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[National Security] FBI Counterintelligence Is Focus of Trump Campaign Spying Probe

The ongoing special Justice Department investigation into improper spying on the Trump campaign in 2016 highlights key failings by the FBI's once-storied counterintelligence division.

The post FBI Counterintelligence Is Focus of Trump Campaign Spying Probe appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:6/7/2019 4:47:56 AM
[News] FBI releases bizarre spate of documents regarding ‘sasquatch’ hair samples

The following article, FBI releases bizarre spate of documents regarding ‘sasquatch’ hair samples, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Is the truth out there?  Was Fox Mulder right all along?  The FBI may very well hold some of the answers to those questions, but their notoriously clandestine behavior has done little to slake the thirst of Americans on a number of supernatural subjects. Every week there seems to be a new story, disclosing just ...

Continue reading: FBI releases bizarre spate of documents regarding ‘sasquatch’ hair samples ...

Published:6/6/2019 4:39:43 PM
[In The News] CNN Analyst: Steele’s Meeting With DOJ ‘Will Not End Up Well’ For Dossier Author

By Chuck Ross -

Phil Mudd, a former FBI official and CNN analyst, said Tuesday that dossier author Christopher Steele should not meet with the Justice Department, as he is reportedly planning, because doing so “will not end up well” for the former British spy. “If you go to car races looking for car ...

CNN Analyst: Steele’s Meeting With DOJ ‘Will Not End Up Well’ For Dossier Author 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:6/5/2019 6:47:54 AM
[Government] FBI busted by watchdog group over massive cache of facial photos

The following article, FBI busted by watchdog group over massive cache of facial photos, was first published on Godfather Politics.

We as Americans tend to give the FBI a fairly wide berth.  What they do in the shadows of their profession is likely none of our business, nor could the average citizen understood the intricacies of certain aspects of their scope.  Often times it’s best to just let them be. But what happens when this clandestine ...

Continue reading: FBI busted by watchdog group over massive cache of facial photos ...

Published:6/4/2019 2:27:11 PM
[The Blog] Hmmm: Steele agrees to DoJ questioning over FBI relationship

Hannity: Barr already has the IG report on the FISA warrant.

The post Hmmm: Steele agrees to DoJ questioning over FBI relationship appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:6/4/2019 9:28:21 AM
[Markets] "Minority Report" Moment Arrives: Amazon, Facebook Reading Human Emotions

Authored by Aaron Kesel via ActivistPost.com,

Facebook and Amazon’s insanity only seems to continue with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Now, the two big conglomerate giants want to move into the uncharted territory of reading human emotions, both in their own ways.

Facebook wants a robot that has five senses which can read human emotions. Facebook wants “emotionally sensitive” robots that can explore the world, identify objects and people and enable its users to make more friends, Dailymail reported.

The robots would be fitted with wheels or tank-like caterpillar treads that would allow them to trundle about their environment.

Alternatively, such robots could be fitted out with drive systems that would allow them to move around underwater, fly through the air or float in space, Facebook suggest in their patent.

I am not sure why anyone would trust Facebook with data ever again, let alone biometric data, after all the numerous scandals Activist Post has documented including data mining. But to each their own I guess.

Amazon is also looking into reading human emotions in a completely different way by utilizing a voice-activated wearable device, that will sense its wearer’s state of mind by the tone of voiceBloomberg reported.

It’s worth noting that both companies have a smart home device, and after reading this you should fear what information is being gathered by the cameras and microphones attached to those electronics … besides the typically targeted advertising to turn consumers into the product.

On the Amazon front, it seems more than likely the company will want to use this technology in a variety of different digital gadgets, ranging from personal assistants such as Alexa to new technologies that the retail giant is currently developing. Amazon has announced it’s developing a personal assistance robot, so the new emotional technology could easily be integrated into this at-home robot as a means to “serve the consumer better.” A horrifically terrifying thought indeed.

Amazon and Facebook aren’t the only companies looking into utilizing human emotions. Previously, Activist Post reported that Walmart was also looking into to monitoring your biometric data, pulse, and location from the sensors on a shopping cart handle.

This news comes as hundreds of retail stores — and soon thousands — are investigating using biometric facial recognition software FaceFirst to build a database of shoplifters to aid in the fight against theftActivist Post reported.

FaceFirst is designed to scan faces as far as 50 to 100 feet away. As customers walk through a store entrance, the video camera captures repetitious images of each shopper and chooses the clearest one to store. The software then analyzes that image and compares it to a database of “bad customers” that the retailer has compiled; if there is a match, the software sends an alert to store employees that a “high risk” customer has entered the door.

The future of shopping seems to allude to having biometric scanners written all over it, a worrying prospect for privacy enthusiasts.

Several privacy advocate groups, attorneys, and even recently Microsoft, which also markets its own facial recognition system, have all raised concerns over the technology, pointing to issues of consent, racial profiling, and the potential to use images gathered through facial recognition cameras as evidence of criminal guilt by law enforcement.

“We don’t want to live in a world where government bureaucrats can enter in your name into a database and get a record of where you’ve been and what your financial, political, sexual, and medical associations and activities are,” Jay Stanley, an attorney with ACLU, told BuzzFeed News about the use of facial recognition cameras in retail stores.

“And we don’t want a world in which people are being stopped and hassled by authorities because they bear resemblance to some scary character.”

However, facial recognition technology currently has a lot of problems. Activist Post has also reported how Amazon’s own facial “Rekognition” software erroneously and hilariously identified 28 members of Congress as people who have been arrested for crimes.

Activist Post previously reported on another test of facial recognition technology in Britain which resulted in 35 false matches and 1 erroneous arrest. We have further reported recently on a watchdog observing UK Metropolitan Police trials. Big Brother Watch stated the technology has misidentified members of the public, including a 14-year-old black child in a school uniform who was stopped and fingerprinted by police, as potential criminals in as much as 96 percent of scans.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond in the U.S, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has stated the facial recognition technology the FBI is using for the Next Generation Identification-Interstate Photo System failed privacy and accuracy tests, as Activist Post reported.

In 2018 it was reported that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies were using this same Amazon Facial Rekognition technology to sift through surveillance data.

Defense One reports that “AI-Enabled Cameras That Detect Crime Before it Occurs Will Soon Invade the Physical World” are in the works and on display at ISC West, a recent security technology conference in Las Vegas.

Activist Post has previously reported in its own way that the rise of facial recognition technology is inevitable and, as a result, the death of one’s privacy is sure to come with it.

The fact that hundreds of retail stores want facial recognition technology is a scary thought. But combined with biometric data, that’s an even scarier prospect for our future in regards to the cart that can read a human’s emotional data including detecting stress.

While Amazon’s wearable device will be able to be used to target consumers, maybe not at first but eventually the technology pitched as “health and wellness” will be surely be used for advertising when connected to other Amazon products.

Increasingly our rights are decreasing with the help of big corporations like Amazon, Facebook, and Walmart. Our privacy is disappearing at an alarming rate in trade for convenience.

As previously written, “we are entering the Minority Report; there is no going back after this technology is public and citizens are indoctrinated that it’s ‘for their safety.’”

At that point, we are officially trading liberty and privacy for security. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

*  *  *

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Published:6/3/2019 8:26:22 PM
[2016 Election] FBI Failed to Document Four Clinton Witness Interviews. Barr Should Reopen Clinton Probe. FBI Failed to Document Four Clinton Witness Interviews. Barr Should Reopen Clinton Probe. The Federal Bureau of Imbeciles strikes again. Published:6/3/2019 5:21:41 PM
[FBI] David Garrow explains (Scott Johnson) Historian and Spectator USA Life & Arts editor Dominic Green interviews historian David Garrow on his most recent findings deriving from recently disclosed documents reflecting the FBI’s surveillance of Martin Luther King. I have embedded the podcast below. In his related Spectator USA column, Green asks whether media outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, and the Guardian suppressed and/or disparaged Garrow’s Published:6/3/2019 2:52:38 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Jared Kushner defends not telling FBI about Trump Tower meeting Yesterday Jared Kushner defended himself over not telling the FBI about the now infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting: Here’s more from the NY Post: Top White House adviser Jared Kushner lashed out . . . Published:6/3/2019 10:50:35 AM
[Politics] WATCH: Jared Kushner defends not telling FBI about Trump Tower meeting Yesterday Jared Kushner defended himself over not telling the FBI about the now infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting: Here’s more from the NY Post: Top White House adviser Jared Kushner lashed out . . . Published:6/3/2019 10:20:50 AM
[Loose Ends] Loose Ends (86) (Steven Hayward) • I was going over the general scene with a sage friend who pointed out that it is inevitable that the Democrats will impeach Trump. Not because Trump has committed an impeachable offense, but because the Democrats are in deep trouble if, as is highly possible, the forthcoming Justice Department’s inspector general’s report and U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the FBI “monitoring” of the Trump campaign Published:6/2/2019 10:16:38 PM
[Markets] Is Robert Mueller On The Grassy Knoll?

Authored by Graham Noble via LibertyNation.com,

Robert Mueller has now completed his special counsel assignment, but he may yet have a role to play in the unraveling Russia conspiracy. It is entirely possible that he will come to regret ever being appointed to investigate the phony collusion allegations against President Donald Trump. The fact that congressional Democrats – along with certain Republicans – are determined to haul him before House and Senate committees is only the beginning of what could become a very messy end to Mueller’s legacy of public service.

Mueller is on a collision course with Attorney General William Barr. The latter clearly believes that various government officials may have acted improperly, to say the least, during the 2016 presidential election campaign and in the months leading up to Mueller’s appointment. Abuses of power and unjustified and, perhaps, improperly authorized surveillance – or spying – may have occurred. Judges may have been misled and FISA warrants fraudulently obtained. An extensive political conspiracy against then-candidate, now-President Trump may have been working behind the scenes.

Justice Department’s Multi-Pronged Investigation

Barr is determined to get to the bottom of it all. Michael Horowitz, the inspector general for the Department of Justice, has already investigatedpossible political bias at the FBI and how it might have affected both the Clinton private email server investigation and the counterintelligence operation that targeted Trump campaign associates. Horowitz then took on a new task, described on the inspector general website as: “Examination of the Department’s and the FBI’s Compliance with Legal Requirements and Policies in Applications Filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Relating to a certain U.S. Person.”

Michael Horowitz

The IG’s final report on this matter is expected at any time. Horowitz has no subpoena or prosecutorial power, but elements of his report could be fed into other ongoing DOJ investigations. Those investigations are numerous. Their exact purpose and progress are being closely guarded by the DOJ though it is known that some of them relate to unauthorized leaks to – and the illegal acceptance of gifts from – members of the media by former FBI officials.

Two other investigations, being conducted by federal prosecutors, concern potential abuses by the FBI and DOJ of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

All of these investigations converge on the genesis of the FBI operation, codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, that began in 2016 and continued up until Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel. At that point, the FBI handed off its investigation to Mueller. A team was put in place to handle the transition and bring the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) up to speed. Unless something went very wrong, the FBI would have handed over most of whatever intelligence and other materials it had gathered during Crossfire Hurricane.

Just When Mueller Thought He Was Out

At this point, Mueller would have become one of the few people who knew everything about Crossfire Hurricane and the predication for its birth. It stands to reason, then, that the multi-pronged investigation, overseen by AG Barr, to find out why the FBI operation began and how it was conducted, will reach out to touch Mueller himself.

Considering the position Mueller occupied as the man who held in his hands the fate of a sitting president, there are some very big questions that need to be answered: How aware was Mueller that the FBI based its counterintelligence operation upon unverified opposition research paid for by Trump’s election opponent and upon comments solicited from Trump campaign people by FBI and CIA informants?

If Mueller was entirely unaware of these facts, then the FBI withheld from him information vital to his own investigation. If he was aware of them, then he knew from the beginning that his own assigned task was rooted in political mischief and undercover surveillance of U.S. citizens. That would mean he either ignored or concealed wrongdoing within the senior ranks of the FBI.

Robert Mueller

Another question only Mueller can answer: At what point did he come to the realization that there was no coordination or conspiracy between Russian officials and Trump associates with regard to the 2016 election? How long after that realization did he continue to investigate – and why?

There can be little doubt that Mueller was well aware that the FBI had used, as the centerpiece of its investigation, the so-called Steele dossier. It is hardly believable that the special counsel was unaware of its provenance as a collection of uncorroborated gossip and allegations, compiled by Christopher Steele for use by the Clinton campaign against Trump; after all, Mueller’s number two at the Office of Special Counsel was Andrew Weissman. Weissman – a staunch Clinton partisan – was previously a senior FBI official who was well aware of the existence and nature of the Steele dossier.

If the DOJ concludes, then, that Crossfire Hurricane was a politically-motivated fabrication involving fraudulently obtained FISA warrants to spy on Trump associates, the further conclusion that the Mueller investigation was an extension of that conspiracy is virtually unavoidable. How could the DOJ possibly pursue its investigations to completion without questioning Mueller, Weissman, and perhaps numerous other individuals who worked at the OSC?

Source: GrrrGraphics

Trump has often described Mueller as “conflicted.” It may be that the president knows far more than anyone realizes or his use of that word may be nothing more than a comment on Mueller’s association with former FBI Director James Comey, whose firing ushered in Mueller’s appointment. Whatever the answer, it seems increasingly likely that former special counsel was, indeed, extremely “conflicted.” He may become a key witness in Barr’s investigatory endeavors – and being only a witness could be the most fortunate outcome for Robert Mueller.

Published:6/2/2019 8:46:53 PM
[Markets] "It's All A Fraud": Deceptive Edits Found In Mueller Report

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) on Saturday called for the immediate release of "all backup and source information" for the Mueller report after internet sleuth @almostjingo (Rosie Memos) discovered that the special counsel's office deceptively edited content which was then cited as evidence of possible obstruction. 

"It's all a fraud" tweeted Nunes, replying to a tweet by @JohnWHuber (Undercover Huber), who also posted a comparison between the Mueller report and a newly released transcript of a November 2017 voicemail message left by former Trump lawyer John Dowd, in which he asked former national security adviser Michael Flynn's attorney for a "heads up" if Flynn was planning on saying anything that might damage the president. 

Mueller's team omitted key context suggesting that Dowd was trying to strongarm Flynn and possibly obstruct justice by shaping witness testimony, while the actual voicemail reveals that Dowd was careful not to tread into obstruction territory in what was a friendly and routine call between lawyers. 

Dowd qualifies his request by saying "without you having to give up any...confidential information" in order to determine "If, on the other hand, we have, there's information that...implicates the President, then we've got a national security issue, or maybe a national security issue, I don't know... some issue, we got to-we got to deal with, not only for the President but for the country." 

Mueller's deceptive edits beg the question; what else may have been manipulated by the special counsel to make Trump look guilty? When reached for comment by attorney 'Techno Fog' (@Techno_Fog), Dowd said of the edits: "It is unfair and despicable. It was a friendly  privileged call between counsel - with NO conflict. I think Flynn got screwed." 

Dowd told Fox News: "During the joint defense relationship, counsel for the president provided to Flynn’s counsel documents, advice and encouragement to provide to SC [the special counsel] as part of his effort to cooperate with the SC," adding "SC never raised or questioned the president’s counsel about these allegations despite numerous opportunities to do so."

Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russians and is currently awaiting sentencing.

DOJ stonewalls on Flynn evidence

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has resisted a court order to release the transcripts of Flynn's conversations with Russian officials, including former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

This raises at least two questions. First, did the DOJ give Flynn the transcripts? And second, did the DOJ violate a previous court order from Judge Emmett Sullivan to produce evidence during discovery? 

Could there be exculpatory evidence in the transcript that Flynn's team never received?

Published:6/2/2019 9:25:42 AM
[Culture] Lovebirds Canceled (John Hinderaker) Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney are Irish documentary filmmakers who have made several notable movies, including Gosnell. Their latest project is a play called FBI Lovebirds: Under Covers: The play, “FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers,” casts Dean Cain and Kristy Swanson as FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The production’s dialogue comes straight from the pair’s texts, which revealed both their romantic affair as well as plans to battle Donald Trump’s Published:6/1/2019 10:44:26 PM
[In The News] Top House Republican Points To ‘Several Indications’ Peter Strzok Was FBI Leaker

By Chuck Ross -

A top House Republican is asking the Justice Department’s inspector general whether Peter Strzok is the former FBI official accused of leaking sensitive materials to the press and accepting gifts from a reporter. Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter Thursday to ...

Top House Republican Points To ‘Several Indications’ Peter Strzok Was FBI Leaker 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:6/1/2019 8:19:45 PM
[Markets] Russiagate Is The #1 Threat To US National Security, Cohen

The systemwide US Russophobia that reached its nadir with Russiagate has created a “catastrophe” for both domestic politics and foreign relations that threatens the future of the American system, professor Stephen Cohen tells RT.

War with Russia could easily break out if the US insists on pursuing the policy of “demonization” that birthed Russiagate instead of returning to detente and cooperation, New York University professor emeritus of Russian history Stephen Cohen argues on Chris Hedges' On Contact. While NATO deliberately antagonized post-Soviet Russia by expanding up to its borders, the US deployed missile defense systems along those borders after scrapping an arms treaty, leaving President Vladimir Putin devoid of “illusions” about the goodwill of the West – but armed with “nuclear missiles that can evade and elude any missile defense system.”

Now is the time for a serious, new arms control agreement. What do we get? Russiagate instead.”

Cohen believes the conspiracy theorywhich remains front-page news in US media despite being thoroughly discredited, both by independent investigators and last month by special counsel Robert Mueller’s report is the work of the CIA and its former director, John Brennan, who are dead set against any kind of cooperation with Russia. Attorney General William Barr, who is investigating the FBI over how the 2016 counterintelligence probe began, should take a look at Brennan and his agency, Cohen says.

If our intelligence services are off the reservation to the point that they can first try to destroy a presidential candidate and then a president…we need to know it,” Cohen says.

This is the worst scandal in American history. It’s the worst, at least, since the Civil War.”

And the damage wrought by this “catastrophe” hasn’t stopped at the US border.

The idea that Trump is a Russian agent has been devastating to “our own institutions, to the presidency, to our electoral system, to Congress, to the American mainstream media, not to mention the damage it's done to American-Russian relations, the damage it has done to the way Russians, both elite Russians and young Russians, look at America today,” Cohen declares.

“Russiagate is one of the greatest new threats to national security. I have five listed in the book. Russia and China aren't on there. Russiagate is number one.”

And the potential damage it could still cause is enormous.

Source:RT

Published:6/1/2019 6:42:11 PM
[In The News] Comey Accuses Barr Of ‘Echoing Conspiracy Theories’

By Chuck Ross -

Former FBI Director James Comey accused Attorney General William Barr on Saturday of peddling “conspiracy theories” about the origins of the Russia investigation during an interview with CBS News. Bill Barr on CBS offers no facts. An AG should not be echoing conspiracy theories. He should gather facts and show ...

Comey Accuses Barr Of ‘Echoing Conspiracy Theories’ 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:6/1/2019 5:18:10 PM
[US News] ‘Commence the wiretaps’! Former Obama officials reportedly told Iranian leaders ‘don’t take Trump’s bait’

"FBI better meet with every one of them under deceptive friendly pretenses..."

The post ‘Commence the wiretaps’! Former Obama officials reportedly told Iranian leaders ‘don’t take Trump’s bait’ appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:6/1/2019 10:09:38 AM
[] Representative Doug Collins Thinks the FBI Leaker Referenced Anonymously in a Recent OIG Dispatch Is None Other Than Peter StrzokDOJ Release Redacted Michael Flynn Documents This OIG report mentions a former FBI Deputy Assistant Director making unauthorized leaks, and also accepting gifts from the media. The OIG investigation concluded that the DAD engaged in misconduct when the DAD: (1) disclosed to the media the existence... Published:5/31/2019 4:15:22 PM
[Markets] Ex-CIA Officer: Trump In "Historic Battle" With "Treasonous" Deep State

Via Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com,

Former CIA Officer and whistleblower Kevin Shipp says what is going on in Washington D.C. with the “treason” against Trump is unlike anything we have ever faced as a nation.

Shipp explains, “This is an historic battle between the President of the United States and what I call the ‘Shadow Government.’

"Some call this the ‘Deep State,’ and that includes the CIA, the FBI and the NSA. President Trump is the first President to stand up against this Shadow Government. They have been spying on Trump since he was a presidential candidate. So, this is huge, it’s historic and nothing like this has ever occurred in any western government...

The Shadow Government has been controlling Congress, controlling the judiciary and controlling the President of the United States. No one has stood up against them until Donald J. Trump.  They did not figure on this, and he is not bound to this Shadow Government or their threats. Trump has got them quaking in their boots because they have been engaged in illegal surveillance. They have been engaged in a false counter-intelligence against the Trump campaign, literally planting spies in the Trump campaign.

I can guarantee you they are scrambling like rats trying to get off a ship. Comey points fingers at Clapper, he’s pointing fingers at Comey, there’s Loretta Lynch and on and on. They are scared because if this stuff is declassified, the American people will see what they have done. For some of these people, this amounts to treason. They attempted a coup against a duly elected President of the United States.

Make no mistake, what happened to President Trump with the “hoax” of Russia collusion was a frame job to try to knock him out of office. Trump has called this “treason,” and when he says this, the mainstream media is silent and won’t report it. Shipp says,

“They know it, and they are trying their level best to support these Shadow Government/Deep State players because the media was complicit in this false Russia collusion. There is no way they are going to report on information that will expose their role in it...

They shot and they missed, and it was a bad miss because they tipped their hand.”

Shipp says new Attorney General William Barr is the right man for the job of prosecuting treason. Shipp says, “Barr was a former CIA attorney . . . I was skeptical at first, but now I am right behind Barr."

"I think the fact that Barr was a CIA attorney gives him an inside view... So, Barr has an edge . . . over the CIA and the FBI. He knows how that system works. He knows how they are going to stonewall him. He knows how they are going to use classification to try to conceal what they have done. They got the worst President and the worst Attorney General for them to expose what they are doing both at the same time. Barr has subpoena power, and they are quaking in their boots because this has never happened before. They have never been challenged like this before.”

This is simply a case of spying to get blackmail information against political opponents. It goes back to 2012 and was under the direction of President Obama, according to Shipp. Shipp explains, “This was NSA domestic surveillance, and it’s been going on since before 9/11. It increased after 9/11."

"What they did, Comey and others like Brennan, they went in and requested information existing already on NSA super computers and used that information to spy on the Trump Campaign...They did spy on Donald Trump, and it was extensive. It was criminal and was existing systems the NSA already had in place...

This leads all the way to Barack Obama and, of course, Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton being the blackmailer extraordinaire and Barack Obama...

They were using this power to intimidate others and probably to blackmail others... that’s exactly what they were doing... They were all engaging in flagrant criminal activity. They all thought the global princess was going to get elected, and all of a sudden—boom. The unthinkable happened for them. Donald Trump was elected, and they freaked out.”

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with former CIA Officer and whistleblower Kevin Shipp.

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Published:5/30/2019 10:30:05 PM
[Corruption] Obama’s Corrupt FBI: Agent Took Gifts from Media in Exchange for Leaked Info

The following article, Obama’s Corrupt FBI: Agent Took Gifts from Media in Exchange for Leaked Info, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Another corrupt member of the FBI has been uncovered by an investigation by the inspector general's office for accepting bribes to leaking information.

Continue reading: Obama’s Corrupt FBI: Agent Took Gifts from Media in Exchange for Leaked Info ...

Published:5/30/2019 2:27:49 PM
[] IG Report Accuses Former FBI Deputy Assistant Director of Leaking "Sensitive" Information to Media, Accepting Gift from a Member of the Media No prosecution for leaking "sensitive" information? Oh well, Membership Has Its Privileges. The Justice Department's inspector general (IG) issued a report Wednesday accusing a former FBI deputy assistant director of leaking "sensitive" information to a member of the press. A... Published:5/30/2019 2:27:46 PM
[Politics] Trump Claims Conflict of Interest; Mueller Sought Top FBI Post President Donald Trump on Thursday claimed that special counsel Robert Mueller had a “conflict of interest” because he sought the same top post at the FBI that he held in the two previous administrations. Published:5/30/2019 12:58:42 PM
[Markets] When Will The FBI Place Informants In Bernie Sanders' 2020 Campaign?

If the 2016 US election taught us anything, it's that the FBI feels it's necessary to send people to spy on the campaigns of candidates who might have ties to Russia. We've also learned that the agency's bar for launching a massive counterintelligence investigation is incredibly low - spending what President Trump says was $40 million to probe flimsy rumors that Russia has 'dirt' on another candidate.

Which brings us to Bernie Sanders - who honeymooned in the USSR and campaigned for the Marxist party during the Reagan era. And while that may have put him in great company with former Obama intel chiefs James Comey and John Brennan, there's just no way to know if Sanders is a 77-year-old manchurian Red Dawn candidate, ready to strike at the heart of Democracy. 

Adding to the possibility of Putin Puppetry was special counsel Robert Mueller's conclusion that 13 Russian 'trolls' he indicted were instructed "to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump." In other words - when Bernie was a contender, Russia wanted him to win. 

Meanwhile, Bernie and his wife Jane were placed under FBI investigation for bank fraud in 2017 related to a $10 million loan Jane took out for her very ill-fated Burlington College fiasco, though we're unsure if their home, office and hotel room were raided like Trump attorney Michael Cohen's. Politico reported that prosecutors were also investigating allegations that Sen. Sanders' office inappropriately urged the bank to approve the loan.

And while a top Sanders adviser told CNN in November that the Vermont US Attorney's Office notified Jane that charges would not be filed, how do we know for sure that Russians weren't involved? 

Which begs the question - when is the FBI going to investigate, raid, and send informants into the Sanders campaignHe might after all be a Kremlin agent, right?

(h/t Andrew Wilkow)

Published:5/30/2019 12:26:36 PM
[The Blog] Trump: Mueller’s a true Never Trumper who begged to be my FBI director, or something

"In deep like with Comey"?

The post Trump: Mueller’s a true Never Trumper who begged to be my FBI director, or something appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:5/30/2019 9:27:41 AM
[Markets] Technotyranny: The Iron-Fisted Authoritarianism Of The Surveillance State

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“There will come a time when it isn't ‘They’re spying on me through my phone’ anymore. Eventually, it will be ‘My phone is spying on me.’” ? Philip K. Dick

Red pill or blue pill? You decide.

Twenty years after the Wachowskis’ iconic 1999 film, The Matrix, introduced us to a futuristic world in which humans exist in a computer-simulated non-reality powered by authoritarian machines - a world where the choice between existing in a denial-ridden virtual dream-state or facing up to the harsh, difficult realities of life comes down to a red pill or a blue pill - we stand at the precipice of a technologically-dominated matrix of our own making.

We are living the prequel to The Matrix with each passing day, falling further under the spell of technologically-driven virtual communities, virtual realities and virtual conveniences managed by artificially intelligent machines that are on a fast track to replacing us and eventually dominating every aspect of our lives.

Science fiction has become fact.

In The Matrixcomputer programmer Thomas Anderson a.k.a. hacker Neo is wakened from a virtual slumber by Morpheus, a freedom fighter seeking to liberate humanity from a lifelong hibernation state imposed by hyper-advanced artificial intelligence machines that rely on humans as an organic power source. With their minds plugged into a perfectly crafted virtual reality, few humans ever realize they are living in a dream world.

Neo is given a choice: to wake up and join the resistance, or remain asleep and serve as fodder for the powers-that-be. “You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe,” Morpheus says to Neo in The Matrix. “You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Most people opt for the red pill.

In our case, the red pill—a one-way ticket to a life sentence in an electronic concentration camp—has been honey-coated to hide the bitter aftertaste, sold to us in the name of expediency and delivered by way of blazingly fast Internet, cell phone signals that never drop a call, thermostats that keep us at the perfect temperature without our having to raise a finger, and entertainment that can be simultaneously streamed to our TVs, tablets and cell phones.

Yet we are not merely in thrall with these technologies that were intended to make our lives easier. We have become enslaved by them.

Look around you. Everywhere you turn, people are so addicted to their internet-connected screen devices—smart phones, tablets, computers, televisions—that they can go for hours at a time submerged in a virtual world where human interaction is filtered through the medium of technology.

This is not freedom.

This is not even progress.

This is technological tyranny and iron-fisted control delivered by way of the surveillance state, corporate giants such as Google and Facebook, and government spy agencies such as the National Security Agency.

We are living in a virtual world carefully crafted to resemble a representative government, while in reality we are little more than slaves in thrall to an authoritarian regime, with its constant surveillance, manufactured media spectacles, secret courts, inverted justice, and violent repression of dissent.

So consumed are we with availing ourselves of all the latest technologies that we have spared barely a thought for the ramifications of our heedless, headlong stumble towards a world in which our abject reliance on internet-connected gadgets and gizmos is grooming us for a future in which freedom is an illusion.

It’s not just freedom that hangs in the balance. Humanity itself is on the line.

Indeed, while most people are busily taking selfies, Google has been busily partnering with the NSA, the Pentagon, and other governmental agencies to develop a new “human” species.

Essentially, Google—a neural network that approximates a global brain—is fusing with the human mind in a phenomenon that is called “singularity.” Google will know the answer to your question before you have asked it, said transhumanist scientist Ray Kurzweil. “It will have read every email you will ever have written, every document, every idle thought you’ve ever tapped into a search-engine box. It will know you better than your intimate partner does. Better, perhaps, than even yourself.”

But here’s the catch: the NSA and all other government agencies will also know you better than yourself. As William Binney, one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA said, “The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control.”

Cue the dawning of the Age of the Internet of Things, in which internet-connected “things” will monitor your home, your health and your habits in order to keep your pantry stocked, your utilities regulated and your life under control and relatively worry-free.

The key word here is control.

In the not-too-distant future, “just about every device you have — and even products like chairs, that you don’t normally expect to see technology in — will be connected and talking to each other.”

By 2020, there will be 152 million cars connected to the Internet and 100 million Internet-connected bulbs and lamps. By 2021, it is estimated there will be 240 million wearable devices such as smartwatches, keeping users connected it real time to their phones, emails, text messages and the Internet. By 2022, there will be 1.1 billion smart meters installed in homes, reporting real-time usage to utility companies and other interested parties.

This “connected” industry—estimated to add more than $14 trillion to the economy by 2020—is about to be the next big thing in terms of societal transformations, right up there with the Industrial Revolution, a watershed moment in technology and culture.

Between driverless cars that completely lacking a steering wheel, accelerator, or brake pedal and smart pills embedded with computer chips, sensors, cameras and robots, we are poised to outpace the imaginations of science fiction writers such as Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov. (By the way, there is no such thing as a driverless car. Someone or something will be driving, but it won’t be you.)

The aim of these internet-connected devices, as Nest proclaims, is to make “your house a more thoughtful and conscious home.” For example, your car can signal ahead that you’re on your way home, while Hue lights can flash on and off to get your attention if Nest Protect senses something’s wrong. Your coffeemaker, relying on data from fitness and sleep sensors, will brew a stronger pot of coffee for you if you’ve had a restless night.

Internet-connected techno gadgets as smart light bulbs can discourage burglars by making your house look occupied, smart thermostats will regulate the temperature of your home based on your activities, and smart doorbells will let you see who is at your front door without leaving the comfort of your couch.

Nest, Google’s $3 billion acquisition, has been at the forefront of the “connected” industry, with such technologically savvy conveniences as a smart lock that tells your thermostat who is home, what temperatures they like, and when your home is unoccupied; a home phone service system that interacts with your connected devices to “learn when you come and go” and alert you if your kids don’t come home; and a sleep system that will monitor when you fall asleep, when you wake up, and keep the house noises and temperature in a sleep-conducive state.

It’s not just our homes that are being reordered and reimagined in this connected age: it’s our workplaces, our health systems, our government and our very bodies that are being plugged into a matrix over which we have no real control.

Moreover, given the speed and trajectory at which these technologies are developing, it won’t be long before these devices are operating entirely independent of their human creators, which poses a whole new set of worries.

As technology expert Nicholas Carr notes, “As soon as you allow robots, or software programs, to act freely in the world, they’re going to run up against ethically fraught situations and face hard choices that can’t be resolved through statistical models. That will be true of self-driving cars, self-flying drones, and battlefield robots, just as it’s already true, on a lesser scale, with automated vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers.”

For instance, just as the robotic vacuum, Roomba, “makes no distinction between a dust bunny and an insect,” weaponized drones will be incapable of distinguishing between a fleeing criminal and someone merely jogging down a street.

For that matter, how do you defend yourself against a robotic cop—such as the Atlas android being developed by the Pentagon—that has been programmed to respond to any perceived threat with violence?

Unfortunately, in our race to the future, we have failed to consider what such dependence on technology might mean for our humanity, not to mention our freedoms.

Ingestible or implantable chips are a good example of how unprepared we are, morally and otherwise, to navigate this uncharted terrain. Hailed as revolutionary for their ability to access, analyze and manipulate your body from the inside, these smart pills can remind you to take your medication, search for cancer, and even send an alert to your doctor warning of an impending heart attack.

Sure, the technology could save lives, but is that all we need to know? Have we done our due diligence in dealing with the ramifications of giving the government and its cronies access to such intrusive programs? For example, asks reporter Ariana Eunjung Cha, “How will patients be assured that the technology won’t be used to compel them to take medications they don’t really want to take? Could what started as a voluntary experiment be turned into a compulsory government identification program that could erode civil liberties?

Let me put it another way.

If you were shocked by Edward Snowden’s revelations about how NSA agents have used surveillance to spy on Americans’ phone calls, emails and text messages, can you imagine what unscrupulous government agents could do with access to your internet-connected car, home and medications?

All of those internet-connected gadgets we just have to have (Forbes refers to them as “(data) pipelines to our intimate bodily processes”)—the smart watches that can monitor our blood pressure and the smart phones that let us pay for purchases with our fingerprints and iris scans—are setting us up for a brave new world where there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

Imagine what a SWAT team could do with the ability to access, monitor and control your internet-connected home: locking you in, turning off the lights, activating alarms, etc.

Thus far, the public response to concerns about government surveillance has amounted to a collective shrug.

After all, who cares if the government can track your whereabouts on your GPS-enabled device so long as it helps you find the fastest route from Point A to Point B? Who cares if the NSA is listening in on your phone calls and downloading your emails so long as you can get your phone calls and emails on the go and get lightning fast Internet on the fly? Who cares if the government can monitor your activities in your home by tapping into your internet-connected devices—thermostat, water, lights—so long as you can control those things with the flick of a finger, whether you’re across the house or across the country?

It’s hard to truly appreciate the intangible menace of technology-enabled government surveillance in the face of the all-too-tangible menace of police shootings of unarmed citizens, SWAT team raids, and government violence and corruption.

However, both dangers are just as lethal to our freedoms if left unchecked.

Consider that on any given day, the average American going about his daily business is monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in virtually every way by both government and corporate eyes and ears.

Whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, will be listening in and tracking your behavior.

This doesn’t even begin to touch on the corporate trackers that monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere.

In other words, there is no form of digital communication that the government cannot and does not monitor: phone calls, emails, text messages, tweets, Facebook posts, internet video chats, etc., are all accessible, trackable and downloadable by federal agents.

The government and its corporate partners-in-crime have been bypassing the Fourth Amendment’s prohibitions for so long that this constitutional bulwark against warrantless searches and seizures has largely been rendered antiquated and irrelevant.

We are now in the final stage of the transition from a police state to a surveillance state.

Having already transformed local police into extensions of the military, the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the FBI are in the process of turning the nation’s police officers into techno-warriors, complete with iris scanners, body scanners, thermal imaging Doppler radar devices, facial recognition programs, license plate readers, cell phone Stingray devices and so much more.

Add in the fusion centers and real-time crime centers, city-wide surveillance networks, data clouds conveniently hosted overseas by Amazon and Microsoft, drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras, and biometric databases, and you’ve got the makings of a world in which “privacy” is reserved exclusively for government agencies.

In other words, the surveillance state that came into being with the 9/11 attacks is alive and well and kicking privacy to shreds in America. Having been persuaded to trade freedom for a phantom promise of security, Americans now find themselves imprisoned in a virtual cage of cameras, wiretaps, sensors and watchful government eyes.

Just about every branch of the government—from the Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between—now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to spy on the American people.

And of course that doesn’t even begin to touch on the complicity of the corporate sector, which buys and sells us from cradle to grave, until we have no more data left to mine. Indeed, Facebook, Amazon and Google are among the government’s closest competitors when it comes to carrying out surveillance on Americans, monitoring the content of your emails, tracking your purchases and exploiting your social media posts.

“Few consumers understand what data are being shared, with whom, or how the information is being used,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “Most Americans emit a stream of personal digital exhaust — what they search for, what they buy, who they communicate with, where they are — that is captured and exploited in a largely unregulated fashion.”

It’s not just what we say, where we go and what we buy that is being tracked.

We’re being surveilled right down to our genes, thanks to a potent combination of hardware, software and data collection that scans our biometrics—our faces, irises, voices, genetics, even our gait—runs them through computer programs that can break the data down into unique “identifiers,” and then offers them up to the government and its corporate allies for their respective uses.

For instance, imagine what the NSA could do (and is likely already doing) with voiceprint technology, which has been likened to a fingerprint. Described as “the next frontline in the battle against overweening public surveillance,” the collection of voiceprints is a booming industry for governments and businesses alike. As The Guardian reports, “voice biometrics could be used to pinpoint the location of individuals. There is already discussion about placing voice sensors in public spaces, and … multiple sensors could be triangulated to identify individuals and specify their location within very small areas.”

The NSA is merely one small part of a shadowy permanent government comprised of unelected bureaucrats who march in lockstep with profit-driven corporations that actually runs Washington, DC, and works to keep us under surveillance and, thus, under control. For example, Google openly works with the NSA, Amazon has built a massive $600 million intelligence database for CIA, and the telecommunications industry is making a fat profit by spying on us for the government.

In other words, Corporate America is making a hefty profit by aiding and abetting the government in its domestic surveillance efforts.

Control is the key here.

Total control over every aspect of our lives, right down to our inner thoughts, is the objective of any totalitarian regime.

George Orwell understood this. His masterpiece, 1984, portrays a global society of total control in which people are not allowed to have thoughts that in any way disagree with the corporate state. There is no personal freedom, and advanced technology has become the driving force behind a surveillance-driven society. Snitches and cameras are everywhere. And people are subject to the Thought Police, who deal with anyone guilty of thought crimes. The government, or “Party,” is headed by Big Brother, who appears on posters everywhere with the words: “Big Brother is watching you.”

Make no mistake: the Internet of Things is just Big Brother in a more appealing disguise.

Now there are still those who insist that they have nothing to hide from the surveillance state and nothing to fear from the police state because they have done nothing wrong. To those sanctimonious few, secure in their delusions, let this be a warning: the danger posed by the American police state applies equally to all of us, lawbreaker and law-abider alike.

In an age of too many laws, too many prisons, too many government spies, and too many corporations eager to make a fast buck at the expense of the American taxpayer, there is no safe place and no watertight alibi.

We are all guilty of some transgression or other.

Eventually, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we will all be made to suffer the same consequences in the electronic concentration camp that surrounds us.

Published:5/29/2019 10:53:33 PM
[Markets] Did Special Counsel Mueller Lie To The Attorney General?

As the left piles the pressure on Speaker Pelosi to launch impeachment proceedings against President Trump following Special Counsel Mueller's apparent 'greenlight' during his brief statement this morning, a rather large question looms over an apparent disagreement between Mueller and his boss, Attorney General William Barr.

During a Wednesday statement, Mueller said that his non-decision decision on whether the president obstructed justice was "informed" by "a long-standing opinion by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the Justice Department that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime...That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that too is prohibited."

However, as Gregg Jarrett of Fox News reports, according to Barr, that’s not what Mueller told multiple people during a meeting on March 5, 2017. Here’s what Barr told Senators during his May 1st testimony:

“We were frankly surprised that they were not going to reach a decision on obstruction and we asked them a lot about the reasoning behind this. Mueller stated three times to us in that meeting, in response to our questioning, that he emphatically was not saying that but for the OLC opinion he would have found obstruction.”

Barr said there were others in the meeting who heard Mueller say the same thing – that the OLC opinion played no role in the special counsel’s decision-making or lack thereof. The attorney general repeated this in his news conference the day Mueller’s report was released to the public:

“We specifically asked him about the OLC opinion and whether or not he was taking a position that he would have found a crime but for the existence of the OLC opinion. And he made it very clear several times that was not his position.”

Yet, today, Mueller was telling a different tale.

So did Mueller lie (to the public today or to the AG in 2017)?

Perhaps Nadler, knowing this is hanging over Mueller's head will slow roll his calls for a Mueller testimony now.

As we consider the he-said, he-said above of whether Mueller did base his probe of Russian collusion (and obstruction) on whether a President could be indicted or not, we note Speaker Pelosi is still tamping down the impeachment inferno, saying , “Many constituents want to impeach the president. But we want do do what is right and what gets results what gets results.”

But while many cheered today's statement as clearing a path for Congressional Democrats to seek impeachment, one famous liberal - Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz - was infuriated by Mueller's partisan behavior today. In a furious op-ed at The Hill, Dershowitz slammed Mueller:

"Until today, I have defended Mueller against the accusations that he is a partisan. I did not believe that he personally favored either the Democrats or the Republicans, or had a point of view on whether President Trump should be impeached. But I have now changed my mind. By putting his thumb, indeed his elbow, on the scale of justice in favor of impeachment based on obstruction of justice, Mueller has revealed his partisan bias. He also has distorted the critical role of a prosecutor in our justice system."

Adding that what Mueller said today “is worse than the statement made by then FBI Director James Comey regarding Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign,” regarding the recklessness with which she handled classified material, concluding defiantly:

"No prosecutor should ever say or do anything for the purpose of helping one party or the other. I cannot imagine a plausible reason why Mueller went beyond his report and gratuitously suggested that President Trump might be guilty, except to help Democrats in Congress and to encourage impeachment talk and action. Shame on Mueller for abusing his position of trust and for allowing himself to be used for such partisan advantage."

A good question that many others, even left-leaning individuals, are asking tonight. We give the last words to Fox's Greeg Jarrett as they seemed to sum things up well: "He refused to make a decision to charge the president in a court of law but was more than willing to indict him in the court of public opinion...His report was a non-indictment indictment. It was calumny masquerading as a report. "

Published:5/29/2019 8:52:15 PM
[World] Robert Mueller pulls a James Comey

In this latest episode of "Prosecutors Gone Wild," special counsel Bob Mueller performed what can only be described in legal terms as "pulling a Jim Comey."

Like the disgraced FBI ex-director and admitted liar Jim Comey, Mr. Mueller has never been elected to so much as dog catcher. He has ... Published:5/29/2019 7:53:26 PM

[Markets] Johnstone: Stop Hoping That The Swamp Will Drain The Swamp

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

If you only tuned into US politics within the last couple of years this will come as a major surprise, but believe it or not there was once a time when both major parties weren’t constantly claiming that imminent revelations are about to completely destroy the other party any minute now. Used to be they’d just focus on beating each other in elections and making each other look bad with smears and sex scandals; now in the age of Trump they’re both always insisting that some huge, earth-shattering revelation is right around the corner that will see the leaders of the other party dragged off in chains forever.

Enthusiastic Trump supporters have been talking a lot lately about the president’s decision to give Attorney General Bill Barr the authority to declassify information regarding the shady origins of the discredited Russiagate hoax, including potentially illicit means used to secure a surveillance warrant on Trump campaign staff. For days online chatter from Trump’s base has been amping up for a huge, cataclysmic bombshell in the same language Russiagaters used to use back before Robert Mueller pissed in their Wheaties.

“There is information coming that will curl your hair,” Congressman Mark Meadows told Sean Hannity on Fox News. “I can tell you that the reason why it is so visceral?—?the response from the Democrats is so visceral right now?—?is because they know, they’ve seen documents. Adam Schiff has seen documents that he knows will actually put the finger pointing back at him and his Democrat colleagues, not the president of the United States.”

“There is some information in these transcripts that I think has the potential to be a game changer, if it’s ever made public,” former Republican congressman Trey Gowdy told Fox News, referring to FBI transcripts of recorded interactions with surveilled individuals.

“Sources tell me there will be bombshells [of] information,” tweeted Fox News contributor Sara A Carter of the coming decassifications.

Democrats and Democrat-aligned media are responding with similarly apocalyptic language, playing right along with the same WWE script.

“While Trump stonewalls the public from learning the truth about his obstruction of justice, Trump and Barr conspire to weaponize law enforcement and classified information against their political enemies,” griped congressman, Russiagater and flamboyant drama queen Adam Schiff, adding, “The coverup has entered a new and dangerous phase. This is un-American.”

“President Trump’s order allowing Attorney General William P. Barr to declassify any intelligence that led to the Russia investigation sets up a potential confrontation with the C.I.A.,” the New York Times warns.

“National security veterans fear a declassification order could trigger resignations and threaten the CIA’s ability to conduct its core business?—?managing secret intelligence and sources,” frets Politico.

“William Barr’s New Authority to Declassify Anything He Wants Is a Threat to National Security,” blares a headline from Slate.

Both sides are wrong and ridiculous. Democrats are wrong and ridiculous for claiming a tiny bit of government transparency is dangerous, and Republicans are wrong and ridiculous to claim that game-changing bombshell revelations are going to be brought to the light by these declassifications. Just like with the Mueller report and the “bigger than Watergate” Nunes memo before it, there may be some interesting revelations, but the swamp of DC corruption will march on completely uninterrupted.

Readers keep asking me to weigh in on this whole declassification controversy, but really I have no response to the whole thing apart from boredom and a slight flinch whenever I think about Adam Schiff’s bug-eyed stare. There’s just not much going to come of it.

This is not to suggest that the intelligence communities of the US and its allies weren’t up to some extremely sleazy shenanigans in planting the seeds of the Russiagate insanity which monopolized US political attention for over two years, and it’s not to suggest that those shenanigans couldn’t be interpreted as crimes. Abuse of government surveillance and inflicting a malignant psyop on public consciousness are extremely egregious offenses and should indeed be punished. And, in a sane world, they would be.

But we do not live in such a world. We live in a world where partisan divides are for show only and the powerful protect each other from ever being held to account. Having the swamp of Trump’s Justice Department investigate the swamp of Obama’s intelligence community isn’t going to lead anywhere. Swamp creature Bill “Iran-Contra coverup” Barr isn’t going to be draining the swamp any more than swamp creature Robert “Saddam has WMDs” Mueller. The swamp cannot be used to drain itself.

It is possible that some important information will make its way to public view, like Russiagate’s roots in UK intelligence, for example. But no powerful people in the US or its allied governments will suffer any meaningful consequences for any offenses exposed, and no significant changes in government policy or behavior will take place. I fully support declassifying everything Trump wants declassified (as well as the rest of the 99 percent of classified government information which is only hidden from public view out of convenience for the powerful), but the most significant thing that can possibly come of it is a slightly better-informed populace and some political damage to the Democrats in 2020.

The only people who believe these inquiries will help fix America’s problems are those who believe there are aspects of the DC power structure which are not immersed in swamp. Trump supporters believe the Trump administration is virtuous, so they believe the Justice Department is preparing to hold powerful manipulators to legal accountability rather than cover for them and treat them with kid gloves. Democrats believed that a former FBI Director and George W Bush crony was going to bring the Executive Branch of the US government to its knees, because they thought that swamp monster was in some way separable from the swamp. It doesn’t work that way, cupcake.

If people want to rid their government of the swamp of corruption, they’re going to have to do it themselves. No political insider is going to rise to the occasion and do it for you. They can’t. You can’t drain the swamp when you’re made of swamp, any more than you can wash yourself clean with a turd-soaked loofah.

The only upheaval that is worth buying stock in is the kind which moves from the bottom up. If you really want change, it’s not going to come from the US president or any longtime government insider. It’s going to come from real people looking to each other and agreeing to say that enough is enough, and use the power of their numbers to flush the corrupt power structure down the toilet where it belongs. It will mean ceasing to imbue the fake partisan divide with the power of belief, and it will mean unplugging from official authorized narratives about what’s going on in the world and circulating our own narratives instead.

All political analysis which favors either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party is inherently worthless, because both parties are made of swamp and exist in service of the swamp. If you can’t see that the entire system is one unified block of corruption and that ordinary people need to come together and unite against it, then you really don’t understand what you’re looking at.

*  *  *

Everyone has my unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Published:5/29/2019 4:29:09 PM
[Liberals] Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, Turn (John Hinderaker) On Sunday, the London Times published an explosive story about records of FBI surveillance of Martin Luther King, Jr., that have hitherto been kept secret. They were discovered by David Garrow, a socialist historian whose biography of King titled Bearing the Cross won a Pulitzer prize in 1987. So far, the London Times story has not been picked up by many American news outlets. The New York Times, for example, Published:5/28/2019 7:46:21 PM
[Markets] Key Words: No treason, no coup, just ‘dumb lies’ by Trump, Comey says Former FBI Director James Comey, in a Washington Post op-ed published Tuesday, fiercely defends the agency’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential ties with Russia during the 2016 election.
Published:5/28/2019 5:47:26 PM
[Markets] Crying "Wolff": Author Of Dubious Tell-All Claims Mueller Nearly Indicted Trump On Obstruction Charges

After his previous book elicited outrage from media figures on both the right and left, who questioned its veracity, author Michael Wolff's long anticipated sequel to 'Fire and Fury', his landmark book about the opening months of the Trump Administration, will finally hit bookshelves later this week.

Siege

And according to a leaked excerpt of the book, entitled "Siege: Trump Under Fire", published Tuesday by the Guardian, the work definitely won't disappoint fans of the genre. And to help ensure the maximum amount of buzz, the paper has decided to publish Wolff's most salacious claim first, which is: That Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrote up a three-count indictment of President Trump on obstruction-related charges, but ultimately decided not to pursue it.

The report is based on unspecified 'underlying documents' that purport to substantiate Wolff's claims. These documents were shared with the Guardian. However, Mueller's office has vociferously denied the report.

...Wolff reports that Mueller’s office drew up a three-count outline of the president’s alleged abuses, under the title "United States of America against Donald J Trump, Defendant." The document sat on the special counsel’s desk, Wolff writes, for almost a year.

According to a document seen by the Guardian, the first count, under Title 18, United States code, Section 1505, charged the president with corruptly – or by threats of force or threatening communication – influencing, obstructing or impeding a pending proceeding before a department or agency of the United States.

