Drawn FBI Agents At Her Door

ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman was cuffed by armed FBI agents in an early-morning raid with guns drawn.  She has been implicated in the massive college admissions cheating scandal along with other wealthy and famous parents who allegedly paid millions to have their children placed in elite universities. She got the Roger Stone treatment, except ...

The post “Desperate Housewives” Star Felicity Huffman Got 6 AM Guns Drawn FBI Agents At Her Door appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:3/14/2019 5:27:41 PM
[Crime] ‘Desperate Housewives’ Star Felicity Huffman Got 6 AM Guns Drawn FBI Agents At Her Door

ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman was cuffed by armed FBI agents in an early-morning raid with guns drawn.  She has been implicated in the massive college admissions cheating scandal along with other wealthy and famous parents who allegedly paid millions to have their children placed in elite universities. She got the Roger Stone treatment, except ...

The post ‘Desperate Housewives’ Star Felicity Huffman Got 6 AM Guns Drawn FBI Agents At Her Door appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:3/14/2019 5:27:41 PM
[Crime] Famous Actresses Among 50 Charged In College-Admissions Scam For Rich Kids

The FBI arrested fifty in a college admissions scam where wealthy parents paid big bribe money to guarantee their kid’s admission to elite schools

The post Famous Actresses Among 50 Charged In College-Admissions Scam For Rich Kids appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:3/14/2019 4:24:32 PM
[Crime] Famous Actresses Among 50 Charged In College-Admissions Scam For Rich Kids

The FBI arrested fifty in a college admissions scam where wealthy parents paid big bribe money to guarantee their kid’s admission to elite schools

The post Famous Actresses Among 50 Charged In College-Admissions Scam For Rich Kids appeared first on Godfather Politics.

Published:3/14/2019 4:24:32 PM
[In The News] Peter Strzok Deleted ‘Personal’ Communications With Lisa Page

By Chuck Ross -

Peter Strzok told Congress last year that he deleted communications with Lisa Page, but he claimed he did so for “personal” reasons An attorney for Strzok says that the former FBI official deleted the records before he was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia team Strzok testified that he ...

Peter Strzok Deleted ‘Personal’ Communications With Lisa Page 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:3/14/2019 3:54:06 PM
[World] Devin Nunes: Lisa Page Transcripts Show 'Orchestrated Effort' at DOJ, FBI Not to Prosecute Clinton

Rep. Devin Nunes said newly released transcripts of former FBI lawyer Lisa Page's closed-door testimony before Congress show that there was an "orchestrated effort" not to charge Hillary Clinton for her mishandling of classified information.

Published:3/14/2019 12:23:46 PM
[Markets] Ex-Obama Official Tried Pulling Strings To Have Smollett Case Transferred To FBI; Told To Pound Sand

Michelle Obama's former Chief of Staff, Tina Tchen, attempted to have the Jussie Smollett case transferred from the Chicago Police Department to the FBI, according to texts and emails released by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. 

Jussie Smollett, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx

Tchen, a Chicago-based attorney, reached out on Feb. 1 to Chicago's top prosecutor Kim Foxx - telling her that the "Empire" actor's family had "concerns" about the investigation. 

Smollett was considered at the time to be the victim of an assault, however the actor was subsequently charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report in connection with a staged hate crime. Last week, a Chicago grand jury slapped Smollett with a 16 count indictment for lying to the police - to which he pleaded not guilty on Thursday. 

"Spoke to the Superintendent Johnson," Foxx emailed Tchen on Feb. 1, in reference to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. "I convinced him to Reach out to FBI to ask that they take over the investigation." 

Foxx also texted with one of Smollett's relatives whose name was redacted from the text release, saying: "Spoke to the superintendent earlier, he made the ask ... Trying to figure out logistics. I’ll keep you posted." 

"OMG this would be a huge victory" the family member texted back. 

"I make no guarantees, but I'm trying" replied Foxx - who recused herself from the case on Feb. 20. 

Foxx recused herself from the investigation before Smollett was charged. Her first deputy, Joe Magats, is overseeing the case.

Foxx said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times that Smollett's family was concerned that aspects of the police investigation were being leaked to media.

They had no doubt about the quality of the investigation, but believed that the FBI would have a tighter lid on the information,” Foxx told the outlet.

Anthony Guglielmi, the police department's chief spokesman, said Foxx conveyed the request to Johnson that Tchen and the Smollett family member wanted the FBI to take over the investigation. -USA Today

Guglielmi said that the case was not moved to the FBI because "there was a lack of evidence" that Smollett was the victim of a federal hate crime

"There was no federal jurisdiction," said Guglielmi, who added that the FBI has been assisting the police investigation. "If there was ever a point where they felt it was within federal jurisdiction, it would have easily gone there."

Smollett claimed that he was the victim of a predawn hate crime on January 29 in which two men assaulted him while he was on his way home after buying a sandwich; hurling racial and antigay slurs at him, dousing him in a liquid, placing a noose around his neck (which he was still wearing when police arrived later that morning), and punching him in the face. 

Police allege that Smollett, who is black and gay, staged a Jan 29 homophobic, racist attack because he was unhappy with his salary to boost his profile. 

The incident sparked national outrage - with the left-leaning mainstream media and prominent Democrats uncritically supporting Smollett's version of events; holding it up as a prime example of violent Donald Trump supporters

Two suspects in the case, Nigerian-American brothers Ola and Abel Osundario - one of whom has been an extra on Empire, told police that Smollett paid them a combined $3,500 to stage the "attack," and that the three of them had practiced it 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.

 

Published:3/14/2019 11:53:07 AM
[2019 News] Hillary Clinton received what amounts to a secret pre-pardon from the Obama DOJ Hillary Clinton received what amounts to a secret pre-pardon from the Obama DOJ. It’s amazing what happens as the result of tarmac meetings where only grandchildren and recipes are discussed. The attorney general at the time was Loretta Lynch. She infamously held a secret tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton just prior to the FBI recommending against charging […] Published:3/14/2019 11:23:14 AM
[] Is the FBI Trying to Rehabilitate Its Tattered Reputation By Overpublicizing What Is, Let's Face It, a Fairly Rinky-Dink College Bribery Scandal? I saw the FBI preening about this and disliked them even more than I had before. These were real crimes, and they should be punished; but the stagecraft of the announcement was purely political. It wasn't about law enforcement; it... Published:3/14/2019 10:52:41 AM
[Uncategorized] Lisa Page Transcripts: FBI had ‘Paucity of Evidence’ for Russia Investigation, Discussed Trump ‘Insurance Policy’ DOJ told FBI not to press charges against Hillary Clinton. Published:3/14/2019 10:24:28 AM
[Markets] Lynch Testimony Reveals Bias And Intent For Failing To Give Trump Defensive Briefing

Via SaraCarter.com,

President Donald Trump’s campaign was never given a defensive briefing by the FBI, despite mounting concerns that Russians were allegedly trying to penetrate the campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

In testimony provided by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, along with others, it is the key finding that won’t bode well for the FBI and DOJ. It also raises significant questions regarding the treatment of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and whether she ever received ‘defensive briefings’ in detail from the bureau. Lynch’s testimony is still not public but has been reviewed by SaraACarter.com.

The defensive briefing, after all, is a procedure that is often given to presidential candidates, elected officials and even U.S. businesses that have either been unwittingly approached by foreign actors attempting to gain trust and befriend those in position of influence.

The briefing allows the government to protect the candidates, specifically if there is substantial information or knowledge to suggest that someone has targeted an unwitting American for information. If the FBI or intelligence agencies suspect foreign adversaries may be trying to penetrate a presidential campaign, as those FBI and DOJ sources suggested in testimony to lawmakers, it would then be required to warn those affected, a senior former intelligence official told SaraACarter.com.

Why? Because foreign adversaries like China and Russia for example, and even allies, will attempt to glean information – or favor – from unwitting persons with access to senior level officials. The access can assist those nation’s own national interest or provide access for intelligence collection.

In the case of Trump, the FBI gave only a general counterintelligence briefing but did not provide information to the campaign that the FBI believed there were specific counterintelligence threats. For example, the FBI’s concern over campaign advisors George Papadopolous, Carter Page and then concerns over former national security advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

“It is an essential task of the FBI and the intelligence community to give a defensive briefing to a presidential candidate when a foreign adversary is attempting to penetrate or make contact with someone in the campaign,” said a former senior intelligence official.

“If the FBI and DOJ were so concerned about Carter Page and (George) Papadopolous why didn’t they brief Trump when he became a candidate? The fact that they didn’t is very revealing. If they gave defensive briefing to the Clinton campaign then I think we have the answer.”

Bruce Ohr’s 268-page testimony, released last week by Georgia Rep. Doug Collins reveals the machinations of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign and the players involved. Ohr’s testimony coupled with testimony provided by former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, which has not been released but reviewed by this reporter, along with former FBI General Counsel James Baker’s testimony reveals a startling fact: everyone appeared to say they were concerned the Russian’s were penetrating the Trump campaign but no one at the DOJ or FBI authorized a defensive briefing.

Lynch and Failure to Give Defensive Briefing 

Let’s start with Lynch’s testimony, which has not yet been made public.

In her testimony, Lynch she admits that senior officials at the FBI and DOJ did not provide a briefing to then candidate-Trump. Those discussions, according to Lynch, also included former FBI Director James Comey. It appears they all discussed that the defensive briefing was an option but never followed through. None of those persons who testified about those discussions has a clear answer to why none was given.

“Were you aware that George Papadopoulos was under investigation by the FBI,” an investigator asked Lynch during last years closed door hearing.

“I was aware that his activities were of concern,” Lynch replied.

“Were you aware that he was associated with the Trump campaign,” the investigator followed up.

Lynch then says, “you know, I knew that but, again, I don’t have specifics and certainly at that – thinking back to that time, I don’t know if I knew his role at that time in the campaign.”

The investigator then presses Lynch, asking “did you know he had some sort of role?”

“As far as my recollection is, yes,” Lynch answers.

The investigator goes one step further:

“So there are these investigations launched into two individuals, in your mind, somehow associated with the Trump campaign…Did you consider any other options other than an investigation?”

Lynch explains, “it’s when information is provided to someone usually as a result of the intelligence community learning information that may impact them, in the context in which I’m aware of it, in their official role, or in their official business.”

The investigator then asks was “defensive briefings given to candidates for the presidency?”

“Certain types of defense briefings are, is my understanding,” Lynch states.”It’s not something that I was personally involved in. They received – they do receive security briefings. I’m only aware of that from discussions with members of the intelligence community.”

The revelation:

“Did you ever discuss whether the Trump campaign should be defensively briefed on either Carter Page or George Papadopoulos,” asks the investigator, who reiterates if they were under scrutiny whey didn’t the FBI and DOJ make Trump aware.

“I was certainly aware that it was an option, but I don’t know what, if anything, ever happened to that option,” Lynch answers. “Without getting into specific discussions, it certainly is an option that one would consider, but I don’t know if those actions were ever taken.”

When asked if Lynch was involved in discussing defensive briefings with the Trump campaign about Carter and Papadopolous, she only replies “not to the level of giving direction.”

“Again, I’m just being careful because of the nature of the information,” she stresses. “Certainly, it’s always an option, but at a very early stage, you would have it as an option, and you would evaluate it as time goes on, and I don’t have any information about further resolution of that issue.”

Lisa Page

Lisa Page’s testimony may answer some questions as to why the Trump campaign was not given a defensive briefing.

She states that Trump was not a target at the time but that it was members of his campaign that the bureau was concerned about.

This makes no sense at all. If the FBI was concerned about allegations that Carter Page and Papadopolous were allegedly being influenced by the Russians they would’ve given Trump, who was a presidential candidate at the time, a defensive briefing.

The FBI had worked with Carter Page in the past on a separate case connected to Russia so why wouldn’t the FBI provide a fair warning to Trump when Carter Page joined as a volunteer for the campaign.

In Page’s transcript she indicated to Rep. John Ratcliff, R-Texas, under questioning that the bureau had no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia prior to launch of the FBI and special counsel investigation.

“So I think this represents that even as far as May of 2017, we still couldn’t answer the question,” said Page, who said that up until May 2017 the bureau still didn’t have any evidence of collusion or conspiracy.

Gowdy Questions Page

Under questioning by then-Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-SC, regarding her text messages to Strzok, Page states that the bureau was concerned about someone in the campaign was working with Russians to get damaging information on Clinton. But she admitted that they still didn’t have evidence up until May 2017?

“We had a number of discussions up through and including the Director regularly in which we were trying to find an answer to the question, right, which is, is there someone associated with the campaign, who is working with the Russians in order to obtain damaging information about Hillary Clinton,” Page told Gowdy, regarding the texts.

She also says later in her testimony to Gowdy “as I sort of explained, if he is not going to be President, then we don‘t need to burn longstanding sources and risk sort of the loss of future investigative outlets, not in this case, but in other Russia–related matters…”

Page states that the FBI didn’t believe Trump was colluding with Russia but maybe someone was within in the campaign. In her mind Trump wasn’t going to win so why “burn longstanding sources.”

The one question I would’ve asked those testifying, is the one question the lawmakers never asked: ‘Did the DOJ and FBI provide defensive briefings to Hillary Clinton’s campaign at any point in time and on any matter involving any foreigners attempting to access her campaign?’

If anything, this is a significant question that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz should consider as he continues his investigation into possible malfeasance in the FBI’s handling of Trump campaign and Russia investigation.

Published:3/14/2019 9:23:04 AM
[Markets] Top Mueller Prosecutor Weissmann Steps Down In Latest Sign Probe Ending

Andrew Weissmann, perhaps the 'angriest' Democrat on special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, is leaving the investigation and will return to the private sector, according to NPR, citing two sources. 

