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[Markets] The People Crafting US Policy Aren't In America The People Crafting US Policy Aren't In America

Authored by Joseph Solis-Mullen via The Libertarian Institute/Mises.org,

In a piece of news that shocked the mainstream media, but which shocked no one familiar with the academic industry writ large, retired US Army general John Allen was forced to resign as president of the Brookings Institution after it was revealed the FBI was investigating him for lobbying on behalf of the Qatari monarchy.

Of course, the real news, scarcely noted by The Washington PostNew York Times, or any other purported paper of record, is that Allen was only really in trouble because he hadn’t fulfilled the pro forma legal requirements for those lobbying the U.S. government on behalf of a foreign agent or government.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), under which such activities are regulated, includes several exceptions that allow for such activities without declaring a conflict of interest. Think tanks, a misnomer if ever there was one, operate under an "academic exception" that allows for engagement in "bona fide religious, scholastic, academic, or scientific pursuits or the fine arts."

Anyone who has ever picked up one of the many deadly dull social science journals where actual, bona fide empirical academic work is done knows this constitutes perhaps a fraction of what think tanks almost daily churn out. Rather think tank commentary, touted as objective analysis, is regularly featured or cited by publications and outlets as apparently diverse as The Wall Street Journal and NPR.

Of course, think tanks are hardly alone. As Ben Freeman, a specialist on foreign influence on U.S. policy, has documented, such democratic bastions of liberal values as the UAE and Saudi Arabia donate hundreds of millions, even billions, to universities around the country.

Of course, from a libertarian perspective, who is to say who should be giving money to whom and for what? Further, FARA’s provisions are so nebulous that virtually anyone could be targeted for virtually any reason, an obvious opportunity for unaccountable federal officials to impinge on Americans’ civil liberties.

But the blatant hypocrisy of it all is what really stands out, as the same universities and think tanks regularly decry the apparently perfidious influence of countries like China, which they breathlessly warn uses our "open institutions" for its own gain. Should any of their number dare to go off message and report, for example, on the well-documented and wholly negative influence of countries like Israel on US foreign policy, they are tarred as anti-Semites, racists, or foreign agents themselves!

The truth is the powerful Israel and Saudi Arabia lobbies have been able to steer US policy in directions clearly at odds with the best interests of the American people for decades. Unsurprisingly, perhaps nowhere has the deleterious effect of their money been more felt than in US policy toward Iran, with the Saudis, Israelis, and Emiratis dumping literally billions of dollars into attacks on a country the United States should have normalized relations with decades ago.

The Uyghur lobby is another such interest group that enjoys an open door in Congress and the op-ed pages of prominent papers—this while its nakedly paramilitary arm advocates the violent overthrow of the Beijing government! And what are we, or foreign governments like China, to think when the parent organization of such extremists, the World Uyghur Congress, takes funding from the US government itself? We aren’t supposed to think about it at all.

Just like we aren’t supposed to question any of the other nakedly self-serving policies. Who, for example, is surprised to learn there is a large and active Ukraine lobby in Washington? That has paid off handsomely, with our government now handing over $130 million daily to Kyiv with little to no oversight.

And of course, most maddeningly, any critically thinking American who even dares to question the US government’s obviously dangerous and counterproductive policies, bought and paid for by literal foreign agents, are themselves accused of being in the pay of Moscow, Beijing, or Tehran.

Never mind that all the evidence points in the opposite direction.

Again, the American people aren’t expected to think at all, only to stay in line and keep the money flowing. This is the sad state of foreign policy in America, and it happens right out in the open.

Tyler Durden Mon, 07/04/2022 - 23:30
Published:7/5/2022 12:12:43 AM
[Markets] DOJ Has VA Suspend All Benefits Of Jan. 6 Prisoner DOJ Has VA Suspend All Benefits Of Jan. 6 Prisoner

Authored by Patricia Tolson via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Just when the wife of one incarcerated Jan. 6 prisoner believed things couldn’t get worse, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) informed her they are going to suspend all of her husband’s benefits. According to United States Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), “this is what you have when vindictive leftists get in charge of major parts of the government.”

The envelope containing the unsigned letter received by Angel and Kenneth Harrelson from the "Director Regional Office" "informing them that their Veterans Benefits are being suspended due to 38 U.S. Code § 6105 - Forfeiture for subversive activities, which requires that an individual be "convicted" of a listed crime, not "indicted." (Courtesy of Angel Harrelson)

In an unsigned letter from the VA—dated June 13 and appearing to originate from the “Director Regional Office,”—Angel and Kenneth Harrelson were notified that the administration “received information from the United States Department of Justice” that Kenneth had been “indicted and charged with Seditious Conspiracy (18 U.S.C 2384).”

Page 1 of the unsigned letter received by Angel and Kenneth Harrelson from the “Director Regional Office” “informing them that their Veterans Benefits are being suspended due to 38 U.S. Code § 6105 – Forfeiture for subversive activities, which requires that an individual be “convicted” of a listed crime, not “indicted.” (Courtesy of Angel Harrelson)

The letter further noted that: “Pursuant to 38 U.S. Code § 6105(a)”—Forfeiture for subversive activities—”after receiving notice of an indictment for the above offense” the “VA must suspend payment of gratuitous benefits pending disposition of the criminal proceedings. If convicted, gratuitous benefits are forfeited, automatically, from and after the date of the offense.”

The “date of the offense” is Jan. 6, 2021.

“Based on the information above,” the VA further informed the Harrelsons that they “propose to suspend” their “compensation benefit payments effective September 1, 2022, which is the first day of the month following a 60-day due process period.”

“If you are subsequently acquitted of this charge, payments can be resumed from the date of suspension, if otherwise in order. If you are convicted, benefits will be retroactively terminated effective January 5, 2021, the date proceeding the offense, or from the date your award commenced, whichever is later.”

Kenneth Harrelson taking photographs inside the Rotunda inside the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021. (FBI Criminal Complaint)

According to 38 U.S. Code § 6105:

“Any individual who is CONVICTED after September 1, 1959, of any offense listed in subsection (b) of this section shall, from and after the date of commission of such offense, have no right to gratuitous benefits (including the right to burial in a national cemetery) under laws administered by the Secretary based on periods of military, naval, air, or space service commencing before the date of the commission of such offense and no other person shall be entitled to such benefits on account of such individual.”

According to the 18-page criminal complaint (pdf), Kenneth Harrelson was charged with Conspiracy (1) Obstruction of an Official Proceeding and Aiding and Abetting (2) Destruction of Government Property and Aiding and Abetting (3) Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds (4) Tampering with Documents or Proceedings (5). According to the Arrest Warrant (pdf), Kenneth was arrested at his home in Titusville, Florida, on March 10, 2021. According to the Criminal Docket, the seditious conspiracy charge was added with several others on Jan. 12, 2022.

Kenneth is currently being held in the Correctional Treatment Facility in southeast Washington and has been incarcerated, without a trial and without being convicted of any crime, for over 475 days.

Page two of the letter explains that: “if convicted,” the change in his benefits “may mean” the VA had paid “too much,” in which case they will send another letter letting them “know if the changes go through.” If so, the “VA’s Debt Management Center will send a letter explaining how much” they’ve “been overpaid, as well as how to repay this debt.”

Page 2 of the unsigned June 13, 2022 letter received by Angel and Kenneth Harrelson from the “Director Regional Office” “informing them that their Veterans Benefits are being suspended due to 38 U.S. Code § 6105 – Forfeiture for subversive activities and that they may have “been overpaid, as well as how to repay this debt.” (Courtesy of Angel Harrelson)

Page three of the letter advises the Harrelsons how to obtain representation.

Page 3 of the unsigned June 13, 2022 letter received by Angel and Kenneth Harrelson from the “Director Regional Office” “informing them that their Veterans Benefits are being suspended due to 38 U.S. Code § 6105 and advises the Harrelsons how to obtain representation.

Page four provides clarification of what VA.gov is and provides information on how “enrolling in VA.gov is easy.”

Page 4, the signature page, of the unsigned June 13, 2022 letter received by Angel and Kenneth Harrelson from the “Director Regional Office” providing clarification of “what” VA.gov “is” and provides information on how “enrolling in VA.gov is easy.” (Courtesy of Angel Harrelson)

 “This is what you have when vindictive leftists get in charge of major parts of the government,” Gohmert told The Epoch Times. “What we’re seeing is when immoral, mean-spirited, leftist people take over the government, they use every aspect of the government in order to try to inflict their hatred on people with whom they disagree. Even after most of the Democrats in the House of Representatives obstructed an official session of Congress back in June 2016, at that time, none of us were saying these people have got to be put in jail. We just wanted to be able to go back into session as the majority. But when they have power, obstructing an official session of Congress—which is the worst charge many of the January Sixers were charged with—we see the left wanting to bury them, take away any benefit, destroy their lives and not only their lives they want to destroy their homes, destroy their children’s lives. This is an evil, toxic atmosphere when these types of people are in control of so much of the federal government.”

Following the June 12 shooting at Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida, members of the House Democratic Caucus staged a pre-planned and well-organized protest sit-in on the House floor just after the House convened on June 22, 2016. They demanded that then-House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) allow a vote on gun control. Through the day and into the next morning, they obstructed proceedings, chanted “no bill, no break,” and sang “We shall overcome.”

According to The Guardian, Gohmert “stood toe to toe” with then United States Representative Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) “in a confrontation that looked set to spiral out of control” until Rep. John Lewis (D-Pa.) and others intervened. Gohmert said he was angered by the disrespect shown by Democrats for the sanctity of the House chamber, which he called a “last bastion of civility.” He was also angered by the disrespect shown to the 49 victims of the shooting. “I’m amazed here on the House floor that to them [Democrats] it’s all about guns,” he said. On May 19, the Internal Revenue Service announced Brown “pleaded guilty to engaging in a corrupt endeavor to obstruct and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws” and was “ordered to pay $62,650.99 in restitution.”

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/30/2022 - 19:10
Published:6/30/2022 6:30:45 PM
[Markets] Prosecutors Say Prince Andrew 'Next Target' After Ghislaine Maxwell Sentenced To 20 Years Prosecutors Say Prince Andrew 'Next Target' After Ghislaine Maxwell Sentenced To 20 Years

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

Following the relatively light twenty year sentence Ghislaine Maxwell has received for sex trafficking underage girls for Jeffrey Epstein, prosecutors representing the victims have said that the ‘next target’ should be British Royal Prince Andrew.

The lawyers acting on behalf of those alleging abuse requested that the FBI continue investigating the Epstein case and look harder at Andrew and other individuals accused by the victims.

“Let’s hope they’re the next target,” Attorney Brad Edwards told reporters.

Edwards represented Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who settled a sex abuse civil lawsuit out of court with Andrew, the Duke of York.

Attorney Spencer Kuvin, representative of several other alleged victims of Epstein and Maxwell added “Obviously, Andrew is one of the targets they will be looking into. He should definitely be concerned, but if he did nothing wrong, then come forward and tell the full story to the FBI, not the media.”

Los Angeles lawyer Lisa Bloom, who is representing several other alleged victims said “We call upon the FBI to fully investigate Prince Andrew. Virginia Giuffre’s civil case should be just the beginning. Everyone associated with Epstein and Maxwell should be carefully investigated.”

Bloom previously told reporters that Prince Andrew “should be quaking in his boots.”

As we previously reported, the British public have expressed concerns that the money for Andrew’s pay off to Virginia Roberts Giuffre, which will likely run into the millions, will be siphoned from taxpayers.

The amount that Andrew will pay Giuffre, and a victims’ rights charity of her choice, has not been disclosed, however it is estimated to be in excess of £12 MILLION, and that won’t even include legal fees.

While not admitting any guilt in the case, a statement read in court noted that “Prince Andrew has never intended to malign Ms. Giuffre’s character, and he accepts that she has suffered both as an established victim of abuse and as a result of unfair public attacks.”

The settlement came just days before Andrew would have been made to undergo a deposition, and be questioned under oath by Giuffre’s lawyers, reported the New York Times.

No individuals other than Maxwell and Epstein have yet been named in court throughout the case.

Maxwell will likely serve her sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, a low security 1000-inmate facility about 55 miles from New York City. The prison is said to be like Disneyland compared to the facility Maxwell has resided for the past two years.

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Tyler Durden Thu, 06/30/2022 - 06:30
Published:6/30/2022 5:51:28 AM
[Markets] China's War Machine Is Betting The Future On Drones China's War Machine Is Betting The Future On Drones

By Andrew Thornebrooke of the Epoch Times

A swarm of drones flies through the night sky over the Pacific.

Shrouded in darkness and less than 100 miles from the California coastline, they go in groups of fours and sixes, stalking U.S. Navy vessels. They whir about over the ships’ bows, gathering intelligence to deliver to faceless masters.

They match the speed of the naval vessels, flying unimpeded in low visibility for as long as four hours at a time. The alarmed crews of the ships have no idea where they came from or what their purpose is.

This is not the plot of an up-and-coming spy thriller, but a series of actual events that took place in July 2019.

A People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force WZ-7 high-altitude reconnaissance drone is seen a day before the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, southern China's Guangdong Province on Sept. 27, 2021

The chilling encounters raised alarms throughout the Navy and brought forth an investigative apparatus composed of elements of the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and FBI. Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commander of the Pacific Fleet were kept primed with updates on the situation.

“If the drones were not operated by the American military, these incidents represent a highly significant security breach,” said one investigative report based on the ships’ logs.

Yet, the nature of the drones, where they came from, and who deployed them remained a mystery for more than two years.

However, a new investigative report published by The Drive in June shed light on the incidents, which totaled at least eight encounters involving several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that were previously referred to simply as UFOs in the press.

The report, based on Navy materials newly obtained through multiple Freedom of Information Act requests, pinpoints the launching point of the drones as a civilian bulk carrier operating in the area at the time. That ship, the MV Bass Strait, is owned and operated by Pacific Basin, flagged out of Hong Kong.

“The Navy assessed that the commercial cargo ship was likely conducting surveillance on Navy vessels using drones,” the report said. During its first-ever operational voyage, the ship may have been linked to previously unknown incidents in March and April 2019, including “intelligence collection operations” targeting the USS Zumwalt, America’s most advanced surface combatant.

“Active surveillance of key naval assets is being conducted in areas where they train and employ their most sensitive systems, often within close proximity to American shores,” the report said.

A model of an FL-71 drone is seen on display at the Chinese Defense Information Equipment and Technology exhibition in Beijing on June 18, 2019.

China’s Growing Drone Force

It is too early to say what connection, precisely, the crew of the Bass Strait, Pacific Basin, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) share. Nevertheless, the incident underscores the central role that drones are to play in the next stage of modern warfare and how they are already shaping the battlefield and intelligence gathering processes.

As it so happens, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is betting big on drone warfare. The regime has invested heavily for over a decade into everything from cheap and expendable commercial quadcopters to resource-heavy high-altitude long-endurance drones.

Indeed, the CCP and its military wing, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), have undertaken numerous UAV projects since the early 2000s. However, the first appearance of a large-scale Chinese-built stealth drone came shortly into CCP leader Xi Jinping’s tenure.

Likely built from data obtained from the Iranian capture of an advanced American drone in 2011, China’s “Sharp Sword” was just the first of many advanced UAVs, built through the assistance of foreign technologies gathered as part of the regime’s comprehensive program of technology theft.

Since then, the CCP has funded dozens of varieties of UAVs using a plethora of state-owned corporations that also build the regime’s space and missile technologies. From larger combat drones like the Sharp Sword to small quadcopter drones like those spotted near California to rocket-powered supersonic vehicles intended to zip through the sky gathering targeting information, the CCP buys everything drone-related.

Moreover, the CCP is already building out its drone capabilities across the spectrum of its military assets, deploying those capabilities in some of the world’s most contested regions.

China’s third and newest aircraft carrier, the Fujian, is expected to host a variety of drones. Its electromagnetic catapult system will prove invaluable for quickly launching differently weighted drones with adjustable torque.

That effort will likely build on operational lessons learned from the last several years, as China’s second aircraft carrier, the Shandong, was spotted in early June this year with a small fleet of “commercial or commercial-derivative drones” on its flight deck, according to one report’s analysis of images that appeared on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

“[The images] do underscore the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s ever-increasing efforts to develop and field various types of unmanned aircraft, including those that can operate together in networked swarms, and often with an eye toward performing various roles in the maritime domain,” one report said.

If that were not enough to underscore the regime’s ambition to dominate the strategic space with a new, drone-first approach to military engagement, there is now the case of the Zhu Hai Yun.

The Zhu Hai Yun is a 290-foot ocean research vessel designed to deploy various underwater and airborne drones for various purposes. The ship is also a drone and can either be remotely controlled by a pilot or left to navigate the open seas autonomously.

In the words of its manufacturer, it is the “world’s first intelligent unmanned system mother ship.”

And though Beijing has officially described that mothership as a maritime research tool, a South China Morning Post report acknowledged that the vessel indeed hosts military capabilities that can “intercept, besiege, and expel invasive targets.”

That news is likely to displease U.S. military leadership, which is not likely to deploy its own such vessel for six more years.

Watching, Learning, Preparing

As the pace of China’s military drone development has accelerated, the rate of international incidents related to drones has also increased.

In August 2021, Japan Self Defense Forces led multiple sorties of fighter jets over several days to intercept PLA drones caught flying south of Okinawa. The drones, comparable in size to the United States’ Predator and Reaper drones, were believed to be collecting strategic intelligence on the Miyako Strait, which provides the PLA with a critical point of entry to the Pacific, and has been the site of increasing Chinese military excursions for the past decade.

The incident serves as a poignant reminder of what so much of China’s drone fleet serves to do: secure vital strategic intelligence for the coordination of military actions.

And it is this point that brings one back to the issue of just what several groups of drones launched from a Hong Kong freight ship were doing spying on U.S. Navy vessels near the coast of California.

If such actions were directly or indirectly tied to the sprawling military-security apparatus of China’s communist government, what would be the end goal for the intelligence gathered? What is the action in “actionable intelligence”?

To that question, one analysis found that 2019’s “adversary drones” were “meant to stimulate America’s most capable air defense systems and collect extremely high-quality electronic intelligence data on them.”

“By gathering comprehensive electronic intelligence information on these systems, countermeasures and electronic warfare tactics can be developed to disrupt or defeat them,” the report said. “Capabilities can also be accurately estimated and even cloned, and tactics can be recorded and exploited.”

“That swarm could have been, and likely was, sucking up, or helping another nearby platform suck up, all that sensitive … data on the most capable warships on earth and at very close range.”

In essence, the drones were achieving two things. The first was the blanket intelligence gathered from spying on U.S. naval vessels up close. The second was learning what would draw an American response and what that response would be.

In this way, the drones were baiting U.S. naval vessels, soaking up intelligence about their response (or lack thereof) for future actions that could not only inform the Chinese military about the technical specifications of U.S. ships, but also how to manipulate their crews and protocols to learn how American forces would behave in conflict.

Winning the Next War

Such tools have very real consequences for the United States, its allies and partners, and the greater liberal international order. Perhaps nowhere more so than in the acute threat of a CCP invasion of the democratic Taiwan, which has maintained its de facto independence since 1949.

Despite that independence, and despite the fact that the CCP has never ruled the island, the regime has made a central point of its current focus the forced unification of Taiwan with the mainland. Drones, it appears, are to play a central role in that endeavor.

In late 2021, the PLA launched a miniature aircraft carrier designed to deploy and recover swarms of drones. Such staging vehicles are designed to work alongside surface combatants to disrupt military operations in the maritime domain by swarming enemy targets or rendering them less effective through distraction.

continue reading over at The Epoch Times

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/29/2022 - 23:40
Published:6/30/2022 12:13:00 AM
[Markets] Known And Suspected Terrorists Entering US In Unprecedented Numbers: Rep. Higgins Known And Suspected Terrorists Entering US In Unprecedented Numbers: Rep. Higgins

Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Known and suspected terrorists are entering the United States in unprecedented numbers amid a surge in illegal immigration, according to Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.).

Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) speaks during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on gun violence on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 8, 2022. (Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

In an interview with NTD, the Louisiana representative stated that the Biden administration is providing “absurd” figures on the actual number of known and suspected terrorists entering America through its borders.

Higgins, a decorated law enforcement officer, said he believes this number to be much higher in part owing to the number of suspected terrorists who have aggressively avoided interaction with law enforcement at the border, which are referred to as “got-aways.”

Higgins’s comments come after Border Patrol agents captured 50 people who were on the FBI’s terror watchlist from October 2021 to May 2022.

That figure was just 15 in the fiscal year 2021, which included several months under former President Donald Trump’s administration.

“Towards the end of last year, I had estimated that we had lost about 250 KSTs, known and suspected terrorists, so the total numbers now that we’re told could serve about 700,000 ‘got-aways’ are suspected to have crossed into America. I think that’s a low number,” Higgins said.

“From my perspective, with data delivered to me by boots on the ground, from the border and from Central America and Mexico, and from the official numbers that are delivered to Congress from official data collection processes with Customs and Border Patrol, I think it’s reasonable for Americans to sort of step back and say, ‘My God, we have somewhere between 500 and 1,000 known and suspected terrorists [that] have entered into our country across our southern border since President [Joe] Biden has been inaugurated into office.’ This should startle every American citizen regardless of political affiliation,” Higgins said.

‘Conservative Numbers’

Explaining why he believes the actual number of suspected terrorists in the United States could be higher, Higgins, pointed to Biden’s administration, which he said is using “conservative numbers” when it comes to estimating how many there are.

The lawmaker added that this is in part because “got-aways” are very difficult to catch because they aggressively run and hide from law enforcement.

Things have been made even harder, according to Higgins, because much of law enforcement at the border has been pulled away from their primary mission of securing the border to instead processing illegal aliens, giving the “got-aways” more opportunity to escape.

So the men that are aggressively evading law enforcement, we’re looking at true numbers of probably a million but we’ve been told 700,000,” Higgins said. “So just using a number of 700,000, and estimating that a very small percentage of that number would be a known or suspected terrorist, which fits the historical data, you could look at 700 known and suspected terrorists who have crossed into our country.”

It’s a startling number, it should frighten us all, it should drive us to greater action to confront the Biden administration’s failed border policies to insist upon the resignation of [Department of Homeland Security] Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas and to promise the American people that if Mayorkas does not resign, he’s going to be impeached,” the lawmaker continued.

Higgins added that huge numbers of those individuals who are evading law enforcement at the border are working for Mexican drugs cartels, and pointed to the rising number of fentanyl deaths in America.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/29/2022 - 22:20
Published:6/29/2022 9:37:29 PM
[Markets] De Blasio To AIPAC: Drop Dead De Blasio To AIPAC: Drop Dead

It wasn't long ago that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee had an overwhelming grip on both major parties in the United States. However, in the most striking indication yet that Democrats are slipping from AIPAC's grasp, former New York mayor and current congressional candidate Bill de Blasio has publicly disowned the group. 

In a virtual candidate forum, NY Jewish Week asked de Blasio if he supported AIPAC. "No, I don't," he responded, adding that the group has changed in a manner he called "unacceptable." Hammering home his stance, he said, “I am not seeking their endorsement and would not accept it even if it were offered."

Such an utterance from a prominent member of either party was unthinkable just a year ago—to say nothing of the fact that de Blasio is running in New York City...which, in 2019, de Blasio called "the largest urban Jewish community on Earth." 

De Blasio has both hands in the air, one waving a flag of Israel as he marches in a parade
Then-Mayor de Blasio marches in the 2017 "Celebrate Israel Parade" in Manhattan (photo: NYC mayor's office)

In May, House speaker Nancy Pelosi accepted the endorsement of AIPAC's pro-Israel rival lobby group J Street. Israeli newspaper Haaretz called it "a political development that signals the shifting attitudes on Israel inside the Democratic Party." Walking a political tightrope, Pelosi—a longtime AIPAC ally and recurring attendee at its conferences—hasn't touted the endorsement. 

AIPAC and J Street have gone head to head in many Democratic primary races. Earlier this month, Pelosi recorded a video message to counter AIPAC-sponsored attack ads against a Maryland congressional candidate that has the backing of both Pelosi and J Street.  

Where AIPAC is a relentless defender of seemingly every action of the Israeli government and encourages a hard-line U.S. foreign policy against Israel's rivals, J Street bills itself as "the political home of pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans," and has decried "the injustice of Israel's occupation" and "the ongoing denial of fundamental rights and freedoms to millions of Palestinians in occupied territory."

The difference between AIPAC and J Street came into sharp relief last week:

De Blasio spoke to AIPAC's national conference in March 2019—two months for before declaring his candidacy for president. He laid out what he called a "progressive case for the state of Israel," but condemned the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement that many progressives embrace as a means of opposing Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

Also that month, de Blasio scolded progressive congresswoman Ilhan Omar for tweeting "It's all about the Benjamins baby" in response to a Glenn Greenwald tweet marveling at "how much time US political leaders spend defending a foreign nation [Israel] even if it means attacking free speech rights of Americans." De Blasio said "there's a long antisemitic tradition associated with that kind of comment." 

In distancing himself from the group, de Blasio cited an AIPAC-affiliated PAC's sponsorship of a successful primary challenger to progressive House candidate Nina Turner in Ohio. “I thought the attack on her was not only horribly unjustified, it deprived our nation of someone who could have been a huge difference maker in terms of our progressive movement,” said de Blasio. 

That race pitted two black women against each other in a district with a substantial Jewish vote. In her victory speech, challenger AIPAC-backed Shontel Brown reminisced about her visit to Israel, which helped her "appreciate the vulnerability of a state, and that has given me the understanding of the U.S.-Israel relationship and I thank my Jewish brethren." 

Turner's sin that provoked AIPAC: A tweeted message of solidarity with "If Not Now," a group that describes itself as "American Jews organizing our community to end U.S. support for Israel's apartheid system and demand equality, justice, and a thriving future for all."  

At last week's candidate forum, De Blasio said "the only path forward to peace in the region for both Israeli and Palestinian people to have their own states. I would fight for that, and I would certainly fight against any organization that attacks my fellow progressives.”

De Blasio, who served as New York's mayor from 2014 to 2021, is running to represent the newly-redrawn New York 10th congressional district, which covers all of southern Manhattan and a big swath of Brooklyn.  

The redrawn New York 10th Congressional District (via Ballotpedia)

 

Tyler Durden Wed, 06/29/2022 - 18:40
Published:6/29/2022 5:45:00 PM
[2020 Presidential Election] Beyond the Eastman memo (Scott Johnson) John Eastman counseled President Trump in the aftermath of the 2020 election. I have commented critically on his contribution to the events of January 6 previously, but today I want to draw attention to his close encounter with the FBI last week. Tucker Carlson included the video in his brief segment with John last night. It is chilling. Our increasingly totalitarian government seems to have adopted the infamous mantra of Published:6/28/2022 9:56:56 AM
[Markets] 'There Was No Plan To Attack': Oath Keepers FBI Interviews Contradict Indictment Charges 'There Was No Plan To Attack': Oath Keepers FBI Interviews Contradict Indictment Charges

Authored by Joseph M. Hanneman via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

An Indiana Oath Keepers leader who was in charge of security operations for the group in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 24 on five counts related to violence at the U.S. Capitol.

Members of the Oath Keepers are seen during a protest against the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Michael Greene, 39, of Indianapolis, was arrested in Indiana on a warrant from Washington. An indictment unsealed June 24 charges Greene with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding (aiding and abetting), conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and tampering with documents or proceedings (aiding and abetting).

Greene was added to a superseding indictment against seven other Oath Keepers, including Donovan Crowl, Sandra Parker, Bennie Parker, Laura Steele, Connie Meggs, William Isaacs, and James Beeks.

Greene, who also goes by the name Michael Simmons, is not accused of seditious conspiracy, a charge leveled in a different indictment against nine Oath Keepers, including the group’s founder, Elmer Stewart Rhodes III.

Rhodes and his eight co-defendants were named in the latest 13-count superseding indictment unsealed in Washington, also on June 24. The other defendants in the seditious conspiracy case include Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins, Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel, Thomas Caldwell, and Edward Vallejo.

The overarching cases against the Oath Keepers allege the group conspired to prevent the counting of Electoral College votes by a joint session of the U.S. Congress at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The goal, according to federal prosecutors, was to keep then-President Donald J. Trump in office and prevent Joseph R. Biden Jr. from assuming the presidency.

All of the current 17 Oath Keepers defendants have pleaded not guilty to all charges. Defense attorneys say the indictments are a vast misreading and twisting of communications between group members who came to Washington to do nothing more than keep event participants safe from attacks by Antifa radicals.

“At 1:42 p.m. on January 6, Greene sent a text message to an acquaintance stating, ‘Storming the capital’ (sic) along with a photograph that depicted the advancing mob on the west side of the Capitol grounds,” the Department of Justice stated in a news release.Greene communicated with Rhodes and others during the afternoon. At about 3:09 p.m., Greene texted an acquaintance, ‘Congress evacuated.’

FBI Notes Contradict Indictments

Greene’s indictment surprised some case observers, coming nearly 13 months after he was interviewed by FBI agents regarding his participation with the Oath Keepers at events in various cities. As a key leader at the D.C. events on Jan. 6, his input cited in the FBI reports contradicts much of what is alleged against Rhodes and other Oath Keepers defendants.

According to the FBI’s case notes from interviews with Greene on May 4 and May 25, 2021, he told agents there was no Oath Keepers plan to attack the U.S. Capitol. His role on Jan. 6 was to oversee security for speakers at various events at or near the Capitol, he said. Oath Keepers who entered the Capitol building did not do so at his instruction or that of Rhodes, he told agents.

Greene, who was identified in the redacted FBI notes as “Person 10,” told agents his job “was providing VIP security at select stages … where ‘protectees’ would be giving speeches.”

“The security detail encompassed stage security and the protection of those individuals as they returned to their vehicles,” the FBI report said. “Person 10 cited the need for this protection after the Trump rally in December [2020] when individuals had been attacked by Antifa as they were leaving the rally.”

Greene was standing with Rhodes near a downed fence on the northeast side of the Capitol during part of the afternoon of Jan. 6, the report said. “Person 10 learned afterwards OKs had entered the U.S. Capitol, however, advised no plan by the OKs included anyone going inside the U.S. Capitol.”

In his FBI interviews, Greene said the message he sent out stating “they have taken ground at the capital (sic)” was an effort to get the Oath Keepers to regroup and leave the area of the Capitol building.

Greene also told FBI agents that no Oath Keepers assaulted any law enforcement personnel or forced their way into the Capitol. “Person 10 heard the door was open and the group walked in,” the FBI report said.

One group of Oath Keepers climbed the east steps of the Capitol below the historic Columbus Doors and went inside the Rotunda. Some of those Oath Keepers intervened in a potentially deadly standoff between a U.S. Capitol Police officer and a group of angry protesters inside the Small House Rotunda, witnesses reported.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/26/2022 - 23:30
Published:6/27/2022 12:36:15 AM
[Entertainment] Gabby Petito Case: Brian Laundrie's Notebook Reveals "I Ended Her Life" Confession Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito, InstagramBrian Laundrie's notes containing his confession to killing his fiancée Gabby Petito have been released. The FBI had said in a January press release that Laundrie, who died by...
Published:6/25/2022 4:53:42 PM
[Markets] The Federal Bureau Of Tweets: Twitter Is Hiring An Alarming Number Of FBI Agents The Federal Bureau Of Tweets: Twitter Is Hiring An Alarming Number Of FBI Agents

Authored by Alan MacLeod via Mint Press News,

Twitter has been on a recruitment drive of late, hiring a host of former feds and spies. Studying a number of employment and recruitment websites, MintPress has ascertained that the social media giant has, in recent years, recruited dozens of individuals from the national security state to work in the fields of security, trust, safety and content.

Chief amongst these is the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI is generally known as a domestic security and intelligence force. However, it has recently expanded its remit into cyberspace. “The FBI’s investigative authority is the broadest of all federal law enforcement agencies,” the “About” section of its website informs readers. “The FBI has divided its investigations into a number of programs, such as domestic and international terrorism, foreign counterintelligence [and] cyber crime,” it adds.

For example, in 2019, Dawn Burton (the former director of Washington operations for Lockheed Martin) was poached from her job as senior innovation advisor to the director at the FBI to become senior director of strategy and operations for legal, public policy, trust and safety at Twitter. The following year, Karen Walsh went straight from 21 years at the bureau to become director of corporate resilience at the silicon valley giant. Twitter’s deputy general counsel and vice president of legal, Jim Baker, also spent four years at the FBI between 2014 and 2018, where his resumé notes he rose to the role of senior strategic advisor.

Meanwhile, Mark Jaroszewski ended his 21-year posting as a supervisory special agent in the Bay Area to take up a position at Twitter, rising to become director of corporate security and risk. And Douglas Turner spent 14 years as a senior special agent and SWAT Team leader before being recruited to serve in Twitter’s corporate and executive security services. Previously, Turner had also spent seven years as a secret service special agent with the Department of Homeland Security.

When asked to comment by MintPress, former FBI agent and whistleblower Coleen Rowley said that she was “not surprised at all” to see FBI agents now working for the very tech companies the agency polices, stating that there now exists a “revolving door” between the FBI and the areas they are trying to regulate. This created a serious conflict of interests in her mind, as many agents have one eye on post-retirement jobs. “The truth is that at the FBI 50% of all the normal conversations that people had were about how you were going to make money after retirement,” she said.

Many former FBI officials hold influential roles within Twitter. For instance, in 2020, Matthew W. left a 15-year career as an intelligence program manager at the FBI to take up the post of senior director of product trust at Twitter. Patrick G., a 23-year FBI supervisory special agent, is now head of corporate security. And Twitter’s director of insider risk and security investigations, Bruce A., was headhunted from his role as a supervisory special agent at the bureau. His resumé notes that at the FBI he held “[v]arious intelligence and law enforcement roles in the US, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East” and was a “human intelligence and counterintelligence regional specialist.” (On employment sites such as LinkedIn, many users choose not to reveal their full names.)

Meanwhile, between 2007 and 2021 Jeff Carlton built up a distinguished career in the United States Marine Corps, rising to become a senior intelligence analyst. Between 2014 and 2017, his LinkedIn profile notes, he worked for both the CIA and FBI, authored dozens of official reports, some of which were read by President Barack Obama. Carlton describes his role as a “problem-solver” and claims to have worked in many “dynamic, high-pressure environments” such as Iraq and Korea. In May 2021, he left official service to become a senior program manager at Twitter, responsible for dealing with the company’s “highest-profile trust and safety escalations.”

Other former FBI staff are employed by Twitter, such as Cherrelle Y. as a policy domain specialist and Laura D. as a senior analyst in global risk intelligence.

Many of those listed above were active in the FBI’s public outreach programs, a practice sold as a community trust-building initiative. According to Rowley, however, these also function as “ways for officials to meet the important people that would give them jobs after retirement.” “It basically inserts a huge conflict of interest,” she told MintPress. “It warps and perverts the criminal investigative work that agents do when they are still working as agents because they anticipate getting lucrative jobs after retiring or leaving the FBI.”

Rowley – who in 2002 was named, along with two other whistleblowers, as Time magazine’s Person of the Year – was skeptical that there was anything seriously nefarious about the hiring of so many FBI agents, suggesting that Twitter could be using them as sources of information and intelligence. She stated:

Retired agents often maintained good relationships and networks with current agents. So they can call up their old buddy and find out stuff… There were certainly instances of retired agents for example trying to find out if there was an investigation of so and so. And if you are working for a company, that company is going to like that influence.”

Rowley also suggested that hiring people from various three-letter agencies gave them a credibility boost. “These [tech] companies are using the mythical aura of the FBI. They can point to somebody and say ‘oh, you can trust us; our CEO or CFO is FBI,’” she explained.

Twitter certainly has endorsed the FBI as a credible actor, allowing the organization to play a part in regulating the global dissemination of information on its platform. In September 2020, it put out a statement thanking the federal agency. “We wish to express our gratitude to the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force for their close collaboration and continued support of our work to protect the public conversation at this critical time,” the statement read.

One month later, the company announced that the FBI was feeding it intelligence and that it was complying with their requests for deletion of accounts. “Based on intel provided by the FBI, last night we removed approximately 130 accounts that appeared to originate in Iran. They were attempting to disrupt the public conversation during the first 2020 U.S. Presidential Debate,” Twitter’s safety team wrote.

Yet the evidence they supplied of this supposed threat to American democracy was notably weak. All four of the messages from this Iranian operation that Twitter itself shared showed that none of them garnered any likes or retweets whatsoever, meaning that essentially nobody saw them. This was, in other words, a completely routine cleanup operation of insignificant troll accounts. Yet the announcement allowed Twitter to present the FBI as on the side of democracy and place the idea into the public psyche that the election was under threat from foreign actors.

Iran has been a favorite Twitter target in the past. In 2009, at the behest of the U.S. government, it postponed routine maintenance of the site, which would have required taking it offline. This was because an anti-government protest movement in Tehran was using the app to communicate and the U.S. did not want the demonstrations’ regime-change potential to be stymied.

A carnival of spooks

The FBI is far from the only state security agency filling Twitter’s ranks. Shortly after leaving a 10-year career as a CIA analyst, Michael Scott Robinson was hired to become a senior policy manager for site integrity, trust and safety.

The California-based app has also recruited heavily from the Atlantic Council, a NATO cutout organization that serves as the military alliance’s think tank. The council is sponsored by NATO, led by senior NATO generals and regularly plays out regime-change scenarios in enemy states, such as China.

The Atlantic Council has been associated with many of the most egregious fake news plants of the last few years. It published a series of lurid reports alleging that virtually every political group in Europe challenging the status quo – from the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn and UKIP in Great Britain to PODEMOS and Vox in Spain and Syriza and Golden Dawn in Greece – were all secretly “the Kremlin’s Trojan Horses.” Atlantic Council employee Michael Weiss was also very likely the creator of the shadowy organization PropOrNot, a group that anonymously published a list of fake-news websites that regularly peddled Kremlin disinformation. Included in this list was virtually every anti-war alternative media outlet one could think of – from MintPress to Truthout, TruthDig and The Black Agenda Report. Also included were pro-Trump websites like The Drudge Report, and liberatarian ventures like Antiwar.com and The Ron Paul Institute.

PropOrNot’s list was immediately heralded in the corporate press, and was the basis for a wholescale algorithm shift at Google and other big tech platforms, a shift that saw traffic to alternative media sites crash overnight, never to recover. Thus, the allegation of a huge (Russian) state-sponsored attempt to influence the media was itself an intelligence op by the U.S. national security state.

In 2020, Kanishk Karan left his job as a research associate at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research (DFR) Lab to join Twitter as information integrity and safety specialist – essentially helping to control what Twitter sees as legitimate information and nefarious disinformation. Another DFR Lab graduate turned Twitter employee is Daniel Weimert, who is now a senior public policy associate for Russia – a key target of the Atlantic Council. Meanwhile, Sarah Oh is simultaneously an Atlantic Council DFR Lab non-resident senior fellow and a Twitter advisor, her social media bio noting she works on “high risk trust and safety issues.”

In 2019, Twitter also hired Greg Andersen straight from NATO to work on cybercrime policy. There is sparse information on what Andersen did at NATO, but, alarmingly, his own LinkedIn profile stated simply that he worked on “psychological operations” for the military alliance. After MintPress highlighted this fact in an article in April, he removed all mention of “psychological operations” from his profile, claiming now to have merely worked as a NATO “researcher.” Andersen left Twitter in the summer of last year to work as a product policy manager for the popular video platform TikTok.

Twitter also directly employs active army officers. In 2019, Gordon Macmillan, the head of editorial for the entire Europe, Middle East and Africa region was revealed to be an officer in the British Army’s notorious 77th Brigade – a unit dedicated to online warfare and psychological operations. This bombshell news was steadfastly ignored across the media.

Positions of power and control

With nearly 400 million global users, there is no doubt that Twitter has grown to become a platform large and influential enough to necessitate extensive security measures, as actors of all stripes attempt to use the service to influence public opinion and political actions. There is also no doubt that there is a limited pool of people qualified in these sorts of fields.

But recruiting largely from the U.S. national security state fundamentally undermines claims Twitter makes about its neutrality. The U.S. government is the source of some of the largest and most extensive influence operations in the world. As far back as 2011, The Guardian reported on the existence of a massive, worldwide U.S. military online influence campaign in which it had designed software that allowed its personnel to “secretly manipulate social media sites by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.” The program boasts that the background of these personas is so convincing that psychological operations soldiers can be sure to work “without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries.” Yet Twitter appears to be recruiting from the source of the problem.

These former national security state officials are not being employed in politically neutral departments such as sales or customer service, but in security, trust and content, meaning that some hold considerable sway over what messages and information are promoted, and what is suppressed, demoted or deleted.

It could be said that poachers-turned-gamekeepers often play a crucial role in safety and protection, as they know how bad actors think and operate. But there exists little evidence that any of these national security state operatives have changed their stances. Twitter is not hiring whistleblowers or dissidents. It appears, then, that some of these people are essentially doing the same job they were doing before, but now in the private sector. And few are even acknowledging that there is anything wrong with moving from big government to big tech, as if the U.S. national security state and the fourth estate are allies, rather than adversaries.

That Twitter is already working so closely with the FBI and other agencies makes it easy for them to recruit from the federal pool. As Rowley said, “over a period of time these people will be totally in sync with the mindset of Twitter and other social media platforms. So from the company’s standpoint, they are not hiring somebody new. They already know this person. They know where they stand on things.”

Is there a problem?

Some might ask “What is the problem with Twitter actively recruiting from the FBI, CIA and other three-letter agencies?” They, after all, are experts in studying online disinformation and propaganda. One is optical. If a Russian-owned social media app’s trust, security and content moderation was run by former KGB or FSB agents and still insisted it was a politically neutral platform, the entire world would laugh.

But apart from this, the huge influx of security state personnel into Twitter’s decision-making ranks means that the company will start to view every problem in the same manner as the U.S. government does – and act accordingly. “In terms of their outlooks on the world and on the question of misinformation and internet security, you couldn’t get a better field of professionals who are almost inherently going to be more in tune with the government’s perspective,” Rowley said.

Thus, when policing the platform for disinformation and influence campaigns, the former FBI and CIA agents and Atlantic Council fellows only ever seem to find them emanating from enemy states and never from the U.S. government itself. This is because their backgrounds and outlooks condition them to consider Washington to be a unique force for good.

This one-sided view of disinformation can be seen by studying the reports Twitter has published on state-linked information operations. The entire list of countries it has identified as engaging in these campaigns are as follows: Russia (in 7 reports), Iran (in 5 reports), China (4 reports), Saudi Arabia (4 reports), Venezuela (3 reports), Egypt (2 reports), Cuba, Serbia, Bangladesh, the UAE, Ecuador, Ghana, Nigeria, Honduras, Indonesia, Turkey, Thailand, Armenia, Spain, Tanzania, Mexico and Uganda.