The second count, under section 1512, charged the president with tampering with a witness, victim or informant.

The third count, under section 1513, charged the president with retaliating against a witness, victim or informant.

According to the purported 'draft indictment', Trump's obstructions began one week after his inauguration.

Wolff writes that the draft indictment he examines says Trump’s attempts to obstruct justice "began on the seventh day of his administration, tracing the line of obstruction from National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s lies to the FBI about his contacts with Russian representative[s], to the president's efforts to have [FBI director] James Comey protect Flynn, to Comey’s firing, to the president’s efforts to interfere with the special counsel’s investigation, to his attempt to cover up his son and son-in-law’s meeting with Russian governmental agents, to his moves to interfere with Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe’s testimony..."

After months of tortured deliberations, Mueller ultimately demurred on pursuing the indictment, and decided to focus instead on the other investigations that have led to charges against dozens of individuals.

Wolff's book also included casual accusations of anti-semitism, including a quote attributed to Trump, where he bashed Cohen and Trump Org accountant Allen Weisselberg for cooperating with investigators.

According to Wolff, Mueller endured tortured deliberations over whether to charge the president, and even more tortured deliberations over the president’s power to dismiss him or his boss, the then deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. Mueller ultimately demurred, Wolff writes, but his team’s work gave rise to as many as 13 other investigations that led to cooperating witness plea deals from Michael Cohen, David Pecker of American Media and Trump Organization accountant Allen Weisselberg

"The Jews always flip," was Trump’s comment on those deals, according to Wolff.

In one of many echoes of Fire and Fury, such shocking remarks by Trump are salted throughout Siege.

Anticipating a challenge to the indictment because of the DoJ Office of Legal Counsel memorandum that a sitting president can't be indicted, Mueller and his team also purportedly drew up a memorandum opposing a motion to dismiss. But ultimately, Mueller decided that the odds were stacked against him and his team, and that there would be nothing stopping the president from firing the entire team should they bring an indictment.

But due to the prosecutor's waffling, Wolff disparaged Mueller as a "cautious and indecisive bureaucrat."

XX

"Robert Mueller, the stoic marine, had revealed himself over the course of the nearly two-year investigation to his colleagues and staff to be quite a Hamlet figure. Or, less dramatically, a cautious and indecisive bureaucrat.”

Caught, Wolff says, between wanting to use his full authority and worrying that he had no authority, Mueller went against the will of many of his staff when he chose not to attempt to force Trump to be interviewed in person. Ultimately, he also concluded he could not move to prosecute a sitting president.

Ironically enough given Mueller's hardcore following of impeachment-obsessed #resistance diehards, Wolff concluded that the special counsel was ultimately swayed by the administration's argument that 'Trump is Trump' - and that's what the people voted for. This practically guarantees that Mueller - once viewed as a savior by the left - and his reputation will undergo what we like to call 'the reverse James Comey' in the eyes of Democrats.

"In a way," he writes, "Robert Mueller had come to accept the dialectical premise of Donald Trump – that Trump is Trump."

"Bob Mueller threw up his hands. Surprisingly, he found himself in agreement with the greater White House: Donald Trump was the president, and, for better or for worse, what you saw was what you got – and what the country voted for."

If the past is any guide, we imagine the Washington press will be dominated by a steady patter of leaks from Wolff's new book over the coming week in anticipation of its publication next week. The revelations, we imagine, will feature no shortage of salacious comments purportedly made by top administration staff and officials, as well as the unhinged alleged rantings of the president himself.

After selling more than 5 million copies of his first book, expectations for the sequel are high - and given Wolff's reputation for playing fast and loose with the facts, we very much doubt that he will disappoint.

Published:5/28/2019 12:45:41 PM
[Markets] Colluders, Obstructionists, Leakers, And Other Projectionists

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via American Greatness blog,

Before the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the idea that the Russians or anyone else could warp or tamper with our elections in any serious manner was laughed off by President Obama. “There is no serious person out there who would suggest that you could even rig America’s elections,” Obama said in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election.

Obama was anxious that the sure-to-be-sore-loser Trump would not blame his defeat on voting impropriety in a fashion that might call into question Clinton’s victory. After Clinton’s stunning defeat, Russian “collusion”—thanks initially to efforts by Obama holdover Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates to go after Michael Flynn and the successful attempts of the CIA and FBI to seed the bogus Steele dossier among the government elite—became a club to destroy the incoming Trump Administration.

Colluders, Inc.

How ironic that Russian “collusion” was used as a preemptive charge from those who actually had colluded with Russians for all sorts for financial and careerist advantages.

The entire so-called Uranium One caper had hinged on ex-President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and their Clinton Foundation uniting with Russian or Russian-affiliated oligarchs to ease restrictions on the sale of North American uranium reserves to a Russian company with close ties to Vladimir Putin. Coincidentally what followed were massive donations from concerned Russian parties to the foundation, as well as a $500,000 honorarium to Bill Clinton for a brief Moscow speech. Note that no more money has been forthcoming from Russia to either of the Clintons or their foundation.

Had Donald Trump been caught, as President Obama was in Seoul in March 2012, on a hot mic assuring the Russians that he would be more flexible with Russia after the 2020 election (“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved—but it’s important for him [Putin] to give me space”) he would likely now be facing real impeachment charges.

Imagine the cries of outrage from Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) had Trump inadvertently blurted out to the world that he was willing to warp U.S. security interests to fit his own reelection agenda. (Remember: “This is my last election . . . After my election, I have more flexibility.”) Such a stealthy quid pro quo certainly would have been the crown jewel of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

The locus classicus of Russian collusion, however, is Hillary Clinton’s effort in 2016. The facts are not in dispute. Using the three firewalls of the Democratic National Committee, the Perkins Coie law firm, and Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS, the Clinton campaign paid a foreign national, British subject Christopher Steele, to compile a smear dossier against Clinton’s then-opponent, Donald J. Trump.

Steele then bought Russian and Russian-related sources to produce supposed dirt on Trump. None of these Russian-generated smears would ever be verified. In fact, almost immediately most slurs proved to be outright lies and completely made up in their details—if not the stuff of a Russian disinformation campaign.

Nonetheless, Steele seeded his contracted dirt during the 2016 election, and later during the Trump transition and presidency, among the highest Obama Administration officials at the Justice Department, FBI, and CIA. After more than three years of ex-Obama officials’ obfuscation, stonewalling, and chronic lying, we now know Clinton used Russian fake sources both to generate damaging anti-Trump media stories and to prompt government investigations designed to hamstring his governance. Again, if there is such a thing as “Russian collusion,” then Hillary Clinton is its font.

Obstructors of Justice

Mueller spent more than $34 million and wrote over 440 pages to inform the American people that Trump could not realistically be indicted for obstructing justice, mostly because the underlying crime—“collusion”— never existed in the first place. Moreover, Mueller and other officials were never actually hampered in their investigations. No matter: “obstruction” was supposedly the key to destroying the Trump Administration after collusion imploded. To this day it remains the battle cry of the impeach-Trump Left.

But what exactly would real obstruction of justice look like it? It might be a deliberate effort by government officials to mislead and impede the proper conduct of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, in an effort to spy on an American citizen deemed useful in proving “collusion.”

That is, James Comey, Sally Yates and others signed FISA requests when they knew, but did not dare disclose to the court, that their sources of evidence—the Steele dossier and news accounts in circular fashion based on it—were unverified, products of Hillary Clinton’s bought oppositional research, and written by a contractor at the time fired by the FBI for unprofessional conduct.

Had Comey simply told the court that Clinton had paid for his evidence, that the Yahoo News account was not independent but based on the dossier, that he had fired Steele as an FBI collaborator, and that nothing in the dossier had been verified, then the court never would have granted him permission to spy on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. In other words, top FBI and Justice Department officials deliberately obstructed and essentially destroyed the normal protocols necessary to protect the sanctity of legal surveillance, during the election, the Trump transition, and the early Trump presidency.

Or maybe obstruction would be defined as the efforts of a recused attorney general like Loretta Lynch, who had stepped aside from the FBI probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails, to have met secretly on an airport tarmac with the spouse of the target of her department’s investigation.

Or would obstruction be classified as Lynch supposedly ordering the FBI not even to use the word “investigation” when it was investigating Clinton? Or would obstruction constitute deliberately destroying more than 30,000 emails under subpoena, in the fashion that Clinton ordered her aides to “bleach bit” her correspondence and destroy mobile communication devices?

Or would obstruction be classified as deleting emails germane to an investigation of the collusion scam in the fashion of Nellie Ohr erasing emails received from her husband’s government email account, or perhaps in the manner of Mueller team staffers who wiped clean the mobile phones of the fired Lisa Page and Peter Strzok?

Or would obstruction characterize the brag of the anonymous New York Times guest editorialist? He preened in a September 5, 2018 column that he was an unnamed high administration official and NeverTrump Republican who, along with like-minded “resistance” leaders, was trying his best to disrupt his own president’s governance. What would anonymous’s obstruction entail—deliberately ignoring legal mandates? Failing to follow new federal guidelines? Trying to subvert nominations? Illegally leaking to the press? Obstructing anything he did not like, whether in legal or illegal fashion?

Logan Acting

The pathetic attempt to invoke the ossified Logan Act—with two indictments and no convictions in the law’s 220-year history—by Sally Yates likely fueled much of the Trump collusion investigations, well before Mueller’s misadventure.

Yates testified before Congress that her theory of supposed violations of the Logan Act prompted her own request for FBI interviews with Michael Flynn. Trump’s first national security advisor had purportedly dared to talk about sanctions with the Russian ambassador during the Trump transition in the days before Obama left office. In other words, Obama officials believed there really was a viable Logan Act, or at least the façade of one that could be deemed useful to destroy a political opponent.

But for the sake of argument, assume it is unwise to allow any private citizen to subvert government foreign policy. What then would be a classical definition of a Logan Act violation?

Perhaps the ongoing efforts of former Secretary of State John Kerry fit the bill. During the lead-up to the Trump’s Administration’s cancelation of the Iran deal and in its aftermath, private citizen Kerry met with high Iranian officials and purportedly advised them how to obstruct or at least survive the ramifications of Trump’s new Iranian policies.

In spring 2018, Kerry’s sought out meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Norway, Germany, and perhaps as well at United Nations headquarters in New York. He purportedly discussed ways to preserve the spirit of the prior Iran deal negotiated by the two—an agreement which was no longer official U.S. policy and had just been canceled by Trump.

In other words, the ex-secretary of state and, again, now private citizen Kerry met secretly with an Iranian foreign minister to brainstorm about how the elements of their deal might survive his own country’s current policies. Note that Senator Dianne Feinstein likewise just met with Zarif, a sort of copycat performance of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 2007 meeting with the murderous Bashar al-Assad, who at the time was doing all he could to help Iran spike American deaths in Iraq.

If Kerry’s machinations were deemed grey violations of the Logan Act, how about the more overt recent efforts of another former State Department official Susan Thornton? Here is what she boasted about recently in Shanghai to an audience of Chinese analysts and academics:

I tell all our foreign counterparts they should keep steady, keep their heads down and wait. [They should] try to not let anything change dramatically . . . If this skeptical attitude towards talking diplomacy continues in this administration, you might have to wait till another administration . . . 

Thornton seems to be advising the likely veneer of the Chinese apparat and government to stall out the Trump Administration and thus wait to find a more familiar and compliant America that would follow past protocols. That advice might be taken to mean she is advising them to stonewall her current American president and find better ways to facilitate the accustomed serial Chinese patent and copyright infringement, dumping, currency manipulation, technological appropriation, massive trade and account surpluses, and imperialist initiatives in the South China Sea.

When Thornton crows, “I tell all our foreign counterparts” she seems to assume that she is playing the role of omnipotent shadow State Department grandee, whose message is geared to assist almost any power other than her own government.

Thornton’s advice is old news. It is simply a more muscular version of former Obama Pentagon official Rosa Brooks’ June 30, 2017 reassurance to the nation and the world (“3 Ways to Get Rid of President Trump Before 2020”) about how  best to depose the just inaugurated U.S. president without having to wait for a constitutionally mandated election in four years.  

After just a week of Trump in office, Brooks had concluded Trump had to go. Her blueprint for his forced retirement was in an apparent answer to “the question being asked around the globe” (note how our would-be best and brightest always boast of having their hands on the pulse of the like-minded global elite).

Presumably Brooks would reassure her foreign friends and kindred Democrats at home that Trump most certainly could be stopped after just a few days in office—if only the right people began the right adoption of her tripartite strategy of either impeachment, removal under the 25th Amendment, or an outright military coup (e.g., “The fourth possibility is one that until recently I would have said was unthinkable in the United States of America: a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders.”)

The revolutionary Brooks could sum up Trump after a few days in office as a likely target of a military plot (one far more likely to have been successful than Andrew McCabe’s later comical 25th Amendment effort to record Trump secretly and then convince the Cabinet of his mental derangement). Brooks ended her scenarios with a triumphant approval of the idea of a revolutionary coup d’étatnever before seen in our history: “For the first time in my life, I can imagine plausible scenarios in which senior military officials might simply tell the president: ‘No, sir. We’re not doing that,’ to thunderous applause from the New York Times editorial board.”

Noble Dangerous Leaking

Lately, House impeachment hounds Nadler and Schiff have whined that Trump’s effort to declassify government intelligence records concerning the collusion scheme poses a grave threat to national security. In other words, the chronic leakers who recently demanded an unredacted Mueller report and serially leak supposed impending “bombshells,” suddenly have become anti-leakers and pro-redactors. The only common denominator in their chameleonism is Trump hatred.

But what would dangerous and illegal leaking consist of?

James Comey leaking to media conduits classified, private-one-on-one presidential conversations to prompt the appointment of a special prosecutor?

Andrew McCabe feeding the media self-serving hoaxes about collusion?

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper seeding to CNN the private Comey briefing with President Trump—and then deploring such illegal leaks, as he leveraged that scoop to land himself a future CNN analyst billet?

FBI sources planting stories of pre-election “collusion” with Yahoo and Mother Jones?

Or how about leaks to tip off the media about the timing Roger Stone arrest? Or periodic Mueller team “walls are closing in” and “noose is tightening” leak-lies to the obsequious media?

What have we learned about the Left’s moralistic talk of Trump’s supposed collusion, obstruction, Logan Act violations, and leaking?

  • One, that these are all projections of real resistance behavior. The zeal to remove Trump by any means necessary justified colluding with Russians, obstructing justice, undermining his administration abroad, and chronic leaking.

  • Two, these deep-state and media elites are narcissistically delusional. So inured are they to deference that they really believed they should have the power, indeed the right, to subvert democracy, to overturn a U.S. election on the justification that the wrong voters had voted for the incorrect candidate and both needed to be corrected by the right people. All that is why the last 28 months have been both scary and dangerous.

Real coups against democracies rarely are pulled off by jack-booted thugs in sunglasses or fanatical mobs storming the presidential palace. More often, they are the insidious work of supercilious bureaucrats, bought intellectuals, toady journalists, and political activists who falsely project that their target might at some future date do precisely what they are currently planning and doing—and that they are noble patriots, risking their lives, careers, and reputations for all of us, and thus must strike first.

Published:5/27/2019 5:41:10 PM
[Entertainment] ‘FBI Lovebirds’: Who wants to see Dean Cain do a dramatic reading of Peter Strzok’s texts?

Here's an idea: a dramatic reading of the texts exchanged between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, plus testimony.

The post ‘FBI Lovebirds’: Who wants to see Dean Cain do a dramatic reading of Peter Strzok’s texts? appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/27/2019 3:09:29 PM
[History] REVEALED: FBI Tape Featured Martin Luther King, Jr. Laughing as He Watched a Woman Being Raped

The following article, REVEALED: FBI Tape Featured Martin Luther King, Jr. Laughing as He Watched a Woman Being Raped, was first published on Godfather Politics.

A shocking story about civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr claims that the FBI has a recording of him laughing as a friend rapes a woman in front of him.

Continue reading: REVEALED: FBI Tape Featured Martin Luther King, Jr. Laughing as He Watched a Woman Being Raped ...

Published:5/27/2019 3:09:29 PM
[Media] Jennifer Rubin’s attempt to slam Liz Cheney by downplaying roles of Strzok & Page at FBI hits a few snags

"Wow."

The post Jennifer Rubin’s attempt to slam Liz Cheney by downplaying roles of Strzok & Page at FBI hits a few snags appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/27/2019 12:42:35 PM
[Politics] REPORT: Trump never revoked John Brennan’s security clearance… There’s a new report out that says Trump’s push to revoke the security clearance of Former CIA Director John Brennan ultimately never ended with Brennan’s security clearance being revoked: WASHINGTON EXAMINER – . . . Published:5/27/2019 10:11:47 AM
[Politics] REPORT: Trump never revoked John Brennan’s security clearance… There’s a new report out that says Trump’s push to revoke the security clearance of Former CIA Director John Brennan ultimately never ended with Brennan’s security clearance being revoked: WASHINGTON EXAMINER – . . . Published:5/27/2019 10:11:47 AM
[Markets] Trump Targets UK, Australia And Ukraine Over 'Greatest Hoax In The History Of Our Country' 

President Trump on Friday said that he wants Attorney General William Barr to investigate the UK, Australia and Ukraine for their roles in the 'greatest hoax in the history of our country.'

Speaking with reporters at the White House on Friday before his trip to Japan, Trump discussed his decision this week to issue a sweeping declassification order - leaving it in the hands of Barr to determine exactly what happened to Trump and his campaign before and after the 2016 US election. 

"For over a year, people have asked me to declassify. What I've done is declassified everything," said Trump, adding "He can look and I hope he looks at the UK and I hope he looks at Australia and I hope he looks at Ukraine." 

"It's the greatest hoax probably in the history of our country and somebody has to get to the bottom of it. We'll see. For a long period of time, they wanted me to declassify and I did."

(UK, Australia, Ukraine comment at 2:30)

"This is about finding out what happened," said Trump. "What happened and when did it happen, because this was an attempted takedown of the president of the United States, and we have to find out why."

"We're exposing everything. We're being a word that you like, transparent. We're being, ultimately we're being transparent. That's what it's about. Again, this should never ever happen in our country again."

After the Mueller report made clear that Trump and his campaign had in no way conspired with Russia during hte 2016 election, Democrats immediately pivoted to whether Trump obstructed the investigation. Trump and his supporters, however, immediately pivoted to the conduct of the US intelligence community, including the involvement of foreign actors and possibly their governments. 

According to a report last week, the discredited "Steele Dossier" - assembled by former MI6 spy Christopher Steele - was referred to as "crown material" in an email exchange suggesting that former FBI Director James Comey insisted that CIA Director John Brennan pushed for the inclusion of the dossier in the intelligence community assessment (ICA) on Russian interference. 

Moreover, much of "Operation Crossfire Hurricane" - the FBI's official investigation into the Trump campaign - occurred on UK soil, which is perhaps why the New York Times reported last September that the UK begged Trump not to declassify 'Russiagate' documents 'without redaction.'  

Shortly after he announced his involvement with the Trump campaign, aide George Papadopoulos was lured to London in March, 2016, where Maltese professor and self-described Clinton foundation member Joseph Mifsud fed him the rumor that Russia had damaging information on Hillary Clinton. It was later at a London bar that Papadopoulos would drunkenly pass the rumor to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer (who FBI agent Peter Strzok flew to London to meet with the day after Crossfire Hurricane was launched). 

Joseph Mifsud, George Papadopoulos

Two weeks laterPapadopoulos would be bilked for information by Australian diplomat (another Clinton ally) Alexander Downer at a London bar, who relayed the Russia rumor to Australian authorities, which alerted the FBI (as the story goes), which 'officially' kicked off the US intelligence investigation. 

As for Ukraine, a Ukrainian court ruled in December that the country meddled in the US election when they revealed details of suspected illegal payments to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. 

In 2016, while Mr. Manafort was chairman of the Trump campaign, anti-corruption prosecutors in Ukraine disclosed that a pro-Russian political party had earmarked payments for Mr. Manafort from an illegal slush fund. Mr. Manafort resigned from the campaign a week later. -New York Times

Last week, President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani met with a former Ukrainian diplomat, Andril Telizhenko, who has previously suggested that the DNC worked with the Kiev government in 2016 to dig up 'dirt' on then-candidate Donald Trump. Giuliani told the Washington Post in a Friday interview that Telizhenko "was in Washington and he came up to New York, and we spent most of the afternoon together," adding "When I have something to say, I'll say it." 

This comes on the heels of Giuliani canceling a trip to Ukraine to meet with President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss the Manafort situation. 

According to The Hill's John Solomon, 

A former DNC operative steeped in Trump-Russia research approached the Ukrainian government looking for 'dirt' on then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 US election, citing written answers to questions submitted to Ambassador Valeriy Chaly's office. 

Chaly confirmed that DNC insider of Ukrainian heritage, Alexandra Chalupa, approached Ukraine seeking information on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's dealings inside the country, in the hopes of exposing them to Congress.

Chalupa, who told Politico in 2017 that she had "developed a network of sources in Kiev and Washington, including investigative journalists, government officials and private intelligence operatives," said she "occasionally shared her findings with officials from the DNC and Clinton's campaign.

In short, a DNC operative of Ukrainian heritage, who shared information with the Clinton campaign and worked with a convicted terrorist to spread misinformation to undermine the legitimacy of the 2016 election, approached the government of Ukraine in the hopes of obtaining "dirt" that would hurt the Trump campaign.

And Trump wants AG Barr to look at it all. He'll be visiting the UK next month, meanwhile, where he can ask outgoing PM Theresa May, or the Queen, all about it. 

Published:5/25/2019 11:56:26 AM
[] Former FBI Deputy General Counsel: The Carter Page FISA Application Was Approved in a Non-Standard Way; Rather Than Letting Me First Review the Application, Andrew McCabe and Assistant Director of the DOJ Sally Yates Bypassed Me and Signed It Themselves Lock them up. A former top lawyer for the FBI described to lawmakers the "unusual" way the surveillance request targeting former Trump campaign associate Carter Page was handled by top leadership at the Justice Department and FBI, according to a... Published:5/24/2019 3:06:55 PM
[US News] Admitted leaker James Comey is worried ‘loose talk’ about 2016 could demoralize the FBI

The heat is on.

The post Admitted leaker James Comey is worried ‘loose talk’ about 2016 could demoralize the FBI appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/24/2019 1:51:46 PM
[Markets] 'Ratfu*ker And Spy' Stefan Halper Sued By Cambridge Academic Smeared As Flynn's 'Honeypot' 

A Russian-born British academic is suing FBI informant Stefan Halper for dragging her name through the mud as part of a "conspiracy to undo the 2016 Presidential election and topple the President of the United States of America." 

Svetlana Lokhova

Svetlana Lokhova filed the lawsuit against Halper and several Mainstream Media (MSM) news organizations, who she has accused of publishing false information provided by Halper. Lokhova's contact with Flynn at at 2014 dinner organized by former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove was used in several 2017 media reports to suggest that Flynn had been "gotten to" by the Russians, while pundits and social media commentators suggested she was a Kremlin "honeypot." 

Michael Flynn is pictured at a 2014 dinner at the University of Cambridge. (Courtesy of Svetlana Lokhova)

"Stefan Halper is a ratfucker and a spy, who embroiled an innocent woman in a conspiracy to undo the 2016 Presidential election and topple the President of the United States of America," reads the lawsuit - which hilariously justifies the use of the word "ratfucker" in a footnote. 

Halper is accused of working with the FBI and "political operatives" at Cambridge to spread misinformation through MSM sources they had relationships with, in order to "fuel and further the now debunked and dead narrative that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia."

Stefan Halper

The first story that hinted at impropriety between Flynn and Lokhova was published on Feb. 19, 2017 by Andrew, the Cambridge historian and Lokhova’s mentor. The piece reads as a lighthearted jab at Flynn, who had been fired as national security adviser three days earlier because of his contacts with Russia’s ambassador.

But Lokhova maintains that the article is “laden with sexual innuendo.” In it, Andrew claims that Flynn asked Lokhova to travel with him to Russia and to serve as his translator. He also claimed that Flynn referred to himself as “General Misha” in an email to Lokhova. She denies all the claims.

Several news outlets followed up on Andrew’s article with the added details that American intelligence authorities had been tipped off about Flynn’s contact with Lokhova. -Daily Caller

Lokhova notes that despite being flagrantly smeared by Halper and the MSM, special counsel Robert Mueller "never interviewed" her, and "never subpoenaed a single record from her," and that the special counsel's investigation found "no evidence" that she was a Russian spy, or that General Flynn had an affair with her.  

"The Mueller Report conclusively vindicates Plaintiff and General Flynn, and proves Halper and his associates were intentionally lying about virtually every material fact," reads the filing. 

I'm not a Russian spy and I have never worked for the Russian government," Lokhova told Fox News in April, adding "I believe that General Flynn was targeted and I was used to do it."

As part of her filing, Lokhova notes that Halper was paid over $1 million by the Obama Defense Department between 2012 and 2018, with nearly half of it surrounding the 2016 US election. 

She also notes that according to journalist Sara Carter, Halper is steeped in Kremlin contacts

Ironically, documents obtained by SaraACarter.com suggest that Halper also had invited senior Russian intelligence officials to co-teach his course on several occasions and, according to news reports, also accepted money to finance the course from a top Russian oligarch with ties to Putin.

Several course syllabi from 2012 and 2015 obtained by this outlet reveal Halper had invited and co-taught his course on intelligence with the former Director of Russian Intelligence Gen. Vladimir I. Trubnikov.

...

Even more interesting are reports from the British Media outlet, The Financial Times, that state Halper received funds for the Cambridge seminar from Russian billionaire Andrey Cheglakov, who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. -Sara A. Carter

Lokhova says she "lives in constant fear" and has "contemplated suicide to end the suffering caused by the enormous weight and stress of being collateral damage in Halper's international conspiracy and scandal.

Also named in the lawsuit are the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and NBC Universal

Published:5/24/2019 1:20:53 PM
[Markets] Schiff Claims Trump 'Conspiring' With Barr; Says Investigating Russiagate Origins "Un-American" 

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) says that President Trump and Attorney General William Barr are 'conspiring' to "weaponize law enforcement against their political enemies," calling the DOJ investigation into the origins of the Russia probe "un-American." 

Last month, Barr said that he was reviewing the "conduct" of the FBI during its original 2016 Trump-Russia investigation, telling Congress during testimony that while DOJ 

Inspector General Michael Horowitz has a pending investigation into FISA abuse, Barr said "I am reviewing the conduct of the Russia investigation, and all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted in the summer of 2016."

And on Thursday, President Trump directed the US intelligence community to "quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General's investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election," adding that Attorney General William Barr has been given "complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation."

Joining in Schiff is never-trump Republican David Frum, who writes in The Atlantic, "The declassification process will be selective, of course, in service to a predetermined narrative," adding "Trump will be acting as his own Julian Assange, releasing U.S. secrets to advance his agenda." 

In short, Trump's enemies now want selective transparency

Schiff was promptly called out: 

Published:5/24/2019 10:03:12 AM
[Crime] Muslim Hamas Supporter Arrested For Threats To Blow Up Trump Tower, Israeli Embassy

The following article, Muslim Hamas Supporter Arrested For Threats To Blow Up Trump Tower, Israeli Embassy, was first published on Godfather Politics.

A New Jersey man is charged with sending money to Hamas militants polled his Instagram audience asking ‘should I bomb Trump Tower,’ according to court documents. Jonathan Xie is accused of threatening to shoot up a pro-Israel event and saying he wanted to bomb Trump Tower. Xie was arrested on May 21 by the FBI ...

Continue reading: Muslim Hamas Supporter Arrested For Threats To Blow Up Trump Tower, Israeli Embassy ...

Published:5/24/2019 7:24:27 AM
[worldNews] Trump orders intelligence community to cooperate with review on Russia probe origins U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered the intelligence community to cooperate with Attorney General William Barr's review of the events that prompted the FBI to open an investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Published:5/23/2019 8:17:22 PM
[Politics] Trump Allows Attorney General to Declassify Information about Origins of Russia Probe President Donald Trump on Thursday issued an order allowing Attorney General William Barr to declassify any information Barr sees fit during his review of the events that prompted the FBI to open an investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia. Published:5/23/2019 7:52:07 PM
[worldNews] Trump allows attorney general to declassify information about origins of Russia probe U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday issued an order allowing Attorney General William Barr to declassify any information Barr sees fit during his review of the events that prompted the FBI to open an investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Published:5/23/2019 7:52:07 PM
[Markets] Vicious Cycle: The Pentagon Creates Tech Giants & Then Buys Their Services

Authored by TJ Coles via Counterpunch.org,

The US Department of Defense’s bloated budget, along with CIA venture capital, helped to create tech giants, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and PayPal. The government then contracts those companies to help its military and intelligence operations. In doing so, it makes the tech giants even bigger.

In recent years, the traditional banking, energy and industrial Fortune 500 companies have been losing ground to tech giants like Apple and Facebook. But the technology on which they rely emerged from the taxpayer-funded research and development of bygone decades. The internet started as ARPANET, an invention of Honeywell-Raytheon working under a Department of Defense (DoD) contract. The same satellites that enable modern internet communications also enable US jets to bomb their enemies, as does the GPS that enables online retailers to deliver products with pinpoint accuracy. Apple’s touchscreen technology originated as a US Air Force tool. The same drones that record breath-taking video are modified versions of Reapers and Predators.

Tax-funded DoD research is the backbone of the modern, hi-tech economy. But these technologies are dual-use. The companies that many of us take for granted–including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and PayPal–are connected indirectly and sometimes very directly to the US military-intelligence complex.

A recent report by Open the Government, a bipartisan advocate of transparency, reveals the extent of Amazon’s contracts with the Pentagon. Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, the company is now valuedat $1 trillion, giving Bezos a personal fortune of $131 billion. Open the Government’s report notes that much of the US government “now runs on Amazon,” so much so that the tech giant is opening a branch near Washington, DC. Services provided by Amazon include cloud contracts, machine learning and biometric data systems. But more than this, Amazon is set to enjoy a lucrative Pentagon IT contract under the $10bn, Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program, or JEDI. The Pentagon says that it hopes Amazon technology will “support lethality and enhanced operational efficiency.”

The report reveals what it can, but much is protected from public scrutiny under the twin veils of national security and corporate secrecy. For instance, all prospective host cities for Amazon’s second headquarters were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements.

But it doesn’t end there. According to the report, Amazon supplied surveillance and facial Rekognition software to the police and FBI, and it has pitched the reportedly inaccurate and race/gender-biasedtechnology to the Department of Homeland Security for its counter-immigration operations. Ten percent of the subsidiary Amazon Web Services’ profits come from government contracts. Departments include the State Department, NASA, Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2013, Amazon won a $600m Commercial Cloud Services (C2S) contract with the CIA. C2S will enable deep learning and data fingerprinting. Amazon’s second headquarters will be built in Virginia, the CIA’s home-state. Despite repeated requests, the company refuses to disclose how its personal devices, like Amazon Echo, connect with the CIA.

But Amazon is just the tip of the iceberg.

According to one thorough research article: In the mid-90s, future Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin used indirect Pentagon and other government funding to develop web crawlers and page ranking applications. Around the same time, the CIA, Directorate of Intelligence and National Security Agency–under the auspices of the National Science Foundation–funded the Massive Data Digital Systems (MDDS) program. A publication by Sergey Brin acknowledges that he received funding from the MDDS program. According to Professor Bhavani Thuraisingham, who worked on the project, “The intelligence community … essentially provided Brin seed-funding, which was supplemented by many other sources, including the private sector.” The Query Flocks part of Google’s patented PageRank system was developed as part of the MDDS program. Two entrepreneurs, Andreas Bechtolsheim (who set up Sun Microsystems) and David Cheriton, both of whom had previously received Pentagon money, were early investors in Google.

Like Bezos, Brin and Page became billionaires.

The Pentagon’s Project Maven (or Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Function Team) was launched in 2017 as a machine-learning application to help drones differentiate humans from objects. Technology and staff were provided by Google, many of whom quit in protest after it was revealed that the project had targeted Iraqis and Syrians for death.

In 1999, the CIA established a venture capital firm, Peleus; later In-Q-Tel. One of In-Q-Tel’s companies was the mapping firm Keyhole, bought by Google in the mid-2000s and developed into Google Earth. Within a few years, military personnel were using Google Earth to target sites in Afghanistan. In 2005, In-Q-Tel invested $2.2m in Google. In 2010, the CIA and Google both invested in Recorded Futures, a social media tracking company.

Another billionaire, Peter Thiel, created both PayPal and Palantir. With $2m of In-Q-Tel investment, Palantir was launched in 2004 and provided data analysis for the CIA in Afghanistan and Iraq. Recently, it was tested in New Orleans as part of local law enforcement’s “predictive policing” program. Palantir creates digital webs of citizens whose personal data are gleaned from various sources. Palantir’s webs show police images of alleged, potential, future suspects along with captions such as, “Colleague of…,” “Lives with…,” “Owner of…,” “Sibling of…,” and “Lover of…”. Palantir is also used by US immigration authorities. For all the accusations of Russian meddling in both the US elections and Brexit referendum in the UK, mainstream Western media have underplayed Palantir employees’ role in working with Facebook to create psychographic profiles of potential voters.

These and other examples show that in addition to trying to shape the world in the interests of American elites, the Pentagon’s ulterior motive is to fund hi-tech industry to stimulate new economies. That same hi-technology, which exists in a so-called system of “free enterprise,” not only creates monopolies, it does so with taxpayer money. Spied on and manipulated by the technologies they fund, the public, as consumers, then pay for services provided by those tech giants. Talk about a vicious cycle…

Published:5/23/2019 7:52:07 PM
[International events] Ruh-roh Brennan! Nick Short details higher-level Russia investigation leaked by Obama admin officials in DAMNING thread

Sure seems like the pieces are all starting to fall in place … which doesn’t look good for Obama, Brennan, Comey, Strzok and a laundry list of other dirty players. Reminder: In addition to the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” operation, the Obama Administration was running a concurrent, higher-level counterintelligence investigation into alleged “Russian efforts” to put […]

The post Ruh-roh Brennan! Nick Short details higher-level Russia investigation leaked by Obama admin officials in DAMNING thread appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/23/2019 8:47:31 AM
[Markets] Nunes Urges Trump To Question Theresa May Over Spy Agencies' Role In Steele Dossier

Via SaraCarter.com,

Ranking Republican of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes sent a letter Wednesday to President Donald Trump, asking him to question British Prime Minister Theresa May about Great Britain’s role in the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia.

The inquiry would be significant and it is based on newly published information in the British newspaper The Telegraph revealing that former British spy Christopher Steele briefed May’s spy chiefs on the uncorroborated dossier.

“The article states that Steele’s information was rapidly briefed up the chain to multiple high-level British government officials, including MI5 Director General Andrew Parker and MI6 Chief Alex Younger,” stated Nunes in the letter.

“The claims asserted in the Telegraph article, if true raise important questions about the potential role foreign government officials may have played in spreading the dossier’s false allegations and what actions they may have taken in response to the allegations.”

Nunes told SaraACarter.com that the “truth about the Steele dossier and the surveillance against the Trump team has to come out.”

“The American people need to know how this hoax began, who perpetrated it, and whether any foreign governments or intelligence services were involved,” Nunes added.

What Did John Brennan Know?

It also raises significant questions regarding former CIA Director John Brennan’s role and knowledge regarding the dossier. Brennan’s former Deputy Chief of Staff Nick Shapiro told SaraACarter.com in August, 2018 that the former director was not aware of the contents of the Steele dossier until December, 2016.

This reporter asked Shapiro “was Brennan even aware that a dossier existed – I mean Steele was shopping it around all summer – I even knew about it.”

Shapiro answered that Brennan “had heard it existed but hadn’t seen the contents, hadn’t been briefed on it, knew nothing about it until December 2016, again, it wasn’t a CIA document.”

“He only even knew it existed because he heard members of the media bring it up,” Shapiro said. “Former FBI Director Comey has said publicly that he wanted to make sure President Obama and Trump knew about the dossier. Comey decided to attach it to the IC Assessment. There was even talk of including it as part of the IC Assessment but Brennan (and Clapper) in fact were the ones who didn’t allow the dossier to be part of the it, and they didn’t allow that because they said the information wasn’t verified intelligence and that wasn’t what the IC Assessment was about.”

A former senior U.S. intelligence official said “if the British intelligence community knew about the dossier, it’s certain that Brennan also knew of its existence and contents. It would be hard to believe that the CIA director had no idea about an overseas assessment, put together by former British spy and briefed to our allies intelligence agencies.

Another former U.S. intelligence emphasized that the United States has “a special relationship with the British government that was established in 1945 – it has us joined at the hip with the five eyes. It’s by design and designed at the end of WWII when we created the CIA and our allies from WWII are all woven into this relationship. We have good relationships with many countries but we have a unique relationship with the Five Eyes.”

The intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said for “something this significant to surface in London it is just not possible the director of the agency, and the chief of station in London would not know about it.”

“This is explosive information on the U.S. political system and our intelligence agencies would have been informed,” the official added.

Trey Gowdy Wants To Know How Many Times Dossier Was Used

Those facts are now in dispute and former congressman Trey Gowdy said in an interview with Fox New’s Maria Bartiromo Sunday that it was imperative to find out the extent of the dossier’s use. He called out former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Brennan.

He said “people use the word dossier” to give it an official meaning.

“I mean let’s just call it for what it is,” said Gowdy.

“It’s a series of rank hearsay compilations put together by an FBI source who was later defrocked. Paid for by the Democrat National Committee then oh by the way Christopher Steele hated Donald Trump too so that we can call it a dossier. It sounds official.”

Questions Trump Should Ask Prime Minister May (Nunes Letter): 

  • Did Christopher Steele inform any current or former British intelligence or government officials about the allegations he put forward in the Steele dossier or any other allegations about President Trump or Trump campaign associates colluding with Russians? If so, describe what action British officials took in response to this information.

  • Did any current or former British intelligence or government officials discuss with Christopher Steele the possibility of Steele writing additional memos about President Trump or Trump associates colluding with Russians? If so, what guidance did British officials give to Steele and when was this guidance provided?

  •  Did any current or former U.S. government or intelligence officials inform any current or former British government or intelligence officials about Steele’s allegations or any other allegations about President Trump or Trump campaign associates colluding with Russians, if other such allegations exist? If so, describe the circumstances and timing of this communication and any resulting action that was taken.

  • Is the British government aware of, did it give permission for, or did it participate in, activities by any government to surveil or otherwise target active or former associates of the Trump campaign, if any such surveillance or activities took place?

  • Did any current or former British intelligence or government officials relay classified or unclassified information to any current or former U.S. officials about alleged contacts between Trump associates and suspected Russian intelligence officials, if any such information exists? If so, when was the information relayed and how was this information collected?

  • Describe any communications or relationship, if any, Joseph Mifsud (potentially also known as Joseph di Gabriele) has had with British intelligence and any information the British government possesses about Mifsud’s connection to any other government or intelligence agency.

  • Did any current or former British officials provide an assessment of Christopher Steele, including a determination of his credibility or motivations, to any current or former U.S. intelligence, law enforcement, or government officials, or presidential transition team members?

Published:5/23/2019 7:43:33 AM
[Politics] Strzok, Page Texts Now a Theatrical Production Former FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page's anti-Trump text messages are being turned into a theatrical production, according to Politico. Published:5/22/2019 9:41:36 PM
[Markets] No Wonder Obama Intel Chiefs Panicking - Trump To Declassify "Bucket 5" Russiagate Docs

As Congressional Democrats insist on conducting post-Mueller probes into President Trump and those around him, much of the recent infighting and backpedaling we've seen from former Obama intel chiefs is starting to make sense

Appearing with Fox News's Sean Hannity Tuesday night, The Hill's John Solomon revealed that according to his sources (and Hannity's as well), President Trump will begin declassifying 'Russiagate' documents in the next 6-7 days

Among those will be the so-called "Bucket Five" - documents which were originally presented to the Gang of Eight in 2016, which included everything the FBI and DOJ used against Trump campaign aide Carter Page - including the FISA surveillance application and its underlying exculpatory intelligence documents which the FISA court may have never seen. 

And as 'Sundance' of the Conservative Treehouse notes, the release would presumably include the transcripts from FBI wiretaps of George Papadopoulos, who was listed in the Carter Page FISA. Also noted by CT is that declassification would be on target to occur between Trump's upcoming state visit to Japan (5/25 - 5/28) and his state visit with the UK (6/3 - 6/5). 

Via the Conservative Treehouse

No-one really knows the extent of the current documents and/or information that may be subject to a Trump declassification request.  However, this is the original list as outlined in September 2018, and the agencies who would be involved in the declassification process:

  1. All versions of the Carter Page FISA applications (DOJ) (DoS) (FBI) (ODNI).
  2. All of the Bruce Ohr 302’s filled out by the FBI. (FBI) (ODNI)
  3. All of Bruce Ohr’s emails (FBI) (DOJ) (CIA) (ODNI), and supportive documents and material provided by Bruce Ohr to the FBI. (FBI)
  4. All relevant documents pertaining to the supportive material within the FISA application. (FBI) (DOJ-NSD ) (DoS) (CIA) (DNI) (NSA) (ODNI);
  5. All intelligence documents that were presented to the Gang of Eight in 2016 that pertain to the FISA application used against U.S. person Carter Page; including all exculpatory intelligence documents that may not have been presented to the FISA Court. (CIA) (FBI) (DOJ) (ODNI) (DoS) (NSA)
  6. All unredacted text messages and email content between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok on all devices. (FBI) (DOJ) (DOJ-NSD) (ODNI)
  7. The originating CIA “EC” or two-page electronic communication from former CIA Director John Brennan to FBI Director James Comey that started Operation Crossfire Hurricane in July 2016. (CIA) (FBI) (ODNI)

? President Trump can prove the July 31st, 2016, Crossfire Hurricane counterintelligence operation originated from a scheme within the intelligence apparatus by exposing the preceding CIA operation that created the originating “Electronic Communication” memo. Declassify that two-page “EC” document that Brennan gave to Comey.  [The trail is found within the Weissmann report and the use of Alexander Downer – SEE HERE]

? Release and declassify all of the Comey memos that document the investigative steps taken by the FBI as an outcome of the operation coordinated by CIA Director John Brennan in early 2016.  [The trail was memorialized by James Comey – SEE HERE]

? Reveal the November 2015 through April 2016 FISA-702 search query abuse by declassifying the April 2017 court opinion written by FISC Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer. Show the FBI contractors behind the 85% fraudulent search queries. [Crowdstrike? Fusion-GPS? Nellie Ohr? Daniel Richman?]  This was a weaponized surveillance and domestic political spying operation. [The trail was laid down in specific detail by Judge Collyer – SEE HERE]

? Subpoena former DOJ-NSD (National Security Division) head John Carlin, or haul him in front of a grand jury, and get his testimony about why he hid the abuse from the FISA court in October 2016; why the DOJ-NSD rushed the Carter Page application to beat NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers to the FISA court; and why Carlin quit immediately thereafter.

? Prove the Carter Page FISA application (October 2016) was fraudulent and based on deceptions to the FISA Court. Declassify the entire document, and release the transcripts of those who signed the application(s); and/or depose those who have not yet testified. The creation of the Steele Dossier was the cover-up operation. [SEE HERE]

? Release all of the Lisa Page and Peter Strzok text messages without redactions. Let sunlight pour in on the actual conversation(s) that were taking place when Crossfire Hurricane (July ’16) and the FISA Application (Oct ’16) were taking place.  The current redactions were made by the people who weaponized the intelligence system for political surveillance and spy operation.  This is why Page and Strzok texts are redacted!

? Release all of Bruce Ohr 302’s, FBI notes from interviews and debriefing sessions, and other relevant documents associated with the interviews of Bruce Ohr and his internal communications. Including exculpatory evidence that Bruce Ohr may have shared with FBI Agent Joseph Pientka. [And get a deposition from this Pientka fella] Bruce Ohr is the courier, carrying information from those outside to those on the inside.

? Release the August 2nd, 2017, two-page scope memo provided by DAG Rod Rosenstein to special counsel Robert Mueller to advance the fraudulent Trump investigation, and initiate the more purposeful obstruction of justice investigation. Also Release the October 20th, 2017, second scope memo recently discovered.  The Scope Memos are keys to unlocking the underlying spy/surveillance cover-up. [SEE HERE and SEE HERE]

Published:5/22/2019 4:40:34 PM
[Markets] Two Scenarios For Trump-Russia Investigators... And Neither Is Comforting

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

As the investigations into the Trump-Russia investigation proceed, it’s not too difficult to figure out a few of the theoretical starting points.

The first and most obvious theory is the one largely promulgated in the media for the better part of two years. It goes something like this: The sharp, super-sleuth investigative skills of top officials within the Justice Department and our intel community enabled them to identify Donald Trump and his campaign as treacherous conduits to Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.

That theory was summarily dismissed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusion that there wasn’t so much as even coordination between Russia and Trump, or any American.

So that leaves several other possibilities … and none of them is good:

They knew

One possibility to be considered is that top Obama administration officials knew all along there never was any real collusion or crime at play, but they manufactured the false Russia premise in order to justify their political spying.

Under this hypothetical scenario, they wanted to get inside information on the Trump campaign and, perhaps, gather dirt against the competition for blackmail or political purposes.

This effort included surveillance using paid spies and wiretaps on multiple Trump associates, as reported in the press.

The Obama officials had lots of help from foreign players such as the United Kingdom and Russia’s nemesis, Ukraine. Ukrainian-linked Democrats assisted with an early effort to gin up negative press coverage about key players, such as Trump associate Paul Manafort, who had been hired by the pro-Russian Ukrainian government prior to the anti-Russian Ukrainian government taking over in 2014. There were other Ukraine entanglements, such as the lucrative position earning millions of dollars that then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son got in 2015 to serve on the board of a Ukrainian energy company under the anti-Russia Ukraine regime.

Anyhow, under this scenario, after Trump defied all predictions and won the election, those who had conspired against him went into panic mode. They rightly worried that Trump, his national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and others outside the “establishment” would be able to see what Justice Department and intel officials had been up to in secret.

They were worried that not only would their furtive activities in 2016 be exposed but that their behavior during the past decade-plus, when there were many other documented surveillance and intel abuses. These abuses include improper surveillance of American citizens, political figures, journalists and other targets.

One can only imagine all the things they did that never became public. Whose communications did they pretend to capture accidentally? Whose bank records, photos, emails, text messages, internet history and keystrokes were monitored? What unverified or false evidence did intel officials present to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to get wiretaps on political enemies? Who improperly “unmasked” whom?

Hypothetically, these government officials — desperate to keep their deeds in the dark — rushed to amplify the Trump-Russia collusion narrative. Putting Trump under investigation, even if under false pretenses, would accomplish the goal of keeping him from poking around into their business and practices. Any attempts he’d make to find out what was going on inside his own Justice Department or intel agencies would automatically be declared “Obstruction!”

However, they were sloppy.

First, they were sloppy in the improper actions they undertook over a decade or more. They never imagined outsiders would ever really get a look at the evidence of their alleged wrongdoing. Then, they became sloppier in their panic-stricken attempts to cover up after Trump got elected.

As you can see, this scenario presumes a level of corruption.

For those who aren’t prepared to accept the possibility that some within our Justice Department and intel community would frame Trump and his associates to keep their own alleged crimes secret, there is at least one other possibility. But it may not be much more palatable.

They didn’t know

If Mueller is correct and there was no collusion or even coordination between Russia and Trump, or any American, and if the Obama administration officials who insisted that was the case are not corrupt, then they collectively suffered from one of the most historically monumental cases of poor judgment in U.S. intelligence history.

Under this scenario, the seasoned experts entrusted to protect our national security committed the kind of bush-league mistakes that few novice investigators would make. They jumped to conclusions with no evidence. They let their own biases lead them down trails in the wrong direction. They misinterpreted evidence, misread people’s actions and barked up the wrong trees. They misconstrued exceedingly common business and political contacts with Russians as deep, dark, dastardly plots. They wasted energy and resources chasing specters, ghosts and conspiracies where none existed.

Under this scenario, the misguided obsession over nonexistent treachery and enemies of the state caused the officials to underestimate or ignore the real threats that were right under their noses.

We do know this much: Only after Trump was elected did these officials ring major alarm bells about the Russians. It’s as if they are utterly unaware that the election interference they suspected and detected happened while they were in charge.

Or maybe they just hope to convince us to look the other way.

Instead of looking the other way, we might be well advised to open the books and examine how these officials were running their shops well before 2016. What does either scenario imply about how these operators behaved behind closed doors? How did they use their power and the powerful tools at their disposal? How well did they guard the nation’s interests and our deepest secrets?

Whether they were corrupt or inept, whether they knew or whether they didn’t know, the questions seem important to answer.

Published:5/21/2019 8:05:34 PM
[Markets] Now It's Comey Vs. Lynch: Someone's Lying Again

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch accused former FBI Director James Comey of lying about whether she told him to refer to the Hillary Clinton email investigation as a "matter" instead of an investigation in a September 2015 meeting. 

While testifying last year at a closed-door House Oversight Committee hearing last June, Comey said Lynch had pressured him to minimize the significance of the Clinton email probe - an encounter which he says left him questioning her impartiality, and - along with Lynch's clandestine tarmac meeting on a hot summer's day in 2016 - contributed to his decision to hold a July 2016 press conference announcing the FBI's conclusions. 

"The attorney general had directed me not to call it an investigation, but instead to call it a matter, which confused me and concerned me," said Comey. "That was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude, ‘I have to step away from the department if we’re to close this case credibly.'"

Lynch, meanwhile, told congressional the House Oversight and Judiciary committees on December 19: "I did not. I have never instructed a witness as to what to say specifically. Never have, never will.

"I didn't direct anyone to use specific phraseology. When the Director asked me how to best to handle that, I said: What I have been saying is we have received a referral and we are working on the matter, working on the issue, or we have all the resources we need to handle the matter, handle the issue. So that was the suggestion that I made to him," Lynch added - telling lawmakers that she was "quite surprised" to hear how Comey would later describe the conversation "because that was not how it was conveyed to him, certainly not how it was intended."

A transcript of Lynch's interview was released Monday evening by House Judiciary ranking member Doug Collins (R-GA) which reveals the conflicting testimonies. 