Considered the "architect" of the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort - who was sentenced to a combined 7.5 years in prison for financial crimes related to his private business dealings, Weissmann will now study and teach at New York University. He will also embark on several public service projects, such as how to prevent wrongful convictions by improving forensic science standards. 

As NPR notes, "The departure is the strongest sign yet that Mueller and his team have all but concluded their work."

Weissmann - who wasn't able to link Manafort to collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, has come under fire from conservatives for his extreme liberalism. He attended Hillary Clinton's election night party in 2016, and was one of several officials told by then-DOJ #4 Bruce Ohr prior to the DOJ obtaining a FISA surveillance warrant that the 'Steele Dossier' was opposition research connected to Clinton and might be biased. Weissmann was the head of the DOJ's fraud section at the time. 

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon also issued a warning about Weissmann and other senior members of the special counsel team when they were named in 2017.

Other departures signaling the end of Mueller's probe

While Weissmann's departure is the largest indication to date that the Mueller probe is near its end, several other investigators have already left the special counsel's office - including the senior-most FBI agent working the case; David Archey. Archey will head up the FBI's Richmond, VA office.

Another prosecutor, Brandon Van Grack, is now leading a DOJ effort to enforce compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) - a law requiring that people disclose if they are representing foreign powers in the United States. Created in 1938, the law remained virtually unenforced until the DOJ was able to nab Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates, who failed to register as foreign agents while representing the government of Ukraine. Notably, lobbyist Tony Podesta - who worked alongside Manafort, had the uncanny foresight to retroactively file as a foreign agent months before Manafort was charged. 

Weissmann's past successes

One of the reason Andrew Weissmann was considered such a threat to the Trump team is his long history of unraveling complex financial ties and securing cooperative witnesses in order to build criminal cases against higher-ups. 

As a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, Weissmann won a conviction against the head of the Gambino crime family, using testimony from Sammy "The Bull" Gravano and others.

He went on to lead the Justice Department task force investigating fraud at Enron Corp., a high-flying energy company whose chief executives, Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, were convicted by a jury in Houston.

Lay died before he could be sentenced. Skilling served 12 years behind bars before his recent release. -NPR

"Throughout his career, Andrew has had unparalleled success in building case after case against the most sophisticated criminals in the world," said former colleague Leslie Caldwell. "He took on New York's most feared organized crime families, unraveled the incredibly ornate frauds at Enron, and has tracked international criminals, exposing their carefully concealed financial dealings in many dark corners of the world." 

 

Published:3/14/2019 7:53:47 AM
[Markets] Facebook Under Criminal Investigation Over Data Deals

Some of Facebook's largest data deals are under federal criminal investigation following a nightmare year of scandals, reports the New York Timeswhich reveals that a New York grand jury has subpoenaed records from at least two leading manufacturers of smartphones and other devices which gained access to personal data of hundreds of millions of users

The companies were among more than 150 firms, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Sony, that had cut sharing deals with the world’s dominant social media platform. The agreements, previously reported in The New York Times, let the companies see users’ friends, contact information and other data, sometimes without consent. Facebook has phased out most of the partnerships over the past two years. -New York Times

Facebook - known for its occasional mistakes, said in a statement that they are "cooperating with investigators" and assured the Times that they "take those probes seriously.

It is unclear when the grand jury probe started, nor has the scope or focus of the inquiry been disclosed. It is being overseen by prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York. 

The company is simultaneously facing investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), while the Justice Department's fraud division began investigating the social media giant following reports that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly harvested the Facebook data of up to 87 million people for political purposes. 

The investigation into the Cambridge Analytica scandal by both the DOJ and FBI is ongoing in the Northern District of California, with one former Cambridge employee reporting that he was questioned by investigators as recently as several weeks ago, while three other witnesses in the case said that much of the questioning revolved around Facebook's claims that it was misled by Cambridge

In public statements, Facebook executives had said that Cambridge told the company it was gathering data only for academic purposes. But the fine print accompanying a quiz app that collected the information said it could also be used commercially. Selling user data would have violated Facebook’s rules at the time, yet the social network does not appear to have regularly checked that apps were complying. Facebook deleted the quiz app in December 2015.

The disclosures about Cambridge last year thrust Facebook into the worst crisis of its history. Then came news reports last June and December that Facebook had given business partners — including makers of smartphones, tablets and other devices — deep access to users’ personal information, letting some companies effectively override users’ privacy settings. -New York Times

Facebook's orgy of data sharing allowed companies such as Microsoft map out the friends of virtually every Facebook user over Bing without their explicit consent, while Amazon was able to harvest users' names and contact information through their friends

In fact, thanks to the United States having no general consumer privacy laws regarding dataup to 400 million people's private information was freely shared with the likes of Google, Netflix, Spotify and other partners - and Facebook didn't sell it; they gave everyone's information away for free throughout the tech community in order to foster industry relationships and advance their own interests. 

China's Huawei and Russian search giant Yandex - accused last year by Ukraine of funneling user data to the Kremlin - also had access to Facebook's unique user IDs.

Facebook records show Yandex had access in 2017 to Facebook’s unique user IDs even after the social network stopped sharing them with other applications, citing privacy risks. A spokeswoman for Yandex, which was accused last year by Ukraine’s security service of funneling its user data to the Kremlin, said the company was unaware of the access and did not know why Facebook had allowed it to continue. She added that the Ukrainian allegations “have no merit.” -NYT

Facebook was able to circumvent a 2011 consent agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which barred the company from sharing user data without explicit permission, because Facebook considered the partners extensions of itself - "service providers that allowed users to interact with their Facebook friends." 

"This is just giving third parties permission to harvest data without you being informed of it or giving consent to it," said former FTC consumer protection bureau chief David Vladeck. "I don’t understand how this unconsented-to data harvesting can at all be justified under the consent decree."

Facebook has defended itself aggressively - claiming that the partnerships were permitted under a provision in the FTC agreement covering service providers as "extensions" of the social network. 

Perhaps they were, once again, mistaken

Published:3/13/2019 8:49:38 PM
[World] Judge Napolitano on Lisa Page Saying Comey Did Not Decide Against Charging Hillary Clinton with Espionage

Judge Andrew Napolitano said Wednesday that it is a "head-scratcher" as to why then-FBI Director James Comey apparently lied during a 2016 public announcement in which he indemnified Hillary Clinton from federal prosecution.

Published:3/13/2019 1:20:06 PM
[World] Lori Loughlin Surrenders to FBI, Taken Into Custody Over College Admission Scandal Lori LoughlinLori Loughlin surrendered to the FBI on Wednesday morning over her alleged involvement in a major college entrance exam scheme, FBI press office confirms to E! News. The Fuller House star was...
Published:3/13/2019 11:48:02 AM
[Markets] Explosive Lisa Page Testimony: Dossier Timeline Contradictions And DOJ Interference

Via SaraCarter.com,

Testimony provided to Congress from former FBI lawyer Lisa Page reveals contradictions as to when she learned about former British spy Christopher Steele’s anti-Trump dossier, sheds light on the “insurance policy” and exposes the Obama Justice Department’s decision not to charge Hillary Clinton with allegedly violating the Espionage Act.

Page’s testimony, which was delivered behind closed doors last July before a joint task force of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees, reveals the internal machinations between senior bureau leadership and the DOJ. Basically, her testimony adds more depth to what happened during the critical months during the FBI’s investigation into President Trump’s election campaign and the bureau’s “Midyear Exam” investigation into Clinton.

As for the Clinton investigation, Page said the bureau “did not blow over gross negligence.” She told Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, there were ongoing discussions with former FBI Director James Comey and other senior officials about the issue. She said “on its face, it did seem like, well, maybe there’s a potential here for this to be the charge. And we had multiple conversations, multiple conversations with the Justice Department about charging gross negligence,” she said.

She added “the Justice Department’s assessment was that it was both constitutionally vague, so that they did not actually feel that they could permissibly bring that charge.”

Page’s testimony does coincide with what former FBI General Counsel James Baker’s told the committee on “gross negligence.” In testimony he stated that he originally believed Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of highly classified information was “alarming” and “appalling,”  as first reported at SaraACarter.com. He also believed her use of a private server to send the classified emails was sufficient enough to secure an indictment to possibly charge her for violations under the Espionage Act, for mishandling sensitive government documents.

However, her testimony focuses on the DOJ’s push not to charge Clinton, whereas Baker puts the onus on Comey. He said Comey did not believe the charges would stick and that he argued with Comey until just before the public announcement not to charge Clinton. Baker suggested he changed his mind shortly before Comey announced publicly on July 5, 2016 not to charge the then presidential candidate.

Crossfire Hurricane

Page also expands on the FBI’s controversial “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into members of the Trump campaign and links the investigation to controversial text messages made between her and former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok regarding the “insurance policy” against Trump. Strzok and Page were removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation after their anti-Trump text messages were discovered. Page left the FBI and Strzok was fired shortly after DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz report was made public last year.

Page expresses in her testimony that during the investigation into the Trump campaign there was a sentiment at the time among bureau officials regarding the president’s electability: nobody believed he would win.

“So, upon the opening of the crossfire hurricane investigation, we had a number of discussions up through and including the Director regularly in which we were trying to find an answer to the question, right, which is, is there someone associated with the [Trump] campaign who is working with the Russians in order to obtain damaging information about Hillary Clinton,” states Page.

She adds, “and given that it is August, we were very aware of the speed and sensitivity that we needed to operate under.”

“[W]e don’t need to go at a total breakneck speed because so long as he doesn’t become President, there isn’t the same threat to national security, right,” Page added.

“But if he becomes President, that totally changes the game.”

Ohr and Page Testimony On Steele Don’t Match Up

Moreover, Page contradicts Ohr’s testimony regarding when she first knew about former British spy Christopher Steele’s dossier. She claims in her testimony that she did not know about the dossier in August 2016, however, Ohr’s testimony reveals that he delivered Steele’s information to the bureau shortly after meeting with Steele. In fact, he met with former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and specifically, Page at the bureau to deliver the information.

Ohr reveals this during an exchange with then-Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Trey Gowdy, R-SC.

“Why? Why did you meet with them,” asks Gowdy.

“To pass the latest information that I had received,” Ohr responds.

“How did you find out who to meet with? Who did you call to find out,” questions Gowdy.

Ohr explains that prior to that meeting with McCabe and Page he had met with Steele on July 30, 2016.

“After the July 30th meeting with Chris Steele, I wanted to provide the information he had given me to the FBI. I reached out for Andrew McCabe, at that time, Deputy Director of the FBI and somebody who had previously led the organized crime, Russian organized crime squad in New York and who I had worked with in the past, and asked if he could meet with me,” he said. 

“I went to his office to provide the information, and Lisa Page was there. So I provided the information to them. And some point after that, I think, I was given Peter Strzok, or somehow put in contact with Peter Strzok.”

Gowdy then asks when exactly did Ohr meet Strzok and Page.

“I don’t recall the exact date,” Ohr says.

“I’m guessing it would have been in August since I met with Chris Steele at the end of July, and I’m pretty sure I would have reached out to Andrew McCabe soon afterwards.”

Published:3/13/2019 11:48:02 AM
[Politics] Trump: Lisa Page Transcripts Prove Obama DOJ Was Corrupt Following the release of hundreds of pages of transcripts from last year's closed-door interview with ex-FBI attorney Lisa Page, President Donald Trump tweeted a rebuke of the corruption of the Obama administration's Justice Department. Published:3/13/2019 10:48:50 AM
[Markets] Meet The Man Behind The "Largest College Admissions Scam Ever"

A $25 million racketeering and money laundering conspiracy that was at the center of the "largest college admission scam ever" saw its ringleader unmasked thanks to the Wall Street Journal.  The man at the center of the scheme is 58-year-old William Rick Singer. We reported on the scandal at length yesterday. 

Singer is called a "self described serial entrepreneur" who appeared to have found his niche in helping young people get into college. He was the founder of the Edge College & Career Network, the institution that helped broker bribes between the uber-wealthy and prestigious colleges. According to the company’s website, his goal was to "help alleviate the anxiety of getting into college" because he “has seen first hand the stress that the college admissions and athletics recruiting process can put on a family."

Following yesterday's charges, Singer pled guilty to racketeering, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of justice. He is looking at between 15 and 19 1/2 years in prison for his crimes. During his court appearance, after a federal prosecutor ran through a number of alleged offenses committed by Singer, he confessed, saying: "Your honor, everything that [the prosecutor] said is true."

He also admitted to the judge that he knew he was breaking the law and that he had done "many more" things. He detailed, at length, his entire test taking scheme, saying that he would often claim students had learning disabilities in order to help control testing sites.

Singer said: "If we could ensure that, we would secure a score that would be strong enough so they could get into the schools they wanted to go to."

“The only way the scheme could work was if I could control the proctor and the site coordinator,” he continued.

He also admitted to bribing test administrators and bringing his own proctors for tests. 

Singer told the court that the kids always thought they were taking the test, but that the proctor and the administrator knew it was fixed. “The kids thought they really took the test but the proctor and administrator knew. I’m absolutely responsible,” he said. 

He explained that he arranged for students to write the answers on a separate sheet and then the proctor would bubble in the correct answers before the test was submitted. He also admitted to creating false sports profiles of students, simply stating he would "take a picture of the students face and put it on somebody else".

Actress Lori Laughlin was also charged yesterday

Singer described an example of how he would operate: if a family wanted his services, he would arrange a scheme wherein they would, for example, make a $500,000 donation to a college's athletics program and then a separate $200,000 donation to Singer's charity, which was supposed to be for underdeserved kids. Singer's company website says that he’s helped guide thousands of high school students on the college admission process.

His website states: "We partner with your son or daughter to identify their strengths, unlock their potential, choose the right college, position themselves for admission, and outline a course of study and extracurricular experiences to lead to a life of success."