One cannot help noticing that this list correlates quite closely to a hit list of U.S. government adversaries. All countries carry out disinfo campaigns to a certain extent. But these “former” spooks and feds are unlikely to point the finger at their former colleagues or sister organizations or investigate their operations.

The Cold (cyber)war

Twitter has mirrored U.S. hostility towards states like Russia, China, Iran and Cuba, attempting to suppress the reach and influence of their state media by adding warning messages to the tweets of journalists and accounts affiliated with those governments. “State-affiliated media is defined as outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution,” it noted.

In a rather bizarre addendum, it explained that it would not be doing the same to state-affiliated media or personalities from other countries, least of all the U.S. “State-financed media organizations with editorial independence, like the BBC in the U.K. or NPR in the U.S. for example, are not defined as state-affiliated media for the purposes of this policy,” it wrote. It did not explain how it decided that Cuban, Russian, Chinese or Iranian journalists did not have editorial independence, but British and American ones did – this was taken for granted. The effect of the action has been a throttling of ideas and narratives from enemy states and an amplification of those coming from Western state media.

As the U.S. ramps up tensions with Beijing, so too has Twitter aggressively shut down pro-China voices on its platform. In 2020, it banned 170,000 accounts it said were “spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China,” such as praising its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic or expressing opposition to the Hong Kong protests, both of which are majority views in China. Importantly, the Silicon Valley company did not claim that these accounts were controlled by the government; merely sharing these opinions was grounds enough for deletion.

The group behind Twitter’s decision to ban those Chinese accounts was the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), a deeply controversial think tank funded by the Pentagon, the State Department and a host of weapons manufacturers. ASPI has constantly peddled conspiracy theories about China and called for ramping up tensions with the Asian nation.

ASPI - The Gov’t-Funded Conspiracist Think Tank Now Controlling Your Social Media Feed

Perhaps most notable, however, was Twitter’s announcement last year that it was deleting dozens of accounts for the new violation of “undermining faith in the NATO alliance.” The statement was widely ridiculed online by users. But few noted that the decision was based upon a partnership with the Stanford Internet Observatory, a counter-disinformation think tank filled with former spooks and state officials and headed by an individual who is on the advisory board of NATO’s Collective Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. That Twitter is working so closely with organizations that are clearly intelligence industry catspaws should concern all users.

Not just Twitter

While some might be alarmed that Twitter is cultivating such an intimate relationship with the FBI and other groups belonging to the secret state, it is perhaps unfair to single it out, as many social media platforms are doing the same. Facebook, for example, has entered into a formal partnership with the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab, whereby the latter holds significant influence over 2.9 billion users’ news feeds, helping to decide what content to promote and what content to suppress. The NATO cutout organization now serves as Facebook’s “eyes and ears,” according to a Facebook press release. Anti-war and anti-establishment voices across the world have reported massive drops in traffic on the platform.

The social media giant also hired former NATO Press Secretary Ben Nimmo to be its head of intelligence. Nimmo subsequently used his power to attempt to swing the election in Nicaragua away from the leftist Sandinista Party and towards the far-right, pro-U.S. candidate, deleting hundreds of left-wing voices in the week of the election, claiming they were engaging in “inauthentic behavior.” When these individuals (including some well-known personalities) poured onto Twitter, recording video messages proving they were not bots, Twitter deleted those accounts too, in what one commentator called a Silicon Valley “double tap strike.”

An April MintPress study revealed how TikTok, too, has been filling its organization with alumni of the Atlantic Council, NATO, the CIA and the State Department. As with Twitter, these new TikTok employees largely work in highly politically sensitive fields such as trust, safety, security and content moderation, meaning these state operatives hold influence over the direction of the company and what content is promoted and what is demoted.

Likewise, in 2017, content aggregation site Reddit plucked Jessica Ashooh from the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Strategy Task Force to become its new director of policy, despite the fact that she had few relevant qualifications or experience in the field.

Jessica Ashooh: The Taming of Reddit and the National Security State Plant Tabbed to Do It

In corporate media too, we have seen a widespread infiltration of former security officials into the upper echelons of news organizations. So normalized is the penetration of the national security state into the media that is supposed to be holding it to account, that few reacted in 2015 when Dawn Scalici left her job as national intelligence manager for the Western hemisphere at the Director of National Intelligence to become the global business director of international news conglomerate Thomson Reuters. Scalici, a 33-year CIA veteran who had worked her way up to become a director in the organization, was open about what her role was. In a blog post on the Reuters website, she wrote that she was there to “meet the disparate needs of the U.S. Government” – a statement that is at odds with even the most basic journalistic concepts of impartiality and holding the powerful to account.

Meanwhile, cable news outlets routinely employ a wide range of “former” agents and mandarins as trusted personalities and experts. These include former CIA Directors John Brennan (NBC, MSNBC) and Michael Hayden (CNN), ex-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (CNN), and former Homeland Security Advisor Frances Townsend (CBS). And news for so many Americans comes delivered through ex-CIA interns like Anderson Cooper (CNN), CIA-applicants like Tucker Carlson (Fox), or by Mika Brzezinski (MSNBC), the daughter of a powerful national security advisor. The FBI has its own former agents on TV as well, with talking heads such as James Gagliano (Fox), Asha Rangappa (CNN) and Frank Figliuzzi (NBC, MSNBC) becoming household names. In short, then, the national security state once used to infiltrate the media. Today, however, the national security state is the media.

Social media holds enormous influence in today’s society. While this article is not alleging that anyone mentioned is a bad actor or does not genuinely care about the spread of disinformation, it is highlighting a glaring conflict of interest. Through its agencies, the U.S. government regularly plants fake news and false information. Therefore, social media hiring individuals straight from the FBI, CIA, NATO and other groups to work on regulating disinformation is a fundamentally flawed practice. One of media’s primary functions is to serve as a fourth estate; a force that works to hold the government and its agencies to account. Yet instead of doing that, increasingly it is collaborating with them. Such are these increasing interlocking connections that it is becoming increasingly difficult to see where big government ends and big media begins.

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/23/2022 - 22:20
Published:6/23/2022 9:32:36 PM
[Law] ‘Political Vendetta’: Sen. Grassley Slams FBI’s Role in Trump-Russia Collusion Narrative

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is accusing the FBI of having “a get-Trump-at-all-costs attitude.” Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, Grassley, the ranking member of the... Read More

The post ‘Political Vendetta’: Sen. Grassley Slams FBI’s Role in Trump-Russia Collusion Narrative appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:5/25/2022 10:54:15 PM
[] Former FBI Attorney Just Blew Up Sussmann Defense in Durham Russia Collusion Case Published:5/19/2022 9:53:32 PM
[In Education] Republicans Say They Have Proof FBI Targeted Concerned Parents, Despite Garland Denials

by Kendall Tietz at CDN -

FBI Beast Parent's Rights

Whistleblowers allegedly provided evidence to House Republicans showing the FBI targeted parents who raised concerns about local education issues through its counterterrorism unit, according to a letter from Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee. The FBI’s Counterterrorism Division opened “at least dozens of investigations” into concerned parents through an EDUOFFICIALS …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Republicans Say They Have Proof FBI Targeted Concerned Parents, Despite Garland Denials first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:5/12/2022 3:53:56 PM
[2022 News] How the CDC bought YOUR data to enforce lockdown: Health agency paid firm $420,000 to track tens of millions of cell phones and see who went to schools and churches in the pandemic

How the CDC bought YOUR data to enforce lockdown: Health agency paid firm $420,000 to track tens of millions of cell phones and see who went to schools and churches in the pandemic. Well hell, who needs the CIA, NSA, or FBI? They do their own spying nowadays. Frankly, we’re quite pissed off about this.

The post How the CDC bought YOUR data to enforce lockdown: Health agency paid firm $420,000 to track tens of millions of cell phones and see who went to schools and churches in the pandemic appeared first on IHTM.

Published:5/4/2022 4:54:01 AM
[Culture of Corruption] The Week in Radical Leftism, 4/22/2022

Welcome back to Day 458 of the President “Inflation is everyone’s fault but mine”* occupation! Let’s get to the insanity: 4/14 – The Other Fednapping Plot It turns out that my state’s former racist governor was also being targeted for kidnapping by the FBI! 4/15 – DuckDuckGo Search Engine CEO Announces Changes to Internet Search […]

The post The Week in Radical Leftism, 4/22/2022 appeared first on Flopping Aces.

Published:4/23/2022 1:25:20 AM
[] Here's the Tweet Clinton's Lawyer Doesn't Want Admitted as Evidence in Durham Case Published:4/20/2022 3:25:36 PM
[2020 Election] FBI: Fake Golden Showers sí, Real Biden Showers no

I saw the above picture elsewhere and it got me thinking. The FSB is the secret police organization in Russia, whose job it is to protect Vladimir Putin and carry out various acts of intimidation and skullduggery. In the US, the FBI is an organization secretly dedicated to protecting democrat Presidents and undermining Republican Presidents. […]

The post FBI: Fake Golden Showers sí, Real Biden Showers no appeared first on Flopping Aces.

Published:4/19/2022 10:25:51 AM
[Politics] WATCH: James O’Keefe reveals Biden’s FBI spied on Project Veritas via Apple and Google emails Recently James O’Keefe revealed that the FBI issued subpoenas for Project Veritas accounts on Microsoft’s service and then issued gag orders to prevent Microsoft from disclosing their spying activity. We learn today . . . Published:4/13/2022 12:27:08 PM
[Markets] 20 Federal 'Assets' Embedded At Capitol On Jan. 6, Court Filing Says 20 Federal 'Assets' Embedded At Capitol On Jan. 6, Court Filing Says

Authored by Joseph M. Hanneman via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

At least 20 FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives “assets” were embedded around the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, a defense attorney wrote in a court filing on April 12.

Oath Keepers member Jeremy Brown explains the group's constitution-focused mission to rallygoers in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021. The FBI unsuccessfully tried to recruit Brown to spy on the Oath Keepers. (Special to The Epoch Times)

The disclosure was made in a motion seeking to dismiss seditious conspiracy and obstruction charges against 10 Oath Keepers defendants in one of the most prominent Jan. 6 criminal cases.

David W. Fischer, attorney for Thomas E. Caldwell of Berryville, Virginia, filed a 41-page motion to dismiss four counts on behalf of all Oath Keepers case defendants before U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta in Washington, D.C.

Caldwell is charged in the indictment, but is not a member of the Oath Keepers, he told The Epoch Times in March.

Capitol Police are escorted down the Capitol steps through the crowd to safety on Jan. 6 by members of the Oath Keepers. (Courtesy of Roberto Minuta)

“At least 20 FBI and ATF assets were embedded around the Capitol on J6,” read a footnote on Page 6 of the motion. No other details were provided in the document.

The footnote said defense attorneys “combed through a mountain of discovery,” including FBI form 302 summaries of interviews conducted by FBI agents.

In addition to the information about law-enforcement assets on the ground at the Capitol, the footnote says, the Oath Keepers “were being monitored and recorded prior to J6.”

Poring over evidence turned over in discovery by prosecutors in two major Oath Keepers cases has “not found one iota of proof” that defendants “had any plan, intention, design, or scheme to specifically enter the Capitol Building on J6,” the motion said.

Fischer told The Epoch Times he could not comment on the motion or provide more details on the footnote.

Since the first arrests of Jan. 6 defendants in early 2021, there has been extensive speculation and questions from attorneys, defendants, case observers, and members of Congress about the role law enforcement played that day.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Jan. 11, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) grilled top FBI officials on the subject.

“How many FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the events of Jan. 6?” Cruz asked Jill Sanborn, executive assistant director of the FBI’s national security branch.

“Sir, I’m sure you can appreciate that I can’t go into the specifics of sources and methods,” Sanborn said.

Cruz replied, “Did any FBI agents or confidential informants actively participate in the events of Jan. 6, yes or no?”

“Sir, I can’t answer that,” Sanborn said.

“Did any FBI agents or confidential informants commit crimes of violence on Jan. 6?” Cruz asked.

“I can’t answer that, sir,” Sanborn replied.

Jeremy M. Brown, an Oath Keepers member from Florida who was charged with two Jan. 6-related counts but is not part of either major Oath Keepers conspiracy case, told The Epoch Times earlier this year that the FBI unsuccessfully tried to recruit him in 2020 to spy on the group.

Brown said the same agents who later arrested him for alleged Jan. 6 crimes tried to recruit him on Dec. 11, 2020, to become a confidential informant. He refused. He was arrested on Sept. 30, 2021, when dozens of federal agents swarmed his Florida property.

“When asked by me and my girlfriend to produce the warrants at the time of arrest, they refused to produce them,” Brown said. “One agent was even recorded stating, ‘We don’t know what we are looking for yet.’ They should look for a copy of the Constitution and read it.”

No Crime Stated?

The Oath Keepers, including founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, are charged with conspiring to enter the Capitol on Jan. 6 to prevent the certification of the Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election. Protests and rioting on Jan. 6 interrupted a joint session of Congress for about six hours.

The Rhodes defendants seek dismissal of Counts 1-4 on the grounds that the indictment fails to state an offense as to each count,” Fischer wrote in his motion.

The four counts covered in the motion to dismiss all refer to obstructing a proceeding or preventing an officer from discharging duties.

Under Title 18 of the U.S. Code, the seditious conspiracy charge “requires proof that the purpose of the defendants’ seditious conspiracy was to forcibly obstruct a person authorized to execute a law, while that person was attempting to execute the particular law opposed by the defendants,” Fischer wrote.

“Per binding precedent, however, Members of Congress are constitutionally prohibited from ‘executing any law of the United States,’ ” the motion said. “Additionally, per binding precedent, the Electoral College certification process did not constitute the ‘execution of any law of the United States.’ ”

Members of the Oath Keepers are seen during a protest against the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Counts 2 and 3 of the indictment are brought under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c), but that law only applies to obstructive acts related to the destruction of evidence, the motion said.

This argument was cited in March by U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols, who dismissed the same obstruction charge in two other Jan. 6 cases.

Count 4 accuses the defendants of conspiring to prevent an officer from discharging any duties.

Under binding legal precedent, the motion argues, the terms “office,” “officer” and “officer of the United States” take their meaning from the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Members of Congress are not “officers” under the Appointments Clause, Fischer wrote.

The motion described the indictment as “an obscenely one-sided, selectively edited, and inaccurate representation of [Oath Keepers’] actions and statements.”

The Oath Keepers “Quick Reaction Forces” (QRFs) described in the criminal complaint as being ready to assist in the attack on the Capitol with men and armaments were actually standing by in Virginia in case Oath Keepers in DC were attacked or threatened by Antifa, the motion said.

… Every scrap of evidence reviewed confirms that the ‘QRFs,’ which were utilized on numerous prior dates, were intended as rescue forces in the event that the Oath Keepers were attacked by Antifa or a similar contingency, and not to attack the Capitol Building,” the filing said.

In a companion motion filed on behalf of defendant Kelly Meggs, attorney Jonathon Moseley described the notion of opposing the lawful transfer of presidential power as a “thought crime,” and the charge in the indictment as “devoid of supporting factual allegations.”

“The Constitution makes clear that it is a Constitutional impossibility to ‘oppose the transfer of presidential power.’ Not only could such a goal not be accomplished, but beyond that, it is an irrational concept lacking in any basis, in fact, law, or common sense,” Moseley wrote.

“This is not a case in which conspirators might attempt to do something they are unable to successfully achieve,” Moseley’s filing said. “It is an irrational concept like dividing by zero. There can be no such thing in law or fact.”

The Epoch Times contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for comment but did not receive a reply by press time.

Tyler Durden Wed, 04/13/2022 - 11:45
Published:4/13/2022 10:57:09 AM
[Markets] "Kill All The Whiteys" - Suspect In Brooklyn Subway Shooting Spouted Hateful "Black Nationalist" Rhetoric, Praised "Beautiful" 9/11 "Kill All The Whiteys" - Suspect In Brooklyn Subway Shooting Spouted Hateful "Black Nationalist" Rhetoric, Praised "Beautiful" 9/11

As New Yorkers confront the latest in what seems like an unceasing stream of increasingly gruesome and brutal crimes (unfolding during the opening months of former NYPD Captain and newly inaugurated Mayor Eric Adams, who has promised to combat crime), law enforcement is facing up to the realization that the suspect (as is tragically common in mass shootings and other incidents of 'terrorism' extreme violence) had previously set off flags that probably should have warranted a closer look.

It started yesterday with Newsweek reporting that the suspect (still at large) in the shooting - Frank James - had been investigated and cleared by the FBI in 2019. Soon after that report emerged, thousands of people scouring James' social-media presence made a truly shocking (if unsurprising) discovery: the suspect who shot at least 10 people in a terrifying and meticulously planned mass shooting (police found explosive devices that didn't detonate) has been publishing bizarre, hate-filled rants on YouTube praising other mass shooters terrorists and calling on people to kill "whitey".

Amazingly, YouTube hasn't yet taken down the page, which - as far as we can tell - still includes all of the hateful videos that media outlets have reported on extensively overnight.

In one video, James verbally attacked NYC Mayor Adams, saying he had been through the city’s mental health system due to a "mental health" issue that had gotten him "locked up". In the system, he said, he experienced a kind of violence that would make someone "go and get a gun and shoot motherfuckers."

In his videos, he appears to express support for an extreme "black nationalist" ideology. At certain points, he even expresses a hatred or dislike for black people, referring to them as racial slurs which we won't repeat here (although you can find some examples over at the Daily Beast).

At one point, James calls upon "black Jesus" to "kill all the whiteys".

Older posts showed him sharing positive messages about Cuban Communist dictator Fidel Castro.

Describing himself as a "prophet of doom", James at one point described 9/11 as "the most beautiful day, probably in the history of this fucking world."

His posts included references to current events, from the Will Smith-Chris Rock "slap" to Ketanji Brown Jackson being elevated to SCOTUS: "I had no idea, with that African name, that she would be married to a white man. One of my subscribers brought that to my attention. Yeah. Our black sister Supreme Court Justice, power to the people, is married to a f**king white man. (Crying) I don't believe this sh*t. Oh God! Wait a minute. This motherf**ker right there, there he is. There he is! White man! Black sister, Ketanji, married to a white man."

Apparently, James posted posts inciting violence on Facebook for years, without them being taken down.

NYPD cited James as a "person of interest" in the attack during a Tuesday press conference. When reached by the Daily Beast, one of his sisters, Catherine James, said she hadn't spoken to her brother in a few years, and that he “kept to himself."

"I don’t know what might have been his motivation. Last I spoke to him was like three years ago," James said. "We don’t keep in contact with each other...I don’t know what he was thinking, I don’t know anything about why he might have done what he did."

The NYPD said during last night's press conference that, due to James' comments about the mayor, they will be tightening his security.

Interestingly, while James frequently spouted anti-white hatred, the MSM has already set to work trying to frame the shooting as an attack on Asians and the Hispanic community, because of the location of the attack (h/t to Grabien for the quote).

"Mr. Mayor, I think that one of the things that went through a lot of people’s minds, who know New York City well enough to understand a little bit about the neighborhood in which this happened, particularly because of hate crimes, particularly because of anti-Asian hate crimes, this neighborhood where this happened, Sunset Park is a heavily immigrant neighborhood, there's large Asian population among lots of other immigrant populations in that neighborhood. As you know, Brooklyn is perhaps the most ethnically and nationally and racially diverse place in the entire world. Is there any indication, or can you tell us anything about worries that this might have been ethnically motivated, might have been a targeted hate crime or sort of hate-motivated attack? I think people surmise that that might be a possibility given the location of this, but we don’t have anything to go on."

We're sensing a pattern here, as this isn't the first time the MSM has tried to highlight black-on-Asian crime.

Forget about all of the new (predominantly white) gentrifiers who have been moving to Brooklyn in droves in recent years.

Tyler Durden Wed, 04/13/2022 - 06:56
Published:4/13/2022 5:59:41 AM
[Politics] REPORT: Brooklyn subway attacker identified and was KNOWN to the FBI The Brooklyn subway attacker, who has been identified as Frank R. James, is reportedly to not only have been known to the FBI but also cleared by the FBI back in 2019. . . . Published:4/12/2022 8:56:08 PM
[Markets] FBI Memos Suggest Agency Had Moles In Media FBI Memos Suggest Agency Had Moles In Media

Authored by Ken Silva via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Investigator Roger Charles was combing through records of the FBI’s Oklahoma City bombing investigation more than a decade ago, when he discovered a memo suggesting that someone working at ABC News provided a tip to the bureau a day after the deadly April 19, 1995, domestic terrorist attack.

The FBI seal is attached to a podium at a news conference at FBI Headquarters in Washington on June 14, 2018. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

It appeared that a senior ABC News journalist had been doubling as an FBI informant. The memo made a few headlines in 2011, but quickly passed through the news cycle with little impact and hardly any coverage by major outlets.

However, Charles’s discovery stoked the curiosity of his friend, attorney Jesse Trentadue. The Utah resident was suing the FBI for records related to his brother’s murder, and began filing requests in 2012 to see if the bureau had other informants in the media, as well as places such as congressional offices, courts, churches, other government agencies, and the White House.

Trentadue said the U.S. government’s response shocked him.

“I thought they’d come back and say, ‘We would never do that because that would be illegal and unconstitutional,’” he said. “Instead, they came back and said, ‘Yeah, we do that. We have manuals on that, but you can’t have them because of national security.’”

The FBI fought against Trentadue for years in federal court to keep its manuals secret, and was ultimately successful. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2015.

However, Trentadue said the litigation helped him piece together what he calls the FBI’s “sensitive informant program.” According to his lawsuit over the matter, this program is used to place informants in the national media, among other institutions.

The FBI has not responded to questions from The Epoch Times for this story, including about Trentadue’s description of the sensitive informant program. The bureau has defended the use of informants in sensitive institutions as a necessary to root out corruption and other crime, while former director J. Edgar Hoover deemed such tactics as necessary to fight communism.

But in the wake of a recently released, scathing internal FBI audit—which found special agents breaking their own rules more than twice per reviewed case when investigating sensitive institutions—some lawmakers are beginning to question the bureau’s sweeping investigatory powers.

“It has been nearly two weeks since this information was revealed, and the FBI has thus far declined to comment or provide additional transparency,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in a March 31 letter. “I believe the Senate would benefit from hearing directly from Inspector General Horowitz, FBI Director Wray, as well as any division directors with knowledge of the audit or the errors detailed in it.”

Trentadue’s Records

According to Utah attorney Trentadue, the redacted FBI audit only begins to scratch the surface of the bureau’s purported wrongdoing.

He would know. His litigation against the U.S. government, spanning four decades, has unearthed numerous revelations about the FBI, including details about undercover right-wing infiltration operations and previously hidden databases.

One of Trentadue’s findings that hasn’t received media coverage—until now—pertains to sensitive informants.

Documents Trentadue provided to The Epoch Times included the initial FBI memo Charles discovered about the informant within ABC, as well as previously unpublicized memos written by special agents receiving information from ABC and NBC.

Among those is a September 1996 FBI memo, reporting that a “confidential source who works for a news agency [learned] that ABC News was going to air an expose in the next few days concerning the OKC bombing.”

ABC will be interviewing a rescue worker who is going to state that ATF had stored a large amount of explosives in the MURRAH BUILDING, which contributed to the explosion. The rescue worker is also going to advise that evidence of these explosives was found by rescue workers, and this particular rescue worker had contacted the FBI with this information, and was told by the FBI to keep quiet,” the FBI memo says.

“This rescue worker is currently upset because nothing has been done with this information and he feels the FBI has attempted to cover up the information.”

The September 1996 memo identifies the person at the news agency as a “confidential source,” rather than referring to the person by a serial number—suggesting that this source may be different than the aforementioned informant. Trentadue said he didn’t know for sure, nor did he know whether the ABC report referenced in the memo was ever published.

Then, there’s a series of FBI memos that also serve as the subject of controversy in another Trentadue lawsuit. These memos describe FBI agents who were allegedly trying to sell surveillance footage of the Oklahoma City bombing to NBC.

No arrests resulted from the matter, and the U.S. government says the surveillance footage discussed in the memos does not exist. Trentadue is seeking to prove the existence of the footage in a separate, ongoing lawsuit against the FBI that has been sealed for the past seven years.

Putting aside the surveillance footage controversy, the memos show that the FBI was receiving information from within NBC.

The first tip from NBC came on Oct. 27, 1995, when a confidential source, whose identity is redacted, said the NBC show Dateline had been contacted by an attorney. According to the FBI memo, the attorney represented an FBI agent in Los Angeles who was seeking to sell surveillance footage for more than $1 million.

“It was represented that the video tape would contain lapse photography of the arrival and then departure of a UPS truck. Then a Ryder truck pulls up and a male resembling Timothy McVeigh [sic] is seen exiting the driver’s side of the Ryder truck and then walking away,” the FBI memo says. “Next, a second male is seen exiting the passenger side of the Ryder truck and walking to the back of the truck. The second male then walks away in the same direction as the first male.”

The FBI received five more tips through Nov. 7 about the matter—including someone offering to provide a prepublication copy of a story about “negotiations between an unknown Los Angeles Agent of the FBI and ‘Dateline,’” the memo said.

Other records suggest that the FBI used reporters as sources of information—whether the reporter knew it or not. For instance, an April 25, 1995, FBI memo states that reporter Bob Norman, of the News Press, a daily newspaper in Florida, called the bureau to provide information.

The FBI memo said Norman “advised” a special agent that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh had connections to Florida’s militia. But Norman, currently an active reporter who has recently written for the Florida Bulldog, said he was simply calling for comment on a story he was writing at the time.

“I’m sure the agent wanted me to share my source material and, as his own report shows, I correctly refused to do so,” Norman said in a statement to The Epoch Times.

The FBI memo indeed reflects that Norman declined to provide the bureau with a videotape—telling the special agent that “he was not convinced his superiors will approve of sharing this information with the FBI, and therefore he cannot provide a copy of the tapes or further information.”

“While I disagree with the agent’s characterization of the reason for the call, this is what journalists do,” Norman said. “We present our found information to authorities in order to get confirmation, additional information, context, denials, etc. It is, in fact, an essential part of the fact-gathering process.”

Along with the FBI memos about reporters, Trentadue provided a memo that suggests the FBI had advance knowledge of a new member joining McVeigh’s defense team. A special agent reported at the time that he received information from a confidential witness.

Confidential witnesses differ from typical informants in that they often testify at trials. This particular confidential witness identified in the May 1995 memo provided information about a loan shark scam and a “special forces national convention” set to take place in Nevada that year.

The confidential witness (CW) also provided information about McVeigh’s defense team, telling the FBI that a woman named Wilma Sparks was joining the team.

“The CW advised that WILMA SPARKS is a close associate of the CW and that SPARKS is taking on the responsibility of investigating certain aspects of the investigation,” the memo said. “SPARKS advised the CW that although this was a distasteful assignment, she was willing to accept the assignment to ensure that the case against MCVEIGH will not be overturned due to incompetent counsel.”

McVeigh’s lead defense counsel, Stephen Jones, declined to comment on the memo.

Trentadue’s Court Case

Trentadue used the FBI memos and other documents as evidence to support his Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in 2012.

At the time, Trentadue was seeking fully un-redacted copies of the FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG), the FBI Confidential Human Source Validation Standards Manual, the FBI Confidential Human Source Policy Manual, and the FBI Confidential Human Source Policy Implementation Guide. The Utah attorney had received a few pages from those manuals that contained references to sensitive informants, but offered few details due to the heavy redactions.

As part of his effort, Trentadue was seeking to conduct discovery. He wanted to know whether the FBI had informants in the courts, Congress, media, and other government agencies at any point since January 1995. He also sought information about how many sensitive informants the FBI had in each institution.

The U.S. government resisted Trentadue’s efforts to conduct discovery at every turn. In email correspondence, prosecutors told him he had no legal standing.

“This case is not one where you have asked the Court to declare an alleged ‘secret surveillance program’ illegal on any ground … nor have you sought to enjoin any activity that you allege any such program might be conducting,” the DOJ told him.

“Instead, this case, like the numerous other FOIA cases that you have filed in this Court, is about nothing except for whether the FBI performed an adequate search for records responsive to your FOIA requests.”

In a January 2013 motion for a Salt Lake City federal judge to order the FBI to answer his questions, Trentadue argued against the DOJ’s explanation.

“The issue in this dispute between the parties is not the adequacy of the FBI’s search for the Manual. The FBI found the Manual,” Trentadue said in his motion, referring to an FBI book on using sensitive informants. “The issue for the Court to decide is whether the FOIA exemptions advanced by the FBI for withholding portions of the Manual apply and, even if they do apply, can those exemptions be lawfully asserted to conceal FBI activities that are unconstitutional and/or otherwise illegal?

“Plaintiff submits that the answers to this two-part question are, ‘NO.’”

However, federal judge Dale Kimball ruled in favor of the FBI in July 2013, writing in his decision that discovery is generally unavailable in FOIA litigation, and that he found no reason to deviate from that rule.

In April 2014, the FBI moved for a summary judgment to end the lawsuit once and for all. FBI agents provided written declarations in support of the motion, articulating the bureau’s reasons for withholding information about sensitive informants.

Eric Velez-Villar, then the assistant director of the FBI’s Directorate of Intelligence (DI), said revealing information in the manuals would compromise sources and methods for how the bureau handles informants.

“The effectiveness of techniques involving undisclosed participation [by informants] is directly contingent upon the FBI keeping its involvement in such activities undisclosed,” Velez-Villar said. “The information was intended for an audience of FBI employees only.”

As for information specific to sensitive investigations and informants, Velez-Villar said disclosing such policies would “disclose critical tools utilized by the FBI in its investigations and intelligence gathering efforts.”

“Releasing the policies governing these sensitive investigative techniques and strategies would compound the harm of such a disclosure by also revealing how and when the FBI can/will utilize these tools,” he said.

The FBI’s motion also included sworn statements from officials at the State Department and CIA, both agreeing that the sensitive informant manuals should be kept secret.

The head of the CIA’s litigation support unit, Martha Lutz, said disclosing the FBI manuals could compromise CIA sources.

“In this case, the FBI manual indicates certain traits or characteristics of FBI confidential human sources that should give rise to notification or coordination with CIA. By doing so, the manuals reveal the particular traits or characteristics that may be associated with CIA human sources, such as an individual’s national origin or travel habits,” Lutz said.

Publicly disclosing this information creates the risk that adversaries of the United States may gain insight into the traits and characteristics that CIA values in human sources.”

Trentadue opposed the FBI’s motion for summary judgment and the two parties duked it out at a November 2014 hearing over the matter. But after reviewing the unredacted manuals in private, Judge Kimball granted the FBI’s national security exemptions in June 2015.

Kimball noted that government agencies are “entitled to considerable deference” when they exercise national security or law enforcement exemptions. Unless there’s evidence of bad faith by government actors, then the courts have no power to make government agencies disclose secret information, he said.

In this case—unlike in another, ongoing FOIA lawsuit between Trentadue and the FBI, where there’s an ongoing witness tampering investigation taking place—Kimball said he found no evidence of bad faith on the part of the U.S. government.

“Having conducted a thorough in camera review of the documents (or portions thereof) withheld by the agency, in conjunction with the agency’s claimed reasons for so withholding the information, the court concludes that the claimed exemptions are valid,” the judge said. “The FBI has demonstrated … that it has withheld sensitive information because that information logically falls within the scope of the claimed exemption.”

Kimball ordered the case closed on June 9, 2015.

Trentadue’s Findings

Trentadue argues that his FOIA litigation, coupled with the FBI memos he’s procured, demonstrates that the FBI has much to hide about its use of sensitive informants.

“Yes, the FBI does need sensitive informants to, as you say, investigate corruption and potential violent groups.  Yes, the FBI should have manuals to make sure that these are done legally. But the key is that I asked for manuals governing ‘recruitment/management’ of specific informants, which FBI produced but redacted,” he told this reporter.

“It is not a case of someone coming to the FBI offering to expose corruption. The bureau is recruiting spies.”

Other FOIA and legal experts tend to agree.

My guess is that he’s probably right,” said Sean Dunagan, senior investigator at the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch. “It’s just very difficult to reach any conclusions with moral certitude, based on what the FBI didn’t hand over.

Attorney and author Alexander Charns, who chronicled how J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI infiltrated the federal judiciary in his book, “Cloak and Gavel: FBI Wiretaps, Bugs, Informers, and the Supreme Court,” said history supports Trentadue’s claims, and that Congress should look into the matter.

Charns’s book, which covers thousands of Supreme Court and FBI records obtained by the author, details the many tactics Hoover used to influence the Supreme Court—from wiretaps to PR campaigns, and including the use of informants.

“It is disturbing, but not surprising, to find that at least three Court employees reported directly to the FBI,” he wrote.

Offering the qualifier that his expertise on FBI informants is limited to the Hoover era, Charns said the bureau has a natural tendency to push its spying powers to the legal limits—and sometimes beyond.

“I don’t have evidence that this is occurring now, but it seems like law enforcement is opportunistic. So, if they have an opportunity to place an informant in an organization that raises constitutional questions, they often tend to look at it as: They’re not going to refuse information,” he said.

Tyler Durden Tue, 04/12/2022 - 16:45
Published:4/12/2022 3:55:16 PM
[Markets] Biden's Sister Blames Trump For Hunter Biden's Legal Problems Biden's Sister Blames Trump For Hunter Biden's Legal Problems

Authored by Frank Fang via The Epoch Times,

President Joe Biden’s younger sister defended Hunter Biden on April 11, claiming that her nephew’s legal issues are just political attacks by former President Donald Trump intended on bringing down her brother.

Valerie Biden Owens, a longtime campaign manager for Joe Biden, made the remarks in an interview with “CBS Mornings.” She was asked by host Gayle King whether Hunter Biden was “a problem for the family.” In response, Owens said, “No.”

King pressed on, pointing out how Hunter Biden’s business dealings have come under scrutiny. Owens responded by saying that the attention to her nephew’s business activities was born out of the 2020 presidential election.

“The only race that I wasn’t enthusiastic about Joe getting involved in was the 2020 presidency,” Owens said, “because I expected, and was not disappointed, that it would be ugly and mean, and it would be an attack on my brother Joe, personally and professionally, because the former president is very intent on bringing my brother down.”

“I assumed from the beginning that the former president and his entourage would attack my brother by going and attacking my family,” Owens added.

“[Trump] thought the weak link would be to attack my brother’s child.”

Owens then went on to defend her nephew.

“Hunter has written in exquisite detail about his struggle with addiction, his walk through hell, and I am so grateful that he’s been able to walk out of hell. But I don’t think that there’s a family in this country who hasn’t tasted it,” she told King.

King then interrupted Owens, reminding her that their discussion should center on Hunter Biden’s business deals.

In the end, Owen seemed to dismiss any allegations of wrongdoing against her nephew.

“There hasn’t been a ‘there’ there since it was mentioned in 2019 or whenever it first was,” Owens said.

Watch the full interview below:

Citing Treasury documents, a 2020 Senate report found that there was “potential criminal activity relating to transactions among and between Hunter Biden, his family, and his associates with Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh, and Chinese nationals,” while Joe Biden was vice president during the Obama administration.

The report pointed out how Hunter Biden made “questionable transactions” with Chinese nationals connected to the Chinese regime and military.

The younger Biden was found to have tried to broker a $120 million oil agreement in 2014 and 2015 between a Chinese state-owned oil company and Kazakhstan’s prime minister at that time, British newspaper the Daily Mail reported in February, citing emails obtained from his alleged abandoned laptop.

In March, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) presented bank records on the Senate floor showing a Chinese energy company made payments to Hunter Biden.

On April 8, 95 House Republicans wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, urging him to appoint a special counsel to investigate the younger Biden.

“It is increasingly clear that Hunter Biden took advantage of his father’s position as Vice President to develop business relationships with clients in Ukraine, China, and Kazakhstan,” the lawmakers said. “A special counsel would also ensure there is no bias in the investigation or undue influence from the White House.”

Tyler Durden Tue, 04/12/2022 - 12:07
Published:4/12/2022 11:24:17 AM
[Markets] New York Lt. Gov. Arrested On Charges Of Bribery, Fraud And Falsification Of Records New York Lt. Gov. Arrested On Charges Of Bribery, Fraud And Falsification Of Records

New York's Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin was arrested Tuesday morning after he was indicted on five counts which include bribery, fraud and falsification of records in a scheme to funnel illegal donations to a previous campaign, according to the New York Times.

The five-count indictment accused Mr. Benjamin of conspiring to direct state funds to a Harlem real estate investor in exchange for orchestrating thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions to Mr. Benjamin’s unsuccessful 2021 campaign for New York City comptroller. -NY Times

"In so doing, Benjamin abused his authority as a New York State senator, engaging in a bribery scheme using public funds for his own corrupt purposes," said prosecutors in the indictment. The investor, meanwhile, was arrested on federal charges in November.

Benjamin, Gov. Kathy Hochul's #2, surrendered to federal authorities Tuesday morning.

The indictment followed a joint investigation by the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, the city's Department of Investigation and the FBI.

Benjamin also allegedly "engaged in a series of lies and deceptions to cover up the scheme," which included the falsification of campaign donation forms, misleading NYC authorities, and giving false information as part of a background check when he became lieutenant governor last year.

According to the report, there is no indication that Gov. Hochul knew of Benjamin's alleged crimes, which prosecutors say occurred when he was a state senator.

Tyler Durden Tue, 04/12/2022 - 10:45
Published:4/12/2022 9:51:25 AM
[Markets] Victor Davis Hanson: Will GOP Play By The Dems' "New Rules"? Victor Davis Hanson: Will GOP Play By The Dems' "New Rules"?

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via American Greatness,

The Debasement of our Professional and Political Classes

The left-wing professional and political classes bequeathed a number of new protocols during the Trump derangement years. And it will be interesting to watch whether the Republicans abide by them in November should they take back the House and perhaps the Senate—and the presidency in 2024 as well. 

Will they follow the New Testament’s turn-the-other-cheek forbearance, or go for Old Testament style eye-for-an-eye retribution? 

What Are the New Rules?

Will Republican magnanimity suffice to shame the Democrats to be more professional in the future? Or will tit-for-tat deterrent reciprocity alone ensure a return to norms? Specifically, will Biden be impeached Trump-style, after losing the House in November? Say, to give just one possible example, for deliberately not enforcing and, indeed, undermining U.S. immigration law? 

Will Speaker Kevin McCarthy, in Pelosi-fashion, start yanking troublesome radical Democrats off House committees? 

Will a conservative Robert Mueller-like “wise man” head a $40 million, 22 month-long special counsel investigation of the Biden-family influence-selling syndicate—arrayed with a “dream-team,” “all-star,” and “hunter-killer” right-wing lawyers to ferret out “Big Guy” and “Mr. Ten Percent” quid pro quo profiteering? 

Would a Republican-led House set up a special committee to investigate the racketeering and “conspiracies” across state lines that led to a near “coup” and “insurrection” marked by “the riots of 2020?” Would such watchdogs offer up criminal referrals for all those responsible for attacking a federal courthouse and torching a police precinct or for setting an historic church afire? Or causing $2 billion of damage, over 30 deaths, and 1,500 law enforcement officer injuries—while carving out illegal no-go zones in major downtowns? 

Given the need for “accountability,” the “threats to democracy,” and a need for “transparency,” would another congressional committee investigate the Afghanistan fiasco of summer 2021? Will it learn who was lying about the disaster—Joe Biden or the Joint Chiefs—and how and why such a travesty occurred? 

Would a rebooted January 6 committee reconvene under new auspices—with Democratic members limited to those selected by a new Speaker McCarthy—to revisit the lethal shooting of Ashli Babbitt, to review thousands of hours of released surveillance video, to subpoena all email communications between the previous congressional leadership and the Capitol police, to demand the lists of all the FBI informants in the crowd, and to interrogate the sadistic jailers and overzealous prosecutors who have created America’s first class of political prisoners subjected to punishment without trial? Such a multifaceted legal inquiry would eat up most of Biden’s final two years in office. As accomplished leakers, Republicans then would also supply “bombshells” and “walls or closing in” special news alerts on cable TV, the fuel of supposedly “imminent” and “impending” indictments, based on special counsel leaks to conservative media. 

Following the Democratic cue, should the Republican-majority Senate consider ending the “disruptive” and “anti-democratic” filibuster? Should there be a national voting law rammed through the Congress, overriding state protocols, and demanding that all national election balloting must require a photo ID? 

Will Speaker McCarthy, Pelosi-style, in furor at more of Joe Biden’s chronic lies, tear up the president’s State of the Union address on national television? 

A Permanently Politicized Bureaucracy?

Will the new Washington apparat likewise adhere to the Democratic Party’s new precedents? 

Perhaps a newly appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs can reassure a Republican majority that its primary mission is not battle readiness—and certainly not climate change or “white rage”— but rather ferreting out service personnel with known ties to radical groups like BLM or Antifa or other “subversive” and “racist” organizations? 

Will a conservative Lois Lerner emerge from the IRS shadows to start slow-walking nonprofit-status applications from left-wing organizations on the eve of a presidential election? 

Will the FBI become a Republican retrieval service to hunt down and keep inert embarrassing lost laptops, diaries, and hard drives of absent-minded conservative grandees? 

In the middle of a campaign, will the CIA Director believe it is his duty to inform the senior Republican leaders in the Senate that he has good “information” that leftists are intriguing with foreign governments to warp the election? 

The Lettered Classes 

And what of our corporate and professional classes? 

Should conservative zillionaires pool their resources and, Zuckerberg-style, select key precincts in the next general election, hire armies of activists, and then absorb and supersede the work of state or county registrars? Only that way, could they ensure the “right” people vote and their “correct” ballots were accurately counted? 

Should conservatives start rounding up “professionals,” “scientists,” and “scholars” to express their superior morality and erudition in pursuit of political agendas? 

Certainly, a recent trend has been a spate of letters of “conscience” and “statements of concern” signed by revolving-door government, academic, and corporate grandees who pose as disinterested experts to mold public opinion. 

When we read such letters of principle—characterized by shared and collective outrage by assorted professionals, replete with letters and/or titles after their name—beware! 

Do we remember the recent “stellar” cast of Nobel-Prize winning and near-Nobel laureates who admonished us that Biden’s massive deficit spending programs would never lead to inflation? 

In circular fashion, Biden solicited and then cited this “blue-chip” group of experts led by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz. Stiglitz warned the hoi polloi not to worry about printing trillions of dollars at the very moment pent-up demand from the COVID lockdowns was surging, when for millions the government kept issuing checks that made staying home more lucrative than working, when interest rates were at near zero, and when the national debt was cresting at $30 trillion. 

The distinguished economists promised us that if we just followed the Biden lead, then inflation would actually decrease. Or as they put it, “Because this agenda invests in long-term economic capacity and will enhance the ability of more Americans to participate productively in the economy, it will ease longer-term inflationary pressure.” [emphasis added]. 