Lynch was also presented with an excerpt of Comey's book, A Higher Loyalty, in which he says she "seemed to be directing me to align with the Clinton campaign strategy" during the September meeting and that "the FBI didn't do 'matters.'"

"It occurred to me in the moment that this issue of semantics was strikingly similar to the fight the Clinton campaign had waged against The New York Times in July. Ever since then, the Clinton team had been employing a variety of euphemisms to avoid using the word ‘investigation,’" Comey wrote in his book. 

"I wasn't aware of the Clinton campaign strategy on anything," Lynch responded, adding that she was "not trying to align anyone on any issue." 

As the Washington Examiner points out, "In a report released last year, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found Comey was "insubordinate" and "affirmatively concealed" his intentions from Justice Department leadership during the investigation into into Clinton's private email server."

Horowitz also found that Lynch's behavior was concerning, particularly when it comes to the tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton. 

This isn't the first time Comey's claims have been in direct conflict with his former colleagues'. In April of 2018, Comey's former Deputy, Andrew McCabe, said that Comey was fully aware that he (McCabe) was making self-serving leaks to the Wall Street Journal. McCabe was fired for lying about it under oath, several times. 

"It’s not okay. The McCabe case illustrates what an organization committed to the truth looks like," Comey told ABC's 'The View,' adding "I ordered that investigation" which resulted in McCabe's ouster. 

McCabe hit back, saying in a statement through his lawyer that "Mr. McCabe advised Director Comey repeatedly that he was working with the Wall Street Journal on the stories in question..."

More recently, Comey and former CIA Director John Brennan are at odds over who insisted that the discredited Steele Dossier be included in the intelligence community assessment (ICA) on Russian interference

According to Fox Newsan email chain exists which indicates that Comey told bureau subordinates that Brennan insisted on its inclusion, while a former CIA official "put the blame squarely on Comey," according to the network.

"Former Director Brennan, along with former [Director of National Intelligence] James Clapper, are the ones who opposed James Comey’s recommendation that the Steele Dossier be included in the intelligence report," said the official. 

"They opposed this because the dossier was in no way used to develop the ICA," the official continued. "The intelligence analysts didn't include it when they were doing their work because it wasn't corroborated intelligence, therefore it wasn't used and it wasn't included. Brennan and Clapper prevented it from being added into the official assessment. James Comey then decided on his own to brief Trump about the document."

So - once again we're playing a game of "which former Obama administration official is lying?" 

Published:5/21/2019 7:13:34 AM
[The Blog] Gowdy: You gotta read this one FISA-warrant “game-changer” FBI transcript

"... the potential to be a game changer."

The post Gowdy: You gotta read this one FISA-warrant “game-changer” FBI transcript appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:5/20/2019 9:37:39 AM
[FBI] Spy vs. spy euphemism (Scott Johnson) In the invaluable investigative report “Spy vs. Spy Euphemism at the FBI” that was posted this morning at RealClearPolitics, the formidable Eric Felten explicates the testimony of knowledgeable FBI officials on the spying conducted by the FBI on the Trump campaign. Eric finds these officials deploying Clintonian techniques to obfuscate the FBI’s conduct. It is a marvel to behold and I urge readers to check it out in its entirety. Published:5/20/2019 9:37:39 AM
[US News] ‘Game changer’: Trey Gowdy says one transcript between George Papadopoulos and an FBI informant could be YUGE

"Some of us have been fortunate enough to know whether or not those transcripts exist."

The post ‘Game changer’: Trey Gowdy says one transcript between George Papadopoulos and an FBI informant could be YUGE appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/19/2019 2:13:25 PM
[Media] ‘This was a political HIT!’ Svetlana Lokhova’s thread on ‘dirty-ops guy for the FBI Stefan Halper’ and the WSJ is crazy DAMNING

You know those threads you read on Twitter and you think to yourself, ‘Self, this can’t be real life. This can’t be our government and our media.’ But then you remember it’s 2019 and it seems like everything is a mess of conspiracy and crazy and you have no choice other than to accept that […]

The post ‘This was a political HIT!’ Svetlana Lokhova’s thread on ‘dirty-ops guy for the FBI Stefan Halper’ and the WSJ is crazy DAMNING appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/19/2019 9:02:06 AM
[Markets] Ilargi: Is Julian Assange Today's Martin Luther King?

Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop… And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”

– Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, one day before he was murdered

What Martin Luther King King won through many hard-fought battles, and in the end through sacrificing his own life, has to be won all over again: freedom, truth, justice. And this time it’s Julian Assange who stands in the frontline. With Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden by his side. But I know you’re not very likely to agree with that assessment.

For one thing, I picked the kind of headline that will probably make many people not read an essay. But I’m not kidding, and I’m not saying this for effect. Julian Assange is like Martin Luther King in many ways, and he deserves for people to recognize that.

Assange and Dr. King were born in different times, the former 3 years after the latter was murdered. But when anyone wants to talk King’s legacy, then Assange very much IS that legacy. It would be nice if people like Dr. King’s youngest daughter Bernice, who is very vocal on her father’s legacy, would acknowledge this. Her father certainly would have.

What Julian Assange and Martin Luther King have in common is a superior intelligence, combined with unwavering courage and an unrelenting drive for justice and truth. Both men were born so brave they realized that they might have to give their lives for their causes. And then brought that realization into practice. Both in their own way gave their lives for our sins.

Shared intelligence and courage, justice and truth. Unfortunately, another thing the two share is gross and vile sex smears. Which hurt both men much more than anything else thrown at them. Not a coincidence. Sex smears invariably and for good reason work strongest in women. And in Reverend King’s case, his religious following, who were 99% black people. Lose the women and you lose half of your potential support.

In Assange’s case, the smears, which have even been upgraded to ‘rape’, keeps people from standing up for him. Once you have that word attached to you, you will never fully get rid of it no matter what happens. J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI knew this in the 1960’s, and Robert Mueller and James Comey’s FBI certainly never forgot it half a century later.

And of course there are many many people saying that Assange is no Martin Luther King, that Dr. King was a much better man than Assange could ever be. I would urge them to study how Dr. King was perceived in the last 10 years of his life. The nation didn’t exactly revere him, far from it. Most didn’t like him at all, he was seen as a troublemaker, including by many black people, who thought he would make their lives even harder. And then there were Hoover’s sex smears.

After his murder, it took just a few years for the first campaign to establish a public holiday in his name to start. 15 years after the murder, in 1983, President Reagan signed it into law. Even if and when such a petition were started in the case of Assange’s death, which we should all hope will be many years away, the odds of it getting anywhere are slim. But the same would have been true in 1965. So there is hope.

Those willing to give their own lives in order to make other people’s lives better, richer, more just, are special people. Not flawless, for that would make them not people, but special. Yes, Jesus is an obvious example. And so is Mahatma Gandhi. And sure, I hear you say Assange is no Jesus and no Gandhi, but the pattern of peaceful resistance cannot be denied.

There are obviously plenty people who fight for what’s right. What makes Assange, Dr. King, Gandhi, Jesus stand out is that they are examples of people standing up to entire empires. They guy standing in front of the tanks in Tienanmen square in 1989 was another one. Dr. King, Gandhi, Jesus were murdered for what they did. The Chinese guy in all probability also was. That leaves us with Assange.

Does he need to die first before we can appreciate and recognize what he has achieved in our names, that he changed the world we live in for good, as in literally for good? Does it really have to end the same way? Julian Assange hasn’t even received his Nobel Peace Prize yet.

Here’s an article by Roy Peter Clark for the Poynter, November 25, 2014, about the FBI and sex smears.

How the Southern press foiled FBI’s attempt to smear MLK

Is it possible that we have to thank the white Southern press of the 1960s – even the segregationist press – for its restraint in resisting FBI attempts to smear the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., with sexual scandal? That question is raised, but not sufficiently developed, in a Nov. 11 New York Times piece written by Yale historian Beverly Gage. She discovered in the files of FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover an uncensored draft of what has been called the “suicide letter.” The letter was part of an elaborate effort to discredit King, who was about to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Based on wire taps and audio tapes, the one-page letter, supposedly sent by an outraged black citizen, described in the vivid language of the day examples of King’s marital infidelities and sexual adventures. The writer, actually an FBI agent, threatened to go public in 34 days with details of King’s affairs. “There is only one thing left for you to do,” it read near the end. “You know what it is.”

From the article, a conversation between Gene Patterson, editor of the Atlanta Constitution from 1960-1968, later editor of the St. Petersburg Times, and Howell Raines, political editor of the St. Petersburg Times, who in 1977 published an oral history of the civil rights movement entitled My Soul Is Rested. In that book Patterson describes to Raines how he was approached by the FBI to smear Dr. King:

“An FBI agent was sent to see me with the bugging information that Dr. King had been engaged in extramarital sexual affairs. The FBI agent, obviously under orders of the director, Hoover, because nobody acted without his direction, urged me – he said, ‘Gene,…here you on this paper have raised Dr. King up to be some kind of model American, some kind of saint, some kind of moralist.’ He said, ‘Now, here’s the information, and why don’t you print it?’ The FBI, the secret police of this country!

And I had to explain to him, ‘Look, we’re not a peephole journal. We don’t print this kind of stuff on any man. And we’re not going to do it on Dr. King.’ And I said, ‘Furthermore, I’m shocked that you would be spying on an American citizen, whether it’s Dr. King or some other person because if it can happen to him, it can happen to all of us.’ And I asked him if he thought this wasn’t a misuse of the FBI. But he was highly offended at me, seeing us as an immoral newspaper for not printing back-alley gossip that the secret police of the United States were trying to ruin this man with.”

Patterson told Raines that one of the editors contacted by the FBI was Lou Harris of the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, a paper that supported segregation on its editorial pages. Patterson recalls:

“So I had a phone call from Lou Harris one day, and he said, ‘Gene, I had a call from an FBI agent over here, and you’d be amazed at what he told me about Dr. King.’ And I said, ‘Lou, you mean sex exploits.’ …He said, ‘Have you heard about this?’ I said, ‘Yeah, the FBI has been to see me, too.’ And I said, ‘What are you gonna do with it?’ he said, ‘Hell, I wouldn’t print that stuff. That’s beyond the pale.’ And this was a segregationist editor talking to me. And I said, ‘Lou, I’m proud of you. I’m not gonna mess with it either.’”

And then perhaps the most revealing bit.

One night, Patterson found himself on a plane to Atlanta with John Doar, one of Bobby Kennedy’s top aides in the Justice Department. Hoover was a powerful man, but supposedly subject to the direction of the Attorney General. “I want you to tell the attorney general about this,” said Patterson. “He should know what the FBI is up to.”

“Because the more I thought about it,” Patterson said, “the more worried I’d become about the misuse of secret police powers.” Patterson remembered that throughout his narrative, Doar never looked at him, staring straight ahead in stony silence. “And all of a sudden,” said Patterson, “it hit me like a thunderclap that Bobby Kennedy knew about it. I had made Doar very uncomfortable by relating it to him. Not one expression crossed that deadpan face of his. He just did not respond. It was like talking to a dead man.”

A half century after these incidents, the American intelligence and security apparatus have snooping powers well beyond anything that could be imagined by Dr. King, Patterson, and their contemporaries. Imagine the corruption of a J. Edgar Hoover armed with the weapons of the digital age. His original bugging of King, whom he hated and criticized publicly, was not in search of sexual indiscretions. Hoover’s goals were measured by the paranoid politics of his time: that King had consorted with Communists.

No matter where it leads, no matter what abuses it will bring, I’m going to tell the truth

-Dr. King

Published:5/19/2019 7:30:25 AM
[Markets] On America's Hostile Coexistence with China

Via ChasFreeman.net,

Remarks to the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies China Program

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (USFS, Ret.)
Senior Fellow, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University
Stanford, California, 3 May 2019

President Trump’s trade war with China has quickly metastasized into every other domain of Sino-American relations.   Washington is now trying to dismantle China’s interdependence with the American economy, curb its role in global governance, counter its foreign investments, cripple its companies, block its technological advance, punish its many deviations from liberal ideology, contest its borders, map its defenses, and sustain the ability to penetrate those defenses at will.

The message of hostility to China these efforts send is consistent and apparently comprehensive. Most Chinese believe it reflects an integrated U.S. view or strategy.  It does not.

There is no longer an orderly policy process in Washington to coordinate, moderate, or control policy formulation or implementation.  Instead, a populist president has effectively declared open season on China.  This permits everyone in his administration to go after China as they wish.  Every internationally engaged department and agency – the U.S. Special Trade Representative, the Departments of State, Treasury, Justice, Commerce, Defense, and Homeland Security – is doing its own thing about China.  The president has unleashed an undisciplined onslaught.  Evidently, he calculates that this will increase pressure on China to capitulate to his protectionist and mercantilist demands.  That would give him something to boast about as he seeks reelection in 2020.

Trump’s presidency has been built on lower middle-class fears of displacement by immigrants and outsourcing of jobs to foreigners.  His campaign found a footing in the anger of ordinary Americans – especially religious Americans – at the apparent contempt for them and indifference to their welfare of the country’s managerial and political elites.  For many, the trade imbalance with China and Chinese rip-offs of U.S. technology became the explanations of choice for increasingly unfair income distribution, declining equality of opportunity, the deindustrialization of the job market, and the erosion of optimism in the United States.

In their views of China, many Americans now appear subconsciously to have combined images of the insidious Dr. Fu Manchu, Japan’s unnerving 1980s challenge to U.S.  industrial and financial primacy, and a sense of existential threat analogous to the Sinophobia that inspired the Anti-Coolie and Chinese Exclusion Acts.

Meanwhile, the ineptitude of the American elite revealed by the 2008 financial crisis, the regular eruptions of racial violence and gun massacres in the United States, the persistence of paralyzing political constipation in Washington, and the arrogant unilateralism of “America First” have greatly diminished the appeal of America to the Chinese elite.

As a result, Sino-American interaction is now long on mutual indignation and very short on empirically validated information to substantiate the passions it evokes.  On each side, the other is presumed guilty of a litany of iniquities.  There is no process by which either side can achieve exoneration from the other’s accusations.  Guesstimates, conjectures, a priorireasoning from dubious assumptions, and media-generated hallucinations are reiterated so often that they are taken as facts.  The demagoguery of contemporary American populism ensures that in this country clamor about China needs no evidence at all to fuel it.  Meanwhile, Chinese nationalism answers American rhetorical kicks in the teeth by swallowing the figurative blood in its mouth and refraining from responding in kind, while sullenly plotting revenge.

We are now entering not just a post-American but post-Western era.  In many ways the contours of the emerging world order are unclear.  But one aspect of them is certain: China will play a larger and the U.S. a lesser role than before in global and regional governance.  The Trump administration’s response to China’s increasing wealth and power does not bode well for this future.  The pattern of mutual resentment and hostility the two countries are now establishing may turn out to be indelible.  If so, the consequences for both and for world prosperity and peace could be deeply unsettling.

For now, America’s relationship with China appears to have become a vector compounded of many contradictory forces and factors, each with its own advocates and constituencies.  The resentments of some counter the enthusiasms of others.  No one now in government seems to be assessing the overall impact on American interests or wellbeing of an uncoordinated approach to relations with the world’s greatest rising power.  And few in the United States seem to be considering the possibility that antagonism to China’s rise might end up harming the United States and its Asian security partners more than it does China.  Or that, in extreme circumstances, it could even lead to a devastating trans-Pacific nuclear exchange.

Some of the complaints against China from the squirming mass of Sinophobes who have attached themselves to President Trump are entirely justified.  The Chinese have been slow to accept the capitalist idea that knowledge is property that can be owned on an exclusive basis.  This is, after all, contrary to a millennial Chinese tradition that regards copying as flattery, not a violation of genius.  Chinese businessfolk have engaged in the theft of intellectual property rights not just from each other but from foreigners.  Others may have done the same in the past, but they were nowhere near as big as China.  China’s mere size makes its offenses intolerable.  Neither the market economy in China nor China’s international trade and investment relationships can realize their potential until its disrespect for private property is corrected.  The United States and the European Union (EU) are right to insist that the Chinese government fix this problem.

Many Chinese agree.  Not a few quietly welcome foreign pressure to strengthen the enforcement of patents and trademarks, of which they are now large creators, in the Chinese domestic market.  Even more hope the trade war will force their government to reinvigorate “reform and opening.”  Fairer treatment of foreign-invested Chinese companies is not just a reasonable demand but one that serves the interests of the economically dominant but politically disadvantaged private sector in China.  Chinese protectionism is an unlatched door against which the United States and others should continue to push.

But other complaints against China range from the partially warranted to the patently bogus.  Some recall Hermann Göring’s cynical observation at Nuremberg that: “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy.  All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”   There is a lot of this sort of manipulative reasoning at play in the deteriorating U.S. security relationship with the Chinese.  Social and niche media, which make everything plausible and leave no truth unrefuted, facilitate this.  In the Internet miasma of conspiracy theories, false narratives, fabricated reports, fictive “facts,” and outright lies, baseless hypotheses about China rapidly become firm convictions and long-discredited myths and rumors find easy resurrection.

Consider the speed with which a snappy phrase invented by an Indian polemicist – “debt-trap diplomacy” – has become universally accepted as encapsulating an alleged Chinese policy of international politico-economic predation.  Yet the only instance of a so-called a “debt trap” ever cited is the port of Hambantota, commissioned by the since-ousted autocratic president of Sri Lanka to glorify his hometown.  His successor correctly judged that the port was a white elephant and decided to offload it on the Chinese company that had built it by demanding that the company exchange the debt to it for equity.  To recover any portion of its investment, the Chinese company now has to build some sort of economic hinterland for the port.  Hambantota is less an example of a “debt trap” than of a stranded asset.

Then too, China is now routinely accused of iniquities that better describe the present-day United States than the People’s Middle Kingdom.  Among the most ironic of such accusations is the charge that it is China, not a sociopathic “America First” assault on the international status quo, that is undermining both U.S. global leadership and the multilateral order remarkably wise American statesmen put in place some seven decades ago.  But it is the United States, not China, that is ignoring the U.N. Charter, withdrawing from treaties and agreements, attempting to paralyze the World Trade Organization’s dispute resolution mechanisms, and substituting bilateral protectionist schemes for multilateral facilitation of international trade based on comparative advantage.

The WTO was intended as an antidote to mercantilism, also known as “government-managed trade.”  China has come strongly to support globalization and free trade.  These are the primary sources of its rise to prosperity.  It is hardly surprising that China has become a strong defender of the trade and investment regime Americans designed and put in place.

By contrast, the Trump administration is all about mercantilism – boosting national power by minimizing imports and maximizing exports as part of a government effort to manage trade with unilateral tariffs and quotas, while exempting the United States from the rules it insists that others obey.

I will not go on except to note the absurdity of the thesis that “engagement” failed to transform China’s political system and should therefore be abandoned.  Those who most vociferously advance this canard are the very people who used to complain that changing China’s political order was not the objective of engagement but that it should be.  They now condemn engagement because it did not accomplish objectives that they wanted it to have but used to know that it didn’t.  It is telling that American engagement with other illiberal societies (like Egypt, the Israeli occupation in Palestine, or the Philippines under President Duterte) is not condemned for having failed to change them.

That said, we should not slight the tremendous impact of America’s forty-year opening to China on its socioeconomic development.   American engagement with China helped it develop policies that rapidly lifted at least 500 million people out of poverty.  It transformed China from an angry, impoverished, and isolated power intent on overthrowing the capitalist world order to an active, increasingly wealthy, and very successful participant in that order.  It midwifed the birth of a modernized economy that is now the largest single driver of the world’s economic growth and that, until the trade war intervened, was America’s fastest growing overseas market.  American engagement with China helped reform its educational system to create a scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical (“STEM”) workforce that already accounts for one-fourth of such workers in the global economy.  For a while, China was a drag on human progress.  It is now an engine accelerating it.  That transformation owes a great deal to the breadth and depth of American engagement with it.

Nor should we underestimate the potential impact of the economic decoupling, political animosity, and military antagonism that U.S. policy is now institutionalizing.  Even if the two sides conclude the current trade war, Washington now seems determined to do everything it can to hold China down.  It seems appropriate to ask: can the United States succeed in doing this?  What are the probable costs and consequences of attempting to do it?   If America disengages from China, what influence, if any, will the United States have on its future evolution?  What is that evolution likely to look like under conditions of hostile coexistence between the two countries?

Some likely answers, issue by issue.

First: the consequences of cutting back Sino-American economic interdependence. 

The supply chains now tying the two economies together were forged by market-regulated comparative advantage.  The U.S. attempt to impose government-dictated targets for Chinese purchases of agricultural commodities, semiconductors, and the like represents a political preemption of market forces.  By simultaneously walking away from the Paris climate accords, TPP, the Iran nuclear deal, and other treaties and agreements, Washington has shown that it can no longer be trusted to respect the sanctity of contracts.  The U.S. government has also demonstrated that it can ignore the economic interests of its farmers and manufacturers and impose politically motivated embargoes on them.  The basic lesson Chinese have taken from recent U.S. diplomacy is that no one should rely on either America’s word or its industrial and agricultural exports.

For these reasons, the impending trade “deal” between China and the United States – if there is one – will be at most a truce that invites further struggle.  It will be a short-term expedient, not a long-term reinvigoration of the Sino-American trade and investment relationship to American advantage.  No future Chinese government will allow China to become substantially dependent on imports or supply chains involving a country as fickle and hostile as Trump’s America has proven to be.  China will instead develop non-American sources of foodstuffs, natural resources, and manufactures, while pursuing a greater degree of self-reliance.  More limited access to the China market for U.S. factories and farmers will depress U.S. growth rates.  By trying to reduce U.S. interdependence with China, the Trump administration has inadvertently made the United States the supplier of last resort to what is fast becoming the world’s largest consumer market.

The consequences for American manufacturers of “losing” the China market are worsened by the issue of scale.  China’s non-service economy already dwarfs that of the United States.  Size matters.  Chinese companies, based in a domestic market of unparalleled size, have economies of scale that give them major advantages in international competition.  American companies producing goods – for example, construction equipment or digital switching gear – have just been put at a serious tariff disadvantage in the China market as China retaliates against U.S. protectionism by reciprocating it.  One side effect of the new handicaps U.S. companies now face in the China market is more effective competition from Chinese companies, not just in China but in third country markets too.

Second: the U.S. effort to block an expanded Chinese role in global governance.

This is no more likely to succeed than the earlier American campaign to persuade allies and trading partners to boycott the Chinese-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).  That has isolated the United States, not China.  Carping at the Belt and Road initiative and related programs from outside them does nothing to shape them to American advantage.  It just deprives American companies of the profits they might gain from participating in them.

The United States seems to be acting out of nostalgia for the simplicities of a bipolar world order, in which countries could be pressured to stand with either the United States or its then rival.  But China is not hampered by a dysfunctional ideology and economic system, as America’s Soviet adversary was.  What’s more, today’s China is an integral member of international society, not a Soviet-style outcast.  There is now, quite literally, no country willing to accept being forced to make a choice between Beijing and Washington.  Instead, all seek to extract whatever benefits they can from relations with both and with other capitals as well, if they have something to offer.  The binary choices, diplomatic group-think, and trench warfare of the Cold War have been succeeded by national identity politics and the opportunistic pursuit of political, economic, and military interests wherever they can be served.  Past allegiances do not anywhere determine current behavior.

The sad reality is that the United States, which led the creation of the Bretton Woods institutions that have been at the core of the post-World War II rule-bound international system, now offers these institutions and their members neither funding nor reform.  Both are necessary to promote development as balances of supply, demand, wealth, and power shift.   The new organizations, like the AIIB and the New Development Bank, that China and others are creating are not predatory intrusions into the domain of American-dominated international finance.  They are necessary responses to unmet financial and economic demand.  Denouncing them does not alter that reality.

Other countries do not see these organizations as supplanting pre-existing lending institutions long led by the United States.  The new institutions supplement the World Bank Group and regional development banks.  They operate under slightly improved versions of the lending rules pioneered by the Bretton Woods legacy establishments.   China is a major contributor to the new development banks, but it does not exercise a veto in them as the U.S. does in the IMF and World Bank.  The AIIB’s staff is multinational (and includes Americans in key positions).  The New Development Bank’s first president is Indian and its principal lending activity to date has been in South Africa.

Washington has chosen to boycott anything and everything sponsored by China.  So far, the sad but entirely predictable result of this attempt to ostracize and reduce Chinese influence has not curbed China’s international clout but magnified it.  By absenting itself from the new institutions, the United States is making itself increasingly irrelevant to the overall governance of multilateral development finance.

Third: the U.S. campaign to block China’s international investments, cripple its technology companies, and impede its scientific and technological advance.

The actions of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to prevent Chinese investment in American industry and agriculture are well publicized and are becoming ever more frequent.  So are official American denunciations of Chinese telecommunications companies like Huawei and ZTE amidst intermittent efforts to shut them down.  In an ominous echo of World War I’s anti-German, World War II’s anti-Japanese, and the Cold War’s anti-communist xenophobia, the FBI has begun issuing loud warnings about the menace posed by the large Chinese student presence on American campuses.  Washington is adjusting visa policies to discourage such dangerous people from matriculating here.  It has also mounted a strident campaign to persuade other countries to reject Chinese investments under the “Belt and Road” initiative.

In the aggregate, these policies represent a decision by the U.S. political elite to try to hamstring China, rather than to invest in strengthening America’s ability to compete with it.  There is no reason whatsoever to believe this approach can succeed.  China’s foreign direct investments have more than doubled over the past three years.  Third countries are openly declining to go along with U.S. opposition to intensified economic relations with China.  They want the capital, technology, and market openings that Chinese investment provides.   U.S. denunciations of their interest in doing business with China are seldom accompanied by credible offers by American companies to match what their Chinese competitors offer.  You can’t beat something with nothing.

It’s also not clear which country is most likely to be hurt by U.S. government obstruction of collaboration between Chinese and American STEM workers.  There is a good chance the greatest damage will be to the United States.  A fair number of native-born Americans seem more interested in religious myths, magic, and superheroes than in science.  U.S. achievements in STEM owe much to immigration and to the presence of Chinese and other foreign researchers in America’s graduate schools.  The Trump administration is trying to curtail both.

China already possesses one-fourth of the world’s STEM workforce.  It is currently graduating three times as many STEM students annually as the United States.  (Ironically, a significant percentage of STEM graduates in the United States are Chinese or other Asian nationals.  Around half of those studying computer sciences in the United States are such foreigners.)  American loss of contact with scientists in China and a reduced Chinese presence in U.S. research institutions can only retard the further advance of science in the United States.

China is rapidly increasing its investments in education, basic science, research, and development even as the United States reduces funding for these activities, which are the foundation of technological advance.  The pace of innovation in China is visibly accelerating.  Cutting Americans off from interaction with their Chinese counterparts while other countries continue risks causing the United States to fall behind not just China but other foreign competitors.

Finally: the U.S. military is in China’s face.

The U.S. Navy and Air Force patrol China’s coasts and test its defenses on a daily basis.  U.S. strategy in the event of war with China – for example, over Taiwan – depends on overcoming those defenses so as to be able to strike deep into the Chinese homeland.  The United States has just withdrawn from the treaty on intermediate nuclear forces in part to be able to deploy nuclear weapons to the Chinese periphery.  In the short term, there is increasing danger of a war by accident, triggered by a mishap in the South China Sea, the Senkaku Archipelago, or by efforts by Taiwanese politicians to push the envelope of mainland tolerance of their island’s unsettled political status quo.  These threats are driving growth in China’s defense budget and its development of capabilities to deny the United States continued military primacy in its adjacent seas.

In the long term, U.S. efforts to dominate China’s periphery invite a Chinese military response on America’s periphery like that formerly mounted by the Soviet Union.  Moscow actively patrolled both U.S. coasts, stationed missile-launching submarines just off them, supported anti-American regimes in the Western Hemisphere, and relied on its ability to devastate the American homeland with nuclear weapons to deter war with the United States.  On what basis does Washington imagine that Beijing cannot and will not eventually reciprocate the threat the U.S. forces surrounding China appear to pose to it?

Throughout the forty-two years of the Cold War, Americans maintained substantive military-to-military dialogue with their Soviet enemies.  Both sides explicitly recognized the need for strategic balance and developed mechanisms for crisis management that could limit the risk of a war and a nuclear exchange between them.  But no such dialogue, understandings, or mechanisms to control escalation now exist between the U.S. armed forces and the PLA.  In their absence Americans attribute to the PLA all sorts of intentions and plans that are based on mirror-imaging rather than evidence.

The possibility that mutual misunderstanding will intensify military confrontation and increase the dangers it presents is growing.  The chances of this are all the greater because the internal security and counterintelligence apparatuses in China and the United States appear to be engaged in a contest to see which can most thoroughly alienate the citizens of the other country.  China is a police state.  For Chinese in America, the United States sometimes seems to be on the way to becoming one.

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that, if Washington stays on its current course, the United States will gain little, while ceding substantial ground to China and significantly increasing risks to its wellbeing, global leadership, and security.

Economically, China will become less welcoming to American exports.  It will pursue import substitution or alternative sourcing for goods and services it has previously sourced in the United States.  With impaired access to the world’s largest middle class and consumer economy, the United States will be pushed down the value chain.  China’s ties to other major economies will grow faster than those with America, adversely affecting U.S. growth rates.  Any reductions in the U.S. trade deficit with China will be offset by increases in trade deficits with the countries to which current production in China is relocated.

China’s role in global governance will expand as it adds new institutions and funds to the existing array of international organizations and takes a larger part in their management.  The Belt and Road initiative will expand China’s economic reach to every corner of the Eurasian landmass and adjacent areas.  The U.S. role in global rule-making and implementation will continue to recede.  China will gradually displace the United States in setting global standards for trade, investment, transport, and the regulation of new technologies.

Chinese technological innovation will accelerate, but it will no longer advance in collaboration with American researchers and institutions.  Instead it will do so indigenously and in cooperation with scientists outside the United States.  U.S. universities will no longer attract the most brilliant students and researchers from China.  The benefits of new technologies developed without American inputs may be withheld rather than shared with America, even as the leads the United States has long enjoyed in science and technology one-by-one erode and are eclipsed.  As cordiality and connections between China and the United States wither, reasons for Chinese to respect the intellectual property of Americans will diminish rather than increase.

Given the forward deployment of U.S. forces, the Chinese military has the great advantage of a defensive posture and short lines of communication.  The PLA is currently focused on countering U.S. power projection in the last tenth or so of the 6,000-mile span of the Pacific Ocean.  In time, however, it is likely to seek to match American pressure on its borders with its own direct military pressure on the United States along the lines of what the Soviet armed forces once did.

The adversarial relationship that now exists between the U.S. armed forces and the PLA already fuels an arms race between them.  This will likely expand and accelerate.  The PLA is rapidly shrinking the gap between its capabilities and those of the U.S. armed forces.  It is developing a nuclear triad to match that of the United States.  The good news is that mutual deterrence seems possible.  The bad news is that politicians in Taiwan and their fellow travelers in Washington are determinedly testing the policy frameworks and understandings that have, over the past forty years, tempered military confrontation in the Taiwan Strait with dialogue and rapprochement.  Some in Taiwan seem to believe that they can count on the United States to intervene if they get themselves in trouble with Chinese across the Strait.  The Chinese civil war, suspended but not ended by U.S. unilateral intervention in 1950, seems closer to a resumption than it has been for decades.

As a final note on politico-military aspects of Sino-American relations, in the United States, security clearances are now routinely withheld from anyone who has spent time in China.  This guarantees that few intelligence analysts have the Fingerspitzengefühl – the feeling derived from direct experience – necessary to really understand China or the Chinese.  Not to worry.  The administration disbelieves the intelligence community.  Policy is now made on the basis of ignorance overlaid with media-manufactured fantasies.  In these circumstances, some enterprising Americans have taken to combing the dragon dung for nuggets of undigested Chinese malevolence, so they can preen before those in power now eager for such stuff.  There is a Chinese expression that nicely describes such pretense: ??????—???? – “a dung beetle with flowers in its hair still stinks.”

All said, this does not add up to a fruitful approach to dealing with the multiple challenges that arise from China’s growing wealth and power.  So, what is to be done?  ?????

Here are a few suggestions.

First, accept the reality that China is both too big and too embedded in the international system to be dealt with bilaterally.  The international system needs to adjust to and accommodate the seismic shifts in the regional and global balances of wealth and power that China’s rise is causing.  To have any hope of success at adapting to the changes now underway, the United States needs to be backed by a coalition of the reasonable and farsighted.  This can’t happen if the United States continues to act in contempt of alliances and partnerships.  Washington needs to rediscover statecraft based on diplomacy and comity.

Second, forget government-managed trade and other forms of mercantilism.  No one can hope to beat China at such a statist game.  The world shouldn’t try. Nor should it empower the Chinese government to manage trade at the expense of market forces or China’s private sector.  Governments can and – in my opinion – should set economic policy objectives, but everyone is better off when markets, not politicians, allocate capital and labor to achieve these.

Third, instead of pretending that China can be excluded from significant roles in regional and global governance, yield gracefully to its inclusion in both.  Instead of attempting to ostracize China, leverage its wealth and power in support of the rule-bound order in which it rose to prosperity, including the WTO.

Fourth, accept that the United States has as much or more to gain than to lose by remaining open to science, technology, and educational exchanges with China.  Be vigilant but moderate.  Err on the side of openness and transnational collaboration in progress.  Work on China to convince it that the costs of technology theft are ultimately too high for it to be worthwhile.

Fifth and finally, back away from provocative military actions on the China coast.  Trade frequent “freedom of navigation operations” to protest Chinese interpretations of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea for dialogue aimed at reaching common understandings of relevant interests and principles.  Ratify the Convention on the Law of the Sea and make use of its dispute resolution mechanisms.  As much as possible, call off military confrontation and look for activities, like the protection of commercial shipping, that are common interests.  Seek common ground without prejudice to persisting differences.

In conclusion: both China and the United States need a peaceful international environment to be able to address long-neglected domestic problems.  Doing more of what we’re now doing threatens to preclude either of us from sustaining the levels of peace, prosperity, and domestic tranquility that a more cooperative relationship would afford.  Hostile coexistence between two such great nations injures both and benefits neither.  It carries unacceptable risks.  Americans and Chinese need to turn from the path we are now on.  We can – we must – find a route forward that is better for both of us.

Thank you.

Published:5/18/2019 10:29:57 PM
[Markets] Prescription For Violence: The Corresponding Rise Of Antidepressants, SSRIs & Mass Shootings

Via Ammo.com,

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a mass murder occurs when at least four people are murdered, not including the shooter, over a relatively short period of time during a single incident. Over the last 30 years, the United States has seen a significant increase in mass shootings, which are becoming more frequent and more deadly.

Seemingly every time a mass shooting occurs, whether it’s at a synagogue in Pittsburgh or a nightclub in Orlando, the anti-gun media and politicians have a knee-jerk response – they blame the tragedy solely on the tool used, namely firearms, and focus all of their proposed “solutions” on more laws, ignoring that the murderer already broke numerous laws when they committed their atrocity.

Facts matter when addressing such an emotionally charged topic, and more gun controllegislation has shown that law-abiding Americans who own guns are not the problem. Consider the following: The more gun control laws that are passed, the more mass murders have occurred.

Whether or not this is correlation or causation is debatable. What is not debatable is that this sick phenomenon of mass murderers targeting “gun-free zones,” where they know civilian carry isn’t available to law-abiding Americans, is happening. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, 97.8 percent of public shootings occur in “gun-free zones” – and “gun-free zones” are the epitome of the core philosophical tenant of gun control, that laws are all the defense one needs against violence.

Therefore, when the media and politicians focus their ire on guns, specifically what types of guns are used, such as AR-styles, carbines, semi-automatics, and “high capacity” handguns, in the wake of such tragedies the American public are being intentionally drawn into an emotionally charged debate about legal gun ownership (irrespective of whether the murderer’s gun was legally or illegally obtained). This debate leads them away from the elephant in the room and one of the real issues behind mass shootings – mental health and prescription drugs.

Ignoring what’s going on in the heads of these psychopaths not only allows mass shootings to continue, it leads to misguided gun control laws that violate the Second Amendment and negate the rights of law-abiding U.S. citizens. As Jeff Snyder put it in The Washington Times:

“But to ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless, and that the law will permit them to have only such rights and liberties as the lawless will allow.”

Violence, especially random violence, is a complex manifestation of various thoughts, feelings, and external factors. When a multivariate analysis of these factors is conducted, it becomes apparent that it’s not just mental health issues that are leading to such an increase. There may be an underlying substance which plays a role in a high percentage of these violent acts – the use of prescription antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.

At first glance, it makes sense that those involved in mass shootings may be taking antidepressants, as they’re clearly suffering from some sort of mental health issue. But the issue with SSRIs runs much deeper than just a random mental health break. These drugs are a prescription for violent crimes, and that’s a story the anti-gun media and politicians don’t want to talk about.

History of Antidepressant Use in the U.S.

To understand the rise in antidepressant use, one must first understand depression. Everyone, no matter how great their life, has periods of sadness, times when they feel down or low. This is especially true when faced with hardships or going through things like a divorce, the loss of a job, or the death of a parent.

This is not clinical depression. Clinical depression is a serious mental disorder that impacts how a person functions on a daily basis. Depression makes it hard to get out of bed. It makes it hard to go to work. It makes it hard to take a shower or answer the phone. It stops a person from functioning on the basic levels.

Understanding Depression

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly referred to as the DSM-5, to be considered clinically depressed, a patient must experience five of the following symptoms most of the day, every day, for at least two weeks. What’s more, these symptoms must be so severe, they interfere with normal functioning:

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling worthless
  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling “empty”
  • Feeling guilty
  • Irritable
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Slow talking and moving
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Abnormal sleep patterns, whether sleeping too much or not enough
  • Abnormal weight changes, either eating too much or having no appetite
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Depression is a serious, and sometimes life-threatening, illness. But in the modern world, it’s highly over-diagnosed. A study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics looked at 5,639 patients in the U.S. who were diagnosed with depression by their clinician and compared their symptoms to the DSM criteria for clinical depression. Of these patients, only 38.4 percent met the criteria, even though the majority of the 5,639 patients were prescribed depression medication.

Today, with the way antidepressants are prescribed, nearly one in four Americans will meet the criteria to be diagnosed with depression within their lifetime, and will be prescribed medications that interfere with how their brain functions.

The Rise of Antidepressants

In the 1950s, the first generation of antidepressants hit the market. The introductory class of antidepressants to gain Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval were monoamine oxidase inhibitors, known as MAOIs. Although highly effective, MAOIs can cause extremely high blood pressure when paired with certain foods or medications, and therefore require diet restrictions. Because of these restrictions, they’re rarely used today to treat depression except in cases where other treatments fail.

By the late 1950s, a new class of antidepressants became available – tricyclic antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants are also highly effective for treating depression, but are prone to side effects. Even so, this class of antidepressants remained the go-to depression treatment for years. Other drugs were tested for depression treatment, but they hadn’t proved more effective than tricyclic and MAOI antidepressants, especially for severe depression.

Fast forward to the 1980s. America’s tranquilizer dependence was becoming problematic. Quaaludes were heavily over-prescribed for anxiety, resulting in overdose deaths, as well as an increase in deaths from vehicle accidents. The Feds stepped in and in 1984, classified Quaaludes as a Schedule 1 drug, making them illegal to sell, buy, and use.

Valium, a benzodiazepine prescribed for anxiety, was also extremely popular, and was the most prescribed medication in the U.S. from 1969 through 1982. In 1978, the year the medication peaked, more than 2.3 billion pills were sold in the U.S. But Valium was highly addictive and it was believed that a serotonergic medication was a better option to fill the void that was left when Quaaludes were outlawed.

In 1987, Prozac, the first SSRI, was released for depression. Along with it came the idea that depression could be the underlying cause of anxiety. The idea took off, as did the sales of Prozac, and within a few years, it overtook the antidepressant market. Soon, other SSRIs followed.

Along with these SSRIs came direct-to-consumer advertising, which became legal in 1985. By the mid-1990s, the FDA regulations became looser and direct-to-consumer ads exploded into the market. Prozac and other medications showed Americans through glossy advertisements that unhappiness, stress, and anxiety could be treated with a pill.

Instead of doctors recommending a specific medication, patients started coming in, requesting a medication they saw in a magazine or on television.

SSRI sales skyrocketed.

By 2010, 11 percent of Americans over the age of 12 were prescribed an antidepressant, making it the third most prescribed medication, topped only by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen. When looked at over time, there has been a 400-percent increase in antidepressant use from 1988 through 2008.

SSRIs 101: What You Should Know

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a class of drugs commonly referred to as SSRIs, are the most prescribed antidepressant in the United States. These second-generation antidepressants are marketed to doctors and patients as safe and effective, with relatively minimal side effects. SSRIs are designated to treat mild to moderate depression, as well as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and bulimia nervosa.

How do SSRIs work?

SSRIs work to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. A neurotransmitter that helps neurons communicate, serotonin is associated with many different body functions, but is best known for its influence on mood. Sometimes called “the happy chemical,” serotonin plays a role in a person’s happiness and general feelings of wellbeing.

Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression, although the relationship is not clear. Research has not determined if the low neurotransmitter level causes depression or if depression causes the level of serotonin to drop. It should also be noted that a large amount of serotonin, up to 90 percent, is produced in the gut and may be influenced by what a person eats and drinks.

SSRI medication does exactly what its name says. When two neurons communicate, one releases neurotransmitters, which causes the other neuron to react in a certain way. Because this is constantly going on, these chemicals are always present in the brain. To keep the brain’s chemical balance correct, neurons regulate the amount of neurotransmitters released by a process called reuptake, which involves the reabsorption of the chemical by a neuron.

For instance, if there’s a high level of serotonin, the neuron knows to release less through reuptake, keeping the level balanced. If levels of the neurotransmitter are low, reuptake tells the neurons to release more.

SSRIs inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, causing neurons to release more of the neurotransmitter, therefore increasing the amount of the chemical found in the brain.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a variety of SSRIs, including:

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil and Pexeva)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Vilazodone (Viibryd)

When it comes to effectiveness, SSRIs don’t appear to have an influence on those with moderate to severe depression, with virtually no improvementseen when comparing SSRI use to placebos. Instead of a popular drug with a high efficiency, modern SSRIs have become popular based on an effective marketing campaign and little more.

Too Much of a Good Thing: Serotonin Syndrome

Sometimes serotonin levels become too high, causing Serotonin Syndrome. A potentially life-threatening disease, it occurs when serotonin levels in the brain increase to a toxic level, often caused by too much medication or taking two serotonin-increasing medications that use different mechanisms to increase the neurotransmitter.

Along with physical symptoms of excessive nerve activity, such as dilated pupils, elevated heart rate, and high blood pressure, those with the syndrome may also experience:

  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Disorientation
  • Excitement

The Connection Between SSRIs and Violence

Regardless if depression is overdiagnosed and America has a habit of over-prescribing mind-altering medications, there’s little doubt that SSRIs have a risk of increasing violence in patients, even in patients who have no previous history of violence or aggression before taking the medication.

This risk of violent behavior, both to the individual taking the medication and those around them, is so significant, it has led to the FDA mandating a black box warning on all SSRI medications. These black box warnings are designed to provide information and draw attention to the fact that the medication has serious and life-threatening risks.

As of 2004, all antidepressants in the U.S. are labeled:

“Anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia, hypomania, and mania have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric.”

SSRIs Can Increase the Risk of Suicide

In one study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, patients suffering from depression, but free of serious suicidal ideation, were given fluoxetine. Within two to seven weeks of starting the medication, six patients developed an intense, preoccupation with violent suicide. Although all were immediately taken off the medication, this preoccupation persisted from three days to three months, depending on the case. In all six cases, the patient had never experienced such a severe level of depression or troubled state of mind before or with other psychotropic prescriptions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Surveillance for Violent Deaths, in 2013, 35.3 percent of those who committed suicide tested positive for antidepressants at the time of their death.

The risk of SSRIs and suicide is most prevalent in patients under the age of 25. It’s also more likely to occur shortly after starting the medication, after a dosage increase, or after a patient stops taking the medication.

SSRIs Can Increase the Risk of Violence Against Others

Some of the side effects caused by SSRIs can increase the risk of violence against others. Perhaps the most risky, emotional blunting (or detachment) has been linked to SSRI use and many people who’ve taken the drugs report “not feeling” or “not caring” about anything. There’s also been an established causal relationship between SSRI use and psychosis and hallucinations, both of which are known to increase the risk of violence in individuals.

According to a review of the FDA’s database, 484 drugs were identified as triggers to serious adverse events significant enough to warrant a case study during the five-year period from 2004 through 2009. Of these 484 medications, 31 were identified to have a “disproportionate” association with violence. These 31 drugs make up 78.8 percent of all cases of violence toward others in the FDA’s database and included multiple psychotropic medications:

  • 11 antidepressants
  • 6 hypnotic/sedatives
  • 3 ADHD medications
  • 1 smoking cessation drug

Researchers concluded that violence against others was a “genuine and serious adverse drug event” and that of the 484 medications, the drugs that were most consistently and strongly associated with violence were the smoking cessation medication, varenicline (Chantix), and SSRIs.

The list includes five SSRI antidepressants:

  • Fluoxetine: Prozac increased aggressive behavior 10.9 times
  • Paroxetine: Paxil increased violent behavior 10.3 times
  • Fluvoxamine: Luvox increased violent behavior 8.4 times
  • Venlafaxine: Effexor increased violent behavior 8.3 times
  • Desvenlafaxine: Pristiq increased violent behavior 7.9 times

While a surprise to the American public, this shouldn’t have been a surprise to the drug companies. During the clinical trials for paroxetine, hostility, which was the term to include homicidal idealization and aggression, presented in 60 of the 9,219 participants (.65 percent). Hostile acts were documented both while taking the medication and after tapering off. Children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) taking the medication were the most at risk for becoming hostile, with a 17-times higher probability than the rest of those in the clinical study.

In a Swedish study published in PLoS, researchers looked at information on over 850,000 patients prescribed SSRIs in the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register, which is a national database of all dispensed medications. They then compared the violent crimes committed during a three-year period and compared it to violent crimes committed by the same individuals when not taking the medications. When age was taken into effect, a significant association was apparent between violent crime convictions and SSRI use in patients between the ages of 15 and 24.

In one 2001 case, Cory Baadsgaard, a 16-year-old who attended Wahluke High School in Washington, was first prescribed Paxil, which caused hallucinations, and then was switched to Effexor. He started at a 40 mg dosage that, over the course of three weeks, increased to 300 mg. On the first day of that high dose, he woke with a headache and returned to bed. He then got up, took a rifle to his high school, and held 23 classmates hostage.

Baadsgaard’s testimony claims he has no recollection of the event, or of his principal convincing him to put the gun down and release the hostages.

In 2002, the BBC aired the documentary Panorama, which focused on paroxetine. The producers received 1,374 emails from viewers, the majority of whom told stories of violence or self-harm while taking the medication, particularly when starting and when increasing the dosage.

What’s more, in 2009, after investigating the connection between SSRIs and violence, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare revised the label warnings on these drugs to read: “There are cases where we cannot rule out a causal relationship [of hostility, anxiety, and sudden acts of violence] with the medication.”

Connection Between SSRI and Murder

In most cases, the vast majority of people who suffer from mental illness are nonviolent. Even those who self-harm are highly unlikely to hurt others. In fact, these individuals are more likely to become victims of violent crimes than the general public.

Yet after each mass shooting tragedy, the media fills with psychiatrists who say that the individual didn’t seek the help they needed and that with the proper treatment, the tragedy may have been prevented. But research doesn’t support that philosophy.

In fact, depression in particular doesn’t lead to violence, yet since the increase in SSRI antidepressants being widely prescribed, the rise in mass shootings has increased right along with it. And evidence shows that many mass shooters were either taking or had recently taken SSRIs.

Here are just some examples:

  • 1989: Joseph T. Wesbecker walked into his former employer Standard Gravure Corp and shot 20 workers, killing nine. He had been taking Prozac for a month. This shooting led to a landmark case, where the survivors sued the makers of Prozac, Eli Lilly. Wesbecker used a semiautomatic Chinese AK-47-style firearm, a 9mm pistol, and a .38 Special snubnose revolver – all of which he purchased legally, passing his background check.

  • 1995: Jarred Viktor was 15 when he was prescribed Paxil. Ten days after starting it, Viktor stabbed his grandmother 61 times.

  • 1996: At 18, Kurt Danysh murdered his father just 17 days after being prescribed Prozac by his family doctor, who failed to do even one psychological test. During his police confession, Danysh told police the medication made him feel odd, “I just act differently. I don’t have the energy or personality I used to. I spend half the time in a trance.”

  • 1997: Luke Woodham stabbed his mother, then traveled to Pearl High School, where he was enrolled, using a .30-30 to shoot two students and wound six others; he was stopped by his assistant principal (aka a good guy with a gun) who used his own .45 ACP handgun to force Woodham’s surrender.

  • 1998: 15-year-old Kip Kinkel shot both of his parents, then carried a 9mm handgun, .22 rifle, and a .22 pistol to his Thurston High School, where he murdered two classmates and injured 22 more, all while taking Prozac.

  • 1999: Eric Harris, 17, with Dylan Klebold, killed 12 students, one teacher, himself, and wounded 23 others during the Columbine school shooting; he had been prescribed Zoloft and then Luvox before he used a 12 gauge shotgun received through a straw purchaser and a 9mm TEC-DC9.

  • 2001: Christopher Pittman, a 12-year-old, was prescribed Zoloft, which caused him to become agitated, jittery, and experience tactile hallucinations; Pittman told psychiatrist Dr. Lanette Atkins that he heard voices telling him, “Kill, kill, do it, do it.” He took a .410 shotgun and shot his grandparents, then burned their house down.

  • 2001: Andrea Yates drowned all five of her children. She was taking Effexor and was suffering from delusions about satanic possession. The murder of her children led Effexor to list homicidal thoughts in the medication’s side effects. Although it’s a rare side effect, manifesting in one in 1,000 patients, over 19 million prescriptions were written and filled in 2005. That’s an estimated 19,000 people suffering from homicidal thoughts because of the medication.

  • 2005: 16-year-old Jeff Weise was taking 60 mg/day of Prozac, the highest dosage for adults, when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather's girlfriend, murdered 10 students at Red Lake, Minnesota, and wounded 12 more, before shooting himself. He was armed with a .40 caliberpistol, .22 pistol, and a 12 gauge shotgun.