One of his clients, Greg Abbott, CEO of International Dispensing Corp, claimed that he heard of Singer's services through a network of New York City mothers. Abbott had spoken to the FBI and called the entire situation "insane".

“Literally, we were involved with this guy for our daughter to help out with college counseling and he gets f— arrested. We didn’t know he was doing this s—,” he told the Wall Street Journal. 

Singer is set to be sentenced in June.

Published:3/13/2019 8:18:22 AM
[Clinton emails] What Lisa Page said (Scott Johnson) Rep. Doug Collins has released the testimony of former FBI lawyer Lisa Page to the House Judiciary Committee over two days this past July. He has posted day 1 (July 13) of Page’s testimony here. He has posted day 2 (July 16) of Page’s testimony here. I have embedded the two transcripts below via Scribd. I have just turned to these transcripts this morning, but I can borrow President Trump’s Published:3/13/2019 7:20:59 AM
[Markets] RussiaGate As Organised Distraction

Authored by Prof. Oliver Boyd-Barrett, via Organisation for Propaganda Studies,

For over two years RussiaGate has accounted for a substantial proportion of all mainstream US media political journalism and, because US media have significant agenda-setting propulsion, of global media coverage as well. The timing has been catastrophic.

The Trump Administration has shredded environmental protections, jettisoned nuclear agreements, exacerbated tensions with US rivals, and pandered to the rich.

In place of sustained media attention to the end of the human species from global warming, its even more imminent demise in nuclear warfare, or the further evisceration of democratic discourse in a society riven by historically unprecedented wealth inequalities and unbridled capitalistic greed, corporate media suffocate their publics with a puerile narrative of alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

The RussiaGate discourse is profoundly mendacious and hypocritical. It presumes that the US is a State whose electoral system enjoys a high degree of public trust and security. Nothing could be further from the truth. The US democratic system is deeply entrenched in a dystopian two-party system dominated by the rich and largely answerable to corporate oligopolies; it is ideologically beholden to the values of extreme capitalism and imperialist domination. Problems with the US electoral system and media are extensive and well documented.

US electoral procedures are profoundly compromised by an electoral college that detaches votes counted from votes that count. The composition of electoral districts have been gerrymandered to minimize the possibility of electoral surprises. Voting is dependent on easily hackable corporate-manufactured electronic voting systems.

Right-wing administrations reach into a tool-box of voter-suppression tactics that run the gamut from minimizing available voting centers and voting machines through to excessive voter identification requirements and the elimination of swathes of the voting lists (e.g. groups such as people who have committed felonies or people whose names are similar to those of felons, or people who have not voted in previous elections).

Even the results of campaigns are corrupted when outgoing regimes abuse their remaining weeks in power to push through regulations or legislation that will scuttle the efforts of their successors.

Democratic theory presupposes the formal equivalence of voice in the battlefield of ideas. Nothing could be further from the reality of the US “democratic” system in which a small number of powerful interests enjoy ear-splitting megaphonic advantage on the basis of often anonymous “dark” money donations filtered through SuperPacs and their ilk, operating outside the confines of (the somewhat more transparently monitored) ten-week electoral campaigns.

Regarding media, democratic theory presupposes a public communications infrastructure that facilities the free and open exchange of ideas. No such infrastructure exists.  Mainstream media are owned and controlled by a small number of large, multi-media and multi-industrial conglomerates that lie at the very heart of US oligopoly capitalism and much of whose advertising revenue and content is furnished from other conglomerates.

The inability of mainstream media to sustain an information environment that can encompass histories, perspectives and vocabularies that are free of the shackles of US plutocratic self-regard is also well documented.

Current US media coverage of the US-gestated crisis in Venezuela is a case in point. The much celebrated revolutionary potential of social media is illusory. The principal suppliers of social media architecture are even more corporatized than their legacy predecessors. They depend not just on corporate advertising but on the sale of big data that they pilfer from users and sell to corporate and political propagandists often for non-transparent AI-assisted micro-targeting during ‘persuasion’ campaigns.

Like their legacy counterparts, social media are imbricated within, collaborate with, and are vulnerable to the machinations of the military-industry-surveillance establishment. So-called election meddling across the world has been an outstanding feature of the exploitation of social and legacy media by companies linked to political, defense and intelligence such as – but by no means limited to – the former Cambridge Analytica and its British parent SCL.

Against this backdrop of electoral and media failures, it makes little sense to elevate discussion of and attention to the alleged social media activities of, say, Russia’s Internet Research Agency. Attention is being directed away from substantial, and substantiated, problems and onto trivial, and unsubstantiated, problems.

Moreover, in a climate of manufactured McCarthyite hysteria, RussiaGate further presupposes that any communication between a presidential campaign and Russia is in itself a deplorable thing. Even if one were to confine this conversation only to communication between ruling oligarchs of both the US and Russia, however, the opposite would surely be the case. This is not simply because of the benefits that accrue from a broader understanding of the world, identification of shared interests and opportunities, and their promise for peaceful relations.

real politik analysis might advise the insertion of wedges between China and Russia so as to head off the perceived threat to the USA of a hybrid big-power control over a region of the world that has long been considered indispensable for truly global hegemony.

Even if we address RussiaGate as a problem worthy of our attention, the evidentiary basis for the major claims is weak. The ultimate unfolding of RussiaGate discourse now awaits the much-anticipated report of Special Counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller. Mueller’s indictments and investigations have to date implicated several individuals for activities that in some cases have no connection whatsoever to the 2016 Presidential campaign.  In some other instances they appear to have been more about lies and obstructions to his investigation rather than material illegal acts, or amount to charges that are unlikely ever to be contested in a court of law.

The investigation itself is traceable back to two significant but extremely problematic reports made public in January 2017. One was the “Steele dossier” by former MI6 officer Christopher Steele. This is principally of interest for its largely unsupported allegations that in some sense or another Trump was in cahoots with Russia. Steele’s company, Orbis, was commissioned to write the report by Fusion GPS which in turn was contracted by attorneys working for the Democratic National Campaign.

Passage of earlier drafts of the Steele report through sources close to British intelligence, and accounts by Trump adviser George Papadopoulos concerning conversations he had concerning possible Russian possession of Clinton emails with a character who may as likely have been a British as a Russian spy, were instrumental in stimulating FBI interest in and spying on the Trump campaign.

There are indirect links between Christopher Steele, another former MI6 agent, Pablo Miller (who also worked for Orbis) and Sergei Skripal, a Russian agent who had been recruited as informer to MI6 by Miller and who was the target of an attempted assassination in 2018. This event has occasioned controversial, not to say highly implausible and mischievous British government claims and accusations against Russia.

The  most significant matter raised by a second report, issued by the Intelligence Community Assessment and representing the conclusions of a small team picked from the Director of Intelligence office, CIA, FBI and NSA, was its claim that Russian intelligence was responsible for the hacking of the computer systems of the DNC and its chairman John Podesta in summer 2016 and that the hacked documents had been passed to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. No evidence for this was supplied.

Although the hacking allegations have become largely uncontested articles of faith in the RussiaGate discourse they are significantly reliant on the problematic findings of a small private company hired by the DNC. There is also robust evidence that the documents may have been leaked rather than hacked, and by US-based sources.

The fact that the documents revealed that the DNC, a supposedly neutral agent in the primary campaign, had in fact been biased in favor of the candidature of Hillary Clinton, and that Clinton’s private statements to industry were not in keeping with her public positions, has long been obscured in media memory in favor a preferred narrative of Russian villainy.

Why then does the RussiaGate discourse have so much traction? Who benefits?

First, RussiaGate serves the interest of a (1)corrupted Democratic Party, whose biased and arguably incompetent campaign management lost it the 2016 election, in alliance with with (2)powerful factions of the US industrial-military-surveillance establishment that for the past 19 years, through NATO and other malleable international agencies, has sought to undermine Putin’s leadership, dismember Russia and the Russian Federation (undoubtedly for the benefit of western capital) and, more latterly, further contain China in a perpetual and titanic struggle for the heart of EurAsia.

In so far as Trump had indicated (for whatever reasons) in the course of his campaign that he disagreed with at least some aspects of this long-term strategy, he came to be viewed as unreliable by the US security state. While serving the immediate purpose of containing Trump, US accusations of Russian meddling in US elections were farcical in the context of a well-chronicled history of US “meddling” in the elections and politics of nations for over 100 years. This meddling across  all hemispheres has included the staging of coups, invasions and occupations on false pretext in addition to numerous instances of “color revolution” strategies involving the financing of opposition parties and provoking uprisings, frequently coupled with economic warfare (sanctions).

A further beneficiary (3)is the sum of all those interests that favor a narrowing of public expression to a framework supportive of neoliberal imperialism. Paradoxically exploiting the moral panic associated with both Trump’s plaintive wailing about “fake news” whenever mainstream media coverage is critical of him, and social media embarrassment over exposure of their big data sales to powerful corporate customers, these interests have called for more regulation of, as well as self-censorship by, social media.

Social media responses increasingly involve more restrictive algorithms and what are often partisan “fact-checkers” (illustrated by Facebook financial support for and dependence on the pro-NATO “think tank,” the Atlantic Council). The net impact has been devastating for many information organizations in the arena of social media whose only “sin” is analysis and opinion that runs counter to elite neoliberal propaganda. The standard justification of such attacks on free expression is to insinuate ties to Russia and/or to terrorism.

Given these heavy handed and censorious responses by powerful actors, it would appear perhaps that the RussiaGate narrative is increasingly implausible to many and the only hope now for its proponents is to stifle questioning. These are dark days indeed for democracy.

Published:3/12/2019 9:44:30 PM
[The Blog] Lisa Page: FBI discussed charging Clinton with ‘gross negligence’ but the DOJ said no

"That’s correct."

The post Lisa Page: FBI discussed charging Clinton with ‘gross negligence’ but the DOJ said no appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:3/12/2019 7:43:44 PM
[Education] FBI Exposes Wealthy Parents Rigging College for Kids. But It Was Always Rigged.

The FBI dropped a new bombshell on Tuesday, and this time the scandal is Russian-free. Dozens of wealthy parents, including notable celebrities, were charged in... Read More

The post FBI Exposes Wealthy Parents Rigging College for Kids. But It Was Always Rigged. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:3/12/2019 5:12:43 PM
[] FBI Brings RICO Charges Against "Massive" College-Admissions Rigging Conspiracy;Actresses Lori Laughlin and Felicity Huffman Charged With Paying to Get Their Kids Cheated Into Schools To be honest, my faith in the "Incorruptible Straight-Arrows of the FBI" is near-zero, and I don't know if I could sit on any jury involving a case the FBI developed. But this is what the Incorruptible Straight-Arrows are claiming,... Published:3/12/2019 3:42:59 PM
[Politics] RELEASED: Read Judiciary Committee’s FULL closed-door interview with Lisa Page Republican Congressman Doug Collins has now released the transcript of the Judiciary Committee’s closed door interview with former FBI agent Lisa Page. The interview occurred last year. You can now read both . . . Published:3/12/2019 2:42:24 PM
[Politics] RELEASED: Read Judiciary Committee’s FULL closed-door interview with Lisa Page Republican Congressman Doug Collins has now released the transcript of the Judiciary Committee’s closed door interview with former FBI agent Lisa Page. The interview occurred last year. You can now read both . . . Published:3/12/2019 2:11:52 PM
[The Blog] Oh my: Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman charged in FBI bust in RICO college-admissions fraud case

Desperate housewives?

The post Oh my: Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman charged in FBI bust in RICO college-admissions fraud case appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:3/12/2019 11:12:52 AM
[World] John Kennedy Rips Andrew McCabe For Politicizing FBI in Trump Probe

Senate Judiciary Committee Member John N. Kennedy said fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is crooked and should hide his head in a paper bag.

Published:3/11/2019 12:26:01 PM
[Markets] The Orientalism Of Western Russophobia

Authored by Max Parry via Off-Guardian.org,

Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the publication of Edward W. Said’s pioneering book, Orientalism, as well as fifteen years since the Palestinian-American intellectual’s passing. To bid farewell to such an important scholar shortly after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, which Said fiercely criticized until his dying breath before succumbing to leukemia, made an already tremendous loss that much more impactful.

An illustration from a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Russia’s Turn to its Asian Past” depicting Vladimir Putin as Genghis Khan.

His seminal text forever reoriented political discourse by painstakingly examining the overlooked cultural imperialism of colonial history in the West’s construction of the so-called Orient. Said meticulously interrogated the Other-ing of the non-Western world in the humanities, arts, and anthropology down to its minutiae. As a result, the West was forced to confront not just its economic and political plunder but the long-established cultural biases filtering the lens through which it viewed the East which shaped its dominion over it.

His writings proved to be so influential that they laid the foundations for what is now known as post-colonial theory. This became an ironic category as the author himself would strongly reject any implication that the subjugation of developing countries is a thing of the past. How apropos that the Mandatory Palestine-born writer’s death came in the midst of the early stages of the ‘War on Terror’ that made clear Western imperialism is very much alive.

Despite its history of ethnic cleansing, slavery, and war, the United States had distinguished itself from Britain and France in that it had never established its own major colonies within the Middle East, Asia or North Africa in the heart of the Orient. According to Said, it was now undergoing this venture as the world’s sole remaining superpower following the end of the Cold War with the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Today’s political atmosphere makes the Bush era seem like eons ago. Thanks to the shameful rehabilitation of neoconservatism by centrist extremists, Americans fail to understand how Trumpism emerged from the pandora’s box of destructiveness of Bush policies that destabilized the Middle East and only increased international terrorism. Since then, another American enemy has been manufactured in the form of the Russian Federation and its President, Vladimir Putin, who drew the ire of the West after a resurgent Moscow under his leadership began to contain U.S. hegemony. This reached a crescendo during the 2016 U.S. Presidential election with the dubious accusations of election interference made by the same intelligence agencies that sold the pack of lies that Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction. The establishment has even likened the alleged intrusion by Moscow to 9/11.