As inflation nears or exceeds eight percent per annum, will they write an apology or instead issue yet another letter assuring us that inflation is easing? 

Do we remember the 50 “former intelligence officials” letter writers rounded up by former National Intelligence and CIA Directors James Clapper and John Brennan? (The latter two previously had confessed to lying under oath to Congress.) Yet just two weeks before the 2020 election, these revered “professionals” assured us that Hunter Biden’s laptop was not just fake but likely Russian disinformation. 

Or as the shameful 50 put it in their sorta, kinda conspiratorial style, “. . . our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.” The guidance of Brennan and Clapper alone—apart from the clear evidence that the laptop was Hunter’s—should have made all Americans “deeply suspicious” that the Biden campaign “played a significant role in this case.” 

Do we remember “the over 1,000 health professionals” who in 2020 signed a letter of conscience, assuring us that: 

. . . we wanted to present a narrative that prioritizes opposition to racism as vital to public health, including the epidemic response. We believe that the way forward is not to suppress protests in the name of public health but to respond to protesters demands in the name of public health, thereby addressing multiple public health crises. 

So, in “follow the science fashion” we were told not just that some violations of strict masking, quarantines, and lockdowns were more equal than others, but that flagrantly ignoring health mandates entirely was, in Orwellian fashion, actually good for the health of the exempt. 

Do we remember the 27 Lancet “scientists” who signed the now infamous letter reassuring us the Wuhan lab played no role in the origins in COVID? Do we also recall that all but one of these progressive humanitarians failed to disclose that they themselves had connections with Wuhan? 

Leftist professionals in politics, government, and private enterprise debased themselves for short-term political gain, or in furor at their bogeyman Trump, or in anger at the unwashed. They have now set precedents, which if embraced by conservatives and applied to the Left, would be called unethical at best and fascistic at worst. 

In the end, all the warped grandees accomplished was to further discredit the entire notion that those with high salaries, prestigious degrees, impressive titles, and insidious influence are somehow less likely to lie, connive, cheat, and conspire than those whom they libel and attack. 

*  *  *

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, The Case for Trump and the newly released The Dying Citizen.

Tyler Durden Mon, 04/11/2022 - 23:00
Published:4/11/2022 10:17:47 PM
[Markets] DOJ Election Threat Taskforce Appears To Have 'Something To Hide': Watchdog Group President DOJ Election Threat Taskforce Appears To Have 'Something To Hide': Watchdog Group President

Authored by Masooma Haq and Roman Balmakov via The Epoch Times,

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) is being weaponized against opposing voices. Fitton’s group filed a lawsuit against the DOJ recently to get documents connected to the department’s election threat task force, after almost a year of no response to their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Fitton thinks the DOJ has something they don’t want the public to know.

“We want answers about it. And of course, when you don’t give us answers, and you don’t comply with the law that requires that records be turned over, it suggests to me that you got something to hide,” Fitton told the host of EpochTV’s “Facts Matter,” Roman Balmakov, during a recent interview. “So, what are they nervous about, that they don’t want to give to us?”

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, in Washington on Nov. 1, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Fitton’s comments come after the DOJ’s July action to form an election threats task force to investigate alleged widespread threats to election officials.

“You know, I think we had asked for this material last year initially, and we still don’t have anything,” he said. Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit at the end of March for a FOIA request they submitted in August 2021 for all records related to the August virtual task force meeting.

According to Judicial Watch, the group is “a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability, and integrity in government, politics, and the law.”

According to the DOJ, “the task force is leading the Justice Department’s efforts to address threats of violence against election workers, and to ensure that all election workers—whether they be elected, appointed, or those who volunteer—be permitted to do their jobs free from threats and intimidation.” The task force will partner with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the FBI field offices to assess allegations of threats against election workers.

The DOJ has charged two people in connection with election threats since the launch of the task force.

“So not only do you have the DOJ involved, you get the FBI, you’ve got I think their national security operation involved as well, and the Department of Homeland Security. And you know, I read it as, ‘Don’t you dare ask questions about the way elections are being conducted, otherwise, you’ll be on our government radar.’”

Fitton believes that these efforts by the DOJ violate the public’s constitutional rights and target political opposition, and work more to intimidate people.

“So, what they do is they pretend that their political opponents are to be treated as national security threats, potential terrorists, lawbreakers, and then follow up with an intimidation effort that suggests law enforcement will be watching you if you talk on these specific topics.”

The DOJ declined to comment on the lawsuit and why they had not released the documents to Judicial Watch.

Broader Problem of Corruption

“Well, … frankly, most federal agencies are irredeemably corrupt, and they need to be really reformed in dramatic ways, if not dismantled, depending on the agency entirely,” said Fitton.

When it comes to bad public policy and misconduct, the Justice Department is at the center of the storm, he said.

“They defend the indefensible,” said Fitton. “So, everything you don’t like, if the federal government’s breaking the law, and you think that’s going on and there’s abuse, usually, there’s a Justice Department attorney or agency that’s more than willing to defend that and is pushing it or protecting them from accountability by pretending that records about government misconduct are secret and can’t be turned over.”

Fitton said the DOJ is too big and has too much money. “You’ve got this basic waste, fraud, and abuse issue, in addition to the politicization because no one’s watching the store. We need the watch the watchers.”

Tyler Durden Mon, 04/11/2022 - 19:40
Published:4/11/2022 6:46:46 PM
[Security] Someone Tipped Off Secret Service Dupers Before FBI Raid, Prosecutor Says

Two men accused of posing as federal law enforcement agents were tipped off to the FBI’s raid on their apartments, according to a court document... Read More

The post Someone Tipped Off Secret Service Dupers Before FBI Raid, Prosecutor Says appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:4/11/2022 2:44:46 PM
[In The News] Alleged Secret Service Dupers Were Tipped Off Ahead Of FBI Raid: REPORT

by Jennie Taer at CDN -

Two men who allegedly posed as federal law enforcement agents were tipped off to the FBI’s raid on their apartments, The Daily Beast reported Sunday. Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 36, were arrested in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday for allegedly posing as Homeland Security agents since as early as …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Alleged Secret Service Dupers Were Tipped Off Ahead Of FBI Raid: REPORT first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:4/11/2022 9:13:13 AM
[Markets] "Something Is Up": Rep. Jim Jordan Suggests Hunter Biden Indictment Could Be Coming "Something Is Up": Rep. Jim Jordan Suggests Hunter Biden Indictment Could Be Coming

Top House Republican Jim Jordan said on Sunday he thinks "something is up" with the MSM's recent flip-flop on the Hunter Biden laptop story - which was originally branded as Russian disinformation right before the 2020 US election, only to be validated as authentic in recent weeks amid a grand jury investigation into the First Son.

According to Jordan, it "sure seems" that Hunter is on his way to being indicted - though he couldn't say for sure, according to the Washington Examiner. Jordan pointed to the remarkable timing of MSM outlets reporting on Hunter's laptop in seeming lockstep, which coincides with a flurry of grand jury activity.

"You mentioned those two stories from the Washington Post 10 days ago," Jordan told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo. "I understand they were four minutes apart. One was at 11:00. One was at 11:04. So two eight-page-long stories four minutes apart from the news organization that said 18 months ago there was no story here, this was Russian disinformation. That tells you something is up. You don't see the Washington Post do that."

While the New York Post led the charge in reporting on the contents of the abandoned laptop, which contained emails detailing Biden's business dealings and rollercoaster personal life, other major media outlets sought to cast doubt on its authenticity, and Big Tech companies even took steps to suppress its spread in the final weeks of the 2020 election.

Jordan, who is the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, remarked how "interesting" it is that the "story has evolved" in recent weeks, coinciding with rising suspicions that President Joe Bidsen himself could be drawn into a federal criminal investigation, even as the White House has been adamant in asserting that the president is not involved and that his 52-year-old son did not commit any crimes. -Washington Examiner

"Remember, it started off as, 'Oh, it wasn't his laptop.' Then it was, 'Well, it was his laptop, but it was Russian disinformation.' Now it's, 'No, it wasn't Russian disinformation, but Joe had nothing to do with it," Jordan continued.

"And now, finally, it is, 'Well, Joe had something to do with it, but he really didn't do anything wrong.' In fact, that's what his chief of staff, Ron Klain, told us last Sunday on the Sunday shows," he added. "So, my, how this story has changed. And now, we find out these text messages and emails that link the entire family, not just Hunter and Joe and — but also uncle, the — Joe's brother, James Biden, is involved in this as well."

Bartiromo brought up that author Peter Schweizer said the laptop includes messages from Hunter that show at least $31 million in shady international dealings, as well as a 2019 message to his daughter complaining about covering family expenses.

"I hope you all can do what I did and pay for everything for this entire family for 30 years," said Hunter. "It’s really hard. But don’t worry, unlike pop, I won’t make you give me half your salary."

When asked to respond, Jordan said, "It sure looks like Joe Biden was involved," adding that there are "4.8 million reasons" to think Joe Biden is lying when he says there was nothing unethical about Hunter's business dealings in China and Ukraine.

"The thing that bothers me the most, though, Maria, is the conspiracy," said Jordan. "The Left always tries to — always says, 'Oh, there's these right-wing conspiracies.' The real conspiracy here was the Democrats, Big Tech, Big Media keeping this story from the American people just days before the most important election we have, an election for president of the United States, election for who's going to be the commander in chief."

"Maybe worst of all" was the 51 'former intelligence officials' who swore in an October 2020 letter that the Hunter Biden laptop story was likely Russian disinformation.

"That letter they wrote where they said this has all the earmarks of a Russian disinformation campaign, that letter became the basis for Big Tech and Big Media to suppress this story and keep it from We the People in the run-up to our most important election," said Jordan. "That's why we sent a letter to these 51 guys. We want to know who they were talking to, how they came to this conclusion, how they put that letter together, because that was the basis for the conspiracy that kept information from the voters right up before the presidential election."

*  *  *

In late March we learned that two Hunter Biden associates testified before the grand jury about a now-defunct PLA-linked Chinese energy company, CEFC.

"The investigation began as a tax inquiry years ago and has expanded into a federal probe involving the FBI and IRS," according to CBS News' Catherine Herridge, adding that "two men who worked with Hunter Biden when his father was Vice President were called to the grand jury last fall," according to a source.

The probe is now exploring whether Hunter and pals violated tax, money laundering, and foreign lobbying laws.

According to records reviewed by CBS along with congressional documents, the feds are looking at "multiple financial transactions involving an energy company called CEFC. Republicans accuse the business of being an arm of the Chinese government. In 2017, the year Joe Biden left the Vice Presidency, a $1 million retainer was signed with a Chinese energy company for Hunter Biden's services as a lawyer.

His client, CEFC official Patrick Ho, was later convicted on international bribery and money laundering charges on unrelated work in Africa."

When the Hunter Biden laptop story broke (and was immediately suppressed by the media), CEFC was the company that reportedly extended a $5 million interest-free loan to the Bidens that enraged their business partner, Tony Bobulinski - who flipped on the Bidens following a Senate report which revealed the $5 million 'loan.'

According to the former Biden insider, he was introduced to Joe Biden by Hunter, and they had an hour-long meeting where they discussed the Biden's business plans with the Chinese, with which he says Joe was "plainly familiar at least at a high level."

Text messages from Bobulinski also reveal an effort to conceal Joe Biden's involvement in Hunter's business dealings, while Tony has also confirmed that the "Big guy" described in a leaked email is none other than Joe Biden himself.

"You can imagine my shock when reading the report yesterday put out by the Senate committee.  The fact that you and HB were lying to Rob, James and I while accepting $5 MM from Cefc is infuriating," wrote Bobulinski to Jim Biden. (Via the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross):

CEFC was paying Hunter $850,00 per year according to an email from Biden business associate James Gilliar to Bobulinksi - which is also the source of the "10 held by H for the big guy" email.

Emails obtained by the New York Post show that Hunter "pursued lucrative deals involving China’s largest private energy company — including one that he said would be “interesting for me and my family.”" according to the report.

You can read more on Hunter and the CEFC here. As an aside, but of course not coincidental we're sure, the Clinton Foundation accepted a donation between $50,001 and $100,000 from CEFC.

And according to Bobulinski, Joe Biden was in on the whole thing.

And of course, all evidence of this was suppressed right before the 2020 election.

Tyler Durden Mon, 04/11/2022 - 07:05
Published:4/11/2022 6:11:54 AM
[Markets] The Anatomy Of Big Pharma's Political Reach The Anatomy Of Big Pharma's Political Reach

Authored by Rebecca Strong via Medium.com,

They keep telling us to “trust the science.” But who paid for it?

After graduating from Columbia University with a chemical engineering degree, my grandfather went on to work for Pfizer for almost two decades, culminating his career as the company’s Global Director of New Products. I was rather proud of this fact growing up — it felt as if this father figure, who raised me for several years during my childhood, had somehow played a role in saving lives. But in recent years, my perspective on Pfizer — and other companies in its class — has shifted. Blame it on the insidious big pharma corruption laid bare by whistleblowers in recent years. Blame it on the endless string of big pharma lawsuits revealing fraud, deception, and cover-ups. Blame it on the fact that I witnessed some of their most profitable drugs ruin the lives of those I love most. All I know is, that pride I once felt has been overshadowed by a sticky skepticism I just can’t seem to shake.

In 1973, my grandpa and his colleagues celebrated as Pfizer crossed a milestone: the one-billion-dollar sales mark. These days, Pfizer rakes in $81 billion a year, making it the 28th most valuable company in the world. Johnson & Johnson ranks 15th, with $93.77 billion. To put things into perspective, that makes said companies wealthier than most countries in the world. And thanks to those astronomical profit margins, the Pharmaceuticals and Health Products industry is able to spend more on lobbying than any other industry in America.

While big pharma lobbying can take several different forms, these companies tend to target their contributions to senior legislators in Congress — you know, the ones they need to keep in their corner, because they have the power to draft healthcare laws. Pfizer has outspent its peers in six of the last eight election cycles, coughing up almost $9.7 million. During the 2016 election, pharmaceutical companies gave more than $7 million to 97 senators at an average of $75,000 per member. They also contributed $6.3 million to president Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. The question is: what did big pharma get in return?

ALEC’s Off-the-Record Sway

To truly grasp big pharma’s power, you need to understand how The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) works. ALEC, which was founded in 1973 by conservative activists working on Ronald Reagan’s campaign, is a super secretive pay-to-play operation where corporate lobbyists — including in the pharma sector?— hold confidential meetings about “model” bills. A large portion of these bills is eventually approved and become law.

A rundown of ALEC’s greatest hits will tell you everything you need to know about the council’s motives and priorities. In 1995, ALEC promoted a bill that restricts consumers’ rights to sue for damages resulting from taking a particular medication. They also endorsed the Statute of Limitation Reduction Act, which put a time limit on when someone could sue after a medication-induced injury or death. Over the years, ALEC has promoted many other pharma-friendly bills that would: weaken FDA oversight of new drugs and therapies, limit FDA authority over drug advertising, and oppose regulations on financial incentives for doctors to prescribe specific drugs. But what makes these ALEC collaborations feel particularly problematic is that there’s little transparency — all of this happens behind closed doors. Congressional leaders and other committee members involved in ALEC aren’t required to publish any records of their meetings and other communications with pharma lobbyists, and the roster of ALEC members is completely confidential. All we know is that in 2020, more than two-thirds of Congress — 72 senators and 302 House of Representatives members — cashed a campaign check from a pharma company.

Big Pharma Funding Research

The public typically relies on an endorsement from government agencies to help them decide whether or not a new drug, vaccine, or medical device is safe and effective. And those agencies, like the FDA, count on clinical research. As already established, big pharma is notorious for getting its hooks into influential government officials. Here’s another sobering truth: The majority of scientific research is paid for by — wait for it — the pharmaceutical companies.

When the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published 73 studies of new drugs over the course of a single year, they found that a staggering 82% of them had been funded by the pharmaceutical company selling the product, 68% had authors who were employees of that company, and 50% had lead researchers who accepted money from a drug company. According to 2013 research conducted at the University of Arizona College of Law, even when pharma companies aren’t directly funding the research, company stockholders, consultants, directors, and officers are almost always involved in conducting them. A 2017 report by the peer-reviewed journal The BMJ also showed that about half of medical journal editors receive payments from drug companies, with the average payment per editor hovering around $28,000. But these statistics are only accurate if researchers and editors are transparent about payments from pharma. And a 2022 investigative analysis of two of the most influential medical journals found that 81% of study authors failed to disclose millions in payments from drug companies, as they’re required to do.

Unfortunately, this trend shows no sign of slowing down. The number of clinical trials funded by the pharmaceutical industry has been climbing every year since 2006, according to a John Hopkins University report, while independent studies have been harder to find. And there are some serious consequences to these conflicts of interest. Take Avandia, for instance, a diabetes drug produced by GlaxoSmithCline (GSK). Avandia was eventually linked to a dramatically increased risk of heart attacks and heart failure. And a BMJ report revealed that almost 90% of scientists who initially wrote glowing articles about Avandia had financial ties to GSK.

But here’s the unnerving part: if the pharmaceutical industry is successfully biasing the science, then that means the physicians who rely on the science are biased in their prescribing decisions.

Photo credit: UN Women Europe & Central Asia

Where the lines get really blurry is with “ghostwriting.” Big pharma execs know citizens are way more likely to trust a report written by a board-certified doctor than one of their representatives. That’s why they pay physicians to list their names as authors — even though the MDs had little to no involvement in the research, and the report was actually written by the drug company. This practice started in the ’50s and ’60s when tobacco execs were clamoring to prove that cigarettes didn’t cause cancer (spoiler alert: they do!), so they commissioned doctors to slap their name on papers undermining the risks of smoking.

It’s still a pretty common tactic today: more than one in 10 articles published in the NEJM was co-written by a ghostwriter. While a very small percentage of medical journals have clear policies against ghostwriting, it’s still technically legal —despite the fact that the consequences can be deadly.

Case in point: in the late ’90s and early 2000s, Merck paid for 73 ghostwritten articles to play up the benefits of its arthritis drug Vioxx. It was later revealed that Merck failed to report all of the heart attacks experienced by trial participants. In fact, a study published in the NEJM revealed that an estimated 160,000 Americans experienced heart attacks or strokes from taking Vioxx. That research was conducted by Dr. David Graham, Associate Director of the FDA’s Office of Drug Safety, who understandably concluded the drug was not safe. But the FDA’s Office of New Drugs, which not only was responsible for initially approving Vioxx but also regulating it, tried to sweep his findings under the rug.

"I was pressured to change my conclusions and recommendations, and basically threatened that if I did not change them, I would not be permitted to present the paper at the conference," he wrote in his 2004 U.S. Senate testimony on Vioxx. "One Drug Safety manager recommended that I should be barred from presenting the poster at the meeting."

Eventually, the FDA issued a public health advisory about Vioxx and Merck withdrew this product. But it was a little late for repercussions — 38,000 of those Vioxx-takers who suffered heart attacks had already died. Graham called this a “profound regulatory failure,” adding that scientific standards the FDA apply to drug safety “guarantee that unsafe and deadly drugs will remain on the U.S. market.”

This should come as no surprise, but research has also repeatedly shown that a paper written by a pharmaceutical company is more likely to emphasize the benefits of a drug, vaccine, or device while downplaying the dangers. (If you want to understand more about this practice, a former ghostwriter outlines all the ethical reasons why she quit this job in a PLOS Medicine report.) While adverse drug effects appear in 95% of clinical research, only 46% of published reports disclose them. Of course, all of this often ends up misleading doctors into thinking a drug is safer than it actually is.

Big Pharma Influence On Doctors

Pharmaceutical companies aren’t just paying medical journal editors and authors to make their products look good, either. There’s a long, sordid history of pharmaceutical companies incentivizing doctors to prescribe their products through financial rewards. For instance, Pfizer and AstraZeneca doled out a combined $100 million to doctors in 2018, with some earning anywhere from $6 million to $29 million in a year. And research has shown this strategy works: when doctors accept these gifts and payments, they’re significantly more likely to prescribe those companies’ drugs. Novartis comes to mind — the company famously spent over $100 million paying for doctors’ extravagant meals, golf outings, and more, all while also providing a generous kickback program that made them richer every time they prescribed certain blood pressure and diabetes meds.

Side note: the Open Payments portal contains a nifty little database where you can find out if any of your own doctors received money from drug companies. Knowing that my mother was put on a laundry list of meds after a near-fatal car accident, I was curious — so I did a quick search for her providers. While her PCP only banked a modest amount from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, her previous psychiatrist — who prescribed a cocktail of contraindicated medications without treating her in person — collected quadruple-digit payments from pharmaceutical companies. And her pain care specialist, who prescribed her jaw-dropping doses of opioid pain medication for more than 20 years (far longer than the 5-day safety guideline), was raking in thousands from Purdue Pharma, AKA the opioid crisis’ kingpin.

Purdue is now infamous for its wildly aggressive OxyContin campaign in the ’90s. At the time, the company billed it as a non-addictive wonder drug for pain sufferers. Internal emails show Pursue sales representatives were instructed to “sell, sell, sell” OxyContin, and the more they were able to push, the more they were rewarded with promotions and bonuses. With the stakes so high, these reps stopped at nothing to get doctors on board — even going so far as to send boxes of doughnuts spelling out “OxyContin” to unconvinced physicians. Purdue had stumbled upon the perfect system for generating tons of profit — off of other people’s pain.

Documentation later proved that not only was Purdue aware it was highly addictive and that many people were abusing it, but that they also encouraged doctors to continue prescribing increasingly higher doses of it (and sent them on lavish luxury vacations for some motivation). In testimony to Congress, Purdue exec Paul Goldenheim played dumb about OxyContin addiction and overdose rates, but emails that were later exposed showed that he requested his colleagues remove all mentions of addiction from their correspondence about the drug. Even after it was proven in court that Purdue fraudulently marketed OxyContin while concealing its addictive nature, no one from the company spent a single day behind bars. Instead, the company got a slap on the wrist and a $600 million fine for a misdemeanor, the equivalent of a speeding ticket compared to the $9 billion they made off OxyContin up until 2006. Meanwhile, thanks to Purdue’s recklessness, more than 247,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2009. And that’s not even factoring in all the people who died of heroin overdoses once OxyContin was no longer attainable to them. The NIH reports that 80% of people who use heroin started by misusing prescription opioids.

Former sales rep Carol Panara told me in an interview that when she looks back on her time at Purdue, it all feels like a “bad dream.” Panara started working for Purdue in 2008, one year after the company pled guilty to “misbranding” charges for OxyContin. At this point, Purdue was “regrouping and expanding,” says Panara, and to that end, had developed a clever new approach for making money off OxyContin: sales reps were now targeting general practitioners and family doctors, rather than just pain management specialists. On top of that, Purdue soon introduced three new strengths for OxyContin: 15, 30, and 60 milligrams, creating smaller increments Panara believes were aimed at making doctors feel more comfortable increasing their patients’ dosages. According to Panara, there were internal company rankings for sales reps based on the number of prescriptions for each OxyContin dosing strength in their territory.

“They were sneaky about it,” she said.

“Their plan was to go in and sell these doctors on the idea of starting with 10 milligrams, which is very low, knowing full well that once they get started down that path — that’s all they need. Because eventually, they’re going to build a tolerance and need a higher dose.”

Occasionally, doctors expressed concerns about a patient becoming addicted, but Purdue had already developed a way around that. Sales reps like Panara were taught to reassure those doctors that someone in pain might experience addiction-like symptoms called “pseudoaddiction,” but that didn’t mean they were truly addicted. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to support that this concept is legit, of course. But the most disturbing part? Reps were trained to tell doctors that “pseudoaddiction” signaled the patient’s pain wasn’t being managed well enough, and the solution was simply to prescribe a higher dose of OxyContin.

Panara finally quit Purdue in 2013. One of the breaking points was when two pharmacies in her territory were robbed at gunpoint specifically for OxyContin. In 2020, Purdue pled guilty to three criminal charges in an $8.3 billion deal, but the company is now under court protection after filing for bankruptcy. Despite all the damage that’s been done, the FDA’s policies for approving opioids remain essentially unchanged.

Photo credit: Jennifer Durban

Purdue probably wouldn’t have been able to pull this off if it weren’t for an FDA examiner named Curtis Wright, and his assistant Douglas Kramer. While Purdue was pursuing Wright’s stamp of approval on OxyContin, Wright took an outright sketchy approach to their application, instructing the company to mail documents to his home office rather than the FDA, and enlisting Purdue employees to help him review trials about the safety of the drug. The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that the FDA have access to at least two randomized controlled trials before deeming a drug as safe and effective, but in the case of OxyContin, it got approved with data from just one measly two-week study — in osteoarthritis patients, no less.

When both Wright and Kramer left the FDA, they went on to work for none other than (drumroll, please) Purdue, with Wright earning three times his FDA salary. By the way — this is just one example of the FDA’s notoriously incestuous relationship with big pharma, often referred to as “the revolving door”. In fact, a 2018 Science report revealed that 11 out of 16 FDA reviewers ended up at the same companies they had been regulating products for.

While doing an independent investigation, “Empire of Pain” author and New Yorker columnist Patrick Radden Keefe tried to gain access to documentation of Wright’s communications with Purdue during the OxyContin approval process.

“The FDA came back and said, ‘Oh, it’s the weirdest thing, but we don’t have anything. It’s all either been lost or destroyed,’” Keefe told Fortune in an interview. “But it’s not just the FDA. It’s Congress, it’s the Department of Justice, it’s big parts of the medical establishment … the sheer amount of money involved, I think, has meant that a lot of the checks that should be in place in society to not just achieve justice, but also to protect us as consumers, were not there because they had been co-opted.”

Big pharma may be to blame for creating the opioids that caused this public health catastrophe, but the FDA deserves just as much scrutiny — because its countless failures also played a part in enabling it. And many of those more recent fails happened under the supervision of Dr. Janet Woodcock. Woodcock was named FDA’s acting commissioner mere hours after Joe Biden was inaugurated as president. She would have been a logical choice, being an FDA vet of 35 years, but then again it’s impossible to forget that she played a starring role in the FDA’s perpetuating the opioid epidemic. She’s also known for overruling her own scientific advisors when they vote against approving a drug. Not only did Woodcock approve OxyContin for children as young as 11 years old, but she also gave the green light to several other highly controversial extended-release opioid pain drugs without sufficient evidence of safety or efficacy. One of those was Zohydro: in 2011, the FDA’s advisory committee voted 11:2 against approving it due to safety concerns about inappropriate use, but Woodcock went ahead and pushed it through, anyway. Under Woodcock’s supervision, the FDA also approved Opana, which is twice as powerful as OxyContin — only to then beg the drug maker to take it off the market 10 years later due to “abuse and manipulation.” And then there was Dsuvia, a potent painkiller 1,000 times stronger than morphine and 10 times more powerful than fentanyl. According to a head of one of the FDA’s advisory committees, the U.S. military had helped to develop this particular drug, and Woodcock said there was “pressure from the Pentagon” to push it through approvals. The FBI, members of congress, public health advocates, and patient safety experts alike called this decision into question, pointing out that with hundreds of opioids already on the market there’s no need for another — particularly one that comes with such high risks.

Most recently, Woodcock served as the therapeutics lead for Operation Warp Speed, overseeing COVID-19 vaccine development.

Big Pharma Lawsuits, Scandals, and Cover-Ups

While the OxyContin craze is undoubtedly one of the highest-profile examples of big pharma’s deception, there are dozens of other stories like this. Here are a few standouts:

In the 1980s, Bayer continued selling blood clotting products to third-world countries even though they were fully aware those products had been contaminated with HIV. The reason? The “financial investment in the product was considered too high to destroy the inventory.” Predictably, about 20,000 of the hemophiliacs who were infused with these tainted products then tested positive for HIV and eventually developed AIDS, and many later died of it.

In 2004, Johnson & Johnson was slapped with a series of lawsuits for illegally promoting off-label use of their heartburn drug Propulsid for children despite internal company emails confirming major safety concerns (as in, deaths during the drug trials). Documentation from the lawsuits showed that dozens of studies sponsored by Johnson & Johnson highlighting the risks of this drug were never published.

The FDA estimates that GSK’s Avandia caused 83,000 heart attacks between 1999 and 2007. Internal documents from GSK prove that when they began studying the effects of the drug as early as 1999, they discovered it caused a higher risk of heart attacks than a similar drug it was meant to replace. Rather than publish these findings, they spent a decade illegally concealing them (and meanwhile, banking $3.2 billion annually for this drug by 2006). Finally, a 2007 New England Journal of Medicine study linked Avandia to a 43% increased risk of heart attacks, and a 64% increased risk of death from heart disease. Avandia is still FDA approved and available in the U.S.

In 2009, Pfizer was forced to pay $2.3 billion, the largest healthcare fraud settlement in history at that time, for paying illegal kickbacks to doctors and promoting off-label uses of its drugs. Specifically, a former employee revealed that Pfizer reps were encouraged and incentivized to sell Bextra and 12 other drugs for conditions they were never FDA approved for, and at doses up to eight times what’s recommended. “I was expected to increase profits at all costs, even when sales meant endangering lives,” the whistleblower said.

When it was discovered that AstraZeneca was promoting the antipsychotic medication Seroquel for uses that were not approved by the FDA as safe and effective, the company was hit with a $520 million fine in 2010. For years, AstraZeneca had been encouraging psychiatrists and other physicians to prescribe Seroquel for a vast range of seemingly unrelated off-label conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, anger management, ADHD, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and sleeplessness. AstraZeneca also violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute by paying doctors to spread the word about these unapproved uses of Seroquel via promotional lectures and while traveling to resort locations.

In 2012, GSK paid a $3 billion fine for bribing doctors by flying them and their spouses to five-star resorts, and for illegally promoting drugs for off-label uses. What’s worse — GSK withheld clinical trial results that showed its antidepressant Paxil not only doesn’t work for adolescents and children but more alarmingly, that it can increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts in this group. A 1998 GSK internal memo revealed that the company intentionally concealed this data to minimize any “potential negative commercial impact.”

In 2021, an ex-AstraZeneca sales rep sued her former employer, claiming they fired her for refusing to promote drugs for uses that weren’t FDA-approved. The employee alleges that on multiple occasions, she expressed concerns to her boss about “misleading” information that didn’t have enough support from medical research, and off-label promotions of certain drugs. Her supervisor reportedly not only ignored these concerns but pressured her to approve statements she didn’t agree with and threatened to remove her from regional and national positions if she didn’t comply. According to the plaintiff, she missed out on a raise and a bonus because she refused to break the law.

At the top of 2022, a panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit against Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Roche, and GE Healthcare, which claims they helped finance terrorist attacks against U.S. service members and other Americans in Iraq. The suit alleges that from 2005–2011, these companies regularly offered bribes (including free drugs and medical devices) totaling millions of dollars annually to Iraq’s Ministry of Health in order to secure drug contracts. These corrupt payments then allegedly funded weapons and training for the Mahdi Army, which until 2008, was largely considered one of the most dangerous groups in Iraq.

Another especially worrisome factor is that pharmaceutical companies are conducting an ever-increasing number of clinical trials in third-world countries, where people may be less educated, and there are also far fewer safety regulations. Pfizer’s 1996 experimental trials with Trovan on Nigerian children with meningitis — without informed consent — is just one nauseating example. When a former medical director in Pfizer’s central research division warned the company both before and after the study that their methods in this trial were “improper and unsafe,” he was promptly fired. Families of the Nigerian children who died or were left blind, brain damaged, or paralyzed after the study sued Pfizer, and the company ultimately settled out of court. In 1998, the FDA approved Trovan only for adults. The drug was later banned from European markets due to reports of fatal liver disease and restricted to strictly emergency care in the U.S. Pfizer still denies any wrongdoing.

“Nurse prepares to vaccinate children” by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

But all that is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like to dive a little further down the rabbit hole — and I’ll warn you, it’s a deep one — a quick Google search for “big pharma lawsuits” will reveal the industry’s dark track record of bribery, dishonesty, and fraud.

In fact, big pharma happens to be the biggest defrauder of the federal government when it comes to the False Claims Act, otherwise known as the “Lincoln Law.” During our interview, Panara told me she has friends still working for big pharma who would be willing to speak out about crooked activity they’ve observed, but are too afraid of being blacklisted by the industry. A newly proposed update to the False Claims Act would help to protect and support whistleblowers in their efforts to hold pharmaceutical companies liable, by helping to prevent that kind of retaliation and making it harder for the companies charged to dismiss these cases. It should come as no surprise that Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, and a flock of other big pharma firms are currently lobbying to block the update. Naturally, they wouldn’t want to make it any easier for ex-employees to expose their wrongdoings, potentially costing them billions more in fines.

Something to keep in mind: these are the same people who produced, marketed, and are profiting from the COVID-19 vaccines. The same people who manipulate research, pay off decision-makers to push their drugs, cover up negative research results to avoid financial losses, and knowingly put innocent citizens in harm’s way. The same people who told America: “Take as much OxyContin as you want around the clock! It’s very safe and not addictive!” (while laughing all the way to the bank).

So, ask yourself this: if a partner, friend, or family member repeatedly lied to you — and not just little white lies, but big ones that put your health and safety at risk — would you continue to trust them?

Backing the Big Four: Big Pharma and the FDA, WHO, NIH, CDC

I know what you’re thinking. Big pharma is amoral and the FDA’s devastating slips are a dime a dozen — old news. But what about agencies and organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO), and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)? Don’t they have an obligation to provide unbiased guidance to protect citizens? Don’t worry, I’m getting there.

The WHO’s guidance is undeniably influential across the globe. For most of this organization’s history, dating back to 1948, it could not receive donations from pharmaceutical companies — only member states. But that changed in 2005 when the WHO updated its financial policy to permit private money into its system. Since then, the WHO has accepted many financial contributions from big pharma. In fact, it’s only 20% financed by member states today, with a whopping 80% of financing coming from private donors. For instance, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is now one of its main contributors, providing up to 13% of its funds — about $250–300 million a year. Nowadays, the BMGF provides more donations to the WHO than the entire United States.

Dr. Arata Kochi, former head of WHO’s malaria program, expressed concerns to director-general Dr. Margaret Chan in 2007 that taking the BMGF’s money could have “far-reaching, largely unintended consequences” including “stifling a diversity of views among scientists.”

“The big concerns are that the Gates Foundation isn’t fully transparent and accountable,” Lawrence Gostin, director of WHO’s Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, told Devex in an interview.

“By wielding such influence, it could steer WHO priorities … It would enable a single rich philanthropist to set the global health agenda.”

Photo credit: National Institutes of Health

Take a peek at the WHO’s list of donors and you’ll find a few other familiar names like AstraZeneca, Bayer, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck.

The NIH has the same problem, it seems. Science journalist Paul Thacker, who previously examined financial links between physicians and pharma companies as a lead investigator of the United States Senate Committee, wrote in The Washington Post that this agency “often ignored” very “obvious” conflicts of interest. He also claimed that “its industry ties go back decades.” In 2018, it was discovered that a $100 million alcohol consumption study run by NIH scientists was funded mostly by beer and liquor companies. Emails proved that NIH researchers were in frequent contact with those companies while designing the study — which, here’s a shocker — were aimed at highlighting the benefits and not the risks of moderate drinking. So, the NIH ultimately had to squash the trial.

And then there’s the CDC. It used to be that this agency couldn’t take contributions from pharmaceutical companies, but in 1992 they found a loophole: new legislation passed by Congress allowed them to accept private funding through a nonprofit called the CDC Foundation. From 2014 through 2018 alone, the CDC Foundation received $79.6 million from corporations like Pfizer, Biogen, and Merck.

Of course, if a pharmaceutical company wants to get a drug, vaccine, or other product approved, they really need to cozy up to the FDA. That explains why in 2017, pharma companies paid for a whopping 75% of the FDA’s scientific review budgets, up from 27% in 1993. It wasn’t always like this. But in 1992, an act of Congress changed the FDA’s funding stream, enlisting pharma companies to pay “user fees,” which help the FDA speed up the approval process for their drugs.

2018 Science investigation found that 40 out of 107 physician advisors on the FDA’s committees received more than $10,000 from big pharma companies trying to get their drugs approved, with some banking up to $1 million or more. The FDA claims it has a well-functioning system to identify and prevent these possible conflicts of interest. Unfortunately, their system only works for spotting payments before advisory panels meet, and the Science investigation showed many FDA panel members get their payments after the fact. It’s a little like “you scratch my back now, and I’ll scratch your back once I get what I want” — drug companies promise FDA employees a future bonus contingent on whether things go their way.

Here’s why this dynamic proves problematic: a 2000 investigation revealed that when the FDA approved the rotavirus vaccine in 1998, it didn’t exactly do its due diligence. That probably had something to do with the fact that committee members had financial ties to the manufacturer, Merck — many owned tens of thousands of dollars of stock in the company, or even held patents on the vaccine itself. Later, the Adverse Event Reporting System revealed that the vaccine was causing serious bowel obstructions in some children, and it was finally pulled from the U.S. market in October 1999.

Then, in June of 2021, the FDA overruled concerns raised by its very own scientific advisory committee to approve Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm — a move widely criticized by physicians. The drug not only showed very little efficacy but also potentially serious side effects like brain bleeding and swelling, in clinical trials. Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a Harvard Medical School professor who was on the FDA’s scientific advisory committee, called it the “worst drug approval” in recent history, and noted that meetings between the FDA and Biogen had a “strange dynamic” suggesting an unusually close relationship. Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, told CNN that he believes the FDA started working in “inappropriately close collaboration with Biogen” back in 2019. “They were not objective, unbiased regulators,” he added in the CNN interview. “It seems as if the decision was preordained.”

That brings me to perhaps the biggest conflict of interest yet: Dr. Anthony Fauci’s NIAID is just one of many institutes that comprises the NIH — and the NIH owns half the patent for the Moderna vaccine — as well as thousands more pharma patents to boot. The NIAID is poised to earn millions of dollars from Moderna’s vaccine revenue, with individual officials also receiving up to $150,000 annually.

Operation Warp Speed

In December of 2020, Pfizer became the first company to receive an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA for a COVID-19 vaccine. EUAs — which allow the distribution of an unapproved drug or other product during a declared public health emergency — are actually a pretty new thing: the first one was issued in 2005 so military personnel could get an anthrax vaccine. To get a full FDA approval, there needs to be substantial evidence that the product is safe and effective. But for an EUA, the FDA just needs to determine that it may be effective. Since EUAs are granted so quickly, the FDA doesn’t have enough time to gather all the information they’d usually need to approve a drug or vaccine.

“Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Event” by The White House is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

Pfizer CEO and chairman Albert Bourla has said his company was “operating at the speed of science” to bring a vaccine to market. However, a 2021 report in The BMJ revealed that this speed might have come at the expense of “data integrity and patient safety.” Brook Jackson, regional director for the Ventavia Research Group, which carried out these trials, told The BMJ that her former company “falsified data, unblinded patients, and employed inadequately trained vaccinators” in Pfizer’s pivotal phase 3 trial. Just some of the other concerning events witnessed included: adverse events not being reported correctly or at all, lack of reporting on protocol deviations, informed consent errors, and mislabeling of lab specimens. An audio recording of Ventavia employees from September 2020 revealed that they were so overwhelmed by issues arising during the study that they became unable to “quantify the types and number of errors” when assessing quality control. One Ventavia employee told The BMJ she’d never once seen a research environment as disorderly as Ventavia’s Pfizer vaccine trial, while another called it a “crazy mess.”

Over the course of her two-decades-long career, Jackson has worked on hundreds of clinical trials, and two of her areas of expertise happen to be immunology and infectious diseases. She told me that from her first day on the Pfizer trial in September of 2020, she discovered “such egregious misconduct” that she recommended they stop enrolling participants into the study to do an internal audit.

“To my complete shock and horror, Ventavia agreed to pause enrollment but then devised a plan to conceal what I found and to keep ICON and Pfizer in the dark,” Jackson said during our interview.

“The site was in full clean-up mode. When missing data points were discovered the information was fabricated, including forged signatures on the informed consent forms.”

A screenshot Jackson shared with me shows she was invited to a meeting titled “COVID 1001 Clean up Call” on Sept. 21, 2020. She refused to participate in the call.

Jackson repeatedly warned her superiors about patient safety concerns and data integrity issues.

“I knew that the entire world was counting on clinical researchers to develop a safe and effective vaccine and I did not want to be a part of that failure by not reporting what I saw,” she told me.

When her employer failed to act, Jackson filed a complaint with the FDA on Sept. 25, and Ventavia fired her hours later that same day under the pretense that she was “not a good fit.” After reviewing her concerns over the phone, she claims the FDA never followed up or inspected the Ventavia site. Ten weeks later, the FDA authorized the EUA for the vaccine. Meanwhile, Pfizer hired Ventavia to handle the research for four more vaccine clinical trials, including one involving children and young adults, one for pregnant women, and another for the booster. Not only that, but Ventavia handled the clinical trials for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax. Jackson is currently pursuing a False Claims Act lawsuit against Pfizer and Ventavia Research Group.

Last year, Pfizer banked nearly $37 billion from its COVID vaccine, making it one of the most lucrative products in global history. Its overall revenues doubled in 2021 to reach $81.3 billion, and it’s slated to reach a record-breaking $98-$102 billion this year.

“Corporations like Pfizer should never have been put in charge of a global vaccination rollout, because it was inevitable they would make life-and-death decisions based on what’s in the short-term interest of their shareholders,” writes Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now.

As previously mentioned, it’s super common for pharmaceutical companies to fund the research on their own products. Here’s why that’s scary. One 1999 meta-analysis showed that industry-funded research is eight times less likely to achieve unfavorable results compared to independent trials. In other words, if a pharmaceutical company wants to prove that a medication, supplement, vaccine, or device is safe and effective, they’ll find a way.

With that in mind, I recently examined the 2020 study on Pfizer’s COVID vaccine to see if there were any conflicts of interest. Lo and behold, the lengthy attached disclosure form shows that of the 29 authors, 18 are employees of Pfizer and hold stock in the company, one received a research grant from Pfizer during the study, and two reported being paid “personal fees” by Pfizer. In another 2021 study on the Pfizer vaccine, seven of the 15 authors are employees of and hold stock in Pfizer. The other eight authors received financial support from Pfizer during the study.

Photo credit: Prasesh Shiwakoti (Lomash) via Unsplash

As of the day I’m writing this, about 64% of Americans are fully vaccinated, and 76% have gotten at least one dose. The FDA has repeatedly promised “full transparency” when it comes to these vaccines. Yet in December of 2021, the FDA asked for permission to wait 75 years before releasing information pertaining to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, including safety data, effectiveness data, and adverse reaction reports. That means no one would see this information until the year 2096 — conveniently, after many of us have departed this crazy world. To recap: the FDA only needed 10 weeks to review the 329,000 pages worth of data before approving the EUA for the vaccine — but apparently, they need three-quarters of a century to publicize it.