  • 2008: Steven Kazmierczak was prescribed Prozac, Xanax, and Ambien, a sleeping medication, three weeks before walking into Northern Illinois University, killing six people and wounding 21, with three pistols (one chambered in 9mm and two in .380 ACP) and a shotgun. Kazmierczak had stopped taking the antidepressant “because it made him feel like a zombie.”

  • 2009: Two weeks after starting Lexapro, Robert Stewart walked into his estranged wife’s work at Pinelake Health and Rehab, and opened fire. He killed eight elderly patients and wounded three others. He doesn’t remember the incident.

  • 2012: James Holmes, also known as the Batman Movie killer, was taking sertraline when he walked into the showing of The Dark Knight with two .40 caliber pistols, an AR-style .223 rifle, and a 12 gauge shotgun, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. In his personal notebook, which he sent to his psychiatrist the same day as the shooting, shows that as the medication decreased his anxiety, he lost his fear of consequences. As the dosage became higher, his thoughts became more obsessive and psychotic.

  • 2013: At the time of the Washington Navy Yard shooting, Aaron Alexis was a civilian contractor working at the yard and was prescribed trazodone, a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI) that works much like an SSRI to increase serotonin levels in the brain. He killed 12 people and injured eight others.

  • 2014: Ivan Lopez was a 34-year-old U.S. soldier who shot 15 of his comrades, killing three of them, at his base in Fort Hood, Texas. He was undergoing mental health treatment through the Veterans’ Administration, which is known for over-prescribing medication. The VA confirmed that Lopez was taking antidepressants (the VA only uses SSRI antidepressants) during the time of the shooting and his subsequent suicide.

  • 2015: From the moment it occurred, the Charleston Church shooting has been deemed an act of white supremacy, a race crime against blacks. But two years after Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people and injured another, the court released documents that show it was more mental health than hatred that led to the murders. The documents confirmed he was taking antidepressants.

  • 2016: Arcan Cetin, who was just 20 years old, walked into the Cascade Mall where he shot and killed four women, one just a teen, and shot one man, who later died at the hospital. Records show that Cetin was under the care of a psychiatrist and taking medication for depression and ADHD, including Prozac.

The list goes on and on. And with the implication of patient privacy laws, getting information on the medication and mental health diagnoses of people has become harder and harder, even with mounting evidence that there’s a connection between SSRI use and violence.

In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act commonly referred to as HIPAA, was set in place. HIPAA represents the U.S.’s first attempt at national regulations for the use and disclosure of a person’s personal health information, or PHI. HIPAA makes it more difficult for medical personnel to release information regarding a person’s medical care, diagnosis, and prescription drugs, including those involved with mental health related crimes.

For example, in the 2008 Virginia Tech shooting, perpetrator Seung Hui Cho had multiple interactions with the mental health department on campus, some for suicidal ideation, but yet his parents nor authorities were never notified. University officials stated privacy laws restricted them from sharing the information.

Beyond the necessity for communication prior to these horrific shootings, after the incident, the person’s records are often protected. Even in situations where the perpetrator dies during the shooting, HIPAA protects their records for 50 years.

Because of this, the American public doesn’t know what kind of medications these people were taking and if it may have had an affect on their actions. Just looking at public shootings over the last five years, there’s a huge list of murderers who were likely on SSRIs. Here are a few:

  • Zephen Xaver and the SunTrust Bank shooting
  • Ian David Long and the Thousand Oaks Nightclub shooting
  • Travis Reinking and the Waffle House shooting
  • Nikolas Cruz and the Parkland, Florida school shooting
  • Devin Patrick Kelley and the Texas church shooting

The Push for Stronger Mental Health Legislation

With the media’s coverage of mass shootings, more and more legislation arises limiting the rights of those with mental health issues. While no one wants firearms in the hands of the mentally ill, the lack of clear language surrounding mental illness, and the limitations caused by government red tape, make knee-jerk mental health legislation dangerous and lay a path for more government control.

In general, people with mental illness are rarely violent to other people. Many mental health experts and advocates agree that policies that focus on the violence of mental illness make scapegoats of the individuals, who are likely to never act violently against another person.

What’s more, according to the MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study (MVRAS), substance abuse was significantly more responsible for violence committed by discharged psychiatric patients than their mental health. Those patients who didn’t abuse drugs or alcohol showed no higher risk for violence than the others in their communities without mental health issues.

Laws are being created that don’t focus on the research, but on the fear of guns, thinking that stricter gun laws will keep people safer.

Red flag laws are the newest gun legislation making their way through Congress. Considered a “protective order,” red flag laws will allow a family member or law officer to petition a temporary seize on someone’s firearms if they’re deemed a threat. What a “threat” consists of isn’t clearly defined.

There’s also a push for universal background checks on all gun sales, even those sold between private individuals, and the FixNICS campaign. The philosophy behind FixNICS is that the background check system can only be as strong as the records it contains. And it’s currently missing a lot, especially when it comes to mental health issues and domestic violence.

For instance, documentation of an individual diagnosed as “mental defective,” having been involuntarily committed to a mental health setting, or having engaged in domestic abuse disqualifies that person from purchasing or owning a firearm. When this information is present in the NICS, it flags the background check and stops the sale of the firearm. But too many of these records are missing.

That was the case with the 2017 Sutherlands Springs church shooting. The gunman Devin Patrick Kelley was prohibited from purchasing firearms due to a 2012 court martial for two counts of domestic abuse. The U.S. Air Force failed to provide this information to the NICS, allowing Kelley to erroneously pass his background check and to purchase an AR-style 5.56 rifle – which he used to kill 26 people and injure 20 more. He was confronted and pursued by a neighbor, another good guy with a gun.

Gun Control, Mental Health, and SSRIs: What’s the Solution?

When it comes to mass shootings, there’s no easy solution. Violence, especially random violence, is a complex manifestation of various thoughts, feelings, and external factors. While it may be impossible to fully stop mass murders, ignoring the fact that certain medications, including SSRIs, play a role in a high percentage of these violent acts, no justice is being served.

Gun control is obviously not the solution, as the rate of mass shootings has increased over  the last 30 years, at a time when multiple gun control lawshave been implemented. Taking firearms away from law abiding citizens has not and will not stop the problem.

Personal Responsibility

Instead, doctors need to educate patients and make them aware of the risks, as well as take the time to explain warning signs to loved ones. If patients are taking medication for a mental health disorder, including depression, then they should see a mental health professional and be involved in mental health treatment. After all, medication – even mental health medication – does nothing to fix the problem, it only masks the symptoms.

Patients need to take some responsibility for their lives, improving their health before reaching for a mind-altering pill to make them feel good about themselves. A healthy diet, physical activity, and time spent in nature are ways to boost the mood that can help relieve the symptoms of mild depression.

The FDA-Big Pharma Connection

Lastly, the government and big pharmaceutical companies need to be held accountable for not sharing what they know about the medications they create. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) looked at drug company sponsored clinical trials on antidepressants.

Of the 74 FDA-registered trials the study looked at, 38 had positive outcomes, 36 had negative outcomes. Thirty-seven of the positive outcome trials were published, but of the 36 negative outcomes trials, 22 were not published and 11 were written in a way that initially presented the data to convey a misleading positive outcome. Only three were published with unbiased and accurate information about the drug.

With this type of misrepresentation of clinical trials on medications, particularly antidepressants, the medical community and the public can’t trust medical literature for honest and reliable drug information, nor the government agency that’s designed to monitor new pharmaceuticals for safety. When medical professionals can not rely on the FDA to provide unbiased and honest clinical trial information, a true risk-benefit ratio can’t be determined and patients suffer the consequences.

Political Influence of Big Pharma

The connection between the FDA and big pharma goes beyond clinical studies. Drug companies lure FDA employees to sit on their regulatory boards. They hire their spouses. These pharmaceutical giants utilize the field’s leading experts, who happen to be the same experts who are invited by the FDA to sit on screening panels.

Big pharma’s influence over the FDA goes even deeper. Drug companies spend billions of dollars on political lobbying and campaign contributions. Direct payments support the FDA budget. And in response, the FDA conceals risks and looks the other way when necessary.

The FDA also gives its own kickback to the drug companies. Only FDA-approved medications can be prescribed for government health insurance programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and through the VA. And to ensure Big Pharma continues to sell its drugs, the federal program only allows treatment claims on FDA-approved drugs.

The FDA Approval Process

The FDA approval process is a laborious and expensive endeavor, which typically takes more than a year and can cost up to a million dollars to complete. The process allows drug companies to patent their product. But when it comes to natural supplements, they can’t be patented, and therefore don’t go through the FDA approval process. Therefore supplements, which are often highly effective with little to no side effects, can not claim to “treat” a condition, even when there’s research that supports that claim.

On the surface, this may not seem like too big of a deal, but let’s circle back to Prozac, which hit the market in 1988. In the fall of 1989, the FDA recalled the supplement L-tryptophan, an amino acid that’s a precursor for serotonin and highly effective in treating depression. The recall occurred after one supplement company had an additive that caused a flu-like reaction. On March 22, 1990, the FDA issued a complete ban of L-tryptophan for public sale. Four days later, on March 26, 1990, Prozac was featured on the cover of Newsweek, along with a lead article about its benefits.

In 2001, the ban on L-tryptophan was lifted and since, research has shown it has huge therapeutic potential in the treatment of pain, insomnia, depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD),  bulimia, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), attention disorders, sleep disorders, and chronic fatigue.

A quick note about PMDD. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome, otherwise known as PMS. It officially became a medical condition in 2013 with the newest addition of the DSM-V. Yet in July of 2000, the FDA approved a new medication from Eli Lilly, the same pharmaceutical company that created Prozac. The drug was Sarafem and it was marketed to treat PMDD, which technically wasn’t even a fully recognized medical condition at the time.

Sarafem is, quite literally, the exact same medication as Prozac, only in a different color capsule. Why would Eli Lilly issue the exact same drug under a different name? It just so happens that the patent for Prozac expired in August of 2001, which allowed generic versions to be made. Eli Lilly changed the medication’s name, indicated it for this “new” disease, and the company had a new patent for Sarafem that would last until 2007.

Situations like this demonstrate that the more aspects the government controls, the worse this corruption and mismanagement becomes. Federal agencies in the hands of big pharmaceutical companies, and politicians using gun control to give a false hope to the American people, distracts them from the real cause of the current state of the nation and the frequency of mass shootings.

It’s time to personally explore the evidence surrounding the issues and come to your own conclusions.

Published:5/18/2019 8:58:16 PM
[Markets] Obama's Top FBI Lawyer Distances Himself From Steele Dossier As DOJ Investigation Looms

James Baker - the Obama FBI's top attorney (general counsel) said on Friday that he was skeptical about the Steele dossier, and "concerned" about its veracity when the agency received it prior to the 2016 US election, according to the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross. 

"It was more information that we viewed, that I viewed, skeptically from the outset, and I was concerned about it and had a jaundiced eye, or looked at it with a jaundiced eye right from the outset," Baker told MSNBC's Chuck Todd, adding "Steele was and had been a source that we thought was reliable. He’s reporting all this information. It looks alarming. We took it seriously, but we tried to vet it.

The dossier - a collection of memos compiled by an ex-British spy funded by Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign and the DNC - was used by the FBI to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Steele alleged that Page provided the Trump campaign a Kremlin backchannel during the election. 

Baker also told Todd that he thinks the FISA warrants against Page would have been granted without the dossier, and took a pregnant pause when asked if the dossier was used to obtain FISA warrants on other people - saying "I don’t think I should comment on that, I’m not sure what else the government has confirmed," and adding "I don’t want to confirm or deny anything about other potential FISA applications.

Watch:

Meanwhile, Obama's former intel chiefs are at odds over who exactly pushed the dossier

According to Fox Newsan email chain exists which indicates that Comey told bureau subordinates that Brennan insisted on the dossier's inclusion in the intelligence community assessment (ICA) on Russian interference. Also interesting is that the dossier was referred to as "crown material" in the emails - a possible reference to the fact that Steele is a former British spy. 

In a statement to Fox, however, a former CIA official "put the blame squarely on Comey." 

Comey, meanwhile, has attacked Attorney General William Barr for investigating him, tweeting on Friday "The AG should stop sliming his own Department.  If there are bad facts, show us, or search for them professionally and then tell us what you found." 

Barr, has launched a wide-ranging investigation into FBI conduct during the 2016 election, making him public enemy #1 to the left. In a Friday interview with Fox News, Barr said that the use of the Steele Dossier in the FISA warrant was a "very unusual situation," especially one "that on its face had a number of clear mistakes and a somewhat jejue analysis. And to use that to conduct counterintelligence against the American political campaign would be a strange development."

James Baker, meanwhile, told Lawfare's Benjamin Wittes last week that he's 'nervous' about the DOJ Inspector General's ongoing investigation into FBI/DOJ conduct surrounding the 2016 election. 

Baker made clear that he wanted to speak "as openly as I possibly can" about the origin of the FBI's investigation into Donald Trump - "to reassure the American people that it was done for lawful, legitimate reasons, and was apolitical," according to the Washington Examiner's Jerry Dunleavy. 

Things are getting hot in DC and it's only May... 

Published:5/18/2019 3:29:20 PM
[In The News] Ex-FBI Lawyer Claims He Was ‘Concerned’ With Steele Dossier, But Still Used It To Get Carter Page Spy Warrant

By Chuck Ross -

Former FBI general counsel James Baker said Friday that he viewed the Steele dossier “skeptically” and was “concerned” about the veracity of the document when the bureau received it before the 2016 election. But despite those concerns, Baker was one of the FBI officials who reviewed the Carter Page surveillance ...

Ex-FBI Lawyer Claims He Was ‘Concerned’ With Steele Dossier, But Still Used It To Get Carter Page Spy Warrant 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:5/18/2019 2:01:01 PM
[Markets] Pulling A Pocahontas? 'College Admissions' Scandal Mastermind Advised Students To Lie About Race

To say that race is a fraught issue for the American system of higher education doesn't quite capture the divisiveness that affirmative action has fostered over the years. Just look at the DoJ-backed lawsuits against Harvard and a handful of other elite colleges suspected of discrimination against Asian applicants.

The College Board touched on these sensitivities when it inadvertently sparked a vicious backlash over its 'adversity scores'. These attempts to quantify whether a student came from a 'privileged' or 'oppressed' background would be shared with colleges, but not the applicants.

Rick

GIven the controversies of the past week, a WSJ report on how college admissions scandal mastermind Rick Singer, the consultant charged with earning millions for bribing coaches and helping students cheat on the SATs in what the FBI called "Operation Varsity Blues", advised many of his clients to misrepresent their race couldn't have been better timed. 

Apparently, it's difficult for the admissions committees to pick up on this type of deception.

One of WSJ's anonymous sources with insider knowledge of Singer's operations said that 'Native American' was a popular option, since most families could credibly claim an affiliation stretching back generations that may or may not be accurate, and it was impossible to tell if a white student was actually mixed-race just by looking at him or her. One student checked the 'Native American' box even though "there was absolutely nothing Native American about this kid."

Sound familiar?

Another family charged in the scandal listed their son as "Black/Hispanic" despite having no evidence to support either claim. One source told WSJ that Singer would argue that choosing not to misrepresent their child's race would risk putting them at a serious "competitive disadvantage."

A son of Marjorie Klapper, a parent scheduled to plead guilty Friday for participating in the scheme, was incorrectly listed on his Common Application as being black and Hispanic, the people said. William “Rick” Singer, the college counselor who has agreed to plead guilty in the case and is awaiting sentencing, also arranged for a proctor to cheat on the ACT admissions test for the teen, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit filed in the case.

Ms. Klapper, who lives in Menlo Park, Calif., was one of many parents charged whose child was misrepresented as a minority, according to one of the people, who is familiar with the investigation.

Mr. Singer frequently gave families the option of misrepresenting race and would say that not doing so could put their child at a "competitive disadvantage," said one of the people, who is familiar with his business.

None of the parents, nor Singer, are facing charges related to misrepresenting an applicant's race. But the fact that this symbol for corruption in the higher education system so easily exploited the same 'loophole' that got Elizabeth Warren into Harvard - and would even preach about the risks of not doing it - should tell us all we need to know about this new push to gauge every child's "adversity."

Published:5/18/2019 8:56:08 AM
[Democrats] Christopher Steele’s Russian ‘Sources’ Were Confirmed Agents Of Russia

The following article, Christopher Steele’s Russian ‘Sources’ Were Confirmed Agents Of Russia, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Christopher Steele told a State Department official a former Russian spy chief Vyacheslav Trubnikov and a top Kremlin adviser Vladislav Surkov were involved in an operation to collect compromising information on Donald Trump. This is proof positive the Trump dossier was nothing more than Russian Propaganda and lies that the FBI used to secure illegal ...

Continue reading: Christopher Steele’s Russian ‘Sources’ Were Confirmed Agents Of Russia ...

Published:5/18/2019 7:25:31 AM
[US News] ‘This shouldn’t happen in America’: Could someone please remind James Comey that he was DIRECTOR OF THE FBI?

Nerves, Jim?

The post ‘This shouldn’t happen in America’: Could someone please remind James Comey that he was DIRECTOR OF THE FBI? appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/17/2019 10:22:19 PM
[Markets] Crack Pipe, IDs, And Badge Found In Hunter Biden Rental Car

A used crack pipe, two DC driver's licenses, multiple credit cards, a Delaware Attorney General badge and a US Secret Service business card belonging to Hunter Biden were found in a rental car returned to an Arizona Hertz location in the middle of the night, days before the 2016 presidential election, according to Breitbartwhich obtained an exclusive copy of the police report.

Photo via RadarOnline

Hunter, son of former Vice President and 2020 candidate Joe Biden, had rented the vehicle from a California location, intending to return it to the Prescott, Arizona location where iut was discovered after being dropped off with the crack pipe and Hunter Biden's personal effects. 

Instead of returning the car keys to the drop box where after-hours returns are supposed to go, the car was returned—according to the police report—with the keys left in the gas tank compartment of the vehicle. Also found inside the vehicle, per the police report, were two drivers’ licenses both bearing Hunter Biden’s legal name Robert Biden, as well as “some credit cards with the same name,” “a secret service business card,” and an “Attorney General’s badge” all contained inside a wallet that Hertz rental employees discovered—along with a pipe that Hertz employees thought and police later confirmed was used to smoke illicit drugs, as well as “a white powdery substance in the arm rest of the vehicle.” -Breitbart

Of note, Hunter was discharged from the Navy after he tested positive for cocaine

The morning after the car was dropped off, a phone number belonging to a renowned local "Colon Hydrotherapist" called the Hertz. The caller identified himself as "Joseph McGee," who told the employees that the keys were located in the gas cap as opposed to the drop box. 

“McGee” informed the rental car company employee, according to police, that “his friend was feeling sick so they didn’t know what to do” when the car was returned. Police, according to a supplemental report filed by a Prescott Police Department detective, sought and obtained a subpoena to discover the source of the “Joseph McGee” phone call—and traced it to a phone number owned and operated by a renowned “Colon Hydrotherapist” in the region. -Breitbart

Police were unable to find and interview "Joseph McGee," as well as contact the younger Biden, however they were unsuccessful at reaching either. The report does say that the Secret Service had located Hunter, and that he was "well." 

Laboratory analysis by the Arizona Department of Public Safety later determined that the pipe discovered in the vehicle was used to smoke cocaine, not meth, but fingerprints were not found on the device.

The 23 pages of law enforcement and police documents repeatedly refer to the suspect under investigation as Robert Hunter Biden and the report type as a “Narcotics Offense.” Breitbart News is publishing the documents here, with redactions made to remove personally-identifying contact information like addresses and phone numbers as well as the last names of key witnesses. -Breitbart

No prosecution

Despite the overwhelming evidence after an investigation which included two Prescott Police Department officers and a detective, local authorities in both the city and county attorney's offices declined to prosecute the case

A document shows the reason the county attorney declined to prosecute the vice president’s son is because they thought they would only be able to get minor charges to stick, and kicked it down to the city attorney. It is unclear from the documents why the city attorney declined to prosecute.

In addition to local police, FBI and the U.S. Secret Service agents were roped into the case, as well. The FBI dispatched agents to the scene, according to the law enforcement documents, and the Secret Service communicated with the various law enforcement officials investigating and confirmed that Hunter Biden was not in harm’s way. -Breitbart

Read the rest of the report here

Published:5/17/2019 5:21:30 PM
[] Senior FBI Officials Worried That Comey's "Briefing" About Blackmail Material Just Might Seem Like Comey Was Himself Blackmailing Trump, Just as Former FBI Capo J. Edgar Hoover Did to Presidents James Comey, onetime communist, knows how to use kompromat. Senior FBI officials were concerned then director James Comey would appear to be blackmailing then President-elect Trump -- using tactics notoriously associated with J.Edgar Hoover -- when he attended a fateful... Published:5/17/2019 4:22:22 PM
[Volokh Conspiracy] [Stewart Baker] The Intercept—now running a close second to the FBI in sending leakers to jail! With apologies for the lateness of this post, Episode 263 of The Cyberlaw Podcast tells the sad tale of yet... Published:5/17/2019 3:20:44 PM
[Markets] Wells Fargo Banker Pleads Guilty To Helping Launder Millions For Sinaloa Cartel

A 30-year-old Wells Fargo personal banker pleaded guilty on Thursday to knowingly opening bank accounts for people working with the Sinaloa cartel for money laundering purposes. 

Seized money from the Sinaloa cartel, September 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

Luis Figueroa of Tijuana admitted to the scheme which spanned the United States, according to Business Insider

Between 2014 and 2016, money laundering organizations recruited people who would open bank accounts for the cartel's drug money, according to the US Attorney's Office in the Southern District of California. The operation laundered over $19 million dollars in narcotics proceeds.

The drug money would be deposited into the bank accounts, also known as "funnel accounts," in amounts below the threshold for regulatory reporting. -Business Insider

Drug money would be picked up by cash couriers - often stuffed into "shopping bags, duffel bags or shoeboxes," after which it would be deposited at Wells Fargo and other banks, according to a DOJ press release. Couriers traveled to Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, Boston, New Jersey, and New York City to pick up drug money into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, picking up the money in private residences or public places such as parking lots or retail stores. 

The couriers would deposit the bulk cash in $22,000 - $45,000 increments at various banks used for laundering, including Wells Fargo, after which funds were transferred into Mexico-based shell corporations operated by the launderers - which would then be transferred to the Sinaloa Cartel. 

Figueroa, who was arrested in November in the joint FBI-IRS investigation, personally made several wire transfers from funnel accounts knowing that he was dealing with drug money. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. 

Eight other people were arrested and charged in the scheme. 

"We can't allow our banks to be laundromats for cartel cash," said US Attorney Robert Brewer. "Bank employees who launder drug money for traffickers will face prosecution and prison."

The Sinaloa cartel is one of the largest drug trafficking groups in the world. Based in the West Coast of Mexico, the first lab believed to have produced fentanyl was found at a home in Sinaloa's state capital. 

Published:5/17/2019 12:21:22 PM
[The Blog] NYT: Why won’t FBI reveal which two Florida counties got hacked in 2016?

“We won’t tell you. We can’t tell you. We can’t do it.”

The post NYT: Why won’t FBI reveal which two Florida counties got hacked in 2016? appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:5/17/2019 11:22:05 AM
[News] Obama Spymasters Throwing Each Other Under The Bus

The following article, Obama Spymasters Throwing Each Other Under The Bus, was first published on Godfather Politics.

A dispute erupts over whether Brennan, Comey pushed Steele dossier, as DOJ probe into misconduct begins. Finger-pointing between high-level government officials begins over who pushed the unverified dossier weeks before President Trump’s inauguration. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the FBI/DOJ attempted to influence, meddle and interfere with the election outcome. Did they did not ...

Continue reading: Obama Spymasters Throwing Each Other Under The Bus ...

Published:5/17/2019 7:20:28 AM
[Markets] "Government Power Was Used To Spy On American Citizens," Barr Says

In his first pair of interviews since being sworn in, Attorney General Barr told Fox News and WSJ that he was pursuing the investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe - an investigation he has tasked 

John Durham, the US Attorney from Connecticut, with leading - because Americans need to know whether the government "put a thumb on the scale" to try and undermine President Trump both during the campaign and during the first two years of his term, just like "we need to ensure that foreign actors don't influence the outcome of our elections."

Separately, he told WSJ that "government power was used to spy on American citizens...I can't imagine any world where we wouldn't take a look and make sure that was done properly."

Barr has doubled-down on using the term 'spying', which has angered Democrats, after first using it during Senate committee testimony from April 10, where he uttered the now-infamous phrase "I think spying did occur."

Barr

The AG has declined to elaborate on what prompted these concerns, though he has said he'd be interested to see the underlying intelligence that sparked the FBI decision, in the summer of 2016, to open a counterintelligence investigation. At this point, Durham's review isn't a criminal investigation, and Barr hasn't offered a timetable for when the investigation might be completed. Ultimately, the probe could lead to changing FBI protocols involving investigations into political campaigns.

Appearing to respond to Barr's interviews, President Trump declared that his campaign was "conclusively" spied on.

As far as we know, the FBI first started investigating the campaign after an Australian ambassador told his superiors that George Papadopoulos had appeared to know about Russian plans to release 'dirt' on Hillary Clinton. The FBI later sent an informant, Stefan Halper, and a woman who identified herself as a research assistant, to meet with Papadopoulos and push him to say whether Russia was helping the Trump campaign.

Watch the Fox interview below:

Published:5/17/2019 6:53:33 AM
[In The News] FBI Officials Who Worked On Clinton Email Case Never Suspected Strzok-Page Affair Under Their Noses

By Luke Rosiak -

Two FBI officials who worked in counterintelligence and described themselves as friends with either Peter Strzok or Lisa Page said they did not pick up that their colleagues were having an extramarital affair, according to transcripts of testimony obtained by TheDCNF. These friends both worked on the FBI’s investigation into ...

FBI Officials Who Worked On Clinton Email Case Never Suspected Strzok-Page Affair Under Their Noses 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:5/16/2019 8:46:48 PM
[Markets] Nellie Ohr Deleted Emails Exchanged With Top Ranking DOJ Husband: Judicial Watch

Nellie Ohr - a CIA-linked operative who gave extensive anti-Trump research to her DOJ official husband Bruce while she was working for Fusion GPS' anti-Trump efforts, deleted emails from Bruce's account during an April, 2016 exchange about Russian influence in Europe. 

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

Contained in over 339 pages of heavily redacted DOJ records obtained by Judicial Watch via FOIA lawsuit, the email chain between Nellie Ohr, Bruce Ohr, his top aide Lisa Holtyn and Stefan Bress - a first secretary at the German Embassy, discussed among other things the "Impact of Russian influence operations in Europe." 

Holtyn responds with, “I haven’t had a chance to confer with Bruce yet, but would certainly love to meet with the ‘A Team’!” Bruce Ohr then says, “That time works for me as well.” Bress then provides the personal details/passport numbers of the German analysts who will be meeting with Holtyn and Ohr. Holtyn tells Bress that the Ohr’s would like to host the German delegation for dinner and notes that Joe Wheatley and Ivana Nizich (a husband/wife team of DOJ Organized Crime prosecutors and friends of the Ohr’s) would join them as well. -Judicial Watch

At the end of the exchange with the subject line: "Analyst Russian Organized Crime – April 2016," initiated by Bress, Nellie Ohr writes "Thanks! I'm deleting these emails now.

"This email is disturbing and suggests documents relevant to the improper targeting of President Trump were destroyed," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. 

For those living under a rock for the last year, Nellie Ohr - a Russia expert who speaks fluent Russian - was employed by Fusion GPS - an opposition research firm paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign to dig up negative dirt on Donald Trump during the 2016 election. Fusion commissioned former UK spy Christopher Steele to assemble the so-called Steele Dossier while Nellie was in their employ. 

According to a transcript of Congressional testimony released in March, Bruce admitted that Nellie passed along Fusion GPS Russia research using a memory stick

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.

Bruce, meanwhile, was demoted twice after the DOJ's Inspector General discovered that he lied about his involvement with Simpson. 

And as we noted in March; Emails turned over to Congressional investigators last August revealed that the Ohrs and Steele were much closer than previously disclosed.

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. 

And now we have evidence that Nellie was all over Bruce's email, despite the fact that she was not a DOJ employee. 

Published:5/16/2019 4:46:33 PM
[US News] Well hellooo BOMBSHELL: Ex-top FBI lawyer James Baker’s admissions on the Steele dossier and Comey so DAMNING

It is just our imagination or does it seem like these ex-intelligence types seem a little worried about Barr and John Durham? Look at how quickly ex-top FBI lawyer James Baker is all but throwing James Comey under the bus. Ex-top FBI lawyer James Baker: We took Steele dossier on @realDonaldTrump "seriously" but "not necessarily […]

The post Well hellooo BOMBSHELL: Ex-top FBI lawyer James Baker’s admissions on the Steele dossier and Comey so DAMNING appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/16/2019 8:44:03 AM
[] Former FBI Assistant Director of Intelligence: Comey Should Be Worried Cucked-out pencil-neck incel sasquatch should start communing with lawyers instead of redwoods. AG Barr understands well that the FBI is dead as an agency -- undeserving of the nation's trust -- if it is commonly perceived to be a weapon... Published:5/15/2019 6:11:22 PM
[Markets] Barr's Investigator John Durham Once Probed Mueller In A Shocking Case

Authored by S.Noble via IndependentSentinel.com,

Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham was appointed to investigate the origins of the Russia-Trump probe. Apparently, he has been on the job for weeks.

Durham is the perfect investigator for the job by all accounts and he had experience with Robert Mueller in the Whitey Bulger case.

He did not side with Mueller and Mueller’s agents suffered the consequences of Mueller’s, some would say, corrupt leadership.

THE WHITEY BULGER CASE

Back in the late 1990s, there were “allegations that FBI informants James ‘Whitey’ Bulger and Stephen ‘The Rifleman’ Flemmi had corrupted their handlers.

So, in 1999, Janet Reno appointed John Durham as Special Prosecutor and charged him with investigating FBI corruption in Boston.

As it turned out, FBI agents aided mass murderer, Whitey Bulger and hid his crimes. Bulger was a protected informant.

Durham sent one agent involved to prison for 10 years.

Then-US Attorney, Robert Mueller is probably the one who should have landed in the pen. He allowed four innocent men to be sent to prison for a murder he knew they didn’t commit.  He did it to protect Bulger.

One of the four men was in Florida at the time of the murder and could not have committed the murder.

When Durham went through the documents. He found that the four men, Enrico TameleoJoseph SalvatiPeter J. Limone, and Louis Greco, had actually been framed.

Four people who were innocent were kept in jail for years in order to protect the status of Whitey Bulger as an FBI informant.

The Boston Globe wrote:

“[Mike] Albano [former Parole Board Member who was threatened by two F.B.I. agents for considering parole for the men imprisoned for a crime they did not commit] was appalled that, later that same year, Mueller was appointed FBI director, because it was Mueller, first as an assistant US attorney then as the acting U.S. attorney in Boston, who wrote letters to the parole and pardons board throughout the 1980s opposing clemency for the four men framed by FBI lies. Of course, Mueller was also in that position while Whitey Bulger was helping the FBI cart off his criminal competitors even as he buried bodies in shallow graves along the Neponset…”

In December 2000, Durham revealed secret FBI documents that convinced a judge to vacate the 1968 murder convictions of ”four other FBI informants because they’d been framed by Robert Mueller’s FBI.

“In 2007,” to help protect Whitey Bulger (that’s what all those people were held in jail for) “the documents helped Salvati, Limone, and the families of the two other men who had died in prison to win a US $101.7 million civil judgment against the government.”

Durham got the two surviving framed men released from prison.

Robert Mueller was knee-deep in this scandal, along with Andrew Weissman and the agent sent to prison, but because Reno gave him very limited authority, Durham was not able to prosecute Mueller, who was not in the FBI at the time.

Mueller kept four innocent people in jail for years to protect the informant status of Whitey Bulger, a mass-murdering Boston mobster who ended up dying in California, and it ended up costing the government $100 million plus in civil judgments.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ CALLED MUELLER A “ZEALOT”

Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, calling Mueller a “zealot,” he reminded Mueller supporters about the former FBI director’s role in protecting “notorious mass murderer” Whitey Bulger as an FBI informant.

“I think Mueller is a zealot,” Dershowitz told “The Cats Roundtable” on 970 AM-N.Y. “. . . I don’t think he cares whether he hurts Democrats or Republicans, but he’s a partisan and zealot.

“He’s the guy who kept four innocent people in prison for many years in order to protect the cover of Whitey Bulger as an FBI informer. Those of us in Boston don’t have such high regard for Mueller because we remember this story. The government had to pay out tens of millions of dollars because Whitey Bulger, a notorious mass murderer, became a government informer against the mafia . . .

“And that’s regarded in Boston of one of the great scandals of modern judicial history. And Mueller was right at the center of it. So, he is not without criticism by people who know him in Boston.”

HOW DID MUELLER BECOME THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR?

There were other cases in which Mueller behaved scandalously, here and here. Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Sydney Powell tells the same story. She calls them creeps on a mission and has a website of the same name detailing the offenses of Mueller and Weissman.

How did Robert Mueller end up as the Special Prosecutor? Thank a Democrat. The Democrats insisted he was a great man of inviolable character. They said he was the impeccable man and investigator.

There is also the fact that Rod Rosenstein seems to think well of him.

You can be sure there are a lot of people losing sleep knowing Durham is on the case. You might have noticed Rod Rosenstein, the former Deputy Attorney General, is out trashing Jim Comey.

For his part, Jim Comey hasn’t written anything inspirational or anti-Trump on Twitter for four days. He has been giving a lot of public speeches lately. Maybe he should shut up.

Published:5/15/2019 2:39:40 PM
[Markets] The Coming Wrath Of Barr: The Real Story Behind The Russian Hoax

Authored by Graham Noble via Liberty Nation,

If there is any issue that cries out for a special counsel investigation, it is the evolution of the Trump-Russia collusion theory. Attorney General William Barr may well have decided that the nation does not need to go through such an ordeal again, but he did the next best thing by tapping John H. Durham to investigate what could well be the most nefarious political conspiracy in American history.

Durham is Connecticut’s top federal prosecutor, an attorney with a reputation for toughness and a resume that includes investigations into high-level government corruption cases. Reports suggest that he has been on the job for some weeks already, and that is an indication of how seriously the matter is being taken by the attorney general.

A History Of Investigating Government Officials

In 1999, Durham was appointed special prosecutor to investigate alleged ties among Boston police officers, federal agents, and organized crime figures, including James “Whitey” Bulger. As a result of Durham’s work, four men who had been imprisoned for murder years earlier had their sentences vacated because they had been framed by the FBI. One retired agent was sentenced to ten years in prison on racketeering charges. Another former agent who faced charges died before his trial.

In 2008, Durham was assigned to look into a major scandal involving the CIA’s destruction of graphic interrogation recordings, though the Department of Justice (DOJ) declined to bring charges in the case. The following year, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed Durham to examine the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” methods.

Upping The Ante

John H. Durham

If Barr did not anticipate the possibility of criminal indictments or the need to subpoena former government officials – people like former FBI Director James Comey – he could have handed off the probe to Michael Horowitz, the DOJ’s inspector general. Horowitz, who is currently looking into the FBI’s application for a FISA warrant in 2016 and three subsequent extensions of that warrant, does not have the scope of authority to investigate the affair conclusively. Essentially, inspectors general could be described more as auditors than investigators.

The Justice Department’s IG is expected to deliver his report sometime in June,  and Durham may well use Horowitz’s findings in his own investigation. Unlike Horowitz, Durham can subpoena private citizens – including former government officials – as well as utilize the full range of prosecutorial tools.

A Massachusetts native, Durham was appointed in 2017 to his current position as a U.S. attorney by President Donald Trump. The prosecutor’s scope, with regard to the origins of the Russia investigation, has not been revealed by the DOJ. According to a source not authorized to comment publicly, Durham will determine whether the original FBI probe into alleged collusion between Russia and Trump campaign associates was properly conducted.

Durham, a Republican, is known as “apolitical.” His record indicates a tough but fair prosecutor who, as The Washington Post put it in 2009, has “parachuted into crisis situations for both political parties over three decades.” The fact that Barr has enlisted him is no small matter. The entire collusion story has crumbled rapidly, over the past few months, and it now seems possible – finally – that those who conspired to fabricate a phony, politically motivated counterintelligence operation will face a reckoning.

Published:5/15/2019 12:40:53 PM
[US News] Remember the accused Somali war criminal fired from his security job at Dulles? He got a job with Uber and Lyft instead

Back in 2016, it was discovered that Yusuf Abdi Ali, a former Somali military leader accused of war crimes now living in Arlington, VA, had somehow passed an FBI background check scored a security job at Dulles airport. From Fox 5 DC: “The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority maintains a contract with Master Security to provide unarmed […]

The post Remember the accused Somali war criminal fired from his security job at Dulles? He got a job with Uber and Lyft instead appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/15/2019 9:44:57 AM
[Law] 6 Things to Know About the Prosecutor Investigating Spying on Trump Campaign

John Durham, known for prosecuting FBI agents connected to infamous mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, is now a fourth attorney general’s pick to lead a special... Read More

The post 6 Things to Know About the Prosecutor Investigating Spying on Trump Campaign appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:5/14/2019 5:09:28 PM
[Security] Law Enforcement Busted an LA Terror Plot, Likely Saving Dozens of Lives

The FBI on April 26 arrested Mark Steven Domingo, a former Army infantryman, on charges of plotting an Islamist terrorist attack against a white nationalist... Read More

The post Law Enforcement Busted an LA Terror Plot, Likely Saving Dozens of Lives appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:5/14/2019 4:05:05 PM
[] CIA Joins DOJ Probe of #Spygate Origins But is the CIA getting involved to find the truth, or to bury it? Attorney General William Barr has enlisted the help of the CIA to investigate whether the FBI's surveillance of the Trump campaign was motivated by partisan bias,... Published:5/14/2019 4:05:05 PM
[Corruption] Rod Rosenstein Rips James Comey to Pieces

The following article, Rod Rosenstein Rips James Comey to Pieces, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein thoroughly gutted former FBI chief James Comey in public comments on Monday.

Continue reading: Rod Rosenstein Rips James Comey to Pieces ...

Published:5/14/2019 3:08:31 PM
[World] Sean Hannity Monologue on James Comey 'Abuse of Power,' Rod Rosenstein Criticism

In his opening monologue Monday, Sean Hannity said there is mounting evidence that former FBI Director James Comey "abused his power."

Published:5/14/2019 11:33:08 AM
[Politics] Rod Rosenstein Attacks Comey, Defends Mueller Probe in Speech Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein launched a public attack on former FBI Director James Comey on Monday, even as he defended Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation in the face of Republican attacks on its legitimacy.Rosenstein's speech, on Monday night,... Published:5/13/2019 10:42:18 PM
[Trending Commentary] Analysis: The Steele Dossier And The ‘Raw Intelligence’ Canard

By Chuck Ross -

Fusion GPS connections-11

Defenders of the FBI’s activities during the 2016 campaign have adopted a familiar refrain over the past 28 months to describe the Steele dossier, that infamous document that served as a road map for the conspiracy theory that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government. “It’s raw intelligence,” according ...

Analysis: The Steele Dossier And The ‘Raw Intelligence’ Canard 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:5/12/2019 10:25:11 AM
[Markets] Top Lawyer For Obama-Era FBI 'Nervous' About DOJ Inspector General Investigation

James Baker, a career government attorney who wound up as the the FBI's top lawyer (general counsel) in 2014, says he's 'nervous' about DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz's internal investigation into FBI/DOJ conduct surrounding the 2016 US election.

Sitting down at the Brookings Institute with Lawfare's Benjamin Wittes, Baker made clear that he wanted to speak "as openly as I possibly can" about the origin of the FBI's investigation into Donald Trump - "to reassure the American people that it was done for lawful, legitimate reasons, and was apolitical," reports the Washington Examiner's Jerry Dunleavy. 

Benjamin Wittes (left), James Baker

For those keeping track, we've gone from "there was no spying," to "the FBI used an informant on the Trump campaign, just don't call him a spy," to "ok there were multiple informants - still not spying."

And so while former Obama-era officials have scrambled to perform damage control ahead of negative potential outcomes, Attorney General William Barr, James Clapper, and the CIA's former chief of counterintelligence (among others) have concluded that the Obama admin absolutely spied on Donald Trump and his campaign

Barr, meanwhile, has launched a wide-ranging investigation into FBI conduct during the 2016 election, making him public enemy #1 to the left. Consequently, Democrats are now working overtime to discredit him less than three months after he 'sailed through' his confirmation hearings (on the Kavanaugh scale) due to his distinguished career in Washington. Barr currently sits in contempt of the House Judiciary Committee after refusing to turn over an unredacted version of the Mueller report - despite the fact that not one Democrat has viewed the 98.5% redacted version the DOJ made available to members of Congress.  

After Barr's "spying" bombshell, former FBI Director James Comey said he had "no idea what the heck he's (Barr) talking about," while last week Comey said he thinks Barr has acted "less than honorable," and has "lost most of his reputation.

And in in what appears to be the latest in an attempt to get ahead of the narrative, James Baker - the Obama/Comey FBI's top lawyer, sat down with Benjamin Wittes at Brookings to defend the agency's conduct.

And Baker is nervous

Asked by Wittes "So, how nervous are you about the IG"? in reference to Inspector General Horowitz's FISA investigation, Baker responded that he's "always nervous about the IG," and that "they’re coming in after the fact to look at what we did.

Baker added that during the chaotic 2016 election, the FBI was "trying to do it in real time and having the pressure to deal with these threats as they were coming," while dealing with the backdrop of alleged Russian hacking of Democratic emails. 

He also stuck with the official story as to what predicated the FBI's counterintelligence operation on the Trump campaign, dubbed "Crossfire Hurricane" -- On May 10, 2016 Trump adviser George Papadopoulos told Clinton ally and Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, that Russia had 'dirt' on Hillary Clinton. Downer told Aussie intel, which told the FBI, which launched Operation Crossfire Hurricane. 

Nowhere did Baker mention Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor and self-professed member of the Clinton Foundation who is the genesis of the Russian 'dirt' rumor - planted it with Papadopoulos several weeks after returning from a trip to Moscow. 

While the Mueller report paints Mifsud as a Russian agent, evidence points to him being in league with Western intelligence - which raises the notion of entrapment if Papadopoulos was set up by a Clinton ally, later to be pumped for information by a 'five-eyes' Clinton ally at a London Bar, which officially launched the investigation. 

Last week, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has requested a wide swath of documents about Mifsud from several federal agencies. As the Washington Examiner noted, Nunes - the House Intelligence Committee ranking member, "seeks information about who Mifsud was working for at the time and wrote in a letter that special counsel Robert Mueller “omits any mention of a wide range of contacts Mifsud had with Western political institutions and individuals" in his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election." 

No wonder Baker is feeling a bit on edge. 

When asked about how confident he is that the FBI opened the Trump investigation for legitimate reasons and not a 'coup,' Baker maintained that everything was on the up and up, and that there was "no way in hell" he would have allowed a 'coup attempt' against Trump. 

As for the FISA surveillance on Trump campaign aide Carter Page, Baker defended the FBI's use of the infamous Steele dossier in its application - saying that after personally reviewing the FISA applications, he was "comfortable" with them and confident that the process remained "lawful." 

Of course, in recent days we've learned that the State Department and the FBI absolutely knew that the Steele Dossier was a political document of dubious legitimacy, and its author, former UK spy Christopher Steele, was working for Clinton/DNC-funded opposition research firm Fusion GPS to produce the document. 

Still, Baker defended the agency's handling of Steele, saying "We’re not stupid. The FBI. We’re not stupid."

And Baker said the FBI was careful in the way it used Steele’s reporting. “We have an obligation to take that information seriously and to be highly skeptical … You go to work … You try to validate it … We don’t just swallow it hook, line, and sinker. ... We spent a lot of time trying to vet that information line by line," he said.

We are the Federal Bureau of Investigations, not the Federal Bureau of Conclusions,” Baker said defensively.

Steele has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks. The Wall Street Journal reported that Horowitz “is homing in on” and “has been asking witnesses about” the FBI’s “treatment of information” provided by Steele. And the New York Times reported that the FBI reached out to some of Steele’s foreign sources and as early as January 2017 agents had reportedly concluded that some of the dossier’s contents may have been based upon “rumors and hearsay” which were “passed from source to source.” The agents believed that some of Steele’s information may have even been based upon “Russian disinformation.” -Washington Examiner

For more insight into where Obama-era US intel officials are coming from, the entire Baker interview can be seen below: 

Published:5/12/2019 10:25:11 AM
[National Security] Alabama: FBI Uncovers Homegrown Islamic Terrorist Training Camp (Video)

The following article, Alabama: FBI Uncovers Homegrown Islamic Terrorist Training Camp (Video), was first published on Godfather Politics.

The FBI has identified a jihadist compound in Alabama linked to the one found in New Mexico last year. In an interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group, Former Special Agent with the FBI field office in Mobile, Alabama Tim Fuhrman warned of the increasing threats of domestic terror that “exists in every region of the United ...

Continue reading: Alabama: FBI Uncovers Homegrown Islamic Terrorist Training Camp (Video) ...

Published:5/11/2019 8:16:16 PM
[World] James Comey just accused Donald Trump of a thought crime

Former FBI director James Comey, in a recent CNN town hall, told host Anderson Cooper that yes indeed, based on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's redacted Russia collusion report, "it sure looks like" President Donald Trump had "criminal intent" to commit obstruction.

In other words, Comey is accusing the president of ... Published:5/11/2019 4:18:53 PM

[Markets] Silicon Valley Giants Collaborate With The US Government On Venezuela

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

Whenever you speak out on a public forum against internet censorship, like the recent Instagram/Facebook banning of Louis Farrakhan, Infowars, and several right-wing pundits, you always offend two major political groups. The first group are the power-serving authoritarians who identify with the left side of the political spectrum; they argue that it’s good and right to trust Silicon Valley plutocrats to regulate political speech on giant monopolistic platforms. The second group are the capitalism cheerleaders who believe there’s a free market solution to every problem; they argue that these Silicon Valley giants are private companies which are completely separate from the government, so it’s not accurate to refer to what they do with their own property as censorship.

Is that really true, though? Is it really accurate to claim that these sprawling corporations that nobody’s been able to compete with are simply private companies, separate and distinct from the government of the nation they’re based in? If you look at their behavior, it certainly doesn’t seem like it.

The US government is working to topple the government of Venezuela and replace it with a puppet regime. On the off chance that you were still in denial of this self-evident fact, check out this April 24th fact sheet on the website for the US embassy in Brazil which openly boasts about the way economic and diplomatic pressures are being deliberately placed on the Venezuelan government to install Washington puppet Juan Guaido to the nation’s leadership. Trump’s National Security Advisor has blatantly threatened that the US will starve the families of Venezuelan military officers if they don’t overthrow their government, right there on Twitter.

This is a known, unconcealed US government agenda. And the Silicon Valley giants are actively facilitating it.

For example, as highlighted by journalist Max Blumenthal, if you go to Google and look up Venezuela’s embassy in Washington, DC, the result you get looks like this:

Google lists Venezuela’s ambassador to the US as Carlos Vecchio, who has no governmental power and no authority to issue Venezuelan passports, because he represents no actual government but rather the puppet government that the US is attempting to install. Google has no reason to refer to this US government propaganda construct as “Ambassador”, but it does so anyway in support of the US government’s aggressive campaign to replace the Venezuelan government staff in the DC embassy with the staff of its imaginary puppet regime.

Google, by the way, has been financially intertwined with US intelligence agencies since its very inception when it received research grants from the CIA and NSA for mass surveillance. It pours massive amounts of money into federal lobbying and DC think tanks, has a cozy relationship with the NSA, and has been a military-intelligence contractor from the beginning.

With Wikipedia, whose leadership allows it to serve as a narrative management operation for the US-centralized empire, it’s the same thing. Look up Juan Guaido, who has no actual political power and no authority whatsoever in Venezuela, and this is what you’ll see:

It’s been that way since January.

With Twitter it’s the same. During and immediately after the April 30th failed coup attempt in Venezuela the site suspended numerous Venezuelan government accounts, some permanently, and earlier this year Twitter deleted the accounts of nearly 2,000 pro-Maduro users. In 2017 we saw the same, with thousands more pro-Maduro accounts deleted. Nothing comparable has ever happened with the governments of US-allied nations.

With Facebook we’ve seen the pages of Venezuela Analysis and TeleSUR Englishtemporarily suspended, along with the permanent deletion of “inauthentic” Venezuelan, Iranian and Russian accounts in conjunction with Twitter. Facebook’s censorship program is directed by the Atlantic Council narrative control firm, which is funded by the governments of the US and its allies.

There is no legitimate reason for these massive Silicon Valley corporations to be acting in the interests of US State Department agendas, and yet here they are doing exactly that.

Friendly reminder that in an October 2017 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, senators spoke with top legal and security officials for Facebook, Twitter and Google in a very disturbing way about the need for a Ministry of Truth to silence dissenting voices. Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii demanded that the companies adopt a “mission statement” declaring their commitment “to prevent the fomenting of discord.”

Think tank narrative manager and former FBI agent Clint Watts kicked it up even further, saying, “Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words. America’s war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America.”

“Stopping the false information artillery barrage landing on social media users comes only when those outlets distributing bogus stories are silenced?—?silence the guns and the barrage will end,” Watts added.

These corporations are not separate from the US government in any meaningful way, and their behavior is therefore no better than the state censorship we commonly see US government officials decrying in the governments of non-allied nations. It’s arguably worse in some ways, because at least the Chinese know their government is censoring them.

In a corporatist system of government, where there is no meaningful separation between government power and corporate power, corporate censorship is state censorship. The US Constitution protects its citizenry from government censorship, but they remain completely unprotected from the brand of corporate censorship we’re seeing today which functions in precisely the same way. Whoever controls the narrative controls the world, and they’re using corporate censorship to control the narrative.

Our world’s fundamental problem is that the people calling the shots are omnicidal sociopaths, and the only force capable of stopping them, the collective will of the public, is too thoroughly propagandized to do so. The narratives are too tightly controlled, so the people don’t rise up against the oppressors who are driving them toward extinction via climate chaos or nuclear war. We won’t make it as a species if we can’t find a way to overcome this.