If a comparison between the 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans and the still unproven allegations of Russian meddling seems outrageous, it is precisely such an analogy that has been made by Russiagate’s own biggest proponents, from neoconservative columnist Max Boot to Hillary Clinton herself.

Truthfully, it is the climate of hysteria and dumbing down of discourse to such rigid dichotomies following both events where a real similarity can be drawn. The ‘with us or against us’ chasm that followed 9/11 has reemerged in the ‘either/or’ post-election polarity of the Trump era whereby all debate within the Overton window is pigeonholed into a ‘pro vs. anti-Trump’ or ‘pro vs. anti-Russia’ false dilemma. It is even perpetrated by some on the far left, e.g. if one critiques corporate media or Russiagate, they are grouped as ‘pro-Trump’ or ‘pro-Putin’ no matter their political orientation. This dangerous atmosphere is feeding an unprecedented wave of censorship of dissenting voices across the spectrum.

In his final years, not only did Edward Said condemn the Bush administration but highlighted how corporate media was using bigoted tropes in its representations of Arabs and Muslims to justify U.S. foreign policy. Even though it has gone mostly undetected, the neo-McCarthyist frenzy following the election has produced a similar travesty of caricatures depicting Russia and Vladimir Putin. One such egregious example was a July 2018 article in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Russia’s Turn to Its Asian Past” featuring an illustration portraying Vladimir Putin as Genghis Khan.

The racist image and headline suggested that Russia is somehow inherently autocratic because of its past occupation under the Mongol Empire during its conquest of Eastern Europe and the Kievan Rus state in the 13th century. In a conceptual revival of the Eurocentric trope of Asiatic or Oriental despotism, the hint is that past race-mixing is where Russia inherited this tyrannical trait. When the cover story appeared, there was virtually no outcry due to the post-election delirium and everyday fear-mongering about Russia that is now commonplace in the media.

The overlooked casual racism used to demonize Russia in the new Cold War’s propaganda doesn’t stop there. One of the main architects of Russiagate, former Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, in an interviewwith NBC‘s Meet the Press on the reported meddling stated:

And just the historical practices of the Russians, who typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, which is a typical Russian technique. So we were concerned.”

Clapper, whose Office of the DNI published the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”, has been widely praised and cited by corporate media as a trustworthy source despite his previous history of making intentionally false statements at a public hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee denying that the National Security Agency (NSA) was unconstitutionally spying on U.S. citizens.

The disclosures of NSA activities by whistleblower Edward Snowden that shocked the world should have discredited Clapper’s status as a reliable figure, but not for mainstream media which has continuously colluded with the deep state during the entire Russia investigation. In fact, the scandal has been an opportunity to rehabilitate figures like the ex-spymaster complicit in past U.S. crimes from surveillance to torture. Shortly after the interview with NBC, Clapper repeated his prejudiced sentiments against Russians in a speech at the National Press Club in Australia:

But as far as our being intimate allies, trusting buds with the Russians that is just not going to happen. It is in their genes to be opposed, diametrically opposed, to the United States and to Western democracies.”

The post-election mass Trump derangement has not only enabled wild accusations of treason to be made without sufficient evidence to support them, but such uninhibited xenophobic remarks to go without notice or disapproval.

In fact, liberals have seemingly abandoned their supposed progressive credence across the board while suffering from their anti-Russia neurological disorder. In an exemplar of yellow journalism, outlets like NBC News published sensational articles alleging that because of the perceived ingratiation between Trump and Putin, there was an increase in Russian ‘birth tourism’ in the United States.

More commonly known by the pejorative ‘anchor babies’, birth tourism is the false claim that many immigrants travel to countries for the purpose of having children in order to obtain citizenship. While there may be individual cases, the idea that it is an epidemic is a complete myth?—?the vast majority of immigration is motivated by labor demands and changes in political or socio-economic factors in their native countries, whether it is from the global south or Eastern Europe. Trump has been rightfully criticized for promoting this falsehood regarding undocumented immigrants and his executive orders targeting birthright citizenship, but it appears liberals are willing to unfairly apply this same fallacy toward Russians for political reasons.

In order to make sense of the current groupthink hysteria towards Moscow, it must be understood in its context as an extension of the ongoing doctoring of history regarding U.S.-Russia relations since the Cold War. Americans living within the empire are proselytized into a glorified and nationalist version of their entire background, beginning with merchants and explorers ‘discovering’ the continent and the whitewashing of indigenous genocide. This imaginary narrative includes the version of WWII taught in U.S. schools and the arms race with the Soviet Union that followed. The West presents an entirely Anglospheric perspective of the war starting with its very chronology.

For example, it is said that the conflict ‘officially’ began with the September 1st, 1939 invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. This mythology immediately frames the war from an Eurocentric viewpoint by separating the Sino-Japanese war that was already underway as the Pacific Ocean theater began long before the ‘surprise’ Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and U.S. entry into the conflict.

The truth is that nearly everything Americans are taught about U.S. participation in the war is either a mischaracterization or a lie, with its role in the Allied victory inflated exponentially. The widely held misconception that the 1944 Normandy landings in the Allied invasion of France was the decisive turning point in Europe is a fairy tale. The ‘D’ in D-Day does not stand for ‘decision’ as many Westerners assume, and when the Allied forces converged on Germany from East and West it was the Soviets who captured Berlin.

Although Operation Overlord may have been the largest invasion transported by sea in history, the real watershed in the Great Patriotic War was the Soviet victory in the Battle of Stalingrad the previous year, the biggest defeat ever suffered by the German army. The U.S. only took on the Wehrmacht once it was exhausted by the Red Army which bore the real burden of overcoming Germany.

Just three years earlier, the British army had been completely vanquished by the Nazi armed forces. Omitted from Hollywood folklore like Christopher Nolan’s film Dunkirk is that the Germans were entirely capable of pressing on with an invasion of the British isles but abruptly halted their advance?—?what stopped them? Quite simply, Hitler’s fanatical desire to conquer the Soviet Union and eradicate communism which he regarded as a greater threat to the Third Reich than Western capitalism. It is not surprising that the Eastern Front became a higher priority considering that the ruling classes in Britain, France and the U.S. had previously financed the German rearmament in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.

The Germans did not hold the same hatred for the West that it reserved for the Russians. In fact, the Führer personally admired the U.S. so much for the extermination of its natives that he named his armored private train ‘Amerika’, a mobile version of the Wolf’s Lair. The Nuremberg race statutes were partly inspired by Jim Crow segregation laws in the U.S. and many of the defendants at the Nuremberg trials tried to excuse their atrocities by arguing the similarity between Nazi race theories and the eugenicist movement which actually originated in the United States.

Auschwitz physician Josef Mengele was even previously employed as an assistant to the head of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics institute that was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Hitler also preferred an attack on the Soviets over an invasion of Britain because of the eugenics of Lebensraum. Nazi Germany, like Britain and France, was really an imperial settler colonialist state and Hitler viewed the Slav inhabitants of the USSR as ethnically inferior to the ‘master race.’ The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact had been a strategic move to buy time for the Soviets in preparation for a German onslaught, at the time the most powerful military power in the world.

Britain and France had rebuffed Stalin’s efforts to form an alliance in 1938, leaving the USSR no choice but to sign a non-aggression pact with Germany, knowing full well it was only a matter of time until Hitler would eventually embark on his Masterplan for the East.

Operation Barbarossa, in June 1941, broke the agreement and the German dictator ultimately sealed his own fate. Although the Soviets were victorious, the slaughter that proceeded it had no parallel in human history as 27 million citizens would lose their lives in the fight compared to less than half a million Americans. Even worse, the West has made a mockery of this sacrifice with their refusal to fully acknowledge the USSR’s contribution despite the fact that they did the vast majority of the fighting and dying while 80% of all German casualties were on the Eastern Front.

Meanwhile, the Cold War had already begun before the Second World War even ended. Whether or not Stalin was fully aware of either the U.S. capability or plans to use the atomic bomb against Japan is still a matter of debate, as U.S. President Harry S. Truman changed his story numerous times over the years.

Nevertheless, their use is incorrectly attributed by the West to have brought the war’s end and very few Americans realize this tale was told entirely for political reasons. The purported rationale was to allegedly save the lives of American soldiers that would be lost in a future Allied invasion of Japan planned for the Autumn of 1945. Controlling the narrative became crucial in ‘justifying’ the use of such deadly weapons which held the secret motivation to begin an arms race with the Soviets.

Stalin and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had agreed at the Yalta Conference in February 1945 that the USSR would eventually break its neutrality treaty with Japan and enter the Pacific theater later in the year. That was until Roosevelt died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage just a few months later while American nuclear physicists were busy at work enriching uranium in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Then, just a day prior to newly inaugurated President Truman’s meeting with Stalin at the Potsdam Conference in July, the U.S. army and Project Y successfully detonated a nuclear weapon for the first time with the Trinity test as part of the expensive Manhattan Project. After his face-to-face with Truman at Potsdam, whom everyone agrees at least hinted to Stalin of the new U.S. weaponry, the Soviet premier suspected the new U.S. leader would go back on the previous agreement at Yalta with Roosevelt that included compromises with the USSR in the Pacific.

The ugly truth is that the U.S. was well aware that the Japanese were willing to conditionally surrender on the basis of immunity for Emperor Hirohito. However, the U.S. secretly wanted to achieve an Allied victory ideally without Soviet participation so it could demonstrate its exclusive nuclear capability in order to dominate the post-war order. Japan didn’t relinquish following the first bombing of Hiroshima but the second, Nagasaki, three days later?—?both of which mostly impacted civilians, not its military.

What else happened on August 9th, 1945? The Soviet Union declared war on Japan upon realizing that the U.S. was backtracking on its pledge with the underhanded use of ‘Fat Man and Little Boy’ that instantly killed more than 200,000 civilians. The timing gave the appearance that the bomb resulted in the surrender when it was the Soviet invasion of occupied Manchuria in the north against Japan’s military stronghold that was the real tipping point which led to an unconditional acceptance of defeat.

According to the Western narrative, the Cold War only began following Winston Churchill’s invitation to the U.S. by Truman after being surprisingly voted out of office in 1946. At Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, he gave a speech entitled “Sinews of Peace”, widely known as the Iron Curtain speech, where he condemned Soviet policies in Europe and popularized the moniker for the boundary dividing the continent after the war:

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an “iron curtain” has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.”

Although the term ‘iron curtain’ predates Cold War usage to describe various barriers political or otherwise, what is not commonly known is that Churchill likely appropriated the term from its originator, none other than the German Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels himself, who used it in reference to the Soviet Union. In February 1945, he wrote in Das Reich newspaper:

If the German people lay down their weapons, the Soviets, according to the agreement between Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, would occupy all of East and Southeast Europe along with the greater part of the Reich. An iron curtain would fall over this enormous territory controlled by the Soviet Union, behind which nations would be slaughtered.”

The ‘Nazi megaphone’ himself may have gotten the term from the Wehrmacht propaganda publication Signal which in 1943 published an article entitled “Behind the Iron Curtain” that described:

He who has listened in on the interrogation of a Soviet prisoner of war knows that once the dam is broken, a flood of words begins as he tries to make clear what he experienced behind the mysterious iron curtain, which more than ever separates the world from the Soviet Union.

Is it any wonder that British newspaper The Guardian is now illustrating cartoons in its anti-Russia propaganda today that imitate Goebbels’ anti-Soviet posters during WWII?

Although Stalin was unaware of Churchill’s lifting of Nazi phraseology, he still detected the resemblance between Western and Third Reich policies toward the Soviet Union in the Fulton speech during an interview with Pravda:

A point to be noted is that in this respect Mr. Churchill and his friends bear a striking resemblance to Hitler and his friends. Hitler began his work of unleashing war by proclaiming a race theory, declaring that only German-speaking people constituted a superior nation.

Mr. Churchill sets out to unleash war with a race theory, asserting that only English-speaking nations are superior nations, who are called upon to decide the destinies of the entire world. The German race theory led Hitler and his friends to the conclusion that the Germans, as the only superior nation, should rule over other nations. The English race theory leads Mr. Churchill and his friends to the conclusion that the English-speaking nations, as the only superior nations, should rule over the rest of the nations of the world.

Actually, Mr. Churchill, and his friends in Britain and the United States, present to the non-English speaking nations something in the nature of an ultimatum: “Accept our rule voluntarily, and then all will be well; otherwise war is inevitable.”

But the nations shed their blood in the course of five years’ fierce war for the sake of the liberty and independence of their countries, and not in order to exchange the domination of the Hitlers for the domination of the Churchills. It is quite probable, accordingly, that the non-English-speaking nations, which constitute the vast majority of the population of the world, will not agree to submit to a new slavery.”

It is easy to see the parallels between Stalin’s explanation for the geopolitical tensions underlying the Cold War and Edward Said’s postcolonial theory. From a Marxist perspective, one of Said’s shortcomings was a reductionism in understanding empire to cultural supremacy, one of the reasons he unfortunately conflated Marxism with Orientalism as well. When it came to the Cold War, Said also demonstrated a lack of understanding of internationalism. He wrote:

By the time of the Bandung Conference in 1955, the entire Orient had gained its independence from the Western empires and gained a new configuration of imperial powers, the United States and the Soviet Union. Unable to recognize “its” Orient in the new Third World, Orientalism now faced a challenging and politically armed Orient.”

Yet who foremost ‘armed’ the movements of national liberation? The USSR, including support for the Palestinians during most of its history. Nevertheless, Stalin’s description of the West’s prerogative for post-war hegemony based on the belief in its primacy has many overlaps with the idea that the Occident exercised patronizing dominance over the East.