In response to the FDA’s ludicrous request, PHMPT — a group of over 200 medical and public health experts from Harvard, Yale, Brown, UCLA, and other institutions — filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act demanding that the FDA produce this data sooner. And their efforts paid off: U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman issued an order for the FDA to produce 12,000 pages by Jan. 31, and then at least 55,000 pages per month thereafter. In his statement to the FDA, Pittman quoted the late John F. Kennedy: “A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”

As for why the FDA wanted to keep this data hidden, the first batch of documentation revealed that there were more than 1,200 vaccine-related deaths in just the first 90 days after the Pfizer vaccine was introduced. Of 32 pregnancies with a known outcome, 28 resulted in fetal death. The CDC also recently unveiled data showing a total of 1,088,560 reports of adverse events from COVID vaccines were submitted between Dec. 14, 2020, and Jan. 28, 2022. That data included 23,149 reports of deaths and 183,311 reports of serious injuries. There were 4,993 reported adverse events in pregnant women after getting vaccinated, including 1,597 reports of miscarriage or premature birth. A 2022 study published in JAMA, meanwhile, revealed that there have been more than 1,900 reported cases of myocarditis — or inflammation of the heart muscle — mostly in people 30 and under, within 7 days of getting the vaccine. In those cases, 96% of people were hospitalized.

“It is understandable that the FDA does not want independent scientists to review the documents it relied upon to license Pfizer’s vaccine given that it is not as effective as the FDA originally claimed, does not prevent transmission, does not prevent against certain emerging variants, can cause serious heart inflammation in younger individuals, and has numerous other undisputed safety issues,” writes Aaron Siri, the attorney representing PHMPT in its lawsuit against the FDA.

Siri told me in an email that his office phone has been ringing off the hook in recent months.

“We are overwhelmed by inquiries from individuals calling about an injury from a COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.

By the way — it’s worth noting that adverse effects caused by COVID-19 vaccinations are still not covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Companies like Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are protected under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, which grants them total immunity from liability with their vaccines. And no matter what happens to you, you can’t sue the FDA for authorizing the EUA, or your employer for requiring you to get it, either. Billions of taxpayer dollars went to fund the research and development of these vaccines, and in Moderna’s case, licensing its vaccine was made possible entirely by public funds. But apparently, that still warrants citizens no insurance. Should something go wrong, you’re basically on your own.

The Hypocrisy of “Misinformation”

I find it interesting that “misinformation” has become such a pervasive term lately, but more alarmingly, that it’s become an excuse for blatant censorship on social media and in journalism. It’s impossible not to wonder what’s driving this movement to control the narrative. In a world where we still very clearly don’t have all the answers, why shouldn’t we be open to exploring all the possibilities? And while we’re on the subject, what about all of the COVID-related untruths that have been spread by our leaders and officials? Why should they get a free pass?

Photo credit: @upgradeur_life, www.instagram.com/upgradeur_life

FauciPresident Biden, and the CDC’s Rochelle Walensky all promised us with total confidence the vaccine would prevent us from getting or spreading COVID, something we now know is a myth. (In fact, the CDC recently had to change its very definition of “vaccine ” to promise “protection” from a disease rather than “immunity”— an important distinction). At one point, the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) and former Governor Andrew Cuomo prepared a social media campaign with misleading messaging that the vaccine was “approved by the FDA” and “went through the same rigorous approval process that all vaccines go through,” when in reality the FDA only authorized the vaccines under an EUA, and the vaccines were still undergoing clinical trials. While the NYS DOH eventually responded to pressures to remove these false claims, a few weeks later the Department posted on Facebook that “no serious side effects related to the vaccines have been reported,” when in actuality, roughly 16,000 reports of adverse events and over 3,000 reports of serious adverse events related to a COVID-19 vaccination had been reported in the first two months of use.

One would think we’d hold the people in power to the same level of accountability — if not more — than an average citizen. So, in the interest of avoiding hypocrisy, should we “cancel” all these experts and leaders for their “misinformation,” too?

Vaccine-hesitant people have been fired from their jobs, refused from restaurants, denied the right to travel and see their families, banned from social media channels, and blatantly shamed and villainized in the media. Some have even lost custody of their children. These people are frequently labeled “anti-vax,” which is misleading given that many (like the NBA’s Jonathan Isaac) have made it repeatedly clear they are not against all vaccines, but simply making a personal choice not to get this one. (As such, I’ll suggest switching to a more accurate label: “pro-choice.”) Fauci has repeatedly said federally mandating the vaccine would not be “appropriate” or “enforceable” and doing so would be “encroaching upon a person’s freedom to make their own choice.” So it’s remarkable that still, some individual employers and U.S. states, like my beloved Massachusetts, have taken it upon themselves to enforce some of these mandates, anyway. Meanwhile, a Feb. 7 bulletin posted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security indicates that if you spread information that undermines public trust in a government institution (like the CDC or FDA), you could be considered a terrorist. In case you were wondering about the current state of free speech.

The definition of institutional oppression is “the systematic mistreatment of people within a social identity group, supported and enforced by the society and its institutions, solely based on the person’s membership in the social identity group.” It is defined as occurring when established laws and practices “systematically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups.” Sound familiar?

As you continue to watch the persecution of the unvaccinated unfold, remember this. Historically, when society has oppressed a particular group of people whether due to their gender, race, social class, religious beliefs, or sexuality, it’s always been because they pose some kind of threat to the status quo. The same is true for today’s unvaccinated. Since we know the vaccine doesn’t prevent the spread of COVID, however, this much is clear: the unvaccinated don’t pose a threat to the health and safety of their fellow citizens — but rather, to the bottom line of powerful pharmaceutical giants and the many global organizations they finance. And with more than $100 billion on the line in 2021 alone, I can understand the motivation to silence them.

The unvaccinated have been called selfish. Stupid. Fauci has said it’s “almost inexplicable” that they are still resisting. But is it? What if these people aren’t crazy or uncaring, but rather have — unsurprisingly so — lost their faith in the agencies that are supposed to protect them? Can you blame them?

Citizens are being bullied into getting a vaccine that was created, evaluated, and authorized in under a year, with no access to the bulk of the safety data for said vaccine, and no rights whatsoever to pursue legal action if they experience adverse effects from it. What these people need right now is to know they can depend on their fellow citizens to respect their choices, not fuel the segregation by launching a full-fledged witch hunt. Instead, for some inexplicable reason I imagine stems from fear, many continue rallying around big pharma rather than each other. A 2022 Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports survey of Democratic voters found that 59% of respondents support a government policy requiring unvaccinated individuals to remain confined in their home at all times, 55% support handing a fine to anyone who won’t get the vaccine, and 48% think the government should flat out imprison people who publicly question the efficacy of the vaccines on social media, TV, or online in digital publications. Even Orwell couldn’t make this stuff up.

Photo credit: DJ Paine on Unsplash

Let me be very clear. While there are a lot of bad actors out there — there are also a lot of well-meaning people in the science and medical industries, too. I’m lucky enough to know some of them. There are doctors who fend off pharma reps’ influence and take an extremely cautious approach to prescribing. Medical journal authors who fiercely pursue transparency and truth — as is evident in “The Influence of Money on Medical Science,” a report by the first female editor of JAMA. Pharmacists, like Dan Schneider, who refuse to fill prescriptions they deem risky or irresponsible. Whistleblowers, like Graham and Jackson, who tenaciously call attention to safety issues for pharma products in the approval pipeline. And I’m certain there are many people in the pharmaceutical industry, like Panara and my grandfather, who pursued this field with the goal of helping others, not just earning a six- or seven-figure salary. We need more of these people. Sadly, it seems they are outliers who exist in a corrupt, deep-rooted system of quid-pro-quo relationships. They can only do so much.

I’m not here to tell you whether or not you should get the vaccine or booster doses. What you put in your body is not for me — or anyone else — to decide. It’s not a simple choice, but rather one that may depend on your physical condition, medical history, age, religious beliefs, and level of risk tolerance. My grandfather passed away in 2008, and lately, I find myself missing him more than ever, wishing I could talk to him about the pandemic and hear what he makes of all this madness. I don’t really know how he’d feel about the COVID vaccine, or whether he would have gotten it or encouraged me to. What I do know is that he’d listen to my concerns, and he’d carefully consider them. He would remind me my feelings are valid. His eyes would light up and he’d grin with amusement as I fervidly expressed my frustration. He’d tell me to keep pushing forward, digging deeper, asking questions. In his endearing Bronx accent, he used to always say: “go get ‘em, kid.” If I stop typing for a moment and listen hard enough, I can almost hear him saying it now.

People keep saying “trust the science.” But when trust is broken, it must be earned back. And as long as our legislative system, public health agencies, physicians, and research journals keep accepting pharmaceutical money (with strings attached)?— and our justice system keeps letting these companies off the hook when their negligence causes harm, there’s no reason for big pharma to change. They’re holding the bag, and money is power.

I have a dream that one day, we’ll live in a world where we are armed with all the thorough, unbiased data necessary to make informed decisions about our health. Alas, we’re not even close. What that means is that it’s up to you to educate yourself as much as possible, and remain ever-vigilant in evaluating information before forming an opinion. You can start by reading clinical trials yourself, rather than relying on the media to translate them for you. Scroll to the bottom of every single study to the “conflicts of interest” section and find out who funded it. Look at how many subjects were involved. Confirm whether or not blinding was used to eliminate bias. You may also choose to follow Public Citizen’s Health Research Group’s rule whenever possible: that means avoiding a new drug until five years after an FDA approval (not an EUA, an actual approval) — when there’s enough data on the long-term safety and effectiveness to establish that the benefits outweigh the risks. When it comes to the news, you can seek out independent, nonprofit outlets, which are less likely to be biased due to pharma funding. And most importantly, when it appears an organization is making concerted efforts to conceal information from you — like the FDA recently did with the COVID vaccine — it’s time to ask yourself: why? What are they trying to hide?

In the 2019 film “Dark Waters” — which is based on the true story of one of the greatest corporate cover-ups in American history — Mark Ruffalo as attorney Rob Bilott says: The system is rigged. They want us to think it’ll protect us, but that’s a lie. We protect us. We do. Nobody else. Not the companies. Not the scientists. Not the government. Us.”

Words to live by.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/09/2022 - 22:30
Published:4/9/2022 9:59:36 PM
[In The News] ‘Dumbfounded’: How Alleged Iranian-Linked Suspects Duped US Secret Service Agents

by Jennie Taer at CDN -

Retired FBI agents explained how two men reportedly tied to a foreign adversary allegedly gained access to U.S. authorities. The two allegedly pretended to be Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents from as early as February 2020 and are accused of building relationships with U.S. Secret Service officers, one of …

Click to read the rest HERE-> ‘Dumbfounded’: How Alleged Iranian-Linked Suspects Duped US Secret Service Agents first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:4/8/2022 5:51:07 PM
[] BREAKING: No Convictions in Whitmer 'Kidnapping' Case, Another Black Eye For the FBI Published:4/8/2022 2:47:55 PM
[2022 News] Gretchen Whitmer Kidnapping trial: two suspects acquitted in kidnapping conspiracy

Gretchen Whitmer Kidnapping trial: two suspects acquitted in kidnapping conspiracy. Two acquitted, two hung jury. From what we’ve read about FBI involvement in this, perhaps the DOJ should put them on trial for entrapment? Fox, Croft, and Harris faced additional charges. The two most serious charges, kidnapping conspiracy and conspiracy to use explosives, both carry […]

The post Gretchen Whitmer Kidnapping trial: two suspects acquitted in kidnapping conspiracy appeared first on IHTM.

Published:4/8/2022 2:47:55 PM
[Markets] Former Goldman Banker Found Guilty Of Fraud And Money Laundering In 1MDB Case Former Goldman Banker Found Guilty Of Fraud And Money Laundering In 1MDB Case

Paging Lloyd Blankfein (wherever he is)...the relatively junior Goldman Banker Roger Ng, formerly the head of Goldman's investment banking business in Malaysia, has been found guilty on all three counts following a weeks-long trial at a federal courthouse in Brooklyn. 

Specifically, Ng was charged with two counts of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and one count of conspiring to commit money laundering. 

He now faces up to 30 years in prison at his sentencing, Bloomberg reports.

Ng was found guilty after his former boss, Tim Leissner, struck a deal with prosecutors to turn states' evidence. Despite a valiant effort by Ng's defense team, which included exposing Leissner's neck-deep complicity in the scheme, and his role as the mastermind of the 1MDB bond deals that netted Goldman hundreds of millions of dollars in fees, while seeding 1MDB with billions of dollars - money that was supposed to be used for public works, but was instead siphoned off by former PM Najib Razak and his inner circle (including mastermind Jho Low, who remains a fugitive from justice and is believed to be hiding in China). The money was ultimately used as a political slush fund to buy votes for Razak's re-election, while Low also stole billions and used it to throw lavish parties, gift celebrities (including model Miranda Kerr) with fabulous jewelry, purchase luxury yachts and real-estate and finance the making of the Martin Scorsese film "The Wolf of Wall Street".

Roger Ng

During the trial, Leissner (having already pleaded guilty to bribery and corruption charges) appeared as the prosecution's star witness. He was accused by the defense of being a "double bigamist" (he was allegedly married to two different women at the same time, twice). And he was also exposed for posing as his ex-wife in emails sent to his new wife, Kimora Lee Simons (the ex of Russell Simmons, the founder of Def Jam) to convince her that they were no longer married.

A key element of the FBI's case was a chart showing that Leissner sent $35 million of the $60 million plus in bribes the banker had received to a shell company controlled by Ng’s wife. The FBI said she later spent $300,000 on diamond jewelry and $20,000 on a gold hourglass. Ng's wife testified at the trial that the money was actually  proceeds from an investment the couple had made in China, although she failed to produce paperwork to back up this claim.

Nearly two years ago, Goldman admitted that it had conspired to violate anti-bribery laws and its Malaysian unit pleaded guilty to criminal charges - amazingly, that marked the first-ever guilty plea for the firm, which was founded in 1869. The bank paid more than $2.9 billion in fines as a result, the largest penalty of its kind in US history. So far, it has paid more than $5 billion globally for its role in the scheme.

Back in Malaysia, the consequences of the scheme continue to play out. Former PM Razak is free pending appeal, but he has been convicted and could face 12 years in prison if he loses his appeal. Meanwhile, Malaysia's finance minister said last month that the country is still $4 billion short of the money it needs to repay debts related to 1MDB.

While no senior Goldman executives were implicated in the scheme, Blankfein and former Goldman President Gary Cohn saw some of their bonus money clawed back by the bank (although Cohn successfully withheld some of his money from the claw back). Blankfein reportedly met directly with Low while Goldman was pursuing the deals, despite the multiple red flags raised by the bank's compliance department, and Ng himself.

Unfortunately, the fact that he had raised concerns about the bond deal wasn't enough to get him off the hook.

Tyler Durden Fri, 04/08/2022 - 12:29
Published:4/8/2022 11:46:20 AM
[FBI] Operation Secret Service (Scott Johnson) Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali were arrested on Wednesday for impersonating federal officers. Arraigned yesterday, they await a detention hearing this today. Following the arrests the FBI searched five apartment units and three vehicles where agents found multiple firearms, law enforcement equipment, servers, and hard drives. The two men appear rather obviously to have been running a lavish operation intended to penetrate the Secret Service, at the least, on behalf Published:4/8/2022 8:43:39 AM
[Markets] Four Secret Service Agents Tied To Phony Cop Scandal Suspended Four Secret Service Agents Tied To Phony Cop Scandal Suspended

Four US Secret Service agents have been suspected over links to two men accused of impersonating federal law enforcement officers, who reportedly gave thousands of dollars worth of gifts to agency personnel - including one assigned to First Lady Jill Biden's detail, according to Reuters.

Arian Taherzadeh seen in photos submitted in a D.O.J. affidavit.
Courtesy: D.O.J

The two Washington men, Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 35, appeared in federal court on Thursday a day after being arrested. Prosecutors said they plan to charge them with conspiracy in a scheme in which they are accused of posing as U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents.

Taherzadeh offered to purchase a $2,000 assault rifle for a Secret Service agent assigned to protect first lady Jill Biden and told other government officials they could have access to what he claimed were "official government vehicles," the FBI said. -Reuters

According to federal prosecutor Joshua Rothstein, Ali told witnesses he was linked to the Pakistani Intelligence Service (ISI), while US authorities have reportedly recovered a passport from Ali which shows he had three visas to visit Pakistan and two for Iran.

The pair were caught when they lied to a US Postal inspector investigating the March assault of a letter carrier. The men told the inspector they were part of a special police investigative unit looking into undercover gang-work and investigations into the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol. They had been posing as such since at least February 2020 according to the report.

Taherzadeh attempted to delete his social media history after he learned he was under investigation, according to Rothstein.

They offered multiple gifts to Secret Service members - as well as a DHS employee - which included rent-free apartments valued at $40,000 per year, as well as iPhones, surveillance systems, a flatscreen TV, an assault rifle case, a generator, a drone and other paraphernalia.

Rothstein said the FBI uncovered evidence after searching several apartments tied to the defendants including a loaded Glock pistol, ammunition, components from disassembled guns and sniper equipment.

In addition, it recovered body armor, gas masks, zip ties, handcuffs, firearm storage cases, a drone, Department of Homeland Security patches and law enforcement clothing, DHS training manuals, surveillance equipment and a binder with a list of residents in the apartment complex.

The Justice Department said the suspects tried to recruit at least one person to join what they claimed was an official DHS "task force." -Reuters

"Taherzadeh and Ali required that the 'applicant' be shot with an Airsoft rifle to evaluate their pain tolerance and reaction," one FBI agent wrote in a sworn statement. "Subsequent to being shot, the applicant was informed that their hiring was in process. The applicant was also assigned to conduct research on an individual that provided support to the Department of Defense and intelligence community."

Tyler Durden Thu, 04/07/2022 - 19:05
Published:4/7/2022 6:07:51 PM
[Markets] Over 150 Suspicious Hunter Or James Biden Financial Transactions Flagged By Banks Over 150 Suspicious Hunter Or James Biden Financial Transactions Flagged By Banks

Newly obtained banking records reveal that more than 150 financial transactions involving either Hunter or James Biden's global business affairs were flagged by banks as 'concerning' and given further review, some of which included large wire transfers, according to CBS News.

FILE: Joe Biden, left, and his brother James Biden during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images

As we've noted several times throughout the past 18 months, Joe Biden's brother James and Hunter Biden's international dealings have raised concern over potential leverage over the Biden family by the CCP and other foreign entities.

A few examples:

"We have people with the Biden name, dealing with Chinese business people that have a relationship to the Communist Party," Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, told CBS News' Catherine Herridge. "I think James Biden was very much a part of this."

Bank records released by Republican senators this week indicate James Biden's company, the Lion Hall Group, received payments from a Chinese-financed consulting group in 2018, before his brother Joe announced he was running for president. Grassley says that same year James Biden and the president's son, Hunter, received monthly retainers totaling $165,000 — $100,000 to Hunter and $65,000 to James.

Grassley said his team obtained the records directly from the bank where the consulting group did business. He has spent three years investigating and described James and Hunter Biden's business dealings as "very concerning." -CBS News

According to a September 2020 report from GOP Senators, Hunter, James and James' wife Sara tapped into a credit line set up between Hunter and a Chinese bank executive to purchase over $100,000 in airline tickets, hotels and food.

Patrick Ho, Hunter Biden

Now, GOP investigators have released what appears to be the 2017 application for the credit line, which bears the signatures of both Hunter and the Chinese exec.

"These records we got are the first records that have ever been made public on this issue. Nobody else has them," said Grassley.

According to Robert Weissman, president of advocacy group Public Citizen, told CBS: "I think Hunter and James Biden should not have entered into those relationships, full stop," adding "To the extent those occurred while Joe Biden was the vice president, there's a worry that they hope to get something direct from the Obama administration."

Fortunately for Hunter and James, the White House won't rule out pardons in the event their international dealings, or tax issues, or FARA status, prove to be illegal.

In Dec. 2020, Politico reported that the Hunter Biden criminal investigation covers potential money laundering, while CNN also reported at the time that the feds had been looking into a 2017 gift to Hunter from CEFC China Energy Co. founder Ye Jianming.

And to recap from our previous reporting on the matter - in November, 2017, James Biden received a surprise call on his cellphone from Patrick Ho, Ye Jianming's lieutenant who was arrested by the FBI (and is now serving a 36-month sentence for bribery and money laundering), according to a December, 2018 report by the New York Times. According to James, the call was meant for Hunter.

James Biden, a financier and brother of the former vice president, was in a hotel lobby in November 2017 when he got a surprise call on his cellphone. The call was from Patrick Ho, Mr. Ye’s lieutenant. Mr. Ho, 69, was in trouble.

Federal agents who had monitored CEFC’s rise since at least the summer of 2016 had sprung into action, arresting Mr. Ho in New York on allegations that he had bribed African officials in Chad and Uganda. Days later, federal agents showed up at Mr. Ye’s luxury apartment building across from Central Park with a subpoena to interview Mr. Ye, said people familiar with the matter.

...

In a brief interview, James Biden said he had been surprised by Mr. Ho’s call. He said he believed it had been meant for Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son. James Biden said he had passed on his nephew’s contact information. -NYT

In July of 2019, Hunter confessed to the New Yorker that he had accepted the 2.8 carat diamond worth at least ten thousand dollars, which he insisted wasn't a bribe - before admitting that he and his father Joe had in fact discussed his business dealings.

Hunter offered to use his contacts to help identify investment opportunities for Ye’s company, CEFC China Energy, in liquefied-natural-gas projects in the United States. After the dinner, Ye sent a 2.8-carat diamond to Hunter’s hotel room with a card thanking him for their meeting. “I was, like, Oh, my God,” Hunter said. (In Kathleen’s court motion, the diamond is estimated to be worth eighty thousand dollars. Hunter said he believes the value is closer to ten thousand.) When I asked him if he thought the diamond was intended as a bribe, he said no: “What would they be bribing me for? My dad wasn’t in office.”  -New Yorker

As Eric Trump recently said, "If I did 1/100 of what Hunter Biden did, I’d be in jail for the rest of my life."

Tyler Durden Thu, 04/07/2022 - 13:45
Published:4/7/2022 1:05:42 PM
[Markets] Key Player In Ex-Clinton Lawyer’s Trial Intends To Plead The Fifth Key Player In Ex-Clinton Lawyer’s Trial Intends To Plead The Fifth

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A former technology executive who helped spy on the White House intends to invoke his right against self-incrimination if he is called to testify during the upcoming trial of a lawyer who represented Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the 2016 election, according to court documents.

Michael Sussman in an undated interview. (CNN/Screenshot via NTD)

Michael Sussman, the lawyer, is set to go on trial for allegedly lying to the FBI.

Sussman was representing Rodney Joffe, a tech executive, when he went to the FBI and handed over three white papers that contained unsubstantiated allegations against then-candidate Donald Trump, Clinton’s rival in the presidential race, according to U.S. prosecutors.

Sussman says he gave the information to the FBI as a concerned citizen and the parties he was representing at the time are not relevant.

If Joffe were to testify during the trial, he would “offer critical exculpatory testimony,” Sussman’s lawyers said in one of the new filings. Among the angles would be that “Mr. Sussmann and Mr. Joffe agreed that information should be conveyed to the FBI and to Agency-2,” believed to be the CIA, “to help the government, not to benefit Mr. Joffe.”

But Joffe plans on invoking his rights under the Fifth Amendment if called to testify because prosecutors say he remains the subject of an investigation.

Steven Tyrell, representing Joffe, said in a letter just made public that he spoke with Andrew DeFilippis, a prosecutor on Special Counsel John Durham’s team, on March 31 after receiving a subpoena for Joffe to testify.

After receiving confirmation Joffe remains under investigation, Tyrell asked for more details.

“Rather than provide any additional information to aid in our assessment of the risk of prosecution, Mr. DeFilippis stated that in his view, Mr. Joffe’s status in the investigation was sufficient to establish a good faith basis to invoke the privilege against self-incrimination. Mr. DeFilippis further stated that OSC did not want to get into any more detail, and presumed that Latham would understand if Mr. Joffe decided to invoke,” Tyrell said in the letter, which was sent to Sussman’s lawyers at Latham & Watkins.

Sussman’s lawyers alleged that Durham’s team is “manufacturing incredible claims of continuing criminal liability” to force Joffe to not testify, alleging it is “simply inconceivable that Mr. Joffe faces any real continuing criminal exposure in connection with the special counsel’s investigation.”

According to earlier filings, Joffe was part of a scheme to spy on the White House before and after Trump became president. Joffe’s spokesperson has described him as “an apolitical Internet security expert with decades of service to the U.S. government who has never worked for a political party, and who legally provided access” to data to the White House.

Since Sussman also plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right during trial, Joffe remains the only available witness regarding the relationship between himself and Sussman, the defendant’s lawyers assert.

They’re asking the court to dismiss the case unless prosecutors agree to grant Joffe immunity, which would enable him to testify without fear of repercussions.

In a filing from Durham’s team, prosecutors said Sussman assembled and conveyed allegations regarding Trump to the FBI on behalf of both Joffe and Clinton’s campaign, citing billing records, conversations, and other evidence. One nexus is a law firm, Perkins Coie, which was paid by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee during the election, with evidence showing Joffe met with former Perkins lawyer Marc Elias multiple times.

Emails that Durham’s team is seeking to introduce during the trial would show Sussman, Joffe, and the campaign “were ‘acting in concert toward a common goal,’ namely, the goal of assembling and disseminating the Russian Bank-1 allegations and other derogatory information about Trump and his associates to the media and the U.S. government,” the special prosecutor’s office said. One email would show Joffe saying he was offered the top cybersecurity job in the White House if Democrats won the election.

Tyler Durden Thu, 04/07/2022 - 13:25
Published:4/7/2022 12:41:34 PM
[f3095283-d9ee-5b7b-87ac-2b11c8e2cb7c] Durham's prosecution of Clinton's campaign lawyer keeps getting stronger as more lies are exposed Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann is being prosecuted by special counsel John Durham for lying to then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in September of 2016. Published:4/7/2022 11:39:08 AM
[Markets] Judge Acquits Jan. 6 Defendant On All Charges Judge Acquits Jan. 6 Defendant On All Charges

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

A federal contractor was acquitted by a judge on April 6 on four charges in relation to entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Matthew Martin in a selfie photograph taken on Jan. 6, 2021. (DOJ/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Prosecutors failed to prove that Matthew Martin, who worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, committed crimes when entering the Capitol for about 10 minutes, U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, ruled.

McFadden said it was reasonable for Martin to believe that outnumbered police officers allowed him and others to enter the Capitol through the Rotunda doors on Jan. 6, 2021. The judge also said Martin’s actions were “about as minimal and non-serious” as anyone who was at the Capitol that day.

According to court filings, Martin attended a rally held by former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6 before returning to his hotel, where he heard that the Capitol had been breached. Martin left the building and ventured on the Capitol grounds before eventually entering the Capitol.

“While I was at the top, they started letting people into the building. And I—so I joined the—they were holding the doors open, the guards were. And I walked in and saw the rotunda,” Martin told an FBI agent during an interview.

Martin, whose bench trial started Tuesday, testified that a police officer waved him into the building after the riot erupted. A prosecutor dismissed that testimony as “nonsense,” though the government acknowledged in a filing that “police officers stood on either side of the doorway as the defendant entered” the building.

Video shows two police officers standing near the Rotunda doors and allowing people to enter as Martin approached, McFadden, the judge, said. One of the officers appeared to lean back before Martin placed a hand on the officer’s shoulder as a possible sign of gratitude.

McFadden described Martin’s testimony as “largely credible.” The judge said it was not unreasonable for him to believe that officers allowed him to enter the Capitol, even though alarms were blaring and broken glass was strewn about the floor.

McFadden also said there was no evidence Martin, who spent about 10 minutes inside the Capitol, intended to disrupt Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory and described the defendant as a “silent observer of the actions of others.”

In an image from video, Matthew Martin stands inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (DOJ/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Martin was acquitted on four misdemeanor charges: entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.

Prosecutors had asserted in a pretrial brief that “the evidence will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that [Martin] committed each offense charged.”

“I think the definitive factor was that Matt Martin did not break the law,” lawyer Dan Cron, representing Martin, told reporters after the verdict.

“We had the benefit of a lot of video evidence and the judge had a chance to see it.”

“I am very thankful for the judge’s verdict and I’m hoping to get my life back together and my job back,” Martin added.

More than 775 defendants have been arrested in relation to the breach. Approximately one-third have entered guilty pleas, and about half of the approximately 110 sentenced have received jail time.

Martin chose a bench trial versus a jury trial.

He’s the first Jan. 6 defendant to be acquitted on all charges.

In another bench trial, McFadden acquitted Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin on a charge of disorderly conduct but convicted Griffin of illegally entering restricted grounds.

The only jury trial to wrap up as of yet saw jurors convict Guy Wesley Reffitt on five counts, including civil disorder.

Tyler Durden Thu, 04/07/2022 - 09:45
Published:4/7/2022 9:03:35 AM
[Markets] 450GB Of 'Deleted' Hunter Biden Laptop Material To Be Released Within Weeks 450GB Of 'Deleted' Hunter Biden Laptop Material To Be Released Within Weeks

A whistleblower who's fled the United States for Switzerland has vowed to drop '450 gigabytes of deleted material' from Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop, which he says he also gave the the Washington Post, New York Times, and Sen. Chuck Grassley - all of whom he says sat on it for months.

For the past two weeks, former Steve Bannon War Room co-host Jack Maxey has been hiding in Zurich, where he told the Daily Mail he's been working with IT experts to dig more data from Hunter's 'laptop from hell,' and that he'll post it all online in a searchable database in the coming weeks.

Maxey says the data includes 80,000 images and videos, and more than 120,000 archived emails.

"I came here so that we could do a forensic examination of Hunter's laptop safely in a country that still respects human liberty and the ideals of liberal democratic principles," he told the Mail. "I do not believe this would have been possible inside the United States. We had numerous attempts on us from trying to do things like this there."

Maxey said that after contacting DailyMail.com about the laptop last year, black suburban SUVs appeared outside his house, and former US intelligence officer friends he shared copies with told him they received strange calls.

'I showed this to a friend of mine in desperation in February [2021] because nobody would listen to me. No news organizations would take it. In fact, the very first major news organization to take it was the Daily Mail,' he said.

'Very dear friends of mine, the sharp tip of the spear, were making welfare calls to me every day, basically to see if I was still alive.' -Daily Mail

One former intelligence agency senior staffer allegedly told Maxey after he received the hard drive two years ago "If you don't release enough of this, so that they know you can release all of it, I'm telling you brother, you're a dead man."

Jack Maxey

After receiving this advice, he began posting caches of emails and other material from the laptop on various file sharing sites - only to find the links removed within an hour.

"There were five drop boxes: two in the United States, one in New Zealand, two in the UK. All the same drop boxes in which they tell us child pornography is shared around the globe without any consequence because they can't look at it," he said, adding: "These are all Five Eyes countries, English speaking countries in an intelligence sharing agreement. And they were all ripped down."

"??So this means that our intelligence services, who still have not even acknowledged that they have Hunter Biden's laptop, were obviously diligently doing cache searches across the internet to find out if any of this stuff was being released. That should terrify every single decent person in the West."

Emails between Hunter and Eric Schwerin, his business partner at consultancy Rosemont Seneca, show Schwerin was working on Joe's taxes. The emails were recovered from Hunter's laptop

According to Maxey, he went to Switzerland because they are home to the only file sharing site that didn't nuke the laptop files - Swiss Transfer.

The former Bannon podcast co-host said he is livid at the FBI, who he believes slow-walked their investigation into Hunter and failed to enter the laptop they received from Mac Isaac into evidence for months.

According to the New York Times, files from the laptop are now part of the evidence in Hunter's federal prosecution for alleged tax fraud, money laundering and illegal foreign lobbying.

Among the files on the laptop are a raft of emails and documents showing Hunter's dealings with Burisma, a Ukrainian gas firm that became the center of Trump's first impeachment in December 2019.

The then-president was accused of pushing Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations into the Bidens and Burisma for alleged corruption. -Daily Mail

"The FBI had this on the ninth of December 2019," said Maxey. "'I suppose the first person betrayed was a sitting US president in an impeachment hearing, when the FBI had the exculpatory evidence in their hands to have that end instantly, and they did nothing."

"The second group of people to be betrayed were all of the Democratic candidates in the spring primaries that year," he continued. "The American people were utterly betrayed, because I guarantee you that Joe Biden couldn't run for dog catcher if the American people knew about this laptop."

Read the rest of the report here.

Tyler Durden Wed, 04/06/2022 - 18:20
Published:4/6/2022 5:29:37 PM
[Politics] IN COURT: John Durham alleges that Hillary Clinton campaign was in a “joint venture” to smear Donald Trump in 2016 Last September John Durham indicted Michael Sussman for lying to the FBI about his true intentions when bringing ‘dirt’ on Trump to the agency, claiming he wasn’t representing any client while he . . . Published:4/6/2022 8:56:12 AM
[Biden corruption] The case of the curious omissions (Scott Johnson) This week the Washington Post published a story on the contents of Hunter Biden’s very real laptop. The FBI have misplaced the laptop, but the Post has possessed the contents since June 2021. Now at least part of the story can be told. When the New York Post first broke the laptop story in October 2020, a few weeks before the presidential election, the Washington Post was not happy about Published:4/1/2022 9:40:22 AM
[Markets] New Hearing In Sussman-Russiagate Case Reveals Why Clinton Emails Will Likely Come Out New Hearing In Sussman-Russiagate Case Reveals Why Clinton Emails Will Likely Come Out

Authored by Techno Fog via The Reactionary,

Today, there was a hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in the matter of the United States v. Michael Sussmann, the former DNC/Clinton/Perkins Coie lawyer accused of providing false statements relating to the Alfa Bank/Trump Organization hoax to then-FBI general counsel James Baker in the fall of 2016. Here is more background on his indictment and how Sussmann and his allies passed Trump transition data to the CIA.

About the hearing - we have the transcript (link at the bottom). The hearing related to Sussmann’s efforts to dismiss the indictment, with the defense alleging that Sussmann’s alleged lies were not material.

The Court looked on that argument with skepticism. And rightly so, as the issue of materiality is typically a question for the jury. Sussmann’s lawyers did him no favors by admitting it was a “closer call” on whether the government’s arguments of materiality should be presented to the jury.

The Special Counsel’s argument on materiality was more more effective, explaining what Sussmann did and why his lies mattered:

Interestingly, the Court also asked if the underlying information - the Alfa Bank/Trump Organization data that Sussmann provided the FBI - was “false”. On that question the Special Counsel declined to show their hand.

Why does this matter? Because it has been long-suspected that the the Alfa/Trump data was manipulated, if not outright invented. Recall this discussion in the Sussmann indictment, where the researchers discussed the inability “to defend against the criticism that this is not spoofed traffic”:

Now we get to the juicy parts of the hearing. The Special Counsel is in possession of a number of documents from the Clinton Campaign, Rodney Joffe (more about him here), and Hillary for America. And there is a fight over whether some of those documents are privileged.

The Special Counsel provided one example, stating that the Clinton Campaign is putting out bogus claims of privilege over the communications of Rodney Joffe. These are likely to fail. The Clinton Campaign was not copied on the e-mails, there might very well be a crime-fraud exception to any assertion of privilege, and because Joffe wasn’t providing legal advice to Hillary.

Fusion GPS is making similar claims of privilege to keep their documents secret.

They’ve tried these types of abuses of “privilege” in a civil case, and we previously discussed why those efforts were bound to fail, perhaps most notably because Fusion GPS has admitted they were doing political work not subject to privilege. Fusion GPS cannot now claim they were performing legal or litigation-focused work.

Moreover, even if this were legal work, Fusion GPS waived privilege when leaking their research to the media, government officials, and other third parties. Oops.

Finally - here is the transcript. Happy reading.

-Techno

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/31/2022 - 22:20
Published:3/31/2022 9:36:39 PM
[Markets] Two Hunter Biden Associates Testified Before Grand Jury About PLA-Linked Chinese Company Two Hunter Biden Associates Testified Before Grand Jury About PLA-Linked Chinese Company

With the Hunter Biden laptop scandal heating up again, CBS News' Catherine Herridge reported early Thursday morning that two associates of the younger Biden testified before a grand jury last fall.

"Federal officials are looking at his foreign business dealings, including his ties to a Chinese energy company," said "CBS Mornings" host Tony Dokoupil.

"The investigation began as a tax inquiry years ago and has expanded into a federal probe involving the FBI and IRS," Herridge added. "A source familiar with the investigation now tells CBS News, two men who worked with Hunter Biden when his father was Vice President were called to the grand jury last fall."

The probe is now exploring whether Hunter and pals violated tax, money laundering, and foreign lobbying laws.

According to records reviewed by CBS along with congressional documents, the feds are looking at "multiple financial transactions involving an energy company called CEFC. Republicans accuse the business of being an arm of the Chinese government. In 2017, the year Joe Biden left the Vice Presidency, a $1 million retainer was signed with a Chinese energy company for Hunter Biden's services as a lawyer.

His client, a CEFC official, Patrick Ho, was later convicted on international bribery and money laundering charges on unrelated work in Africa."

For those who've been keeping up with our reporting since October when the Hunter Biden laptop story broke (and was immediately suppressed by the media), CEFC was the company that the Bidens allegedly accepted a $5 million interest-free loan that enraged their business partner, Tony Bobulinski - who flipped on the Bidens following a Senate report which revealed the $5 million 'loan.'

According to the former Biden insider, he was introduced to Joe Biden by Hunter, and they had an hour-long meeting where they discussed the Biden's business plans with the Chinese, with which he says Joe was "plainly familiar at least at a high level."

Text messages from Bobulinski also reveal an effort to conceal Joe Biden's involvement in Hunter's business dealings, while Tony has also confirmed that the "Big guy" described in a leaked email is none other than Joe Biden himself.

"You can imagine my shock when reading the report yesterday put out by the Senate committee.  The fact that you and HB were lying to Rob, James and I while accepting $5 MM from Cefc is infuriating," wrote Bobulinski to Jim Biden. (Via the Daily Caller's Chuck Ross):

CEFC was paying Hunter $850,00 per year according to an email from Biden business associate James Gilliar to Bobulinksi - which is also the source of the "10 held by H for the big guy" email.

Emails obtained by the New York Post show that Hunter "pursued lucrative deals involving China’s largest private energy company — including one that he said would be “interesting for me and my family.”" according to the report.

You can read more on Hunter and the CEFC here. As an aside, but of course not coincidental we're sure, the Clinton Foundation accepted a donation between $50,001 and $100,000 from CEFC.

And as the National Pulse noted, the Bidens weren't the only members of the DC political establishment that the CEFC tried to 'purchase.'

*  *  *

New York Times article, “A Chinese Tycoon Sought Power and Influence. Washington Responded.”, outlined how Ye sought influence in D.C., attempting to connect with powerful individuals like those from the Biden family.

“Ye Jianming, a fast-rising Chinese oil tycoon, ventured to places only the most politically connected Chinese companies dared to go. But what he wanted was access to the corridors of power in Washington — and he set out to get it. Soon, he was meeting with the family of Joseph R. Biden Jr., who was then the vice president,” the article noted.

However, members of D.C.’s political class didn’t always accept Ye’s overtures:

“Ye Jianming’s early efforts to break into the Washington power broker scene didn’t always pan out. Five years ago, CEFC approached Bobby Ray Inman, a retired admiral and national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, about setting up a joint venture, Mr. Inman said in an interview. The company promised it would pay him $1 million a year, without specifying what business they would go into. He turned down the offer. Later, Mr. Inman said, CEFC officials called him and said they were considering acquiring oil fields in Syria. Could he help them persuade the American military not to bomb them? Again, he said no.”

The Clintons, however, had no qualms about accepting money from Ye, a Chinese Communist Party member with ties to the People’s Liberation Army. The New York Times noted:

“Mr. Ye also further loosened CEFC’s purse strings, donating as much as $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation.”

*  *  *

Meanwhile, Hunter Biden sought to avoid registering as a foreign agent in doing business with CEFC, suggesting that he and his prospective partners set up a shell company to be able to bid on contracts with the US government, according to documents obtained by the Daily Caller.

A day after sending the message, Biden arranged a meeting between his father, Joe Biden, and Tony Bobulinski, one of the prospective partners in a deal with CEFC China Energy, a Chinese conglomerate whose chairman had links to the communist regime in Beijing.

We don’t want to have to register as foreign agents under the FCPA which is much more expansive than people who should know choose not to know,” Hunter Biden wrote to Bobulinski on May 1, 2017, according to a message obtained by the DCNF.

No matter what it will need to be a US company at some level in order for us to make bids on federal and state funded projects.” -Daily Caller

And according to Bobulinski, Joe Biden was in on the whole thing.

And of course, all evidence of this was suppressed right before the 2020 election.

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/31/2022 - 09:45
Published:3/31/2022 9:01:29 AM
[Markets] Matt Gaetz Enters Hunter Biden Laptop Data Into Congressional Record Matt Gaetz Enters Hunter Biden Laptop Data Into Congressional Record

Authored by Ken Silva via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

“I seek unanimous consent to enter into the record on this committee the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop, which I am in possession of.”

Hunter Biden walks to Marine One on the Ellipse outside the White House in Washington on May 22, 2021. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

This request from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) briefly brought the House Judiciary Committee to a standstill March 29, before chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) relented and allowed the laptop data to become congressional record—archiving the business deals, pornographic images, and illicit data said to be on the infamous hard drive.

Gaetz’s surprise move followed a heated exchange with Bryan Vorndran, the assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division. The Florida representative asked numerous questions about the Hunter Biden laptop, only to have Vorndran profess ignorance to each one.

“In December 2019, they turned over the laptop to the FBI. And now you’re telling me as FBI’s assistant director of cyber, you don’t know where this is after it was turned over to you three years ago?” Gaetz asked.

“Yes sir, that’s an accurate statement,” Vorndran responded.

Gaetz said he found Vorndran’s response shocking. The FBI official argued that investigations into the laptop are not his responsibility.

Gaetz then asked whether anyone within the FBI’s cyber division has assessed whether Hunter Biden’s laptop has created a security vulnerability for the country.

“We can do this back and forth for the next couple of minutes. I don’t have any information about the Hunter Biden laptop,” Vorndran said.

Gaetz pressed further: “But should you? You’re the assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division,”

Vorndran said that, according to FBI HR flowcharts, no he should not have any information. But he also declined to say who within the FBI would.

Gaetz asked if the FBI would brief Congress on the laptop. Vorndran said he’d relay the request, but was non-committal as to whether a briefing will happen.