*  *  *

Everyone has my unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Published:5/11/2019 11:48:35 AM
[Markets] Whitney: Judgment Day Looms For John Brennan

Authored by Mike Whitney via The Unz Review,

Sometime in the next 4 weeks, the Justice Department’s inspector general will release an internal review that will reveal the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation. Among other matters, the IG’s report is expected to determine “whether there was sufficient justification under existing guidelines for the FBI to have started an investigation in the first place.” Critics of the Trump-collusion probe believe that there was never probable cause that a crime had been committed, therefore, there was no legal basis for launching the investigation.

The findings of the Mueller report– that there was no cooperation or collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign– seem to underscore this broader point and suggest that the fictitious Trump-Russia connection was merely a pretext for spying on the campaign of a Beltway outsider whose political views clashed with those of the foreign policy establishment.

In any event, the upcoming release of the Horowitz report will formally end the the first phase of the long-running Russiagate scandal and mark the beginning of Phase 2, in which high-profile officials from the previous administration face criminal prosecution for their role in what looks to be a botched attempt at a coup d’etat.

Here’s a brief summary from political analyst, Larry C. Johnson, who previously worked at the CIA and U.S. State Department:

The evidence is plain–there was a broad, coordinated effort by the Obama Administration, with the help of foreign governments, to target Donald Trump and paint him as a stooge of Russia. The Mueller Report provides irrefutable evidence that the so-called Russian collusion case against Donald Trump was a deliberate fabrication by intelligence and law enforcement organizations in the US and UK and organizations aligned with the Clinton Campaign.” (“How US and Foreign Intel Agencies Interfered in a US Election”, Larry C. Johnson, Consortium News)

Bingo. Attorney General William Barr has already stated his belief that spying on the Trump campaign “did occur” and that, in his mind, it is “a big deal”. He also reiterated his commitment to thoroughly investigate the matter in order to find out whether the spying was adequately “predicated”, that is, whether the FBI followed the required protocols for such spying, or not. Barr already knows the answer to this question as he is fully aware of the fact that the FBI used information that they knew was false to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. Having no hard evidence of cooperation with the Kremlin, senior-level FBI officials and their counterparts at the Obama Justice Department used parts of an “opposition research” document (The Trump Dossier) that they knew was unreliable to procure warrants that allowed them to treat a presidential campaign the same way the intelligence agencies treat foreign enemies; using electronic surveillance, wiretapping, confidential informants and “honey trap” schemes designed to gather embarrassing or incriminating information on their target. Barr knows all of this already which is why the Democrats are doing everything in their power to discredit him and have him removed from office.

His determination to “get to the bottom of this” is not just a threat to the FBI, it’s a threat to multiple agencies that may have had a hand in this expansive domestic espionage operation including the CIA, the NSA, the DOJ, the State Department and, perhaps, even the Obama White House. No one knows yet how far up the political food-chain the skulduggery actually goes, but Barr appears to be serious about finding out.

Here’s Barr again:

“Many people seem to assume that the only intelligence collection that occurred was a single confidential informant….I would like to find out whether that is in fact true. It strikes me as a fairly anemic effort if that was the counterintelligence effort designed to stop the threat as it’s being represented.”

In other words, Barr knows that the Trump campaign was riddled with spies and he is going to do his damnedest to find out what happened. He also knows that the FISA warrants were improperly obtained using the shabby disinformation from an opposition research “hit piece” (The Steele Dossier) that was paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC, just like he knows that government agents had concocted a strategy for leaking classified information to the media to fuel the public hysteria. Barr knows most of what happened already. It’s just a matter of compiling the research in the proper format and delivering it in a way that helps to emphasize how trusted government agents abused their power by pursuing a vicious partisan plot to either destroy the president’s reputation or force him from office. Like Barr said, that’s a “big deal”.

The name that seems to feature larger than all others in the ongoing Trump-Russia saga, is James Comey, the former FBI Director who oversaw the spying operations that are now under investigation at the DOJ. But was Comey really the central figure in these felonious hi-jinks or was he a mere lieutenant following directives from someone more powerful than himself? While the preponderance of new evidence suggests that the FBI was deeply involved, it does not answer this crucial question. For example, just this week, a report by veteran journalist John Solomon, showed that former British spy Christopher Steele admitted to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec that his “Trump Dossier” was “political research”, implying that the contents couldn’t be trusted because they were shaped by Steele’s political bias. Kavalec passed along this information to the FBI which shrugged it off and then, just days later, used the dossier to obtain warrants to spy on members of the Trump campaign. Think about that for a minute. The FBI had “written proof …. that Steele had a political motive”, but went ahead and used the dossier to procure the warrants anyway. That’s what I’d call a premeditated felony.

But evidence of wrongdoing is not proof that Comey was the ringleader, he was just the hapless sad sack who was left holding the bag. The truth is, Comey was just a reluctant follower. The real architect of the Trump-Russia treachery was the boss-man at the nation’s premier intelligence agency, the CIA. That’s where the headwaters of this shameful burlesque are located, in Langley. More on that in a minute, but first check out this excerpt from an article at The Hill which sums up Comey’s role fairly well:

(There) “will be an examination of whether Comey was unduly influenced by political agendas emanating from the previous White House and its director of national intelligence, CIA director and attorney general. This, above all, is what’s causing the 360-degree head spin.

”There are early indicators that troubling behaviors may have occurred in all three scenarios. Barr will want to zero in on a particular area of concern: the use by the FBI of confidential human sources, whether its own or those offered up by the then-CIA director. …

In addition, the cast of characters leveraged by the FBI against the Trump campaign all appear to have their genesis as CIA sources (“assets,” in agency vernacular) shared at times with the FBI. From Stefan Halper and possibly Joseph Mifsud, to Christopher Steele, to Carter Page himself, and now a mysterious “government investigator” posing as Halper’s assistant and cited in The New York Times article, legitimate questions arise as to whether Comey was manipulated into furthering a CIA political operation more than an FBI counterintelligence case.” (“James Comey is in trouble and he knows it”, The Hill)

Why is the Inspector General so curious as to whether Comey “was unduly influenced by political agendas emanating from the previous White House and its director of national intelligence, CIA director? And why did Comey draw from “a cast of characters “…. that “all appear to have their genesis as CIA sources”??

Could it be that Comey was just an unwitting pawn in a domestic regime change operation launched by former CIA Director John Brennan, the one public figure who has expressed greater personal animus towards Trump than all the others combined? Could Trump’s promise to normalize relations with Russia have intensified Brennan’s visceral hatred of him given the fact that Russia had frustrated Brennan’s strategic plans in Ukraine and Syria? Keep in mind, the CIA had been arming, training and providing logistical support to the Sunni militants who were trying to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al Assad. Putin’s intervention crushed the jihadist militias delivering a humiliating defeat to Generalissimo Brennan who, soon after, left office in disgrace. Isn’t this at least part of the reason why Brennan hates Trump?

Regular readers of this column know that I have always thought that Brennan was the central figure in the Trump-Russia charade. It was Brennan who first referred the case to Comey, just as it was Brennan who “hand-picked” the analysts who stitched together the dodgy Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) (which said that “Putin and the Russian government aspired to help…Trump’s election chances.”) It was also Brennan who persuaded Harry Reid to petition Comey to open an investigation in the first place. Brennan was chief instigator of the Trump-Russia fiasco, the omniscient puppet-master who persuaded Clapper and Comey to do his bidding while still-unidentified agents strategically leaked stories to the media to inflame passions and sow social unrest. At every turn, Brennan was there guiding the perfidious project along. According to journalist Philip Giraldi, the CIA may have even assisted in the obtaining of FISA warrants on Trump campaign aids as this excerpt from an article at The Unz Review indicates:

“Brennan was the key to the operation because the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court refused to approve several requests by the FBI to initiate taps on Trump associates and Trump Tower as there was no probable cause to do so but the British and other European intelligence services were legally able to intercept communications linked to American sources. Brennan was able to use his connections with those foreign intelligence agencies, primarily the British GCHQ, to make it look like the concerns about Trump were coming from friendly and allied countries and therefore had to be responded to as part of routine intelligence sharing. As a result, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Gen. Michael Flynn were all wiretapped. And likely there were others. This all happened during the primaries and after Trump became the GOP nominee.” (“The Conspiracy Against Trump”, Philip Giraldi)

Can you see how important this is? The FBI was having trouble getting warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, so Brennan helped them out by persuading his foreign intelligence allies (the British and other European intelligence services) to come up with bogus “intercepted communications linked to American sources,” which helped to secure the FISA warrants. We have no idea of what these foreign agents heard on these alleged intercepted communications, all we know is that they were effectively used to achieve Brennan’s ultimate objective, which was to acquire the means of taking down Trump via a relentless and expansive surveillance campaign.

According to a report in The Guardian (where the story first appeared.):

“GCHQ (British Government Communications Headquarters) played an early, prominent role in kickstarting the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, which began in late July 2016. One source called the British eavesdropping agency the “principal whistleblower”. (“British spies were first to spot Trump team’s links with Russia “, The Guardian)

Okay, so Brennan twisted a few arms and got his foreign Intel buddies to make uncorroborated claims that got the investigative ball rolling, but then what? If there was any meat to Brennan’s foreign intel, then Mueller would have dug it up and used it in his report, right? But he didn’t. Why?

Because there was nothing there, the whole thing was a sham from the get go. Brennan probably “sexed up” the intelligence so it would sound like something it really wasn’t. (Think: WMD) Again, if there was even a scintilla of hard evidence that Trump’s campaign assistants were in bed with Russia, Mueller would have shrieked it from every mountaintop across America. But he didn’t, because there wasn’t any. There was no cooperation, no conspiracy and no collusion. Trump was falsely accused. End of story.

Here’s more from the same article:

“The Guardian has been told the FBI and the CIA were slow to appreciate the extensive nature of contacts between Trump’s team and Moscow ahead of the US election.” (Guardian)

“The extensive nature of contacts between Trump’s team and Moscow”???

Really? This is precisely the type of hyperventilating journalism that fueled the absurd conspiracy theory that the president of the United States was a Russian agent. It’s hard to believe that we’re even discussing the matter at this point.

There was an interesting aside in John Solomon’s article that suggests that he might be thinking along the same lines. He says: “One legal justification cited for redacting the Oct. 13, 2016, email is the National Security Act of 1947, which can be used to shield communications involving the CIA or the White House National Security Council.”

Why would Solomon draw attention to “to shielding communications involving the CIA or the White House”, after all, the bulk of his article focused on the State Department and the FBI? Is he suggesting that the CIA and Obama White House may have been involved in these spying shenanigans, is that why Kavalec’s damning notes (which stated that Steele’s dossier could not be trusted.) have been retroactively classified?

Take a look at this email from the FBI’s chief investigator in the Russia collusion probe, Peter Strzok, to his fellow agents in April 2017.

“I’m beginning to think the agency (CIA) got info a lot earlier than we thought and hasn’t shared it completely with us. Might explain all those weird/seemingly incorrect leads all these media folks have. Would also highlight agency as source of some leaks.” -Peter Strzok.

Ha! So even the FBI’s chief investigator was in the dark about the CIA’s shadowy machinations behind the scenes. Clearly, Brennan wanted to prevent the other junta leaders from fully knowing what he was up to.

All of this is bound to come out in the inspector general’s report sometime in the next month or so. Both Attorney General William Barr and IG Horowitz appear to be fully committed to revealing the criminal leaks, the illegal electronic surveillance, the improperly obtained FISA warrants, and the multiple confidential human sources (spies) that were placed in the Trump campaign. They are going to face withering criticism for their efforts, but they are resolutely moving forward all the same. Bravo, for that.

Bottom line: The agents and officials who conducted this seditious attack on the presidency never thought they’d be held accountable for their crimes. But they were wrong, and now their day of reckoning is fast approaching. The main players in this palace coup are about to be exposed, criminally charged and prosecuted. Some of them will probably wind up in jail.

“The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.”

Published:5/11/2019 10:15:06 AM
[World] Kimberley Strassel: Comey Has 'Bruised Ego' and Can't 'Let Go' With Russia Probe

Kimberley Strassel criticized James Comey’s appearance at a CNN town hall, arguing the former FBI director still has a “bruised ego” after his firing by President Donald Trump two years ago.

Published:5/10/2019 4:09:07 PM
[Politics] New reporting suggests FBI lied about dossier to FISA court and Lindsey Graham demands answers! Last night John Solomon revealed that Christopher Steele met with a deputy assistant secretary in the State Department in October of 2016 and her memorandum of that meeting suggests that the FBI . . . Published:5/10/2019 4:09:07 PM
[Politics] New reporting suggests FBI lied about dossier to FISA court and Lindsey Graham demands answers! Last night John Solomon revealed that Christopher Steele met with a deputy assistant secretary in the State Department in October of 2016 and her memorandum of that meeting suggests that the FBI . . . Published:5/10/2019 3:39:58 PM
[Politics] Rep. Jordan: Surveillance of Trump Campaign Was Spying Rep. Jim Jordan Friday disputed former FBI Director James Comey's contentions that the agency didn't spy on President Donald Trump's campaign, saying that he "doesn't know" what else someone could call the surveillance that had taken place. Published:5/10/2019 3:09:28 PM
[Markets] Comey Blasts Barr And Rosenstein; Discusses Post-Presidency Trump Indictment

Former FBI Director James Comey - who oversaw a spying and potential entrapment operation on the Trump campaign, is now doing "CNN Town Hall" events as the Obama-era intelligence community's conduct comes under increased scrutiny post-Mueller report. 

Sitting down with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday, Comey slammed everyone from outgoing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to current Attorney General William Barr, to his favorite President - Donald John Trump, pushing hard on the obstruction narrative now that Trump has been cleared of conspiring with Russia during the 2016 US election. 

And considering that Barr assembled a DOJ team to conduct an investigation into the Obama intel community's conduct during the 2016 US election, Barr's credibility must be impugned in order for potentially guilty actors to try and win in the court of public opinion. 

While initially praising Barr - noting that his distinguished career had initially earned him the benefit of the doubt, Comey said that the AG's recent behavior has been "less than honorable." 

"I think he acted in a way that's less than honorable in the way he described it in writing and described it during a press conference - and continues to talk as if he's the president's lawyer. That is not the Attorney General's job." Barr has "lost most of his reputation with the way he has conducted himself," Comey added. 

On Barr's characterization of the FBI sending several undercover operatives to infiltrate and surveil the Trump campaign as 'spying' - Comey sugested that the Attorney General simply adopted Trump's language, and said he found that it was "really disappointing." 

Is former Director of National Intelligence and CNN contributor, James Clapper, also adopting Trump's language when he said this week that what the Obama administration did to the Trump campaign "meets the dictionary definition of spying"? 

Or the CIA's ex-counterintelligence chief, James Olson, who said "I'd call that spying." But we digress. 

Comey moved on to outgoing Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who he said was "not a person of strong character.

[People like Rosenstein] start telling themselves a story to justify their being trapped which is “yeah he’s awful but the country needs me”—Republicans are doing this in Congress—“Yeah it’s awful but if I speak I’ll get defeated and this nation needs me here right now” and so they start to make little compromises to stay on the team: Echo [Trump’s] words. Use the term spying. Talk about collusion, or just be silent, thinking “that’s what I need to do to survive” and in the process, [Trump] has eaten their soul. -James Comey

Trump is 'Not above the law' 

Comey said that he thinks President Trump has likely committed crimes that could be cause for indictment upon the end of his presidency, and that were he not president, he would have probably already been indicted. 

"Yes. agree. No doubt," said the former FBI Director whose family 'passionately' supported Hillary Clinton, adding that whether Trump could be indicted in 2021 or 2025 when he is out of office is something the Justice Department "will have to take a serious look at."

When asked whether Trump acted with corrupt intent to obstruct an ongoing investigation, Comey replied: "It sure looks that way." 

Comey also brushed off the suggestion that the president by definition cannot obstruct justice by exercising legitimate constitutional powers to run the executive branch, saying: "The president is not above the law." 

Watch the entire interview below:

Published:5/10/2019 2:08:39 PM
[Markets] Musk Makes Autopilot Sex Jokes Days After Being Sued For "Beta-Testing On Live Drivers"

Elon Musk continues to push the boundaries of what’s acceptable coming from the Twitter account of a CEO of a $50 billion company. Having already explored the avenue of potential securities fraud, and the avenue of possibly defaming a national hero by calling him a "pedo", it appears that Musk now wants to try his hand in smut. Tesla's CEO Tweeted Thursday about a pornographic video that was filmed inside one of Tesla's vehicles.

Musk put out a series of tweets rife with double-entendre Thursday after a video started making its way across the internet of two people having sex in a Tesla while it was on Autopilot.

"Turns out there’s more ways to use Autopilot than we imagined," Musk said.

Which would be a cheeky and jovial comment - had Autopilot not been at the center of numerous crashes, some fatal, over the last 2 years. For instance, days ago we reported that the family of one driver killed, Apple engineer Walter Huang, was suing Tesla claiming its “state-of-the-art” vehicle lacked safety features, such as an automatic emergency braking system, which the family pointed out was available on less expensive vehicles from other carmakers.

The family also says that Tesla knew, or should have known “that the Tesla Model X was likely to cause injury to its occupants by leaving travel lanes and striking fixed objects when used in a reasonably foreseeable manner.”

B. Mark Fong, a lawyer for the family, said: “Tesla is beta testing its Autopilot software on live drivers. The Huang family wants to help prevent this tragedy from happening to other drivers using Tesla vehicles or any semi-autonomous vehicles.”

Musk's Tweet also comes just weeks after he reached a second settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, who had been suing him for his made-up claim that he was going to take the company private last year.

Tesla often reminds drivers in these situations that just because it's called "Autopilot" doesn't mean that drivers can take their hands off the wheel or not be attentive. Unless, of course, you're joking about having sex in a moving vehicle - or you're Elon Musk doing a promotional drive for a national news program.



We will ask the same question today that we have been asking for the last couple years: how long is it going to be before the NHTSA and the NTSB start to understand that Tesla’s Autopilot feature is significantly more of a liability than it is an asset? When will they realize that regulation may be necessary not only to protect Tesla drivers, but other drivers on the road?

And finally, how is a company that's famous for blaming its drivers for Autopilot related accidents able to make such cavalier jokes?

Published:5/10/2019 1:40:33 PM
[Markets] FBI Used Suitcase Stuffed With Cash During Papadopoulos Sting

Authored by Debra Heine via American Greatness blog,

Washington power couple Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing appeared on Sebastian Gorka’s Salem Radio talk show “America First” Thursday, to talk about what they called a blatant FBI  sting operation against former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos.

During the show, Toensing, an attorney who partners with her husband at the Washington DC law firm diGenova & Toensing, accused the FBI of trying to frame Papadopoulos with a suitcase full of cash in the summer of 2017.

According to Toensing, Papa-D was vacationing with his then-fiance, Simona Mangiante, in Greece when he was approached by someone who was supposedly impressed with his credentials, and said he wanted to do business with him. The individual allegedly talked the then-29-year-old into traveling to Israel to make a deal, and invited him to his hotel room.

“And there on the bed, is $10,000 in cash in a suitcase,” she continued. Papadopoulos took the money and gave it to his lawyer, who has it still.

Toensing said when Papadopoulos returned to the United States, he was greeted by FBI agents at Dulles Airport and they started searching through everything that he had “the second he landed.”

She added, “in fact, they already had his baggage from the plane. He couldn’t believe they had his baggage.”

“It was a set up!” exclaimed Gorka.

“It was a complete set up,” agreed Toensing.

DiGenova explained that the Feds already knew that he hadn’t declared that he had $10,000 and were expecting to find the undeclared cash so they could arrest him and “put the thumbscrews on and make him squeal,” as Gorka put it.

Worst of all, according to Toensing, “one of the FBI agents said to him, ‘this is what happens when you work for Donald Trump.'”

Papadopoulos tweeted that he would like to see Congress investigate the money. “They are marked bills. They remain with my lawyer in Athens,” he said.

Last August, the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross interviewed the Israeli political strategist who set up the meeting between Papadopoulos and the Israeli oil consultant after he saw a court document filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller referencing the $10,000 cash payment given to the former Trump adviser.

“The defendant provided information about $10,000 in cash he received from a foreign national whom he believed was likely an intelligence officer of a foreign country (other than Russia),” reads the court filing, which recommends a fine of between $500 and $9,500 for Papadopoulos.

“The defendant has stated that he kept that money in a safe pending his sentencing in this case and Counsel for the defendant has consented to the imposition of this fine amount,” it continued.

David Ha’ivri, the political strategist, told Ross that he introduced a man named Charles Tawil to Papadopoulos on his “own initiative” to work on a business deal “involving an oil and gas project in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.”

Ha’ivri said that Tawil “is a part time consultant for companies that operate in Africa and Middle East” and that when he introduced Tawil to Papadopoulos, he was under the impression that the former Trump aide had “good connections” in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East.

Papadopoulos was arrested at Dulles International Airport on a return trip from overseas on July 27, 2017, according the the Daily Caller.

The acting director of the FBI from May 9, 2017 to August 2, 2017, was none other than Andrew McCabe, who was fired from the Bureau in March of 2018. The disgraced former Deputy FBI Director remains under investigation by federal prosecutors for leaking to the media and lying to investigators.

DiGenova and Toensing are convinced that Papadopoulos was the victim of a botched FBI sting operation and are disappointed that no one at the FBI blew the whistle on such nefarious activities.

“I hear all these people saying, ‘don’t blame the street agents,’ and that’s true generally, but here’s the truth,” he said. 

“There were no whistleblowers in the FBI and the Department of Justice. Not a single agent, not a single career lawyer stood up and blew whistles on anybody.”

DiGenova noted that there were “agents in New York who knew stuff, who tried to complain to headquarters,” but because Main Justice was so corrupt, it went nowhere. “The truth is, there was no breakout of whisteblowers in the FBI. Even worse, he said, were the career prosecutors at the DOJ who knew what was going on, and said nothing.

“It is a disgrace that people who knew things didn’t say anything,” he lamented.

There has to be accountability for all this and the only way to have that is by a gigantic investigation into how it all happened–which means grand juries, indictments, if necessary,” diGenova added.

The three agreed that Attorney General William Barr is doing a fantastic job so far, but they had nothing good to say about the current FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“He’s an empty suit. Not only that, he’s disingenuous,” diGenova complained, pointing out that Wray has never bothered to address FBI employees about the Bureau’s alleged malfeasance during the 2016 campaign. “The only thing that Chris Wray has ever cared about is his next job,” he declared.

Published:5/10/2019 12:39:01 PM
[World] Jim Jordan: McCabe Told Us There Would've Been No FISA Warrant Without Steele Dossier

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) hit back Friday after former FBI Director James Comey blasted Republicans for accusing the FBI of "spying" on the Trump campaign in 2016.

Published:5/10/2019 12:09:45 PM
[Media] ‘Right, and that person said those tapes were FALSE.’ Even Anderson Cooper didn’t buy everything Comey was selling

You know James Comey figured he would have a ‘safe space’ if Anderson Cooper hosted his ‘CNN Town Hall,’ even with the bombshell that dropped yesterday about how the FBI knew 10 DAYS BEFORE the FISA application that Steele’s story was false. Can’t make this crap up. THIS IS REAL LIFE. And to be fair, Cooper […]

The post ‘Right, and that person said those tapes were FALSE.’ Even Anderson Cooper didn’t buy everything Comey was selling appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/10/2019 9:09:29 AM
[World] Mark Levin on 'Hannity': New Special Counsel Should Investigate Comey, McCabe, Strzok and Page

Mark Levin said Thursday on "Hannity" that former FBI officials should be subject to the "Donald Trump treatment," with a grand jury hearing testimony from the "whole cabal" and a new special counsel overseeing an investigation.

Published:5/10/2019 8:39:44 AM
[Markets] "I Will Not Yield" - In Epic Rant, Jim Jordan Accuses Dems Of Sweeping 'Spygate' Coverup

As Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee - led by Chairman Jerry Nadler - voted to hold AG William Barr in contempt on Wednesday, one Republican wasn't having it.

During a heated diatribe during the vote, Jordan refused to yield and instead accused Democrats of trying to punish Barr for vowing to expose skullduggery by the Democrats and the Deep State during the campaign - particularly as it pertains to the provenance of the Russia collusion probe.

Jordan

When it came his turn to speak, Jordan laid out everything Barr had said about his efforts to investigate exactly how the Russia probe was initiated, and look into suspicions that senior FBI and DoJ officials colluded with the Democrats to create an "insurance policy" to stop Trump. Jordan accused the Democrats of trying to punish Barr for simply following the law, while covering up for the FBI's malfeasance and politically motivated interference. 

"He's going to get to the bottom of everything, he's going to find out how and why this investigation started in the first place. Never mind what he said three and a half weeks ago when he testified before the Senate Finance Committee. He said four very interest things: First he said there was a failure of leadership at the upper echelon of the FBI."

Out of everything Barr has said during his appearances before Congress over the last month, Jordan focused on one: Barr's claim that he has found evidence suggesting that "spying did occur," and that said spying may have been politically motivated - a reference to what has become known as "spygate".

"Second thing he said...spying did occur. Third, he said, there's a basis for my concern about the spying that took place. And maybe the most interest thing - two terms he used that frankly I find frightening - he said in his judgment that it looks like there might have been unauthorized surveillance and political surveillance."

During his speech, Jordan cited a 2017 interview with Senator Chuck Schumer on the Rachel Maddow show where he said "if you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday for getting back at you."

As far as Jordan can tell, the intelligence community took two concrete steps to try and get back at Trump for all of his deep state rhetoric.

"I don't know if the FBI went after Trump in six ways, but they sure went after him in two ways. One was the dossier...the FBI used one party's oppo research to get a warrant from a secret court to spy on another campaign."

"When they went to the court they didn't tell the court important things like who paid for it, that Christopher Steele had said he was desperate to stop Trump, and they didn't tell them that Steele had been fired by the FBI because he was out talking to the press."

The second was spying on the Trump campaign. To support this, Jordan referenced a New York Times story recounting an example of FBI spying on the Trump campaign.

"Second, just last Thursday, New York Times story, the FBI sent an investigator pretending to be somebody else to talk with George Papadopoulos who was working with the Trump campaign. You know what they call that? It's called spying. Think about the term he used: Political surveillance."

Asked to yield his time, Jordan replied "I will not yield."

Unfortunately, Republicans weren't able to stop the contempt vote from moving forward, but now that Trump has invoked executive privilege to protect the unredacted Mueller report and any related materials - which Democrats had demanded Barr release to them.

Watch Jordan's speech below:

Published:5/10/2019 8:39:43 AM
[In The News] Blame Game: Comey Says Strzok Damaged FBI’s Reputation, Undermined Trump-Russia Probe

By Chuck Ross -

James Comey testifies before Senate Judiciary Committee 05-03-17

Former FBI Director James Comey acknowledged Thursday that former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page damaged the bureau’s reputation and possibly undermined the Trump-Russia investigation by exchanging text messages bashing President Trump. “So do you acknowledge that this whole episode with Strzok and Page, that it damaged the reputation ...

Blame Game: Comey Says Strzok Damaged FBI’s Reputation, Undermined Trump-Russia Probe is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more.

Published:5/10/2019 7:37:51 AM
[James Comey] Behind Comey’s claim that Trump “eats your soul” (Paul Mirengoff) Earlier this month, the New York Times published an op-ed by James Comey in which the former FBI director claimed that President Trump “eats your soul in small bites.” Talk about demonizing your adversaries. Comey must not have read Robert Mueller’s report very carefully. One of Mueller’s findings is that members of Trump’s team didn’t carry out his instructions when they believed the instructions were wrongful. Don McGahn, then the Published:5/9/2019 11:04:58 PM
[Politics] Report: FBI Opens Foreign-Money Probe Into Trump Donor GOP donor Li "Cindy" Yang is under an FBI investigation focusing on whether she illegally funneled money from China into President Donald Trump's re-election campaign or violated campaign finance laws, according to the Miami Herald. Published:5/9/2019 7:03:48 PM
[Markets] FBI's Steele Story Unravels - Claims Debunked, Leaks Suspected Before FISA Application

According to newly unearthed memos which were retroactively classified by the DOJ, a high-ranking government official who met with Christopher Steele in October 2016 determined that information in the Trump-Russia dossier was inaccurate, and likely leaked to the media, according to The Hill's John Solomon. 

Ten days before the FBI used the now-discredited dossier to apply for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page, Steele met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec, who took handwritten notes of the encounter.

Steele told Kavalec that Russia had a "technical/human operation run out of Moscow targeting the election," which recruited US emigres to "do hacking and recruiting. Steele added that "Payments to those recruited are made out of the Russian consulate in Miami." 

Except that's a lie - as Kavalec debunked the assertion in a bracketed comment: "It is important to note that there is no Russian consulate in Miami."

Kavalec, two days later and well before the FISA warrant was issued, forwarded her typed summary to other government officials. The State Department has redacted the names and agencies of everyone she alerted.

But it is almost certain the FBI knew of Steele's contact with State and his partisan motive. That's because former Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland says she instructed her staff to send the information they got from Steele to the bureau immediately and to cease contact with the informer because "this is about U.S. politics, and not the work of — not the business of the State Department, and certainly not the business of a career employee who is subject to the Hatch Act." -The Hill

What makes this particularly damning is that the FBI swore on October 21, 2016 to the FISA judges that Steele's "reporting has been corroborated and used in criminal proceedings," and that the FBI deemed him to be "reliable" and was "unaware of any derogatory information pertaining" to the former British spy who was working for Fusion GPS - the firm paid by the DNC and the Clinton campaign to come up with dirt on Donald Trump. 

As we noted yesterday based on an earlier Hill report on the Kavalec-Steele notes, Steele was flagged for admitting that his research was political and facing an Election Day deadline, as his client was "keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8."

Notes and testimony from senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr make clear Steele admitted early on that he was “desperate” to get Trump defeated in the election, was working in some capacity for the GOP candidate’s opponent, and considered his intelligence raw and untested. Ohr testified that he alerted FBI and other senior Justice officials to these concerns in August 2016. -The Hill

Kavalec also flagged several places in her notes in which she suspected that Steele might be leaking information to the press

"June — reporting started," she wrote. "NYT and WP have," she added, in an apparent reference to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

She then quoted Steele as indicating that he was "managing" four priorities — "Client needs, FBI, WashPo/NYT, source protection," - a clear indication that media outreach was part of his job. 

Those same notes suggest Steele spun some wild theories to State, including one that the Russians had a “plant in DNC” and had assembled an “HRC dossier,” apparent references to the Democratic National Committee and Clinton.

She expounded in her typed memo. “The Russians have succeeded in placing an agent inside the DNC,” she quoted Steele as saying.

Steele offered Kavalec other wild information that easily could have been debunked before the FISA application — and eventually was, in many cases, after the media reported the allegations — including that:

  • Trump lawyer Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to meet with Russians;
     
  • Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort owed the Russians $100 million and was the “go-between” from Russian President Vladimir Putin to Trump;
     
  • Trump adviser Carter Page met with a senior Russian businessman tied to Putin;
     
  • The Russians secretly communicated with Trump through a computer system. -The Hill

Those rumors were debunked by Special counsel Robert Mueller's April report, despite barely mentioning Steele and a passing reference to his infamous dossier being "unverified." 

Except that the FBI's FISA request from October 2016 - which relied almost entirely on Steele's work - was marked "verified application" prior to the FBI's submission to the court. 

Eventually, Steele was fired to the FBI for leaking to the media and then lying about it - however that happend after the FISA warrant was approved - and according to The Hill, the court was not notified about it until a few months later, well after the election. 

In short, the FBI undoubtedly lied to their teeth to the FISA court in order to obtain a warrant to surveil Carter Page and the Trump campaign. 

Published:5/9/2019 6:35:21 PM
[Corruption] James Comey Is Getting Worried, Is A Perp Walk In His Future?

The following article, James Comey Is Getting Worried, Is A Perp Walk In His Future?, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Ex-FBI official Kevin Brock says James Comey’s FBI team may have run afoul of “strict guidelines” in its Trump counterintelligence investigation

Continue reading: James Comey Is Getting Worried, Is A Perp Walk In His Future? ...

Published:5/9/2019 10:32:21 AM
[News] New Docs Confirm Dossier Was All About Helping Hillary In The Election, & State Department Knew It

The following article, New Docs Confirm Dossier Was All About Helping Hillary In The Election, & State Department Knew It, was first published on Godfather Politics.

Steele’s stunning pre-FISA confession: Informant needed to air Trump dirt before the election. John Solomon at The Hill has this story today: Solomon says that there is a document that provides evidence that the FBI knew from the start that Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier, was on a mission to stop Trump from being ...

Continue reading: New Docs Confirm Dossier Was All About Helping Hillary In The Election, & State Department Knew It ...

Published:5/9/2019 7:03:49 AM
[Markets] D Is For A Dictatorship Disguised As A Democracy

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility.”

- Professor Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Discourse in the Age of Show Business

What characterizes American government today is not so much dysfunctional politics as it is ruthlessly contrived governance carried out behind the entertaining, distracting and disingenuous curtain of political theater. And what political theater it is, diabolically Shakespearean at times, full of sound and fury, yet in the end, signifying nothing.

Played out on the national stage and eagerly broadcast to a captive audience by media sponsors, this farcical exercise in political theater can, at times, seem riveting, life-changing and suspenseful, even for those who know better.

Week after week, the script changes (Donald Trump’s Tweets, Congress’ hearings on Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, the military’s endless war drums, the ever-widening field of candidates for the 2020 presidential race, etc.) with each new script following on the heels of the last, never any let-up, never any relief from the constant melodrama.

The players come and go, the protagonists and antagonists trade places, and the audience members are quick to forget past mistakes and move on to the next spectacle.

All the while, a different kind of drama is unfolding in the dark backstage, hidden from view by the heavy curtain, the elaborate stage sets, colored lights and parading actors.

Such that it is, the realm of political theater with all of its drama, vitriol and scripted theatrics is what passes for “transparent” government today, with elected officials, entrusted to act in the best interests of their constituents, routinely performing for their audiences and playing up to the cameras, while doing very little to move the country forward.

Yet behind the footlights, those who really run the show are putting into place policies which erode our freedoms and undermine our attempts at contributing to the workings of our government, leaving us none the wiser and bereft of any opportunity to voice our discontent or engage in any kind of discourse until it’s too late.

It’s the oldest con game in the books, the magician’s sleight of hand that keeps you focused on the shell game in front of you while your wallet is being picked clean by ruffians in your midst.

Indeed, while mainstream America has been fixated on the drama-filled reality show being televised from the White House, the American Police State has moved steadily forward.

Set against a backdrop of government surveillance, militarized police, SWAT team raids, asset forfeiture, eminent domain, overcriminalization, armed surveillance drones, whole body scanners, stop and frisk searches, roving VIPR raids and the like—all of which have been sanctioned by Congress, the White House and the courts—our constitutional freedoms have been steadily chipped away at, undermined, eroded, whittled down, and generally discarded.

Our losses are mounting with every passing day.

Free speech, the right to protest, the right to challenge government wrongdoing, due process, a presumption of innocence, the right to self-defense, accountability and transparency in government, privacy, press, sovereignty, assembly, bodily integrity, representative government: all of these and more have become casualties in the government’s war on the American people.

The American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored, silenced, shot at, locked up, and denied due process.

None of these dangers have dissipated.

They have merely disappeared from our televised news streams.

The new boss has proven to be the same as the old boss, and the American people, the permanent underclass in America, has allowed itself to be so distracted and divided that they have failed to notice the building blocks of tyranny being laid down right under their noses by the architects of the Deep State.

Frankly, it really doesn’t matter what you call the old/new boss—the Deep State, the Controllers, the masterminds, the shadow government, the police state, the surveillance state, the military industrial complex—so long as you understand that no matter who occupies the White House, it is a profit-driven, an unelected bureaucracy that is actually calling the shots.

In the interest of liberty and truth, here’s an A-to-Z primer to spell out the grim realities of life in the American Police State that no one is talking about anymore.

A is for the AMERICAN POLICE STATE. A police state “is characterized by bureaucracy, secrecy, perpetual wars, a nation of suspects, militarization, surveillance, widespread police presence, and a citizenry with little recourse against police actions.”

B is for our battered BILL OF RIGHTS. In the cop culture that is America today, where you can be kicked, punched, tasered, shot, intimidated, harassed, stripped, searched, brutalized, terrorized, wrongfully arrested, and even killed by a police officer, and that officer is rarely held accountable for violating your rights, the Bill of Rights doesn’t amount to much.

C is for CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE. This governmental scheme to deprive Americans of their liberties—namely, the right to property—is being carried out under the guise of civil asset forfeiture, a government practice wherein government agents (usually the police) seize private property they “suspect” may be connected to criminal activity. Then, whether or not any crime is actually proven to have taken place, the government keeps the citizen’s property.

D is for DRONES. It is estimated that at least 30,000 drones will be airborne in American airspace by 2020, part of an $80 billion industry. Although some drones will be used for benevolent purposes, many will also be equipped with lasers, tasers and scanning devices, among other weapons—all aimed at “we the people.”

E is for ELECTRONIC CONCENTRATION CAMP. In the electronic concentration camp, as I have dubbed the surveillance state, all aspects of a person’s life are policed by government agents and all citizens are suspects, their activities monitored and regulated, their movements tracked, their communications spied upon, and their lives, liberties and pursuit of happiness dependent on the government’s say-so.

F is for FASCISM. A study conducted by Princeton and Northwestern University concluded that the U.S. government does not represent the majority of American citizens. Instead, the study found that the government is ruled by the rich and powerful, or the so-called “economic elite.” Moreover, the researchers concluded that policies enacted by this governmental elite nearly always favor special interests and lobbying groups. In other words, we are being ruled by an oligarchy disguised as a democracy, and arguably on our way towards fascism—a form of government where private corporate interests rule, money calls the shots, and the people are seen as mere economic units.

G is for GRENADE LAUNCHERS and GLOBAL POLICE. The federal government has distributed more than $18 billion worth of battlefield-appropriate military weapons, vehicles and equipment such as drones, tanks, and grenade launchers to domestic police departments across the country. As a result, most small-town police forces now have enough firepower to render any citizen resistance futile. Now take those small-town police forces, train them to look and act like the military, and then enlist them to be part of the United Nations’ Strong Cities Network program, and you not only have a standing army that operates beyond the reach of the Constitution but one that is part of a global police force.

H is for HOLLOW-POINT BULLETS. The government’s efforts to militarize and weaponize its agencies and employees is reaching epic proportions, with federal agencies as varied as the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration stockpiling millions of lethal hollow-point bullets, which violate international law. Ironically, while the government continues to push for stricter gun laws for the general populace, the U.S. military’s arsenal of weapons makes the average American’s handgun look like a Tinker Toy.

I is for the INTERNET OF THINGS, in which internet-connected “things” will monitor your home, your health and your habits in order to keep your pantry stocked, your utilities regulated and your life under control and relatively worry-free. The key word here, however, is control. This “connected” industry propels us closer to a future where police agencies apprehend virtually anyone if the government “thinks” they may commit a crime, driverless cars populate the highways, and a person’s biometrics are constantly scanned and used to track their movements, target them for advertising, and keep them under perpetual surveillance.

J is for JAILING FOR PROFIT. Having outsourced their inmate population to private prisons run by private corporations, this profit-driven form of mass punishment has given rise to a $70 billion private prison industry that relies on the complicity of state governments to keep their privately run prisons full by jailing large numbers of Americans for inane crimes.

K is for KENTUCKY V. KING. In an 8-1 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that police officers can break into homes, without a warrant, even if it’s the wrong home as long as they think they have a reason to do so. Despite the fact that the police in question ended up pursuing the wrong suspect, invaded the wrong apartment and violated just about every tenet that stands between us and a police state, the Court sanctioned the warrantless raid, leaving Americans with little real protection in the face of all manner of abuses by law enforcement officials.

L is for LICENSE PLATE READERS, which enable law enforcement and private agencies to track the whereabouts of vehicles, and their occupants, all across the country. This data collected on tens of thousands of innocent people is also being shared between police agencies, as well as with fusion centers and private companies. This puts Big Brother in the driver’s seat.

M is for MAIN CORE. Since the 1980s, the U.S. government has acquired and maintained, without warrant or court order, a database of names and information on Americans considered to be threats to the nation. As Salon reports, this database, reportedly dubbed “Main Core,” is to be used by the Army and FEMA in times of national emergency or under martial law to locate and round up Americans seen as threats to national security. As of 2008, there were some 8 million Americans in the Main Core database.

N is for NO-KNOCK RAIDS. Owing to the militarization of the nation’s police forces, SWAT teams are now increasingly being deployed for routine police matters. In fact, more than 80,000 of these paramilitary raids are carried out every year. That translates to more than 200 SWAT team raids every day in which police crash through doors, damage private property, terrorize adults and children alike, kill family pets, assault or shoot anyone that is perceived as threatening—and all in the pursuit of someone merely suspected of a crime, usually possession of some small amount of drugs.

O is for OVERCRIMINALIZATION and OVERREGULATION. Thanks to an overabundance of 4500-plus federal crimes and 400,000 plus rules and regulations, it’s estimated that the average American actually commits three felonies a day without knowing it. As a result of this overcriminalization, we’re seeing an uptick in Americans being arrested and jailed for such absurd “violations” as letting their kids play at a park unsupervised, collecting rainwater and snow runoff on their own property, growing vegetables in their yard, and holding Bible studies in their living room.

P is for PATHOCRACY and PRECRIME. When our own government treats us as things to be manipulated, maneuvered, mined for data, manhandled by police, mistreated, and then jailed in profit-driven private prisons if we dare step out of line, we are no longer operating under a constitutional republic. Instead, what we are experiencing is a pathocracy: tyranny at the hands of a psychopathic government, which “operates against the interests of its own people except for favoring certain groups.” Couple that with the government’s burgeoning precrime programs, which will use fusion centers, data collection agencies, behavioral scientists, corporations, social media, and community organizers and by relying on cutting-edge technology for surveillance, facial recognition, predictive policing, biometrics, and behavioral epigenetics in order to identify and deter so-called potential “extremists,” dissidents or rabble-rousers. Bear in mind that anyone seen as opposing the government—whether they’re Left, Right or somewhere in between—is now viewed as an extremist.

Q is for QUALIFIED IMMUNITY. Qualified immunity allows officers to walk away without paying a dime for their wrongdoing. Conveniently, those deciding whether a police officer should be immune from having to personally pay for misbehavior on the job all belong to the same system, all cronies with a vested interest in protecting the police and their infamous code of silence: city and county attorneys, police commissioners, city councils and judges.

R is for ROADSIDE STRIP SEARCHES and BLOOD DRAWS. The courts have increasingly erred on the side of giving government officials—especially the police—vast discretion in carrying out strip searches, blood draws and even anal probes for a broad range of violations, no matter how minor the offense. In the past, strip searches were resorted to only in exceptional circumstances where police were confident that a serious crime was in progress. In recent years, however, strip searches have become routine operating procedures in which everyone is rendered a suspect and, as such, is subjected to treatment once reserved for only the most serious of criminals.

S is for the SURVEILLANCE STATE. On any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears. A byproduct of this new age in which we live, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the corporate trackers that monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere.

T is for TASERS. Nonlethal weapons such as tasers, stun guns, rubber pellets and the like have been used by police as weapons of compliance more often and with less restraint—even against women and children—and in some instances, even causing death. These “nonlethal” weapons also enable police to aggress with the push of a button, making the potential for overblown confrontations over minor incidents that much more likely. A Taser Shockwave, for instance, can electrocute a crowd of people at the touch of a button.

U is for UNARMED CITIZENS SHOT BY POLICE. No longer is it unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later, often attributed to a fear for their safety. Yet the fatality rate of on-duty patrol officers is reportedly far lower than many other professions, including construction, logging, fishing, truck driving, and even trash collection.

V is for VIPR SQUADS. So-called “soft target” security inspections, carried out by roving VIPR task forces, comprised of federal air marshals, surface transportation security inspectors, transportation security officers, behavior detection officers and explosive detection canine teams, are taking place whenever and wherever the government deems appropriate, at random times and places, and without needing the justification of a particular threat.

W is for WHOLE-BODY SCANNERS. Using either x-ray radiation or radio waves, scanning devices and government mobile units are being used not only to “see” through your clothes but to spy on you within the privacy of your home. While these mobile scanners are being sold to the American public as necessary security and safety measures, we can ill afford to forget that such systems are rife with the potential for abuse, not only by government bureaucrats but by the technicians employed to operate them.

X is for X-KEYSCORE, one of the many spying programs carried out by the National Security Agency that targets every person in the United States who uses a computer or phone. This top-secret program “allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals.”

Y is for YOU-NESS. Using your face, mannerisms, social media and “you-ness” against you, you can now be tracked based on what you buy, where you go, what you do in public, and how you do what you do. Facial recognition software promises to create a society in which every individual who steps out into public is tracked and recorded as they go about their daily business. The goal is for government agents to be able to scan a crowd of people and instantaneously identify all of the individuals present. Facial recognition programs are being rolled out in states all across the country.

Z is for ZERO TOLERANCE. We have moved into a new paradigm in which young people are increasingly viewed as suspects and treated as criminals by school officials and law enforcement alike, often for engaging in little more than childish behavior. In some jurisdictions, students have also been penalized under school zero tolerance policies for such inane "crimes" as carrying cough drops, wearing black lipstick, bringing nail clippers to school, using Listerine or Scope, and carrying fold-out combs that resemble switchblades. The lesson being taught to our youngest—and most impressionable—citizens is this: in the American police state, you’re either a prisoner (shackled, controlled, monitored, ordered about, limited in what you can do and say, your life not your own) or a prison bureaucrat (politician, police officer, judge, jailer, spy, profiteer, etc.).

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the reality we must come to terms with is that in the post-9/11 America we live in today, the government does whatever it wants, freedom be damned.

We have moved beyond the era of representative government and entered a new age.

You can call it the age of authoritarianism. Or fascism. Or oligarchy. Or the American police state.

Whatever label you want to put on it, the end result is the same: tyranny.

Published:5/8/2019 11:01:41 PM
[World] Sen. Graham Pledges to Investigate Origins of Trump-Russia Probe, Use of Steele Dossier

Sen. Lindsey Graham said on "Hannity" Tuesday that he hopes Attorney General Bill Barr thoroughly investigates the origins of the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign.

Published:5/8/2019 1:56:00 PM
[] Steele Admitted His Clients Were Anxious To Get His Fake Dossier In the News Before the Election;The DOJ Played Hide-the-Ball With The Report Noting This Fact John Solomon strikes again. People need to start being charged with crimes. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec's written account of her Oct. 11, 2016, meeting with FBI informant Christopher Steele shows the Hillary Clinton campaign-funded British intelligence operative... Published:5/8/2019 1:26:19 PM
[The Blog] Comey: Trump’s “frustration” over the Russia probe doesn’t let him off the hook for obstruction

"The FBI doesn't spy, the FBI investigates."

The post Comey: Trump’s “frustration” over the Russia probe doesn’t let him off the hook for obstruction appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:5/8/2019 12:57:25 PM
[Politics] Sen. Kennedy: 'Hack Politician' Comey Should Worry About Barr A "hack politician," former FBI Director James Comey should be worried Attorney General William Barr and the office of the inspector general are going to investigate his FBI's conduct, according to Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., on Wednesday. Published:5/8/2019 10:57:53 AM
[Media] ‘Deep State propaganda’: James Comey claims ‘the FBI doesn’t spy’ in softball interview (and people have thoughts)

"Check out the spin by Norah O'Donnell at the end of this clip."

The post ‘Deep State propaganda’: James Comey claims ‘the FBI doesn’t spy’ in softball interview (and people have thoughts) appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/8/2019 10:29:42 AM
[Politics] James Comey to Barr: FBI Doesn't Spy, it 'Investigates' Former FBI Director James Comey Wednesday panned Attorney General William Barr's summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's report as "misleading" and "inadequate," and rejected Barr's claims that the FBI spied on President Donald Trump's campaign. Published:5/8/2019 9:55:23 AM
[92bcd248-ed60-5d30-8545-369014af4873] Mitch McConnell: Mueller cleared Trump — now get over it It’s now been more than six weeks since special counsel Bob Mueller, the former FBI director, concluded his investigation into Russia’s interference in our 2016 election and delivered his findings to the Justice Department. Published:5/8/2019 8:29:22 AM
[News] Comey Is In Trouble And He Knows It

The following article, Comey Is In Trouble And He Knows It, was first published on Godfather Politics.

A former FBI official Kevin Brock says former FBI Director James Comey’s team may have run afoul of “strict guidelines” in its counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. Kevin Brock, former assistant director of intelligence at the FBI, wrote an op-ed for The Hill in which he said James Comey is “in ...

Continue reading: Comey Is In Trouble And He Knows It ...

Published:5/8/2019 7:25:12 AM
[Markets] How AG Barr Could Change The Federal Culture Of Corruption In Just 60 Days

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

I'm in my 30th year of covering national news and I've learned a hard truth about the federal government under numerous administrations. It's a culture where truth-telling is frowned upon; coverup is rewarded and encouraged.

That helps answer a question many have recently asked about the FBI and our intelligence community: Why haven't more whistleblowers come forward?

Several months ago, an FBI source told me that numerous whistleblowers had gone to members of Congress with information about the FBI and the Trump-Russia scandal, only to have congressional leaders turn their names over to the Department of Justice. True or not, this was the word on the street, and it had a chilling impact on other would-be whistleblowers.

The fact is, insiders know that things rarely turn out well for the whistleblowers. They and their families are targeted, attacked and smeared. They lose their jobs or chance to advance. Their health suffers. Their personal lives fall apart.

Meantime, they look over their shoulders and see that their truth-telling changed nothing. The guilty parties usually stay in their cushy jobs or are allowed to quietly retire with full benefits. Sometimes they're promoted.

So it's no surprise that, even though I believe the federal government is populated with mostly good people, they tend to keep their mouths shut and go along. After all, why come forward if your actions aren't going to fix anything and the only result will be that your life is ruined?

There's a simple yet dramatic way to change this longstanding culture, one that everyone should be able to get behind: A new whistleblower amnesty program.