Today, even though the Berlin Wall has long since fallen and Eastern Europe is under free enterprise, the political establishment in the West is still clinging to this attitude and misunderstanding of Moscow to fulfill its need for a permanent global nemesis with a desire to eventually colonize Russia with foreign capital as it did under Boris Yeltsin.

Russia has historically possessed a unique and ambivalent identity located between the East and West, having been invaded by both European and Asian empires in previous centuries. Said included Russia in Orientalism in his analysis of European countries and their attitude toward the East, but did not note that Russia is in many respects the Orient within the Occident, as more than 75% of its territory as the largest nation in the world is actually located in Asia while three quarters of its population live on the European side.

Russia may be partly European, but it is certainly not Western. Then again, Europe is not a continent unto itself but geographically connected to Asia with the arbitrary division between them based on cultural differences, not landmass, where Russia is an intermediate. Expansionism under Peter the Great may have brought Western European ‘cultural values’ and modernization to Russia, but the majority of its territory itself remains in Asia.

Even after the presumed end of the Cold War, Russia has been excluded from the European Union and instead joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), while developing strong ties with China. As recently disclosed documents from the National Security Archive prove, NATO has broken its promise to Mikhail Gorbachev during the George H.W. Bush administration that it not expand eastward following Germany’s enrollment. It has since added 13 countries since 1999, 10 of which were former Warsaw Pact states.

Russia’s alliance with China has been solidified precisely because it is still not treated in the same regard as other European nations even after the adoption of a private sector economy. In order to justify its continued armament and avoid obsolescence, NATO has manufactured an adversarial relationship with Moscow.

Contrary to the widespread perception of his rhetoric, in terms of policy-making President Trump has been equally as hostile to Moscow as his predecessors, if not more so in light of the U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). What the usual suspects behind the attempted soft-coup against him fail to understand is that Trump’s tact toward Putin is more likely an inverted version of the ‘only Nixon could go to China’ strategy, an unexpected style of diplomacy based on the pragmatic objective of containing Beijing by dividing America’s two primary foes.

The liberals still in denial about their election defeat continue to underestimate Trump, but the Chinese are not fooled. The architect behind Nixon’s détente with Mao, Henry Kissinger, is even believed to have encouraged Trump to ease tensions with Moscow in order to quarantine China and don’t think they haven’t noticed. Ultimately, the divide between Trump and his enemies in the establishment is really a disagreement over strategy in how to surround China and prevent the inevitable downfall of the U.S. empire.

The ongoing demonization of Moscow is ultimately about China as well. It was only a matter of time until the uncertain allegations of election interference were also leveled against Beijing without proof as a Joint Statement from the U.S. intelligence agencies recently showed.

Make no mistake? - ?underneath the West’s Russophobia lies Sinophobia and as Washington’s real geopolitical challenger, China will in due course emerge as the preferred bogeyman. The bipartisan hawkishness has created an environment where rapprochement and diplomacy of any kind is seen as weakness and even a sign of treason, making the prospect of peace seemingly impossible. As China continues to grow, it will find itself more squarely in the crosshairs of imperialism, regardless of whether Trump’s strategy to renew relations with Moscow against Beijing is successful. Until then cooler heads at the highest levels of government must prevail as they thankfully did at the height of the first Cold War for the sake of peace between Russia, the U.S. and the entire world.

Published:3/11/2019 1:03:57 AM
[In The News] Dark Money Org Gave $2 Million to Group Funding Fusion GPS, Steele

By Chuck Ross -

A dark money group based in California contributed $2 million to The Democracy Integrity Project, the organization that has contracted with Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele to investigate President Donald Trump. The Democracy Integrity Project’s founder, a former staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, has acknowledged to the FBI that the ...

Dark Money Org Gave $2 Million to Group Funding Fusion GPS, 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:3/10/2019 9:31:43 PM
[Markets] Real Collusion: Leaked Documents Reveal DoJ Protected Steele After FBI Shunning

Authored by Kit Klarenberg via SputnikNews.com,

Steele was cut off by the FBI for revealing his relationship with the Bureau to the media - but Ohr continued to pass information from Steele to his colleagues, regularly spoke to him via email and phone, and met up with him face-to-face on several occasions.

Information watchdog Judicial Watch has released 339-pages of US Department of Justice records, revealing former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr remained in regular contact with ex-MI6 operative Christopher Steele after Steele's status as a paid confidential informant was terminated by the FBI in November 2016.

"These smoking gun documents show Christopher Steele, a Hillary Clinton operative and anti-Trump foreign national, secretly worked hand-in-glove with the Justice Department on its illicit targeting of President Trump. These documents leave no doubt that for more than a year after the FBI fired Christopher Steele for leaking, and for some 10 months after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, Bruce Ohr continued to act as a go-between for Steele with the FBI and Justice Department. The anti-Trump Russia investigation, now run by Robert Mueller, has been thoroughly compromised by this insider corruption," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

?Whether an accurate appraisal or not, it's clear from the assorted communications Ohr was determined to ensure Steele retained access to the Bureau, and this contact remained hidden from public view - for instance, when acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired by Trump January 2017, Steele feared Ohr would be fired too, and texted him to express his "sympathy and support".

"If you end up out, I really need another contact point/number who is briefed. We can't allow our guy to be forced to go back home. It would be disastrous all round, though his position right now looks stable. A million thanks," Steele wrote.

In response, Ohr assured the Orbis chief he could "certainly" give him an FBI contact "if it becomes necessary".

On 6 March that year, Senator Chuck Grassley wrote to then-FBI Director James Comey, seeking clarity on the nature of Steele's relationship with the FBI. The next day, Steele texted Ohr to say he was "very concerned" by the letter, and its "possible implications for our operations and sources…We need some reassurance…Really fundamental issues at stake here".

Days later, with Comey scheduled to testify before Congress, Steele told Ohr he was "a bit apprehensive" and hoped "important firewalls will hold". On 24 March, Ohr and Steele discussed their "response" to the testimony, as he understood "an approach from the Senate Intelligence Committee" to Orbis was imminent.

On 26 October, Steele said he's "very concerned" about documents the FBI intended to turn over to Congress about his work and "relationship with them".

"Can we have a word tomorrow please? Just seen a story in the media about the Bureau handing over docs to Congress…Peoples live may be engangered [sic]," he despaired.

On 18 November, an again anxious Steele told Ohr it'd been "another tough week here" due to being "under the media spotlight" and the "legal pressures bearing down on us".

"Also, we remain in the dark as to what has been briefed to Congress about us, our assets and previous work. I know you understand the importance of all this and have done your very best to support us…Sincere thanks for everything you are doing and I hope to speak to you again soon," Steele texted.

In response, Ohr said he appreciated the "difficulties and uncertainty" he'd been experiencing.

Adding to the intrigue, the documents also reveal Ohr's wife Nellie - hired as an 'independent contractor' by Fusion GPS during the November 2016 Presidential election - sent numerous emails and reports to her husband and other Justice Department officials on Russia issues. Ohr has never been questioned about this clear conflict of interest since, much less punished.

Judicial Watch has unearthed a vast number of documents exposing Steele's intimate relationship with US authorities and the Clinton campaign - in July 2018, the organization released 412 pages of documents related to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser. The organization claimed the files confirmed the FBI and Department of Justice misled courts and withheld information proving Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee provided the "intelligence" used to persuade the courts to approve FISA warrants targeting the Trump team.

Published:3/10/2019 3:03:49 PM
[Politics] Sen.Kennedy: FBI Political Partisans 'Should Hang Their Head in Shame' Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and others who politicized the agency "should hang their head in shame...and put their head in a bag," Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said Sunday. Published:3/10/2019 11:59:00 AM
[House of Representatives] What Bruce Ohr said (Scott Johnson) On Friday Rep. Doug Collins released the transcript of Bruce Ohr’s testimony to the House Oversight Committee this past August. I have embedded the 268-page transcript below via Scribd. Ohr appeared before the committee voluntarily, not under subpoena, in connection with its investigation of bias within the Department of Justice and the FBI. He is a key participant in the Obama administration activities that, taken together, amount to one helluva Published:3/10/2019 8:31:33 AM
[Markets] Mueller's Manafort Scam: 4 Years In The Slammer For Helping Ukraine Against Russia!

Authored by Andrew McCarthy via The National Review,

Paul Manafort Was an Agent of Ukraine, Not Russia

He is a scoundrel, but he was never a Kremlin operative.

Paul Manafort, the clandestine agent of Russia at the heart of the Trump campaign’s “collusion” scand - oh, wait.

Have you ever noticed what Paul Manafort’s major crime was? After two years of investigation, after the predawn raid in which his wife was held at gunpoint, after months of solitary confinement that have left him a shell of his former self, have you noticed what drew the militant attention of the Obama Justice Department, the FBI, and, ultimately, a special counsel who made him the centerpiece of Russia-gate?

According to the indictment Robert Mueller filed against him, Manafort was an unregistered “agent of the Government of Ukraine.” He also functioned as an agent of Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s president from 2010 to 2014, and of two political parties, the Party of Regions and its successor, the Opposition Bloc.

Manafort was not an unregistered agent of Russia. Mueller never alleged that Manafort was a clandestine operative of the Kremlin. He worked for Ukraine, not Putin. Indeed, for much of his time in Ukraine, he pushed his clients against Putin’s interests.

Mueller’s prosecutors looked on glumly Thursday as Manafort was sentenced to a mere 47 months’ imprisonment by Judge T. S. Ellis III of the federal court in Alexandria, Va. After rescinding the cooperation agreement they had extended Manafort following his convictions at trial, Mueller’s team had pressed for a sentence of up to 24 years for the 70-year-old former Trump campaign chairman. The judge demurred, pointedly observing that Manafort was “not before this court for anything having to do with collusion with the Russian government to influence [the 2016] election.”

The prosecutors won’t be chagrined long, of course. Against Manafort, one case with a potential century of jail time was not enough. There’s a case in Washington, too. There, Manafort will be sentenced next week, by a different judge who will surely impose a sentence more to the special counsel’s liking. The knowledge of that, more than anything else, explains Judge Ellis’s comparative wrist-slap, which ignored sentencing guidelines that called for a severe prison term.

Those guidelines were driven by prodigious financial fraud, not espionage. No one has even alleged espionage — even though the investigation was aggressive, even though the two indictments charge numerous felonies, and even though Mueller has had as his star informant witness Manafort’s longtime sidekick, Richard Gates, a fellow fraudster who was deeply involved in his partner’s work for foreign governments.

Understand:

Paul Manafort would never have been prosecuted if he had not joined Donald Trump’s campaign. He would not have been prosecuted if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election and spared Democrats the need to conjure up a reason to explain their defeat - something other than nominating a lousy candidate who stopped campaigning too early.

Manafort’s Ukrainian work was not a secret. By the time of the 2016 campaign, he’d been at it for over a dozen years. He wasn’t alone. Not even close. An array of American political consultants flocked to post-Soviet Ukraine because that’s where the money was. Manafort worked for the Party of Regions, led by Yanukovych. The Obama consultants worked for Yanukovych’s rival, Yulia Tymoshenko — the populist-socialist who sometimes colluded with Putin and other times posed as his opponent. The Clinton consultants lined up with Viktor Yuschenko, Putin’s generally pro-Western bête noire, who was nearly assassinated by Kremlin operatives and who navigated between east and west.

What you may already notice is that Ukraine is complicated. That collusion narrative you’ve been sold since November 8, 2016? It’s a caricature.

The people peddling it know that Americans are clueless about the intricacies of politics in a former Soviet satellite and the grubby bipartisan cesspool of international political consultancy. You are thus to believe that the Party of Regions was nothing but a cat’s paw of Moscow; that Manafort went to work for Yanukovych, the party’s Putin puppet; and that Manafort’s entrée into the Trump campaign was a Kremlin coup, a Russian plot to control of the White House.

Sure. But then . . . where’s the collusion charge? If that’s what happened, where is the special counsel’s big indictment of a Trump–Russia conspiracy, with Manafort at its core?

There is no such case because the collusion narrative distorts reality.

Manafort is not a good guy. He did business and made lots of money with Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs who, largely through their organized-crime connections, made their fortunes in the post-Soviet gangster-capitalism era, when the spoils of an empire were up for grabs.

Manafort got himself deeply in hock with some of these tycoons. He may owe over $25 million to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian aluminum magnate. Deripaska, you’ve repeatedly been told, is Putin’s oligarch. That may be true — they are close enough for Putin to have intervened on his behalf when the U.S. government imposed travel restrictions. But former senator Bob Dole intervened on Deripaska’s behalf, too. So did the FBI, when they thought Deripaska could help them rescue an agent detained in Iran. So did Christopher Steele, the former British spy of Steele-dossier infamy.

Having business with Deripaska did not make Manafort a Russian spy. No more than taking $500,000 from a Kremlin-tied bank made Bill Clinton a Russian spy. For a quarter century, the United States government encouraged commerce with Russia, notwithstanding that it is anti-American and run like a Mafia family. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton worked with the Putin regime to develop Moscow’s version of Silicon Valley. Business with Russia was like what the Clintons used to tell us about lies about sex: Everybody does it.

Manafort’s business eventually soured. There is good reason to believe that, once he was installed as chairman of the Trump campaign — when Trump looked like a sure GOP-nomination winner and general-election loser — Manafort tried to monetize his position of influence. He hoped to make himself “whole,” as he put it, by demonstrating that he was once again a political force to be reckoned with — offering Deripaska briefings on the campaign, offering his Ukrainian oligarch benefactors polling data showing that Trump had a real chance to win.

Manafort likes the high life. Running with this crowd helped him live it, and helped him hide most of his money overseas, in accounts he could stealthily access without sharing his millions with the taxman.