“Is Congress worthy of such a briefing?” Gaetz asked, referring to Vorndran as the Chris Webber of the FBI—a reference to a basketball player who made a mistake that cost his team the NCAA championship.

“So you don’t have it, you don’t know who has it, you don’t know where it is. Earlier this hearing, you were talking about whether you were the Grant Hill or Christian Laetner of the FBI,” Gaetz said. “It sounds like you’re the Chris Webber, trying to call time outs when you don’t have any.

Vorndran appeared to be short of temper by the end of the interchange.

“I’m not going to answer that question!” the FBI official said in response to Gaetz’s repeated requests for a briefing. “The invitation says, ‘oversight of the FBI’s cyber division.’”

Gaetz then silenced the chamber when he asked to enter the laptop’s contents into the congressional record. Only murmurs could be heard as chairman Nadler consulted with a staffer.

“We will object, pending further investigation,” Nadler said.

“What’s the basis for objection?” Gaetz asked.
“It’s a unanimous consent request, and I object,” Nadler responded. “It may very well be entered into the record after we look into it further.”

About 10 minutes later, after another representative questioned Vorndran, Gaetz again motioned to enter the laptop contents into the record.

“After consultation with majority staff, I seek unanimous consent to enter into this committee content from, files from, and copies from Hunter Biden’s laptop,” he said.

This time, no one objected. Gaetz was also allowed to enter the receipt Hunter Biden allegedly signed at the Mac store.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/30/2022 - 16:20
Published:3/30/2022 3:25:31 PM
[Markets] FEC Fines Hillary Clinton, DNC Over Steele Dossier Hoax FEC Fines Hillary Clinton, DNC Over Steele Dossier Hoax

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has fined both Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for lying about funding the Russian "dossier" which underpinned the collusion hoax that hijacked headlines throughout the Trump presidency, according to the Washington Examiner.

The Clinton-funded dossier was also used by the FBI to justify seeking a FISA surveillance (spy) warrant on the Trump campaign.

According to the FEC, Clinton and the DNC violated strict rules governing disclosure of expenditures on opposition research, when they paid opposition research firm Fusion GPS to contract with Steele and cook up propaganda against Trump.

A combined $1,024,407.97 was paid by the treasurers of the DNC and Clinton campaign to law firm Perkins Coie for Fusion GPS’s information, and the party and campaign hid the reason, claiming it was for legal services, not opposition research.

Instead, the DNC’s $849,407.97 and the Clinton campaign’s $175,000 covered Fusion GPS’s opposition research on the dossier, a basis for the so-called “Russia hoax” that dogged Trump’s first term. -Washington Examiner

The dossier, which was assembled by former (?) UK spook Christopher Steele and used now-indicted Russian national Igor Danchenko as its primary source, made wide ranging and salacious allegations against former President Donald Trump, most of which have been debunked.

Somehow we doubt the 'election interference' crowd is going to pipe up over Clinton's meddling in the 2016 US election, using a dossier that undermined Trump's presidency every step of the way.

According to the FEC memo to the Coolidge Reagan Foundation - which filed a complaint over three years ago, Clinton's campaign and the DNC argued that they were simply paying for "legal advice and services," since it was Perkins Coie that actually hired Fusion GPS. The agency, however, says that the law is clear and was violated.

The fines themselves are minuscule - with Clinton's treasurer hit for $8,000 and the DNC's treasurer for $105,000.

"This may well be the first time that Hillary Clinton — one of the most evidently corrupt politicians in American history — has actually been held legally accountable, and I'm proud to have forced the FEC to do their job for once. The Coolidge Reagan Foundation proved that with pluck and grit, Americans who stand with integrity can stand up to the Clinton machine and other corrupt political elites," said Dan Backer, who brought the complaint on behalf of the foundation.

 

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/30/2022 - 15:25
Published:3/30/2022 2:26:37 PM
[Markets] Hunter Biden Dam About To Burst? WaPo, CNN Go Scorched Earth Over 'Laptop From Hell' Hunter Biden Dam About To Burst? WaPo, CNN Go Scorched Earth Over 'Laptop From Hell'

Something strange is going on with the Hunter Biden laptop story.

As regular ZeroHedge readers know, the New York Post was excommunicated from social media shortly before the 2020 US election by Big Tech for reporting on shady international business dealings by the Biden family - particularly in Ukraine and China, contained within a trove of emails, text messages, photographs and financial documents that were on a laptop Hunter abandoned at a Delaware computer repair shop in April 2019.

To refresh your memory:

Covering for the Bidens to help him win the 2020 election, people like Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) insisted it was Russian propaganda, and outlets which reported on the laptop were smeared as conspiracy theorists.

More than 50 'former senior intelligence officials' signed a pre-election letter proclaiming the laptop story 'has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.'

The Tide Turns

Two weeks ago, the New York Times confirmed the laptop exists, and is legit - and confirmed several previously reported aspects of the story, including correspondence between Hunter and his business partner Devon Archer, both of whom served on the board Ukrainian energy giant Burisma.

Today, the Washington Post and CNN are piling on - with the post confirming yet-more details of the laptop contents, and CNN running a blistering segment and reporting that the federal investigation into Hunter is 'heating up.'

The Washington Post, meanwhile, reports on Hunter's "multimillion-dollar deals with a Chinese energy company."

What's going on here?

Whatever the case, Glenn Greenwald isn't about to let the MSM get away with this U-turn unscathed.

 

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/30/2022 - 14:25
Published:3/30/2022 1:27:28 PM
[Markets] CIA Officer Who Signed Hunter Biden Laptop Letter Claims Credit For Trump Loss CIA Officer Who Signed Hunter Biden Laptop Letter Claims Credit For Trump Loss

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

One of the former CIA officers who signed a letter claiming stories about a laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden were disinformation says he helped swing the 2020 election from former President Donald Trump.

I take special pride in personally swinging the election away from Trump,” John Sipher, who served for decades as a senior operations officer at the CIA, wrote in a recent post on Twitter.

I lost the election for Trump? Well then I fell [sic] pretty good about my influence,” he also wrote.

Hunter Biden attends his father Joe Biden's inauguration as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool/Reuters)

Sipher and 50 other former U.S. intelligence officials signed the letter on Oct. 19, 2020, alleging that the effort to distribute its contents “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” despite not knowing whether the laptop was legitimate.

The letter was the core of a story from Politico that claimed the New York Post story on the laptop was “Russian disinformation.”

The Post was the first to report on emails on the laptop, which was dropped off at a computer repair store and never picked up by then-candidate Joe Biden’s son, according to the store’s owner.

While the FBI picked up the computer and a hard drive from the owner, the bureau’s apparent inaction in probing the matter prompted him to pass on a copy of the hard drive to a lawyer representing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who in turn passed it on to the Post.

The Oct. 14, 2020, story about the emails came as some voters were still deciding whether to vote for Biden or Trump. The story was widely questioned by legacy news outlets, suppressed by social media platforms, and claimed to be part of a Russian effort, despite top officials like Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe saying there was no evidence that was the case.

Sipher is one of the few former officials who signed the letter to respond to fresh questions about its contents, after more legacy outlets, including Politico, said they’ve confirmed it is legitimate.

Sipher got into arguments with former acting DNI Richard Grenell and others on Twitter, where he later said his claims of helping Trump lose were sarcasm.

He also write that “the letter didn’t say the laptop was disinformation” but in May 2021 posted a link to the Politico story that did say that.

Nick Shapiro, once a top aide to former CIA Director John Brennan—both Shapiro and Brennan signed the missive—and who provided it to Politico, has not responded to requests for comment from The Epoch Times.

Most other signers didn’t respond to requests for comment or declined the requests, the Post reported.

James Clapper, a former DNI, told the paper that he stands by the statement “made AT THE TIME,” adding that, “I think sounding such a cautionary note AT THE TIME was appropriate.”

“The letter explicitly stated that we didn’t know if the emails were genuine, but that we were concerned about Russian disinformation efforts,” added Russ Travers, former acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center. “I spent 25 years as a Soviet/Russian analyst. Given the context of what the Russians were doing at the time (and continue to do—Ukraine being just the latest example), I considered the cautionary warning to be prudent.”

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/29/2022 - 20:05
Published:3/29/2022 7:17:55 PM
[Uncategorized] Gaetz Enters Hunter Biden’s Laptop, Receipt From Computer Shop Into Congressional Record

Gaetz to the FBI: "How are Americans supposed to trust that you can protect us from the next Colonial pipeline if it seems you can’t locate a laptop that was given to you three years ago from the First Family, potentially creating vulnerabilities for our country?"

The post Gaetz Enters Hunter Biden’s Laptop, Receipt From Computer Shop Into Congressional Record first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:3/29/2022 4:23:51 PM
[Markets] Adam Schiff Says "Kremlin" A Lot Adam Schiff Says "Kremlin" A Lot

Authored by Matt Taibbi and Matt Orfalea via TK News Substack,

As additions to last week’s piece, “The Media Campaign to Protect Joe Biden Passes the Point of Absurdity,” TK’s Matt Orfalea spliced together two more montages.

A California congressman discovers a new favorite word, while the CIA's former Chief of Staff auditions to become MSNBC's next super-anchor

The first, “Adam Schiff Says ‘Kremlin’ a Lot,” is self-explanatory, but no less damning.

The California congressman came out of the womb spouting Cold War bromides, and since the beginning of the Trump presidency surpassed even all Russians as the most Russia-focused person on earth. Usually, public figures are taught in Basic Media Training to push out three planned messages per TV appearance irrespective of questions asked. The House Intelligence Chair during the laptop fiasco whittled his message down to an impressive single word: “Kremlin!”

[ZH: As this post was published, we came across this tweet that is worth the price of admission...]

*  *  *

The second video, “Russia Russia Russia,” shows former CIA Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash hammering the message about the laptop looking like a “classic Russian playbook disinformation campaign.”

Bash, a signatory to the original “group letter” denouncing the laptop story as having the “classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” joins the likes of John Brennan, James Clapper, Chuck Rosenberg, Michael Hayden, Frank Figliuzzi, Fran Townsend, Stephen Hall, Samantha Vinograd, Andrew McCabe, Josh Campbell, Asha Rangappa, Phil Mudd, James Gagliano, Jeremy Bash, Susan Hennessey, Ned Price, Rick Francona, Michael Morell, John McLaughlin, John Sipher, Thomas Bossert, Clint Watts, James Baker, Mike Baker, Daniel Hoffman, Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, David Preiss, and Evelyn Farkas as former intelligence or counterintelligence officials who’ve gotten paid on-air contributor jobs, in case you were worried the CIA and FBI were not able to get their message across to the public. Here’s Matt’s (as usual) on-target rip on MSNBC:

*  *  *

Subscribe to TK News by Matt Taibbi

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/29/2022 - 16:45
Published:3/29/2022 3:57:00 PM
[] Shocker! The FBI "Doesn't Know" Where Hunter's Laptop Is Published:3/29/2022 3:57:00 PM
[2022 News] FBI Cyber Chief can’t find Hunter Biden’s laptop

FBI Cyber Chief can’t find Hunter Biden’s laptop. Watch this. This stooge couldn’t find his ass with both hands. Gaetz should have asked him to show if he could. BREAKING: FBI Cyber Chief can't find Hunter Biden's laptop… pic.twitter.com/sZrJcc9IWR — Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) March 29, 2022

The post FBI Cyber Chief can’t find Hunter Biden’s laptop appeared first on IHTM.

Published:3/29/2022 2:15:31 PM
[Markets] Biden DOJ Kills Trump-Era Program To Catch Chinese Spies Biden DOJ Kills Trump-Era Program To Catch Chinese Spies

Republican Senators led by Marco Rubio (FL) have penned an angry letter to Biden AG Merrick Garland over the DOJ's decision to end a program to thwart Chinese spies.

The letter asks why the 2018 Trump administration 'China Initiative' - which was designed to identify and prosecute people hacking, stealing trade secrets, and conducting economic espionage for China within the US, according to Just the News.

"On Feb. 23, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it was effectively ending the China Initiative and implementing a new 'Strategy for Countering Nation-State Threats,' which will subsume the China Initiative's work in addition to efforts related to countries such as Russia, Iran, and North Korea," reads the Thursday letter.

In a speech announcing the termination of the China Initiative, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the Justice Department's National Security Division said that while China "stands apart" as a "brazen" espionage threat, a "broader approach" is needed to confront threats from a "variety" of countries. Olsen called this effort a "strategy for countering nation-state threats."

Republican senators expressed concern that the new approach is ill-defined and therefore may not be effective at specifically combating nefarious activities conducted by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). -JtN

"In light of the continuing national security threat posed by the CCP, and the lack of clarity surrounding DOJ's new 'Strategy for Countering Nation-State Threats,' we write seeking clarity with respect to the changes in DOJ's approach," reads the letter. "Specifically, its enforcement efforts to counter espionage and other illicit activities conducted by the CCP."

Five questions were included in the letter.

"Despite this critical moment and the high stakes, DOJ chose to disband its China Initiative in favor of a vague 'Strategy for Countering Nation-State Threats' that appears to equate the unique and extensive threats from the CCP with those of other nation-state threats," wrote the Senators. "What concrete policies and actions will emerge from this strategy, and their adequacy to the challenge at hand, remain to be seen. We urge DOJ to formally recognize and reprioritize the threat presented by the CCP to U.S. national security, and ask that you reconsider your decision to disband the China Initiative."

And of course, while some might question pro-China changes at the DOJ if it were Don Jr. who'd inked all sorts of international deals with Chinese power players during the Obama administration - we assume nobody in the MSM would dare suggest this has anything to do with the Bidens' cozy relationships with Chinese businessmen.

Chinese espionage costs the U.S. between $200 billion-$600 billion dollars a year in stolen intellectual property, according to Mike Orlando, acting director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center.

In a Jan. 31 speech, FBI Director Christopher Wray described the threats posed by China inside the U.S. as uniquely troubling.

"When we tally up what we see in our investigations — over 2,000 of which are focused on the Chinese government trying to steal our information or technology — there is just no country that presents a broader threat to our ideas, our innovation and our economic security than China," he said. -JtN

Trump's China Initiative was successful - leading to several arrests and convictions, most famous of which was Harvard Chemistry Department chair Charles Lieber, who was found guilty of lying to US officials about his ties to Beijing.

Read the rest of the report here.

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/28/2022 - 19:20
Published:3/28/2022 6:38:39 PM
[Markets] Breaking Down The 2800-Page, $1.5 Trillion Omnibus Bill 2022 Breaking Down The 2800-Page, $1.5 Trillion Omnibus Bill 2022

The Omnibus Bill 2022 (Continuing Appropriations Act) is 2,800 pages long and amounts to just over $1.5 trillion in spending, 'RandoLand' breaks down the details, pork'n'all...

Contents:

DIVISION A—AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES

DIVISION B—COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS

DIVISION C—DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS

DIVISION D—ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS

DIVISION E—FINANCIAL SERVICES AND GENERAL GOVERNMENT APPROPRIATIONS

DIVISION F—DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS

DIVISION G—DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS

DIVISION H—DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS

DIVISION I—LEGISLATIVE BRANCH APPROPRIATIONS

DIVISION J—MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, VETERANS AFFAIRS, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS

DIVISION K—DEPARTMENT OF STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS, AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS

DIVISION L—TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS

DIVISION M—COVID SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS

DIVISION N—UKRAINE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS

DIVISION O—EXTENSIONS AND TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS 

DIVISION P—HEALTH PROVISIONS

DIVISION Q—CONSUMER PROTECTION

DIVISION R—FAFSA SIMPLIFICATION

DIVISION S—VETERANS MATTERS

DIVISION T—CREDIT UNION GOVERNANCE MODERNIZATION ACT

DIVISION U—ADJUSTABLE INTEREST RATE (LIBOR) ACT

DIVISION V—HAITI DEVELOPMENT, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND INSTITUTIONAL TRANSPARENCY INITIATIVE ACT

DIVISION W—VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT REAUTHORIZATION ACT

DIVISION X—INTELLIGENCE AUTHORIZATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2022

DIVISION Y—CYBER INCIDENT REPORTING FOR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE ACT OF 2022

DIVISION Z—ISRAEL RELATIONS NORMALIZATION ACT OF 2022

DIVISION AA—TRANS-SAHARA COUNTERTERRORISM PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM

DIVISION BB—EB–5 REFORM AND INTEGRITY ACT OF 2022

DIVISION CC—BURIAL EQUITY FOR GUARDS AND RESERVES ACT

DIVISION DD—AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR HIGH TECHNOLOGY PILOT PROGRAM

DIVISION EE—EXTENSION OF VISA WAIVER PROGRAM FEES

DIVISION FF—AVAILABILITY OF TRAVEL PROMOTION FUND FOR BRAND USA DIVISION GG—COOPERATIVE PROJECT AGREEMENT

DIVISION HH—OTHER MATTERS

Division A: Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies

Division B: Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Division C: Department of Defense Appropriations 

Division D: Energy, Water Development, and related agencies

Division E: Financial Services and General Government Appropriations

Division F: Department of Homeland Security

Division G: Department of the Interior, Environment, and related agencies

Division H: Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies

Division I: Legislative Branch

Division J: Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies

Division K: Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

Division O: Extensions and Technical Corrections

Division P: Health Provisions

Division Q: Consumer Protection

Division R: FAFSA Simplification

Division S: Veterans Matters

Division T: Credit Union Governance Modernization Act

Division U: Adjustable Interest Rate (LIBOR) Act

Division V: Haiti Development, Accountability, and Institutional Transparency Initiative Act

Division W: Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act

Division X: Intelligence Authorization

Division Y: Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure

Division Z: Israel Relations Normalization Act

Division AA: Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership Program

Division BB: EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act

Division CC: Burial Equity for Guards and Reserves Act

Division DD: Authorization of Appropriations for High Technology Pilot Program

Division FF: Extenstion of Visa Waiver Program Fees

Division FF: Availability of Travel Promotion Fund for Brand USA

Division GG: Cooperative Project Agreement

Division HH: Other Matters

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/28/2022 - 13:23
Published:3/28/2022 12:38:23 PM
[] Howard Stern carefully analyzes Will Smith slapping Chris Rock, concludes that 'Will Smith and Trump are the same guy' Published:3/28/2022 12:38:23 PM
[] Steve Schmidt says Oscars audience's reaction to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock can help us 'understand how Trump happened' Published:3/28/2022 10:35:19 AM
[8e2f6218-2e3f-55e4-94d3-e943e4bae835] House GOP pushes Wray for transparency on FBI misconduct in probing politicians, religious groups, journalists Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., contends Democrats have a stake in digging for more details about the FBI breaking its own rules to probe elected officials, political candidates, religious organizations and the news media Published:3/27/2022 5:58:01 AM
[Markets] How Bill Barr's Silence Impacted The Outcome Of An Election How Bill Barr's Silence Impacted The Outcome Of An Election

Submitted by The Epoch Times, authored by By Jeff Carlson and Hans Mahncke

On May 18, 2020, then-Attorney General Bill Barr made a statement to the media, declaring that special counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Russiagate hoax wasn’t focused on either former President Barack Obama or former Vice President Joe Biden, stating that “I don’t expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man.”

In his new book, Barr has revealed that he made that statement in response to a series of tweets by then-President Donald Trump. A week earlier, Trump had started using the term “Obamagate” on Twitter, alleging that both Obama and Biden had “led the charge” on the FBI’s phony Russiagate investigation.

Barr recounts in his book that he felt it was unacceptable for Trump to attempt to drag his presidential election opponent into the Russiagate scandal and that Barr felt that it was incumbent upon him to make a public statement.

The corporate media immediately seized upon Barr’s statement, with The Washington Post running a same-day headline that “Barr says he does not expect Obama or Biden will be investigated by prosecutor reviewing 2016 Russia probe.” The New York Times’ headline went further, claiming that “Barr Dismisses Trump’s Claim That Russia Inquiry Was an Obama Plot.”

Barr’s May 18 claim is an often underappreciated statement, the fallout of which was felt throughout the 2020 presidential election. Although Barr now claims that he issued his statement from a position of fairness, what he actually did was insert himself and the Department of Justice (DOJ) into the presidential campaign, and in doing so, he set the stage for the media’s whitewashing of questions of corruption that swirled around Biden throughout the campaign.

It’s also worth noting that Barr’s decision to make a public statement contrasts sharply with former FBI Director James Comey, who claimed that as a matter of DOJ policy he wouldn’t confirm or deny if President Trump was actually under investigation in 2017.

More importantly, Barr’s May 18 statement stands in stark contrast to his decision to remain silent after the second presidential debate in October 2020, when Biden falsely blamed the story about his son Hunter’s laptop on a “Russian plot.”

Barr recently recounted that he “was very disturbed during the debate when candidate Biden lied to the American people about the laptop.” Barr told Fox News in an interview that Biden “was squarely confronted with the laptop and he suggested that it was Russian disinformation. … And I was shocked by that. … When you’re talking about interference in an election, I can’t think of anything more than that kind of thing.”

Barr’s supposed “shock” over Biden’s claims of Russian disinformation during the debate begs a simple question: If Barr actually felt that Biden’s assertions of “Russian disinformation” amounted to “interference in an election,” why didn’t Barr say anything at the time?

The only discernible action taken by Barr’s DOJ was an Oct. 20 written reply from an FBI congressional affairs liaison to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). That letter, which preceded the second debate, was intentionally vague and, rather than countering potential narratives, it allowed the media to advance Biden’s claim that the laptop was a Russian plot. Crucially, the letter took pains to conceal that the FBI had physical possession of Hunter’s laptop at the time the letter was written—a fact that eliminated any possibility of a Russian plot.

During the second 2020 debate, Biden had asserted that his claims of “Russian disinformation” were backed by our intelligence agencies by citing a letter written by Obama-era intelligence officials such as former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former CIA Director Leon Panetta. That letter was issued on Oct. 19, 2020, just days before the debate on Oct. 22, 2020, and was widely circulated by the media as proof of Biden’s claims.

In their letter, the intelligence officials claimed that the information from Hunter’s laptop had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian disinformation operation,” and stated that “this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election,” noting that “we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.”

That four different CIA directors would be willing to publicly promote false allegations about Russia in order to shield a presidential candidate from public attention is particularly troubling. These former CIA directors—whose tenure spanned more than 10 years of U.S. foreign policy activity—invoked their government positions and lied to the American public in order to protect and get their preferred candidate, Joe Biden, elected.

During his recent interview, Barr conceded that he knew that letter from our nation’s intelligence officials “was baseless” and that he believed Biden himself fully understood that it “was a lie.” Unlike Trump, Biden was citing published claims by intelligence officials that Barr now says he knew to be inaccurate at the time those claims were made. But, in contrast to his earlier actions regarding Trump’s tweets, Barr chose to stay silent on Biden’s claims.

In doing so, Barr decisively interfered in the election through his inaction.

The sharply differing stances that Barr took in those months preceding the 2020 presidential election are puzzlingly contradictory. Barr apparently felt that it was necessary to make sure that U.S. citizens were aware that Biden wasn’t under investigation as a part of Durham’s probe, but he didn’t feel it was important to counter a false narrative from former intelligence officials, including four CIA directors, that Barr knew to be untrue.

At the time of that second presidential debate, the FBI already had Hunter’s laptop in its possession—and had held the device for 10 months. The FBI had also opened an investigation into Hunter Biden for multiple offenses—including allegations of money laundering and possible violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Hunter’s laptop contained emails and other information that were directly connected to these allegations.

Barr’s differing treatment of Biden and Trump leaves many questions unanswered. Although many in the media, along with Biden’s current spokeswoman Jen Psaki, have claimed that Hunter is a private citizen who wasn’t running for office, Hunter’s laptop directly implicated Joe Biden in a number of dubious foreign dealings. Biden repeatedly lied about these matters while on the campaign trail.

In one particularly notable instance, Biden had personally met with Hunter’s Ukrainian business partner only a few months before that same partner demanded that Hunter end the investigations into Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm that was paying Hunter $1 million per year. On the campaign trail, Biden declared that he had never talked to his son about his foreign business dealings.

Not only did Barr choose to remain silent about Hunter’s laptop, but he had also, in fact, “instructed prosecutors and senior colleagues to prevent word of investigations into Hunter Biden from becoming public and keep the Justice Department out of campaign politics,” according to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal.

As we now know, Hunter’s emails and laptop are real. Indeed, shortly after the election, Hunter Biden suddenly released a statement acknowledging that he was under federal investigation.

The silence from Barr enabled the media’s blackout on the laptop story that had direct ramifications on the 2020 election. A poll by Media Research showed that 45 percent of the Biden voters were unaware of the allegations against Hunter and Joe Biden and that 16 percent of Biden voters–well over the margin of victory–wouldn’t have voted for him had they known this crucial information.

In 2016, the Hillary Clinton campaign accused Russia of trying to help elect Trump. Then-CIA Director John Brennan played an important role in advancing the Clinton campaign’s narrative. In an eerie parallel to those events, the Biden campaign, again with the help of Brennan and other intelligence officials, falsely accused Russia of trying to help elect Trump in 2020.

Barr argues in his book that Trump’s claims about Biden required Barr to insert himself because he didn’t want a repeat of the Russia collusion claims that plagued the 2016 election; that same argument, however, should have required Barr to speak out on Biden’s debate claims that Hunter’s laptop was a Russian plot.

If Barr was truly concerned about a potential repeat of the 2016 election, it would have been incumbent on him to step forward publicly as soon as Biden made his false accusations against Russia, particularly given the involvement of Brennan, who was himself entangled in the 2016 election interference.

The national security implications from Biden’s repeated invocations of Russia is another important factor that should have required Barr to act.

“Russiagate was not only a despicable dirty trick that hobbled the first part of the president’s administration, but it also affected [sic] great damage to the United States,” Barr acknowledged in his recent interview with Fox News.

“Russiagate essentially froze the Trump administration from engaging with Russia.”

While Barr acknowledged the massive geopolitical damage caused by the Clinton campaign’s Russiagate hoax, he inexplicably ignored Biden’s false claims about his son’s laptop, which has served to undermine our national security in ways that are perhaps even worse than the actions taken by Clinton.

Both Clinton and Biden recklessly leveled false accusations against Russia, jeopardizing national security for their own personal and political gain. Clinton, among other things, had her 30,000 deleted emails to contend with. However, while no one has seen Clinton’s emails, the emails on Hunter’s laptop contain a multitude of damning disclosures of foreign dealings and payoffs involving the Biden family.

Beyond the direct ramifications from the emails on Hunter’s laptop, Biden’s fabricated accusations regarding Russia would have immediately been understood by the Kremlin as a fundamental weakness. There is no doubt that Biden’s statement worsened relations with Russia and might have contributed to the current situation in Ukraine.

By first speaking out and then remaining silent, Barr very directly put his thumb on the scale, leading to material ramifications for our country—including the geopolitical landscape we now face.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/26/2022 - 20:30
Published:3/26/2022 7:53:38 PM
[Markets] FBI Scuttles Ketanji Brown Celebration At LA Field Office FBI Scuttles Ketanji Brown Celebration At LA Field Office

The FBI quickly moved to quash a scheduled celebration for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's Supreme Court nomination after the Washington Free Beacon published a March 11 "Save the date" flyer contained in an email which was circulated to all employees - and then reported on by Fox News' Tucker Carlson.

The Wednesday party was to be hosted by the agency's women's and black affairs committees.

Following the exposure, the FBI's Diversity and Inclusion Department fired off an email saying "The FBI must remain neutral in all political nomination and confirmation processes. Accordingly, a party for any nominee in FBI space would be inappropriate."

The event was to be held in a government conference room where LA Assistant Director Kristi Koons Johnson was set to be interviewed by an "executive leadership coach." As part of the massive backpedal, an FBI spokeswoman said that the incident was "addressed immediately and does not reflect the high standards of the FBI," the Beacon reported.

"An email circulated within the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office recognizing a Supreme Court nomination was issued without proper review and was quickly retracted by FBI management."

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/25/2022 - 15:05
Published:3/25/2022 2:11:04 PM
[2020 Presidential Election] The O’Keefe Project: All is in order edition (Scott Johnson) We only learned this week that the FBI and Southern District prosecutors have had James O’Keefe and Project under surveillance in the case of Ashley Biden’s diary roughly since President Biden was sworn in. I wrote about the related court orders here (March 22) and here (March 23). This surveillance was in addition to the raids executed by the FBI this past November and subsequently leaked to the friends of Published:3/25/2022 7:10:48 AM
[ab4d30fe-dd87-5931-9df0-d71b27ea2c0a] Nebraska congressman found guilty of lying to FBI about foreign campaign contribution A Nebraska Congressman was found guilty Thursday in a California courtroom of lying to the FBI about an illegal campaign contribution from 2016. Published:3/24/2022 10:35:42 PM
[Markets] DOJ Accused Of Assault On Free Speech And Press In Project Veritas Case DOJ Accused Of Assault On Free Speech And Press In Project Veritas Case

Authored by Jonathan Turley via jonathanturley.org,

I previously wrote about deep concerns over the FBI investigation of Project Veritas over the missing diary of Ashley Biden, daughter of President Joe Biden. The use of the FBI in a case involving a missing diary is itself difficult to square with its priorities, let alone the different treatment given the New York Times.  Now, counsel for Project Veritas has filed a motion detailing what could be a very serious violation of court orders as well as an attack on free speech and free press.

There has been relatively little attention to the extraordinary efforts of the Biden Justice Department in pursuing those connected with the disappearance of the diary of the President’s daughter. The concern is that the FBI is acting like a Praetorian Guard in acting on what is a crime ordinarily handled on a local level.

The controversy over Ashley Biden‘s diary began during her father’s campaign for the presidency in 2020. Like her brother Hunter, Ashley has struggled with addiction and was living in a two-bedroom house in Delray Beach, Fla., with a friend. According to the New York Times, she decided to go to Philadelphia but to leave some belongings in two bags in the Delray house. The owner later allowed a friend named Aimee Harris and her two children to move in. The Times strongly suggests that Ms. Harris searched the possessions, noting that she was hard up for money and was also a Trump supporter. The Times then simply says “exactly what happened next remains the subject of the federal investigation.”

Project Veritas and its founder, James O’Keefe, maintained that they were given the diary by a “tipster” but decided not to use it. Indeed, the group later turned over the material to law enforcement.

As noted by the New York Times, court records show that on Oct. 12, 2020, O’Keefe told Project Veritas staff that said they would not publish a story about the diary. He explained that, while they had “no doubt the document is real,” he was concerned that publishing the diary would be seen “as a cheap shot.”

Now we have new details of the lengths that the government has gone in this case, including allegedly evading a court order to protect the confidentiality of journalistic and attorney-client material.

In its 45-page court filing, counsel accused the Department of Justice of such circumvention after Microsoft recently revealed that the DOJ had previously seized Project Veritas documents from a cloud account using a warrant. I testified on such abuses recently in Congress.

The Project describes the investigation as “retributive” on behalf of the Biden Administration. It did so with “extreme measures that violate the First Amendment and corrode freedom of the press,” according to the filing.

Judge Torres appointed a special master, retired U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones, to protect confidential information on Dec. 8, 2021 in the Southern District of New York. The court specifically recognized that “potential First Amendment concerns that may be implicated by the review of the materials seized from Petitioners.” However, the letter from Project Veritas counsel states:

“We have recently learned, however, that the government already had in place mechanisms for circumventing these protective processes and invading the First Amendment and attorney- client privileges of Project Veritas and its journalists, the existence of which the government concealed from counsel for Project Veritas and its journalists and, we believe, from this Court. We have discovered that from November 2020 to April 2021, the government used compulsory demands, including secret warrants and 18 U.S.C. § 2703(d) orders, to obtain voluminous materials from Microsoft, the email services provider used by Project Veritas, spanning the email accounts of eight journalists and Project Veritas’s Human Resources Manager.

…It appears that the government misled this Court by omission, failing to disclose during the briefing and arguments over the appointment of a Special Master that the government had already obtained through these surreptitious actions many of the privileged communications this Court charged the Special Master with protecting. The government’s clandestine invasions of journalist’s communications corrode the rule of law.”

That is a familiar pattern and was discussed at the prior congressional hearing.

Some of the search demands clearly would implicate areas that the court previously sought to protect with the appointment of Judge Brown as special master. That includes:

According to court papers attached to the letter, here is some of what the feds were after:

b. Evidence of communications regarding or in furtherance of the Subject Offenses, such as communications with or regarding Ashley Biden, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (and representatives thereof), and/or Ashley Biden’s associates regarding her stolen property.

c. Evidence of the location of Ashley Biden’s property and the location of the user of the Subject Account at times relevant to the Subject Offenses, such as communications that reference particular geographic locations or refer to the property being located in a particular place.

d. Evidence of the identity and locations of potential co-conspirators, such as communications with other individuals about obtaining, transporting, transferring, disseminating, or otherwise disposing of Ashley Biden’s stolen property, including but not limited to communications reflecting the knowledge of co-conspirators that the property obtained from Ashley Biden had been stolen, and communications that contain personally identifiable information of co-conspirators and references to co-conspirators’ places of residence or locations at particular points in time.

e. Evidence regarding the value of any of Ashley Biden’s stolen property, such as communications about the resale or market value of any of the items stolen from her, or any plans to sell or market the same.

f. Evidence of steps taken in preparation for or in furtherance of the Subject Offenses, such as surveillance of Ashley Biden or property associated with her, and drafts of communications to Ashley Biden, President Biden, and Ashley Biden’s associates regarding her stolen property and communications among co-conspirators discussing what to do with her property.

Any search of those sweeping terms would net confidential and privileged information.

Putting aside the concerns over a crackdown on a journalistic organization, there remain unanswered questions over why this extraordinary effort was launched by the FBI over a missing diary.

The concerns over the Project Veritas investigation continue to mount, but neither Congress nor the media have demanded answers from the Biden Administration.

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/24/2022 - 23:00
Published:3/24/2022 10:13:39 PM
[Markets] Former FBI Agent Pleads Guilty To Tampering With Evidence Former FBI Agent Pleads Guilty To Tampering With Evidence

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A former FBI agent who was tapped to help investigate Missouri’s governor pleaded guilty on March 23 to tampering with evidence, deciding not to go to trial on seven counts.

Former FBI agent William Don Tisaby, left, is accompanied by attorney Jermaine Wooten as he turns himself in at St. Louis Police headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., on June 17, 2019. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

William Don Tisaby, 69, now a private investigator, was hired by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner to help probe Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens over an alleged invasion of privacy. Greitens resigned in 2018 after the investigation was opened.

Tisaby was indicted on seven felonies, including perjury and evidence tampering, in 2019.

Tisaby acknowledged in the plea deal that he said in a deposition that certain documents did not exist when, in fact, they did, Robert Russell, the special prosecutor in the case, told reporters outside the courthouse in St. Louis after the deal was reached.

“He’s admitting to hiding or at least testifying that the notes that Ms. Gardner gave to him were not given to him by testifying that he did not take any notes, when in fact he did take notes on those notes Ms. Gardner gave him,” Russell said.

Tisaby also took notes from an interview with a witness and sent them to Gardner but falsely testified that he never did.

Gardner is set to face a disciplinary hearing soon for allegedly hiding details about the probe into Greitens from members of her team.

Russell declined to put himself in Gardner’s shoes but said prosecutors “have an ethical obligation to correct and make sure the record is clear” regarding documents and that they should correct witnesses who offer false information.

The deal means Tisaby, who was facing serious prison time, will not serve any time in jail. He will serve one year of probation and must pay court costs.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, right, during a rally in St. Charles, Mo., in a file image. (Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)

I think we’ve reached an appropriate resolution for Mr. Tisaby in this case based on what occurred,” Russell said, adding that it was important to make sure anybody attached to law enforcement is held accountable for being untruthful.

Jermaine Wooten, a lawyer for the defendant, told reporters that he and his colleagues were prepared to go to trial but Tisaby wanted to put the case behind him because of his age and health.

“I think it was just more of an issue of just negligence in this matter. It was a slew of documents that he had and he just went into that deposition not prepared. There was no malice in this man’s heart,” Wooten said, adding that no one instructed his client to hide the existence of the documents.

But Russell said the defendant admitted to purposefully shielding evidence. ” I think he just didn’t want anybody to see what he had done,” Russell said.

The investigation in question was looking into whether Greitens snapped a picture of a woman at his house in 2015. The alleged picture has never been found.

Greitens, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat, said on Steve Bannon’s show that the guilty plea was “a great victory.”

“The corrupt former FBI agent, William Tisaby, pled guilty,” he said. “What everyone recognizes now is what we said from the beginning, is that this was a criminal witch hunt against me.”

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/24/2022 - 21:00
Published:3/24/2022 8:05:46 PM
[In The News] Four Russian Agents Charged With Hacking & Targeting Global Critical Infrastructure

by cotobuzz at CDN -

Four Russian agents charged in two separate hacking campaigns targeting global critical infrastructure.  According to the FBI, the Department of Justice “unsealed two indictments today charging four defendants, all Russian nationals who worked for the Russian government, with attempting, supporting, and conducting cyber intrusions that together, in two separate conspiracies, …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Four Russian Agents Charged With Hacking & Targeting Global Critical Infrastructure first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:3/24/2022 7:39:35 PM
[Markets] Trump Sues Hillary Clinton, Says She 'Maliciously Conspired' To Weave Collusion Conspiracy Theory Trump Sues Hillary Clinton, Says She 'Maliciously Conspired' To Weave Collusion Conspiracy Theory

Former US President Donald Trump sued Hillary Clinton and several other Democrats on Thursday, alleging they attempted to rig the 2016 US presidential election by fabricating a conspiracy theory tying his campaign to Russia.

"Acting in concert, the Defendants maliciously conspired to weave a false narrative that their Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, was colluding with a hostile foreign sovereignty," reads the lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Florida.

Remember this?

Developing...

Meanwhile, a flashback:

Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations.com,

A Hillary Clinton campaign operation to plant a false rumor about Donald Trump setting up a “secret hotline” to Moscow through a Russian bank was much broader than known and involved multiple U.S. agencies, according to declassified documents and sources briefed on an ongoing criminal investigation of the scheme.

In addition to the FBI, the 2016 Clinton campaign tried to convince the Obama administration’s State Department, Justice Department and Central Intelligence Agency to look into the hoax, and continued pressing the issue even after Trump was inaugurated in January 2017.

The goal was to trigger federal investigative activity targeting her Republican rival and leak the damaging information to the media.

“The Clinton machine flooded the FBI with pressure from a number of angles until investigations of Trump were opened and reopened,” said one of the briefed sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive law enforcement matter. "The deception was wide-ranging."

Michael Sussmann: The indicted former Clinton campaign attorney wasn't the only one feeding the bogus Alfa Bank story to the feds. perkinscoie.com

Special Counsel John Durham outlined the FBI part of the scheme in a felony indictment of Michael Sussmann. The former Clinton campaign lawyer was charged last month with making a false statement to the former general counsel of the FBI when he claimed he was not working “for any client” in bringing to the FBI’s attention allegations of a secret channel of communication between computer servers in Trump Tower and the Alfa Bank in Russia.

According to the indictment, Sussmann was in fact acting on behalf of clients including the Clinton campaign, and an unnamed tech executive who RCI has previously reported is Rodney L. Joffe, a regular adviser to the Biden White House on cybersecurity and infrastructure policies.

Internal emails reveal the Clinton operatives knew the links they made between Trump and Russia were “weak,” even describing them as a “red herring,” but fed them to investigators anyway.

The Sussmann indictment revealed the doubts of those developing the Alfa Bank story. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

After Sussmann’s meeting with the FBI in September 2016, the Clinton campaign approached the State Department the following month with the same lead, this time using paid Clinton campaign subcontractor Christopher Steele to feed the rumors. A former British intelligence officer, Steele was offered as a reliable source to help corroborate the rumors. On Oct. 11, 2016, Steele gave his contact at Foggy Bottom documents alleging that a supposed hidden server at Trump Tower was pinging Moscow.

Christopher Steele: Author of the debunked dossier passed the Alfa Bank story to the State Department, which passed it along to FBI agent Peter Strzok. (Aaron Chown/PA FILE via AP)

Two days later, a State official who previously worked under former secretary Clinton funneled the information to the FBI’s then-top Eurasia/Russia counterintelligence official, Stephen Laycock, according to recently declassified notes and testimony. Laycock, in turn, forwarded the information to Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who led the investigation of Trump and his campaign and had just weeks earlier texted a bureau lawyer, “We’ll stop [Trump from being elected].”

"I informed Peter Strzok and another supervisor,” Laycock testified last year in a closed-door Senate hearing.

Telephone: After Steele fed the Alfa Bank story to State, it was passed to the FBI’s then-top Eurasia/Russia counterintelligence official, Stephen Laycock (left), who in turn passed it on to lead FBI agent on Trump-Russia, Peter Strzok (right). Facebook/Twitter

Steele, who later confessed he was “desperate” to defeat Trump, was the author of the debunked dossier claiming Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election. He even misspelled the name of the Russian bank as “Alpha.” Still, the FBI took his rumors seriously enough to interview tech vendors working for the Trump Organization and obtain warrants to search Trump Tower servers. Within days of receiving the State Department tip, Strzok also used Steele’s dossier to secure a wiretap on Trump adviser Carter Page.

Clinton foreign policy adviser and current National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan would put out a written statement trumpeting the Trump-Alfa Bank story, which was shared by then-candidate Clinton on Oct. 31, 2016, after Slate reported on it. Fusion GPS, the Washington opposition-research group that worked for the Clinton campaign as a paid agent, and helped gather dirt on Alfa Bank and draft the materials Sussmann would later submit to the FBI, reportedly pressed Slate to publish the story by the account of its author, journalist Franklin Foer.

The Clinton campaign played up the Trump-Alfa Bank story on the eve of the 2016 election. Twitter/@HillaryClinton

“This was a highly sophisticated operation using enablers in both the media and federal agencies,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told RealClearInvestigations.

The Clinton campaign did not let up even after Trump won the election.

In mid-November 2016, it enlisted top Justice Department official Bruce Ohr – whose wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS – to add credibility to the Alfa rumors. That month, Ohr advised the FBI that Steele had told him that the Alfa Bank server was a link to the Trump campaign. Then in early December, Ohr met with the FBI case supervisor who worked for Strzok at least twice. Declassified notes and other records show that during those meetings, Ohr provided him with thumb drives he had received from paid Clinton opposition researcher and Fusion GPS co-founder, Glenn Simpson, and Ohr’s wife and Simpson’s colleague, Nellie. Quoting his Clinton sources, Ohr insisted the alleged backdoor computer channel between Trump and Alfa was real.

Bruce Ohr: The Justice Department official -- linked to Clinton opposition research firm Fusion GPS through his wife Nellie, a Fusion employee -- brought the firm's arguments and materials to the FBI. The Global Initiative

The FBI spent months investigating the claim, eventually dismissing it as baseless. After the FBI closed the case, Sussmann turned to the nation’s top intelligence agency for assistance, as RCI first reported.