It could start with the Department of Justice and intelligence community. Attorney General William Barr could set it up quickly, before the establishment has time to mount a full-force lobbying campaign to stop it.

Here are two potential aspects:

1. Amnesty period

Establish a 60-day amnesty period of time for anyone in the intel community to come forward and admit their own wrongdoing or blow the whistle on others.

Offer anonymity, legal representation and job security for the whistleblowers. Any whistleblowers whose names become known would fall under a new group of protected federal employees with independent overseers ensuring they do not suffer retaliation. In the alternative, a mutually beneficial separation could be negotiated.

Someone confessing to his or her own wrongdoing generally would be guaranteed immunity from administrative punishment or prosecution. The seriousness of the offense or crime would be weighed against factors, such as the information he or she provides about broader wrongdoing, and a mutually beneficial resolution for the individual and government would be negotiated.

2. Intermediaries

Establish trusted intermediaries through which the whistleblowers would work. "Trusted" means intermediaries trusted by the whistleblowers, not necessarily by the establishment figures whose policies and processes would be challenged. (The agency inspectors general are not universally trusted, and often are seen by insiders as part of the establishment protecting the agencies they oversee.)

Several ideas for intermediaries come to mind: the Obama-appointed Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko (who continues to serve under President Trump); the Project on Government Oversight, headed by Danielle Brian; attorney Victoria Toensing, who long has worked with whistleblowers; and Marcel Reid and Michael McCray of the National Whistleblower Center. There are many more possibilities; these are simply a few examples showing that it is possible to find resources likely to be considered trustworthy by various whistleblowers.

Those who do not come forward during the amnesty period, but who are implicated in wrongdoing, would face the full force of administrative action or prosecution.

For those who believe there is little wrongdoing and corruption inside the Department of Justice and our intelligence communities, this process would be speedy and nimble.

However, if there are more problems than we think, we should be prepared for a giant purge. If the idea works, it could become a model for rooting out problems within all federal agencies.

Such a process would change the longstanding federal culture that overlooks or encourages corruption, and lead to cleaner, more effective governing.

Logically, there should be few legitimate objections. All should be able to get behind a relatively simple plan to root out corruption and wrongdoing in our federal agencies.

But they probably won't.

Published:5/7/2019 4:08:44 PM
[] Peter Strzok Suspected the CIA Was Behind #FakeNews Leaks Claiming Fictitious Trump-Russian Encounters Red courtesy phone for John Brennan... federal investigators on the line... Peter Strzok suspected CIA employees were behind inaccurate leaks to the press regarding possible Trump campaign contacts with Russia, according to an email the former FBI counterintelligence official sent... Published:5/7/2019 2:38:41 PM
[] Former Assistant Director of Intelligence for the FBI: James Comey Is In Trouble and He Knows It Yassss. James Comey's planet is getting noticeably warmer. Attorney General William Barr's emissions are the suspected cause. Barr has made plain that he intends to examine carefully how and why Comey, as FBI director, decided that the bureau should investigate... Published:5/7/2019 12:37:09 PM
[In The News] Wray Says He Wouldn’t Use ‘Spying’ Term To Describe FBI Surveillance

By Chuck Ross -

Christopher Wray

FBI Director Christopher Wray told senators on Tuesday that he would not use the term “spying” to describe the bureau’s surveillance activities, including those used against the Trump campaign. “Well that’s not the term I would use,” Wray said in a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing when asked whether the FBI ...

Wray Says He Wouldn’t Use ‘Spying’ Term To Describe FBI Surveillance 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:5/7/2019 11:12:40 AM
[Security] FBI has seized Deep Dot Web and arrested its administrators The FBI have arrested several people suspected of involvement in running Deep Dot Web, a website for facilitating access to dark web sites and marketplaces. Two suspects were arrested in Tel Aviv and Ashdod, according to Israel’s Tel Aviv Police, which confirmed the arrests in a statement earlier in the day, Local media first reported […] Published:5/7/2019 9:37:01 AM
[Markets] 'I'd Call That Spying': CIA's Ex-Counterintel Chief Says FBI Conducted Espionage On Trump Campaign

The FBI's use of "confidential human informants" to obtain information from Trump campaign officials under false pretenses was straight up spying, according to the CIA's former head of counterintelligence, James Olson, a 30-year agency veteran who served under six presidents, and who once conducted an undercover overseas mission with his wife. 

"It does sounds like spying," said Olson in response to a question from the Hill.Tv's Saagar Enjeti. "spying can take many different forms and the art of spying has evolved." 

Olson spoke with Enjeti following a bombshell admission in the New York Times confirming that the FBI sent a government investigator to London in September 2016 to meet with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos while posing as "Azra Turk" - assistant to another FBI spy, the well-paid Stefan Halper (who once oversaw a CIA operation to spy on Jimmy Carter on behalf of the Reagan campaign, under the direction of then-Vice-Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush). 

Of note, Papadopoulos contends that "Azra Turk" is CIA, not FBI.

Meanwhile, Trump called the Times piece "bigger than WATERGATE, but the reverse!"  

When asked about "Azra Turk," Olson said "I think that person did misrepresent the purpose and was looking for information," adding "Yeah, I’d call that spying." 

Attorney General William Barr set off a firestorm of debate last month during congressional testimony after he referred to the FBI's activities against the 2016 Trump campaign as "spying," a phrase he later defended during testimony last week - saying "I’m not going to abjure the use of the word ‘spying," adding "I think spying is a good English word that, in fact, doesn’t have synonyms because it is the broadest word incorporating really all forms of covert intelligence collection." 

"So I’m not going to back off the word ‘spying.'"

Of Olson's time in the CIA, he told NBCDFW in 2017: "My career would really, I think, boil down to chasing Russians wherever there were Russians," Olson said. "They were our number-one Cold War adversary, and my job was to monitor their activities, but above all, to recruit them as spies for us and then to handle them as spies for us, which I did on the streets of Moscow among other places."

Published:5/6/2019 8:03:01 PM
[Politics] Report: Strzok Suspected CIA Behind Inaccurate Leaks to Media An April 13, 2017, email from FBI agent Peter Strzok to colleagues shows that he suspected the CIA was behind untrue leaks to the media about possible Trump campaign contacts with Russia, the Daily Caller reported.... Published:5/6/2019 6:03:48 PM
[In The News] Peter Strzok Suspected CIA Was Behind Inaccurate Media Leaks

By Chuck Ross -

Peter Strzok, the former FBI counterintelligence official, suspected that Central Intelligence Agency employees were behind inaccurate leaks to the press regarding possible Trump campaign contacts with Russia, according to an email he sent to FBI colleagues in April 2017. “I’m beginning to think the agency got info a lot earlier ...

Peter Strzok Suspected CIA Was Behind Inaccurate Media Leaks 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:5/6/2019 2:03:01 PM
[Corruption] The collusion and obstruction investigation indicts others, not Trump

Officially, Mueller investigated Trump’s alleged collusion and obstruction. We now know that there was collusion and obstruction — but not by Trump. The investigation into Trump’s campaign began with the ludicrous hearsay (in some cases, multiple levels of hearsay) allegations compiled by Michael Steele, paid for by the DNC, provided to the FBI before the […]

The post The collusion and obstruction investigation indicts others, not Trump appeared first on Bookworm Room.

Published:5/6/2019 12:32:10 PM
[US News] ‘No redo for the Dems!’: Trump tweets that Robert Mueller should not testify in front of Congress

President Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to say that Robert Mueller should not testify in front of Congress: After spending more than $35,000,000 over a two year period, interviewing 500 people, using 18 Trump Hating Angry Democrats & 49 FBI Agents – all culminating in a more than 400 page Report showing NO COLLUSION […]

The post ‘No redo for the Dems!’: Trump tweets that Robert Mueller should not testify in front of Congress appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/5/2019 11:33:02 PM
[Markets] How The 'Real' America Is In Harmony With China's Belt And Road Initiative

Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The new rules proposed by Xi Jinping and expressed by the BRI’s political economic practices are exactly what the best American patriots fought for...

Since Donald Trump’s 2016 election, waves of strange paradoxes have presented themselves to the world. With the blatant collaboration of nominally “American” forces from the CIA, FBI, NSA, the Pentagon, and MSM who conspired directly with international agencies such as the Five Eyes and MI6 to overthrow Trump, it has become evident that there isn’t one single America, but rather two opposing forces within America acting against each other. So what really is the “real” America? When Donald Trump calls for US-China-Russia collaboration, is that just an anomaly or is something truly American being expressed?

In reviewing some history, you might be shocked to discover that the Belt and Road Initiative is more American than the America which the world has come to know over the past 50 years.

The American Revolution as an International Struggle

The fact that the American Revolution was an international affair is made evident by the fact that without the collaboration of the leadership of Russia, France, as well as many powerful forces in Poland, Spain, Germany the revolution could never have succeeded. Catherine the Great led the League of Armed Neutrality ensuring arms and funding to the rebelling colonies while the great Polish general Kosciusko working with German and French military officers were organized to help train and lead the American farmers during this battle.

American support was not limited to Europe however, as the South Indian Mysore rebellion against the British East India Company was organized by pro-American Muslim leader Hyder Ali which tied up British troops from being deployed to America. Ali was so admired that American poems were written about him and in 1780 a sixteen gun war ship was set from Philadelphia to do battle with the British Navy named the Haidar Ali. In Africa, under Emperor Sidi Mohammed’s direction, Morocco was the first nation to recognize American independence in 1777. The nation also harbored American ships, protecting them from British-controlled Barbary pirates with George Washington later writing letters of thanks to the Sultan of Morocco.

Many of these international forces were organized over decades by the brilliant planning of Benjamin Franklin who wrote extensively that America should model itself on the best principles of Confucianism and even argued for the modelling of America’s civil service upon China’s meritocracy. Franklin’s discoveries in electricity were directly tied to his concept of natural law and statecraft earning him the reputation of the “Prometheus of America”. Even the greatest artists of Europe such as Mozart, Schiller, and Beethoven were inspired by the idea that the American experience was merely the precursor to a new age of reason that would soon liberate Europe from the shackles of oligarchism. Not only was Schiller’s great poem Ode to Joy an homage to this hope for a brotherhood of mankind, but so was Beethoven’s later musical expression of it in his 9th Symphony.

The Sabotage of the New Paradigm

While some United Empire Loyalists left the USA to set up English-speaking Canada (creating a British-controlled beachhead in the Americas ever since), some traitors such as Aaron Burr (VP under Jefferson) chose to stay behind and work to undermine America from within by killing American System founder Alexander Hamilton and setting up Wall Street as a Junior partner to the City of London. These networks are the roots of today’s anglophile Deep State.

As the spirit of American republicanism in Europe was crushed under the British-sponsored Jacobin Terror, Napoleonic wars and then the iron fist of monarchism with the 1815 Congress of Vienna, British-Deep State puppets increasingly dominated America, advancing a program of imperial thinking and slavery throughout the 1830s-1850s leading into the Civil War. A leading proponent of the true American spirit was Lincoln’s bodyguard William Gilpin, who played an instrumental role as Governor of Colorado during the Civil War. With a vision of Lincoln’s transcontinental railway extended to Asia, Gilpin famously said:

“Salvation must come to America from China, and this consists in the introduction of the “Chinese constitution” viz. the “patriarchal democracy of the Celestial Empire”. The political life of the United States is through European influences, in a state of complete demoralization, and the Chinese Constitution alone contains elements of regeneration. For this reason, a railroad to the Pacific is of such vast importance, since by its means the Chinese trade will be conducted straight across the North American continent. This trade must bring in its train Chinese civilization. All that is usually alleged against China is mere calumny spread purposefully, just like those calumnies which are circulated in Europe about the United States”.

China’s “founding father” Sun Yat-sen, an avowed follower of Abraham Lincoln composed his International Development of China (1920) calling for international construction of rail, ports and resources from China throughout Eurasia connecting to Europe and Russia (a precursor to today’s BRI). In his work he echoed Gilpin’s vision by saying “The nations which will take part in this development will reap immense advantages. Furthermore, international cooperation of this kind cannot but help to strengthen the Brotherhood of Man.”

The Spirit of the New Paradigm Sabotaged Again and Again and Again…

In the wake of the Civil War, (and British orchestrated murder of Lincoln from Montreal Canada), Gilpin and other Lincoln allies such as William Sumner, and Ulysses S. Grant fought to spread the “American System of Political Economy” across the world and nearly succeeded in fulfilling what the American Revolution failed to do with Russia’s Alexander II applying this system to build the Trans-Siberian rail, American statesmen helping to build rail and national credit under the Meiji Restoration in Japan, and pro-American forces in Germany, France and beyond industrializing themselves with rail, national credit, protective tariffs and industrial growth programs. Gilpin went the furthest in illustrating this grand design with his 1890 book “The Cosmopolitan Railway” uniting all continents in railways and calling for something which looks a lot like the Belt and Road Initiative today.

Envisioning this new just world order of sovereign republics cooperating on the common aims of humanity, Gilpin wrote: “The civilized masses of the world meet; they are mutually enlightened, and fraternize to reconstitute human relations in harmony with nature and with God. The world ceases to be a military camp, incubated only by the military principles of arbitrary force and abject submission. A new and grand order in human affairs inaugurates itself out of these immense concurrent discoveries and events”

British-orchestrated assassinations and wars aborted the birth of this new era however. The 20th century was shaped by a battle between opposing forces within America. On the one side were true patriots fighting to return to the global vision of win-win cooperation and on the other side, anglophile traitors of the Deep State.

Although valiant efforts to end the cold war and usher in this new paradigm were made by John F. Kennedy, Charles De Gaulle and later Robert Kennedy, the Anglo-American alliance grew over their dead bodies and a hellish growth of empire unfolded from 1968 onward. While bold opposition to this New World Disorder occasionally arose from nationalist leaders in Africa, Asia and Latin America, very little was done to keep this torch alive from within America itself aside from the considerable efforts of American economist Lyndon LaRouche. As the British-Deep State gained dominance of the Trans-Atlantic during the NAFTA-1990s and Post-911 world, a new system had been quietly forming to finalize what the American Revolution had sought to do in 1776.

A New Opportunity with the BRI

Surprisingly, it was at one of the darkest hours in humanity’s experience that this new hope began to show its full power. As the collapsing bubble of a banking system was compelling a desperate elite to risk nuclear war with the newly formed alliance of Russia and China, the New Silk Road (Belt and Road Initiative) was announced presenting an incredible opportunity to avoid thermonuclear extinction by changing the “rules of the game”. Echoing the spirit of William Gilpin and Sun Yat-sen, China’s President Xi Jinping recently said:

“To respond to the call of the times, China takes it its mission to make new and even greater contribution to mankind. China will work with other countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind, forge partnerships across the world, enhance friendship and cooperation, and explore a new path of growing state-to-state relations based on mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation. Our goal is to make the world a place of peace and stability and life happier and more fulfilling for all.”

These new rules proposed by Xi Jinping and expressed by the BRI’s political economic practices are exactly what the best American patriots fought for, and so the question becomes: will America finalize the intention of the American Revolution by work by joining the New Silk Road or fail to recognize its own destiny?

Published:5/5/2019 9:57:43 PM
[Markets] The Big Lie That Barr Lied

Authored by Andrew McCarthy via NationalReview.com,

The attorney general’s testimony was clearly accurate...

I originally thought this was too stupid to write about. But stupid is like the plague inside the Beltway — one person catches it and next thing you know there’s an outbreak at MSNBC and the speaker of the House is showing symptoms while her delirious minions tote ceramic chickens around Capitol Hill.

So I give you: the Bill Barr perjury allegation.

We are all entitled to our own opinions. But are we entitled to our own facts? Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s bon mot says no, but Washington makes you wonder. Like when spleen-venting about the supposedly outrageous, unbelievable, disgraceful invocation of the word “spy” to describe episodes of government spying is instantly followed by a New York Times story about how the spying — er, I mean, court-authorized electronic surveillance — coupled with the tasking of spies — er, undercover agents — green-lighted by a foreign spy — er, intelligence service — was more widespread than previously known.

If I were a cynic, I’d think people were trying to get out in front of some embarrassing revelations on the horizon. I might even be tempted to speculate that progressives were trotting out their “Destroy Ken Starr” template for Barr deployment (which, I suppose, means that 20 years from now we’ll be reading about what a straight-arrow Barr was compared to whomever Democrats are savaging at that point).

The claim that Barr gave false testimony is frivolous. That is why, at least initially, Democrats and their media echo chamber soft-pedaled it — with such dishonorable exceptions as Mazie Horono, the Hawaii Democrat who, somehow, is a United States senator. It’s tough to make the perjury argument without any false or even inaccurate statements — though my Fox News colleague Andrew Napolitano did give it the old college try. As recounted by The Hill, he twisted himself into a pretzel, observing — try to follow this — that the attorney general “probably misled” Congress and thus “he’s got a problem” . . . although this purported dissembling didn’t really seem to be, you know, an actual “lie” so . . . maybe it’s not a problem after all. Or something.

I assume that in his black-robe days, Judge Nap would have known better. When meritless perjury cases are thrown out of court, judges are often at pains to explain that the questioner who elicited the purportedly false testimony bears the burden of clarity; the terms of the question dictate the evaluation of the answer. In this instance, Barr’s April 9 testimony before the House Appropriations Committee was true and accurate; if a misimpression set in after, it is because the relevant questioning by Representative Charlie Crist (D., Fla.) has been ignored or distorted.

Moreover, because perjury is a serious felony allegation, judges and legal analysts never rely on a general, selectively couched description of the testimony — much less on the likes of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s because-I-said-so refrain that Barr “lied to Congress” and “that’s a crime.” The testimony must be examined, with emphasis on the words that were used (the questions as well as the responses), and anything we can glean about the witness’s demeanor (stingy? dodgy? forthcoming?).

The mindless, no-need-to-check-the-record allegation against Barr goes like this: The AG testified on April 9 that he had no idea why Special Counsel Mueller was upset over the way Barr’s March 24 letter described Mueller’s report; but, in fact, Barr knew exactly why Mueller was upset because he had received the latter’s March 27 letter complaining about Barr’s missive.

Now, here is the exchange on which the perjury allegation is based, with my italics highlighting key portions:

CRIST: Reports have emerged recently, General, that members of the special counsel’s team are frustrated at some level with the limited information included in your March 24th letter . . . that it does not adequately or accurately necessarily portray the report’s findings. Do you know what they’re referencing with that?

BARR: No, I don’t. I think — I think . . . I suspect that they probably wanted more put out, but, in my view, I was not interested in putting out summaries or trying to summarize because I think any summary, regardless of who prepares it, not only runs the risk of, you know, being under-inclusive or over-inclusive, but also, you know, would trigger a lot of discussion and analysis that really should await everything coming out at once. So I was not interested in a summary of the report. . . . I felt that I should state the bottom line conclusions and I tried to use Special Counsel Mueller’s own language in doing that.

When we look at the actual words of this exchange, Barr’s testimony is clearly accurate. And I don’t mean accurate in the hyper-technical, Clintonesque “depends on what the definition of is is” sense. I mean straightforward, unguarded, and evincing a willingness to volunteer information beyond what the question sought.

Crist did not ask a general question about Mueller’s reaction to Barr’s letter; he asked a specific question about the reaction of Mueller’s “team” to the Barr letter’s description of “the report’s findings.” Regarding the March 24 letter’s rendering of this bottom line — namely, Russia meddled, Trump did not collude, and Mueller failed to resolve the obstruction question — Barr said he did not know what Mueller’s staff was complaining about.

Barr has known Mueller for nearly 30 years; when Mueller was the Criminal Division chief in the Bush 41 Justice Department, he reported to Barr, who was attorney general. It should come as no surprise, then, that Barr was not getting his information from Mueller’s staff; he was getting it from Mueller directly. Nor should it come as any surprise that, before releasing his March 24 letter to the public, Barr gave Mueller an opportunity to review it; nor that Mueller declined that opportunity — given that he knows Barr well, and knew Barr would not misrepresent the report (especially given that the report would soon be public).

Three days after Barr announced the report’s conclusions, Mueller sent his letter, undoubtedly written by his staff. Mueller could simply have called Barr on the phone, as he has done a million times; but the staff’s partisan Democrats wanted a letter, which makes for much better leak material. (The letter was, in fact, strategically leaked to the Washington Post Tuesday night, right before Barr’s Wednesday morning Senate testimony.) The day after receiving Mueller’s March 27 letter, Barr called Mueller and pointedly asked whether he was claiming that Barr’s March 24 letter articulating Mueller’s findings was inaccurate. Mueller responded that he was making no such claim — he was, instead, irritated by the press coverage of Barr’s letter. Mueller suggested the publication of additional information from the report, including the report’s own executive summaries, to explain more about why he decided not to resolve the obstruction issue. But he did not claim Barr had misrepresented his findings. (See Barr’s Senate testimony, starting at 39-minute mark.)

Again, Barr’s contact was with Mueller, not Mueller’s team. His exchanges with Mueller gave Barr no basis to know about any objection to his description of the report’s findings — from Mueller or anyone else. The fact that Mueller’s staff was leaking like a sieve to the Times, the Washington Post, and NBC News does not mean they were sharing with the attorney general what the Times described as “their simmering frustrations.”

That is what Barr said in answer to Crist’s question about the report’s findings. But to avoid the misimpression that he was parsing words deceptively, Barr volunteered his perception that Mueller’s staff wanted more information from the report to be publicized. That was consistent with what can be inferred from Barr’s phone call with Mueller on March 28. And it was not news: Crist’s questions were based on the aforementioned press accounts of leaks from Mueller’s staffers. They were irked at the bad press they were receiving over Mueller’s abdication on the question whether there was a prosecutable obstruction case, and they had groused that there was much more to their report than Barr’s letter conveyed. Of course, Barr never disputed this; as he repeatedly explained, he undertook to render the conclusions, not summarize the entire 448-page report.

Barr decided that his way of making disclosure — the findings followed three weeks later by the full report — was superior to the proposal of Mueller’s staff that their own summaries be released. You can disagree with Barr on that, but that’s not grounds for a perjury claim. And it raises a point Barr made in his Senate testimony: The regulations do not require any disclosure of the special counsel’s report (which is supposed to be a confidential Justice Department document, as is typical of Justice Department deliberations over whether to charge or decline to charge). The decision of what, if anything, to disclose, and how that should be done, is exclusively the attorney general’s, not the special counsel’s. Mueller’s job was to make a prosecutorial judgment — to charge or decline to charge obstruction. Mueller failed to do that. Since Mueller didn’t do his own job, isn’t it a bit presumptuous of his staff (through press leaks) to tell Barr how to do his?

Could what happened here be more obvious?

Mueller received fawning press for two years on the expectation that he would slay Trump. Then, on March 24, Democrats and the media learned not only that there was no collusion case (which was no surprise) but that Mueller had been derelict, failing to render a judgment on the only question he was arguably needed to resolve: Was there enough evidence to charge obstruction? Journalists proceeded to turn on their erstwhile hero. This sent him reeling, and it brought to full boil the anger of Mueller staffers, who wanted to charge Trump with obstruction based on the creative (i.e., wayward) theory they had been pursuing — namely, that a president can be indicted for obstruction based on the exercise of his constitutional prerogatives if prosecutors (including prosecutors who are active supporters of the president’s political opposition) decide he had corrupt intent. The staffers put their pique in a letter that could be leaked, and Mueller was sufficiently irked by the bad press that he signed it. And now Democrats are using the letter as the launch-pad for The Big Lie that Barr lied, calculating that if they say it enough times, and their media collaborators uncritically broadcast these declarations, no one will notice that they never actually refer to the transcript of what they claim is the false testimony.

Democrats are unnerved. Attorney General Barr is pursuing an inquiry into the Obama administration’s decision to conduct a foreign counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign. The time is now, they figure, to reprise the Ken Starr treatment: the ad hominem withering of an accomplished, highly capable official — in this instance, one who is daring to press questions that would have been answered two years ago if an incumbent Republican administration had spied on — er, monitored — a Democratic presidential campaign.

Published:5/5/2019 5:58:17 PM
[U.S. POLITICS] Politicized Intelligence Agencies.

Key United States of America’s intelligence agencies are now politicized, and partisan elected officials have caused extremely grave damage to the country using this politicized reporting. I started writing and publishing my concerns about this politicization, especially of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since shortly after the Director […]

The post Politicized Intelligence Agencies. appeared first on Human Events.

Published:5/5/2019 1:24:53 PM
[Markets] Orwellian Cloud Remains Over Russia-Gate

Authored by Ray McGovern via ConsortiumNews.com,

George Orwell would have been in stitches Wednesday watching Attorney General William Barr and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee spar on Russia-gate.  The hearing had the hallmarks of the intentionally or naively blind leading the blind with political shamelessness.

From time to time the discussion turned to the absence of a legal “predicate” to investigate President Donald Trump for colluding with Russia.  That is, of course, important; and we can expect to hear a lot more about that in coming months.

Barr questioned by Sen. Harris, May 1. (YouTube)

More important: what remains unacknowledged is the absence of an evidence-based major premise that should have been in place to anchor the rhetoric and accusations about Russia-gate over the past three years.  With a lack of evidence sufficient to support a major premise, any syllogism falls of its own weight.

The major premise that Russia hacked into the Democratic National Committee and gave WikiLeaks highly embarrassing emails cannot bear close scrutiny. Yes, former CIA Director John Brennan has told Congress he does not “do evidence.” In the same odd vein, Brennan’s former FBI counterpart James Comey chose not to “do evidence” when he failed to seize and inspect the DNC computers that a contractor-of-ill-repute working for the DNC claimed were hacked by Russia.

Harris questioning Barr, May 1. (YouTube)

Call us old fashioned, but we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) still “do evidence” — and, in the case at hand, forensic investigation.  For those who “can handle the truth,” the two former NSA technical directors in VIPS can readily explain how the DNC emails were not hacked — by Russia or anyone else — but rather were copied and leaked by someone with physical access to the DNC computers.

We first reported hard forensic evidence to support that judgment in a July 2017 memorandum for the president. Substantial evidence that has accumulated since then strengthens our confidence in that and in related conclusions.  Our conclusions are not based on squishy “assessments,” but rather on empirical, forensic investigations — evidence based on fundamental principles of science and the scientific method.

Bizarre, Medieval

All “serious” members of the establishment, including Barr, his Senate interrogators, and the “mainstream media” feel required to accept as dogma the evidence-free conventional wisdom that Russia hacked into the DNC.  If you question it, you are, ipso facto, a heretic — and a “conspiracy theorist,” to boot.

Again, shades of Orwell and his famous “two plus two equals five.”  Orwell’s protagonist in “1984,” Winston Smith, imagines that the State might proclaim that “two plus two equals five” is fact.  Smith wonders whether, if everybody believes it, does that make it true?

Actually, the end goal is not to get you to parrot that two plus two equals five. The end goal is to make it so you’d never even consider that two plus two could equal anything other than five.

During the entire Barr testimony Wednesday, no one departed from the safe, conventional wisdom about Russian hacking.  We in VIPS, at least, resist the notion that this makes it true.  We shall continue to insist that two and two is four, and point out the flaws in any squishy “Intelligence Community Assessment” that concludes, even “with high confidence,” that the required answer is “five.”

John Hurt as Winston Smith in “1984.” (YouTube)

Doubtful Dogma

Wednesday’s Senate hearing brought a painful flashback to a similarly widely-held, but evidence-free dogma - that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction before the U.S. attacked that country. It gets worse: Many of the same people who promoted the spurious claims about WMD are responsible for developing and proclaiming the dogma about Russian hacking into the DNC.  The Oscar for his performance in the role of misleader goes, once again, to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, whose “credits” go back to the WMD fiasco in which he played a central role.

Before the war on Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put Clapper in charge of analysis of satellite imagery, the most definitive collection system for information on WMD.  In his memoir, Clapper admits, with stomach-churning nonchalance, that intelligence officers, including me, were so eager to help [spread the Cheney/Bush claim that Iraq had a ‘rogue WMD program’] that we found what wasn’t really there.” [Emphasis added]

John Brennan, left, and James Clapper. (LBJ Library via Flickr)

Last November as Clapper was hawking his memoir at the Carnegie Endowment I had a chance during the Q and A to pursue him on that and on Russia-gate.  I began:

“You confess [in Clapper’s book] to having been shocked that no weapons of mass destruction were found.  And then, to your credit, you admit, as you say here [quoting from the book], ‘the blame is due to intelligence officers, including me, who were so eager to help [the administration make war on Iraq] that we found what wasn’t really there.’”

“Now fast forward to two years ago.  Your superiors were hell bent on finding ways to blame Trump’s victory on the Russians.  Do you think that your efforts were guilty of the same sin here?  Do you think that you found a lot of things that weren’t really there?  Because that’s what our conclusion is, especially from the technical end.  There was no hacking of the DNC; it was leaked, and you know that because you talked to NSA.”

Evidence

Back to the Senate hearing on Wednesday: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), during a line of questioning about evidence of obstruction of justice, asked the attorney general if he personally reviewed the underlying evidence in the Mueller report.

 “No,” said Barr, “We accepted the statements in the report as factual record.  We did not go underneath it to see whether or not they were accurate.  We accepted it as accurate.”

Harris: You accepted the report as evidence?  You did not question or look at the underlying evidence?

Barr: We accepted the statements in the report and the characterization of the evidence as true.”

Harris: “You have made it clear that you did not look at the evidence.”

It was crystal clear on Wednesday that Barr had bigger fish to fry, as well as protective nets to deflect incoming shells.  He is likely to be preoccupied for weeks answering endless questions about his handling of the Mueller report. It is altogether possible, though, that in due course he plans to look into the origins of Russia-gate and the role of Clapper, Brennan and Comey in creating and promoting the evidence-free dogma that Russia hacked into the DNC — and, more broadly, that, absent Russia’s support, Trump would not be president.

For the moment, however, we shall have to live with “The Russians Still Did It, Whether Trump Colluded or Not.”  There remains an outside chance, however, that the truth will emerge, perhaps even before November 2020, and that, this time, the Democrats will be shown to have shot themselves inboth feet.

*  *  *

For further background, please see:

VIPS Fault Mueller Probe, Criticize Refusal to Interview Assange

VIPS: Mueller’s Forensics-Free Findings

Please Make a Donation to Consortium News' Spring Fundraising Drive Today!

Published:5/4/2019 8:50:41 PM
[Markets] "This Was Not Spying, It Was Entrapment": Bongino Spits Fire As Nunes Demands Mifsud Docs

For over two years, anyone who suggested that the Russia investigation was a sham was harshly ridiculed by establishment mouthpieces as a conspiracy theorist. The notion that the Obama Justice Department (led by Eric "wingman" Holder and then Loretta "tarmac" Lynch) could have conspired with other US intel agencies and foreigners to paint Donald Trump as a Russian stooge was considered beyond the pale. 

Then we found out that virtually the entire FBI's top brass absolutely hate Donald Trump and supported Hillary Clinton; the former of whom the FBI launched a counterintelligence investigation against, while giving Hillary a pass despite the fact that she destroyed evidence from her homebrew basement server while under subpoena. We were asked to believe that the FBI's extreme biases played no role in their investigations, while the left insisted that special counsel Robert Mueller was going to confirm fairy tales of Russian collusion peddled by a Clinton-funded dossier.

And then the Mueller report came out - blowing the Russian collusion narrative out of the water, while painting a damning picture that suggests the entire genesis of the FBI's counterintelligence investigation, Crossfire Hurricane, was a setup

Dan Bongino

One of those brave enough to risk his reputation laying out what was going on before the Mueller report dropped is conservative commentator and former US Secret Service agent Dan Bongino - who has repeatedly mentioned the suspicious role of self-described Clinton Foundation member Joseph Mifsud, who seeded the rumor that Russia had 'dirt' on Hillary Clinton to Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos on April 26, 2016 - shortly after returning from Moscow, according to the Mueller report. 

Two weeks laterPapadopoulos would be bilked for information by Australian diplomat (another Clinton ally) Alexander Downer at a London bar, who relayed the Kremlin 'dirt' rumor to Australian authorities, which alerted the FBI (as the story goes), and operation Crossfire Hurricane was thus hatched. 

Back to Mifsud... 

As Bongino lays out, there are two working theories about Mifsud. The first is that he's a Russian asset who tried to bait the Trump campaign. The second is that Mifsud was working for US intelligence services and seeded Papadopoulos with the 'dirt' rumor in order to kick off the FBI's counterintelligence operation. 

Bongino went into greater detail last month on Fox News - including that Mifsud's lawyer says he's connected to western, "friendly" intelligence

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

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

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

In short - based on what we know, it appears that Joseph Mifsud was part of a setup by Western intelligence services on then-candidate Donald Trump. 

(it's true)

Great claims require great evidence, however, which is why Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has requested a wide swath of documents about Mifsud from several federal agencies. 

As the Washington Examiner reports, Nunes - the House Intelligence Committee ranking member, "seeks information about who Mifsud was working for at the time and wrote in a letter that special counsel Robert Mueller “omits any mention of a wide range of contacts Mifsud had with Western political institutions and individuals" in his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election."

As part of Mueller’s Russia investigation, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October 2017 to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Russians and served 12 days in prison late last year.

The special counsel’s sentencing memo to the District Court for the District of Columbia said Papadopoulos hindered the FBI's ability to get to Mifsud. "The defendant’s lies undermined investigators’ ability to challenge the Professor or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States. The government understands that the Professor left the United States on February 11, 2017 and he has not returned to the United States since then," the memo said.

In his letter, Nunes says it is "still a mystery how the FBI knew to ask Papadopoulos specifically about Hillary Clinton’s emails" if the bureau had not spoken with Mifsud. -Washington Examiner

"If he is in fact a Russian agent, it would be one of the biggest intelligence scandals for not only the United States, but also our allies like the Italians and the Brits and others. Because if Mifsud is a Russian agent, he would know all kinds of our intelligence agents throughout the globe," said Nunes during a recent interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity. 

Published:5/4/2019 4:19:44 PM
[Markets] Johnstone: Blithering Idiots Express Fear That Putin Will Rig 2020 Election For Trump

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

“Putin” is the number one USA trend on Twitter as of this writing, which is always a reliable sign that something very stupid is happening in American media.

“Putin” is once again the hysterical shrieking buzzword of the day because Donald Trump openly boasted at a press conference of having had an hour-long phone call with the Russian president, in which he claims the two leaders discussed nuclear de-escalation, Venezuela, North Korea, and the discredited “collusion” narrative. When asked whether he’d told Putin not to meddle in the 2020 US elections, Trump replied, “We didn’t discuss that.”

“Had a long and very good conversation with President Putin of Russia,” the president tweeted. “As I have always said, long before the Witch Hunt started, getting along with Russia, China, and everyone is a good thing, not a bad thing. We discussed Trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, Nuclear Arms Control and even the ‘Russian Hoax.’ Very productive talk!”

So of course everyone is now in garment-rending apocalyptic DEFCON 1 catastrophe mode.

“It bears repeating: We have been given no indication that Trump or his re-election campaign will hesitate to take advantage of Russian help again in 2020, in whatever form it might take,” warned the Wall Street Journal’s Dustin Volz.

“President Trump today continues to belittle Russian election interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as continued election interference,” CNN’s Jake Tapper solemnly warned today. “The president went on to tell reporters later that he did not tell Putin to stop engaging in election interference which remains, according to Trump’s own top national security officials, a continuing threat to the United States. Based on the president’s public statements, and apparently his private one with Vladimir Putin, the man who led and continues to lead cyber-attacks on the United States, the president’s more concerned with underlining that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was unable to find sufficient evidence that any member of his team was involved in criminal conspiracy with Russia.”

“The simple fact is this: Trump remains?—?despite all available evidence?—?a skeptic about both Russia’s past attempts at interference in the 2016 election and, therefore, the country’s attempts to target future elections,” warns CNN’s Cris Cillizza. “That skepticism could have far reaching consequences when it comes to just how much (or little) the administration prioritizes dealing with these threats from foreign powers heading into the 2020 election. And that is a truly scary reality.”

“The 2020 campaign is already in full swing and Trump just told Putin, the man behind the most serious cyber attack on our democracy ever, that he believes it was all a hoax,” tweeted Congressman and virulent Russiagater Adam Schiff. “Once again, he betrays our national security and for what? Nothing more than his own vanity and delusion.”

“Exactly what Putin wanted and expected,” tweeted MSNBC’s Clint Watts. “This is why Russia backed Trump, elevate politicians to achieve what Russia wants?—?to subvert and weaken democracy, surrender the world to authoritarians, like the Kremlin.”

So the narrative in mainstream liberal circles today is that Putin is going to interfere in the 2020 elections, and, because that interference will surely advantage Trump, there will be no resistance to that interference.

Only blithering idiots believe this narrative.

To begin with, the public has still seen not one single shred of evidence that Russians interfered in the 2016 election in any meaningful way, and, in a post-Iraq invasion world, only idiots believe on faith the unsubstantiated claims made by government agencies about rival governments. We’ve seen the Mueller report cited as “evidence” of this interference, but the Mueller report contains nothing but assertions, and assertions are not evidence. People have tried to argue with me that Mueller would never make assertions about Russian interference without having seen copious amounts of hard, verifiable evidence, but that is exactly what Mueller did with WMDs as FBI Director in February 2003. Daniel Lazare for Consortium News documents that there are in fact some major plot holes in Mueller’s timeline, making it entirely possible that a bogus narrative is being advanced.

So there’s no reason to accept on faith that Russian election interference happened in 2016, let alone that there’s any risk of it happening in 2020. But even if you do accept the establishment Russia narrative regarding 2016, you can be certain that Moscow won’t be interfering in 2020 for Trump’s benefit.

You can be absolutely certain that Russia won’t be interfering to re-elect Trump because Trump has proven to be the most hawkish president against Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union, by a very wide margin. For all his rhetoric about “getting along with Russia”, Trump has greatly escalated tensions with the nuclear superpower by staging a coup in Venezuela, implementing a Nuclear Posture Review with a much more aggressive stance against Russiawithdrawing from the INF treaty, bombing and illegally occupying Syria, arming Ukraine, and many, many other hawkish actionstaken against the interests of the Russian Federation which his predecessor Obama never dared to take.

Even if Putin were the brilliant omnipotent mastermind with tentacles in every international affair as he is consistently depicted in western mainstream media, it would make no sense whatsoever for him to help re-elect an administration that has been undermining and threatening Russia at every opportunity. That will not happen.

But of course, this obvious fact will not stop the Russia conspiracy theories, because Russia conspiracy theories have nothing to do with facts. We can expect to see fact-free allegations that Russia is planning to help Trump win in 2020 getting louder and louder as the election grows nearer. We can expect to see these fact-free allegations bolstered and amplified by western government agencies who need to manufacture support for further escalations against Russia, by the mass media who need ratings, and by the Democratic Party who need to keep their base fixated on insubstantial nonsense while they force an establishment loyalist through their fake primary.

It’s so interesting how each mainstream side of this is doing exactly the opposite of what they claim to be doing: Trump claims to want to work with Russia, but in term of action his administration is attacking Russia’s interests in many hugely significant ways to an extent that is unprecedented in a post-USSR world. Democrats claim to be opposing Trump’s pernicious inclinations, but in practice they fully support all his most pernicious agendas, including the potentially world-ending escalations between two nuclear powers, and including the Venezuela regime change operation which is getting more aggressive by the day. Even the supposedly progressive wing of the Democratic Party has been mostly flowing along with this, with Alexandria Occasio-Cortez reportedly saying “I defer to caucus leadership on how we navigate this” when questioned on Trump’s Venezuela coup attempt.

The gap between reality and the dominant narratives about reality is getting wider and wider. Something’s going to have to give.

*  *  *

Everyone has my unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Published:5/4/2019 1:18:37 PM
[Media] ‘Story is not over’! Ari Fleischer has questions about FBI spying in 2016 that Dems DON’T want answered

"I have a hard time believing..."

The post ‘Story is not over’! Ari Fleischer has questions about FBI spying in 2016 that Dems DON’T want answered appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/4/2019 12:21:35 PM
[Issues] Security Guard Injured in 2015 Terrorist Attack Appeals Suit Against FBI

The attorney for a security guard injured in a 2015 terror attack in Garland, Texas, has filed an appeal in the U.S. Fifth Circuit after the original lawsuit was dismissed in December.

The post Security Guard Injured in 2015 Terrorist Attack Appeals Suit Against FBI appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:5/4/2019 4:47:30 AM
[Politics] Trump calls bombshell report on alleged campaign spying ‘bigger than ­Watergate’ President Trump on Friday called the FBI’s use of a blond bombshell to get dirt on his campaign “bigger than ­WATERGATE” — as Vice President Mike Pence suggested he was also spied on. In a rare move, Trump praised The New York Times for reporting that a female FBI investigator traveled to London in 2016... Published:5/3/2019 8:44:40 PM
[Markets] The Wheels Of Real Justice Are In Motion Now: Kunstler Fears The "Desperate Resistance" Next Move...

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

"Impeachment is too good for him,” Nancy Pelosi declared of the president on Thursday after “his lapdog” - as she styled Attorney General William Barr - refused to be whipped by grandstanding Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. What did Madam Speaker have in mind then? Dragging Mr. Trump behind a Chevy Tahoe over four miles of broken light bulbs? Staking him onto a nest of fire ants? How about a beheading at the capable hands of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN)?

Mr. Barr’s stolid demeanor during the Wednesday session was a refreshing reminder of what it means to be not insane in the long-running lunatic degeneration of national politics.

Of course, the reason for the continued hysteria among Democrats is that the two-year solemn inquiry by the august former FBI Director, Mr. Mueller, is being revealed daily as a mendacious fraud with criminal overtones running clear through Democratic ranks beyond even the wicked Hillary Clinton to the sainted former president Obama, who may have supervised his party’s collusion with foreign officials to interfere in the 2016 election.

Mr. Barr’s hints that he intends to tip this dumpster of political subterfuge, to find out what was at the bottom of it, is being taken as a death threat to the Democratic Party, as well it should be. A lot of familiar names and faces will be rolling out of that dumpster into the grand juries and federal courtrooms just as the big pack of White House aspirants jets around the primary states as though 2020 might be anything like a normal election.

In short and in effect, the Democratic Party itself is headed to trial on a vector that takes it straight into November next year. How do you imagine it will look to voters when Mr. Obama’s CIA chief, John Brennan, his NSA Director James Clapper, a baker’s dozen of former Obama top FBI and DOJ officials, including former AG Loretta Lynch, and sundry additional players in the great game of RussiaGate Gotcha end up ‘splainin’ their guts out to a whole different cast of federal prosecutors? It’s hardly out of the question that Barack Obama himself and Mrs. Clinton may face charges in all this mischief and depravity.

It’s surely true that the public is sick of the RussiaGate spectacle. (I know readers of this blog complain about it.) But it’s no exaggeration to say that this is the worst and most tangled scandal that the US government has ever seen, and that failing to resolve it successfully really is an existential threat to the project of being a republic. I was a young newspaper reporter during Watergate and that was like a game of animal lotto compared to this garbage barge of malfeasance.

It’s a further irony of the moment that the suddenly leading Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, is neck-deep in that spilled garbage, the story unspooling even as I write that then-Veep Uncle Joe strong-armed the Ukraine government to fire its equivalent of Attorney General to quash an investigation of his son, Hunter, who received large sums of money from the Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, which had mystifyingly appointed the young American to its board of directors after the US-sponsored overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych.

That nasty bit of business comes immediately on top of information that the Hillary campaign was using its connections in Ukraine — from her years at the State Department — to traffic in political dirt on Mr. Trump, plus an additional intrigue that included payments to the Clinton Foundation of $25 million by Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk. That was on top of contributions of $150 million that the Clinton Foundation had received earlier from Russian oligarchs around 2012.

Did they suppose that no one would ever notice? Or is it just a symptom of the desperation that has gripped the Democratic Party since the stunning election loss of 2016 made it impossible to suppress this titanic, bubbling vessel of fermented misdeeds? It seems more than merely possible that the entire Mueller Investigation was a ruse from the start to conceal all this nefarious activity. It is even more astounding to see exactly what a lame document the Mueller Report turned out to be. It was such a dud that even the Democratic senators and congresspersons who are complaining the loudest have not bothered to visit the special parlor set up  at the Department of Justice for their convenience to read a much more lightly redacted edition of the report.

The mills of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine. The wheels are in motion now and it’s unlikely they will be stopped by mere tantrums. But the next move by the desperate Resistance may be to create so much political disorder in the system that they manage to delegitimize the 2020 election before it is even held, and plunge the nation deeper into unnecessary crisis just to try and save their asses.

Published:5/3/2019 2:13:37 PM
[] If the FBI Spy Turns Out to Actually Be a CIA Spy, are the Enemy of the People Media Going to Keep Denying She's a Spy? One of the NYT reporters who wrote the FBI honeypot story was asked on CNN whether honeypot "Azra Turk" worked for the FBI.His response: "I?m just going to leave it right now as a 'government investigator.' I use that wording... Published:5/3/2019 1:46:16 PM
[Politics] Pence: Report About FBI Spying on Aide 'Very Troubling' A New York Times report that the FBI had used an investigator posing as an assistant to spy on President Donald Trump's campaign aide George Papadopoulos was "very troubling," and answers are needed about how the agency began its probe into Russian interference in . . . Published:5/3/2019 12:17:01 PM
[Media] SERIOUSLY? Chris Cuomo serves up the ULTIMATE ‘conservatives pounce’ teaser on bombshell about FBI’s 2016 spying

It might "rile up" WHO?

The post SERIOUSLY? Chris Cuomo serves up the ULTIMATE ‘conservatives pounce’ teaser on bombshell about FBI’s 2016 spying appeared first on twitchy.com.

Published:5/3/2019 10:11:39 AM
[Markets] Barr Launches Wide-Ranging Probe Into 2016 FBI Spying

Attorney General William Barr told the Senate Judiciary Panel this week that he has assembled a team at the Justice Department to probe whether the spying conducted by the FBI against the Trump campaign in 2016 was improper, reports Bloomberg

Barr suggested that he would focus on former senior leaders at the FBI and Justice Department. 

"To the extent there was overreach, what we have to be concerned about is a few people at the top getting it into their heads that they know better than the American people," said Barr. 

Barr will also review whether the infamous Steele dossier - a collection of salacious and unverified claims against Donald Trump, assembled by a former British spy and paid for by the Clinton campaign - was fabricated by the Russian government to trick the FBI and other US agencies. (Will Barr investigate whether Steele made the whole thing up for his client, Fusion GPS?)

"We now know that he was being falsely accused," Barr said of Trump. "We have to stop using the criminal justice process as a political weapon."

Mueller’s report didn’t say there were false accusations against Trump. It said the evidence of cooperation between the campaign and Russia “was not sufficient to support criminal charges.” Investigators were unable to get a complete picture of the activities of some relevant people, the special counsel found.

Although Barr’s review has only begun, it’s helping to fuel a narrative long embraced by Trump and some of his Republican supporters: that the Russia investigation was politically motivated and concocted from false allegations in order to spy on Trump’s campaign and ultimately undermine his presidency. -Bloomberg

As Bloomberg notes, Barr's review could receive a boost by a Thursday New York Times article acknowledging that the FBI sent a 'honeypot' spy to London in 2016 to pose as a research assistant and gather intelligence from Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos over possible Trump campaign links to Russia. 

The Trump re-election campaign immediately seized on the Times report as evidence that improper spying did occur. "As President Trump has said, it is high time to investigate the investigators," said Trump campaign manager, Brad Parscale in a statement. 

During Barr's Wednesday testimony, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) told Barr "It appears to me that the Obama administration, Justice Department and FBI decided to place their bets on Hillary Clinton and focus their efforts" when it came to investigating the Trump campaign. 

Depending on what Barr finds, his review of the Russia probe could give Trump ammunition to defend himself in continuing congressional inquiries -- and in a potential impeachment for obstructing justice. Barr told senators that Trump’s actions can’t be seen as obstruction if he was exercising his constitutional authority as president to put an end to an illegitimate investigation.

Barr’s efforts follow two years of work by a group of House Republicans who have been conducting dozens of interviews regarding the FBI’s and Justice Department’s conduct in the early stages of investigation of Trump and his campaign. -Bloomberg

On Thursday, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) issued a criminal referral for Nellie Ohr - a former Fusion GPS contractor who passed anti-Trump research to her husband, then the #4 official at the DOJ. 

On Thursday, Meadows said that Barr's "willingness to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation is the first step in putting the questionable practices of the past behind us," and that the AG's "tenacity is sure to be rewarded."

The FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation against the Trump campaign after a self-professed member of the Clinton Foundation, Joseph Mifsud, fed Papadopoulos the rumor that Russia had "dirt" on Clinton. That rumor would be coaxed out of the former Trump aide by another Clinton-connected individual - Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, who would notify authorities of Papadopoulos' admission, officially launching the investigation. 

Barr says he wants to get to the bottom of it. 

His review will examine the above chain of events that set the investigation into motion, and whether any US agencies were engaged in spying on or investigating the Trump campaign before the probe was officially launched

Barr said he’s working with FBI Director Christopher Wray “to reconstruct exactly what went down.” He said he has “people in the department helping me review the activities over the summer of 2016.”

Notably, Barr said his aides will be “working very closely” with the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz.

Horowitz is conducting his own investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation and whether there were abuses when the FBI obtained a secret warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in October 2016 to spy on another foreign policy adviser to the campaign, Carter Page. -Bloomberg

Barr will also investigate when the DOJ and FBI knew that the Democratic Party and Clinton was Steele

More subterfuge, or is this really happening?

Published:5/3/2019 9:42:43 AM
[Opinion] Senate Democrats Harass And Threaten A.G. Barr, Beginning Their Own Obstruction Of Justice

By Dave King -

America’s Democrat party was severely jolted on May 1, 2019, when Attorney General William Barr announced that the Department of Justice is investigating the FBI’s use of a phony Dossier to get a FISA court’s permission to spy on the Trump presidential campaign, and perhaps spy on other 2016 Republican ...

Senate Democrats Harass And Threaten A.G. Barr, Beginning Their Own Obstruction Of Justice 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:5/2/2019 10:18:30 PM
[Politics] NY Times: FBI Sent Investigator to Meet With Trump Aide in '16 As part of an operation looking at Trump campaign links to Russia, a government agent posing as a research assistant was sent to London by the FBI in 2016 to meet with an aide to presidential candidate Donald Trump, according to The New York Times on Thursday. Published:5/2/2019 6:38:41 PM
[Markets] Baltimore Mayor Resigns As 'Healthy Holly' Corruption Scandal Snowballs

Barely a week after FBI and IRS agents raided her two homes, office at city hall and a non-profit belonging to a friend, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh's lawyer said Thursday that his client would resign, making her the second Baltimore mayor to leave office under a cloud of corruption in the past decade.