But all that said, Manafort was not a Russian agent. Even Robert Mueller, who went after him hammer and tongs, never accused him of that.

When his Ukrainian oligarch sponsors asked him to take Yanukovych on as a client, Manafort was reluctant. Yanukovych was essentially a thug who grew up in the Soviet system. The corruption of the 2004 presidential election, which Yanukovych’s Kremlin-backed supporters tried to steal, ignited Kiev’s Orange Revolution. Manafort, a cold-blooded Republican operative who had cut his teeth fighting off the Reagan revolution in the 1976 Ford campaign, calculated that Yanukovych was damaged goods.

But in the shadowy world of international political consultancy, money talks and scruple walks. Manafort’s oligarch patrons made the Regions reconstruction project worth his while. He remade Yanukovych from the ground up: Learn English, warm to Europe, embrace integration in the European Union, endorse competitive democracy, be the candidate of both EU-leaning Kiev and Russia-leaning Donbas.

This was not a Putin agenda. It was an agenda for Ukraine, a country with a split personality that needs cordial relations with the neighborhood bully to the east as it fitfully lurches westward. Regions was a pro-Russia party, but that is not the same thing as being Russia. What the oligarchs want is autonomy so they can run their profitable fiefdoms independent of Kiev. They leverage Moscow against the EU . . . except when they talk up EU integration to ensure that they are not swallowed up by Moscow. What the oligarchs mainly are is corrupt, which suited Manafort fine.

The unsavory business was successful for a time. Regions returned to power. Yanukovych finally won the presidency and immediately announced that “integration with the EU remains our strategic aim.” It was a triumph for Manafort, but a short-lived one. While Yanukovych rhapsodized about rising to Western standards, he ran his administration in the Eastern authoritarian style, enriching his allies and imprisoning his rivals.

The latter included Tymoshenko, who was prosecuted over a gas deal she had entered when she was prime minister — with Putin. Russia bitterly criticized her prosecution, and when she was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment, the Kremlin blasted Yanukovych’s government for pursuing her “exclusively for political motives.” Manafort, meanwhile, continued to airbrush Yanukovych’s image in the West, scheming with lobbyists and a law firm to help him defend the controversial Tymoshenko trial — a scheme abetted by lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, who eventually pled guilty to making false statements to Mueller’s investigators.

Yanukovych’s moment of truth came in late 2013. He was poised to sign the Association Agreement with the EU, a framework for integration. Putin furiously turned up the heat: blocking Ukrainian imports, drastically reducing Ukrainian exports, bleeding billions of trade dollars from Kiev’s economy, threatening to cut off all gas supplies and drive Ukraine into default. Manafort pleaded with his client to stick with the EU. Yanukovych caved, however, declining to enter the Association Agreement and making an alternative pact with Putin to assure gas supplies and financial aid.

It was over this decision that the Euromaidan protests erupted. Yanukovych fled the country in early 2014, given sanctuary in Moscow. Subsequently, Regions renounced Yanukovych, blaming him for the outbreak of violence and for looting the treasury. The party disbanded, with many of its members reemerging as the Opposition Bloc, the party to which Manafort gravitated — along with his partner, Konstantin Kilimnik, and his lobbyist associate, W. Samuel Patten. (Like Manafort, Patten has pled guilty to working as an unregistered agent of Ukraine; Kilimnik, who is in Russia, was indicted by Mueller for helping Manafort tamper with witnesses.)

Paul Manafort is a scoundrel. He was willing to do most anything for money - even offering to burnish Putin’s image as he burnished Yanukovych’s. But Manafort was never a Kremlin operative working against his own country, except in the fever dreams of the Clinton campaign’s Steele dossier. And his crimes notwithstanding, he’d be a free man today if Mrs. Clinton had won. Instead, he’ll be sentenced yet again next week. And this time, he’ll get slammed.

Published:3/9/2019 9:56:09 PM
[Markets] Bruce Ohr's Testimony Contradicts Testimony Provided By Rosenstein And Simpson

Authored by Sara Carter,

Department of Justice senior official Bruce Ohr’s testimony contradicts testimony given by other senior government officials and key witnesses who testified before Congress regarding the FBI’s investigation into President Trump’s 2016 campaign and alleged collusion with the Russian government, according to the full transcripts released Friday.

Ohr’s 268-page testimony, released by Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, reveals inconsistency and contradiction in testimony given by Glenn Simpson, founder of embattled research firm Fusion GPS and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is set to leave his post sometime this month.

It also reveals that many questions are still left unanswered.

The Contradictions and The Revelations 

1. Glenn Simpson suggests in his testimony to the Senate that he never spoke to anyone at the FBI about Christopher Steele, the former British spy he hired to investigate the Trump campaign during the election. However, Ohr suggests otherwise telling former Rep.Trey Gowdy under questioning “As I recall, and this is after checking with my notes, Mr. Simpson and I spoke in August of 2016. I met with him, and he provided some information on possible intermediaries between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.”

2. In another instance, Simpson’s testimony also contradicts notes taken by Ohr after a meeting they had in December, 2016. Unverified allegations were decimated among the media that the Trump campaign had a computer server that was linked to a Russian bank in Moscow: Alpha Bank. Simpson suggested to the Senate that he knew very little about the Trump -Alpha Bank server story and couldn’t provide information. But Bruce Ohr’s own handwritten notes state that when he met with Simpson in December 2016, Simpson was concerned over the Alpha Bank story in the New York Times. “The New York Times story on Oct. 31 downplaying the connection between Alfa servers and the Trump campaign was incorrect. There was communication and it wasn’t spam,” stated Ohr’s notes. This suggests that Simpson was well aware of the story, which was believed by congressional investigators to have started from his research firm.

3. Ohr testified to lawmakers that Simpson provided information to federal officials that was false regarding Cleta Mitchell, a well-known Republican campaign finance lawyer, and information regarding the National Rifle Association. Sean Davis, with the Federalist pointed this out in a tweet today. Read one of those stories here.

4. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would not answer questions to lawmakers during testimony about when he learned that Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, was working for Fusion GPS. Just check this out from Rep. Matt Gaetz’s interview with Judge Jeanine on Fox News.

“Rod Rosenstein won’t tell us when he first learned that Nellie Ohr was working for Fusion GPS,” said Gaetz, in August, 2018.

“So I want to know from Bruce Ohr, when did he tell his colleagues at the Department of Justice that in violation of law that required him to disclose his wife’s occupation his sources of income. He did not do that. So when did all of the other people at the Department of Justice find this out because Rod Rosenstein, I’ve asked him twice in open hearing and he will not give an answer. I think there’s a real smoking gun there.”

However, in Ohr’s testimony he says he told the FBI about his wife’s role at Fusion GPS but only divulged his role to one person at the DOJ: Rosenstein. At the time, Rosenstein was overseeing the Trump-Russia probe, and had taken the information from Ohr and gave it to the FBI. Just read The Hill’s John Solomon full story here for the full background on Ohr’s testimony. I highlighted an important date below: remember Rosenstein wouldn’t answer lawmakers questions as to when he knew about Nellie Ohr. It also appears he failed to tell lawmakers about the information he delivered to the FBI.

Ohr stated in his testimony: “What I had said, I think, to Mr. Rosenstein in October of 2017 was that my wife was working for Fusion GPS… The dossier, as I understand it, is the collection of reports that Chris Steele has prepared for Fusion GPS.”

Ohr added: “My wife had separately done research on certain Russian people and companies or whatever that she had provided to Fusion GPS…But I don’t believe her information is reflected in the Chris Steele reports. They were two different chunks of information heading into Fusion GPS.”

5. Ohr also told lawmakers in his testimony that the former British spy, Christopher Steele was being paid by the FBI at the same time he was getting paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC. However, there was another player paying Steele and it was a Russian oligarch named Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska, a tycoon connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin, had well known animus toward his former friend Paul Manafort.

Rep. Mark Meadows asked Ohr during testimony “Did Chris Steele get paid by the Department of Justice?

Ohr’s response: “My understanding is that for a time he was a source for the FBI, a paid source.

In the testimony Ohr also revealed that Steele had told him details about his work with Deripaska saying Deripaska’s attorney Paul Hauser “had information about Paul Manafort, that Paul Manafort had entered into some kind of business deal with” Deripaska. Ohr said Manafort “had stolen a large amount of money from” the Russian Oligarch and that Hauser was “trying to gather information that would show that.”

Published:3/9/2019 7:55:41 PM
[Markets] Lindsey Graham Doubles Down On FISA Abuse Probe As House Democrats Fire Up Post-Mueller Investigations

Days after the Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee fired off 81 document requests for their post-Mueller investigations (in anticipation of a 'disappointing' Mueller report) - Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham has revived his committee's probe into potential surveillance abuse by the FBI. 

In a Thursday letter to Attorney General William Barr - just three weeks on the job, Graham asked for all FBI and DOJ documents which would explain what steps were taken to verify the Steele dossier before it was used by the FBI to obtain a surveillance warrant on a Trump campaign staffer. 

The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s report to obtain four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Republicans investigated whether the FBI misled the FISA court by relying on the dossier even though its allegations about Page were unverified. They also asserted the FBI failed to tell surveillance court judges that Steele was working on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign on an investigation of Donald Trump. -Daily Caller

Graham also notified Barr that he is investigating the FBI's original decision making process behind opening up investigations of Trump campaign associates in 2016 - including, we assume, the decision to infiltrate the campaign using Stefan Halper - a former Oxford University professor and longtime intelligence asset who was paid over $1 million by the Obama Department of Defense between 2012 and 2018, with nearly half of it surrounding the 2016 US election. 

Furthermore, Graham has requested: 

  • All documents and communications originally shared with the Gang of Eight in May 2018 related to the Russia investigation. 
  • All "FD-302" forms for former DOJ #4 Bruce Ohr and any other individual at the Department, the FBI, or elsewhere in the federal government who received information from individuals outside the Department or the FBI that was used in the Carter Page FISA applications

A "302" serves to "report or summarize" witness interviews involved in FBI investigations - while Ohr's testimony was recently found to have contradicted that of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson.

Read Graham's letter below: 

Published:3/9/2019 2:54:11 PM
[Entertainment] Jennie Garth Responds to Criticism Over Not Posting Luke Perry Tribute on Social Media Jennie Garth, Luke Perry, Beverly Hills, 90210Newsflash: Just because something isn't on social media, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. This includes Jennie Garth's grief over Luke Perry's death. Fans have recently...
Published:3/9/2019 12:53:58 PM
[Congressional Hall Monitor] Lindsey Graham Reboots FISA Abuse Investigation With Expansive DOJ Document

By Chuck Ross -

Lindsey Graham slams democrats for unethical behavior -4

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham is resuming an investigation of potential surveillance abuse by the FBI with an expansive request for records related to the bureau’s vetting of the Steele dossier. In a letter sent Thursday to Attorney General William Barr, Graham asked for all FBI and Justice Department ...

Lindsey Graham Reboots FISA Abuse Investigation With Expansive DOJ 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:3/7/2019 9:45:08 PM
[In The News] DOJ Official Bruce Ohr Fraternized With Dossier Author Long After FBI Barred Using Him As Source

By Luke Rosiak -

Newly released documents provide evidence of the close relationship between top Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr and former British spy Christopher Steele, who authored the Steele dossier. Steele was terminated by the FBI as an informant in November 2016 for defying the FBI’s orders by revealing his relationship with ...

DOJ Official Bruce Ohr Fraternized With Dossier Author Long After FBI Barred Using Him As Source 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:3/7/2019 5:44:42 PM
[Markets] Martin Shkreli Is Running His Company From Prison Using A Contraband Cellphone

Don't call it a comeback, because even though he's 16 months in to a seven-year federal prison sentence, Martin Shkreli has never stopped running Phoenixus - the re-branded iteration of Shkreli's Turing Pharmaceuticals - at least not according to the Wall Street Journal. Wielding a contraband cellphone, Shkreli has been calling the shots at the company, quashing boardroom rebellions and even almost firing a CEO.

Though he might be forced to sell some of his stake in Turing to pay court mandated restitution, as of now, Shkreli remains Phoenixus's largest shareholder. And he's made the company the focus of his long-term plan to emerge from incarceration even wealthier than he started.

In a long-winded profile of Shkreli sourced from interviews with Phoenixus investors, employees and friends and acquaintances of Shkreli (Dix refused to grant WSJ's interview request), the paper explored how Shkreli has managed to maintain an online presence, run his company, and continue the research that informs his investment decisions.

Shkreli

As with all things related to Shkreli since he first surfaced in the public's awareness in late 2015, the federal government is investigating. The FBI has reportedly interviewed several Shkreli associates about his role at the company.

Though investors and analysts would beg to differ, Shkreli reportedly believes that his company will be worth some $4.3 billion by the time he gets out of prison in 2023.

His back-of-the-commissary-envelope calculation indicates that Phoenixus could be worth $3.7 billion by the time he is due to be freed in 2023, according to a person familiar with his thinking. His plan involves acquiring more rare drugs in various stages of development and plowing money into an ambitious research-and-development agenda. Both are guided by his long days reading pharmaceutical research. He has, for now, abandoned the strategy that led to his explosion into the limelight in 2015 when Turing raised the cost of an HIV drug to $750 per pill from $13.50.

The company’s minority shareholders are tired of big promises and want to curtail Mr. Shkreli’s influence so the company can be sold. "This investment is an absolute disaster," says Austrian interior designer Sabine Gritti, who owns a million-dollar stake in Phoenixus. "We can’t get information, and anything they do send out, we don’t know if it is trustworthy."

Others say they fear an attempt from Mr. Shkreli to enrich himself by seizing control of the cash-rich company through complicated financial transactions.