In December 2016, Sussmann called then-CIA Director John Brennan’s general counsel – Caroline Krass – to set up a meeting to brief her about the same Alfa Bank rumors. Krass expressed interest in the tip. Then in early February 2017, officials from her office formally sat down with Sussmann for more than an hour to discuss the Trump-Russian bank rumors. Sussmann provided them updated versions of the materials he had handed off to the FBI.

Caroline Krass: General counsel to then-CIA Director John Brennan welcomed Sussmann's pitch of the Alfa Bank story, which reportedly passed from the CIA to FBI. CIA/Wikipedia

The CIA, in turn, referred the rumors to an FBI liaison for further investigation, according to the sources briefed on his case. Strzok was the lead FBI liaison to the CIA at the time.

Among the documents Durham has obtained is a CIA memo memorializing the meeting with Sussmann, according to the sources. In his grand jury indictment, Durham accused Sussmann of also misleading the CIA, which he referred to only as “Agency-2.” The special counsel alleges that Sussmann, as he did when meeting with an FBI official, had also failed to inform contacts at Langley that he was representing a client – in the latter case specifically Joffe – tied to the Clinton campaign operation and who had been promised a high-level job in a Clinton administration.

Billing the Democrat’s campaign for his work on the “confidential project," Sussmann recruited Joffe and a team of federal computer contractors to mine proprietary databases containing vast quantities of sensitive, nonpublic Internet data for possible dirt on Trump and his advisers. In a new court document filed last week, Durham revealed his team has obtained more than 80,000 pages of documents in response to grand jury subpoenas issued to more than 15 targets and witnesses, including the computer contractors. Among others receiving subpoenas: political organizations, private firms, tech companies and other entities, including a major university — Georgia Tech — which allegedly participated in the Clinton conspiracy as a Pentagon contractor. Some witnesses have been granted immunity and are cooperating with prosecutors, the sources close to the probe said.

Jonathan Turley: "One would expect a CIA official to express reluctance in an investigation that would have a largely domestic focus," says the law professor. CNN

“While Sussmann may have hidden his work for the Clinton campaign, this was obviously a useful attack on Trump,” Turley said. “One would expect a CIA official to express reluctance in an investigation that would have a largely domestic focus. But as with the FBI, the Clinton campaign found eager officials to move on any such allegation.”

The CIA is largely barred from collecting information inside the United States or on American citizens.

“The CIA has no business involving itself in a domestic political issue,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told RCI. “The evidence suggests the primary purpose of the meeting was political."

Fitton said his watchdog group has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the CIA demanding all records generated from the contacts Sussmann had with the agency in December 2016 and February 2017.

The CIA did not return requests for comment.

For good measure, old Clinton hands tried another pressure point. In early February 2017, Clinton's foreign policy adviser Sullivan huddled with Fusion GPS's Simpson and Daniel Jones, an FBI analyst-turned-Democrat-operative, to reboot the same smear campaign against Trump. (As RCI previously reported, Sullivan, who spearheaded the campaign's effort to promote the narrative of a disturbing Trump-Russia relationship via the Alfa Bank story, is under scrutiny for possibly lying to Congress about his role in the operation.) Jones, in turn, reached out to his former colleagues at the FBI, who reopened the investigation into the old allegations of a cyber-link between Trump and Alfa Bank.

Jake Sullivan played a pivotal role in the Alfa Bank story as 2016 Clinton foreign policy adviser. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File

The next month, acting on Jones’ recycled tip, FBI agents visited the offices of the Pennsylvania company that housed the Trump server, which was actually administered by a third-party hotel promotions firm – Cendyn, based in Florida. But their second investigation proved to be another dead end. The sinister communications Jones claimed were flowing between an alleged Trump server and Alfa Bank were found to be innocuous marketing emails. In other words, spam.

Sources say it is odd that FBI headquarters continued to pursue the allegations, because internal FBI communications reveal that the bureau’s own cyber sleuths had pooh-poohed them within days of Sussmann’s briefing, RCI has learned.

Strzok himself had been briefed on that assessment of the materials Sussman dropped off at headquarters on Sept. 19, 2016. In fact, in a Sept. 23, 2016, internal message to Strzok, an FBI official relayed his preliminary findings following an interview with Cendyn, the Florida marketing firm that managed the alleged Trump server.

“Followed up this morning with Central Dynamics [Cendyn] who confirmed that the mail1.trump-email.com domain is an old domain that was set up in approximately 2009 when they were doing business with the Trump Organization that was never used,” according to the message.

Reacting to the Durham indictment, Strzok recently tried to distance himself from the Alfa scandal, insisting in a Lawfare blog: “I had a minor role in the events in question, insofar as I transferred the material Sussman gave to Jim Baker, the FBI’s general counsel at the time, to the personnel who ultimately supervised and looked into the allegations.”

Echoing other critics, Strzok complained that Durham – who originally was tapped to investigate the origins of the Russia “collusion” investigation by Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr – is conducting a partisan witch hunt on behalf of Trump.

Strzok's claims notwithstanding, Barr's successor, the President Biden-nominated Attorney General Merrick Garland, testified last week that he has renewed funding and staffing for Durham’s far-reaching investigation for the next fiscal year. “[Y]ou can readily assume his budget has been approved,” Garland assured Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee.

 

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/24/2022 - 14:20
Published:3/24/2022 1:31:40 PM
[2020 Presidential Election] Down memory lane with the Times (Scott Johnson) The New York Times supports the efforts of the government to get James O’Keefe and Project Veritas in the case of Ashley Biden’s diary. Reporters including Michael Schmidt and Adam Goldman are working as the public relations arm of the Biden administration and the national security establishment to nail them. It turns out that the FBI and SDNY prosecutors have been working the case for a long time. They have Published:3/24/2022 6:58:41 AM
[4294fb4a-be69-5d64-ba70-be32a80e5adc] Gavin Newsom's wife celebrates Angela Davis, former fugitive Communist Party member, for Women's History Month Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, shared a video celebrating Women's History Month early this month, and her video celebrated a former Communist Party member and FBI fugitive. Published:3/24/2022 6:27:54 AM
[Politics] California man granted asylum in Belarus after being sought in Jan. 6 riot and police assault

Evan Neumann, wanted by the FBI on charges related to the Jan. 6 riot in Washington, has been granted asylum in Belarus, officials told state media.

Published:3/23/2022 8:32:49 PM
[Politics] Read the Emails Advertising FBI Event To Honor Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Nomination

An FBI field office canceled a celebration for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's Supreme Court nomination after supervisors concluded the event violated the agency's commitment to nonpartisanship.

The post Read the Emails Advertising FBI Event To Honor Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Nomination appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:3/23/2022 4:24:10 PM
[Uncategorized] The O’Keefe Project: Surveillance edition, Times style (Scott Johnson) They are out to get James O’Keefe and Project Veritas in the case of Ashley Biden’s diary. “They” are the Biden administration and the national security establishment, for whom Michael Schmidt and Adam Goldman are serving as the public relations arm. Yesterday we learned that the FBI first undertook surveillance on Project Veritas in November 2020, within two weeks of the election. The surveillance began in earnest with a series Published:3/23/2022 7:20:49 AM
[Markets] Russian Mercenary Wagner Group "Active" Inside Ukraine, Pentagon Officials Say Russian Mercenary Wagner Group "Active" Inside Ukraine, Pentagon Officials Say

A senior Pentagon official told reporters on Tuesday that Russia's Wagner Group, which is the most well known private military firm with links to Putin, is "active" inside Ukraine - following allegations out of Kiev officials that they are tasked with assassinating President Zelensky. 

There's long been speculation that Russian mercenaries were already very active in separatist regions of the Donbas. Starting last year the Wagner Group was among a number of Russian entities hit with US sanctions. The firm is said to be controlled by "Putin’s Chef" Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who was also added to the FBI’s wanted list, and reportedly runs the mercenary firm that's been deployed to various conflicts in Africa, Syria and eastern Ukraine.

Pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk region, AFP/Getty Images

According to the official cited in CNN, there's as yet no evidence that the Russian contractors have been transferred into Ukraine from other conflicts, such as in Syria.

The report details the following

There are no foreign fighters “that have flown into the country” from Syria or elsewhere that the US has seen, the official added.

Right now, the US is not seeing “tangible indications” that Russians are making an effort to re-supply, but “we do continue to see indications that they are having these discussions and that they are making these kinds of plans both in terms of re-supply and also reinforcement,” the official noted.

The statement echoes the belief that with rising Russian troop deaths, particularly among paratroopers and special forces, elite Wagner operatives could eventually be utilized to fill the gap. Like with American private defense firms, these troops were often previously part of special forces of the regular military ranks.

Ukrainian officials have meanwhile expressed alarm that mercenaries could be used to infiltrate Ukraine government areas to conduct high level assassinations. 

"Russian Wagner group mercenaries have travelled to Ukraine on a mission to assassinate Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelensky, intelligence reports claim," The Daily Mail wrote this week, citing Ukrainian sources. 

"Intelligence authorities attached to the Ministry of Defence said Russian President Vladimir Putin 'personally ordered another attack by one of his proxies', referring to the Wagner group."

'All previous attempts ended in the failure and elimination' of Wagner mercenaries at the hands of Ukrainian forces, the report added.

One hawkish US Congressman is calling for the US to fight the Russian mercs wherever they are found...

However, such allegations of direct ties between Wagner Group and Putin-ordered high level operations are impossible to prove or confirm. Typically, mercenaries are deployed to foreign battlefields by state actors precisely so there can be 'plausible deniability' shielding heads of state from shady ops on the battlefield.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/23/2022 - 04:15
Published:3/23/2022 3:21:00 AM
[Markets] The Future Is Here: Dystopian Movies Fit For A Dystopian World The Future Is Here: Dystopian Movies Fit For A Dystopian World

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“The Internet is watching us now. If they want to. They can see what sites you visit. In the future, television will be watching us, and customizing itself to what it knows about us. The thrilling thing is, that will make us feel we’re part of the medium. The scary thing is, we’ll lose our right to privacy. An ad will appear in the air around us, talking directly to us.”

- Director Steven Spielberg, Minority Report

We have arrived, way ahead of schedule, into the dystopian future dreamed up by such science fiction writers as George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Margaret Atwood and Philip K. Dick.

Much like Orwell’s Big Brother in 1984, the government and its corporate spies now watch our every move.

Much like Huxley’s A Brave New World, we are churning out a society of watchers who “have their liberties taken away from them, but … rather enjoy it, because they [are] distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing.”

Much like Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the populace is now taught to “know their place and their duties, to understand that they have no real rights but will be protected up to a point if they conform, and to think so poorly of themselves that they will accept their assigned fate and not rebel or run away.”

And in keeping with Philip K. Dick’s darkly prophetic vision of a dystopian police state—which became the basis for Steven Spielberg’s futuristic thriller Minority Report which was released 20 years ago—we are now trapped into a world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams and pre-crime units will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

Minority Report is set in the year 2054, but it could just as well have taken place in 2022.

Seemingly taking its cue from science fiction, technology has moved so fast in the short time since Minority Report premiered in 2002 that what once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction.

Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike—facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on—are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, Spielberg’s unnerving vision of the future is fast becoming our reality.

Both worlds—our present-day reality and Spielberg’s celluloid vision of the future—are characterized by widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining, fusion centers, driverless cars, voice-controlled homes, facial recognition systems, cybugs and drones, and predictive policing (pre-crime) aimed at capturing would-be criminals before they can do any damage.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Government agents listen in on our telephone calls and read our emails. Political correctness—a philosophy that discourages diversity—has become a guiding principle of modern society.

The courts have shredded the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In fact, SWAT teams battering down doors without search warrants and FBI agents acting as a secret police that investigate dissenting citizens are common occurrences in contemporary America.

We are increasingly ruled by multi-corporations wedded to the police state. Much of the population is either hooked on illegal drugs or ones prescribed by doctors. And bodily privacy and integrity has been utterly eviscerated by a prevailing view that Americans have no rights over what happens to their bodies during an encounter with government officials, who are allowed to search, seize, strip, scan, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

All of this has come about with little more than a whimper from an oblivious American populace largely comprised of nonreaders and television and internet zombies, but we have been warned about such an ominous future in novels and movies for years.

The following 15 films may be the best representation of what we now face as a society.

Fahrenheit 451 (1966). Adapted from Ray Bradbury’s novel and directed by Francois Truffaut, this film depicts a futuristic society in which books are banned, and firemen ironically are called on to burn contraband books—451 Fahrenheit being the temperature at which books burn. Montag is a fireman who develops a conscience and begins to question his book burning. This film is an adept metaphor for our obsessively politically correct society where virtually everyone now pre-censors speech. Here, a brainwashed people addicted to television and drugs do little to resist governmental oppressors.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The plot of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, as based on an Arthur C. Clarke short story, revolves around a space voyage to Jupiter. The astronauts soon learn, however, that the fully automated ship is orchestrated by a computer system—known as HAL 9000—which has become an autonomous thinking being that will even murder to retain control. The idea is that at some point in human evolution, technology in the form of artificial intelligence will become autonomous and human beings will become mere appendages of technology. In fact, at present, we are seeing this development with massive databases generated and controlled by the government that are administered by such secretive agencies as the National Security Agency and sweep all websites and other information devices collecting information on average citizens. We are being watched from cradle to grave.

Planet of the Apes (1968). Based on Pierre Boulle’s novel, astronauts crash on a planet where apes are the masters and humans are treated as brutes and slaves. While fleeing from gorillas on horseback, astronaut Taylor is shot in the throat, captured and housed in a cage. From there, Taylor begins a journey wherein the truth revealed is that the planet was once controlled by technologically advanced humans who destroyed civilization. Taylor’s trek to the ominous Forbidden Zone reveals the startling fact that he was on planet earth all along. Descending into a fit of rage at what he sees in the final scene, Taylor screams: “We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you.” The lesson is obvious, but will we listen? The script, although rewritten, was initially drafted by Rod Serling and retains Serling’s Twilight Zone-ish ending.

THX 1138 (1970). George Lucas’ directorial debut, this is a somber view of a dehumanized society totally controlled by a police state. The people are force-fed drugs to keep them passive, and they no longer have names but only letter/number combinations such as THX 1138. Any citizen who steps out of line is quickly brought into compliance by robotic police equipped with “pain prods”—electro-shock batons. Sound like tasers?

A Clockwork Orange (1971). Director Stanley Kubrick presents a future ruled by sadistic punk gangs and a chaotic government that cracks down on its citizens sporadically. Alex is a violent punk who finds himself in the grinding, crushing wheels of injustice. This film may accurately portray the future of western society that grinds to a halt as oil supplies diminish, environmental crises increase, chaos rules, and the only thing left is brute force.

Soylent Green (1973). Set in a futuristic overpopulated New York City, the people depend on synthetic foods manufactured by the Soylent Corporation. A policeman investigating a murder discovers the grisly truth about what soylent green is really made of. The theme is chaos where the world is ruled by ruthless corporations whose only goal is greed and profit. Sound familiar?

Blade Runner (1982). In a 21st century Los Angeles, a world-weary cop tracks down a handful of renegade “replicants” (synthetically produced human slaves). Life is now dominated by mega-corporations, and people sleepwalk along rain-drenched streets. This is a world where human life is cheap, and where anyone can be exterminated at will by the police (or blade runners). Based upon a Philip K. Dick novel, this exquisite Ridley Scott film questions what it means to be human in an inhuman world.

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984). The best adaptation of Orwell’s dark tale, this film visualizes the total loss of freedom in a world dominated by technology and its misuse, and the crushing inhumanity of an omniscient state. The government controls the masses by controlling their thoughts, altering history and changing the meaning of words. Winston Smith is a doubter who turns to self-expression through his diary and then begins questioning the ways and methods of Big Brother before being re-educated in a most brutal fashion.

Brazil (1985). Sharing a similar vision of the near future as 1984 and Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial, this is arguably director Terry Gilliam’s best work, one replete with a merging of the fantastic and stark reality. Here, a mother-dominated, hapless clerk takes refuge in flights of fantasy to escape the ordinary drabness of life. Caught within the chaotic tentacles of a police state, the longing for more innocent, free times lies behind the vicious surface of this film.

They Live (1988). John Carpenter’s bizarre sci-fi social satire action film assumes the future has already arrived. John Nada is a homeless person who stumbles across a resistance movement and finds a pair of sunglasses that enables him to see the real world around him. What he discovers is a world controlled by ominous beings who bombard the citizens with subliminal messages such as “obey” and “conform.” Carpenter manages to make an effective political point about the underclass—that is, everyone except those in power. The point: we, the prisoners of our devices, are too busy sucking up the entertainment trivia beamed into our brains and attacking each other up to start an effective resistance movement.

The Matrix (1999). The story centers on a computer programmer Thomas A. Anderson, secretly a hacker known by the alias “Neo,” who begins a relentless quest to learn the meaning of “The Matrix”—cryptic references that appear on his computer. Neo’s search leads him to Morpheus who reveals the truth that the present reality is not what it seems and that Anderson is actually living in the future—2199. Humanity is at war against technology which has taken the form of intelligent beings, and Neo is actually living in The Matrix, an illusionary world that appears to be set in the present in order to keep the humans docile and under control. Neo soon joins Morpheus and his cohorts in a rebellion against the machines that use SWAT team tactics to keep things under control.

Minority Report (2002). Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick and directed by Steven Spielberg, the film offers a special effect-laden, techno-vision of a futuristic world in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful. And if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams will bring you under control. The setting is 2054 where PreCrime, a specialized police unit, apprehends criminals before they can commit the crime. Captain Anderton is the chief of the Washington, DC, PreCrime force which uses future visions generated by “pre-cogs” (mutated humans with precognitive abilities) to stop murders. Soon Anderton becomes the focus of an investigation when the precogs predict he will commit a murder. But the system can be manipulated. This film raises the issue of the danger of technology operating autonomously—which will happen eventually if it has not already occurred. To a hammer, all the world looks like a nail. In the same way, to a police state computer, we all look like suspects. In fact, before long, we all may be mere extensions or appendages of the police state—all suspects in a world commandeered by machines.

V for Vendetta (2006). This film depicts a society ruled by a corrupt and totalitarian government where everything is run by an abusive secret police. A vigilante named V dons a mask and leads a rebellion against the state. The subtext here is that authoritarian regimes through repression create their own enemies—that is, terrorists—forcing government agents and terrorists into a recurring cycle of violence. And who is caught in the middle? The citizens, of course. This film has a cult following among various underground political groups such as Anonymous, whose members wear the same Guy Fawkes mask as that worn by V.

Children of Men (2006). This film portrays a futuristic world without hope since humankind has lost its ability to procreate. Civilization has descended into chaos and is held together by a military state and a government that attempts to keep its totalitarian stronghold on the population. Most governments have collapsed, leaving Great Britain as one of the few remaining intact societies. As a result, millions of refugees seek asylum only to be rounded up and detained by the police. Suicide is a viable option as a suicide kit called Quietus is promoted on billboards and on television and newspapers. But hope for a new day comes when a woman becomes inexplicably pregnant.

Land of the Blind (2006). In this dark political satire, tyrannical rulers are overthrown by new leaders who prove to be just as evil as their predecessors. Maximilian II is a demented fascist ruler of a troubled land named Everycountry who has two main interests: tormenting his underlings and running his country’s movie industry. Citizens who are perceived as questioning the state are sent to “re-education camps” where the state’s concept of reality is drummed into their heads. Joe, a prison guard, is emotionally moved by the prisoner and renowned author Thorne and eventually joins a coup to remove the sadistic Maximilian, replacing him with Thorne. But soon Joe finds himself the target of the new government.

All of these films—and the writers who inspired them—understood what many Americans, caught up in their partisan, flag-waving, zombified states, are still struggling to come to terms with: that there is no such thing as a government organized for the good of the people. Even the best intentions among those in government inevitably give way to the desire to maintain power and control at all costs.

Eventually, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, even the sleepwalking masses (who remain convinced that all of the bad things happening in the police state—the police shootings, the police beatings, the raids, the roadside strip searches—are happening to other people) will have to wake up.

Sooner or later, the things happening to other people will start happening to us.

When that painful reality sinks in, it will hit with the force of a SWAT team crashing through your door, a taser being aimed at your stomach, and a gun pointed at your head. And there will be no channel to change, no reality to alter, and no manufactured farce to hide behind.

As George Orwell warned, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.”

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/23/2022 - 00:05
Published:3/22/2022 11:17:43 PM
[California] How to Make Crime Vanish (Steven Hayward) No sooner do we note here the out-of-control crime in San Francisco (and elsewhere in California) than we find a magical solution appear: stop collecting and reporting crime data! Yesterday the FBI released its quarterly uniform crime report. There appears this curious note on the home page: In other words, if I read this right not enough law enforcement agencies sent in the data required for the FBI to provide Published:3/22/2022 12:14:37 PM
[Biden Justice Department] The O’Keefe Project: Surveillance edition (Scott Johnson) I infer from yesterday’s New York Times story that the FBI is working with prosecutors in in the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York to nail James O’Keefe and Project Veritas. Given the bylines of Michael Schmidt and Adam Goldman on the Times’s coverage, I see the New York Times as the public relations arm of the operation. The SDNY first obtained a Published:3/22/2022 11:43:34 AM
[Markets] Jan. 6 Suicide Victim Was Told 'He Would Not Receive A Fair Trial In This Town' Jan. 6 Suicide Victim Was Told 'He Would Not Receive A Fair Trial In This Town'

Authored by Joseph M. Hanneman via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The 14-month ordeal battling charges from his time at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, had put so much stress on Matthew L. Perna that he began throwing up blood.

Geri Perna discusses the Feb. 25 suicide of her nephew, Matthew L. Perna, at a Capitol Hill news conference on March 17, 2022. At right is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia. (Rep. Louie Gohmert Rumble/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

When the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) asked to delay his sentencing and announced that it would seek more prison time, it was a bridge too far. Perna took his own life on Feb. 25 in Sharon, Pennsylvania. He was 37.

“Worry, anxiety, stress had worn him down,” Geri Perna, his aunt, said at a Capitol Hill news conference on March 17. “He suffered constant nightmares and began throwing up blood. He was no longer comfortable leaving his home.

One setback after another took its toll on him. And he just wanted it to be over. His attorney encouraged him to plead guilty by telling him that he would not receive a fair trial in this town.”

Perna stood in driving rain near the steps of the Capitol, alongside three members of Congress, to decry the treatment of Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach defendants by the DOJ, much of society, and influencers on social media.

‘A Feeling of Shame’

Collectively, they sounded the alarm that U.S. society is at a precipice, close to losing the freedoms that have been taken for granted for so long.

“Matt walked through an open door into this Capitol building, a monument that has been called the People’s House,” Geri Perna said. “Standing here in front of this building does not give me a sense of pride, but instead [it] is replaced by a feeling of shame.”

Matthew Perna had pleaded guilty to one felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding, the congressional certification of the presidential election results. He also pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges.

He spent about 20 minutes inside the Capitol on Jan. 6. After his sentencing was initially scheduled for March 3, prosecutors announced that they sought to add penalty enhancers that would have meant 41 to 51 months in prison.

“Although Matthew Perna may have taken his last breath on Feb. 25, his death began in January 2021 after he was arrested and a nightmare like no other began,” Geri Perna said. “It affected everyone in our family, but we stood by his side proudly.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) ripped the DOJ for the sentencing delay.

“The Department of Justice wasn’t sure they had beat up on this guy enough,” Gohmert said.

He lauded Matthew Perna for a life of service, including a mission trip to hurricane-ravaged Haiti.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) blasted the U.S. Department of Justice for its prosecution of Matthew L. Perna, who committed suicide on Feb. 25. “Republics don’t last much longer when they get like this,” he said at a press conference on March 17, 2022. (Rep. Louie Gohmert on Rumble/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

“This is not an insurrectionist that does these kinds of things. He didn’t break, touch, or steal anything,” Gohmert said. “He didn’t harm anyone. And yet the Biden Department of Justice sought to throw the book at him for what really was a mistake, that now … led to the end of his life, a life he used to serve others.”

Gohmert asked where today’s DOJ prosecutors were in June 2016, when Democrats staged a sit-in on the House floor and prevented regular business from being conducted for more than 12 hours.

“If the Biden administration cared so deeply about sending a message that you should never obstruct an official session of Congress, they had much that they could have gone after the Democrats who sat on the floor,” Gohmert said. “I knew at the time they were violating many House rules. I didn’t realize at the time they were committing federal felonies.

Matthew L. Perna was scheduled to be sentenced on April 1, 2022, on one felony and three misdemeanor charges. (Courtesy of Geri Perna)

“How long did they sit in jail? How long were they in pretrial confinement? Did they have a DOJ prosecutor that said, ‘Wait a minute, I want to make sure every one of these Democrats gets 41 months in prison,’ like he felt the gentleman named Matt Perna should have? No. No, they didn’t do any of that.”

He accused the DOJ of trying to exact political revenge.

This is a very dangerous policy that this Department of Justice, this administration is pursuing in pursuing vengefulness,” Gohmert said. “Republics don’t last much longer when they get like this. They need to be careful that they’re not leading us into a dark chapter of our country.”

The DOJ has refused to comment on the Perna case, although it did dismiss the charges after Perna’s death.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) criticized the DOJ for not living up to legal obligations to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to defense attorneys.

“At this time, the Department of Justice is still withholding hundreds of thousands of FBI records from defense attorneys,” Greene said. “They’re not allowing them to have the records to prepare their cases. Trials are starting and defendants still don’t have all of their discovery. They deserve this to be able to defend themselves.”

‘Two-Tiered Justice System’

Greene opened her remarks by blasting federal judges in the District of Columbia Circuit for holding so many Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach pretrial defendants in jail without bond.

“I’d like to start by saying shame on every single judge that is using their courtroom to persecute pretrial Jan. 6 defendants,” she said. “This should never happen in our country. We have a two-tiered justice system in America today. And it’s wrong.”

Greene also shamed her congressional colleagues for not speaking out more about the issue.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) speaks at a Capitol Hill news conference on March 17, 2022. She criticized her congressional colleagues for not speaking out more against treatment of Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach defendants. (Rep. Louie Gohmert on Rumble/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

There are very few Republicans, very few members of Congress that are willing to speak out and stand up for these people’s due process rights,” she said. “Do they even believe in America and a fair justice system? Shame on them! Shame on everyone that will not speak out against this outrage. It’s enough.”

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said the Department of Justice “really wanted to make an example of Matthew Perna.”

‘Some of Them Have Been Tortured’

Biggs said many of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach defendants who have been jailed for 14 months have experienced extended periods in solitary confinement.

“Solitary confinement for more than two weeks in international law is considered torture,” he said. “These individuals, some of them have been tortured. That’s what’s going on here.”

Biggs called out judges, “particularly the judges who’ve been biased because of political reasoning.”

“Just stop it. This is America. You have to grant due process,” Biggs said. “The persecution that Matt Perna underwent by the mob on social media is too great for him to bear. We must correct it. We are a self-governing people. We can fix this, and we must fix this. This should never, ever be a situation again.”

Geri Perna said the mistreatment that her nephew experienced will lead to more victims if something doesn’t change.

I agreed to come to this press conference today because I do not want Matthew Perna’s name forgotten,” she said. “There are hundreds of other people just like him, standing in his shoes. I do not know how much more they can take.

“Still I promise you that if something is not done to stop this evil torture that is being inflicted upon these people who have not even been convicted of a crime, more are going to make the choice that Matthew Perna made.”

Geri Perna said the silence from most of Congress is revealing.

“Their silence speaks volumes. Shame on everyone who has a voice and could have intervened,” Perna said. “Maybe this tragedy would never have occurred. We are disappointed and angry. And we are seeking justice for Matthew Perna.

“I stand here today only because my nephew is dead. No one cared about Matthew Perna’s sufferings at the hands of this Justice Department when he was alive. And now it is too late to help him. But anyone who knew Matt would say that he would want others to receive the help that he himself was denied.”

Despite the hate mail directed at Matthew Perna’s father and other family members, Geri Perna said the family believes that Matthew is in Heaven.

“He’s finally free. But the people responsible for this tragedy, they will stand before God someday for the part they played,” she said. “But there is an evil surrounding these same people, and I do not think that they are hoping to enter the gates of Heaven anyway.”

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/21/2022 - 22:20
Published:3/21/2022 9:39:21 PM
[Markets] Teachers' Union Teams Up With Steven Brill's NewsGuard To Flag "Misinformation" For Children Teachers' Union Teams Up With Steven Brill's NewsGuard To Flag "Misinformation" For Children

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Under the leadership of Randi Weingarten, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has long been criticized by conservatives for its support of far left policies and support for Democratic candidates. Nevertheless, as a union, it is entitled to be political and most unions favor the Democrats due to their pro-union policies.

However, the concern over the AFT’s agenda become far greater when it announced that it would team up with NewsGuard to start to flag news sources deemed “misinformation.”

NewsGuard is co-founded by Steve Brill who has been accused of bias against Republicans and conservatives. Conservative sites have previously tagged NewGuard as “heavily skewed” in favor of the left. The “misinformation” label has been used extensively by liberal media to kill stories like the Hunter Biden laptop stories as unreliable.

Indeed, Brill is under fire for being one of the voices falsely claiming that the Hunter Biden laptop was likely false Russian disinformation. His company will now put “traffic lights” on information for children on what sources they rely upon.

The ratings of NewsGuard have long been criticized by conservative sites as favoring liberal sites like The Nation (with a 93 percent rating) over more conservative sites like Fox News (at 66 percent).

The timing of the announcement could not be worse after the New York Times finally recognized that the Hunter Biden laptop story was legitimate and the controversial emails authentic.

For two years, some of us have been hammered as spreading “Russian disinformation” and false allegations in raising concerns over the raw influence peddling by the Biden family. Steven Brill was one of those voices flagging the story as likely “disinformation.”

Brill assured viewers on CNBC that this was likely all untrue:

“My personal opinion is there’s a high likelihood this story is a hoax, maybe even a hoax perpetrated by the Russians again.”

The media campaign to bury or block the story worked. The Biden family had long been accused of special dealing and influence peddling. The emails were potentially devastating with references to millions from foreign sources, including shady Chinese, Russian, and Ukrainian interests while Joe Biden was Vice President. The media actively participated in shielding the Bidens from the scandal.

In fairness to Brill, he opposed efforts to block the story and did not support moves like Twitter to bar references to the story before the election. (After Biden was elected, Twitter admitted it was a mistake by Democrats then demanded more censorship). I agree with him entirely that the solution is to allow readers to decide by comparing news sources.

However, the interview had an interesting element. Brill’s objections to Twitter and FaceBook killing the story was that they are not qualified to make that decision on what, in his words, is likely a Russian “hoax.”

That is what NewsGuard does in flagging unreliable sources. He is clearly referring to himself as one of those qualified to make that decision. Yet, he was entirely wrong. At the time, many of us were noting that Biden did not deny that this was his laptop, that it was seized by the FBI in an ongoing criminal investigation, and some recipients of the emails had confirmed their authenticity.  Nevertheless, Brill still thought it was all a hoax.

Weingarten has declared using Brill’s NewsGuard will be a “game changer” in preventing students from being “misled” by news sources. It may well be. It would allow the AFT and school districts to teach students to distrust certain news sources like Fox News, which is given a lower rating by NewsGuard. (For full disclosure, I appear on Fox as a legal analyst).

Conservative and independent sites continue to bedevil many on the left. The laptop story shows how advocacy journalism is now the norm in many newsrooms. Viewers and readers were told by most media figures, including Brill, that the story was likely Russian propaganda and untrue.

The unsupported hoax claim (which contradicted readily available authenticating evidence at the time) raises the specter of a type of de facto state media. The problem is that such an echo chamber is only fully successful if there is no alternative source of information. Yet, Fox and New York Post continued to cover the story as did some of us as columnists.

The most extreme effort was a letter from Democratic members to pressure companies like AT&T to reconsider whether viewers should be allowed to watch Fox News and other networks. It does not matter that Fox News is the most popular news cable station and even has a greater percentage of Democratic viewers than CNN. The members insisted that “not all TV news sources are the same” and called on these companies to protect viewers from “dissemination” of false viewpoints.

Other members have sought to create algorithmic interventions to steer people away from certain stories or books, including the current NUDGE Act being proposed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.).

The AFT is now seeking a much earlier intervention with children by getting Brill’s NewsGuard to rate reliable and unreliable sources of news. Weingarten has declared that, with Brill’s help, children and families will no longer be “drowning in an ocean of online dishonesty.”

It is unlikely to be reassuring for many that the children instead will be swimming in a pool carefully maintained by the AFT and NewsGuard.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/19/2022 - 17:30
Published:3/19/2022 4:44:32 PM
[Markets] Suppression Of Hunter Biden Laptop Stories 'Definitely' Impacted 2020 Election: Barr Suppression Of Hunter Biden Laptop Stories 'Definitely' Impacted 2020 Election: Barr

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The widespread action against stories on emails and other material from a laptop believed to be owned by President Joe Biden’s son impacted the 2020 election, former Attorney General William Barr said on March 17.

Then-Attorney General William Barr speaks at the Justice Department in Washington, on March 5, 2020. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

After the New York Post reported on the materials, Twitter blocked the circulation of the story and other news outlets cast doubt on the veracity or refused to report on the developments, outlining claims including that the release was part of a Russian disinformation effort or did not matter.

That definitely made an impact on the election, the suppressing that news,” Barr, who served during the Trump and George H. W. Bush administrations, said on Fox News.

“And it’s not a question of whether it was criminal or not, right. Just the facts alone were shameful. And most Americans would immediately see what was going on and how repulsive it was, and it would have had an effect. The issue of criminality is a different issue,” Barr added.

A survey done in the wake of the election found 17 percent of Biden voters would not have voted for him if they were aware of the Hunter Biden story or others like it that were downplayed or ignored by legacy media outlets and Big Tech.

Twitter executives later said they made a mistake in labeling the Post story as being based on hacked materials and shouldn’t have halted its circulation. Some news outlets are drastically changing their reporting on the laptop materials; the New York Times, one of the outlets to push the Russian disinformation angle, reported this week that it had authenticated the materials.

The Post said it obtained a copy of the laptop’s hard drive from former President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and provided materials showing the FBI seized the computer. Hunter Biden has avoided answering direct questions about the laptop and White House press secretary Jen Psaki, which claimed in 2020 that Russians appeared to be involved, declined on Thursday to address the new reporting.

Hunter Biden attends his father Joe Biden’s inauguration as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool/Reuters)

Psaki was among those pushing a letter offered by a group of former intelligence officials, including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, that said the timing of the release and other factors pointed to a Russian effort to influence the 2020 election. The first report was published about two months before voters went to polls.

John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence (DNI) at the time, said the intelligence community had obtained “no intelligence” that supported the Russian disinformation notion and the FBI said it had nothing to add to Ratcliffe’s statement.

As soon as this letter came out from these so-called intelligence specialists, the DNI, John Radcliffe at the time, and the FBI, which worked for me, both came out and said this was not the result of disinformation, Russian disinformation,” Barr said on Thursday. “The media ignored that completely, just kept on going with the disinformation line.”

Nick Shapiro, who once worked as a top aide to John Brennan when Brennan headed the CIA, and who provided the letter in question to news outlets, did not respond to a request for comment.

Richard Grenell, the acting DNI under Trump at one time, said that in light of recent developments, Republicans need to hold hearings with all the officials who signed the letter if the party flips control of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections.

“They all said Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation. And they didn’t have a single piece of intel to suggest it,” he wrote on Twitter. “Hold people accountable for manipulating intelligence for political gain!”

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/18/2022 - 16:20
Published:3/18/2022 3:38:08 PM
[Markets] Lawyer For Mother Of Hunter Biden's Daughter Says He Expects President's Son To Be Indicted Lawyer For Mother Of Hunter Biden's Daughter Says He Expects President's Son To Be Indicted

The past few weeks have been tough for Hunter Biden and, by extension, the rest of the Biden family. On March 1, news broke that Hunter Biden's longtime business partner and friend Devon Archer was sentenced to a year in federal prison for defrauding a Native American tribe. Then just yesterday, the New York Times published an investigation revealing that although the younger Biden had paid his outstanding tax liability - which was reportedly greater than $1 million, and which required him to take out a loan to pay it off - a federal investigation into his failure to pay taxes on his earnings from overseas has continued.

Much lower in the NYT story, America's "paper of record" mentioned the laptop belonging to Hunter Biden that was reportedly abandoned at a computer repair shop, and subsequently became the heart of a NY Post story published shortly before the 2020 election (which was subsequently ignored by the MSM because of unfounded rumors that the materials had been stolen by Russian hackers, or that the laptop itself was some kind of plant). It didn't only mention the laptop, but also confirmed that it was authentic. We previously reported on how the NYT sued to obtain copies of emails mentioning Biden and his exploits allegedly gleaned from Romanian embassy officials.

And in the latest blow to the reputation of the president's perennially troubled son, a lawyer for the mother of Hunter Biden's 3-year-old daughter (who was born out of wedlock to a woman who allegedly slept with the younger Biden while working as an exotic dancer) said during an interview with CNBC that he expects the younger Biden "to be indicted" for tax fraud.

Attorney Clint Lancaster told CNBC that his client, Lunden Roberts, had recently testified in Delaware before a federal grand jury in the criminal investigation into the 52-year-old presidential scion. The lawyer based his commentary on "what I saw" in Biden's financial records.

Lancaster said he and Roberts were interviewed by an assistant U.S. attorney, an FBI agent and an IRS agent — “one that carries a badge and gun” — more than a year ago about Biden in Little Rock, Ark., where Lancaster practices law.

"I expect him to be indicted," the lawyer said about Biden. "Just based on what I saw in his financial records, I would be surprised if he’s not indicted."

Lancaster later added that neither he nor his client want Hunter Biden to go to jail.

"It’s not my goal, much to the unhappiness of many people in the Republican Party," said Lancaster, a supporter of former President Donald Trump who in late 2020 worked on a legal challenge to results that showed Biden had won the state of Wisconsin that year.

He also confirmed that the younger Biden hadn't visited his 3-year-old daughter with Roberts, "which is sad because the baby looks like him, with blonde hair." He also explained that he had come into possession of a vast trove of the younger Biden's financial records as part of his work on Roberts' child-support suit. When asked about the number of records, Lancaster said it was around "10 gigs of data".

“Oh, hell, it was a bunch,” said Lancaster when asked how many records there were related to Hunter Biden’s finances. The documents were part of the case file for an Arkansas court child-support lawsuit that Roberts filed against Biden in 2019 in connection with their daughter.

"They’re all in electronic form,” Lancaster said. “I would estimate it was anywhere from 10 gigs of data."

"I saw a lot of information” that is “problematic” for Biden, he said.

Finally, Lancaster told CNBC that his client hadn't received immunity before testifying because she hadn't committed any crimes. The NYT on Thursday reported that Roberts had been questioned about the provenance of the child support payments she had received from Biden. Prosecutors were apparently investigating whether the same corporate entity from which she received the payments was also used by Biden to receive payments from Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company from which he received a salary of $50K per month just for sitting on its board.

Given all the information on the investigation that's just come to light, we wouldn't be surprised if the grand jury hearing the evidence is soon asked to vote on whether federal charges should be brought against the younger Biden. His father, the president, has already recused himself from the case as his DoJ has continued with the investigation. If charges are brought and Hunter Biden is convicted (or pleads guilty), his father would then have the option of pardoning him. From this vantage point, it's not too difficult to imagine a scenario where Biden pardons his son after deciding not to seek another term in office.

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/18/2022 - 07:30
Published:3/18/2022 6:33:02 AM
[Markets] US Treasury Confirms We Can Remove "Illicit Activity" From Bitcoin FUD Dice US Treasury Confirms We Can Remove "Illicit Activity" From Bitcoin FUD Dice

Authored by Gyges Lydias via BitcoinMagazine.com,

With the US Treasury recently indicating that bitcoin and altcoins aren’t used for significant illicit activity, it’s time to change the narrative...

It’s time to take “illicit activity” off the FUD dice. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of the Treasury published reports that indicated that the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for illicit activity is far outstripped by the use of traditional assets. Critics can no longer credibly present the specter of illicit activity to beat back bitcoin; now the foremost experts in the world say it is not a major threat.

The Treasury Department published three reports that identified key concerns for money laundering, terrorist financing and weapons proliferation financing. Here’s what each said about the use of cryptocurrencies:

“(T)he use of virtual assets for money laundering remains far below that of fiat currency and more traditional methods.”

–The 2022 National Money Laundering Risk Assessment, page 41

“(T)errorist use of virtual assets appears to remain limited when compared to other financial products and services.”

–The 2022 National Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment, page 23

“There is no evidence that a proliferation network has used a virtual asset to procure a specific proliferation-sensitive good or technology…”

–The 2022 National Proliferation Financing Risk Assessment, page 29

Case closed! Staff of the U.S. Treasury, the authors of the report, are the most knowledgeable and best-equipped investigators and enforcers against illicit financing in the world. Moreover, the reports were reviewed by other U.S. government partners, including the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. There could not be a more authoritative source to convey these findings.

Of course, the treasury’s reports confirm what industry participants have demonstrated for years. The most recent edition of the “Crypto Crime Trends” report published by blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, for instance, found that just 0.15% of cryptocurrency transaction volume in 2021 involved “illicit” addresses. The recent arrest of the alleged Bitfinex hackers — and the seizure of nearly 100,000 bitcoin — also demonstrates that moving large sums of money on a public network that can be monitored from a Raspberry Pi isn’t as easy as, well, pie.

But the reports also confirm what we know from common experience: that we use bitcoin far, far, far more frequently for storing wealth and sending money to family members and reducing emissions and making micropayments and fleeing the freaking Taliban than for illicit finance.

After the publication of these reports, if you are a journalist, or a policymaker, or a pundit, or even an anon on Twitter, it is now irresponsible and flat out wrong to say that “crypto” is a major vector for money laundering or terrorist financing. The top experts in the world disagree.

Not that some won’t try to continue making this claim anyway. The United State’s sanctions on Russia have seemingly generated copious opportunities for cryptocurrency haters to claim that it will be used to evade sanctions. All of this despite the release of the Treasury reports and live rebuttals from Treasury and White House officials that say everything is fine.

Take this recent Politico article, “Russia's Hidden Tool To undermine Sanctions,” for instance. The sixth paragraph should lead the piece: “Treasury officials say they aren’t overly worried about crypto.” And really, the story could end there. But the piece accepts speculation from a pundit that crypto assets like bitcoin could be used for sanctions evasion if they manage to bypass KYC processes. And if my mother had wheels she would have been a bike.