Pugh, who has been on a leave of absence since April 1, the same day that Gov. Larry Hogan said he would call for a criminal investigation into allegations of self-dealing, reportedly tried to make a run for it after the raids. Shortly beforehand, members of the city council signed a letter asking her to resign.

Pugh

According to the Washington Post, Pugh's resignation brings her more than two-decade career in politics to an end. Her candidacy for mayor was championed by Elijah Cummings (yes, that Elijah Cummings) one of Maryland's most influential politicians, and she initially triumphed in a hotly contested primary as the city reeled from the aftermath of the Freddie Gray riots.

A scandal erupted in March when the Baltimore Sun revealed that Pugh, who sat on the board of the University of Maryland Hospital System, was paid half a million dollars for 100,000 copies of her "Healthy Holly" children's books (there's suspicion that half of these books were never even delivered, yet Pugh was paid in full).

But more galling, Pugh was also paid $100,000 by Kaiser Permanente, the managed care consortium that was in the process of securing a $48 million contract with the city.

Her departure will usher in another era of political instability in a city that's struggle with high levels of violent crime and deep mistrust of the police following the Gray killing and several other corruption scandals.

Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, 64, who has been serving as acting mayor in Pugh's absence, will replace Pugh at the helm of city government until next year’s election, where he said he would not seek another term.

Utilizing language favored by President Trump, Pugh initially derided the "Healthy Holly" scandal as a "Witch Hunt" before issuing a public apology.

Though facing potential criminal charges, Pugh's position as mayor was relatively secure: According to the city charter, there is no way for the council or the governor to remove her from office.

Which suggests to us that she got the tap from prosecutors that they wanted her to resign as the investigation ramps up.

Published:5/2/2019 4:38:27 PM
[Politics] Baltimore Mayor RESIGNS after the feds raided her home and offices… The Democratic mayor of Baltimore has just resigned less than a week after the FBI and IRS raided her home and offices over a scandal involving self-published children’s books: REUTERS – Baltimore . . . Published:5/2/2019 4:08:19 PM
[Politics] Baltimore Mayor RESIGNS after the feds raided her home and offices… The Democratic mayor of Baltimore has just resigned less than a week after the FBI and IRS raided her home and offices over a scandal involving self-published children’s books: REUTERS – Baltimore . . . Published:5/2/2019 4:08:19 PM
[TC] Microbiome testing service uBiome puts its co-founders on administrative leave after FBI raid The microbiome testing service uBiome has placed its founders and co-chief executives, Jessica Richman and Zac Apte, on administrative leave following an FBI raid on the company’s offices last week. The company’s board of directors have named John Rakow, currently the company’s general counsel, as its interim chairman and chief executive. Directors of the company […] Published:5/2/2019 4:08:19 PM
[2016 Senate Elections] Azra Turk, if that really is your name (Scott Johnson) The latest FBI/intelligence leak to the friendly reporters at the New York Times suggests that the rats are scurrying about in the hope that they might keep the ship afloat. The Times has placed this straightforward headline over the story by Adam Goldman, Michael Schmidt and Mark Mazzetti: “F.B.I. Sent Investigator Posing as Assistant to Meet With Trump Aide in 2016.” Here is how it opens: The conversation at a Published:5/2/2019 3:06:29 PM
[Markets] Nellie Ohr Criminal Referral Being 'Finalized' According To Jim Jordan

Congressional Republicans are "working to finalize" a criminal referral of Russiagate lynchpin Nellie Ohr, the wife of the Justice Department's former #4 official Bruce Ohr. 

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

Nellie was hired by opposition research firm Fusion GPS, where she conducted extensive opposition research on Trump family members and campaign aides, which she passed along to Bruce on a memory stick

Of note, the Hillary Clinton campaign paid Fusion GPS to produce the salacious and unverified "Steele Dossier," which was created by former UK spy Christopher Steele and used Kremlin sources

Meanwhile, today we learn from The Hill's John Solomon that Nellie Ohr exchanged 339 pages of emails with DOJ officials, including her husband Bruce, and met with DOJ prosecutors while working for Fusion GPS

Now, a series of “Hi Honey” emails from Nellie Ohr to her high-ranking federal prosecutor-husband and his colleagues raise the prospect that Hillary Clinton-funded opposition research was being funneled into the Justice Department during the 2016 election through a back-door marital channel. It's a tale that raises questions of both conflict of interest and possible false testimony.

Ohr has admitted to Congress that, during the 2016 presidential election, she worked for Fusion GPS — the firm hired by Clinton and the Democratic National Committee to perform political opposition research — on a project specifically trying to connect Donald Trump and his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, to Russian organized crime.

Now, 339 pages of emails, from her private account to Department of Justice (DOJ) email accounts, have been released under a Freedom of Information Act request by the conservative legal group Judicial Watch. -The Hill

And according to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Mark Meadows "is working to finalize" a criminal referral of Nellie

"Hi Honey, if you ever get a moment you might find the penultimate article interesting — especially the summary in the final paragraph," Nellie emailed Bruce on July 6, 2016 according to the release. The article in question suggested that Trump was a Putin stooge. "If Putin wanted to concoct the ideal candidate to service his purposes, his laboratory creation would look like Donald Trump," Nellie bolded for emphasis. 

As Solomon writes, "Such overt political content flowing into the email accounts of a DOJ charged with the nonpartisan mission of prosecuting crimes is jarring enough. It raises additional questions about potential conflicts of interest when it is being injected by a spouse working as a Democratic contractor trying to defeat Trump, and she is forwarding her own research to his department and co-workers."

House GOP investigators who reviewed Nellie Ohr’s emails believe that their timing may be essential to understanding how the false Russian narrative — special counsel Robert Mueller recently concluded there was no evidence of Trump-Putin collusion — may have gotten such credence inside DOJ and intelligence circles despite its overtly political origins.

For instance, just 24 days after the anti-Trump screed was emailed, both Ohrs met in Washington with British intelligence operative Christopher Steele. Nellie Ohr testified that she had known Steele from past encounters and learned at that July 31, 2016, meeting at the Mayflower Hotel that Steele, like herself, was working for Fusion GPS on Trump-Russia research. She said she learned that Steele had concerns that he hoped the DOJ or FBI would investigate, with help from her husband. -The Hill

Nellie, who speaks fluent Russian, worked with Fusion GPS between October 2015 and September 2016. She also admitted during her October 19, 2018 congressional testimony that she favored Hillary Clinton as a candidate, and would have been less comfortable researching Clinton's 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 her October testimony.  

***

As we reported in March

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 month, 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. 

Are heads actually going to roll?

Published:5/2/2019 5:35:51 AM
[Markets] FBI Investigating Antifa Plot To Buy Guns From "Mexican Rambo" For "Armed Rebellion At Border" 

A leaked FBI document reveals that members of Antifa were plotting to purchase guns from a "Mexico-based cartel associate known as Cobra Commander,and "stage an armed rebellion at the border," according to the San Diego Union Tribune, which received a copy of the unclassified report. 

When federal law enforcement officials last year began collecting dossiers on mostly American journalists, activists and lawyers in Tijuana involved with the migrant caravan, one part of their investigation focused on an alleged plot by a drug cartel to sell guns to protesters, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation report.

A Dec. 18, 2018, document from the FBI, obtained by the Union-Tribune, specifies an alleged plan for activists to purchase guns from a “Mexico-based cartel associate known as Cobra Commander,” or Ivan Riebeling. -San Diego Union Tribune

?????Ivan Reibeling is a Tijuana resident named in an FBI report warning of a potential armed disruption at the border. Courtesy of Ivan Reibeling.

The document warns that "anti-fascist activists" had "planned to disrupt U.S. law enforcement and military security operations at the US/Mexican border." 

Of note, the unclassified document labeled "law enforcement sensitive" is a portion of an ongoing investigation in which charges have yet to be filed.

"This is an information report, not finally evaluated intelligence," reads the six-page report. "Receiving agencies are requested not to take action based on this raw reporting without prior coordination with the FBI."

The FBI sent its report with “priority” to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Administration, among other agencies.

Two people named in the report, Ivan Riebeling and Evan Duke, said the accusations are untrue and illogical.

Duke said he never met Riebeling and that Riebeling was not someone he would have associated with. -San Diego Union Tribune

The FBI report also says that a group of pro-migrant activists in Tijuana supporting the recent caravans "were encouraged to bring personally owned weapons to the border and the group also intended to purchase weapons from a Mexico-based cartel associate known as Cobra Commander, AKA the Mexican Rambo, and smuggle the weapons into the United States."

Mexican Rambo says the FBI's report is not logical, and that he's not in the carte. 

"It doesn’t make any sense that someone from the United States would purchase guns in Mexico. And the Hondurans certainly didn’t bring money to buy guns. It doesn’t make any sense; in fact it’s extremely absurd to say the Hondurans wanted to attack the United States at the border," said Reibeling, who said he had helped an early caravan of mostly women and children who arrived in Tijuana - only to quickly decide that he "no longer wanted to help Hondurans" after he found them selling some of the items he provided them such as blankets, water and shoes. 

"They were exchanging these items for drugs and it made me mad, and I no longer wanted to help them and I was vocal about it," he said. 

Reibeling then posted a video online in which he encouraged drug cartel members to "hunt down" migrants and take them to Mexican immigration authorities

Reibeling said he was never detained or interrogated by the FBI about his involvement with the migrant caravan. He said he took no part in trying to sell guns to anyone and that he’s not a cartel member.

I am not cartel. I don’t sell drugs. I don’t sell arms,” said Riebeling. “I’m a revolutionary. A man who believes in his ideals, and I’m going to defend Mexico.”

The unclassified FBI report identifies Riebeling as being “associated with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel,” but Riebeling, a Tijuana resident, said he is not.

“If I were selling drugs, or guns, they would kill me,” said Riebeling.

Riebeling said he was upset by the accusations in the report. -San Diego Union Tribune

"The government of the United States knows perfectly well that I am not a member of any cartel," said Riebeling. "I have associates with several of the cartels, yes I do, but I am not a narco-trafficker and they know that."

Evan Duke, the other person named in the report, says Riebeling was not someone he would associate with because he didn't trust him, and because Riebeling had expressed negative views over social media about migrants in the caravan. 

"Here I find the government again trying to tie me into some (stuff) I wasn’t involved in," said Duke, an anti-Trump activist whose work in Tijuana was monitored by federal authorities. 

"We were warned to look out for him," Duke said of Riebeling. "We took the precaution to find out who he was and where he was, but we never had any contact with him. And we never saw him around the migrant caravan." 

Duke thinks it might be possible that "right-wing conspiracy groups" fed false information to authorities about him - noting that a North Dakota radio talk-show host bragged on air about reporting he and his colleagues to law enforcement. 

In mid-November, Duke and a group of activists began renting a house in Tijuana and hosting about 25 volunteers at a time working to counter what they viewed as the U.S. government’s violation of asylum seekers’ human rights.

The FBI’s report says the rental house in Tijuana was guarded by armed group members.

Riebeling, who also goes by the names Ivan del Campo, Ivan Mariano Martin del Campo and Jose Ivan Reiveling Sierra, has criminal records in Mexico and the United States, according to a Mexican state police document and confirmed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. -San Diego Union Tribune

Who's telling the truth?  

Published:5/1/2019 3:30:35 PM
[Markets] Key Words: James Comey: Trump has ‘eaten the soul’ of the leaders in his administration The FBI director unleashes in a New York Times op-ed on Bill Barr, Rod Rosenstein and all the others in Trump’s orbit who have compromised their ideals to remain in the president’s good graces.
Published:5/1/2019 2:03:48 PM
[Markets] The Real "Bombshells" Are About To Hit Their Targets

Authored By Julie Kelly via American Greatness

The next bombshell report to drop from the Justice Department likely will earn none of the breathless fanfare and media coverage that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report received, but it could be far more incriminating.

In the next several weeks, Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to issue his summation of the potential abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by top officials in the Obama Administration and holdovers in the early Trump Administration who were overseeing the investigation of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

And the perpetrators of the so-called FISAgate scandal now are scrambling for cover as the bad news looms.

Horowitz announced last March that his office would examine the Justice Department’s conduct “in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person.” That U.S. person is Trump campaign associate Carter Page. In October 2016, just two weeks before the presidential election, the Justice Department submitted an application to the FISC seeking authorization to wiretap Page. The court filing accused Page, a Naval Academy graduate and unpaid campaign advisor, of being an agent of Russia.

The application cited the infamous Steele dossier—unsubstantiated political propaganda that had been funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee—as its primary source of evidence. But the specific political origin of the dossier intentionally was omitted in the court filing. (Robert Mueller similarly tap danced around the role of Fusion GPS, the political consulting firm that hired Christopher Steele to create the dossier. Mueller never mentioned the name “Fusion GPS” in the 448-page document, referring to it only vaguely as “the firm that produced the Steele reporting.”)

Former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates signed the original FISA application. It was renewed three times; subsequent signers included former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. If there’s one document that represents the malevolence, chicanery and arrogance of the original Trump-Russia collusion fraudsters, it’s the Page FISA application.

But—to borrow a favorite term of the collusion truthers—the “walls are closing in” on the FISA abusers.

Representative Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and James Jordan (R-Ohio) recently met with Horowitz and offered some ominous news for Comey and company: “We anticipate the IG’s report will come out . . . in the next four to six weeks and I think it’s highly likely that we’ll see criminal referrals coming from them,” Meadows told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo on April 14.

President Trump also speculated that the inspector general’s report would contain damning allegations against former top officials for the world’s most powerful law enforcement agency.

“I think he [Horowitz] knows how big this is,” Trump told Sean Hannity in an interview last week. “The IG report coming out in three or four weeks, from what I hear, is going to be…a blockbuster because he has access to information that most people don’t.” If anyone misled the FISA court, including Comey and Yates, Trump suggested that “they’ll all be in a pile of trouble.”

Since last fall, Trump has threatened to declassify the entire application, much of which is still concealed behind redactions, but that has presumably been delayed to protect the integrity of the investigation. Once the inspector general’s report comes out, however, Trump would be free to unredact crucial portions of the application.

So the targets of the inspector general’s probe and their media pals now are spinning hard in preparation of the report’s release.

Natasha Bertrand, a reliable mouthpiece for Fusion GPS, is smearing Horowitz and raising questions about his investigation. “Former U.S. officials interviewed by the inspector general were skeptical about the quality of his probe,” she wrote in an April 17 piece for Politico. “The inspector general seemed neither well-versed in the FISA process nor receptive to the explanations, the officials said.”

Comey unconvincingly is rejecting accusations by Attorney General William Barr and others that there was “spying” on the Trump campaign. “When I hear that kind of language used, it’s concerning,” serial uptalker Comey said in an April 11 interview. “The FBI and the Department of Justice conduct court-ordered electronic surveillance. I have never thought of that as spying. I don’t know of any court-ordered electronic surveillance aimed at the Trump campaign (emphasis added).”

Yates appeared on Sunday for a softball interview with NBC’s “Meet The Press” host Andrea Mitchell. Without any sense of irony, Mitchell introduced Yates as “someone who seems to show up at key moments in the Trump presidency,” including her central role in the set-up, laughable Logan Act inquiry, and subsequent firing of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. (Yates served as acting attorney general for 10 days before Trump fired her for insubordination.)

Yates, much like Comey, has a flair for the dramatic, often using hushed tones, theatrical facial expressions, and overwrought rhetoric to make her point: “When the Russians came knocking at their door, you would think a man who likes to make a show of hugging the flag would have done the patriotic thing and would have notified law enforcement.” (Hard eye roll.)

Yates referred to Trump campaign objections about Russian collusion as “a lie” and (falsely) lamented that “now we have devolved to ‘there’s nothing wrong with taking help,’ illegal help, from a foreign adversary. Surely that’s not where we’ve come to.”

But Yates’ own words might come back to haunt her, and soon.

An April 19 article in the New York Times, which now is backpedaling on the legimitacy of the Steele dossier in advance of the Horowitz report, speculated that the dossier was part of a Russian propaganda campaign targeting the Trump team.

“There has been much chatter among intelligence experts that Steele’s Russian informants could have been pressured to feed him disinformation,” the Times reported. Further, at the time Steele was working for Fusion GPS on Russian-sourced dirt against Trump, he also was lobbying on behalf of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with ties to the Kremlin.

So if Yates signed a court document that heavily relied on shady sources and a lobbyist (Steele) for a Putin-connected billionaire, who would be guilty of relying on help from a foreign adversary for political purposes? Not Donald Trump.

The imperious Yates and her accomplices might have a chance to answer that question—and others—in front of Congress in the very near future.

In response to her “Meet the Press” interview, Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) tweeted that Yates’ actions “will certainly be part of forthcoming Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearings on FBI/DOJ during Obama years in which she served as Deputy AG under Loretta Lynch.”

The Horowitz report could do what the Mueller report could not: Find legitimate evidence of conspiracies between political operatives, Russian interests, and top government officials; uncover attempts to obstruct justice as the various investigations into misconduct proceeded; and expose rank corruption at the highest levels of a presidential administration.

It just won’t be the presidential administration that Mueller and his colleagues were targeting.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The New Yorker

Published:4/30/2019 2:23:20 PM
[Hack] Hackers went undetected in Citrix’s internal network for six months Hackers gained access to technology giant Citrix’s networks six months before they were discovered, the company has confirmed. In a letter to California’s attorney general, the virtualization and security software maker said the hackers had “intermittent access” to its internal network from October 13, 2018 until March 8, 2019, two days after the FBI alerted […] Published:4/30/2019 1:56:42 PM
[] FBI Investigating Antifa Over Possible Plot to Violently Attack Border Patrol They're just anti-fascists, you know. The FBI is investigating anti-fascist activists for an alleged plot to buy guns from a Mexican cartel in order to "stage an armed rebellion" at the southern border, according to an unclassified document obtained by... Published:4/30/2019 1:29:41 PM
[The Blog] FBI investigating Antifa over possible border plot

"...units would form to train anarchists in fighting, combat, and conducting reconnaissance"

The post FBI investigating Antifa over possible border plot appeared first on Hot Air.

Published:4/30/2019 12:22:04 PM
[Politics] FBI investigating ANTIFA plot to buy WEAPONS from drug cartel to ATTACK at the border!! OK, I’m gonna admit that this story coming out of the San Diego Tribune is just bizarre. Apparently they got a hold of evidence that the FBI is investigating claims of a . . . Published:4/30/2019 11:25:09 AM
[Politics] FBI investigating ANTIFA plot to buy WEAPONS from drug cartel to ATTACK at the border!! OK, I’m gonna admit that this story coming out of the San Diego Tribune is just bizarre. Apparently they got a hold of evidence that the FBI is investigating claims of a . . . Published:4/30/2019 11:25:09 AM
[Markets] How AI Systems Could Threaten Democracy

Authored by Steven Feldstein, via NakedCapitalism.com,

U.S. technology giant Microsoft has teamed up with a Chinese military university to develop artificial intelligence systems that could potentially enhance government surveillance and censorship capabilities. Two U.S. senators publicly condemned the partnership, but what the National Defense Technology University of China wants from Microsoft isn’t the only concern.

As my research shows, the advent of digital repression is profoundly affecting the relationship between citizen and state. New technologies are arming governments with unprecedented capabilities to monitor, track and surveil individual people. Even governments in democracies with strong traditions of rule of law find themselves tempted to abuse these new abilities.

In states with unaccountable institutions and frequent human rights abuses, AI systems will most likely cause greater damage. China is a prominent example. Its leadership has enthusiastically embraced AI technologies, and has set up the world’s most sophisticated surveillance state in Xinjiang province, tracking citizens’ daily movements and smartphone use.

Its exploitation of these technologies presents a chilling model for fellow autocrats and poses a direct threat to open democratic societies. Although there’s no evidence that other governments have replicated this level of AI surveillance, Chinese companies are actively exporting the same underlying technologies across the world.

Increasing Reliance on AI Tools in the US

Artificial intelligence systems are everywhere in the modern world, helping run smartphones, internet search engines, digital voice assistants and Netflix movie queues. Many people fail to realize how quickly AI is expanding, thanks to ever-increasing amounts of data to be analyzed, improving algorithms and advanced computer chips.

Any time more information becomes available and analysis gets easier, governments are interested – and not just authoritarian ones. In the U.S., for instance, the 1970s saw revelations that government agencies – such as the FBI, CIA and NSA – had set up expansive domestic surveillance networks to monitor and harass civil rights protesters, political activists and Native American groups. These issues haven’t gone away: Digital technology today has deepened the ability of even more agencies to conduct even more intrusive surveillance.

How fairly do algorithms predict where police should be most focused? Arnout de Vries

For example, U.S. police have eagerly embraced AI technologies. They have begun using software that is meant to predict where crimes will happen to decide where to send officers on patrol. They’re also using facial recognitionand DNA analysis in criminal investigations. But analyses of these systems show the data on which those systems are trainedare often biased, leading to unfair outcomes, such as falsely determining that African Americans are more likely to commit crimes than other groups.

AI Surveillance Around the World

In authoritarian countries, AI systems can directly abet domestic control and surveillance, helping internal security forces process massive amounts of information – including social media posts, text messages, emails and phone calls – more quickly and efficiently. The police can identify social trends and specific people who might threaten the regime based on the information uncovered by these systems.

For instance, the Chinese government has used AI in wide-scale crackdowns in regions that are home to ethnic minorities within China. Surveillance systems in Xinjiang and Tibet have been described as “Orwellian.” These efforts have included mandatory DNA samples, Wi-Fi network monitoring and widespread facial recognition cameras, all connected to integrated data analysis platforms. With the aid of these systems, Chinese authorities have, according to the U.S. State Department, “arbitrarily detained” between 1 and 2 million people.

My research looks at 90 countries around the world with government types ranging from closed authoritarian to flawed democracies, including Thailand, Turkey, Bangladesh and Kenya. I have found that Chinese companies are exporting AI surveillance technology to at least 54 of these countries. Frequently, this technology is packaged as part of China’s flagship Belt and Road Initiative, which is funding an extensive network of roads, railways, energy pipelines and telecommunications networks serving 60% of the world’s population and economies that generate 40% of global GDP.

For instance, Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE are constructing “smart cities” in Pakistanthe Philippinesand Kenya, featuring extensive built-in surveillance technology. For example, Huawei has outfitted Bonifacio Global City in the Philippines with high-definition internet-connected cameras that provide “24/7 intelligent security surveillance with data analytics to detect crime and help manage traffic.”

Bonifacio Global City in the Philippines has a lot of embedded surveillance equipment. alveo land/Wikimedia Commons

HikvisionYitu and SenseTime are supplying state-of-the-art facial recognition cameras for use in places like Singapore – which announced the establishment of a surveillance program with 110,000 cameras mounted on lamp posts around the city-state. Zimbabwe is creating a national image database that can be used for facial recognition.

However, selling advanced equipment for profit is different than sharing technology with an express geopolitical purpose. These new capabilities may plant the seeds for global surveillance: As governments become increasingly dependent upon Chinese technology to manage their populations and maintain power, they will face greater pressure to align with China’s agenda. But for now it appears that China’s primary motive is to dominate the market for new technologies and make lots of money in the process.

AI and Disinformation

In addition to providing surveillance capabilities that are both sweeping and fine-grained, AI can help repressive governments manipulate available information and spread disinformation. These campaigns can be automated or automation-assisted, and deploy hyper-personalized messages directed at – or against – specific people or groups.

AI also underpins the technology commonly called “deepfake,” in which algorithms create realistic video and audio forgeries. Muddying the waters between truth and fiction may become useful in a tight election, when one candidate could create fake videos showing an opponent doing and saying things that never actually happened.

An early deepfake video shows some of the dangers of advanced technology.

In my view, policymakers in democracies should think carefully about the risks of AI systems to their own societies and to people living under authoritarian regimes around the world. A critical question is how many countries will adopt China’s model of digital surveillance. But it’s not just authoritarian countries feeling the pull. And it’s also not just Chinese companies spreading the technology: Many U.S. companies, Microsoft included, but IBM, Cisco and Thermo Fisher too, have provided sophisticated capabilities to nasty governments. The misuse of AI is not limited to autocratic states.

Published:4/29/2019 11:22:23 PM
[] Ron Rosenstein Submits Resignation; Will Leave DOJ May 11th So he's finally out. Last week, Rosenstein made some news by announcing that the Obama administration had downplayed Russia interference as it was actually happening. And meanwhile the FBI had leaked details about it to the media. "The previous administration... Published:4/29/2019 6:03:38 PM
[Politics] “I should make a christians life miserable” – Terrorist plot in retaliation for New Zealand mosque attacks THWARTED Police have thwarted a terrorist plot that was conceived in retaliation for the New Zealand mosque attacks last month by a US Army vet: NBC NEWS – A U.S. Army veteran was . . . Published:4/29/2019 3:16:50 PM
[Politics] “I should make a christians life miserable” – Terrorist plot in retaliation for New Zealand mosque attacks THWARTED Police have thwarted a terrorist plot that was conceived in retaliation for the New Zealand mosque attacks last month by a US Army vet: NBC NEWS – A U.S. Army veteran was . . . Published:4/29/2019 3:16:50 PM
[Markets] Did The Russians Really Interfere In US Elections?

Authored by Boyd Cathey via The Unz Review,

The Mueller Report is now public, and our Mainstream Media have filled the airways with all sorts of commentaries and interpretations. We know that - despite the very best efforts of the dedicated Leftist attorneys on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s staff - there was absolutely no coordination between members of the Trump campaign, or any of his staffers, with Russians. No additional charges have come as a result, other than accusations made earlier of “process crimes” (e.g. failure to report earnings on tax forms, failure to report lobbying work, or not telling investigators what they demanded to hear—“crimes” that practically every politician in Washington has been guilty of at one time or another and would normally not cause much of a stir). None of these involved Russia.

Of course, that finding has not satisfied many Democrats or the unhinged Leftist crazies in the media, who continue to have visions of “collusion”—a kind of communications Alzheimers that has poisoned our media now for years. Thus, Representative Eric Swalwell (who is one of nearly two dozen Democrats running for president) continues to assert that there was “collusion,” as does the irrepressible (and irresponsible) Adam Schiff: “it’s there in plain sight,” they insist, “if you just look hard enough, and maybe squint just a bit—or maybe have those specialized 3-D Russia glasses!”

Such political leaders—along with those further out in the Leftist loonysphere like Representatives Maxine Waters and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortes—continue down their Primrose path of post-Marxist madness.

But beyond the collusion/coordination issue, the past couple of weeks have been filled with a swirling controversy concerning what is called “obstruction of justice.” And once again, the fundamental issues have been incredibly politicized. Special Counsel Robert Mueller had an obligation, if he and his minions discovered “obstruction of justice,” that is, concerted and illegal attempts to obstruct the investigations by the president or his staff, to present charges to the Department of Justice. Yet, all he was able to do was assemble a farrago of “he said/she said” instances, none of which rose to the level of criminal activity. Apparently President Trump told a subaltern “I wish would you fire Mueller,” or he wished in a speech in his joking style that “if the Russians had Hillary’s emails, they would release them,” or he had a private conversation with Vladimir Putin when they met (as all national leaders do!), or his son met with a Russian attorney who supposedly had some “dirt” on the Hillary Clinton campaign (which did not turn out to be the reason for the Trump Tower meeting at all).

None of the ten or eleven cited instances came anywhere close to being actionable or criminal under settled law. In each instance cited, the president’s actions (or desires) fell within his purview and authority under Article II of the Constitution. And regarding Trump’s desire to fire Mueller, he was on solid legal ground; the Supreme Court in its 1997 decision, Edmonds vs. the United States, declared that “inferior” officials, including an independent counsel, could be removed by presidential action as part of his delegated powers. And, in any case, Mueller was not dismissed.

Mueller had an obligation after examining these situations to make a finding; he did not. By so doing, by avoiding decisions and stringing out such instances in an obviously political sense, he abdicated his responsibility and did his best to impugn Donald Trump and his administration…and thus offer grist for continued Democrat attacks on the president…all the way through the 2020 election.

Mueller left it up to the Attorney General William Barr…and Congress…to decide how to proceed. And that is where we are today.

The one issue that both Democrats and most Republicans seem to agree on, the issue which both say is “proven conclusively” by Mueller is that the Russians “attempted to interfere and did interfere” in our 2016 election.

Interesting, is it not, that the Republicans who zealously defend the president and attack the obviously political nature of the Mueller Report would accept, as if on faith and without question, the accusations of Russian interference, also contained in the report?

Turn on Fox and watch, say, Martha MacCallum (e.g., “The Story,” April 24, 2019) declare “we all know now without doubt that the Russians tried to interfere” in our elections, or listen to most any GOP congressman repeat that same narrative with unquestioning certitude.

But that assertion - is it truly backed up factually? Where is the evidence, other than largely questionable information sourced from our largely discredited intelligence agencies which, as we know, had a determined goal of overthrowing the president by any means possible?

Almost three years have passed from the first fake news that appeared in the media on the subject of “Russian collusion,” a concerted effort launched to discredit at first the Donald Trump candidacy and then sabotage his presidency, including his efforts to stabilize Russian-American relations.

As proof of Russian actions, the Mueller Report cites the indictments against twenty-five Russian citizens who were indicted for attempted “interference” (those Russians are, let us add, quite conveniently out of the country and thus not prosecutable). When those indictments were issued, Russia pointed out the flimsy, unsupported and transparently made-up nature of the charges, and demanded that American authorities provide conclusive proof. Such requests were rebuffed.

In order to evaluate the evidence, the Russian government proposed reestablishing the bilateral expert group on information security that the Obama Administration had terminated, which could have served as a platform for conversation on these matters. The American side was also invited to send Justice Department officials to Russia to attend the proposed public questioning of the Russian citizens named by Mueller. Additionally, Russia offered to publicize the exchanges between the two countries following the publication of the accusations of cyberattacks, exchanges which were conducted through existing channels between October 2016 and January 2017.

Our government refused every offer.

A careful analysis, in fact, fails to show any substantial evidence of Russian cyberattacks and attempts to “subvert democracy.” By some estimates, possibly $160,000—a paltry sum—was spent by the Russians during 2016 on social media activities in the United States. Does anyone wish to discover and compare the amount the Chinese Communists or the Saudis would have expended during the same period, for their continued influence and power in Washington and inside-the-Beltway?

It is helpful to examine the charges that have been made, some included in the Mueller Report and accepted blindly by most pundits and politicians, both on the Left and by establishment conservatives.

The Russian government, via their embassy in Washington, has published a 120 page “white paper,” The Russiagate Hysteria: A Case of Severe Russiaphobia, responding to the accusations made against them since 2016. Obviously, the Russian document has a particular viewpoint and very specific goal, but that should not deter us from examining it and evaluating its arguments. (I have written on Russia and its relations with the United States on a number of occasions since 2015 and had pieces published by The Unz ReviewCommunities Digital News, and elsewhere. On my blog, “MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey,” I have authored a dozen columns addressing this question).

Here following I list twenty-one claims made regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election and in American domestic affairs. I follow each claim with the Russian response and how others, as noted, have also responded. In most cases I retain the original text, at times with my editing, but, in every case, with all the referenced sources.

These twenty-one claims should be examined more closely and more calmly, and the “Russophobic” hysteria we have experienced during the past several years needs to be put aside for the sake of rational investigative inquiry—and discovering how the Managerial State and global elites have attempted a “silent coup” against what’s left of our republic.

These claims and the responses deserve respectful consideration and detailed responses:

  1. CLAIM: Russia “meddled” in the U.S. elections by conducting influence operations, including through social media.

FACT

All of the claims of Russian trolls that surfaced over the last few years (such as Russians using the Pokémon Go mobile game and sex toy ads to meddle in the elections – ) are so preposterous and contradictory that they virtually disprove themselves.

Not to mention the absurdity of the whole notion of 13 persons and 3 organizations (whichever country they might represent) charged on February 16, 2018, by Robert Mueller with criminally interfering with the elections, affecting in any way electoral processes in a country of more than 300 million people.

It is telling that when pressed about the scope of the alleged influence campaign, representatives of American social media companies give numbers, that even if they were valid (and there’s no evidence of a connection to the Russian government), are so minuscule as to be basically non-existent. For example, Facebook has identified 3,000 Russia-linked ads costing a total of about $100,000. That’s a miniscule number of ads and a fraction of Facebook’s revenues, which totaled $28 billion. Facebook estimates that 126 million people might – the emphasis is on the word “might” – have seen this content. But this number represents just 0.004% of the content those people saw on the Facebook platform.

Significantly, Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearing on December 11th, 2018 that “ad accounts linked to Russia” spent about $4,700 in advertising” to politically influence Americans during the 2016 presidential election season.

To further cast doubt on the allegations, an American watchdog group “Campaign for Accountability” (“CFA”) admitted on September 4th, 2018, that it deliberately posted propaganda materials on Google disguised as “Russian hackers from the Internet Research Agency” to check how they would be filtered for “foreign interference”. Google officials then accused the CFA as having ties to a rival tech company “Oracle”. In other words, corporate intrigues disguised as “Russian interference“.

As American media has admitted, out of several dozen pre-election rallies supposedly organized by Russians, Special Counsel Mueller mentions in his indictment that only a couple actually appear to have successfully attracted anyone, and those that did were sparsely attended and, almost without exception, in deep-red enclaves that would have voted for Trump anyway.

Amidst all the hysteria about the alleged Russian meddling it is worth reading various research studies which show, quoting “The Washington Post”, that it is Americans, in particular our intelligence service, that peddle disinformation and hate speech.

According to Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, the scale and scope of domestic disinformation is much larger than any foreign influence operation. And academics from the Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy document in their study that there had been major spikes in outright fabrication and misleading information proliferating online before the 2018 U.S. election. A “significant portion” of the disinformation appeared to come from Americans, not foreigners, the Harvard researchers said.

  1. CLAIM: Russian hackers accessed computer servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and leaked materials through Wikileaks and other intermediaries

FACT

As President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin noted in his interview with NBC on June 5, 2017, when flatly denying any allegations of Russia interfering in internal affairs of the U.S., that today’s technology is such that the final internet address can be masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one will be able to understand the origin of that address. It is possible to set up any entity that may indicate one source when, in fact, the source is completely different.

No evidence has been presented linking Russia to leaked emails. In fact, there are credible studies arguing that DNC servers are much more likely to have been breached by someone with immediate and physical access. In 2017 a group of former officers of the U.S. intelligence community, members of the “Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity” (VIPS), met with then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo to present their findings.

Those findings demonstrated using forensic analysis that the DNC data was copied at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack ( , , ), thus suggesting that it was more likely a removable storage device used.

Another counterargument to the “Russian hackers” claim is that the DNC files published by Wikileaks were initially stored under the FAT (File Allocation System) method which is not related to internet transfers and can only be forwarded to an external device such as a thumb drive.

It is also suspicious that the DNC prohibited the FBI from examining the servers. Instead, a third-party tech firm was hired, “Crowd Strike”, which is known for peddling the “Russian interference” claims. And soon enough it, indeed, announced that “Russian malware” has been found, but again no solid evidence was produced.

According to the respected former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, the indictment by the Mueller team on July 13, 2018 of the 12 supposed Russian operatives was a politically motivated fraud. As Ritter explains, Mueller seems to have borrowed his list from an organizational chart of a supposed Russian military intelligence unit, contained in a classified document from the NSA titled “Spear-Phishing Campaign TTPs Used Against U.S. And Foreign Government Political Entities”, which was published by The Intercept online. As stated in that document, this is just a subjective judgement, not a known fact. Ritter concludes, that this is a far cry from the kind of incontrovertible proof that Mueller’s team suggests as existing to support its indictment.

Moreover, it is telling that the indictment was released just before the meeting between President Putin and Trump in Helsinki on July 16, 2018, seemingly as if the aim was to intentionally derail the bilateral summit.

  1. CLAIM: Donald Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections.

FACT

As concluded in the summary of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, the investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia

If the Mueller team, having all the resources of the U.S. government, after 22 months of work, many millions of dollars spent, more than 2800 subpoenas issued, nearly 500 search warrants and 500 witness interviews, didn’t find any evidence of “collusion”, it is simply because there was never any. The whole claim of collusion was launched and peddled by the same group of Democrats, liberal-leaning media and the so-called “Never Trump Republicans”, as it became clear that Donald Trump had real chances of winning the election. And later it morphed into a campaign to derail the newly-elected President agenda, including his efforts to mitigate the damage done to U.S.-Russian relations.

  1. CLAIM: Hacking of American political institutions was personally ordered by the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

FACT

This claim is based on nothing else but the infamous fraudulent “Steele Dossier”, paid for by political opponents [i.e., the Hilary Clinton campaign] of Donald Trump, and wild conjectures that “nothing in Russia happens without Putin’s approval” .

Needless to say, zero proof is presented. By the same logic, nothing in the U.S. happens without the President’s approval. For example, is he also responsible for Edward Snowden? After all, Mr. Snowden was doing work for the U.S. intelligence services. Or the deaths of all the civilians killed abroad by U.S. drone strikes? Every minute detail approved by the President?

  1. CLAIM: Russia did not cooperate with the U.S. in tracing the source of the alleged hacking.

FACT

Russia has repeatedly offered to set up a professional and de-politicized dialogue on international information security only to be rebuffed by the U.S. State Department. For instance, following the discussion between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in Hamburg on July 7, 2017, Russia forwarded to the U.S. a proposal to reestablish a bilateral working group on cyber threats which would have been a perfect medium to discuss American concerns. Moreover, during his meeting with Donald Trump in Helsinki on July 17, 2018, Vladimir Putin offered to allow U.S. representatives to be present at an interrogation of the Russian citizens who were previously accused by the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller of being guilty of electoral interference. Furthermore, in February 2019 the Russian government suggested publishing bilateral correspondence on the subject of unsanctioned access to U.S. electronic networks, which was conducted between Washington and Moscow through the Nuclear Threat Reduction Centers in the period from October 2016 to the end of January 2017.

Needless to say, all Russian offers were rejected. A conclusion is naturally reached that American State Department officials have little interest in hearing anything that contradicts their own narrative or the discredited version of the CIA.

  1. CLAIM: Russia is interfering in elections all over the world

FACT

No credible evidence has been produced not only of Russia’s supposed meddling in the U.S. political processes, but to support similar allegations made by the U.S. in respect to other countries. For example, former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster insinuated that Russia was interfering in the Mexican presidential elections of 2018. However, Mexican officials, including the president of the Mexican Senate Ernesto Cordero Arroyo, and Ambassador to Russia Norma Pensado during a press conference in Moscow in February, 2018, debunked this baseless claim.

Another example of fake news were reports saying that U.S. was increasingly convinced that Russia hacked French election on May 9, 2017. However, on June 1, 2017, the head of the French government’s cyber security agency said no trace was found of the claimed Russian hacking group behind the attack. On the other hand, the history of U.S. interfering in other countries’ elections is well documented by American sources (see: ).

For example, a Carnegie Mellon scholar, Dov H. Levin, has scoured the historical record and found 81 examples of U.S. election influence operations from 1946- to 2000. Often cited examples include Chile in 1964, Guyana in 1968, Nicaragua in 1990, Yugoslavia in 2000, Afghanistan in 2009, Ukraine in 2014, not to mention Russia in 1996! And how else could the current situation in Ukraine and Venezuela be described, with U.S. representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker openly pressuring Ukrainian voters to support the incumbent, and Washington possibly plotting a coup in Caracas?

  1. CLAIM: The lawsuit of the Democratic National Committee against the Russian Federation related to “interference in the election” has a legal standing.

FACT

The DNC filed a civil lawsuit on April 20, 2018 against the Russian Federation and other entities and individuals. Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the Russian Federation; the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU); the GRU operative using the pseudonym “Guccifer 2.0”; Aras Iskenerovich Agalarov; Emin Araz Agalarov; Joseph Mifsud; WikiLeaks; Julian Assange; the Trump campaign (formally “Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.”); Donald Trump, Jr.; Paul Manafort; Roger Stone; Jared Kushner; George Papadopoulos; Richard W. Gates; and unnamed defendants sued as John Does 1–10. The DNC’s complaint accuses the Trump campaign of engaging in a racketeering enterprise in conjunction with Russia and WikiLeaks.

Even irrespective of the fact that there was no “interference” in the first place, the case has no legal standing. Exercise of U.S. jurisdiction over the pending case with respect to the Russian Federation is a violation of the international law, specifically, violation of jurisdictional immunities of the Russian Federation arising from the principle of the sovereign equality of states.

  1. CLAIM: Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak was a spy.

FACT

In March of 2017 U.S. media began libeling Sergey Kislyak a “top spy and spy-recruiter” This preposterous claim was based on nothing but his contacts with Trump confidant Senator Jeff Sessions – carrying out work any ambassador would do. Per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, among core diplomatic functions is ascertaining by all lawful means conditions and developments in the receiving state, and that certainly includes openly meeting leaders of Congress on Capitol Hill. Even former CIA Director John McLaughlin noted that Mr. Kislyak is an experienced diplomat, not a spy.

  1. CLAIM: Russian Embassy retreat in Maryland was an intelligence base

FACT.

Among the unlawful acts that U.S. administrations undertook was the expropriation of a legal Russian property in Maryland, a summer retreat near the Chesapeake Bay under the pretext it was used for intelligence gathering. But where is the supposed-treasure trove of alleged spy equipment that U.S. authorities reportedly found there? Why not show them publicly to back up the claim? After the expropriation and the claims, not a word – silence.

The retreat, “dacha” as Russians would call it, was bought by the former Soviet Union in 1972. Since then, it was used for recreation, including hosting a children’s summer camp and regularly entertaining American visitors. One of the more popular events was the stop-over during the annual Chesapeake Regatta, completed with an expansive tour of the property. Presumably U.S. intelligence services could have used this for years to inspect the property. Why was nothing ever mentioned before the Obama Administration action?

  1. CLAIM: The meeting in Trump Tower in New York on June 9, 2016 between Trump campaign officials and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was to discuss compromising materials that Russian had on Hillary Clinton.

FACT

According to testimony provided to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Ms. Veselnitskaya focused on explaining the illicit activities of U.S.-British investor Bill Browder, wanted in Russia for crimes, and brought attention to the adverse effects of the so-called “Magnitskiy Act”, adopted by U.S. Congress in 2012 and lobbied for by Browder.

  1. CLAIM: Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, met with Russians in Prague to “collude”.

FACT

It was reported in American media that the Justice Department special counsel had evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, secretly made a trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign to meet with Russian representatives, a fact also mentioned in the discredited “Steele Dossier”. This was given as further evidence of “collusion”. But Cohen vehemently denied this – under oath. Passport records indicate that he never was in Prague. He was actually on vacation with his son at the supposed time. Given that he publicly turned on his former boss and still denied the fact of ever going to Prague disproves this claim further.

  1. CLAIM: Former member of the Trump campaign team Carter Page was a Russian intelligence asset.

FACT

According to members of Congress and journalistic investigations, the redacted declassified documents of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC, also called the FISA Court) show that the main source used by U.S. counterintelligence to justify spying on Mr. Page was the fraudulent so-called “Steele Dossier”.

Thus, Mr. Page for obvious reasons was not accused by the team of Robert Mueller of being involved in a “Russian conspiracy”.

  1. CLAIM: On August 22, 2018, The Democratic National Committee filed a claim with the FBI, accusing the “Russian hackers” of infiltrating its electoral database.

FACT

Several days later members of the Democratic Party admitted that it was a “false alarm”, as it was simply a security check-up performed at the initiative of the Democratic Party’s affiliate in Michigan.

  1. CLAIM: On August 8, 2018 U.S. Senator Bill Nelson accused Russia of breaching the infrastructure of the voter registration systems in several local election offices of Florida.

FACT

Florida’s Department of State spokesperson, Sarah Revell, stated on August 9, 2018, that Florida’s government had not received any evidence from competent authorities that Florida’s voting systems or election records had been compromised. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI also could not confirm in any manner the accusations.

  1. CLAIM: In September, 2017 the U.S. media, referring to the Department of Homeland Security, accused Russia of “cyberattacks” on electoral infrastructure in 21 states during the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections.

FACT

On September 27, 2017, Wisconsin and California authorities stated that their electoral systems were not targeted by cyberattacks. On November 12, 2017, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in a CBS interview that the “hackers’ activity” had no significant consequences and did not influence the outcome of the elections. And, indeed, the source of those attacks was not clear.

  1. CLAIM: Russia meddled in the Alabama 2017 Senate elections to help the Republican candidate.

FACT

Despite the initial claims, it turned out that a group of Democratic tech experts decided to imitate so-called “Russian tactics” in the fiercely contested Alabama Senate rac?. Even more jarring is the fact that one participant in the “Alabama project”, Jonathon Morgan, is chief executive of “New Knowledge”, a cyber security firm that wrote a scathing account of Russia’s social media operations in the 2016 election that was released in 2018 by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Once again, we have one of the main private sector players in hyping the Russian threat caught red-handed.

  1. CLAIM: Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign chairman, was a secret link to Russian intelligence.

FACT

Trump’s former campaign chairman was hit with two indictments from Mueller’s office. However, even as American media notes, both cases have nothing to do with Russia and stemmed from his years as a political consultant for the Ukrainian government and his failure to pay taxes on the millions he earned, his failure to report the foreign bank accounts he used to stash that money, and his failure to report his work to the US government. In his second case in Virginia, he was also chargedwith committing bank fraud to boost his assets when the Ukraine work dried up.

In fact, serious concerns have been raised in the U.S. that it was Ukrainian officials who tried to influence the 2016 elections by leaking compromising materials on Mr. Manafort.

The Ukrainian connection is also prevalent in the case of money transferred to accounts of American politicians. For instance, according to a “New York Times” article, Ukrainian billionaire Viktor Pinchuk donated over 10 million dollars to the “Clinton Foundation while just 150 thousand dollars to the “Trump Foundation”.

  1. CLAIM: Russia compromised the Vermont power grid.

FACT

On December 31, 2016, “The Washington Post”, accused “Russian hackers” of compromising the Vermont power grid. The local company, “Burlington Electric”, allegedly traced a malware code in a laptop of one of its employees. It was stated that the same “code” was used to hack the Democratic Party servers in 2016. However, the “Wordfence” cybersecurity firm checked “Burlington Electric” for hacking, and said that the malware code was openly available, for instance, on a web-site of Ukrainian hackers. The attackers were using IP-addresses from across the world. “The Washington Post” later admitted that conclusions on Russia’s involvement were false.

  1. CLAIM: Russian Alfa Bank was used as a secret communication link with the Trump campaign.

FACT

In October 2016 a new “accusation” appeared, alleging that a message exchange between the Alfa Bank server and Trump organizations indicated a «secret» Trump – Russia communication channel.

However, the FBI concluded the supposed messaging was marketing newsletters and/or spam.

  1. CLAIM: Russia cracked voter registration systems during the 2016 U.S. elections.

FACT

In July 2016 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security accused Russia of gaining unauthorized access to electronic voter registration systems in Arizona. But on April 8, 2018, “Reuters”, referring to a high-ranking U.S. administration official, wrote there was no proof Russia had anything to do with the mentioned cyberattack.

  1. CLAIM: Russian Embassy bank transactions were linked to “election interference”.

FACT

American publication “Buzzfeed” repeatedly claimed that U.S. authorities flagged Russian Embassy financial transfers as suspicious, many of them dated around the 2016 election. In reality, the media outlet, by twisting the facts and placing them out of context, made routine banking transactions – salary transfers, payments to contractors – look nefarious. It is not uncommon for embassy personnel to receive larger payouts, transfer or withdraw larger sums of money at the end of their work. Furthermore, leaking of confidential banking information of persons and organizations protected by diplomatic immunity raised concerns about the likely involvement of security services.

The arrest in October 2018 of a U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network official, charged with leaking information both about the Russian Embassy accounts and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, provides further proof to the theory of political skullduggery.

*  *  *

Most of these responses have not been fully examined or addressed by major media, nor, for that matter, by Fox News, dominated as it is by an almost instinctive Neoconservative Russophobia (the one possible exception being Tucker Carlson).

For the American Left, since the collapse of Communism and the growth of a traditionalist nationalism (under Vladimir Putin), Russia has become a convenient target. When the Soviets were in power prior to 1991, the USSR was seen as a “progressive” presence in the world, even if by the requirements of American politics the Left was forced to make ritualistic condemnations of the more extreme elements of Soviet statecraft. Now that post-Communist Russia bans same sex marriage, glorifies the traditional family, and the conservative Russian Orthodox Church occupies a special position of esteem and prominence, that admiration has turned to fear and loathing. And that Russia and its president have been viewed as favorable to the hated Donald Trump doubly confirms that hostility and targeting.

For the dominant Neoconservatives and many Republicans, contemporary Russia is seen as “anti-democratic,” “reactionary,” and a threat to American world hegemony (and the refusal to bow to that hegemony, whether economically, politically, or culturally). Indeed, as a major intellectual force, Neoconservatism owes much of its origins to Eastern European and Russia Jews, many of whose ancestors were at direct odds with the old pre-1917 Tsarist state. That animus, those nightmares of pogroms and oppression, have never completely subsided. A modern traditionalist, Orthodox Russia is viewed as antithetical to their more liberal, even Leftwing ideas (e.g., increasing “conservative” acceptance of same sex marriage, “moderate” feminism, and a whole panoply of “forward looking” views on civil rights issues—all of which are present on Fox News.)

Memory of “the bad old days” has never disappeared.

None of this history should prevent a close examination of the current accusations against Russia, nor our search for the truth. Much—perhaps the future of Western civilization itself—depends on it.

Published:4/28/2019 9:13:04 PM
[Politics] Ron Johnson: 'I Understand President's Frustration' With Mueller Probe Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said Sunday he understands President Donald Trump's "frustration" at special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation - and the president's harsh assessment at a Saturday rally of some FBI leaders as "scum."... Published:4/28/2019 12:09:55 PM
[Markets] Will The Senior-Level FBI Agents, Who Placed Spies In The Trump Campaign, Ever Be Held Accountable?

Authored by Mike Whitney via The Unz Review,

Did the FBI spy on the Trump campaign?