Flexing his muscle on the board, Shkreli has used his influence on the board to fend off acquisitions that he felt severely undervalued the company, including one that valued Phoenixus - a portmanteau of 'Phoenix' and the Latin word 'Nixus' or struggle - at $100 million. He recently told investors that he believes the company is worth $500 million and, in a passionately worded letter, appeared to win some over after he pleaded with them to allow him to finish his work.

In April 2017, Mr. Shkreli argued that Mr. Tilles was spending too much money and persuaded the board to fire him as chief executive, but kept him on as a director. Mr. Tilles’s successor, Turing’s former chief scientist Eliseo Salinas, was fired after less than two months. It was then that Mr. Shkreli proposed a new five-person board that included three of his former employees and an acquaintance.

Mr. Shkreli, in a missive to shareholders, wrote that he estimated the company was worth $500 million. "Many of you have profited from my other ventures,” he wrote. “This one will generate an enormous return, as well, if you let it."

And in a hint that there could be more legal troubles ahead for Shkreli, one person involved in one of the blocked transactions told WSSJ they received a threatening message warning them to back off.

After one person involved in the nixed sale expressed misgivings to others, he received a text message from an unlisted number that couldn't be traced. "You like talking to people about Turing? Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. Bad," the message read. “We are watching and listening.”

So far, at least, Shkreli's prison experience doesn't appear to be anything out of the ordinary. Guards still mispronounce his name. He has at times lost contact with the outside world due to stints in solitary confinement. In his spare time, he exercises (he reportedly can do 15 push ups now) and cares for prison cats.

From prison, Mr. Shkreli phoned in advice to company officials when he could. He hasn’t always been plugged in. He spent a few weeks in solitary confinement for unspecified violations and suffered a painful infection after needing dental fillings. Perennially slight of build, he has gained weight and plans to begin a weightlifting program, says Christie Smythe, an author writing a book about Mr. Shkreli who has visited him several times in prison. He can now do 15 push-ups in a row.

He has seen a prison therapist and taken on the job of caring for prison cats. He occasionally argues with his cellmates about proper grammar.

“The guards still mispronounce his name repeatedly, which he thinks is on purpose," Ms. Smythe says. Based on testimony at Mr. Shkreli’s congressional hearing in 2016, the “h” is nearly silent.

Asked about the arrangement by WSJ, one Phoenixus board member told the paper that Shkreli having a phone was "widely known."

Akeel Mithani, a Phoenixus board member, said in an email that Mr. Shkreli "gets treated like any other shareholder." He said the fact that Mr. Shkreli has a cellphone in prison is “widely known” but that his “business related communication is limited via his lawyers.”

For anybody wondering who might have exposed Shkreli by informing WSJ, the section of the story about the opaque deals that Shkreli has reportedly been directing from prison might hold a few clues.

As of the end of September, Phoenixus had $37.7 million of cash, according to the company’s private third-quarter financial statement. It reported $48.3 million of sales for the year to date, with a $10.3 million net loss after operating expenses including $9.4 million spent on unspecified “research and development,” the statement says.

Mr. Shkreli recently oversaw a series of Phoenixus deals it hopes will lead to new cash cows like Daraprim, people familiar with the matter say. In September, it signed a commitment to provide $20 million to Orphan Star Therapeutics LLC to work on drug candidates for several rare diseases, according to people familiar with the deal. Orphan Star’s public announcement didn’t name Phoenixus and the company didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In January, Phoenixus told shareholders it licensed one of its drugs to Seelos Therapeutics ,receiving $1.5 million and 250,000 shares in Seelos.

Investors were given little information about the deals, they say. Seelos didn’t comment.

“We suspect a lot of self-dealing,” Mr. des Pallieres says, citing Mr. Shkreli’s checkered history. He is banding together with other investors to push for more insight into the company’s operations, and to force a sale.

Translation: Phoenixus's captive investors are tired of Shkreli, and are eager to get at least some of their money returned through a hasty deal. Outing Shkreli in WSJ virtually guarantees that prison officials will crack down - he can kiss his contraband cellphone goodbye. It might even earn him some more time in the hole.

The only question is: Will this buy investors enough time to until the Feds can force Shkreli to liquidate more of his Pheonixus stake?

Published:3/7/2019 5:12:12 PM
[Politics] Michael Cohen’s lawyer CONFIRMS that Michael Cohen lied to Congress! Two days ago we told you about a report that Michael Cohen’s lawyers asked Trump’s legal team about a pardon after his house was raided by the FBI, suggesting Cohen lied during . . . Published:3/7/2019 8:40:03 AM
[Politics] Michael Cohen’s lawyer CONFIRMS that Michael Cohen lied to Congress! Two days ago we told you about a report that Michael Cohen’s lawyers asked Trump’s legal team about a pardon after his house was raided by the FBI, suggesting Cohen lied during . . . Published:3/7/2019 8:40:03 AM
[Markets] Michael Cohen Asked Lawyer To Seek Trump Pardon

Remember when Michael Cohen told the House Oversight Committee last week the he "never asked" for a presidential pardon? As it turns out, that wasn't true.

Earlier this week, WSJ reported that, shortly after the FBI had raided Cohen's home, office and hotel room, Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan, met with several Trump administration attorneys, including Jay Sekulow, Rudy Giuliani and Joanna Hendon, who insinuated that a presidential pardon wouldn't be forthcoming should Cohen face conviction.

Cohen

Now, the Murdoch-owned paper has followed up its original report with something even more damning: While Cohen could have easily claimed that he didn't instruct his lawyer to ask about a pardon, the paper  said Thursday that Cohen had in fact asked about a pardon, citing comments from his attorney, Lanny Davis. According to Davis, Cohen explicitly told Ryan to "explore possibilities of a pardon."

Lanny Davis, a lawyer for Mr. Cohen, said Wednesday that in the months after the FBI raid, Mr. Cohen was open to a pardon from the president.

"During that time period, he directed his attorney to explore possibilities of a pardon at one point with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani as well as other lawyers advising President Trump," Mr. Davis said. He referred to the discussions with the president’s lawyers as the "ongoing 'dangling' of a possible pardon by Trump representatives privately and in the media."

Ostensibly, Ryan met with the Trump attorneys to review documents and files that had been seized from Cohen's office after Cohen entered into a joint defense agreement with the Trump legal team. However, Cohen later broke with that agreement and started cooperating with Manhattan prosecutors. Around that time, he hired Davis, a Clinton-linked Democratic super attorney.

Still, Davis argued that Cohen's statement to the House Committee had been truthful because he had instructed Davis to "never accept a pardon" from Trump.

"After July 2, 2018, Mr. Cohen authorized me as a new lawyer to say publicly Mr. Cohen would never accept a pardon from President Trump even if offered. That continues to be the case," Mr. Davis said Wednesday. "His statement at the Oversight Hearing was true—and consistent with his post-joint defense agreement commitment to tell the truth."

Congressional investigators have been probing conversations between lawyers for Mr. Cohen and the president about possible pardons, according to document requests issued Monday by the House Judiciary Committee to dozens of Trump associates, including Mr. Sekulow and Mr. Cohen.

Davis's revelation about Cohen's seeking a pardon came after the House Judiciary (led by Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler) subpoenaed dozens of Trump administration and campaign officials and associates as it seeks to revive the Russia collusion narrative. Both Cohen and Sekulow were among the individuals who received subpoenas.

So, will Cohen face any repercussions for lying to Congress again last week? We somehow doubt the Democrat-controlled House will make this a high priority, particularly as Cohen prepares to report to jail in May.

Published:3/7/2019 5:39:38 AM
[Security] Portland Putting Itself at Risk by Leaving the Joint Terrorism Task Force

Last month, the Portland, Ore., City Council voted to leave the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, one of our nation’s first lines of defense against... Read More

The post Portland Putting Itself at Risk by Leaving the Joint Terrorism Task Force appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:3/6/2019 4:37:22 PM
[Markets] Democrats Search For A Crime To Punish Trump And Americans Who Voted For Him

Authored by Sara Carter,

The House Judiciary Committee’s Democratic Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler is a man in search of a crime. Nadler and his colleague House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff have moved the conversation from Russian collusion and are now promising to investigate virtually everything connected to President Donald Trump.

Mind you, we the tax payers will be paying for these investigations and it will drag America and the administration into another two years of endless witch hunts.

Yes, a witch-hunt.

Can you imagine if someone despised you so much that all they did day in and day out was search for something, anything, that would get those around you to doubt your intentions. Imagine having to fight every single day of your life against never ending accusations. Even when those accusations are later proven false it won’t matter because the original lie has already been thoroughly disseminated far and wide among the population.

Why are Nadler, D-NY, and Schiff, D-CA, promising these investigations? Because they want to impeach Trump. It’s just that simple. They also want to send a message to the American people: your vote really didn’t matter because in the end it’s Congress that holds the power.

Think about that. There was never any evidence of crime that called for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to establish a special counsel. Yet, he did. In fact, he wrote the letter authorizing Trump to fire former FBI Director James Comey. Comey would’ve been fired the first day had Hillary Clinton been president.

However, obstruction charges are at the top of the Nadler’s list of investigations. He also promises to investigate all of Trump’s financial dealings and past business associations.

Nadler and Schiff are creating their own special counsel.

Why? The pair realize that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report will not do the damage they were hoping it would. Both Democratic leaders, supported by their party, realize that Mueller has found no evidence of a conspiracy with the Russians.

It has left believers like Schiff, Nadler and many former Obama Administration officialswho’ve worked diligently over the past several years to destroy Trump, seething.

They do not want to go on the defensive.

Nadler and Schiff don’t want to explain that their narrative has been debunked. They do not want Americans to look too close because in the end what will be discovered is that the crimes they are accusing others of committing are the ones they themselves have committed.

So what do they do? They fish for a crime, use the media to propagate their lies and spread malicious rumors. Those crimes can be anything from obstruction of justice, process crimes or financial crimes. The lawmakers will use the power of America’s purse. They will investigate Trump’s children, those who support him and those who work closely with him at the White House.

However, remember this: It is the American people, liberty and the principals endowed in our Constitution that will pay the heaviest burden.

Nadler announced his probe on Monday into potential “obstruction of justice.” He will lob accusation, after accusation, against the Trump administration and his family. He will seek documents and communications from over 60 individuals connected with the White House. He will look for that needle in a haystack for as long as it takes.

Nadler and Schiff will conduct what they describe as thorough investigations. They will keep these lengthy investigations going to buy time on the clock until they get close to the Democratic National Convention.

Nadler will do so at the cost of our nation. Don’t be fooled. He doesn’t care about the American people or justice. In the end, this all about ‘getting back’ for the Democrats.

Not getting back at Trump but at the American people who voted for Trump. This isn’t about truth and justice – those who oppose Trump don’t care about those fundamental principals.

Nadler is already setting the stage.

“We are going to initiate investigations into abuses of power, into corruption … and into obstruction of justice,” said Nadler.

“It’s our job to protect the rule of law.”

This isn’t about the rule of law.

If the rule of law was important to the Democrats, they should be aghast at the abuse of power that has occurred within the Obama Administration.

The weaponization of the intelligence community, leaking of highly classified information to the press, gross negligence in the handling of classified information by Hillary Clinton, unmasking of Americans, malfeasance within the FBI, abuse of power within the Justice Department, plans by Rosenstein to wear a wire to record the president and the proposed plan to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from power.

Instead this is what Nadler is accusing the president of:

“It’s very clear that the president obstructed justice...

Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen.”

GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy said it himself on Monday, “they’re setting a whole new course because there’s no collusion so they want to build something else.”

They do want something else: they want to find a way to coup the president before the eyes of the American people.

Possibly only future historians will truly understand what is happening to our nation. But for now, we sit on a precipice of a divided nation. This division is being egged on by lawmakers who care more about destroying Trump than seeking truth and justice.

The issue that matters most is the rule of law and guiding principals that make our nation great must take precedence.

Without it, the America we know may disappear into the annals of history. If that happens, it’s “we the people” who will have only ourselves to blame.

Published:3/5/2019 11:32:10 PM
[Markets] One Man's Commute Through West Philadelphia: 30 Blocks Of Potholes, Shitholes, & Assholes

Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

“If you have been voting for politicians who promise to give you goodies at someone else’s expense, then you have no right to complain when they take your money and give it to someone else, including themselves.” ? Thomas Sowell

“The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them, it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy.” ? Thomas Sowell

My original title for this article was going to be 30 Blocks of Potholes, Shitholes, and Assholes, but I didn’t want to offend the sensibilities of my highbrow readership. The trigger for that title was my morning commute on 34th Street in West Philly near the Philadelphia Zoo. This extremely well-traveled four lane highway resembles a moonscape of craters capable of blowing a tire (which I did a few years ago while turning onto Girard Avenue).

As I swerved through this obstacle course of government incompetence, I reflected upon how Philadelphia was a real shithole city run by Democrat asshole politicians (those not in prison yet). I’ve written dozens of articles about the 30 Blocks of Squalor over the last decade and one thing remains constant – West Philly is still a shithole, occupied by low income, low IQ, low morality, welfare state slaves who continue to vote for the same assholes who have enslaved them in squalor.

I’ve been making a daily trek through the pigsty of West Philly through three presidential administrations (Bush, Obama, Trump) and the mayoral stints of John Street (only 15 associates went to prison for corruption), Michael Nutter (left office with a city pension plan underfunded by $5.7 billion), and Jim “beak nose” Kenney (Mr. Soda tax and under FBI investigation).

Over the course of the last 12 years (and many years prior) the list of Philadelphia politicians shipped off to Federal prison has been endless, including congressman Chaka Fattah, DA Seth Williams, State senator Vince Fumo, councilman Rick Mariano, and now union boss Johnny Dougherty and councilman Bobby Henon. A slew of lesser lights has also been shipped off to the penitentiary. Corruption is the common theme tying all Philly Democrat politicians together. They effortlessly fulfill the roles of ass in this article about holes.