Fortunately, when the facts are on your side, you can put up a pretty good defense. Coin Center’s Twitter account has been ground zero for fighting illicit finance FUD recently, with its staff pointing out that officials at FinCEN, the Treasury Department, the National Security Council and the White House have all said that there’s no evidence that bitcoin is a threat to U.S. sanctions.

Their defense is a good example of how to counter speculation and fear mongering: return to the facts about bitcoin’s use and point out the real world examples of how bitcoin is empowering and protecting some of the most vulnerable people in the world.

THE PATH FORWARD

The three Treasury reports released this month also discuss the future risk that crypto assets like bitcoin could pose to the U.S. illicit finance regime. Examining risk is not a bad thing — I want my government to be aware of any risks posed by the proliferation of public blockchains, provided they also maintain a sober assessment of the benefits.

For the U.S. Treasury, that certainly seems to be the case. U.S. legislators recognize the same thing; Representative Ritchie Torres said earlier this week that, “You should never define any technology by its worst uses… there's more to crypto than ransomware, just like there's more to money than money laundering.”

Bitcoin is a global, neutral and open monetary network. Anyone can use it, and that means sometimes parties we despise may use Bitcoin alongside us. When that happens, the protection and promotion of the network — which is premised on freedom, equality and self-agency — will still be worthwhile. The U.S. Bill of Rights shows that extending freedoms to everyone is far better than constraining freedoms for everyone. Bitcoin’s growth will prove the same; I think it already does.

But the truth right now is that the parties we despise do not use bitcoin, at least as compared to traditional networks. The Treasury reports released earlier this month state this unequivocally. As we continue to fight for this internet freedom money, it will be essential to cite these highly credible sources as proof.

[ZH: It appears Elizabeth Warren hadn't read the report or done her homework...]

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/17/2022 - 17:05
Published:3/17/2022 4:28:14 PM
[Markets] Stocks Slip After-Hours As US Intel Chief Warns Of Russian 'Nuclear Threats' Stocks Slip After-Hours As US Intel Chief Warns Of Russian 'Nuclear Threats'

After a strong day in stocks - which followed two days of big gains - US futures are fading after hours following the release of a report from US Defense Intelligence Agency claiming that Putin can be expected to brandish threats to use nuclear weapons against the West if stiff Ukrainian resistance to Russia’s invasion continues

“Protracted occupation of parts of Ukrainian territory threatens to sap Russian military manpower and reduce their modernized weapons arsenal, while consequent economic sanctions will probably throw Russia into prolonged economic depression and diplomatic isolation,” Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said in its new 67-page summary of worldwide threats.

The combination of Ukraine’s defiance and economic sanctions will threaten Russia’s “ability to produce modern precision-guided munitions,” Berrier said in a statement prepared for the House Armed Services Committee.

“As this war and its consequences slowly weaken Russian conventional strength,” Berrier added, “Russia likely will increasingly rely on its nuclear deterrent to signal the West and project strength to its internal and external audiences.”

The reaction - after ignoring hawlish comments from Blinken earlier in the day - is clear as US equity futures give back half of their gains for the day...

Bear in mind, this latest report follows Putin's decision to put his nuclear deterrence forces "on alert," and echoes comments from the heads of the CIA, FBI, NSA, Defense Intelligence Agency and the Director of National Intelligence who all spoke at a House Select Committee on Intelligence hearing warning that Putin is ‘desperate’ to end the conflict over Ukraine, with some privately suggesting he could set off a tactical nuclear weapon in a Ukrainian city to get the job done. And then there was United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday soundiong the alarm over Russia raising the alert level for its nuclear forces, describing it a 'bone-chilling development' and added that the prospect of nuclear conflict was back within realm of possibility," according to Reuters.

 

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/17/2022 - 16:52
Published:3/17/2022 3:57:58 PM
[Markets] The NYT Now Admits The Biden Laptop - Falsely Called "Russian Disinformation" - Is Authentic The NYT Now Admits The Biden Laptop - Falsely Called "Russian Disinformation" - Is Authentic

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com,

One of the most successful disinformation campaigns in modern American electoral history occurred in the weeks prior to the 2020 presidential election. On October 14, 2020 — less than three weeks before Americans were set to vote — the nation's oldest newspaper, The New York Post, began publishing a series of reports about the business dealings of the Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in countries in which Biden, as Vice President, wielded considerable influence (including Ukraine and China) and would again if elected president.

President Joe Biden embraces his son Hunter Biden (L) on stage after delivering remarks in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 7, 2020. (Photo by ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The backlash against this reporting was immediate and intense, leading to suppression of the story by U.S. corporate media outlets and censorship of the story by leading Silicon Valley monopolies. The disinformation campaign against this reporting was led by the CIA's all-but-official spokesperson Natasha Bertrand (then of Politico, now with CNN), whose article on October 19 appeared under this headline: “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.”

These "former intel officials" did not actually say that the “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo." Indeed, they stressed in their letter the opposite: namely, that they had no evidence to suggest the emails were falsified or that Russia had anything to do them, but, instead, they had merely intuited this "suspicion" based on their experience:

We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement -- just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.

But a media that was overwhelmingly desperate to ensure Trump's defeat had no time for facts or annoying details such as what these former officials actually said or whether it was in fact true. They had an election to manipulate. As a result, that these emails were "Russian disinformation” — meaning that they were fake and that Russia manufactured them — became an article of faith among the U.S.'s validly despised class of media employees.

[ZH:]

Very few even included the crucial caveat that the intelligence officials themselves stressed: namely, that they had no evidence at all to corroborate this claim. Instead, as I noted last September, “virtually every media outlet — CNN, NBC News, PBS, Huffington Post, The Intercept, and too many others to count — began completely ignoring the substance of the reporting and instead spread the lie over and over that these documents were the by-product of Russian disinformation.” The Huffington Post even published a must-be-seen-to-be-believed campaign ad for Joe Biden, masquerading as “reporting,” that spread this lie that the emails were "Russian disinformation.”

This disinformation campaign about the Biden emails was then used by Big Tech to justify brute censorship of any reporting on or discussion of this story: easily the most severe case of pre-election censorship in modern American political history. Twitter locked The New York Post's Twitter account for close to two weeks due to its refusal to obey Twitter's orders to delete any reference to its reporting. The social media site also blocked any and all references to the reporting by all users; Twitter users were barred even from linking to the story in private chats with one another. Facebook, through its spokesman, the life-long DNC operative Andy Stone, announced that they would algorithmically suppress discussion of the reporting to ensure it did not spread, pending a “fact check[] by Facebook's third-party fact checking partners” which, needless to say, never came — precisely because the archive was indisputably authentic.

The archive's authenticity, as I documented in a video report from September, was clear from the start. Indeed, as I described in that report, I staked my career on its authenticity when I demanded that The Intercept publish my analysis of these revelations, and then resigned when its vehemently anti-Trump editors censored any discussion of those emails precisely because it was indisputable that the archive was authentic (The Intercept's former New York Times reporter James Risen was given the green light by these same editors to spread and endorse the CIA's lie, as he insisted that laptop should be ignored because “a group of former intelligence officials issued a letter saying that the Giuliani laptop story has the classic trademarks of Russian disinformation.") I knew the archive was real because all the relevant journalistic metrics that one evaluates to verify large archives of this type — including the Snowden archive and the Brazil archive which I used to report a series of investigative exposés — left no doubt that it was genuine (that includes documented verification from third parties who were included in the email chains and who showed that the emails they had in their possession matched the ones in the archive word-for-word).

Any residual doubts that the Biden archive was genuine — and there should have been none — were shattered when a reporter from Politico, Ben Schreckinger, published a book last September, entitled "The Bidens: Inside the First Family’s Fifty-Year Rise to Power," in which his new reporting proved that the key emails on which The New York Post relied were entirely authentic. Among other things, Schreckinger interviewed several people included in the email chains who provided confirmation that the emails in their possession matched the ones in the Post's archive word for word. He also obtained documents from the Swedish government that were identical to key documents in the archive. His own outlet, Politico, was one of the few to even acknowledge his book. While ignoring the fact that they were the first to spread the lie that the emails were "Russian disinformation,” Politico editors — under the headline “Double Trouble for Biden”— admitted that the book “finds evidence that some of the purported Hunter Biden laptop material is genuine, including two emails at the center of last October’s controversy.”

The vital revelations in Schreckinger's book were almost completely ignored by the very same corporate media outlets that published the CIA's now-debunked lies. They just pretended it never happened. Grappling with it would have forced them to acknowledge a fact quite devastating to whatever remaining credibility they have: namely, that they all ratified and spread a coordinated disinformation campaign in order to elect Joe Biden and defeat Donald Trump. With strength in numbers, and knowing that they speak only to and for liberals who are happy if they lie to help Democrats, they all joined hands in an implicit vow of silence and simply ignored the new proof in Schreckinger's book that, in the days leading up to the 2020 election, they all endorsed a disinformation campaign.

It will now be much harder to avoid confronting the reality of what they did, though it is highly likely that they will continue to do so. This morning, The New York Times published an article about the broad, ongoing FBI criminal investigation into Hunter Biden's international business and tax activities. Prior to the election, the Times, to their credit, was one of the few to apply skepticism to the CIA's pre-election lie, noting on October 22 that “no concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop contains Russian disinformation.” Because the activities of Hunter Biden now under FBI investigation directly pertain to the emails first revealed by The Post, the reporters needed to rely upon the laptop's archive to amplify and inform their reporting. That, in turn, required The New York Times to verify the authenticity of this laptop and its origins — exactly what, according to their reporters, they successfully did:

People familiar with the investigation said prosecutors had examined emails between Mr. Biden, Mr. Archer and others about Burisma and other foreign business activity. Those emails were obtained by The New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop. The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation.

That this cache of emails was authentic was clear from the start. Any doubts were obliterated by publication of Schreckinger's book six months ago. Now the Paper of Record itself explicitly states not only that the emails “were authenticated” but also that the original story from The Post about how they obtained these materials — they “come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop” — “appears” to be true.

What this means is that, in the crucial days leading up to the 2020 presidential election, most of the corporate media spread an absolute lie about The New York Post's reporting in order to mislead and manipulate the American electorate. It means that Big Tech monopolies, along with Twitter, censored this story based on a lie from “the intelligence community.” It means that Facebook's promise from its DNC operative that it would suppress discussion of the reporting in order to conduct a "fact-check” of these documents was a fraud because, if one had been conducted, that no fact-check was even published because, if an honest one had been conducted, it would have proven that Facebook’s censorship decree was based on a lie. It means that millions of Americans were denied the ability to hear about reporting on the candidate leading all polls to become the next president, and instead were subjected to a barrage of lies about the provenance (Russia did it) and authenticity (disinformation!) of these documents.

The objections to noting all of this today are drearily predictable. Reporting on Hunter Biden is irrelevant since he was not himself a candidate (what made the reporting relevant was what it revealed about the involvement of Joe Biden in these deals). Given the war in Ukraine, now is not the time to discuss all of this (despite the fact that they are usually ignored, there are always horrific wars being waged even if the victims are not as sympathetic as European Ukrainians and the perpetrators are the film's Good Guys and not the Bad Guys). The real reason most liberals and their media allies do not want to hear about any of this is because they believe that the means they used (deliberately lying to the public with CIA disinformation) are justified by their noble ends (defeating Trump).

Whatever else is true, both the CIA/media disinformation campaign in the weeks before the 2020 election and the resulting regime of brute censorship imposed by Big Tech are of historic significance. Democrats and their new allies in the establishment wing of the Republican Party may be more excited by war in Ukraine than the subversion of their own election by the unholy trinity of the intelligence community, the corporate press, and Big Tech. But today's admission by The New York Times that this archive and the emails in them were real all along proves that a gigantic fraud was perpetrated by the country's most powerful institutions. What matters far more than the interest level of various partisan factions is the core truths about U.S. democracy revealed by this tawdry spectacle.


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Tyler Durden Thu, 03/17/2022 - 11:10
Published:3/17/2022 10:13:16 AM
[In The News] ‘Beat Him Until He Cannot Run For Election’: Chinese Secret Police Target Congressional Candidate And Other Americans

by Philip Lenczycki at CDN -

The FBI charged five individuals with crimes related to “transnational repression schemes” for allegedly serving Communist China’s secret police on Wednesday. The FBI defines “transnational repression” as “when foreign governments stalk, intimidate, or assault people in the United States.” Among the five charged is Matthew Ziburis, a former correctional officer …

Click to read the rest HERE-> ‘Beat Him Until He Cannot Run For Election’: Chinese Secret Police Target Congressional Candidate And Other Americans first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:3/17/2022 9:25:44 AM
[Markets] Digital Tyranny: Beware Of The Government's Push For A Digital Currency Digital Tyranny: Beware Of The Government's Push For A Digital Currency

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes.”

- Thomas Paine

The government wants your money.

It will beg, steal or borrow if necessary, but it wants your money any way it can get it.

The government’s schemes to swindle, cheat, scam, and generally defraud taxpayers of their hard-earned dollars have run the gamut from wasteful pork barrel legislation, cronyism and graft to asset forfeiture, costly stimulus packages, and a national security complex that continues to undermine our freedoms while failing to making us any safer.

Americans have also been made to pay through the nose for the government’s endless wars, subsidization of foreign nations, military empire, welfare state, roads to nowhere, bloated workforce, secret agencies, fusion centers, private prisons, biometric databases, invasive technologies, arsenal of weapons, and every other budgetary line item that is contributing to the fast-growing wealth of the corporate elite at the expense of those who are barely making ends meet—that is, we the taxpayers.

This is what comes of those $1.5 trillion spending bills: someone’s got to foot the bill.

Because the government’s voracious appetite for money, power and control has grown out of control, its agents have devised other means of funding its excesses and adding to its largesse through taxes disguised as fines, taxes disguised as fees, and taxes disguised as tolls, tickets and penalties.

No matter how much money the government pulls in, it’s never enough, so the government has come up with a new plan to make it even easier for its agents to seize Americans’ bank accounts.

Make way for the digital dollar.

In an Executive Order issued on March 9, 2022, President Biden called for the federal government to consider establishing a “U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).”

Similar to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, CBDCs would also be a form of digital money, but there the resemblance ends. If adopted, CBDCs would be issued by the Federal Reserve, the central banking system for the U.S. government. One CBDC digital dollar would equal the value of a physical dollar. And like the physical dollar, which ceased to be backed by gold more than 50 years ago, the CBDC would be considered a government-issued fiat currency that is backed by the strength and credit of the U.S. government. (Of course, that’s not saying much considering that much of the time, the U.S. government operates in the red.)

Although government agencies have six months to weigh in on the advantages and disadvantages of a centralized digital currency, it’s as good as a done deal.

For instance, three weeks before the Biden Administration made headlines with its support for a government-issued digital currency, the FBI and the Justice Department quietly moved ahead with plans for a cryptocurrency enforcement team (translation: digital money cops), a virtual asset exploitation unit tasked with investigating crypto crimes and seizing virtual assets, and a crypto czar to oversee it all.

No surprises here, of course.

This is how the government operates: by giving us tools to make our lives “easier” while, in the process, making it easier for the government to track, control and punish the citizenry.

Indeed, this shift to a digital currency is a global trend.

More than 100 other countries are considering introducing their own digital currencies.

China has already adopted a government-issued digital currency, which not only allows it to surveil and seize people’s financial transactions, but can also work in tandem with its social credit score system to punish individuals for moral lapses and social transgressions (and reward them for adhering to government-sanctioned behavior). As China expert Akram Keram wrote for The Washington Post, “With digital yuan, the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] will have direct control over and access to the financial lives of individuals, without the need to strong-arm intermediary financial entities. In a digital-yuan-consumed society, the government easily could suspend the digital wallets of dissidents and human rights activists.”

Where China goes, the United States eventually follows.

Inevitably, a digital currency will become part of our economy and a central part of the government’s surveillance efforts.

Combine that with ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) initiatives that are tantamount to social media credit scores for corporations, and you will find that we’re traveling the same road as China towards digital authoritarianism. As journalist Jon Brookin warns: “Digital currency issued by a central bank can be used as a tool for government surveillance of citizens and control over their financial transactions.”

As such, digital currency provides the government and its corporate partners with a mode of commerce that can easily be monitored, tracked, tabulated, mined for data, hacked, hijacked and confiscated when convenient.

This push for a digital currency dovetails with the government’s war on cash, which it has been subtly waging for some time now. Much like the war on drugs and the war on terror, this so-called “war on cash” has been sold to the public as a means of fighting terrorists, drug dealers, tax evaders and more recently, COVID-19 germs.

In recent years, just the mere possession of significant amounts of cash could implicate you in suspicious activity and label you a criminal. The rationale (by police) is that cash is the currency for illegal transactions given that it’s harder to track, can be used to pay illegal immigrants, and denies the government its share of the “take,” so doing away with paper money will help law enforcement fight crime and help the government realize more revenue.

According to economist Steve Forbes, “The real reason for this war on cash—start with the big bills and then work your way down—is an ugly power grab by Big Government. People will have less privacy: Electronic commerce makes it easier for Big Brother to see what we’re doing, thereby making it simpler to bar activities it doesn’t like, such as purchasing salt, sugar, big bottles of soda and Big Macs.”

This is how a cashless society—easily monitored, controlled, manipulated, weaponized and locked down—plays right into the hands of the government (and its corporate partners).

Despite what we know about the government and its history of corruption, bumbling, fumbling and data breaches, not to mention how easily technology can be used against us, the shift to a cashless society is really not a hard sell for a society increasingly dependent on technology for the most mundane aspects of life.

In much the same way that Americans have opted into government surveillance through the convenience of GPS devices and cell phones, digital cash—the means of paying with one’s debit card, credit card or cell phone—is becoming the de facto commerce of the American police state.

Not too long ago, it was estimated that smart phones would replace cash and credit cards altogether by 2020. Right on schedule, growing numbers of businesses have adopted no-cash policies, including certain airlines, hotels, rental car companies, restaurants and retail stores. In Sweden, even the homeless and churches accept digital cash.

Making the case for a digital wallet, journalist Lisa Rabasca Roepe argues that there’s no longer a need for cash. “More and more retailers and grocery stores are embracing Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay,” notes Roepe. “PayPal's app is now accepted at many chain stores including Barnes & Noble, Foot Locker, Home Depot, and Office Depot. Walmart and CVS have both developed their own payment apps while their competitors Target and RiteAid are working on their own apps.”

So what’s really going on here?

Despite all of the advantages that go along with living in a digital age—namely, convenience—it’s hard to imagine how a cashless world navigated by way of a digital wallet doesn’t signal the beginning of the end for what little privacy we have left and leave us vulnerable to the likes of government thieves, data hackers and an all-knowing, all-seeing Orwellian corpo-governmental state.

  • First, when I say privacy, I’m not just referring to the things that you don’t want people to know about, those little things you do behind closed doors that are neither illegal nor harmful but embarrassing or intimate. I am also referring to the things that are deeply personal and which no one need know about, certainly not the government and its constabulary of busybodies, nannies, Peeping Toms, jail wardens and petty bureaucrats.

  • Second, we’re already witnessing how easy it will be for government agents to manipulate digital wallets for their own gain in order to track your movements, monitor your activities and communications, and ultimately shut you down. For example, civil asset forfeiture schemes are becoming even more profitable for police agencies thanks to ERAD (Electronic Recovery and Access to Data) devices supplied by the Department of Homeland Security that allow police to not only determine the balance of any magnetic-stripe card (i.e., debit, credit and gift cards) but also freeze and seize any funds on pre-paid money cards. In fact, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it does not violate the Fourth Amendment for police to scan or swipe your credit card. Expect those numbers to skyrocket once digital money cops show up in full force.

  • Third, a government-issued digital currency will give the government the ultimate control of the economy and complete access to the citizenry’s pocketbook. While the government might tout the ease with which it can deposit stimulus funds into the citizenry’s accounts, such a system could also introduce what economists refer to as “negative interest rates.” Instead of being limited by a zero bound threshold on interest rates, the government could impose negative rates on digital accounts in order to control economic growth. “If the cash is electronic, the government can just erase 2 percent of your money every year,” said David Yermack, a finance professor at New York University.

  • Fourth, a digital currency will open Americans—and their bank accounts—up to even greater financial vulnerabilities from hackers and government agents alike.

  • Fifth, digital authoritarianism will redefine what it means to be free in almost every aspect of our lives. Again, we must look to China to understand what awaits us. As Human Rights Watch analyst Maya Wang explains: “Chinese authorities use technology to control the population all over the country in subtler but still powerful ways. The central bank is adopting digital currency, which will allow Beijing to surveil—and control—people’s financial transactions. China is building so-called safe cities, which integrate data from intrusive surveillance systems to predict and prevent everything from fires to natural disasters and political dissent. The government believes that these intrusions, together with administrative actions, such as denying blacklisted people access to services, will nudge people toward ‘positive behaviors,’ including greater compliance with government policies and healthy habits such as exercising.”

Short of returning to a pre-technological, Luddite age, there’s really no way to pull this horse back now that it’s left the gate. To our detriment, we have virtually no control over who accesses our private information, how it is stored, or how it is used. And in terms of our bargaining power over digital privacy rights, we have been reduced to a pitiful, unenviable position in which we can only hope and trust that those in power will treat our information with respect.

At a minimum, before any kind of digital currency is adopted, we need stricter laws on data privacy and an Electronic Bill of Rights that protects “we the people” from predatory surveillance and data-mining business practices by the government and its corporate partners.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, the ramifications of a government—any government—having this much unregulated, unaccountable power to target, track, round up and detain its citizens is beyond chilling.

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/17/2022 - 05:00
Published:3/17/2022 4:24:15 AM
[Liberal Idiots] Is Joe Biden* a Child Predator?

This is one of those stories I meant to write about at the time, but didn’t get the chance to before it got overwhelmed in our ever shorter news cycles. Back in November, Project Veritas (PV), and specifically James O’Keefe’s home, was raided by the FBI. It was the typical predawn / multiple guns drawn […]

The post Is Joe Biden* a Child Predator? appeared first on Flopping Aces.

Published:3/16/2022 5:21:52 PM
[Markets] 1MDB Mastermind Jho Low Looted $1.4 Billion From Goldman-Backed Bond Deals 1MDB Mastermind Jho Low Looted $1.4 Billion From Goldman-Backed Bond Deals

The latest news from the trial of Goldman banker Roger Ng revealed how money from 1MDB, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund at the center of one of Southeast Asia's biggest financial scandals in recent memory, was siphoned off and paid out in the form of bribes. 

FBI agent Eric Van Dorn said Monday that fugitive financier Jho Low, the mastermind of the 1MDB scheme, allegedly stole more than $1.4 billion.

Some of the money went to pay off former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who reaped $756 million of the $6.5 billion total raised by Goldman Sachs for the fund, Van Dorn testified, according to Bloomberg.

Razak was later found guilty during a criminal trial in Malaysia.

Jho Low

Meanwhile, Khadem al-Qubaisi, a former managing director of Abu Dhabi’s state-owned International Petroleum Investment Company, better known as Ipic, received $472.8 million for his role in guaranteeing some of 1MDB's transactions, Van Dorn told the jurors in federal court in Brooklyn.

Ng is the only Goldman banker to stand trial for the bank's role in the scandal, which involved Goldman seeding a sovereign wealth fund that was, in reality, a political slush fund, with billions of dollars in money raised by bond offerings backed by Malaysia's sovereign credit.

The fund later defaulted on its obligations, exposing the truth: that billions had been looted by Low. It was later revealed by a sprawling DoJ investigation that the money had been spent in irresponsible ways, like on lavish celebrity-filled parties and gifts, and on yachts, and the movie "the Wolf of Wall Street." Some of the money was also illegally moved into the US and donated to politicians, including former President Barack Obama, seen below playing golf with Razak.

Previously, ex-Goldman banker Tim Leissner, who was also Ng's boss overseeing the bank's dealmaking in Southeast Asia, testified for days, revealing a torrent of embarrassing information for Goldman and others.

Finally, Van Dorn said he tracked how 1MDB money was siphoned off to at least 16 recipients. Ng got $35.1 million siphoned from two of the three bond transactions, while Leissner, who pleaded guilty to fraud in exchange for his cooperation against his former employer, and Ng, received $73.4 million.

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/14/2022 - 20:00
Published:3/14/2022 7:07:10 PM
[Markets] Minnesota Non-Profit Set Up To Feed Children Accused Of Massive Fraud And Misappropriating "Tens Of Millions Of Dollars" Minnesota Non-Profit Set Up To Feed Children Accused Of Massive Fraud And Misappropriating "Tens Of Millions Of Dollars"

A non-profit organization called "Feeding our Future (FOF)" was stopped in its tracks this week by the FBI after using millions of federal dollars meant for child nutrition to instead buy "numerous vehicles" and 14 properties, according to the Bureau. 

FBI Special Agent Travis Wilmer wrote in an affidavit this week: “The companies and their owners received tens of millions of dollars in federal funds for use in providing nutritious meals to underprivileged children and adults. Almost none of this money was used to feed children. Instead, the participants in the scheme misappropriated the money and used it to purchase real estate, cars and other luxury items.”

FOF received $307,000 in federal funds in 2018, according to a report by Just The News.

The organization's website says: "We are driven by a single goal; making participation in the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program safe and easy for our community partners. We ensure programs are easily able to receive funding to purchase nutritious meals and snacks."

It reported $42.7 million and $197 million in "meals disbursed" in 2020 and 2021, respectively. 

The FOF was caught after the Minnesota Department of Education noticed reporting deficiencies and a "drastic increase of meals" that the organization couldn't explain. The MDE then reported them to the USDA Office of the Inspector General in October 2020.

But then FOF sued the MDE for not processing more than 50 applications for payments - and won. 

In mid 2021, authorities were already investigating the FOF. Despite searches of "a dozen" properties linked to the investigation in 2022, no arrests were made. 

The investigation reportedly ensnared Abdi Nur Salah, former senior policy aid at the office of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who co-purchased a south Minneapolis apartment building with money “traceable to the fraud and money laundering scheme”, according to the report. 

There were 14 properties tied to the alleged fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. 

The FBI said in January 2022: “To date, the conspirators have stolen millions of dollars in federal funds. The scheme is ongoing.”

The Sahan Journal also reported that people tied to FOF donated to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar's office:

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s office says her campaign has donated to local food shelves the thousands of dollars in contributions it received from men alleged in FBI search warrants to have committed fraud against a federal program to feed children. 

In early 2021, two men named in recently unsealed search warrant affidavits donated a total of $5,400 to Omar’s campaign. The FBI affidavits list Ahmed Ghedi and Abdihakim Ahmed as associates of Safari Restaurant and Event Center. Both allegedly controlled shell companies that received $1.1 million in federal child nutrition money from a co-owner of Safari Restaurant. The two men separately helped two others buy a $2.8 million mansion in Minneapolis with child nutrition money to use as an office building, the FBI alleges. 

Ahmed donated $2,700 to Omar’s campaign on February 23 and Abdihakim gave the same amount to her on March 31. Federal prosecutors have not charged Ahmed or Abdihakim, nor anybody else named in the search warrants, with any crimes. 

Sen. Roger Chamberlain, concluded: “It’s simply outrageous that nearly $200 million of money provided to feed children in need was abused in this way. With resources precious, it’s imperative government agencies ensure every dollar is going to programs with robust track records so we can know not a single dime is wasted.”

FOF Director Aimee Bock has denied any wrongdoing.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/13/2022 - 20:15
Published:3/13/2022 7:31:22 PM
[Markets] FBI Whistleblower Raises Questions About Pipe Bombs Set Near DNC, RNC Headquarters: Lawmaker FBI Whistleblower Raises Questions About Pipe Bombs Set Near DNC, RNC Headquarters: Lawmaker

Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Ohio Republican lawmaker Jim Jordan said he has requested a briefing with the FBI after a whistleblower allegedly disclosed information regarding the bureau’s investigation into pipe bombs planted near the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington the night before the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) speaks at a news conference in Washington, on July 21, 2021. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Jordan, who is ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said he sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on March 9 after a senior FBI special agent came forward with information regarding an “unusual” request from the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

“According to the special agent, on February 7, 2022—over a year after the placement of the bombs—the FBI’s Washington Field Office asked FBI field offices to canvass all confidential human sources nationwide for information about the individual and the crime,” Jordan said in his letter.

“In part, the message asked that the canvass ‘include sources reporting on all [types of] threats’ because the suspect’s ‘motive and ideology remain unknown.'”

Jordan said that the special agent had described the request as “unusual” because it “was transmitted more than a year after the FBI had begun the investigation, and it raises questions about the progress and extent of the FBI’s investigation.”

The FBI began investigating the incident after an unknown individual dressed in a hooded sweatshirt, gloves, and a mask placed two pipe bombs in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. on Jan. 5, 2021.

An unknown individual placed two pipe bombs in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington on Jan. 5, 2021. (FBI)

Both the FBI and other law enforcement entities say one bomb was placed in an alley behind the Republican National Committee (RNC) headquarters, located at 310 First Street Southeast. The other was left near the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), located at 430 South Capitol Street Southeast #3.

Some of the components in the bombs included 1×8-inch threaded galvanized pipes, a kitchen timer, and homemade black powder, according to officials.

While both of the bomb threats were neutralized by authorities, the devices triggered the evacuation of the U.S. Capitol and nearby buildings when they were found on the afternoon of Jan. 6, officials said.

In his letter to the FBI Director, Jordan said that in addition to the disclosure from the whistleblower, the House Judiciary Committee had learned that the FBI had failed to “sufficiently answer questions” posed by Rep. Bill Posey, a Florida Republican, in September 2021.

Those questions regarded the status of the FBI’s investigation and requested a briefing on the matter, and Posey cited concerns for his office’s safety as well as the safety of “the residences of many Members of Congress, and for the public at large.”

The FBI, however, has not fully responded to Rep. Posey’s request, explaining that it was exclusively providing information to the partisan Democrat-led Select Committee investigating the events of January 6, 2021,” Jordan said.

Jordan said the FBI’s decision to provide information on a partisan basis “further erodes public confidence in the FBI’s senior leadership.” He requested the FBI briefing take place “as soon as possible” but no later than March 23.

The Epoch Times has contacted the FBI for comment.

The FBI has offered members of the public a reward of $100,000 if the information they provide leads to the identification of the person responsible for planting the bombs.

“Identifying the perpetrator of this attempted attack remains a priority for the FBI’s Washington Field Office and our partners at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Capitol Police; and D.C. Metropolitan Police Department,” the bureau said in a September 2021 statement.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/12/2022 - 14:30
Published:3/12/2022 1:52:14 PM
[Markets] Sperry: Ukraine Worked With Democrats Against Trump In 2016 To Stop Putin -- And It Backfired Badly Sperry: Ukraine Worked With Democrats Against Trump In 2016 To Stop Putin -- And It Backfired Badly

Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations,

Six years ago, before Russia’s full-scale invasion of their country, the Ukrainians bet that a Hillary Clinton presidency would offer better protection from Russian President Vladimir Putin, even though he had invaded Crimea during the Obama-Biden administration, whose Russian policies Clinton vowed to continue.

Working with both the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign, Ukrainian government officials intervened in the 2016 race to help Clinton and hurt  Donald Trump in a sweeping and systematic foreign influence operation that's been largely ignored by the press. The improper, if not illegal, operation was run chiefly out of the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, where officials worked hand-in-glove with a Ukrainian-American activist and Clinton campaign operative to attack the Trump campaign. The Obama White House was also deeply involved in an effort to groom their own favored leader in Ukraine and then work with his government to dig up dirt on – and even investigate -- their political rival.

Ukrainian and Democratic operatives also huddled with American journalists to spread damaging information on Trump and his advisers – including allegations of illicit Russian-tied payments that, though later proved false, forced the resignation of his campaign manager Paul Manafort. The embassy actually weighed a plan to get Congress to investigate Manafort and Trump and stage hearings in the run-up to the election.

As it worked behind the scenes to undermine Trump, Ukraine also tried to kneecap him publicly. Ukraine's ambassador took the extraordinary step of attacking Trump in an Op-Ed article published in The Hill, an influential U.S. Capitol newspaper, while other top Ukrainian officials slammed the GOP candidate on social media.

Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S. attacked Trump in an Op-Ed weeks before the 2016 election.

At first glance, it was a bad bet as Trump upset Clinton. But by the end of his first year in office, Trump had supplied Ukrainians what the Obama administration refused to give them: tank-busting Javelin missiles and other lethal weapons to defend themselves against Russian incursions. Putin never invaded on Trump's watch. Instead, he launched an all-out invasion during another Democratic administration – one now led by President Biden, Barack Obama's former Vice President, whose Secretary of State last year alarmed Putin by testifying, “We support Ukraine's membership in NATO.” Biden boasted he’d go “toe to toe” with Putin, but that didn't happen as the autocrat amassed tanks along Ukraine’s border in response to the NATO overtures.

The Ukrainian mischief is part of Special Counsel John Durham’s broader inquiry – now a full-blown criminal investigation with grand jury indictments – into efforts to falsely target Trump as a Kremlin conspirator in 2016 and beyond.

Sources say Durham has interviewed several Ukrainians, but it’s not likely the public will find out exactly what he's learned about the extent of Ukraine’s meddling in the election until he releases his final report, which sources say could be several months away.

In the meantime, a comprehensive account of documented Ukrainian collusion – including efforts to assist the FBI in its 2016 probe of Manafort – is pieced together here for the first time. It draws from an archive of previously unreported records generated from a secret Federal Election Commission investigation of the Democratic National Committee that includes never-before-reviewed sworn affidavits, depositions, contracts, emails, text messages, legal findings and other documents from the case. RealClearInvestigations also examined diplomatic call transcripts, White House visitor logs, lobbying disclosure forms, congressional reports and closed-door congressional testimony, as well as information revealed by Ukrainian and Democratic officials in social media postings, podcasts and books.

2014: Prelude to Collusion

U.S. envoys Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt helped bring to power Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko, right. (AP)

The coordination between Ukrainian and Democratic officials can be traced back at least to January 2014. It was then when top Obama diplomats – many of whom now hold top posts in the Biden administration – began engineering regime change in Kiev, eventually installing a Ukrainian leader they could control.

On Jan. 27, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt phoned Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland at her home in Washington to discuss picking opposition leaders to check the power of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whom they believed was too cozy with Putin. “We’ve got to do something to make it stick together,” Pyatt said of a planned coalition government, adding that they needed “somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing.”

Nuland responded that Biden’s security adviser Jake Sullivan had just told her that the vice president – who was acting as Obama’s point man in Ukraine – would give his blessing to the deal. “Biden’s willing,” she said. But they agreed they had to “move fast” and bypass the European Union. “Fuck the EU,” Nuland told the ambassador, according to a leaked transcript of their call.


Hunter Biden: His father helped engineer the rise of an amenable Ukrainian leader who would later fire a prosecutor investigating the son.
 

Nuland’s role in the political maneuvering was not limited to phone calls. She traveled to Kiev and helped organize street demonstrations against Yanukovych, even handing out sandwiches to protesters. In effect, Obama officials greased a revolution. Within months, Yanukovych was exiled and replaced by Petro Poroshenko, who would later do Biden’s bidding – including firing a prosecutor investigating his son Hunter. Poroshenko would also later support Clinton's White House bid after Biden decided not to run, citing the death of his older son Beau.

The U.S. meddling resulted in the installation of an anti-Putin government next door to Russia. A furious Putin viewed the interference as an attempted coup and soon marched into Crimea.

Nuland is now Biden’s undersecretary of state and Sullivan serves as his national security adviser.

Whispering in their ear at the time was a fiery pro-Ukraine activist and old Clinton hand, Alexandra “Ali” Chalupa. A daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, Chalupa informally advised the State Department and White House in early 2014. She organized multiple meetings between Ukraine experts and the National Security Council to push for Yanukovych’s ouster and economic sanctions against Putin.

In the NSC briefings, Chalupa also agitated against longtime attorney-lobbyist Manafort, who at the time was an American consultant for Yanukovych's Party of Regions, which she viewed as a cat’s paw of Putin. She warned that Manafort worked for Putin’s interests and posed a national security threat.

At the same time, Chalupa worked closely with then-Vice President Biden’s team, setting up conference calls with his staff and Ukrainians.

Another influential adviser at the time was former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who provided Nuland with written reports on the Ukrainian crisis and Russia that echoed Chalupa’s warnings. Nuland treated them as classified intelligence, and between the spring of 2014 and early 2016, she received some 120 reports on Ukraine and Russia from Steele.

2015: The Move Against Manafort Commences

Paul Manafort: Targeted by Chalupa over work for the ousted Ukrainian president and ties to Trump. (AP)

In April 2015, the DNC hired Chalupa as a $5,000-a-month consultant, according to a copy of her contract, which ran through the 2016 election cycle. (Years earlier, Chalupa had worked full-time for the DNC as part of the senior leadership team advising Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.) After Trump threw his hat in the ring in June 2015, Chalupa grew concerned that Manafort was or would be involved with his campaign since Manafort had known Trump for decades and lived in Trump Tower. She expressed her concerns to top DNC officials and “the DNC asked me to do a hit on Trump,” according to a transcript of a 2019 interview on her sister’s podcast. (Andrea Chalupa, who describes herself as a journalist, boasted in a November 2016 tweet: “My sister led Trump/Russia research at DNC.”)

Chalupa began encouraging journalists both in America and Ukraine to dig into Manafort’s dealings in Ukraine and expose his alleged Russian connections. She fed unsubstantiated rumors, tips and leads to the Washington Post and New York Times, as well as CNN, speaking to reporters on background so a DNC operative wouldn’t be sourced.

“I spent many, many hours working with reporters on background, directing them to contacts and sources, and giving them information,” Chalupa said.

But no reporter worked closer with her than Yahoo News correspondent Michael Isikoff. He even accompanied her to the Ukrainian Embassy, where they brainstormed attacks on Manafort and Trump, according to FEC case files.

Chalupa was also sounding alarm bells in the White House. In November 2015, for example, she set up a White House meeting between a Ukrainian delegation including Ukraine Ambassador Valeriy Chaly and NSC advisers – among them Eric Ciaramella, a young CIA analyst on loan to the White House who later would play a significant role as anonymous "whistleblower" in Trump’s first impeachment. In addition to Putin’s aggression, the group discussed the alleged security threat from Manafort. Chalupa was back in the White House in December. All told, she would visit the Obama White House at least 27 times, Secret Service logs show, including attending at least one event with the president in 2016.

Eric Ciaramella (middle right) across from Ukrainians in a June 2015 meeting at the White House, flanked by Biden security adviser Michael Carpenter and Ciaramella's NSC colleague Liz Zentos. (unknownukraine.com)

January 2016: High-Level Meetings With Ukrainians in the White House

On Jan. 12, 2016 – almost a month before the first GOP primary – Chalupa told top DNC official Lindsey Reynolds she was seeing strong indications that Putin was trying to steal the 2016 election for Trump. Emails also show that she promised to lead an effort to expose Manafort – whom Trump would not officially hire as his campaign chairman until May – and link him and Trump to the Russian government. That same day, Chalupa visited the White House.

A week later, Obama officials gathered with Ukrainian officials traveling from Kiev in the White House for a series of senior-level meetings to, among other things, discuss reviving a long-closed investigation into payments to American consultants working for the Party of Regions, according to Senate documents. The FBI had investigated Manafort in 2014 but no charges resulted.

One of the attendees, Ukrainian Embassy political officer Andrii Telizhenko, recalled Justice Department officials asking investigators with Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, or NABU, if they could help find fresh evidence of party payments to such U.S. figures. (Three years later, Democrats would impeach Trump for allegedly asking Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political rival, Joe Biden.)

The Obama administration’s enforcement agencies leaned on their Ukrainian counterparts to investigate Manafort, shifting resources from an investigation of a corrupt Ukrainian energy oligarch who paid Biden’s son hundreds of thousands of dollars through his gas company, Burisma.

“Obama’s NSC hosted Ukrainian officials and told them to stop investigating Hunter Biden and start investigating Paul Manafort,” said a former senior NSC official who has seen notes and emails generated from the meetings and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Suddenly, the FBI reopened its Manafort investigation. “In January 2016, the FBI initiated a money laundering and tax evasion investigation of Manafort predicated on his activities as a political consultant to members of the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian politicians,” according to a report by the Justice Department’s watchdog.

The White House summit with Ukrainian officials ran for three days, ending on Jan. 21, according to a copy of the agenda stamped with the Justice Department logo. It was organized and hosted by Ciaramella and his colleague Liz Zentos from the NSC. Other U.S. officials included Justice prosecutors and FBI agents, as well as State Department diplomats. The Ukrainian delegation included Artem Sytnyk, the head of NABU, and other Ukrainian prosecutors.

Ciaramella was a CIA detailee to the White House occupying the NSC’s Ukraine desk in 2015 and 2016. In that role, Ciaramella met face-to-face with top Ukrainian officials and provided policy advice to Biden through the then-vice president's security adviser Michael Carpenter. He also worked with Nuland and Chalupa.Ciaramella was carried over to the Trump White House. As RealClearInvestigations first reported, he would later anonymously blow the whistle on Trump asking Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to help “get to the bottom of” Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election, a phone call that triggered Trump’s first impeachment by a Democrat-controlled House. Ciaramella’s former NSC colleague Alexander Vindman leaked the call to him. Vindman, a Ukrainian-American, is also aligned with Chalupa. (Vindman is now back in the news for his demands that the United States provide more active military support to Ukraine and his insistence that Trump shares great blame for the war.)

As Manafort drew closer to Trump, Obama officials zeroed in, and the FBI reopened a closed 2014 probe. (Justice Department Office of the Inspector General)

February 2016: Obama White House-Ukraine Coordination Intensifies

On Feb. 2, two weeks after the White House meetings, Secret Service logs reveal that Ciaramella met in the White House with officials from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as FinCEN, which would later provide the FBI highly sensitive bank records on Manafort. (In addition, a senior FinCEN adviser illegally leaked thousands of the confidential Manafort records to the media.)

On Feb. 9, less than a month after the White House summit, Telizhenko, who worked for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met with Zentos of the NSC at a Cosi sandwich shop in Washington, according to emails obtained by the Senate. It's not known what they discussed. In addition, on Feb. 23, the two emailed about setting up another meeting the following day. “OK if I bring my colleague Eric, who works on Ukraine with me?” Zentos asked Telizhenko, apparently referring to Ciaramella. In the emails, they discussed the U.S. primary elections, among other things.

NSC's Zentos and Ukraine's Telizhenko would meet and correspond numerous times during 2016. (HSGAC-Finance Committee Hunter Biden Report)

Telizhenko would later testify that Ambassador Chaly had ordered him then to “start an investigation [into the Trump campaign] within the embassy just on my own to find out with my contacts if there’s any Russian connection that we can report back.” He suspects the Ambassador delivered that report to Chalupa and the DNC. Chalupa visited the White House on Feb. 22, entrance records show, just days before the second meeting Telizhenko had planned with Zentos.