Yes

Did the FBI place spies in the Trump campaign?

Yes

Do we know the names of the spies and how they operated?

Yes

Were the spies trying to entrap Trump campaign assistants in order to gather information on Trump?

Yes

Did the spies try to elicit information from Trump campaign assistants in order to justify a wider investigation and more extensive surveillance?

Yes

Were the spies placed in the Trump campaign based on improperly obtained FISA warrants?

Yes

Did the FBI agents procure these warrants based on false or misleading information?

Yes

Could the FBI establish “probable cause” that Trump had committed a crime or “colluded” with Russia?

No

So the ‘spying’ was illegal?

Yes

Have many of the people who authorized the spying, already been identified in criminal referrals presented to the Department of Justice?

Yes

Have the media explained the importance of these criminal referrals or the impact that spying has on free elections?

No

Is the DOJ’s Inspector General currently investigating whether senior-level agents in the FBI committed crimes by improperly obtaining warrants to spy on members of the Trump team?

Yes

Did the FBI spy on the Trump campaign to give Hillary Clinton an unfair advantage in the presidential race?

Yes

Did the FBI spy on the Trump campaign to gather incriminating information on Trump that could be used to blackmail, intimidate or impeach him in the future?

Yes

Does spying pose a threat to our elections and to our democracy?

Yes

Do many people know that there were spies placed in the Trump campaign?

Yes

Have these people effectively used that information to their advantage?

No

Have they launched any type of public relations offensive that would draw more attention to the critical issue of spying on a political campaign?

No

Have they saturated the airwaves with the truth about “spying” the same way their rivals have spread their disinformation about “collusion”?

No

Do they understand that the country is currently embroiled in a fratricidal, scorched earth political civil war in which one side is determined to prevail at all cost?

No

Do they understand that the people who authorized the spying and who perpetrated the coup will do everything in their power to prevent that information from getting out?

No

Does it look like senior-level agents at the FBI, the CIA, the DOJ, the NSA and the Obama White House knew that there were spies in the Trump campaign?

Yes

Did these same senior-level agents at the FBI, the CIA, the DOJ, the NSA and the Obama White House cooperate in a plan to undermine and delegitimize the Trump presidency?

Yes

Did they use false or misleading information to infer the president was an agent of a foreign power?

Yes

Did they know this false and misleading information was unreliable, unverified raw intelligence that was paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton?

Yes

Was there a conspiracy to remove Trump from office or to sabotage his presidency through the dissemination of false information?

Yes

Does the use of spies, wiretapping, “unmasking”, strategically-leaked information to the media, and other forms of electronic surveillance suggest that there are organized elements within the permanent bureaucracy which no longer accept the democratic process?

Yes

Is it fair to say that these people are the enemies of free elections?

Yes

Is it possible for patriotic officials in the Justice Department and in the U.S. Congress to stand up to this powerful deep state apparatus, expose what happened during the 2016 presidential campaign, identify the perpetrators, and bring them to justice?

It is possible, but not likely.

Published:4/27/2019 11:39:00 AM
[Markets] Strassel: Why Didn't Mueller Investigate Whether Steele Dossier Was Russian Disinfo?

Since the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report, several questions have been asked as to why certain things were not investigated, and key players were never interviewed, according to President Trump. 

Perhaps the most glaring omission is Mueller's failure to consider that the infamous "Steele Dossier" - which used Kremlin sources - could have been Russian disinformation itself. 

Asking that very question, the Wall Street Journal's Kimberly Strassel opines on this "stunning omission." 

Kimberly Strassel via the Wall Street Journal

Politicians keep reminding us not to lose sight of special counsel Robert Mueller’s broader assignment: to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. If only someone had reminded Mr. Mueller.

One of the biggest failures of the Mueller probe concerns not what was in the final report, but what was not. Close readers will search in vain for any analysis of the central document in this affair: the infamous “dossier.” It’s a stunning omission, given the possibility that the Russians used that collection of reports to feed disinformation to U.S. intelligence agencies, sparking years of political maelstrom.

The dossier—compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele on behalf of Fusion GPS, an opposition-research firm working for the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee—fed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the media the principal allegations of the “collusion” narrative. It claimed Paul Manafort was at the center of a “well-developed” Trump-Russia “conspiracy”; that Carter Page served as his intermediary, conducting secret meetings with a Kremlin official and the head of a state energy company; that Michael Cohen held a clandestine meeting in Prague with Vladimir Putin cronies; and that the Russians had compromising material on Donald Trump, making him vulnerable to blackmail. The dossier was clearly important to the FBI probe. Its wild claims made up a significant section of the FBI’s application for a secret surveillance warrant on Mr. Page.

The Mueller report exposes the dossier claims as pure fiction. Yet in describing the actions of the Trump campaign figures the FBI accused, the report assiduously avoids any mention of the dossier or its allegations. Mr. Mueller refers to Mr. Steele and his work largely in passing, as part of the report’s description of how former FBI Director James Comey informed Mr. Trump of the dossier’s existence. The dossier is blandly described several times as “unverified allegations compiled” by Mr. Steele.

Once Mr. Mueller established that the dossier was a pack of lies, he should have investigated how it gained such currency at the highest levels of the FBI. Yet his report makes clear he had no interest in plumbing the antics of the bureau, which he led from 2001-13. Instead, he went out of his way to avoid the dossier and give cover to the FBI.

The special counsel had another, more pressing reason to look at the dossier: It fell within his core mission. Since its publication by BuzzFeed in January 2017, we’ve learned enough about Mr. Steele and Fusion GPS to wonder if the Russians used the dossier for their own malign purposes.

In the first telling, Mr. Steele was described by friendly media as simply a “former Western intelligence official” with a history at Britain’s overseas intelligence service. It turns out he worked in Russia. Mr. Steele spent his first years of service under diplomatic cover in Moscow, later in Paris. And in 1999 he was among 117 British spies whose covers were publicly blown by a disgruntled ex-MI6 officer.

The former spy, known to the public and therefore to Russia, also became known for sending reports to the U.S. government. Last year former Obama State Department official Jonathan Winer explained that in 2009 he became friendly with the self-employed Mr. Steele, and starting as early as 2013 ensured that “more than 100 of Steele’s reports” on Russia topics were shared with the State Department. Given that the dossier is largely based on Russian sources, some supposedly connected to the Kremlin, did the Kremlin know about this arrangement and see an opportunity to spoon-feed the U.S. government disinformation?

We’ve also learned more about Mr. Steele’s and Fusion’s connections to Russians. Mr. Steele sent a series of emails to Justice Department employee Bruce Ohr in 2016 inquiring about the status of a visa for Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch with Kremlin ties. Fusion GPS was working alongside Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who arranged the infamous meeting with Donald Trump Jr. in June 2016. Fusion was hired as part of a team to help Ms. Veselnitskaya undermine Bill Browder, the man behind the Magnitsky Act, a law that imposes sanctions on Russians for corruption and human-rights violations.

How did Mr. Mueller spend two years investigating every aspect of Russian interference—cyberhacking, social-media trolling, meetings with Trump officials—and not consider the possibility that the dossier was part of the Russian interference effort?

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and Attorney General William Barr may answer some of the questions Mr. Mueller refused to touch. Thanks to the special counsel we know Republicans weren’t playing footsie with Russians. But thanks to BuzzFeed, we know that Democrats were. America deserves to know how far that interaction extended.

Write to kim@wsj.com.

Published:4/27/2019 10:33:32 AM
[Markets] Ukraine Tapped By Obama Admin To Hurt Trump, Help Clinton And Protect Bidens

In January, 2016, the Obama White House summoned Ukrainian authorities to Washington to discuss several ongoing matters under the guise of coordinating "anti-corruption efforts," reports The Hill's John Solomon. 

The January 2016 gathering, confirmed by multiple participants and contemporaneous memos, brought some of Ukraine’s top corruption prosecutors and investigators face to face with members of former President Obama’s National Security Council (NSC), FBI, State Department and Department of Justice (DOJ).

The agenda suggested the purpose was training and coordination. But Ukrainian participants said it didn’t take long — during the meetings and afterward — to realize the Americans’ objectives included two politically hot investigations: one that touched Vice President Joe Biden’s family and one that involved a lobbying firm linked closely to then-candidate Trump. -The Hill

The Obama officials - likely knowing that lobbyist Paul Manafort was about to join President Trump's campaign soon (he joined that March), were interested in reviving a closed investigation into payments to US figures from Ukraine's pro-Russia Party of Regions - which both Paul Manafort and Tony Podesta did unregistered work for, according to former Ukrainian Embassy political officer Andrii Telizhenko. 

The 2014 investigation focused heavily on Manafort, whose firm was tied to Trump through his longtime partner and Trump adviser, Roger Stone.

Agents interviewed Manafort in 2014 about whether he received undeclared payments from the party of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, an ally of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and whether he engaged in improper foreign lobbying.

The FBI shut down the case without charging Manafort 

Telizhenko and other attendees of the January, 2016 meeting recall DOJ employees asking Ukrainian investigators from their National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) if they could locate new evidence about the Party of Regions' payments to Americans

"It was definitely the case that led to the charges against Manafort and the leak to U.S. media during the 2016 election," said Telizhenko - which makes the January 2016 gathering in DC one of the earliest documented efforts to compile a case against Trump and those in his orbit. 

Nazar Kholodnytskyy, Ukraine’s chief anti-corruption prosecutor, told me he attended some but not all of the January 2016 Washington meetings and couldn’t remember the specific cases, if any, that were discussed.

But he said he soon saw evidence in Ukraine of political meddling in the U.S. election. Kholodnytskyy said the key evidence against Manafort — a ledger showing payments from the Party of Regions — was known to Ukrainian authorities since 2014 but was suddenly released in May 2016 by the U.S.-friendly NABU, after Manafort was named Trump’s campaign chairman.

"Somebody kept this black ledger secret for two years and then showed it to the public and the U.S. media. It was extremely suspicious," said Kholodnytskyy - who specifically instructed NABU not to share the "black ledger" with the media. 

"I ordered the detectives to give nothing to the mass media considering this case. Instead, they had broken my order and published themselves these one or two pages of this black ledger regarding Paul Manafort," he added. "For me it was the first call that something was going wrong and that there is some external influence in this case. And there is some other interests in this case not in the interest of the investigation and a fair trial."

Manafort joined Trump's campaign on March 29, 2016 and became campaign manager on May 19, 2016. The ledger's existence leaked on May 29, 2016, while Manafort would be fired from the Trump campaign that August. 

NABU leaked the existence of the ledgers on May 29, 2016. Later that summer, it told U.S. media the ledgers showed payments to Manafort, a revelation that forced him to resign from the campaign in August 2016.

A Ukrainian court in December concluded NABU’s release of the ledger was an illegal attempt to influence the U.S. election. And a member of Ukraine’s parliament has released a recording of a NABU official saying the agency released the ledger to help Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Ignoring others, protecting Bidens

Kostiantyn Kulyk - deputy head of the Ukraine prosecutor general’s international affairs office, said that Ukraine also had evidence of other Western figures receiving money from Yanukovych's party - such as former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig - but the Americans weren't interested. 

"They just discussed Manafort. This was all and only what they wanted. Nobody else," said Kulyk. 

Another case raised at the January 2016 meeting involved the Bidens - specifically Burisma Holdings; a Ukrainian energy company which was under investigation at the time for improper foreign transfers of money. Burisma allegedly paid then-Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter more than $3 million in 2014-15 as both a board member and a consultant, according to bank records

According to Telizhenko, U.S. officials told the Ukrainians they would prefer that Kiev drop the Burisma probe and allow the FBI to take it over. The Ukrainians did not agree. But then Joe Biden pressured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire Ukraine’s chief prosecutor in March 2016, as I previously reported. The Burisma case was transferred to NABU, then shut down.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Washington on Thursday confirmed the Obama administration requested the meetings in January 2016, but embassy representatives attended only some of the sessions.

Last Wednesday on Fox and Friends, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said "I ask you to keep your eye on Ukraine," referring to collusion to help Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.  

What's more, DOJ documents support Telizhenko's claim that the DOJ reopened its Manafort case as the 2016 election ramped up - including communications between Associate Attorney General Bruce Ohr, his wife, Nellie, and ex-British spy Christopher Steele, as Solomon writes. 

Nellie Ohr and Steele worked in 2016 for the research firm, Fusion GPS, that was hired by Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to find Russia dirt on Trump. Steele wrote the famous dossier for Fusion that the FBI used to gain a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. Nellie Ohr admitted to Congress that she routed Russia dirt on Trump from Fusion to the DOJ through her husband during the election.

DOJ emails show Nellie Ohr on May 30, 2016, directly alerted her husband and two DOJ prosecutors specializing in international crimes to the discovery of the “black ledger” documents that led to Manafort’s prosecution.

“Reported Trove of documents on Ukrainian Party of Regions’ Black Cashbox,” Nellie Ohr wrote to her husband and federal prosecutors Lisa Holtyn and Joseph Wheatley, attaching a news article on the announcement of NABU’s release of the documents.

Politico reported previously that the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington assisted the Hillary Clinton campaign through a DNC contractor, while the Ukrainian Embassy acknowledges that it got requests from a DNC staffer to find dirt on Manafort (though it denies providing any improper assistance." 

As Solomon concludes: "what is already confirmed by Ukrainians looks a lot more like assertive collusion with a foreign power than anything detailed in the Mueller report."

Published:4/27/2019 9:34:26 AM
[Markets] 15 Killed During Shootout At Terrorist Hideout As Sri Lankan Police Round Up Jihadis

In the wake of last weekend's devastating attacks, which killed a total of 253 people across more than six locations, including three churches and three luxury hotels, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has vowed to leave no suspect's home undisturbed as police round up every one in the country of 20 million with even a passing affiliation with Islamic fundamentalist groups.

Sirisena, whose government failed to act on an intelligence memo warning of the impending attacks 10 days prior, has been struggling to rebuild the public's confidence, claiming that he never saw the memos while firing one of his defense ministers and pushing a police chief inspector general to quit (so far, he has refused).

Sri Lanka police and soldiers secure the site after a gunbattle in Kalmunai, in eastern Sri Lanka, April 27, 2019; photo: AP

Yet so far, the raids have been successful, as police have captured dozens of suspects and seized bombs, weapons and ISIS flags. However, violence has erupted that has caused the total death toll from the attacks to climb. On Friday, violence erupted during raids on suspected bomb-building sites and other terrorist strongholds. Police have said they believe some 140 members of ISIS are in the country, and that only 70 have been taken into custody.

According to Bloomberg, a total of 15 bodies, including six children, were recovered after a lengthy gun battle between military police and suspected Islamic militants linked to the bombings. The suspects were killed after police raided a house in Sainthamaruthu on Friday; earlier, police had said they believed four gunmen and a civilian had been killed. Police scoured the area after one of the bombings happened in nearby Batticaloa.

Three suicide bombers were among the dead, according to military spokesman Sumith Atapattu, who said they were suspected members of National Towheed Jama’at, the domestic group believed to have partnered with ISIS in carrying out the attacks. Unfortunately, suicide bombers detonating explosives has become a troubling theme during the raids. Earlier in the week, the daughter-in-law of a wealthy spice merchant whose sons were among the assailants in Sunday's attacks killed herself, two of her children and several officers when they raided the family compound.

Earlier, two militants and one civilian were killed in a firefight between troops and suspected militants near Sammanthurai. The fighting erupted on Friday night after troops raided a safe house on a tip from police, encountering militants who set off multiple explosions and opened fire.

Since the raids began in the days after Sunday's attacks, police have seized explosives, military uniforms, detonators, materials used to make suicide vests, and Islamic State flags. Some 10,000 soldiers have participated in the raids. The FBI has been assisting local police in the attacks.

Published:4/27/2019 8:34:41 AM
[Markets] The Essence Of Evil: Sex With Children Has Become Big Business In America

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

Children are being targeted and sold for sex in America every day.”—John Ryan, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Children, young girls - some as young as 9 years old - are being bought and sold for sex in America. The average age for a young woman being sold for sex is now 13 years old.

This is America’s dirty little secret.

Sex trafficking—especially when it comes to the buying and selling of young girls—has become big business in America, the fastest growing business in organized crime and the second most-lucrative commodity traded illegally after drugs and guns.

As investigative journalist Amy Fine Collins notes, “It’s become more lucrative and much safer to sell malleable teens than drugs or guns. A pound of heroin or an AK-47 can be retailed once, but a young girl can be sold 10 to 15 times a day—and a ‘righteous’ pimp confiscates 100 percent of her earnings.”

Consider this: every two minutes, a child is exploited in the sex industry.

According to USA Todayadults purchase children for sex at least 2.5 million times a year in the United States.

Who buys a child for sex? Otherwise ordinary men from all walks of life.

They could be your co-worker, doctor, pastor or spouse,” writes journalist Tim Swarens, who spent more than a year investigating the sex trade in America.

In Georgia alone, it is estimated that 7,200 men (half of them in their 30s) seek to purchase sex with adolescent girls each month, averaging roughly 300 a day.

On average, a child might be raped by 6,000 men during a five-year period of servitude.

It is estimated that at least 100,000 children—girls and boys—are bought and sold for sex in the U.S. every year, with as many as 300,000 children in danger of being trafficked each year. Some of these children are forcefully abducted, others are runaways, and still others are sold into the system by relatives and acquaintances.

“Human trafficking—the commercial sexual exploitation of American children and women, via the Internet, strip clubs, escort services, or street prostitution—is on its way to becoming one of the worst crimes in the U.S.,” said prosecutor Krishna Patel.

This is an industry that revolves around cheap sex on the fly, with young girls and women who are sold to 50 men each day for $25 apiece, while their handlers make $150,000 to $200,000 per child each year.

This is not a problem found only in big cities.

It’s happening everywhere, right under our noses, in suburbs, cities and towns across the nation.

As Ernie Allen of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children points out, “The only way not to find this in any American city is simply not to look for it.”

Don’t fool yourselves into believing that this is merely a concern for lower income communities or immigrants.

It’s not.

It is estimated that there are 100,000 to 150,000 under-aged child sex workers in the U.S. These girls aren’t volunteering to be sex slaves. They’re being lured—forced—trafficked into it. In most cases, they have no choice.

In order to avoid detection (in some cases aided and abetted by the police) and cater to male buyers’ demand for sex with different women, pimps and the gangs and crime syndicates they work for have turned sex trafficking into a highly mobile enterprise, with trafficked girls, boys and women constantly being moved from city to city, state to state, and country to country.

For instance, the Baltimore-Washington area, referred to as The Circuit, with its I-95 corridor dotted with rest stops, bus stations and truck stops, is a hub for the sex trade.

No doubt about it: this is a highly profitable, highly organized and highly sophisticated sex trafficking business that operates in towns large and small, raking in upwards of $9.5 billion a year in the U.S. alone by abducting and selling young girls for sex.

Every year, the girls being bought and sold gets younger and younger.

The average age of those being trafficked is 13. Yet as the head of a group that combats trafficking pointed out, “Let’s think about what average means. That means there are children younger than 13. That means 8-, 9-, 10-year-olds.

“For every 10 women rescued, there are 50 to 100 more women who are brought in by the traffickers. Unfortunately, they’re not 18- or 20-year-olds anymore,” noted a 25-year-old victim of trafficking. “They’re minors as young as 13 who are being trafficked. They’re little girls.”

Where did this appetite for young girls come from?

Look around you.

Young girls have been sexualized for years now in music videos, on billboards, in television ads, and in clothing stores. Marketers have created a demand for young flesh and a ready supply of over-sexualized children.

“All it takes is one look at MySpace photos of teens to see examples—if they aren’t imitating porn they’ve actually seen, they’re imitating the porn-inspired images and poses they’ve absorbed elsewhere,” writes Jessica Bennett for Newsweek. “Latex, corsets and stripper heels, once the fashion of porn stars, have made their way into middle and high school.”

This is what Bennett refers to as the “pornification of a generation.”

“In a market that sells high heels for babies and thongs for tweens, it doesn’t take a genius to see that sex, if not porn, has invaded our lives,” concludes Bennett. “Whether we welcome it or not, television brings it into our living rooms and the Web brings it into our bedrooms. According to a 2007 study from the University of Alberta, as many as 90 percent of boys and 70 percent of girls aged 13 to 14 have accessed sexually explicit content at least once.”

In other words, the culture is grooming these young people to be preyed upon by sexual predators. And then we wonder why our young women are being preyed on, trafficked and abused?

Social media makes it all too easy. As one news center reported, “Finding girls is easy for pimps. They look on MySpace, Facebook, and other social networks. They and their assistants cruise malls, high schools and middle schools. They pick them up at bus stops. On the trolley. Girl-to-girl recruitment sometimes happens.” Foster homes and youth shelters have also become prime targets for traffickers.

Rarely do these girls enter into prostitution voluntarily. Many start out as runaways or throwaways, only to be snatched up by pimps or larger sex rings. Others, persuaded to meet up with a stranger after interacting online through one of the many social networking sites, find themselves quickly initiated into their new lives as sex slaves.

Debbie, a straight-A student who belonged to a close-knit Air Force family living in Phoenix, Ariz., is an example of this trading of flesh. Debbie was 15 when she was snatched from her driveway by an acquaintance-friend. Forced into a car, Debbie was bound and taken to an unknown location, held at gunpoint and raped by multiple men. She was then crammed into a small dog kennel and forced to eat dog biscuits. Debbie’s captors advertised her services on Craigslist. Those who responded were often married with children, and the money that Debbie “earned” for sex was given to her kidnappers. The gang raping continued. After searching the apartment where Debbie was held captive, police finally found Debbie stuffed in a drawer under a bed. Her harrowing ordeal lasted for 40 days.

While Debbie was fortunate enough to be rescued, others are not so lucky. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, nearly 800,000 children go missing every year (roughly 2,185 children a day).

With a growing demand for sexual slavery and an endless supply of girls and women who can be targeted for abduction, this is not a problem that’s going away anytime soon.

For those trafficked, it’s a nightmare from beginning to end.

Those being sold for sex have an average life expectancy of seven years, and those years are a living nightmare of endless rape, forced drugging, humiliation, degradation, threats, disease, pregnancies, abortions, miscarriages, torture, pain, and always the constant fear of being killed or, worse, having those you love hurt or killed.

Peter Landesman paints the full horrors of life for those victims of the sex trade in his New York Times article “The Girls Next Door”:

Andrea told me that she and the other children she was held with were frequently beaten to keep them off-balance and obedient. Sometimes they were videotaped while being forced to have sex with adults or one another. Often, she said, she was asked to play roles: the therapist patient or the obedient daughter. Her cell of sex traffickers offered three age ranges of sex partners--toddler to age 4, 5 to 12 and teens--as well as what she called a “damage group.” “In the damage group, they can hit you or do anything they want to,” she explained. “Though sex always hurts when you are little, so it’s always violent, everything was much more painful once you were placed in the damage group.”

What Andrea described next shows just how depraved some portions of American society have become. “They’d get you hungry then to train you” to have oral sex. “They put honey on a man. For the littlest kids, you had to learn not to gag. And they would push things in you so you would open up better. We learned responses. Like if they wanted us to be sultry or sexy or scared. Most of them wanted you scared. When I got older, I’d teach the younger kids how to float away so things didn’t hurt.”

Immigration and customs enforcement agents at the Cyber Crimes Center in Fairfax, Va., report that when it comes to sex, the appetites of many Americans have now changed. What was once considered abnormal is now the norm. These agents are tracking a clear spike in the demand for harder-core pornography on the Internet. As one agent noted, “We’ve become desensitized by the soft stuff; now we need a harder and harder hit.”

This trend is reflected by the treatment many of the girls receive at the hands of the drug traffickers and the men who purchase them. Peter Landesman interviewed Rosario, a Mexican woman who had been trafficked to New York and held captive for a number of years. She said: “In America, we had ‘special jobs.’ Oral sex, anal sex, often with many men. Sex is now more adventurous, harder.”

A common thread woven through most survivors’ experiences is being forced to go without sleep or food until they have met their sex quota of at least 40 men. One woman recounts how her trafficker made her lie face down on the floor when she was pregnant and then literally jumped on her back, forcing her to miscarry.

Holly Austin Smith was abducted when she was 14 years old, raped, and then forced to prostitute herself. Her pimp, when brought to trial, was only made to serve a year in prison.

Barbara Amaya was repeatedly sold between traffickers, abused, shot, stabbed, raped, kidnapped, trafficked, beaten, and jailed all before she was 18 years old. “I had a quota that I was supposed to fill every night. And if I didn’t have that amount of money, I would get beat, thrown down the stairs. He beat me once with wire coat hangers, the kind you hang up clothes, he straightened it out and my whole back was bleeding.”

As David McSwane recounts in a chilling piece for the Herald-Tribune: “In Oakland Park, an industrial Fort Lauderdale suburb, federal agents in 2011 encountered a brothel operated by a married couple. Inside ‘The Boom Boom Room,’ as it was known, customers paid a fee and were given a condom and a timer and left alone with one of the brothel’s eight teenagers, children as young as 13. A 16-year-old foster child testified that he acted as security, while a 17-year-old girl told a federal judge she was forced to have sex with as many as 20 men a night.”

One particular sex trafficking ring catered specifically to migrant workers employed seasonally on farms throughout the southeastern states, especially the Carolinas and Georgia, although it’s a flourishing business in every state in the country. Traffickers transport the women from farm to farm, where migrant workers would line up outside shacks, as many as 30 at a time, to have sex with them before they were transported to yet another farm where the process would begin all over again.

This growing evil is, for all intents and purposes, out in the open.

Trafficked women and children are advertised on the internet, transported on the interstate, and bought and sold in swanky hotels.

Indeed, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the government’s war on sex trafficking—much like the government’s war on terrorism, drugs and crime—has become a perfect excuse for inflicting more police state tactics (police check points, searches, surveillance, and heightened security) on a vulnerable public, while doing little to make our communities safer.

So what can you do?

Educate yourselves and your children about this growing menace in our communities.

Stop feeding the monster: Sex trafficking is part of a larger continuum in America that runs the gamut from homelessness, poverty, and self-esteem issues to sexualized television, the glorification of a pimp/ho culture—what is often referred to as the pornification of America—and a billion dollar sex industry built on the back of pornography, music, entertainment, etc.

This epidemic is largely one of our own making, especially in a corporate age where the value placed on human life takes a backseat to profit. It is estimated that the porn industry brings in more money than Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Yahoo.

Call on your city councils, elected officials and police departments to make the battle against sex trafficking a top priority, more so even than the so-called war on terror and drugs and the militarization of law enforcement.

Stop prosecuting adults for victimless “crimes” such as growing lettuce in their front yard and focus on putting away the pimps and buyers who victimize these young women.

Finally, the police need to do a better job of training, identifying and responding to these issues; communities and social services need to do a better job of protecting runaways, who are the primary targets of traffickers; legislators need to pass legislation aimed at prosecuting traffickers and “johns,” the buyers who drive the demand for sex slaves; and hotels need to stop enabling these traffickers, by providing them with rooms and cover for their dirty deeds.

That so many women and children continue to be victimized, brutalized and treated like human cargo is due to three things: one, a consumer demand that is increasingly lucrative for everyone involved—except the victims; two, a level of corruption so invasive on both a local and international scale that there is little hope of working through established channels for change; and three, an eerie silence from individuals who fail to speak out against such atrocities.

But the truth is that we are all guilty of contributing to this human suffering. The traffickers are guilty. The consumers are guilty. The corrupt law enforcement officials are guilty. The women’s groups who do nothing are guilty. The foreign peacekeepers and aid workers who contribute to the demand for sex slaves are guilty. Most of all, every individual who does not raise a hue and cry over the atrocities being committed against women and children in almost every nation around the globe—including the United States—is guilty.

Published:4/26/2019 11:35:20 PM
[Startups] The FBI searched the offices of microbiome startup uBiome Earlier today, agents from the FBI searched the offices of uBiome, the medical testing company that sells analyses of an individual’s microbiome — the bacteria that live in the gut, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The FBI is reportedly investigating uBiome’s billing practices, the WSJ reported. “I can confirm that special […] Published:4/26/2019 4:01:06 PM
[Markets] For "The Thinking Class", Blowback Is A Harsh Mistress

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

In this universe of paradox, inequity, ironies, and fake-outs one strange actuality stands above the rest these days: that the much-reviled President Trump was on the right side of RussiaGate, and the enormous mob of America’s Thinking Class was on the wrong side — and by such a shocking margin of error that they remain in a horrified fugue of outrage and reprisal, apparently unaware that consequences await.

Granted, there’s a lot to not like about Mr. Trump: his life of maximum privilege in a bubble of grifticious wealth; his shady career in the sub-swamp of New York real estate; his rough, garbled, and childlike manner of speech; his disdain of political decorum, his lumbering bellicosity, his apparently near-total lack of education, and, of course, the mystifying hair-doo. His unbelievable luck in winning the 2016 election can only be explained by the intervention of some malign cosmic force — a role assigned to the Russians. At least that’s how Mr. Trump’s antagonists engineered The Narrative that they have now quadrupled down on.

To make matters worse, this odious President happens to be on the right side of several other political quarrels of the day, at least in terms of principle, however awkwardly he presents it.

The Resistance, which is to say the same Thinking Class groomed in the Ivy League and apprenticed in official leadership, has dug in on the idiotic policy position of a de facto open border with Mexico, and embellished that foolish idea with such accessory stupidities as sanctuary cities and free college tuition for non-citizens. Their arguments justifying these positions are wholly sentimental — they’re stuffing little children in cages! — masking a deep undercurrent of dishonesty and cynical opportunism — not to mention putting themselves at odds with the rule-of-law itself.

During the 2016 election campaign, Mr. Trump often averred to forging better relations with Russia. The previous administration had meddled grotesquely in Ukrainian politics, among other things, and scuttled the chance to make common cause with Russia in areas of shared self-interest, for instance, in opposing worldwide Islamic terrorism. This was apparently too much for the US War Lobby, who needed a Russian boogeyman to keep the gravy train of weaponry and profitable interventionist operations chugging along, even if it meant arming Islamic State warriors who were blowing up US troops. Being falsely persecuted from before day one of his term for “collusion with Russia,” Mr. Trump apparently found it necessary to go along with antagonizing Russia via sanctions and bluster, as if to demonstrate he never was “Putin’s Puppet.”

Meanwhile, by some strange process of psychological alchemy, the Thinking Class assigned Islamic radicals to their roster of sacred victims of oppression — so that now it’s verboten to mention them in news reports whenever some new slaughter of innocents is carried out around the world, or to complain about their hostility to Western Civ as a general proposition. Two decades after the obscene 9/11 attacks, the new Democratic Party controlled congress has apparently decided that it’s better to make common cause with Islamic Radicalism than with a Russia that is, in actuality, no longer the Soviet Union but rather just another European nation trying to make it through the endgame of the industrial age, like everybody else.

The Thinking Class behind the bad faith Resistance is about to be beaten within an inch of its place in history with an ugly-stick of reality as The Narrative finally comes to be fairly adjudicated. The Mueller Report was much more than just disappointing; it was a comically inept performance insofar as it managed to overlook the only incidence of collusion that actually took place: namely, the disinfo operation sponsored by the Hillary Clinton campaign in concert with the highest officials of the FBI, the Department of Justice, State Department personnel, the various Intel agencies, and the Obama White house for the purpose of interfering in the 2016 election. It will turn out that the Mueller Investigation was just an extension of that felonious op, and Mr. Mueller himself may well be subject to prosecution for destroying evidence and, yes, obstruction of justice.

John F. Kennedy once observed that “life is unfair.” It is unfair, perhaps, that a TV Reality Show huckster, clown, and rank outsider beat a highly credentialed veteran of the political establishment and that he flaunts his lack of decorum in the Oval Office. But it happens that he was on the side of the truth in the RussiaGate farrago and that happens to place him in a position of advantage going forward.

Published:4/26/2019 3:02:16 PM
[2019 News] Trump’s FBI Gets It Done, Clinton Official Pleads Guilty To TREASON For Collusion Trump’s FBI Gets It Done, Clinton Official Pleads Guilty To TREASON For Collusion. Yes indeed, things seem to be heating up. According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Candace Marie Claiborne — who worked under both Hillary and Bill Clinton — pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the U.S. government, concealing contact with foreign spies, obstructing […] Published:4/26/2019 2:10:55 PM
[Markets] Trump Makes Post-Mueller Vow To Release "Devastating" FISA Docs

President Trump on Thursday renewed his vow to declassify a wide swath of "devastating" documents related to the Russia probe "and much more" - adding that he's glad he waited until the Mueller investigation was complete. 

In a Thursday night phone interview on Fox News, host Sean Hannity asked "will you declassify the FISA applications, gang of 8 material, those 302s - what we call on this program 'the bucket of five'?"

To which Trump replied: "Yes, everything is going to be declassified - and more, much more than what you just mentioned. It will all be declassified, and I'm glad I waited because i thought that maybe they would obstruct if I did it early - and I think I was right. So I'm glad I waited, and now the Attorney General can take a look - a very strong look at whatever it is, but it will be declassified and more than what you just mentioned."

Last September 17th, Trump vowed to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation with no redactions, as well as specific pages from the FBI's FISA surveillance warrant application on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, and interviews with the DOJ's Bruce Ohr. 

Four days later, however, Trump said over Twitter that the Justice Department - then headed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions (while the Russia investigation was headed up by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein) - told him that it might have a negative impact on the Russia probe, and that key US allies had asked him not to release the documents. 

"I met with the DOJ concerning the declassification of various UNREDACTED documents," Trump tweeted. "They agreed to release them but stated that so doing may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe. Also, key Allies’ called to ask not to release. Therefore, the Inspector General has been asked to review these documents on an expedited basis. I believe he will move quickly on this (and hopefully other things which he is looking at). In the end I can always declassify if it proves necessary. Speed is very important to me - and everyone!"

That key ally turns out to have been the UK, according to the New York Times., which reported last September that their concern was over material which "includes direct references to conversations between American law enforcement officials and Christopher Steele,the former MI6 agent who compiled the infamous "Steele Dossier."

We now know, of course, that Steele had extensive contact with Bruce and Nellie Ohr in 2016, while Bruce was the #4 official at the Obama DOJ, and Nellie was working for Fusion GPS - the opposition research firm hired by Hillary Clinton and the DNC to produce the infamous Steele Dossier.

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

And who could forget that much of the espionage performed on the Trump campaign was conducted on UK soil throughout 2016. Recall that Trump aid George Papadopoulos was lured to London in March, 2016, where Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud fed him the rumor that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton. It was later at a London bar that Papadopoulos would drunkenly pass the rumor to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer (who Strzok flew to London to meet with). 

Also recall that CIA/FBI "informant" (spy) Stefan Halper met with both Carter Page and Papadopoulos in London. 

Halper, a veteran of four Republican administrations, reached out to Trump aide George Papadopoulos in September 2016 with an offer to fly to London to write an academic paper on energy exploration in the Mediterranean Sea.

Papadopoulos accepted a flight to London and a $3,000 honorarium. He claims that during a meeting in London, Halper asked him whether he knew anything about Russian hacking of Democrats’ emails.

Papadopoulos had other contacts on British soil that he now believes were part of a government-sanctioned surveillance operation. -Daily Caller

In total, Halper received over $1 million from the Obama Pentagon for "research," over $400,000 of which was granted before and during the 2016 election season. 

No wonder the British government has "grave concerns." 

    Published:4/26/2019 2:10:55 PM
    [] Strzok-Page Texts Indicate They Might Have Broken DOJ Policies for Conducting Domestic Investigation In Seeking to Recruit Spies on Trump's Staff Catherine Herridge and Greg Re report. So, when the FBI was supposed to be briefing the Trump team, they were actually using that opportunity to look for possible recruits into their spying operation, and possibly deviating from the standard briefing... Published:4/26/2019 1:30:22 PM
    [The Blog] Fox: Strzok-Page texts sure look like FBI was attempting to spy on incoming Trump admin

    "Infiltrate"?

    The post Fox: Strzok-Page texts sure look like FBI was attempting to spy on incoming Trump admin appeared first on Hot Air.

    Published:4/26/2019 11:30:18 AM
    [US News] TICK-TOCK: New Strzok-Page texts about gathering info on Trump team post-election are pretty damn DAMNING

    We know, we’ve been talking about how these FBI yahoos may finally have to answer for their actions during (and now maybe after) the 2016 Election but MAYBE things are finally getting started. Between Rod Rosenstein calling Obama out to these new Strzok-Page texts, MAYBE justice will stop being conveniently blind. It could happen. But […]

    The post TICK-TOCK: New Strzok-Page texts about gathering info on Trump team post-election are pretty damn DAMNING appeared first on twitchy.com.

    Published:4/26/2019 7:57:36 AM
    [Markets] The New York Post: Trump renews ire at revealed texts from FBI officials Strzok and Page: ‘It’s a coup’ President Trump reacted with anger to reports that text messages between two FBI officials in the days after his 2016 presidential victory may show “irregularities” in how the Russia investigation began, calling it evidence of a “coup.”
    Published:4/26/2019 5:57:49 AM
    [Markets] Johnson: Special Counsel Mueller - Disingenuous And Dishonest

    Authored by Larry Johnson via Sic Temper Tyrannis blog,

    While President Trump is correct to celebrate the Mueller Report’s conclusion that no one on Trump’s side of the ledger attempted to or succeeded in collaborating or colluding with the Russian Government or Russian spies, there remains a dark cloud behind the silver lining. And I am not referring to the claims of alleged obstruction of justice.  A careful reading of the report reveals that Mueller has issued findings that are both disingenuous and dishonest. The report is a failed hatchet job. Part of the failure can be attributed to the amount of material that Attorney General Barr allowed to be released. It appears that Bill Barr's light editing may have been intended to expose the bias and sloppiness of Mueller and his team.

    Let us start with the case of trying to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. If you were to believe that the Steele Dossier accurately reported Vladimir Putin's attitude towards Trump, then a Trump real estate deal in Moscow was a slam dunk. According to one of Steele's breathless reports:

    The Kremlin's cultivation operation on TRUMP also had comprised offering him various lucrative real estate development business deals in Russia, especially in  relation  to  the  ongoing  2018 World Cup soccer tournament. How ever, so far, for reasons unknown, TRUMP had not taken up any of these.

    Then there is reality. The impetus, the encouragement for the Moscow project came from one man--Felix Sater

    In the late summer of2015, the Trump Organization received a new inquiry about pursuing a Trump Tower project in Moscow. In approximately September 2015, Felix Sater . . . contacted Cohen on behalf of I.C. Expert Investment Company (I.C. Expert), a Russian real-estate development corporation controlled by Andrei Vladimirovich Rozov.J07 Sater had known Rozov since approximately 2007 and, in 2014, had served as an agent on behalf of Rozov during Rozov's purchase of a building in New York City.30S Sater later contacted Rozov and proposed that I.C. Expert pursue a Trump Tower Moscow project in which I.C. Expert would license the name and brand from the Trump Organization but construct the building on its own. Sater worked on the deal with Rozov and another employee of I.C. Expert. (see page 69 of the Mueller Report).

    To reiterate--if the Steele Dossier was based on truthful intelligence then the Trump organization only had to sit back, stretch out their hands and seize the moment. Instead, little Felix Sater keeps coming back to the well. In January 2016, according to the Mueller report.

    Sater then sent a draft invitation for Cohen to visit Moscow to discuss the Trump Moscow project,along with a note to "[t]ell me if the letter is good as amended by me or  make whatever changes you want and send it back to me."

    After a further round of edits, on January 25, 2016, Sater sent Cohen an invitation- signed by Andrey Ryabinskiy of the company MHJ-to travel to"Moscow for a working visit" about the "prospects of development and the construction business in Russia," "the various land plots available suited for construction of this enormous Tower," and "the opportunity to co-ordinate a follow up visit to Moscow by Mr. Donald Trump.

    This produced nothing. No deal, no trip. But Sater persisted:

    Beginning in late 2015, Sater repeatedly tried to arrange for Cohen and candidate Trump, as representatives of the Trump Organization, to travel to Russia to meet with Russian government officials and possible financing partners. . . .

    Into the spring of 2016, Sater and Cohen continued to discuss a trip to Moscow in connection with the Trump Moscow project. On April 20, 2016, Sater wrote Cohen, " [t)he People wanted to know when you are coming?,,

    On May 4, 2016, Sater followed up:

    “I had a chat with Moscow. ASSUMING the trip does happen the question is before or after the convention. I said I believe, but don't know for sure, that's it's probably after the convention. Obviously the pre-meeting trip (you only) can happen anytime you want but he 2 big guys where [sic) the question. I said I would confirm and revert.”

    On May 5, 2016, Sater wrote to Cohen:

    “Peskov would like to invite you as his guest to the St. Petersburg Forum which is Russia's Davos it's June 16-19. He wants to meet there with you and possibly introduce you to either Putin or Medvedev, as they are not sure if 1 or both will be there. This is perfect. The entire business class of Russia will be there as well.” 

    On June 14, 2016, Cohen met Sater in the lobby of the Trump Tower in New York and informed him that he would not be traveling at that time.

    Why was Felix Sater the one repeatedly identified pushing to arrange deals with the Russians and yet did not face any subsequent charges by the Mueller team? Sater had been working as part of the Trump team since 2003. Why is it that the proposed deals and travel to Moscow came predominantly from Felix Sater? As I noted in my previous piece--The FBI Tried and Failed to Entrap Trump--Sater was an active FBI undercover informant. He had been working with the FBI since 1998. When he agreed to start working as an undercover informant aka cooperator in December 1998 guess who signed off on the deal? Andrew Weissman. You can see the deal here. It was signed 10 December 1998.

    An honest prosecutor would have and should have disclosed this fact. He, Sater, was the one encouraging the Trump team to cozy up to Russia. Mueller does not disclose one single instance of Trump or Cohen or any of the Trump kids calling Sater on the carpet and chewing his ass for not bringing them deals and not opening doors in Russia. Omitting this key fact goes beyond simple disingenuity. It is a conscious lie.

    The circumstantial evidence indicates that Sater was doing this at the behest of FBI handlers. We do not yet know who they are.

    But Sater's behavior and status as an FBI Informant was not an isolated incident. We also have the case of Michael Caputo and Roger Stone being approached by a Russian gangster named Henry Greenberg. According to democratdossier.com:

    Greenberg's birth name is Gennady Vasilievich Vostretsov, the son of Yekatrina Vostretsova and Vasliy Vostretsov. He later adopted new names twice as a result of two different marriages and became Gennady V. Arzhanik and later Henry Oknyansky. Henry Greenberg is not a legal alias, but he uses it quite commonly in recent years.

    But you would not know this from reading the Mueller report. Mr. Disingenuous strikes again:

    In the spring of 2016, Trump Campaign advisor Michael Caputo learned through a Florida-based Russian business partner that another Florida-based Russian, Henry Oknyansky (who also went by the name Henry Greenberg), claimed to have information pertaining to Hillary Clinton . Caputo notified Roger Stone and brokered communication between Stone and Oknyansky.

    Oknyansky and Stone set up a May 2016 in-person meeting.260 Oknyansky was accompanied to the meeting by Alexei Rasin, a Ukrainian associate involved in Florida real estate. At the meeting, Rasin offered to sell Stone derogatory information on Clinton that Rasin claimed to have obtained while working for Clinton. Rasin claimed to possess financial statements demonstrating Clinton's involvement in money laundering with Rasin's companies. According to Oknyansky, Stone asked if the amounts in question totaled millions of dollars but was told it was closer to hundreds of thousands. Stone refused the offer, stating that Trump would not pay for opposition research.

    How does a guy like Vorkretsov/Greenberg, with an extensive criminal record and circumstantial ties to the Russian mob gain entrance into the United States? Very simple answer. He too was an FBI informant:

    In an affidavit, Vostretsov explained to an immigration judge he worked for the FBI for 17 years throughout the world, including in the US, Iran and North Korea. He explained in the same paperwork the FBI granted him several temporary visas to visit the US in exchange for information about criminal activities.

    Please take time to read the full dossier at democrat dossier.

    This is more than an odd coincidence. This is a pattern. The FBI was targeting the Trump campaign and personnel in a deliberate effort to implicate them in wanting to work with Russians.

    And there is more. George Papodopoulus was entrapped by individuals linked to British MI-6 and the CIA with offers to provide meetings with Russians and Putin. The Mueller account is a lie:

    In late April 2016, Papadopoulos was told by London-based professor Joseph Mifsud, immediately after Mifsud 's return from a trip to Moscow, that the Russian government had obtained "dirt" on candidate Clinton in the form of thousands of emails. One week later, on May 6, 2016, Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to candidate Clinton.

    Papadopoulos shared information about Russian "dirt " with people outside of the Campaign, and the Office investigated whether he also provided it to a Campaign official. Papadopoulos and the Campaign officials with whom he interacted told the Office that they did · not recall that Papadopoulos passed them the information. Throughout the relevant period of time and for several months thereafter, Papadopoulos worked with Mifsud and two Russian nationals to arrange a meeting between the Campaign and the Russian government. That meeting never came to pass.

    Once again, the Mueller team treats the provocateur--i.e., Joseph Mifsud--as some simple guy with ties to Russia's political elites. Another egregious lie. Mifsud was not working on behalf of Russia. He was deployed by MI-6. Disobedient Media has been on the forefront of exposing Mifsud's ties to western intelligence in general and the Brits in particular.

    Mifsud’s alleged links to Russian intelligence are summarily debunked by his close working relationship with Claire Smith, a major figure in the upper echelons of British intelligence. A number of Twitter users recently observed that Joseph Mifsud had been photographed standing next to Claire Smith of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee at Mifsud’s LINK campus in Rome. Newsmax and Buzzfeed later reported that the professor’s name and biography had been removed from the campus’ website, writing that the mysterious removal took place after Mifsud had served the institution for “years.”

    WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange likewise noted the connection between Mifsud and Smith in a Twitter thread, additionally pointing out his connections with Saudi intelligence: “[Mifsud] and Claire Smith of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee and eight-year member of the UK Security Vetting panel both trained Italian security services at the Link University in Rome and appear to both be present in this [photo].”

    The photograph in question originated on Geodiplomatics.com, where it specified that Joseph Mifsud is indeed standing next to Claire Smith, who was attending a: “…Training program on International Security which was organised by Link Campus University and London Academy of Diplomacy.” The event is listed as taking place in October, 2012. This is highly significant for a number of reasons.

    This is not a meer matter of Mueller and his team "failing" to disclose some important facts.  If they were operating honestly they should have investigated Mifsud, Greenberg and Sater. But they did not. Two of the three--Sater and Greenber--alleged Russian stooges have ties to the FBI. And Mifsud has been living and working in the belly of the intelligence community.

    When you put these facts together it is clear that there is real meat on the bone for Barr's upcoming investigation of the "spying" that was being done on the Trump campaign by law enforcement and intelligence. These facts must become a part of the public consciousness. The foreign country that worked feverishly to meddle in the 2016 Presidential election and the subsequent rule of Donald Trump is the United Kingdom. Russia is the patsy.

    Published:4/25/2019 9:55:38 PM
    [Politics] Report: FBI to Meet With Fla. Officials About Election Hacking Florida officials will be briefed by the FBI next month on Russian hackers who might have phished their way into a local elections office, according to the Miami Herald. Published:4/25/2019 7:54:11 PM
    [News] FBI, IRS Raid Baltimore City Hall, Homes Of Mayor Catherine Pugh, Her Attorney’s Office & Other Locations

    The following article, FBI, IRS Raid Baltimore City Hall, Homes Of Mayor Catherine Pugh, Her Attorney’s Office & Other Locations, was first published on Godfather Politics.

    FBI raids Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s City Hall office, her 2 houses, this as the governor calls on her to resign. According to wbaltv the FBI and IRS executed search warrants at several locations in Baltimore, including Mayor Catherine Pugh’s homes and City Hall. The searches include the following locations: Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s two ...

    Continue reading: FBI, IRS Raid Baltimore City Hall, Homes Of Mayor Catherine Pugh, Her Attorney’s Office & Other Locations ...

    Published:4/25/2019 6:27:46 PM
    [Markets] Baltimore Mayor Bolts -- Pugh Missing After FBI-IRS Raid

    Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has gone missing after the FBI and IRS raided her home, according to Baltimore CBS affiliate WJZ

    Jason Bentley, Pugh's spokesman, told the Associated Press on Thursday that he has no clue where the Mayor is, while her defense attorney, Steve Silverman, routed calls to voicemail. 

    According to the report, "Pugh was at her home when the raid began, but has since left the state."

    ?????Federal agents leave City Hall in the investigation into Mayor Catherine Pugh's business dealings. The mayor's second floor offices are one of several locations raided on Thursday morning.

    Pugh was asked to resign by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan shortly after the raids. 

    "Today, agents for the FBI and the IRS executed search warrants at the mayor’s homes and offices," said Hogan. "Now, more than ever, Baltimore city needs strong and responsible leadership. Mayor Pugh has lost the public trust. She is clearly not fit to lead. For the good of the city, Mayor Pugh must resign."

    Neighbors say they haven't seen her in weeks. Others were devastated at news of the raid. 

    The city is now into the fourth week of Pugh on indefinite leave and silence is surrounding Baltimore’s top offices. Pugh’s aides have gone silent on status updates, declining to comment on her health this week- as questions linger on when, or if, she plans to return to work.

    Last Friday her spokesman said she is recovering from pneumonia and plans to return to work.

    Meanwhile, dominos continue to fall inside Baltimore City Hall on Tuesday, as acting Mayor Jack Young stayed tight-lipped on his recent decision to place a seventh Pugh staffer on leave of absence. -WJZ

    "I’m committed to stabilizing the city and moving forward, and any changes I need to make, I will make them," said acting Mayor Young. 

    "I haven’t spoken to her in two and a half weeks. I haven’t heard from her. I have no idea other than what I read in the paper." 

    Published:4/25/2019 2:22:47 PM
    [The Blog] WJZ: Baltimore mayor may have fled the state after FBI-IRS raid

    Hogan: "Mayor Pugh must resign."

    The post WJZ: Baltimore mayor may have fled the state after FBI-IRS raid appeared first on Hot Air.

    Published:4/25/2019 1:22:57 PM
    [Markets] Operation Crossfire Boomerang Begins

    Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

    From Twitter:

    Remember Spying on Trump was called “Crossfire Hurricane”? Well now it’s renamed to “Crossfire Boomerang”. BOOM. Karma!