The narrative pushed by the Democrat politicians and the left-wing rag – Phila Inquirer is Philadelphia is rising, attracting new businesses, and is the place to be for nightlife and millennials. Of course, the narrative is bullshit. Facts are always inconvenient to welfare state Democrats, but the ignorance of their constituents is what keeps them in power. The narrative of Philadelphia getting safer is obliterated by the 351 murders in 2018, up 43% since 2013, and the highest level since 2007.

Assaults involving a gun totaled 2,327, up 13% since 2014. There were over 14,000 violent crimes and 63,000 robberies and thefts in 2018. The vast majority of these crimes occur in West and North Philadelphia, as local news stories lead with multiple murders and shootings every night (average of 4 shootings per day). Over 80% of murder victims are young black men, murdered by other young black over drugs.

The population of the US grew from 179 million in 1960 to 309 million in 2010, up 73%, while the population of Philly dropped from 2 million to 1.5 million, a 25% decline. The feckless politicians have been touting how the population has risen by a few thousand since 2010 (probably illegals flocking to a sanctuary city). There are a few “hot” areas in the downtown area for the rich and gentrification sections drawing millennials. A few of my nieces and nephews moved into these “cool” areas of Philly. After being robbed and experiencing the “best” of Philly, they’ve all moved back to the relative safety of Montgomery County.

When a few rich folks dressed in Armani, wearing Rolexes get gunned down while nonchalantly strolling to their favorite 5 star restaurant in the “nice” part of town, the exodus will resume with alacrity. It seems the clueless liberal rich folks don’t consider the fact the armed free shit army can march into their “safe zones” and take what they want. The have nots know where the haves live. And they have no qualms about forcefully acquiring what they feel is their due. Shockingly, tough gun laws are not adhered to by the feral black criminals shuffling in the shadows on the garbage strewn, pothole ridden, mean streets of Philly.

The liberal narrative of a city on the upswing must be flogged incessantly to keep their constituents (aka slaves) docile and ignorant of reality. But, even the liberal press in Philly lets their guard down and admits the truth by accident sometimes. Five years ago, to much fanfare, Obama declared the Mantua section of West Philly a Promise Zone. How uplifting and noble. This designation was going to lead to investment, new businesses, jobs, and unicorns farting rainbows in West Philly.

Reality has been far different than the press releases and I see the reality every day as I drive through this pathetic excuse for a community. The reporter interviews people who have lived in Mantua for decades and they had never even heard the term Promise Zone. But at least someone painted a mural (aka graffiti) on the wall of a dilapidated tenement to let everyone know they were in a promise zone and not a dangerous ghetto.

The reality is that after a ten-year bull market and growing economy, West Philly hasn’t revived or seen any advancement in the lives of its inhabitants. Obama used your tax dollars to build low income housing and zoo parking garages and then more of your tax dollars to repair all the shoddily built low income houses built by incompetent minority owned union construction companies. The $28 million Taj Mahal parking garage is occupied approximately 30% of the year.

You are far more likely to see yellow crime tape in Mantua than a kid carrying a school book or a woman wearing a wedding ring. The only people portraying Obama’s Promise Zone as a success are the “non-profit” grifters who hoover up the Federal handouts and pretend they are helping the community. Now the inconvenient facts never acknowledged by the politicians and liberal activists:

  • Philadelphia’s poverty rate of 25.7% allows it to retain its supreme status as the “poorest big city in America.”

  • The Mantua Promise Zone, a two-square-mile area home to about 30,000 black people, has a poverty rate almost twice the citywide rate, at 50.6%, up from 50.2% in 2014.

  • The neighborhood’s deep poverty rate, defined as 50% below the federal poverty line, also increased – to 32.3% from 31.0% since 2014.

  • The 2016 Mantua unemployment rate was little changed at 12.3% (actually closer to 20% as those classified as Not in the Labor Force rose), more than twice the recent city-wide rate of 5.8%.

  • Mantua median household income in 2016 was $17,969, up slightly from $17,170 when the Promise Zone was announced. Still 70% below the national median.

  • The proportion of local people aged 25-64 with a high school education or higher edged up to 80.1% in 2016 from 79.6% two years earlier. This has been achieved by lowering standards and graduating anyone who can fog a mirror.

“The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.” ? Thomas Sowell

Even the numbers quoted above about graduation rates are complete and utter bullshit. The brand spanking new West Philly High is where all the little Einsteins from Mantua and the rest of West Philly matriculate. This fine institution of learning has computer labs, the newest technology, a student teacher ratio of 12 to 1, 500 students (98% black), school uniforms and 100% receiving free breakfasts and lunches. The Philadelphia School District spends over $2.8 billion, or $14,000 per student per year.

Of course, a huge portion goes to administrators and gold-plated pension and healthcare benefits for the below average union teachers. The payoff for this investment is a 59% graduation rate at West Philly High, an average SAT score of 1057 among the cream of the crop who actually take the exam, and a ranking of 632 out of 677 high schools in PA. Despite these pitiful numbers, over 25% enroll in college. That tells you all you need to know about the state of higher education today.

“Most officially “poor” Americans today have things that middle-class Americans of an earlier time could only dream about—including color TV, videocassette recorders, microwave ovens, and their own cars. Moreover, half of all poor households have air-conditioning.” ? Thomas Sowell

Obama’s Promise Zone is a joke. They have used your tax dollars to knock down hovels, leaving vacant lots with wooden fences built around them. These vacant lots were supposed to be where all the re-development and businesses were supposed to magically appear. Instead they are strewn with garbage, drug paraphernalia, dog crap, and weeds. The Mantua Square low-income townhouse development, built in 2012 with 8 storefronts for all the businesses falling all over themselves for this awesome opportunity.

Seven years later and not one business occupies any of the storefronts. So much for black entrepreneurship. The neighborhood looks like downtown Baghdad after shock and awe. There are probably just as many weapons in West Philly as Baghdad. Despite the squalor, every saggy pants wearing teenager and 300 pound baby momma is yammering on an iGadget. Welfare teens are wearing $250 sneakers and $50,000 Cadillacs are parked in front of $25,000 rat infested fleapits. What a country – thank you Federal Reserve for all that easy money.

“One of the consequences of such notions as ‘entitlements’ is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.” ? Thomas Sowell

The entitlement mentality in West Philly is as strong as ever. Over 75% of black kids in West Philly are still born out of wedlock. Drug dealing is still the primary source of income. More than 50% of the population survive on tax payer funded food stamps, living in tax payer funded housing, using tax payer funded Obama phones, and watching taxpayer funded cable TV. They are more dependent today than they were a decade ago.

Obama’s Promise Zone essentially promised the people of Mantua more free shit and a continuation of their welfare mentality enslavement on the Democrat plantation. Keeping these people dumb and ignorant is essential for Democrat politicians retaining their stranglehold on power in Philly and all the urban ghettos across the land. If these people actually obtained a good education and learned to think for themselves, the chains of ignorance would be broken and the slaves freed.

The Democrat politicians who have controlled Philly since the 1950s are as incompetent as they are corrupt. They go hand in hand as the city falls further into debt and the basic infrastructure disintegrates. This has not been a harsh winter in the Philly area, but the roads, especially 34th Street from Girard Ave. to Haverford Ave., are a disgraceful example of government incompetence, apathy and fiscal irresponsibility. With a pension fund having only $4.9 billion in assets but $11.3 billion in liabilities, fiscal Armageddon awaits.

With a $6.2 billion shortfall (entire city budget is $4.7 billion), the scumbags running the city still allow the DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Plan) program to reward politicians and union leaders with criminally large payoffs as the infrastructure crumbles. This outrage allows eligible politicians to “retire” for a day at the end of their terms, collect six-figure cash bonuses, and then, upon winning reelection (and making a quick trip to the bank), go right back to work the next day. Six City Council members took DROP money — president Anna Verna ($566,039), Jack Kelly ($384,828), Donna Miller ($185,572), Frank DiCicco ($421,123), Frank Rizzo Jr. ($195,052), and Marian Tasco ($478,057) and were then eligible for their regular gold-plated pensions. All of these corrupt politicians were Democrats.

“The welfare state is the oldest con game in the world. First you take people’s money away quietly and then you give some of it back to them flamboyantly.” ? Thomas Sowell

While these crooked politicians have been pillaging from the taxpayer coffers for decades, the neglect and negligence of these elected officials to run the city is evident on every street, and particularly along the 30 Blocks of Squalor. They spent millions of Obama porkulus funds on installing wheel chair ramps on every street corner, while ignoring the crumbling sidewalks between the ramps which would prevent a wheelchair from ever needing to use the ramps. There is no rhyme or reason for which streets receive a new coating of blacktop from the overpaid sloth-like union dregs.

It’s incomprehensible that some barely used side streets were paved in the last year, while they allow 34th street to disintegrate on a daily basis to the point where cars are swerving in and out of lanes to avoid destroying their suspension or blowing a tire. This morning, after a light snow, the right lane was completely blocked because no government drone could be bothered to unclog the sewer drain and get rid of the foot of water at the entrance to the zoo. Some of the potholes in West Philly are so deep, you could probably catch a world-famous tasty Philly carp in them.

The reality is that despite having outrageously high city wage taxes of 3.9%, a sales tax levy of 8%, high corporate taxes, ever increasing real estate taxes, and sin taxes on cigarettes and soda, the city somehow can’t keep its basic infrastructure from falling apart. With gold plated government pension plans, siphoning funds to friends and family, and payoffs to union bosses, the budget doesn’t have anything left for potholes and keeping stoplights functioning.

The newly paved streets are dug up or incur sinkholes days after completion. The politicians never address the looming disaster under the thin veneer of blacktop. Ancient sewer lines and decrepit water pipes burst on a regular basis flooding homes and businesses because asshole politicians don’t give a crap about the poor black folk in West Philly. They’ll get their vote no matter how poorly they are served.

“To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by “society”.” ? Thomas Sowell

The definition of shithole is an extremely dirty, shabby, or otherwise unpleasant place. If ever a word described West Philly to a tee, it’s shithole. Every day appears to be garbage day, as refuse and debris litter the sidewalks and streets. The black people who inhabit this paradise of squalor don’t give a fuck about their community, their neighbors, or their city.

They have no self-respect, desire to improve their lot in life, or initiative to understand how they have been screwed and who screwed them. They wallow in ignorance and poverty, while believing that Democrat politicians care about their plight and are going to rescue them with more welfare handouts. Personal responsibility is an unknown concept in West Philly. Enslavement in dependency will keep West Philly from ever reviving itself.

The intersection of 36th and Lancaster Ave. is a five-way intersection that includes trolley tracks. A few weeks ago, the stoplight malfunctioned and was on blink when I passed through at 7:30 in the morning. A malfunction such as this should be repaired by an efficient government within a couple hours. The lights at this intersection remained dark for the next seven days.

That is a disgraceful example of government ineptitude and apathy. Further down the block, the lights at the major intersection of 36th and Chestnut have consistently malfunctioned resulting in gridlock conditions and many near accidents. These are the basic functions needed to keep a city running and the assholes running this shithole haven’t got a clue or don’t give a fuck.

All of the feel-good socialist drivel being spewed by AOC and her oblivious acolytes has been put into action in Philly and other urban ghettos across the land. Tens of trillions have been poured into these shitholes since LBJ rolled out his Great Society plans to enslave blacks in welfare goodies and ensuring their votes for a hundred years. Liberals like Hillary and AOC mouth platitudes about a village raising a child, when West Philly proves how well a village does in raising the bastard children of those who take no responsibility for the children they have produced.

Only a village idiot would believe cretins like Hillary and AOC know how your children should be raised. They’re fascists who want to take your money in order to forcefully inflict their warped vision upon the entire country and taking no responsibility for their epic failures. These socialist tyrants will not be happy until the entire country looks like the 30 Blocks of Squalor.

Seven decades of one party rule in Philadelphia has wrought murder, squalor, poverty, corruption, debt, welfare enslavement and guaranteed Democrat voters. This is the Democrat plan for the entire nation and is why they desperately want to keep the borders open to more Democrat voters. If successful, they will turn the entire nation into one giant shithole. If the Democrats gain one party rule over the country, AOC’s end of world prediction may come true – after the civil war starts.

“Hillary Clinton said you know, it takes a village to raise a child and somebody said it takes a village idiot to believe that … it is part of the whole thing of third parties wanting to make decisions for which they pay no price for when they’re wrong.” ? Thomas Sowell

Published:3/5/2019 6:00:43 PM
[Politics] REPORT: Michael Cohen asked Trump for a PARDON According to a new report, Michael Cohen was fishing for a pardon last year after the FBI raided his home and businesses. The issue of a pardon reportedly was brought up as . . . Published:3/5/2019 10:24:08 AM
[Politics] REPORT: Michael Cohen asked Trump for a PARDON According to a new report, Michael Cohen was fishing for a pardon last year after the FBI raided his home and businesses. The issue of a pardon reportedly was brought up as . . . Published:3/5/2019 10:00:28 AM
[Markets] Cohen Attorney Approached Trump About Possible Pardon

Remember when Michael Cohen told the House Oversight Committee last week that he had "never asked for a pardon" from President Trump? Well, it's looking increasingly likely that - and this may come as a shock - he was not exactly truthful.

According to the Wall Street Journal, lawmakers are investigating whether an attorney for Cohen raised the possibility of a pardon with Trump's legal team before Cohen had even been charged. After the FBI raided Cohen's home, hotel room and office, his attorney, Stephen Ryan, reportedly met with members of Trump's legal team to review the legal ramifications of the raid for Trump.

Cohen

During that conversation, Ryan reportedly floated the notion of a pardon for Cohen should he eventually be convicted. But he likely didn't receive the answer he had been looking for: The consen