March 2016: Chalupa Engineers Manafort Messaging Assault With Ukrainians

After Manafort was named Trump campaign chair, the campaign against him went into overdrive. New York Times

On March 3, Zentos and Telizhenko planned to meet again, this time at a Washington bar called The Exchange. According to their email, Zentos wrote, “I’ll see if my colleague Eric is up for joining.” The pair also met the next day at Swing’s coffee house in Washington. After the meeting, Telizhenko emailed Zentos seeking a meeting with senior Obama NSC official Charlie Kupchan, an old Clinton hand who was Ciaramella’s boss on the Russia/Ukraine desk. Kupchan is an outspoken critic of Trump who has made remarks suggesting what countries “can do to stop him” and “protect the international institutions we’ve built .” Zentos and Telizhenko also met on March 10, patronizing the Cosi coffee shop again.

On March 24, 2016, four days before the Trump campaign announced that it had hired Manafort, Chalupa met at the Ukrainian Embassy with Ambassador Chaly and his political counselor Oksana Shulyar, where they shared their concerns about Manafort, according to Politico.

When news broke on March 28 that Manafort was joining the Trump campaign, Chalupa could hardly contain herself. “This is huge,” she texted senior DNC officials. “This is everything to take out Trump.”

She immediately began circulating anti-Manafort memos, warning the DNC of the “threat” he posed of Russian influence. The next day, March 29, she briefed the DNC communications team about Manafort. They, in turn, hatched a plan to reach out to the Ukrainian Embassy to get President Porochenko to make an on-camera denouncement of Manafort and feed the footage to ABC News, where former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos works as a top anchor. On March 30, Chalupa fired off an email to Shulyar, her contact at the Ukrainian Embassy:

"There is a very good chance that President Poroshenko may receive a question from the press during his visit about the recent New York Times article saying that Donald Trump hired Paul Manafort as an adviser to his campaign and whether President Poroshenko is concerned about this considering Trump is the likely Republican nominee and given Paul Manafort’s meddling in Ukraine over the past couple of decades,” Chalupa wrote. "It is important President Poroshenko is prepared to address this question should it come up. In a manner that exposes Paul Manafort for the problems he continues to cause Ukraine."

Within minutes of sending the email, Chalupa wrote the DNC’s communications director Luis Miranda, “The ambassador has the messaging.”

Then she reached out to a friend in Congress, Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, about holding hearings to paint Manafort as a pro-Kremlin villain.

April 2016: Chalupa Solicits Ukrainian Dirt on Trump, His Campaign, and Manafort

Though accounts differ, Chalupa discussed Trump dirt with Ukrainian representatives. Federal Election Commission

American presidential campaigns aren't supposed to work with foreign governments to dig up dirt on their political opponents. Geneva Convention rules bar diplomats from becoming entangled in their host country’s political affairs, particularly elections. There are also federal laws banning foreign nationals from engaging in operations to influence or interfere with U.S. political and electoral processes. In 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals on charges of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government for that purpose.

But just weeks after Manafort was hired by the Trump campaign, the Ukrainian Embassy appeared to be working with the Clinton campaign to torpedo him and the campaign.

Emails reveal that Chalupa and Shulyar, a top aide to Ambassador Chaly, agreed to meet for coffee on April 7, 2016, at Kafe Leopold, a restaurant near the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington. (Chalupa had paid a visit to the White House just three days earlier.) One of the purposes of the meeting, according to FEC case files, was to discuss Manafort and the danger he allegedly posed. They were joined at the café by Telizhenko, who said he was working on a “big story” on Manafort and Trump with the Wall Street Journal.

In a sworn 2019 deposition taken by the FEC, Telizhenko alleged that Chalupa solicited “dirt” on Trump, Manafort, and the Trump campaign during the meeting. Telizhenko also testified that Chalupa told him that her goal was “basically [to] use this information and have a committee hearing under Marcy Kaptur, congresswoman from Ohio, in Congress in September and take him off the elections."

Telizhenko later approached Ambassador Chaly about the DNC representative's overtures and he responded: “Yes. And I know that this is happening. You should work with her."

After speaking with Chaly, Telizhenko claims that he went back to Shulyar who instructed him to help Chalupa. “I went to Oksana and said, ‘Like what are we doing?’” he testified. " And she told me, ‘You have to work with Chalupa. And any information you have, you give it to me, I’ll give it to her, then we’ll pass it on later to anybody else we are coordinating with.’”

Less than a week later, on April 13, Telizhenko met again with White House official Zentos, email records reveal.

Telizhenko said he resigned the next month because of concerns regarding his embassy’s work with Chalupa and the Clinton team.

In her sworn account of the meeting, Chalupa acknowledged discussing Manafort and the “national security problem” he allegedly presented, but denied asking the embassy for help researching him. She allowed that she “could have mentioned the congressional investigation … that I had talked to Marcy Kaptur,” but maintained she couldn't recall trying to enlist the embassy in the effort.

Shulyar, however, clearly recalls that Chalupa sought the embassy’s help warning the public about Manafort – including pitching stories to the press and lobbying Congress, according to a 2020 written statement to the FEC. An “idea floated by Alexandra Chalupa was that we approach a co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus to initiate a congressional hearing on Paul Manafort,” Shulyar said, though she denied the embassy acted on the idea.

Around the same time, two Ukrainian lawmakers – Olga Bielkova and Pavlo Rizanenko – visited the U.S. and met with journalists, as well as a former State Department official with close ties to Sen. John McCain – David Kramer of the McCain Institute. Kramer would later leak the entire Steele dossier to the media. The meeting was arranged by major Clinton Foundation donor Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch who lobbied Clinton when she was Obama’s secretary of state. Bielkova was also connected to the Clinton Foundation, having once managed a Clinton Global Initiative program for Ukrainian college students.

While Clinton was at Foggy Bottom from 2009 to 2013, Ukrainians gave more money – at least $10 million, including more than $8 million from Pinchuk – to the Clinton Foundation than any other nationality including Saudi Arabians. Pinchuk's donation was a down payment on an astounding $29 million pledge.

On April 12, 2016, Bielkova also attended a meeting with Ciaramella and his NSC colleague Zentos, head of the Eastern Europe desk, according to lobbying disclosure records.

In late April, Chalupa helped organize a Ukrainian-American protest against Manafort in his Connecticut hometown. Activists shouted for Trump to fire Manafort, whom they called “Putin’s Trojan Horse,” while holding signs that read: “Shame on Putin, Shame on Manafort, Shame on Trump” and “Putin, Hands Off the U.S. Election.” Chalupa also organized social media campaigns against Manafort and Trump, including one that encouraged activists to share the Twitter hashtags: “#TrumpPutin” and "#Treasonous Trump."

Also that month, Chalupa reached out to Yahoo News reporter Isikoff to pitch a hit piece on Manafort. She connected him with a delegation of Ukrainian journalists visiting D.C. Isikoff would later be used by Steele to spread falsehoods from his dossier.

May-June 2016: Manafort Dirt Spreads

In a May 3 email, Chalupa alerted DNC communications director Luis Miranda and DNC opposition research director Lauren Dillion that there was “a lot more [dirt on Manafort] coming down the pipe[sic].”

Chalupa told them the dirt has “a big Trump component” and would “hit in the next few weeks.” It’s not clear if she was referring to the notorious "black ledger” smear against Manafort, who was promoted to campaign chairman on May 19, but a story about it was brewing at the time.

On May 30, Nellie Ohr, an opposition researcher for the Clinton-retained firm Fusion GPS, emailed her husband, Bruce Ohr, a top official at the Justice Department who would become a prime disseminator of the Steele dossier within the government, and two federal prosecutors to alert them to an article indicating NABU had suddenly discovered documents allegedly showing Manafort receiving illicit payments.

Amid the flurry of anti-Manafort activity, Zentos met again with Telizhenko on May 4, records show. And Chalupa visited the White House for a meeting on May 13.

Chalupa paid another visit to the White House on June 14, Secret Service logs show. On June 17, Ciaramella held a White House meeting with Nuland and Pyatt of the State Department to discuss undisclosed Ukrainian matters.

In late June, the FBI signed an evidence-sharing agreement with NABU, less than two months before the Ukrainian anti-corruption agency released what it claimed was explosive new evidence on Manafort.

July 2016: Ukrainian Officials Attack Trump Publicly

Chalupa continued to pow-wow with the Ukrainian Embassy and got so cozy with officials there that they offered her a position, which she declined, as an “embedded consultant” in the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

That same month, high-ranking Ukrainian officials openly insulted Trump on social media in an unusual departure from normal diplomacy.

For instance, Ukraine Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov tweeted that Trump was a “clown” who was “an even bigger danger to the U.S. than terrorism.” In another July post, he called Trump “dangerous for Ukraine.” And on Facebook, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk warned that Trump had “challenged the very values of the free world."

(After Trump upset Clinton, Avakov and other officials tried to delete their statements from their social network accounts, saying that they had been wrong and had rushed to conclusions.)

“It was clear that they were supporting Hillary Clinton’s candidacy,” Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Artemenko told Politico. “They did everything from organizing meetings with the Clinton team to publicly supporting her to criticizing Trump."

While attending the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, Chalupa spread the scurrilous rumor that Manafort was the mastermind behind the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and that he “stole" her and other Democrats’ emails. She later told her sister’s podcast that she had reported her conspiracy theory to the FBI, eventually sitting down and meeting with agents in September to spin her tale of supposed espionage (the Senate has asked the FBI for copies of her interview summaries, known as FD-302s). Chalupa also prepared a report for the FBI, as well as members of Congress, detailing her Russiagate conspiracy theories, which Mueller later found no evidence to support.

In addition, Chalupa helped spread a false narrative that Trump removed a reference to providing arms to Kiev from the Republican platform at the party's convention earlier that month. Internal platform committee documents show the Ukraine plank could not have been weakened as claimed, because the “lethal” weapons language had never been part of the GOP platform. The final language actually strengthened the platform by pledging direct assistance not just to the country of Ukraine, but to its military in its struggle against Russian-backed forces.

August-September 2016: The Phony Manafort Ledger Leaks 

A page released by Ukrainian authorities from the fake Manafort ledger.
New York Times/NABU

In another attempt to influence the 2016 election, Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko leaked to the U.S. media what he claimed was evidence of a secret handwritten ledger showing Manafort had received millions in cash from Yanukovych’s party under the table. He claimed that 22 pages of the alleged ledger, which contained line items written by hand, had mysteriously appeared in his parliament mailbox earlier that year. Leshchenko would not identify the sender. A fuller copy of the same document showed up later on the doorstep of a Ukrainian intelligence official who passed it to NABU, which shared it with FBI agents stationed in Kiev. Leshchenko and NABU officials held press conferences declaring the document was “proof" of Manafort corruption and demanding he be “interrogated.”

The Clinton campaign seized on the story. In an Aug. 14 statement, campaign manager Robby Mook stated: “We have learned of more troubling connections between Donald Trump's team and pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine.” He demanded Trump "disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort's and all other campaign employees' and advisers' ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities."

But there was a big hole in the story. Though Manafort was a consultant to Yanukovych's party, he was paid by wire, not in cash, casting serious doubt on the ledger’s authenticity. Another problem: the ledger was alleged to have been kept at party headquarters, but rioters had destroyed the building in a 2014 fire.

Leshchenko admitted that he had a political agenda. He told The Financial Times at the time that he went public with the ledger because “a Trump presidency would change the pro-Ukrainian agenda in American foreign policy.” He added that most of Ukraine’s politicians are “on Hillary Clinton’s side."

Leshchenko also happened to be "a source for Fusion GPS,” as Nellie Ohr confirmed under questioning during a 2019 closed-door House hearing, according to a declassified transcript. Fusion was a paid agent of the Clinton campaign, which gave the private opposition-research firm more than $1 million to gin up connections between Trump and Russia. Fusion hired Steele to compile a series of “intelligence” memos known as the dossier. As a former MI6 operative, Steele gave the allegations a sheen of credibility.

FBI counterintelligence veteran Mark Wauck said the dossier and the black ledger both appear to have originated with Fusion GPS, which laundered it through foreigners who hated Trump – Steele and Leshchenko.

"The ledger and the dossier are both Fusion hit jobs,” Wauck said. “The two items shared a common origin: the Hillary campaign’s oppo research shop."

In an August 2016 memo written for Fusion GPS, “The Demise of Trump’s Campaign Manager Paul Manafort,” Steele claimed he had corroborated Leshchenko’s charges through his anonymous Kremlin sources, who turned out to be nothing more than beer buddies of his primary source collector, Igor Danchenko, a Russian immigrant with a string of arrests in the U.S. for public intoxication, as RealClearInvestigations first reported. Danchenko had worked for the Brookings Institution, a Democratic think tank in Washington that Durham has subpoenaed in connection to its own role in Russiagate. Danchenko was indicted last year by Special Counsel Durham for lying about his sources, including one he completely made up, as RCI reported.

“YANUKOVYCH had confided in PUTIN that he did authorize and order substantial kick-back payments to MANAFORT as alleged,” Steele claimed in the unsubstantiated report, citing “a well-placed Russian figure” with knowledge of a "meeting between PUTIN and YANUKOVYCH” allegedly “held in secret” on Aug. 15. As a paid informant, Steele had long reported to the FBI about alleged corruption involving Yanukovych.

The FBI used his Clinton-funded dossier as a basis to obtain warrants to spy on former Trump adviser Carter Page, including the false claim that Page acted as an intermediary between Russian leadership and Manafort in a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” that included sidelining Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue. Steele also falsely claimed that Page had helped draft the RNC platform statement to be more sympathetic to Russia’s interests by eliminating language about providing weapons to Ukraine, according to a report by the Department of Justice's watchdog. In fact, Page was not involved in the GOP platform. The misinformation came from Danchenko’s fictional source.

Fusion co-founder Glenn Simpson worked closely with the New York Times on the Manafort ledger story. In his book, “Crime in Progress,” Simpson boasts of introducing Leshchenko to the Times as a source, who ended up providing the paper some of the dubious ledger records. On Aug. 19, Manafort stepped down from the Trump campaign the day after the Times reported what it had been fed by the anti-Trump operatives.

In effect, Ukrainian government officials tried to help Clinton and undermine Trump by disseminating documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and telling the American media they were investigating the matter.

In 2018, a Ukrainian court ruled that Leshchenko and NABU’s Sytnyk illegally interfered in the 2016 U.S. election by publicizing the black ledger. Among the evidence was a recording of Sytnyk saying the agency released the ledger to help Clinton’s campaign – “I helped her,” Sytnyk is recorded boasting. But the damage was done. The Ukrainians, along with Chalupa and the Clinton camp, achieved their goal of undermining the Trump campaign by prompting Manafort’s ouster though they never proved he was colluding with the Russians. Neither did Special Counsel Mueller. In fact, Mueller did not use the ledger to prosecute Manafort after a key witness for the prosecution told him it was fabricated. “Mueller ended up dropping it like a hot potato,” Wauck said. 

Ukraine’s neutrality in the election was also called into further question that September, when Porochenko met with Clinton during a stop in New York. He never met with Trump, who appeared to get the cold shoulder from the Ukrainian leader. In statements following Trump’s surprise victory over Clinton in November, Ukraine’s embassy has denied interfering in the election and insisted that Chalupa was acting on her own.

Epilogue

After Trump won the election in spite of her efforts to sabotage him, Chalupa predicted: “Under President Trump, the Kremlin could likely invade U.S. allies in Europe without U.S. opposition.”

Not only did Russia not invade Europe “under Trump,” it didn’t even invade Ukraine. Rather, the invasion came under Biden, whose campaign Chalupa supported. Yet she continues to blame Trump. Recent tweets show a still-obsessed Chalupa has not dialed back her extremist views about Trump or Manafort, whom she believes should be prosecuted for “treason."

In a Feb. 28 post on Twitter, for example, Chalupa claimed that Putin installed “a puppet regime in the U.S. with the help of Paul Manafort.” The previous day, she tweeted, “We had a Putin installed Trump presidency.” A day before that, she wrote: “Now would be a good time to release the Putin-Trump treason calls.”

And on Feb. 25, Chalupa tweeted another wild conspiracy theory: "It’s important to note that Putin’s imperial aspirations are of a global criminal empire, as we saw when he installed Donald J. Trump president and tried to turn the U.S. into a Russian satellite state."

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/11/2022 - 19:00
Published:3/11/2022 6:16:25 PM
[Markets] Whitehead: The Rise Of Global Fascism And The End Of The World As We Know It Whitehead: The Rise Of Global Fascism And The End Of The World As We Know It

Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.”

- “The Hollow Men,” T.S. Eliot

Barely three years into the 2020s, and we seem to be living out the prophesies of the Book of Revelation with its dire warnings about plague, poverty, hatred and war.

Just as the government hysteria over the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be dying down, new threats have arisen to occupy our attention and fuel our fears: food shortages, spiking inflation, rocketing gas prices, and a Ukraine-Russia conflict that threatens to bring about a world war.

Is this the end of the world as we know it? Or is this the beginning of the end of the world?

Will the world end with a bang or will it end, as T.S. Eliot concludes, with a whimper?

Robert Frost, torn between a vision of the world ending in fire (the hot flame of violence, anger and greed) or ice (the cold burn of hatred), suggests that either would suffice to do the job.

And then there’s the Polish-American poet Czeslaw Milosz, who envisioned the day the world ends as a day like any other: “Those who expected lightning and thunder are disappointed. And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps do not believe it is happening now. As long as the sun and the moon are above, as long as the bumblebee visits a rose, as long as rosy infants are born, no one believes it is happening now… There will be no other end of the world.”

In Milosz’ words can be found a distant echo of a warning issued by Bertram Gross in his book Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America:

“Anyone looking for black shirts, mass parties, or men on horseback will miss the telltale clues of creeping fascism. In any First World country of advanced capitalism, the new fascism will be colored by national and cultural heritage, ethnic and religious composition, formal political structure, and geopolitical environment... In America, it would be supermodern and multi-ethnic-as American as Madison Avenue, executive luncheons, credit cards, and apple pie. It would be fascism with a smile. As a warning against its cosmetic facade, subtle manipulation, and velvet gloves, I call it friendly fascism. What scares me most is its subtle appeal. I am worried by those who fail to remember-or have never learned -that Big Business-Big Government partnerships, backed up by other elements, were the central facts behind the power structures of old fascism in the days of Mussolini, Hitler, and the Japanese empire builders.”

Look beyond the drum-pounding distractions of war and the fear-inducing tactics of the Deep State, and consider the long-term ramifications of the so-called sanctions being levied against Russia right now: not just the governmental sanctions, but the corporate lockdowns.

As CBS News reports, “Car shipments were paused. Beer stopped flowing. McDonald's shut down sales of Big Macs. Cargo ships dropped port calls and oil companies cut their pipelines. Russia's invasion of Ukraine is leading some of the world's best known brands—from Apple to Disney and Ikea—to abruptly exit a country that's become a global outcast.”

This is shunning on a global scale.

Some companies, as Fortune reports, have gone above and beyond what was required by government sanctions. For instance, “major oil companies, including Exxon, BP, and Shell, ended joint investment projects with Russian oil companies. Major retailers, including H&M, Nike, Ikea, and TJX, have shut down Russian sales and closed stores. Visa, Mastercard, and American Express shut down global services in Russia… Boeing cut off support for Russian airlines and closed its offices in Moscow, while Delta ended its Russian code-sharing arrangement… FedEx and UPS shut services to Russia. Apple, Alphabet, Meta, and Microsoft all have taken significant action to combat Russian aggression and disinformation.”

You basically have Russia becoming a commercial pariah,” confirmed economist Mary Lovely. “Pretty much no company, no multinational, wants to be caught on the wrong side of U.S. and Western sanctions.”

Russia’s military aggression has paved the way for a show of force by a punitive Big Business-Big Government power alliance that, until recently, had been exerting itself on a smaller scale to sanction individuals whose behavior was deemed to be hateful, discriminatory, conspiratorial or anti-government.

There’s no going back from here.

This may well be the end of the world as we know it.

This particular apocalypse is the fallout from a silent coup that has given the Corporate State a taste for punitive power and an understanding of the ease with which it can use that power to manipulate, control and direct the world governments.

For good or bad, it will change the way we navigate the world, redrawing the boundaries of our world (and our freedoms) and altering the playing field faster than we can keep up.

This new world order—a global world order—made up of international government agencies and corporations owes its existence in large part to the U.S. government’s deep-seated and, in many cases, top-secret alliances with foreign nations and global corporations.

This powerful international cabal, let’s call it the Global Deep State, is just as real as the corporatized, militarized, industrialized American Deep State, and it poses just as great a threat to our rights as individuals under the U.S. Constitution, if not greater.

We’ve been inching closer to this global world order for the past several decades, but COVID-19, which saw governmental and corporate interests become even more closely intertwined, shifted this transformation into high gear.

Now, in the face of Russia’s aggression, fascism is about to become a global menace.

Given all that we know about the U.S. government—that it treats its citizens like faceless statistics and economic units to be bought, sold, bartered, traded, and tracked; that it repeatedly lies, cheats, steals, spies, kills, maims, enslaves, breaks the laws, overreaches its authority, and abuses its power at almost every turn; and that it wages wars for profit, jails its own people for profit, and has no qualms about spreading its reign of terror abroad—it is not a stretch to suggest that the government has been overtaken by a power elite that do not have our best interests at heart.

Indeed, to anyone who’s been paying attention to the goings-on in the world, it is increasingly obvious that we’re already under a new world order, and it is being brought to you by the Global-Industrial Deep State.

It remains unclear whether the American Deep State (“a national-security apparatus that holds sway even over the elected leaders notionally in charge of it”) answers to the Global Deep State, or whether the Global Deep State merely empowers the American Deep State. However, there is no denying the extent to which they are intricately and symbiotically enmeshed and interlocked.

Consider the extent to which our lives and liberties are impacted by this international convergence of governmental and profit-driven corporate interests in the surveillance state, the military industrial complex, the private prison industry, the intelligence sector, the security sector, the technology sector, the telecommunications sector, the transportation sector, the pharmaceutical industry and, most recently, by the pharmaceutical-health sector.

All of these sectors are dominated by mega-corporations operating on a global scale and working through government channels to increase their profit margins. The profit-driven policies of these global corporate giants influence everything from legislative policies to economics to environmental issues to medical care.

On almost every front, whether it’s the war on drugs, or the sale of weapons, or regulating immigration, or establishing prisons, or advancing technology, or fighting a pandemic, if there is a profit to be made and power to be amassed, you can bet that the government and its global partners have already struck a deal that puts the American people on the losing end of the bargain.

We’ve been losing our freedoms so incrementally for so long—sold to us in the name of national security and global peace, maintained by way of martial law disguised as law and order, and enforced by a standing army of militarized police and a political elite determined to maintain their powers at all costs—that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it all started going downhill, but we’re certainly on that downward trajectory now, and things are moving fast.

The “government of the people, by the people, for the people” has perished.

In its place is a shadow government—a corporatized, militarized, entrenched global bureaucracy—that is fully operational and is not only running the country but is about to take over the world.

Given the trajectory and dramatic expansion, globalization and merger of governmental and corporate powers, we’re not going to recognize this country (or the rest of the world) 20 years from now.

It’s taken less than a generation for our freedoms to be eroded and the Global Deep State’s structure to be erected, expanded and entrenched.

Yet mark my words: the U.S. government will not save us from the chains of the Global Deep State.

The current or future occupant of the White House will not save us.

For that matter, anarchy, violence and incivility will not save us.

Unfortunately, the government’s divide and conquer tactics are working like a charm.

Despite the laundry list of grievances that should unite “we the people” in common cause against the government, the nation is more divided than ever by politics, by socio-economics, by race, by religion, and by every other distinction that serves to highlight our differences.

The real and manufactured events of recent years—the pandemic, invasive surveillance, the extremism reports, the civil unrest, the protests, the shootings, the bombings, the military exercises and active shooter drills, the color-coded alerts and threat assessments, the fusion centers, the transformation of local police into extensions of the military, the distribution of military equipment and weapons to local police forces, the government databases containing the names of dissidents and potential troublemakers—have all conjoined to create an environment in which “we the people” are more divided, more distrustful, and fearful of each other.

What we have failed to realize is that in the eyes of the government, we’re all the same.

When the government and its Global-Industrial Deep State partners in the New World Order crack down, we’ll all suffer.

If there is to be any hope of freeing ourselves, it rests—as it always has—at the local level, with you and your fellow citizens taking part in grassroots activism, which takes a trickle-up approach to governmental reform by implementing change at the local level.

One of the most important contributions an individual citizen can make is to become actively involved in local community affairs, politics and legal battles. As the adage goes, “Think globally, act locally.”

America was meant to be primarily a system of local governments, which is a far cry from the colossal federal bureaucracy we have today. Yet if our freedoms are to be restored, understanding what is transpiring practically in your own backyard—in one’s home, neighborhood, school district, town council—and taking action at that local level must be the starting point.

Responding to unmet local needs and reacting to injustices is what grassroots activism is all about. Attend local city council meetings, speak up at town hall meetings, organize protests and letter-writing campaigns, employ “militant nonviolent resistance” and civil disobedience, which Martin Luther King Jr. used to great effect through the use of sit-ins, boycotts and marches.

And then, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, if there is any means left to us for thwarting the government in its relentless march towards outright dictatorship, it may rest with the power of communities and local governments to invalidate governmental and corporate laws, tactics and policies that are illegitimate, egregious or blatantly unconstitutional.

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/11/2022 - 00:00
Published:3/10/2022 11:10:21 PM
[Markets] NYT Reporter Says 'Ton Of FBI Informants' Were At J6 - Calls Traumatized Fellow Journos 'Bi*ches' NYT Reporter Says 'Ton Of FBI Informants' Were At J6 - Calls Traumatized Fellow Journos 'Bi*ches'

Can't a lonely New York Times journalist try to get laid without a Project Veritas operative tricking him into loose lips?

As Project Veritas reports - the answer is, once again, no...

Meet Matt...

Now read what Matt said about FBI informants at the January 6th 'insurrection,' along with a host of other revelations, Via Project Veritas:

  • NYT National Security Correspondent, Matthew Rosenberg, contradicts his own January 6 reporting: “There were a ton of FBI informants amongst the people who attacked the Capitol.”

  • Rosenberg: “It was like, me and two other colleagues who were there [January 6] outside and we were just having fun!”

  • Rosenberg: “I know I’m supposed to be traumatized, but like, all these colleagues who were in the [Capitol] building and are like ‘Oh my God it was so scary!’  I’m like, ‘f*ck off!’”

  • Rosenberg: “I’m like come on, it’s not the kind place I can tell someone to man up but I kind of want to be like, ‘dude come on, you were not in any danger.’”

  • Rosenberg: “These f*cking little dweebs who keep going on about their trauma. Shut the f*ck up. They’re f*cking b*tches.”

  • Rosenberg: "They were making too big a deal. They were making this an organized thing that it wasn’t.”

  • Rosenberg RESPONDS: “Will I stand by those comments? Absolutely.”

[NEW YORK – Mar. 8, 2022] Project Veritas published a bombshell video on Tuesday showing Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times correspondent, Matthew Rosenberg, speaking about the events of January 6, 2021, in a way that contradicts his own reporting. 

Rosenberg, who covers national security matters for the Times says on the undercover video that “there were a ton of FBI informants among the people who attacked the Capitol.”

This revelation is a break from Rosenberg’s reporting on the matter where he characterized such a notion of FBI informants in the crowd as a “reimagining of Jan. 6.”

This was not the only time Rosenberg’s commentary to Project Veritas’ undercover reporter directly contradicted his own published words. Despite telling a Veritas journalist that January 6 was “no big deal,” his article says that downplaying the events of that day was “the next big lie.”

Soundbites of Rosenberg published Tuesday show him saying, “It’s not a big deal as they [media] are making it, because they were making too big a deal. They were making this an organized thing that it wasn’t.”

Project Veritas founder and CEO James O’Keefe revealed that Rosenberg’s article titled, “The Next Big Lies: Jan 6 was No Big Deal, or A Left-Wing Plot,” was written around the same time as he was making contradictory statements to a Project Veritas undercover reporter.

In the video, Rosenberg also revealed that January 6 was “fun,” a contradiction to his reporting that January 6 was “a violent interruption to the transition of power in American history.”  

Rosenberg said, “It was like, me and two other colleagues who were there outside and we were just having fun.” 

He even appears to make fun of his New York Times colleagues in one soundbite saying, “I know I’m supposed to be traumatized, but like, all these colleagues who were in the [Capitol] building, and are like, ‘Oh my God it was so scary!’ I’m like, ‘f*ck off!’” He adds, “I’m like come on, it’s not the kind place I can tell someone to man up but I kind of want to be like, ‘dude come on, you were not in any danger.’”

Rosenberg concludes, “These f*cking little dweebs who keep going on about their trauma. Shut the f*ck up. They’re f*cking b*tches.”

Watch:

The entire video can be seen here.

Project Veritas is a registered 501(c)3 organization. Project Veritas does not advocate specific resolutions to the issues raised through its investigations.  Donate now to support our mission.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/08/2022 - 22:00
Published:3/8/2022 9:27:14 PM
[Markets] DOJ Offers 70- to 87-Month Prison Sentence For Man Photographed With Feet Up in Nancy Pelosi’s Office DOJ Offers 70- to 87-Month Prison Sentence For Man Photographed With Feet Up in Nancy Pelosi’s Office

By Joseph Hanneman of The Epoch Times

Richard 'Bigo' Barnett poses for photos in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Jan. 6, 2021. He would receive roughly 6 to 7 years in prison under a plea offer that his attorney called "ridiculous."

Richard ‘Bigo’ Barnett, the Arkansas man photographed with his feet up on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office on Jan. 6, 2021, would spend 70 to 87 months in prison under a plea agreement offered by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Barnett, 61, of Gravette, Ark., faces three charges from his time in the U.S. Capitol, including knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds while armed with a dangerous weapon, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and theft of public money, property, or records.

Barnett’s attorney, Joseph McBride, rejected the plea offer, calling it “ridiculous.” Barnett will proceed to trial this fall, he said.

“The very general question is, ‘Does the punishment fit the crime?’ And the answer is a resounding, ‘Hell no.’” McBride told The Epoch Times. “There is no standard of reasonableness under which 70 or 87 months of incarceration for a 61-year-old man with no criminal record can ever amount to justice.

“In this situation, it is egregious. It is disgusting,” McBride said. “It is a criminalization of the First Amendment’s right to participate in political speech. While it was not a perfect day, he certainly should not spend years of his life—basically the entire decade of his 60s—behind bars. It’s ridiculous.”

Richard ‘Bigo’ Barnett holds up an envelope he took from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office on Jan. 6, 2021. He said he took the envelope because he got blood on it from a cut finger

According to federal prosecutors, Barnett entered into the conference area of the Speaker’s office about 2:50 p.m. and left at 2:56 p.m. He put his feet up on a desk and posed for photographs that went viral on the internet later that day.

Theft Charge Came from an Envelope

Barnett picked up an empty envelope addressed to Rep. Billy Long (R-Missouri), then carried it out with him because a cut on his finger dripped blood on the paper, McBride said. Barnett gave the envelope to FBI agents when he first met with them in January 2021.

Barnett cut his finger when a crowd pushed him through the Capitol’s Columbus Doors a short time before he entered Pelosi’s office, McBride said.  

Law enforcement got a tip that Barnett was carrying a stun gun in the photos taken in the office of Pelosi (D-California). It was later determined to be a ZAP brand Hike ’n Strike aluminum walking stick with built-in flashlight and 950,000-volt stun gun.

McBride said the stun function was disabled the day prior, and there were no batteries in the device on Jan. 6. Barnett only used it as a walking stick that day.

“It’s clearly not working. So for them to use this as an excuse to give him an exorbitant amount of time, it’s ridiculous,” McBride said. “They’re just using it as a pretext to hit him over the head with a hammer because of the fame that came along with his picture.”

Barnett described the situation with a bit more color in the government’s charging documents.

“I did not steal it. I bled on it because they were macing me and I couldn’t [expletive] see. So I figured, I am in her office. I got blood on her office. I put a quarter on her desk, even though she ain’t [expletive] worth it.

“And I left her a note on her desk that says, ‘Nancy, Bigo was here, you [expletive],’” Barnett said.

Sentencing in the Spotlight

The sentencing of non-violent Jan. 6 offenders became a nationally discussed issue last week with the Feb. 25 suicide of Matthew L. Perna, 37, of Sharon, Pennsylvania. Perna hung himself in his garage after learning the U.S. Department of Justice would seek sentencing enhancers that could have put him in prison for 41 to 51 months.

Perna spent 20 minutes in the Capitol on Jan. 6. He was not accused of vandalism, violence, or engaging with police. His plea deal included a felony for obstructing an official government proceeding, the certification of Electoral Votes by Congress.

McBride said excessive sentencing recommendations are part of a strategy.

“They want to crush all things January 6-related, when it comes to you being on the opposite side of the political spectrum,” he said. “They are merciless, they are soulless, they have evil in their hearts.

“It’s very unfortunate. And that’s that’s why we’re in this fight,” McBride said. “They’re not going to pitch a shutout. They’re not going to win all these trials. They’re going to start to take losses at some point. They know that, so they are getting their pound of flesh now.”

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/08/2022 - 20:00
Published:3/8/2022 7:24:53 PM
[Markets] Hackers Breached US LNG Producers In Run-Up To Ukraine Invasion Hackers Breached US LNG Producers In Run-Up To Ukraine Invasion

Several hackers were able to gain access to computers belonging to current and former employees at nearly a dozen major US natural gas suppliers and exporters in mid-February, including on the eve of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Bloomberg reports.

The targets included Chevron, Cheniere Energy, and Kinder Morgan according to Resecurity CEO Gene Yoo, which discovered the operation and shared its research with Bloomberg. The attacks focused on companies involved with the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) - "and they were the first stage in an effort to infiltrate an increasingly critical sector of the energy industry," per the report.

Resecurity’s investigation began last month when the firm’s researchers spotted a small number of hackers, including one linked to a wave of attacks in 2018 against European organizations that Microsoft Corp. attributed to Strontium, the company’s nickname for a hacking group associated with Russia’s GRU military intelligence service. -Bloomberg

The attacks occurred as energy markets were already on pins and needles over the Ukraine situation.  

According to Yoo, the hackers had been seeking access to the personal computers of employees of major LNG companies in the US - which they then used as back doors into company networks.

Resecurity discovered the activity after identifying a vulnerability in the hackers' servers, which allowed them to obtain files from the machine and see what the hackers had already stolen.

The files show that during a two-week period in February, the hackers accessed more than 100 computers belonging to current and former employees of 21 major energy companies, per Bloomberg, which viewed some of the files.

In some cases, the target machines themselves were compromised, while in others they bought access to computers which had been previously infected with malware, offering as much as $15,000 per target on the dark web.

While the motive of the hackers is unknown, Yoo believes it was carried out by state-sponsored hackers who were "pre-positioning" - a term for using the hacked machines to tunnel into protected corporate networks. Sometimes, the computers of previous employees can be used because companies often fail to cut off remote access when someone leaves, Yoo aded.

The hacks began around two weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, after US officials had urged operators of critical US infrastructure to "adopt a heightened state of awareness" for Russian state-sponsored attacks.

Out of the roughly five dozen U.S. LNG cargoes on the water on Thursday, March 3, 2022, nearly two-thirds are headed to Europe where the Russian invasion of Ukraine and low storage inventories are driving up prices and demand. (via Bloomberg)

Of note, the energy sector is one of 16 which US President Joe Biden said he told Russian President Vladimir Putin not to hack during a June 2021 meeting.

"Recent tensions around Nord Stream 2, global market changes, as well as conflict in Ukraine are obvious catalysts," Yoo told Bloomberg.

The infected machines appear to be a mix of home and corporate-owned computers. Yoo said the distinction has become essentially meaningless with the rise of remote work, as hackers have the ability to hijack virtual private network connections into corporate networks. 

According to the documents provided by Resecurity, the companies whose workers were affected include Houston-based Cheniere Energy, the biggest U.S. exporter of LNG; San Ramon, California-based Chevron, a major oil producer that also owns and operates the Gorgon LNG export terminal in Australia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based EQT Corp., the largest natural gas driller and producer in the U.S.; and Houston-based Kinder Morgan, the top natural gas pipeline operator in the U.S. and the operator of the Elba Island LNG export terminal in Georgia. -Bloomberg

Kinder Morgan data showed that seven current and former employees had their computers hacked as part of the campaign.

"We have confirmed that most of those emails were assigned to former employees. The few that are current have not been compromised," said a company spokesperson.

45 Chevron employees were affected according to Resecurity, with a spokesman saying "Chevron takes the threat of malicious cyber activity very seriously. We have implemented the United States government’s recommendations into our cybersecurity safeguards to protect Chevron’s computing environment."

Chevron CEO Mike Wirth said just days ago that cyberattacks were the largest risk facing the company. "It’s a never-ending challenge out there right now," he said at a March 1 investor conference. "We’re in a high-risk environment right now from a cyber standpoint, and we’re in an industry that is a high profile, high-value target for bad actors. So that’s the thing in the short term that I probably would say, in my view is the risk I worry about the most."

The attacks come at a time when the FBI and other federal agencies are on high alert. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has issued dozens of alerts over the past six years documenting attacks by Russia and other state-sponsored hackers against targets including the oil and natural gas industry. The agency is concerned about increased attacks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said Jason Leigh, a special agent on the FBI Houston’s cyber task force. -Bloomberg

"In a normal day, prior to the invasion, the U.S. could experience attacks from Russian entities," said Leigh. "We expect that the invasion may escalate in terms of volume or the number of attacks and the manners in which they attack."

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/07/2022 - 17:40
Published:3/7/2022 4:47:46 PM
[2096cf2d-70a4-5f0f-b824-a31730de59af] Durham asks court to deny Sussmann motion to dismiss, arguing false statement 'capable of influencing' FBI Special Counsel John Durham argues Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann “misled” the FBI in September 2016 by “disseminating highly explosive allegations” about Donald Trump on behalf of the “opposing presidential campaign,” without disclosing his connection to the Clinton campaign. Published:3/5/2022 3:31:58 PM
[] Durham: Clinton Lawyer Engaged in 'Political Deceit' With FBI Published:3/5/2022 10:29:43 AM
[Politics] Supreme Court deals setback to Muslims suing FBI over spying on an Orange County mosque

The Supreme Court dealt a setback to three Muslim men in Orange County who have been suing the FBI for allegedly spying on their mosques in the years after the 9/11 attacks.

Published:3/4/2022 11:22:50 AM
[da7a12b3-c420-55fe-8f31-156079d93404] 13 states sue Biden admin for any communications on FBI surveillance of parents protesting school boards EXCLUSIVE: Thirteen states have signed on to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking Biden administration records on any FBI surveillance of parents protesting school boards. Published:3/4/2022 8:22:45 AM
[2020 Presidential Election] The O’Keefe Project: The Times at work (Scott Johnson) In November and December I published a series of 14 posts under the heading of “The O’Keefe Project.” The series arises from the work of James O’Keefe/Project Veritas in the matter of Ashley Biden’s diary and the 2020 election. O’Keefe et al. were raided last year under a federal search warrant procured by the FBI. Although O’Keefe was instructed to remain mum, the authorities promptly leaked news of the raids Published:3/1/2022 8:02:35 AM
[Markets] Barr Trashes Trump, Says GOP Needs To Move On Barr Trashes Trump, Says GOP Needs To Move On

Former Attorney General William Barr says that Donald Trump is unfit for office, and that the GOP should move on from the former President (the same president who criticized German reliance on Russian energy while a sanctioned Putin didn't lift a finger against Ukraine for four years, but we digress).

According to a new book, Barr says, Trump has "shown he has neither the temperament nor persuasive powers to provide the kind of positive leadership that is needed," and that Republicans should instead focus on rising leaders in the party (DeSantis?) who share Trump's agenda but not his "erratic personal behavior."

As the Wall Street Journal notes;

The release of the former attorney general’s 600-page book, “One Damn Thing After Another,” is coming as Mr. Trump, who remains the GOP’s dominant figure, contemplates another presidential run. Mr. Barr writes that he was convinced that Mr. Trump could have won re-election in 2020 if he had “just exercised a modicum of self-restraint, moderating even a little of his pettiness.”

"The election was not ‘stolen," writes Barr, who says "Trump lost it."

Barr's barbs are unsurprising given the acrimonious relationship between he and Trump - who just last year called his former AG a "disappointment in every sense of the word."

Barr returned to his Bush-era role as head the DOJ in February 2019 after Trump fired former Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), where critics say he sheltered the former president during the DOJ's investigations into Russian interference by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Prior to the Mueller report, Barr issued his own summary which essentially chalked it up to a nothingburger - enraging Democrats. Barr also presided over the decision to drop the federal case against Trump's former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn - a move Barr maintains was done to correct what he saw as prosecutorial overreach.

"Predictably our motion to dismiss the charges led to an election-year media onslaught, flogging the old theme that I was doing this as a favor to Trump," writes Barr. "But I concluded the handling of the Flynn matter by the FBI had been an abuse of power that no responsible AG could let stand."

Barr also details a Dec. 1, 2020 meeting in the Oval Office in which he says Trump became enraged after he said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could reverse Joe Biden's victory, contradicting Trump's claims.

"This is killing me—killing me. This is pulling the rug right out from under me," Trump reportedly shouted, before saying "He stopped for a moment and then said, ‘You must hate Trump. You would only do this if you hate Trump.’"

Barr says he reminded Trump that he sacrificed a certain level of personal credibility to "help you when I thought you were being wronged," but that the DOJ (which spent several years plotting against or investigating Trump) simply couldn't find evidence of election fraud.

Trump also slammed Barr for appointing a 'slow' federal prosecutor to look into the origins of the Russia probe, and for not firing former FBI Director James Comey after he was rebuked by the Inspector General's office for leaking memos to the press.

The former AG says that after the election, Trump "lost his grip" and that his constant claims of voter fraud underpinned the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

"The absurd lengths to which he took his ‘stolen election’ claim led to the rioting on Capitol Hill," wrote Barr.

Tyler Durden Sun, 02/27/2022 - 18:55
Published:2/27/2022 6:12:55 PM
[Markets] The Wall Street Journal: Special counsel Durham’s probe reveals vast government and private sector access to unregulated data streams John Durham has been looking into the origins of the FBI’s investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Published:2/26/2022 10:01:01 AM
[World] [Eugene Volokh] When Philosophers Go Bad I've probably paid less attention than I should have to the matter of Matthew Harris, the apparently schizophrenic former UCLA philosophy lecturer whose threats shut down the school for a day a couple of weeks ago. Still, I just came across the FBI agent's affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint against him, and there is quite… Published:2/12/2022 7:57:13 AM
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